How to: Gingerbread cookies
By: G. Castilla
Book review: Little Women
By: I. Fischer
How to quarantine
By F. Lebl
By M. Liaw
How to: Nutella Bread
Guide for visual learners:
By: T. Kotler
Guide to: China
By: V. Macedo
China. Known to be the second largest country in the world. It is filled with deep and fascinating culture. It is one of the countries that has the most history and is, as a matter of fact, still making history. Unfortunately, China is also very famous for its pollution levels. Data shows that it is the country producing the most greenhouse gases in the world. However, due to our current situation of self-isolation, NASA estimated that China has been producing 30% less carbon dioxide and other harmful gases. Although the new coronavirus is known to have been originated in China, causing death and grief, covid-19 is giving our planet time to breathe and try to pull itself back together after centuries of humans destruction. Before all of this happened, children in Beijing were being forced to wear masks to school due to the intense air pollution, a very serious cause of premature death. Contributing to more than 1 million deaths per year, fine particle pollution leads to many respiratory diseases. Sadly, it is predicted that after the new coronavirus is no longer a major threat to the population, pollution will spike again due to factories producing double the amount of their usual emissions of greenhouse gases to compensate for the economic fall.
When someone says “China” I believe the first image that typically pops into many people’s minds is the famous Panda. These giant fluff-balls always find a way onto our computer screens, leading to (approximately) 15 minutes of dumb-struck mesmerization with their cuteness. Not a very productive path, but I think we can all agree that those 15 minutes are worth it. Giant Pandas never stop eating, they are commonly known to eat just bamboo, but they also eat meat. And when they are not eating, Pandas are sleeping. Very sadly however, the Giant Panda population is at risk, there is only an estimated amount of 2,300 Pandas left 1,864 in the wild. They are classified as vulnerable by IUCN : in the next 80 years Climate Change could destroy their natural habitat, the bamboo forests, and this would definitely lead to a catastrophic impact. To take the edge off, this video is a footage of a Giant Panda playing in the snow, recorded at the Toronto Zoo. There. You can see just why they must be protected.
A part of China that fascinates people is the Terracotta Warriors. In 246 B.C., the young emperor Qin Shi Huang Di was known to be the first emperor of the dynasty Qin. Like us, he had no idea of what would become of him after he died. Re-birth? Heaven or hell? The good place? All he knew is that he needed an army. He, as you might have guessed, was obsessed with immortality, and spent a great part of his life searching for it. Evidently, he never suceeded. The emperor decided to build an underground catacomb. It had 4 parts, the first one was filled with 6,000 terracotta soldiers, each of them precisely made. All of them, totally unique, stood together in battle formation, ready for whatever may come. Terracotta is a reddish clay that 700,200 laborers used to make more than 9,000 sculptures. They were all delicate, and each weighed about 100 pounds. The fourth warehouse was empty, which suggests that the artisans were not finished when the emperor died. There were also wild animals and other parts of the society in another vault. The process took what is estimated to be 40 years.
Research found that they were once painted in bright, beautiful colors, but after exposure to air, they lost their tint. What is even more amazing is that each warrior had different expressions, different hairstyles and even different ears. Out of more than 9,000, no two sculptures are alike. Now, I must tell you all something that might sound a bit creepy: emperor Qin murdered all the artisans that made those sculptures. The reason is still unknown but that it just makes it all the more haunting. The final question is: Did these warriors actually helped him in any way in his afterlife? I guess we will never know.
How to: Chocolate Cake
By: P. Szwarc
1 stick of butter (200 grams)
1 cup of natural yogurt (preferably unsweetened)
2 cups of sugar
2 ½ cups of white flour
1 cup of boiling water
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
6 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate
Method for the cake:
IMPORTANT: For the cake’s last ten minutes of baking, raise the temperature of the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
1 cup of milk (preferably whole milk)
1 cup of sugar
2 generous tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
Method for the icing:
Book review: Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart
By: S. McManus
“Things don't always happen the way we think they will, but I've learned that they happen exactly the way they're supposed to happen.” While this may be hard to believe in the midst of the accumulating worries and denials of our world in the aftermath of a frightening pandemic, Into the Magic Shop provides convincing arguments that it is true.
A beautifully inspiring autobiography that is both light and fundamental, and while I myself do not have a habit of reading philosophical, and actually quite technical at times, non-fiction, this real-life story is so incredible, it may as well be fictional. Dr. James R. “Jim” Doty has lead no easy life in his path to become a successful neurosurgeon and his tale is filled with faith, compassion, tasteful facts, medical stories and that something else that is ultimately soothing to both the heart and mind (and he’ll go into specifics about how that works later..)
This book could be potentially as life-changing to any reader as it was to Doty, who, after a sweet and enlightening summer in the back of a magic shop in Lancaster, walked away with the skills to get anything he wanted in life. At 12 years old, he became an apprentice of a loving old lady called Ruth, and had 4 simple, yet paramount lessons that would come to decide his fate at multiple points in both his, and his patients lives. In all honesty, I was a tad skeptical, but the great thing about this book is that you want to believe every word, but if it isn’t enough for you, a quick google search should clear any doubts you may have with its honesty.
All of Ruth’s lessons are clearly outlined in the book for you to try, and an audio version is available for free online (https://intothemagicshop.com/exercises). They may seem basic, but as the author puts it, they have a magic of their own, and while Jim then goes on to study medicine and understand just exactly how important they were by producing a very real effect on the human body, the effect it had on his life are dogmatic, and really made me wonder if I could see that magic for myself too.
And even if you aren’t here for the all-appealing promise of getting anything you could ever wish for; it is also worthwhile commenting on the novel’s emphasis on self-love and self-belief. It is fascinating, it is informative, but at its core, it is loving. It is forgiving. “Everything didn't have to be broken just because something was broken. I didn't have to be broken.”
The mere process of reading is therapeutic and while it does diverge slightly into a more story-like tone at times which readers can find more entertaining, it loses some impact due to the less elaborate story-telling skills of a seasoned surgeon. That is perhaps the only point I could criticize and is forgivable due to the nature of the text. For anybody who may be on the fence to read this due to a lack of interest in the medical field, I too, had already crossed out that path and had given up completely by the first chapter, but the end of the last one, I realized I was closer to where I actually wanted to be (and where that was for that matter).
More recently, the book has experienced a sudden surge in popularity early 2018 (originally published in 2016) due to being the lyrical inspiration behind global super stars, BTS’s, Magic Shop from their album Love Yourself: Tear. The song truly encapsulates the warmth of this book and is as good of a preview I could offer without telling you to go grab a copy for yourself.
By: M. E. Ferreira
Title: Umbrella Academy
Release date: February 15th, 2019
Main cast: Ellen Page, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emily Raver Lampman
Genre: Superhero fiction, comedy-drama, mystery, action and adventure
Number of seasons: 1
Number of episodes: 10
Rotten tomatoes rating: 73%
After Netflix's cancellation spree of superhero shows, the release of Umbrella Academy was truly a surprise to many fans of speculative fiction out there. The series is a fresh new take on stories involving special powers with its apocalyptic feel (which might be scarily reminiscent of recent times!). It embeds action, mystery, comedy and a twist of sadness to the plot. Definitely a series anyone would want to binge watch!
The show takes place in 1989, a year in which many women around the world began giving birth. Same as our everyday, normal reality, right? The catch, however, is that these women weren't pregnant in the first place. Reginald Hargreeves, a billionaire, decides to adopt as many of these children as he can and ends up with 7 of them. He raises them as superheroes, each one having a unique ability, or as some might call them; super powers, to contribute to his "Umbrella Academy". Jumping forward to 2019, Hargreeves dies, making all his children come back home for his funeral. Amidst this reunion, one of the children that was previously thought missing comes back from the future, with the news that the apocalypse will be arriving in a bit over a weeks' time.
After that, all sorts of unexpected things happen, giving the show a delightful odd twist to it. Not only is the plot fantastic, but the music is also amazing. I would recommend this series to anyone, whether they like superhero shows or not, as there is probably something for everyone in it. For anyone who's already seenn the show, it may even be a good idea to re-watch following netflix's season 2 teasers that were dropped in February. If anyone is like me, they'll start and want to finish it on the same day!
Marvel Movie Rankings
By: M.E. Ferreira
With the upcoming launch of Disney+ in Brazil next month, we've come up with a neat spoiler-free ranking of all Marvel movies to refresh your memory so you know exactly where you want to start marathoning this November 17th! (Although chronological or PEGASUS order would be acceptable too.)