Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Trevi Fountain, Rome Italy, By Sharon Powell

The Trevi Fountain is one of Rome’s greatest works of art designed by the flamboyant Italian sculptor and architect Nicola Salvi. The Fountana di Trevi is the largest fountain throughout Rome. Standing eighty-five feet high and sixty-five feet wide, the fountain is superbly carved of pure marble. Encased within the niches are statues symbolizing “health and abundance for the people of Rome.” The fountains stylistic design began in 1732 and was completed 30 years later by Diovanni Paolo Panini in 1762. Panini compliments the emotional influence surrounding the mysterious world of mythological beliefs represented within Salvi’s design.

Mythological Beliefs
Galileo, inventor of the first telescope possessed a fascination with astronomy which may have been the direct correlation found within the sculptor's work. Pegasus, the winged horse born from Medusa upon her death appears in the night sky, and can be found within the constellation of stars. Neptune, God of the Sea is part of our solar system and is depicted within the Trevi fountain. The planet Neptune is believed to encompass “spiritual enlightenment exhibiting compassion and mercy for all. Fountain tradition claims, a coin tossed into the waters guarantees a visitor’s safe return to Rome.

The great sea God “Neptune” is shown towering over the two Tritons, while one struggles to tame the wild sea horse. The scene symbolizes the two contrasting moods of the sea. The renaissance period inspired artisans, architects, and craftsman from afar where selections of Rome’s greatest works of art can be seen within museums and galleries throughout the city. The selections are taken from the renaissance period along with those contained within the Vatican’s collection where The work of painter Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel resides. Europe is home to many of the worlds greatest artists in addition to the more contemporary film works of Vittorio Mussolini, who was half brother to statesman Binito Mussolini.

Masters of the Art
Archaeological masterpieces surrounded by magnificent sculptures and oil paintings can be found within the cities museums and galleries. Well-known baroque artists such as, Bernini, who was responsible for many archeological designs throughout Rome reveals a renowned style of showmanship graced with technical brilliance. The artist completed works on churches, statues, fountains and the infamous design of St. Peters square. Bernini had mastered the art of revealing true to life scenes through artistic perfection. One of his most memorable pieces was The Pathenon. A dome shaped Architectural structures located in the Pizza Della Rontonda symbolizes the beauty and harmony of Italy’s capital. Artists such as Bizzaccheri, Borromini, and Diovinni Panini, who was responsible for completions on the Trevi Fountain after Salvi's death shall be remembered by those valuing the artistic treasures revealed throughout Rome.

By the earlier part of the 18th century, the renaissance period had attracted artists from around the world, including writers and famous poets. The cultural awakening found within a time of romance and self-expression encompassed great works of art. Writers such as Keats, Shelley, Browning, and Charles Dickens traveled long distances to partake in the renaissance movement.

Etruscans, the first Inhabitants
Rome is located in the south of Europe, and surrounded by seawater. The peninsula was home to the first inhabitants known to the country. The Etruscans were believed to be a civilized culture and responsible for passing traditions onto the ancients. According to the Myths and civilization of the Ancient Roman’s, the Etruscan cultures provided the alphabet, gladiators, chariot races, and belief in the Gods of worship.

European cultures are the cornerstone revealing the humanistic realities of life. The beauty, romance, and architecture compliment the climatically renowned features discoverable when traveling Europe. Unforgettable memories depicting the lifestyles of histories fine art collections are shared throughout Europe, and will remain a significant part of cultural and artistic expression.


 1.) Let’s go Rome, Student Travel Guide, Chertoff Emily, Monticello, Justin, Publishers Groups West, 2010.
2.) Rome, National Geographic Traveler, Gilbert, Sari, Brouse, Michael, national Geographic Society, 2009.
3.) Rome, Eyewitness Travel, Ercoli, Olivia, Belford, Ros, Mitchell, Roberta, Dorling Kindersley Publishing Group, 2010.
7.) Ancient Romans, Myths and civilization of the, McRae Books, Peter Bedrick, Lincolnwood, IL. 1999.
8.) Jelius Caesar, and the Roman Republic, Cavendish, Marshall, Benchmark, New York, NY 2006.
9.) Favorite Greek Myths, Osborne, Mary P., Illustrations-Howell, Troy, Scholastic, Inc., New York, NY., 1989

Sleepers of Fear-By Sharon Powell

For many years, Americans have felt the tragic loss of loved one’s due to the realities of violent wars. Terrorist’s threats and mass murderers are acts of criminal violence and are controversial issues plaguing American society. Once law enforcement captures those responsible, most Americans seek immediate relief with hope the perpetrator's are swiftly brought to justice.

Such is the case with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four accomplices. CIA operatives initiated transportation efforts of all five extremists from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Manhattan, New York in order they stand trial for the terrorist attack of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. If convicted Mohammed and four others face life imprisonment without the opportunity for parole or possible death sentence.
According to the Washington Post, Mohammed sat in an internet café in Karachi, Pakistan monitoring the attacks and was later heard boasting about his success.
Human sufferings are tragic at any cost and without the means to recover from economic difficulty activists groups form as a means for seeking refuge. Although violent retaliation creates common criminals, the lack of economical and social stability is the hard realities for the majority of Afghans.

America’s cultural values are unique and seldom shared in foreign countries.
Our prosperity and technological resources make us targets for terrorist acts such as the tragedy of September 11, 2001. In an effort to understand Islamic culture, it is important to recognize the religious authority dictating the actions of its people. Islamic faith is the second largest religion in the world. Of the 1 billion Muslim followers, six million are currently residing within the United States.

Islamic beliefs are host to numerous clerical (religious) Institutions and Schools of Law governing the cultural views of its people. Practicing Muslims are forbidden to engage in gambling activity, dancing, (except with the spouse) and are not allowed to incur interest charges. These and other rigid customs practiced by the JUL may be cause for the rising number of immigrants entering the U.S. Many Islamists have centered themselves within significant economic and political areas such as New York, where they gather in Mosque to worship Allah (God.) Most JUL are religious clerics who advocate the traditional Pillars of worship.

The five pillars of Islamic faith consist of Shahada- (confession), Salah-(Bowing in Prayer), Zakat-(Charity), Sawn-(Fasting) and Hajt (Visit the holy city of Mecca prior to death.) The JUL “extremist” insist on strict enforcement of religious laws and are responsible for the development of thousands of educational institutions throughout their country. There are reports some JUL are affiliated with the Taliban movement in Afghanistan while many Americans believe they are responsible for the violent acts of terrorism around the world.

Most of the country’s social stressors are defined due to the lack of adequate economical means needed for survival. Of the 156 Million residing in Afghanistan, most are confined to live in rundown shelters. Fuel and other resources are costly, while excessive dry conditions make it extremely difficult for farmers to prosper. Polluted water reservoir’s and other hazardous conditions make it difficult for members of their society to live comfortably. Many are forced to cut trees, and uproot shrubbery for warmth; depleting much of the vegetation of natural resources.

The realities involving war, poor economy and lack of technology have destroyed much of the country’s ability to remain self-sufficient. Although there are unexplored oil reserves; the country‘s economic stability prevents them from benefiting from their resources. Therefore, the current benefits go un-noticed. They must depend on foreign trade of fruit, vegetables, minerals, gemstone and fine carpets for sustenance.

Many Muslims asked where Allah was on September 11, 2001. Are we as Americans burdened by defeat of nature? Has our strength allowed us to become blind to the welfare of our fellow man? On the other hand, is it the social stigma from years of economic depression and war binding Afghanistan? Perhaps so! However, Allah, or any God supporting the efforts of criminal violence shall find no seat in religious order…...S. Powell, 2009

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Strawberry Poisonous Dart Frogs, By Sharon Powell

Assuming the colorful bundle of beauty pictured above is harmless to predators could be a fatal mistake, even for humans. The Strawberry Dart Frog is one of the most deadly amphibians combing the rain forests today. Although the tiny frog may be difficult to find, they are magnificent creatures and can be seen “leaping” in and around tight places throughout many parts of Central and South America.

There are over 100 different species of poisonous frogs ranging in size from 3/4"inches up to six inches long. The smallest of all dart frogs looks much like the colorful Strawberry species, but is smaller by nature. The Buzzer is only 3/4" inches long and no bigger than the size of a thumbnail, but like all dart frogs, the Buzzer packs a powerful punch if trying to catch one without protection.

Powerful Predator
Most all dart frogs are bright in color and appear harmless. Although the Amphibian displays a rainbow of beauty, the frog is equipped with poisonous glands located on the outer layers of skin. These glands contain enough poison to kill twenty men. If a jungle snake should happen to digest the dart frog, the snake becomes paralyzed and the heart muscle will stop within minutes, causing death in the reptile. If a predator should choke on the tiny frog, they will either die, or remember the terrible taste and never bother them again.

The poisonous substance contained within the gland is commonly used to relieve pain, or prevent heart attacks within humans. Scientists and wildlife biologist search the rainforests for the dart frog in order to remove the chemical. Once the poison is expelled, the frogs are released back into the jungle and will later reproduce the toxin as a means of defense.

Long ago, hunters learned how to extract the poison by rubbing the frog’s glands with the tip of their darts. The darts were later used in blowpipes as ammunition. The blowpipe makes no sound when used and therefore the hunted animal will not become frightened away. The silent ways of hunting have proven beneficial to the hunter and is still a common practice used today.

In order the dart frog continue to survive, their skin must remain moist, or they will dehydrate and die. The wet habitat found within the rainforest is perfect for assuring their survival, but may also pose a threat if heavy rains or brisk streams wash food supplies away. Many dart frogs drowned when caught in the pathways of fast flowing streams. The Dart frog is also able to survive extreme dry conditions found within most tropical and jungle settings providing they hide beneath a rock,or climb tall trees seeking shelter under leaves and other tropical plants.

The Strawberry Dart Frog is unique in some ways, and seeks to house them-selves within the Bromeliad Plant. The broad leaves of the tropical plant fold over one another to form a cup, which holds water from the heavy rains. The frog will lay her fertile eggs, visiting them a few times per week providing nutrition until they later hatch into tadpoles. The newly born tadpole will swim inside the cup-like house for weeks until growing into tiny frogs.

The life cycle of poisonous dart frogs is no different from any other frog species, except for the poisonous glands found on the outer layer of skin. The process of changing from a tadpole into an adult frog is referred to as metamorphosis.

When the dart frog is born, they spawn their eggs on water, protected by a jelly like film and grow on nutrients provided by the internal yoke. The egg soon begins to create a cell, which later splits into two cells that form the embryo, or better referred as a tadpole.

Inside the cell, the organs and gills begin to form. The embryo will grow for 20 to 25 days at which time they hatch, and attach themselves onto the backs of the mother Strawberry Dart Frog. She later carries them into water where they may feed on algae or unfertilized eggs. The tadpole stage is brief in comparison to other amphibians and can last between three days to a little more than 8 weeks before growing into an adult frog.

The tadpole begins to develop hind legs first followed by the forelegs. At nine weeks, their tails become smaller and their lungs begin to develop as they grow. New skin begins to form over the old, allowing the frog to shed their skin and lips. The mouth widens and their lungs are now fully developed. By the end of the sixteenth week, the frog is fully developed and ready to survive on land and water.
To find out more about the life cycle of frogs, or purchase “GROW A FROG KIT” go to, or….S. Powell, 2010.


1.) http:
2.) http://allabout
5.) Poison Dart frogs, Jennifer Owings Dewey, boyd Mills Press, Honesdale, Pennsylvania, 1998.
6.) The Search for Poison-Dart Frogs, Ron Fridell, Franklin,Watts, Adivision of Scholastic, Inc., 2001.
7.) Poison Dart Frogs, Up close; Carmen Bredeson, Enslow Publishing, Inc., Berkeley Heights, NJ 2009.

Forensic Science-Bone Chilling Facts, By Sharon Powell

Among the many unsolved crimes lying in wait are mysteries surrounding the death of a human body. Masked within the silence of life are untold stories of terror. Unpleasant as it may seem examining the remains of a decayed human body are crucial steps for solving clues left behind when “criminal homicide is believed to be at fault.”
“Forensic Science” has been a part of “anthropology and crime investigations” since the earlier part of the 19th Century. Although techniques of the 1800’s were somewhat prehistoric in comparison to contemporary methods, their ability to solve crimes became a reality through the aid of scientific procedures used in Forensic Anthropology. Not all dead bodies discovered are the results of crime, but “Forensic Anthropologists” continue to study the remains in an effort to learn about the social culture. Information gathered by “anthropological scientists” continues to provide important knowledge into the daily lifestyles and habits of man.
Among the two-hundred six bones forming the frame of the human body “genetic markers known as “DNA code, (Deoxyribonucleic Acid,) along with bone structure, gender, age, hair and eye color, provide the answers for determining who’s who in the world; including the possible cause of death. By examining various parts of the body including the blood, teeth, skull, and bone fragment, the “Scientific Pathologist” provides insight into the physical signs of aging, and degeneration. These signs are crucial steps for finding the truth involved with difficult crime investigations. Characteristics of the human skeleton” such as size of the skull, or shape of the chin and protruding brow ridges are all features for determining the nature of the sex involved; including the shape and distance of the pelvic region where as women are equipped with greater distance in order to allow for child bearing.
X-ray’s of the teeth, are sometimes used for identification purposes. Distinct characteristics such as the visible signs of tattoos, bone fractures, blood samples, and prior DNA reading are the “Forensic Pathologists” ties for making a positive Identification. Scientists use these genetic markers and other techniques for identification processes. Without the aid of Forensic Anthropology, crime investigations could remain unsolved.

Imagine for a moment that you are a “Forensic Scientist assigned to perform an autopsy on an individual involved in a crime scene." The body has suffered multiple stab wounds, gunshot blast, and was then left to drown in a near-by lake. The corpse was concealed beneath rock and mud located near a heavily foliaged shoreline. The body had been discovered nearly six month after death and visible signs of a decomposing corpse had already begun making it extremely difficult for family and friends to positively identify the remains. In order to help investigators solve the case, scientist seek the aid of highly trained professionals specializing in specific areas of Forensic Science. Working together, the team will unravel hidden clues required for solving crime.
Investigators arriving on the scene will assist pathologists in order to establish the cause of death. Evidence is then gathered and placed inside sterile containers protecting them from contamination and chemical reaction, and, are then forwarded directly to crime labs where technicians perform various tests revealing the physical signs of fingerprint, shoeprints, and any trace of blood found. Most all perpetrators who intentionally commit a crime will leave a trace of some kind of evidence at the crime scene. As difficult as it may seem, the pathologist searches for trace evidence such as fragments of hair, fabric, or dust and fiber particles removed from the body or skeletal remains. Chemical labs will perform tests on the body for traces of alcohol and illegal drug use. Blood and urine samples are also important and are able to determine if medicines or poisons were the cause of death.
As mentioned earlier, criminals will usually leave a trace of their identity, which may often be found somewhere on the remains of the victim. Sound easy, not at all! However, with proper training and scientific technology, scientists are able to solve difficult questions involving human nature, and finding the clues is the job of the Forensic Pathologist.

In this particular situation, the corpse had suffered from multiple stab and gunshot wounds. Therefore, firearms units will perform “weapons testing” which are able to match the pattern of the wound and establish the distance of the weapon when fired prior to penetration. If a sharp, or blunt object was used such as a knife or spade, both the body and fabric are examined to determine the proper “angle and precision of the cut. Samples of the fabric will also undergo various tests in search of “stains and dyes” which may lead the investigator to a specific geographic location or manufacturing industry. Weapons may often be found at the crime scene, and include blood residue. If so, the blood is then compared with that of the victim in order to determine if it was in fact the same weapon used in the crime scene. Remember too, that the body was located near water and will reveal various signs of “microscopic algae-like creatures” present inside the victims lungs, bone marrow, stomach, and bloodstream.
Forensic Science is a world filled with the magic of discovery. Technology and the skills required to become a forensic specialist provide a “guiding light” supporting the future of existing life and the death of all cultures. To find our more go to

1.) Owen, D. Noguchi, T.; K.; Hidden Evidence, Quintel Publishing, London England 2000.
2.) Ferllini, R.; Silent Witness, Quintell Publishing, London England, 2002.
3.) 3.) Newton, D.; DNA Evidence and Forensic Science; Infobase Publishing, New York, NY, 2008
4.) Lyle, D.P.; Forensics; a guide for Writers; Writers Digest Books; Cincinnati, OH, 2008.

They Told Me there was a God, He must be Busy Today, By Sharon Powell

Africa’s current population stands at more than 1 billion people residing across a geographical land mass of 11 million square miles or more. Of the four major languages and twenty-five unclassified language dialects ruling the country’s political leaders, it should be no surprise as to the social stressors experienced within the country including recovery efforts of famine, poverty, and a need for unification and education. Conditions associated with diverse language practices and cultural beliefs shared among its people ultimately create suffrage for the less fortunate of society, many of whom are mere peasants. Pictured above are the realities of famine and social weaknesses found throughout parts of Africa; many of which have existed since the beginning of time. .

Agriculture & Industry
Regions of Africa are about three times as large as the United States while the country’s economy is largely based on agriculture and the raising of livestock. Some researcher’s find it troubling those scientific innovations in farming and industry are still far below the means needed for supporting the country’s population. Many researchers seek positive resolutions for improvement.

For thousands of years, the continent has overcome many barriers such as rain forests, drought, and large desert conditions creating problems for the inhabitants. Although the value of commodity resources such as oil, gold, coffee, and cocoa provide jobs for millions of Africans, there are still those suffering far greater hardships than should be allowed. Reports from the standards of the Commission for Development and Humanitarian aid efforts stress the need for change.

Areas plagued by deforestation create additional problems for the country’s inhabitants, causing drought, a rise in temperatures and a reduction of animal life.  Africa's climate creates desert like conditions making it virtually impossible for crops and livestock to survive. Currently the Sahara Desert occupies more than 3 million square miles of land supporting less than 2 million Africans.

 Africa’s climate poses additional threats for the control of disease. Warm temperatures not only reduce crop production, but also speed the growth process of bacteria and infection, causing sickness and the threat of widespread disease throughout the continent. Poliovirus found in contaminated water or sewage, and infected saliva or feces remain a threat to the thousands already suffering from the conditions of famine. Reports of poliovirus outbreaks are common today and can quickly spread throughout the continent.  Polio enters the bloodstream through the mouth attacking the central nervous system and may cause paralysis of involuntary muscles that help us breath.

Threats of Aid Distribution
Today, many starving Africans are facing political challenges associated with the distribution efforts of aid. Reports involving the purchase of guns and weapons targeted in the Ethiopian province of Tigray are controversial issues for government officials. The challenges felt by Law enforcement  working to overcome the devastating effects of political chaos, are burdensome. Neighboring countries such as Iran and Afghanistan who are currently experiencing civil wars, terrorist acts, and Taliban movements place a serious threat to African society; in addition to programs for the development of establishing world peace efforts. Those suffering the most in Africa are women and children who depend on aid provided by programs such as UNICEF and the International Federation of Red Cross workers.  These programs supply grain, rice and medicines for those in need.

Dating as far back as 1984 and 1985, Ethiopia experienced mass conditions of famine due to climate conditions, killing more than one million people. Reported again in 2002 the continent faced yet another challenge of drought. According to Louis Michel, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, the country was experiencing severe conditions of famine. Representatives for the BBC news, World Edition, reported more than 15 million people would face famine by 2003.

Uniting in Aid Efforts
Programs much like UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Fund) and the Red Cross support the 90% of African children stunted by the effects of malnutrition. Programs in effect help to supply vitamins and clean water while educating Africans of the importance of supplementation of micronutrients, which are invaluable tools for the success of future generations. Other societies collaborate with UNICEF and work toward eliminating iodine deficiency, which is one of the primary causes of mental retardation and brain damage in countries where malnutrition is high.

The efforts of one man are not enough to save a nation of starving children, but the voices of those from around the world can perform miracles. Perhaps it will someday be your voice who cries out, uniting others in strength; generating the power to make a difference for humanity …….S. Powell, 2010.


1.) James B. Kracht, World Explorer; Teachers Edition, Prentice Hall, Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ 2003.
2.) Elisabeth Gaynor Ellis; Anthony Esler; World History, Prentice Hall, Indiana Teachers Edition;Peasrson Education, Upper Saddle River, NJ 2010.