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Rakesh Yadav
Works at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Attended Max-Planck institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen
Lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
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Rakesh Yadav

ūüźģ Animal Rights  - 
 
This was certainly worth the 20 minutes! 
 
Mind-blowing TEDx talk: Psychologist explains why people eat certain animals but not others. http://bit.ly/16lSExFÔĽŅ
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Radio Astronomy

Every year all of the PhD students in my institute take a week off and go for an educational retreat. These retreats are used for visiting places of scientific importance and also to learn something very different from what we usually do in our institute.

Last week was one such occasion and we had a couple of very nice introductory lectures on Radio Astronomy by a guest Professor. Since the Professor was an observational astronomer the lectures were heavy on the observational aspects of Radio Astronomy.

As it turns out Radio Astronomy was discovered accidentally by an engineer, Karl Jansky, at the Bell labs during 1930s. He was hired to investigate some problem in transmission caused by some unknown static source of radio waves. He found that radio waves being generated  in nearby/far thunderstorms were causing some problems to the company's transmission service. But, he also found a puzzling second source of radio waves. After more careful and long observations he found that the unknown source had some cyclic behaviour. It seemed to appear roughly every 24 hours. So, initially he though it was the Sun which was emitting Radio waves. But, after even closer inspection he found that the source was not appearing every 24 hours but rather every 23 hours and 56 minutes. He told these findings to his friend and the friend told him that this 23h56m is precisely the length of the sidereal day (day based on Earth's rotation rate about some fixed star in the sky, checkout wiki).

With this new information and after even more careful observations Jansky was able attribute the unkown source of radio waves to some location in the Sagittarius constellation in our galaxy. Jansky was unfortunately removed from this project by Bell labs and he discontinued this research. later Grote Reber build up on the work by Jansky and made many fundamental contributions.

As a part of our retreat we also visited the Effelsberg 100-meter radio telescope. I captured the time-lapse shown below when this behemoth was repositioning to observe another target. It is a very impressive engineering achievement. Built in around 1970, this telescope has a disk diameter of 100 meters and for almost 3 decades it was the largest steerable radio telescope. The deformities on the huge parabolic dish are of the order of a few millimetres!

For +ScienceSunday #sciencesunday
+Rajini Rao¬† +Buddhini Samarasinghe¬† +Allison Sekuler¬† +Robby Bowles¬†ÔĽŅ
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Rakesh Yadav

‚öē Health, Fitness & Nutrition  - 
 
Walnut skin is known to be its healthiest part. While making my awesome hazelnut butter I always removed the skin (blindly following the recipe). But, today for some reason I wondered if walnut skin is so healthy, then what about the hazelnut skin? I just did some googling and found this paper which measured the anitoxidant content of the hazelnut skin. And, indeed, I have been throwing away the healthiest part of hazelnut down the drain!

From the paper abstract: The total antioxidant content (TAC) values of the hazelnut skin samples ranged between 0.6 and 2.2 mol of reduced iron/kg of sample, which is about 3 times the TAC of whole walnuts, 7-8 times that of dark chocolate, 10 times that of espresso coffee, and 25 times that of blackberries.

I think this concept will apply to nuts in general. So, people, make sure that you eat the nut-skin!ÔĽŅ
PubMed comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.
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A very nice and interactive visualization of gender disparity in PhD graduates among different nations. By +Scientific American 

In the U.S., women are going to college and majoring in science and engineering fields in increasing numbers, yet here and around the world they remain underrepresented in the workforce. Comparative figures are hard to come by, but a disparity shows up in the number of Ph.D.s awarded to women and men. The chart here, assembled from data collected by the National Science Foundation, traces the gender gap at the doctoral level for 56 nations. The situation in individual countries varies widely, but as the numbers make clear, there are interesting exceptions to the global trend.

+STEM Women on G+¬†ÔĽŅ
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I might be committing a blasphemous act by recommending a search engine on a Google platform but I'll take my chances :)

Tree huggers out there might want to try the search engine ecosia.org . Why another search engine? Mainly because it donates 80% of its income to a tree planting program in Brazil.  These guys have already donated about 1.8 million Euros to environmental organizations.

I have been trying it since last week and it does the job.ÔĽŅ
The search engine that plants trees
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Rakesh Yadav

‚ėľ Environment  - 
 
 
Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK


This is one of those days when I get quirky and read stuff about the stuff we eat. I found an interesting paper (http://goo.gl/Y8WwEC; open access) whose title is mentioned above. The paper tries to put some numbers on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from different dietary practices, in UK. The following summary is mostly a copy-paste job with some paraphrasing here and there.

++++++Summary starts here++++++
Introduction
When measured by consumption food is responsible for approximately one fifth of all GHG emissions attributable to the UK. There is considerable variation in the amount of GHG emissions related to different food groups, with animal-based products generally having much greater emissions than plant-based products per unit weight. Substantial reductions in GHG emissions can only be achieved through changes in consumption patterns and reduction in food waste. We use data on actual diets of vegans, vegetarians, fish-eaters and meat-eaters to estimate the difference in dietary GHG emissions attributable to these four diet groups. Previous estimates of dietary GHG emissions for self-selected dietary groups have not compared meat consumers with those who abstain from meat.

Methods
The analysis is based on data from participants in the EPIC-Oxford cohort, which consists of 65,000 (12,666 males and 42,838 females) participants generally aged 20 and over at recruitment between 1993 and 1999.

Diet groups:
High meat-eaters, 8286 people: those who consume >=100 g/day
Medium meat-eaters, 11971: meat consumptions 50 to 99 g/day
Low meat-eaters, 9332: meat consumption <50 g/day
Fish-eaters, 8123
Vegetarians, 15751
Vegans, 2041

A food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) that estimates intake (frequency of consumption) of 130 different food items over the previous 12 months was completed at recruitment by most participants. Nutritional analysis of 130 food-item FFQ were based on nutritional data for 289 food codes taken from UK food composition tables. We estimated the GHG emissions associated with these 289 food codes. Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions were incorporated. The data includes the life cycle of food commodities from the earliest stages of production to the retail distribution centre. We did not account for the cooking process (either at the industrial stage or at home) for any of the food codes.

Results
Generally, there were significant trends towards lower total fat, saturated fat and protein consumption and higher carbohydrate, total sugar, fibre and fruit and vegetables consumption as animal-based food consumption decreased.

The highest dietary GHG emissions were found in high meat-eating men and the lowest dietary GHG emissions were found in vegan women. The mean observed values of dietary GHG emissions for meat-eaters (results reported for women and then men) was 46 % and 51 % higher than for fish-eaters, 50 % and 54 % higher than for vegetarians and 99 % and 102 % higher than for vegans. The results showed highly statistically significant differences in dietary GHG emissions between the six diet groups, with progressively higher emissions for groups with greater intakes of animal-based products.

Discussion
After adjustment for sex and age, an average 2,000 kcal high meat diet had 2.5 times as many GHG emissions than an average 2,000 kcal vegan diet. Assuming that the average daily energy intake in the UK is 2,000 kcal, then moving from a high meat diet to a low meat diet would reduce an individual’s carbon footprint by 920kgCO2e every year, moving from a high meat diet to a vegetarian diet would reduce the carbon footprint by 1230 kgCO2e/year, and moving from a high meat diet to a vegan diet would reduce the carbon footprint by 1560 kgCO2e/year. For context, an individual travelling on an economy return flight from London to New York has an addition to their carbon footprint of 960kgCO2e. A family running a 10 year old small family car for 6000 miles has a carbon footprint of 2440 kgCO2e, roughly equivalent to the annual carbon saving of two high meat eating adults moving to a vegetarian diet.

Caveats
Although the nutrient intakes estimated by the FFQ have been validated against food diaries and some biomarkers, the GHG emissions have not. Throughout the analysis presented here we have assumed that GHG emission related to food wastage is reasonably similar across all food groups, but this may not be the case. Estimates of food wastage in the UK suggest that wastage of fruit and vegetables is higher than for meat products, which could reduce the difference in GHG emissions between the dietary groups.

Conclusions
Analysis of observed diets shows a positive relationship between dietary GHG emissions and the amount of animal-based products in a standard 2,000 kcal diet. This work demonstrates that reducing the intake of meat and other animal based products can make a valuable contribution to climate change mitigation. Other work has demonstrated other environmental and health benefits of a reduced meat diet. National governments that are considering an update of dietary recommendations in order to define a ‚Äėhealthy, sustainable diet‚Äô must incorporate the recommendation to lower the consumption of animal-based products.

++++++Summary ends here++++++

I hope this motivates people to read further about what they eat.

+ScienceSunday  #sciencesunday
+Rajini Rao  +Robby Bowles  +Buddhini Samarasinghe  +Allison Sekuler

Image taken from the cover of "Changing
what we eat" by the Food Climate Research Network.ÔĽŅ
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Cool data, thanks did sharing. ÔĽŅ
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Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK


This is one of those days when I get quirky and read stuff about the stuff we eat. I found an interesting paper (http://goo.gl/Y8WwEC; open access) whose title is mentioned above. The paper tries to put some numbers on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from different dietary practices, in UK. The following summary is mostly a copy-paste job with some paraphrasing here and there.

++++++Summary starts here++++++
Introduction
When measured by consumption food is responsible for approximately one fifth of all GHG emissions attributable to the UK. There is considerable variation in the amount of GHG emissions related to different food groups, with animal-based products generally having much greater emissions than plant-based products per unit weight. Substantial reductions in GHG emissions can only be achieved through changes in consumption patterns and reduction in food waste. We use data on actual diets of vegans, vegetarians, fish-eaters and meat-eaters to estimate the difference in dietary GHG emissions attributable to these four diet groups. Previous estimates of dietary GHG emissions for self-selected dietary groups have not compared meat consumers with those who abstain from meat.

Methods
The analysis is based on data from participants in the EPIC-Oxford cohort, which consists of 65,000 (12,666 males and 42,838 females) participants generally aged 20 and over at recruitment between 1993 and 1999.

Diet groups:
High meat-eaters, 8286 people: those who consume >=100 g/day
Medium meat-eaters, 11971: meat consumptions 50 to 99 g/day
Low meat-eaters, 9332: meat consumption <50 g/day
Fish-eaters, 8123
Vegetarians, 15751
Vegans, 2041

A food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) that estimates intake (frequency of consumption) of 130 different food items over the previous 12 months was completed at recruitment by most participants. Nutritional analysis of 130 food-item FFQ were based on nutritional data for 289 food codes taken from UK food composition tables. We estimated the GHG emissions associated with these 289 food codes. Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions were incorporated. The data includes the life cycle of food commodities from the earliest stages of production to the retail distribution centre. We did not account for the cooking process (either at the industrial stage or at home) for any of the food codes.

Results
Generally, there were significant trends towards lower total fat, saturated fat and protein consumption and higher carbohydrate, total sugar, fibre and fruit and vegetables consumption as animal-based food consumption decreased.

The highest dietary GHG emissions were found in high meat-eating men and the lowest dietary GHG emissions were found in vegan women. The mean observed values of dietary GHG emissions for meat-eaters (results reported for women and then men) was 46 % and 51 % higher than for fish-eaters, 50 % and 54 % higher than for vegetarians and 99 % and 102 % higher than for vegans. The results showed highly statistically significant differences in dietary GHG emissions between the six diet groups, with progressively higher emissions for groups with greater intakes of animal-based products.

Discussion
After adjustment for sex and age, an average 2,000 kcal high meat diet had 2.5 times as many GHG emissions than an average 2,000 kcal vegan diet. Assuming that the average daily energy intake in the UK is 2,000 kcal, then moving from a high meat diet to a low meat diet would reduce an individual’s carbon footprint by 920kgCO2e every year, moving from a high meat diet to a vegetarian diet would reduce the carbon footprint by 1230 kgCO2e/year, and moving from a high meat diet to a vegan diet would reduce the carbon footprint by 1560 kgCO2e/year. For context, an individual travelling on an economy return flight from London to New York has an addition to their carbon footprint of 960kgCO2e. A family running a 10 year old small family car for 6000 miles has a carbon footprint of 2440 kgCO2e, roughly equivalent to the annual carbon saving of two high meat eating adults moving to a vegetarian diet.

Caveats
Although the nutrient intakes estimated by the FFQ have been validated against food diaries and some biomarkers, the GHG emissions have not. Throughout the analysis presented here we have assumed that GHG emission related to food wastage is reasonably similar across all food groups, but this may not be the case. Estimates of food wastage in the UK suggest that wastage of fruit and vegetables is higher than for meat products, which could reduce the difference in GHG emissions between the dietary groups.

Conclusions
Analysis of observed diets shows a positive relationship between dietary GHG emissions and the amount of animal-based products in a standard 2,000 kcal diet. This work demonstrates that reducing the intake of meat and other animal based products can make a valuable contribution to climate change mitigation. Other work has demonstrated other environmental and health benefits of a reduced meat diet. National governments that are considering an update of dietary recommendations in order to define a ‚Äėhealthy, sustainable diet‚Äô must incorporate the recommendation to lower the consumption of animal-based products.

++++++Summary ends here++++++

I hope this motivates people to read further about what they eat.

+ScienceSunday  #sciencesunday
+Rajini Rao  +Robby Bowles  +Buddhini Samarasinghe  +Allison Sekuler

Image taken from the cover of "Changing
what we eat" by the Food Climate Research Network.ÔĽŅ
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Rakesh Yadav

‚öē Health, Fitness & Nutrition  - 
 
A very nice and informative talk. Good basic information about cancer development and prevention. Science based reason for plant-based diets. 
 
"We can empower ourselves to do the things that doctors can't do for us."ÔĽŅ
William Li presents a new way to think about treating cancer and other diseases: anti-angiogenesis, preventing the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor. The crucial first (and best) step: Eating cancer-fighting foods that cut off the supply lines and beat cancer at its own game.
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Rain, How you so big

In my last semester I attended a course on the physics of climate change. One of the lectures was on the physics of rain. I was really surprised to know that we still don't quite understand how raindrops form. Let me share with you what I have learned so far and where science is stuck.

The first step in the formation of raindrops is cloud formation. Air at a certain temperature can hold a certain amount of water, the warmer the air the more water it can hold. If we take a certain volume of moist air and cool it down the air has to loose some water to be equilibrium. Clouds are formed exactly when that happens: warm and moist air rises, it cools down at higher altitude where it looses some water by condensation on some particulate matter which is floating around.

Okay, we now have clouds. The droplets which make the cloud are rather small, with a typical diameter of about 10 microns (1 micron = 1/1000000 meters). These drops are too small to drop down since their falling speed is smaller than the typical speed of air motion inside a cloud. So, we have to grow them!

The mechanism through which a typical 10 micron sized cloud droplet grows to a typical raindrop with a diameter of about 1000 microns (or 1 millimetre) has been a thorny issue. One of the popular mechanism is called "Collision and Coalescence". Not every tiny cloud droplet has a size of 10 microns, some are somewhat smaller while others are a little bigger. These different sized drops are wiggling around with different speeds. Many drops collide and bounce back but some merge with each other and form even bigger drops. These bigger drops collide even further and become even bigger. In this way they can grow to bigger sizes. But, the problem is that this process is too slow and takes more than 1 hour to produce  raindrop sized droplets, while a typical rainy cloud stays only for about 30 minutes.

People seems to agree that this basic drop-merging mechanism should be at the root of raindrop formation. The effort right now is to identify additional factors which can speed up this process, e.g. clouds are very turbulent and turbulence does seem to speed this mechanism up by producing pockets of higher droplet density locally within a cloud. Higher droplet density means more collisions and faster drop merging. But, unfortunately, there is no consensus so far.

I shouldn't probably say that it is unfortunate that we don't understand the basic raindrop mechanism. Solving this mystery is giving a very good reason to many scientists to put on their science-hat and do science :)

Further reading: http://goo.gl/MdFDgo
You can also watch these nice online lectures: http://goo.gl/WEn1Ul

For #sciencesunday +ScienceSunday
+Rajini Rao¬† +Allison Sekuler¬† +Buddhini Samarasinghe¬† +Robby Bowles¬† ÔĽŅ

Image from tumblr. No idea about the original source :(ÔĽŅ
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Mighty Jupiter

Jupiter's magnetosphere is the largest structure inside our solar system (excluding the Sun of course). Jupiter has a rather strong magnetic field which is similar to Earth but about 10 times stronger.

To generate a magnetic field a planet needs a conducting fluid. Earth has molten iron core which does this job, while Jupiter has something called "metallic hydrogen". Theoretical and computational studies show that at the enormous temperature and pressure inside Jupiter hydrogen transforms into a conducting fluid state (hence the name "metallic" hydrogen). This should happen gradually as we go inside Jupiter, i.e. the fluid in Jupiter becomes more and more conducting as we go deeper and deeper.

You need to understand a small concept for the following part to make some sense. Good conductors (like metals) interact with magnetic fields while insulators (like plastic) do not.

When you look at Jupiter through telescope you will easily notice the "bands" of very strong east-west winds. This windy region does not interact with Jupiter's magnetic field because it is an insulator (like plastic or sand). But keep in mind that as we go inside Jupiter the fluid gradually becomes conducting, so at some depth these strong winds should start interacting with magnetic field. Very deep inside Jupiter, however, we have many reasons to believe that such winds can not exist.

Modelling the interaction of strong winds and inner magnetic field means modelling the highly conducting deep region of Jupiter as well as the outer surface layers where fluid starts to behave like an insulator. This was not possible in the past due to limited computational horsepower.

Recently, my colleagues simulated a model which does exactly this. These simulations are highly complex and take months on supercomputers! The image attached below shows how the magnetic field (grey tubes) looks like inside the simulation (a model Jupiter). The colours represent the magnetic field strength on various surfaces. In the very deep the magnetic field looks like mushed noodles and they come out near the poles of Jupiter. The interesting part is in the region which I have marked with a black arrow.  These grey tubes are trying to wrap around "Jupiter". This is because fast winds in this simulation are trying to go inside but magnetic field doesn't want that. In the outermost part of the simulation fluid is insulating and winds exist because it doesn't care about magnetic field. In the innermost part of the simulation fluid is highly conducting and it strongly interacts with magnetic field which kills these winds.

Twisty things happen when the fluid is not so conducting but not so insulating either. Here both winds and magnetic field reach a truce. In this region magnetic field wants to stay more-or-less parallel and winds also want to flow and wrap around. In this process of tug-of-war, magnetic field gets stretched like rubber bands and the strength of the winds gets reduced. This interesting feature was never seen in earlier simulations.

The awesome part is that +NASA's  Juno spacecraft due to arrive on Jupiter in 2016 will be able to detect these features in Jupiter's magnetic field if they exist! Confirmation from Juno will help us a lot in modelling magnetic fields in exo-planets and stars.

The simulation was done in my group (I am not involved though) and interested readers can refer to this paper "http://arxiv.org/abs/1407.5940" for more info.

Contribution to #sciencesunday   +ScienceSunday
curated by +Rajini Rao¬† +Buddhini Samarasinghe¬† +Allison Sekuler¬† +Carissa Braun¬† +Robby Bowles¬† +Chad Haney¬†ÔĽŅ
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Floating Sauce MongrelÔĽŅ
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Interesting info-graphics providing a little perspective to the number of people killed by animals. Based on these numbers, the infamous sharks are actually the kindest animals!

I must say that it is a little ironic since technically speaking Humans are the deadliest animal on Earth in terms of number of animals killed by an animal species.

Info-graphics source: http://www.gatesnotes.com/Health/Most-Lethal-Animal-Mosquito-WeekÔĽŅ
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Try to imagine a world beyond the shores of England.ÔĽŅ
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Scientifically correct "Art"

People usually complain that scientists often use rather boring way of showing their results, you know, lines and graphs and sort. But sometimes we also become a little artistic and play around with colours and other stuff to satisfy both our colleagues and general public (hopefully!).

Below is an artistic "star" which is a result of several months of number crunching on a supercomputer. The colours on this handsome star represent the velocity, blueish means plasma is coming towards you and orangish means it is going away from you. The curved lines coming out are magnetic field lines. 

We ran this simulation in order to explain a rather intriguing mystery. Our sun, even when it is most active, produces rather tiny sunspots (tiny as compared to the sun!). These sunspots produce certain amount of x-rays which we can measure. When scientists looked at other stars they found that other stars have much higher level of x-rays production. The consensus right now is that these stars have much larger spots, called "starspots", and much more as compared to the sun (imagine living in that star-system where your host star is spewing out x-rays like crazy). Well, there is not a solid simulation which actually produced big spots. If you look carefully at the simulation below, then you will see a dark patch in the upper half of the animation, which comes and goes. This is suppose to be a "starspot" which is rather huge as compared to what we see on sun. This is the first simulation which has produced such spots and I am genuinely excited about the results!

As always the simulation below have generated more questions than it answered. It will surely keep me busy for the coming months. Lets see what comes next...

#sciencesunday   +ScienceSunday
+Robby Bowles +Allison Sekuler¬† ¬† +Rajini Rao¬† +Buddhini Samarasinghe¬†ÔĽŅ
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Thanks, +Rakesh Yadav!¬†ÔĽŅ
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Work
Employment
  • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
    PostDoc, 2015 - present
  • Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research
    PostDoc, 2015 - 2015
  • Indian Institute of technology, Kanpur, India
    Project Associate, 2011 - 2012
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Currently
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Previously
Goettingen, germany - Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany - Tohana, Haryana, India - Delhi, India - Kanpur, Uttar pradesh, India
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Passionate about Physics, Philosophy, and Conservation
Introduction
Hey there fellow Earthling!...I am a PostDoc fellow and I study how magnetic fields are generated in planets and stars.

Few key-words which describe my interests when I am not unraveling deep secrets of nature are (no hierarchy): Environmental conservation, sustainable living, computers in research, philosophy, history of science.
Education
  • Max-Planck institute for Solar System Research, G√∂ttingen
    PhD, Computational Astrophysics, 2012 - 2015
  • University of G√∂ttingen
    PhD, Computational Astrophysics, 2012 - 2015
  • Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
    Integrated M. Sc., Physics, 2006 - 2011
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raka, raku
This is a protest in response to your support of climate change deniers!
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Almost all dishes were vegan and awesome (main reason for visiting). I had lunch and I tried the buffet costing 175 SEK, a little pricey but it was very filling. I actually had so much that I am thinking of skipping the dinner :D... The view of the whole Stockholm city was really nice. The environment was cozy with friendly staff. Don't forget to try the vegan sweet dishes!
Food: Very GoodDecor: ExcellentService: Very Good
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
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