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Everything Rosé

Friday, 03 July 2015 by

Cruising down the Hudson River on the sleek Hornblower Infinity Yacht, sipping rosé wine and nibbling on posh creations of upscale chefs—that’s an NYC summer night out in style if you ever saw one.
And that’s what the world’s first festival dedicated to rosé is about. La Nuit En Rosé started last year in New York and immediately celebrated a success with sold-out events and some 2,300 in attendance, as its website states. This year it expanded to Miami and Los Angeles too.
All aboard a yacht, guests were treated to a selection of over 100 rosé wines, including Château d’Esclans and Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte for example, while mingling, dancing, enjoying the skyline, and otherwise having a good time.
For a VIP ticket, guests enjoyed a set of delicacies prepared specially to match the wine selection. And speaking about matching, many extended their love of pink wine into a matching outfit, which were complemented by pink hats—conveniently provided on the spot.
Rosé wine, with its wide pallete of pinky hues, is made just like red wine, except the grape skins are removed from the pressed grapes after just one to three days. With red wine, the skins would be left for the entire fermentation process.
Depending on how long the skins are left with the juices, rosé wine can have a slight pinky coloring but also a more rich, almost purplish one. There are also sparkling, Champagne variants, though some of them are produced by adding red wine to a finished white sparkling wine.

Stunning US Air Force Photography

Saturday, 27 June 2015 by

The U.S. Air Force—if you’re into some cool gear, they definitely use some of the best. And like the other branches of the U.S. military, the Air Force employs a number of photographers to bring us, with due promotional sentiment in mind, some captivating moments from the life of the airmen.
The United States Air Force is the largest and perhaps the best equipped air force in the world. It employs over 650,000 people, including more than 300,000 active personnel and close to 200,000 civilians. The rest are reservists and the Air National Guard.
MORE:Best of Modern US Army Photography
Its pilots have over 5,000 planes to choose from. More than 1,800 are bombers and fighter jets with about half of those being the F-16 Fighting Falcon jets. The list also includes almost 400 “air superiority fighters,” most notably the much-touted F-22A Raptor—a stealth fighter jet able to zip through the sky at speeds of 1.7 times the speed of sound. It is also the first U.S. aircraft to achieve “super-maneuverability,” an ability to perform seemingly impossible maneuvers only demonstrated by some Russian aircraft (like the MiG-29) before.
Interestingly, one would find no attack helicopters in the Air Force as they all belong to Army inventory. In fact, the Army has almost the same number of aircraft as the Air Force (almost 5,000). Yet most of them are choppers and the Army also has exactly zero fighter jets.
While the U.S. military has equipped airplanes since the early 20th century, the Air Force was officially established only after World War II, specifically on Sept. 18, 1947. That makes it the youngest branch of the military, though it will soon celebrate its 68th birthday.

Best of Modern US Army Photography

Friday, 19 June 2015 by

Army strong? How about Army beautiful. Let us dive into United States Army photography, an actual career path within the military branch leading one to document, sometimes in the most spectacular fashion, the deeds of the men and women in the more than one-million-strong fighting body.
About half a million men and women serve in active duty, some 350,000 in the National Guard and about 200,000 in reserve.
The U.S. Army finds its roots in the Continental Army set up in 1775 to fight the Revolutionary War. The Congress of the Confederation set up the actual U.S. Army after the war in 1784, but the Army still considers itself the continuation of the Continental Army and so it just celebrated, on June 14, its 240th birthday.
MORE:Why Photography Still Divides Painters Centuries After the Camera’s Invention
Though the Army is focused on land-based warfare, it is able to muster up considerable power in the air as well with almost 5,000 aircraft, the most menacing of which are over 700 AH-64 Apache helicopters.
Interestingly, although the Army has over 10,000 armored vehicles, only about 1,500 of them are tanks, the M1 Abrams vehicles serving since 1980. Throughout the years the tank went through several upgrades with the last one rolled out in 1992.
Yet the Army has at its disposal another 1,000–2,000 vehicles easily mistaken for a tank by a layman, the M109 self-propelled howitzers. As seen on the second picture in the gallery above, the M109 has a sizable howitzer mounted on it, which is capable of bombarding targets up to 11 miles away with massive 155 mm shells.
Another signature piece of equipment, seen on the fourth image, is the CH-47 Chinook twin-engine helicopter. In use since the Vietnam war, modern versions of Chinook can carry as much as 28,000 pounds of cargo.

Here is part two of our selection of works of U.S. Marine Corps photographers. Even though most of the photos capture training rather than actual combat, there’s still plenty of action—it’s Marine training after all.
MORE:The Absolute Best of US Marine Corps Photography, Part 1
On land, at sea, and in the air, here are some of the fascinating moments caught on camera. Hard to say if this makes one want to join the Marines or rather think twice before even considering it.
About Marines
U.S. Marines were first established during the War of Independence though only two battalions of them. Over time, they’ve been involved, to a greater or lesser extent, in virtually every major armed conflict in American history.
For example, during the Spanish-American War at the turn of the last century, it was the Marines who seized a naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1898 and haven’t left since.
During the World War I, Marines gained reputation for their ferocity thanks to a far-sighted leadership. Expecting Japanese aggression, that Marines developed sophisticated amphibious combat techniques that became incredibly valuable during World War II, when the Marine Corps bore the main burden of the Pacific War. Little known is the fact that it was the Marine Corps, the so-called “China Marines,” who oversaw the surrender of Japan to China in 1945.
Almost 20,000 Marines laid down their lives in WWII.
The Marine were deployed in both the Korean and Vietnam wars, and fought in the Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and continue to be engaged in the War on Terrorism. Today, almost 200,000 men and women serve in active duty and 40,000 more are in reserve. On Nov. 10, 2015, Marines will celebrate their 240th birthday.

Thinking of getting a pet? Or perhaps giving one to somebody? If you’re debating between a pet store or a shelter, you can consider these stats.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), across the United States every year:
some 7.6 million pets enter shelters, 96 percent of which are dogs and cats
26 percent of dogs, but only 5 percent of cats, are reunited with their owners
over one third of dogs and cats are adopted
31 percent of dogs and 41 percent of cats are put down
To be sure, about twice as many animals that enter shelters are strays versus being abandoned. It is therefore likely that some of the animals above were actually strays. But if you lose a pet and don’t check the local shelter, losing can easily turn into abandoning.
There are some 140–170 million cats and dogs owned in the United States. Tens of millions more are strays. The most common reason people get rid of a pet is because their residence doesn’t allow it. Other common reasons are death of the owner, divorce, or that the owner doesn’t have enough time to care for an animal. About 10 percent of dogs are relinquished because of behavior problems, and 10 percent of cats are given away because of allergies.
That’s it for the numbers. The rest is the same as what your parents probably told you: Getting a pet on impulse may be a bad idea. First learn what the animal actually needs to flourish and make sure you’re able to provide it over the long haul. And if you find it in your heart, perhaps enjoy one from a shelter.

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Being a photographer in the United States Marine Corps comes with incredible access. Wherever Marines are, there you are too, documenting.
Here we bring you some of the best works of Marine Corps official photographers. And as their work is extensive, there’s going to be part 2, and who knows how many more. Enjoy!
About the Marines
U.S. Marines were first established during the War of Independence though only two battalions of them. Over time, they’ve been involved, to a greater or lesser extent, in virtually every major armed conflict in American history.
For example, during the Spanish-American War at the turn of the last century, it was the Marines who seized a naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1898 and haven’t left since.
During the World War I, Marines gained reputation for their ferocity thanks to a far-sighted leadership. Expecting Japanese aggression, that Marines developed sophisticated amphibious combat techniques that became incredibly valuable during World War II, when the Marine Corps bore the main burden of the Pacific War. Little known is the fact that it was the Marine Corps, the so-called “China Marines,” who oversaw the surrender of Japan to China in 1945.
Almost 20,000 Marines laid down their lives in WWII.
The Marine were deployed in both the Korean and Vietnam wars, and fought in the Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and continue to be engaged in the War on Terrorism. Today, almost 200,000 men and women serve in active duty and 40,000 more are in reserve. On Nov. 10, 2015, Marines will celebrate their 240th birthday.

One World Observatory invited us to see the Big Apple as stunning as it gets on Friday, May 29. This is hands down, the broadest view of the city you can get, save a bird’s eye view from a blimp perhaps.
Standing 101 or 102 stories high, all that is teeming below suddenly seems distant and unrelated. Walking around the deck, one may gaze afar, spotting not only all the five boroughs, but parts of upstate, New Jersey, and even Long Island. And one of the best parts: the observatory doesn’t close until midnight (except during winter) so you can enjoy all the sunsets and glowing nighttime scenery that time and the $32 admission allows.
Understandably, be ready for a line to stand in and a routine security check, yet also an abundance of helpful staff and a few extras in the form of some slightly hi-tech presentations–which we will not spoil for you.
Just whizz up in one of the sky pods and see for yourself!

City in Focus: Viva Formosa

Friday, 29 May 2015 by

When European explorers reached the shores of the island of Taiwan, they called it “Formosa,” Portuguese for beautiful. With its long and rich history and lush natural treasures, Taiwan boasts a unique culture—notably Chinese, yet distinctly its own.
And such it was presented on a hot Sunday afternoon at the Passport to Taiwan festival at Union Square, Manhattan.
Performers showcased Taiwan’s artistic flair, and street vendors presented a colorful assortment of (mostly edible) Taiwanese specialties. The dense, largely Asian crowd, and the certain almost impromptu authenticity of the stands, made one feel as if transported to the middle of a street fair somewhere in the heart of Taiwan’s capital, Taipei. So grab a spoon dear visitor, or perhaps a pair of chopsticks, and dig in!

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The violent eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980 was not a one day event. For two months magma had been accumulating below the volcano, creating a huge ominous bulge on the mountain’s north slope, and generating thousands of small earthquakes.
A USGS geologist at Coldwater II observation post watching Mount St. Helens. (USGS)
On March 27, steam blasted through the volcano’s summit ice cap, creating a crater over 200 feet wide, covering the snow on the southeast side with dark ash. Within a week, the crater had grown to twice the size and two giant cracks emerged across the summit.
In March, eruptions were occurring approximately once per hour, then slowed to once per day by April 22, and then the activity subsided.
But on May 7, the eruptions resumed again, shaking the volcano and the bulge expanded at a rate of 6.5 feet (2 m) per day.
The crater area dropped in relation to the summit, and the growing bulge (right) shows pronounced fracturing because of its increased expansion, prior to the eruption of Mount St. Helens. (USGS)
Then, on May 18, at 8:32 a.m. local time, with no immediate precursor, a series of cataclysmic events began.
First came the earthquake, then the bulge and summit slid away in the largest debris avalanche in recorded history.
The landslide removed the part of the cryptodome, a very hot, highly pressurized body of magma inside the volcano. The removal of the cryptodome triggered powerful eruptions that unexpectedly, blasted laterally through the side of the mountain, sending a wave of fire-hot debris sliding down, overtaking the avalanche debris. The eruption removed nearly 1,000 feet (300 m) of the cone.
A few minutes later, the plume of ash rose up to the sky, reaching a height of 15 miles (24 km) within 15 minutes. For nine hours ash continued to spew, with the eruption reaching its peak between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m.
Ash column from the eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980. (USGS)
Winds carried 520 million tons of ash east across the country, covering Spokane, Washington in complete darkness, and reaching as far as as the Great Plains of the Central United States, over 930 miles (1,500 km) away.
The largest concentration of ash was nearest the Mt St. Helens eruption site. The ash spread to Washington, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma, and Idaho. (USGS)
Within 15 days, the ash cloud has circled the entire Earth.

Vegetation on Mount St. Helens (red) in 1979. (USGS)

Vegetation on Mount St. Helens (red) after the May 18, 1980 eruption. (USGS)
Mount St. Helens Facts
During the past 4,000 years, Mount St. Helens has erupted more frequently than any other volcano in the Cascade Range.
3,600 years ago, Native Americans abandoned hunting grounds devastated by an enormous eruption four times larger than the May 18, 1980 eruption.
In 1975, USGS geologists forecasted that Mount St. Helens would erupt again, “possibly before the end of the century.”
There was a lodge built on top of Mount St. Helens made by president Eisenhower.
On March 20, 1980, a magnitude 4.2 earthquake signaled the reawakening of the volcano after 123 years.
The blast and landslide removed the upper 1,306.8 ft (396 m) of the volcano.
The blast traveled at speeds of up to 670 mph (1,072 km/hr).
Within 15 minutes, a vertical plume of volcanic ash rose over 80,000 feet.
The volcanic ash cloud drifted east across the United States in 3 days and encircled Earth in 15 days.
Mount St. Helens destroyed over 500 homes.
The eruption killed many animals and people.
A two-month series of earthquakes followed the eruption.
The eruption was the most economically destructive volcanic event in U.S. history.
In September 2004, Mount St. Helens reawakened, and it erupted continuously until January 2008.

May 13 marked the 23rd year since Falun Dafa, a traditional Chinese practice of meditation that is now persecuted in its homeland, was taught to the public in Changchun, northeastern China. In anticipation of the holiday, practitioners of Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) around the world have held events and celebrations, and public officials have extended letters of greetings and congratulations.
The largest celebration of Falun Gong will take place in New York City this week, with a major conference featuring Falun Gong practitioners sharing their experiences in the discipline; a large parade through the center of Manhattan, with a marching band; and a live concert in Foley Square.
A total of 41 elected officials in either the city or state of New York issued official letters marking the occasion. These included, various citations, greeting letters, proclamations, and certificates of congratulations—four from the federal level, over 20 from district assemblymen or assemblywomen, and more than a dozen from the city, county, or township level, including councilors, borough presidents, mayors, and town supervisors. Federal officials include U.S. Reps. Zeldin Lee (R-N.Y.), Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), and Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.).
Other national United States politicians who issued letters of support include Sen. John Cornyn, of Texas, who said that gatherings like Falun Dafa Day “highlight the abundance of cultural heritage that makes our state great.” Three members of Congress from Texas also issued letters of congratulations and support.
The statements gathered from officials at all levels of government in countries around the world often condemn the persecution of Falun Gong and praise its contributions to society along the way expressing good wishes for the celebration of Falun Dafa Day.
For instance, in a letter, Canadian Member of Parliament Roxanne James said: “Through their core principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance, the Falun Dafa have shown their courage of conviction and continued perseverance in the face of adversity. Their encouragement of tolerance and harmony provide a positive and lasting impact here in Canada, as well as around the world.”
Falun Gong practitioners create a character formation of a lotus flower and of the Chinese Characters of “Zhen-Shan-Ren” (truth-compassion-tolerance), the principals of the practice, in Long Island City, Queens, for World Falun Dafa Day on May 13, 2015. (Larry Dye/Epoch Times)
Practitioners point to these official statements as a sign of how the practice of Falun Gong is accepted and welcomed around the world. The evidence of such acceptance is of particular importance in the context of mainland China.
In 1999 the Chinese Communist Party launched a campaign of hatred and vilification directed against the practice, a key component of a comprehensive and violent persecution. The propaganda was particularly vehement, given the awkwardness and difficulty of targeting for elimination a peaceful, traditional spiritual practice. It had become deeply rooted and widespread in Chinese society, and which just years previously was even supported by the regime.
After Falun Gong’s introduction to the public in 1992, Chinese official statements said that there were 70 million practitioners by the late 1990s, and Falun Gong sources estimate that around 100 million practiced it.
Falun Dafa practitioners at a vigil in front of Chinese Consulate in Manhattan for World Falun Dafa Day on May 12, 2015. (Edward Dye/Epoch Times)
As well as the events in New York City, World Falun Dafa Day is marked by practitioners who hold their own events around the world, and who also receive and cite letters of acknowledgement and congratulations from elected officials.
The Falun Gong website Minghui.org has reports of Dafa Day celebrations from Singapore, Turkey, the U.S. Midwest, Houston, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, France, England, and elsewhere. As the week goes on, more reports are expected to be published.
The day was celebrated in Montreal, Canada, on May 9, which was unusually hot. Practitioners held a parade through Chinatown, then did the exercises in a public square—some onlookers took photographs, while others learned the exercise movements.
In Brisbane, Australia, in the northern state of Queensland, poster displays were erected depicting the Falun Gong exercises and the practice’s journey from a few hundred students to millions of practitioners worldwide, most of whom are in China. Falun Gong volunteers also handed out fliers about the discipline, and collected signatures to be submitted to the United Nations human rights high commissioner to investigate the evidence of organ harvesting of Falun Gong adherents in China. Over 30 local public officials issued letters of support.
Laurel Andress and Nathalie Dieul contributed to this report.

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