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Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Especially popular in the United States and Canada, the event is spreading to other nations such as Australia and the United Kingdom. On this day, many retailers open very early, often at 4 a.m., or earlier, and offer promotional sales to kick off the shopping season. The day’s name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term began by 1966 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: that Black Friday indicates the period during which retailers are turning a profit, or “in the black.” On the other hand most customers spending their hard not yet earned cash will spend the next month in the red paying off that PS3, 4th LCD flat screen, new iPad or 16th pair of dinner date shoes. People wait just before midnight in below freezing temperatures outside a Best Buy store for Black Friday specials in Westminster, Colorado November 25, 2010. U.S. shoppers searched for deals on high-definition televisions and popular toys early on Friday, as retailers hoped that Black Friday would kick off the best holiday shopping season in three years.

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view Black Friday 2010 as presented by: Totally Cool Pix


One of the most popular waterfalls in Yosemite National Park of California in the United States, Vernal fall measures 97 meters (317 feet) high. A hike along the Mist Trail to the fall takes visitors very close to the fall where they become shrouded in its mist. The hike to Vernal Fall is short at only 2.1 km (1.3 miles) long. At the top of the fall hikers enjoy a rest at the Emerald Pool, named for its deep green color, which is a small lake where some visitors choose to swim, though it is against the park rules and can be dangerous if care is not taken. Travelers who wish to visit Vernal Fall should make it a part of a greater trip to the awe-inspiring Yosemite National Park where many other spectacular natural sights can be enjoyed. Accommodation is plentiful at the park and includes hotels as well as campgrounds. There is a $20 fee to enter Yosemite National Park.

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view Vernal Falls, Yosemite, California, United States as presented by: Beautiful Places To Visit


While much recent media attention has been focused on Hurricane Sandy and America's presidential election, Syria's horrific civil war continues. In some places, it has worsened. Aerial bombardment of civilian neighborhoods, deadly sniper fire, brutal street fighting, assassinations, and summary executions have become the norm in Syria. Cease-fire agreements have collapsed, rebel forces remain disorganized, foreign intervention is still hamstrung, and no path to peace appears to be forming yet. Britain is now reportedly looking for options to circumvent an arms embargo in order to supply rebels with weaponry. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains defiant, stating in an interview with Russia Today that he planned "live and die in Syria," adding, "I am tougher than Gaddafi." Collected here are images of this bloody conflict from just the past few weeks. Free Syrian Army fighters fire a rocket towards a castle where pro-government forces are based, in Harem town, on October 28, 2012. A rebel fighter fires a gun toward a building where Syrian troops loyal to President Bashar Assad are hiding, while they attempt to gain terrain against the rebels during heavy clashes in the Jedida district of Aleppo, Syria, on November 4, 2012. The uprising against Assad started with peaceful demonstrations in March last year, but has since morphed into a bloody civil war. Activists say more than 36,000 people have been killed in 19 months of fighting. A man is treated for wounds after a Syrian government forces jet attacked the Karm al-Aser neighborhood in eastern Aleppo.

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view Syria in Ruins as presented by: The Atlantic



This previously seen but still undescribed species of fruit bat endemic to Papua New Guinea was observed by Conservation International?s Rapid Assessment Programme (RAP) researchers in 2009. The Tube-nosed Fruit Bat Nyctimene sp. from the Muller Range mountains does not yet have a name, though it is popularly called Yoda Bat. It is likely restricted (endemic) to hill forests on the island. Fruit bats are important seed dispersers in tropical forests. Goliath bird eating spider (Theraphosa blondi). The largest (by mass) spider in the world, reaching the weight of 170g and leg span of 30cm. Observed by RAP scientists in Guyana in 2006. They live in burrows on the floor of lowland rainforests and despite the name feed primarily on invertebrates (but have been observed eating small mammals, lizards and even venomous snakes). They have venom fangs (not deadly to humans) but their main line of defence are urticating hairs that cover their entire body ? when threatened their rub their legs agains the abdomen and send a cloud of microscopic barbs that lodge in the skin and mucus membranes of the attacker, causing pain and long-lasting irritation. The Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus). This was observed on a RAP survey in the Mantadia-Zahamena corridor of Madagascar in 1998. (The species was first described in 1888, and it is not rare in primary forest in Madagascar.) The Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko, is the smallest of 12 species of bizarre looking Leaf-tailed geckos. They are nocturnal, arboreal geckos which exhibit extremely cryptic camouflage and are endemic to Madagascar. They are only found in primary, undisturbed forests, so their populations are very sensitive to habitat destruction. Large Uroplatus species have more teeth than any other living terrestrial vertebrate species. The Leaf-Tailed Gecko is part of the complex cycle of circulating organic matter in the ecosystem. They are predators of small insects and small vertebrates In 2004, WWF listed all of the Uroplatus species on their "Top ten most wanted species list" of animals threatened by illegal wildlife trade, because of it "being captured and sold at alarming rates for the international pet trade".

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view Pinocchio Frog, Et Salamander, Yoda Bat And Dinospider: Species Near Extinction as presented by: Telegraph Media Group


In the moments after the disaster all Port-au-Prince began pouring into twilit streets. Homes, still collapsing, had in a moment become death traps. Camps rose on public and private spaces, squares, parks and golf courses. Bodies were everywhere, laid out under sheets, cardboard or nothing. Dump trucks and front-loaders cleared most in the following weeks. Others were burned. Some are still being found. The bodies have been cleared, but not the estimated 20 million cubic yards of rubble. Mounds of it make most of the capital impassable. Even with 300 trucks working daily, only two percent has been cleared. The number of people in relief camps has nearly doubled to 1.6 million, while the amount of transitional housing built is minuscule. Most of the $3.1 billion pledged for humanitarian aid has paid for field hospitals, plastic tarps, bandages, and food, plus salaries, transportation and upkeep of relief workers. About $1.3 billion went through U.S. relief groups. Hundreds of millions have yet to be spent, with agencies such as the American Red Cross saying they want to avoid dumping money into half-baked projects. Aid workers say the money already spent helped prevent epidemics, floods and political violence, while distributing food and other essentials. Food markets are back to normal, and the foreign doctors and equipment that flowed in have left medical care — while deeply flawed — better than it was before the quake. Most Haitians didn’t have running water and electricity before the quake, and still don’t.

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view In Focus: Haiti Six Months After as presented by: Denver Post


For more than a month, refugees have been fleeing the violence and uncertainty of Libya into Tunisia. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has reported nearly 180,000 people have fled -- a rate of 2,000 a day. Most end up at border transit camps, desperately trying to find a way home. Here are the faces of a few of them. A Sudanese migrant fleeing the unrest in Libya holds her child as she walks at the Tunisian border crossing of Ras Jdir on March 2. A Tunisian girl waits for her father to cross the border into Tunisia at the border crossing of Ras Jdir after fleeing unrest in Libya on Feb. 23. Thousands of Tunisians have been fleeing Libya after a bloody crackdown on protests against the rule of Moammar Khadafy. At least 30,000 Tunisians had been living in Libya, and officials fear they could become targets because of Tunisia's role in inspiring uprisings across the Arab world. Tunisia's authoritarian president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, was overthrown in January. A refugee carries a mattress to his tent at a UN displacement camp on March 5 in Ras Jdir, Tunisia. In addition to Tunisians, tens of thousands of guest workers from Egypt, Bangladesh, and other countries have been fleeing to the border of Tunisia to escape the violence. Fledgling Tunisia has been overwhelmed by the deluge.

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view Faces of the Displaced as presented by: Boston Big Picture


The Kronotsky Nature Reserve holds unparalleled spectacles for even the most experienced travelers. There are warm waterfalls flowing down from rocks, groves of sea plants and noisy bird colonies on the coast, narrow paths with walls of giant grasses and flowers, magnificent volcanoes with steaming tops, deep river valleys and spectacular geysers. The fox got stuck in a fishing net left nearby and spent a lot of efforts trying to leave the area of fast approaching water. He was lucky to be found by people but not by bears. Tourists cut the rope on his neck but the fox couldn’t even stand. It crawled to the water to drink and then hid in a hole nearby where it was found next day. Why should people be so careless about throwing garbage around? Fishing nets which are left abandoned both at sea and on the coast kill many animals. Getting vet aid was impossible in this case. The fox couldn’t move, eat and drink. The nearest road is 100 km away from the place, a vet center is even further. Hiring a helicopter to take the fox to Petropavlovsk city will cost around 16000 USD. But no helicopters were available those days due to bad weather conditions. Even a human wouldn’t get a qualified aid if left there. So what could be done in that case is to hope for the best outcome for the fox and be more careful about the ecological situation in future. The fox could never survive. Its vixen continues raising 9 pups who are never hungry as the nearby waters are abundant with fishes. Unlike Alice, she is a good mother. Young pups are scared of people. Soon they will grow and understand that people who visit the Reserve are not dangerous at all. It’s a pity that animals staying in a place so rich with food have to die.

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view Meanwhile In the Kronotsky Nature Reserve as presented by: English Russia


It may look more like a perplexing work of avant-garde sculpture than it does a telescope, but make no mistake about it--the golden snowflake on a surfboard that is the James Webb Space Telescope will be the premier eye in the sky of the next decade. With the assistance of the Webb, astronomers hope to take a giant leap forward in understanding the origins of the cosmos. It trumps all previous space telescopes by virtue of its 18 hexagonal reflectors, which combine to form a huge mirror roughly seven times larger than that of the Hubble Space Telescope. This will allow it to collect far more light to see with, enabling it to peer at the most distant objects in the universe. Since light travels in time as well as space, the further away the James Webb Space Telescope can see, the further back in time it can look, granting the world unparalleled glimpses of the light from the first galaxies. This next-generation space observatory will yield vital clues about every stage in the history of the cosmos, from the formation of the universe to the evolution of our own solar system. Expected to launch in 2014, NASA has allowed us sneak peeks at how one goes about building a successor for Hubble.

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view How to Build a Telescope Even More Powerful Than Hubble as presented by: Discover Magazine



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