September 2010 Archives

I wanted to do a follow up on my previously blog about the Phoenix Mission to Mars. As I was reading the articles that summed up the data of the mission I began to wonder a few things about the possibility that there was once life on Mars. The article I read concluded that there was water present below the surface of Mars. The existence of water is essential in sustaining life. New evidence suggested that there has been volcanic activity on Mars throughout its history. I wondered if there once was life on Mars but has since been wiped out by its hostile atmosphere and by volcanoes, that inhibited life. The Earth went through ice ages where life could hardly be sustained. What if Mars once had a different atmosphere that sustained life, whether it be simple microscopic life or something else? I guess we may never know. 
NASA has been working tirelessly to uncover numerous clues about the planet of Mars. Mars is described as a "cold desert planet" with no liquid water present on its surface. Discoveries were made, however, in Mars' northern arctic plain that showed large amounts of water below the ground surface. This discovery was made in 2002 by the Mars Odyssey Orbiter. The Phoenix Mission consists of landing the Phoenix spacecraft, to investigate a number of topics. These consist of determining whether life exists in Mars, the overall climate of Mars, the geology of Mars, and finally to prepare for human exploration. 

Delta II rocket lifts off the launch pad.

The Phoenix mission has concluded some remarkable things. After reviewing data, it was concluded that liquid water has interacted with the surface of Mars throughout history and continuing into modern times. There is also new evidence that volcanic activity has occurred on Mars for several million years. 

Upon doing some research for this entry I came across an interesting article about Phoenix. The Phoenix lander communicates with NASA through live feeds, but it communicates with the rest of us through Twitter! I thought it was pretty amazing that technology has progressed so much that a robotic spacecraft was using Twitter. I wonder if the Phoenix lander follows Barry Marshall's Twitter account...

@MarsPhoenix: parachute is open!!!!! 4:50 PM May 25th from web

Vacationing to space?




A few extremely wealthy people have already had the opportunity to travel into space.. running them as much as $18 million dollars per person. Boeing is planning to start a space-traveling business as early as 2015. These trips would being at Cape Canaveral Florida and go to the International Space Station in a capsule that would be capable of taking 7 passengers onboard. There has been talk of creating a government-owned rocket to take astronauts to the moon and other planets..instead Obama is more interested in starting the tourist business and then pay for these astronauts to have a seat on these rockets. Do you guys think that this is a logical business to start considering we are just coming out of a recession?



After watching an episode from one of my favorite shows, Castle, I became quite annoyed at something the forensics specialist had said. The woman, who is trained to understand the human body AS WELL as a doctor, made a comment to the lead to detective to stop worrying so much or she'd get an ulcer. Th6f9ac115c749ec0fc1599d318f7e6a63.jpgis bothered me- though the discovery of H.pylori was over a decade ago and there are very few people with ulcers anymore, Americans and the general public of the world are still operating under the archaic assumption that ulcers are caused by stress.

However, our lack of understanding is not at the fault of the media, but perhaps by the sheer ignorance of our country to read the news. After undergoing some research, I discovered that the majority of news sites are actually verifying the existance of H. pylori AND saying that this cures the ulcers. Take this article, written by the US CDC in 2006, which states that there is a cure for ulcers and that H. pylori is the cause of them. Also, take this link to the WebMd site, which outlines the history of ulcers, including that is was mistakenly believed to be caused by stress and that research in the 1980s proved otherwise. There are even studies being tested that state that baby broccoli may prevent the development of H.pylori (though, this article being from fox news with little to no evidence of studies, should be scrutinized before take as valid). Either way, the media, as far as news sources are concerned, are not spreading lies about H.pylori causing ulcers.

But why do most Americans still believe that stress causes stomach ulcers (I must admit that I did not know the truth until this class)?

Poisson Process

After discussing in class about Poisson and his equation for randomness, I decided to do a small amount of research on him. Apparently his processes are also used for: radioactive decay of atoms, telephone calls arriving at a switchboard, page view requests to a website, and rainfall. I find it pretty interesting that the equation can be used to figure out these things arbitrarily. Simeon Poisson's productivity as a scientific worker has still yet to be equalled. This fact is a real accomplishment for scientists since the majority of scientists usually do not make it very far with personal discoveries and such. Another interesting fact that Poisson derived is this that I will quote from wikipedia of Simeon Poisson: "In 1815 Poisson studied integrations along paths in the complex plane. In 1831 he derived the Navier-Strokes equations independently of Claude-Louis Navier." If anyone wants to research more about Simeon Poisson they should look at the wikipedia on him becauase it has a lot of cool contributions he has made to the world of science, along with the one I mentioned above.

Gargling with Salt Water?

Cold season is approaching, evident by the torrential rain pounding onto my dorm room window.  Every year, I pride myself on avoiding winter sickness, then immediately fall ill with something a week later.  Clockwork, really.  Mostly it's a very nasty cold so THIS year, I'm going to be pro-active and take steps to AVOID the sickness.  Apparently, all I need to do is consistently gargle with salt water.

Ick, right?  My experiences with salt water are mostly confined to accidental swallows at the beach after a particularly pesky wave.  But according to a randomized study published in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2005 conducted by the Mayo Clinic, the people that were told to gargle with salt water thrice per day had almost a 40% decrease in upper respiratory tract infections compared with those whom did not gargle at all.

Gargling with salt water is also said to help against sore throats and congestion.  So this is what you need to do...according to the Mayo Clinic, "dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water and gargle the solution for a few seconds before spitting it out." 

It may be icky, but not as icky as a cold!  Try it out.

Rain Brings Pain

Personally, I hate the rain. It's such a hassle to stay dry. I mean it's cold and makes the day shitty (excuse my language). But my mom would always say that she could feel the rain coming. She would tell me that her bones were starting to ache and intuitively knew that rain was about to fall. She was always right. I thought she was just lying whenever she said she was in pain due to some rain that wasn't even touching her; so I did some research. According to eHow, "The body's joints have sensory nerves. These nerves are called baro-receptors and they do respond to changes in the atmosphere. When the barometric pressure drops or is low, it signifies that the air has become moist, signaling a chance for rain. The body's nerve receptors respond to low barometric pressure." That is why people, like my mom, can predict rainfall. Furthermore, she feels pain because "when air and environmental pressure changes and falls, the amount of fluid or pressure in the body's joints varies. People with arthritis will feel the change more significantly because they have less cartilage that cushions the body's joints."

It has been raining since all day, since the moment I woke up(11pm) and now it's 2pm. But at least I'm not in pain. 

When I searched on the Internet about life and universe, I found this news on Sky& It reports that the first potentially habitable planet was announced.



What's special about this planet is that it is neither too hot nor too cold, liquid water may exsit on this planet.

Sience Magazine also reported this discovery. (Astronomers Find Most Earth-like Planet to Date)

"Astronomers may have found the most Earth-like alien planet to date, and it's located only a short distance away, cosmically speaking. The team says that the planet's proximity to its sun, coupled with the ease with which it was detected, suggests that the galaxy could be teeming with habitable worlds."

The planets astronomers found before are either too close to their sun or too far. Some are to large to support life because they lack of solid surface. But this one is different.

"Gliese 581g is the sixth world discovered around its sun--and the fourth most distant. Yet its orbit brings it closer to its parent star than Mercury is to our sun. Still, it's squarely within the habitable zone, because the planet's star, which is a type known as a red dwarf, contains only about 30% of the sun's mass and shines with only about 1% of its brightness."

This discovery is a big breakthrough. Since this planet is so habitable, I can't help wondering is there life like human existing on it.


I've noticed a theme of space and other life forms going on in our class recently. I found an article that talked about the discovery of a new planet that could have life, currently called planet G.

exoplanet-zoom.jpgGliese 581 is a family of planets that orbit around a red dwarf star. Planet G, also referenced as Gliese 581g, is a newly discovered planet that holds a lot of similarities to ours. The planet is three times the size of Earth, orbits the system's sun, has a stable atmosphere and gravity, and is just far enough from the star that it has liquid water. Because of the pools of water, it's believed that there could be life there.

What I thought was really interesting about this planet, was that it doesn't have a rotation like Earth. Instead, it is locked to its position to the sun in the same way that the moon is locked to the Earth. We only see one side of the moon. Half of this planet gets sun all of the time, and the other half is in darkness all of the time.

The scientists aren't actually sure if there is life there or not yet. I think it will be really interesting when they do find out. Usually, when I think of life, I immediately think of what we have on our planet. But most of the complex life forms I think of (humans, animals, plants etc.) see the day and night cycle. It will be very exciting to see if there is life on this planet, and if there is, what living in constant daylight or constant darkness. The only kind of creatures I can think of that might be comparable would be the fish that live so deep in the ocean, that they are in constant darkness.

Some of which are adorable, like the Dumbo Octopus pictured below. And some are kind of terrifying (but fascinating!), like the creatures featured on this list titled 10 Horrible Deep Sea Creatures.

dumboOctopus-s448x450-2298-580.jpgIf you had to come up with something comparable that could possibly exist on this earth-planet with constant day/night, what would it be?


Stairwell to Age...

Apparently researchers have come across the discovery of standing on a staircase will cause you to age quicker than standing on the floor. It all has to deal with Albert Einstein's theories of relativity. His theories predict that "time does not flow at a steady rate, and it can be affected by acceleration." An example provided was that a clock moving away from you will appear to be ticking slower than a stationary clock. Einstein's theories of relativity equally relate to the prediction of gravity slowing time down. James Chin-Wen Chou, of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), expressed, "So if you are experiencing stronger gravitational pull, then your time is going to be slower". This relates back to the original theory of standing on a stairwell. The higher you are, the less gravitational pull you are experiencing. The closer you are to the center of the Earth's mass, the less gravitational pull is forced on you. 

Are vaccines dangerous?

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I feel as though vaccines are not dangerous but I could the side effects from them. I hope we will discuss this further in class because it is a subject I am very interested in just because of the fact that I feel that there is nothing dangerous about vaccines what so ever. I see vaccines as anew cure that can't go wrong but then again not everything is a sure thing. I'm very excited to further talk about this in class.
Oddly enough we were just talking Tuesday in class about if there was another planet with life that the would be seeing all of four years ago, sometime in our high school years.  Well I logged onto yahoo just now to check my e-mail, and the little news blurbs always catch my eye. The most interesting one right now.. they may have found another planet they are calling "Goldilocks" that could possibly have life on it.  It is in just the right spot in relation to its star to harbor life, and even though scientists have claimed this before, they feel very strongly about this one, mainly due to its location.
The planet rotates around its star, Gliese 581, but there is not very much known about it besides basic facts.  So it still may be too early to tell, but this is the 6th planet found around this star.  The others seemed promising, or were just a flat out no... but there is still hope for Goldilocks.  There are many scientists backing it, and as I read the article, we even have one of our own Penn Staters thinking it is plausible.  What a small universe huh?

Here is the link to the article if you wanna learn a little more.. hopefully this is a story I can continue to follow!

10 Deadliest Animals


What a great discussion in Tuesday's class about extraterrestrial life.  The topic seems to be interesting to a lot of people in the class.  However, I'm going be blogging about something different since everyone seems to be on the ET bandwagon after Tuesday

I read about the deadliest animals somewhere on the internet a week ago and I found it interesting, especially number 1.  A simple search showed that most authors mostly agreed on this top 10 list.  I'll be referring to the one I found on because it seems pretty reliable.  Here is the list:

10. Poison dart frog

-I have never heard of this kind of frog before, but it's pretty hard to imagine and frog killing ten men when you touch its skin.

9. Cape buffalo

8. Polar bear

-This saddens me the most.  Polar bears are my favorite animal and they're endangered.  It never seems these cuddly bears would hurt humans, but apparently they hurt tourists.  Other kinds of bears would make more sense to me.

7. The elephant

-This makes sense, they are huge!  They don't seem aggressive though.

6. African Lion

5. Great White Shark

-Jaws gave me nightmares.  Most people would understand sharks in the top 5 deadliest animals to humans.  The great white racks up 30-100 kills per year.

4. Austrialian Box Jellyfish

-Really? Jellyfish? A couple years ago I was surrounded by them in the water in Ocean City, MD.  No one seemed to care.  Each tentacle can kill up to 60 humans, but I guess this is only on the Australian coast.

3. Australian saltwater crocodile

2. Asian Cobra

-Snakes? Why'd it have to be snakes?

1. Mosquitoes

-I wasn't expecting these guys to be the deadliest.  I get bites all of the time during the summer.  The reality is, they can kill millions of people each year spreading malaria and other diseases.


What do you guys think?  

Beasts That Baffle

I came across an article earlier that connects to the pop quiz we had on coyotes the other week in class.  The article is titles "Mysteries that Howl and Hunt" and illustrates how we do not really know all that much about these small yet fierce animals.  And it isn't just the factors we discussed in class (i.e; skulls shape and diet correlation) that baffle scientists.  For starters, their numbers still are on the rise despite hunting and trapping.  They have also migrated to different kinds of environments.  At the start of the century they were constricted to mainly the prairies of the United States but have moved to Urban areas and spread from coast to coast.  One factor of the regional differences that really interested me was that the coyotes in the east are actually bigger.  They tend to be mistaken for wolves at times, and many have been tested only to discover that they do have some wolf blood running through their veins.  (New York Times Article).  A recent study that was published this fall tested over 700 coyotes and found that all had some wolf in them.  The scientist account this "hybrid breeding" to the early half of the century and most likely between coyotes and Great Lake Wolves.  (Pittsburgh Post-Gazzete Article).  One thing that scared me in the article was the section on the attacks of the coyotes.  They have been recorded dragging cats and dogs out of their designated yards.  Though extremely rare, attacks on humans have also been examined.  These attacks range coast to coat, everywhere from California to New York City.  This summer alone, there were 4 separate recorded attacks on small children in the New York City region.  But could this confinement of attacks to the East Coast have anything to do with that so wolf DNA that many Eastern Coyotes possess?  (New York Times Article).  

What is intuition?

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What is "intuition"?  In the last two classes, Andrew presented us with specific medical cases when doctors went with intuition or the common treatment option, which in the end, turned out to be more harmful than good for the patients involved.  Of course this was only discovered after additional scientific research had been done to quantitatively prove that the doctors' intuition and/or common practice had been wrong.  As Andrew said, "Intuition is a very poor guide to the world."

So this got me thinking about what intuition is exactly and also wondering about whether or not it has a role to play in science.  If you've ever heard of Malcolm Gladwell or read his book Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, you'll be familiar with his idea of the adaptive unconscious.  I don't know if I really buy it, but it's an interesting idea, and he does provide examples to support it. 

My question now is what role does intuition (or the adaptive unconscious) play in science?  Do researchers ever use intuition (or adaptive unconscious) to make those leaps between what they know already and what is actually happening?  And then use that idea to design additional experiments to provide the concrete proof they require?  Could we say that Barry Marshall acted on his intuition (supported by scientific data as well, of course) when he decided to drink the bacteria?  Perhaps this space between science and intuition is related to what Alex was referring to in his posts about interdisciplinarity and overturning objective-only science?

Are you inclined to operate more on intuition than facts?  Or vice versa?  Are scientific types predisposed to one camp or the other?  How about the general public?  Is that where things get so muddled when we're looking at these scientific issues as presented in the popular press? For example, even when faced with a story that explicitly states "Obesity can be caught as easily as a common cold...", my intuition tells me that 's not very likely to be the cause of the weight problems we see here in America.  What do you think? 

Rainforest Pharmacy


In class we have been discussing placebos, vaccines, and other kinds of medical treatments.  After doing a little research, I found that a large amount of medicinal information comes from research done in the natural environment.  In fact, rainforests are a very large contributor to medical research.  I found a video that follows medical researchers as they search to find a "toxic frog" that is believed to carry poisonous goo that could be be used to cure a range of diseases.  This toxic frog is one of many amphibious creatures found in rainforests worldwide that carry valuable information for new developments in the field of medicine.  The problem is that the amount of people dedicated to finding these animals is dwindling every day.  It's as if the rainforest is a pharmacy just waiting to be opened.  Perhaps if there was a movement to accomplish this rainforest mission; we could find the cure to many diseases taking lives more and more everyday.
Toxic Frog Video

The Trials of Life on Mars

After leaving class today, I have decided to take on a theme and analyze evidence supporting life outside of Earth and evidence refuting this idea. This includes any form of life, such as bacteria. My grandpa would always tell me when I was young that there was life outside of Earth. I first wanted to analyze the possibility of life on Mars. 

The question of life outside of Earth goes back to the ancient Greeks, as early as the 5th century B.C.  I want to first analyze the controversial debate concerning life on Mars. In fact one of the functions of NASA, formed in 1958, is to examine the possibility that there is life on Mars and other planets in our solar system. 

The first glimpse that there might be life on Mars was in 1996, when a meteor was discovered in Allan Hills, Antarctica. When the meteor was examined scientists found what they believed to be ancient bacteria. Scientists drew this conclusion from four basic premises. The first evidence is that they knew that the meteor was in fact from Mars. The second piece of evidence was the presence of complex organic molecules (polycyclic aromatic compounds). The third piece of evidence is the presence of iron and other compounds, which appear to be made by bacteria.  The fourth piece of evidence consisted of images of possible fossilized bacteria. Article

Technology developed by NASA has become extraordinarily complex. Robots have been launched onto the planet of Mars, and are capable of producing and relaying images to Earth, These robots, named Spirit and Opportunity, roam the Martian landscape and use their Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) to pry through rocks. Article

In essence, despite technological advancements and possible signs of life on Mars it has yet to be concluded that there is any life on Mars. NASA is still heavily researching this topic but has not yet discovered any concrete evidence that there is life on Mars. 

I believe that this topic is fascinating and it is something that I have always wondered. I think that the the question of life on Mars will be answered in our lifetime due to new technological advancements and research being conducted by NASA. Let me know what you think?
Scientists would find life on another planet fascinating.  It is less obvious to me what the world's major religions would make of it.

The question in class today made me wonder.  The life elsewhere could be
(1)  'simple' - like some sort of bacterial ooze
(2) complex, but no competition for us (like most multi-celled organisms on this planet)
(3) complex, and a serious threat to us (as it always seems to be in films).

In each case, what would the theological implications be?  I suspect (1) would be easily dismissed, but (2) and especially (3) would be theologically challenging.  

This is a link to a news website article about a scientific finding.
I thought that this was humorous, but relevant to our class in the sense that it pokes fun at what some of us are reading and using to support our blog posts. It's just for fun, of course!
I actually had randomly been thinking about the movie "Sphere" lately- my parents made my sister and I watch it when we were younger and I remember being totally confused and oblivious because I was too young to find it interesting/pay attention. I remembered: something weird about Dustin Hoffman being able to control things unknowingly through what he was dreaming about, Queen Latifah being attacked by a thousand dangerous jellyfish (that scene terrifies me to this day, and I will jump out of the ocean at the sight of anything with tentacles, something about "10,000 Leagues Under the Sea," and a random variety of scientists coming together to work on some top secret project that had to do with a sphere. The other post relating to science films immediately reminded me of "Sphere!"

 I don't know if Dr. Read meant blockbuster hit type movie with "major" movie, but Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, & Samuel L. Jackson as well as Queen Latifah and Liev Schreiber were all in this movie. They're all pretty big actors/actresses, so I don't know if this falls into the category of what Dr. Read meant or not. 

I looked up the synopsis since I couldn't remember much, and the scientists are actually a marine biologist, mathematician, astrophysicist, and psychologist. The sphere itself is apparently a spaceship, and the scientists have been asked to investigate. It takes place on the ocean floor where the ship was found; the scientists find out the ship is from the future, and the Sphere itself was found in the cargo area of the ship. 

And then I stopped reading because I want to go back and watch the movie without knowing what happens. 

After watching the video in today's class about the obesity article I have a very good feeling still that there is no excuse in regards to why people are obese. It really seems like if the virus was proven to make kids turn obese then it would be an extra excuse for them to feel content with their obesity. I honestly feel that it is necessary for kids to exercise and diet correctly on a daily basis in order to stray from obesity. This article here that I researched was pretty interesting in how the AD-36 cold virus is a possible cause of obesity. It is still an ongoing experiment for scientists but it seems that the most confusing part quoted here is that "it is not known how often or under what circumstances AD-36 infects, why the virus affects people differently and whether weight gain is the result of an active infection or a lasting change in a person's metabolism." This is still an interesting article that I would like to hear more about in the near future if more information has been figured out.

Science in the movies

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Andrew once disappointingly told us all that major motion pictures are not made about scientists. Well, I was immediately able to think of two of my favorite films, Dr Strangelove, and Outbreak.

Dr. Strangelove
Is a film about the cold war, but the tittle character is a scientist. A former nazi, Dr. Strangelove is the best weapons expert in the country, and he gives the president crucial information regarding the Soviet "Doomsday Device".

Dustin Hoffman stars as the scientist in Outbreak. His character, Sam Daniels, is a virologist for the U.S. military. He is ordered to investigate a strange virus in Africa. Daniels wants a alert to be put out, but his superior Billy ford (Morgan Freeman) tells him it is unlikely to spread. Of course, through a series of events, the disease end up in America, specifically the town of Cedar Creek California. The town is quickly quarantined and put under martial law. Daniels and his team must race to find the cure, because the government plans to bomb the town to stop the spread of the disease.
These are just two examples, but I'm sure if you look hard enough, you can find movies where the handsome heroic hero is also a scientist.

The Real Benjamin Rush

As I stated in an earlier post, Benjamin Rush is my ancestor. I learned this a few years ago before a family trip to Philadelphia, where we visited his grave which incidentally is not far from that of Benjamin Franklin. As I also stated, he signed the declaration of independence. We all learned in class that he was very wrong about blood letting, and killed many people for his mistake. After further research I am relieved to say that while blood letting was not his only scientific mistake Rush has made a number of contributions to the fields of psychology and medicine which I believe offset or even surpass his mistakes.

Many consider Rush as "The father of American Psychiatry", as he published the first textbook on the subject in America. He was far ahead of his time in treating patients with mental illness. Rush successfully campaigned for a separate mental ward in hospitals after seeing the terrible conditions mental patients had previously lived in. He was however incorrect in his diagnosis and treatment of mental patients. He believed the cause of mental illness was improper blood circulation to the brain, thus he tried to cure those diseases by improving blood flow.

Rush is also credited with pioneering occupational therapy as he noticed that mental patients who were able to perform jobs scrubbing, cleaning, gardening etc were better off than being institutionalized in a hospital.

Rush also developed a therapeutic cure to addiction. At the time, drunkenness was viewed as a sin, and a choice by the drinker. He proposed that alcoholism was a medical disease, that the drinker could not control themselves and was indeed addicted. To cure alcoholics, he suggested that they be weaned off the substance with less and less potent substances.

Rush is obviously more well known for his medical contributions (and mistakes) than his role as a founding father. While he was an active member of the sons of liberty and an influence on the formation of American Government, other founding fathers such as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams overshadow his role.

Maybe its because history is interesting to me, but I think its really cool to know that I'm related to such an influential person. Rush was not only historically significant, But scientifically as well.          

Post-workout beverage

Instead of drinking water or gatorade after a long and tiring workout at the gym, try drinking chocolate milk!  I recently saw one of the Penn State football players drinking chocolate milk after what seemed to be a tough workout and it got me thinking.  Chocolate milk has " double the carbohydrate and protein content, perfect for replenishing tired muscles. Its high water content replaces fluids lost as sweat, preventing dehydration. Plus it packs a nutritional bonus of calcium, and includes just a little sodium and sugar -- additives that help recovering athletes retain water and regain energy."

The website below provides other interesting facts so you should all take a look!


Texting: The New Fad

Question: Why do people enjoy texting, rather than give someone a phone call? Wouldn't you want to hear that person's voice? What are your reasons? 
One of my all time favorite supermarkets is Whole Foods.  For those of you that don't know what Whole Foods is, it is an extremely health conscious, organic food store with tons of yummy food. So one day when I was in there, I thought to myself is there really that much of a difference between organic and non-organic foods? There is definitely a huge difference in price! So I wanted to find out more about this topic.

While researching about organic foods, I came across many charts and tables comparing organic foods and non-organic foods. The main reason why everyone is all hyped up about organic foods is because organic foods are grown and made in a more careful matter.  For example, The animals of organic foods have great animal husbandry standards in organic farming. No antibiotics are used on animals, but homeopathic medicine is used, in case an animal gets sick. And If a farmer gives any antibiotic to an animal, he loses the certificate for organic farming. Livestock are given a proper diet, and adequate exposure to the outdoors.  Animals used for non-organic foods are not taken care of as well as the organic animals and
they are given antibiotics against diseases. Intensive farming methods are used to grow chicken quickly and most of the time the animals are kept indoors.  

Just these conditions alone show a lot about the difference between both types of foods. If you check out the link, you will see many more differences between the two. So next time you are at an organic farm, supermarket, or see organic products maybe you will realize why there is such a difference in price.


The Bladeless Fan


Ever heard of the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"?

So if our current model of a fan with blades is perfect how it is, then why should anyone feel the need to recreate it? Apparently Sir James Dyson, the creator of the notoriously overpriced Dyson Ball Vacuum, doesn't think it is as "perfect" as it may seem.

In the video below, Dyson explains how is new model of the fan works and the disadvantages our currnet model brings:



Basically, the fan takes in a smaller amount of air through the vent at the bottom which is in turn magnified as it is shot through the circular part of the contraption.

Now while the design is sleek, the new mode of technology fascinating and the absence of blades makes it less dangerous to the public, is the bladeless fan really worth buying? Especially at its current sale price of $300?

What do you think?

Does HIV cause aids?

I feel as though HIV does cause aids. Personally I thought HIV and aids were basically the same thing but I did some research on it and saw that HIV is what causes aids. Aids does not occur without HIV. There are many scientists who would disagree with this but then they wouldn't be scientists if they did agree on it. From the research I have looked at I strongly agree that HIV causes Aids. 

  013107hand-sanitizer.jpgSitting on my desk is a cute little square container. It's orange, mixed with blue beads and the scent is nectarine mint. I brought this hand sanitzer with me in case I ever run into a pinch with washing my hands, but I don't use it that often. I do, though, know people who use hand sanitizer religiously. My 7th grade teacher was completely anal about it and I don't think I've ever used the stuff more than I did in that class. With the risk of so many flu bugs and diseases many schools recommend that students bring their own hand sanitzer to school with them. I know when I was in high School we were all sent home with papers telling us to carry it around with us. But we all know how to use hand sanitzer, and we also know not to eat/drink it. What about little kids, though? My 4 year old cousin was sent home from pre-school with a note telling her to bring some with her. When Ava (my cousin) sees my little orange bottle, she thinks it's pretty. But what she doesn't know is that it's extremely dangerous and hazardous to her and everyones health. Just in my small 1 oz. bottle alone it contains 68% alcohol. Hand sanitizers present alcohol is huge doses, way more than liquor or any other kind of alcoholic beverage. If a little kid ingests this stuff they could get brain damage. Yeah,  it's THAT powerful. Did you also know that you can get ADDICTED to the stuff? Some people use is so often that it causes extremely dry skin and causes them to crack and get infections. Ironic, because aren't we trying to prevent infections and germs by using sanitizers?

Don't get me wrong - there are many benefits to hand sanitizers that are irrefutable. And in a pinch, they are a really great thing to have. But everyone should know the danger and bad involved with grabbing the cute little bottle instead of using old fashion soap & water.


More on Barry Marshall


In this video from our TV station (WPSU), Barry Marshall conventionally describes his experience as a researcher and discovering the bacteria. It is very interesting!


More Than Just a Circus Act


For all the animal lovers out there-


dolphin.jpgLooking in the science section of the NY Times online, I was fascinated by this article. The only interaction I've ever had with dolphins was at Hershey Park, Sea World, and Discovery Cove, but I find it very interesting to see the research that they are doing on animal cognition. In this interview with a dolphin researcher, she explains how she interacts with dolphins and how they are researching to find out how they think. It raises a good question: are there animals out there that have the extensive cognitions we have?

Antibiotic Resistance


Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria become uneffected by particular antibiotics. This is a known and growing issue because, over time, bacteria are able to evolve and adapt in order to surive. If these bacteria are able to do this so well, then how will we ever be able to control it, especially in the case of a superbacteria that could become resistant to all that we had to fend it off.

I think this is an interesting idea in the case of 99.9% bacteria free products. we use these products all the time in form of soaps, sprays, etc. If 99.9% is destroyed then what happened to the remaining .1%? Wouldnt this already be the strongest bacteria out of the group? so every time we use these products the .1%, the strongest bacteria, are left over. Couldnt this eventually end up in the developing of a super bacteria in the future? how bad could it get? The possibilty seems really endless because they will always adapt to survive, theres no stopping that. Lets just hope bacteria doesnt evolve to the point where we cant stop it. How ironic would that be, the most advanced creature wiped out by the simplest form of life.



Eating for Pain?

An interesting article in the New York Times elaborates on the tasty pain of spicy chili peppers. The experts think that people like chilies because they are naturally good for us. They are known for lowering blood pressure. Dr. Paul Rozin, from the University of Pennsylvania, has been pushing the idea of "benign masochism." He supported this theory by testing chili eaters. The subjects kept eating hot chili peppers and the "pain" or pungency of the peppers increased until the peppers were too unbearable to eat. The subjects were then questioned what level of "pain" they preferred the most and all of them preferred the level just below unbearable. 

The article brings up a very interesting point. Some people love spicy food, and eat it religiously even if they need 12 glasses of water or throw up because it is unbearable. So why do people keep going back to the atomic hot wings or scolding chili peppers? I think that it is psychological more than anything. People crave the "pain" as mentioned in the article because of an innate desire. In a sense they seek this unbearably hot food choice to fulfill that desire. 

All you spicy food eaters: What do you think?


dogs & chocolate.jpgI was on the phone with a friend today and she was talking about how her dog had accidently eaten a couple miniture Twix Bars. She was freaking out and wondering what to do. I decided to look online and found some interestind data.

The truth is that chocolate contains theobromine which in large amounts is toxic to dogs. On the positive side, in order for chocolate to have serious effects on dogs, they must consume a sufficent amount of it. In other words, if your dog scarfs down a couple of M & M's... he or she is going to be alright. Also, one must consider specific factors such as animal size, chocolate concentration, and animal sensitivity. One article states that clinical signs that your dog may be in trouble include "hyper excitability, hyper irritability, increased heart rate, restlessness, increased urination, muscle tremors, vomiting and diarrhea."

If anyone wants to check out specific statistics on the types of chocolate and harmful amounts dogs may induce the website i found is..

Just thought this was interesting! Enjoy and have a great weekend everybody!:)

Ice slows metabolism...

In class on Thursday, Andrew briefly discussed ice packs and sports injuries.  He questioned as to whether or not ice really helped the injury itself or was merely there as a means of helping such things as pain and swelling.  This sparked my interest.  As a tri-sport athlete in high school, there were many times that I would walk into the trainer's room and see kids icing their knee or sticking their ankle in a bucket full of ice... in retrospect, was this actually helpful? 

I stumbled upon and article called, Ice Slows Metabolism from a website for Chicago Sports Medicine.  This article questions the practicality of ice on injuries to ligaments, especially if used for extended periods of time.  They note that in the end this may cause more harm then good.  One of the researchers in the study even noted the following effects: 

 "Cold application or ice has been shown to depress the excitability of free nerve endings and peripheral nerve fibers, increasing pain threshold. This effect is of great value in acute treatment; however, its judicious use can contribute to serious injury. The loss of protective pain sensibility after local icing is probably a contraindication to athletic participation. Additional effects of cold application include: decrease in blood flow, decrease in inflammatory response, and decrease in local edema protection."

So, although there may be initial benefits, the overall effect may be negative.  There are various other studies cited in the article, noting similar effects and problems with icing injuries.  Another main point dealt with length of time for icing (the less the better).  Let me know what you think! I, for one, may think twice about grabbing that bag of frozen peas and icing my sore least for a long period of time.  


Super Foods to Save Your Life



Since we have been getting blogs on foods that can be detrimental to your health, I chose to do the opposite.  Last summer my dad was telling me one day about this "Super Food" thing that he heard on some radio show.  These five so called "super foods" were selected as the five best foods to help you lead a longer and healthier life. I do not remember the exact five that they said but they were along the lines of tomatoes, nuts, blueberries, and 2 others.  Since I was failing to recall the other 2 I did some research.  So here are some everyday foods that supposedly help us lead a longer and healthier life: 

-Blueberries:  strengthen our short term memory

-Pomegranate- Juice has one of the highest amounts of antioxidants in a fruit juice. 

-Salmon- For a healthy heart.  The American Heart Association recommends eating fish high in fat (such as salmon) at least 2 times a week.

-Dark Green Vegetables- High in fiber.  American Heart Association recommends at least 4 servings a day.

-Tomatoes- Help prevent certain types of cancer.  Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, which helps reduce some types of cancer and heart disease.  It is especially successful in preventing prostate cancer in men.  A recent study at Harvard with more than 40,000 health professionals "found that men who ate more than 10 servings of tomato-based foods daily (like cooked tomatoes and tomato sauce) had a 35 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer than those who ate the least amount of these foods. The benefits of tomatoes were more pronounced in men with advanced stages of prostate cancer."

-Yogurt- Strengthens your immune system and heart

(Warnin: My backspace and some of my oter keys are currently not workin)


Today in class, you predicted a sift in medicine from treatment of symptoms to treatment of actual causes at some point in te near future. Wat makes you believe tis exactly, (since Im sure te idea isnt a really new one)? Do you believe in te possibility of any form of resistance aainst tis from dru companies, considerin its muc more profitable to treat symptoms wile te actual cause keeps creatin tem (for obvious reasons)? Obviously Im sure most people in tat business primarily want to elp people,but is it possible for a few corrupt individuals to do sometin like tat? if anyone else wants to discuss, discuss away.
Riley Leupold

(Sorry once more)

Thalidomide in Brazil

After todays class I started to think a little more about Thalidomide.  I searched it on Google and saw an article about the return of deformed babies in Brazil.  We learned today that Thalidomide, aside from its terrible side effect, can be a useful drug.  It has in fact pretty much cured leprosy.  The reason that there is a resurgence is because there are 300,000 people in Brazil who suffer from Leprosy.  So, Brazil started producing a lot of Thalidomide to treat these people.  With all the information about the dangers of Thalidomide, it is hard to believe that this is still an issue.  The article goes on to talk about how many Doctors in Brazil give out the drug without specifying the danger, and how there is a black market for the drug.  The article is really interesting and talks about what the drug does that makes it possible for the severe effects.  I thought it was shocking that many people are still ignorant to the dangers of this drug.  Making the side effects known to the public has to be a top priority because it is very sad to see that there are still people who have to live life without an arm or leg because their mothers were misinformed.


More on beagles

beagle.jpgWe've had three blog entries on beagle experiments (1, 2, 3).  The latest issue of Science, the world's leading science journal, has a pull-out poster describing the normal cardiovascular activity of juvenile and adult beagles.  The argument is made that we test drugs on human adults and then use them on kids assuming children are just small adults - an assumption that proved false for several drugs, causing kids to suffer.  Moreover, 50-75% of drugs used on children are not approved for pediatric use.  The FDA now requires animal model testing on juvenile animals before testing on humans. The beagle is being used to do this, with comparison of puppies and adults.

Better to test on beagle puppies or kids?  Or are the beagles red-herrings?  Industry and the FDA think not.
Today's lecture has had me thinking about the field of medicine and how it intersects with scientific research.  I was considering which side I would fall on in the evidence-based vs. experience-based medicine debate, and logic dictates I should go with the evidence.  Since most medical professionals have had a pretty good training in science, I would have thought they would fall on the same side as me.  Therefore, it was especially surprising to hear in class today about a number of serious cases where medicine and common medical practices did more harm than good.

I also started thinking a little bit about the FDA and prescription drug regulation and if I'm confident in the system as it exists.  I realize a company can't know all of the possible side effects to a particular drug until it's on the market and widely used, so they have more data from which to draw conclusions, but there's a part of me that is concerned about the competing interests between making money and admitting when your particular blockbuster drug may have some serious problems.

I was thinking about all of this and happened to see a New York Times headline on my iGoogle page - "Regulators Impose Tight Restrictions on Diabetes Drug" and proceeded to read the story of how the FDA and European regulators made a joint announcement today about restrictions for Avandia, the number one diabetes treatment drug.  You can read the story for yourself, and you may want to check the New England Journal of Medicine piece that explains what has happened with this particular drug.  It has been on the market since 1999.

What does all of this mean for you and me?  We have so much access to information about medical conditions, potential treatments, and possible side effects of those treatments, but has it changed the doctor-patient relationship at all?  Would you question your doctor if he/she prescribed a medication for you, or would you just pop on over to the pharmacy, get the prescription filled, and hope it had the desired effect?  Are you on the evidence-based side of the fence or the experience-based side?

fda approval standards

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in todays current society it is extremely hard to get medicine approved by the FDA.  However its easier in europe where theres less of a beurocractic process. Is this good because it prevents harmful drugs going onto the market like thalidomide, or its it bad because, risky, but potentially life saving drugs are being stalled and prevented from helping people.  heres an interesting article;

How did life on earth begin?


There are many theories on how life began on earth. I found an article which talks about the theory of "abiogenesis" or "organic soup". This theory basically means that according to the bible, God gave the earth the power to create life and at the beginning of time, the earth had special powers in order to create this life. This theory allows those who believe in God and are of the Christian faith to also believe that God did not directly create humans, and therefore, evolution is a possibility. Even though the theory of "abiogenesis" has been disproven and failed in supplying evidence, many scientists still believe that this could be how life began on earth...I have never heard of this theory until reading this article and was curious to see if anyone had and what your thoughts on it are?



I don't know about you, but Little Debbie Swiss Rolls are one of my FAVORITE snack foods.  However, I didn't know, until recently, that these snack cakes that taste so good at the time, may cause long-term affects, aside from weight problems and diabetes. Studies have recently been addressing the fact that preservatives and chemical additives found in certain foods can cause serious health problems, including cancer. Check out this article and look at all of the foods that they list as having these "bad" additives-- I know that I eat something on each page on a regualar basis... Do you buy into these preliminary investigations? Would you stop eating Doritos if you thought that they would cause cancer?

I'm sure many of you have heard this before. I always thought it was just to scare us when we were gullible children. However, I came across an article that talks about sudden unexpected nocturnal death syndrome otherwise known as "SUNDS." It is a genetic disease that can strike otherwise healthy young people and cause them to die in their sleep. SUNDS affects the electrical signals that cause the heart to beat. It is common in young adult men, particularly those of Southeast Asian descent. The random death occurs at night because the heart beats more weakly while we sleep/ Since the heart slows down as we sleep, the electrical problems that cause SUNDS become more pronounced and take over the body's ability to regulate its own heart beat. It then causes the heart to be sent into a deadly spasm.
There is no real evidence that SUNDS is brought on by the stress we experience during nightmares but there are theories that link the two. There is no treatment for SUNDS and no clear reason of why it affects Southeast Asians more than other groups of people. Some people who fear they may have SUNDS, refuse to sleep at all.
I recently read an article that could potentially change the surgical procedure of replacing the aortic valve.  Instead of open heart surgery, Doctors would thread an artificial aortic valve through the leg up to the heart.  This could greatly help patients who are inoperable and have no other option, to receive treatment for their heart.  But there are still risks with this new artificial valve.  It may cause strokes, and it is not known if it would be more effective than standard open heart surgery.  People who undergo typically receive a valve that lasts almost twenty years.  Since this is so new, it is unknown how long it would last.  In any case, given the option of open heart surgery, or this new artificial valve with no required surgery, which one would you choose?  Hopefully this new method of treating heart disease becomes more regular and effective in the coming years.

To Kill or Not To Kill?

With the advancements of science, we can test for diseases and defects before infants are born with prenatal testing. For an example, Down Syndrome's disease. So would it be alright to get an abortion knowing that your child would have Down Syndome disease? What do you all think?



So I know I am not the only person who has heard this myth, but I have always been under the impression that a penny dropped from the Empire State Building would have enough power to kill someone! When my aunt first told me this, not only was I scared walking around the perimeter of the Empire State Building, but I was a vigilante against anyone dropping things off of tall buildings. However, thanks to the physics in this article about science myths, it's given me reason to doubt my prior knowledge. What are you thinking?


Even before the class pop quiz on 9/21, I had always wondered what really was safer and more effiecient when it comes to drying your hands after washing them. I enjoy using paper towels because they seem to be faster and I can actually feel myself "drying" them, unlike the air dryers. Air dryers take too Thumbnail image for air-blade.jpglong and are sometimes an inconvenience. However, a new production line of hand dryers have been created by the company Dyson. It is called Airblade. According to an Environmental Blog, titled The Guardian, the country's leading kleenex and paper towel manufacturer KImberly-Clark claim that these hand dryers increase bacteria, rather than eliminating it. The company conducted a study and produced the claims: 

In addition, they say that "warm air dryers increase bacteria on the hands by 254%." Not surprisingly, they say that "paper towels are the most hygienic "drying format" because they reduce bacteria by up to 77%". 

Dyson, however, said that those were false accusations and that Airblade jet air hand dryers use filters that kill 99.9% of bacteria in the surrounding air. James Dyson, the products inventor, adds that:

"The Airblade's carbon footprint is 70% smaller than that of paper towels. The hand dryer emits 3.29g of carbon dioxide per hand dry compared with 12.48g with a paper towel."

Check out the full article here:

You decide what to use next time you are pondering in the bathroom! 

Since we were discussing hand washing regarding germs and bacteria I decided to research how effective Purell is.  Personally, I am a Purell fanatic.  I have it in my backpack, my purses, and a big pump bottle in my dorm room.  My hands feel clean after I use them...but could that just be a placebo or a figment of my imagination?  A recent study at the University of Virginia argues that it really doesn't do all that much when it comes to preventing flu and the common cold.  Their results showed that "
Influenza infections hit 12 of 100 subjects who used sanitizer, compared with 15 per 100 subjects who didn't take special precautions."  But they do argure that though it may not prevent you from the seasonal illnesses, it does prevent gastrointestinal disease and other infections contracted through physical contact.  What seperates the hand sanitizer from regular soap and water in this case is the alcohol.  One astonishing and revolting statistic mentioned in the article is that 15% of individuals do not wash their hands after using the bathroom.  YUCK!  You aren't only going to make yourself sick, but you will make others around you sick as well.  So please everyone, wash your hands before you exit the bathroom.


Chchearthquake04rail.jpgSeveral of you have asked if I had friends or family caught up in the Christchurch (New Zealand) earthquake.  I did - and actually I was visiting them only the week before semester started.  The first shock on Sept 4 was the same magnitude as the Haiti earthquake - and since then, there have been more than 700 aftershocks, including last night - some 2.5 hours of rock and roll in total SO FAR.

There are other very impressive photos here.  Things were so much better than Haiti (no one died in Christchurch) because New Zealand has well developed civil emergency planning, relatively low population density and proper building codes which are enforced - in other words, national wealth.  

The first time I met my new doctor, he gave me the routine questions about my daily habits. He asked me how many cigarettes I smoked and how many alcoholic drinks I consumed in a day. These seemed like important answers to have on file, so I did not think twice about his inquiry. But what stood out was his third question - "How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?". Because I was sitting in his office with a cup of coffee...I thought maybe this was some sort of joke. Let me just say - he was not kidding. Apparently my coffee habits were equivalent to the habits of smokers and drinkers? I didn't even know the three were in the same category. So point of this article - could it potentially be discovered that coffee is bad for you, like science did with cigarettes?


 First I looked up research from the Association for Science and Information on Coffee (ASIC). Yes this does exist. And they conducted some studies on mice to test their theory that coffee and/or caffeine is helpful for preventing and/or treating Alzheimer's Disease. What they found was that the mice they started giving caffeine to at young adulthood showed more protection against memory impairment  in their older age. They also notice that the older mice showed more memory restoration once they began to treat them with the caffeine water! That is amazing, because if that is the case it could potentially be a great help for humans with Alzheimer's Disease. (I have heard this hypotheses being thrown around before, but never read anything about an experient with positive results.)

And I also checked out the flip side for coffee - the negatives. A natural health doctor stressed the point that caffeine IS technically a drug, and with drugs, the more your body gets used to - the more you'll have to intake to continue to get the same effects.Caffeine prevents the chemical "adenosine" from communicating to your brain to relax. And another interesting point he makes isn't about the caffeine in it, but the fact that 70% of the world's coffee beans could potentially be contaminated with pesticides and chemicals. (So does this mean that maybe the negative affects of coffee don't come from caffeine intake, but an environmental element instead?).

Here are some listed positives of coffee:

-antioxidants, may reduce the risk of

coffee3.gif Parkinson's disease, may protect against type-2 diabetes, increases mental attention

And the negatives:

-may be linked to heart disease, disturbs the functioning of blood vessels, osteoporosis, heartburn


So I still wonder, is it a relevant piece of information for my doctor to know? It still seems that there are a lot of "maybes" and not even hard scientific evidence to confirm this fact like was the case with cigarettes and their effects on health.









Fall TV is back!


I'm sure everybody is excited about the return of all their favorite TV shows, I know I am!  In fact, last night I was watching the season premiere of one of my favorite underrated TV shows, Castle (on ABC), and stumbled across something we'd just been discussing in class...ulcers.

In the scene, one of the characters, Lanie, says to the lead detective, Kate Beckett, "I heard you made an interesting arrest today, want to talk about it?." Becket replies with a curt, "No".  Lanie continues: "Okay, keep hold all that in, you're gonna get an ulcer."

This made me laugh.  After all, we just finished discussing how bacteria is actually the cause of these ulcers, not stress or other outside situations.  Before this class, I would've made the same comment as Lanie did.  However, after hearing Dr. Marshall speak, I know better! Apparently, ABC does not :)


fossils.jpgIn Riverside, California a utility company stumbled upon a heap of animal fossils dating back to 1.4 million years ago!! Researchers discovered nearly "1,500 bone fragments including a giant cat that was the ancestor of the saber-toothed tiger, ground sloths the size of a modern-day grizzly bear, two types of camels and more than 1,200 bones from small rodents." The fossils exemplifying 35 new species will be on display at Western Science Center. Scientists say that is is extremely rare to find so many different bones of different species in one area. They believe that so many skeletons may be so well preserved "because a muddy lake bed or marsh may have trapped animals that came to drink there. Some animals who became stuck may have fallen prey to others, while some died because they were unable to free themselves." This is a huge find for scientists and may help fill in gaps as to what was going on in the area during this time period!

If anyone is interested in reading the aritcle the website is...;_ylt=AiLHswTnJHzjHb56BK.EG9kPLBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTJmY2ViamM5BGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAwOTIxL3VzX2Zvc3NpbF9maW5kBGNwb3MDMQRwb3MDMgRzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3J5BHNsawNjYWxpZnV0aWxpdHk-

Enjoy everyone!

Samantha Narick Ebrey


Major Tom to Ground Control!!

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This article doesn't directly relate to what we've discussed in class to date, but sparked my interest nonetheless.  It discusses the idea of possible commercial space travel! The article details the potential pitfalls of "tourists in space", as well as its advantages.  The main limitation being discussed in this article is price.  This does not refer to the actual price tag for individuals going into space (which is pretty hefty), but instead refers to the government budget necessary to make this happen.  Personally, I think tourist space travel would be absolutely amazing, what a trip! If it weren't for the insane price tag, I would be first on the list! Based on what the article lays out, what do you guys think?  Is this going to be another Sputnik moment?--Russia has already sent seven tourists up to space! Do you think tourist space travel is practical, especially with our current economic crisis, or is it an unrealistic goal at this point in time?

The Chocolate Genome

"A Taste Of The Chocolate Genome"

Not only are scientists trying to figure out how to reduce disease in cacao plants, but they are also trying to make your favorite chocolates taste better. A scientifically optimized chocolate? Yup, and some of the research is coming right out of PSU. A chocolate that tastes better and is cheaper than ever because of the increase in viable crops... sign me up.


i was reading the other day and i found a very interesting and relevant article for this class.  The articles was in usa today and was about the fda debating whether a genetically enginerred salmon cold be sold as human food.   The animal in discussion is an Atlantic salmon that has a gene from its cousin, the chinook salmon.  THis will alow the fish to grow year round and faster.  This shows how science is impacting our daily lives and illustrates how growing technology can cause debates and change the way we live our lives.

Adios Arctic Ice

It has been the talk of the town, or shall I say the country or even the world, for the past few years: Global warming. I was thinking the other day though that I have not heard many stories recently relating to the issue of global warming, until now.  I was perusing through The New York Times and came across and article titled "Tracking Sea Ice in the Arctic," so right then and there I knew it had to do something with global warming.  Apparently since 1979 scientists have been keeping track of this sea ice by utilizing satellites.  In the picture from the article above you can see how much the levels of ice has diminished since the 1979.  Scientists claim that the level has "hit its third-lowest level in the modern era."  I think that this is something that we should all take into concern.  Although I have never been a fan of the global warming controversy I think that it could be a useful class discussion sometime in the near future.  
This is a little delayed, but on the topic of migraines, my mom has always had migraines for as long as I can remember. She also has manic bipolar depression so I decided to check and see if there was any correlation. According to the National Headache Foundation, the depressed patient often presents a wide variety of complaints that can be categorized as physical, emotional, and psychic. The physical complaints include chronic pain and headaches, sleep disturbances, severe insomnia and early awakening, appetite changes, anorexia and rapid weight loss, and a decrease in sexual activity, ranging at times to impotence in males and amenorrhea or frigidity in females. Emotional complaints include feeling "blue," anxiety, and rumination over the past, present, and future. Finally, psychic complaints may include such statements as "morning is the worst time of day," suicidal thoughts, and death wishes. A headache secondary to depression is usually considered a tension-type (muscle contraction) headache. 
The most popular biologic theories of depression hold that the disorder is associated with depletion of brain monoamine neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine. Determining the most important substance in depression is controversial. Evidence is available to support both the norepinephrine and serotonin hypotheses. Other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and endorphin, may also be involved in depression. The discovery of endogenous, opiate-like substances in the brain, the endorphins and enkephalins, has significantly advanced our understanding of pain.

SC 200


I wanted to do an entry of what I thought of the class for the first blog period. I will also try to do this at the end of each blog period in order to keep a personal track of how I feel the class is as a whole.

I feel that the class throughout this first blog period is very interesting. I really love the way it is being taught and how we are also being graded on digital expression. I have never had a class yet that has required me to posts blogs online periodically. I especially like that this innovation is dealing with science. Another thing that is new to me is texting to a website to post different answers that professor Read asks. Hopefully throughout the rest of the semester there will be more intersting things to come regarding how this class is taught. I am really enjoying it so far, and I am excited to see what will happen in the future.

As I sat and listened to Dr. Read explain to the class what classified scientists as "odd" or "geeky", I couldn't help but create a mental comparison between scientists and those of other professions.

Of course, the only subject I can speak for is English. As an aspiring writer and English major, I can relate to some of what Dr. Read was saying about skepticism. Although it may

geek2.jpgnot seem like it at first glance, writers and other lovers of literature are trained to search for answers in the pieces they read. Whether poetry, novels, or plays, we raise questions about the characters, the motives and the meaning of the different works just like scientists do with the work they're interested in.
In order to answer these questions, we gather evidence from the text just like scientists do with data and like scientists,we draw conclusions that are never definite, despite the evidence, and always open to interpretation.
Don't get me wrong, there are key differences between the two subjects, but I just found this to be an interesting relation between the two.

Could it be this way with other studies as well? Seeing as how English and science seem to be nearly polar opposites, I wouldn't doubt it.

And if being passionate about something you love to do is odd and geeky, then I'm one proud English Geek.


Last year my cousin came home from school with lice. She got it from her best friends, who got it from her brother, who got it from his cousin that got it from daycare, and it goes on and on.

A common misconception that a lot of people have is that you have headlice it means that you are dirty. This actually isn't true. Lice LOVE clean hair because it is easier for them to move around the scalp. They usually lay their nits (eggs) usually along the hairline behind the ears as well as the hairline close to the back of the neck, and they can lay up to 12 eggs in ONE DAY.

Watch this video clip about lice. It's actually pretty interesting


According to the Headlice Hotline, lice comes from anywhere and from anyone and always just from crawling onto your hair. Think about it: sharing brushes, sharing hats, sharing clothes, sharing hairties etc What about when we buy or try on clothes? What if someone who had lice and didn't know went to a store and started trying on clothes. If they had lice and one of their hairstrands stayed on the shirt and you then later try on the shirt your are easily exposed and capable of getting lice as well. So how many of us are going to be more careful when we try on clothes at department stores? I know I will.

rubberboy-ball.jpgBeing double jointed is something that can completely freak people out, and even terrify them.  Their eyes are unwilling to believe what they are seeing. Some people believe that being double jointed, or having hypermobility syndrome, means you have twice the number of joints; that is not the case. Being double jointed simply means that your joints, ligaments and tendons are much more flexible than most peoples. So how does one become double jointed you may ask? The depth of a bones socket ( where the bone sits) determines a persons flexibility for that joint. People who are double jointed have a very shallow socket allowing them to move their joints freely, and even being able to completely dislocate the bone from its socket without any pain at all! Scientist say that we have all been double jointed at some point in our lives. As we age, our ligaments harden, loosing much of their flexibility. 

"Anti-intellectualism is hostility towards and mistrust of intellect, intellectuals, and intellectual pursuits, usually expressed as the derision of education, philosophy, literature, art, and science, as impractical and contemptible" (Definition's Source).


(Image Source)

How and why might anti-intellectualism and intelligent design be connected?  This is a question I hope to investigate full-on in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, what are your own opinions and observations?  How do you feel about anti-intellectualism as a university student?  When (if ever) have you experienced this kind of mistrust? 

I think all of us at one point in our lives had chickenpox. When I first got them the first reaction I had was to scratch those spots as much as I could regardless of my parents telling me that the consequence of my action would lead to more rashes, and more itching from the scratching. While looking online I found an article in Times Magazine that explains why people decide to scratch those parts of the body that starts to itch. The article mentions that a study published in the science journal Nature Neuroscience, suggest that the mechanism by which scratching relieves an itch takes place not along the nerve fibers of itchy skin but deep within the central nervous system -- specifically in the tract (STT) neurons in the spinal cord, which transmit information about pain, temperature and touch to the brain. In previous studies scientist have discovered that have STT neurons can be activated with the application of an itch-producing chemical like histamine and that the neurons send that itch sensation to the brain. Drug companies are trying to engineer drugs to alleviate persistent itch which would produce the relief from itching caused by scratching but without the damage caused by sustained scratching. Does anyone know of a good method to alleviate an itch that doesn't include scratching?,8599,1889750,00.html




HIV in Monkeys

Until recently, scientists had thought that the precursor for HIV had only existed in monkeys for a few hundred years, when in fact it had been in the thousands of years.. more than 32,000 to be exact.  Monkeys carry SIV, simian immunodeficiency virus, and humans have been exposed to it for thousands of years.  If we have been exposed to it for that long, then why the huge mutilation of SIV  in humans and the HIV/AIDS outbreak in the 20th century?
 In their research, scientists found that the first strains of SIV were infecting monkeys 32,000-78,000 years ago and because the virus was around for so long it no longer infected the monkeys because of their built up immunity.  Which explains why it was so unknown when HIV first began infecting humans.
Until this point scientists believe that a few people may have gotten infected with SIV, mainly due to the hunting of monkeys, but they believe those strands of disease died out with those people.  The 1st known case of HIV was in 1959 in Kinshasa, from a man in the area.  It is believed that since then a lot of the spread of HIV is linked to the use of dirty syringes to prevent other diseases from spreading, but by doing this an even worse disease was spread. 
Who knew that HIV had such a long standing history, even though it is something fairly new to our society.

The Crazy Chemist?

We all know the most famous scientists.

Victor Von Frankenstein.

Sigmeund Freud.

Albert Einstein.

Anyways, over time, Scientists have gotten kind of a bad wrap. Whether it be for putting lipstick on monkeys or being disturbingly cavalier with their use of beakers, scientists work hard every day to better understand the world around us, and all we do is scoff and deride them.

It is, indeed, a thankless job. But if you took the thanklessness, and added an element of derogatory government propaganda, you'd probably be fairly upset?

Well that's exactly what the British government did.

Now you might indeed call the chemist manufacturers of 'Ivory Wave' scientists. But you probably shouldn't. Not any moreso than you'd call the guy who spends 9 hours in his basement each night without sleeping, than 8 more hours on the corner pedalling methamphetamines a scientist. I guess what the UK is trying to do is invoke kid's fear of scientists to keep them off the streets, and off drugs. Y'know, instead of telling you how many ways it can kill you.

Is this an effective way to describe to potential drug users the lack of integrity involved in making their drugs? Do drug users really care about the manufacturing process to begin with? Or is this just those big burly British crime prevention ministers pushing the scrawny, meek scientists around? idk

Goodbye Coal

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In my EGEE class, the current unit we are studying is about coal and its signifigance--both as an energy source and an economic stabilizer. Before taking the class, I did not realize how much the US (and the rest of the world too) relies on coal as a source for electricity, fuel, and many other types of energy. With another 224 years worth of coal still in our ground, it appears that coal is and will continue to be a reliable energy source for the country. But more than just be a strong source of energy, coal and all its processes have been an economic backbone and a way of life for hundreds of thousands in the United States and across the world. Whole counties and towns in parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and even places as far away as Oroszlany, Hungary rely on the coal industry as their life blood. Generations of families have--and continue--to mine the coal from the Earth that keeps us warm and our lights on at night. But with the rise of alternative energy sources, these communities are under threat as they are totally built around the coal industry, without these mines, many of these miners who have known nothing else but coal will be out of a job with a lack of applicable skills. An interesting New York times article about the closure of a Hungarian mine as the EU pushes for the exploration of cleaner energy sources highlights the fight between people fighting for their way of life, versus the forces of activists pushing for a cleaner enivronment ( Obviously the EU has a valid point--coal and other fossil fuels are not good for the environment and will not last forever. There is a serious need to invest in the cleaner energy options that countries around the world are already embracing. But in leaving our reliance on coal behind, we are destroying the way of life for many people that without the world of coal could be left with basically nothing.
peanut.jpgThere are millions of people in the United States that are allergic to peanuts. I think we are all familiar with the tune "Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowd... buy me some peanuts and cracker jack...." But what if you're allergic to peanuts?
Well, during this Sunday's Royals vs Indians game at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio, peanuts will be banned in two sections of the park. In partnering with the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, portions of the game's ticket sales will go to the research organization. According to
  • Sections 303 and 304 will be designated as the Peanut Aware Zone.
  • No peanuts or tree nuts will be allowed in sections 303 and 304 for the September 26 game.
  • No peanut vending will be allowed in sections 303 and 304.
  • The Peanut Aware Zone (sections 303 and 304 and surrounding areas) will be power washed and cleaned after previous night's game.

However they note that it is simply peanut-controlled, not peanut-free since it would be extremely difficult to monitor an entire ball park over the course of the game. Personally, I love peanuts but if I had a severe peanut allergy I would be pretty thankful that ballparks were starting to do this. Unfortunately, it is the Indians vs the Royals....

According to the article from Science AGOGO, doctors have been using hallucigenic mushrooms as another experimental pain killer for cancer patients. It was said that the mushrooms increased happiness in the patients and made them feel calmer.


I don't really understand how this is legal, probably because it was for medical purposes and  the study was done in California. I wonder if there will be the same reaction to the mushrooms as there is to legalizing marijuana. I also wonder what would happen if everything was legal as it was in the early 1900s and all of these drugs were used for beneficial reasons such as treating illnesses.  I have watched many documentarys about the history of recreational drugs and they all used to have very helpful effects until people started abusing them.  For example, in couples counseling, they used to give couples LSD to improve thier relationships and to help them get along better and it was very successful.  Cocaine in syrup form used to be perscibed for everyday illnesses.

Now I, like some people somewhere, don't really know what science is. I don't know what it takes, and I don't know why on God's green earth anyone would want to have a job that requires they ever wear goggles or labcoats. That doesn't mean I don't like science. Science is actually pretty cool. And sometimes science is weird. Or funny. Or pointless. That's my favorite kind of science. I'd like to share with everyone what somebody, somewhere's idea of science is.

100 Cats in an IKEA store

I'm sure this is a very poor example of science, but it's probably also one of the cutest, and most closely resembles my other favorite scientific study, Cool dog mowing lawn

I know animal testing is hotly debated, but I feel like to make progress we need to break some red tape, take a few educated missteps forward, and try out new things. Just a suggestion, but maybe something like a hundred dogs on a slip and slide? I'm just brain storming here. But yeah, I know not a lot of us have maybe the appreciation for science it takes to win a Nobel prize, but there is science for the rest of us. With cats.


 From a very young age kids are thought that after going to the restroom, or touching anything dirty they should wash their hands to make sure they remove all the bacteria.  What people restrain from telling their children, is that although the bacteria found in the restroom is bad for the body, not all bacteria is harmful. In an article I found online titled, "When Bacteria Is Good for You," published by, researchers explain that it is important for the body to be in contact with some bacteria. The article suggests that the right dose of the right bacterial varieties from person to person, and supplements are required but regardless good bacteria are very important to the body. Researchers suggest that some probiotics can help fight opportunistic infections like MRSA, E. Coli, and certain intestinal afflictions. Scientist learned that eating healthy bacteria is not a new concept; a century ago scientist Ilya Mechnikov found that peasants who ate sour milk with friendly bacteria lived longer than anybody in Europe. If you have any interest in learning more about good bacteria, and how much you should consume, you can go to the link below and read the article. I think parents and teachers should start telling their children that even though the bacteria found in  the bathroom is harmful for the body, not all bacteria is bad for you. Any thoughts?


Get a Grip!

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Ever wonder how you can live longer? And how to stay healthy as you age?  Well, some scientists have found out some interesting information about this.

If your grip is strong and you're able to raise from a chair quickly, walk fast, and balance on one leg, chances are you'll live longer than people who have difficulty doing such things, says a study published in BMJ, formerly theBritish Medical Journal.

Seems pretty obvious, huh?  Well this study actually proved that adults that could not lift themselves out of chairs as quickly, or did not have as tight as a grip, did not live as long as the adults with the tight grip.  Fourteen studies, including data on 53,476 people, dealt with grip strength, and researchers say the death rate among the weakest people was 1.67 times greater than among strongest participants, taking age, sex, and body size into account.

So, want to live a longer, healthier life? Then get a grip!!
So, as would any other Penn State student, I always refer to State College, PA as Happy Valley.  But one day I wondered why this town is actually called "Happy Valley".  Where did the name come from and is it actually true?  

I did some research and found that State College is called Happy Valley because during the Great Depression, it was not hit as hard by the economic downturn as other areas, mainly due to the college scene.  In a town full of college kids all from the same college, all united together,  with an awesome football team, and great weather, how could you not be happy?!  

In Psychology Today, State College was ranked one of the least stressful places in the U.S.  And a more recent rating put State College 19th among the "Smartest Places to Live."  It has also been named the No. 1 safest city in America.

Thus, going to college in a safe, recession proof, non stressful, college student filled town, there's no wonder they call it Happy Valley! :),8c8397f5&icp=1&.intl=us&sig=CVt5mQM3rxIEh4YJ2RY0rw--
So I'm sure everyone has heard, "don't swallow gum! It stays in your body for 7 years!!!!" Well, this is in fact, a myth! The gum, according to kids health, says that, "Though your stomach can't break down a piece of gum the same way it breaks down other food, your digestive system can move it along through normal intestinal activity. In other words, it comes out the other end when you have a bowel movement (poop)." 

The article also said, "Chewing gum is made of either natural or synthetic materials (gum resin), preservatives, flavorings, and sweeteners. The body can absorb sweeteners, such as sugar, and they can add up to a lot of calories if you chew a lot of sugary gum. But the human digestive tract can't digest the gum resin. It's moved through the digestive tract by the normal pushing (peristaltic) actions of the gut. The gum's journey ends during a trip to the bathroom."

So, this has come to an end, that theory of your gum staying in your body. DON'T WORRY! IT'S NOT TRUE!!! (then again, I don't recommend swallowing gum)

So I had an extremely horrible headache earlier and I had a bottle of Advil sitting on my desk that I wanted to take (not the ENTIRE bottle, just 2...don't worry)!!! So, when I took the 2 pills they actually tasted kind of tunny and I looked at the bottle and say that the pills had expired in 2006!!!! I started to get really nervous because my dad is neurotic about pills and doesn't think I should even be taking medication. But, I do it anyways. So I looked online at an article about expired drugs and it actually something I shouldn't be doing anymore. Where is that bottle of advil you ask? In the garbage!!!

After reading this article, on the American Cancer Society website, I was astounded.  Today doctors are using music basically as a pain-killer.  Music therapy helps decrease anxiety, nausea, an pain associated with chemotherapy.  There any many different approaches to this therapy, it differs from person to person based on personal interests.  For instance, some patients may play a musical instrument or sing, some might just talk about the lyrics of their favorite song, some might compose their own works, and obviously some just kick-back and listen.  As simple as this sounds you'd think anyone could do why is there a whole field dedicated to music therapy,  Well, according to recent studies, practitioners with no training in the field have no effect on the patient.  However, patients studies have not shown that music therapy can keep a person alive any longer then patients with no music therapy, but the quality of life was significantly improved in those receiving the therapy

What are your thoughts? Will music one day have the ability to effect the physical side of cancer as well as the emotional side?
In the past 5 years energy drinks have absolutely exploded! Thanks to companies like Red Bull and monster, the shelves at convienient stores are filled with these high sugar drinks. But is the sugar rush really good for you...?

In class today,we  briefly brazed over the topic of scientists not liking the fantasy world of Harry Potter, but some scientists do, depending on if they have offspring. Scientists cannot fathom the concept of flying brooms, magical potions, and strange creatures. Well hello people, it's just for our entertainment, not actually real. Debates have been raised over the past so manharry-potter-with-wand-wallpaper.jpgy years, since Harry Potter has been written, whether or not kids should be allowed to read these fictitious novels. It teaches them all about witch craft and wizardry, typically the likes of the devil.Parents around the world have skeptics about whether these books can harm a child's brain and twist their mind process. But by reading books like these, kids keep their brains thinking and wanting to read more. These books take us to a world of our own, where we can get away from the norm and pretend to be whomever we want. Sometimes we just need to have a mind of disbelief to get through our days' hard work and fantasize about something other than our own troubles. 

Recently a family friend of mine had a beautiful baby girl and in becoming a new mother she decided that she would breastfeed. She assumed that since she would be breastfeeding, alcohol was a big NO and she would have to refrain from it like she had for the past nine months.

It wasn't until she and I watched an episode oh "Bethany Getting Married?" that had us question her complete removal of alcohol from her life. In the episode, Bethany's baby nurse told her that it was okay to drink a beer before breastfeeding because it helps with the milk let down.

From there we went on the internet and did a little of research of our own. In doing so, we were shocked to find out that many doctors believe it is okay to drink in moderation while breastfeeding. They do acknowledge the fact that the alcohol will show up in the breast milk but only a small amount and claims that it won't do any harm to the child.

Though doctors claim that drinking while breastfeeding is okay, I still don't know if I would feel comfortable drinking alcohol knowing my baby would be consuming it as well. What do you think?

What do you think about aliens?

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So I was writing a comment to the entry titled "Take the RIDE of your life!", and this was my comment:

I really think technology is growing exponentially. And the day we get to travel as space tourists like we travel on air planes today will come faster than all of us expect. The unfortunate side of this is whenever there is a new frontier, new military implications will be involved to guard this frontier. The days of Star Trek are fast approaching and soon enough we will have a space force.

And after I wrote "The days of Star Trek..." an idea for a great topic came to me!

I know it might sound kind of weird, but I do believe in aliens. To better understand my philosophy you would need to read the entry I posted titled "Is Science the new Religion". In that entry, I based off of my argument by pushing forward for a "chronologically unbiased" perspective. And I would like to again use that same perspective for my argument that aliens are out there.

Lets try to imagine a time when it was extremely difficult to travel great distances and people of different races were not able to come in contact. Everyone you knew and came in contact with were of the same race. You would not even be able to imagine people of other races. You would think all humans were just like you (in terms of race). But then came the technology and hence the ability to travel far and people of different races came in contact. Before the initial tribes then to the regions then to the countries then to the continents that humans came out of, they all thought the world and the diversity of the individuals in it were just that. Just as some of us today may think the universe is filled with just us. That is until "to the universe!"

May our descendants share this view and reach the frontiers of ANOTHER universe...

Update on Carbon Nanotubes

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According to , carbon nanotubes are even STRONGER than once thought. The potential that carbon nanotubes  hold is mind boggling. I encourage you to read up on them as scientists are figuring out ways to build them faster and cheaper. It looks as though these incredibly small tubes will eventually solve a lot of problems and be used in a lot of new technologies.

The link below outlines just a few of the countless uses these small tubes have.


...or should you?


I didnt want to believe it at first but the deodorant that people use on a day to day basis is in fact polluted with some chemicals and metals. Aluminum is the main "bad guy" in the deodorants and antiperspirants. It wouldnt be that bad in small dosages but the fact that people are absorbing this metal into their body everyday can most certainly bring about some health problems. For women, the aluminum mimics oestrogen which develops the causes of breast cancer. Also, the aluminum can cause side effects on the brain, like alzheimers. Chemicals like propane and butane are also ingredients. This means that with each sweet smell that you inhale, you're also taking in deadly chemicals. There is a way to freshen yourself without applying chemicals to your body. There are plenty of natural deodorants out there that should hopefully, now, seem more appealing.



Tasty Vegan Food?



07well_tiramasu-articleInline.jpgThey look scrumptious don't they?  Believe it or not these delectable treats are totally vegan friendly!  Now I've been quite skeptical about veganism and vegetarianism but this New York Times article has convinced me it's not all bad.  I've had my bad experiences with friends who are vegetarians (I ate a meatball in front of a friend and she cried) and I've given vegan food a chance (I tried a vegan almost broke my jaw) and frankly the idea of food without eggs, meat, butter or milk just seem off-putting to me.  What a shock it was when I found out the show "Cupcake Wars" featured a vegan chef!  I mean butter, milk eggs...they seem slightly essential for baked goods (tasty ones anyway). Further research has told me that many restaurants offer at least one vegan option on their menus.  Though I was a former skeptic I have some respect for vegans now.  If all vegan food is as delicious as those cupcake I may just think about converting...then again I think I like milk way too much.

Tattoo's and Diabetes

We all know how popular tattoos are now a days and how it is becoming more of a normal thing in society. However, it has been said that tattoos are not good for our health, since it can cause cancer. I am very sure some, if not all of you have heard of this correlation before. 

"Nano-ink Tattoo's Continuously Monitor Glucose in Diabetics" This is the article I found myself with while look for something interesting to write about. 

A group of MTI researches have found the use of tattoos as beneficiary, since they can get to monitor the amount of glucose in many patients bloodstream. This is more of a long lasting method and what they do is use nanotubes wrapped in a glucose-sensitive polymer by which they can create an ink which is injected under the skin. When this ink gets in contact with the glucose, it becomes fluorescent and it can be detected by a near-infrared light provided by a sensor. This sensor is place in the body and can keep the individual informed about his/her glucose level. 

 Being able to know the levels of glucose can be a bit stressful for diabetics. I have experience with this, since my uncle who was diagnose with diabeteshas to depend on injections. 

The best thing about this "scientific type tattoo" is that is temporary and it can last up to six month. I wonder how effective this can be, how different from the normal ink used for tattos it is and if it can still have an effect on the human body. 

Here is the article if you interested in reading it.

question about human ancestors


After the class about the intellegent design, I keeps thinking about where human comes from, and how humans evolve from our ancestors. I looked up wiki, and it stated that some scientists think human envolved from great apes and great apes are our clost relatives. Some argue that mental capacity and moral sensibility can not be explained by natural selection. My question is, no matter great apes or monkeys or other mammals, they all have hair except whale and human. Can that prove that human maight lived under water for a long period of time and then came to land again? Or human's lack of hair came from genetic mutation? But if it is genetic mutation, why other mammals don't? I think this is a really interesting question to think about.


A new study has shown that physical fitness and the brain are linked in children that are 9 and 10 years old. Parts of the brain were measured using MRI (magnetic resonance imagining). The part of the brain in question was the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory and learning. The study involved 49 subjects between the ages of 9 and 10, and was one of the first studies to use MRI to look at the brain of fit and unfit kids, according to Art Kramer. Kramer is a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, and lead this study. The physical activities of the subjects were measured by the use of a treadmills. Those who "efficiently used oxygen" were deemed fit. Basically, the subjects who could stay on the treadmill for a certain amount of time without becoming short of breath were considered physically fit. When the MRI results were analyzed the physically-fit subjects had a 12% larger volume of the hippocampus in relation to the brain. Further research showed that the larger hippocampus was responsible for better performance on a memory test. 

This study emphasizes the importance of childhood physical fitness. Some people believe physical fitness classes in elementary and high school are not necessary but I think that this article shows the opposite. In the age where obesity is becoming an epidemic it seems like physical fitness should be a top priority. Not only would obesity-related deaths decrease but children would become smarter. There are many other studies that show the correlation between physical fitness and intelligence. Obviously we inherit genes from our parents that dictate our physique but everyone can control the amount they exercise. This study shows that exercise not only has positive benefits for the body, but for the mind as well. 

I didn't realize how long the smoking debate had gone on for before I was alive. I have grown up in a time where it was a solid fact that smoking was bad for you, that was the norm. And its also funny to me with all the (relatively) new legislation going on, that I'll be able to tell my children that I lived in a time where you were allowed to smoke in restaurants!

But what I find interesting is that the benefits from not smoking are still being discovered. I just read an article that since Scotland banned smoking from public places in 2006, hospitals are treating less children for asthma! Thats interesting, less smoking leads to less asthma in children. That pretty much seems like common knowledge to anyone who grow up in our generation! Its just funny what you hold true depending on what was "fact" when you are growing up. Another good legislation they're thinking of passing is to not allow you to smoke in cars while their are minors in the car. I think that is a great idea, no one wants to see a 3 year old in a smoke-filled car. And who do we have to thank for this advancement for the health of children?

"It's really become part of the lifestyle here," Naiman says. She argues that the Scottish study and similar research foster acceptance of smoking bans.  "The scientific evidence makes people willing to accept increasingly legislated changes in their lives," she says.




Is Science the new Religion?

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Ever since the existence of  mankind, we have been wondering and pondering upon the "mystical" and inexplicable elements of the universe. Human's then used religion to answer these questions. The Greeks, like many other cultures of the ancient times, had their own religion. But then as time went on, new religions came about and the old were retitled mythology, striping away its legitimacy. Religion then had its foot hold on society reigning the minds of believers. But then came science. And to be accurate, modern science as we know it (before it was more along the lines of magic) is still young if you consider it within the historical spectrum. But it is slowly taking the place of religion in many aspects of our current world. For example, religion used to have a much greater grasp on many legal systems. In many cases, they used to be the defining elements in many trials. But now science is the consensus.

Now many of you would certainly disagree and to some extent, I would even disagree with myself. But we must also be very open minded and understand that this disagreement is elicited by our natural tendency to be chronologically biased. And in order to recognize this bias, we must look at history not through our current perspective that is in the year 2010, but rather a year say much later in the future...say 4000 AD and ask ourselves, based on the views we have on the beliefs that the ancients were fervent about, what would people in 4000 think about our fervent beliefs (that by the way, includes our current "science"). And believe it or not, they would most likely view what we call science today is laughable just as we view Greek mythology simply mythology.

Does texting ruin relationships?


Walking on campus of PSU, it seems that every single person is either talking on their phone or looking down at it sending or receiving a text message. Our generation revolves around technology and that is suppose to be a good thing, but is it always? Having cell phones allows us to always be in contact with our friends, boyfriends, familes ect. And most of communication through cell phones has gone to texting instead of calling. Texting can be a good thing but I think that it can also be difficult to interpret what is being can not hear the sound, tone, expression of someone over a text message which can lead to easy misinterpretations. Another thing about texting is whenever you are hanging out with someone and you hear their phone go off and they immediately go to makes  it seem like you are unimportant and it isn't a good feeling. What do you guys think about texting and where it's taking us in the future?


Piaget's Theory

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Last week in psychology, I spent my time learning about nature v. nurture and the different stages of adolescents.  Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development stood out to me and I took great interest in learning the different characteristics of the four stages.  However after reading an article in Time Magazine my little world of awe came crashing down.  The article focuses specifically on Piaget's "Preoperational" stage.  The preoperational stage is explained as children ages two to seven years who represent the world with images and words, use intuition instead of logic, and pretend play.  It is also the stage at which children are known to have egocentrism which, to explain briefly, is when they are unable to imagine the world from others points of view.

Contrary to Piaget's theory, the article hints that children may be smarter than we give them credit for.  Three scientists used squirrels, baseballs and basketballs to conduct an experiment involving 72 preschoolers.  Long story short they were surprised to find that after telling the preschoolers that the squirrels preferred baseballs, the preschoolers would only offer baseballs to them to play with and rarely the basketballs.  Therefore this proves that at age four, the children were able to take the squirrels likes and preferences into consideration opposing Piaget's theory that between ages two and seven children only cared about what they liked.

I really recommend that you read this article especially if you have ever taken a psychology course.  "What Do Kids Known? More Than You Think" is very interesting and easy to imagine/relate to if you've ever spent time with a younger relative.

To read the full article online visit...


Salvaging Interdisciplinarity


My last post, "Overturning Objective-Only Science," took a haphazard look at the 'gulf' between cognitive neuroscientists and theory of mind philosophers.  Luckily, what I tried to articulate Dr. Maurice Bloch conveniently explained several days later in his Culture and Cognition article, "Can Anthropologists and Other Cognitive Scientists Live Together?".

The objective versus subjective argument that I made - "Western Science has become so highly invested in objective-only examination that subjectivity has lost its rightful place within the Academy" - depicts what Dr. Bloch would call a discrepancy between the experts' external and internal base lines.

"One can put the matter over simply by saying that the theoretical starting point of, for example, a cognitive psychologist is "external" while the starting point of a social anthropologist is "internal". The analytical tools of the psychologist, the questions she ask[s], the categories of analysis she uses - categories such as "concepts" or "mind" - have all been defined in a discourse that is external to the subjects of the enquiry. On the other hand, an anthropologist tries to use as the ground from which to produce her analysis the cognitive tools of the subjects of her enquiry as they are available to them in the particular place and the particular time they are located. The significance of using this "internal" base line has been stressed by anthropologists again and again, perhaps most eloquently by Malinowski with his well known phrase "from the native's point of view"."

What's more, these base lines are in fact starting points for a deeper discourse.

"This is, first of all, because the gulf between the "native's" point of view and that of the natural scientist is nowhere as great as much anthropology and cognitive science has pretended it is. Such a stance made anthropology forget that both the scientist and the people studied live in roughly the same world which is governed by the same laws of physics, biology, chemistry and sociology and that both have similar brains moulded by evolution in order to deal with this physical, biological chemical and social world. There is a sense in which both the scientist's and the people's points of view are "internal": they are internal not to any particular group or individual but to the human species as a whole. The misleading illusion of absolute distance between natural scientists and ethnographers is the product of the historically created opposition between nature and culture and the anthropological fantasy of a "culture" that could exist outside "nature". My first conclusion is, therefore that anthropologists have, to a large extent, no other choice than to be "externalist" (that is, human internalist) when they think they are being internalist from the point of view of a particular group."

In order to begin melding disciplines, we need reconsider what Dr. Bloch brands, "the historically created opposition between nature and culture".  I believe this opposition is actually the product of nature and culture's hermeneutical relationship.

"Furthermore, the specificities brought about by human history should not be thought as merely creating an environment for people but also, to a significant extent, as creating the very people that the environment surrounds."

Although we cannot objectively deconstruct this hermeneutic circle (i.e. use an external point of view to solve the nature/culture hermeneutic), we can reexamine the data by combining both external and internal perspectives.

"The fact of the continual process of historical construction of human beings has the methodological implication that if we want to explain human action, rather than merely describe it, we have no alternative but to remember that it is brought about by people from the inside. It is from the "inside" that people live their lives, though that does not mean that this inside is free of the implications of the neurological mechanisms of our brain or of the nature of the world (though both the brain and the world are changing)."

In order to initiate this interdisciplinary melding, cognitive scientists and anthropologists must cooperate and seriously consider each other's insights.  

"The reason why cooperation between scholars such as anthropologists and cognitive scientists is in fact much easier than it might seem is thus because neither side is quite what they believe they are. The externalism of natural science, as it applies to human cognition, is much more internalist than it makes out. The internalism of interpretative anthropology is much more externalist than it imagines. What has obscured this is the futility of the nature/culture dichotomy. The fact that the disciplines are closer than they believe they are does not, however, completely eliminate the epistemological problem but it greatly diminishes it."

What is needed to overturn 'objective-only science' is the collaborative effort of both anthropologists and cognitive scientists.  Let's just hope they don't leave it to administration.

Tulip Two-Step.jpg

A couple of years ago I had to read the novel called My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult.  The story is about the benefits and disadvantages of a genetically made child that was conceived through in vitro fertilization.The main character named Anna Fitzgerald was specifically made to have the same genetic blood type to match her older sister Kate Fitzgerald who had leukemia. At the moment Anna was born the doctors rushed to give Kate some of the blood platelets which were in Anna's umbilical cord to save her. Throughout Anna's life she continued to donate blood and even go through a bone marrow transplant to save her sister, but her mother seemed to never ask her if she wanted to be put into those situations.Anna then decided she wanted to be emancipated from her parents when they wanted her to give one of her kidneys to Kate. She didn't want to go through all of those surgeries anymore when she didn't need to go through them because she was not sick.This situation brings up children's rights that she should be able to have the right to choose because many times she has had complications after given blood transfusions to her sister.  Do you think that children should be genetically made to save another person's life?  Is it right for the child to be put into these circumstances when he or she does not even need the surgery?

I just learnt from the White House twitter feed from a colleague's twitter feed that the Washington Post is reporting this.

Why has it happened?  And what does it mean?

On Flock of Dodos

First let me say I was pretty interested in the debate of intelligent design and evolution.  I went to a catholic school for 12 years and I actually think they mentioned both intelligent design and, to a lesser degree, evolution.  I don't really have one I agree with at the moment.

With that said, I think it is a good thing to see people talking about what they are passionate about.  Scientists are geeks, but that's a good thing.  Everyone should be passionate about something.  On the other hand, there's a line that is crossed when you should respect the opposite opinion.  When the guys were playing poker in the one scene, things got out of hand.  I believe the best thing is to agree to disagree.  That's what I usually do.  Example: last week my roommate's friend came over my apartment, had a few beers, and talked about the football game that was on.  He asked us if we believed that the athletes deserved millions of dollars to play a sport.  He almost got into a fight because my roommate would insist every time that their entertainment is no value to him.  Although I disagreed, I mentioned that sure they should get paid but some contracts these days are just ridiculous.

Anyway, it was pretty funny to see scientists fight over theories.

funny standup on smoking

this video is a comedian Jim Jefferies talking about no smoking signs
I just got an email from Larry Bock:   He is raising a problem and offering a solution.  Do you think his solution will make a difference?  Got any others?

His email:

-- according to Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley, by the end of 2010 (just months from now) 90% of the world's scientists and engineers with advanced degrees will live in Asia.
-- 80% of people being trained in the advanced physical sciences in the United States are from abroad.
-- because the opportunities are now greater abroad, we are no longer retaining them in the USA.
-- If we do not turn this trend around, we will have outsourced innovation.

And once we have outsourced innovation, our country's ability to compete will be over. My concern over this is so great that I have devoted the past year and a half (7 days a week 10 hours a day) to organizing a Science Festival.

So why have a Science Festival? Society gets what it celebrates! As a culture, we celebrate movie stars, rock stars and athletes and we generate a lot of them, but we don't celebrate science and engineering.

The Festival is analogous to an art, music or literary Festival but it is focused on Science and Engineering and accomplishes its mission via hands-on demonstrations, fun demos, and presentations including art, music, comedy, film and theatre.

The Festival kicks off in just three weeks, offering over 150 FREE events for the public - all geared toward sparking an interest in Science. I have pulled together over 750 companies, universities, research labs, federal agencies, professional societies, community groups and science outreach organizations.

You can find out all the details at:

Click on the calendar to see dates, times and descriptions of all the fascinating events and opportunities.

The grand finale will be a two day EXPO on the National Mall in Washington D.C. (and surrounding venues) on October 23-24, 2010--- over 1,500 fun, hands-on interactive activities and 75 stage shows for all ages. There will be stuff for the mildly curious to the science professional. You can learn about fun topics like the science of the magic of Harry Potter, the mathematics of jump roping, the physics of superheroes, the chemistry of Thanksgiving Dinner, the engineering of baseball bats and balls, the science behind special effects in movies, trends in Global Warming, renewable energy sources of the future .... (This is a completely non-profit, non-commercial, fun and educational initiative.)

You can operate state-of-the-art robots, laugh with science comedians, be mesmerized by science magicians and mathemagicians, converse with astronauts, Nobel Laureates, science celebrities like Bill Nye the Science Guy and even scientists of the past, fly a fighter jet simulator, enter a virtual reality environment, be a CSI agent, make a virus out of marshmallows and toothpicks, try your hand at using a surgical robot, discover methods of measuring global warming, learn how to transform your car so it can run off a cuisinart etc.

And --- while having fun --- you can leave with information about science scholarships, internships, mentorship programs, jobs and much more.

But that's not all - there will be 50 satellite events occurring throughout the United States. Look here to view a map of Satellite Events:

We have received bipartisan support for our program from over 100 Senators and Representatives."

First off, this blog is probably more relevant to the girls but guys can feel free to read/comment as well.  I think we all remember the HPV vaccine commercial with the enticing song "I want to be one less."  The vaccine came out of no where and sounded like a saving grace.  But my mom told my doctor that she didn't want me to get it until the vaccine had been out long enough to know the side effects.  She said I will get it...she just wants to wait to see what the long term side effects are.  When she told my doctor this, the doctor informed her  that there was a lot of controversy surfacing about the vaccine that could potentially eliminate cervical caner.  The vaccine, also known as Guardasil, prevents 2 (of the many) strains of HPV that cause cervical caner.  But parents are outraged since they think it is spreading the wrong message to young teens that "promiscuity" and unprotected sex are okay.  Parents are also uncomfortable vaccinating their teen girls against an STD.  So I want to know what does everyone think about this?
I was watching a rerun of Tosh.0, on comedy central, and one of the videos that came up for 'We Redemption' was a guy who witnessed a DOUBLE RAINBOW from his backyard. I never even fathomed two rainbows right next to each other.

As I child, I would love using a hose to create my own rainbows in my driveway by spraying it up in the air. Plus, I remember seeing a rainbow on my way to the pep rally.

Rainbows are formed "when light from the Sun encounters a water droplet (spherical in shape), it penetrates the outer boundary of the droplet. As it enters, the light is bent (refracted) and scattered (disperse) into a continuous band of colors (a rainbow of colors)."

Quote From:


The saying goes that college years are the best years in an individual's life. You go from being in an environment were you are in a classroom 9 hrs. a day eating cafeteria food, and taking about football, colleges, and girls to a place where you are a free man, were nobody tells you what to, where to be, or where to go. One of the problems a lot of college students find during their first year of school is the lack of knowledgeable they have in comparison to your classmates due to the miss use of your brain. After doing some research I found a website that helps people increase their brain power, and ultimately become smarter. I figures that besides the knowledge that you will obtain from this class, you should also learn better learning techniques and how to properly use your brain.

I hope all off you have a chance to look at the website, increase your brain power, and go from being the dumbest in your group to being the smartest.


Let me start off by saying that I am a vegetarian.  When people hear this, their first reaction is WHY, how could you EVER give up meat?  Resolve, really.  I don't like the fact that our food is pumped with hormones and antibiotics and chemicals that are so UNNATURAL.  We eat and our bodies PROCESS this junk.  Yes, there is always grass-fed cattle, but realistically, my college student budget cannot access this.  Don't even get me started on how these animals are raised and slaughtered.  My solution: no meat.  I don't need that inside of me.  Science is finally taking a step in the right direction to curb the amount of antibodies that are dispensed into animals on these animal concentrated farms.  According to the New York Times article U.S. Meat Farmers Brace for Limits on Antibiotics by Eric Eckholm, the Food and Drug Association is considering tighter rules for animal production: "They would end farm uses of the drugs simply to promote faster animal growth and call for tighter oversight by veterinarians."  These antibodies have been said to lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as the E. coli strains that cause bladder infections, salmonella, and other microbes.

But livestock producers aren't taking this easily.  They argue that "...a direct link between farms and human illness has not been proved."  This argument reminds me heavily of the early studies done on whether or not smoking causes cancer.  We can only look to the future to see how this debate unfurls.

Take the RIDE of your life!


Anybody have the fascination as a child to be an astronaut? Still have that aspiration, but not the same motivation to actually train and study to be in space (science major=not my favorite)?

Boeing is now in the tourism business, the space-tourism business. Previous to this anouncement, only aristocrats and the extremely wealthy could embark on a journey to space (think people with approx. $50 million to spare). Now, backed by the Obama administration, Boeing is now in the works to create a program that can take people to space, commercially.

Who would wanna take the journey?


Sleeping Less Causes Obesity

I found in an article on the Science Daily News website that discussed that us teens need more sleep.  Scientists found in a study that there was a relationship between sleep duration and snacking. For each one-hour increase in sleep-duration, the odds of consuming a high amount of calories from snacks decreased by an average of twenty-one percent.  According to their sleep study, they found that sleep duration and timing of nutrient intake revealed that a significantly greater proportion of teens who slept less than eight hours per weeknight consumed food in the early morning between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. So this is difficult for us college students because most of us are up all night studying and doing homework, then waking up early for our classes.  We need to find a way to move around our time for studying and homework to allow us to get the eight hours of sleep we need.  This sounds impossible because even I am trying to think of a way for myself to do this, but it appears to be difficult. What are your opinions?

Let's Take A Day Trip to Space


We have all seen the movies that show the possibilities of traveling to space or living in space. What if this is slowly becoming a reality? An article in the New York Times elaborates on Boeing's proposal to enter the so-called "space tourism" industry. This comes in a wave of new ideas concerning private industries allowing everyday ordinary people to travel to space. These types of flights, which have already started in Russia, could begin as early as 2015 in the United States. Boeing and Bigelow Aerospace won an $18 million dollar contract to begin designing and testing a capsule that would carry seven passengers. Boeing would work with Space Adventures to acquire prospective customers. There has not been a price set but the Soyuz flights in Russia have cost up to $40 million dollars. This new idea of having nonprofessional astronauts travel to space comes at a time when space exploration has dwindled. 

This article exemplifies the possible future of space travel. In fifty years will we be watching as people travel to space as casually as they travel to a different country? 
I thought this article was very interesting because pet therapy in hospitals has always been a rather successful and common practice in hospitals and I never actually thought about the drawbacks of having animal visitors in a hospital environment:

"Diabetic children that enter the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy, are often full of apprehension about their disease, their diet and the possibility of giving themselves injections. Hospitals have tried introducing pets to calm young patients down. "Pets don't mind being at hospitals, can reduce patient hospital stays, but are expensive to train and keep, and are not very hygienic," says Tony Belpaeme of the University of Plymouth in England. Belpaeme is the coordinator of ALIZ-E, a European Union consortium of schools and institutions that is trying to develop a robot that will take the place of a pet, and that eventually may serve in the capacity of an older companion who can not only bond with the younger patient but offer counsel about diet and health matters.

Lola Cañamero of the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, England, says that young patients are quite willing to suppress disbelief and bond with the robot, with one caveat--the robot has to be capable of  expressing emotion: "And the robot must not only learn to express emotions themselves but read them in the patient, all of which is a tremendous challenge."

The dream of a friendly bot that could emote is old, but fiction is way ahead of science. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's "Nexi", along with "Kansei" from Meiji University in Japan were some of the first efforts in the last decade. Both tried to replicate real human faces with lifelike expressions. But according to Belpaeme, "The effect was eerie. You enter the room with one of these things and your brain is screaming at you, 'Don't get so close to that!'" Which is why ALIZ-E and other efforts at robot caregivers for children have shied away from other than simple toylike facial expressions, choosing to express emotion other ways."

I figured this would be an interesting post for us college students. We came from our moms washing our sheets on our clean mattresses, to beds that have been being used for who knows how long. Bed bugs are something that are very scary to think about, as you can see in the pictures below, they will severely bite up your body. Read this and become aware of bedbugs and what they bring with them!

<<Rest of this entry deleted by A Read on May 4, 2011 after request by J Hatch, Owner of St Paul Media Inc on grounds that much of the rest of this entry infringes the copyright owners rights.>>

Hybrid Animals


Though it may seem unnatural for one species to breed with another (beastiality if a human in involved), it is actually quite common in the animal world.  A New York Times article states that about 10% of animals occasionally breed with other species.  Let me start off by saying that the names they give the products of these cross breeds are mostly ridiculous (not to mention that the majority of them are also quite ridiculous looking as well...see picture below).  Alright a mule isn't that weird but when you're calling an animal a beefalo (bison-beef cattle) that's when you start to sound a bit odd.  But I digress.

  The article suggests that because these hybrids contain a brand new conbination of genes they may very well be able to survive in certain place and under certain conditions that neither of their parents would be able to handle.  This has been proven with plants such as sunflowers and honeysuckle hybrids, though the same trend has yet to be observed in the animal kingdom.

Whether these animals are able to adapt to new surroundings could impact biology greatly.  Also if some of these hybrids are not sterile like mules are we could have entire prides of ligers (Napoleon knew what he was talking about) roaming around Africa in the near future.  Though they may seem like a mistake at first, these hybrids could change the animal kingdom drastically.


I think it is pretty interesting how there is such a big controversy over evolution being taught in schools. I never knew until recently that the controversy was more so on public schools. I always thought that Catholic schools were involved in the big dispute. Apparently Catholic schools never had a problem with evolution and intelligent design being taught, as well as Protestant religious schools. Here is the site that I got the information from Teaching of evolution in schools. This is a quote from the site I found interesting " the Church teaches that humanity once consisted of one man and one woman, called Adam and Eve in the Bible, and that specially created human souls for the first parents. In this way, God differentiated humans from the lower animals." I went to catholic school from 1st to 3rd grade and for some reason I believe we differentiated from lower animals also, not necessarily that God differentiated us, but I do not recall being taught about evolution in that grade span. I guess it is just a coincidence if anything but I can see where there is no controversy with catholic school because of how religion is intertwined with it. 

Music Therapy

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I'm sure many of us would say we enjoy listening to music. Some may even say that music makes them feel better. But should music become a daily regiment to promote brain health?

There are many myths about the effect music has on human health. Most commonly that classical music is good for the brain, which is why pregnant women are sometimes advised to listen to classical music. Unfortunately this phenomena is understudied. Particularly because it is difficult to measure results and get clear data. The large number variables that would impact the effect of the music in real world humans also makes it difficult to understand.

However some research has been done; I discovered in an article that provided data to back up the music therapy hypothesis.

Psychologist Charles Emery did a study testing the effects of music on physical activity. Half of the subjects exercised with music and the other half without. After the physical activity all subjects were tested for mental activity. On average, participants who listened to music scored twice as high as those who did not listen to music.

Psychologist Frances Rausher discovered the benefits of engaging in music too. Her reserch showed that playing and writing music increases brain function, and can even increase IQ. 6 year old children who received music lessons as opposed to other or no instruction got a 2 to 3 point boost in IQ. The wide range of mental activity involved in playing, writing, and reading music stimulates the brain and helps it to grow.

As far as relaxation, things still are not so clear. The article says that listening to music that makes you feel happy or relaxed can have some of the same effects as restful sleep. This, they say, reduces stress which is one of the biggest health hazards. Stress. There's that word again. Nobel Prize winning scientist Bary Marshall once told me that when doctors don't know whats wrong with you they call it "stress". There may not be very concrete evidence yet, but I think we all understand how music can make us feel better, even if it is only a qualitative observation.

One must also remember that personal taste plays a role in whatever health benefits may give. Those who enjoy heavy metal or hypnotic club music may not find the soothing quality that classical music listeners get. I do however believe it is important to research music therapy and other non-traditional forms of healing. We live in a culture where every illness or ailment is treated with a pill prescribed by a doctor. While these prescription drugs are helpful I believe that we as a society overdo it. There are safer, more natural ways to alleviate discomfort. Unfortunately, the health care industry is so big and worth so much money that trying to find these alternative forms of healing will be difficult.   


Head Injuries in Basketball

In an article written in The New York Times, it stated how there are more injuries occurring in the sport of basketball as in the form of concussions.  Most parents would seem to be more worried about concussions if their child were playing soccer not basketball.  These head traumas are becoming on the rise compared to earlier year studies. In 2007, the last year of the study, about 4 percent of youth basketball injuries were to the head, about double the number of such injuries reported by emergency rooms in 1997. About 109,000 children and teenagers were treated for basketball-related head injuries during an eleven year study period, which was about 12,000 in 2007.  Also girls seem to have suffered from more head or knee injuries compared to boys who suffered from cuts, fractures, and dislocations.  During this study, the number of head injuries to boys had doubled and to girls have troubled. Why is this happening? Is it because children are becoming way too competitive? Why is the number of head injuries among girls more than boys? What do you think?

How is it that cockroaches, who venture through the most cruddy and unsanitary places, survive? They crawl through dead tissue, sewage, trash sites and dead tissue where bacteria and parasites are overwhelmingly present. Microbiologist Simon Lee disclosed that cockroaches kill more than 90% of a type of E. coli that causes meningitis and killed methicillin-resistant staph (which is a bacteria that is very resistant to most antibiotics.)  The colleagues at the University of
Nottingham were interested in insects and the ways that they fight off bacteria and diseases. They began by rounding up various body parts from cockroaches and locusts and inserted various types of bacteria to penetrate overnight. They found that the cockroach and locusts brain and thorax nerve tissue terminated almost 100% of the bacteria. One of the colleagues stated: "Insects make hundreds of antimicrobial compounds, and it may be that very high concentrations of those molecules would be required for fighting an infection in humans." In the future, these molecules could be used in fighting human infection. I thought it was pretty interesting to think that a cockroach, which most humans find disgusting, may be a solution to solving some of our toughest bacterial diseases.


Cuckoos are Koo-Koo!

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"Cuckoos swoop in to the nests of other bird species and lay eggs. After hatching, a cuckoo chick kills its foster siblings and hogs the food for itself."


In the picture above, a "cuckoo chick barely fits in the nest of a great reed warbler, yet misguided warbler parents have raised it. A new study finds that in areas where the climate has warmed, cuckoos are starting to trick different species into raising their young."

Unfortunately, there have been climate changes which have drove them out of sync with the host of their eggs. Researcher, Andres Pape Moller, says that he wouldn't be surprised if the short-distance migrant species faces extinction within the next few decades.

Whatever the case, I find it both sick and hilarious that cuckoos make other birds take care of their young, who just eat up the other birds.

Article Source:

Bomb Chroniclers

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I was working on a photography project which consisted of cutting up newspapers for photos and came across this article discussing the filmmakers and photographers that risked their lives to capture the sight of the Atomic Bomb. It is a very interesting article.... seeing how it ties the arts with science.

 Here is the link to the article and there is also a movie on the site. 

Why Do We Dream?


This is a question philosophers and scientists struggle to answer.

There are, of course, many theories as to why we dream. From Sigmund Freud's belief that we dream about doing things we desire that we can't consciously permit ourselves to do to the theory that we just dream about random thoughts and images that we see and experience throughout the day, there are plenty of possible, and some plausible, explanations as to why our brain creates these mini movies on a a regular basis.


Initially, dreams mostly underwent study and observation by philsophers and thinkers who were trying to use the process to better understand the human psyche. However, in more recent reasearch, neurologists have even put their two cents in:

The above article is a bit to sift through but if you read even just bits of it, I'm sure you'll find it pretty fascinating.

It explains that the neuroscience of dreaming, although fairly new in the world of dream science, has nevertheless quickly become a major source of interest and experimentation. Professor J. Allan Hobson argues that dreams are what the brain makes of chemical changes and random impulses during REM. He goes on to explain that the high concentration of serotonin in the brain present while sleeping could very well be the cause of our vague memory when it comes to dreams.

As with any theory, however, Hobson's is under scrutiny and, while plausible, it is not proven.

What are your thoughts about the neurological study of dreams?

Also, if you get a chance, you should check out the different theories behind dreams linked in the second paragraph of this entry. They're all quite interesting and I'm eager to know what you think about these dream studies.

Quote time!

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I was looking at some science quotes earlier today and this one spotted my eye because I feel like it relates to what Barry Marshall was saying the other day.  What are all of your opinions?

But in science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs."  ~Francis Darwin

The Dreaded... Freshman 15


I am a senior now, but my family would tease me before I left for college to beware of the dreaded freshman 15! But I wondered why I would be more suspectible to weightgain in my freshman year compared to my senior year in highschool. (When i actually lived with my parents-- who had food in their fridge!) I managed to avoid the freshman 15 (which actually it is estimated that college freshman only gain 5 pounds) but now its becoming less easy in my senior year to keep it off! Why? That is what I would like to figure out... The article I read states many different correlations that could be the cause. There are many different variables that can affect this.

-Students without scales were less likely to notice the gradual weight gain taking place on their bodies.

-The ease of late night ordering and the unbelievable choices offered in a college town (something we can all relate to in State College)

-Students that eat late at night end up skipping breakfast, the most important meal of the day

-Stress! Something a college student knows a thing or two about.

This is a good example of correlation to causation. Who knows which one of these variables (stress, late night binge, no scale) is leading to the outcome (weight gain)? And which variables only seem like they are correlation, but really have no input in the outcome whatsoever? I think more testing will be needed.....



While reading the Boston Globe today (I am from MA and like to know what's going on in New England) I came across an interesting article that stated, the repeated use of antibiotics, mild ones at that, can cause major changes in the "good" germs that live in one's gut. This is because they cause a shift in one's "microbial netherworld." Scientists are unaware if this causes major health problems but it does say something about the bacteria living in human intestines. To investigate this, scientists tested 3 people's stool samples (who had been taking a mild antibiotic) and found a significant shift in each person's bacteria/germs. With this being said, the gut bacteria is extremely important to one's immune system and these antibiotics can be potentially harmful to that system.

The scientists are still doing more research and experiments to see how antibiotics affect, say, a young child. I found this article particularly important and significant because I am always prescribed antibiotics when I'm sick. My dad is in pharmaceutical sales and my mom is a nurse, because they're both in the medical field I wonder if this finding (and further research) will have an effect on the companies/hospitals they work for. This also raises the question of which antibiotics can cause this shift in bacteria and whether or not this will affect the amount of antibiotics prescribed to patients. 

Maybe in class we can look at how medicine/treatment can harm and/or improve one's health, OR how it has a simultaneous effect (such as chemotherapy). Is it worth putting someone through harm in the chance they will get better? And do some medicines/treatment really harm you? Let me know what you guys think!

Here is the article:

Migraine Headaches


Andrew and our noble prize winning guest speaker have both brought up the topic of migraine headaches.  I have decided to blog about my thoughts and experiences with migraines.  To the best of my knowledge, migraines are derived from hereditary reasons, or other factors triggering migraines, such as: food, light, and sound.  I have had migraine headaches for my entire life.  Mine are from both hereditary and other reasons, I believe.  My father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, all have had serious migraines.  Just the men in our family seem to have the more seriously categorized migraines, which I thought was pretty interesting.  Since I was a little kid I have had cat scans, and all other sorts of testing done on my head to find out more about these migraines.  In grade school, I would miss around two days of school a week because I would be bed-ridden by a migraine.  I was on a lot of different medicine to help, but none of them were too productive.  After 3rd grade my migraines seemed to get less frequent, and we thought I was through the tough stage.  After freshman year of public high school, I transferred to a boarding military academy.  Being from a military family, I did not think the adjustment would cause too much change.  My migraines resurfaced almost immediately upon arriving at my new school, most likely due to stress and many other possible reasons.  I was having a severe migraine every other day, so we decided to try out some new medicine.  At the new school I was learning to be a pilot, and the FAA did not allow me to continue taking my new medicine.  Therefore, I had to stick it out with no medicine or treatment.  Finally, I have two questions: Is there a safe procedure to reduce the frequency of severe migraine headaches?  And, is their a difference between hereditary migraines, and migraines caused by other factors?


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"Microbiology and meterology now explain what only a few centuries ago was considered sufficient cause to burn women to death" - Carl Sagan, 1996 p26.

Nutella lover?


What has sparked me to write this blog is my love of nut butters of course!  I wanted to do some more research on them and see just how nutritious they are.  According to "", "Most are rich in vitamin E, B vitamins, zinc, and magnesium and copper, elements involved in particular the proper functioning of the nervous system and bone health."  There is also much fiber and protein in these snacks that make them a perfect addition to a snack or breakfast.
The only down side to nut butters?  The fat content.  But don't worry too much because they contain the good kinds of fats. They contain "mono-and polyunsaturated fats, fats that have a positive influence on blood cholesterol."
The article also said that research that was done at Harvard University pointed out that "regular consumption of peanut butter was associated with reduced risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes."
There are many benefits to eating nut butters so don't stray away from them just because of their fat content.


The Benjaman Kyle Case

I read an article about a man "named" Benjaman Kyle recently. That's his name because it was the first one he thought of when nurses were pestering him for his identity after awakening from a brutal beating several years ago. He couldn't give them his real name, because he doesn't remember it. Kyle was essentially a blank slate, with his first memories coming from the hospital's emergency room.
Because he doesn't remember anything, Kyle has no home, no social security card- he has nothing. He can't drive. He can't get a job. He can't collect benefits because no one can figure out who he actually is.

The part of this article that really surprised me, was that they used genealogy DNA testing to try and figure out where his ancestry might be. I didn't realize that they could actually do that now. While it's not a for sure, 100% accurate process, they can still get a general sense. The expert that did his testing figures that he came from a line of people with the surnames Davidson and Powell.

I just thought it was interesting! Here is the link to his story, if anyone is interested in reading up about him: Meet Benjaman Kyle, The Man With No Identity

Farewell to an Evolutionist

I was just scanning through the articles on New York Times and came across the headline "George C. Williams, Theorist of Evolution, Dies."  Obviously it immediately caught my attention since we just watched the "Flock of the Dodos" today in class.  The very popular Evolutionist dies at the age of 83 from Parkinson's Disease.  Colleague Douglas Futuyma noted, "he is widely regarded by peers in his field as one of the most influential and incisive evolutionary theorists  of the 20th century."  He is, in large part, for the theories of natural selection that we hear about today.  I won't summarize the whole article because it is really lengthy but it is worth reading if you have time due to its close connection to our discussions in class.

The Benefits of Video Games

Yesterday I was browsing facebook when I saw a picture someone posted of the line outside of Walmart for all the people waiting to buy the new Halo game. I was shocked that so many people were literally waiting outside just to get a game as if there were limited amounts or they were only available for that exact time. With the exception of the occasional game of Rock Band I pretty much never play video games. While I have nothing against it, I always wondered how people could spend hours and hours staring at a tv screen pushing buttons while really accomplishing nothing. However, today I ironically came upon an article ( that talks about how all those hours playing action packed video games may actually be beneficial! The article states how avid gamers actually enhance and increase the speed of their decision making. The research mainly only applies to action video games; however, the more a person plays the more they become used to unpredictable situations and have to think fast and determine the best way to react. After reading this I understand how this research could be plausible, and how maybe I should start playing games because I am extremely indecisive. I guess the games could actually prove to have some real life skills!

Hybrid animals

What's cooler than hybrid cars? Hybrid animals! This article says that recently in captivity, a dolphin gave birth to a much darker calf, that looked similar to the killer whale it shared a tank with. Surely, DNA proved that the dolphin and whale mated, creating, yes,  a wholphin. Research shows that most hybrids can surpass their parents and can survive more easily. They get the best of both worlds. I found this article really interesting because there are so many species, and when two species mate they create a whole new species entirely! The one thing I am concerned with is the few species who, when their parents mated, passed along their bad genes. Though so far scientists have been amazed with the new species coming up and their ability to thrive, what about the species that were created and died out so quickly because they weren't supposed to be two species in one? 

Football Related illness

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I was on earlier and saw an article about a Football player at Upenn who recently committed suicide.  After examining his brain, it was shown that he had Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease that is common among NFL players.  The disease causes depression and impulsive actions.  The disease is induced by head trauma, so it makes sense that many football players would have it.  When a person is hit in the head, there becomes an abundance of tau proteins which kill cells that are responsible for actions and mood.  A study was done where a doctor examined the brains of six deceased NFL players, and each one was found to have CTE.  However, in the case of the Upenn player, it is said that there is no causal connection between his suicide and CTE.  In any case, this is a terrible disease that is common in not only football players, but boxers, wrestlers, and hockey players.  With the findings of CTE in many deceased former contact athletes, this leads me to wonder if the sports are taking the right precautions to prevent this disease from happening.  This is a serious subject that I have never really heard of until now.  I would like to know more about exactly what happens and what everybody thinks should be done.

adderall. friend or foe?

I was diagnosed with ADHD in 9th grade and was prescribed adderall. I had heard of it before, and even had friends who had taken it, with and without prescriptions. It is one of many drugs used to treat kids, teens, and adults who suffer from a variety of behavioral disorders. It is also a commonly abused drug among students who feel it aids in their performance or simply enjoy the high it provides. 
I cannot say that I do not feel a difference when I the prescribed drug daily; it is a very powerful stimulant. However, those whose brains' executive functions work properly would disagree. The only question is, it is safe? When snorted or inhaled it has been said to resemble speed. When I heard this, I questioned if I even wanted to be taking something on a daily basis that paralleled with such a serious drug, not to mention addictive. But when taken in prescribed amounts, its hard to even notice. 
I found a survey suggesting that 1 in 5 college students who claimed they did not have a behavioral disorder, had taken adderall to write a long paper or study for a test. It makes some sense; athletes take steroids, depressives take happy pills, and students who want to do it all and get it done fast, take adderall. They claimed to have experienced a heightened sense of motivation, focus, and concentration. Doctors claim that when taken in small doses irregularly, it is "most likely" not harmful. But scientists beg to differ. I wanted to see what you alls thoughts were but also say this-
As one who truly struggles to learn and get work done, I take adderall to get back on the normal level. But if me and someone who doesn't need it, takes adderall, I will never be able to outdo them. Just a thought. 

The movie we watched in class concerning Evolution and Intelligent Design today was more objective than I originally thought it would be which pleasantly surprised me. However, there was a point the video seemed to look over to a certain extent. That is: Many who believe in a creator also believe in Evolution (myself included). From the research that I have done on the topic, I see no reason why these beliefs cannot coexist. In any case, I am curious how the rest of the class feels about the issue. I know many people believe one way or another and aren't sure why, and I would hope this section nudges them to investigate the topic further on their own.

Concerning education, I'd personally rather not have teachers who don't believe in Intelligent Design teaching it. At the same time however, I do believe both Evolution and Intelligent Design should be presented. How this can be done without having disagreement among parents, school boards etc. I am unsure. What do you think?

Supersize me, please


So sitting in my economics class, I came across this article which is all about why America is getting so fat. This article, however, was really pertinent to our class because it is talking about CAUSAL RELATIONSHIPS: is it America's obesity that is asking for larger portion sizes, or are larger portion sizes causing obesity? If you look at the size of a McDonald's meal, it is evident how much portion sizes have grown since its inception (realize that the first McDonalds meals were the size of the kid's meals now). What do you think?


ok, so we've all learned that the double blind placebo experiments are the most effective experiments in the case of proving your point. I've recently had a thought on this whole process and the actually use of the placebo. a placebo is given as a pacifier or to the control group in experiments on the efficacy of a drug; an example would be a sugar pill.

In experiments we have looked at, like the Barry Marshall double blind study and the worms study, the control group that actually took the placebo wasnt far behind in productivity/healing of the subject. The effect was almost as great on the people who were ingesting sugar pills instead of the actual medication. this to me is very interesting. this could prove that the mind is a far more powerful tool than any medication! the fact that all medications do have there side effects is another point. If the patient thinks they are taking the medication then their mind is expecting the positive effects, but since it would be a placebo, there would be no negative side effects since it is not the actual thing. this could be a whole new way of attempting to heal people. the power of their mind could in fact bestow greater power in the healing process than the side effect inriched medications. im not saying that im against medicine but maybe in some cases, it is not necessarily all that necessary...

Sports Science

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I'm not a huge fan of science; as a matter of fact, I kind of hate it. However, when you use it to analyze things like sports, it's pretty sweet. I can't help but be mesmerized by shows like Sports Science and The Deadliest Warrior. They mainly use physics to figure out everything and when you hear all of these numbers, you can only be amazed. The only other thing that is appealing, when it comes to science, are the cool lab experiments in chemistry. Whenever there are loud sounds and burning things, it's just cool. Here's a video about Lebron James and his blocking ability.
Everybody thinks that when doing science experiments on animals it harms them and then eventually kills them but what people don't realize is that by doing these experiments it helps us figure out what to do to prevent certain things. Therefore non-science does kill. If scientists didn't do experiments on certain things that are vital to humans like cures and medicines then there would be no way of them getting any better, they would only get worse. There is indeed parts when science kills but not doing any science at all hurts just as much. 

Think twice before you febreze!

     My roommate mentioned to me in passing how they never use air fresheners at her house.  She said for one reason or another, her mom just doesn't trust them.  As her mom put it, "You just never know about these things down the road..." Their family instead opts for an open window to air out the house.  I was a little perplexed by this.  Like most people, I have at least a can or so of febreze sitting around my apartment and have never thought twice about it.

     However, this column from the Washington Post may make you think twice about using that air freshener...maybe you are better off with a stinky apartment after all! This is from a weekly green column, called The Green Lantern.  The article mostly discusses the history of aerosol air fresheners, starting with the release of the first Glade product in 1956.  Eventually, one of the "magic" ingredients in these fresheners, chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) was actually found to be breaking up ozone molecules that protect us from UV light.  So, out they went.  Air fresheners were quickly named "CFC free".  Yet, there is new research being done about the concerns of new toxins in these air fresheners, as well as the amount of energy an ordinary plug in freshener can use (about equivalent to a barrel's worth of oil a year!). 

    Now, this whole idea that air fresheners are quietly hurting us could be complete bogus.  However, it could be like many things down the road, in that, we think how crazy we were for using this artificial scent in our houses when we could have simply opened a window and saved ourselves a lot of trouble.  What do you think? Are you going to keep your febreze handy or leave it to good ol' nature to make your apartment smell fresh and clean?  
I know some of the studies in this article may be a little outdated but the studies were done none the less. I don't think this article is very bias because it seems to give evidence for both sides of the argument. I know it might seem that i am a weed enthusiast, I actually chose this topic out of complete randomness. With that being said, i dont think weed is a horrible drug if it is done in moderation. The drug itself is in no way addictive, to some people the " high" might be addictive, but if you read in this article you will see it is clearly not. Tell me what you guys think of the article. Please dont comment if your just gonna bash the drug and all users, be nice =).
Myth #1: Marijuana use has been scientifically proven to be really harmful.

  • Fact #1 In 1972, after reviewing the scientific evidence, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse concluded that while marijuana is not entirely safe, its dangers had been grossly overstated.
  • Fact #2 In 1995, based on thirty years of scientific research, editors of the British journal Lancet (the British equivalent of New England Journal of Medicine) concluded that "the smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health."

Myth #2: Marijuana has no medicinal value.

  • Fact #1 Marijuana has been shown to be effective in reducing nausea induced by cancer chemotherapy, stimulating appetite in AIDS patients, and reducing intraocular pressure in people with glaucoma.

Myth #3: Marijuana use by kids is Ok.

  • Fact #1 Marijuana use by kids, like alcohol and tobacco, is not OK. Its use is illegal, and the effect of marijuana on kids in their developmental stage has not been studied. Common sense tells us that marijuana use by kids is not a good idea.
  • Fact #2 Marijuana use by kids, coupled with other drug use and behavioral problems, can be a sign that a child needs professional attention.
  • Fact #3 90% of kids who try marijuana don't go on to use other drugs, and do not continue to use marijuana.

Myth #4: Marijuana is highly addictive.

  • Fact #1 Most people who smoke marijuana smoke it only occasionally. A small minority of Americans --less than one percent - smoke marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis. An even smaller minority develops dependence on marijuana. Marijuana is not physically addictive.

Myth #5: Marijuana leads to harder drugs (the "gateway theory").

  • Fact #1 Over 70 million people have tried marijuana. Most marijuana users never use any other illegal drug. Indeed, for the vast majority of people, marijuana is the last drug they try, not a "gateway" to other drugs. If it were a gateway drug and if it were so addictive, we would have more than 3 million heroin and cocaine addicts in the U.S.
  • Fact #2 Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug in the United States today. Therefore, people who have used less popular drugs such as heroin, cocaine and LSD are likely to have also tried marijuana

Myth #6: Marijuana impairs memory and cognition.

  • Fact #1 Marijuana produces immediate, temporary changes in thoughts, perceptions, and information processing. The cognitive process most clearly affected by marijuana is short-term memory. In laboratory studies, subjects under the influence of marijuana have no trouble remembering things they learned previously. However, they display diminished capacity to learn and recall new information. This diminishment only lasts for the duration of intoxication.

Myth #7: Marijuana causes crime. Under the influence of marijuana, people become irrational, aggressive, and violent.

  • Fact #1 Every serious scholar and government commission examining the relationship between marijuana use and crime has reached the same conclusion: Marijuana does not cause crime. The vast majority of marijuana users do not commit crimes. Almost all human and animal studies show that marijuana decreases aggression.

Myth #8: Marijuana can cause infertility and retards sexual development in adolescents.

  • Fact #1 There is NO evidence that marijuana causes infertility in men or women. Most studies of humans have found that marijuana has no impact on sex hormones. In those studies showing an impact, it is modest, temporary, and of no apparent consequence for reproduction.
  • Fact #2 There is NO scientific evidence that marijuana delays adolescent sexual development, has a feminizing effect on males, or a masculinizing effect on females.

Myth #9: Marijuana is more damaging to the lungs than tobacco.

  • Fact #1 Moderate smoking of marijuana appears to pose minimal danger to the lungs.

Myth #10: Marijuana use is a major cause of highway accidents.

  • Fact #1 There is no compelling evidence that marijuana contributes substantially to traffic accidents and fatalities. In driving studies, marijuana produces little or no car-handling impairment - consistently less than that produced by low to moderate doses of alcohol and many legal medications.
  • Fact #2 People should not drive while under the influence of marijuana. At some doses, marijuana affects perceptions and psychomotor performance.

Myth #11: Marijuana-related hospital emergencies are increasing, particularly among youth.

  • Fact #1 There is no lethal dose of marijuana. You cannot die from "binge smoking" like you can from binge drinking.
  • Fact #2 The number of people in hospital emergency rooms who say they have used marijuana has increased. This does not mean that people come to the emergency room because of marijuana. Many more teenagers use marijuana than hard drugs like heroin and cocaine. As a result, when teenagers visit hospital emergency rooms, they report marijuana much more frequently than they report heroin or cocaine.
  • Fact #3 In 1994, fewer than 2 percent of drug-related emergency room visits involved the use of marijuana alone.

Myth #12: Marijuana is more potent today than in the past.

  • Fact #1 Marijuana is the same drug it has always been.
  • Fact #2 Potency data from the early 1980s do not show an increase in the average THC content of marijuana.

Myth #13: Marijuana use can be prevented.

  • Fact #1 There is no evidence that spending billions of dollars over the past 20 years for anti-drug messages has diminished young people's interest in trying marijuana.
  • Fact #2 For most age groups, rates of marijuana use in the Netherlands are similar to those in the United States. However, for young adolescents, rates of marijuana use are LOWER in the Netherlands than in the United States.
  • For more information about "Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts" by Lynn Zimmer and John P. Morgan, published by the Lindesmith Center.

    This article came from

Sleeping our lives away!

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(Note: This is related to Andrew Read's post on powers naps... but is excessively long for a comment. See his post here:

I've been interested in sleep patterns for years, because I, myself, have a terrible habit of sleeping excessively... or so others around me say. 

In high school, I had an extremely difficult time rising at 6 am and would ABSOLUTELY need a nap (at least an hour in duration) after getting home from classes and cross country practice.

My freshman year of college, it only worsened. I napped every chance I got, really. In between classes, after dinner, midday on weekends. Granted, I went to bed late EVERY night (in both high school and college, usually after 2 am). When possible to sleep and rise naturally, I would typically awaken around 10 a.m..

When falling asleep and rising naturally, my body takes roughly 8 hours of sleep per night, and a midday nap of 1 to 2 hours. 

...But why is this? And what does this say about my circadian rhythm?

According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, "Circadian rhythms are important in determining human sleep patterns. The body's master clock, or SCN, controls the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. Since it is located just above the optic nerves, which relay information from the eyes to the brain, the SCN receives information about incoming light. When there is less light--like at night--the SCN tells the brain to make more melatonin so you get drowsy."  (

While my sleep schedule is clearly not the most efficient (8 hours per night ideally, and 2 hours midday), it is how my body has operated for years. And nothing else has seemed to work for me.

This has led to me several questions:

  •  Do I, for some reason, release more melatonin during the day or is a different chemical/factor the culprit for my sleeping patterns?

  • If it is related to melatonin, why is my body producing this when the most light is available, and not when the sun goes down? Why am I drowsy in the afternoon as opposed to when it gets dark outside?

Any thoughts? 

My picture is a tad different, I figured it wouldn't hurt to post!


I have always heard from a variety of people that a glass of red wine a few nights a week helps prevent you from getting heart disease.  I've always heard this and believed it but never understood exactly...until now.  Apparently red wine if full of antioxidants that promote healthy cholesterol which equates to less arterial damage.  Doctors are reluctant to encourage this however because they don't want to encourage consuming alcohol every night because "too much alcohol can have harmful affects on your body."  But it seems that a little alcohol, in this case in the form of red wine, can increase your life span and help you lead a healthier life.  Who would have thought?

Both my rommate and i like to listen to music while we do our homework, and both of us prefer to study to classical music? I've heard that listen to classical music makes you smarter, but has it ever been proven to be true? I believe that music affects your mood (I like have classical music on when I study because it calms me), but how can it actually improve intelligence?


So this morning I was sitting in history class, and my teacher was talking about colonies.  He started talking about sugar exports and how new this all was to the English, and that because it was so new it began to decay their teeth.  And as more teeth began to decay, the mortality rate went higher.  He said this is still prevalent today, and this really got me thinking.  I had no idea that something like tooth decay could kill you.  
While it is not extremely common, it can happen.  In 2007, a 12 year old boy from Maryland died due to an abscessed tooth.  A dental abscess is the collection of infected materials  and bacterial infection at the center of the pulp tissue, but it is something that can be easily removed by a root canal.
Even though this is not the most scientific thing, it is medicine-related, and I thought it was really interesting because it's not something you hear about very often.  So make sure you brush your teeth and go to the dentist! 

UGGs equal Uggly feet


Even though it's only mid-September I look around campus and already see many students in their Ugg boots. Even though I don't necessarily own Uggs, I sport Emu's which pretty much look identical. Personally, I think it's far to early to wear Uggs (after all, I'm still wearing 2 for $5 Old Navy flip-flops! Best. Deal. Ever.) but to each her own. Very few people know, though, that Uggs are very bad for your feet. Yes, they're very warm and comfortable, but they can lead to long-term foot problems. Uggs have no arch. They're completely flat. Wearers can get shin splits and heal spurs. While the article I read claims that there are boots which have a heel, I have only see the typical flat ones.

So even know I know that they are bad for me, I won't stop wearing them. I think they're cute (I'm in the minority, I know!) and perfect for walking in the winter. What about you? Will you stop? And if you don't wear UGGs, what DO you wear in the winter?

How CUTE is this picture?! I looove it. =D

As we have been going over cigarettes and the bad effects it has on the human body, I wondered if there will ever be a cigarette without harm. I know that there is nonalcoholic (NA) beer out there in the world, that can save a few people from becoming drunks or a great solution on the road to sobering up. If they have safe booze, is there safe smoking? In an article from The Times, back in 2005, BRITISH American Tobacco (BAT) is planning on launching safer cigarettes that use tobacco, cutting away some of the nicotine, to reduce chances of getting lung cancer. Not only that, but these cigarettes are being made with new "trionic" filters in order to eliminate the toxins. In addition, BAT claims to have found a better solution when drying tobacco leaves in order to reduce "cancer-causing toxins when burnt". These cigarettes are definitely not a complete solution to saving people from their harm but more of a crutch along the way. To follow this...

John Britton, professor of epidemiology at Nottingham University, said: "Anything involving inhaling smoke is unsafe. These new cigarettes could be more like jumping from the 15th floor instead of the 20th: theoretically the risk is less but you still die."

Fishy reflection?



cichlid fish.jpgIn a recent article, researchers were interested testing if fish responded to seeing their own reflections differently than they did when seeing another fish. The fish tested in this experiement were male cichlids. The researchers observed that "the part of the brain associated with fear and other negative emotions becomes active when the fish fight their mirror images." Previous research has found that animals such as great apes, elephants, dolphins and magpies were able to identify themeselves when seeing their reflections. In the new study on cichlids, the team did not observe a difference between the way cichlids acted when seeing their reflection or when seeing another fish. But, strangely enough, when scientists looked at the fish brain they discovered that when a cichlid sees its own reflection, the brain was especially active a "region similar to the amygdala," which is correlated with fear and other negative emotions. When a cichlid went after another fish, scientists discovered that they did not have the same activity in the amygdala regions of their brains.

If they can not distinguish their own reflection from other fish then I wonder why the brain activity is different? What are your thoughts?


galaxies.jpgIn this article, respected scientist Dr. Stephen Hawking states that aliens are nearly certain to exist and that humans should not be looking for contact with them. He believes that aliens may be coming to raid planet earth of its resources and such and that humans may be threatened. He relates this theory to when Christopher Columbus first landed in America and how the Native Americans felt. Hawkings states that the universe has, "100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved."

I completely agree with Hawkings in that aliens are real. I am so curious to find out more about them... where they come from? what they want? how do they live? what is their life like? I am hoping that at some point in my lifetime some of these questions will be answered.

What do you guys think? Could this stuff be real.. or is it just silly non- sense?

Heres the website if anyone wants to take a look at the article:

Barry Marshall.jpg

Alien Abduction

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I personally am extremely intruged by the alien phenomenia. This article describes the abduction of three women (Mona Stafford, Louise Smith, Elaine Thomas) on January 6, 1976 in Kentucky.The three women were in their red Chevrolet on their way back from a birthday dinner traveling down Highway 78 when they all three reported seeing a bright, red object in the night sky. The object gradually got closer to their vehicle, and soon after Smith lost control of her car. The car quickly accelerated to 85 mph and Smith was unable to steer the wheel. The Chevy proceeded down the highway but was soon led off to a small pasture. The article states that, "They then were back on the road, and everything was as it was before." The weird thing is that an hour and twenty minutes had elapsed, unknown to the women. The women reported this event to police and gained serious media coverage. They were interviewed and put under hypnosis where they were made to re- live the events. The women all painfully reported that they were "taken abroad the unknown craft, and subjected to medical experimentation."


I for one, am very very interested in aliens and what else is out there boyond our galaxy. I believe that it would be arrogent of one to think that we, human beings on planet earth, are the only life force in the entire universes. There are billions of other galaxys out there for us to explore, now all we have to do is figure out how to get to them!


Here's the website if anyone wants to read more:

Illegal candy?

Candy Cigarettes.  I am sure we have all had them.  But I was thinking the other day that I have not seen them in forever.  I thought maybe that isn't such a bad thing.  When I was younger I loved them...i almost felt cool indulging in them.  But as I got older I realized they were sending the wrong message to young children.  Children who, like myself, felt cool eating those candy cigarettes could possibly be more likely to pick up a real cigarette later on down the line.  Thankfully I have not done this yet.  Another question I asked myself about the new near non-existance of these candies was where did they go?  So I did some research.  I found that as of this June the FDA has banned all flavored cigarettes, whether they be candy, fruit, or clove.  The article says "The FDA aims to discourage children from picking up this deadly addiction by imposing a ban on the flavored cigarettes."  It also mentions that the status of menthol cigarettes will also be discussed later on down the road.  But what I am confused with is that if they are willing to band cigarettes of this nature, why don't they consider banning regular cigarettes as well.  I don't want to start a is just a thought that went through my head while reading the article.

If you want to read it, here is the link:


The Grand Design?

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The debate on evolution continues with Stephen Hawkins new book "The Grand Design." The famous scientist recently published the book and it is already getting much attention. In the book, Mr. Hawkins pretty much declares God to be dead. His search for the answer on how the universe began compelled him to write the book. He answers this question by saying that the creation of the universe "does not require the intervention of some supernatural being or God." Mr. Hawkins comes up with a theory to explain it all, a theory he calls the M-Theory. This theory elaborates on the fact that there are many universes, not just our own, that are created by natural physical law. Some of these universes, however, are not suitable for human life. 

I think that evolution is one of the most compelling and controversial subjects in history. Mankind is split on the rationale behind the creation of the universe and human existence. So did God create this universe of ours, or is it some grand design?

So maybe I'm the only one who has thought this, but there seems to be something about macaroni and cheese that seems to addict everyone.

What is so great about mac n' cheese?



So I'm sure all of us have heard about addictive foods and drinks that everyone loves and most of us attribute it to the good taste or good feeling we get from eating the food but consider this: could there actually be an addictive drug or element in the food that causes us to crave it?

I found out myself just a few years ago that Chinese food, much loved by people around the globe, contains the addictive additive monosodium glutamate (MSG). While the drug is generally considered not harmful to the public, it is believed to cause multiple ailments, specifically in children.

Not to mention the ever-famous traces of cocaine found in Coca-Cola and the insinuation about cocaine in Red Bull.
Could we be facing the same thing with the artificial flavoring and enhancers in this food favorite?

Personally, I don't understand the hype. I like it every once and a while, but I don't opt to have mac and cheese when given the choice.

What are your thoughts?

Okay, so maybe it doesn't exactly work like that...

As much as some people would like to use the excuse to party every weekend, this is only true to a point.

It was after our discussion in class about smoking that I started thinking about something Dr. Read said: smoking actually helped fight Parkinson's disease. How is it that something so harmful to one's health actually has its benefits?

And yet, while I was intrigued by the different entries about smoking, I wanted to make mine about something else. So then I thought about positive effects alcohol could possibly have. If smoking has positive aspects, why shouldn't drinking have some?

So I did a little research and here is what I found:

Basically, the article talks about the possibilities that alcohol reduces a person risk of getting diabetes and Alzheimer's. The two different studies, one conducted by the Dutch and the other by Spanish scientists, both showed that when a person drinks in moderation (one drink a day), is at a healthy weight, exercises regularly, doesn't smoke and maintains balanced diet, alcohol can actually counter the effects of both diabetes and Alzheimer's...or so it seems.

And while it could be nothing more than coincidence, there have been other proven cases that say alcohol, at least in moderate doses, can be good for a person.

Read the article and tell me your thoughts.




Artificial Skin

Can you imagine losing one of your limbs? It would be a huge set-back. Life is already hard as it is. I have nothing but respect for those who live on with prosthetic limbs and do well. But now the prosthetic parts can go even further with the newly developed electronic skin! It has the almost the same sensitivity as human skin, and can be detected in less then a second. Although it's only the beginning, many things can be possible with this new breakthrough. Robots would be able to sense the fragile glass and do dishes for you? Who knows. Either way, I think it's awesome how far science can go. This kind of reminds me of the robots from the Will Smith movie I-Robot. Maybe we'll get there one day.

Myth: Marijuana Can Cause Permanent Mental Illness. Among adolescents, even occasional marijuana use may cause psychological damage. During intoxication, marijuana users become irrational and often behave erratically.

Fact: There is no convincing scientific evidence that marijuana causes psychological damage or mental illness in either teenagers or adults. Some marijuana users experience psychological distress following marijuana ingestion, which may include feelings of panic, anxiety, and paranoia. Such experiences can be frightening, but the effects are temporary. With very large doses, marijuana can cause temporary toxic psychosis. This occurs rarely, and almost always when marijuana is eaten rather than smoked. Marijuana does not cause profound changes in people's behavior.

Myth: Marijuana is Highly Addictive. Long term marijuana users experience physical dependence and withdrawal, and often need professional drug treatment to break their marijuana habits.

Fact: Most people who smoke marijuana smoke it only occasionally. A small minority of Americans - less than 1 percent - smoke marijuana on a daily basis. An even smaller minority develop a dependence on marijuana. Some people who smoke marijuana heavily and frequently stop without difficulty. Others seek help from drug treatment professionals. Marijuana does not cause physical dependence. If people experience withdrawal symptoms at all, they are remarkably mild.

Myth: Marijuana is More Damaging to the Lungs Than Tobacco. Marijuana smokers are at a high risk of developing lung cancer, bronchitis, and emphysema.

Fact: Moderate smoking of marijuana appears to pose minimal danger to the lungs. Like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke contains a number of irritants and carcinogens. But marijuana users typically smoke much less often than tobacco smokers, and over time, inhale much less smoke. As a result, the risk of serious lung damage should be lower in marijuana smokers. There have been no reports of lung cancer related solely to marijuana, and in a large study presented to the American Thoracic Society in 2006, even heavy users of smoked marijuana were found not to have any increased risk of lung cancer. Unlike heavy tobacco smokers, heavy marijuana smokers exhibit no obstruction of the lung's small airway. That indicates that people will not develop emphysema from smoking marijuana.

BPA free?

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This article was on Yahoo!'s top news feed so as I was checking my e-mail earlier, I had to look.  It was such an interesting article that I had to blog about!
We all have many plastic containers in our kitchens that we use, but should we be using them?
The article states that, "Chemicals in plastic containers and other kitchenware may leach into the foods or drinks that they're holding. Scientific evidence suggests that some of these chemicals may be harmful to people, especially infants and children."
They mainly contain bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates which have been said to disturb hormones in the body. 
In order to be 100% positive that you aren't getting any of these toxic substances in your body, studies recommend cutting down the amount of plastic containers you use and buy and also do not heat or freeze the containers because leakage of the toxins can be very bad.    

     I'm pretty sure a good percentage of us had a good "lol" when we saw that group on Facebook. In fact I think all 1,815,665 members of the Facebook group "When I was your age Pluto was a planet" group did. What I'm not so sure about is if all of those people know why it was deemed unworthy of its planetary rank. I mean let's face it! When they took out Pluto they took down a Sailor Scout, a Roman God, and a very clever and time-honored mnemonic device. Our youth has been robbed of knowing what our very elegant mothers just served nine of! So I decided to unveil the conspiracy behind the take down of Pluto. As luck would have there were actually several reasonable causes for it.

     When Pluto was first discovered in 1930 by Cylde W Tombaugh originally it was assumed to be the size of the Earth. It wasn't until 1973 when astronomers discovered Pluto's Moon Charon that this changed. The discovery of Charon gave them the opportunity to accurately gauge the mass of Pluto. It ended up being much smaller then they had thought. Pluto is actually only 2,400 km (1,500 miles) across. A similar distance is the trip from New York City to Miami. That trip is around a 1,300 mile journey and only takes about 16 hours to travel by car and 4 hours by plane. However even after the recalculation of its size Pluto was still assumed to be the largest thing in our Solar System past Neptune.

  earthmoon.png                                        From left to right: Earth, Moon, Pluto, Charon

     Unfortunately for Pluto this was not the case. Over the past few decades scientists have been making massive strides in coming to understand our universe better. Not only have the discovered several more masses beyond Pluto but one of them has 25% more mass the Pluto. These few discoveries made people start to question "Well what exactly qualifies something as a planet?" These masses all had the same qualities as Pluto but were still not recognized as planets. So to put an end to the debate the International Astronomical Union was summoned!

     Composed of the Nearly 2,500 astronomers from 75 countries, the IAU gathered in the Czech Republic capital, Prague. They assembled for a 12 day conference that would determine the new standards for what qualified something as a planet. It was decided that they would all vote on possible definitions. One version would have increased the number of planets to twelve so that it included Ceres and Eris. There was also an option to vote to keep all nine and have them remain as "Classical Planets" without any scientific rationality. The winning option was to bump the number of planets down to 8. 

     This decision resulted in Pluto being demoted from planet to dwarf planet. Their justification behind this was the Pluto did not meet all of the new criteria for what made a mass a planet.  According to the newly set standards a planet must:

1. Orbit the sun
2. Be a sphere (meaning its own gravity should been strong enough to smooth out the planet)
3. Have a clear orbit (meaning that after the planet's for
mation it should have cleared out any debris with the exception of moons caught in the planets gravitational pull)

      While Pluto does have two of these qualities it is missing the third. Pluto does not have its own exclusive orbit. Its moon, Charon, orbits on a common center of gravity with Pluto. It is suggested that the two act as a binary system. The evidence behind this is that the barycentre of their orbits does not like within either mass. The barycentre it is the center of mass on a planet where its moons orbit. For instance the earth's moon doesn't orbit the very center of the Earth. There is a point in the Earth's crust exactly 1,710 km down where both the mass of the Earth and the mass of the moon balance. Althou
gh the IAU has not yet ruled on a definition for binary dwarf planets so Charon is still considered to be Pluto's moon.


     There is still controversy in the scientific community surrounding Pluto. Although it would seem the people who are most displeased with this are the public. In fact getting "plutoed" has now become a slang term According to to be plutoed is defined as:

"To demean another to make them feel as though they don't amount to anything. Just as the scientists did to Pluto.
It's okay Pluto; I'm not a planet either."

     However despite the disapproval of the public, Pluto is and will remain a dwarf planet. Scientists speculate that there could be possible hundreds if not thousands of dwarf planets that lie beyond Pluto. With the endless possibilities the universe has to offer who knows what they will discover next!

First of all, while researching this subject, I yawned like a thousand times. Just hit 1,001. There is very little research about yawning because it doesn't really cause problems for anyone. It is just a mystery that is very contagious. A couple facts about yawns. 1) the average duration of a yawn is 6 seconds 2) yawns become contagious to people between their first and second years of life 3) people assume that we yawn because our bodies are trying to get rid of carbon dioxide and take in more oxygen
The theory on why yawns seem to be so contagious is dated back in evolutionary history. The yawn was used to serve of the social behavior of groups of animals. When one member of the group yawned to signal and event, the rest would yawn. Kind of like howling at the moon. I really couldn't find any other plausible explanations, what did everyone else find? and how many times did you yawn while reading this?
Who isn't curious how hiccups happen? Who isn't looking everywhere to figure out how to get rid of a charley horse? Well, thanks to WebMD  they have brought up all of the different problems. 

1. brain freezes 
2. excessive sweating 
3. vertigo
4. "pins and needles" in your arm
5. hiccups
6. tonsil stones
7. ear popping (clogged ears)
8. charley horse
9. ear wax
10. black hairy tongue 
11. twitching of the eyes
12. male breasts
13. dark circles under your eyes
14. excessive hair growth
15. green nails
16. rosacea 
17. canker sores

I know, for me, that something I always get is hiccups. Even if I'm just sitting down and not doing anything at all, I will get them. So, I decided to look up what hiccups actually are and what the CRAZY reason is for why I am always getting them. 

According to, "a hiccup is a sudden, involuntary contraction (spasm) of the diaphragm muscle...Hiccups are often rhythmic. They are usually just a temporary minor annoyance, but prolonged hiccups may signal a major medical problem." So, I don't think I have a severe medical problem but why do I get these spasms all of the time? 

Well, again, has the answers! Medicinenet gives these ideas as some of the causes of hiccups: eating too quickly and swallowing air along with foods and also eating too much (fatty or spicy foods, in particular) or drinking too much (carbonated beverages or alcohol). 

But, most importantly, we hear all of these remedies for getting rid of hiccups. Personally, I take 7 sips of water with no breaths in between! It works EVERY time! But, some other treatments can include:  
  • holding your breath
  • drink a glass of water quickly
  • have someone frighten you (that never actually works)
  • pull hard on your tongue (really?)
  • bite on a lemon
  • gargle with water
  • drink from the far side of a glass 
  • use smelling salts
While some of these ideas from sound completely absurd, well, you're right! For now, I'm sticking with my way! 

If you have any other remedies for any of these 17 weird body mishaps share them!!! 

Why do Power Naps Work?

After reading the posts about power naps, and hearing Dr. Marshall talk about them, I started to wonder, why are power naps effective.  Would it make more sense to go to bed earlier and sleep just a little bit more?  Or is it something with the actual time of day that makes power naps useful?  After doing some research, I found that power naps are useful because of how the sleep cycles correlate with the length of the nap.  Twenty minutes seems to be the ideal length of a power nap because our body goes through the first two stages of sleep during this time.  After about thirty minutes, our body goes into deep sleep, and it is much harder to become awake.  If power naps indeed help cognitive functions and alertness, I should really start to take advantage of the short intervals of time I have between classes.  I feel like a power nap would greatly benefit me because now, I am having trouble staying awake looking at slides of ancient art.

After Thursday's lecture with Dr. Marshal I was thinking... If scientists can find a cause of Stomach Ulcers, was there any research being pursued on the cause of Celiac Disease?  Celiac Disease is a gluten-intolerance (Mostly wheat, barley, and rye products) which destroy villi on the small intestines. Villi are necessary for the body to absorb nutrients out of food and support the bodies growth. The only treatment is a very strict gluten-freediet.  I was diagnosed with this disease in January on 2008.  When I asked the doctor what caused this disease and they told me there is no exact cause, but sometimes it is inherited.  This made me think they that there needs to be a cause, and someone should find out what it is because I was furious! I had doctors telling me everything I couldn't eat anymore, all the precautions I had to take to eat in a restaurant, and that most people with this disease end up with colon cancer.  

After Dr. Marshal's lecture I was hoping that the cause of Celiac could be a simple bacteria.  I haven't heard of any deep research on this disease even though it effects 1 out of every 133 people in the USA. 

MBC=Male breast cancer?

I was researching strange causes of cancer, but instead I found this the most interesting.  I had no idea that males could suffer from breast cancer just like women! Either everyone knew about this but me or maybe you all will just as surprised as I was.
I learned that in the U.S. 1910 cases diagnosed annually and 440 deaths occur from it.  If men can get breast cancer too, how come I have never heard about it?
These are two sites that I looked at. They are pretty interesting, and the second one has video clips showing how we can examine ourselves for lumps.  I was originally say, "girls, check it out...but now I guess I have to say, "guys you should check it out too."

Headaches and Naps.

I was just reading one of our classmates blogs about naps and she had metioned a very interesting situation about naps and headaches.

Unfortunately, I get daily headaches in the afternoon. Many people say it's just school stress, but I feel there is something else related to it. Besides having headaches, my upper eyelids also hurt a lot. I even went to an optical and I explained to the doctor my situation and how my headaches were affecting how much time I dedicated to my class readings, because I had to stop on every other page to take a break everytime I felt the pain was coming back. She said that my eyes were very tensed, and had prescribed glasses to me with the objective of relaxing my eye pupils. This was a total failure, the glasses made me feel very dizzy and I just decided not to use them. Until this day the only thing that helps my headaches are at least an hour nap.

I will like to know if any of you have the same problem and if you have any suggestions to at least minimize the headaches, since I feel naps take a lot of my time and I have so much work to do.
Well its to nobodies surprise that America is obese. We eat fast-food too much and work out too little. But is this the only reason why people are becoming obese? Science researchers say no. Actually, some scientists are convinced that your weight depends on how much your mother ate at birth. If she overate during her pregnancy than the child is likely to be overweight. This means that the real problem here is not just American's eating way too much of unhealthy food, which definitely does not help the situation, but mothers eating too much during their pregnancy. Obesity is not a genetic disease in most cases, but there is a way mothers can help try and prevent it. If they do not watch their weight and what they eat during pregnancy, they are indirectly giving their child diabetes, heart problems, and poor immune systems. As I was looking through the New York Times for an interesting science article, I stumbled upon this article. If I was not taking this class I definitely would have never seen it, and I have never heard of this obesity theory before this article. This is a huge problem! Women should be more informed about these kinds of things- things that can give them insight on how to make sure they're baby is as healthy as can be. Women everywhere should see this article so they can help save their child from dangerous, deadly and expensive diseases. .


Prompted by the entries on power naps, let me make an assertion.  I believe that no one knows how much sleep you need.  

Clearly too little is bad.  But what is the right amount?  Experience suggests people vary in what they need.  Should we let our bodies decide?  Or is it like food?  If we let our bodies decide how much to eat, many of us would get obese.

We spend roughly 1/3 of our day asleep.  But some of us spend 1/4 of our day, others nearly half. What's the right amount?  To figure that out properly, we'd need to do a randomized double-blind placebo trial (right?), allocating sleep regimens at random to people (for a week? a month? a year?) and looking at the outcome (which would be what: lifespan, happiness, learning performance?).  Not a feasible experiment (right?).  So we're working on poor or suggestive correlations, folklore and old wives tales (yes?).  For something on which we spend between a quarter (too little?) and a half (too much?) of our lives.  Go figure.

power nap fail.

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Someone else already blogged on the idea of power napping from what Barry Marshall said during class. I, as well, was extremely amazed at how he did it. So, extremely curious to see if I could pull off a 15 minute power nap, I went for it. It was a complete failure. I set my alarm to go off for 10 minutes, to give myself that extra 5 minutes to "wake-up". When my alarm went off, I decided I had plenty of time to get to my next class so I decided to add another 10 minutes. Well, I was completely wrong and I ended up sprinting to my next class, which I JUST made it to. PHEW! But, one thing that seems to interest me in regards to naps is that every time I wake up from one, I ALWAYS have a headache. So, I decided to do some research on these headaches and I don't seem to be alone but I haven't found a true reason for them besides Cluster Headaches which seem to usually occur in men...hopefully I don't have these! I was wondering if anyone else experienced headaches when they woke up!!

In case anyone was inspired by Barry Marshall to get their own Nobel Prize, here's a list of diseases that are said to be caused by stress:



Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Ischemic Heart Disease

Acid Peptic Disease



Tension Headache





Sexual Dysfunction

Eating Disorders

Flu (by altering the function of the immune system)

Causing cancer to be more severe

HIV Progression


 stress diseases





One website I came across through Google had that peptic ulcers were caused by stress. Looks like Mr. Marshall might need to do some more lecturing.


What about diseases said to be caused by under-active stress system? Is It really possible to not only not have any stress, but to be under stressed?







Cancer Sucks

There really isn't any other way to put it besides, "cancer sucks". So many of my family members have been greatly impacted by this stupid, stupid, STUPID disease and I feel like I can't do anything about it. There are so many different kinds of cancer out there that it's completely overwhelming. Watching the ones you love slip away is the most painful thing to experience. My dad had non-hodgkin's lymphoma, which is a cancer that impacts your white blood cells. My dad was a fighter and is thankfully a survivor. But, not all of my family members were so lucky.

Last night, I was watching Stand Up to Cancer, which is a telethon that is showed on every major news network once a year. As this was the second year they have been doing this, I wanted to be able to watch I did. As I was watching it, the late Patrick Swayze's wife walked out onto the stage and started talking about the death of her husband. Patrick Swayze had been diagnosed with stage four Pancreatic Cancer, cancer to the pancreas. As said on ABC, written by Joseph Brownstein, "...his 20-month battle with pancreatic cancer showed how tough the disease is -- and how unusual it is for people to survive with it as long as he did." So that's all well and good, but this article also mentions that Swayze smoked throughout his entire life. Does smoking have the ability to lead to pancreatic cancer? 


Dr. Suresh Chari stated in this article, "Smoking is definitely a risk factor for pancreatic cancer." He also said that from statistics, 37,000 people get pancreatic cancer a year and out of that number, about a quarter of the cases can be directly related to smoking. There might be facts but I'm about to get a little selfish here, as anyone would with my case. 

My grandpa was in "condition" until the summer of 2005. The doctors told him he was diagnosed with colon colorectal cancer. It then, in the span of one month, metastasized to his pancreas, giving him none other than the FANTASTIC pancreatic cancer. Then 2 months later, I was at his funeral. In such a quick amount of time, someone you love and be gone before even rationalizing what is going on. On, they said that, "According to the American Cancer Society, for all stages of pancreatic cancer combined, the one-year relative survival rate is 20%, and the five-year rate is most cases, the malignancy has already progressed to the point where surgical removal is impossible."

But, in the end my question is simply just why? Why is it that sometimes the people who do dangerous things to their bodies can get cancer but they fight through and survive?  But there are people like my grandpa who never smoked and still managed to fall in that 3/4 category of the people who gets the disease even without smoking? Sometimes science just confuses me and I wish there was a simple answer. I wish there was a magic spell that could break these routines of saying goodbye to the people you love. 

So anxiety doesn't cause ulcers, but that doesn't mean it won't be having a negative impact on your life. 40 million adults, one in five, suffer from anxiety that disrupts their daily lives (Levine).  Anxiety is something you are born with, a trait believed to be passed on from generation to generation.  High anxiety can be traced though families. Do others in your family have high anxiety?  Physical symptoms include stomach problems, nausea, and diarrhea, along with trouble sleeping, and muscle tension. This makes it understandable why stress and anxiety used to be linked with stomach ulcers. Just because anxiety isn't causing ulcers, doesn't mean it's something that should just be discarded. Having anxiety can lead to health issues. No need to worry though, high anxiety is the most treatable mental disease.


The Anxiety Disorders Association of America describes the differences between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder. 

Everyday Anxiety

Anxiety Disorder

Worry about paying bills, landing a job, a romantic breakup, or other important life events

Constant and unsubstantiated worry that causes significant distress and interferes with daily life

Embarrassment or self-consciousness in an uncomfortable or awkward social situation

Avoiding social situations for fear of being judged, embarrassed, or humiliated

A case of nerves or sweating before a big test, business presentation, stage performance, or other significant event

Seemingly out-of-the-blue panic attacks and the preoccupation with the fear of having another one

Realistic fear of a dangerous object, place, or situation

Irrational fear or avoidance of an object, place, or situation that poses little or no threat of danger

Making sure that you are healthy and living in a safe hazard-free environment

Performing uncontrollable repetitive actions such as excessive cleaning or checking, or touching and arranging

Anxiety, sadness, or difficulty sleeping immediately after a traumatic event

Recurring nightmares, flashbacks, or emotional numbing related to a traumatic event that occurred several months or years before




Watching the "Flock of Dodos" Trailer made me think about my views of Religion and Evolution.

I grew up in a family where having faith in God is very important and I have always believe that God created us all. I had the opportunity of attending school in the Dominican Republic ( this is where my parents are from) and I will never forget the day when my Natural Science teacher was teaching my class about evolution and how it is believed that human beings descended from apes. My first impression was "Ewww we descended from an ape, no wonder people have hair in their legs and arms. Wait! but they have always told me God created us." I was kind of innocent at the time, so I got very confused, but the idea of descending from apes made sense to me, since we have certain similarities.

The worst part was that the teacher teaching this class was in the process of becoming a priest and now that I am grown and understand these views way better,I wish I could go back and ask him if he was teaching about evolution because it was mandatory by the school or if he had other reasons, and how he felt about teach about it. When I know for a fact he had a completely different view.

Even though Science has made sense of everything it studies and is making more people believe in it over God. I still believe that God created us all. For some reason everything I know about God and how this world and all the living things in it were created, make total sense to me. I am not against science because it helps our society in many ways, but these are just my beliefs and opinion about this controversial topic. 

While that video might persuade us to buy Old Spice products, we must think about the possible consequences of using such products.   According to the Global Healing Center
"Studies are now showing that continuous exposure to toxic chemicals in personal hygiene products, such as antiperspirants, may be related to allergic reactions, Alzheimer's, and even breast cancer in women."
This is because most of these products contain aluminum chlorohydrate and many other toxic chemicals in them.

Suggested ideas to stop letting aluminum into your body is to "Stop using common antiperspirants. Switch to mineral-based antiperspirants, or even better, a natural deodorant which does not block the sweat glands. I use the crystal salt deodorant and add about an ounce of colloidal silver."

After the discussion with Mr. Barry Marshall, I wondered if stress does anything AT ALL to one's body. We've all learned, now, that ulsers are not cause by it. But what about acne? As I grew up, my mother always told me to stop stressing out because I would start breaking out. Yes, I did have acne as a grew up, but let's face it people, we ALL have it. Maybe it's just puberty but who knows? In 2002, however, The School of Medicine at the University of Stanford put together an experiment to see if acne is truly caused by stress. Stanford's findings actually conveyed that stress can WORSEN acne: 

- - - Although it was a small study, involving just 22 students suffering from acne, the professors involved in the study conclusively proved that the exam stress worsened acne in these students. According to researchers, their findings indicated that "Subjects who had the greatest increases in stress during examination periods also had the greatest exacerbation in acne severity."

They also noted that worsening of diet during stressful period contributed significantly in flare-ups of acne in these students.

Stress causes worsening of acne in two ways. First, by stimulating adrenal glands to produce more hormones and secondly, by slowing down the healing process...

...It has also been established that psychological stress can decrease the wound healing capacity of immune systems up to 40%. This factor doubles the impact of stress on acne. - - -

So apparently stress causes your body's healing process to slow down, in turn making your body produce acne more heavily. So does stress cause acne? Not directly but it definitely can effect certain factors to get to that point.

On to something?


This is mainly intented for Dr. Read:


Im not exactly sure where to start but im basically making a hypothesis about a topic that i couldnt find any information on. So im asking if you do know of the topic or if not, what are your thoughts on the situation.


Ok well i would like to know if humans have any effect on the electronics we use. I first began to question this when i had my first laptop. When i used it, it worked perfectly fine pretty much all of the time. Then though, when my mom used it, it basically crashed and performed horribly a majority of the time. Eventually, she started using it more than me and now it is totally out of commision. She took it somewhere in hopes of getting it fixed but the workers said it was "unfixable." I then noticed this was a common effect that she had on other electronics she was using, including her phone, etc. Now, could it be because she uses them in harmful ways that will eventually wreck the software? Or does she have a certain "output" that interferes with the electronics? By output i mean the specific electronic current that her body omits (i dont know if that is the correct terminology but i hope you know what i mean). I think this is a very interesting question and i've since tryed noticing in other situations. I hope no one discovered this yet... Nobel Prize?! Haha But then again it seems almost everything has been. I hope you can help. thank you!

I found this clip and honestly I am disgusted and so shocked that parents would actually let their two year old child smoke a cigarette..yet alone 40 a day! This baby started smoking at 18 months, and the dad says the baby is healthy?  How in the world could a parent ever condone this.
At first, I thought this clip was a joke, I was seriously waiting for "Gotcha!" at the end but it never came.  I had to watch it 3 more times trying to figure out if this was really real.

What do you guys think of this video? Any thoughts or opinions?

Back to Smoking

I know this happens to be about a weekend late but something sparked my interest in this subject again. I did a photo shoot for my photography class this week and editing them yesterday afternoon a common theme appeared in them. I was taking pictures at my car garage and both of my subjects were smoking. I went ahead and posted these images on my other blog and tonight a friend comment on this issue. She was wondering if it was a coincidence or if I actually planned this out. It did happen to be a coincidence because for this assignment we were not to position our subjects at all. After receiving this comment and others about the cigarette and cigar the men are smoking, it reminded me about our discussion.  I just found this a cool coincidence that I decided to share with all of you. 

Here are a couple more of the images just so you have an idea of what photographs I am talking about 

Over the summer, I took an English class here at Penn State and I had to write about something to do with nature or natural being.  I chose to write about the idea of designer babies because it really interested me.  These babies are genetically engineered and conceived through in vitro fertilization.  Parents are being granted the opportunity to choose characteristics for their child of hair color, eye color, blood type, and gender.  As well as, one day their child could be engineered to be the top of the class, excel in sports, and whatever else is on the parents' wish list.  I would have to disagree with this issue because I do not believe in this ability to choose even if they think they are doing what is best for their child.  This could lead to discrimination and inequality with the gender choice because in certain countries they want more of a certain gender such as in China with boys.  Parents can try to shape their child in the way that pleases them, but in the end the child will overrule and become his or her own person. From all this research in the news, it seems that these babies have become so commercial that one day couples could be able to walk into one of these clinics and look through a brochure of what they want their child to look like.


Why is our society so focused on this idea of perfection? Parents allow themselves to undergo this procedure to continue the movement of perfection that exists in our society without allowing their child to be accepted for how they are or will become.  How can parents claim to want what is best for their child when they won't let them have the choice to become who they want to be? Would it not make more sense if the parent was more concerned about if the child would be healthy rather than the change of eye color? Besides, no one in our world is perfect or ever will be because everyone is unique in their own way.  If everyone is made to be the same then there would be no diversity or originality in the world. Designer babies are in no way natural, and everyone needs to realize this because our society strives on this "perfect child."  A child should be one of a kind not one of the same.  They should be a fruitloop in a world of cheerios; not trying to fit the standards of society.      

As we all know the history of Penn State is very rich. It started as an agriculture school and has flourished into one of the greatest universities in the world. Along the way members of the Penn State community have made significant scientific achievements in agricultural science, physics, chemistry, and much more.

-In 1931, Ferdinand Brickwedde produced the first noticeable amount of deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen.


-Pauline Berry Mack invented an X-Ray machine that measured calcium bone density in living organisms. 

-In 1955, Erwin M. Mueller was the first person to see an atom using a field ion microscope that he designed.

-The heart assist pump was developed by a group of Penn State researchers in 1976. It was the first surgically implanted blood pump to receive widespread use.

Check out the link for more achievements:
About two weeks before school started my neighbor asked me to cat sit her cat.  Of course, being the animal lover that I am, I definitely wanted to!  When I went to her house to go feed their cat, I couldn't seem to find it.  I looked all over and eventually I found a HUGE fluffy ball on a chair.  I went over to see it and it stretched out.  This cat was not huge, he was morbidly obese.  I had never seen a cat or any animal this large before!! I almost felt bad for giving it more food!  My own dog's vet always tells us to make sure we are not overfeeding my little Yorkshire Terrier, Luna, because one of the newest, most common issues with animals these days tend to be obesity, which leads to even more problems.  This really made me think. So, I decided I definitely wanted to research about this for my next science blog.  And this is what I found..

An estimated 25-40% of dogs in the United States are obese.


Obesity often reduces a pet's enjoyment of life. Health risks associated with weight gain include: Heart and respiratory disease, diabetes, liver disease, joint diseases such as arthritis and spinal disc problem just to name a few.  As with humans the lack of physical activity is not the only contributing factor to health issues related to obesity in our pets. 

I couldn't believe these percentages.  And I also realized that a lot of the diseases and health problems that pets tend to have because of being overweight are almost parallel to those of overweight humans.  As if it weren't enough for humans to be overeating, they are now killing their very own pets!  Don't get me wrong, I know it is most likely unintentional and some people just give in when their pet begs, but this is only hurting your pet.  I know it's so hard when Luna unleashes the infamous puppy eyes, but I rather that she begs than to slowly kill her.  

One of my friends had to put her dog, a Corgi, to sleep at age four because they overfed it. He was so obese that his stomach was beginning to sag near the ground (keep in mind Corgis have tiny little legs) and his back was beginning to bend inward. This dog could have easily lived a long healthy life if only they had fed him smaller portions and no table food.  Instead, they ended up making his life way shorter than it should have been.

Some ways to avoid overfeeding your pet tend to be pretty obvious actions such as not giving in to their begging, buying healthier food, and not giving them table food.  Simply taking them outside and walking them more can help your pet's health as well as your own!  If you love your pets, you will make sure you keep them healthy.  I know the begging, puppy eyes, and purring can make you want to give in and give them just one extra treat, but those add up and in the long run, could take years away from your pet's lives.  So, when you're trying to stay healthy, eat well, and exercise, keep your pet in mind and remember that they need you to help them as well!

Power Naps

After hearing Dr. Marshall's lecture today, his anecdote on power napping interested me. What caught my attention the most was the fact that he only had 15 minutes, and it was enough to revitalize him. So I thought to myself this would be very beneficial for us college students especially with our hefty schedules. According to Wikipedia, the idea of power napping is that you awake yourself before you enter into deep sleep so that you still feel revitalized without having to complete an entire sleep cycle. I was also able to find this website which actually tells you exactly how to perform power naps.

H Pylori


This is a youtube video showing duodenal ulcer diesease caused by an H. pylori infection. I think it is very interesting how people used to believe that stomach ulcers were caused by stress related issues. Up until today's class with the presentation of Barry Marshall I too thought that stomach ulcers were caused strees issues. Now knowing that stress is not the cause of stomach ulcers, but that a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori is will help scientists to further pursue an antibiotic to stop it. The responses people had to this video indicate that many have had this bacteria inside of them for all different ages. All of the people seem to have the same pains / symptoms from the bacteria. Atleast if someone is having these symptoms they can now have tests to see if they have the bacteria opposed to thinking it is a stress related issue.

Cancer in a Bottle?!

Earlier this year I went to take a nice chug of the ever popular refreshing SunnyD.  My friend screamed and told me not to drink it.  She said "That causes brain tumors."  I thought that was preposterous but she told me to look it up.  And that is exactly what I did,  but it just made me even more paranoid about what I intake that could lead to cancer down the road.  You hear headlines from everything like the obvious cigarettes to the not so obvious hand soap can cause cancer.  But hand soap?  Really?  It is very hard to distinguish the facts from the fiction when it comes to cancer causing agents in our everyday lives.  Here is a website that I found to be helpful full of most of the cancer causing carcinogens and what kinds of cancer they cause: And here is an interesting video explaining the science behind soap as a cancer causing agent:

I think it would be really helpful/ interesting if we possibly incorporate this into a class discussion.  Because these days everyone is touched by cancer in one way or another.

teenage pregnancy.jpgI'm sure that most of us have heard the common idea that teenage pregnancy can be quite dangerous. While browsing Science Daily I came across an article discussing the serious health risks babies may be associated with if concieved by a teenager. Studies show that woman between the ages of 14- 17 are at high risk of giving preterm birth to a child. Ali Khashan, a student at University College in Cork, Ireland found that the "increased risk of poor pregnancy outcome is related to biological immaturity." This makes sense because a teenage girl is not fully developed or "ready" just yet to give birth. Her body is not as fully grown as it will be later in life. Khashan also found that the majority of teenage mothers were white, underweight, and living in socially deprived areas.

In my opinion, these results indicate that our nation needs to be accentuating the risks of teenage pregnancys to help put a stop to this. People need to be focusing more on teenage pregnancy prevention methods such as birth control, condoms, and abstinence. Not only are these young teenage woman selling themselves short of what opportunities they may have as a young adult, but they are also creating serious health risks to children.

What are your thoughts and opinions on these findings? To learn more you can check out following website! Hope everybodys having a great day!


Samantha Narick Ebrey 



firefly.jpgNew research suggests that every individual insect is unique in its own way and possesses a personality. Recent studies have tested several different traits of insects including boldness, agressiveness, and explorativeness. In one particular experiment firefly bugs were individually placed in different situations and tested upon how they reacted to their surroundings. For instance, an individual firefly was placed under a covered vail and set in a lit up arena with 4 pretend firefly bugs created out of gum. Once researchers removed the cover, the insect was tested on how "many objects each firebug explored, how fast the bug moved, how long it took to reach the wall of the arena, and more." The results implied that some bugs, whom explored the area quickly, were more brave and agressive than others. The scientists believe that their findings go along with all other living organisms. 

I personally found this to be very interesting because normally when we think of bugs we see them as being small creatures with no feelings. I believe that these findings prove that all living organisms have thoughts and feelings and that they are not simply just placed on this earth with an empty soul. My question to you is, do you buy into these findings? What are your opinions and thoughts?

I've placed a link to the following website below that states more information on the topic if anyones interested! Enjoy!:) 


Samantha Narick Ebrey

Remembering What we Write


In high school I had a teacher who constantly reminded me and my fellow classmates that when creating a power point to use during a presentation there should be no more than three bullets going down and that each bullet should contain a max of five words.  He called it the "3x5 rule" or something like that. Teachers in general constantly reminded me that the power point should only be used as an aid or an outline and that it was never the actual "presentation".

            Attending college classes I realized that professors talked about so much more than they could ever fit on one slide.  Most professors even make their power points available online which enables students to print them out and use them as guides to help take notes.  However I do have one very stubborn professor who refuses to make his power points available through angel.  His reasoning behind this?  He claims that studies prove you learn more by actually writing things down and not just reading them off a piece of paper.  I agree with this to some extent however I do wonder if that is always the case.  While I cannot speak for everyone I do think it is difficult to comprehend everything a professor says when at the same time you're rushing to write down the definitions displayed on a huge screen.  How much can actually writing things down verses simply reading them help you if in the process you miss a vital piece of information spoken aloud by your professor?


                After briefly researching why we retain information better when we write it I found many studies to back that statement up.  Another few things I learned from looking into it more is that while trying to multitask (take notes/ copy definitions and listen to the professor) I need to work on writing faster (like wayyy faster).



"Researchers Create Real Tractor Beam"
A childhood dream has become reality... at least on the small scale.

The idea of a tractor beam actually working is almost unbelievable, but its seems to make sense. Using temperature to control small particles is brilliant! In any case, I hope scientists will keep moving forward with this as it could become incredibly useful, although it may take years and years to make a working larger model.

Penn State chipmunks

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   Has anyone else noticed the vast amounts of chipmunks that roam the Penn State sidewalks?  They are everywhere!  I was walking back to my dorm from a class today and had to dodge to one side of the path because two chipmunks scurried across right in front of me. 
I then decided that once I got home I would do some follow-up research on these little creatures.

"Chipmunk" is the "common name for any small squirrel-like rodent" according to "Chipmunk Facts" (below).  The website mentions that chipmunks typically are spotted around "Canada, the United States Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin and parts of the upper Midwest," which makes me wonder, why are they in Pennsylvania? The article also mentions that they go into hibernation during the winter months and rely on the items that they have stored in their burrows.  I want to conduct an experiment if anyone is willing to participate?  I want to see when chipmunks are out and about most on campus and keep a tally of all the times we see a chipmunk.  It would be very interesting to almost live like one for a day and see them in their natural habitat.  I also want to keep this up during the winter to see if the amount of spottings decreases.


Giant Rats

In Africa, they are training rats, not the typical rat, giant rats! 

Check out this article 


Splenda- Friend or Foe?

I think a lot of people agree with me when they say they couldn't live without a couple packets of Splenda in their morning coffee. Or the Diet in a Diet Coke. We are surrounded by artificial sweeteners in today's foods. Today's most common is aspartame, found in basically everything "diet," "low sugar," and most things "calorie free." Most people don't think twice of it. In fact, it's a good thing, right? One can enjoy a sweet latte without any real sugar? I'll take it.
Well, I've heard/read things that say that today's sweetener of choice, aspartame, can be harmful to your health. Deadly even. With all those new "natural" artificial sweeteners like Truvia, Sun Crystals, etc. is it really worth the extra $3 per box? No, according to this Time Magazine article. It is true that previous artificial sweeteners, such as saccharin did link to cancer in different types of animals. Due to that research, the FDA banned it in 1969. However, there were other ways to get that no-calorie sweet fix. Splenda actually uses sucralose, another artificial sweetener. Both of these have been tested over 200 times by the FDA, so can we conclude they are both safe? I certainly hope so. My fridge is stocked with "diet" and "sugar-free" drinks. coke_2.jpg

Sweet Coffee?...At What Price?

A couple of days ago, I posted a blog about animal testing on monkeys.  I questioned where it is that you draw the line when it comes to medical testing.  My interest has only peaked more since our discussion on Tuesday about the testing done to beagles.  It was until this class that I realized how much I actually cared about animals and the scientific testing done to them.  I guess I was just like the majority of people who never really thought about it much, or tried not to at least.  So, I decided to delve a little further into the idea.  I stumbled upon the article titled, "Ethical Reasons Why Beagles Have to Die".  

The article had many valid points on both sides of the argument.  
-On one hand, the point is made discussing whether or not certain studies could be met using non-animal studies.  Also, it talked about the stages of medical research (often from rodent testing to different phases of mammal testing and finally to human trials).  However, the following statistic really stuck with me--at this facility alone, "70,000 dogs, monkeys, rats, mice, geese, pigs, sheep, fish, honeybees, & earthworms are killed at HLS [a research facility] each year..." That seems a little excessive in a single year.  I don't understand why that amount of animals need to be terminated every single year.  I can't imagine why the same trials cannot be conducted with less animal fatalities.  
-On the flip side, the researchers make very valid points in advocacy of animal testing that do indeed make me think twice.  They note that the animals suffer the minimum amount of distress possible.  Also, animal testing is a necessary stage in the development of everything from cancer treatments to coffee sweetners.  It's just not something you think about everyday.  

So, even since I have been in this class I have developed a kind of large criticism of the animal testing industry, I am still on the fence on certain things.  The article ended with this quote, in between the extremist views, "...sit the vast majority, beneficiaries of medicines and sweet coffee but uncomfortable with the idea of puppies and pussycats dying.." Is that where everybody here sits? On that line of not comfortable with the idea of all this, but not really willing to do anything about it? I think that is the line I am flirting with... 


Quite a title, right?
According to a study done by psychologists, certain dance moves men perform make them more attractive to women. The head, neck, and chest area were cited as the more attractive points, as were "big movements," which were demonstrated with an animated doll flailing its arms and legs. They took a handful of men and hooked them up with a system of devices that would record their dance moves, which were then mapped and recreated onto a featureless animated mannequin. The different mannequins were then shown to women, who were asked to evaluate how handsome the men were based solely on their dance moves. The men's physical features, personalities, etc. were never revealed to the women.

I saw this on the televised news earlier, but here is the related news article from CBS. One thing they mentioned on the news segment, and not online, was that psychologists were relating the dance moves and how we interpret them to how animals attract mates with mating rituals. The wild gestures and large movements are similar to how some animals attract mates, or do their "mating dance." I thought it was an interesting relationship, but there was nothing to really back up this theory other than it seems plausible.

For fun, here's the video from their research showing what was deemed bad moves, and then good moves: Dancing 101. What do you guys think about this? Do you think that we subconsciously see someone who we interpret as a "good dancer," and find them more attractive because of it? I never really thought about it before, but I think it does make sense.
A recent study revealed that several individual chromosomes were linked to smoking habits. The study, published in Nature Genetics, linked certain chromosomes to individuals' ability to start smoking, as well as quit smoking. The genome of more than 140,000 individuals were analyzed and the results narrowed down certain chromosomes that experts say can dictate a persons' motivation to smoke. A variant on the gene of Chromosome 11 was closely analyzed and revealed that it was strongly linked to an individuals' tendency to start smoking. Furthermore, a variant on the gene of Chromosome 9 showed that it was linked to quitting smoking. 

In a world where technology seems to become more advanced every day, is it possible that gene manipulation may be the key to stopping people from beginning to smoke? Obviously there are other influences that cause a person to begin smoking but I thought this article was fascinating because of the fact that researchers narrowed down the specific genes that predisposed a person to begin smoking and to even quit smoking. As we talked about in class some people are predisposed to lung cancer, and thus have a higher risk of getting it if they are heavy smokers. This article shows that researchers have narrowed down the genes that cause people to start and quit smoking. 

In class, we mentioned the possibility of using science to create a "safer" cigarette; one that would reduce the risk of lung cancer etc. This is a topic I have always thought about. Not just for cigarettes but for other addictive drugs as well. Apparently some scientist have created a strain of cannabis that doesn't get you high, like an O'Douls for marijuana . Some wonder why anyone would want to smoke pot that doesn't get you high, but the scientists claim that their strand has the same health benefits of regular marijuana. Some of the things they claim it can do is treat anxiety, schizophrenia, and even inhibit cancer cell growth. If there is any truth to this, maybe cigarette smokers should start smoking this pot to avoid developing cancer.

I've posted the link to the article. Also Dave Chapelle did a very funny skit about the so-called non- intoxicating marijuana so I posted that link too


New Dinosaur With a Hump

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Hypothetical reconstruction of the flesh-eating dinosaur Concavenator that lived 125 million ago shows the animal\'s humpback and spiky appendages on its forearms that may have been wings. Copyright: Raúl Martín.

Researchers have discovered an almost complete skeleton of a dinosaur that had puzzling features. For now, they are calling it Concavenator corcovatus. Scientists have come up with possible reasons for the hump such as: to seduce possible mates, maintain body heat, or even a storage of fat. They can't quite figure it out though. 

On top of that, the dinosaur seems to have little spikes coming out of its forearm bones. This is very similar to those of chickens or any other bird. The spikes usually are from large wing feathers which tells us that the origin of the wings go even further back. 

I think it's amazing how things are being discovered day in and day out. There are so many things that are yet to be figured out. The world is full of mysteries. 

Article Source:

So I used to work in a sporting goods store called Modell's for about a year and began realizing that one of the top selling shoes were Reebok Easy Tone sneakers and Skechers Shape-ups.  Women of all ages were walking into the store with one shoe on their mind, "The sneakers that help you lose weight!".  The thought of a shoe helping you lose weight boggled my mind, so once the store was closed one night I decided to try them on.  They felt awesome!  I'm not a fan of the Skechers, but the Reebok sneakers looked like regular running sneakers just with extra padding on the sole.  It was definitely a strange feeling on the bottom of your feet but my friend had gotten a pair and told me they actually made her feel sore!  I asked some of the guys that work in the footwear department if the shoes actually work and they said that they heard it was a scam.  They heard that the shoes actually tend to mess up one's balance as well as their ankles because they are putting pressure on different parts of their foot.  Thus, I decided to do my own research..
This website did not necessarily have negative things to say about the shoes.  It basically said that the shoe does work different muscles in your legs and does more for you while walking than regular shoes do.  For the people that tend to lose weight while using these shoes have also been dieting and exercising along with wearing these shoes.  Therefore, you cannot necessarily say that the shoes are making consumers lose weight, which is what commercials, posters, and the media tell you. 

Thus,In the end, when trying to lose weight, it's not shoes that will help you lose weight, it's diet and exercise.


A long time ago there were many more smokers than there are today. It's bewildering that "back in the day" smoking was a common action taken several times during an ordinary day. Even teenagers smoked cigarettes with no problems!
It wasn't rare to watch shows on television where cigarettes and cigars were being lit up during conversation after a nice family dinner. Shows like "I love Lucy," "Grease," even Disney movies like "Alice in Wonderland" ...smoking was not and still is not rare to find in the movies. 
My uncles always talk about how when they were 11 or 12 years old, they would walk down to the corner store to buy cigarettes for my grandfather and were given them with no problem.  Now there are so many laws prohibiting anyone under 18 from purchasing cigarettes but what is forgotten is that the second hand smoke you inhale from smokers around you is just as bad as the smoke you would inhale if you were putting the cigarette into your lungs from your own hand.
Not to mention it doesn't help that by advertising smoking in movies, magazines, etc. producers are putting the wrong ideas into young teens minds. According to Julie Steenhuysen for Reuters, "Tobacco promotions and depictions of smoking in movies cause teens to start smoking..." This means the more young children see it on on television and movies, the more they start to think that smoking causes no harm.  And what are we trying to teach to you adolescent minds?  They are transitioning to next stages in life and are being shown that smoking is the cool thing to do. I became curious and asked my 7 year old cousin if he thought smoking was cool. His response to me was, "Well Crissy, they do it in the movies." Young kids are influenced by what they see and hear. How can we say, "Don't smoke, it's bad for you, as we are exhaling secondhand smoke right into their lungs at the same moment? If we want to teach future generations right from wrong, healthy versus unhealthy decisions we need to start with ourselves.


Western Science has become so highly invested in objective-only examination that subjectivity has lost its rightful place within the Academy.  Point in case, when dealing with consciousness studies, neurocognitive and cognitive-behavioral studies tend to claim expertise over subjective experience.  When did this (relatively new) change in perspective occur and why?

I can understand why in most cases the replicable qualities of objective science outshine the individual insights of practiced intentional exploration, but still, how does one gain conscious insight through objective-only examination?  Our current process - outwards-in only - seems bass-ackwards.  When (if ever) will we learn to reconcile objectivity with subjectivity in the sciences?


Dolphins, Cute or Smart?

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An ecologist, Simon Allen, was doing a survey as a behavioral ecologist but then saw a dolphin above the surface of the water with a large conch shell. After about five minutes later, the dolphin went back underneath the water level. Simply put, he was baffled. But looking back at the photos he took, he found that the dolphin slurped a fish right out of the shell! 

Gotcha! (Image: Kathrin Bacher)

Basically, the dolphin used the conch shell as a tool to catch the fish. It would then bring it above the surface of the water and then shake the shell to stun the fish that was inside. Then it was goodbye to the little fish. They even named the conching dolphin William the Concherer. It seems as though that few dolphins "fish" for fish, but I think it's almost as cool as jumping sharks. Dolphins may be cute, but who knows what they are capable of.

As many of you may know, the world is predicted to end on December 21, 2012.  Many scientists have explored the idea of how the living life on this planet will be eradicated. Some Scientists say it all has to do with a global realignment, others say it will be a massive solar flare from the sun as it proceeds to die, and some say the earth goes through "ages" and 2012 marks the end of a 2,147 year long cycle in which we enter in to the age of Aquarius.  On December 21, 2012 we will reach the end of the 5,126 year Mayan calender.  It is presumed that this date shall mark the end of human existence with no real indication from the Mayan's why the calender stops there.  Do we believe that the Mayan people may have had some insight to the prediction of major natural disasters? or Is the pop-culture media using this end of the Mayan calender as a selling point? or are our imaginations running wild?

Global Realignment:
    Some physicists say 2012 marks the time in the earths cycle where an imbalance of the Earth's magnetic field will reach a point that the Earth must realign itself.  This would cause the earth's axes to turn completely horizontal and the north and south poles would be centered around the equator.  This realignment will cause cataclysmic events such as those depicted in the hit film "2012."  Major typhoons, land-masses ripping themselves apart, and lava rivers free-flowing through the streets.

Solar Flare:
    Some astronomers says that the sun is to blame.  As we all know the sun is a star made up of burning gasses.  As we also know, stars die.  It's been said that the end of the Mayan Calender marks the end of the sun's life.  The earth's crust will continue to get hotter.  Then there will be an enormous solar flare that will wipe out the earth's ozone layer and leave living life on earth unprotected from UV light and the earth's crust will burn and kill all living life.

Age of Aquarius:
    Astrologers believe that the earth's axes completes one full rotation every 25,765 years. This is known at a "Great Year." And in that great year we have 12 great months or "ages" consisting of 2,147 normal years.  Some believe we are reaching the end of our age (Age of Pieces) and we approach the age of Aquarius.  Based on the exact position of the constellations scientists have calculated the age of Aquarius to arrive in 2600.  But wait! 
that is no where near 2012.  Other scientists say somehow there where miscalculations and based on the end of the Mayan Calender the beginning of the age of Aquarius must be December 21, 2012.

I feel like there is an awful lot of speculation in all of these theories.  So, do YOU think we are going to cease to existed after the winter solstice December 21, 2012? 



Today's class, especially the discussion about alternatives to smoking/safer practices, reminded me of one of my friends who likes to smoke "herbal" cigarettes. Cloves, or other herbal tobacco, claim to have less negative effects and less of an addictive additive. However, it seems to me that the ingredients that create problems in people (nicotene anyone!) are still evident. Do you think that smoking cloves would be a good alternative to cigarette smokers? Or do you think that it is just as harmful? I attached a few links if you're interested... it's really odd.

Save the Beagles

Today in class we discussed the smoking experiments on beagles conducted by Oscar Auerbach and it deeply upset me.  First of all why test on animals and second of all why beagles?  I had never heard of animal testing on dogs before.  Rats and rabbits, yes but the use of dogs was unheard of for me!  It didn't sit well with me.  So I did some research and found that they are used for a wide variety of experiments.  I came across a man by the name of Allen Goldenthol who routinely utilizes beagles in his experiments.  Animal rights' advocates argue that this experimentation proves nothing since humans and canines are totally different species.  One article states, "Due to the physiological differences between beagles and humans, drugs have different effects on the two species. When Viagra was tested on beagles, they showed "beagle pain syndrome," experiencing  side effects such as arching of the back and neck stiffness that do not apply to humans. When the female contraceptive DMPA was tested on beagle dogs, the results were also extremely misleading."   These advocates urge ulterior methods such as invitro tests (which could be controversial in themselves) and computer models. The Save the Beagles group holds annual protests, the next one being Novemeber 29th so it will be interesting to see what happens with this controversial subject!  
Whenbeerandcigs.jpg you come across someone drinking an alcoholic beverage, at a bar or possibly at a tailgate, most of the time you will see smoking involved also. Why is this? Does something in the alcohol make you crave the nicotine from cigarettes? It is almost inevitable that when you go to the bar, it's for people that are looking to consume alcohol and it is most likely the only place that you will be allowed to smoke in a restaurant. So maybe alcohol does push you to smoke. In fact, the heaviest drinkers are also the heaviest smokers, and vice versa. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has said that, "between 80 and 95 percent of alcoholics smoke cigarettes...". This connects almost every alcoholic with cigarettes. A direct relationship is still unknown in some cases but it can be said that people use both to relieve their stress. Where nicotine represents a stimulant, alcohol plays the role of a depressant. As someone begins to consume the nicotine, his/her body rapidly engulfs the alcohol. This is turn leaves the smokers wanting more alcohol in order to find that "happy" feeling. So you can obviously say that where there is alcohol, there is smoking. They may not be directly correlated to each other, but you can most always say that one follows after the other.

Why smokers don't quit smoking


        Nowadays,it is amost a common sense that smoking is bad for health. However, there are still lots of people smoking. I used to wonder why they still smoke even though they know they have risk of getting lung cancer. I have a very close friend who smoke since high school. I asked him, he said he knows that scientists said smoking is bad for health, but he don't believe that he will get lung cancer. He even gave me examples of historic celebraties who smoked a lot but still lived a long time.

        His response remind me of what I have learned in my psychology class: behavior or belief, which come first? Psychologists did lots of experiences and it turned out that behavior and belief affect each other. People adapts their believes to appear consistants with their actions. So it is not easy to make smokers quit their smoking by just showing them scientific evidence. It is not convinsing enough for them.


Over the last two classes, we have been given a pretty thorough history of the ill effects of smoking and I believe it is safe to say that by the end of the two classes it is almost impossible to say with a straight face that smoking is not the source of lung cancer and a host of other diseases. The imperical evidence has shown a direct correlation and as the graphs show, thanks to loads of data and thorough experiments it is easy to infer that their is a strong inference between poor health and smoking. This begs the question then, if it is so bad for you, why do people still do it when they are potentially cutting years off of their lives. The simple answer is that it feels good to smoke. From someone who smokes somewhat frequently, there are times when the only thing I could go for is a cigarette, and as much as may say I won't have any over the course of a given day or week, that craving can pop up out of nowhere. Obviously this is because as everyone knows, cigarettes are clearly addictive and while I know they may not be in my best interests to smoke, like it or not I need a light every now and then. The physical craving can often outweigh the knowledge that the things are awful for me. I realize that cigarettes have become more and more taboo as research has become more and more clear on the effects, but once you start, the feeling and the need can outweight the logic.

Penn State chipmunks

        Has anyone else noticed the vast amounts of chipmunks that roam the Penn State sidewalks?  They are everywhere!  I was walking back to my dorm from a class today and had to dodge to one side of the path because two chipmunks scurried across right in front of me. 
I then decided that once I got home I would do some follow-up research on these little creatures.

"Chipmunk" is the "common name for any small squirrel-like rodent" according to "Chipmunk Facts" (below).  The website mentions that chipmunks typically are spotted around "Canada, the United States Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin and parts of the upper Midwest," which makes me wonder, why are they in Pennsylvania? The article also mentions that they go into hibernation during the winter months and rely on the items that they have stored in their burrows.  I want to conduct an experiment if anyone is willing to participate?  I want to see when chipmunks are out and about most on campus and keep a tally of all the times we see a chipmunk.  It would be very interesting to almost live like one for a day and see them in their natural habitat.  I also want to keep this up during the winter to see if the amount of spottings decreases.


In class today I was contemplating the possibilities of another factor in the seemingly obvious, smoking causing lung cancer relationship.  I aimlessly wondered upon the idea that maybe smoking does not cause cancer alone, but a gene does, however smoking interacting with these gene exacerbates some metabolic situation and this cause cancer.  Ironically, you mentioned basically the same thing about how genes determine your traits and how maybe in the future you will be able to essentially tell your medical future.  This also drew a question inside my head as to the certainty of any scientific research.  While at times you may be absolutely convinced and invested in one belief, you may uncover things that completely change your point of view.  Relating to the smoking discussion - prominent scientists of the last century arugest that smoking was not only not harmful, but could be beneficial.  This is a polar opposite of what scientist and doctors know believe.  Obviously, scientific evidence back than and procedures was not what is it today, but the future holds many un-imaginable breakthroughs, so how can we be sure we are right now.  I guess  that is why scientific humility is so important.

Also relating to the genetic testing discussion, I watched this very interesting lecture a couple months ago by bio-ethicist Gregory Stock discuses the morality involved in the decisions of the scientific future and how people should react to these advances.  Here is  the lecture;

Why the Beagle, you ask?

   After today's lecture, I was very curious as to why the Beagle was such a fan favorite for scientific research. Frankly, I didn't even know they were used. I was well aware of rabbits, mice, and other small creatures...but it took a cute cuddly puppy for me to get thinking. Why Beagles specifically? There are many other small dog breeds.
    I found an article containing the answer, and some other interesting facts I wasn't aware of:

Dogs are routinely used by medical schools and laboratories in heart and lung research, transplantation experiments, cancer research, microbiology, genetics, orthopedics, surgery, and veterinary medicine. Dogs are also commonly used in toxicity studies to test the safety of human drugs, food additives, industrial chemicals, and other products.

Puppies, or dogs under one year of age, are frequently used in these experiments. The most common dogs used in laboratories are beagles, but not because scientists view them as the best 'models' for humans. Rather, beagles are convenient to use because they are docile and small, allowing for more animals to be housed and cared for using less space and money.

And there you have it, being man's best friend has made them a prime candidate for extensive scientific research. I ask....why not the cockroach? Or some other insect I have no emotional attachment too? Yes, I am biased for cute cuddly animals. But of course, I cannot deny that animal studies have helped progress things for humans...I just hope the puppies are having a nice time when they aren't smoking. :(
This article, published in Scientific American in 2007, explains how "long-term, moderate consumption of alcohol improves recall of both visual and emotional stimuli." I thought this was interesting because of Dr. Read's previous discussions on testing a rat's memory, and also because of the alcohol aspect and how it relates to us as college students. 


Two science professors at Ohio State University (ironic) initially began their research on the role of N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) in the "neuronal processes of normal and diseased animals." 

The two scientists said that the rats were on a special diet for 8 weeks, and they began to test their memory after 4. They tested novel object recognition and in a second test, were trained to anticipate a jot when they crossed from a white to black compartment within the cage.

The scientists said that they are unsure how this precisely correlates to human behavior, but that the ratio of alcohol-intake for the rats is comparable to our legal driving limit. I don't know what to think of this experiment, since I'm sure many of us have had a loss of memory due to alcohol consumption. Why does only a little alcohol make a difference?

We all know the life threatening effects of smoking, The detrimental effects on lung tissue is very well documented along with the damage to the skin, liver, stomach, intestines... the list goes on. Cigarette smokers have manifested more variations of cancer than any other social group. Those of us who have family members and friends who smoke are likely to try and convince them to quit. We all know the risks, we want to help them stop.  

It is a lot more likely for someone to say, "hey, you need to quit smoking, its killing you" than to say, "you are fat and eating like a pig, you need to exercise, its killing you."  Food can be just as much of an addiction as cigarettes and turns into a lifestyle that is just as hard to quit. While telling someone they are fat, overweight, or obese is hard to do, it is a reality that the number of deaths caused by obesity are catching up with those of smoking related deaths. In fact, it is estimated that if obesity continues to rise 20% of all health care spending will be on obesity related diseases. 

"According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) smoking in 2000 was the biggest cause of death - 435,000 people died. 18.1% of everyone who died in that year died of a smoking related disease." Obesity caused 400,000 deaths.

 In class we said about 50% of the population smoke. Compare that to about 64% of Americans who are obese, meaning their BMI (body mass index) is over 30. A lot of non- smokers would agree that smoking is very bad for you, but these same people are most likey eating foods high in salt, saturated fat, trans fat, and refined sugars, which all contribute to overweight and obesity. Our culture does not condone ridiculing obesity, so this is the method of choice for those wishing to limit their life span without suffering the social ostracizing that accompanies smoking cigarettes.

smoking vs obesity.jpg

Calling all athletes...

        Have you ever been "in the zone" while playing your sport of choice? When you are "in the zone" you are at your peak performance and your mind and body are completely in-touch with each other.  I am a golfer and when I am "in the zone" I play my best because I have the ability to let go of any negative thoughts that may have been clouding my head before.  I realize that it's just me and the golf ball, and the game becomes ten times easier to handle.
         But why does this only happen sometimes and the great athletes who have mastered this cannot describe exactly how to get to "the zone?"
        This topic really intrigues me so I have been doing some research on sports psychology.  Sports psychology according to "" is: "a branch of psychology that researches mental factors in attainment of athletic skills and performance." 
        A book I am reading right now called "Mind Over Golf" written by Dr. Richard Coop (Biography= with Bill Fields and a foreword by Payne Stewart mentions that once you improve the mental side of your golf game, that your scores will get better.  This will give you the best chance to "get in the zone."
     What are all of your opinions on mastering "the zone?"  Does it require getting a sports psychologist?  Can you achieve it consistently on your own through self-hypnosis ( or journaling about your mental state of mind during your sport? What is the answer?
One things that I have enjoyed so far about Dr. Read's class is the correlation studies that he presented to us. I came across a very interesting correlation that argued that during a full moon crime is more likely to occur. The study was done by Indian medical researchers CP Thakur and Dilip Sharma and the report published in 1984 in the British Medical Journal. Their results indicated that crime-related incidents occurred in higher numbers on days when there was full moon. They examined police reports from a rural town, an urban town, and an industrial town. They blame the full moon for creating "human tidal waves" and argue that the "full moon exerts more gravity on the water in human bodies, disturbing our biological processes." Their results caused police in Brighton, UK to heighten security on full-moon nights. Studies were also performed on inmates that suggested that there was a rise in "violent incidents" on the days "either side of a full moon." Furthermore, insurance companies have done studies that examine the correlation between car accidents on full moon days. 

Obviously, this study seems pretty far-fetched but I thought it was interesting that multiple parties decided to perform studies on this topic. I think it's safe to say that the fact that violence/crime-related incidents occur more often (in these studies) during a full moon is merely coincidence and that correlation is not related to causation. But maybe I'm wrong and all of us should be extra careful when the full moon is out!!!!

Worms thinking like humans?

Since we have been talking about worms in class I thought this article was somewhat relevant and of course interesting. In humans, the cerebral cortex is the part of the brain responsible for creative and analytical thinking. New research has shown that something very similar to the cerebral cortex appears in an ancient worm: the marine ragworm. A researcher at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. Detlev Arendt said, "You can say that the topography is so similar that the human and worm must come from the same common ancestor." As part of a study, cellular profiling was used that had astonishing results. The profiling showed that when a molecular footprint was taken in the parts of the ragworms brain ( known as mushroom bodies) the footprint was extremely similar to that of the cerebral cortex. The question is.. what is this part of the brain doing and what is it capable of doing?

Cognitive enhancement drugs

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About so-called smart drugs, drugs which allegedly increase academic performance: I've had a few questions on this - see the comments on the Topics page for a lead into this.

My 1st Blog

I am not a science major. I am an economics major. I choose not to be a science major because  I am not very good at science if that makes any sense? But I am glad that i took this class because it does seem interesting and I am looking forward to learning more about the different topics that we will be learning about
As I read Henry Ford's quote in class the other day that "The typical criminal is an inveterate cigarette smoker...The cigarette drags boys down," I was interested to see if there is actually truth to his statement.  IS the typical criminal a smoker?  What about the atypical criminal...murderers?  Well, my peers, the internet is indeed a limitless source when it comes to such specific questions.  However, I did find an interesting correlation between marijuana use and cigarette use.  According to the report from CASA News Release titled "Cigarettes, Marijuana Linked for Teens, Cigarette Smokers More Likely to Try Pot," 60 percent of repeat marijuana users smoked cigarettes first. The report surveyed teenagers specifically and found that those who smoke cigarettes are FOURTEEN times likelier than their non-smoking teens to try marijuana.  This leads me to marijuana use in prison.  According to the "Substance Abuse Statistics Tips" (, marijuana use amongst the incarcerated in state and federal prisons between the years 1997 and 2004 was prevalent.  77% of state prisoners and 71.2% of state prisoners admitted to previous marijuana use.

Let me put this in perspective.  In an article by Sarah N. Lynch in Time Magazine titled "An American Pastime: Smoking Pot," 42% of people surveyed in the United States had tried marijuana at least once.  This statistic is about 32% lower than the percentage of prisoners that admitted to marijuana use.  So if cigarette smokers are more likely to smoke marijuana, and prisoners are more likely to smoke marijuana, then this leads me to conclude that prisoners are more likely to be cigarette smokers.

Lady Gaga's glasses tell it all....those chains looks painful....

Ever since the notion that participating in crosswords and other mind-stimulating activities slows the process of alzeheimer's disease, I feel like everyone is trying to "lower their brain age" and keep their brain healthy. There are even IPhone apps dedicated to it (,news-4053.html). But the shocking news is that there is new evidence saying that it doesn't help very much in the long run. According to this article, the brain stimulation will help slow it down, but it ends up catching up to its natural progression. What do you think?


The Flynn Effect


During class Dr. Read mentioned how our civilization is getting smarter and smarter throughout time. This seems like something that should definately be occuring over time, but why? How is it that your IQ is more than likely higher than those of your parents, and the chances are your children's IQ will be higher than yours?

This is a very intertesting topic that James Flynn makes an attempt at answering. In the December 2007 edition of the Intelligent Life Magazine, The Flynn Effect trys to explain how "IQ's are rising sharply from generation to generation." Flynn discovered that "white Americans had been steadily gaining about 3/10 of an IQ point a year for almost half a century" through a series of studies he conducted consisting of over 7000 people. He decided to further back his evidence with as many international, military studies as possible. He discovered a study called Raven's Progressive Matrices that was administered to 18 year old Dutch conscripts and also to their sons of later years. It was a simple test, very similar to a puzzle, but the sons of the first test subjects ended up scoring 18 points higher on average than their fathers. He also recieved another 13 sets of data, from various countries, that all helped support IQ gains.

This specifics of the data allowed him to come to the conclusion that we aren't technically smarter than our ancestors, but we learned to apply our intelligence to a new set of problems. This is due to the shifting social priorities. An example of this is how, in the 1900's, people were totally fine with starting work at a very young age and therefore did not recieve much education. This was the standard back then, where the mass population was not interested in intelligence as much as labor. Today though, the standard has rised quite a considerate amount to where a lot more people are highly interested in education and recieving a high paying job. The simple fact is, what we value gets stronger.

Suprisingly, this was actually my hypothesis on the subject. I was skeptical to the fact that people were just getting smarter. I believe that what you expect of yourself and what you truely believe is possible for you, what you value, is where your going to end up. People back then didnt have expectations like the people of today, their mental capacity was just the same, they just didnt know many possibilities past working in the industrial field. This is especially true since the majority began work at a very young age, therefore they had no time to really dream and "upgrade" their expectations and values. So, as many times as you've heard this before, dream big because anything is possible!

A big interest of mine is psychology, which deals a lot with correlational studies, some of which "went mad." 
A correlational study conducted by Albert Bandura supports the idea that individuals (in this case, children) learn through imitating others. This is true, and Bandura's Bobo Doll Experiment took this idea further and proved that children in elementary school who are exposed to violent TV, video games, and movies, expressed increased aggression. In case you don't know, a Bobo doll is an egg shaped ballon creature that has a weight in the bottom so that when you hit it, it pops back up. In his experiment he videotaped a women who hit the Bobo doll, sat on it, kicked it, and hit it with a hammer a few times, all while yelling aggressive phrases such as, "sockaroo." He then showed a group of kindergardeners this video, who naturally loved it. Then he set the children free to play in a room with several Bobo dolls and a couple small hammers. As you might imagine, the children went to work on that doll. Hitting it, yelling at it, and so on. He then did the same thing with a real live clown, and the results were very similar. The children that didn't participate in hitting the real live clown but did with the bobo doll, most likely saw the bobo doll as a game, and did not see it as such with a real person. 
In this case, the children did show increased aggression, but I do not believe that violence on TV, in video games, etc. is the CAUSE of violence in our world. For one thing, Bandura refined his experiment by showing the same video but the woman was punished at the end for hurting the doll. In this case, the number of children who hit the bobo doll dropped by more than half. This is relevant in the real world because violence leads to punishment whether it be timeout or more seriously, the police, and children learn this via observation just as the would violence. Violent people who end up in jail might have watched violent movies, played violent video games, or even saw real live violence in their home, but know the consequence just as well as anyone else. Therefor, I feel in this experiment correlation was a factor but causation is not justified.

Science vs. Morals

The hardcore Christian preachers telling me I deserve hell outside of the HUB got me thinking.  The world could be a better place without religion, and not just because it begins most wars.

I believe it's holding back scientific advancements that would make us live better lives.  Stem cell research is a popular topic that arises due to its ethical issues.  If the government lived up to its separation of church and state, it would endorse researches to experiment with them.  I'm not promoting abortion here but at least they could use the already-aborted for the cells.  I'm not an expert but it could probably lead to cures for cancer.  Maybe my uncle, who is suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, would be able to see his one-month-old granddaughter go to college.

Or maybe it's best that the ethically strong continue to win over and not let science spin out of control, leading to George Orwell's 1984.

My First Blog

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I am so glad that i switched into this class. I feel like it is a perfect class for me and i will do very well in the class. great air conditioned room, great teacher who know the subject very well and i love his accent. I am looking forward to this years semester.

Are You Sick? Just Use Bacteria!


Who would have thought? It's like fighting fire with fire. Researchers have found that we can potentially use BACTERIA to fight off diseases. When harmful bacteria invade a body, they must work together as a team and communicate well with each, using Quorum Sensing, to efficiently infect a body. Well, they found that in Staphylococcus aureus infections, there were certain bacteria that were lacking in Quorum Sensing. There were several bacteria that only looked after themselves and did whatever was best to let them reproduce more. With time, the bacteria would quickly outnumber the other bacteria that are producing toxins. Therefore, the infection is significantly less harmful. Although this only a concept, it may indeed lead to cures.

When I stumbled across this article it caught my attention because of all the posters around my dorm warning students about bedbugs. As I read on, I wasn't sure if I should get freaked out, or if they are really no big deal. The thing that the scientists in this article found most interesting, which I find astonishing too, is that bedbugs don't spread any diseases. Basically, they are bugs that live in your bed (which yeah, is very weird and uncomfortable to think about) but all they do is make you itchy sometimes. Many other bugs that come into contact with people spread vicious diseases or can drastically affect their health, such as mosquitos, ticks, fleas, and yes, worms! I wonder what scientists will come up with in order to get rid of bedbugs, which has stumped scientists for years so far. Yet bedbugs haven't been a real problems for many, many years because they were not really present for a huge chunk of time and just recently came back into the picture. Because of this, there are few scientists focusing on the bedbug problem. Another reason why there are so few scientists dedicated to bedbugs is because they just are not such a pressing problem, compared to the other bugs that spread illnesses. I think scientists will definitely be able to learn a lot from bedbugs in time. They were given HIV positive blood to drink and never picked up the diseases, and drank hepatitis blood and didn't pass it on. Something in particular makes it so they don't get infected by diseases, and cannot spread them. If scientists focused on this, maybe they could in time find a way to make this possible for humans. This way, diseases of the blood and other infectious diseases wouldn't be spread anymore, which would really be an amazing thing. This is why I wonder, should I hate bedbugs, for the gross creatures they are, or should  I be amazed that they can drink infected blood and not become ill at all? It would be more productive to, instead of focusing on killing them, to understand how they survive.  

The Dangers in Football

Growing up a Penn Stater, Penn State football has come second to none in my family. Similarly, my younger brother has played football every year since seventh grade. However, just last week, he suffered his first concussion playing against the varsity offensive line as a sophomore. A week later and he is still suffering and showing symptoms. For example, he has to have all the lights turned off to avoid pain and sometimes watches TV with sunglasses on. My brother can't even sit through a day of school without passing out.
I think we all know that football is a dangerous sport. The speed and size of today's players create much bigger and harder hits. While this might be pleasing to the fans, do we really know what these collisions are doing to the players?
psu tackle.jpgEven recently, it has been brought up in the sporting news that what might appear to be a simple headache can be a threatening concussion. There is a vast amount of research about what multiple concussions can do to a person and how it will affect them for the rest of their life. This New York Times article  does a great job laying out just a minimal amount of the findings there are in the science world about the dangers of head injuries sustained through playing football. Watching my brother go through this scares me, especially after reading this fact presented by the NFL and the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research: "Alzheimer's disease or similar memory-related diseases appear to have been diagnosed in the league's former players vastly more often than in the national population -- including a rate of 19 times the normal rate for men ages 30 through 49."
Even just a last year, Chris Henry of the Cincinnati Bengals died after a traumatic fall from a moving vehicle had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) -- a form of degenerative brain damage caused by multiple hits to the head -- at the time of his death, according to scientists at the Brain Injury Research Institute, a research center affiliated with West Virginia University. (ESPN) CTE is an extremely serious issue and the only known cause if multiple violent hits to the head. It is unknown for sure if CTE was a reason why Henry died from the accident, but many scientists say there is direct causality. As shown in the image, CTE is an issue more people need to be worrying about.

There are many more issues that come up with this topic: Are the helmets currently being used effective enough? Are all of the new rules/penalties the NFL/NCAA implies really protecting the players? Should children be able to play football starting from the age as young as five and continue on through high school/college/pros? How many players get concussions but then never report them? Do players even know they have a concussion and not just a headache?
I will always love the sport of football and I want my brother to get the the highest level he can. But no one knows how long the affects of a concussion will live with you and I hope that someday there will be even better technology to protect everyone who plays the sport of football.

I was perusing the New York Times science section and a certain article caught my eye.  This article, 'Will Aging Chimps Get to Retire, or Face Medical Research?' discussed a lot about the interaction between science and ethics.  The article discusses the pros and cons of beginning new medical testing on aging chimps--this involves exposing them to such viruses as Hepatitis C and HIV--is this wrong or a necessary part of science? 
The article goes on to discuss more issues surrounding animal research as well as where things stand in terms of science and ethics.  Where do you draw the line on certain experiments?  After all, chimpanzees have so many similarities to humans, is all this testing helpful to humans or just unnecessary and harmful to chimps?  I would like to know if any real breakthroughs have actually come from these experiments and all this testing.  I think it would be an interesting topic to discuss in class.  It could even relate to the natural makeup discussed in a previous blog.  Is animal testing used in makeup companies to a large extent as well? I think the relationship between science and ethics is worth discussing. 

Initial Blog Post


 First of all, I decided to take this science course for a few reasons. For one thing, I hadn't taken any science courses until this point in college, so I wanted to get a few of the required science credits out of the way (specifically because I'm not a huge fan of science in general). I decided to pick this particular science class because the description made it sound both easier and less dull, or more creative than other science classes that I have taken in the past. They have always been very cut and dry, and mostly consisted of being taught to memorize and regurgitate broad scientific facts rather than exploring them from a more human and creative perspective, which is what this class sounded like it was supposed to do.

There are also many reasons that I didn't choose to become a science major, some of which are mentioned above. As I said before, I never enjoyed the science classes I took in elementary, middle, and high school. It was always my least favorite subject for a few reasons, mostly because I never really liked the teachers on a personal level for some reason and because I didn't like the way the classes were taught. Also, I never really got into the subject matter of science much either. Sure, there were always some interesting facts to be found, but I was always more interested in fiction, language, creative writing and writing in general. To me, the things I have learned in most science classes have been like some of the things I've studied in metaphysical philosophy--kind of interesting but not applicable to me because it doesn't play any real role in my day-to-day life.

Friends or Frenemies?

This post could raise a lot of controversy but I would love to get people's opinions on the matter.   Yesterday in class we discussed the effects of smoking on your health with both legitimate and illegitimate statistics.  I left class with a thousand thoughts running through my head but the main one was I wish my friends would quit.

Personally, I have a really tight group of 5 best friends back at home.  4/5 smoke and I am that small percent that doesn't.  I have nothing against smokers but it kills me to see my best friends smoking all the time.  I see what it does to their health (getting colds and coughs all the time) and to their personalities (moody when they don't get their fix.)  They are all good about not pressuring me to smoke with them but I am still concerned with the effects of second hand smoke.  Sometimes I feel angry at how they could be so selfish but then other times I feel guilty for feeling that way.  Being in that group has made me realize "catchy" the trend is.  When we all first started hanging out only 1 of the 5 smoked and now look what happened.  

So I guess what I am trying to find out through this blog is what are your thoughts on friends smoking?  And better yet, how do you deal with it?  Because I find myself struggling with this issue everyday.

Thanks guys!

The high price of smoking

One of the things (in addition to the health effects of course) that always prevented me from smoking was the huge amount of money spent in order to buy cigarettes. I was curious as to how much smokers typically spent on cigarettes in a year when I came across this article   that broke down not only the costs of cigarettes but the extra costs life expenses that smokers typically pay. The article mentioned that health and homeowners insurance are typically higher for smokers. In addition costs I never thought of add up for smokers for things like dry cleaning to get the smell out of clothes, gum and mints to cover up smoker's breath, and teeth whitening, for obvious reasons. It also stated that despite anti descriminatory laws in many states, smokers are less likely to be hired after job interviews and nonsmokers typically earn more in their lifetime. Finally it stated that on average, smoker spend about $1600 a year on cigarettes. Most smokers have been smokers for many years so all those costs can add up to exhorbitant fees throughout the years. Hundreds of thousands of dollars could be saved and put to better use, like saving up for a home, a new car, college, a vacation, or just regular living expenses just by not smoking. Personally, I think theses costs alone should be a huge red flag not to smoke, especially since none of the costs are beneficial, but they also demonstrate how strong the addiction is that people are still willing to pay to harm their bodies despite the constant costs.

Fire Tornado! wtf!

What is that? Could those things happen here? Why are we not worried about this? Can we talk about things like this and other natural disasters in class?
fire tornado.jpg

Benjamin Rush = my ancestor

I was really interested when Andrew mentioned Benjamin Rush was one of the first people to think smoking was bad for you. A few years ago I learned I was related to him on my mother's side. He signed the Declaration of Independence. He was a doctor, but his degree was in psychology, so I'm not sure why he spoke out against smoking. Sorry Andrew, but history is another thing that I find more interesting than science  
One of the most talked about and most controversial discussions about safe health is the debate over whether or not smoking a pipe is safer than smoking cigarettes. It seems plausible to most people that pipes indeed are more safer. Look at Hugh Hefner! He's been living for what, 134 years? He's been puffing that darn old pipe since you began his Playboy Magazine, and probably before that. Now my father has smoked a pipe ever seen I was a little tike. He did hef1.jpgit on nightly walks, out at BBQs, etc. As I grew up, I always wondered if that pipe was killing him or not because schools instilled in us that cigarette smoking is terrible for you, never pipe smoking. Recently in class, Mr. Read briefly expressed that the heat from the pipe is so close to your mouth that it can possibly cause you lip cancer. Well I pray to God that my dad is safe, which he has seemed to be for the past 18 years. From being around my dad, I've learned that pip smokers use a different kind of tobacco when smoking. "Pipe" tobacco can sometimes be more costly than regular cigar tobacco, mainly for the special flavors. In fact, because of these flavors is the real reason why pipes are better for you than cigarettes. The nicotine from cigarettes is TERRIBLE for you, and you really inhale a lot of it into your lungs. Due to pipe flavored tobacco, just a small intake can satisfy your needs. So even though any smoking is bad, it seems that pipes are a little safer.

Today's class got the media-enthusiast side of me curious on the "age-old" testament of sex selling. It's a proven fact that sexuality and sex within the media naturally appeals to audiences (whether that is a positive or negative thing is a whole other topic!). So, when Andrew showed us the advertisments, especially the video, of the cigarettes, it made me wonder what sex could really sell. Everywhere, especially in science-related fields, there are "sexy" ads trying to sell products. The first thing I thought of was birth control ads and Viagra ads. Both of these products are made by scientists, products of the scientific fields, and they both sell phenomenally. But what is it that really sells these products? My theory is that the media and the premise of these products have made them sell successfully, not the actual science and statistics behind the product. Sure, the fact that they work is great, but would people buy birth control if they thought it wasn't sexy? Would "gray foxes" buy Viagra if they thought it wouldn't improve their sex appeal? Look at the ads and let me know!


It absolutely drives me crazy when I pass someone smoking and they toss their cigarette on the group when their done with it. Take a puff, exhale...take a puff, exhale...take a puff, throw it on the ground. Why is it that people who smoke feel the earth is their own personal ash tray? Even on campus - there are designated places to smoke and in those places there are trash cans to put the outted cigarette! So can someone explain to me...why throw it on the ground?! I don't want to drag your cancer causers in on my shoes!


While doing my daily web browsing, I came across this article. Although the process seems to be in it's elementary stage, it has A LOT of potential and can make a big difference if it works out. I am a strong supporter of our current nuclear energy technologies, and seeing something like this just gets me excited for the future. Cool stuff.

What's next?

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It really is amazing how long it had taken from the start of the smoking craze until people finally figured out that it was harmful. Its crazy how we humans work. People wanted to smoke, so it becomes rationalized through what they would call "science".The human mind is a powerful thing. Sometimes we just believe what we want to hear. There are many examples in history of things people thought would be constructive, but ended up causing devastating harm. Like Agent Orange as a weapon, meant to just kill plants...but ends up harming so many people for years to come. Smoking is just meant to help you relax, but then does so much else to your body years later. The question is, what is going on now that we think is so useful but might bring devasation in years to come? I guess thats just the point. Nothing can ever be fool proof when it is first mainstreamed, but who knows what consequences will come from it. Guess we'll just have to wait and see!

But another thing, this article really is a great reminder of the help science has brought to us. Only 50-60 some years ago, people were still naive about smoking. And now we live in a society where we are aware of the facts! (Despite the fact that people continue to smoke, at least they are aware of what they're doing)

Electronic Cigarette

    The electronic cigarette may seem like an adequate way to stop smoking, but it may not be as effective as other products like the patch, or gum.  When someone takes a drag of the ecigarette, the nicotine solution is vaporized and "smoker" inhales the vapor.  While many people find that this is a good alternative to smoking, others also believe that it may be hazardous to ones health.  Some say that the nicotine levels in the ecigarette are very high and could be dangerous; and the also contain other additives that can be harmful.  But the question remains, does this actual help someone to stop smoking?  I believe it does not help because it is only mimicking the action of smoking, it doesn't eliminate the whole smoking process.  Say someone who uses the ecigarette finds that the lithium battery inside has died, now what should that person do?  The craving for a nicotine is still there, and if it can't be satisfied by the ecigarette, the only other way to satisfy the addiction is by smoking a normal cigarette.  At this point electronic cigarettes are still in their early stages.  Who knows, maybe like normal cigarettes, we might think they are harmless at first, but in time we may find that they are equally if not more harmful then cigarettes.
Today in class when we were watching the PSU Health Services video about smoking I found many a things interesting. The videographer went around to PSU students asking them, "Do you think smoking is attractive?" Almost every one of the male students who responded stated, they thought smoke was, "a turn off" when they saw girls smoking. The male students also said it was "gross" because it turned girls' teeth yellow and their breath and clothing smelt badly. I found this interesting because although many brought up that smoking was bad for one's health a lot of the male students commented on how smoking changes their image on females, not on males. Does this imply male students think it's "okay" for other male students to smoke cigarettes but "not okay" for female students to smoke? And/or, does this also imply that women smokers are held at a different standard then male smokers? 

Another thing that was interesting was that the females that were interviewed almost always talked about what smoking does to one's appearance. I felt this exemplified how females today are still obsession over appearance and what others think of them. Any comments?

I also found it interesting that many of the students said the percentage of smokers at PSU was high because many people smoke while they are drinking/drunk. I was wondering if anyone could comment on what they think the reason is behind people smoking while drunk.

Every night starting at around 10:30 my roommate and I notice the odor of smoke creeping into our second floor room from the alcove outside our room, which is obviously not a designated smoking area. Sometimes we yell down and nicely try to get them to leave and others we just close our windows, cutting off the small amount of moving air that attempts to cool off our oven of a room. Our RA has even gone down a few times to try to stop people from smoking down there. No matter what, the next night there are more smokers outside our room polluting our air. Normally, we complain about the smell, but today the small thought of second-hand smoke became an even bigger concern for me. I've always known about second-hand smoke and some of the dangers, but I had yet to think of it while at college. Any amount of smoke has to be bad for you but what if I'm breathing it a little every night for the next year? It's not going to be good for me or my roommate.

Missing Link?


"Do worms affect a child's ability to learn or perform in school?"

This is the question we raised in class last week. Through a series of explanations and demonstrations of experiments to test this question, we came to the conclusion that worms do indeed have some sort of effect on the cognitive development and abilities of a child.
However, as I sat there in class and thought about it, more and more theories seemed to present themselves to me.

For instance, soon after we finished our discussion concerning the crawling invaders we took a pop quiz covering the medical impact of malnutrition or lack of nutrition in terms of moose developing arthritis. Now while the article we read for the quiz didn't exactly experiment with the possible effects of nutrition or lack thereof in early stages of life, it did briefly relate this possibility to human beings.

So as I sat there and thought some more one particular idea occurred to me: the worms that attack the immune system of a child could very well be the cause of malnutrition in a child's development. Now I raise a new question: Is the missing link between the worms and the child's ability to perform well in their studies the absence of necessary nutrition in a child's system?

To study this, I did a little research and I found this website:

Basically, this short article holds research examining the effect of a child's learning abilities in the absolute prime of their life, even going so far as to say that the effects could begin to occur prior to birth. Now, while it does speak specifically about the first two years of a child's life being the most vital in receiving this nutrition, it is quite clear that a child's nutrition will continue to be important in aspects of development.

Another question I couldn't help but ask is whether or not worms could be indirectly linked with arthritis, assuming that arthritis is actually caused by too few nutritional elements in a person's early stage of life.

However, as this question seemed to be a mere digression, I didn't particularly research it. So, until someone asks the same questions and does the appropriate research, I suppose it will just remain a theory. Although I can't help but wonder what scientists or even other people like me think about either or both of these theories.



My first entry :)

Hey y'all, I'm Libby!  I'm from RichmondVirginia and I'm a BFA musical theatre major, which I guess answers why I'm not a science major.  Musical theatre is one of my biggest passions in life, and the fact that I get to study and pursue that is so exciting, so I wouldn't study anything else (even if I were talented in science which is soo not the case). I went to a Governor's High School for Government and International Studies, so my academic passions have always based around public policy, discussion forums for new issues, and satisfying curiosity in various topics.  My confidence in a science classroom was pretty much demolished in chemistry and physics, so I was uber pumped to find a class that gets to ask questions and look into interesting issues without having to understand the "how to's".  The dork in me is way too excited for this class..

Okay, I guess I'm a little late but I'll explain myself anyways. The main reason I'm taking this class is because my good buddy Tara Sfida recommended it to me. She couldn't tell me what it was about, anything about the professor but his accent, or if it looked difficult or not. But I'm a blind faith kind of guy.
The reason I'm not a science major is because science is too precise an art for me. As you can tell by my dysfunction with deadlines. Most things, actually, are too precise an art for me, but I've never been able to tolerate physics or chemistry. Anything past fig newtons and moles in hills is lost on me. I've always been a fan of biology, but even that tells me way more than I ever wanted to know about my body.
Honestly, it's tough for me to find any school subjects I'm interested in. It just so happens Science is wrapped up in the least attractive package for me, with bows of ticker tape and way too much math to ever be fun.

Torri's Blog

Hello everyone. I took this class because I needed to fulfill my science credits and when looking into possible science classes I could choose from, this one caught my eye. This is primarily because I do not have a love for science and when I read the description of the class it seemed like it would be relatively interesting but not too challenging at the same time.

I am not planning to be a science major because I have never had an interest in science growing up, it really isn't my cup of tea. I find it a little boring at times, though I did really enjoy my environmental science class in high school. I am a psychology major and want to be an Educational Psychologist. I want to work with children and helping them in finding the correct ways to learn in their specific situations.
I am a freshman here at Penn State I was originally enrolled in a science course that explored the geology of Africa and plate tectonics On my FTCAP day the class seemed intriguing yet after looking over the syllabus I chose the class was not for me A lot of the work was gone online and we hardly met throughout the semester When I looked online to see if other science courses would interest me (I was not very optimistic) I was drawn to the description of SC 200 when it said, "no prior science knowledge is required." I was excited and after being in class for one day I knew I chose the right course.

I chose not to be a science major because I never really enjoyed a science class throughout my high school education. I enjoyed learning about hereditary genes/traits in 8th grade and anatomy in 11th grade but I really disliked bio, chem, and physical science The math equations in chem were disastrous and annoying I also hated the memorization of the periodic tables I enjoyed anatomy, I liked learning about the different functions of the human body but I hated the memorization part of the course. Because I never had a motivating science teacher/course that is probably what lead me away from studying the subject. Although I find many things interesting I am happy that I am an English and PR major and I'm excited with exploring careers I can do within this field of study.

The Sermon of Science

I lost interest in science as a school subject relatively early in my academic career.  To be clear, I truly appreciate modern conveniences and fully acknowledge science's contributions.  This, however, was not the science represented in the classroom where teachers preached about an infallible and omnipresent force from boring (and, in my case, antiquated) texts.  The course curriculum demanded blind faith and punished healthy skepticism, rewarding those who could recite passages from the text with near-religious zeal.

So I dropped out of the congregation and gravitated towards areas with a livelier debate -- literature, politics, philosophy -- and soon found myself in the liberal arts.  Since arriving at Penn State, I have tip-toed lightly around the question of my general education science requirements, searching for those courses without the brand of "chemistry" of "biology."  This semester, I finally stumbled upon an "-y" that caught my attention: controversy.  A single word that calls into to question the certainty and authority that permeates each claim to "scientific" study in our enlightened civilization.  A noun that threatens the very existence of the "expert."  An opportunity to take care of three more credits (and maybe even learn something). 
My name is Suzanne Zakaria and I come from Delaware County, PA, about twenty minutes outside of Philadelphia.  Throughout high school, I forced myself to take higher level science courses because it looked "good" on my transcript.  That being said, it was truly miserable.  I have no interest in knowing the anatomy of leaf, memorizing the atomic table, or measuring gravity.  Switching into this class (from Biology) was the best science class decision I've ever made.  I would like to build an appreciation for science and am already excited to learn about the various controversies within the scientific world.  Topics like "Are wormy kids stupid?" are engaging and non-conventional for a science class.  This class seems tailored for someone like myself, an International Politics major.  I'm excited to see what the class can offer me!

First Entry

Nick Hordov-
The main reason i decided to take this class was to better my understanding of world of science that I was not taught in highschool. In high school we only learn the text book side of science, I was hoping that in this class we would learn about whats really happening in the world we live in. I was very pleased to hear what Mr. Read planned to cover in the upcoming semester, we have been fed biology, chemistry, and physics for the past 12 years, but we have no way to apply it to modern time. I am very excited to learn about the other side of science that I never got from the textbooks in High school.
2. I suppose there are a couple reasons that I chose not to major in science, I am horrible at complex math so Physics and all those crazy subjects would destroy me. Unfortunately like Mr Read exclaimed, grade school science killed my view of the subject in general. I went through my years of grade school dreading science class because of all of the useless junk we get shoved down our throats by science teachers. Learning about cells and organisms gets old after 12 years, I always wanted to learn about what intrigued me, that i was led me to join this class. 

Caitlyn Doyle's 1st blog

I have no intentions of being a science major because all throughout high school it was my least favorite subject.  I knew I definitely did not want to make a career out of it.  I have heard that if you do what you love for your career then it won't feel like it's work, so I plan on taking courses that I love more than science.
     I am taking this course because one of my advisers in my major (Professional Golf Management) recommended the course because it is new and interesting.

Lauren Morrow: First Entry

Hey guys! My name is Lauren Morrow and I'm from right here in State College. I'm majoring in supply chain management.  I chose to take this class because I needed a science credit and this seemed to fit my previous feelings toward science. I have never been a fan. Chemistry was definitely not a strong point for me..I could hardly figure out how to work the Bunsen burner let alone do the labs. This class seemed like it would deal with interesting material and not focused on memorization or complicated math. I am hoping to gain a better appreciation of science from this class and learn some things too!

Joselyn's First Entry

Hey everyone! I'm Joselyn Berrios from Bridgewater, New Jersey. NJ ALL DAY! ;) I am a psychology major with a minor in business. I took this course because science has always been one of my favorite subjects. I am the biggest tree hugger and animal lover , so science is something that really interests me.  Also, when I read the course description of this class, it didn't seem like it was all about math skills, or all about memorizing vocabulary. It seemed to be more about what is out there in the world of science and what we can learn from it. This is what I feel all science classes should be like!

I am not planning on becoming a science major because although I love studying nature and animals, I do not have the heart to be a veterinarian and put a dog to sleep, and I do not think that there are too many jobs that will allow me to just go hiking or swimming in the great outdoors, unfortunately.  I also did not enjoy chemistry or physics in high school.  They included lots of math and memorization of formulas that I didn't feel were necessary.  But if I could find a job that would allow me to play with animals, hike, plant trees, and stay outdoors, then I may decide to change my major to science very quickly.. :)

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