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a Fire Helmet belonging to Chief Joseph Pfeifer. This object is now part of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. More photos, and stories about those objects, below (source: REUTERS). A related news item about the museum is here. Joseph Pfiefer, the battalion chief of Engine 7, Ladder 1, was on a routine call in downtown Manhattan when he heard the roar of American Airlines Flight 11 passing overhead on course for the North Tower of the World Trade Center. His unit was one of the first to arrive at the scene, and he set up a command center in the North Tower's lobby. That day, he was being followed by two French filmmaker brothers, Jules and Gedeon Naudet, and their footage from the scene shows Pfiefer's brother Kevin, also a firefighter in a different unit, preparing to head upstairs for the unfolding rescue mission. When the South Tower collapsed, Pfiefer radioed evacuation orders to his officers in the North Tower. Pfiefer, along with the rest of Ladder 1, survived that day. His brother did not. The museum, which occupies seven stories below the ground of the World Trade Center site--is still being built at the site of the fallen towers. It is due only to open in 2012, on the 11th anniversary of the attacks. Blood-stained shoes worn by Linda Lopez as she evacuated from the 97th Floor of Tower 2 on September 11, 2001. She was at work at the Fiduciary Trust Company on the South Tower's 97th floor when the first plane crashed into North Tower, sending a fireball past their window and radiating a heat that she said felt like being sunburned. A recovered FDNY Squad 252 helmet belonging to deceased FDNY member Kevin M. Prior is seen in this photograph before becoming a part of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York August 22, 2011. Kevin Prior, a firefighter with Brooklyn's Squad 252, can be seen in video footage of the North Tower lobby recorded after the first plane hit getting ready to go upstairs. Responding to a mayday call sent out by fellow firefighters encountering breathing problems, he and five other members of the squad are thought to have been on a floor in the 20s when the tower collapsed.

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view September 11: Found artifacts at the 9/11 Museum as presented by: Boing Boing


As the California Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown cutting billions of dollars in government services to help balance the state budget, nowhere are the effects likely to be felt more deeply than in Tulare County. It has become the Golden State’s welfare capital. Nearly a quarter of the population in this Central Valley agricultural region lives in poverty, and one in three residents receives state aid. Unemployment – among the highest in the state – remains on the rise. Local officials fear that residents already pushed into poverty might now tumble into homelessness. For Patricia Dickerson, a mother of five who has been unable to find work since losing her job two years ago, another reduction in her monthly welfare check could mean a shutoff of her electricity. Last week, she clutched a romance novel while waiting in a line at a county welfare office. At home, a stack of letters from the state has gone unread. “My fantasy,” she said, holding up the book. “I don’t like to read bad news right now.” Terry Dickerson, 4, crawls down a hallway on her way to bed. She shares a bed with her mother and sister. Mark Dickerson puts up a sheet over the front windows as daughters Koreena, Terry and Keera play before bedtime.

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view Poverty Makes Tulare County California’s Welfare Capital as presented by: Los Angeles Times


This week, Mexico commemorated the 200th anniversary of the beginning of its War of Independence. In September of 1810, a Mexican priest named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla uttered a call to arms against the Spanish, later known as the Grito de Dolores ("Cry of Dolores"). Soon after began a series of battles with the Spanish that would build into a war that lasted over a decade, eventually resulting in independence. This bicentennial year, tens of thousands of Mexicans thronged the streets of Mexico City to celebrate. The celebrations took place under a somewhat subdued light though, amid the violence of a brutal nationwide drug war and vocal criticism of government spending on the lavish ceremonies. Collected here are photos of this week's celebration of 200 years of Mexican independence. Members of the military wearing traditional clothing, take part in a rehearsal ahead of Mexico's bicentennial Independence parade in Mexico City. Miss Universe 2010 Ximena Navarrete, from Mexico, speaks to the press as she arrives at Benito Juarez International Airport to be an honored guest at Mexico's Bicentennial celebrations. A performer representing America rides on a float during a parade as Mexico marks its 200th anniversary in Mexico City.

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view Mexico's Bicentennial as presented by: Boston Big Picture



Water, it is all around us and yet so many of us are in short supply of it.

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view Drops And Splashes as presented by: Totally Cool Pix


Firefighters say calm, cool morning weather has dampened a Kern County wildfire that's burned 25 structures. The blaze about 10 miles south of Tehachapi still threatens 150 homes but fire spokesman John Buchanan says he sees mainly smoke and embers Thursday morning. However, the area about 70 miles north of Los Angeles gets gusty afternoon winds and Buchanan says firefighters are expecting gusts of up to 14 mph. The 1,400-acre fire began Tuesday and is 25 percent contained. Firefighters expect to have it fully surrounded by Friday. A helicopter flies over burning timber on way to drop water on Kern County fire near Tehachapi, Calif., on Wednesday, July 28, 2010, as firefighters try to mop up the blaze which destroyed more than 30 structures in the area. An inmate crew marches to the fire at Old West Ranch were residents were evacuated due to a wildfire about 10 miles southeast of the Mojave Desert town of Tehachapi, Calif. A bulldozer pushes over a burning tree that caught fire at Old West Ranch.

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view Wildfire in Kern County, California as presented by: Sacramento Bee


The world famous San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain has kicked off again. The festival is best known for it’s daily running of the bulls through the narrow streets. Thousands of revellers take part in this ritual, often still hung over from the party the night before. It all makes for a great cultural event, but there is a serious, more traditional side to the San Fermin festival. Each day matadors climb into the arena to fight (and kill) the bulls, but most revellers forget about that part and simply gear up for another night of drinking and a new morning of running. Revellers hold up red scarves during the start of the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona July 6, 2011. The festival, best known for its daily running of the bulls, kicked off on Tuesday with the traditional Chupinazo rocket launch and will run until July 14. Runners sprint in front of Torrestrella fighting bulls at the entrance to the bullring during the first running of the bulls of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona July 7, 2011. Four people suffered minor injuries in the run that lasted two and a half minutes, according to local news sources.

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view San Fermin aka Running Of The Bulls as presented by: Totally Cool Pix


Diversity is everywhere in India, from its religions and languages to its economy, and climates. The second-most populous nation in the world, India is home to more than 1.2 billion people. Most are Hindu, but seven other religions -- including Islam, Christianity and Sikhism -- make up nearly 20 percent of the population. January 26 will be India's 62nd Republic Day, marking the date in 1950 when the country's constitution came into force. Collected here are recent photos from across the vast nation, offering only a small glimpse of the people and diversity of India. Indian dancers perform during the 2011 Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) gala night in Gurgaon on the outskirts of New Delhi, on December 9, 2011. Indian children dressed as Hindu God Shiva, right, and Parvati, hold a toy gun as they pose for a photograph during the annual traditional fair of Magh Mela at the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, in Allahabad, India, on January 15, 2012. Indian beggars with their arms stretched ask for alms from Buddhist devotees visiting the Mahabodhi temple, believed to be the place where Buddha attained enlightenment, during the Kalachakra Buddhist festival in the town of Bodh Gaya, in the eastern state of Bihar, India, on January 6, 2012.

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view Scenes From India as presented by: The Atlantic


Peter Otieno, 5, stood at a school in Kibera, Kenya’s largest slum, Monday. He is infected with HIV and both his parents died of AIDS. The preschool is managed by the Nyanyo Project, which works to empower grandparents who care for their HIV-positive grandchildren. A man pulled his bicycle at a parking area outside a railway station in Tachikawa, western Tokyo. Volunteers David Patterson and Matthew Poorman searched a dumpster Tuesday in Holiday City, Ohio, for three brothers who have been missing since a Thanksgiving Day visit to their father’s home: Andrew Skelton, 9, Alexander Skelton, 7, and Tanner Skelton, 5. Their father, John Skelton, has tried to hang himself and police said he lied to them.

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view Photos of the Day: Nov. 30 as presented by: Wall Street Journal



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