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Original author: 
Sarah Stankey

Sasha Tamarin, Untitled, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem

Dagmar Vyhnalkova, Garden of Eden, Oman

Marilyn Lamoreux, Waiting for Spring, Plymouth, MN

Fernando Ramirez, Morning Glory, San Diego, CA

Joey Potter, Possums On A Half Shell, Juliette, GA

Marco Frauchiger, The Last Shuttle, Fort Pierce, FL

Michael Kirchoff, On Patrol, Los Angeles, CA

Gina Rondazzo, Wild #3, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

Shawna Gibbs, The Entrance, Claremont, NH

Al Palmer, Untitled, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

David Welch, Draining Chickens, Martha's Vineyard, MA

Christine Pearl, Hula Hoop, Washington DC

Laura Glabman, Untitled, Hewlett, NY

Helen Jones, Punk, Portland, OR

Elizabeth Ellenwood, Backyard Toys #1, Jamaica Plain, MA

Frank Biringer, Untitled (#H08-015), Doha, Qatar

DeAnn Desilets, Fairytale Mysteries, Bethlehem, PA

BK Skaggs, High Summer, Chandler, AZ

Deb Schwedhelm, Sky and Ryder, Tampa, FL

Michael Grace-Martin, Everyday Glam, Ithaca, NY

Elisabetta Cociani, Untitled, Badia, Italy

Ettore Maragoni, Cars, Naples, Italy

John Marshall Mantel, Good fences make good neighbors, Jackson, NJ

Warren Harold, Pool Queue, Houston, TX

Kristianne Koch Riddle, ...he would show me how to play (If I Had A Brother), San Clemente, CA

Jan Garcia, Lazy Afternoon Poolside, Surprise, AZ

Vicki Reed, Potting Shed, Cedarburg, WI

Steve Davis, Near Orland, CA

Bill Chapman, Boston: my backyard, Boston, MA

D Kelly, Springtime Front Yard, NJ

Mark Indig, Chairs, Los Angeles, CA

Lauren Grabelle, Sugar Under the Hammock, Bigfork, MT

Mark Kalan, Lawn Bunnies, Valley Cottage, NY

Bruce Morton, high water boat, Quincy, IL

Mike Whiteley, Rainbow Tree, Lincoln. NE

Suzanne Révy, Weeds, Carlisle, MA

Domenico Foschi, Marissa's Chairs, Whittier, CA

Mark Collins, Cerro Pedernal, Abiquiu, NM

Maggie Meiners, Le Cafe, Winnetka, IL

Deanna Dikeman, Toasting Marshmallows, Sioux City, IA

Adrienne Villar, Buddy, AR

Kati Mennett, Look!, Sandwich, MA

Clare O'Neill, Untitled from the Summertime Fun series, Nambe, NM

Continue to Part Four

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Original author: 
(author unknown)

The National Geographic Traveler Magazine photo contest, now in its 25th year, has begun. There is still plenty of time to enter. The entry deadline is Sunday, June 30, at 11:59 p.m. Entrants may submit their photographs in any or all of the four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments. The magazine's photo editors showcase their favorite entries each week in galleries. You can also vote for your favorites. "The pictures increasingly reflect a more sophisticated way of seeing and interpreting the world, making the judging process more difficult," says Keith Bellows, magazine editor in chief. (The captions are written by the entrants, some slightly edited for readability.) As always, you can take a look at some of last year's entries and winners.. -- Paula Nelson ( 40 photos total)
OUTDOOR SCENES - Portrait of an Eastern Screech Owl - Masters of disguise. The Eastern Screech Owl is seen here doing what they do best. You better have a sharp eye to spot these little birds of prey. Okeefenokee Swamp, Georgia, USA. (Photo and caption by Graham McGeorge/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)     

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Original author: 
Dan Goodin


Federal authorities have accused eight men of participating in 21st-Century Bank heists that netted a whopping $45 million by hacking into payment systems and eliminating withdrawal limits placed on prepaid debit cards.

The eight men formed the New York-based cell of an international crime ring that organized and executed the hacks and then used fraudulent payment cards in dozens of countries to withdraw the loot from automated teller machines, federal prosecutors alleged in court papers unsealed Thursday. In a matter of hours on two separate occasions, the eight defendants and their confederates withdrew about $2.8 million from New York City ATMs alone. At the same times, "cashing crews" in cities in at least 26 countries withdrew more than $40 million in a similar fashion.

Prosecutors have labeled this type of heist an "unlimited operation" because it systematically removes the withdrawal limits normally placed on debit card accounts. These restrictions work as a safety mechanism that caps the amount of loss that banks normally face when something goes wrong. The operation removed the limits by hacking into two companies that process online payments for prepaid MasterCard debit card accounts issued by two banks—the National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah PSC in the United Arab Emirates and the Bank of Muscat in Oman—according to an indictment filed in federal court in the Eastern District of New York. Prosecutors didn't identify the payment processors except to say one was in India and the other in the United States.

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Hacking Language Learning: Dr. Conor Quinn at TEDxDirigo

Dr. Conor McDonough Quinn is a documentary linguist, endangered language revitalization worker, and avid learner and teacher of languages. Raised in Portland, Maine, he has lived at length in Indonesia, China, and Oman, and has worked extensively with several indigenous communities of the Northeast. Learning his own family's endangered heritage language (hint: look at the name) in his early teens gave him a passion for helping others to do the same, and led him to pursue linguistics—somewhat single-mindedly—throughout his academic career. Alongside a hefty set of technical research questions in linguistics, he is currently most interested in developing tools to help speech communities carry out their own linguistic documentation and revitalization work, and in finding new ways to reduce the barriers to learning new languages. 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 branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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Four hundred miles above the Earth’s surface, for nearly 40 years, Landsat satellites have collected data for the U.S. Geological Survey, for use in scientific research. “Earth as Art 3,” an exhibit on display at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., offers an opportunity to celebrate the more dramatic images for their artistic value rather than their data value.

The latest satellite, Landsat 7, uses an instrument that collects seven images at once, with each image showing a specific part of the electromagnetic spectrum, called a band. Humans cannot see light outside the visible spectrum, but satellites are able to detect wavelengths into the ultraviolet and infrared. The original images are acquired in black and white, so color must be assigned via computer. The three primary colors of light are red, green and blue, and each color is given a different band/image. Once the three images are combined, you will have what is called a “false color image.” One common combination shows green, healthy vegetation as bright red, which is handy in forestry and agricultural applications. Landsat images are used to gather all kinds of geological and hydrological data and for other types of environmental monitoring.

The Erongo Massif, an isolated, sheer-walled mountain that rises 1,200 meters (3,937 feet) above arid Namibian plains. The massif is a remnant of a gigantic volcano that was active roughly 150 million years ago. At some point, the volcano’s center collapsed in upon itself under the weight of overlying lava. Eons of erosion by wind and wind-blown sand gradually exposed the long-dead volcano’s core of granite and basalt.

Oxbow lakes and cutoffs accompany the Mississippi river south of Memphis, Tennessee, on the border between Arkansas and Mississippi, USA.

Much of Oman is desert, but the Arabian Sea coast in the Dhofar region represents a marked difference. This coastal region catches the monsoon rains, or khareef, during the summer months. Drenching rains fall primarily on the mountainous ridge that separates the lush, fertile areas along the coast from the arid interior, feeding streams, waterfalls, and springs that provide water in the fertile lowlands for the remainder of the year.

Massive congregations of greenish phytoplankton swirl in the dark water around Gotland, a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea. Phytoplankton are microscopic marine plants that form the first link in nearly all ocean food chains.

After beginning in northern British Columbia and flowing through Yukon in Canada, the Yukon River crosses Alaska, USA, before emptying into the Bering Sea.

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MrSeb writes "In a world where warfare is fast becoming fielded by remote controlled and autonomous robots, innovation is the key to victory. The most technologically advanced superpower can see more, plan better, and attack from further away than its inferior adversaries. What better way to revolutionize the drone and robotics industry than use the brilliant minds of our children? That's what DARPA and the Defense Department's research and development arm thinks, anyway. The Manufacturing Experimentation and Outreach Initiative, part of the Adaptive Vehicle Make project, is slated to reach a thousand schools in and out of the country, roping in the brightest minds to develop robotics and advance technology in new and interesting ways. Funded by the Department of Defense, the program comes with a steep cost: The DoD wants unlimited rights to everything the students build. It sounds almost like something Orson Scott Card would dream up."

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People take refugee at a makeshift shelter after earthquakes in Cuilapa, Guatemala, Monday, Sept. 19, 2011. Four earthquakes struck the southeastern part of Guatemala in less than two hours Monday afternoon, causing at least one death, authorities said. At least three people were reported missing.

Anti-death penalty protester is helped off the ground after hearing about a delay of the execution by the U.S. Supreme Court for Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis In Jackson, Ga., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. Davis was scheduled to die Wednesday for killing off-duty Savannah officer Mark MacPhail.

 September 23, 2011


People take refugee at a makeshift shelter after earthquakes in Cuilapa, Guatemala, Monday, Sept. 19, 2011. Four earthquakes struck the southeastern part of Guatemala in less than two hours Monday afternoon, causing at least one death, authorities said. At least three people were reported missing. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) #

 September 23, 2011


Anti-death penalty protester is helped off the ground after hearing about a delay of the execution by the U.S. Supreme Court for Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis In Jackson, Ga., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. Davis was scheduled to die Wednesday for killing off-duty Savannah officer Mark MacPhail. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton) #

 September 23, 2011


A caretaker at the Calauit island wildlife sanctuary feeding giraffes with tree leaves in Busuanga, Palawan province, in the western Philippines. Calauit island wildlife sanctuary covers 3,700 hectares and is home to endemic animals and African wildlife and was declared a game preserve and wildlife sanctuary in 1977 as the Philippines responded to an appeal by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to save endangered animals in Africa. AFP PHOTO/ TED ALJIBE #

 September 23, 2011


Members of Indian Army engineering wing help a Buddhist monk to descend a huge landslide following Sunday's 6.9 magnitude earthquake in Phengla around 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Gangtok, in Sikkim, India, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011. Thousands of homeless villagers in the Himalayas spent a miserable night outdoors in heavy rains after a powerful earthquake flattened houses and rescuers struggled to reach victims in the mountains of India, Nepal and Tibet. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #

 September 23, 2011


Soldiers stand guard as Israeli settlers with Israeli flags participate in a protest march against Palestinian statehood September 20, 2011 from the West Bank Jewish settlement of Itamar to the Palestinians town of Nablus, West Bank. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said that he plans to apply for full membership for a Palestinian state after he speaks at the UN General Assembly this Friday in New York City. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) #

 September 23, 2011


Traders signal offers in the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index futures pit at the CME Group following the Federal Reserve meeting September 21, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Federal Reserve says it will sell $400 billion of its shorter-term securities to buy longer-term holdings in an effort to stimulate the economy. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

 September 23, 2011


A worker puts finishing touches on a ribbon display on a giant lantern shaped structure set up on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #

 September 23, 2011


Freed American Shane Bauer, center is welcomed upon his arrival from Iran, in Muscat, Oman Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. After more than two years in Iranian custody, two Americans convicted as spies took their first steps toward home Wednesday as they bounded down from a private jet and into the arms of family for a joyful reunion in the Gulf state of Oman. (AP Photo/Sultan Al-Hasani) #

 September 23, 2011


The Statue of Liberty is seen through the windows of a boat prior to the start of the 125th Anniversary of the Statue of Liberty ceremony on Liberty Island on September 22, 2011 in New York City. The 125th Anniversary of the Statue of Liberty is to be celebrated on October 28th, 2011. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images) #

 September 23, 2011


Supporters of Yemen's President Ali Abduallah Saleh gather at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier where a Palestinian flag hangs during a rally celebrating his return to Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. President Ali Abdullah Saleh made a surprise return to Yemen on Friday after more than three months of medical treatment in Saudi Arabia in a move certain to further enflame battles between forces loyal to him and his opponents that have turned the capital into a war zone. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed) #

 September 23, 2011


An Indian villager and a child, evacuated by helicopter from Chungthang de-board at a helipad in Mangan, India, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. The 6.9 magnitude quake Sunday evening claimed lives in northeastern India, Tibet and Nepal. Rescue efforts have been hampered by heavy rain and mudslides that blocked the roads leading to villages in the remote, mountainous region. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #

 September 23, 2011


A supporter of Haiti's former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier hold portraits of former Haitian dictator Francois Duvalier, also known as "Papa Doc," below, and his son Jean-Claude Duvalier, also known as "Baby Doc," top, as protesters gather outside a hotel where the group interrupted a press conference by Amnesty International in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday Sept. 22, 2011. Amnesty International was expected to reveal new testimony from victims of the dictatorship and their relatives. Duvalier returned to Haiti in January from exile in France. He was ousted from Haiti in 1986 after a 15-year rule. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery) #

 September 23, 2011


A woman suspected of being a Gadhafi loyalist is seen behind bars inside a detention facility in Misrata, Libya, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011. Moammar Gadhafi's former prime minister has been arrested in Tunisia, officials said, as Libya's new rulers and NATO warned the fugitive leader and his loyalists that they are running out of places to hide. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo) #

 September 23, 2011


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers a keynote during the Facebook f8 Developer Conference at the San Francisco Design Center in San Francisco on September 22, 2011 in California. KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images #

 September 23, 2011


Supporters of Yemen's President Ali Abduallah Saleh stand on flag poles celebrating his return to Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. President Ali Abdullah Saleh made a surprise return to Yemen on Friday after more than three months of medical treatment in Saudi Arabia in a move certain to further enflame battles between forces loyal to him and his opponents that have turned the capital into a war zone. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed) #

 September 23, 2011


In this photo taken on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011, an Indian man removes a dried cloth from a string in New Delhi, India. India's Planning Commission, tasked with updating its poverty line figures to reflect rising prices, told the nation's Supreme Court Wednesday that fifty cents a day was "adequate" for the average Indian villager to spend on basic needs. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal) #

 September 23, 2011


A defecting Yemeni soldier takes position behind sandbags during clashes in Sanaa on September 22, 2011 as tribesmen join battles between rival military units, raising fears among frightened residents of a descent into civil war. MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images #

 September 23, 2011


Girls walk in a park in Moscow, on September 21, 2011. NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images #

 September 23, 2011


Israeli soldiers arrest a Palestinian demonstrator during clashes at the Qalandia checkpoint between the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in Qalandia Wednesday, as thousands of flag-waving Palestinians rallied in towns across the West Bank to show support for their president's bid to win U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill) #

 September 23, 2011


A displaced Pakistani boy, center, looks on as he and others collect water from a tanker in Umerkot District in Pakistan's Sindh province, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011. Flood victims camped out near inundated fields and crowded hospitals on Monday as authorities and international aid groups struggled to respond to Pakistan's second major bout of flooding in just over a year. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) #

 September 23, 2011


A photo taken on September 20, 2011 shows rescue serviceman checking for people as a passenger boat capsizes after being hit by a restaurant boat on the flooded Jialing River in southwest China's Chongqing municipality. Nearly 1.7 million people have been forced to abandon their homes and dozens more have died in heavy flooding across large parts of China, the government reported. STR/AFP/Getty Images #

 September 23, 2011


Displaced Pakistani Ijaz Nawana, 6, looks on while sitting on the ground playing with tyre, as he and others take refuge on a roadside after fleeing their homes in Tando Allah Yar district near Hyderabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. In Pakistan's Sindh province alone, the floods have killed over 220 people, damaged or destroyed some 665,000 homes and displaced more than 1.8 million people, according to the United Nations. Neighboring Baluchistan province has also been affected. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) #

 September 23, 2011


Israeli settler youths wave Israeli flags at the start of a protest march against Palestinian statehood, from the West Bank Jewish settlement of Itamar near the Palestinians town of Nablus, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he is determined to seek U.N. recognition this week of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in 1967. Israeli security forces fear the U.N. bid could spark violence in the West Bank. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) #

 September 23, 2011


Eddie Reyes is comforted while remembering fifteen of his colleagues in the New York Police Department Emergency Service Unit who were killed on September 11, 2001 during a first responders wreath-laying ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial on September 20, 2011 in New York City. The ceremony, which marks the first of seven "first responder days" for members of 9/11 first responder agencies and their families, honored the 441 first responders whose names are now inscribed on the September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

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