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These 12 Mind-Blowing Space Images Just Won A Photography Competition

Last week, the winners were announced for the prestigious 2014 Astronomy Photography of the Year competition. Photographers competed to place in seven categories, as well as to be named the overall winner.

British photographer James Woodend took the top prize for his photograph, “Aurora over a Glacier Lagoon,” taken in Iceland’s Vatnajökull National Park, seen above. Besides honor, Woodend also won £1,500, or about $2,450.

This photo, named runner up in the “Deep Space” category, was taken by David Fitz-Henry from Australia. He photographed the Helix Nebula, one of the closest planetary nebula to Earth, which resembles an eye “looking across 700 light years of space,” as the photos caption puts it.

This photo, named runner up in the "Deep Space" category, was taken by David Fitz-Henry from Australia. He photographed the Helix Nebula, one of the closest planetary nebula to Earth, which resembles an eye "looking across 700 light years of space," as the photos caption puts it.

The winning photograph, taken by Bill Synder, is a stunning shot of the Horsehead Nebula. Snyder chose a wider angle for the shot, further depicting the awe-inducing scale of this massive form.

The winning photograph, taken by Bill Synder, is a stunning shot of the Horsehead Nebula. Snyder chose a wider angle for the shot, further depicting the awe-inducing scale of this massive form.

In the category of “Our Solar System,” the runner up was this image by George Tarsoudis of Tycho, a crater on our moon which can be seen easily from Earth and boasts a diameter of 53 miles.

In the category of "Our Solar System," the runner up was this image by George Tarsoudis of Tycho, a crater on our moon which can be seen easily from Earth and boasts a diameter of 53 miles.

The winner for “Our Solar System” was this photograph, titled “Ripples in a Pond,” depicting the boiling surface of the sun and was taken by Alexandra Hart. “The region of solar activity on the left could engulf the Earth several times over with room to spare,” the Royal Observatory says.

The winner for "Our Solar System" was this photograph, titled "Ripples in a Pond," depicting the boiling surface of the sun and was taken by Alexandra Hart. "The region of solar activity on the left could engulf the Earth several times over with room to spare," the Royal Observatory says.

Julie Fletcher’s photo of “zodiacal light [rising] from the horizon like a pyramid with the brilliant point of Venus at its apex,” earned her runner up in the “People & Space” category.

Julie Fletcher's photo of "zodiacal light [rising] from the horizon like a pyramid with the brilliant point of Venus at its apex," earned her runner up in the "People & Space" category.

The winner of that category, though, was this epic picture by Eugen Kamenew of a rare hybrid solar eclipse, which only happens every 160 years.

The winner of that category, though, was this epic picture by Eugen Kamenew of a rare hybrid solar eclipse, which only happens every 160 years.

This photo, taken by Mark Hanson at the Rancho Hidalgo Observatory in Animas, New Mexico, of the NGC 3718 galaxy won the award for best “Robotic Scope” image. “Gravitational interactions with its near neighbor NGC 3729 (the spiral galaxy below and to the left) are the likely reason for the galaxy’s warped spiral arms,” the Royal Observatory explains.

This photo, taken by Mark Hanson at the Rancho Hidalgo Observatory in Animas, New Mexico, of the NGC 3718 galaxy won the award for best "Robotic Scope" image. "Gravitational interactions with its near neighbor NGC 3729 (the spiral galaxy below and to the left) are the likely reason for the galaxy’s warped spiral arms," the Royal Observatory explains.

This time lapse image by Emmett Sparling of the night sky on News Years Eve 2014 over Cypress Mountain in British Columbia, garner him the spot as runner up for “Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year.”

This time lapse image by Emmett Sparling of the night sky on News Years Eve 2014 over Cypress Mountain in British Columbia, garner him the spot as runner up for "Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year."

The winner of that award, though, was Shishir & Shashank Dholakia for their image of the Horsehead Nebula, which “draws particular attention to the cloud of heavily concentrated dust within the horsehead.”

The winner of that award, though, was Shishir & Shashank Dholakia for their image of the Horsehead Nebula, which "draws particular attention to the cloud of heavily concentrated dust within the horsehead."

While deep in the remote Wairarapa district of New Zealand, Chris Murphy got this amazing shot of the Milky Way with rock formations in the foreground. This shot earned Murphy the Sir Patrick Moore Prize For Best Newcomer.

While deep in the remote Wairarapa district of New Zealand, Chris Murphy got this amazing shot of the Milky Way with rock formations in the foreground. This shot earned Murphy the Sir Patrick Moore Prize For Best Newcomer.

Second place in the “Earth & Space” category was Matt James with this photo of the Capital Wind Farm on the shore of Lake George, taken in Australia near the town of Bungendore.

Second place in the "Earth & Space" category was Matt James with this photo of the Capital Wind Farm on the shore of Lake George, taken in Australia near the town of Bungendore.

This shot, taken by James Woodend of a green aurora over Iceland’s Vatnajökull National Park, won the “Earth & Space” category and was also named the best overall photo. We’re not surprised.

This shot, taken by James Woodend of a green aurora over Iceland’s Vatnajökull National Park, won the "Earth & Space" category and was also named the best overall photo. We're not surprised.
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The 10 best places in the world to retire in 2017

There’s a new best country in the world to retire, according to the experts at International Living (IL), an authority on global retirement and relocation opportunities. In its Annual Global Retirement Index , Mexico — one of the most popular countries among US expats — has edged out last year’s No. 1, Panama.

But truth be told, Mexico (which was ranked No. 3 in 2016), Panama and Ecuador are within a hair of each other in the new International Living rankings.

“There’s just a tenth of a percentage point difference in their total rankings,” said Dan Prescher, an International Living senior editor who lives with is wife Suzan Haskins in Cotacachi, Ecuador.

Continue reading The 10 best places in the world to retire in 2017

Incredible Historical Photos From One of the World’s Best Museums

Normally, museums are our portals to the past. So when 100-year-old snapshots of a museum itself surface, the result is a double punch of amazing vintage awesomeness.

Security guard with plaster, wood, and metal moon model. (1898)

That’s why, when we learned that the  Field Museum of Natural History was posting many of its historical photos online, we couldn’t wait to dive in.

Tinish, an orphaned baboon, gets a ride on a man named Allamayu’s shoulder during a 1926-1927 Africa expedition. (1927)

The hundreds of photos include plates from the museum’s 1893 birth during the World’s Columbian Exposition (a.k.a. the Chicago World’s Fair), when artifacts and collections needed somewhere to live.

Six unidentified carpenters, one tiny cat, and an unidentified male statue leaning against the column outside the Field Columbian Museum. (1914)

They take you inside the museum’s original home in Chicago’s Jackson Park (when it was informally known as the Field Columbian Museum), where you can see taxidermists and botanists preparing displays.

Fighting African elephants being transported by rail from the Field Columbian museum to the new site in Grant Park. (1920)

And there are photos showing how crews loaded those fragile display cases onto the rail cars that would freight them across the city in 1920 to their new home.

Museum director Frederick J.V. Skiff in his office. (1895)

But that’s not all. Those yearning for the old-school collecting expeditions of yesteryear can find photos from trips to places like Africa, Peru, the South Pacific, and Oregon.

A 1920’s advertisement suggesting visitors take the Illinois Central railroad to the museum. (1929)

People, plants, and animals that lived more than a century ago are once again visible, including renowned taxidermist and sculptor Carl Akeley, and a little orphaned baboon who became a special member of an 1890′s Africa expedition.

Milton Copulos, plant model maker, trimming model leaves for the vanilla vine model in the Botany Plant Reproduction Laboratory. (1913)

Now, a more than a century later, the Field Museum is one of the most beloved of Chicago’s citizens. The behemoth institution houses more than 24 million specimens and draws millions of visitors each year.

Hall 36, Paleontology: On the right is a megalodon jaw (“Hands Off”) with modern shark jaw for comparison. Other specimens include deer and a hadrosaur. (1895)

Among other things, it has Sue, the world’s most complete T. rex fossil (she even has her own witty, meat-loving Twitter account), the Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo, and some of the largest fish, bird skin, and mollusk collections in the world.

Lt. Colonel John Patterson, who killed the Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo, shown here in Kenya (he’s the one with the dog). (1898)

We’ve pulled some of our favorite photos from the archive for you, but there are many more in the museum’s Flickr stream and Tumblr to stare at. Narwhals, hippos, sarcophagi, sunfish, totem poles? They’re all in there.

Late 19th century taxidermy: large mammals and cats in glass exhibit cases and in a diorama group at the Field Columbian Museum. (1899)

Porn star: Trump said I reminded him of Ivanka after sex

Porn star Stormy Daniels told a magazine six years ago that she had an affair with Donald Trump starting right after his wife Melania gave birth to their son, Barron — adding that the business magnate was nothing special in the sack.

“[The sex] was textbook generic,” Daniels — whose real name is Stephanie Clifford — told InTouch magazine in 2011. It “was nothing crazy. It was one position, what you would expect someone his age to do.”

The interview — which is being published for the first time in the mag’s Jan. 29 edition — surfaced Wednesday.

Daniels now denies the pair had any relationship — although the Wall Street Journal recently reported that that’s because she was paid a reported $130,000 in hush money in October 2016. Daniels also denies being paid.

Continue reading Porn star: Trump said I reminded him of Ivanka after sex

Emmanuel Macron ‘agrees to loan Bayeux Tapestry to Britain’

French president to allow artefact to leave the country for first time for 950 years

The Bayeux Tapestry will be loaned to Britain after the French president agreed to let it leave his country for the first time in 950 years, the Guardian understands.

Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce that the artefact depicting the Norman conquest of England after the Battle of Hastings in 1066 will be moved from its current location in Normandy to the UK at an Anglo-French summit on Thursday.

Continue reading Emmanuel Macron ‘agrees to loan Bayeux Tapestry to Britain’

Ex-CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee held over secret records

A former CIA officer has been arrested in the US on charges of unlawful retention of classified information.

Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a naturalised US citizen, was held at New York’s JFK airport on Monday, the US justice department said.

He worked for the CIA between 1994 and 2007, when he left for Hong Kong.

The case is thought to be linked to an FBI investigation. which began in 2012, into the crippling of the CIA’s spy operation in China.

Continue reading Ex-CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee held over secret records

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