Over the past week, dozens of tornadoes have touched down in the plains states, from Texas to Illinois, and more turbulent weather is expected. Late last week, 16 twisters tore through parts of north Texas, killing at least six people, and over the weekend, even more tornadoes caused damage, injuries and another two deaths in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Iowa. The National Weather Service forecasts extreme weather throughout the same areas today, bringing hail, lightning, and likely more tornadoes.
The 25th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is under way, and entries will be accepted for another six weeks, until June 30, 2013. First prize winner will receive a 10-day Galapagos expedition for two. National Geographic was once more kind enough to allow me to share some of the early entries with you here, gathered from four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, and Spontaneous Moments.
In 2012, sheriff's deputies in Brooks County found 129 bodies, around double the amount from the year before and six times the number recorded in 2010. Most of those who die succumb to the punishing heat and rough terrain that comprise the ranch lands of south Texas. Reuters photographer, Eric Thayer, traveled to Brooks County, Texas and Reynosa, Mexico to investigate the rising rates of immigrant deaths along the border there, spending time at a migrant's hostel in Mexico and with U.S. Border Patrol in Brooks County. Many migrants, after spending several weeks traveling through Mexico and past the Rio Grande, spend a few days in a "stash house," such as Casa del Migrante, in Reynosa, Mexico, and many are ignorant of the treacherous journey ahead.
Last month the the Finnish Defence Forces put an archive of 160,000 WWII-era photographs online. The images record the war years from 1939 to 1945, spanning three conflicts the Finns recognize as the Winter War (against an invading Soviet Union), the Continuation War (striking against the Soviets alongside the Germans) and the Lapland War (against the Germans for control of Lapland). After spending hours poring through this fascinating archive, I've gathered this collection, just a glimpse of what was made available. A couple of notes on the images -- the swastika was used as the official national marking of the Finnish Defence Forces between 1918 and 1945, and all captions were relatively brief, and written in Finnish, so please let me know in the comments if there are any mistakes, or if you can elaborate on what is pictured.
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, commander of the just-completed Expedition 35 aboard the International Space Station, landed safely yesterday in Kazakhstan along with crew members Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko after five months in orbit. In his time aboard the ISS, Commander Hadfield not only took hundreds of photographs and conducted conferences with students on Earth, he took his stories to social media, catching the attention of the world. Hadfield, with the help of his sons Evan and Kyle, took the web by storm, creating popular presences on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, and more. His videos answered questions about everyday existence in zero-gravity with a dose of science mixed with humor. To top things off, Hadfield, also a musician, finished his command mission by releasing his own version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity", with Bowie's blessing. Gathered here are some photos of and by Commander Hadfield during his remarkable mission.
As has often been the case this year, the tires played a big part in the outcome of this Grand Prix. The Pirelli’s lasted well on some cars, but got ripped to shreds on others. The Mercedes cars, for example, know how to utilize the tires to maximum effect during qualifying, which resulted in them being on the front row of the grid. However, during the race the Mercs kept dropping back while the Ferraris, Lotus Renaults and Red Bulls came steaming by. In the end it was Fernando Alonso who got to raise his home flag for the win.
The border between the United States and Mexico stretches 3,169 kilometers (1,969 miles), crossing deserts, rivers, towns, and cities from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico. Every year, an estimated 350 million people legally cross the border, with another 500,000 entering into the United States illegally. No single barrier stretches across the entire border, instead, it is lined with a patchwork of steel and concrete fences, infrared cameras, sensors, drones, and nearly 20,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents. As immigrants from Mexico and other Central and South American countries continue to try to find their way into the U.S., Congress is now considering an immigration reform bill called the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. The bill proposes solutions to current border enforcement problems and paths to citizenship for the estimated 11 million existing illegal immigrants in the U.S. Gathered here are images of the US-Mexico border from the past few years.
While neighboring North Korea makes worldwide headlines with threats and demands, South Koreans have adjusted slightly to possible dangers, but largely carry on with their everyday lives. The war that halted in 1953 reverberates strongly today, including the continued strong presence of U.S. military forces near the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas. South Koreans have rapidly become a country of digital natives, with city dwellers quickly adopting new technologies. The megacity of Seoul now has a population nearing 11 million -- more than 20 percent of the entire country, all living in one dense, sprawling city, home to highrise apartments, shamanistic shrines, and grand palaces. Collected here are recent images from South Korea.
Last weekend, Reuters photographer Carlos Barria traveled to Zheijiang Province, China, to photograph some of the 1,000 Harley Davidson enthusiasts who attended China's 5th annual Harley Davidson National Rally, part of the company's 110-year anniversary. Harley Davidson only began official sales in China in 2005, and its bikes are considered to be luxury items by Chinese tax authorities, so they are taxed at extremely high rates -- a 2013 motorcycle might sell for 200,000 yuan ($32,500), approximately four times the average annual salary in Beijing. Transportation authorities have also placed Harleys in the same category as electric bikes, horses and bicycles, so they cannot be ridden on highways and major avenues.
Although modern techniques often bring sugar and salt to our tables, these two simple treats for the palate are still harvested and processed in traditional, if not ancient methods the world over. Over 160 million tons of sugar is produced annually in well over 100 countries, most of it processed from cane in tropical countries. The world uses 240 million tons of salt every year in everything from food to industrial applications. Gathered here are images of the toils that result in two of our favorite flavors.