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Lara Sookoo
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Looking for a Christmas gift for a Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings fan? Why not the Periodic Table of Middle-Earth!

Get it here:

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Ooooh!!! Dragon plane!!
Check out the time lapse video of our  new Hobbit livery. #AirNZHobbit   

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Live webcast of the third day of "Mind and Life XXVII - Craving, Desire, and Addiction" from Dharamsala, India on October 28 - November 1, 2013.

Day Three - October 30: Biological and Cultural Views
Morning Session: The Role of Dopamine in the Addicted Human Brain
Afternoon Session: Beyond the Individual - The Role of Society and Culture in Addiction

All times Indian Standard Time (IST = GMT+5.30)
Morning session: 9:00am - 11:30am IST
Afternoon session: 1:00pm - 3:00pm IST)

The conference will focus its attention on craving, desire, and addiction, as these are among the most pressing causes of human suffering. By bringing contemplative practitioners and scholars from Buddhist and Christian traditions together with a broad array of scientific researchers in the fields of desire and addiction, hopefully new understandings will arise that may ultimately lead to improved treatment of the root causes of craving and its many manifestations.

Video will be available for streaming and download after the event on

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When a star meets a black hole

Nasa captures huge black hole pulling star to pieces after red giant wanders too close. A re giant star that wandered too close to the centre of a galaxy 2.7 billion light years away was pulled in by the enormous gravity of the black hole - and shredded.

Supermassive black holes, weighing millions to billions times more than the Sun, lurk in the centers of most galaxies. 

These hefty monsters lie quietly until an unsuspecting victim, such as a star, wanders close enough to get ripped apart by their powerful gravitational clutches.

Using several ground- and space-based telescopes, a team of astronomers led by Suvi Gezari of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., identified the victim as a star rich in helium gas.
Astronomers predict stripped stars circle the central black hole of our Milky Way galaxy. These close encounters are rare, occurring roughly every 100,000 years.

To find this event, Gezari’s team monitored hundreds of thousands of galaxies in ultraviolet light with the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, and in visible light with Pan-STARRS1. Pan-STARRS, short for Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System, scans the entire night sky for all kinds of transient phenomena, including supernovae.

The team was looking for a bright flare in ultraviolet light from the nucleus of a galaxy with a previously dormant black hole. Both telescopes spotted one in June 2010.

Astronomers continued to monitor the flare as it reached peak brightness a month later and slowly faded during the next 12 months. 

The brightening event was similar to the explosive energy unleashed by a supernova, but the rise to the peak was much slower, taking nearly one-and-a-half months.

The longer the event lasted, the more excited we got, because we realized this is either a very unusual supernova or an entirely different type of event, such as a star being ripped apart by a black hole,’ said team member Armin Rest of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

By measuring the increase in brightness, the astronomers calculated the black hole’s mass to be several million suns, which is comparable to the size of our Milky Way’s black hole.

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The contest & giveaway continues!  Join me this week at the Google HQ in Tokyo for a Tech Talk plus full Photography Tutorial - drop a comment with your vague or extreme interest at !!  We'll be there with +Vic Gundotra +Bradley Horowitz and a whole other bunch of fun people -- Good luck everyone! :)  

This photo here is one of my very favorites from Japan...  It's one of my favorite places in the world!
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