Thursday, August 26, 2010

Changing Shapes-Ladies fashion trend from late 19th century

    Standards of beauty throughout the world vary enormously. In the west, the fashion for a particular female body shape reflects constantly shifting social climates, which may be seen as focusing popular attention on different erogenous zones.

The “S-bend” corset, worn during early 20th century before the enfranchisement of women, was a crippling, tight- laced garment which threw the bust forward and made the waist tiny.
Desmond Morris in his book Body watching describes how this style embodied an unspoken “bondage” factor- the fragile flesh of the woman trapped in a rigid, curve defining case.  Paul Poiret claimed to have set women free from this confining corset in 1908; his new dress designs fell loosely over the natural figure.

By the 1920s, it had become fashionable for women to look like young boys. Dresses showed straight silhouettes with low waists and no curves. A softer, more fluid line was introduced in the 1930s. The back was appreciated as an erogenous zone, and many evening gowns had backs cut away almost to the buttocks.

 Like the patriarchal Victorian era, the postwar 1950s saw the hips and breasts (as fertility symbols) emphasized. Tight bodices allowed the breasts high definition above pinched waists and wide crinoline skirts. The virginal “little girl” of the 1960s followed; her short shapeless A line dress erotized legs.

With more women entering the work force in the 1980s, the accent was on a fitter model of femininity. The use of clinging fabrics like Lycra defined the well toned body, and muscle became sexy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Art Romanticism

     Romanticism was an intellectual trend expressed in all arts in the western world in the late 18the century and the first half of the 19th; literature and music were just as involved as the visual arts. I was not so much a style as a set of attitudes toward art and life.  Romantic artists believed above all in self expression – the artist’s duty was to be sincere, spontaneous and original. This outlook stands in contrast to Neoclassicism, in which great importance was placed on respect for the art of the past. Romanticism was to some extent a reaction against Neoclassicism, but the two movements are not incompatible; sometimes a love of the ancient world was tinged with Romantic nostalgia for a lost golden age; this has been called “Romantic Classicism.”

     Romanticism flourished most vigorously in Britain, France and Germany, but it affected most of Europe. Outstanding artists of the time included Turner in Britain, Delacroix in France, Friedrich in Germany and Goya in Spain. Typical themes were wild or mysterious landscapes and dramatic scenes from literature (Shakespeare was a great favorite of many Romantic artists). There was often a strong interest in dreams and nightmares, in the horrific and the macabre and in extremes of feeling sand behavior.

     Sculpture and architecture were also suited to this kind of inspiration, but an aspect of Romanticism- love of the medieval world comes out in Gothic Revival architecture. Imitation of exotic architectural style, such as Egyptian or Indian, was also a part of Romanticism.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Power of Thought

     When it comes to building self confidence and inner strength, remember one thing; we become what we think. Imagine that your thoughts are drops of water: a single one leaves barely a trace, but many can create a lake and then an ocean. If the water is to be pure, we must filter out our harmful negative thoughts.
If you say yourself ‘ I am stupid and ugly and I will never amount to anything’, your subconscious mind will absorb this message over time. Eventually, you really will feel the way you think about yourself. Therefore, the best advice is to say goodbye to stereotyped negative attitudes.

     Learn to encourage yourself and to look at your life positively. Stand in front of the mirror, and say to yourself;’ I am clever, good looking and successful’. Say it out loud so it will remain imprinted in your unconscious mind. Formulate your wishes clearly and positively. If you observe these rules, you are sure to feel beneficial effects. 
    The power of thoughts is so great that they can trigger physical changes, such as premature ageing. Those who believe that they are already past their prime and good for nothing are certain to age faster than people who refuse to admit defeat. People who become convinced of their own stupidity in childhood will never be among the smart ones in adulthood.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Was there a Robin Hood? Part.III

      Despite the effort historians have spent searching for the first historical Robin Hood, most agree that the legend has evolved so dramatically over the centuries that its original inspiration might very well be unrecognizable, even if discovered. Maid Marian, the story’s love interest, did not appear until the 16th century, nor did the earliest versions of the tale feature the portly Friar Tuck. In other versions of the story, Robin Hood is actually motivated less by righting injustices than by national pride, fighting for the Saxon people against the conquering Normans. Some scholars have even contended, with much controversy, that Robin Hood and his “merrie men” was actually member of a gay community forced to live outside the city, beyond the reach of the law and the Church.
What is not disputed is that the story of Robin Hood, the archetypal outlaw hero, took on the characteristics and details of many outlaw ballads, becoming a sort of literary stew of local lore and contemporary events. In fact, the story was so susceptible to adaptation and interpolation that in 1773, the lexicographer Samuel Johnson claimed that he could fabricated a Robin Hood legend that readers would swear they had known their entire life. Those who enjoyed the Robin Hood legend with its colorful cast of characters in pursuit of justice for the common man, didn’t mind if it had evolved through the centuries; they expected no less, for so powerful is the love of justice that heroes who champion it necessarily become larger, greater, and more entertaining than anything history could produce.

     Many other rebels, outlaws, and miscellaneous out casts have been suggested as the historical Robin Hood. Among them are Sir Robert Thwing, who lead a movement where he and devotees raided monasteries, stealing rain and distributing it to the poor; and Robert Fitzhooth, Claimant to earlof Huntington, who was born about 1160 and died in 1247. Fitzhooth is a more likely candidate, as some historical documents actually cite these particular dates for Robin Hood’s birth and death. But critics point out that more recent records do not mention a defiant nobleman bearing the Fitzhooth name.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Was there a Robin Hood? Part.II

     One of the greatest difficulties in dating the hero is the contradictory historical references within the legends; various suggestions within the ballads place him in the reign of four separate English Kings, from Richard the Lion heart to Edward II. The monarch with the strongest link to Robin Hood is Richard, who ruled in the late 12th century and was opposed by his brother and eventual successor King John. But Robin has also been linked to a 1265 revolt against King Henry III, led by his brother-in- law Simon de Montfort. According to the early historian Walter Bower, after the rebellion against Henry, “the famous robber Robin Hood…rose to prominence among those who had been disinherited and banished on account of the revolt.”   However, modern historians have pointed out that the longbow, which features so prominently in many of the Robin Hood legends, was not in general use at the time of King Henry III, casting doubt on Bower’s claim.

      The candidate with the most plausible claim to Robin’s identity is a tenant of Wakefield, Yorkshire, in the early 14th century, who was probably involved in an uprising against the Earl if Lancaster in 1322. The 1320 Manor Rolls of the town list a Robert Hood who had been charged with breaking “forest laws,” resisting the lord of the manor, and negligence in fighting against the Scots. There is also some indication that Hood’s home was confiscated because of this dereliction of duty, which might account for his move to the forest. The Wakefield Robin would place the story in the reign of King Edward Ii, and indeed, there is a record of the king taking into his service one “Robert Hood” as a court valet.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Was there a Robin Hood? Part.I

     Robert Hood was actually a quiet common one at the time, making the census evidence inconclusive. “Robyn was a proud out law” sang balladeers of the intrepid woodsman. But did Robin Hood even exist? And why has hid legend persisted? It seems almost an injustice to question the Robin Hood legend; such is our innate appreciation for the celebrated champion of the underdog and the common man. Scholars who seek to debunk parts of the legend are practically accomplices to the evil Sheriff of Nottingham; and yet it is the historian’s duty to examine the past, however entertaining the legend handed down to us. In the 19th century, scholars who had grown up with the beloved chivalric tales of Sir Walter Scott reexamined the Robin Hood stories and found them wanting him historical foundations. In his 1882 English and Scottish popular ballads, scholar Francis James child declared Robin Hood a fiction, “absolutely a creation of the ballad genre” but in the later years, more research has suggested there may be some truth to the legend.-
     The first known, extended version of the Robin Hood story is the 15th century ballad collection Lyttle Geste of Robyn Hode. It contains the familiar cast of characters: the sheriff of Nottingham, Robin, little john, and the rest of his “merry men” who steal from the rich and give to the poor in their forest lair. In many of the early versions of the tale, the sylvan locale is Barnesdale forest, in Yorkshire. But  references to robin hood appear in stories and ballads from as early as the mid 14th century, so historian speculate that if there was a historical “ Prince of thieves,” he lived some time before then. In the manorial rolls and similar local records from 1228 and 1230, the name Robert Hood appears, and he is described as a fugitive from justice, who stole “for the benefit of the many.” But the name Robert Hood was actually a quite common one at the time, making the census evidence inconclusive.

Friday, August 13, 2010

How will the Earth End? Part.II

A potential possible danger comes from space debris –comets and asteroids- which may present the most tangible threat to earth as we know it. It was most likely the impact of an asteroid that lead to the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago; another asteroid or comet striking the earth could lead to a similar climatic shift that changes the face of the Planet. On May 19, 1996, an asteroid that measured one third of a mile wide came within 275, 000 miles of earth, just a hair in astronomical distances.
Astronomers have said that it would require an asteroid larger than on kilometer wide to create a global disaster. An estimated 2,000 asteroids larger than one kilometer intersect earth’s orbit; one may strike its surface before 405 billion years, but the question is how long we can continue to play dodge ball. It should be cheering to know that studies are in the offing that might allow us to use nuclear technology to deflect a comet or asteroid.
 So is man’s hope for survival, as depicted by the cold lens of science, fairly bleak?  Maybe.  For all of our best scientific guesses, there are just as many works, including the Bible’s   book of Revelation and Nostradamus's writings, which offer cryptic predictions of what is to come. Trying to match biblical or prophetic forecasts with, modern correlatives has proven tricky, however. For centuries, cult after dooms day cult has predicted a time for Armageddon, only to be disillusioned.
Despite our curiosity and our best educated guesser, only those humans who are alive at the time will know the story of our planet’s endgame; the true story of what happens may catch even them by surprise. At this point, the question of whether the earth will end with a bang or in a whimper stays unanswered.

How will the Earth End? Part.I

Many people from science fiction writers to religious prophets have speculated about the earth’s final days, but perhaps only astronomers have provided an end date that is inescapable. Our sun has been converting hydrogen into helium in its core for about 4.65 billion years. It has enough hydrogen left for another 4.5 billion before the outer layers will expand to have a circumference that extends to the orbit of the earth or farther. This new red giant star will one day swallow up the earth.
                But there is good reason to suspect the end of humankind will come before 4.5 billion years. The most difficult question to answer is whether humans will be cause to their own undoing or whether they will be the subject of forces outside of their control. 
               Contrasted to the more protracted ways for mankind to destroy itself, there are also the quicker alternatives, like nuclear holocaust. “Every man, woman, and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles,” said President John F. Kennedy in a September 1961 speech to the United Nations General Assembly, “hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or madness.”

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Breast cancer, Self examination

The Breast cancer, the commonest cancer in women, affects one in twenty in UK and one in ten in USA. Women more at risk are those that:
·         Started their periods early (before the age of twelve)
·         Had a late menopause (after fifty)
·         Had no children
·         Had their first child in their thirties
·         Had grandmothers, mothers or sisters with breast cancer
Visual examination
                In front of the mirror, put your hands on your head. Look at the size and shape of your breasts, and for any differences between them. Check nipples for changes.
Manual examination
                Feeling your breasts gives you a further change to detect any changes. Breasts are naturally lumpy because they contain milk producing glands, and these may swell at certain times of the menstrual cycle. Breast self examination should therefore take place at the same time each month. It should also include an examination along the collar bone and into the armpit
                Lie down with a folded towel or pillow under. Stretch both arms above your head. As you do so your breasts will lift slightly, giving you another chance to detect any changes in the size, shape and color of your breasts and nipples.
                Put your hands on the hips. Push inwards to tighten your chest muscles. Look for any dimples, puckering or “orange peel” skin that may indicate an underlying lump or abnormal nipple.
Your right shoulder. Keep your right arm by your side and use the closed fingers of your left hand to examine your right breast.
Work above the outside of the breast in a clock wise direction, feeling firmly but gently for any swellings or lumps.
Now bend your right arm at the elbow and raise it about your head to stretch the breast tissue
Examine the inner breast and nipple.
Examine your left breast with your right hand in the same way.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The secret of the blind spot in our vision

All of us have a blind spot- of one kind or another- towards another person or an activity. Having a blind spot means that you do not really understand the full meaning of that person or activity- particularly if a bad influence is involved. When you drive, your blind spot is behind you to the right or left- this is literally the dangerous zone in which you cannot see other drivers. There is also a blind spot in your field of vision. Everyone can find it with a simple test. Close your left eye, and, with your right eye, look at the first letter on the left of a line of text on this page. Move your index finger along the line towards the right focus on the letter and concentrate on your finger at the same time. Your fingertip will ‘disappear’ and then re emerges.
This phenomenon has been known for centuries, and many researchers have studied the blind spot. Essentially, the blind spot occurs where the optic nerve leaves the eye, and there are no light sensitive cells. At this point, we gave a gap in our field of vision.

 The interesting thing is not that this spot exists but rather the fact that we are not aware of it. Under normal circumstances we see with both our eyes. As they are always moving and looking at an object from different angles, they can compensate for the gap. But even if we only look with one eye, we do not notice the blind spot. The reason for this lies in the way brain processes information.
On the very first stop along our mental information highway, the corresponding area of our field of vision is simply filled in with something similar to the environment- when reading those lines it would be letters. Such blanks can also be found in our thinking processes. When we cannot think of a simple and quick solution to a question or problem, we generally say something like ‘just didn’t come to mind’

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Can we use music to stimulate the development of the foetus?

The human sense of hearing develops well before birth. The foetus in the womb can hear the rhythms of the mother’s body, for example, but also many other sound. Opinion is divided over whether music can be used to stimulate the development of the foetus.

Even at the moment of birth, a baby can recognize its mother’s voice. During the preceding nine months, the mother brought her food comfort and security. After birth, the sound, intonation and tone of the mother’s voice, which the baby learn to recognize in the womb, becomes a means of orientation.
Today, it is well known how human hearing develops. The process begins in the fourth week after the egg has been fertilized, when the foetus’s nervous system. Spinal cord and brain are formed. By the 20th week, the foetus can react to sounds coming from outside the womb. Five weeks later, the outer and the inner ear, as well as those sections of the brain which help with the processing of acoustic signals, have matured to greater degree. It is this point that the foetus can recognize the pitch of various voices. During this time, he or she learns to distinguish the mother’s voice from that of the father.
By the 35th week of pregnancy, the growing foetus child can perceive and memorize melodies. This is evident by the child’s obvious reaction after birth when certain melodies are played that he or she often heard during this phase.
Can this development of the senses be used to the child’s advantage? Some parents to be try to encourage the child’s development by gently drumming rhythms on the belly or by playing classical music in particular, the music of Mozart. While it may be soothing most scientists doubt whether this promotes the musical development of the child. There is plenty of time for this after birth.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The magic touch

Since the 13th century, we have known that humans not only enjoy body contact, but it is necessary for their very survival. At that time, the German Emperor Fredrick II was noted for his intensive research into issues of natural science- not a common pastime for a medieval monarch! In order to expand his knowledge, he designed a number of experiments. One of these, which would be considered  cruel and debasing today, focused on the human need for body contact and involved a group of orphans who were separated from the other residents of an orphanage. Their only human contact was with the foster mothers and wet nurses who bathed or nursed them. The women were neither allowed to speak nor show affection to the little ones. The outcome of this method was horrific: according to the records of the time, none of the children survived.

  The fact is that humans cannot do without touch, just as we cannot survive without food or water. Hugs give feelings of security and safety, and kisses seal a friendship of express deep intimacy. Touches are considered ‘social glue’ – the vital element in creating relationships. These extent from the official handshake of the school principal, to a jovial pat on the back from a colleague at work. In many cultures, touching is a complex ritual, with its own rules and meanings. The Maori people of New Zealand, for example, rub their noses when greeting one another and the Ipo of New Guinea tickle one another under the chin. Psychologists agree that embarrasses and body contact fulfill a vital role in promoting health and well being; in effect, touch is a kind of ‘vitamins for body and soul.’ The human skin reacts with great sensitivity to touch.  This is because there are approximately 700 touch and pressure receptors on a single fingertip. Today, scientist can prove how skin contact, massage or stroking affects the body and mind.