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Graduation season is well underway, with kindergartners, high schoolers, college seniors and graduate students alike donning caps and gowns to celebrate their achievement. With their diplomas, graduates also get words of wisdom from a commencement speakers and a good excuse to celebrate. -- Lloyd Young ( 31 photos total)
US Naval Academy graduates throw their hats at the conclusion of their commencement and commission ceremony, attended by President Barack Obama at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on May 24 in Annapolis, Md. (Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency)     

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Yesterday was the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day of the year when the sun was at its highest point in the sky. People around the world are welcoming the start of the new season by enjoying (or avoiding) the hot weather. In southern England, where yesterday brought heavy rains, pagans gathered at Stonehenge and reveled in spite of the downpour. Collected here are a handful of images of the beginning of Summer, 2012. [31 photos]

A Bengal tiger, sprayed with water by a zookeeper on a hot summer day at the Birsa Munda Zoological Park in Ranchi, India, on May 30, 2012. Zoo authorities are helping the animals cope with temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius (104F) by providing coolers, special roofs and regular hose-downs. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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With well over a year before American forces pull out of Afghanistan, the conflict there drags on. Every month in The Big Picture, we feature a selection of recent images of events there, from the soldiers and insurgents at war, the people longing for peace, and daily life and culture in the country of 29 million. Afghanistan remains among the world's poorest nations, and struggles with issues not found in other places, like an ongoing fight against polio. Afghanistan still supplies about 90% of the world's opium, a major cash crop in a country with few viable exports. Gathered here are images from April, 2012. -- Lane Turner (33 photos total)
Afghan policemen are mirrored in glass from a broken window as they stand guard outside the building where Taliban fighters launched an attack in Kabul on April 16, 2012. A total of 36 Taliban militants were killed as they mounted a wave of attacks across Afghanistan. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

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The Second Copernican Revolution: Our Changing View of Our Place in the Universe

Abstract: Five hundred years ago, Copernicus advanced the theory that the Earth was not the center of the Solar System. That theory revolutionized our understanding of the Universe. It was initially met with great opposition because of what it meant about our own significance. Today there is a second Copernican revolution underway that will once again alter our significance. Advances in technologies and techniques are enabling the detection, observation and study of Earth-like planets around other stars. And several deep-space missions are currently exploring potentially-habitable worlds within our Solar System as possible abodes for life beyond the Earth. As one such mission, the two intrepid robotic explorers, Spirit and Opportunity, have been exploring the surface of Mars for evidence of past habitable environments that could have supported life. The rovers have traversed great plains, climbed mountains, descended into deep craters and survived rover-killing dust storms and frigid winters. Both rovers have found clues that Mars was once Earth-like with a potential for life. Soon they will be joined by another larger, more capable rover on the surface. Within the next few years, we may be poised to answering that central question, "Are we alone in the Universe?" Speaker Info: John L. Callas, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has been project manager of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover project since March 2006. Previously, as science manager and then <b>...</b>
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Zothecula writes "While it's generally accepted that memories are stored somewhere, somehow in our brains, the exact process has never been entirely understood. Strengthened synaptic connections between neurons definitely have something to do with it, although the synaptic membranes involved are constantly degrading and being replaced – this seems to be somewhat at odds with the fact that some memories can last for a person's lifetime. Now, a team of scientists believe that they may have figured out what's going on. Their findings could have huge implications for the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer's."


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Henry first flew last summer.

Exhausted and bored on an assignment, photographer Rachel Hulin, Henry’s mother, thought it would be fun to make her baby fly. So Henry flew.

“The photo was sort of magical in an unexpected way and I wanted to make more,” Hulin said. She posted the photograph on Facebook and soon there was a flurry of comments. “Some people like the cute ones, some people like the spooky ones,” she said. “It’s an interesting litmus test.”

Hovering above a bed in a hotel, through a barn and into a shower, the flying baby photographs transcend cute and slip into the surreal. “I felt like the pictures could show the world that babies inhabit that is all their own,” Hulin said.

While she wouldn’t divulge the exact details of how Henry flies, Hulin did admit that it was more subtraction than addition. “I wanted the flights to feel genuine,” she said. “These are places we are really in everyday, it’s not a cut-and-paste job on random interiors and landscapes.”

Speaking to some of the unusual body positions of her flying offspring, Hulin said, “I never throw him, and I never move him into a place in the frame that he wasn’t in to begin with. I like Henry to fly the way he feels like it, I never pose him in a specific way. Sometimes he’s graceful and sometimes he’s a little hunchback. I think telling you more would ruin it.”

She plans on continuing the series with hopes of showcasing the images in a book or exhibition some day. “I do feel compelled to keep making them,” Hulin says. “It’s funny, I already feel nostalgic seeing how little he was in his first flights.”

Rachel Hulin is a photographer based in Providence, Rhode Island. You can see more of her work here.

Patrick Witty is the international picture editor at TIME. Follow him on twitter @patrickwitty.

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Originally posted in Cool Tools

There are thousands of types of materials to make things from. The first impulse for most of us is to use known materials like wood, steel, concrete, and glass. But each of those have hundreds of varieties, each with their own properties. How about metallic ceramics? And every year brand new materials are invented. How can one find out what materials are available?

One way to become familiar with the vast possibilities of materials is to visit a materials library. That's what professional designers and architectures do when embarking on a project. Maybe what they design can be made of some kind of glass? Or super strong plastic? Or bendable wood? Larger design firms have their own material collection, which they use for inspiration, research and for sharing with clients. Below is an unusually large material library at the New York City architecture firm 1100: Architect. Smaller ones can be found at most design firms.

MaterialLibArch

Not everyone has the space or time to build their own. So Material Connexion is a commercial business operating in 8 major design-center cities of the world. For a subscription fee you can use their extensive material library. They add about a dozen new materials per month. A fair number of university art centers also use them to install and manager their collections.

MaterialsLibrary Home

Art, architecture and design centers in colleges and universities have begun creating material libraries that rival the depth and usefulness of book libraries. Notable collections include Harvard's Materials Collection and RISD's Material Resource Center in Providence, RI. At both you can check out a sample to study, just like a book:

To Borrow Items from the Material Resource Center
Select items from the shelves and bring them to the checkout desk.
Materials circulate for 7 days at a time. Please return materials promptly - an overdue fine of .20 per 5 items will be charged.

The Materials Lab at the University of Texas was the pioneer in creating material libraries several decades ago. Their own library contains 25,000 different types of materials. Even better, the catalog of the Material Lab is openly available online. It's organized by domain and even though you can't touch them, you can learn a lot by browsing and searching. You can quickly see, say, how many different types of concrete blocks are available, or how many types of metallic glass, or plywood laminates.

Chances are that if there is a art/design college near you, they have a material library that you could at least visit. The local art college in my neighborhood is the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. I visited their materials library, which is small, but stimulating. Here the librarian oversees the collection. I was free to browse it.

CAAlibrary

Even better, it is not hard to accumulate your own collection of materials, or even start a shared library with friends and colleagues. It is not just the pieces of stuff that is valuable, but the information about the stuff -- its specs, what it can do, or not do, where it comes from, how to get more of it.

-- KK

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Ottoman, Ink on Paper, 5 x 8", 2011.

 Since I'm leaving the studio for my mini-signing tour, orders of 17 x 22" prints will be signed upon my return and ship on Oct. 25th. All other prints and books will be shipped as normal.

New prints will be available for sale at Arludik Gallery in Paris and at Reed Space in New York!

Rebus French Edition Signing
October 13th, 11am - 4pm
Cook & Book
Place du Temps Libre 1
Brussels, Belgium

Rebus French Edition Signing
October 16th, 3pm-6pm
Galerie Arludik
12/14 rue Saint Louis en l'île 75004
Paris, France

Sketchtravel Auction
October 17th, 6:30pm
Pierre Bergé & Associés
Grand Sablon 40 Grote Zavel
Brussels, Belgium

Lecture at RISD
October 19th, 7:30pm - 10-30pm
RISD Auditorium, 17 Canal St.
Providence, RI

Lecture at Pratt
October 21st, Time TBA
Pratt Institute
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Signing at Reed Space
October 23rd, 5pm-7pm
156 Allen Street
New York, NY 10002

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