Jan 19, 2011

Romain Laurent Pictures

Renowned French photographer Romain Laurent conveys a surreal sense of humor in all of his images. He has worked for some of the world’s largest ad agencies and fashion magazines, and Laurent’s work has been commissioned by companies such as Microsoft, Nissan and the Discovery Channel.Laurent's fantastic and quirky perspective is always conveyed in his pictures. We've included in the collection the latest, recently created photo session of this photographer - about people who are not afraid to walk under the slope and have their own opinions.
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Oct 6, 2010

Things You Never Knew About Cigarettes

10 Things You Never Knew About Cigarettes

1. Urea, a chemical compound that is a major component in urine, is used to add "flavor" to cigarettes.

2. The United States is the only major cigarette market in the world in which the percentage of women smoking cigarettes (22%) comes close to the number of men who smoke (35%). Europe has a slightly larger gap (46% of men smoke, 26% of women smoke), while most other regions have few women smokers. The stats: Africa (29% of men smoke, 4% of women smoke); Southeast Asia (44% of men, 4% of women), Western Pacific (60% of men, 8% of women).

3. The U.S. states with the highest percentage of smokers are Kentucky (28.7%), Indiana (27.3%), and Tennessee (26.8%), while the states with the fewest are Utah (11.5%), California ( 15.2%), and Connecticut (16.5%).
10 Things You Never Knew About Cigarettes

4. The nicotine content in several major brands is reportedly on the rise. Harvard University and the Massachusetts Health Department revealed that between 1997 and 2005, the amount of nicotine in Camel, Newport and Doral cigarettes may have increased by as much as 11 percent.

5. Men who smoke are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction. Smoke 10 or fewer cigarettes a day and your risk of dysfunciton is 16% greater than non-smokers; 11 - 20 cigarettes a day has been linked to a 36% rise in erectiile problems; and men who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day have a 60% greater chance of dysfunction.

6. In 1970, President Nixon signed the law that placed warning labels on cigarettes and banned television advertisements for cigarettes. The last date that cigarette ads would have been permitted on TV was extended a day, from December 31, 1970 to January 1, 1971 to allow the television networks one last cash windfall from cigarette advertising in New Year's Day football games.

7. Cigarettes are the single most-traded item on the planet, with approximately 1 trillion being sold from country to country each year. At a global take of more than $400 billion, it's one of the world's most largest industries.

8. U.S. cigarette manufacturers now make more money selling cigarettes to countries around the globe than they do selling to Americans.

9. Just 4 cigarette brands -- including the popluar American brands Marlboro, Kool and Kent -- own roughly 70% of the global cigarette market.

10. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 25% of cigarettes sold around the world are smuggled.
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Nutrition Myths You Should Stop Believing

Nutrition Myths You Should Stop Believing
Some nutrition myths bounce around on crazy e-mail chain letters and pop up on goofy evening news reports. Others fuel the sale of rip-off diet books. Some are so accepted they seem hardwired into our brains. Take deep-fried foods, for example. They’re universally bad for you, right? Well, no. When we challenged ourselves to explore whether fried foods could be made healthy, we discovered that, when done properly, fried foods don’t have to be forever banished from a healthy diet.
The exercise inspired us to take on some other ingrained nutrition misconceptions. We talked with leading nutrition researchers, chefs, and food scientists and did some sleuthing of our own to debunk 6 myths so you can enjoy many once-forbidden foods without that old familiar twinge of guilt.

Myth 1. Added sugar is always bad for you.
Truth Use the sweet stuff to ensure that sugar calories are far from “empty” calories.
Sugar is essential in the kitchen. Consider all that it does for baking, creating a tender cake crumb and ensuring crisp cookies. Then there’s its role in creating airy meringue or soft-textured ice cream. Keep in mind that other sweeteners like “natural” honey are basically refined sugar anyway—and they are all metabolized by your body the same way, as 4 calories per gram. Sugar also balances the flavors in healthy foods that might not taste so great on their own. Don’t go overboard, of course. Most health experts suggest that added sugar supply no more than 10 percent of your total calories—about 200 in a 2,000-calorie diet.

Good news: A little sugar can go a long way.
Adding a wee bit of sugar to balance a too-tart tomato sauce is a good thing; so is a teaspoon of honey on a tart grapefruit half or in plain yogurt. “Add a little bit of sugar to help boost your intake of nutrient-rich foods by making them tastier,” says Jackie Newgent, RD, author of the All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook.
In this refreshing palate cleansing sorbet, sugar tames the tartness of grapefruit juice. And with just two ingredients, it could not be simpler to prepare. A serving delivers about two-thirds of your RDA for vitamin C, and only 145 calories.

Myth 2. Eating eggs raises your cholesterol levels.
Truth Dietary cholesterol found in eggs has little to do with the amount of cholesterol in your body.
The confusion can be boiled down to semantics: The same word, "cholesterol," is used to describe two different things. Dietary cholesterol—the fat-like molecules in animal-based foods like eggs —doesn’t greatly affect the amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream. Your body makes its own cholesterol, so it doesn’t need much of the kind you eat. Instead, what fuels your body’s cholesterol-making machine is certain saturated and trans fats. Eggs contain relatively small amounts of saturated fat. One large egg contains about 1.5 grams saturated fat, a fraction of the amount in the tablespoon of butter many cooks use to cook that egg in. So, cutting eggs out of your diet is a bad idea; they're a rich source of 13 vitamins and minerals.

Good news: Eggs of all kinds are fine.
The kind of cholesterol found in eggs doesn’t affect the cholesterol in your blood, so go ahead and enjoy eggs for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, guilt-free. In healthy people, “the research with eggs has never shown any link of egg consumption with blood lipids or with risk of heart disease,” says Don Layman, PhD, professor emeritus in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Make this Mexican scrambled egg dish for dinner, brunch, or for a hearty breakfast. Leave all the seeds in the jalapeƱo if you want a spicier kick, adjust the hot pepper sauce to taste, and throw in your favorite ad-ins to create a satisfying meal for four.

Myth 3: All saturated fats raise blood cholesterol.
Truth New research shows that some saturated fats don't.
Just when we’d all gotten comfortable with the idea that there are good-for-you mono- and polyunsaturated fats (like those found in olive oil and walnuts), along comes new research calling into question the one principle most health professionals thought was sacrosanct: All saturated fat is bad. Researchers have long known that there are many kinds of saturated fats, and they are handled differently by the body when consumed. Stearic acid, a type of saturated fat found naturally in cocoa, dairy products, meats, and poultry, as well as palm and coconut oils, does not raise harmful LDL cholesterol but boosts beneficial HDL cholesterol levels.

Good news: Saturated fat may be better than once thought.
Eating foods like coconut and chocolate that contain stearic acid—an HDL-cholesterol booster that may eventually be called the “good” saturated fat—is healthier than once thought. This is not a license to eat freely of anything containing stearic acid, though, because foods rich in any type of fat tend to be dense in calories, as well.
Given that both chocolate and coconut are not as “bad” as once thought, and given that they taste mighty good together, we baked up a batch of toasty, chocolaty treats to celebrate. Like all sweets with few other nutrients, though, they are treats—perfectly healthy every once in a while.

Myth 4: The only heart-friendly alcohol is red wine.
Truth Beer, wine, and liquors all confer the same health benefits.
The so-called French Paradox elevated red wine to health-food status when researchers thought it was the antioxidants in the drink that protected the foie gras- and cheese-loving French from heart disease.
More recent research, however, has shown that antioxidants aren’t the answer after all. Alcohol—the ethanol itself—raises levels of protective HDL, or good cholesterol, which help protect against plaque buildup in the arteries and reduce clotting factors that contribute to heart attack and stroke, according to Eric Rimm, ScD, associate professor of nutrition at the School of Public Health at Harvard University. Any kind of beverage that contains alcohol, when consumed in moderation (and that means one to two drinks a day), helps reduce heart disease risk.

Myth 5: Adding salt to the pot adds sodium to the food.
Truth Salt added to boiling water may actually make vegetables more nutritious.
Public health messages encouraging us to shake our salt-in-everything habits are, in general, good; sodium is a potential problem even for non-hypertensive people. But it’s easy to overlook how sodium can actually help in recipes.
“Salt in the cooking water reduces the leaching of nutrients from vegetables into the water,” says Harold McGee, author of On Food & Cooking. That means your blanched broccoli, green beans, or asparagus likely retains more nutrients. “It also speeds up the cooking process so you don’t lose as many nutrients from overcooking.” McGee recommends using about 1 teaspoon of salt per cup of water. The amount of sodium absorbed by the food is minuscule.

Myth 6: Fried foods are always too fatty.
Truth Healthy deep-fried food is not an oxymoron.
Here’s how frying works: When food is exposed to hot oil, the moisture inside boils and pushes to the surface and then out into the oil. As moisture leaves, it creates a barrier, minimizing oil absorption—when the frying is done right. Meanwhile, the little oil that does penetrate the food’s surface forms a crisp, tasty crust. To keep foods from soaking up oil, fry according to recipe instructions. For most foods, 375°F is optimal. Oil temperatures that are too low will increase fat absorption. When we added tempura-coated vegetables to cooler-than-optimal oil, the result was greasy and inedible—they absorbed more than 1 cup of oil instead of 1⁄3 cup. So, watch the oil temperature like a hawk using a candy/fry thermometer, and drain cooked foods on a paper towel for a minute or two before diving in.

Good news: You can have fried catfish and hush puppies, too.
Keep in mind that we’re not giving fast-food fried chicken dinners with French fries a passing grade. Such a meal contains an entire day’s worth of calories and sodium, thanks to large portion sizes, excessive breading, and globs of sauces.
But as an occasional treat, home-fried foods have a place in a healthy diet. Use in moderation by pairing with a sensible side or salad. Always choose a healthy oil that’s low in saturated fat—such as peanut, soybean, and canola oils—and follow our step-by-step techniques to frying basics to keep calories and fat as low as possible. In the hands of a careful home cook, a delicately breaded and fried catfish fillet with a few hush puppies can be a perfectly reasonable—and delicious—dinner.
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Oct 5, 2010

Unique & Special Postage Stamps

Unique & Special Postage Stamps

These are some really unique postage stamps, from a stamp that looks & smells like chocolates to a cloth stamp to even a CD-ROM stamp!

Unique & Special Postage Stamps

This stamp was printed on silver foil by the government of Tonga:

These stamps issued in Malaysia feature a variety of nocturnal animals and actually glow in the dark:

In 2004, Switzerland issued this wooden stamp made from 120-year-old fir trees:

Switzerland also produced this embroidered stamp in 2000, celebrating the world-famous embroidery created in St. Gallen, one of the Swiss cantons:

This Austrian stamp from 2005 is similarly made of threads, embroidered into the design of the Edelweiss, the well-known alpine flower. The stamp was issued in honour of the Austrian embroidery industry, which dates back to the eighteenth century. The stamp has a self-adhesive backing, but can even be worn if so desired

Austria Post also produced in the world’s first stamp made of soccer ball material in 2008, to mark the UEFA Euro soccer tournament:

(on the right: famous Lufthansa's soccer ball airplane paint scheme)

In 2006, Austria issued this curious stamp, which could even be said to be out of this world. The stamp contains 0.03 grams of dust from a meteorite found in Morocco two years earlier, which was fixed to the stamp with a special adhesive:

These cloth stamps from Grenada, the Gambia, Sierra Leone and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, honour the humble teddy bear:

The Rock of Gibraltar is one of the world’s most recognized natural features and it appeared on this Gibraltar stamp in more ways than one in 2002. The stamp’s top layer is actually embellished with finely pulverized pieces of rock from the famous landmark:

This 2007 stamp printed on thinly sliced cork is from Portugal, commemorating the country’s cork industry, which produces around 30% of the world supply:

A Singapore souvenir set of $5 stamps from 2008 was covered in beads on a sheet shaped like a handbag:

Several countries around the world have produced scented stamps offering a variety of different aromas. The small Himalayan nation of Bhutan was probably the first nation to issue this type of stamp in 1973. These stamps were perfumed to smell like roses:

In celebration of the Year of the Pig in 2007, China really did issue a stamp bearing the aroma of sweet and sour pork (above, right). It is rumoured that the stamp’s adhesive actually tasted a little like the famous Chinese delicacy, but this is far from established fact.

Issued to raise awareness of the dangers of forest fires, these Brazilian stamps smell of burnt wood:

Also from Brazil, where most of the planet’s supply of coffee beans originates, this stamp is scented with the aroma of coffee, one of the country’s largest exports:

Another country renowned for a product derived from beans is Switzerland, world famous for its chocolate. This stamp was sold in a foil-wrapped booklet, similar to most chocolate bars. However, the stamp merely smells like chocolate and apparently when licked tastes exactly like glue:

In honor of the centenary of the Nobel Prizes in 2001, the United Kingdom issued this stamp with the scent of eucalyptus. When the stamp is scratched, eucalyptus aroma, hidden in tiny capsules in the stamp’s top layer, is released:

The stamp shown above right is giving off sandalwood scent; it comes from India.

Several countries have placed moving images on their stamps. This one from Austria includes forty eight images, which allow a three second “movie” to appear when the stamp is viewed from certain angles.

The small Himalayan nation of Bhutan is famous for its stamps, including the first ever stamp made of steel:

These embossed stamps, depicting famous world leaders, are printed on plastic:

These stamps issued in 1973 by Bhutan are also real phonograph records. They contain traditional folk songs and an oral history of the kingdom, in both English and Bhutanese, and really can be played on a record player:

More recently, Bhutan introduced postage stamps that doubled as actual CD-ROMs. One is entitled “Bhutan: In Harmony with Nature”, the other “Bhutan: 100 Years of Monarchy”.
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Oct 3, 2010

The Language and Meaning of Rose Colours

Meaning of Rose Colours

Expressing feelings of love, affection, friendship, thankfulness, joy and several other feelings that makes our life beautiful and rewarding is not always easy. Some people use poetry, roses and many other things to express their feelings. However sending the appropriate rose color bouquet convey messages in a very special and beautiful way.

Roses can be sent to any one for any reasons or feelings mentioned above, be they wife or husband, friend or lover, mom or dad, grandma or grandpa or your favourite actor / actresses. No limitations applied when you are sending roses.

Learn The Meaning of Rose Colors to Send Correct Rose.

Image RED roses show love, passion and respect. Red roses of any color say "I love you"; deep red roses imply unconscious beauty.

Image PINK roses communicate happiness, appreciation, admiration, friendship, sympathy.

Image LIGHT PINK roses denote grace, joy, gentility and admiration.

Image DARK PINK roses are to signify thankfulness.

Image LAVENDER symbolizes love at first sight and enchantment.

Image WHITE roses signify spiritual love and purity; but of the soul; bridal white means happy love. White roses can also signify secrecy reverence humility, innocence, or charm.

Image YELLOW shows "I care"; friendship, joy, gladness or freedom.

Image CORAL roses imply desire.

Image PEACH roses indicate modesty.

ORANGE display a feeling of enthusiasm, desire and fascination.

WHITE and RED roses mixed together signify unity.

RED and YELLOW rose together say "Congratulations!"

YELLOW and ORANGE in combination imply passionate thoughts.

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10 of the worlds smallest and cutest animals.

Here are 10 of the worlds smallest and cutest animals.

From dogs & cats to fishes and seahorses! 10 of the World's Smallest Animals

World’s Smallest Dog: 12.4 cm (4.9-inch) tall

At 1.4 pounds and 4.9 inches tall, Ducky, a yappy short-coat Chihuahua from Charlton (Massachusetts, USA), holds the Guinness World Record for the world's smallest living dog (by height). Ducky succeeds Danka Kordak of Slovakia, a Chihuahua who measured 5.4 inches tall. The smallest dog ever, according to Guinness, was a dwarf Yorkshire terrier who stood 2.8 inches tall.

World's Smallest Snake: 10.1 cm (4-inch) long

Leptotyphlops carlae is the world's smallest species of snake, with adults averaging just under four inches in length. Found on the Caribbean island of Barbados, the species --which is as thin as a spaghetti noodle and small enough to rest comfortably on a U.S. quarter-- was discovered by Blair Hedges.

World’s Smallest Fish: 7.9 mm (0.3-inch) long

On January 2006, the world's smallest fish was discovered on the Indonesian island of Sumatra: a member of the carp family of fish, the Paedocypris progenetica. It is the world's smallest vertebrate or backboned animal; only 7.9 mm (0.3 inches) long.
The title, however, is contested by 6.2 mm (0.2 in) long male anglerfish Photocorynus spiniceps (not technically a fish but a sexual parasite) and the 7 mm (0.27 in) long male stout infantfish Schindleria brevipinguis.

World’s Smallest Horse: 43.18 cm (17-inch) tall

The little horse was born to Paul and Kay Goessling, who specialize in breeding miniature horses, but even for the breed Thumbelina is particularly small: she is thought to be a dwarf-version of the breed. At just 60 lb and 17-inch tall, the five-year-old Thumbelina is the world’s smallest horse.

World’s Smallest Cat: 15.5 cm (6.1-inch) high and 49 cm (19.2-inch) long

Meet Mr. Peebles. He lives in central Illinois, is two years old, weighs about three pounds and is the world's smallest cat! The cat's small stature was verified by the Guinness Book of World Records on 2004.

World's Smallest Hamster: 2.5 cm (0.9-inch) tall

Only slightly bigger than a 50p piece, PeeWee is the smallest hamster in the world. Weighing less than an ounce, the golden hamster stopped growing when he was three weeks old - his five brothers and sisters went on to measure between 4in and 5in.

World's Smallest Chameleon: 1.2 cm (0.5-inch) long

The Brookesia Minima is the world's smallest species of chameleon. This one is just half an inch. Found on the rainforest floor of Nosy Be Island off the north-west coast of Madagascar, females tend to be larger than males.

World's Smallest Lizard: 16 mm (0.6-inch) long

So small it can curl up on a dime or stretch out on a quarter, a typical adult of the species, whose scientific name is Sphaerodactylus ariasae is only about 16 millimeters long, or about three quarters of an inch, from the tip of the snout to the base of the tail. It shares the title of "smallest" with another lizard species named Sphaerodactylus parthenopion, discovered in 1965 in the British Virgin Islands.

World’s Smallest Cattle: 81 cm (31-inch) height

The world’s smallest cattle is a rare breed of an Indian zebu called the Vechur cow. The average height of this breed of cattle is 31 to 35 inches (81 to 91 cm). The photo above shows a 16 year old Vechur cattle as compared to a 6 year old HF cross-breed cow.

World's Smallest Seahorse: 16 mm (0.6-inch) long

The creature, known as Hippocampus denise, is typically just 16 millimetres long - smaller than most fingernails. Some were found to be just 13 mm long. H. denise lives in the tropical waters of the western Pacific Ocean, between 13 and 90 metres beneath the surface.
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