Class X students of Andhra Pradesh topped mathematics and science, while those of Delhi, Kerala and Nagaland topped the other subjects in which the National Achievement Survey (NAS) was conducted across the country in February, according to preliminary findings. The largest ever survey of student achievements, NAS was conducted by NCERT for 15.44 lakh Class X students in 44,514 schools — government, government-aided and private — in 610 districts. The survey assessed students on competency-based test questions in five subjects; apart from mathematics and science, the other three subjects were social science (topped by Delhi), English (topped by Nagaland) and a modern Indian language (topped by Kerala). The high and low scores in each subject showed students performing at their best in the modern Indian languages and English, and at their worst in mathematics and science. Overall, Delhi had the highest score (45.65%), followed by Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka and Rajasthan.
Fact Check, Ground reality: How a beheaded snake can still bite and inject venom
Even when severed from the rest of the body, the head of a snake can still bite and inject venom. This fact, while well known to biologists, has come into public focus over the last few days, following reports of a man in Texas being bitten by the severed head of a rattlesnake. Jeremy Sutcliffe, 40, had cut off the head of a Western diamondback rattlesnake in his yard on May 27, and was trying to dispose of the head about 10 minutes later when it bit his hand and held on for 30 seconds, The New York Times reported. Sutcliffe fell seriously ill and had to be injected large doses of antivenom. Just like a headless chicken is able to run around for some time, snakes retain their reflexes even hours after death, and the bite reflex is extremely strong in venomous snakes. A snake’s nervous system is pre-programmed to make certain movements without the brain needing to send a signal, and a decapitated venomous snake head is pre-programmed to bite in response to a stimulus-such as someone trying to pick it up, National Geographic quoted Bruce Jayne, a biology professor at the University of Cincinnati. Biologist David Penning of Missouri Southern State University, on the other hand, told Live Science magazine that a snake can probably live on for minutes, or even hours, after its head is cut off. This is because it does not need as much oxygen as mammals do in order to fuel the brain, he said.
This Word Means: Quad
A group of 4 countries, which met for only the second time after being revived. What brings them together?
Quad, a group of four countries that held talks in Singapore Thursday, is short for “quadrilateral group” and comprises India, the US, Japan and Australia. It is aimed at countering Chinese assertiveness in the Indian Ocean region. It had originally started in 2007, but collapsed after Australia walked out of the group — apparently under Chinese pressure. It was revived last year, when the four countries met in November 2017 on the sidelines of the ASEAN and East Asia summits in Manila. Officials at the level of joint secretaries or directors-general from the four countries met for the second time Thursday. The Indian side was represented by joint secretary (East Asia) and joint secretary (America) in the Ministry of External Affairs. While all four have participated, they have not been able to arrive at a common position — they issued four separate statements. – Express News Service