What Makes the Mediterranean Sea Such a Symbol of Natural Beauty?

No other body of water evokes images of beauty and romanticism than the Mediterranean Sea. The reason why it has become one of the most popular seas in the world map is that the Aegean civilization flourished around this sea. From being a center of commerce of merchants trading from Phoenicia, it has become an important trading link for routes to the East. During the Second World War, the sea also played a big role to the United States and the Soviet Union prior to its dissolution.

Getting to Know the Mediterranean Sea

One of the most common mistakes that people make is thinking that the sea is actually a separate body of water. The truth is that it is technically part of the Atlantic Ocean, covering an approximate area of 2.5 million square kilometers.

It is almost completely enclosed by land, and only a small 14-kilometer opening between Spain and Africa called the Strait of Gibraltar exists. On the eastern shores, this sea is connected to the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. All in all, there are eleven countries spanning the sea – starting from Croatia to Italy and Turkey. The largest island in the region is Sicily, which also serves as an autonomous region in Italy.

A Glimpse at the Beauty of the Mediterranean Sea

Now that you already have an idea about the basic information regarding the Mediterranean Sea, what exactly is it about this body of water which makes it such a symbol of beauty? Perhaps the best way to describe the picturesque quality of this body of water is to have a glimpse at the gorgeous islands which make it up.

As mentioned earlier, Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean. A major part of Italy is bordered by the sea, like Sardinia Island in addition to Sicily. So when you visit one of the beaches in gorgeous Sicily, you are actually witnessing the natural beauty of the sea of Mediterranean.

Part of the charm of Sicily is Syracuse, a 2700-year old city. It’s the birthplace of Archimedes and a luscious city where you can have an unobstructed view of the sea along with an ancient amphitheatre and traces of Greece’s ancient culture. Mt. Etna, an active volcano which is considered to be the highest in Europe, is another part of the view which is interspersed with that of the Mediterranean Sea.

There’s also the Iles d’Hyeres in France which is located off the main coast of France, south of St. Tropez. In Spain, you will see the Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Minorca and Ibiza which are great cruising areas amid the Mediterranean Sea. Another Italian island which serves as the perfect background for the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea is Sardinia with its mortises and cliffs.

The Dalmatian Islands in Croatia, Cyclades in Greece and Turkey are the other stunning islands within the region which all beautifully set off the symbol of beauty that is the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Source by Mabelle Sese

Tree Structure – The Basic Makeup of Trees

Trees are made up of three main components: the roots, the leaves and the woody structure that connects them. The function of the roots is to bring the water and minerals to the rest of the tree. The leaves also serve to feed the tree. They absorb carbon dioxide from the air and use sunlight to combine this gas with the moisture brought up from the roots, making the simple sugars which feed the tree giving off oxygen as a byproduct.

That is the true magic of trees; they feed off of a toxic gas and provide clean oxygen in return. They are truly the earths air filter. According to David Nowak of the USDA Forest Service a persons oxygen needs could be supplied by two trees. To make up for the carbon dioxide created by the average household with a single car would take about 1/6th of an acre of trees (so start planting).

The woody structure, including the trunk, branches and twigs hold the trees leaves in position to receive the life-giving sunlight and carbon dioxide; they also act as a means of carrying the raw materials and nutrients back and forth between the roots and the leaves. The moisture taken up by the roots is pulled up by a process of capillary attraction and the osmotic action induced by the evaporation of water from the leaves. This loss of water through the leaves is called transpiration.

On a warm summer day, a single birch tree may transpire as much as 900 gallons of water. This enormous flow of water causes a continuous flow of tree sap from the roots of the tree to the uppermost leaves.

When moving a tree or working around an existing tree that you wish to preserve, the highest priority is to protect the root structure of the tree itself. The larger roots at the trunk anchor the tree to the ground and stabilize it, while the small root-hairs at the ends of the rootlets absorb the water from the ground.

The trunk of a tree is made up of the bark, the wood and the pith. The pith is the middle section surrounded by the wood. Between the wood and exterior bark is a thin layer that creates new wood on the inside and bark on the outside. This layer is known as the cambium layer. When the cambium ring is severed the tree is killed, such as when a fence wire is wrapped around a tree and wears through the bark. Damage to the cambium layer also makes a tree vulnerable to insects and disease, so anything driven into it can wound a tree severely.

Besides man himself, trees have many natural enemies. There are more than 200,000 known insects that attack trees. Diseases, such as blight, rust, and rot, just to name a few can cause tremendous amounts of damage to trees or groupings of trees. High winds, ice storms and droughts can also create a great deal of havoc with trees. Fortunately, trees have several thing going for them. They are extremely resilient and can survive even serious damage, storms and droughts are not terribly common and birds ally themselves with tree to keep most of the insects in check.
Source by Tom K. Kelly

Why We Won’t Use Neem Oil As a Natural Preservative

Neem oil is a natural product derived from the seeds and fruit of the evergreen neem tree. It is used in over a hundred pesticide products and has important applications in organic farming and medicines. It has been used as a pesticide for hundreds of years and is considered to be safe (1).

These days, neem oil is being touted as a natural alternative to synthetic preservatives.

Neem oil is a mixture of components and not a pure essential oil. Azadirachtin is the active component responsible for repelling and killing pests. The remaining components include fatty acids, essential oils, and other substances. Components of neem oil can also be found in other products such as toothpaste, cosmetics, soaps, pet shampoos, supplements, and medicine.

Natural Preservatives

Most cosmetics include water as an ingredient (for emulsifying); therefore, preservatives are needed to prevent spoilage and the growth of bacteria.

If you have ever purchased an all-natural, preservative-free beauty product such as a face cream and discovered a “funky smell” before it was completely used up it means the product spoiled (i.e., contaminated by yeast, mold, bacteria or fungi). Unfortunately, these products produce natural sugars in a moist environment–the perfect breeding ground (complete with food source) for multiplying microbes. A product can look and smell just fine and still be contaminated. If the product is truly all-natural and preservative-free, it needs to be treated like food: made fresh in small batches and refrigerated (and remember, they will expire).

Products made with natural preservatives fair a bit better in terms of shelf life if used within 30 days after opening, but you might want to ask the question: how good are natural preservatives vs. synthetic preservatives at controlling and killing off any invaders to protect your product (and you)? Therefore, while there are effective, naturally derived preservatives, some can be weakened by exposure to air and water and thus cannot provide the same broad spectrum protection as synthetic preservatives.

Neem Oil as a Natural Preservative

When neem oil is used as a preservative, it functions as an antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-parasitic. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? And it’s used as a pesticide so it must be effective, right? (Although I doubt that argument would work in favor of synthetic preservatives!) Neem oil is effective at keeping oils from going rancid, but it doesn’t do as well protecting the product from bacteria and yeast because it is not a broad spectrum preservative. And it doesn’t seem to like water either. Bad news for technical managers and natural health promoters who want neem oil used as a preservative in water-containing cosmetics instead of the much more effective (and therefore safer) synthetic preservatives available for this purpose, such as Neolone 950. Strict regulations require such preservatives in order to kill all common pathogens. (See http://personalcaretruth.com/2010/06/why-cosmetics-need-preservatives/ for an excellent article on this matter.)

The half-life of neem oil in water is somewhere between one hour and four days. “Half-life” means that the concentration decreases by 50% in the measured time frame. If we take one day as the half-life for neem oil in water, with a reasonable average of the limits given, we would see the active concentration drop to 50% in one day, 25% in two days, 12.5% in three days, 6% in four days, 3% in five days and so on. By the time the product reaches the consumer from the day it is manufactured, the neem oil will have essentially completely disintegrated and be of no use as a preservative; therefore, a water-based product containing neem oil as the sole preservative is not protected from contamination (which poses a greater risk to your health than synthetic preservatives).

Consumers should be more aware of the occasional erroneous advice given by consumer protection groups, most notably Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group (and their skin deep database). We need to question these groups as critically as we question big industry in order to open up a dialogue. I am not sure why these groups get held up as the final authority. Is it because they validate our fears and suspicions of evil corporations? I don’t know, that’s just a guess. While their intentions may be sound, they often rely heavily on Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)–which are usually available to the public–as one of their sources. MSDSs are useful, of course; however, people either forget or unaware that MSDSs provide safety procedures for workers in an industrial atmosphere to follow in the event of massive spills/exposures: these are “worst-case scenario” situations that never apply to the consumers of these products.

MSDSs are used to help set product stewardship and occupational safety and health guidelines for workers and emergency personnel who handle or work with the substance in large quantities. They are not intended for the consumer, but only for those in an occupational setting. It is important to remember when considering the safety issues of the products you are using that: “The dose makes the poison,” or, in this case, as preservative expert David Steinberg said, “Remember, Preservatives are Safer than Bacteria (TM).”

Back to neem oil. An organic chemist, like myself, would look at the chemical structure of azadirachtin, the active ingredient in neem oil, and know that it wouldn’t be stable in water, as we’ve previously discussed, but that it is easily fragmented by this reaction with water into smaller, useless pieces. Even though most of us aren’t organic chemists, this is easy enough to understand.

Neem oil is also hydrophobic, meaning that molecules are repelled from a mass of water. Therefore, in order to mix water and neem oil together (emulsify) for application purposes, certain surfactants must be added. And, sure enough, when you check the pesticide/farming literature, you find that the diluted product has to be used right away because of its limited shelf life. But not all products with neem oil have this disclaimer. It’s important to note that some neem oil containing products do remain “stable.” However, the product still loses its neem oil activity; it only continues to deliver pesticide activity by virtue of the other antimicrobials in the formula.

I don’t think anyone (cosmetic manufacturers, natural product suppliers, green retailers, etc.,) is trying to dupe the consumer. It’s more likely an issue of awareness (the lack thereof). Unfortunately, this kind of misinformation places the health of many customers at risk.
Source by Norman L Polston

The Difference Between A Model And A Beauty Queen

There is a huge difference between beauty pageants and modelling. Pageant kids are brought up believing that the spotlight is all about them; how they look, what they can do and how they come across as an individual. They are taught to sell themselves. Unfortunately, in the real fashion world, it is all about the product and selling the product. Although fashion and runway models do need to have specific aesthetic qualities and certain skills, their main purpose is to make a product look good, excite the customer and make them want to buy.

Pageant mums are known for being extremely competitive. They all want to be at the top of the game, knowing the most about the industry, winning the most titles and crowns and having the most beautiful, talented, world-peace loving child in the whole entire world. But what these mums don’t realise is that they are selling their children false hope when they promise them that, one day, all of the late rehearsals, dance classes, American history lessons and hair tugging will be worth it. This is not the case. So many young pageant princesses dreams are crushed when they discover that all those years of intense training; skipping rhythmically down the runway, smiling all teeth bared and cutely flipping their hair as they wink and flirt with the audience, has actually moulded them into exactly what a fashion agency is not looking for in a high-fashion model.

A huge amount of time, effort and money is put into beauty pageants. A lot of pageant mums will hire pageant coaches and dance coaches, both at a great cost. They will then spend a fortune on outfits for each of the different rounds. Elaborate, custom-made ball gowns, one of a kind swimwear pieces, costumes, props and stage fixtures for the talent show, crowning gowns etc. Then there’s the foot high, 30 inch long hair pieces, custom moulded dental flippers to hide any baby/imperfect teeth, copious pairs of diamond encrusted shoes, fake lashes, jar after jar and tube after tube of bright pink blusher, thick stage foundation, lipstick and glitter. All of this is used to enhance the pageant princess’ features, body and overall image and make them look as un-lifelike as possible, all in the hope of being crowned Queen of Pageant.

Fashion designers will also invest an enormous amount of time, effort and money into a fashion show for their clothing. This money will be spent on lighting, sound engineers, stage support, models, stylists and hair and make-up artists, all geared towards ensuring that their clothes attract the audience of buyers and celebrities.

Unlike pageant girls, runway models do not try to steal the show. The point of a fashion show is to sell clothes, not people. If the model blew kisses, danced around the stage like a fairy, distracting the audience and did not make the dress look good, the designer would not sell their clothes and therefore not have a business. This is why pageant girls find it hard to make the transition from beauty queen to super model.

So, if you’re a pageant queen, hoping to one day make it as a fashion model, you need to make sure you fully understand the difference between the two. If you love the limelight, can walk onto the stage without a full face of paint and hair styled taller than a toddler, you might have to accept that the world of modelling just isn’t for you.
Source by Jason Jr Cole