The Devil and Miss Prym

This book was phenomenally written, as are ALL of Coelho’s books. His writing is touching, inspiring and well advanced in comparison to many of his colleagues. The book battles between good & bad, right & wrong… Above all, his writing inspires me due to his ability to leave me to come to my own conclusions. He thoroughly explains every single person’s story, why they are who they are, how they got to be who they became & what obstacles they each overcame in life. Amazing for anyone willing to accept that there is no ultimate right or wrong & that each being has their own unique destiny & their own reality. Coelho is absolutely, hands down, the best at ensuring that each person’s story & struggle is felt. 

The story line is simple- a man who has been hurt by his own past (I will not provide the history and spoil the book) goes into a quiet village town to test what all human beings ultimately want to know- are humans at core good or evil? A series of unexpected and amazing events leaves you amazed at how the most simple of life’s complexities can leave you questioning life’s grandest concepts the most.

 

Image

At Home Remedies- Masks & Scrubs

Sugar Scrub:

1/2 cup sugar, full cup of olive oil. Mix together. Apply to skin sparingly. 

Facial Mask:

1 banana, mixed with 2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt and lemon juice. Blend & apply to skin. 

Oatmeal Scrub:

1/4 apple, 1 packet of raw, unrefined oatmeal, and honey. Mix together & apply to skin.

Sea Salt Scrub:

1/2 cup oil (olive oil, sweet almond oil, or grapeseed oil), mixed with 1 cup sea salt, & your favorite essential oil (lavender, grapeseed, rosemary, or tea tree)

All of the above can be stored & used as necessary. 

The Why’s & How’s of Large Pores

Pores are openings that appear on the surface of the skin and  a concern many individuals have to accept. Large pores can appear unattractive, increase breakouts, and lead to uneven makeup applications. Although pore size is fixed and determined by genetics, there are ways to make enlarged pores appear smaller. From laser treatments, to at home remedies there are many ways to help clean, tighten and refine pores.

The key to keeping pores looking their minimal size is to keep the pores clear and free of congestion. The more dirt that is clogged in the pores the larger they will appear and the more uneven the skin tone and texture will be. Simple daily and weekly steps at home can help you achieve clearer, firmer and more even skin.

Products containing alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic acid, vitamin C and retinol, a form of vitamin A are wonderful for exfoliating the skin

Daily Cleansing:

For cleansing, the Kellett Polishing Gel Cleanser is phenomenal. It is dermatologists formulated and tested, composed of ingredients that will leave your skin happy. The unique texture of the exfoliating micro beads allows for a gentle exfoliation with each use. This cleanser is gentle enough to use on sensitive skin.

Image

Kellett Clear Polishing Gel Cleanser

Using a serum after cleansing the skin will help you achieve optimal results. Serums are made of smaller molecules and can penetrate deeper into the layers of the skin. Clinique’s Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum will help pores appear smaller, while Pore Resurfacing Complex will help clear out debris from the skin, making it appear more even. This product is oil-free and suitable for most skin types.

Image

Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum

Another wonderful way to make pores appear smaller is to use a pore refiner, which will help instantly even out your skin tone and give a matte finish to the skin, with or without makeup. Benefits POREfessional is a light, tinted balm that provides a beautifully refined complexion. A small dab goes a long way to provide oil-free, translucent pore coverage.

Image

Benefit Cosmetics the POREfessional

Weekly Care:

A simple weekly routine of steaming and exfoliating the skin will also help you in achieving a flawless complexion with minimal pores.

Image

Steaming is a great way to open the pores and allow for maximum product penetration and exfoliation. Start by boiling a pot of water and holding your face over it for 1 to 3 minutes.  For better results, hold a towel over your head.

Image

EmergenC Vitamin C + Retinol Mask

EmergnC Vitamin C + Retinol Mask is an intensive, clay based mask that gives visible results after a one time use. It helps remove dead skin cells, even out the skin tone and brighten your complexion. Made with kaolin, lemon, green tea and licorise it draws out impurities and makes your overall pore size appear smaller.

Hot & Now: Vitamin C Benefits

There are certain ingredients commonly found in cosmetic and skin care products that are generally known to be beneficial to the skin. Vitamin C is one of those ingredients that consistently gets praised for being nothing short of amazing. Naturally, the best way to consume this to eat it! Oranges, limes, grapefruits… all full of Vitamin C’s!

Cosmetic lines consistently promote having Vitamin C in their products. Looking through the ingredient listing can be difficult as ingredients are often not clear. Vitamin C comes in various forms and different names, including ascorbic acid, L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, retinyl ascorbate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. The primary difference lies in the percentage of the ingredient included and the consistency of the product itself. In your average beauty department, you will be able to find Vitamin C ranging between 0.3% and 10%. There is no ‘best’ product, as the skin type and conditions make all the difference in what you will individually require.

Vitamin C protects cells and the skin’s support structure from UV rays and damage; it also helps improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin. Vitamin C’s are ideal for hyperpigmentation and sun spots, when the product contains a dosage of  3% or higher. It helps promote the skin’s naturally occurring collagen, essentially leading to fewer fine lines and wrinkles, and an overall healthier complexion. When doing facials, microdermabrasions or peels, Vitamin C’s help enhance effectiveness. Dr. Patricia Farris nicely sums up how conclusive research supports the positive effects of vitamin C, stating, “A significant body of scientific research supports the use of cosmeceuticals containing vitamin C. Cutaneous benefits include promoting collagen synthesis, photoprotection from ultraviolet A and B, lightening hyperpigmentation, and improvement of a variety of inflammatory dermatoses.” Overall, Vitamin C is a phenomenal anti-oxidant ingredient to add to your skin care regime.

Product Reviews:

Dermaglow Vitamin C Moisturizer is great for normal to combination skin types that are uneven, dull or scarred. Skin will be gently exfoliated and will appear overall brighter. For combination to oily skin types this moisturizer is ideal for night use, as it is medium weight and moisture rich, therefore  it does not help with oil control. Its blend of strawberry, grape and orange extracts helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while it works below the epidermis (top layer of the skin) to help fight hyperpigmentation.

Vitmain C Daily Moisturizer SPF 30

 

The Body Shop Vitamin C Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30 is a great daily moisturizer for dull skin. It is lightweight and ideal for normal, combination and combination/oily skin. The SPF 30 is a great addition, as it provides UVA, UVB and broad spectrum sun protection. The SPF and the lightweight formula are a great combination for oily skins as it will create a healthy, radiant glow without excess oils. The Amazonian camu camu berry are known to contain some of the highest content of Vitamin C in nature, and it helps encourage elastin and collagen production in the skin, while protecting from free-radicals. It also contains sesame seed oils to help hydrate the skin.

Emergen-C Vitamin C Serum

The Emergen-C Serum contains 20% Vitamin C, the highest grade available for sale cosmetically. While this serum needs to be used with caution and applied gently to the skin, its benefits are phenomenal for fighting fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, scarring, hyperpigmentation and helps the production of collagen. This treatment is rather costly and is best applied once a day, at night. The high percentage of Vitamin C will make most skins photo-sensitive, therefore wearing it throughout the day is not ideal. Because it is a serum, its consistency will penetrate deeper into the skin and ensure that the moisturizer following will be more effective.

Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Lash Boosting Mascara

Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Lash Boosting Mascara is phenomenal in more than one way. It combines a proprietary complex of BioActive Minerals derived from zinc, iron, silicon, copper and magnesium to nourish and strengthen lashes, along with yogurt-derived ProBiotic Protein to help keep lashes in good health for overall thicker, longer & more lushious lashes.

The concept of organic mascara is foreign to me, however it promises to be free of synthetics,parabens, harsh chemicals, synthetic colors, fragrances, and preservatives, all of which can cause lashes to be dry, brittle and clumpy. Instead, the formula is infused with organic orange water, aloe and cucumber extracts to help hydrate and soothe the lashes. Tapioca starch and organic beeswax ensure that lashes appear longer, thicker and more naturally enhanced within 4 weeks of usage.

 

The brush is medium sized and has soft, flexible bristles that deposit a great amount of mascara at the base of the lashes, giving the illusion of a fuller, thicker lashline. Amazing, right?

Physician’s Formula promises that 44% of the ingredients are organic and 100% of the ingredients are naturally derived. Between the beneficial ingredients, easy application and decent price, this is definitely something you want in your colelction!

9/11: The Fine Line Between Truth and Conspiracy

Over a decade since the ‘worst attack on American land,’ many individuals continue to speculate the events that occurred on that terrifying day of September 11th, 2001. While many individuals accepted that these were terrorist attacks from Islamic extremist group Al-Qaeda, many others continued to question the source and cause of the attacks.  By the end of the decade, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reported that 9/11 brought forth more conspiracy theories than the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which was the “top event on the conspiracy charts.” (Grossman 2). The basis of this paper is to provide supporting arguments that the main cause of damage to the U.S. Defense Headquarters, more commonly known as the Pentagon, was due to the crashing of Boeing 737 jet. The building was primarily damaged by fire, associated impact, and deflagration.

Since the attack on the Pentagon on that tragic day, there has not yet been any actual evidence that the jet attacked the building, leading conspiracy theorists to naturally question the method wherein the building collapsed, killing approximately 189 of 2600 individuals working at the site (Sommers 13).  One of the primary causes for the damage to the building was instant fire, which was unmanageable and required a day and a half to quench entirely (Sommers 13). According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (N.I.S.T.) website, separate fires broke out throughout the Pentagon, especially on floors 7 to 9 and 11 to 13. The Pentagon was the first building to ever collapse due to a fire alone, and N.I.S.T. explains that other factors contributed to the collapse of the building including:

“Significant magnification of thermal expansion effects due to the long-span floors in the building; connections between structural elements that were designed to resist the vertical forces of gravity, not the thermally induced horizontal or lateral loads; and an overall structural system not designed to prevent fire-induced progressive collapse.”

N.I.S.T. did investigate the possibility of an explosion at the site, however scientific evidence suggests that no thermite or thermate were detected at the site and that an intentional demolition would require explosives on most, if not all, columns and walls. Over 100lbs of thermine would be required to complete this task and it would be highly unlikely that these explosives would have remained undetected prior to September 11th. Additionally, the collapse of the Twin Towers preceding the Pentagon attack damaged the water mains of the building, making the water sprinklers impractical (www.nist.gov). The Airlingron Fire Department had attempted to extinguish the fire by 2pm, however it was far too intense and they withdrew instantly, allowing the fire to spread farther into the building consequently causing more damage than through impact alone (Sommers 13).

Although the damage to the building was extensive some still doubt that the damage to the Pentagon was from the jet, claiming that there were no physical plane parts to prove this. To support this theory, many rely on CNN correspondent Jamie McIntyre’s report from the crash site on 9/11 which states, “From my close up inspection, there’s no evidence of a plane having crashed anywhere near the Pentagon.” N.I.S.T. published a fact sheet focusing solely on conspiracy theories, concluding that they often “depend on circumstantial evidence, facts without analysis or documentation and quotes taken out of context.” (Grossman 4) When McIntyre specified that no debris from the plane was present it was in response to a specific question from CNN anchor Judy Woodruff during a live segment (Mole 37). During the segment there was speculation that the plane may have struck the ground prior to hitting the Pentagon, thus when noted in full, McIntyre’s response makes it evident that he was not implying there was no evidence of the plane at all, but that there was no evidence of the plane hitting the ground first (Mole 37). There are many photos that demonstrate the damage created by the crash on 9/11, and in Popular Mechanics author Allyn E. Kilsheimer describes his own observations at the Pentagon upon arrival:

“I saw the marks of the plane wing on the face of the building. I picked up parts of the plane with the airline markings on them. I held in my hand the tail section of the plane. I held parts of uniforms from crew members in my hands, including body parts.” (Popular Mechanics 2005)

This quote demonstrates what Kilsheimer encountered and dealt with as the first structural engineer to arrive to the site. Additionally, the plane engine along with other major plane parts were discovered approximately 300 ft. away from the crash site, facing the same direction that the plane was headed (Mole 38).

While thus far logical and scientific explanations have been provided as to why the building underwent such extensive damage and why, many conspiracy theorists insist that the building was pre-loaded with demolition and/or deliberately hit with a cruise missile by the U.S. Air Force. The primary logic around this theory is simple: the hole left into the building was only 75ft. wide, while the wingspan of the jet was 124ft. wide (Grossman 2). This is a rational observation to question, and to date no official or credible research is available to confirm why this is so, however an anonymous author publishing a website dedicated to 9/11 research states that:

“We see that the entire left wing damaged the building, and almost the entire wing except for the wing tip entered the building. The right wing just a little past the right engine also entered the building. However the rest of the wing, about two-thirds of the length of the wing, did not. The reason for this was the angle of the wings. The right wing was higher than left; if the wings were leveled, the right wing would have demolished the white construction trailer in addition to the emergency generator next to it.”

The above quote plainly clarifies the damage of the impact and why the hole left behind was not as wide as many were expecting, which was due to the angle of the wings. Although this source is not as reliable as an academic source, it provides a rational explanation as to what the reason was. This is essentially an issue with the Internet being used as a solitary source without academic or scientific research, as some websites may not rely the appropriate information in order to encourage more people to support their cause.

Through the use of the Internet it is fairly convenient for individuals to share their own personal beliefs based on partial facts and impact others researching the same issue, which in turn allows for a wide spread of individuals sharing a common belief (Sommers 14). In 2006, a Scripps-Howard poll of 1,010 adults found that 36% of Americans consider it “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that government officials either allowed the attacks to be carried out or carried out the attacks themselves (Grossman 1). That is a large population of people convinced that their own government would deliberately attack their population to cause mayhem amongst a peaceful nation. It is significant to note that conspiracy thinking is now a normal part of mainstream political media, and a way wherein some of the population choses to deal with a traumatic public event such as 9/11. “We tend to associate major events–a President or princess dying–with major causes,” says Patrick Leman, a lecturer in psychology at Royal Holloway University of London, who has conducted studies on conspiracy belief. “If we think big events like a President being assassinated can happen at the hands of a minor individual, that points to the unpredictability and randomness of life and unsettles us.” (Grossman 4) Sommers and colleagues concluded that conspiracy theories were higher during the Bush administration, but dropped significantly since the election of Barack Obama in 2008.

            September 11th of 2001 has been marked as the worst attack on American land to date, and while there is no denying the immense impact of the attacks, the population appears to have been divided. On one side there are those who believe that the attacks were carried out by Islamic extremists and those who believe the attacks were pre-determined and possibly planned by the United States government themselves.  Conspiracy theories, though often logical, tend to rely on partial or misunderstood quotes, as occurred with CNN correspondent Jamie McIntyre. While the quote often used to defend conspiracy theories does state that there was no plane near the crash scene, it was in a different context, as he was answering a very direct question being asked by CNN anchor Judy Woodruff during a live segment. The damage caused to the Pentagon is often questioned due to the impact and the size of the hole in the building. Although to date no official information is available as to why, anonymous source online believes that it was due to the angles of the wings on the jet. The confidentiality and anonymity of the web can often cause speculation regarding the credibility of the source. This is extremely significant to remember when reading about conspiracy theories online, as conspiracies are often based on partial or misleading information. There are also psychological explanations as to why conspiracy theories are so alluring, concluding that conspiracies, in a way, are a source of national mourning. With the rise of the Internet one would assume that the world would be able to find the truth through common knowledge and evidence, however it is proving to be merely impossible to create a consensus reality and a single version of the truth.

Works Cited:

“Blast and Impact Events.” Pentagon Building Performance Study 2001 . N.p., 11/08/2011. Web. 12 Oct 2011. <www.nist.gov>.

Mole, Phil. “9/11 Conspiracy Theories: The 9/11 Truth Movement in Perspective.” Skeptic. 12.4 (2006): 30-41. Print.

Grossman, Lev. “Why the 9/11 Conspiracy Theories Won’t Go Away.” Time Magazine . 03/09/2006: 1-5. Web. 19 Oct. 2011. 

Kilishner, Allen. “9/11: Debunking the Myths.” Popular Mechanics. March, 2005.

Sommers, Scott. “Who Still Believes in 9/11 Conspiracies?.” Skeptic. 13.1 (2011): 13-19. Print.

National Institute of Standards and Technology website. Retrieved at www.nist.gov on October 12, 2011

Media, Internet, Mimesis & Hyperreality

The media heavily influences an individual’s daily life in many ways. People rely on the news to be knowledgeable regarding what is occurring both near and far from them. For example, when an individual is murdered in a neighborhood people within that neighborhood rely primarily on news to be aware of this information. The film and music industries are both billion-dollar industries as they both mediums are able to reach a range of audiences; therefore their success is enormous. Individuals listen to music that they feel appeals to them and their character and watch movies that may evoke various feelings within them. The Internet has become a major phenomenon and people worldwide rely on it for a variety of their everyday lives, such as researching, shopping, and various methods of communication. Internet and video game addictions are becoming more and more common, pushing the public to question the power of the media.

The study of Plato and Aristotle can be applied to the majority of the course material, as their ethical perspectives can be applied broadly. According to Plato, mimesis is a reproduction of something “…by holding up a mirror to nature.” Plato’s “couch” consisted of three pieces, beginning with God’s couch, which is considered the original piece. The second piece is the crafstman’s couch, which is once removed from reality and the truth, therefore this is not a creation; rather, it is an imitation of something else. The third piece is the artist or painter’s couch, which is twice removed from reality. As such, Plato does not consider this authentic knowledge. This is an aspect of media I had never recognized before therefore it was awakening to view media in this aspect. In my personal opinion Plato’s theory was both correct and incorrect when studying today’s media. Mimesis would be similar toadaptations, as they both involve the process of imitating a former medium. Although this may appear simple to many, the process of adaption is quite complicated. Through the process of adaptation, much of the original basic information is altered or lost. For example, events may be altered, characters may not be the same and the point of view it is portrayed in varies. With this information in mind, the adaptation does take its own form. There are generally three modes of storytelling across all media. These are the telling mode, the showing mode and the participatory mode. The telling mode can be books, magazines, poems, etc. Plays, movies and other visual forms would be showing mode. Lastly, video games, online games and other forms, which “immerse us physically as well as esthetically”, are considered to be participatory modes. Today’s media strongly relies on adapting former mediums in order to succeed, as the public may be familiar with these former mediums. For example, books are often made into extremely successful movies, which are then possibly made into video games or posters, bookmarks, binders, etc. This process of remediation is highly common in today’s media and is necessary for the media’s success.

One topic of debate throughout is the effect of video games on its participants. Prior to this research, I always believed that video games were addictive and should be avoided, especially when games involve violence, war, gangs, drugs or sexuality. As such, I never understood an individual’s desire to partake in this activity. On the contrary, I constantly asked that my younger brother and other friends did not play. After becoming familiar with Baudrillard, simulations, and hyperreality, my perception of video games began to change. Hyperreality refers to the unclear distinctions between real and unreal, as the real is no longer natural as it is reproduced throughout various mediums and technology. Therefore, the reproduction of “reality” becomes as real as actual reality. Video games are an example of this, as individuals are living in a different world through the game, as a replacement of the real. Playing video games can provide the gamer with an encounter that they would not essentially and realistically be able to experience in their life otherwise. Therefore, the hyperreal indicates the simulation’s replacement of the real, allowing the video games to stand in for reality. This is both beneficial and potentially dangerous for participants. Similarly to all other media, video games and online games require extreme care and caution when being played. On one hand, video games can be an alternative experience that participants will encounter knowing it is a mere game. On the other hand, one can become extremely addicted to these games and the distinction between real and fake can become blurred. This is also similar to people’s involvement and use with the Internet.

The Internet has become an extreme phenomenon in the past decade, altering means of communications in methods which were unimaginable in previous years. Whereas in the past individuals separated by extreme distances would communicate via telephone or written letters, in present times individuals are able to technologically, through the Internet, communicate easily. In seconds, one is able to upload a photo to any social networking site imaginable, such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. This phenomenon, as great as it may appear to many, also has its negatives. Privacy and copyrights are some of the biggest issues both corporations and individuals must encounter when dealing with the Internet. The Internet is available to any individual worldwide, therefore uploading personal information and images online can be devastating. At the same time, people become immensely attached to these technologies, as they become a part of our daily routines and lives. These technologies are so advanced one is capable of accessing Facebook and Twitter, among hundreds of thousands of other applications, on devices such as cell phones, and even music players such as iPods. With such advancements, it is only natural for one to be confused regarding the boundaries between hyperreality and everyday life. As a part of the research I attempted to convey how the online world and the real world are becoming more and more intertwined, making it as such that individuals have more meaningless interaction via the Internet, rather than proper and actual interaction with the people surrounding them. Society is in need of realizing that as media changes, we change with it instantly. As Marshall McLuhan wrote in The Medium is the Message, the media is “…forcing us to reconsider and reevaluate practically every thought, every action, and every institution formerly taken for granted.”