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International Relations Defined

International relations is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of the interaction of the actors in international politics, including states and non-state actors, such as the United Nations (UN), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and Amnesty International. One of the key features of the international system is that it’s a state of anarchy – each state in the system is sovereign and does not have to answer to a higher authority.

Imagine living in a confined space with a group of other people with limited resources. Further imagine that there is no law enforcement and that the only ‘law’ is agreements between individuals and self-help is the only means of enforcement. In short, every person can do whatever he or she wants only subject to what the others in the space will do as a result. This situation gives you an idea of the world in which states live.

International relations involves the study of such things as foreign policy, international conflict and negotiation, war, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, international trade and economics, and international development, among other subjects. As you may expect, international relations’ broad scope requires an interdisciplinary approach, drawing upon the fields of economics, law, political science, sociology, game theory, and even psychology.

Resource: http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-international-relations.html



Don't mess with this guy (Credit: Radius Images/Alamy)

The Birds That Fear Death

Crows will gather around their dead. And the reasons why are intriguing

Crows are known to behave strangely around their dead: they gather around and squawk loudly nearby.

The idea that it is part of some sort of ritual funeral has often been proposed.

But what they are actually doing has largely remained a mystery, as scientists had little to rely on except anecdotal evidence of such behaviour.

A team has now set out to unpick just why crows act so attentively around their fallen brethren.

To do so, they set up an innovative experiment, capitalising on the knowledge that crows do not forget a threatening face.

This was discovered from earlier research. A series of studies led by John Marzluff of the University of Washington in Seattle, US, revealed that crows will remember an apparently dangerous individual.

They then teach others to scold loudly at the dubious face in question, meaning a whole community of other crows also scold at that face several years later.

To prevent any real life harassment from crows, the face they used was not a real one but a rather realistic latex mask covering their real face.

sing a similar disguise, researchers introduced a lone mask-clad individual to an area where the crows knew to expect a tasty treat from the experimenter, Kaeli Swift, also of the University of Washington.

They would be holding a dead crow, palms outstretched like you might hold a plate of hors d’oeuvre.

By bringing treats, she played good cop. But the masked individual played bad cop, arriving on the scene holding up a dead crow. This sinister individual would remain in place for 30 minutes.

“I was always the friendly feeder, which was nice, I never made any crow enemies,” says Swift. “I would put my food out, then this second person would show up.

“They would be holding a dead crow, not violently, not reenacting a death scene, just holding it like they were picking it up to throw it in rubbish, palms outstretched like you might hold a plate of hors d’oeuvre.”

On the first day this masked person appeared, the crows avoided the food Swift had laid out altogether.

Instead they engaged in scolding and mobbing behaviours, when crows assemble in large groups to appear threatening to potential predators.

They know what death is and know to fear it

In this case, mobbing could have served more than one purpose, the authors report. This includes “chastising the predator, displaying dominance or social learning of the dangerous person or place”.

If a hawk was placed next to the crow, they were even more likely to avoid the food, indicating they believed the hawk was the danger.

When the masked person returned the next day, even without a dead crow, they still avoided the food.

These results show that crows will avoid an area or thing that is deemed dangerous to their own species. In other words, they know w

“It tells us that crows view death, at least in part, as a ‘teachable moment’ to borrow an anthropomorphic phrase. It’s a signal of danger and danger is something to be avoided,” explains Swift.

This work is another example of how crows have evolved to live so successfully with us

And this fear of a potential deadly situation stays with them. Even six weeks later more than a third of 65 pairs of crows continued to respond this way.

The study, published in the journal Animal Behaviour, was another in the line of research trying to better understand how animals respond to their dead. Western scrub jays, which are from the same bird family – corvids – have also been found to hold “funeral” type affairs when they see a fellow dead jay.

But whereas jays will also respond negatively to other species of dead birds of the same size, the crows did not. If the masked person held out a dead pigeon instead, the crows did not seem as bothered.


These findings highlight how important their memory is for learning and retaining the detail of human faces. It’s a skill that helps them pick out threatening people from harmless ones.

“This work is another example of how crows have evolved to live so successfully with us,” Swift told BBC Earth.

“They can learn our faces and do so in an impressive number of circumstances including when we have appeared to out ourselves as one of those prickly neighbours by interacting with their dead.”

Crows are now the latest in the small group of animals that are known to recognise, or perhaps even mourn their dead. Elephants, giraffes, chimpanzees and several other corvid species are also known to loiter near recently deceased mates.



Stylish but it is risky

Hipster top-knots are making men BALD: ‘Man buns’ place extreme tension on hair roots, triggering permanent hair loss

  • Scraping hair into a top-knot can cause a condition called traction alopecia
  • Causes bald patches appear – usually around the forehead and temples
  • If the roots are pulled at over a long period of time, they become damaged
  • Hair will eventually cease to grow, leading to permanent baldness  

They are sported by celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Jared Leto and Harry Styles.

But hipster ‘man buns’ can lead to permanent hair loss, experts have warned.

Scraping hair into a top-knot can cause a condition called traction alopecia, where bald patches appear – usually around the forehead and temples.

If the roots are pulled at over a long period of time, they become damaged – and hair will cease to grow.

This week, Mississippi dermatologist Sabra Sullivan spoke out about the increasing number of men she is seeing with the condition.

Men who tie their hair back into so-called man buns - such as actors Jared Leto - risk permanent hair loss, experts sayMan buns - sported by actors such as Game of Thrones' Paul Kaye, put pressure on the hair follicles

She told MIC: ‘Traction alopecia in men is becoming really, really common.

‘I see it probably once or twice a week. They’re putting traction on the hair follicles that the hair is not really meant to take.’

She added: ‘Unfortunately, once the hair follicle is damaged, it doesn’t grow back.’

Leading hair transplant surgeon Dr Bessam Farjo agreed that pulling hair into a tight bun can lead to bald patches.

He told MailOnline: ‘Traction alopecia is mechanical damage to the hair root. Over time, you lose hair along the hair line and down the sides of the face.

‘The problem is if hair is tightly scraped back, all the time, every day, it puts long-term stress on the hair.

The follicle is pulled – creating tension along it and down to the root, damaging the root and pulling it out.

‘It’s just like plucking an eyebrow hair – if you clasp it between the tweezers and pull hard enough, it comes out. And eventually, if you keep plucking it, it won’t grow back.

‘Sufferers are left with a hair-band type shape of alopecia around their face.’

TOWIE's Joey Essex has also sported the look

Dr Farjo, who runs the Farjo Hair Institute in London and Manchester, added: ‘Men who tightly tie their hair back for fashion reasons do risk getting the condition – as do women who have the tightly scraped back so-called “Croydon Facelift” style.

However those who suffer the most are Sikh men who tie their hair up tightly under their turban,’ he explained.

‘I have had clients in their 20s who no longer want to wear a turban but have suffered permanent hair loss. Years of tying hair back in a knot has pulled the roots along the hairline.

‘Another at-risk group is men who suffer baldness on the top of the head – so they pull the remainder back into a ponytail.’I do warn them they may cause even more hair loss by doing this

‘It’s also very common in black women who braid their hair – it’s the same principle.’

Therefore, the only way to prevent traction alopecia if you still want to have a bun hairstyle is to style the hair into a looser bun.

However, the good news is that traction alopecia is relatively rare, even for men who regularly sport man buns.

Dr Sullivan said: ‘There are lots of men who wear man buns and don’t get traction alopecia. The idea is not to pull so tight. You don’t want to have to go for hair transplants later.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3249155/Hipster-knots-making-men-BALD-Man-buns-place-extreme-tension-hair-roots-triggering-permanent-hair-loss.html#ixzz3moJMQFik
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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3249155/Hipster-knots-making-men-BALD-Man-buns-place-extreme-tension-hair-roots-triggering-permanent-hair-loss.html#ixzz3moItXtOe

Learn about Coffee from its history


In the Ethiopian highlands, where the legend of Kaldi, the goatherd, originated, coffee trees grow today as they have for centuries. Though we will never know with certainty, there probably is some truth to the Kaldi legend.

It is said that he discovered coffee after noticing that his goats, upon eating berries from a certain tree, became so spirited that they did not want to sleep at night.

Kaldi dutifully reported his findings to the abbot of the local monastery who made a drink with the berries and discovered that it kept him alert for the long hours of evening prayer.  Soon the abbot had shared his discovery with the other monks at the monastery, and ever so slowly knowledge of the energizing effects of the berries began to spread.  As word moved east and coffee reached the Arabian peninsula, it began a journey which would spread its reputation across the globe.

Today coffee is grown in a multitude of countries around the world. Whether it is Asia or Africa, Central or South America, the islands of the Caribbean or Pacific, all can trace their heritage to the trees in the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau.

coffeegatheringThe Arabian Peninsula

The Arabs were the first, not only to cultivate coffee but also to begin its trade.  By the fifteenth century, coffee was being grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia and by the sixteenth century it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey.

ThehistoryCoffee was not only drunk in homes but also in the many public coffee houses — called qahveh khaneh — which began to appear in cities across the Near East. The popularity of the coffee houses was unequaled and people frequented them for all kinds of social activity. Not only did they drink coffee and engage in conversation, but they also listened to music, watched performers, played chess and kept current on the news of the day.  In fact, they quickly became such an important center for the exchange of information that the coffee houses were often referred to as ‘Schools of the Wise.’

With thousands of pilgrims visiting the holy city of Mecca each year from all over the world, word of the ‘wine of Araby’ as the drink was often called, was beginning to spread far beyond Arabia. In an effort to maintain its complete monopoly in the early coffee trade, the Arabians continued to closely guard their coffee production.

Coffee Comes to Europe

European travellers to the Near East brought back stories of the unusual dark black beverage. By the 17th century, coffee had made its way to Europe and was becoming popular across the continent. Opponents were overly cautious, calling the beverage the ‘bitter invention of Satan.’ With the coming of coffee to Venice in 1615, the local clergy condemned it. The controversy was so great that Pope Clement VIII was asked to intervene. Before making a decision however, he decided to taste the beverage for himself. He found the drink so satisfying that he gave it Papal approval.

coffeecomestovienna1Despite such controversy, in the major cities of England, Austria, France, Germany and Holland, coffee houses were quickly becoming centers of social activity and communication. In England ‘penny universities’ sprang up, so called because for the price of a penny one could purchase a cup of coffee and engage in stimulating conversation.  By the mid-17th century, there were over 300 coffee houses in London, many of which attracted patrons with common interests, such as merchants, shippers, brokers and artists.

Many businesses grew out of these specialized coffee houses. Lloyd’s of London, for example, came into existence at the Edward Lloyd’s Coffee House.

The New World

In the mid-1600’s, coffee was brought to New Amsterdam, a location later called New York by the British.

Though coffee houses rapidly began to appear, tea continued to be the favored drink in the New World until 1773 when the colonists revolted against a heavy tax on tea imposed by King George.  The revolt, known as the Boston Tea Party, would forever change the American drinking preference to coffee.

Plantations Around the World

As demand for the beverage continued to spread, there was tense competition to cultivate coffee outside of Arabia. Though the Arabs tried hard to maintain their monopoly, the Dutch finally succeeded, in the latter half of the 17th century, to obtain some seedlings. Their first attempts to plant them in India failed but they were successful with their efforts in Batavia, on the island of Java in what is now Indonesia.  The plants thrived and soon the Dutch had a productive and growing trade in coffee. They soon expanded the cultivation of coffee trees to the islands of Sumatra and Celebes.

The Dutch did a curious thing, however.  In 1714, the Mayor of Amsterdam presented a gift of a young coffee plant to King Louis XIV of France. The King ordered it to be planted in the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris. In 1723, a young naval officer, Gabriel de Clieu obtained a seedling from the King’s plant. Despite an arduous voyage — complete with horrendous weather, a saboteur who tried to destroy the seedling and a pirate attack — he managed to transport it safely to Martinique.  Once planted, the seedling thrived and is credited with the spread of over 18 million coffee trees on the island of Martinique in the next 50 years.  It was also the stock from which coffee trees throughout the Caribbean, South and Central America originated.

Coffee is said to have come to Brazil in the hands of Francisco de Mello Palheta who was sent by the emperor to French Guiana for the purpose of obtaining coffee seedlings. But the French were not willing to share and Palheta was unsuccessful. However, he was said to have been so handsomely engaging that the French Governor’s wife was captivated. As a going-away gift, she presented him with a large bouquet of flowers.  Buried inside he found enough coffee seeds to begin what is today a billion-dollar industry.

In only 100 years, coffee had established itself as a commodity crop throughout the world.  Missionaries and travellers, traders and colonists continued to carry coffee seeds to new lands and coffee trees were planted worldwide.  Plantations were established in magnificent tropical forests and on rugged mountain highlands. Some crops flourished, while others were short-lived.  New nations were established on coffee economies.  Fortunes were made and lost.  And by the end of the 18th century, coffee had become one of the world’s most profitable export crops.

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