One visible sign of China's recent economic growth is the rise in prominence of inventors and entrepreneurs. For years now, Chinese farmers, engineers, and businessmen have taken on ambitious do-it-yourself projects, constructing homemade submarines, helicopters, robots, safety equipment, weapons and much more. Some of the inventions are built out of passion, some with an eye toward profit, (some certainly safer than others), and a few have already led to sales for the inventors. Gathered here are recent photos of this DIY movement across China.
I look forward each month to browsing the compilation of "slice of life" images from around the world. They offer us a visual break, if you will, from the tragedies, disasters, wars and violence seemingly so pervasive in our world. Through these images, we can immerse ourselves in the simplicity of everyday life. Daily Life: April 2013 takes us to North and South Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Spain, Indonesia, China, Russia; and around the United States to California, Texas, Maine, Florida, Kansas, Washington state, and more. Enjoy
Damage left behind by Hurricane Sandy's landfall last October can still be seen along the US East Coast, especially the hard hit beachfront areas in New Jersey, as many communities work to move forward. Dubbed "The Hurricane" and reaching 1,000 miles wide at times, Sandy caused some $50 billion in damage and killed 159 people.
Last month, reports surfaced, later confirmed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has been delivering bags of cash to Karzai for a decade, in part to buy continued access and cooperation during the war. The New York Times reported that the payments had not resulted in the influence the CIA sought, and had instead fueled corruption and empowered warlords. A further report by the U.N. stated that opium cultivation across Afghanistan had increased for the third year in a row. As Western troops continue the long process of preparing for their December 2014 withdrawal, evidence of significant progress in Afghanistan remains elusive. The photos below are just a glimpse of this conflict over the past month, part of the ongoing series here on Afghanistan.
Keeping with recent tradition, former Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicated the throne today in favor of her son, Willem-Alexander, who has now become the first Dutch king in more than a century. Though the position has little political power, the Royal Family enjoys broad popularity and symbolic significance. Tuesday, tens of thousands dressed in orange and gathered in Amsterdam's Dam Square next to the Royal Palace to view the accession of King Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand of the Netherlands.
The winners of the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards have just been announced. Norwegian photographer Andrea Gjestvang was announced as the Photographer of the Year, for her series of portraits of children and youths who survived the July 2011 massacre on the island of Utoeya, outside Oslo. This year's contest attracted more than 122,000 entries from 170 countries. The photographs were judged in six different competition categories, including Professional, Open, and Student Focus. The organizers have been kind enough to share some of their winning images with Pixtale, gathered below. See also the shortlist of winners, earlier on Pixtale.
Robotic probes launched by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and others are gathering information all across the solar system. We currently have spacecraft in orbit around the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and Saturn, and two operational rovers on Mars. Several others are on their way to smaller bodies, and a few are heading out of the solar system entirely. Although the Space Shuttle no longer flies, astronauts are still at work aboard the International Space Station, performing experiments and sending back amazing photos. With all these eyes in the sky, I'd like to take another opportunity to put together a recent photo album of our solar system -- a set of family portraits, of sorts -- as seen by our astronauts and mechanical emissaries. This time, we have a great shot of comet Pan-STARRS between the Earth and Sun, some very sharp images from Mars rover Curiosity, a preview image of Comet ISON, potentially the "comet of the century", when it approaches in November, intriguing glimpses of Saturn and its moons, and, of course, lovely images of our home, planet Earth.
Last Saturday, a destructive earthquake struck China's Sichuan province, near the epicenter of the devastating 2008 earthquake, damaging thousands of structures and triggering landslides in the mountainous region. As of yesterday, the death toll stood at more than 200, with nearly 12,000 injured, 23 still missing, and tens of thousands made homeless. The quake was measured at magnitude 7.0 by China's earthquake administration and magnitude of 6.6 by the U.S. Geological Survey. Rescue teams and government aid personnel have struggled to reach the affected area, as many roads were damaged.
Hours after the FBI released images of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, a response to a robbery in nearby Cambridge led to the fatal shooting of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer. The shooting became a carjacking, then later a dangerous chase reportedly involving dozens of gunshots and explosive devices, ending up in neighboring Watertown. Authorities reported the shooting suspects were indeed the same men sought in the Boston Marathon bombing, identifying them as brothers Tamerlan Tsarnaev "Suspect #1" and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev "Suspect #2", both Kyrgyz nationals living in Cambridge. They later stated that Tamerlan, age 26, had been shot and killed, but younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was still at large. The manhunt intensified as the night went on, and the entire Boston area woke to find itself on lockdown, with public transportation shut down and citizens advised to stay indoors. I will update throughout the day, as the massive house-to-house search for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev continues.
Last week, while media attention was focused on Boston, a massive explosion took place at the West Fertilizer Company, in the small town of West, Texas. The blast damaged 150 buildings, including three of West's four schools, killed 14 people and injured more than 160 others. It was so powerful that it set off seismographs, registering as a 2.1-magnitude tremor. The cause remains unknown, and investigators are still sifting through the rubble. Today, about 1,500 West students returned to school, set up in makeshift classrooms or in nearby districts.