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Monday, August 24, 2009

Visions of Earth 2009!!!!!!!!!!

Romania—Two young women stroll through Budești, chic heels and jackets augmenting traditional church attire. Such styles reflect a migratory trend: After working abroad, many here are carrying back money and modernity.United States—Like brushes saturated with paint, the wing scales of a sunset moth drip with color. Shot in a Washington State photo studio using a microscope, their iridescence is revealed only in this close-up view.Philippines—Children gaze at the storybook sight of a partial solar eclipse over Manila Bay. The result of a syzygy—an instance when the Earth, moon, and sun are aligned—it was visible on parts of four continents.PAKISTAN—Women and children await registration and relief at the Jalozai refugee camp. Since last summer, some one million Pakistanis have fled the fighting between the military and militants near the Afghan border.Greenland—Eight hundred miles south of the North Pole, a cavern of stalactite-like stratus clouds—churned by 90-mile-an-hour winds—and the light of a bruised dawn paint an apocalyptic portrait over Inglefield Bay.Mexico—Thirteen feet and a thousand-plus pounds of great white shark bump a diver's cage and roil the waters off Guadalupe Island. The region, rich in seal and sea lion rookeries, is a hot spot for the powerful predators.

Tonga—Plumes of ash, smoke, and steam billow thousands of feet into the air as an undersea volcano erupts on the uninhabited island of Hunga Ha'apai. The fallout, rock detritus known as scoria, has since enlarged the landmass.Tanzania—After two weeks of in-mouth incubation, a school of perhaps 200 cichlid fry—each less than half an inch long—swim free of their mother, searching for a plankton meal in the cerulean waters of Lake Tanganyika.India—In Jammu, a flower of flame blooms from a man's kerosene-filled mouth. Devotees of Sikhism, the world's fifth largest organized religion, were marking the 342nd birthday of Guru Gobind Singh, a founder of the faith.United States—A brown tornado towers perhaps 4,000 feet above the parched plains of Kansas. In 2007 the state set a U.S. record, tallying 141 twisters. The mark was short-lived, though: 187 tore through in 2008.United States—The shuttle Endeavour—deft in orbit but incapable of terrestrial flight—catches a post-mission piggyback on a 747, soaring over California's Mojave Desert en route to Florida's Kennedy Space Center.Belarus—Naked on an 18°F day, Valentsin Tolkachev clears an icy canal for swimming. The 69-year-old started the Optimalists—a Minsk-based club with 200-some members—in 1989 to promote hale activities in rural settings.South Georgia Island—A snowy morning offers a peaceful study in contrasts as southern elephant seals and king penguins share a rookery. Antarctic spring brings some 400,000 of each species to this remote British territory.England—Lost in a wending laurel maze at Cornwall's Glendurgan—a series of verdant subtropical gardens planted privately in the 1820s and bequeathed to the National Trust in 1962—two visitors huddle in a hut.China—All is alabaster at a sculpture factory in Dangcheng, where marble and chalk dust suffuse the air and workers churn out relatively inexpensive copies of iconic Western works for foreign and domestic clients.Indonesia—See dusk in the Dampier Strait through a half-submerged lens and glimpse two distinct worlds. Under a cloud-slung sky, fishermen work on wooden boats. Beneath a mirror-calm surface, waters flash with baitfish.China—A member of a ceremonial honor guard inspects his cohort's alignment, making sure it's suitable for the arrival of world leaders at the 2008 Asia-Europe Meeting, held at Beijing's Great Hall of the People.nited Arab Emirates—Peninsulas of prosperity, the "fronds" of the $14-billion Palm Jumeirah—the first of three planned resort islands in Dubai—jut into the Persian Gulf. Building began in 2001; it may end in 2013.Thailand—In a race to emerge at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo, one eight-inch Siamese crocodile wins by a head. Few such crocs exist in the wild, yet 20,000 are born each year during the zoo's May-to-August hatching festival.Djibouti—A break in training exercises lets Marine Cpl. Brett Herman try out his break-dancing moves during a "freestyle" contest at Camp Lemonier. The former French barracks is the sole U.S. base on the Horn of Africa.MadagascarSunrise reveals light traffic—a lone oxcart—along the Avenue of the Baobabs. The 80-foot-tall "upside-down trees" in the Menabe region could become the island country's first national monument.England—Like a porcelain figurine carved into repose, the fetus of a foal floats in a jar. The 85-day-old, 5.5-inch-long colt was removed postmortem and preserved in formaldehyde after its mother, a Thoroughbred, died.United States—Limned by Hurricane Ike, an abstract expressionist expanse of oil-sheened floodwater surrounds a pump jack—a mechanical device used to extract oil—near High Island, Texas.INDONESIA—On the first day of Ramadan, in a mosque filled with white-robed women, one child stands up and stands out. During the month-long holiday, Muslims seeking spiritual purification fast from dawn till dusk.BULGARIA—Epiphany Day at an icy Sofia lake finds young men in hot pursuit. Belief holds that the first to reach the wooden cross, thrown by an Eastern Orthodox priest, will enjoy a year of good health.Zambia—A lone bull elephant breakfasts at first light near the precipice of Victoria Falls. With the Zambezi River near its seasonal ebb, once submerged walkways—and fresh foraging possibilities—present themselves.Zambia—A lone bull elephant breakfasts at first light near the precipice of Victoria Falls. With the Zambezi River near its seasonal ebb, once submerged walkways—and fresh foraging possibilities—present themselves.


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