MEL for DSC Magazine, June 2020

In this month's issue, we're talking about sons, sundaes and the literal sun.

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Mistook your monthly magazine for a pack of One Wipe Charlies and flushed it down the toilet? No worries, here’s the online version!

In this edition:

  1. What I’ve Learned From Staring at the Sun (Don’t Try This at Home)
  2. Now You See the Sun — Now You Don’t
  3. In Space, No One Can Hear You (Put On) (Sun) Screen
  4. Sundae, Caramel-y Sundae
  5. Everything You’ve Ever Got Wrong About Sunscreen
  6. Oh FAQ: How Do I Not Get Dad Another Boring Tie For Father’s Day?

Welcome!

What light through yonder window breaks? It is the sun, and after the last few months, it’s hard not to think of the old adage, “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone,” especially when we think about the days when we used to take hanging out outside with friends on a warm June day just an eensy little bit for granted.

Of course, that’s not because the sun has up and disappeared, mind you (then again, what if it did? Find out inside!), it’s just that for a little while now we’ve been indoors — a lot — and frankly, we’re just missin’ on that damned bright-ass ball of plasma held in place by its own intense gravity at the center of our solar system. 

So, this month, we’re doing our very own tribute to the sun — maybe also possibly as a reminder that hey, Dollar Shave Club’s got some great new suncare products, *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge* —  and its power to warm things up, to melt things down and to burn our soft, fragile skin with its intense solar radiation, even from almost 93 million miles away.

Also, it’s Father’s Day this month, so don’t forget to be a good son — see what we did there?

1 – What I’ve Learned From Staring at the Sun (Don’t Try This at Home)

We asked an astronomer our most burning questions about that big, fiery thing in the sky.

Why study the Sun?
“Looking up at the sky – day or night – invokes a sense of wonder in me and a desire to better understand what I see,” says Paul Delaney, VP of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and Prof. Physics and Astronomy at York University. “Everyone wants to better understand how the Sun operates, from the variability of the sunspot cycle, its contribution to climate change to when the next coronal mass ejection will occur and potentially take out our satellite grid.”

Yikes! Will the Sun ever burn out?
“No. The Sun will change over the next one billion years, emitting more energy and expanding to the point where life on Earth will be all but impossible. Five billion years from now, the Sun will become a Red Giant and that, too, will be bad news for Earth.”

Er…what happens next?
“Theory suggests that our Sun’s Red Giant diameter will encompass the Earth’s orbit: about 300 million kilometres wide compared to its current diameter of 1.4 million kilometres, meaning that the Earth itself may well end up inside our bloated star! We will become a charred, waterless — and thus lifeless — cinder.” Still — it’s nice while we have it, eh?


2 – Now You See the Sun — Now You Don’t

A NASA scientist explains what would happen if the Sun went *poof*.

As we just discussed, in about 5 billion years, the Sun’s gonna swallow the Earth. Bummer! But what if the Sun didn’t turn into a red giant, but just up and disappeared instead, say, tomorrow? Well for one thing, we’d only find out about it eight minutes later. That’s because that’s how long it takes for sunlight and heat to reach Earth. And when we finally found out that the sun had gone out, it’d start getting cold, quick. “At that point, we wouldn’t last for very long,” says Kartik Sheth, Deputy Program Scientist at NASA for the Webb Telescope. “Imagine if the solar radiation went away — there’d be some latent heat radiating from the Earth itself, but eventually that would go away and we’d freeze to death.”

That sounds pretty terrible, sure, but that’s not even the half of it. “Remember, without the Sun’s gravity, there would be no centrifugal force keeping the earth going around in a circle,” explains Sheth. “The earth would just go out into space on a free trajectory.” 

Needless to say, none of the above would be good for the survival of the human race, but amazingly, there are ways we could live on — for a while, at least. “We could survive, theoretically, if we had three things: A heat source, food, and miraculously, a stockpile of vitamin D tablets. That’s how we’ve managed to colonize Antarctica, at least.”

“But the better question than how we might survive is, how would humans evolve, floating through space? That’s what I’d want to know.”


3 – In Space, No One Can Hear You (Put On) (Sun) Screen

Sun protection is even more important in orbit than it is on Earth — just ask NASA.

Whether you’re walking around town or lying at the beach, it’s in your best interest to wear sunscreen — and lots of it. That’s because, depending on factors like time of day and the intensity of ultraviolet light from the sun, it can take as little as 10 minutes to get sunburned. And that’s with Earth’s atmospheric ozone layer absorbing a lot of those UV rays!

But what about in space? With no ozone layer to protect them, do astronauts need to take special precautions to prevent sunburns that are out of this world? In short, yes — but, thankfully, NASA’s well prepared. “Most of the windows on the International Space Station, including the cupola windows, have special UV-protective coatings on them so sunburns aren’t a major concern,” says NASA Public Affairs Officer for Human Exploration, Stephanie L. Schierholz. “Likewise, to protect astronauts’ eyes and face from the strong sun during a spacewalk, astronauts use a special gold visor [with its excellent ability to reflect UV radiation] built right into their helmet.”

Considering their special UV-blocking windows, coupled with their visors and protective spacesuits, it’s no surprise that sunscreen isn’t on NASA’s required materials list for going into space. Plus, when you think about it, a bunch of gunky sunscreen slathered all over your skin? Reckon that would be pretty difficult to get off in zero gravity.


4 – Sundae, Caramel-y Sundae

L.A.-based pastry chef and mustard-flavored ice cream maker, Holden Jagger, walks us through how to craft the perfect summer sundae at home.

1. The Vessel
“You definitely want a low, wide and shallow dish to put your Sundae in. That way when the ice cream melts you can drink it like a bowl of miso soup.”

2. The Ice Cream
“Vanilla, for sure. The whole idea of a sundae is texture. And since the flavors are going to get muddled, you want something basic that isn’t going to overwhelm the real stars of the show.”

3. The First Layer: Salted Caramel
“Salted caramel gets cold. And when it gets cold, it gets thick. And when it gets thick it forms incredible ribbons. Plus I just love caramel. Make your own if you’re good at cooking, like me.”

4. The Second Layer: Chopped, Roasted Peanuts
“It’s kind of strange to put a bean [ed. note: legume] in your ice cream, but a good amount of peanuts is a must. You’ve got these soft, ribbony textures from the seizing sauces and then you have this surprising crunch *chef’s kiss*.”

5. The Third Layer: Chocolate
“It’s just kinda gotta be there. But you know what’s great? That magic shell stuff. It’s got bee’s wax in it that causes the chocolate to harden the moment it hits the ice cream. Adds a great crack-ly texture.”

6. The (Not a) Cherry on Top
“Screw cherries. Marischinos are stupid and gross, and then there’s like, only three solid weeks with decent fresh cherries. Fruit just ruins a sundae in my opinion. If you really want to kick it up a notch, drop some praline on there.” 


5 – Everything You’ve Ever Got Wrong About Sunscreen

Don’t get burned by what you don’t know about protecting your body’s largest organ — your skin, that is.

You might assume that going outside and into the sun (remember when doing so was a whole lot less complicated?) is as simple as slapping on a bit of sunscreen, opening the door and stepping into the bright light of day. You might also assume that other than some confusing numbers on the bottle, all sunscreen is the same, or that a tan is not as bad as getting burned, or that base layers are actual things — you know, basically speaking and stuff.

And, well, you’d be wrong. To assume, that is. Because you know what they say about assumptions, right? Here are just a few of the simple truths about the sun — and how it affects your skin — that you might not know.

Set Your ‘Screens
What, you thought all sunscreens were the same? Think again. “A sunscreen is a chemical compound that absorbs and attenuates UV wavelengths that would otherwise interact with and affect the skin,” dermatologist Anthony Rossi explains. In simpler terms, sunscreen acts sort of like a window shade, reducing (but not completely blocking) the effects of the sun’s harmful rays. 

There are other sunscreens, though, like the ones that contain protective ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide and which tend to appear white on the skin, that “physically reflect the sun’s rays, preventing them from penetrating the skin,” says chemist Fadi Mourad. Because titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are less irritating than the ingredients found in sunscreens that don’t contain zinc or titanium dioxide, this type of sunscreen is usually the better choice for those with sensitive skin. 

What’s in an SPF?
The higher the SPF, the stronger the sunscreen — that’s how most of us think SPF works, right? And while that’s not entirely wrong, it’s also not the whole story. SPF — which stands for “sun protection factor” — is a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect your skin from UVB rays, which cause sunburns, wrinkles and skin cancer. “It’s a measure of how much UV energy it takes to produce a sunburn,” Rossi explains. “Applying a product with 10 SPF will allow your skin to undergo 10 times the UV intensity that would otherwise cause a sunburn.” 

That said, don’t assume that you can hang out 10 times longer in the sun than if you weren’t any sunscreen at all — because you can’t. Rossi recommends reapplying sunscreen every two hours, regardless. No cheating!

The Only Good Tan is a No Tan
Sure, the fact that sunscreen lets some of the sun’s rays in, coupled with the fact that SPF 15 isn’t as powerful as SPF 75, might lead you to believe that you can get a tan and protect your skin at the same time. And while that’s partially true, according to Rossi, you can never really have the best of both worlds. “Any time your skin tans, biologically, that’s your skin’s way of protecting itself. The melanocytes create protective caps of pigment on your cells to shield the cell from DNA damage, hence your skin becoming red (inflamed) and then tan. Once the skin becomes red initially, that means you’re already damaging your cells.” That damage can eventually result in skin cancer. So if you want a tan, stick to the sunless variety!

Don’t Slip — Cover Those Nips
In most scenarios, nipples aren’t something people tend to ignore. Apparently, sunbathing isn’t one of those scenarios: 46 percent of people never apply sun protection to their frontal pepperonis, according to a shocking survey we conducted a couple years back (hopefully people have become more nip-conscious since it was published). They really should, though, since nipples are even more prone to sunburn than other areas of the skin, according to dermatologist Lisa Chipps.

“All of our skin, including thin and sensitive areas like nipples and lips, can be burned by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation,” Chipps emphasizes. Because they’re so delicate, nipples are also particularly prone to flakiness and itchiness when sunburned (flaky and itchy nipples are, of course, less than ideal for several reasons). 

Got My Back
Unless you’re a contortionist, trying to apply sunscreen to your back is, more times than not, an exercise in futility. But it doesn’t have to be! Wetsuit maker and surfer Alex Wang explains his genius method for solo-greasing up his dorsal side:

Step #1: Cut a 2-foot-long sheet of plastic wrap. If you don’t have plastic wrap (not necessarily a beach-bag staple), you can use an old beach towel.

Step #2: Squirt a zigzag pattern of sunscreen — like you would with mustard on a hot dog — on the plastic wrap or beach towel.

Step #3: Wipe the sunscreen-laden plastic wrap/towel across your back as if you’re toweling it off.

Step #4: Allow the sunscreen to soak for half an hour before hopping in the water; otherwise it’ll come right off.

Voila! The sun’s rays can’t hurt you now — no matter which way you’re facing.

Too Protected
Did you know that the SPF scale isn’t linear? Higher SPFs (especially those above 30) don’t offer up that much more sun protection than their supposedly much weaker counterparts:

SPF 15 blocks 92.5 percent of UVB rays

SPF 20 blocks 95 percent of UVB rays

SPF 30 blocks 97 percent of UVB rays

SPF 50 blocks 98 percent of UVB rays

SPF 75 blocks between 98 and 99 percent of UVB rays

So the next time you’re at the store and the SPF 75 sunscreen is twice the price of SPF 30, save yourself a penny — as far as the sun is concerned, both screens provide your skin with pretty much the same amount of protection.


6 – Oh FAQ: How Do I Not Get Dad Another Boring Tie For Father’s Day?

We asked men’s style consultant Sean Ireton what type of occasion other types of ties are good for, and how to wear them. Because remember, the son also tie-ses.

1. The Bolo Tie: “Bolo ties make a good gift if dad has cultural roots in the Southwest, or is headed to a western-themed event. It’s a statement piece. It should be the star of the outfit — everything else you’re wearing should be simple in color, texture and pattern.”

2. The Western Bow Tie: “Western bow ties are also worn primarily to events in the Southwest. Strictly used with button-down shirts. Do NOT wear it with a t-shirt — you’ll look like a tool. But be aware of sincere vs. ironic use: Depending on the situation, it could be perceived as ‘costume-y.’”

3. The Bow Tie: “Personally, I’m not a fan of bow ties in any setting except the ones where you’re wearing a tuxedo. So if you’re going to wear one outside a black tie event, make it a showstopper by having fun with patterns and color. Just make sure to avoid argyle or eccentric plaids.”

4. The Cravat: “Cravats take serious panache to make them work. The vibe that it creates is quite English, so if the occasion calls for that upscale sophistication, try it, but don’t over accessorize, you’ll look ridiculous. Expect a lot of people asking you questions, so be prepared with a response as to why you’re wearing one.”

5. The Knit Tie: “Since the fabric is thicker than a standard silk necktie, a four-in-hand knot is best since it will keep the size smaller, so stay away from windsors and novelty knots. If you’re going with a sportcoat and jeans look, a knit tie would be a perfect way to add casual sophistication.”

6. Clip-On Tie: “Never. Unless your motor functions are legitimately impaired or you’re a 5 year-old boy, learn how to tie a four-in-hand knot. It’s the simplest and easiest knot to tie, the best looking across all types of shirt collars, and is agnostic of any type of formality.”


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