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Photographers around the world looked up to the sky this past weekend to capture the "supermoon." This is the phenomenon when the moon makes its closest approach to Earth, appearing 30 percent brighter and about 14 percent larger than a typical full moon. It occurs about once every 14 months and is technically called a perigee full moon. At 221,823 miles from Earth, the supermoon was a feast for the eyes.-Leanne Burden Seidel (24 photos total)
A cotton candy vendor walks in from of the moon during the Los Angeles Angels' baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, June 22 in Anaheim, Calif. (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)    

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Simple and efficient, rail travel nonetheless inspires a sense of romance. By train, subway, and a seemingly endless variety of trams, trolleys, and coal shaft cars, we've moved on rails for hundreds of years. Industry too relies on the billions of tons of freight moved annually by rolling stock. Gathered here are images of rails in our lives, the third post in an occasional series on transport, following Automobiles and Pedal power. -- Lane Turner (47 photos total)
An employee adjusts a CRH380B high-speed Harmony bullet train as it stops for an examination during a test run at a bullet train exam and repair center in Shenyang, China on October 23, 2012. (Stringer/Reuters)     

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What we can learn from hackerspaces: Catarina Mota at TEDxStockholm

Help us caption and translate this video on Amara.org: www.amara.org Portuguese maker, open-source advocate and founder of openMaterials, a collaborative research project focused on open-source and DIY experimentation with smart materials. Catarina is a maker of things, a research scholar, and an open source advocate. She co-founded openMaterials.org, a collaborative project dedicated to do-it-yourself experimentation with smart materials, and altLab, Lisbon's hackerspace. She has taught numerous hands-on workshops on hi-tech materials and simple circuitry with the goal of encouraging people with little to no science background to take a proactive interest in science, technology and knowledge-sharing. Catarina is wrapping up her PhD dissertation on the social impact of open and collaborative practices for the development of technologies. She is a fellow of the National Science and Technology Foundation of Portugal, co-chair of the Open Hardware Summit, TEDGlobal 2012 fellow, and member of NYC Resistor. Catarina has an MPS in Interactive Telecommunications from the New York University (ITP-NYU) and a BS in Communication Sciences from the New University of Lisbon (FCSH-UNL). In thespirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are <b>...</b>
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We all look at things. Loved ones, traffic lights, television, the sky — you name it, we look at it. Along with reasoning, and the conscious use of tools, looking at things is an integral aspect of the human experience. In North Korea, this elemental, quotidian activity has been transformed, ingeniously, into a propaganda device for the country’s regime. The beauty of that transformation, meanwhile, is that one culture’s propaganda is another’s source of humor, and wonder.

Case in point: the popular, uncannily simple blog, “Kim Jong Il Looking at Things.” Launched in October 2010 by a Lisbon-based art director named João Rocha, KJILAT is nothing more and nothing less than what it purports to be: a series of photographs of the Dear Leader looking at things.

Jean Boîte Éditions

A selection of these compelling photos have now been published in a book by Jean Boîte Éditions: Kim Jong Il Looking at Things. The pictures, originally distributed by the official Korean Central News Agency, depict the late North Korean leader, always accompanied by an entourage of compatriots who appear both fawning and terrified, examining objects ranging from machinery to snack food. The images are, one presumes, meant to celebrate the notion of North Korean independence and superiority by illustrating Kim Jong Il’s endorsement of products and services manufactured or offered by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The spare, almost clinical look of the images, meanwhile, coupled with the often profoundly mundane nature of the objects at hand lend the entire portfolio a tone that is one part humorous and three parts crazy.

Visual Culture Blog curator Marco Bohr contributed an essay to the book, analyzing how and why both the blog and the book versions of “Kim Jong Il Looking at Things” succeed on their own, admittedly streamlined terms. Bohr suggests that the blog and book tap into a type of unpretentious humor “by using matter-of-fact captions that, firstly, withhold any subjective opinion, and secondly, do not self-consciously attempt to be funny in the first place.” The success of the meme “relies on deconstructing the ridiculousness of [Kim's] propaganda apparatus.”

The book is the newest installment in Jean Boîte Éditions’ series, FOLLOW ME, Collecting Images Today, which seeks “to highlight another art scene, [one that] establishes the online collector as a creator, and the ephemeral in the perennial.”

A spin-off blog featuring the Dear Leader’s son and successor, Kim Jong Un, was launched hours after the announcement of Kim Jong Il’s death on Dec. 18, 2011. The original blog, which continued to add images for a full year after its subject’s death, posted its final image in late December, as Rocha reached the end of his archive.

Fortunately for all of us, the Dear Leader lives on in Rocha’s book, where we can look at him looking at things to our collective hearts’ content.

Kim Jong Il Looking at Things was published by Jean Boîte Éditions in December 2012.

Tanner Curtis is an associate photo editor at TIME.com.

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Matters of the economy are forefront in many minds, with economic issues dominating the recent American election and the leadership change in China. But in several countries in Europe, economic debate is played out on the streets with protests, petrol bombs, and strikes. As the Eurozone struggles with the global financial crisis, many member countries have turned to a series of spending cuts to health, education, and other services and social programs. Widespread protests against these so-called austerity measures have erupted in several countries. Gathered here are photographs from the most heavily impacted nations in recent months, including Spain, Greece, Portugal, and Italy. -- Lane Turner (31 photos total)
A riot police officer is engulfed by petrol bomb flames in front of parliament during clashes in Athens on November 7, 2012. (Dimitri Messinis/Associated Press)

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ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

Joao Pina

Shadow Of The Condor

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“Operation Condor” was a 1970s secret military plan sponsored by the United States during the Dirty War years, which aimed to eliminate the political opponents to the right wing military regimes. It took place in six countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

It officially started in late 1975, when the secret services had a meeting in Santiago, Chile to define a strategy to use common resources and exchange information, man power and techniques to execute the plan. Thousands of people, mostly left wing workers and students, were arrested, tortured and executed, leading to 60,000 deaths, although a final number could never be confirmed because of the number of mass executions.

This project aims to show the scars and enormous impact left on the survivors and families of those who were killed. From the Amazon jungle in Brazil to the cold lands of Patagonia, thousands of victims still lay buried in unmarked graves, and the survivors struggle to cope with their memories.

Since the beginning of this investigation back in 2005, I have begun to take interviews with victims and families of those who disappeared, and have also visited sites of imprisonment, executions, and burials. I believe that by making these images I can help build a collective memory about the people behind this secretive operation who have never been held accountable.

I will return to the region and continue to build this body of work in Bolivia and Paraguay. These two countries still require much time to research and photograph. I will talk to survivors like Martin Almada, a lawyer who found the archives where thousands of documents prove the existence of “Operation Condor” in Paraguay.

No complete documentary project of this scope in all six countries has ever been completed, and none relying on photographs has been attempted. I hope to help generations of South Americans to know and understand the story of their countries.

 

Bio

Joao Pina was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1980, he began working as a photographer at age of 18.

His images have been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Stern, GEO, El Pais, D Magazine, Visão and others.

In 2007 he published his first book “Por teu livre pensamento” featuring 25 former Portuguese political prisoners. The book inspired an Amnesty International advertising campaign that won a Lion d’Or award, at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity 2011.

He has also been awarded the Estação Imagem grant in 2010 and a finalist for the Henri Nannen, Care award. Until 2010 he lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he continues to document the remnants of “Operation Condor”, a secret military operation to destroy the political opposition to the dictatorships in South America in the 1970s.

Lately he has been a privileged observer of the “Arab Spring”, traveling on several occasions to Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, while continuing his work in Latin America.

 

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In today’s pictures, opposition activists protest in Bangladesh, students face off with police in Montreal, members of parliament are sworn in for what’s expected to be a very short term in Greece, and more.

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