With the summer solstice now two weeks gone, the northern hemisphere is heating up. High temperatures in some places have made working difficult and have taxed power grids as usage of electricity neared record levels in the U.S. Last weekend, the United States celebrated its 234th birthday on July 4th, with fireworks, parades and many other outdoor activities. Collected here today are a handful of recent photographs of people (and animals) either trying to beat the heat, or just enjoying a sunny summer's day [around the world].
A girl runs through water spraying from an open fire hydrant to keep cool in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York Monday July 5, 2010. Temperatures soared toward 100 degrees or more Tuesday along much of the East Coast after an extended Fourth of July weekend when temperatures inched into at least the 90s from Maine to Texas (Reuters/Eric Thayer)
People raise their hands meditating during the summer solstice shortly after 04:52 am at the Stonehenge monument, England, early Monday, June 21, 2010. Druids, pagans and partygoers crammed into the mystic stone circle to cheer, bang drums and shake tambourines in an effort to greet the sun on the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice. Stonehenge, on the Salisbury Plain about 140 km (90 mi) southwest of London, was built over three phases between 3000 B.C. and 1600 B.C. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A visitor to Kitsilano Beach reads a book while taking in the summer sun in Vancouver, British Columbia July 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)
An unidentified woman cools off under water sprayed from a fire engine on Independence Day in Philadelphia, Sunday, July 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A woman holds her surfboard as the E line of the subway passes by the West 4th street station in New York, June 30, 2010. (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)
A volunteer scoops up an armful of yellow rubber ducks during the 3rd Annual Great Red, White & Blue Duck Race on Sunday, July 4, 2010 at the Rob Fleming Aquatic Center in The Woodlands, Texas. Over 8,000 rubber ducks made their way down the aquatic center's "lazy river." The event benefits the Montgomery County Emergency Assistance organization which helps residents of Montgomery County, Texas who are experiencing an unexpected financial need or crisis. (AP Photo/The Courier, Eric S. Swist)
Pia enjoys the fresh water as she jumps into a little lake in Unken in the Austrian province of Salzburg, Saturday, July 3, 2010. (AP Photo/ Kerstin Joensson)
Hunter Linderman, 8, of Queen Creek, Arizona dives into a pit of mud as he runs through an obstacle course of water and mud at the 35th annual Mighty Mud Mania Saturday, June 19, 2010, in Scottsdale, Arizona. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
People cool off themselves in a canal in Lahore, Pakistan, where the temperature reached 46 degrees Celsius (114.8 Fahrenheit) on Sunday, June 20, 2010. (AP Photo/K M Chaudhry)
An Asian elephant sprays water as it cools off at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. on July 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
"Rain Dance" participants of all ages dance under water sprinklers to cool off in the heat at the Karnavati Club in Ahmedabad, India on June 13, 2010. (SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks cascade through the sky above the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, July 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
People cool off from the heat of the day under water sprayed from a fire engine on Independence Day in Philadelphia, Sunday, July 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A man floats in the sea to cool off on a hot summer day in Civitavecchia, Italy on July 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito)
People cool off by splashing each other with water near an opened hydrant on July 6, 2010 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)
In this photo taken on Monday evening, June 21, 2010, Alaska Goldpanners pitcher Ryan Cabral delivers a pitch against the Heroes of the Diamond in the 105th Annual Midnight Sun Baseball Classic at Growden Memorial Park in Fairbanks, Alaska. The one-of-a-kind game starts at 10:30 p.m. on the summer solstice and is played entirely with out artificial lighting. (AP Photo/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, John Wagner)
Hot dogs are displayed on stage at the 2010 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at the original Nathan's Famous in Coney Island on July 4, 2010 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Joey Chestnut won this year's event, eating 54 hot dogs in 10 minutes, while his biggest rival Takeru Kobayashi didn't compete due to a contract dispute with Major League Eating. Later, Kobayashi was arrested for attempting to hop a barricade and get on the stage after the event.
A bee searches for nectar in a pink coneflower at Miss Nellie's Pretty Place in Cameron Park in Waco, Texas on June 7, 2010. (AP Photo/ Waco Tribune Herald, Jerry Larson)
Jordanian boys cool off under a fountain during an unseasonal heat wave in downtown Amman, Jordan on June 15, 2010. (REUTERS/Ali Jarekji)
Cows graze on a snow covered pasture at Tschuggen above Davos, Switzerland on Sunday, June 20, 2010. One day before the astronomical beginning of summer the snow line in Switzerland dropped down to 1,500 meters. (AP Photo/Keystone/Arno Balzarini)
A wakeboarder performs at the water ski and wakeboard center in Dresden, Germany on July 3, 2010. (Robert Michael/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese men jump into the Han River during a hot summer day in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Friday, July 2, 2010. (AP Photo)
Men use a fire hydrant to stay cool on one of the hottest days of the year in Brooklyn, New York on July 6, 2010. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)
A guest swims in the infinity pool of the Skypark that tops the Marina Bay Sands hotel towers in Singapore June 24, 2010. The Sands Skypark, which recently opened to the public, features a 150-meter infinity pool overlooking Singapore's city skyline and Marina Bay, a public observation deck and a restaurant run by a celebrity chef. (REUTERS/Vivek Prakash)
A boy cools off in a fountain at Parque das Nacoes place during a hot sunny day in downtown Lisbon on July 6, 2010. (PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)
With two empty Adirondack chairs next to a fire pit, a rainbow stretches across the sky at Adams Pond in East Derry, New Hampshire on July 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
A man jumps into the Black Sea in Sochi, Russia on July 6, 2010 to cool off from the hot temperatures. (MIKHAIL MORDASOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Youngsters enjoy a swing ride in an Athens amusement park at sunset in Greece on July 6, 2010. (REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis)
A grizzly bear shakes itself as it comes out of the water at Madrid's zoo on July 7, 2010 on a hot summer day. (Dani Pozo/AFP/Getty Images)
A child jumps from the top of a boat at a popular location called Shell Island in Panama City, Florida on July 3rd, 2010. (© Jonathon Burns)
A person cools off in spraying water from a fire hydrant in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, Tuesday, July 6, 2010. The East Coast broiled under an unforgiving sun Tuesday as the temperature soared above 100 degrees in several cities, utility companies cranked out power to cool the sweating masses and the unlucky sought any oasis they could find.
AP / Matt Rourke
A child cools off in the East River during a visit to the Brooklyn Bridge Park, Monday, July 5, 2010, in New York.
AP / Mary Altaffer
People cool off by splashing each other with water in a housing complex on July 6, 2010 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for parts of the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and parts of Michigan and Kentucky with temperatures in some areas predicted to reach 100 degrees.
Getty Images / Ramin Talaie
Jadyn Olivia Gonce, 4, from the Bronx borough of New York, foreground, runs through the water as she and others play in a sprinkler at a playground in New York Tuesday July 6, 2010.
AP / Tina Fineberg
Nancy Calex, right, and Zoraida Pena fan themselves as they wait in the heat for a bus Tuesday, July 6, 2010, in New York.
AP / Tina Fineberg
A woman takes cover from the late morning sun along 72nd Street in New York, Tuesday, July 6, 2010, as the region entered another in a string of hot days and above normal temperatures.
AP / Craig Ruttle
Vince Blackson, with the United Planning Organization a community action group, gives water to Michael Smith, who is lying in the shade in the hot weather in Washington Tuesday, July 6, 2010.
AP / Alex Brandon
Kamal Kalkhoran, 8, far left, and his brother Kameal, 11, second from left, tread water as Greg Cooper, 12, dives into the Mystic River as Jonathan Cooper, 9, looks on from the Main Street dock in the Groton, Conn., village of Noank, on Monday, July 5, 2010. A string of hot days were expected this week, with temperatures en route to 100-plus degrees in some places. Temperatures reached into at least the 90s Monday from Maine to Texas, into the Southwest and Death Valley.
The Day / Sean D. Elliot
Campers at the New London, Conn., Parks and Recreation day camp at Toby May Field react to getting hosed down to beat the heat Tuesday, July 6, 2010.
The Day / Tim Cook
Ramses, a White African lion, licks his mate as they lay comfortably in the shade at the Capron Park Zoo in Attleboro, Mass., Tuesday July 6, 2010. With temperatures in the area pushing close to 100 degrees, the lions rested in a climate close to their species origin.
AP / Charles Krupa
Roosevelt Price towels off before heading in to his job as a truck loader at Custom Engineering Co. (background) in Erie, Pa., Tuesday, July 6, 2010. Price walks about a mile to work each day.
Erie Times-News / Christopher Millette
A person cools off in spraying water from a fire hydrant in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, Tuesday, July 6, 2010.
AP / Matt Rourke
People rest in the shade of a building in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, Tuesday, July 6, 2010.
AP / Matt Rourke
Children cool off in a fountain on the site of the Montreal International Jazz Festival Tuesday, July 6, 2010 in Montreal.
The Canadian Press / Paul Chiasson
Brothers Mohammed, 10, left, and Yousef Othman, 3, try to cool off while playing in the water fountains at Dundas Square in Toronto Monday, July 5, 2010.
The Canadian Press / Darren Calabrese
People try to cool off as they sit around the fountains at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden July 6, 2010 in Washington, D.C. Temperatures soared across the upper East Coast today with temperatures in the nation's capital reaching 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
Getty Images / Win McNamee
From left, David Rose, 3, Kathryn Rose, 6, and Emma Rose, 5, from Hebron, N.Y., splash in the water at the fountain in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden in Washington Tuesday, July 6, 2010, as a heat wave hit the East Coast. The National Archives is seen at rear.
AP / Alex Brandon
Ryan White, 10, of Richmond, takes a plunge on a rope swing on Belle Island near downtown Richmond, Va., Tuesday, July 6, 2010. AP / Steve Helber
Elizabeth Christman, left, and her sister Emily lay on the ledge of a fountain on the campus of Butler University after they cooled off in the water as temperatures approached 95F (35C) degrees in Indianapolis, Tuesday, July 6, 2010.
AP / Michael Conroy
Ervin Holmes plays with his daughter Kymyrea Unik Holmes, 1, in the lake at Paul B. Johnson State Park, on Monday, July 5, 2010, near Hattiesburg, Miss.
Hattiesburg American / Matt Bush
Brenda McMillian from Port Orange, Fla., cools off in a water mister at the National Zoo in Washington, Tuesday, July 6, 2010.
AP / Charles Dharapak