Friday, 10 April 2015

20 Messages from Space Explorers to future generations ( International Day of Human Space Flight April 12 )

The United Nations (UN) celebrates the International Day of Human Space Flight on April 12 each year. The day remembers the first human space flight on April 12, 1961.
Statue of Yuri Gagarin, the world's first cosmonaut to have travelled in outer space.

International Day of Human Space Flight was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2011. Establishment of this observance aims to reaffirm the importance of contribution of space science and technology in achieving sustainable development goals, increase the well-being of Member States and peoples and ensure the realization of their aspiration to maintain outer space for peaceful purposes.

Promotion of further exploration of outer space in peaceful purposes is one of the main goals of the UN, since all countries get benefit from it. And annual observation of International Day of Human Space Flight should inspire young people to pursue their dreams and move towards the frontier of knowledge and understanding.
YURI GAGARIN (9 March 1934 – 27 March 1968) Russian Federation The first human to travel into outer space Vostok 1, 12 April 1961

20 Messages from Space Explorers to future generations


United States of America, 1985 Spacelab 2 (STS-51F) 

“We all, every human, start as a tiny baby knowing nothing but with a marvellous ability to learn. Be humble, as most of what we know is a gift of others. May your humility lead to understanding and happiness and your learning to great and worthy accomplishments. Our universe is wide and wonderful, love it, appreciate it, understand it, care for it.” 

[Signed] 13 November 2012


Russian Federation, Space flights: 1976 — Soyuz 22 and 1980 — Soyuz T-2 and Salyut-6 “It is now 50 years since mankind went into Space, into the expanses of the Universe, in search of new knowledge and achievements. In order to ensure its future on Earth, mankind must: 1. Understand that Space and the whole Universe constitute a most complex system, which was brought into being by its Creator, the one God, and which lives and develops in accordance with His law. 2. As individuals living on Earth, understand that mankind is an integral part of the whole Universe and must, in their lives, obey the basic laws according to which Space and the whole Universe lives and develops. 3. Such an understanding will allow mankind to rise to new heights of understanding and to provide for its future                                                                             development.”[Signed] 9 October 2009


Bulgaria, OK ‘MIR’ 7-17 June 1988

“Let us save our beautiful planet for future generations!”

[Signed] 5 September 2011


Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, STS-51

 “We welcome the age of new space exploration, and hope this will bring us all closer as people of one planet, living together in peace and prosperity.”

[Signed] 5 November 2012


Kazakhstan, Soyus TM-13, 2-10 October 1991

 “A world without borders!”

[Signed] 5 September 2011


Russian Federation, Mir Orbital Station (1998), International Space Station (2001)

“Fly farther than we did. Return with success. Maintain the international cooperation in space research that we established!”

[Signed] 9 October 2009


United States of America, STS-61C, STS-31, STS-45, STS-60

“You are now a part of a new era of space exploration and I hope you will take advantage of every opportunity to make your mark on our future. Set your goals high, study hard, and never be afraid of failure!”

[Signed] Do all you can With what you have In the time that you have In the place that you are! Nkosi Johnso


Canada, STS-42 Discovery

“The pastel colours of planet Earth inspire us to pursue greater heights. Reach for the stars and we will see you there!”


United States of America, STS-129 - Atlantis

 “May you join us in the creation of a future where the human exploration of space exceeds all our wildest dreams and expectations!”

[Signed] 13 December 2013


United States of America, STS-106 (2000), STS-115 (2006), ISS Expedition 29, 30 (2011-2012)

“Seeing the borderless Earth from space, I can’t help but feel optimism about our future. Dream big and do great things, worthy of who you are, and from where you came, and humanity’s future will be in good hands.”
[Signed] 29 November 2013


United States of America, STS-118, TMA18, Expeditions 23 and 24

 “Find more than you lose, fix more than you break, listen more than you talk, and thank God for where you are.”

[Signed] 12 January 2014


Japan, STS-87 (1997), STS-123 (2008)

“Reach for the stars!”

[Signed] 12 April 2012


Belgium, TM34-TMA1 Oct. 2002, ISS Exp 20-21 May-Dec. 2009

 “Human exploration of the Solar System with all societies on Earth for the benefit of All. Our contribution to Humanity!”

[Signed] 8 September 2011


United States of America, STS-7 Space Shuttle Challenger 1983, STS-51G Space Shuttle Discovery 1985

 “Always do your best. Never believe you can’t. Choose the right way to spend your time. Reject things that lead nowhere. Listen to your mother!”

[Signed] 6 September 2011


China, Space flight mission of Shen Zhou 6

 “Warrior of space exploration Future of human welfare!”

[Signed] 6 September 2011

Sweden, STS-116, STS-128
“Dear spacefarers of the future, Planet Earth seen from above is incredibly beautiful and is the pearl of our solar system. Here is the cradle of humankind — but it is now time to explore further out! I wish you all success in building upon what previous spacefarers from all parts of the world have accomplished — further to Mars, to better knowledge about life and the universe, to settlements on other celestial bodies!”
[Signed] 3 December 2013

Italy, STS-75 (1996), STS-100 (2001) “When they are preparing for re-entry, all astronauts, be they Russian or American, Japanese or European, simply say “we’re going home”. To venture beyond the Earth, to see it isolated in the infinite darkness of space, makes you feel a very strong sense of affinity with the human race. A species able to dream and, now and again, able to realize its dreams, particularly when they can overcome ethnic, faith-related and cultural differences. For that reason, I wish that the experience of travelling in space could one day be within the grasp of all of humanity. Only a species that has overcome its own divisions could hope to conquer the challenge of the                                                                             stars. [Signed] 10 November 2013


Mongolia, Soyuz-39

 “The planet is a common home for all.”

[Signed] 5 September 2011


Poland, Soyuz 30 — Salyut 6, 27/06/1978 - 05/07/1978

 “Defend nature on Earth. Use natural resources responsibly. Cautiously colonize the Moon and Mars for natural resources; the production of materials which would be damaging on Earth and energy. Do not build human settlements on other planets, but on Earth by rivers, lakes and in woods. Live in peace and friendship with other peoples and with extraterrestrials.”

[Signed] 9 October 2009


Russian Federation, International Space Station Expeditions 29 and 30

“Through the exploration of outer space, the international community will contribute to the growth of trust and mutual understanding among the representatives of different peoples, cultures and faiths.”

[Signed] 9 November 2012

Moon Formed From Collision Between Earth And Twin Planet, Researchers Conclude

The moon was created following the collision of the Earth with a near-twin of our own planet, new 
research has determined. Astronomers have long theorized that our companion satellite was formed from an encounter between the Earth and a planetary body roughly the size of Mars.
However, many questions remained, including the percentage of material from this primordial body still left in our natural satellite.  
Computer models suggest that the world that collided with the early Earth likely formed near our own world from similar materials.
Following the formation of the moon from debris, both bodies in the system were continually bombarded by smaller collisions from smallerprotoplanets. This process resulted in a coating of material from these objects, with our own planet receiving a thicker deposit.
Theia, the name given to the impactor, likely collided with the Earth roughly 4.5 billion years ago. This body was roughly the size of Mars and possessed a mass roughly one-tenth that of the Earth. Computer models suggest that such an event would result in our satellite exhibiting a composition similar to that of the mantle of the Earth. Chemical and observational evidence of the lunar surface reveal the material seen on the moon is, in fact, largely the same as the mantle of our own planet.
Planets and large asteroids exhibit specific ratios between elements, which are determined by where they were formed in the solar system. Because the moon (and thus, Theia) was found to be chemically similar to the Earth's mantle, researchers believe the impactor formed in the same region of space as our home planet.
Isotopes are varieties of elements that contain identical numbers of protons, but differing quantities of neutrons. Ratios of isotopes can reveal significant information about astronomical bodies, including details of their formation. Although the physics of the impact between the Earth and Theia seemed to fit observational data, isotopic analysis did not seem to support the theory.
Relative levels of isotopes of tungsten in the Earth and the moon were examined by researchers, who found the planetary "fingerprints" to be largely similar. Most astronomers believed the moon would be different than our own planet, contain a higher concentration of tungsten-182. This was found in concentrations that 
suggest the material collected through minicollisions following the main impact.
"The problem is that Earth and the moon are very similar with respect to their isotopic fingerprints, suggesting that they are both ultimately formed from the same material that gathered early in the solar system's history. This is surprising, because the Mars-sized body that created the moon is expected to have been very different. So the conundrum is that Earth and the moon shouldn't be as similar as they are," Richard Walker of the University of Maryland said.
This new study shows the moon formed during an extremely violent period in the history of the solar system.
Analysis of isotopic ratios to determine the origin of the moon was profiled in the journal Nature.
Source :

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

April 7 2015 Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Rwanda Genocide (United Nations)

On December 23, 2003, the General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/58/234, declared April 7th as International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda, and thus scheduling an international day of reflection and renewed commitment to combat genocide worldwide.

"On this Day, I appeal to the international community to do more than just speak about atrocity crimes and then fail to take timely action to prevent them. I call on all to summon the courage to act before situations deteriorate based on our collective moral responsibility. This is critical for the maintenance of international peace and security."


                                                       —Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 
                                                       in his message for the 21st commemo
                                                       of the Rwanda genocide
April 7, 2004 was recognized as an international observance the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocidein Rwanda by the United Nations. Commemorative events were held in several world capitals including KigaliRwandaNew York CityDar-es-SalaamTanzania, GenevaSwitzerlandand 
All member states of the UN were invited to join in one minute of silence in memory of the victims.
In a speech given by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan given at the Assembly Hall of the Palais des Nations, he called for actions to prevent future genocides.

Key excerpts

  • "It is good that we have observed those minutes of silence together. We must never forget our collective failure to protect at least eight hundred thousand defenceless (sic) men, women and children who perished in Rwanda ten years ago. Such crimes cannot be reversed. Such failures cannot be repaired. The dead cannot be brought back to life."
  • In reference to the related lingering crisis in Sudan, "It is vital that international humanitarian workers and human rightsexperts be given full access to the region, and to the victims, without further delay. If that is denied, the international community must be prepared to take swift and appropriate action. By “action” in such situations I mean a continuum of steps, which may include military action. But the latter should always be seen as an extreme measure, to be used only in extreme cases... But let us not wait until the worst has happened, or is already happening."

April 7 2015 World Health Day (United Nations)

In 1948, the First World Health Assembly proposed the establishment of a World Health Day to commemorate the founding of the World Health Organization and to urge governments, organizations and companies to invest in health and build a future safer.

World Health Day 2015: How Scientists Track Food Poisoning

There are so many types of pathogens causing food poisoning, from viruses, to bacteria, to parasites, in addition to toxins, pollutants, and heavy metals. In the U.S., food poisoning affects about 1 in 6, or 48 million people each year,hospitalizing 128,000 and killing 3000. The burden is far greater globally, withfood and waterborne diarrheal illnesses killing 2 million people annually, 40% of them children. There is a large economic toll to farmers and industry as well, estimated at more than $75 billion per year.
The top numbers of cases here are from norovirus, Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, and Campylobacter. In addition to Salmonella, Toxoplasma, E. coli O157, and Listeria tend to cause more serious infections and death. This new strain of Shigella has potential to be very serious, since as few as 10 bacteria can cause serious infection, with bloody diarrhea requiring hospitalization, and oral antibiotics will be ineffective.
Have you wondered how the outbreaks are traced and solved? I’ve always found this aspect of infectious diseases and epidemiology fascinating.
Identifying the problem
It’s not always easy to identify the cause of an illness, especially if there is just an isolated case, which is true 95% of the time. Most of the time, physicians don’t order stool cultures, hoping the illness will be self-limited. A routine stool culture will miss many

pathogens anyway—the lab has to be alerted to use special media for some organisms, like Vibrio from shellfish, for example, and rarely will send samples to a reference lab for norovirus. Studies for parasites are also commonly sent to reference labs, taking days for results. Because it takes days to identify a pathogen, patients may be treated empirically—by guess and by gosh—based on typical patterns. This encourages overuse of antibiotics like Cipro and Bactrim, fueling resistance, and is part of what makes this recent Shigella outbreak scary.
If there is a cluster of cases, health department workers will begin byinterviewing patients looking for commonalities in exposures. If the affected person is a food or daycare worker, they will likely be prohibited from working until their infection is cleared.
State public health labs join the investigation, doing serotyping of bacteria to identify a specific bacterial strain, or pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) for DNA fingerprinting, which identifies the specific genetic pattern of a given bacteria, and can detect identical isolates.  State health departments share results through a large database, PulseNet, helping to solve multi-state outbreaks.
Data from interviews are analyzed, looking for commonalities. It is very difficult to tease out the source of illness, as it may be an ingredient, like a spice, rather than a specific food, like hamburger or cheese. One useful tool is the grocery shopper’s rewards cards, which track all purchases. Health departments can use this Salmonella from contaminated spices from India, so it is unsurprising that the specific food causing an illness is identified in only about half of outbreaks. Illustrating the complexity is an outbreak of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) outbreak in Europe in 2011, linked to contaminated fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt, which led to almost 4000 cases of EHEC infection in 16 countries, with more than 900 cases complicated by haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) cases and 55 deaths. The estimated loss for farmers and industries was $1.3 billion. This outbreak was initially thought to be due to cucumbers, costing Spanish growers $200 million per week before the source was correctly identified.
information to identify possible food sources and other people at risk of disease. Often, investigations have to include tracebacks through multiple processors and suppliers, many of whom might be overseas, as happened with the cases of

While globalization now brings us wonderful fruits and vegetables year round, it also makes tracing more difficult and spreads multidrug resistance, as with the Shigella, as well.
How does food get contaminated?
Contamination can happen anywhere along the food chain. During production, problems can occur from chickens laying Salmonella infected eggs or from deer droppings contaminating fruit that has fallen from trees (unpasteurized apple cider anyone?) or strawberries in fields, for example. Irrigation water might be contaminated by workers who lack adequate sanitation dust laden with cattle excrement, spread from factory farms and carrying antibiotic resistant bacteria.
facilities on the job, or by livestock or wild animals wandering through a field, or spread by
Problems have occurred during processing, as well, if the food is stored in unclean conditions, or during animal slaughter, during distribution, or during the final food preparation. Sometimes, foods like milk are adulterated—remember the China melamine scandal that sickened almost 300,000 and killed a number of babies? This week, it is human breast milk diluted with cow’s milk, which might cause serious allergies.
While we have always been admonished to wash fruits and vegetables, we’ve learned that it often doesn’t work well with those with many crevices, like raspberries. We now know that plants can take up some pathogens from the soil or through pores in their leaves, a process known as “internalizing” them. Although this doesn’t appear to be a very common way of transmitting infection, this did appear to be the source of infection in an outbreak of Salmonella from mangoes. A hot water dip to control fruit flies was followed by a cold water bath, during which pathogens were thought to be drawn into the fruit by changes in hydrostatic forces within the fruit, caused by the sudden temperature change. Interestingly, Europeans who had mangoes from the same farm did not become ill—mangoes exported to Europe did not undergo the hot water dip.
Recent foodborne outbreaks
Highlights of the year, from an epidemiology perspective are this spring’sListeria outbreak from Blue Bell Creameries’ ice cream. Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria that can cause meningitis and blood stream infections, and is particularly deadly in pregnancy or immunocompromised patients. Unpasteurized cheeses and deli meats are other common sources of Listeria infection.
Israeli Defense Forces were sidelined when 250 paratroopers were sickened after a Sabbath dinner, likely due to spoiled chicken. Even flour was recently recalled for possible Salmonella contamination, though no one became ill.
No self-respecting Infectious Diseases physician could write about food safety and not say, “Don’t drink raw milk!” It can transmit a variety of infections, including Brucella, Listeria, Mycobacterium bovis, Salmonella, and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, including E. coli O157, as it just did in aCalifornia outbreak of Campylobacter.
While not so recent, one of my favorite epi mystery stories was how an Orthodox Jewish family came down with an infection from pork tapeworm.
Food safety
In response to years of outbreaks, like Salmonella-tainted peanut butter, and the growing complexity of the food supply chain, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was passed in 2011, making the FDA responsible for a huge overhaul of the monitoring and regulatory system. There is a major change in focus from reactive, enforcement provisions to shifting to preventive efforts, including requiring food production facilities to have a hazard analysis plan and risk-based assessment for preventive efforts. A number of the details are still being worked out, with major sticking points apparently being the effect on small farms and on craft breweries.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Easter 2015. Happy Easter Celebrations

However you spend your Easter Sunday, I hope it is filled with family, friends, food – perfect for making memories!

Happy Easter day ( 05 April 2015 ) History

Easter[nb 1] (Old English usually Ēastrun-on, or -an; also Ēastru-o; andĒostre),[1] also called Pasch (derived, through LatinPascha and Greek ΠάσχαPaskha, from Aramaicפסחא‎, cognate to Hebrewפֶּסַח‎ Pesah)[nb 2][2][3][4][5] orResurrection Sunday,[6][7] is a festival and holiday celebrating theresurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion by Romans atCalvary c. 30 AD.[8][9] It is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded byLent (or Great Lent), a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
The week before Easter is called Holy Week, and it contains the days of theEaster Triduum, including Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Maundy andLast Supper,[10][11] as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus.[12] In western Christianity, Eastertide, the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the coming of the fiftieth day, Pentecost Sunday. In Orthodoxy, the season of Pascha begins on Pascha and ends with the coming of the fortieth day, the Feast of the Ascension.
Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts in that they do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars which follow only the cycle of the sun; rather, its date is determined on a lunisolar calendarsimilar to the Hebrew calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established two rules, independence of the Jewish calendar and worldwide uniformity, which were the only rules for Easter explicitly laid down by the council. No details for the computation were specified; these were worked out in practice, a process that took centuries and generated a number of controversies. It has come to be the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or soonest after 21 March,[13] but calculations vary in East and West. Details of this complicated computation are found below in the section Date.
Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In many languages, the words for "Easter" and "Passover" are identical or very similar.[14] Easter customs vary across theChristian world, and include sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting,clipping the church,[15] and decorating Easter eggs, a symbol of the empty tomb.[16][17][18] The Easter lily, a symbol of the resurrection,[19][20] traditionally decorates the chancel area of churches on this day and for the rest of Eastertide.[21] Additional customs that have become associated with Easter and are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades.[22][23][24] There are also various traditional Easter foods that vary regionally.
A five-part Russian Orthodox icon depicting the Easter story. Eastern Orthodox Christians use a different computation for the date of Easter than the Western churches.

A stained glass window depicting the Passover Lamb, a concept integral to the foundation of Easter

The Last Supper celebrated by Jesus and his disciples was a Passover Seder. The early Christians too would have celebrated this meal to commemorate Jesus' death and subsequent resurrection.

Sunrise service in Rockland, Maine, United States.

Easter Procession in the Region of Kursk, Russia, painting by Ilya Repin (1880–83), depicting a Bright Weekoutdoor procession.

The congregation lighting their candles from the new flame, just as the priest has retrieved it from the altar—note that the picture is flash-illuminated; all electric lighting is off, and only the oil lamps in front of theIconostasis remain lit. (St. George Greek Orthodox Church, Adelaide).

An Easter postcard depicting the Easter Bunny.