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Tom Pennington

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There are now over one billion automobiles on the road worldwide. An explosion in the auto markets in China and India ensures that number will increase, with China supplanting the United States as the world's largest car market. It's fair to say humanity has a love affair with the car, but it's a love-hate relationship. Cars are at once convenience, art, and menace. People write songs about their vehicles, put them in museums, race them, and wrap their identities up in them. About 15% of carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels comes from cars. Traffic fatality estimates vary from half a million per year to more than double that. Gathered here are images of the automobile in many forms, and our relationship to and dependence on our cars. This is the second in an occasional Big Picture series on transportation, following Pedal power earlier this year. -- Lane Turner (40 photos total)
Antti Rahko stands next to his self-made "Finnjet" during preparations for the Essen Motor Show in Essen, Germany on November 22, 2012. The car rolls on eight wheels, offers ten seats, weighs 3.4 tons and is worth about one million US dollars. (Marius Becker/AFP/Getty Images)

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SOME HELP CELEBRATING
Shane Perkins of Team Australia celebrated with his son Aidan after winning the Men’s Team Sprint Final at the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne Wednesday. (Daniel Munoz/Reuters)

TORNADO DAMAGE
Mike Enochs, left, and Gary Enochs salvaged a crib from Mike Enochs’s destroyed home Wednesday in Forney, Texas. Multiple tornadoes touched down yesterday across the Dallas/Fort Worth area, causing extensive damage. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

AFGHAN ATTACK
U.S. soldiers lay on the ground at the scene of a suicide attack in Maimanah, Faryab province, Afghanistan, Wednesday. A suicide bomber on a motorcycle at a market killed at least 11 people, including three Americans, according to Afghan and Western officials. (Gul Buddin Elham/Associated Press)

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
Baylor’s Brittney Griner, right, blocked the shot of Notre Dame’s Kayla McBride during the first half of their women’s NCAA championship college basketball game in Denver Tuesday. Baylor won, 80-61. (Mark Leffingwell/Reuters)

BACK AT THE MASTERS
Tiger Woods teed off during a practice round Wednesday before the start of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

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Civilian volunteers carry relief goods as they cross a damaged road destroyed at the height of the powerful earthquake in Guihulngan town, Negros Oriental province, central Philippines on February 9, 2012. Survivors of a deadly quake in the Philippines begged rescuers February 8 to keep searching for dozens of people buried in landslides, but officials [...]

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SUPPORTING SANTORUM SUPPORTING SANTORUM: Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum prayed with him during a campaign stop at the Bella Donna Chapel in McKinney, Texas, Wednesday. Mr. Santorum swept the Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri contests Tuesday. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

ILLUMINATING CHOICE ILLUMINATING CHOICE: A woman voted at a polling station during the state assembly election in Ayodhya, India, Wednesday. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters)

ON THE SIDELINES ON THE SIDELINES: Residents covered their noses as soldiers searched for missing people in La Libertad, Philippines, Wednesday. Officials conceded that there was little hope of finding survivors after a powerful earthquake Monday set off landslides. (Erik De Castro/Reuters)

PICKET LINE PICKET LINE: Nokia Siemens Networks employees protested the planned closure of the Munich office Wednesday.  (Frank Leonhardt/European Pressphoto Agency)

GET AWAY GET AWAY: A soldier kicked a tear-gas canister during clashes with supporters of ousted President Mohamed Nasheed in Malé, Maldives, Wednesday. The nation’s first democratically elected president said he was forced to resign at gunpoint and he vowed to return to office. (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)

WEAVING A POLITICAL WEB WEAVING A POLITICAL WEB: An automatic loom produced tapestries bearing pictures of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a weaving mill in Vyritsa, Russia, Wednesday. (Anatoly Maltsev/European Pressphoto Agency)

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Extreme weather events have always been with us, and always will be. One can't point to a single severe storm, or even an entire harsh winter, as evidence of climate change. But a trend of weather intensity, and oddity, grows. Droughts linger longer. Hurricanes hit harder. Snowstorms strike long after winter should have ended. World record hailstones fall. China endures a crippling drought, and then punishing floods. Millions are displaced in a flood of historic proportion in Pakistan. The U.S. sees the Mississippi River reach historic flood crests, and then sees the largest wildfire in Arizona history. None of these events on their own mean anything. Collectively, do they mean we're seeing the earth's climate change before our eyes? -- Lane Turner (47 photos total)
A huge swath of the United States is affected by a winter storm that brought layers of dangerous ice and blowing snow, closing roads and airports from Texas to Rhode Island in this February 1 satellite image. The storm's more than 2,000-mile reach threatened to leave about a third of the nation covered in harsh weather. Ice fell first and was expected to be followed by up to two feet of snow in some places. (NOAA/AP)

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Reports that a dog accompanied the Navy Seals' raid on Osama bin Laden's Pakistan compound created a wave of interest in the animals and their training. Almost 3000 dogs are in use by the American military. Other dogs have been in the news lately as well, with sniffer dogs searching for bombs in sensitive areas in the wake of the raid. Sniffer dogs were also deployed to search for victims of the tornados in the American South. Dogs were in headlines for other reasons recently too, as several hundred were rescued in China, street dogs were being killed in Kosovo and Romania, and luxury dog hotels opened in Europe and North America. A luxury hotel would be a welcome change for those dogs abandoned in Japan in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami and nuclear disaster. And in the middle of all of this, the International Dog Show in Szivasvarad, Hungary showed off pampered purebreds. Collected here are pictures of working dogs, rescued dogs, those suffering the effects of natural disasters, and several others. -- Lane Turner (34 photos total)
A military working dog outfitted with its own equipment and light heads up the steps of a building in this undated handout image from a company which manufactures a range of specialized gear that includes high-tech canine flak jackets and tactical body armor. The equipment provides real time video feedback and night vision capabilities. (K9 Storm Inc./Handout/Reuters)

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