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Amsterdam, capital city of the Netherlands, has quite a reputation with sights that draw over 3.66 million visitors every year. Famous for it’s cannabis coffee shops, red light district, and historic canals, Amsterdam is also a cultural hotbed with many notable museums, including the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, and the Anne Frank House. Architecture buffs will also delight in this city. With so many visitors, the city is very easy to get around and there is ample accommodation for every budget.

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view Amsterdam, Netherlands as presented by: Beautiful Places To Visit


Costa Rica fishermen return with their catch as seagulls fly around their boat during sunset in Puntarenas, Costa Rica's Pacific coast near Venado Island March 22, 2006. Competing against large fishing operations, four hundred residents of this small 10-square-kilometer island fish as their only means of income. Indian boys sit on the roof of a house during sunset in the northern Indian city of Jammu May 18, 2005. The sun rises over a Joshua tree in Joshua Tree National Park, California, November 28, 2005. The park includes the high Mojave Desert of southern California and preserves both low and high desert ecosystems within its nearly 800,000 acres.

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Saturday's earthquake in China's Sichuan province, measured by China's earthquake administration at magnitude 7.0 and by the U.S. Geological Survey at 6.6, killed at least 192 people, injured more than 11,000 and left nearly two dozen missing, mostly in the rural communities around Ya'an city. The temblor struck along the same fault line where a devastating quake to the north killed more than 90,000 people in Sichuan and neighboring areas five years ago in one of China's worst natural disasters. Relief teams flew in helicopters and dynamited through landslides to reach some of the most isolated communities, where rescuers in orange overalls led sniffer dogs through piles of brick, concrete and wood debris to search for survivors. Residents line up for packets of instant noodles in the earthquake struck county of Lushan in southwestern China's Sichuan province, Monday, April 22, 2013. Saturday's earthquake in Sichuan province killed at least 186 people, injured more than 11,000 and left nearly two dozen missing, mostly in the rural communities around Ya'an city, along the same seismic fault where a devastating quake to the north killed more than 90,000 people in Sichuan and neighboring areas five years ago in one of China's worst natural disasters. An elderly woman sleeps behind plastic covers along a roadside in the quake ravage county of Lushan. medical workers take care of a newborn boy in a tent functioned as temporary hospital in quake-hit Taiping Township of Lushan, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Tuesday, April 23, 2013. The boy's mother Yang Yan, a 20-year-old woman, and father Chen Wei arrived at the hospital in early Tuesday, after making the long journey for over three hours from their home in Xingmin village of Taiping Township.

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A massive storm billed as the worst in decades barreled toward the Northeast on Wednesday, paralyzing big cities and small towns alike with deep snow and thick ice, stranding hundreds of motorists and shuttering airports and schools across the Midwest. The 20.2 inches of snow that fell by midday in Chicago made the storm the city’s third-largest on record, with still more coming down. A foot or more was dumped on parts of Missouri, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma and upstate New York. New York City was expected to get up to three-quarters of an inch of ice before the mix of sleet and freezing rain warms up to rain. The storm was, if not unprecedented, extraordinarily rare, National Weather Service meteorologist Thomas Spriggs said. Groundskeeper Josh Pemberton clears a path near the MU Quadrangle on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 in Columbia, Mo. A sign warns people of ice during the morning commute along in lower Manhattan on February 2, 2011 in New York City. The icy weather is part of a massive winter storm that stretches from New Mexico to Maine and has brought freezing rain and blizzard conditions to more than 30 states. Michigan State University students Andrew Rennaker and Emily Vezina have fun in the heavy snowfall as they sled down the street in East Lansing, Mich. on Wednesday.

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view Captured: Huge Winter Storm Moves Across the US as presented by: Denver Post


With hundreds still missing, and 75 already confirmed dead, rescuers struggled to find survivors on the second night after a devastating earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand's second largest city Tuesday. Buildings crumbled into the streets after the 6.3 magnitude earthquake, which geologists consider an aftershock to a 7.1 earthquake that caused no casualties in September. Tuesday’s temblor was more devastating and deadly because it was centered only six miles from the city's center and hit during the middle of a workday. The Government has declared a national state of emergency. Officials estimated there could be 100 people trapped in the CTV building alone. Workers attempt to extinguish a fire at the collapsed building of King's Education School, where a group of Japanese students are reportedly trapped. The top three floors of the four-story building collapsed. The facade of a building has crushed a car in Christchurch Tuesday. Murray and Kelly James look at their destroyed house in central Christchurch Wednesday.

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view Christchurch Earthquake as presented by: Boston Big Picture


Every year, Hindus greet the turn of winter into spring with a splash of color -- in some areas, a geyser of color. They call their celebration the festival of Holi, and Hindus across India and throughout the world share prayer, camaraderie, special food, and a general sense of mischief as they douse each other in dyes and colored water. The large festival has roots to many Hindu legends associated with the triumph of good over evil. One of the best-known stories tells the tale of the demoness Holika, who tried to kill Prahlad, the son of the demon king Hiranyakashyap, for refusing to worship his father. Instead, Holika is consumed in flames, which is replayed each year with bonfires and effigies, before the celebrants break out the hues and cries of the festival. Pakistani Hindus throw buckets of reds and yellows over each other during their celebration of Holi in Lahore on March 20. Revelers celebrate on the deck of the ship Peking at South Street Seaport in Manhattan on March 19. The celebration also included Indian food and music. An Indian vendor arranges the arsenal for celebrants of Holi -- colored powder -- at his shop in Hyderabad, India.

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The U.S. Navy wants to put powerful lasers on its ships to shoot down artillery shells and even cruise missiles at the speed of light (and really, who wouldn't). But there are a few scientific details to sort out before sailors can deploy the beams. "First we want to make sure the physics is right before throwing buckets of salt water over the thing," says Ed Pogue. Pogue is the program manager for Boeing's free electron laser (FEL) program, potentially the most ambitious laser weapons program since the Pentagon's controversial airborne laser. In that program, the Missile Defense Agency spent billions of dollars and over a decade to get a laser-rigged jumbo jet to destroy a ballistic missile in its boost phase of flight. They eventually succeeded in February 2010, but the Obama administration nixed plans to develop the experiment into a battle-ready weapon. Maybe the Navy's project will meet a better fate. In 5 years, at a cost of $163 million, Boeing hopes to get the physics right and demonstrate an extremely powerful--and hopefully seaworthy--giant laser. It's no small task, in part because the laser they're using is powered by several particle accelerators. Here's an overview of how the Navy's free electron laser works. These are the guts of the high voltage power supply, which provides juice to the electron gun. When the system is fully assembled, the six-foot-high metallic coils will be sealed in a pressurized chamber filled with a gas called sulfur hexafluoride. The massive amounts of power--hundreds of kilovolts--that the coils produce can cause arc discharges, when energy is discharged into the air. The sulfur hexafluoride prevents that from happening because it doesn't conduct electricity as well as air does.

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view How to Build the Ultimate Naval Defense: Uber-Powerful Lasers as presented by: Discover Magazine


With fierce barrages of tank and artillery fire, Moammar Gadhafi’s loyalists threw rebels into a frantic retreat from a strategic oil port Thursday in a counteroffensive that reversed the opposition’s advance toward the capital of Tripoli and now threatens its positions in the east. Hundreds of rebels in cars and trucks mounted with machine guns sped eastward on the Mediterranean coastal road in a seemingly disorganized flight from Ras Lanouf as an overwhelming force of rockets and shells pounded a hospital, mosque and other buildings in the oil complex. Doctors and staff at the hospital were hastily evacuated along with wounded from fighting from the past week. The rout came even as the opposition made diplomatic gains. France became the first country to recognize the rebels’ eastern-based governing council, and an ally of President Nicolas Sarkozy said his government was planning “targeted operations” to defend civilians if the international community approves. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she would meet with opposition leaders in the U.S., Egypt and Tunisia. In Tripoli, Gadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam vowed to retake the eastern half of the country, which has been in opposition hands since early in the 3-week-old uprising. A Libyan volunteer carries ammunition on the outskirts of the eastern town of Ras Lanouf, Libya, Thursday, March 10, 2011. Government forces drove hundreds of rebels from a strategic oil port with rockets and tank shells on Thursday, significantly expanding Moammar Gadhafi's control of Libya. Libyan rebel fighters try to defend a gate of the north-central key Libyan oil town of Ras Lanuf as Moamer Kadhafi's loyalist forces approach their positions on March 10, 2011, where at least four people were killed and 35 wounded as rebels retreated under continous government rocket and sniper fire. Anti-Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi rebel, sit next to a mulitiple rockets launcher as flames rises from a fuel storage facility that attacked during a fighting against pro-Moammar Gadhafi fighters, in Sidr town, eastern Libya, on Wednesday March 9, 2011. A high-ranking member of the Libyan military flew to Cairo on Wednesday with a message for Egyptian army officials from Moammar Gadhafi, whose troops pounded opposition forces with artillery barrages and gunfire in at least two major cities. Gadhafi appeared to be keeping up the momentum he has seized in recent days in his fight against rebels trying to move on the capital, Tripoli, from territory they hold in eastern Libya.

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