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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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It's time once more for a look into the animal kingdom and our interactions with the countless other species that share our planet. Today's photos include researchers dressed in panda costumes, a massage given by an African snail, a 39-pound cat named Meow, a Japanese macaque with hay fever, and orangutans having a playdate using FaceTime on an iPad. These images and many others are part of this roundup of animals in the news from recent weeks, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers, part of an ongoing series on animals in the news. [41 photos]

Polar bear cub Anori explores the outdoor enclosure at the zoo in Wuppertal, Germany, on Monday, April 23, 2012. Anori was born on January 4 and is becoming a visitor's highlight. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

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These images, by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, are some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small towns. The color digital photographs, scans of color transparencies, show the places of Depression Era America – the industry, the homes, the landmarks and [...]

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Earlier this year, Peru celebrated the 100th anniversary of the scientific discovery of the citadel of Machu Picchu. Peruvians also held a presidential election, with 49-year-old former Army Lieutenant Colonel Ollanta Humala narrowly winning in a run-off against Keiko Fujimori, daughter of jailed ex-president Alberto Fujimori. Humala, the first leftist president of Peru in more than 30 years, faces a number of challenges as he takes the helm of this diverse nation of some 29 million people. Peru remains a developing country, but its economy is improving and it still has considerable mineral wealth. However, citizens and activist groups remain concerned about ongoing and potential environmental damage from extracting those resources -- and miners have been striking, seeking better working conditions and a larger share of the profits. Gathered here are some recent scenes from all around the Republic of Peru. [42 photos]

Performers attend a light show at the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, on July 7, 2011. Peru celebrated the 100th anniversary of the scientific discovery of Machu Picchu by American adventurer and archaeologist Hiram Bingham. (Reuters/Oscar Farje/Presidency)

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Erupting volcanoes, drug wars, famine in Niger, aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, children suffering from Agent Orange disabilities, abortions performed by untrained practitioners in Kenya but also lucha libre for women, traveling cinema in India and couchsurfing in Brooklyn continue

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