14 of the Most Unbelievable and Beautiful Homes Around the World
These homes are simply stunning, unbelievable and just wonderful works of artistic design. With different inspirations and purposes, many of these homes have some great stories behind them, too. Check out 14 of some of the most interesting places people call home around the world.The Glass House of TokyoThis house is as it's named: glass. It has barely any walls, and the walls that are there are glass. It is a vertical living space, which mimics a tree as the three-story edifice features various levels of living space that requires some climbing.The Glass House of TokyoYou can also sit on the edge of the structure as if you're on a tree branch. Downside: there's ZERO privacy.The Keret HouseThis is one of the smallest houses in a city in the world. This house is sandwiched between two existing buildings--ranging from 92 centimeters to 152 centimeters wide. It is a semi-transparent, windowless structure that allows natural lighting.The Keret HouseWhile they say the natural light makes it feel less claustrophobic, we're feeling a little cramped looking at it.The Hobbit HouseThis house is one with the earth, and it allows its inhabitants to be, too. It is dug into a hillside and uses oak thinnings, stone and mud to create the structure of it. It uses a woodburner for heat, a fridge cooled by air from underground, and water pressure using gravity from a nearby spring.The Hobbit HouseAnd, it's a pretty close replica to the Hobbit House from the movies...Brooklyn Clock TowerThis apartment boasts some amazing views. It is located in Brooklyn's Clock Tower building and is a 7,000 square foot lavish penthouse overlooking Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. While it is superbly unique and beautiful, it comes with a cost: $18 million.Home on the RockThis tiny little house sits atop a rock in the Drina River in the Balkans. It has been sitting on this rock for over 40 years when a group of young boys were looking for a spot to sunbathe, so they built a tiny shelter. Now, the little house has become a tourist attraction, and proves the strength in spite of its tininess.Wooden SkyscraperThis 13-floor, 144 foot skyscraper home is built entirely out of wood. Nikolai Sutyagin, a former gangster in Russia, began building the home with plans to stop at two-stories because it was just bigger than his neighbor's home--showing he was the city's richest man. He began adding more floors, but the more floors he added, the odder it looked, so he wanted to keep adding until it looked balanced. After serving time in prison he returned home to find all his belongings gone and penniless, so he hasn't been able to continue the project and now lives in the lower rooms as it decays around him.<img class="image" src="http://file2.answcdn.com/answ-cld/image/upload/f_jpg,w_672,c_fill,g_faces:center,q_70/v1427744401/ugiwoppezl2t68xa7yp1.png" alt="Flintstone" s="" house'="" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Flintstone's HouseIn December 2014, Dick Clark's widow finally sold their Flintstones-style house, which sits on nearly 23 blufftop acres in Malibu. This stone house is a one-bedroom, two-bathroom free-form house with an interior made of wood and steel covered in concrete.<img class="image" src="http://file2.answcdn.com/answ-cld/image/upload/f_jpg,w_672,c_fill,g_faces:center,q_70/v1427744461/mgqawzk3gezex3cyn9vi.png" alt="Flintstone" s="" house'="" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Flintstone's HouseThere are irregular windows and giant glass give the inhabitants a 360 view of the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains.Stone HouseCasa do Penedo in Portugal is literally a stone. It is located in the Fafe mountains and is built between four gigantic boulders. Look a little closer and you'll see windows, a door and even a chimney built into this huge rock.Giant Seashell HouseThis house is simply stunning. It is inspired by a seashell and is built in Mexico City. It has a smooth front facade that meets a giant wall of colored mosaics. The inside of the house has natural curves and real gardens to give it an earthy feel.The Magic Mushroom HouseThis house was designed by Andre Ulrych and has an organic spiral to it. The interior dips into a sunken living space with a fireplace of moss rock. The designer was, naturally, on LSD when he designed and built the house, but his psychedelic visions resulted in something simply beautiful.Bio-Climatic Solar HouseThis home looks something like an alien spaceship that crashed into the ground, but it has some awesome features. It is wood, glass and concrete and was designed to act something like a sundial, using the movement of the sun and its orientation depending on latitude.Bio-Climatic Solar HouseIts design keeps the temperature cool during the summer and warms the house during the cooler seasons.Foam HouseThis home actually has a name, "Ensculptic". The entire home is made out of polyurethane foam, giving it a bit of a natural, igloo-esque type look. It curves and 'melts' into its shape.Schnabel HouseThis house was designed by Frank Gehry, a controversial post-modernist in the late 80s. The house has six bedrooms and six bathrooms that are spread throughout several separate structures. It is very asymmetric and very polarizing.The Toilet HouseThis 4,508 square foot home was built to commemorate the establishment of the World Toilet Association and it's campaign for better sanitation around the world. The house is named "Haewoojae", which means "a place of sanctuary where one can solve one's worries." It is the ultimate ode to the 'porcelain throne'.Architecture at Its BestThese are some fantastic architectural feats, and it is hard to believe these places actually exist. Which house would you choose to live in?
- How do you think about the following translation
How to say if you want to sleep
I sleep in every weekend and wake up around noon。 周末我通常会睡个懒觉，到中午才起来。2. I want to catch a wink before the guest arrive。我想在客人到达之前先小眯一会。3. A post- prandial snooze sets the brain up for learning。午餐之后打个小盹会让头脑更清醒，学习更高效。4. I'll meet you at the movies right after I take a little catnap。我先打个盹再到电影院和你碰面。5. I was so tired I could have slept around the clock。我太累了，能睡整整一天。6. Let's hit the sack/hay. We have to get an early start in the morning。我们睡吧，早上得早起呢!7. I'm such a heavy sleeper that the explosion didn't wake me。我睡得很死，连爆炸声都没有把我吵醒。8. I'm a very light sleeper。我很容易醒的。9. Everyone in our family sleeps like a log, so no one heard the thunderstorm in the middle of the night。家人都睡得很沉，没人听到半夜的打雷声。10. Some students often doze off in class。有些学生常在课堂上打瞌睡。11. Jack nodded off during the minister's sermon。在部长讲话的时候，杰克打起了盹。12. He was caught taking a nap during the conference call。他在电话会议上打盹儿被发现了。
I‘d like to share Beautiful sentences with you
Those beautiful sentences written by RabindranathTagore By plucking her petals you do not gather the beauty of the flower.采撷花瓣得不到花的美丽。The furthest distance in the world，Is not between life and death. But when I stand in front of you，Yet you don't know that I love you.世界上最遥远的距离不是生与死，而是我就站在你面前，你却不知道我爱你。Sorrow is hushed into peace in my heart like the evening among the silent trees.忧愁在我心中沉寂平静，正如黄昏在寂静的林中。I cannot choose the best. The best chooses me.我不能选择那最好的，是那最好的选择我。Stray birds of summer come to my window to sing and fly away. And yellow leaves of autumn, which have no songs, flutter and fall there with a sigh.夏天的飞鸟，飞到我窗前唱歌，又飞去了。 秋天的黄叶，他们没有什麼可唱的，只是叹息一声，飞落在那里。Let life be beautiful like summer flowers and death like autumn leaves.使生如夏花之绚烂，死如秋叶之静美。We read the world wrong and say that it deceives us.我们把世界看错了，反说它欺骗我们。You smiled and talked to me of nothing and I felt that for this I had been waiting long.你微微地笑着，不同我说什么话。而我觉得，为了这个，我已等待得久了。If you shed tears when you miss the sun, you also miss the stars.如果你因失去了太阳而流泪，那么你也失去了群星。What you are you do not see, what you see is your shadow.你看不见你自己，你所看见的只是你的影子。The scabbard is content to be dull when it protects the keenness of the sword.剑鞘保护剑的锋利，自己却满足於它自己的迟钝。
How touse “etc.” correctly ？
你是不是有时候会不知道如何正确使用“et cetera”（“etc”，意为“等等”）？“et cetera”作为一个缩略词，学校老师一般不会讲仔细讲它的正确用法。尽管如此，了解 “et cetera”的正确使用还是很必要的。下面让我们来看一看吧！1、 "et cetera"一般是指“等等”，或“同一类别的所有事物” "et cetera"，同"and so forth"，"and so on"，or "and other things" 差不多意思，同时也可以表示未列全的一类事物。这里强调， "et cetera"表示的是同类事物。例如：你可以讲："We could use cupcakes, cookies, etc." 或者 "We could use cupcakes, cookies, and so on." 表示他们可以使用任何甜点；但不可以讲："Bring hamburger buns, paper plates, cupcakes, etc." 因为句中列出来的并不是同一种类的东西，读者不会知道你所指的到底是哪一类。2、不要将“etc”用于 "such as" 或 "for example" 引导的介绍性短语中"Bring items such as cake, chocolates, ice cream, etc. to the party." 这样的句子是不对的。因为 "such as"本身就意味着讲话者没有列举全。可表达成："Bring items such as cake, chocolates, and ice cream to the party" 或 "Bring cake, chocolates, ice cream, etc. to the party."3、一个句子中不能多次使用 "etc."尽管 "etc."很管用，但一个句子中是不能同时用多个 "etc."。像这种："I have to do the dishes, wash the car, clean my room, etc., etc., etc., before the party" 是不对的。4、"and" 后面不能接 "etc.""et cetera"中的 "et"就是“和”的意思，如果前面再加“and”就显得重复累赘了。正如 "and etc." 就表示 "and and the rest."。5、当你想要明确表示某些事物时，不能用 "etc."如果你只需要cookies, cake, and donuts for the party， 那就不要说 "cookies, cake, donuts, etc." ，这会让听者以为还可以带其它甜点。6、"etc." 不能代指人"etc." 只能代指物体，"et al."可代指人。7、正确拼写你可以将 "etc."写成 "Et Cetera", "et caetera, et cœtera or et coetera"，但是更常用"etc."。会有同学将这个词拼写成 "ect" 或 "cet"，千万不要拼错啦！8、在"etc." 后正确添加标点符号"etc"后面是有一个句点的，大家不能丢掉喔！如果在 "etc."后面，还要接内容，可以在后面直接添加逗号；如果 "etc."就是句子的最后一个单词，就不要再多加一个句点啦～例： "They ate cookies, cakes, peanuts, fairy floss, etc., and it's little wonder they ended up with stomach aches."但有时候还会遇到加其它标点在 "etc." 后面，比如：分号、问号、惊叹号等。以下是相应的规则：在 "etc." 后面直接加问号；在 "etc." 后面字节直接加感叹号；在 "etc." 后面字节直接加分号，并在用空格隔开下一个句子；在用作插入语时，使用括号。例："Students should not pack liquids in their carry-on bags (water, shampoo, makeup remover, etc.)声明：本文系沪江英语原创内容，转载请注明出处。本文仅代表作者个人观点，仅供参考。如有不妥之处，欢迎指正。
1. I wasn't born yesterday.(我又不是三岁小孩)2. How do I address you?(我怎么称呼你)3. She turns me off.(她使我厌烦。)4. So far so good.(目前为止，一切都好。)5. Be my guest.(请便、别客气)6. That was a close call.(太危险了/千钧一发)7. Far from it.(一点也不。)8. It's a pain in the neck.[麻烦的事(人)](那真是件麻烦事)9. We're in the same boat.(我们处境相同。)10. My mouth is watering.(我在流口水了。)11. I ache all over.(我浑身酸痛。)12. I have a runny nose.(我流鼻涕。)13. Do you have any openings?(你们有空缺吗?)14. Think nothing of it.(别放在心上。)15. I'm not myself today.(我今天心神不宁。)16. I have a sweet tooth.(我喜欢吃甜食。)17. For the time being.(暂时;暂且;目前)18. Don't beat around the bush. (别拐弯抹角了。)19. It's up on the air[悬而未决].(尚未确定。)20. It slipped my mind.(我忘了。)21. You can't please[使人感到满意和愉快] everyone.(你不可能讨好每一个人。)22. I'm working on[着手;从事] it.(我正在努力。)23. You bet!(当然!)24. Drop me a line[短信].(写封信给我)25. Are you pulling my leg[同某人开玩笑;取笑]?(你在开我玩笑吗?)26. I'll keep my ears open.(我会留意的。)27. Neck and neck.(不分上下。)28. I'm feeling under the weather.(我觉得不舒服/精神不好/情绪低落。)29. Don't get me wrong[误解].(不要误会我。)30. You're the boss.(听你的。)31. If I were in your shoes[处在某人的位置].(如果我是你的话。)32. Over my dead body!(休想)33. It'll come to me.(我会想起来的。)34. I will play it by ear[见机行事;临时现做].(我会见机行事的;到时候再说。)35. Let's talk over coffee.(我们边喝边谈。)36. Take it easy.(轻松一点;别紧张;放松放松;再见。)[这是美国人最喜欢说的话，也可作离别用语。}37. Let's give him a big hand.(让我们热烈鼓掌。)38. As far as I'm concerned.(就我而言。)39. I'm up to my ears[忙得不可开交;深陷于某事物中] in work.(我忙死了。)40. You can't do this to me.(你不能这么对我。)41. Just to be on the safe side. (为了安全起见。)42. It's been a long time.(好久不见了。)43. It's about time.(时间差不多了。)44. I can't imagine why.(我想不通为什么。)45. That's really something.(真了不起。)46. Excuse me for a moment.(失陪一会儿。)47. I'm dying[很想] to see you.(我真想见你。)48. I'm flattered.(过奖了。)49. You can never tell.(不知道/谁也没把握。)50. I won't buy[相信;接受] you story.(我不信你那一套。)51. It hurts like hell!(疼死啦!)52. It can't be helped.(无能为力。)53. Sorry to bother you.(抱歉打扰你。[事前])Sorry to have bothered you.(抱歉打扰你。[事后])54. Stay out of this matter, please.(请别管这事。)55. I'll make it up to you.(我会赔偿的。)56. I'm very / really / terribly / awfully / extremely sorry.(十分抱歉)57. Let's forgive and forget.(让我们摈弃前嫌。)58. I've heard so much about you!(久仰大名!)58. Don't underestimate me.(别小看我。)59. She gives me a headache.(她让我头疼。)60. You're wasting you breath.(你在白费口舌)61. Don't get on my nerves!(不要搅得我心烦。)62. His argument doesn't hold water.(他的论点站不住脚)63. You've got to do something.(你一定要想办法。)64. Don't look wise.(别自作聪明)65. You're going too far!(你太过分了!)66. Don't bury your head in the sand.(不要逃避现实。)67. Nothing works.(什么都不对劲儿。)68. Money will come and go.(钱乃身外之物。)69. He's been behind bars for almost 30 years.(他坐了将近30年牢。)70. You have my word.(我保证。)71. He hit the ceiling at the news.(他听到那消息暴跳如雷/大发雷霆)72. You're too outspoken.(你太直率了。)73. Every dog has his day.(凡人皆有得意时。)74. Are you out of you mind?(你疯了吗?)75. He's been everywhere.(他到处都去过了。)76. Who is to blame?(该怪谁?)77. There're a lot of rumors going around.(很多流言流传着。)78. I don't feel up to that.(我觉得不能胜任那工作。)79. I'm mad at myself.(我生自己的气。)80. It's raining cats and dogs.(下着倾盆大雨。)81. What the hell are you doing?(你到底在做什么?)82. I can't seem to get to sleep.(我好象睡不着。)83. You look very serious about something.(你似乎有很严重的事。)84. I hope I'm not in the way.(我希望没有造成妨碍。)85. A fool never learns.(傻瓜永远学不会。)86. What brings you to Beijing?(什么风把你吹到北京来的?)87. She looks blue.(她满面忧伤.)
How to use the vocabulary of time
对时间点表达的考查一直是高考英语的重点，它渗透到各个题型中，而且，在日常生活中我们也会经常用到。另外，对世纪、年月日的表达比较繁琐，就算对学习英语很多年的人来说，也不见得可以表达准确。小编总结了这两方面的内容，一起来和同学们学习！一. 时间点的表达1、所有的时间都可以用“小时 + 分钟”直接读：6:10 six ten8:30 eight thirty2:40 two forty2、如果所表述的时间在半小时之内，可以用“分钟 + past + 小时”：6:10 ten past six4:20 twenty past four10:25 twenty-five past ten3、如果所表述的时间在半小时之外，可以用“（相差的）分钟 + to + （下一）小时”：10:35 twenty-five to eleven5:50 ten to six9:49 eleven to ten4、如果所表述的时间恰好为半小时，可以用“half + past + 小时”：11:30 half past eleven2:30 half past two5、如果所表述的分钟和15有关，就有三种表达法：（15分钟又叫一刻钟：a quarter）9:15 nine fifteen ; fifteen past nine ; a quarter past nine3:45 three forty-five ; fifteen to four ; a quarter to four6、整点的表达：现在是两点整。It's two./It's two o'clock.另外英语中的 noon 和midnight 可分别直接表示白天和夜晚的12点：It's (twelve) noon. 现在是中午十二点。It's (twelve) midnight. 现在是半夜零点。7、大约时间：It's almost two. 马上到两点了。It's not quite two. 还不到两点。It's just after two. 刚过两点。8、若想表明是上午，可在时间后加上a.m.如：thirteen past six a.m.（上午六点十三分）。若想表明是下午，可在时间后加上p.m.如：four o'clock p.m.（下午四点）。9.句子范例1. It's nine forty-five. =It's a quarter to ten.2. It's two seventeen. =It's seventeen past two.3. It's three. =It's three o'clock.4. It's nine thirty. =It's half past nine.5. It's six fifteen. =It's a quarter past six.6. It's three fifty. =It's ten to four.二. 世纪、年代、年、月、日的表达1、世纪：①用“定冠词+序数词+century”表示例：在十七世纪 写作：in the 17th century，读作：in the seventeenth century②用“定冠词+百位进数+s”表示例：在十七世纪 写作：in the 1600s，读作：in the sixteen hundreds注意：这种情况下，实际表达的世纪数是阿拉伯数字本身加一。2、年代用“定冠词+(世纪百位进数+十位年代数)+s”表示例：在二十世纪三十年代 写作：in the 1930s，读作：in the thirties of the twentieth century或 in the nineteen thirties表示某年代的早期、中期和晚期，可以在定冠词后添加early, mid-和late例如：在二十世纪二十年代早期 in the early 1920s；在二十世纪五十年代中期 in the mid-1950s3、年月日1）年份① 读年份时一般分为两个单位来读，前两个数为一个，后两个数为一个：1949 读作：nineteen forty-nine或nineteen hundred and forty-nine② 如果是三位数，先读第一位，再把后两个数合起来读：253 读作：two fifty-three或two hundred and fifty-three③ 另外： 2000 读作：two thousand，1902 读作：nineteen hundred and two或 nineteen o two④ 如果要使用year，year放在数词之前例如：in the year two fifty-three B.C. 在公元前253年2）月份月份是专有名词，除了少数几个月份外都有缩写形式：January - Jan. 一月 February - Feb. 二月 March - Mar. 三月 April - Apr. 四月 August - Aug. 八月 September - Sept. 九月October - Oct. 十月 November - Nov. 十一月 December - Dec. 十二月注意：缩写形式后面的点不能省略，因为它是表示缩写形式的符号。3）日期：用序数词表示例：十月一日 写作：October 1, October 1st, 1 October, 1st October, (the) 1st of October等，其中的October都可以写成缩写形式Oct.读作：October the first或the first of October4）年月日用英语表达年月日的顺序：① 月\日\年例：2002年1月17日写作：January 17(th), 2002或January seventeenth, 2002（日和年之间需用逗号隔开）读作：January the seventeenth, two thousand and two②日\月\年例：2002年1月17日写作：17(th) January, 2002或the seventeenth of January, 2002（月和年之间需用逗号隔开）读作：the seventeenth of January, two thousand and two4. 介词的使用：若指在哪一年或哪一月，用介词in；若具体到某一天，需用介词on。例如：She was born in 1989.She was born in August.She was born in August 1989.She was born on 2nd August, 1989.END
How to Draw a Map of an Imaginary Place
Questions and AnswersDrawing maps of imaginary places is wonderful fun; doing this can inspire your imagination and is also an unexplored form of art. In this tutorial you will find guidelines on how to draw maps that look natural, vivid, and visually appealing.Steps1Make a mental image of the place you want to draw. Focus on the features that tie up the map together, such as coastlines, mountains or other major features you want your map to focus on.Ad2Draw the major lines of your composition. It can be a good idea to begin with coastlines, if your map is to have bodies of water in it. Do not expect your drawing to look like your mental image, even with the simplest idea.3Leave room for lots of features you may think of later. This will help to make your map more interesting and will help you to balance the image in later phases of drawing.4Become inspired by free drawing! If you aren't sure what you want the map to look like, just start drawing lines oriented around shapes and lines.5Remember that if you want a natural looking map, the map has to be separated into regions in various ways. Then add the details later as you define the various regions; this includes coloring.6Note the details of maps. If you know enough about maps, you will see that that each area has unique features, keep an open mind and don't limit yourself to maps that look the same all over. Things to add include (some of these are elaborated on in the following steps):Mountains (^^^^)CanyonsCoastlinesRivers, lakesIslands, isletsForestsMajor roadsCities, towns, villages, outposts, hermit dwellings, farms, etc.Animal herds, groupings, etc.7Take care to detail coastal areas. When drawing coastlines try to be especially detailed and varying, make certain areas with many peninsulas and bays, and others that are straighter. Islands and lakes can be anywhere, but try to make a peaceful composition. Make the general shape of your landmass first, then add more eccentric features, you have to pull the coastlines inward and outward, otherwise the map will look unnatural.8Create mountains. Mountains are normally in small clusters or chains. If you make a large cluster, it should be connected to other areas. Mountains can be absolutely anywhere and should not be limited because they are also a very important part of your composition.9Add some rivers. Rivers can also be anywhere, make sure most of them are wavy, but they don't always have to be. Rivers in mountainous areas are usually straighter than rivers in flat areas. Try to make them originate from lakes (any size) or areas of higher elevation.10Include islands. Make archipelagos and clusters, but lone islands may also be used. If coastlines and landmasses still confuse you, try to extend your drawing to include underwater elevations.11Keep pushing the composition. Include hills, vegetation and population. Add in animal herds. Be creative and follow your heart. Add details that make it look more realistic.12Finished.
This year marked the fiftieth anniversary of the birth control pill, which many considered to have empowered women and sparked the sexual revolution. But as this list will show, women have had some control over their reproductive rights for millennia, although some of these ancient birth control methods were, admittedly, more terrifying than most of the methods in use today.To be included on this list, the birth control had to be at least plausibly effective to some degree. Records exist of women in ancient Rome and Greece relying on dances and amulets to prevent pregnancy, and we can safely assume that those probably didn’t do much. At the risk of stirring up controversy, I’ve listed both contraceptives—which prevent sperm from fertilizing egg—and abortifacients, which induce abortion. For the sake of interest, I’ve focused on methods that would be unusual today, and not on methods that are still regularly practiced—like abstinence, coitus interruptus, or fertility awareness—to similar effect now as a few centuries ago. These items are in no particular order.10LemonsCitric acid is said to have spermicidal properties, and women used to soak sponges in lemon juice before inserting them vaginally. Mentioned in the Talmud, this was a preferred method of birth control in ancient Jewish communities. The sponge itself would act as a pessary—a physical barrier between the sperm and the cervix. The great womanizer Casanova was said to have inserted the rind of half a lemon into his lovers as a primitive cervical cap or diaphragm, the residual lemon juice serving to annihilate the sperm. Lemon- and lime-juice douches following coitus were also recommended as a form of birth control, but this method was likely less effective, since sperm can enter the cervix—and hence out of reach of any douching—within minutes of ejaculation. Incidentally, some alternative medicine practitioners today suggest that megadoses of vitamin C (6 to 10 g a day) could induce an abortion in women under 4 weeks of pregnancy, but there’s no evidence that citrus fruits were used in this way in ancient times.9Queen Anne’s LaceQueen Anne’s Lace is also known as wild carrot, and its seeds have long been used as a contraceptive—Hippocrates described this use over two millennia ago. The seeds block progesterone synthesis, disrupting implantation and are most effective as emergency contraception within eight hours of exposure to sperm—a sort of “morning after” form of birth control. Taking Queen Anne’s Lace led to no or mild side effects (like a bit of constipation), and women who stopped taking it could conceive and rear a healthy child. The only danger, it seemed, was confusing the plant with similar-looking but potentially deadly poison hemlock and water hemlock.8PennyroyalPennyroyal is a plant in the mint genus and has a fragrance similar to that of spearmint. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it as a cooking herb and a flavoring ingredient in wine. They also drank pennyroyal tea to induce menstruation and abortion—1st-century physician Dioscorides records this use of pennyroyal in his massive five-volume encyclopedia on herbal medicine. Too much of the tea could be highly toxic, however, leading to multiple organ failure.7Blue CohoshBlue cohosh, traditionally used for birth control by Native Americans, contains at least two abortifacient substances: one mimics oxytocin, a hormone produced during childbirth that stimulates the uterus to contract, and a substance unique to blue cohosh, caulosaponin, also results in uterine contractions. Midwives today may use blue cohosh in the last month of pregnancy to tone the uterus in preparation for labour. The completely unrelated but similarly named black cohosh also has estrogenic and abortifacient properties and was often combined with blue cohosh to terminate a pregnancy.6Dong QuaiDong quai, also known as Chinese angelica, has long been known for its powerful effects on a woman’s cycle. Women drank a tonic brewed with dong quai roots to help regulate irregular menstruation, alleviate menstrual cramps and help the body regenerate after menstruation. Taken during early pregnancy, however, dong quai had the effect of causing uterine contractions and inducing abortion. European and American species of angelica have similar properties but were not as widely used.5Common RueRue, a blue-green herb with feathery leaves, is grown as an ornamental plant and is favored by gardeners for its hardiness. It is rather bitter but can be used in small amounts as a flavoring ingredient in cooking. Soranus, a gynecologist from 2nd-century Greece, described its use as a potent abortifacient, and women in Latin America have traditionally eaten rue in salads as a contraceptive and drunk rue tea as emergency contraception or to induce abortion. Ingested regularly, rue decreases blood flow to the endometrium, essentially making the lining of the uterus non-nutritive to a fertilized egg.4CottonIn the ancient medical manuscript the Ebers Papyrus (1550 BCE), women were advised to grind dates, acacia tree bark, and honey together into a paste, apply this mixture to seed wool, and insert the seed wool vaginally for use as a pessary. Granted, it was what was in the cotton rather than the cotton itself that promoted its effectiveness as birth control—acacia ferments into lactic acid, a well-known spermicide—but the seed wool did serve as a physical barrier between ejaculate and cervix. Interestingly, though, women during the times of American slavery would chew on the bark of cotton root to prevent pregnancy. Cotton root bark contains substances that interfere with the corpus luteum, which is the hole left in the ovary when ovulation occurs. The corpus luteum secretes progesterone to prepare the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg. By impeding the corpus luteum’s actions, cotton root bark halts progesterone production, without which a pregnancy can’t continue.3PapayaIn South Asia and Southeast Asia, unripe papaya was used to prevent or terminate pregnancy. Once papaya is ripe, though, it loses the phytochemicals that interfere with progesterone and thus its contraceptive and abortifacient properties. The seeds of the papaya could actually serve as an effective male contraceptive. Papaya seeds, taken daily, could cut a man’s sperm count to zero and was safe for long-term use. Best of all, the sterility was reversible: if the man stopped taking the seeds, his sperm count would return to normal.2SilphiumSilphium was a member of the fennel family that grew on the shores of Cyrenaica (in present-day Libya). It was so important to the Cyrenean economy that it graced that ancient city’s coins. Silphium had a host of uses in cooking and in medicine, and Pliny the Elder recorded the herb’s use as a contraceptive. It was reportedly effective for contraception when taken once a month as a tincture. It could also be used as emergency birth control, either orally or vaginally, as an abortifacient. By the second century CE, the plant had gone extinct, likely because of over harvesting.1MercuryCivilizations the world over, from the ancient Assyrians and Egyptians to the Greeks, were fascinated by mercury and were convinced that it had medicinal value and special curative properties, using it to treat everything from skin rashes to syphilis. In ancient China, women were advised to drink hot mercury to prevent pregnancy. It was likely pretty effective at convincing a woman’s body that she wasn’t fit to carry a child, leading to miscarriage, so in that sense, it worked as a contraceptive. However, as we know today, mercury is enormously toxic, causing kidney and lung failure, as well as brain damage and death. At that point, pregnancy would probably be the least of your worries.
Au Pair activity :)
Every weekend we prepare some Au Pair activities with our candidates, in order to meet other foreign students and hang out. Let's see what it looked like previous Saturday :)
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