Supernova remnant – exploded star is a cosmic flower

Amazing new image of a supernova remnant released on Feb 12, 2015 by NASA and Harvard captured by the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

According to, the website that released image, “G299 was left over by a particular class of supernovas called Type Ia. Astronomers think that a Type Ia supernova is a thermonuclear explosion – involving the fusion of elements and release of vast amounts of energy – of a white dwarf star in a tight orbit with a companion star. If the white dwarf’s partner is a typical, Sun-like star, the white dwarf can become unstable and explode as it draws material from its companion. Alternatively, the white dwarf is in orbit with another white dwarf, the two may merge and can trigger an explosion.”

Chandra - g299
Chandra – G299.2-2.9

Supernova Remnant G299.2-2.9

  • Chandra observations of the supernova remnant G299.2-2.9 reveal important information about this object.
  • The shape of the “supernova remnant” today gives clues about the explosion that created it about 4,500 years ago.
  • G299.2-2.9 belongs to the class of supernovas known as Type Ias.
  • Astronomers are trying to determine the exact mechanisms that produce these particular explosions.
  • The patterns seen in the Chandra data suggest that a very lopsided explosion may have produced this Type Ia supernova.

The Chandra X-ray Observatory

The Chandra X-ray Observatory (CXO), previously known as the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF), is a space telescope launched on STS-93 by NASA on July 23, 1999. Chandra is sensitive to X-ray sources 100 times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope, enabled by the high angular resolution of its mirrors. Since the Earth’s atmosphere absorbs the vast majority of X-rays, they are not detectable from Earth-based telescopes; therefore space-based telescopes are required to make these observations. Chandra is an Earth satellite in a 64-hour orbit, and its mission is ongoing as of 2014.

ISIS Burns Jordanian Pilot Alive

WARNING: Some images on this page are shocking!

Let me ask all of you godless, freethinking skeptics a question. If the fundamentalist fringe of the Islamic faith is willing to burn fellow Muslims to death to prove their divine point, what do you think they will do to atheists?

If Islam takes over the world, atheists are going to burn.

What can we do about the Islamic problem? Should we go to war? No. Wars solve nothing. We cannot win a war in the region unless we are willing to kill everybody living there. That’s not a solution.

The only way for us to end this problem is for the West “out tech” our enemies. Science is how we will solve this problem. We should be spending all of our available resources trying to develop alternative forms of energy. We, the West, need to get off of oil as quickly as possible. Alternative Energy! Science, not wars. After we stop buying their oil, this problem will take care of itself.

Burned Alive
Burned Alive

Image Source: CNN

Jordanian pilot - Burned Alive
ISIS first poured gasoline on the Jordanian pilot.
Jordanian pilot - Burned Alive
ISIS then put the Jordanian pilot in a cage and set him on fire.
Jordanian pilot - Burned Alive
The Jordanian pilot burned alive.

Measles Outbreak – Evolution in Action

Julien Harneis - Child with Measles
“Child with Measles,” Julien Harneis

CDC Confirms 84 Cases of Measles

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Good job, Anti-Vaxxers. Measles is back in the USA. For years, scientists have warned that the anti-vaccination movement was going to cause epidemics of disease. The way that vaccines work effectively is for everyone to get them. “When more than 90% of the population is vaccinated, we have “herd immunity” – this means the disease can’t spread because there aren’t enough susceptible people in the community.” Anti-Vaxxers are weakening this herd immunity. Babies cannot be vaccinated against measles. Anti-Vaxxers behavior is putting the lives of infants at risk.

Freedom should be the ability to do whatever you want as long as you do not hurt anyone else. Unvaccinated children are a risk to babies who cannot be protected from measles. Should the “refusing to vaccinate” be a right of some people, if other weaker individuals in society are being put a risk by this refusal? Do we have a duty to protect the weakest amongst us?

Measles Cases and Outbreaks
Measles Cases and Outbreaks

Measles is highly contagious – 90% of people without immunity sharing living space with an infected person will catch it. Measles is also more dangerous for adults. This should worry people. Measles is a dangerous disease that could lead to deafness, brain damage, or death.

Facts about measles vaccination (PDF)
pdf, 2.41Mb

According to the World Health Organization

  • Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.
  • In 2013, there were 145,700 measles deaths globally – about 400 deaths every day or 16 deaths every hour.
    Measles vaccination resulted in a 75% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2013 worldwide.
  • In 2013, about 84% of the world’s children received one dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday through routine health services – up from 73% in 2000.
  • During 2000-2013, measles vaccination prevented an estimated 15.6 million deaths making measles vaccine one of the best buys in public health.

Fact sheet N°286

Do Anti-Vaxxers want everyone to stop vaccinating?

In 1980, before widespread vaccination, measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year. The disease remains one of the leading causes of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine. Approximately 145,700 people died from measles in 2013 – mostly children under the age of 5. I am not sure what the goal of anti-vaxxers is. Should everyone stop vaccinating? The science shows that autism is not caused by vaccinations. Therefore, what is the purpose of not vaccinating children? In 2015, do we want to see the world return to having 2.6 million preventable deaths each year?

Will people die during this outbreak?

It is unknown how many people will contract measles in the United States during this most recent outbreak. It is unknown how many people will die. In other countries, there were casualties.

Thanks for the Measles, Mom!
Thanks for the Measles, Mom!

Beginning in April 2009, there was a large outbreak of measles in Bulgaria, with over 24,000 cases including 24 deaths. That means that those infected in the Bulgarian outbreak had a 1:1000 chance of dying.

In early 2010, there was a serious outbreak of measles in the Philippines with 742 cases including 4 deaths. Those infected during the Philippine outbreak had a 1:185.5 chance of dying. In late 2013, it was reported in the Philippines that 6,497 measles cases occurred which resulted in 23 deaths. Those infected has a 1:282 chance of dying.

In late 2013, it was reported in the Philippines that 6,497 measles cases occurred which resulted in 23 deaths. Those infected has a 1:282 chance of dying.

In 2014 many unvaccinated US citizens visiting the Philippines, and other countries, contracted measles, resulting in 288 cases being recorded in the United States in the first five months of 2014, a twenty-year high.

There are more measles outbreak statistics available at Wikipedia.

Photo Attribution: “Child with Measles,” Julien Harneis CC by 2.0, CDC/NIP/Barbara Rice – (ID#: 132)

Reality Check

Reality Check: Science Deniers Threaten Our Future

by Donald R. Prothero with Michael Shermer and Pat Linse
The battles over evolution, climate change, childhood vaccinations, and the causes of AIDS, alternative medicine, oil shortages, population growth, and the place of science in our country—all are reaching a fevered pitch. Many people and institutions have exerted enormous efforts to misrepresent or flatly deny demonstrable scientific reality to protect their nonscientific ideology, their power, or their bottom line. To shed light on this darkness, Donald R. Prothero explains the scientific process and why society has come to rely on science not only to provide a better life but also to reach verifiable truths no other method can obtain. He describes how major scientific ideas that are accepted by the entire scientifi88c community (evolution, anthropogenic global warming, vaccination, the HIV cause of AIDS, and others) have been attacked with totally unscientific arguments and methods. Prothero argues that science deniers pose a serious threat to society, as their attempts to subvert the truth have resulted in widespread scientific ignorance, increased risk of global catastrophes, and deaths due to the spread of diseases that could have been prevented.

Map of USA - Measles
Map of USA – Measles (Feb 2, 2015)

Why We Age – And How We Can Stop It

Published on Oct 21, 2012
SciShow moderator Hank Green hates death. In this fast-paced, 10-minute video, Green discusses the process of aging and how scientists are studying ways to prevent it.

The show reports on the serious subject of dying by starting the show with a little humor:

“I hate death. More than 150,000 people die on this planet every day. Some of those people are getting hit by buses…but in most cases, their bodies are just succumbing to the dirty work of aging. I’m tired of it and I don’t want George R. R. Martin to die before he finishes the Game of Thrones series.”

Questions tackled in this episode are:

  • How do human cells die?
  • Why human cells die?
  • How do human genes make us age?
  • How does human behavior influence longevity?

Terms used in this episode include:

  • Senescence: the condition or process of deterioration with age, loss of a cell’s power of division and growth.
  • Cellular senescencethe phenomenon by which normal diploid cells cease to divide.
  • Negligible Senescence: the lack of the symptoms of aging in organisms.
  • Hayflick Limit: The Hayflick limit (or Hayflick phenomenon) is the number of times a normal human cell population will divide until cell division stops.
  • Longevity: the length or duration of individual life. The word “longevity” is sometimes used as a synonym for “life expectancy” in demography and is sometimes meant to refer only to especially long lived members of a population.
  • Homeostasis: The ability of a system or living organism to adjust its internal environment to maintain a state of dynamic constancy.
  • Predation: predation is a biological interaction where a predator (an organism that is hunting) feeds on its prey.
  • Somatic Cells: any biological cell forming the body of an organism (any cell other than a gamete, germ cell, gametocyte or undifferentiated stem cell).
  • Telomeres: Telomeres are an essential part of human cells that affect how our cells age. Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces.
  • Telomerase: Telomerase, also called telomere terminal transferase, is an enzyme made of protein and RNA subunits that elongates chromosomes by adding TTAGGG sequences to the end of existing chromosomes. Telomerase is found in fetal tissues, adult germ cells, and also tumor cells.
  • IGF-1: IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1 (somatomedin C)) is a protein-coding gene.
  • Nematode: The nematodes or roundworms are a diverse animal phylum inhabiting a very broad range of environments. Nematode species can be difficult to distinguish, and although over 25,000 have been described, of which more than half are parasitic, the total number of nematode species has been estimated to be about 1 million.
  • Oxidation: The chemical, reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent, is called oxidation. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When the chain reaction occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or death to the cell.
  • Antioxidant: An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation in cells, thus preventing damage or death to the cell.

Age researchers mentioned in the video:

Other Age-related Resources:

  • Aubrey de Grey is an English author and theoretician in the field of gerontology and the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation.
  • Methuselah Foundation: Methuselah Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to extending the healthy human lifespan by advancing tissue engineering and regenerative medicine therapies. It was co-founded in 2003 by Aubrey de Grey and David Gobel, and is based in Springfield, Virginia, United States. Methuselah Foundation Website: mfoundation
  • SENS Research Foundation: The SENS Research Foundation (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence Research Foundation) is a 501 non-profit organization co-founded by MichaelKope, Aubrey de Grey, Jeff Hall, Sarah Marr and, Kevin Perrott, which is based in Mountain View, California, United States. SENS activities include research programs and public relations work for the application of regenerative medicine to aging. SENS Research Foundation
  • New Organ is an initiative of the Methuselah Foundation, a public charity dedicated to advancing and celebrating regenerative technologies to reduce unnecessary suffering and extend healthy life. The New Organ Liver Prize is the first in a series of whole organ challenges and awards designed to
    help solve the global organ shortage, which affects millions of people around the world. If successful, New Organ will help mobilize scientists, innovators, academia, government, philanthropy, and industry around the world to solve specific tangible objectives that will move us more quickly toward saving more lives.


The 87th Academy Awards

What do the movies Gorillas in the Mist (1988), Kinsey (2004), Madame Curie (1943), A Beautiful Mind (2001) and The Elephant Man (1980) have in common? They are all biopics about scientists or science and they were all nominated for an Academy Award in at least one category. A Beautiful Mind won the best picture category for its portrayal of the life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics.

The list of nominations for the 87th Academy Awards has been announced. Among the eight movies nominated in the best feature film category, two of them are biopics about scientists.

Alan Turing and Stephen Hawking

“The Theory of Everything is about the early life of theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and atheist Stephen William Hawking. Directed by directed by James Marsh (Project Nim) based on the memoir, “Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen,” by Jane Hawking, “The Theory of Everything” deals with her relationship with her ex-husband, Stephen Hawking, his diagnosis of motor neuron disease, and his success in the field of physics.

“The Imitation Game” is about computer scientist and mathematician Alan Mathison Turing. Directed by Morten Tyldum and based loosely on the biography, “Alan Turing: The Enigma,” by Andrew Hodges, “The Imitation Game” is a film about British mathematician Alan Turing’s involvement in cracking Nazi Germany’s Enigma code during World War II. “The Imitation Game” stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing and Keira Knightley as cryptanalyst and numismatist Joan Clarke.

Nominations for the 87th Academy Awards Best Picture Award

The Theory of Everything (2014)
The Theory of Everything (2014)

Theory of Everything

In the 1960s, Cambridge University student and future physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) falls in love with fellow collegian Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones). At 21, Hawking learns that he has motor neuron disease. Despite this — and with Jane at his side — he begins an ambitious study of time, of which he has very little left, according to his doctor. He and Jane defy terrible odds and break new ground in the fields of medicine and science, achieving more than either could hope to imagine.

Initial release: November 7, 2014 (USA)
Director: James Marsh
Running time: 123 minutes

American Sniper
The Imitation Game (2014)

The Imitation Game

In 1939, newly created British intelligence agency MI6 recruits Cambridge mathematics alumnus Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to crack Nazi codes, including Enigma — which cryptanalysts had thought unbreakable. Turing’s team, including Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), analyze Enigma messages while he builds a machine to decipher them. Turing and team finally succeed and become heroes, but in 1952, the quiet genius encounters disgrace when authorities reveal he is gay and send him to prison.

Initial release: November 28, 2014 (USA)
Director: Morten Tyldum
Running time: 114 minutes

American Sniper
American Sniper (2014)

American Sniper

U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) takes his sole mission — protect his comrades — to heart and becomes one of the most lethal snipers in American history. His pinpoint accuracy not only saves countless lives but also makes him a prime target of insurgents. Despite grave danger and his struggle to be a good husband and father to his family back in the States, Kyle serves four tours of duty in Iraq. However, when he finally returns home, he finds that he cannot leave the war behind.

Initial release: December 25, 2014 (USA)
Director: Clint Eastwood
Running time: 134 minutes

Selma (2014)
Selma (2014)


Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the South, discrimination was still rampant in certain areas, making it very difficult for blacks to register to vote. In 1965, an Alabama city became the battleground in the fight for suffrage. Despite violent opposition, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his followers pressed forward on an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, and their efforts culminated in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Initial release: December 25, 2014 (USA)
Director: Ava DuVernay
Running time: 127 minutes

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

The Grand Budapest Hotel

In the 1930s, the Grand Budapest Hotel is a popular European ski resort, presided over by concierge Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes). Zero, a junior lobby boy, becomes Gustave’s friend and protege. Gustave prides himself on providing first-class service to the hotel’s guests, including satisfying the sexual needs of the many elderly women who stay there. When one of Gustave’s lovers dies mysteriously, Gustave finds himself the recipient of a priceless painting and the chief suspect in her murder.

Initial release: February 8, 2014 (Prague)
Director: Wes Anderson
Running time: 100 minutes

Birdman (2014)
Birdman (2014)


Former cinema superhero Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) is mounting an ambitious Broadway production that he hopes will breathe new life into his stagnant career. It’s risky, but he hopes that his creative gamble will prove that he’s a real artist and not just a washed-up movie star. As opening night approaches, a castmate is injured, forcing Riggan to hire an actor (Edward Norton) who is guaranteed to shake things up. Meanwhile, Riggan must deal with his girlfriend, daughter, and ex-wife.

Initial release: October 17, 2014 (USA)
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Running time: 119 minutes

Whiplash (2014)
Whiplash (2014)


A first-year music student (Miles Teller) wins a seat behind the drums in a jazz band led by a teacher (J.K. Simmons) who uses fear and intimidation to push his students to perfection. Whiplash is a 2014 American drama film written and directed by Damien Chazelle. The film stars Miles Teller as a young jazz drummer who attends one of the best music schools in the country under the tutelage of the school’s fearsome maestro of jazz (J. K. Simmons). It also stars Paul Reiser, Jayson Blair, and Kavita Patil.

Initial release: January 16, 2014
Director: Damien Chazelle
Running time: 107 minutes

Boyhood (2014)
Boyhood (2014)


The joys and pitfalls of growing up are seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (Ellar Coltrane), his parents (Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke) and his sister (Lorelei Linklater). Vignettes, filmed with the same cast over the course of 12 years, capture family meals, road trips, birthday parties, graduations and other important milestones. Songs from Coldplay, Arcade Fire and other artists capture the time period. Directed by Richard Linklater.

Initial release: July 11, 2014 (USA)
Director: Richard Linklater
Running time: 166 minutes