Category Archives: Science

HIV Testing Made Compulsory For Parliamentary Aspirants

Bagbin  Apology Unclear

Alban Bagbin, a National Democratic Congress [NDC] flagbearer hopeful

This, he says will raise awareness on the need for persons to get tested and help take away the stigma associated with the disease.

Mr. Bagbin made these remarks as part of contributions to a statement to mark world AIDS Day in Parliament.

“…We have to include it as part of the qualification of a Member of Parliament; that before you go to stand an election, you go for an HIV test, and so should it be for all presidential aspirants,” Mr. Babgin suggested.

It is not clear how Mr. Bagbin expects this to be achieved, considering that HIV testing is purely a voluntary exercise.

This year’s World AIDS Day is on the theme: ‘Know Your Status’ as timely.”

A recent report released by the Ghana AIDS Commission indicated that the prevalence of HIV/AIDS amongst the youth in 2017, particularly those below the age of 24, rose to about 45% nationwide .

The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), has attributed the upsurge to unprotected sex as well as low knowledge of the youth about the infection.

According to CDD-Ghana, the issue should be a source of great concern to all, considering that Ghana’s youthful population (under 25) stands at about 57%.

“As government and other non-state actors are working to create an enabling environment to educate, create employment opportunities and encourage the active participation of the youth in the governance and development process of the country, it is important for us to ensure the youthful population live responsible lives to preserve their health,” the statement added.

New infections jumped up by 70% in 2016

In 2016, new HIV infections in Ghana went up by 70.15 %.

The figure increased from 12,000 new infections in 2015, to 20,418 in 2016.

A Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) report also revealed that in 2016, a total of 15,116 people in Ghana died of HIV and AIDS-related illness.

Leo Varadkar becomes first Irish PM to publicly take HIV test

 Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has become the country’s first PM to publicly take a HIV test after he released a video clip on his twitter account on Saturday, showing him receiving a Rapid HIV Test in a local clinic, reported local media.

In the video clip which lasts no more than two minutes, Varadkar said that “I am in a GP (General Practitioner) surgery here in Dublin for World Aids Day and I am taking a Rapid HIV Test as part of a campaign to raise awareness and to encourage people to know their status.”

Saturday marks World’s Aids Day which falls on Dec. 1 every year. The theme of World Aids Day for this year is “Know Your Status”.

In the video, Varadkar demonstrated to viewers how quick and easy to receive a Rapid HIV Test which can develop a result in 60 seconds after getting a few drops of blood from a finger prick.

After his test showed a negative result, Varadkar smiled and said “So just had the test, only took a few minutes, and was pretty painless.”

He called on people to receive the HIV test which is available in a network of free clinics around the country.

He said that every year about 500 people in Ireland are diagnosed with HIV and in many cases HIV is passed on by people who don’t know their status.

So it is really important that more and more people have a HIV test, he said.

“As part of the Government Sexual Health Strategy, we are going to be expanding testing, making it more available around the country, stepping up education and awareness, trying to reduce the stigma around HIV, particularly around getting a test,” he said.

In the video, he announced that the Irish government plans to introduce Ireland’s first PrEP programme next year.

PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a medical method for people at high risk for HIV. It can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout one’s body. It is highly effective for preventing HIV if used as prescribed, but it is much less effective when not taken consistently.

Reference

HIV Testing Made Compulsory For Presidential Parliamentary Aspirants

Leo Varadkar becomes first Irish PM to publicly take HIV test

Dying Star Image Captured By KEPLER

Photo Credit: NASA

Astronomers have been able to get their closest, most detailed look yet at the first stages of a dying star – a supernova known as SN 2018oh – using a combination of super-powerful telescopes out in space and based here on Earth.

 

Part of the crucial observational data was logged by the Kepler Space Telescope just before it ran out of power and was officially put to sleep by NASA – showing that the deep space probe was proving useful right up until the end of its life.

“Kepler – in its final days before running out of fuel and being retired – observed the minute changes in brightness of the star’s explosion from its very beginnings, while the ground-based telescopes detected changes in colour and the atomic make-up of this dying star,” says one of the huge team of researchers involved in the work, astronomer Brad Tucker from the Australian National University (ANU).

“With the combined data from these telescopes, astronomers achieved what they had hoped for – an unprecedented observation of the onset of a star’s death.”

We know how bright these stars should be when they explode at the end of their lives, which means we can calculate how far away they are, and from there – how quickly the Universe is growing.

But even though Type Ia supernovae are such a fixture in our toolkit for exploring the Universe, astronomers still don’t precisely know the makeup of these systems.

These binary systems could involve two white dwarf stars coming to a spectacular end in a massive collision. Or it could be that these supernovae are caused by a single white dwarf star sucking up so much matter from a smaller star that it collapses in on itself.

“Many supernovae show a gradual increase in the light they put out,” says astronomer Maria Drout from the Carnegie Institution for Science and the University of Toronto.

“But for this event, you could clearly see there’s something unusual and exciting happening in the early times – an unexpected additional emission.”

That unexpected observation could point towards one fat white dwarf having an extremely violent rupture that destroyed its binary companion.

“It’s possible in the case of SN 2018oh that the shock wave from the exploding white dwarf ran into the companion star, creating an extremely hot and bright halo that accounts for the added brightness and heat we observed,” says Tucker.

But not everyone involved in this research thinks it’s a clear-cut case.

Astronomers have gathered so much detail on SN 2018oh, that an overall team of 130 scientists produced three separate studies outlining their findings, describing more detail on a supernova event than we’ve ever had on our hands before.

Despite the unprecedented detail, alas this is not the research that will end the debate over the precise makeup of the binary systems involved in Type Ia supernovae.

Some of the researchers have proposed that the additional heat and light may have been caused by an unusual buildup of radioactive nickel in the outer layers of two colliding white dwarfs – hence we still can’t rule out either type of star system as the source of these magnificent events.

But because this was such an unusual and exciting supernova to train our instruments on, it’s a huge step towards figuring out a lot more about this important type of stellar event.

“Nature is always finding new ways to surprise us, and unique observations like this are great for motivating creative new approaches to how we think about these explosions,” said astronomer Anthony Piro from Carnegie Observatories.

And Kepler can enjoy its retirement out in the far reaches of space knowing that it gave one last present to astronomers.

Hopefully, the supernova data amassed in recent years will allow researchers to tweak their cosmological models to chart the Universe’s expansion – if Type Ia supernovae are produced by a single-white-dwarf-and-something-else system, the next step will be to nail down the frequency of these events.

Three papers on the research have been published in Astrophysical Journal Letters and The Astrophysical Journal.

2018oh is a type 1a supernova, based on the way its light looks. Models show that these supernovae come from a pair of stars in which one, a white dwarf, sucks up a lot of mass from the other before exploding. This is the fourth type 1a supernova spotted in a Kepler survey yet, and it’s the closest and brightest with the most precise data.

Reference

Impression of Dying Star Recorded

Dead Kepler Telescope Caught ‘Exquisite’ Observation of Mystifying Supernova

SpaceX Crew Dragon test flight – Nasa Schedules on Jan 7th 2019

The battle to launch their first crewed space missions between SpaceX and Boeing is getting fiercer. NASA has announced a new schedule for both the companies in order to send astronauts in to space from the US.

On January 7, 2019, SpaceX’ Crew Dragon capsule will take flight for the first time to the International Space Station. The flight will be called the Demo-1 (or DM-1) and will be without a crewed. Boeing’s first uncrewed test flight will go on its maiden voyage in March 2019, almost two months after SpaceX. Both companies will have to finish the abort tests before they can take astronauts to space, which are slated for June and August for SpaceX and Boeing respectively. Back in August, NASA announced the astronauts who will be part of the crew during these missions.

Crew Dragon will lift off from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center launchpad where the Apollo mission took off for the moon in 1969. NASA believes the first operational crewed mission will happen in August 2019, while the second will take place in December.

The dates could also be changed if the results of the test flights aren’t satisfactory. Besides, a recent report from The Washington Post, NASA is conducting a safety review on both SpaceX and Boeing. The reason could be Elon Musk’s behavior at Joe Rogan’s podcast where he was seen smoking weed. Though NASA didn’t clearly mention the reason behind the review, a spokesperson told the Washington Post the probe would “ensure the companies are meeting NASA’s requirements for workplace safety, including the adherence to a drug-free environment.”

Apart from sending astronauts to space, SpaceX is also going to send its first passenger around the Moon. Yusaku Maezawa, 42, will be the first passenger to go into space. He is a billionaire and founder of online fashion mall Zozotown. He has also reportedly bought all the other tickets on the rocket.

Maezawa is known for spending huge sums. He once reportedly bought a $110 million painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat in 2017.

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SpaceX Crew Dragon maiden voyage slated for January 7, 2019

NASA schedules historic first flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon

NASA Sets Date for First SpaceX Crew Dragon Test Flight