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An Addictive Taste

At one time coffee drinks were the only mass-produced form. Today, stores sell hundreds of different energy products, ranging from energy pills to caffeine-laced pills.

Energy drinks are not only popular, they are addictive. At grocery stores, dozen of caffeine-based products line the shelves.

The famous green logo graces the exterior of white cardboard cups and neon signs. The logo has become a global icon. It can be seen in the hands of teens, students, adults and on the covers of tabloids in the grips of celebrities. It is the Starbucks logo.

The coffee trend began with Starbucks coffee shops seemingly appearing on every street corner and in every grocery store. The chain even sells its products on college campuses to students. Starbucks has become recognizable around the world and has helped turn the caffeine trend into an obsession, marked not only by an increase in coffee consumption, but also by a booming market for caffeine-infused energy drinks.
Local coffee chains have become Friday and Saturday night hang-out hotspots, especially for younger crowds not old enough to drink or enter nightclubs.

“I have been drinking coffee since I was in high school,” said 21-year-old CUNY public relations major Mallory Martinez. “There was a Starbucks almost in every shopping center, so it was a convenient place to hang out when I was 15 and 16 years old. What else was there to do at that age besides go to a movie?”

Studies from The Boston Globe have shown that children between the ages of 13 and 17 have had a 20 percent rise (from six percent) from 2004 to 2006 in eating or drinking snacks that included coffee.

The 20 percent increase could have to do with the fact that drinking coffee once or twice per week seems to be a growing habit among young students and adults alike, resulting in more frequent visits to a coffee vendor or coffee made at home. Though drinking coffee may have begun as a trend in socializing, ultimately, the trend results in caffeine being consumed in record amounts.

“I drink it almost every morning – usually just when I am working or at school. I just drink it to stay awake,” said Martinez.

What works for some people may not work for others. In just one “tall” size cup of coffee from Starbucks, there are 260 milligrams of caffeine. That amount may not be enough for most people, as it is the smallest size that the coffee chain offers. According to Carol Reynolds of the CUNY Health Services, some people react differently to caffeine.

As a result, many people that rely heavily on caffeine to keep themselves going throughout the day turn to an alternative source of the stimulant: energy drinks. Students have replaced their white paper cups with tall cans with cliché names: Monster, Red Bull, Amp or Rockstar. CUNY has become a main supplier of these drinks for students who need something with a little more kick than coffee.

In CUNY’s cafeteria, six variations of the energy drink Rockstar are on the shelves at one time, not including a variety of other drinks that hit the shelves on different days. The nutrition facts label on the Rockstars read 80 milligram of caffeine, except Rockstar Punched and the zero carbohydrate version which contain 120 mg. CUNY also provides a vending machine specifically for energy drinks located in the science building.
“I used to drink espresso; sometimes I still will, but I drink energy drinks every day,” said CUNY history major at Shauna Hultgrien.

Many people have made a life-changing transition: breakfast, once constituted of bacon, potatoes, eggs and coffee in the morning, has become a power bar and an energy drink. Rockstar has begun distributing a coffee-flavored energy drink: Rockstar Roasted, which has a little more caffeine than a 12-ounce cup of coffee.

“We don’t recommend our product for teens – we sell them primarily to older age groups like college students,” said a consumer relations representative for Monster energy drinks.
With the growing success of energy drinks, popular beverages like Monster are being mixed with alcohol. Monster sells Monstrosity in clubs and bars. This variation of the drink includes 3 ounces of Vodka and 8 ounces of Monster. Bars and clubs also serve a few other drinks that are similar in nature and the recipes for these drinks can be found on Monster’s Web site.

Along with coffee and energy drinks, there are new products available to consumers like 5-Hour Energy (an energy shot), caffeine pills and an energy drink called Cocaine, which was taken off the shelves because of its controversial name. Pepsi has even joined in on this craze by adding more ginseng to a new drink they have out on the market: Diet Pepsi MAX.

With these products for sale and readily available to anyone, many have argued that there is a major downside to caffeine. National Public Radio reported that one of the side effects of caffeinated drinks can be sleep problems; even in if they are consumed in the morning, caffeinated drinks can cause a person to have trouble falling asleep at night. However, this may not be enough to convince most people to stop drinking coffee or energy drinks. This trend will likely continue until a replacement hits the market promising longer lasting and healthier energy.

Sociology instructor Angela Andrus thinks there could be worse obsessions than caffeine which is why it is seen as such a popular trend.

“You see people all the time with a cell phone in one hand and a Starbucks drink in the other,” Andrus said. “Coffee drinking always seemed like an adult thing to do and now it is a cross age, cross cultural phenomenon.”

Like the transition from high school to college, the transition from coffee to energy drinks is happening and happening fast. The consumption of caffeinated drinks are becoming more common amongst many ages with the advents of newer products like 5-Hour-Energy and Diet Pepsi Max. Energy drinks being served in bars and coffee vendors appearing on college campuses are the results of a trend that started with a simple cup of coffee.

How To Use Colored Pencils To Teach Kids Art

Colored pencils have been a staple of art instruction in our schools for many years for a very good reason. They deliver vibrant colors in a medium that encourages fine motor skills and is capable of rendering some find artwork. Kids do best, however, when they understand the basic techniques of the medium, which are covered below. Here are some tips for teaching art using colored pencils.

Stippling is a wonderful technique that allows children to explore their view of the world by placing dots on a page. Similar in technique to the pointillist movement, small and distinct colored dots are used on the page to create images. Best of all, by placing dots of many different colors close together, children can create the illusion of a unique color and learn to simulate shading. In addition, they can change the way each dot looks by using both dull and sharp colored pencils within their drawings.

Getting a colored pencil tip sharp enough for those drawings takes a bit of know-how, since the ‘lead’ contained within the pencils isn’t actually lead at all. It is actually a hardened wax that has been infused with pigment and sharpening the tip without breaking can be a tall order. Either have an electric pencil sharpener on hand that is made specially for colored pencils or make sure that handheld manual sharpeners are available. These sharpeners work best when the pencil is held still and the sharpener is turned. This action reduces the stress on the pencil and allows the tip to come to a fine point. The best pencil sharpener, or better yet the best electric pencil sharpener is worth looking for at, as it will save you a lot of time and nerves.

Hatching is another technique that works well when children are first learning how to draw. Have the children practice by drawing a series of parallel lines that are very close together. Hatching becomes cross-hatching when a second set of parallel lines is drawn across the initial set in a different direction. This action makes the drawing much more interesting and different effects can be achieved as the tip of the pencil ranges from sharp to dull. Keep in mind that the pencil tip is raised after drawing an individual line.

Scumbling and the back-and-forth stroke are techniques that most people pick up without any instruction. The colored pencil is not picked up between motions in either one of these techniques and both are great for filling in spaces. Scumbling uses circular motions to fill in spaces, while the back-and-forth techniques involves filling in those spaces while never picking the pencil up and simply moving the pencil in a back and forth motion while the space is filled in.

Encourage your students to try all of these techniques out while they practice with their pictures. Ask them to combine the techniques as well. Perhaps they can fill a space in with one color using either back-and-forth or scumbling and then add interest by selecting a different color and applying cross-hatching to the area. In either case, as they explore textural changes with sharp and dull tips, they will enjoy making colorful statement on the blank page.