Nasa: Asteroid 2014 RC to safely fly past Earth

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The asteroid will be about one-tenth of the distance from Earth to the moon

A small asteroid about the size of a house will fly past Earth on Sunday, US space agency Nasa says.

The asteroid, 2014 RC, was due to pass over New Zealand at 18:18 GMT. It is about 60 ft (18 m) in size.

It will be about 40,000 km (25,000 miles) away, posing no danger to Earth, Nasa said.

While it will be too small at that distance to see with the naked eye, amateur astronomers with telescopes may glimpse it as it passes, Nasa added.

The asteroid was first discovered on 31 August, and, at its closest approach, will be about one-tenth of the distance from the centre of the Earth to the moon, Nasa said in a statement.

It is expected to orbit near Earth again in the future.

In February 2013, a meteorite of a similar size exploded over Chelyabinsk in Central Russia, injuring more than 1,000 people.

Nasa currently tracks more than 11,000 asteroids in orbits that pass relatively close to Earth.

Source: BBCNews

Kiwi Treasures

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kiwitreasures2014 One Dollar – Kiwi Treasures

The Oldest Living Dinosaur

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The tuatara lizard (Sphenodon punctatus), endemic to New Zealand and not strictly a lizard, is recognised as being the oldest living dinosaur.


Sphenodon punctatus



Supervolcano eruption mystery solved


If the Yellowstone supervolcano erupted the impact would be catastrophic

Supervolcanoes like Yellowstone can explode without an earthquake or other external trigger, experts have found.

The sheer volume of liquid magma is enough to cause a catastrophic super-eruption, according to an experiment at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble.

Simulating the intense heat and pressure inside these “sleeping giants” could help predict a future disaster.

The study by a Swiss team from ETH Zurich appears in Nature Geoscience.

Lead author Wim Malfait, of ETH Zurich said: “We knew the clock was ticking but we didn’t know how fast: what would it take to trigger a super-eruption?

“Now we know you don’t need any extra factor – a supervolcano can erupt due to its enormous size alone.

“Once you get enough melt, you can start an eruption just like that.”

There are about 20 known supervolcanoes on Earth – including Lake Toba in Indonesia, Lake Taupo in New Zealand, and the somewhat smaller Phlegraean Fields near Naples, Italy.

Super-eruptions occur rarely – only once every 100,000 years on average. But when they do occur, they have a devastating impact on Earth’s climate and ecology.

When a supervolcano erupted 600,000 years ago in Wyoming, in what today is Yellowstone National Park, it ejected more than 1,000 cubic km of ash and lava into the atmosphere – enough to bury a large city to a depth of a few kilometres.

Lake Toba in Sumatra was formed during the eruption of a supervolcano 74,000 years ago

This ejection was 100 times bigger than Mt Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1992 and dwarfs even historic eruptions like Krakatoa (1883).

“This is something that, as a species, we will eventually have to deal with. It will happen in future,” said Dr Malfait.

“You could compare it to an asteroid impact – the risk at any given time is small, but when it happens the consequences will be catastrophic.”

Being able to predict such a catastrophe is obviously critical. But the trigger has remained elusive – because the process is different from conventional volcanoes like Pinatubo and Mt St Helens.

One possible mechanism was thought to be the overpressure in the magma chamber generated by differences between the less dense molten magma and more dense rock surrounding it.

“The effect is comparable to holding a football under water. When you release it, the air-filled ball is forced upwards by the denser water around it,” said Wim Malfait, of ETH Zurich.

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The Death Knell for The Holden


For more than three generations the Holden has been driven by New Zealanders and Australians.

For many, including me, a Holden was their first car. My last Holden was a 1971 Kingswood, although I drove an HZ as a taxi.


Holden Kingswood (1971-1974 HQ)

Today in the news:

GM’s Holden to stop making cars in Australia

Holden, a subsidiary of General Motors (GM), has said it will stop making cars in Australia by the end of 2017.

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Only a Cardboard Replica


New Zealand marks dedication of Christchurch cardboard cathedral

The cardboard cathedral can accommodate up to 700 people

New Zealand’s city of Christchurch has formally marked the completion of its new cardboard cathedral with a dedication service.

The structure, which uses thick cardboard tubes, temporarily replaces the one damaged by the 2011 earthquake until a permanent one can be built.

Church officials say the completion marks a milestone in the city’s recovery efforts.

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Are there places more British than the UK?


Empire state of mind: A red phone box lies half buried in volcanic ash in Montserrat

Falkland islanders are about to vote in a referendum on whether to stay British, with a resounding yes expected. But are there far flung territories that feel more British than the UK?

There are bright red pillar-boxes, old-fashioned red telephone boxes and union jack flags.

There are British pubs, fish and chip shops and cream teas.

They may be more than 6,000 miles away from the UK, but the Falkland Islands look rather British to many visitors.

On 10-11 March, islanders will be asked if they want to remain an Overseas Territory of the UK. Argentina, which claims the islands, has condemned the vote.

It’s a bit of a cliche that the Falkland Islands are “more British than Britain”, but how British do residents of the archipelago actually feel?

When it comes to how islanders describe themselves, Teslyn Barkman, a 25-year-old journalist at the island’s newspaper Penguin News, says the older generation who lived through the war are more likely to say they are British. Many would feel it was disrespectful not to, she says.

But the sixth generation Falkland Islander, who has also lived in the UK, says most people “feel Falkland Islander first, and British second – in the same way the Scottish feel Scottish before British, and people from Cornwall might say they are Cornish before English or British”.

Falkland Islanders have a complicated identity, according to Barkman. While landmarks and television might be predominantly British, the culture is different, she says.

“People are more outdoorsy. They spend time fishing, driving around camp [Falklands term for rural areas] in off-roaders, clay pigeon shooting. We have lots of sports events which are like mini festivals. Sheep shearing is common, and horseback riding is Western style – I’d say it’s more like a slice of old-fashioned cowboy America than anything else,” she says.

Barkman says some of the island’s architecture – corrugated tin roofs and brightly coloured fences – is also not very British. There is only one cinema, which is about 40 miles out of town.

And although English is the official language, it is peppered with expressions derived from sheep farming links with New Zealand, Australia, South America and Scotland, while some rural areas and horse gear items are disjointed Spanish, she says.

The Falkland Islands are not the only far-off territory to still feel British.

The 4,200 people who live on the tiny south Atlantic island of St Helena, which is one of the most isolated settlements on the planet, have a very strong sense of Britishness, says Tara Thomas, who was the island’s youngest councillor.

“Jamestown is like a small village in 1950s Britain, with Georgian buildings with high ceilings. There’s a place called Scotland, which is very cold. We have roasts on Sundays, cricket and football are big sports.

“Until recently, Royal Family pictures were on many walls. There was a pageant for the Diamond Jubilee, so the affiliation with the Queen as the head of the country is still very much alive,” she says.

Diamond Jubilee celebrations on St Helena

British or Irish-sounding surnames, such as Thomas, Herne, O’Connor, Stevens and Harris, are widespread, and pubs have names such as the Standard and the White Horse.


Red pillar boxes were erected at St Helier in Jersey in 1852

St Helena also has a history of financial dependence on the UK, with the British government recently agreeing to invest £250m in the island’s first airport. Until two years ago, the only way on and off the island was a dedicated Royal Mail ship.

Thomas says being British is important to most St Helenians as it gives them a sense of who they are and where they have come from.

But she says not everything is British. The St Helena accent is closer to New Zealand’s English than the UK’s. And the weather is sub-tropical.

Gibraltar, which Spain has long claimed sovereignty over, is another place where you might hear the phrase “more British than Britain”.

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Only in New Zealand

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Surfing pig takes to the waves in New Zealand – video


A two-month-old piglet is being taught to surf by his owner in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand. Zorro, the crossbreed pig, has been surfing since he was just three weeks old and is described as a ‘phenomenal swimmer’ by his owner Matthew Bell. Bell says he is determined to take Zorro out surfing with him until the piglet grows too big


New Year’s Eve


Here is Brazil it is 11am, but elsewhere in the world the New Year has already been honoured.

In Auckland, New Zealand it is already 2pm on the 1st January, 2013. Their New Year was like this:

Auckland City waterfront view

Auckland City waterfront view – image: journalweek.com

Sydney, Australia just two hours later…

Sydney's famous harbour bridge and opera house

Sydney’s famous harbour bridge and opera house: image wallpapernoise.com

And in Myanmar (formerly Burma) emerging from the cold, New Year for the first time…

Preparing for the countdown in Rangoon

Preparing for the countdown in Rangoon


Fireworks burst above Yangon’s landmark Shwedagon pagoda as Myanmar : image – boston.com

For some spectacular photos of recent New Years around the world visit boston.com the images are truly magnificent.

Here in Brazil, we still have 13 hours to wait for our Copacabana Beach spectacle. This year an estimated 2 million people will flock to the famous beach for the biggest party in the world.

This clip 1:22 of the 16 minutes of Copacabana’s display last New Year…


Dogs taught to drive cars in New Zealand


These three dogs rescued from a New Zealand animal shelter are being taught to drive in an effort to show how intelligent they are – and encourage more people to adopt abandoned pets. The three animals chosen are Monty, an 18-month-old giant schnauzer, Ginny, a one-year-old whippet cross, and Porter, a 10-month-old beardie cross.


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