September 2012 Archives

Procrastination Fascination


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Procrastination. Typical part of a college kid's lifestyle. Why do you think the blog gets backed up with posts so close to the deadline? We think we have all this time to get things done, yet the deadlines seem to creep up on us quicker than we think.

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            According to Psychology Today, procrastination is a serious problem, which can be avoided. Home life and parenting styles can have a significant effect on a child's procrastination level. Controlling parents often keep children from regulating themselves. This leads to procrastination because they don't manage themselves without their parents constantly pushing them to do so. The journal also says procrastination leads to alcohol consumption, procrastinators lie to themselves, and they fear failure. It does clearly state WHY some people procrastinate.

1.     "Thrill Seekers"- look for an overwhelming rush at the last minute

2.     "Avoiders"- fear failure or even success. These procrastinators are very concerned with what others think of them.

3.     "Decisional"- can't make a decision

As a final warning, the article says procrastination could even cause health problems. College kids seem to have problems with the flu and colds because of over procrastinating. Even psychological problems could occur because procrastination uses a lot of "psychic energy".


Okay, procrastination is bad and all but this is a little extreme. All procrastinators aren't alcoholics with controlling parents who constantly have the flu.

             Another site sees the issue from completely different perspective... structured procrastination. John Perry writes an article about the positives of procrastination. He basically says, important tasks are put off, but smaller tasks get taken care of easily. In the mind of a procrastinator, the most important projects and chores are set aside until easier things get done. He recognizes that procrastinators often have a problem with "self deception". They have a hard time determining which tasks are extremely important and should be done first, hence the reason they put them off.

 So, is there a happy medium of procrastination? 

What is Love?


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What is love? 


a-night-at-the-roxbury.jpg

Just like the epic Haddaway song in A Night at the Roxbury, I also am curious. Is it a real, definable reaction, or just an abstract idea? How is it possible that it can control, change, and drive people if it is just an untouchable concept? There must be some sort of scientific explanation behind this life-altering phenomenon. I'm going to do my best to explain the unexplainable.


 

First off, love is defined as a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. However, there is a biological basis of love. This is a relatively new field being explored in the science world. Bianca Acvedo is a new york based Neuroscientist, and is among researchers who explain how there are 4 tiny areas of the brain that form what is referred to as a circuit of love (read here). These areas are the ventral tegmental area (VTA), the nucleus accumbens, the ventral pallidum, and raphe nucleus.

 

Studies have been conducted where newly in love persons are attached to a magnetic resonance imaging machine and shown pictures of their undoubtedly precious one and only. When this happens, the machine noted that the VTA area lit up. This remained the same for brains that had been in love for over 20 years. People who have been in love for this duration also lit up at the ventral pallidum and the raphe nucleus.

 

The first of these areas, the ventral pallidum, is a reward area of the brain. It also is an area of wanting and liking. It is needed for normal reward, and its neurons can encode incentive, motivation, and reward to gain external rewards. Because of this it is associated with attachment hormones. The raphe nucleus is responsible for pumping out serotonin, that then in turn creates a sense of calm in the person.

the-reward-circuit-nucleus-accumbens-ventral-pallidum-ventral-tegmental-area-and-amygdala.jpgimage source 

As previously stated, the VTA is a reward system in the brain. Researcher and Professor at Rutgers University Helen Fisher explain that life's greatest prize is a mate. That is why this area becomes activated- so it may send the dopamine to the different brain regions. There for love works chemically in the brain, almost like a drug addiction.

 

There are two major chemicals that cement love. The first is oxytocin, which deepens feelings of attachment and closeness. It is released during childbirth to ground the mother child relationship, and post orgasm. In studies where these receptors were blocked in female prairie voles, the animals did not bond. In another study where the receptors were blocked in sheep and rats, the animals rejected their own young.

 

The next is vasopressin. This was tested with Prairie voles, which form fairly stable pair bonds, and have a lot of sex.  They were given a drug to suppress their vasopressin levels and immediately failed to protect their partner from new mate and completely lost their devotion. 

That is why those in love are so controlled by it. It is a chemically definable thing that literally controls your brain. So, it is not the heart that creates an untouchable thing, but the head that is taken over by chemical processes. Good luck stopping that.

 

 


What is Love?


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a-night-at-the-roxbury.jpg

What is love? 


a-night-at-the-roxbury.jpg

Just like the epic Haddaway song in A Night at the Roxbury, I also am curious. Is it a real, definable reaction, or just an abstract idea? How is it possible that it can control, change, and drive people if it is just an untouchable concept? There must be some sort of scientific explanation behind this life-altering phenomenon. I'm going to do my best to explain the unexplainable.


 

First off, love is defined as a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. However, there is a biological basis of love. This is a relatively new field being explored in the science world. Bianca Acvedo is a new york based Neuroscientist, and is among researchers who explain how there are 4 tiny areas of the brain that form what is referred to as a circuit of love (read here). These areas are the ventral tegmental area (VTA), the nucleus accumbens, the ventral pallidum, and raphe nucleus.

 

Studies have been conducted where newly in love persons are attached to a magnetic resonance imaging machine and shown pictures of their undoubtedly precious one and only. When this happens, the machine noted that the VTA area lit up. This remained the same for brains that had been in love for over 20 years. People who have been in love for this duration also lit up at the ventral pallidum and the raphe nucleus.

 

The first of these areas, the ventral pallidum, is a reward area of the brain. It also is an area of wanting and liking. It is needed for normal reward, and its neurons can encode incentive, motivation, and reward to gain external rewards. Because of this it is associated with attachment hormones. The raphe nucleus is responsible for pumping out serotonin, that then in turn creates a sense of calm in the person.

the-reward-circuit-nucleus-accumbens-ventral-pallidum-ventral-tegmental-area-and-amygdala.jpgimage source 

As previously stated, the VTA is a reward system in the brain. Researcher and Professor at Rutgers University Helen Fisher explain that life's greatest prize is a mate. That is why this area becomes activated- so it may send the dopamine to the different brain regions. There for love works chemically in the brain, almost like a drug addiction.

 

There are two major chemicals that cement love. The first is oxytocin, which deepens feelings of attachment and closeness. It is released during childbirth to ground the mother child relationship, and post orgasm. In studies where these receptors were blocked in female prairie voles, the animals did not bond. In another study where the receptors were blocked in sheep and rats, the animals rejected their own young.

 

The next is vasopressin. This was tested with Prairie voles, which form fairly stable pair bonds, and have a lot of sex.  They were given a drug to suppress their vasopressin levels and immediately failed to protect their partner from new mate and completely lost their devotion. 

That is why those in love are so controlled by it. It is a chemically definable thing that literally controls your brain. So, it is not the heart that creates an untouchable thing, but the head that is taken over by chemical processes. Good luck stopping that.

 

 


Untitled


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What is love? 


a-night-at-the-roxbury.jpg

Just like the epic Haddaway song in A Night at the Roxbury, I also am curious. Is it a real, definable reaction, or just an abstract idea? How is it possible that it can control, change, and drive people if it is just an untouchable concept? There must be some sort of scientific explanation behind this life-altering phenomenon. I'm going to do my best to explain the unexplainable.


 

First off, love is defined as a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. However, there is a biological basis of love. This is a relatively new field being explored in the science world. Bianca Acvedo is a new york based Neuroscientist, and is among researchers who explain how there are 4 tiny areas of the brain that form what is referred to as a circuit of love (read here). These areas are the ventral tegmental area (VTA), the nucleus accumbens, the ventral pallidum, and raphe nucleus.

 

Studies have been conducted where newly in love persons are attached to a magnetic resonance imaging machine and shown pictures of their undoubtedly precious one and only. When this happens, the machine noted that the VTA area lit up. This remained the same for brains that had been in love for over 20 years. People who have been in love for this duration also lit up at the ventral pallidum and the raphe nucleus.

 

The first of these areas, the ventral pallidum, is a reward area of the brain. It also is an area of wanting and liking. It is needed for normal reward, and its neurons can encode incentive, motivation, and reward to gain external rewards. Because of this it is associated with attachment hormones. The raphe nucleus is responsible for pumping out serotonin, that then in turn creates a sense of calm in the person.

the-reward-circuit-nucleus-accumbens-ventral-pallidum-ventral-tegmental-area-and-amygdala.jpgimage source 

As previously stated, the VTA is a reward system in the brain. Researcher and Professor at Rutgers University Helen Fisher explain that life's greatest prize is a mate. That is why this area becomes activated- so it may send the dopamine to the different brain regions. There for love works chemically in the brain, almost like a drug addiction.

 

There are two major chemicals that cement love. The first is oxytocin, which deepens feelings of attachment and closeness. It is released during childbirth to ground the mother child relationship, and post orgasm. In studies where these receptors were blocked in female prairie voles, the animals did not bond. In another study where the receptors were blocked in sheep and rats, the animals rejected their own young.

 

The next is vasopressin. This was tested with Prairie voles, which form fairly stable pair bonds, and have a lot of sex.  They were given a drug to suppress their vasopressin levels and immediately failed to protect their partner from new mate and completely lost their devotion. 

That is why those in love are so controlled by it. It is a chemically definable thing that literally controls your brain. So, it is not the heart that creates an untouchable thing, but the head that is taken over by chemical processes. Good luck stopping that.

 

 

Growing up, I had the worst handwriting. I could hardly decipher it to study which, probably explains a lot of my issues in elementary school. 
However, in these past few weeks at Penn State I've noticed that my handwriting has become significantly neater and honestly just really pretty, which makes me very happy.
BUT WHY?
Could it be the smaller sizes of the desks that force me to write in a smaller space? Or the fact that I'm in college now and should probably be acting/writing like an adult.
Now, on a slightly random subject, my mother has the prettiest handwriting ever. It could be the most used font on Microsoft Word if she wanted it to. I've always wanted to be able to write like her and recently I've noticed little accents in my handwriting that are similar to hers. 

handwritingimage.jpg
(This is not my handwriting btw)
So, is handwriting hereditary?
Some research shows that because of a person's anatomy there may be similarities between the handwriting of a parent and their child. Reasons could be a person's bone structure, hand-eye coordination, mental ability in learning proper penmanship, and other characteristics that are  inherited. 
Others say that maybe as we grow up, we subconsciously copy our parents handwriting. This would probably be the reason for my change in penmanship. Either way I'm glad that my handwriting has become legible and neat for all my notes to look lovely. 

Babies Crying in The Womb?


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ultrasound2.jpg 

This was a topic i always wanted to know. So i thought why not research and find out if this was true or not. Did babies only cried when they was birth? Well according to Fox News babies may have begun crying in the womb early such a 28 weeks. I guess it only makes sense for babies to be able to cry while they were still in their mothers stomach. They are able to move and react to outside surroundings so why not be able to cry?

In fact researchers used the outside to find out if this question was true. Fetuses responded to a low decibel noise. Just as if they were birth in the world they begun to open they mouth and make sudden body movements as if they were crying. Heres a video from youtube that shows a reaction from fetus responding to the sound.

Nature vs. Nurture


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To some extent, we're all bound by labels. We place a great deal of importance in who we were, why we choose to do certain things, to act certain ways, and we strive to not all be mindless clones of one another. But do our personality traits have to do with the way we were raised, or the way we were born?

According to Nick Collins of The Telegraph, the nature vs. nurture phenomenon mainly depends on where you're from. In the UK, 60% of kids from different households took on more of their parents personalities, yet in London, it was more common for kids personalities to vary due to their environment. They took on more of their neighborhood friends' personalities rather than how their parents raised them to act.

So can you really convince your kids to act a certain way? While it's difficult to tell what is genetically passed down versus what is ingrained in kids' heads, many studies prove that not everything is due to nurture. David Reimer was living proof. Born as a male, his parents were persuaded to raise him as a girl after a circumcision operation went wrong. Even before Reimer was sexually mature, he knew something was off, and would often get ridiculed for trying to go into male restrooms. At age 3 Reimer (who was renamed Brenda) would refuse to play with dolls and stole his brother's toy cars instead. He often threatened suicide, and readily refused to meet with Dr. Money, the doctor assigned to his case. After the truth of the gender reassignment came out, David's brother and David both committed suicide. He always had an inkling that something was wrong, even as everyone around him tried to ingrain female behavior into him.

In another study, a set of twins--Paula Bernstein and Elyse Schein--were adopted by two separate families, and didn't meet until they were 35 years old. Only then were they informed that they were part of a nature vs. nurture study. Bernstein claims that even though she'd never met her twin before, she felt like she was talking to someone with the exact same personality, who'd shared the same taste in books and movies. Although they hadn't shared the same background, their genetic basis was enough to feel a connection. 2 points nature, 0 nurture.

Do you think you would be different if you were raised by other parents? Or were we destined to act the way we do? 

Sources:
http://altereddimensions.net/people/BoyRaisedAsAGirlDavidReimer.aspx
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15629096

Whole Milk vs. 2% Milk


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 I have grown up drinking whole milk all my life. I would only sometimes drink 2% when I stayed over my best friend's house because that's what she drank. From a person that drinks whole milk, 2% milk to me taste like water. I guess the general consensus is that 2% milk is better for you. That might be so but when it comes to babies my family is a firm believer that whole milk is the way to go because its gives the baby more nutrients and helps them grow. This topic is of interest to be because I really want to know if there is a difference and if there is, is it even significant.

            imgres-2.jpegI found out that whole milk and 2% have the generally the same amount of nutrients just the whole milk has all the fat. As a baby it is healthier to feed them whole milk but as the baby gets older in like the 2-3 range its okay to start feeding them 2% milk because they don't need the extra fat anymore. Though, that only counts if the toddler is eating regularly and can get the fat from elsewhere. If the toddler is a picking eater or doesn't like to eat much then sticking with whole milk for longer is encouraged.

           


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I am interested to know what kind of milk you drink and why? What did you drink as a baby and has it changed from then to now?

 

 

 

 
The debate over the difference between men and women and their differences apparently has a whole new twist. We all know that men and women often "see things differently", in the metaphorical sense of the term. However, in an article on National Geographic, a new study  conducted by Brooklyn College psychology professor Israel Abramov reveals that men and women literally do see things differently.

The results of the study show that women are better than men at picking apart the different shades and hues of colors while men are better at picking up fast-moving objects and picking up details of an object from far distances.

Men tend to have trouble distinguishing colors from the middle of the color spectrum (blues, greens, and yellows). To put that into perspective, men will actually see a slightly different shade of a tree for example. It may appear more yellow than it would for a woman. However, on the other hand, men tend to be better at identifying objects moving at high speeds from far distances. The article states, "Since males are flush with with testosterone, in particular, they're born with 25 percent more neurons in the brain region than females."

The post-analysis of this study leads scientists to cite the "hunter-gatherer hypothesis" as a reason for this development, or even evolution, amongst men and women. Hundreds and thousands of years ago when men were required to hunt for food, the ability to detect animals from far distances was mandatory whereas women were expected to search for more detailed objects such as wild berries. When looking at the big picture it seems as though this may not just be coincidence, rather another support example for the theory of evolution.

Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/09/120907-men-women-see-differently-science-health-vision-sex/
The debate over the difference between men and women and their differences apparently has a whole new twist. We all know that men and women often "see things differently", in the metaphorical sense of the term. However, in an article on National Geographic, a new study  conducted by Brooklyn College psychology professor Israel Abramov reveals that men and women literally do see things differently.

The results of the study show that women are better than men at picking apart the different shades and hues of colors while men are better at picking up fast-moving objects and picking up details of an object from far distances.

Men tend to have trouble distinguishing colors from the middle of the color spectrum (blues, greens, and yellows). To put that into perspective, men will actually see a slightly different shade of a tree for example. It may appear more yellow than it would for a woman. However, on the other hand, men tend to be better at identifying objects moving at high speeds from far distances. The article states, "Since males are flush with with testosterone, in particular, they're born with 25 percent more neurons in the brain region than females."

The post-analysis of this study leads scientists to cite the "hunter-gatherer hypothesis" as a reason for this development, or even evolution, amongst men and women. Hundreds and thousands of years ago when men were required to hunt for food, the ability to detect animals from far distances was mandatory whereas women were expected to search for more detailed objects such as wild berries. When looking at the big picture it seems as though this may not just be coincidence, rather another support example for the theory of evolution.

Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/09/120907-men-women-see-differently-science-health-vision-sex/
The debate over the difference between men and women and their differences apparently has a whole new twist. We all know that men and women often "see things differently", in the metaphorical sense of the term. However, in an article on National Geographic, a new study  conducted by Brooklyn College psychology professor Israel Abramov reveals that men and women literally do see things differently.

The results of the study show that women are better than men at picking apart the different shades and hues of colors while men are better at picking up fast-moving objects and picking up details of an object from far distances.

Men tend to have trouble distinguishing colors from the middle of the color spectrum (blues, greens, and yellows). To put that into perspective, men will actually see a slightly different shade of a tree for example. It may appear more yellow than it would for a woman. However, on the other hand, men tend to be better at identifying objects moving at high speeds from far distances. The article states, "Since males are flush with with testosterone, in particular, they're born with 25 percent more neurons in the brain region than females."

The post-analysis of this study leads scientists to cite the "hunter-gatherer hypothesis" as a reason for this development, or even evolution, amongst men and women. Hundreds and thousands of years ago when men were required to hunt for food, the ability to detect animals from far distances was mandatory whereas women were expected to search for more detailed objects such as wild berries. When looking at the big picture it seems as though this may not just be coincidence, rather another support example for the theory of evolution.

Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/09/120907-men-women-see-differently-science-health-vision-sex/

Another Celebrity Health Trend


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Last week, we started talking about how a lack of science can kill. One of these examples included blood-letting, either through Benjamin Rush's methods or the thousand-year-old practice of leeching. Of course, being someone who watches way too much E! News and reads the Daily Mail's entertainment section religiously, I immediately thought of Demi Moore's confession of her affinity for leeching back in 2008. I then thought about the other "celebrity medical trends" of the moment. But do these therapies have any merit? Do they really improve health and quality of life in such a way that the Average Joe (or Jennifer) should take note?
One of these trends is cupping therapy that has caught on with public figures such including AnnaLynne McCord, Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow. Cupping is an Arabic form of alternative medicine that uses glass cups to create local suction on different areas of the body to promote circulation. The suction is created by using a hand pump or heating the air within the cup before applying it to the skin. According to the British Cupping Society (BCS), cupping can be used to treat a variety of conditions including blood disorders, skin problems, fertility and rheumatic diseases. It is also claimed to improve "general physical and psychological well-being".
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The practice of cupping therapy dates back to 3000 BC, but is it effective for those in favor of alternative medicine in today's world or just a load of rubbish? According to a study published in The Journal of Pain in 2008, cupping therapy seems to be a reasonable approach to treating certain conditions. The study was an open randomized clinical trial with 52 participants, all of whom were suffering from neurologically confirmed carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). The experimental group received a single treatment of wet cupping and a subsequent bandaging of the wound to hide the tell-tale cupping welts that are a result of the suction. The control group on the other hand simply received local heat application on their shoulder. With these two groups, participants could at least be partially blinded. After 7 days, the patients were followed up on. The severity of CTS symptoms in the experimental group was significantly reduced, whereas the symptoms of the control group remained relatively the same. On a 95% confidence interval, the p-value was less than .001, leading to the conclusion that "cupping therapy may be effective in relieving the pain and other symptoms related to CTS". Another article published by The Journal of Pain in 2009 addressed the  merits of the 2008 study because of the presence of a control group. The author made a valid point saying, "All too often, we seem to either accept traditional treatments because "they have stood the test of time" or reject them untested as "old wives tales". Neither of these attitudes is advancing our knowledge."
So maybe Gwyneth, Posh and AnnaLynne all have the right idea about covering their backs in suction cups. Celebrities are often leaders when it comes to the latest fashion, exercise and diet, but what about alternative medicine? Would you ever try a health treatment popularized by your favorite celebrity? Or more importantly, would you do your research to make sure it's valid?

Why birds fly, and we can't


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We have all tried it. Jumping off of a mat or some type of platform, pretending that we are a bird that can fly. You jump as high as you can and it works for a second until you thump back to the ground. You are disappointed and then are left to wonder, why can birds stay in the air and fly but we can't?
     The definition of flying is to move through the air using wings. So in order for people to fly, getting wings would be a good start. Most people know gravity is what keeps us on the ground, preventing us from flying. Isaac Newton was the scientist who realized that gravity "is a force between two objects that draws them toward each other". Although birds are not immune to the gravity that is being pulled upon them, the reason they can fly is because their bodies have adapted so they can fly. Ways they have adapted are:
1. hollow bones
2. feathers
3.eat a diet with usable calories
4. have no bladders- they go to the bathroom as soon as they have to

birds-flying-silhouette-clip-art.jpg
Now, you may be thinking, it makes sense that birds can fly because they are light weight, but how do heaving things like airplanes fly. Well for one, the wings help. But why does the plane not go down when it tries to life off? When an airplane is flying is engages and a "tug of war" between two opposing forces. These two physics opposing forces are life versus weight and thrust versus drag. These four forces would be working perfectly in order for the plane to lift off and not fall right back down. 
     So the next time you are thinking about trying to fly. Remember, we don't have feathers and it is not possible. So stick to bird watching and traveling on airplanes if you want to "fly".
You want it, you need it, you crave it. If you guessed that I was talking about sleep, you are right!! For many people, especially teenagers, the best part of the day is that time when you can go to sleep. We have all heard that sleep is necessary and good for you but why is it so good? What actually happens to your body when you are asleep?
     Although we all know what sleep is,according to webster dictionary, the definition of sleep is the natural periodic suspension of consciousness, during which the powers of the body are restored. Sleep allows us to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and energized. But why does that happen? According to the Natural Sleep Foundation, sleep can affect our every day life. It can affect our looks, our performance, and our overall quality of life over time. According to them, 75% of our sleep is part of Non rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) This type of sleep contains 4 stages. 
Stage 1: light sleep
Stage 2: becoming disengaged from the world, heart rate is normal, body temperature drops
Stage 3 and 4: deepest sleeps, slowed breathing, relaxed muscles

The other 25% of your night sleep is REM or Rapid Eye Movement Sleep. This type of sleep occurs after you have been asleep for about 90 minutes and cycles about every 90 minutes as you are sleeping. This is the time where your body gets energy for the day, your brain is active, dreams occur, day time performance is supported.
     Sleep is extremely important in order to keep our immune systems healthy, balance our appetite, and help our body to regulate hormones.We spend approximately 1/3 of our life sleeping. According to National Sleep Foundation's surveys, most people do not get enough sleep.And...at least 40 million people suffer from over 70 different kinds of sleep disorders. For most adults getting between 7-9 hours of sleep is considered healthy.
     Noone specifically knows why we sleep, but there are theories that state: 
1. sleep helps repair muscles
2.sleep gives the brain the chance to organize thoughts
3. That sleep was used when people were "bored" so they shut off their brains (in early times)

If you do not get enough sleep, eventually your body will break down. You need sleep to survive. Although we do not appreciate sleep when we are young, as we get older our body needs it more and more to survive and plus, sleeping is one of the best parts of the day.

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Today I read this National Geographic article, written by Andrew Fazekas, about how a new comet was discovered recently. This particular comet, currently called comet 2012 S1 (ISON), could be seen by the human eye in later 2013. Scientists say it could even outshine the moon, based on how bright it is right now, how far away it is from the sun, and how large it is (it is currently almost two miles wide!)

The comet was first found by Russian astronomers at the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) late last week, and was then confirmed by the International Astronomical Union last Monday.

Currently, the comet appears to be about 615 million miles from Earth, and it should eventually pass 6.2 million miles from Mars (the writer suggests that this could be a great photo opportunity for NASA's rover, Curiosity.)

If the comet survives it's closest approach to the sun, the comet will be brightest to us on Earth on about November 28th, 2013. 

ADDICTION


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There are many posts about technology addiction that really got me wondering... Am I truly addicted to my phone?  I need my phone at all times.  I take it everywhere and almost feel empty without it, like I am missing or forgetting something.  I am ALWAYS texting and can't seem to draw myself away.  When I am bored, I immediately click on my Facebook or Twitter app.  It's great to be so in touch with my friends and the world, but maybe I'm a little TOO in touch.  In my research, I came across a term called "nomophobia."  It is, "a term first coined by British researchers during 2008 to denote people who experienced anxiety when they had no access to mobile technology--such as their mobile phones."  The 2nd article I posted explains that this means "no mobile phone phobia."  I really do think that me, and most of my friends, have this anxiety!  A study done (1st article) with 1,000 people concluded that the amount of people who actually FEAR phone loss has gone up from 53% to 66%.  67% of people between 18 and 24 years old (most of us!) actually felt uncomfortable being away from their phones for even a few minutes.  Do you guys have these anxious and uncomfortable feelings when you don't have your phones?  The 2nd article talks about a study that was done by SecurEnvoy.  It showed that people check their phones an average of 34 times everyday.  This is definitely a lot less than me.  It also showed that 75% of people use their cell phones in the bathroom.  Such reliability on our phones is truly damaging to our health.  We lose personal contact and conversation.  The 1st article also says that we have, "less intimacy and less reliance on one's own fund of knowledge and ability to structure time and tasks."  This is true for me as well.  Since I always have my phone, I look things up the second I don't know the answer to something.  I never actually sit there and give it some thought.  The 1st article also talks about how cell phone addition can make people more vulnerable to other addictions and "could be a 'gateway drug' that fuels the search for self-defeating, counterproductive anti-anxiety strategies."  To me, this part of the article is a little over the top, but it could very well be true!  What do you guys think? 


FIRST ARTICLE


SECOND ARTICLE


Is that opening window always good?


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I've been in Penn State for over one month, living on campus. I share the room with my roommate and we always get well with each other ,except on the topic of opening the window. Actually, I love the fresh air. However, I think it is not good for us to open the window all day, from waking up till get asleep.

After negotiating, she agreed that we can close it when we sleep. When we discussed it further, she said that keep the window open is quite a good habit, because we need fresh air, and it will make us healthy.

open window girl-formal.jpg

Then I did some researches on the Internet. It is true that a lot of health doctors suggest that a person wants to have a healthy body, he must develop good living habits. While the first one is one should  open the window more often so that keep air fresh. In an article, it said that health experts have longed warned of the dangers of "indoor air pollution," and it is for good reason: From mold spores to chemical off-gassing from paint, carpet, new furniture and cleaning products, sometimes the air in our homes and offices is many times more polluted than the air circulating outside.

And also According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air quality is one of the top five environmental health concerns. Given that people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, it's important to do what you can to reduce indoor air pollution.

Well, after reading several articles about "it is healthy to open the window", I admit that we should open the window for several times a day. But I am still wondering if it is really good for us to open the window in anytime.

Finally, I found an article said that, many people are accustomed to let the windows open for ventilation as soon as they get up in the morning, in fact , it would be counterproductive to open the window at this time. The experts said that we should not open the window early in the morning , around six o'clock in the morning , the concentration of pollutants remain high. while the morning temperature is low , the air pressure is high , tiny dust in the air , poor gas are atmospheric pressure to beat to close to the ground , it is difficult to disseminate to the high-altitude , only when the sun rises , the temperature rises , the harmful gas will slowly dispersed .

And also, it is not wise for people who live in the city to do it. Around the streets with heavy traffic flow, the lower air is more stable at night than by day and thus, it is against the spread of pollutants.

The best time for us to open the window  is after the sun arise and about 9:00 am. So, It is good to open the window but we should also consider the place and time.

 

source from:

http://www.dunchu.com/

http://www.glamour.com/health-fitness/blogs/vitamin-g/2009/10/healthy-reminder-no-matter-wha.html

http://healthychild.org/blog/comments/tip_44_open_a_window/#ixzz27uPJptiu

http://azgreenmagazine.com/wordpress/2010/09/it-is-unhealthy-to-open-windows-in-the-early-morning/

 

Have your parents ever warned you, "Don't stand too close to the microwave"? Mine certainly have, but I was never sure why. Let me start this post by saying, those of you who do stand in front of the microwave, have no fear- you'll live. 
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What makes microwaves a potential danger is that they emit radiation. I suppose that people who warn you to stay far away from them are afraid of getting radiation poisoning- a sickness that is a result of being over exposed to radiation waves. Some of the symptoms include, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, diarrhea, and weakness of the body. However, what these people fail to understand is that the amount of radiation you are exposed to standing in front of a microwave is far below any level that is harmful to humans. 

In this article published in the New York Times, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that it regulates microwave safety and requires that any microwave that is made, release a maximum of only five milliwatts per square centimeter over its entire lifetime. In comparison to how much radiation cell phones leak (1.6 watts over a lifetime), microwaves have been proven extremely safe. Additionally, you would only be exposed to the five milliwatts if you stood less than 2 inches away from the microwave door every single time you microwaved anything. I assume those chances are pretty low for anyone. 
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You may be thinking, "how is it possible for microwaves to keep in all that radiation"? Well, this is because all microwave doors are lined with metal mesh that prevents these dangerous waves from escaping. Also, all microwaves are equipped with latches that immediately stop the flow of micro and radiation waves when you open the door. 

Based on my findings from the FDA and Mayo Clinic, I would say it's safe to stand in front of the microwave next time you re-heat your favorite snack!
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Better Grades?


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Like some, I got back my First Blog Period grade and thought, "wow that's a bit low, what did I do wrong?"  I read the comments, that seemed quite valid, but didn't satisfy my needs or questions.

My annoyance at my own shortcomings lead me to the Instructor Blog about the overview on the grades. I skimmed it, and then clicked on one of the A's. I became overwhelmed at the amount of information thrown my way, which I am certain was very well organized and connected, and then thought no wonder they got an A.

This begs the question, outside the rubric, how do you really get an A? Do professors, or TAs, get mind blown by the people who "bullshit" well? If so, how can you learn to get an A as well?




The young man above made a few valid points, particularly the one about statistics.  You need numbers; there's power in numbers. Yet, even the real statistics, experiments of 10 rats, have a tendency to stretch the truth with simply misleading interpretations.  Manipulate both to your advantage.

Papers are especially useful for blogs. I have never written blogs before, and it turns out that the people who are getting A's write them as they would a less structured essay. Hack College provided an elaborate outline on how to bullshit. First, have a chunky intro and conclusion, and beef up the middle with examples and your overly restated opinion of about 2 paragraphs.  At any point, feel free to copy and paste any part of previous papers you have written relating to the topic.

As you wrap up the last part of your paper, don't feel too bad, we all do it.  According to Bella DePaulo's Deception research, at a 47% detection rate, most people won't find out about your lies. There are books, The Liar in Your life by Feldman, and TV shows, Lie to Me, that tell us everyone lies and stretches the truth to get what they want. Why can't we BS our way into getting a good grade?

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I believe the probable lie that Penn State weeds through those everyday liars and produces true critical thinkers, those who go beyond restating information and analyze the point concisely.  I wouldn't continue to pay so much to come this university if my classes weren't stimulating and preparatory for a well rounded future. But I want an A, and in cutthroat America, I'll take some tips from above and bullshit if necessary. Or take Andrew's advice and "practice till I'm perfect"

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Every time I feel like I have to sneeze but I just can't seem to get it out, I always look up at a light because I've always heard that this helps trigger the sneeze. Sometimes, this trick works like a charm, but other times I still can't seem to get the sneeze out of me. I've always wondered is it just a coincidence that this works for some people, or is there science behind this theory? After doing some research, I found that this is actually a genetic trait known as photic sneeze reflex. Although experts still can't fully explain this reflex, most agree that it is due to crossed wires in the brain. The trigemal nerve in the brain, which controls facial sensations and motor control, is located really close to the optical nerve in the brain. When light enters the eye, some of the electrical signal that is sent to the optical nerve to make the pupils smaller is sensed by the trigemal nerve, causing the person's nose to feel irritated, and therefore causing them to sneeze. There has not been very much research done on this reflex, but scientists have found that this genetic trait is found in about 10 to 35 % of the population. A study done in the 1960s proved that gene that causes this reflex is autosomal dominant, meaning if one of your parents has it, there is a 50% chance that you have it as well. 

Ice Cravings Part 1


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For as long as I can remember I have had an enormous craving for ice. The females on my mother's side of the family are the same. This fact increased my curiosity; why do we have such a craving and why does this only affect the females?

In my search for the answer I found that this craving may be linked to "iron deficiency anemia".  Doctors refer to the craving or chewing of substances that lack nutritional value as "pagophagia". Also, chewing ice may be a sign of stress or other "emotional problems". The symptoms of which include: a fast or irregular heartbeat, cold hands and feet, pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, cognitive problems and headaches and much more. These symptoms may not be noticeable, but as a persons anemia worsens so dies the symptoms. A person might be iron deficient because of blood loss, pregnancy, a lack of iron in ones diet and an inability to absorb iron. Vegetarians are at risk of iron deficiency since they do not eat meat which is rich in iron. Women are at risk as well, since they lose blood during menstruation. Infants and children who were born prematurely or under weight and those that are not breast fed or formula - these things contain iron - are also apart of this list. Blood donors complete the list as giving blood frequently "depletes iron stores".

There are complications associated with iron deficiency anemia: problems during pregnancy, heart problems and growth problems. Heart problems include an enlarged heart or heart failure since the heart would need to pump more blood due to the reduced oxygen as a result of the anemia. Premature births and low weight births are common pregnancy problems. "Delayed growth and development" and a higher "susceptibility to infections" are the growth problems that are commonly associated with iron deficiency anemia.  

This led me to the conclusion that the reason why all the females in my family, at some point of their lives, have had a craving for ice for an extended period of time is because of iron deficiency anemia.    I can understand, based on my research that one reason could be because because females lose blood during their menstrual cycle. If this was true then this would be true for all females and not all females have a craving for ice. There must be another reason which will be revealed in part two of the series,of which number is unknown.

Do you know someone that has a craving for ice or someone that is a vegetarian? Have they been victim to any of these symptoms?


Did you have your breakfast today?


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     In the past one month, I've seriously realized the importance of having breakfast.

   Because my first class begins from 8:00am, and I am actually a lazy person...I'd rather sleep a little more time than getting up early to have breakfast. And also, I want to control weight without eating breakfast. However, I have to pay for this action.breakfast.jpg

   I found that I began to feel  stomach-ache frequently. And I feel dizzy all day and hard to focus on study.  I started to wonder if it is because I don't have the breakfast?? Did you have the same feeling with me?

    All of the info I found on the internet told me that "Breakfast is the most important meal during the day", it provides fuel  for people to do other things.

    A study shows that ," children who eat a good breakfast tend to perform better in school, and have a better attendance and decreased hyperactivity. Children who don't eat breakfast tend to perform not as well, and also tend to have behavior problems such as fighting, stealing, and not listening to their teachers (Dr. Ronald Kleinman, Harvard Medical School)."

   Though, I don't think that breakfast can do with the behavior problems as fighting and etc, but having breakfast is truly important.

   It can ensure the efficiency of study and work. If you consider that when we wake up in the morning, for the majority of us, our body and brain have been without food for around 10 - 12 hours and for children it may be longer. Our body is similar to a car in the fact that it needs fuel to run, and like a car, the better you look after your body, the longer and better it will run. Our bodies must be fueled several times each day so that we function efficiently and carry out our daily tasks as best we can.

    In the morning, after many hours without food, it is essential to refuel in order to provide the necessary nutrients and energy to get us through the first part of the day.

    And I also learned that not having breakfast is not equal to lose weight . Some people skip breakfast in an effort to loose weight, but the practice is more likely to cause weight gain than weight loss. "If you don't eat anything in the morning, you will most likely find yourself craving something sweet to eat, as your body cries out for a quick fix to boost energy levels. If you are at work and it is not yet time for lunch, this is one of the moments when you may find yourself reaching for something very unhealthy such as a chocolate bar, croissant, cream cake or other unhealthy snacks. For those who are watching their weight, this is disastrous. It is also possible that you may become so hungry that you grab twice as many unhealthy snacks to eat before lunch or even end up eating all of your packed lunch by 11.30 am." It is right, that I always eat more than usual during the lunch time when I do not eat breakfast.

   It seems " do not having breakfast"  in the morning is totally a wrong decision.

There is also an article about how to prepare a healthy breakfast, click if you want to read. or just paste: http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-report/healthy-breakfast/components-of-a-healthy-breakfast.aspx

Source from:

http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-report/healthy-breakfast/importance-of-eating-breakfast.aspx

http://coldwaterchartwells.tripod.com/id27.html

http://www.helpwithcooking.com/healthy-eating/breakfast-guide.html

A Sea Full of Lighters


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As I was 'stumbling' the other day I came across an article about glowing ocean waves off the coast of San Diego.  After doing some further 'googling' I found that there are tons of other places where water actually glows;in the Florida Everglades, Leucadia Beach in California, the Maldives, the Lakshadweep Islands in India, and many more.  According to Aqua Views, an online SCUBA diving magazine, the 'glowing' effect is actually due to bioluminescent plankton.  More commonly than not, the specific type of plankton fall under the Dinoflagellates category. These organisms use their ability to glow as a defense mechanism.  The Dinoflagellates flash light when they feel threatened and ward off their predators (or kayakers or waves) because the predators get worried about their own predators because the flash of light would attract their predators by drawing attention to themselves.

Jorge Ribas, a marine biologist, referred to the bioluminescent plankton as the "red tide" or the "algae bloom" because during the day the plankton give off a red tint to the water.  According to Ribas, some of the red tides are actually extremely toxic to humans.  However, the plankton that also produce the glowing effect during the night are completely harmless to humans.

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Also, in recent research done by the Nova Southeastern University scientists have found that about 90% of open ocean organisms have the ability to glow.  These researches also concluded that the bioluminescent plankton glow when they bump into something else since they can't swim on their own.  When the plankton bump into things, they feel threatened, so they are glowing because of that, which goes along with the findings that Aqua Views reported.  In addition to this finding, the researchers from the Nova Southeastern University found that predators use the specific colors that different organisms emit as a way of figuring out of they are poisonous or not.

The Scripps Institute of Oceanography has a portion of their website that is dedicated to better explaining bioluminescence in general.  Here they explained, in terms that I could easily understand, how these organisms actually glow.  A chemical reaction actually occurs in the organism to make the light.  Luciferin and Luciferase combine together.  "The Luciferase acts as an enzyme, allowing the Luciferin to release energy as it is oxidized." 

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According to National Geographic, the glowing plankton are also present on the beaches in the wet sand.  As you walk along one of these beaches, your footprints will glow behind you!  Another interesting fact is that pilots have also noted that the glowing seas are bright enough that they can be seen from a mile high in the air!  

I think it is so cool that living organisms can glow like glow sticks and light up water so bright that it can be seen from miles away.  The images and videos are incredible and I know that I have added seeing this natural phenomenon to my bucket list!

**Excuse the language in this video :)


Be Aware


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Did you have chicken pox as a child? I never did, but my sister did. In an article I read in the NYtimes, I learned that chicken pox is so contagious that few nonimmunized people avoid catching this disease when they are exposed to someone else with it. After reading other facts online on MedlinePlus I realized that it's pretty amazing that my mom was able to keep us other three children from getting the disease whenever my sister had it as a child, which was before 1995 when the vaccine came out.

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I saw a commercial on tv for people being at risk for shingles. It caught my attention because it stated that "if you had chicken pox the virus is already in you", which means this virus is  already inside my sister. So, it left me wondering what causes the virus to reactivate and cause shingles?

After reading a few diffrent online articles, one from CNNhealth.com, and a different NYtimes article, I learned that the cause is unclear. On one website it said that people that get shingles are usually older and have low levels of cellular immunity. Other things that are said to possibly trigger shingles are the individuals genes, and different enviormental factors.

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Although shingles is more common in older people, in other words if you had chicken pox your chance for getting shingles increases as your age does, it is still possible to get shingles as a young adult, before age 50. You may wonder if there is something you can do to prevent getting it?

Well if you had chicken pox, unfortunatly you can get shingles at anytime, there is no way to predict when you will get it or how severe it will be. On the other hand, if you've never had chicken pox On shinglesinfo.com it said that 1 in 3 people WILL get shingles in their lifetime. In the United States 90% of adults are at risk for shingles. Are you? To learn more click here.

 

 

Be Aware


| 0 Comments

Did you have chicken pox as a child? I never did, but my sister did. In an article I read in the NYtimes, I learned that chicken pox is so contagious that few nonimmunized people avoid catching this disease when they are exposed to someone else with it. After reading other facts online on MedlinePlus I realized that it's pretty amazing that my mom was able to keep us other three children from getting the disease whenever my sister had it as a child, which was before 1995 when the vaccine came out.

rate-of-shingles-by-age-fpo.jpg

I saw a commercial on tv for people being at risk for shingles. It caught my attention because it stated that "if you had chicken pox the virus is already in you", which means this virus is  already inside my sister. So, it left me wondering what causes the virus to reactivate and cause shingles?

After reading a few diffrent online articles, one from CNNhealth.com, and a different NYtimes article, I learned that the cause is unclear. On one website it said that people that get shingles are usually older and have low levels of cellular immunity. Other things that are said to possibly trigger shingles are the individuals genes, and different enviormental factors.

shingles-1457.jpg

Although shingles is more common in older people, in other words if you had chicken pox your chance for getting shingles increases as your age does, it is still possible to get shingles as a young adult, before age 50. You may wonder if there is something you can do to prevent getting it?

Well if you had chicken pox, unfortunatly you can get shingles at anytime, there is no way to predict when you will get it or how severe it will be. On the other hand, if you've never had chicken pox On shinglesinfo.com it said that 1 in 3 people WILL get shingles in their lifetime. In the United States 90% of adults are at risk for shingles. Are you? To learn more click here.

 

 

After Tuesday's class, I began to wonder if there are any other cases in which doctors made mistakes that cost millions of human lives. Just as Andrew said, there are numerous cases, but the case I found most interesting was the Bubonic Plague.

First noted in the sixth century, the plague ravaged through the world, killing millions of people. Resurging over the centuries in pandemics, the plague has continued to exist even in the modern age as a rare sickness. Although still dangerous, the plague is now curable if treated immediately. Unfortunately, it took doctors more than one thousand years to get it right.

When doctors first attempted to confront the epidemic in the Middle Ages, notably during the largest epidemic, the Black Plague, many of the treatments they prescribed did much more harm than good. These cures were often either useless or harmful. The caretakers of the sick were told to bathe patients in rosewater and vinegar and to avoid feeding their patients foul-smelling foods, as eliminating bad odors was seen as a way to get rid of the illness.  Additional more dangerous treatments included cutting open the boils created by the plague and of course, bleeding. It was not until the end of the renaissance that doctors even got close to improving the lives of those affected by the epidemic; better sanitation.

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The scariest part of the illness is that a vaccine to the plague has yet to be found and people are still contracting it, although in much smaller numbers. Though treatments are much more complex and antibiotics are now instituted, once contracted, there is still only a 50% chance that the carrier will live after beginning treatment. In a case as recent as this past summer, a seven year-old girl was diagnosed with the plague. Luckily the plague was recognized quickly enough and she survived, but others have not been as lucky.

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(Image credit of USA TODAY)

           Although the illness is frightening enough in its own right, the implications it has are even more terrifying. Doctors were terribly wrong for more than one thousand years and have still not found a miracle cure. If centuries have gone by with no vaccine, how long will it take cure modern diseases? Will there ever be a cure for cancer, or will it will be remembered as the great "Plague" of our generation?

 

Where are you reading this blog post from?  Your laptop?  iPod?  iPhone? iPad?  A better question for the sake of getting my point across is "how many of these items are within arm's reach at the moment?"  We are constantly surrounded by not just one but multiple electronic devices, as the New York Times article Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime explains by detailing the experience of 40 year-old Diane Bates, as "she listens to a few songs on her iPod, then taps out a quick e-mail on her iPhone and turns her attention to the high-definition television" all while at the gym.

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This behavior is very typical of frequent gym-goers and is also popular amongst the general public, as we have all witnessed and experienced.  But have we become too invested in our electronic screens?  Phones, which have essentially become miniature computers, are used for a lot of functional purposes.  Simultaneously, they are becoming relied on to replace every moment of boredom that we experience in our lives.  We rely on our cell phones to "relieve the tedium of exercising, the grocery store line, stoplights or lulls in the dinner conversation."

The problem is that while we might not be "bored" anymore, we aren't giving ourselves any mental alone time because we are "forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas."  As an individual growing more and more dependent on her phone for entertainment (but also as someone who greatly values deep-thinking) I was alarmed when I thought about the way I have been compromising my thought development for meaningless conversations, pointless games, or monotonous scrolling through social networking sites.

So where is the science in this?  Well, I'm getting there.  The article addresses research from the University of California, San Francisco as well as from the University of Michigan.  In California, a study about experience and brain activity was conducted on rats.  The experiment showed that "when rats have a new experience, like exploring an unfamiliar area, their brains show new patterns of activity. But only when the rats take a break from their exploration do they process those patterns in a way that seems to create a persistent memory of the experience."  With the assumption that our minds develop memories similarly, the study communicates the importance of taking a "mental break" from our lives so that our brain can process our experiences and develop them into long term memories.  So could our phones really be preventing us from getting the most out of life experiences?

The University of Michigan study examined the effects of walking in nature versus walking in an urban environment.  The study found that the urban environment overwhelmed individuals by all of the information needing to be processed while walking in nature allowed them to think clearly.  People are actually fatiguing their minds by being constantly in tuned with electronics, according to the article.

I have to say that this article has honestly made me consider my dependence on my phone for a constant source of entertainment.  I am definitely going to maintain my phone usage for functional purposes, but I am going to strive to avoid doing insignificant activities just to entertain myself when I could otherwise be thinking.  A perfect example of this is walking around campus.  There's no reason not to put my phone away and focus on the landscape and architecture instead of what my friends are tweeting.

Under Pressure!


| 1 Comment
This one is for all you Mitt Romney fans.

Earlier in the week Romney made the comment below after his wife's airplane had to make an emergency landing. 

"When you have a fire in an aircraft, there's no place to go, exactly, there's no -- and you can't find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don't open. I don't know why they don't do that. It's a real problem. So it's very dangerous." 
-Mitt Romney, 2012

Well, despite what Romney may think (hopefully he was not being serious), there is actually a pretty darn good reason for why windows on airplanes do NOT open. 

The air at 10,000 feet is quite deadly to anything that needs oxygen to live. Since gravity pulls oxygen molecules toward the ground, the air at this height is extremely thin and would be almost impossible to breathe. At this height alone, we would quickly die from hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen.  Not only is the air too thin to breathe at this height but, it would also be incredibly cold (around -60 degrees!). However, the scary thing is, most commercial airplanes fly at heights around 35,000 feet! That's more than three times an already deadly height!

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So, you can imagine that since the air outside is so toxic to us at such extreme heights, that opening our windows would not be a good idea. But, why? How do airplanes keep us from suffering from hypoxia while traveling at such high heights?

Mainly, airplanes have a method of producing pressurized air that is not only safe for us to breathe but also heated. Pressurization occurs when outside air is sucked into the plane by fans and then heated by turbine engines that are directed behind the fans. As the air passes through each stage of compression, it is heated more and more and becomes of a very high pressure. 
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This extremely hot and pressurized air is first used to de-ice the wings and to help operate certain important systems in the plane. The air that is left is then cooled to the appropriate temperature with a machine called a intercooler and then it is mixed with the already existing cabin air using a manifold

Keeping the airplane closed up tight is beyond important to successfully producing pressurized air because this method can only occur in an airtight area. Opening a window would no longer make the area airtight. The outside air and the inside air would equalize. The air in the plane would then be too thin to breathe (and too cold) and we would quickly die from hypoxia. Hence, its quite a good thing that airplane windows are unable to be opened. 

Main Sources:
LifeScience.com, Why Plane Windows Don't Roll Down, As Romney Would Like, By: Life's Little Mysteries Staff, Link

Air & Space Magazine,  How Things Work: Cabin Pressure, By: George C. Larson, Link



Are you a knuckle cracker?


| 4 Comments

Ever wonder why you need to crack your knuckles to find a sense of relief in your hand? I crack my knuckles occasionally, but it really freaks me out when people around crack them so loud to the point that I cringe at the sound. Your joints are where two of your bones meet, and they are covered with synovial fluid, a thick clear liquid. This liquid almost serves as a lubricant to your bones. You are literally pulling apart your joints when you crack your knuckles. Discovery Fit & Health states that "the connective tissue capsule that surrounds the joint is stretched. By stretching this capsule, you increase its volume." As many of you might know from science classes, volume and pressure are inverse meaning when one increases, the other decreases, and vice versa. "So as the pressure of the synovial fluid drops, gases dissolved in the fluid become less soluble, forming bubbles through a process called cavitation." The pressure in the capsule can drop very low if joints are stretched too far, causing the bubbles to burst. These bubbles bursting are the noise we hear when we crack our knuckles. The sound is a result of the "smooth cartilage and the roughness of the joint surface," according to The Library of Congress' Everyday Mysteries. It takes about 20-30 minutes for the gas to collect again in the joint fluid, and in that time you do not feel the need to crack your knuckles. Next time you crack your knuckles; observe how long it is before you feel the need to crack the same finger again.

http://joanspear.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/knuckle-cracking.gif?w=400&h=390

According to Anatomy and Physiology Instructors' Cooperative, only one study has been conducted observing the possible harms of knuckle cracking. Raymond Brodeur conducted this experiment and published it in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. His control group was 300 knuckle poppers (control group...sound familiar from class?) Brodeur came to the conclusion that there is no relationship between knuckle popping and arthritis.

However, Advanced Physical Medicine reported that although cracking your knuckles does not cause arthritis, there is "a relationship between knuckle cracking and hand swelling, loss of lower grip strength, ligament damage, soft tissue injuries and dislocation of tendons." Although these symptoms are pretty harmless, if you really have been swayed not to crack your knuckles, there are other ways of relief. When I really need to crack my knuckles and don't want to, I often rotate my fingers in a circular motion while also rotating my wrist. Try it next time you feel the need to crack your knuckles. However, if you do feel pain in your hands when/after cracking your knuckles, you should stop and see a doctor about it.

From the Library of Congress' Everyday Mysteries, I also learned that there are two types of joints: a healthy joint and an osteoarthritic joint. In a healthy joint, the bones are surrounded by smooth cartilage. They are protected by a joint capsule lined with synovial fluid. Together, the capsule and the fluid protect the cartilage, muscles, and connective tissue. On the other hand, an osteoarthritic joint has damaged cartilage that has worn away over time."Spurs grow out from the edge of the bone, and synovial fluid increases," altogether causing the joints to feel stiff and sore.

Although you can not get arthritis from knuckle cracking, I often hear about so many elderly people having arthritis, including my grandma. I always thought that arthritis is only possible in older people. But after doing some research on the Arthritis Foundation website, I found out that there is such a thing as juvenile arthritis, which can occur in children about 16 and under. There are several types, the most common being juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The other types of possible juvenile arthritic include but are not limited to: Oligoarthritis, Systemic, Polyarthritis, and Enthesitis- related. Did anyone have the same misconception like me that arthritis was only apparent in older people? Back to joints, once a child is diagnosed with arthritis, the doctor constantly examines the amount of joints affected, as well as take blood tests.

http://www.herbalgranny.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/Juvenile-Arthritis.gif

I recently realized how much I take my health for granted. My grandma has pain when she reaches up to the cabinet to grab a plate. Such simple tasks such as that we take for granted. It takes us two seconds to lift our hand up and put it down. For people with arthritis, is a huge deal to reach your bones farther than you feel comfortable. That is why we should take good care of our health and bodies now; so that when we are older, we remain healthy and abled. Now, I don't think knuckle cracking will effect you much, but better not over-do it just to be safe!

 

http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/joint.htm

Crying--Headache


| 1 Comment
    
     Do u have this kind of feeling that always get sever pain of head  after crying?
     
     Actually, I do have. I am the people who cannot stop crying when I encounter some terrible things.. So I cried after I got a fail in my blog post..However, I find that every time after crying; I will get a sever headache..It will lasts for more than half-a-day. That's really confused me. How can crying do with headache??
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      I thought the pain may due to the following reason, through my knowledge accumulated from high school science class.
    
     When I cry, my brain is in an extremely nervous state, the brain needs more the blood. And also, sniffles itself makes breathing becomes unstable, the brain will temporarily be dificient in the blood supply. That may cause  the lacks of the oxgen. Then I may feel dizziness or headache. Sometimes I talk a lot on the phone with my friends and I will also get pain of my head, and that maybe the same reanson..
    
    But it is just my opinion..I should find some specific materials to support it or reject it.
    
    Does crying really related to my headache, or not? And how can it cause a headache?
It is said on the e-how.com "Crying due to stress or sadness releases certain kinds of stress hormones from the body. These hormones can cause other effects, including tension or migraine headaches." After reading this, I realized maybe something that make me cry is the true reason that make me feel headache?
    
    There's another statement I found in livestrong.com, It is said "If you get a headache after you cry, you may be experiencing dehydration. Crying causes you to lose water from your body and painful headaches are often a sign of dehydration. Stress caused by whatever is making you cry can also lead to tension headaches. "
    
    This makes a sense that " stress causes crying can also lead to the headaches."
    
    My mother told me that if I feel headache after crying I can put a cool towel on my head, and it is really a effective way to reduce the pain. However, there are also some method from the internet teach us how to prevent the headache after crying  " prevent headaches when crying by avoiding dehydration. Drink plenty of water after a bout of crying to replace fluid loss and prevent headaches. Women should drink 50 oz. of water per day, while men should drink 70 oz. of water daily to avoid dehydration headaches. Avoid using alcohol while you are crying. Alcohol can further lead to dehydration and headaches." 
     
    Maybe you can try next time after you relaxed from stress by crying.
     


Anemia


| 2 Comments
Admittedly, I'm known to be a little bit of a complainer, and maybe I sometimes milk my illnesses. Case in fact: in High School, I was diagnosed with anemia and since then I have blamed a lot on it. When I'm cold, it's my anemia...when I'm tired, it must be the anemia...when I bruise easily, it's definitely the anemia.

So I decided to look into what exactly COULD be a result of the anemia, and what is just me making excuses.

Now, back to the start: in high school, we always had red cross blood drives, and every year I would make an appointment to go, being the good citizen that I am (and maybe because it got me out of class), and I would wait in the long line and read all the packets and sit down and answer all the questions that the lady with the suspicious eyes asked me..."Were you born a female?"

Patiently, I would answer each question and the lady would take my heart rate and then she would prick my finger to test my iron and then (EVERY TIME) she would tell me that my iron levels were not high enough to register on the machine, but maybe it was a fluke and she would prick my other finger (OUCH!). The next finger's results would come back the same, and I would hang my head as I walked out of the blood drive, without giving blood, but with very sore middle fingers.

When the blood drive came and went during my senior year (without me being able to donate), I asked my mom to take me to get tested for anemia. I had it, but what exactly was IT?

According to Women's Health, "occurs when you have less than the normal number of red blood cells in your blood or when the red blood cells in your blood don't have enough hemoglobin." The site says that hemoglobin is a protein that is used to carry oxygen throughout your body, and without that oxygen, your body is not working as well as it should. Women and people with chronic diseases are at greatest risk.

There are a few different types of anemia including Iron Deficiency Anemia, Vitamin Deficiency Anemia, Anemia caused by underlying diseases, and Anemia caused by inherited blood diseases.

I have iron deficiency anemia, which is when your body does not have enough iron, and you need iron to product hemoglobin. The most common symptoms for all types of anemia are similar and include:

  • feeling grumpy
  • feeling weak or tired
  • headaches
  • problems concentrating or thinking

After reading up on anemia, I have found that most of my problems COULD be attributed to my anemia, luckily though, there are ways to treat it, the most common being adding more iron to your diet, through foods (like spinach, chicken, tuna, watermelon, etc.) or through vitamins (such as a B-12 or iron supplement). Personally, I took a prescribed iron supplement in high school, but I could never remember to take it every day; from now on, I will definitely have to try to incorporate more iron rich foods in my diet.


Have you ever had anemia? Do you have the same symptoms as me? What do you do to treat it?


PS. Maybe I'm not such a complainer after all. ;)



Cardio Vs. Weight training


| 6 Comments

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I am a fitness newbie. Now I have a gym membership and for the first few weeks of class I was mainly going to the Natatorium (it's far less intimidating that the White building or Rec hall) to do some cardio on the elliptical machines. Last week however, my friends convinced me to go to the White building and do some weight training with them. I've never really done any serious weight lifting before so I didn't know much about it but one friend had told me that weight lifting is actually a better calorie-burning workout than cardio.  So I thought I would check it out.

            As I am sure some of you are well aware, the question of cardio vs. weight training is an ongoing debate in the fitness community and different sources have different things to offer on the subject. So here is the breakdown:

 

According to an article in the Washington Post entitled Cardio Vs Weights: The battle is Over and  another on Womenshealthmag.com, cardio burns more calories during a workout for two main reasons. One is because you burn 10-12 calories a minute doing cardio whereas you only burn 8-10 calories a minute lifting weights and the second reason is that cardiovascular exercise is continuous while weight lifting is not (because you have to take breaks between sets). Another reason why you can burn more calories doing cardiovascular exercise is because you can do cardio every day if you please but you are limited in how much strength training you should do in a week because your muscles need time to recover.

            On the other hand, strength training causes your metabolism to spike for an hour while your body helps your muscles to recover after your workout. This spike in metabolism causes your body to burn calories at a faster rate and so you can burn up to 25% more calories even after ceasing to exercise. This differs from cardio because once you stop exercising your metabolism slows down to its normal rate.  Similarly, according to an article on thehuffingtonpost.com, The truth about weight training vs. cardio, weight training burns more calories overall because when you weight train you build muscles and the more muscles you have the more calories that are being consumed to sustain them. Thus, strength training can lead to a higher metabolism, which in time burns more calories even when you are just lounging on the couch.

            According to the aforementioned article, Cardio Vs Weights: The battle is over, in order to burn the most calories our exercise routines should consist of both cardio and weight lifting not just one or the other.

 

            What do you guys think? Are you still leaning to one side or the other or are you going to try and incorporate weight training or cardio into your usual workouts? I've decided to try and incorporate weight training into mine and see what happens!

 

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    You all may ask, what is a misogynist?  This is a person who hates, mistrusts or mistreats women.  In my opinion, some misogynists don't think they understand what they are doing.  Some may think they are doing this out of love and protection over their loved one, however it is wrong.  I think it is important for all people out there to know about a misogynists brain.  
    In most cases misogynists do not know they hate women.  Most of the time this derives from a female figure in their life who abandoned or neglected them.  This could be anyone from a mother, grandmother, aunt or girl.  These traumas are planted in the subcortical brain and as time goes on the pain for the male gets worst and worst.  This grows to parts of the brain such as the fear processing and memory areas which effects emotional and rational decision making.  
    Most of the time, you never know the person you are falling for is a misogynist.  There are many signs of this time of man.  First off, in the beginning he acts all enthusiastic, charming, flirtatious and fun.  This will make a woman fall for him because her natural defenses are down because she is more willing than ever to fall for him.  Then as the relationship progresses, he goes from an irresistible personality to a rude personality and then quickly back to irresistible.  This is known as the Jekyl & Hyde personality.  The misogynist also tends to be self-centered and very competitive.  If someone else is having more fun than him, he can't stand it.  
    Sadly, some men enjoy displeasing women with this.  It produces dopamine in their brain and it gives them pleasure, making them want to mistreat women this way over and over again.  Some misogynists do not even realize they are mistreating a woman unfairly.  They think they are just protecting the one they love by preventing them from doing certain things because they do not trust their woman enough.  However, when it comes down to the woman telling him not to do something, he feels he can do it anyway.  
   These misogynists bring in their target with their extreme charm and romance.  They wait for the person to fall in love with everything good about them and then their true colors come out.  However, it is too late now.  The victim has become so infatuated with everything about him that he now has complete control.  Now obviously no one should be scared to get out there and date, however be careful when falling in love and make sure you do not let anyone take control of what you do and of your life.  
   Has anyone ever been in a relationship like this?  

What is Love?


| 2 Comments
LOVE-love-32129178-500-375.jpg     Have you loved before?  This doesn't necessarily have to mean a boyfriend.  It could be family members, friends etc.  We all probably think love is just an emotion and it just happens.  Well this isn't true.  When you're in love, there are different chemicals released in your body.  
    According to this article about love after doing an MRI on a person's brain, they realized just showing a picture of the person they loved automatically reduced stress and depression. Now we may wonder, why do we get those feelings of sweaty hands, red cheeks and our body temperature seems to go through the roof when we see the person we love or are falling in love with or maybe simply have a crush on.  This is your body going through a biochemical rush of dopamine and other chemicals that are similar to amphetamines.  When falling in love or when in love your dopamine levels increase which results in increased energy, less need for sleep and food in addition to highly focused attention.  
    Do you know people that just tend to jump from one relationship to another?  Scientists seem to think that this kind of person has become addicted to the chemicals produced when falling in love.  In the sense of a long term relationship, the presence of one's partner stimulates endorphins in the brain.  These are the biochemicals that are a naturally occurring pain killer in the body.  
    The saying "Love is Blind" was said to be proven true by scientists.  We idolize the ones we love and tend to overlook their flaws.  This respect of accepting someone even with their flaws is the result of a long term relationship.  As time goes on the chemicals being produced diminish, however they are replaced with other deeper emotions.
   "Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit." -- Peter Ustinov
There have been quite a few studies claiming that meditation generally makes people kinder, more gentle, and more at ease with themselves in general. What I wonder though, is it the idea of imposing calm on the self that makes people feel kinder, or does meditation actually physically change a person?
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According to this study done at the Yale Therapeutic Neuroscience clinic, people who have been meditating regularly for years do have less activity going on in the brain. The default mode region--the part of the brain that goes crazy when you're thinking about what to make for dinner--is much less rampant among experienced meditators. The self-monitoring parts of the brain were also more active--even those who hadn't meditated before were much less likely to say mean things about others, and replaced the word "we" for "I" more often. Now, could this be because they perhaps have less stressful jobs and can indulge in more spiritual aspects of their lives? Or are those just interested in meditation more likely to try to be self aware? Maybe. But other studies show that even kids benefit from meditation--even when they're not making a conscious effort to be different.  

In a study done in 2005, 194 elementary school children in grades 1-3 were split in half. Half of them were taught meditation/yoga techniques, while the other half engaged in reading and other quiet activities. The kids who meditated had longer attention spans, more mindful behavior, and less test-taking anxiety--even among those who had trouble with such behaviors beforehand. At the Visitacion Valley Middle School, when the staff initiated two 15 minutes periods of meditation, suspensions rates went from 13% to 6% that same year. What's interesting is that the idea of meditation--to slow down, and observe what's in front of you--is something kids are naturally gifted it. It's the adults who want to label themselves as "meditators." 

According to John Cloud of Time Magazine , one of meditation's main strengths is that improves peoples' concentration, yet it's still unclear if there's a physical alteration in the brain due strictly to meditation. The mindfulness aspect of meditation is difficult to question, however, and in one study it was fairly evident that it was the act of meditating itself that raised mindfulness, not just being the personality type who enjoys sitting quietly. In a group of sixty people, 30 were sent to a 3 month retreat in which they were instructed in meditation for five hours each day. The participants were then asked to look at a series of lines flashing on the computer and to click on the mouse when they saw a line that was shorter than the others. Those who had gone on the retreat were 10% more successful in noticing the small lines than the people who had not meditated. Not a huge difference, but enough to make you wonder. 

Thus, I think it's safe to reject the null hypothesis that meditation doesn't do anything. It takes a while to physically alter your brain, but it's pretty quick in its ability to make you feel more relaxed, concentrated, and able to take on the day.

Do you think it's purely by chance that meditation evokes these changes? Is it possible it's the type of people who meditate that are more prone to concentration? Or is it truly mind altering?   

 



 


There have been quite a few studies claiming that meditation generally makes people kinder, more gentle, and more at ease with themselves in general. What I wonder though, is it the idea of imposing calm on the self that makes people feel kinder, or does meditation actually physically change a person?
meditation.jpg
According to this study done at the Yale Therapeutic Neuroscience clinic, people who have been meditating regularly for years do have less activity going on in the brain. The default mode region--the part of the brain that goes crazy when you're thinking about what to make for dinner--is much less rampant among experienced meditators. The self-monitoring parts of the brain were also more active--even those who hadn't meditated before were much less likely to say mean things about others, and replaced the word "we" for "I" more often. Now, could this be because they perhaps have less stressful jobs and can indulge in more spiritual aspects of their lives? Or are those just interested in meditation more likely to try to be self aware? Maybe. But other studies show that even kids benefit from meditation--even when they're not making a conscious effort to be different.  

In a study done in 2005, 194 elementary school children in grades 1-3 were split in half. Half of them were taught meditation/yoga techniques, while the other half engaged in reading and other quiet activities. The kids who meditated had longer attention spans, more mindful behavior, and less test-taking anxiety--even among those who had trouble with such behaviors beforehand. At the Visitacion Valley Middle School, when the staff initiated two 15 minutes periods of meditation, suspensions rates went from 13% to 6% that same year. What's interesting is that the idea of meditation--to slow down, and observe what's in front of you--is something kids are naturally gifted it. It's the adults who want to label themselves as "meditators." 

According to John Cloud of Time Magazine , one of meditation's main strengths is that improves peoples' concentration, yet it's still unclear if there's a physical alteration in the brain due strictly to meditation. The mindfulness aspect of meditation is difficult to question, however, and in one study it was fairly evident that it was the act of meditating itself that raised mindfulness, not just being the personality type who enjoys sitting quietly. In a group of sixty people, 30 were sent to a 3 month retreat in which they were instructed in meditation for five hours each day. The participants were then asked to look at a series of lines flashing on the computer and to click on the mouse when they saw a line that was shorter than the others. Those who had gone on the retreat were 10% more successful in noticing the small lines than the people who had not meditated. Not a huge difference, but enough to make you wonder. 

Thus, I think it's safe to reject the null hypothesis that meditation doesn't do anything. It takes a while to physically alter your brain, but it's pretty quick in its ability to make you feel more relaxed, concentrated, and able to take on the day.

Do you think it's purely by chance that meditation evokes these changes? Is it possible it's the type of people who meditate that are more prone to concentration? Or is it truly mind altering?   

 



 


Humans Will Breathe Underwater?


| 1 Comment

Referring to the topic of this entry, if something like that ever occurs it would be an astonishing discovery. Just imagine the amount of money that will be saved on equipment. Imagine the coolness of saying, "hey, I could breathe underwater." Just imagine what a progress it would be for mankind.

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But could something like that ever happen? A recent scientific study between algae and salamanders concludes a hope for humans to be able to breathe underwater in just a few decades.

So how is all of this connected?

The study was published about how algae insert themselves into salamander offspring and DNA. Human DNA is filled with viruses that are absorbed over hundreds thousands of years. So, can other microbes do the same thing? A group of biologists set up a study to find out. They studied the relationship between algae and salamanders. Like I mentioned before, algae often snuck inside salamander offspring. "A large number of algae cells go inside the embryo. That was something we didn't expect," said Ryan Kerney, a Dalhousie University biologist. According to this article, the fact that spotted salamanders and algae live in symbiosis was first noted in the 19th century.

But what happens next? Now it seems plausible that some salamanders are literally part of algae. This biological foundation is what might help the theory of the ability of humans to breath underwater.

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 It appears that algae sneak into salamander eggs and become part of the fetus as it grows. The algae never leaves, some adult salamanders have algae DNA. Therefore, they are passing it from one generation to another. So, yes, you guessed it, SALAMANDERS ARE PART-PLANT!

Now things start to get interesting, according to the authors of this study, it is certain that algae can live within vertebrate tissues. Humans are vertebrates! Is there a way that something like algae implants could ever be possible?

The conclusion of this study goes as follows: It is now proven that salamanders are actually part plant, because of algae. The only way that this could happen is if the animal has vertebrae. We humans, as well, have vertebrae.

WHAT IF, algae was inserted into our DNA?

Obviously, further studies and experiments have to be done regarding this matter. But, do you think this is a good idea? Could there be negative outcomes of such process? Does this bring the next human evolution?

Based on this discovery between salamanders and algae, it does not seem completely out of the question. I say this is something worth trying. It would be indeed a dangerous experiment. But science is dangerous. And without risks, we could never know. 


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Smoke and a pancake?


| 4 Comments
Over the past few years and after being in college for those years I've noticed people smoking that I didn't think would. They would say "I only smoke when I drink." I didn't get it. I mean.. I drink sometimes and I don't get the urge to smoke a cigarette.  Apparently, these people are called social smokers. You know.. just a cig with some friends.. "meehhh" no big deal. Those people.

These social smokers are absent of the gene that causes many smokers to be addicted to nicotine. According to a CNN article, social smokers are either in denial or are on the brink of addiction to nicotine. Turns out, people can be addicted to other features of smoking rather than the nicotine that causes people to be addicted.  Social smokers can be addicted to anything about smoking: the sensation, the ritual of hanging out with friends, or the nicotine head buzz WITHOUT BEING DEPENDENT ON NICOTINE. Kick a Jesus in the face, that's nuts. It was reported in the article that some people who smoke a pack a week for years never become dependent on nicotine. Social smokers don't smoke because of nicotine withdrawal, but because they simply just like the activity of smoking.

Smoking in combination with drinking alcohol is said to amplify the effects of smoking. It makes sense I guess: 'Alcohol buzz' multiplied by 'Cigarette buzz' = Super wicked buzz. The Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research at Duke University Medical Center conducted a double blind experiment that included placebo-like alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic drinkers. The cravings of a cigarette were due to the positively reinforcing effects of nicotine rather than craving a cigarette to fight stress or withdrawal.

So if you're a social smoker and you want to quit.. it would be wise to slow down your drinking habits and also not to binge drink to avoid cigarette cravings. Social smokers do also have a chance to become addicted to nicotine, so don't think that you are exempt from addiction!

Women in Science


| 1 Comment
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I was scanning the New York Times website earlier today and found an article titled "Women Still Missing from Medicine's Top Ranks." It related back to what we talked about in class, so I decided to read it. Danielle Ofri talks about how there are little differences between how men and women are treated, such as the comfort of bathroom stalls, and also bigger things, like how men have all of the senior positions where she is employed. "While women make up about half of all medical students and a third of academic faculty, they are nearly absent in the upper ranks" she says. This was shocking to me, seeing as Andrew Read said that many of the people who work with him are women. The article also says that in a recent study with the Journal of General Internal Medicine, it was discovered that only 4% of full professors are women and only 12% of department chiefs are women. The survey also says that women and men both have equal desires and goals to be in positions of leadership, so why are numbers so low for women?
Women didn't feel the sense of inclusion, especially in the medical community, and they were not as confident as men in their abilities. I went to an all girls high school and we had tons of women come and talk to us about female leadership roles. The one thing I did learn from all of those speakers was that women can do as well as men, but the reason they don't is because they are not as self-assured and confident in what they are truly capable of. There are theories in which there can be a possible bias against putting women in leadership positions. But I think the problem, which Danielle Ofri states in her article, is that there aren't enough women in powerful positions, so younger women can't envision themselves in important jobs. This is called the idea of "possible selves." You can't picture yourself having this job because you haven't seen anyone like you do it. Ofi proudly states that now there are more women working in the medical field and in her office, and says that doing a little thing to help women can go a long way. Perhaps the idea of "possible selves" is what is holding people back. Women should stand up for themselves and fight for the positions they deserve because it will motivate the younger generations to do the same.

"Ums" and "ahs".  These are the dreaded "filler" words that, if used, you'd lose points for in a public speaking class.  Not many people are able to shake the stage fright of public speaking and hence, no matter how hard they try to avoid it, the "ums" and "ahs" come out during the speech.  Public speaking isn't the only place we use these kinds of words however, they've been integrated into our vocabulary in everyday life and serve to protect us from miscommunication.conversation.jpg

I was browsing Facebook the other day and I happened to come across an article that Chuck Palahniuk, the author of Fight Club, posted and recommended his fans to read.  The article is called "The Secret Lives Of Little Words" and it says those little words we use actually carry subliminal messages!

The writer, Kimberly Turner, explains things like how the phrase "mm hmm" means, "Yes, please continue," for females and signifies agreement for males and how that is often misinterpreted between sexes.  She also goes into detail about fillers such as: okay vs. alright, um vs. ah, and a couple others.   Within those words people convey their intentions as well as interpret someone else's.  Turner even goes as far to say that you could become a "human lie detector" by learning the correct usage of these words!

So, (<--- look a filler word which signifies I'm introducing a new topic!) it seems our public speaking teachers may have been at a fault for dissuading us to use these messages of conversational clarity.

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Can processed fatty foods with high amounts of sugar and salt be just as addicting as say heroin, crack, cocaine or opium? The NY Times article "Craving an Ice-Cream Fix" says it's possible. Are you addicted to food? Take this quiz and find out...

First, lets analyze the causes and symptoms of drug addiction. I think it's safe to say addicts don't start using drugs in hopes of becoming addicted. Often, it starts by experimenting with less harmful, if you will, drugs such as the "gateway drug" marijuana. Marijuana is labeled the "gateway drug" because in many cases this is the first illegal substance addicts consume. When that isn't enough to reach their high, they may consume higher doses or move on to harder drugs, like cocaine. "For many people, what starts as casual [recreational] use leads to drug addiction." (The Mayo Clinic) And, once you're addicted, "you may not be able to control your drug use and you may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes."

Now, lets analyze a different kind of disease - obesity. People are not born obese, just like people are not born addicts. (well, unless their mothers were, but that's a special circumstance) People gradually gain weight overtime, like addicts use more and worse drugs overtime. Before these individuals know it they're 300 lbs. They don't eat excessive amounts in hopes of becoming obese. Emotional and mental issues may have led to resorting to overeating. Addicts may have turned to drugs for similar reasons. 

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drub Abuse, made the case that food and drug addictions have much in common, particularly in the way that both disrupt the parts of the brain involved in pleasure and self control. "Just as drug abusers need increasingly larger doses over time, children who are regular ice-cream eaters may require more and more for the reward centers of their brains to indicate that they are satisfied" (Oregon Research Institute) See any similarities yet? 

You're probably wondering, has any scientific research been conducted on this hypothesis? Princeton University and University of Florida researchers found that "sugar-binging rats show signs of opiatelike withdrawal when their sugar is taken away - chattering teeth, tremoring forepaws and the shakes." 


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Drug addiction is a dependence on an illegal drug or a medication. Obesity is a dependence on food. When you're addicted, you may not be able to control your drug use and may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes. Obese people are unable to control how much they eat and continue to overeat despite the harm to their bodies. Drug addiction can cause an intense craving for the drug. Obesity can cause an intense craving for food. Addicts, those of drugs and food, may want to quit, but many find they cannot. 

Obesity often leads to Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, loss of 
reproduction and sexuality, thyroid conditions, and an inactive and overall unhappy life. So why is obesity tolerated and even accepted in America? Will certain foods, one day, be widely accepted as addictive like drugs? 





Saved by a Mouse?


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While perusing the New York Times for an assignment for another class, I found an interesting  article on a controversial breed of animal testing. 

Hoping to better and more accurately determine the treatments that best suit a particular cancer patient, scientists have been using mice as human surrogates. A tumor is removed from the original cancer patient and is inserted into mice through a quick and simple procedure.  When this procedure is effective, the mouse is transformed into a medical "guinea pig," personalized to a particular cancer patient. After this process, scientists can test which drugs effectively treat the tumor with no risk to the actual human patient. The end goal of this procedure is to pinpoint the combination of drugs that could best treat the patient more quickly and with less harm to the patient. 

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(Image credit of Science Photo Library)

Although this method of experimentation initially has great promise, it is far from being the universal "miracle cure" that cancer patients and scientists alike have long sought. On top of being unbelievably expensive, costing tens of thousands of dollars that remains uncovered by any insurance company, it is still questionable whether a mouse can truly be used as a model for a human being. Tumors that are transplanted to mice may not behave as they do in humans and the tumors might not even grow in the mice at all. Additionally, some cancer drugs that may work on mice are utterly incompatible with human patients. These faults are the reason why the procedure remains highly controversial and unrecognized by insurance companies.  

Despite these constraints, the study has had some success. At the Bayer Schering Pharma, out of 22 patients using mouse surrogates, 14 patients improved from drugs that were first tested on the mice. In the case of Nir Toib, the ten tumors he had on his kidney disappeared after he was given drugs that were first tested on a mouse "guinea pig." Though some patients have had major success with the treatment, it still has not proven itself to be the perfect cure. 

 While some researchers allege that the treatment is effective and further funding should be devoted to it, others are more critical. If the method is so effective, why doesn't it work for everyone? Can a mouse truly be used as a stand-in for a human being?


The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy


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This is a short video about Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy.

Actually I got really confused when we first talked about this concept in our science class.

You may remember that when we mentioned the topic "Is payer really help?" When we discussed would the result of that experiment not so accurate?

During that issue, we considered Texas sharp shooter problem as that - "are many things being measured, and only the few positive hits being reported?"

However, I still could not get fully understand about it.

Then I do a search after class.

To begin with , let's talked about the definition of it on the Wikipedia."The Texas sharpshooter fallacy is a logical fallacy in which pieces of information that have no relationship to one another are called out for their similarities, and that similarity is used for claiming the existence of a pattern."...

Oh,well it is still so hard for me to get well with this concept.

Maybe, this origin story of Texas sharpshooter fallacy will make sense.The name of this kind of fallacy,of course comes from a joke about a Texan. He is a so-called gun shooter. He fires some shots at the side of a barn, then paints a target centered on the biggest cluster of hits and claims to be a sharpshooter. And this story made me feel more clear about this concept, that in my words about this story, may be concluded as this:" He uses the things which first have no relationship between each other ("the place he shoot in" and "the target he painted") to prove his conclusion that he is a sharp shooter.

There's also a description about this kind of fallacy: "Ignoring the difference while focusing on the similarities, thus coming to an inaccurate conclusion. Similar to the gambler's fallacy, this is an example of inserting meaning into randomness. Also similar to the post-designation fallacy."

Finally, I want to share an example  with u guys. 

 SuperCyberDate.con determined that Sally and Billy are a great match, because they both like pizza, movies, junkfood, Janet Jackson, and vote republican.

However, What SuperCyberDate.con did not take into consideration was the 245 other likes and dislikes that were very different for both Sally and Billy -- like that fact that Billy is gay.


The rights and wrongs of napping


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    Living at college and on the sorority floor, it's safe to say my sleep schedule is pretty out of whack. I've never been a morning person, and in high school naps were a regular part of my schedule. This semester, some of the courses I need for my major are only available in the morning, which has results in naps becoming a part of my everyday life once again. Are naps a good thing? Do they contribute to the fact I can't seem to fall asleep before 3 AM most nights? I've heard both answers to this question before- i.e. yes, they are good for you because everyone needs sleep to function... and I've heard that they are not good for you because they disrupt your "natural" sleep patterns and schedule. Regardless of what I've heard or my personal love and reliance on naps, I figured it was a good idea to find some research to back up an answer.

    Here is a research study which includes a strong sample size of over 1,000 people who were to record their sleep patterns in hopes of finding an association between sleep (either long or short) and mortality. When it comes to napping however, the study stated that "although the interaction of sleep duration and napping was statistically significant in the unadjusted and partially adjusted models, the interaction term was not significant in the fully adjusted model taking into consideration confounding by health status variables, including comorbidity, medications, and depression." It seems that there are many third variables to consider when analyzing napping and mortality, but overall, napping has many benefits.

    An article that referenced the studies previously discussed entitled "Why you should take a 10-minute nap everyday," it showed research that stated 10-minute naps improve productivity of employees. Power naps really are powerful, but they should also be monitored. The article also stated that even a nap as long as 30 minutes can lead to sleep inertia, meaning you become groggy and it may have negative effects on your efficiency. For me, a nap isn't a nap unless it's at least an hour long, and I definitely experience the groggy feeling when I wake up. In addition to the side effects of longer naps, if you nap to late in the day, the article also referenced the possibility of the nap interfering with our sleep rhythms.

    It seems like I found the answer I already had an idea of, naps are a good thing as long as you don't over-do it. Timing matters and so does the duration of your nap. They have positive effects by reducing our daytime sleepiness, but can indeed alter our schedules and cause the cycle of daytime sleepiness to keep reoccurring. While researching this topic, I discovered many interesting articles and I wanted to share this product- if you wanna take that 10-minute power nap I previously talked about- which are good for you!- think about investing in this ostrich pillow. It helps you sleep wherever and whenever, since power naps have significant positive effects.
 
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                While reading the Science section of the New York Times as suggested by Professor Read, I discovered a very interesting article concerning the safety and habitat of a fascinating creature: bats. Taxonomically speaking, a bat is a mammal classified in the Chiropteran. Bats are one of the very few known mammals that have evolutionarily adapted flight and wings: other prime examples are flying squirrels.

 

            In regards to the article, a group of scientists are trying to lure bats into a winter cave in order to sanctify them from a deadly virus which has been killing millions of bats.  This disease is known as white nose syndrome, it is a fungal disease that kills hibernating bats. There is no known cure for the disease so scientists needed to take mobile action. Animal conservatives immediately responded to this issue which could be more economically devastating than most people believe.  

 

            Fortunately, the disease does not affect humans in any shape or form, but the bats that are being killed eat various insects in order to flow the food chain. If the mortality rate of bats expedites, these insect populations will continue to rise and cause agricultural dilemmas for farmers and industries. According to the article, " in Tennessee, there are 10,000 caves an 16 species of bats and about half of them are in hibernation". Because the disease is spreading throughout the globe, this will eventually reach the bats and cause mass mortality.

 

            What are the scientists doing? The Nature Conservatory made the decision to construct an artificial cave in order to not only secure the bats but also to monitor the bats and see if the plague flushes away.  The cave is roughly "80 feet long and 16 feet wide with an 11-foot ceiling" . Also, the conservatory has established a bunker with cameras in order for the surveillance to be efficient.

 

            Further studies are being conducted about the origin of the disease. The disease was discovered in 2006 so its essence and aspects are still unclear to many scientists. So how did it spread? Some migratory issues have been speculated for the reason. Scientists and bat experts specifically have said that Europeans who have traveled over to America brought the fungus infection but this is still unclear as well. The fungus seems to more severely affect European bats as oppose to American bats.  

 

            Recorded bat calls are being used in order to lure the different species of bats into the artificial cave so they can be observed and hopefully sheltered. These scientists vernacularly speaking could be called real "batmen" and protecting their bats from the white nose syndrome or in these terms: the joker.  


The Physics of Ice Skating


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Being an avid hockey fan, I've always been impressed by the immense physical strength of NHL athletes and their ability to seemingly "run on ice." I never really took the time to think about how ice skates work and how the players can make such sharp turns while moving so quickly and stay on their feet.  Players often talk about the quality of ice, so what makes the difference?  I wouldn't normally care to know the science behind ice skating, but I figured if I was obligated to research interesting scientific questions for my SC 200 class, I might as well research something that was related to a sport that is near and dear to my heart.

When I looked up "the science of ice hockey," I was surprised to discover that scientist actually take the "chemistry of ice" rather seriously.  Articles found on exploratorium.edu explain that "good ice" is harder and colder and "bad ice" is softer and has more snow.  The articles discuss that better ice is often found in arenas in Canada which is usually attributed to the generally colder climate.  "Good ice" for hockey can be achieved at somewhere around -9 degrees Celsius according to the ice maker at San Jose's arena. 

  According to exploratorium.edu, members of the scientific community have debated whether pressure or friction gives ice its slippery characteristic while skating despite the fact that the ice is a solid and is dry in this physical state.  Until recently, most scientists believed it to be pressure.  Chemist Gabor Somorjai offers an explanation that hockey players are actually skating on vibrating molecules.  He and his team discovered that every other water molecule in the ice was missing.  With further examinations, it was found that the molecules were actually there, they were simply moving too fast for them to detect.  Somorjai found that these molecules act like a liquid but only move up and down on the surface of the ice.  If they were to move side to side, the surface would immediately become liquid.  But the up and down movement of the molecules makes the surface liquid-like and this is believed to give the ice the slippery characteristics.  Players are able to stay on their feet on the slippery surface because their steel blades are actually concave instead of flat and are made with two edges, allowing them to dig into the surface.  When the skates are dull, players can lose their edge and fall easily.  Fox News explores the science behind skates here

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Have you guys ever heard of the show Taboo? Well my friends and I were talking about one of their wildest episodes, and I thought I would enlighten all of us about this "Taboo" topic. Now, it's not something you hear everyday....get ready...it's about to get a little weird.  Have you ever considered drinking your own urine?  I know, just the thought of it makes me cringe, but some people actually swear by this ritual. 

Of course, it's a whole different idea when you have to do it for survival.  No judgments there, really.  But now it is becoming more popular to do on a regular basis.

Turns out, these practices date back to ancient times.  The Egyptian, Chinese, and Indian texts outline the positive affects of drinking one's own urine, while the Aztecs used it merely as a disinfectant.

According to this <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/urine-the-bodys-own-health-drink-467303.html">article</a>, urine is 95% water and the other 5% is simply vitamins and nutrients.  Urine is sterile and is actually not a bodily waste, but a filtration of the blood.

People believe that drinking this magic potion can help to cure things like the common cold.  Some believe it may even cure cancer.  Generally, it is the first urination of the day that is the most beneficial, and patients are told to drink up to a cup full, morning and night.

Ms. Christy, an advocate for auto-urine therapy says that the only reason doctor do not promote this therapy is because there is no money in it for them

Hmmm....if this is really true, then the doctors have some explaining to do...

Then again, there is little proof that this therapy actually works.

So who's up to do an in class experiment?! (I actually cringed while writing that, ew)

But in all seriousness...

How far would you guys go to improve your health?

Treadmill or Elliptical?


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As I got back from the gym today, I wondered if there were any benefits to my friends and I being lazy and always choosing the elliptical over the treadmill. I hate running with a passion and this is why I always opt out of running on a treadmill. I feel insecure about people watching me and I feel miserable the entire time I'm on it. At least with an elliptical I don't feel suicidal, and it's a workout too... right? I did some research hoping to confirm my optimistic thoughts.

According to an article in the New York Daily Times by Reuters, ellipticals are a better workout than I expected. "If you can have one piece of equipment at home, you're better off with an elliptical because it uses the upper and lower body," said Angela Smith, who is an orthopedic surgeon and a competitive skater. This was a relief to me. I kept reading: Smith also said the elliptical encourages better posture. "You want to perform the exercise with good form, with the body lifted rather than slumped, using muscles in optimum way," Smith explained.

My research also found repeatedly that people with joint or muscle problems should pick the elliptical because it is non-impact. On a treadmill, you are landing hard on your feet many times. But an elliptical is one fluid motion which is better for your knees and joints. Works for me!

So girls, the moral of the story is that if you use the elliptical correctly, it's a great alternative to the feared treadmill. Thomas Altena, an exercise physiologist at the University of Missouri-Columbia, said: "The physiological responses associated with elliptical exercises were nearly identical to treadmill exercises."

Does anybody else hate the treadmill as much as I do and was relieved to hear that the elliptical is a great option? Or does anyone still think the treadmill is the only way to get a real workout? I was definitely surprised by what I found.

http://exercise.about.com/cs/exercisegear/a/treadelliptical.htm
http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-10-18/entertainment/27078541_1_treadmill-national-sporting-goods-association-workout
I am sure many of you reading this know someone who is quite forgetful or maybe you are that person. I know I can be! The characteristic of being forgetful may become an idea of the past due to a recent study done Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina. 

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The experiment was performed on five primates. All of the primates had electrodes implanted into their pre-frontal cortex that were going to be used to help enhance their memory. The monkeys participated in a memory matching game where they had to pick the matching cards by using the computer mouse to point to it on the computer screen. While the monkeys were participating in the task, the actions of the layers in their prefrontal cortex was measured with the electrode. The layers of the cortex acted differently with the different tasks (picking the matching card and using the computer mouse to point to the correct match). 


The scientists then devised an algorithm that would allow the monkeys to complete the same task exactly how it was done the time before. This algorithm was sent to the electrode in the monkey's brain  and told the monkey's hand where to go. In a sense, it helped the monkey make up his/her mind.


Surprisingly, the electrodes interactions with the monkeys were not even interrupted when the monkeys were given cocaine. (Why they decided to give the monkeys cocaine...I don't know)

The research is still in its beginning stages but, it seems as if it is on the right track. There are high hopes that someday the electrodes placed in the prefrontal cortex may be able to help people that have suffered from differing brain injuries. I guess we will have to wait and see. 

Just dance


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In my English 15 class, we watched this fascinating Ted Talk by John Bohannon. In this talk, Bohannon explains a scientific experiment that his friend was working on that he thinks would better be explained through dance. All PhDs in fact, he claims, should be danced out rather than presented in powerpoints. While the experiment itself was interesting, I wanted to look more into why people respond to dance? Why are we so drawn to the way people contort their bodies--how do we jump to the conclusions that kind of performance is aesthetically pleasing? What is it about dance that makes us so inspired?

According to John Krakauer, a lot of it has to do with music. We rarely get a kick out of dancing to silence, but as soon as Kanye West (hey, don't judge) comes on the radio, our oribofrontal cortexes (part of brain directly behind the eyes) get stimulated, and the cerebellum kicks up, creating the mesh between timing and movement. So music, in a sense, can help us all become the next Martha Graham. Dance is also normally a social sport (and it is, indeed, a sport), and humans tend to respond more to an activity when they're noticing the movement of others. A primal instinct? I'd guess so, but no matter the case, we become more enthusiastic dancers when others successfully move to the beat. Maybe that's why middle school is entirely too awkward...no one knows how to move their bodies yet.

Much of the pleasure we feel is due to motor activity. Think about it...that ice cream you just downed was part of a physical act that made you feel good. Joggers talk about that "runners high" when endorphins get released, and since we're all thinking about it, sex, one of the most physically oriented activities, is pleasurable to humans as well. When we move, typically, we're happy. So adding music to an already desired activity makes dance a highly sought after sport.

Would you ever dance to feel good? Is it difficult for you to stay still when that catchy song comes on the radio? Why else do you think people might dance?

Shark Week Continued..


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You know that week in August where everyone becomes obsessed with shark facts, clips of close encounters with sharks and humans, and most obviously Discovery channel's shark week?

I am usually on vacation during this week every summer and it usually doesn't stop me from going into the ocean at all, but there are a few moments I let my mind wander to these cool, but scary creatures while swimming around and it tends to give me some chills, to say the least.

But I want to know what's going on during the 51 weeks of the year we are, for the most part, paying little to no attention to these amazing animals.

In an article printed by The New York Times yesterday it was reported sharks are being tagged with gps devices on their fins that will allow anyone with internet access to follow their every move, which can be tracked from Ocearch.org. This is being done to find out much more than we now know about sharks. Everything from their eating habits to their migratory routes will be looked at and hopefully lead to new discoveries in the shark world and maybe other animals under the sea.

Tagging comes with the benefits of finding out much more information on sharks, but also with it comes controversy. Is it necessary to tag them in such a traumatic way as Chris Fischer, who is a former "subject of History channel's "Shark Wranglers", and his crew experienced in South Africa and Cape Cod only one week ago? Protestors have signed petitions to stop the tagging altogether because scientists don't know if the tags could have harmful effects in the long run, as well as the possible pain the sharks may endure while actually being tagged.

 

great white.jpgMr. Fischer fought off the claims the protestors made by saying the tagging on the fin of a shark is much more productive than tagging done in the past, where they would tag them through harpooning and the device would often fall off after only 6 months. He said protestors were not informed enough of the situation to be protesting the tagging on sharks' fins.

While tagging two sharks about a week ago off the coast of Cape Cod, the crew also took blood tests and tissue samples. They did find that the sharks went through physiological stress during the tagging, but reassured that they try their best to minimalize any stress experienced by the sharks. "This vessel is one of the only platforms that gives scientists unprecedented access to the great fish", said Greg Skomal, a shark expert working on the Cape Cod expedition.

"This tracking will begin to reveal their lives. Anybody can learn about these sharks and follow their story." added Mr. Fischer in the Times articles.

What do you think about this new form or tracking sharks? Will it do good for us to learn more about sharks and marine life or are the effects on the sharks too much of a risk to take?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/science/chris-fischer-and-ocearch-crew-hunt-sharks-in-cape-cod.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0moc.semityn.www&ref=science

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57513989/first-ever-great-white-shark-spot-tagged-and-released-off-cape-cod/?tag=showDoorFlexGridLeft;flexGridModule

 

Slow Down!


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A blog post a couple down from me got me wondering... Is it really that big of a problem that Americans eat fast?  After doing some research, I found that the rapid pace that Americans consume food is a huge cause of obesity.  This was a shock to me, especially coming from a family of fast eaters.  My mom always tells us all to slow down, but of course nobody listens, especially my brother and dad!  Maybe we all should listen to her though.  It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to tell you that your stomach is full, so in this 20 minutes people consume a lot more food than they need to in order to be full.  People who eat slowly eat a lot less food because they realize they are full before they eat too much.  Hormones need to travel all the way from your gut to your brain and then give your brain feedback on how satisfied you are.  Then, "stretch receptors in the stomach must indicate that it's nearing capacity.  But food takes a little time to reach the stomach, and the stretch receptors can be slow to react."   (Taken from an article in Oprah  Magazine).  So, people who eat a lot in a short amount of time will not realize that they are too full until they have already overeaten.  A study  done asking 3,300 people about their eating habits showed that people who said they ate quickly and until they felt full were THREE TIMES as likely to be overweight than the slower eaters.  Also, according to a book read in the YouTube video below, "over 90% of fat people eat too fast."  Now that I know that eating fast is bad for your health and can lead to obesity, I will try to slow down at my meals!  Will you guys too?  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUo-LSsiysw

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Not A Real Peace


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Disclaimer: By this article, I intent no personal attacks on people who have the syndrome and the referrals in regards to the topic shall be considered pure scientific discussions.

        Though the surgery I will address has scarcely applied to people, but you might have seen such a behavior: a person tries to reach an object and observation tells you that he has already got the fixation of that object, namely free him from any visual problems. A little clumsy, he stretched out one of his limbs, only to find he reach the wrong direction; he then switches to the other one, but in great agony, he found himself in a quasi-paralysis state that his limb grows rigid and refuse to act at all. Sounds a really drastic scenario, but it more or less happens to people who had done split-brain surgery, clinically speaking, corpus callosotomy. To make this mechanism clear, imagine an apple. If we cut it in halve, the seed compartment seems to be the division of our dissection. Each piece of the apple we think of it as a half of the human brain, and then what corpus callosotomy does is to remove the seed compartment and thus leaving a hollow cavity in the middle of the apple. For sure that an apple doesn't yowl when it undergoes such a pain, but human beings will suffer, well, I should say, later when they are discharged rather during the operation of the surgery, since the analgesics pretty much kills their consciousness.

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 Corpus Callosum illstrated in an anatonomical model;picture courtesy of neuroScience.com

         Not long ago, I read an article introducing the split-brain surgery. The text itself was fascinating on the one hand, but on the other it was alarming, at least to scores of researchers who has done this surgery before.

         Vicki was the character documented in the passage. Shortly after the split-brain surgery, she got into cumbersome trouble of shopping, the not-so-boring activity almost all fetching woman loves to do. To be in detail, she was experiencing some weird manipulation of her motor neurons due to the side effect of the past surgery. Whenever she tried to approach the good she intended to put into cart, she has to struggle a long time to complete the process, or in other extreme circumstances, she simply would not succeed that handy job. At the exact moment when her mind reflected to demand arms to stretch out toward the item, her limbs incredibly turned out to be disarranged. If the milk is on her right, and of course her visual system/central neurons knows that it is by her right side, her left hand will always volunteer to take the job and ends up with a total failure, and vice versa. Nonetheless, as she also confessed, the surgery had ruled out the chance of the seizure's relapse, which for many times nearly claimed her unfortunate life. Compared to the pre-surgery condition, she seems much better-off in regard of the life danger. Her corpus callosum was sliced off from her brain after a resolved consent from her in June 1979. As the time went by, her conflictive symptoms allayed significantly. She then was capable of performing a wealth of procedural skills which were stored in her non-declarative memories. It looked like her trial period of the not-so-good surgery was over, but indeed she just chanced to be a lucky one.

         Among many split-brain patients who have been receiving the post-treatment monitors, a few have died. Because the core value of the split-brain surgeries targets on exterminate the recrudescence of the epilepsy, it inevitably left over many other side-effects that this specific type of surgery could engender. Though corpus callosotomy is a classical medical surgery which serves primarily to reduce/attenuate a particular life-threatening chronic disease and its adjunctive indispositions, this type of surgery has hoarded a mixture of views from the public. People who espouse to it claims that it is definitely not a bad idea to a patient who can be exempted from deadly mishap by approving to have surgeons taken measures of removing a part of the brain which appears not so instrumental as his life, whereas critics who spar over the reliability and security contingency of the surgery contest that it brings in multitudes of life-long annoyance to patients, such as the uncoordinated speech, great perplexes of the ineptitude of sports that exacts copious balancing techniques and seriously may lead to self-defeating thoughts. Even if the exhibition of side-effects in Vicki's case has been reported to be dissipated, as the definition of corpus callosotomy suggests, it crucially tampers with the construction of our central processing unit-the brain; therefore, the perdurable modification of brain's function clearly looms in to all patients who have received this surgery. From the knowledge I have learnt in the college so far, surgery is the last resort to a huge number of critical conditions, it should be used with ultimate discretion and appraisal. Over a long run, the medical treatment will still remain to be one of the relatively safest clinical means to the role of healing.

                        All-you-can-know about Corpus Callosotomy in this video.

        There seems to be an unceasing war debate over perfunctory surgeries and long-term rehabilitative treatments towards a wide array of so-called "acute diseases", once they relapse, partial or complete inability becomes inevitable those who have inherited them. Nevertheless, from this story, I sensed growing ethical concerns about the security of the surgery conduction. Generally speaking, physicians and surgery practitioners are more inclined to put more emphasis on stable and efficacious treatments when dealing with a thorny disease. Therefore, in pursuance to this proposal, people who are having those "Gordian-knot" types of disease will be placed on telling and safe-guaranteed medications with intensive monitoring at the first place when they are hospitalized. It is only until the symptom of patients intensifies that physician then assesses the holistic situation and probably takes the first consideration of performing a surgery. All these punctilious processes in the crucial times will potentially reduce side-effects which will inflict on people after their post-hospitalization period, and their quality of life will be truly boosted by the meticulousness of the treatment than "clear-cuts".

 

Story cited from:

http://www.nature.com/news/the-split-brain-a-tale-of-two-halves-1.10213

 

Epic Fail or Not?


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       So, your first SC200 exam was yesterday, and from the looks of it - most of you did an AWESOME job! Congrats! As for the rest of the class, maybe you didn't do so hot. . . That's totally A-Okay! Like I said in the first week of class, I didn't feel like I did very well on the exams either - but you can still do well in this class!
       So what are you going to do now? Well, for starters I strongly suggest going back through the exam (I believe Andrew will hold a review session) and look at the answers you missed. Often times if you look back through the exam, you can see why you missed the question. You may have missed it because: you didn't understand the question, didn't have notes on the topic, or were totally lost. In any case, Andrew can help you understand it & if you didn't have the notes, well then you know you need to start taking better notes in class!        
       Another helpful tip about going to these review sessions: sometimes the type of question you missed will be on another exam. So, if you go to the review session, figure out what you did wrong & understand it - you'll be much more prepared to answer that type of question the second time you see it!

       Just remember. It is not the end of the world if you didn't do as well as you would have liked on this exam! It can be tricky to adjust to exams, but just be sure to review the questions you missed, take GOOD notes & don't be afraid to ask questions if you don't fully understand a topic. Plus, you can still keep your grade up if you did not do so great on this exam: you have the blogs and extra credit opportunities! So don't stress! Keep in mind to be more prepared & review your notes thoroughly before the next exam!
I'm sure you guys will be just fine!

Have a good rest of the week & feel free to enjoy some amazing new music from Mumford & Sons:)

The French Effect


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While researching my last blog, I stumbled across something I found fascinating. It was a name for something I didn't know had a name but had always thought existed. It's not some mysterious constellation nor is it an obscure and complex scientific or biological mechanism. It's the so-called French Paradox.
The presence of a paradox was first addressed in a 60 Minutes segment in 1991. The video addressed the observation that despite the high consumption of cheese and wine, the French have a relatively low frequency of coronary heart disease. One researcher claimed that milk, not cheese, was the enemy in regards to the dangers of dairy and heart health. He believes that this is due to the nature of calcium in milk versus cheese. Because of the fermentation in cheese, the calcium may neutralize the fat, allowing it to be excreted from the body rather than absorbed. He drew these conclusions based on an experiment where he had two groups of rats, one milk-fed group and one cheese-fed group. While the cheese-fed rats had eliminated most of the dairy fat in their waste, the milk-fed group had not. The milk-fed rats were also found to have clogged arteries after being dissected.
The average French person consumed far more butter, cheese and animal fat daily in comparison to the average American, however death rates from coronary heart disease were far lower.
However, there may be a concrete explanation to this paradox. First, there is a high consumption of red wine in France. The red wine affects blood platelets, which help remove platelets from the artery walls. 
There are also lifestyle differences which contribute to the paradox. While statistically the French consume more butter, cheese, animal fat and alcohol per capita than Americans, their overall lifestyle and eating habits could lead to better overall health. The French not only eat less, but they also eat more slowly than Americans. They also snack less, walk more and eat fresher foods. These overall lifestyle differences could explain the differences in coronary heart disease. A 2009 study comparing dietary factors such as the consumption of saturated fats and the risk of coronary heart disease concluded that there was insufficient evidence to establish a causal link between the two.
So we know French women don't get fat, that they raise better-behaved children and dress well, but there's no need to fret if you're not French! In short, the so-called French Paradox has some very concrete explanations that we can all apply to our lives, but we don't have to rely on Brie and Bordeaux to avoid coronary heart disease.
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Mmmm Crickets


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For some reason the other day when I was eating a salad, I was thinking about how I am eating leaves and my mind wandered to bugs.  I'm sure you all have heard of Fear Factor and the eating challenge.  I thought back to an episode where contestants had to sit in a bucket of live leeches, have their partner suck twenty of them off, and then each of them had to eat ten.  It was appalling and I could barely watch without feeling noxious.  I could not imagine having to eat live insets right out of a bucket as a snack.  Thumbnail image for Fear-Factor-Scorpions.jpg
In addition to this, Angelina Jolie said that her kids "ate crickets like Doritos" and they wouldn't stop because they tasted so good.  I mean I cringed when I saw that but apparently bugs can be a healthy snack.

Entomophagy is the official word for the practice of eating insects.  There are an estimated 1,462 species of edible insects.  Insects are very nutritional; they tend to be high in protein and low in carbohydrates.  A cricket, for example, has 121 calories, 12.9 grams of protein, 5.5 grams of fat, and 5.1 grams of carbohydrates.  One who even knows their insects and the care needed to harvest them in the "wild" can collect bugs from local areas.  
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So now after a workout, instead of that protein shake you make with powder and water, try a few crickets as a new source of protein.  They might be as tasty as Doritos.  

Why do mosquitoes bit me?!


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Hey class,

Today I've decided to talk about our good friend, the mosquitoe.

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...they make me cringe...

 

Have you ever noticed that sometime you will wake up with 100 different mosquitoe bites and whoever you're with doesnt have any at all? Why do mosquitoes only bit certain people? and a better question, why do they bit at all?

Recently, scientist at Rothemsted Research in the UK discovered that some people produce chemicals that smell bad to mosquitoes, covering up the chemicals that usually attrack them.

A test was done by using two males, putting one of their hands in a chamber and the researchers watched which hand the mosquitoes preferred.

The researchers set about analyzing the body chemicals and are now waiting to patent the results in hopes of producing a natural insect repellent.

Why do mosquitoes bit?

The female mosquito is the one that bites, male mosquitoes feed off of flower necter. Female mosquitoes require blood to produce their eggs. Her mouth part is constructed so that it peirces the skin in order to suck the blood out. It's the saliva plus the injury to the skin that creates the stinging and irritation we associate with mosquito bites.

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until next time!

Why do mosquitoes bit me?!


| 1 Comment

Hey class,

Today I've decided to talk about our good friend, mosquitoe.

mosquito_malaria.png

...they make me cringe...

 

Have you ever noticed that sometime you will wake up with 100 different mosquitoe bites and whoever you're with doesnt have any at all? Why do mosquitoes only bit certain people? and a better question, why do they bit at all?

 

 

I feel it would be a safe assumption to say that this past Saturday at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, the majority of you were decked out in blue and white gear participating in "WE ARE" chants while preparing for our beloved football team to take on Navy.  This past Saturday at 3 o'clock, I was lying in my bed back home in Northeastern Pennsylvania desperately trying to catch up on my schoolwork.  After a series of mild anxiety attacks last week, I threw up my white flag and told myself I needed a weekend off from the State College excitement.  Anxiety has been getting the best of me since the start of classes three weeks ago. 

I have never been away from home for more than a week before coming to Penn State, and I have definitely NEVER been so busy.  I realize that every college student has a schedule as hectic as mine, and back at home I realized I needed to accept my busy new lifestyle and find a way to deal with the anxiety.

 

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I took to the internet to look for suggestions on how to overcome my stress-prone habits.  Initially, a lot of well-known results popped up: working out, doing something you enjoy for an hour each day, etc.  However, one article caught my attention.  It suggests the method of simply setting aside an allotted time slot in your day that is designated for worrying.  At first I thought this sounded like the opposite of being helpful, but decided to continue reading about the method.

Although the initial idea for the study began in the Netherlands, it was more recently observed by American researchers starting in the early 1980s.  It began with a group of 62 patients who were under some type of high level stress.  The study focused on a technique called "stimulus control," which involves setting aside a specific amount of time each day for the patients to sort out all of their worries and hypothesize about possible solutions to each worry.  When the designated time for this ends, the patients were ordered not to think about their worries or possible solutions for the remainder of the day.

Penn State's very own Tom Borkovec (Department of Psychology) was quoted in the article explaining the potential success of this method.  Borkovec stated "When we're engaged in worry, it doesn't really help us for someone to tell us to stop worrying.  If you tell someone to postpone it for a while, we are able to actually do that."

The results of the study showed that this "stimulus control" method actually works.  The patients who practiced the technique of compartmentalizing time to worry (through a four-step process) before beginning anxiety therapy regimens showed a significant lesser amount of anxiety and depressive symptoms than those who did not practice the compartmentalization method.

The article also explains that simply attempting this method can result in reduced anxiety.  Borkovec explains that the patient's expectance of results may have a "placebo effect" and make the patient more relaxed without even realizing it.

Personally, I feel this method would be a smart strategy for me.  Instead of worrying all day long, I would be able to rid of all my worries in less than an hour.  This way, I could spend the rest of the day being productive and refusing to feel anxious or focus on my problems.

I'm sure this method will have its doubters, though.  Do you think it's a good way to rid of stress?  Or do you think setting aside time specifically to worry sounds absurd, and will just result in an overflow of worry from the allotted time?  If anyone knows other interesting methods of reducing stress, feel free to comment with your suggestions!

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     If you have a social life that involves drinking then you probably have wondered how to reduce hangovers. I have heard of many things and my roommate suggested to me to take Ibuprofen and it worked for me. I decided that this would be really cool to investigate what to do or not to do to prevent hangovers.       

Don't Take- Tylenol 

1309431623-60.jpegTylenol can mess up your liver if ingested while intoxicated. The reason is that when your liver is busy metabolizing alcohol, it processes the painkiller differently than it otherwise would, resulting in toxic compounds that can cause liver inflammation and even permanent damage.


Do Take- Ibuprofens

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Ibuprofens such as Advil will help with the hangover headaches especially if you take it an hour before you have to be where ever your going in the morning or you can just take it the night before. 



Don't-Drink a lot of caffeine

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If you take multiple espresso shots thinking that it will make you feel better, you will probably end up feeling worst and further your dehydration. 



Do- Drink A beverage that has caffeine in it. 

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While drinking excessive amounts of coffee or caffeinated energy drinks won't do much to improve your drunken state, a single caffeinated beverage can help, particularly if you didn't get enough sleep, by giving you an energy boost and improving mental alertness. Try black tea or one cup of good quality coffee and make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Don't - Eat sausages and bacon

imgres-4.jpegWhile fatty foods will temporarily distract your stomach, you're not really providing your body with the nutrients it craves after a night out of heavy drinking.


Do - Eat eggs

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Eggs contain cysteine, a substance that can help break down acetaldehyde, a toxin associated with alcohol metabolism and hangovers.


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Don't - Eat before you go to bed

It's a common myth that filling up before bed will "soak up" the alcohol in your stomach. Food has to already be in your digestive system to slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream, so make sure you fuel up before heading out. Pick food that has a lot of fat, like pizza or steak, that take a long time to digest are your best bet for preventing a hangover later on.



Do - Drink water before going to bed

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Drinking alcohol causes dehydration, so you need to replenish fluids. If you don't drink water, your body will take what it needs from your vital organs, including your brain, resulting in a throbbing headache the following morning.





Don't - Exercise

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Another myth is that working out will sweat out the alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that in large quantities, it causes you to lose water and become dehydrated. A major sweat session can result in more dehydration and is therefore not a good idea.




Do - Shower and relax

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A shower will raise your temperature, prepping your body for sleep so you can bypass the most painful part of your day. On the flip side, a cold shower will make you feel more alert.

 



Hopes this helps! 


"Healthy" Europeans?


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While going over if smoking is dangerous in class a couple of weeks ago, I immediately began thinking of my smoke-filled experiences in Europe. I of course wasn't smoking, but everywhere I went people were. For anyone used to the American restrictions on smoking in public, this is certainly a culture shock. Going back to the lectures about the dangers of smoking, I noticed that the majority of the studies were based on American smokers. However I've always wondered about the prevalence of lung cancer in Europeans. With smoking playing such a huge role in European culture in life, they should have a higher prevalence of lung and other smoking-related cancers, right?
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The first interesting thing I discovered is that the countries I so often associated were smoking (simply out of personal observation and experience) did not have the highest cigarette consumption per capita. Some of the nations with the highest cigarette consumption based on statistics from less than a decade ago included Greece, Slovenia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. Spain ranked 9th, Italy 27th and France was all the way in 60th. When compared with WHO's list of the healthiest nations in the world, I found it interesting that Spain was ranked 9th. How can a county be in the top 10 of both categories? Even Greece was ranked as the 16th healthiest nation in the world. The methodology involved in gathering this data included addressing health-score factors and risk-score factors. Risk-score factors included the percent of the adult population who smoked, was inactive, overweight and who had high cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose. These scores were subtracted from the health-score total which included life expectancy at birth, infant mortality, cause of death, death rates in three age groups and survival to 65/life expectancy at 65.
However, it was difficult to draw any conclusions from this data alone. In an article published by CBS News, the fact that lung cancer deaths were on the rise in Europe amongst women. The article reiterated an important thing we covered in class-that "although public smoking bans in the West have cut smoking rates, lung cancer takes decades to develop, so any benefit from more people quitting cigarettes won't be seen for years." While lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world, its rates are highest in North America and Europe and lowest in parts of Africa according to Cancer Research UK. The breakdown in frequency in European nations is displayed below.
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Another article discussed the idea that the "French Paradox" is becoming increasingly outdated. Once considered a shockingly healthy country despite the nation's affinity for smoking, drinking and consuming high levels of fat, the nation is starting to become one of the worst in regards to cancer prevention. The nation has a significantly higher rate of deaths due to lip, throat, lung, mouth and liver cancers than neighboring countries.
In short, I realized that my perception that the European affinity for cigarette smoking in no way makes them immune to the consequences of smoking. Maybe this is an obvious statement, but it was always something I was curious about. As far as what implications smoking restrictions and taxes have on smoking rates and the prevalence of smoking-related cancers, only time will tell.

Laughter is The Best Vitamin?


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We've all heard the cliché saying that laughter is the best medicine, but is it really?

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From personal experience, I've always thought that it's not the laughter that makes you feel better but instead the people that make you laugh. If you truly enjoy being around people, you're more likely to laugh at their jokes and feel happier, where as laughing at a joke on a TV show may not have the same effect. With this in my mind I found an interesting article that spoke to the effects that laughter has on our bodies.

 

According to several scientific studies laughter is known to relax the body, boost the immune system, trigger the release of endorphins, and the most surprising to me was that it protects your heart.  When I saw these various different benefits, I realized the old saying really isn't specific enough. Is laughter the best medicine for the mind? One's health? Or one's social standing? I decided to focus more on the health side and looked more into how laughing protects your heart and relieves stress.

 

When we laugh, the function of our blood vessels increases causing smoother and increased blood flow. People whose blood vessels work better decrease their chances of a heart attack. Recent studies show that the effects that laughter has on blood vessels are the equivalent of aerobic exercise. Due to this study, some scientists believe that laughing could replace aerobics as a means of exercise. While this isn't a widely accepted theory, I found it interesting to see how even though the saying itself is centuries old, scientists today are still working on understanding what it really means and how laughter effects our bodies.

 

Stress is considered to be detrimental to one's health. Scientists have linked stress to the common cold and even more serious situations like cancer. Since laughter is shown to reduce one's stress due to the release of endorphins in the brain, this is mainly why laugher is considered "medicine". I instead related laughter to a daily vitamin. My mom always gives me multiple bottles of vitamins that she wants me to take in the mornings, and I always stubbornly refuse to take them. While vitamins help keep our bodies healthy and full of the essential nutrients we need, not taking them doesn't have any immediate effects. Later down the road, I will most likely regret not taking the vitamins that could've prevented a cold I had because they would've strengthened my body's immunity. Laughter is a vitamin. While the immediate effects of stress may not always be so clear, eventually they catch up to us, but laughter could be there to change the inevitability.

 

 

Aside from heart protection and stress reducing, there weren't too many concrete medical facts associating laughter with the health of one's body. As I continued to look into laughter I was surprised to discover that not only laughing, but being a funny person is also beneficial to one's well being. The ability to develop ones own sense of humor has shown to be important in brain function and learning to solve problems. Brain scans showed that when people are identifying what they find humorous about a situation some of the highest functioning parts of the brain are being used. Laughter almost helps us train our high functioning brain lobes, such as the frontal lobe, to be stronger so that we can have more complex thoughts and problem solving skills.

 

In the end I was still most intrigued by one of the final facts I found. The satisfaction of making others laugh has more powerful effects than simply laughing alone. This statement really stuck out to me because at the beginning of my search I wondered if laughing with others had different effects than laughing at a joke on a TV. While it doesn't necessarily matter who you're laughing with, simply being in a group and experiencing other people's joy releases more endorphins than just laughing alone would. So we've come full circle, laughing helps our body function better, but being around other people contributes to this as well.  And even though there aren't heaps of medical studies associating laughter as medically recognized type of medicine, a little laugh every once and while never hurt anyone, right?

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We've all heard "beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, you're in the clear," but how true is it?

For me, I always find that drinking liquor after beer (even if I just had 1 or 2 beers) will make me sick. This, however, could be because beer in general does not agree with my stomach, which would be completely irrelevant.

People seemed mixed on the subject. Many of my friends agreed that beer before liquor does make them sicker. Some possible causes of sickness include the fact that beer is carbonated and increases the pressure inside your abdomen, making it easier for alcohol to be absorbed. Also, like I previously mentioned, carbonated drinks could irritate the lining of your stomach.

However, experts tend to disagree, saying that it is not the type of alcohol that matters, but how much alcohol is consumed. Most articles that I read credited the fact that people usually started off the night drinking beer, and then switched to liquor without realizing how drunk they were. This resulted in more alcohol being consumed, and therefore, a higher chance of getting sick.

So what do you think? Does beer before liquor make YOU sicker?

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Immortality seems ridiculous unless you're "He-who-must-not-be-named", but this peculiar creature seems to have that ability without splitting apart his soul.

The immortal jellyfish or Turritopsis nutricula lives a typical life of a jellyfish. There is a male and female, and when each of their gametes meet polyps form and eventually produce baby jellyfish which will grow into an adult jellyfish. These polyps differ from the actual jellyfish because they are colonial and remain on the surface of the ocean like little trees.

Now what makes the immortal jellyfish immortal is that the adult jellyfish can revert back to a polyp. That means that an adult jellyfish essentially reverts back to an infant stage and produces a new swarm of jellyfish. 

The reason why this is so amazing is because the jellyfish's cells have to completely transform to those that have different functions and purposes. A jellyfish's life is instantly changed when it comes down to reverting back to a polyp.

The theory behind this is called transdifferentiation which transforms existing cells into new cells. That's like if a skin cell on our body transformed into brain tissue or lung tissue. If that power could be transferred to humans, longevity of human life and health would increase tenfold.

This also reminds me of the question of stem cells, which have a similar property of morphing into a new type of cell. 

Could unlocking the secrets of the immortal jellyfish mean unlocking the potential to human immortality? If so, would it even be a moral subject to continue looking into, as immortality is said to be a cursed life?

At all events, I'm curious if the case of the immortal jellyfish is like Benjamin Button's case who lives the life of transdifferentiation.
One of my earlier blog posts was on Music Effect On The Brain. In this entry I will be discussing if and how music eliminates boredom, therefore increasing productivity.
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As I said before, we all like to listen to music (everybody that I have ever met, at least.) The reason we like listening to music over and over again, whether it's the same songs or new and different songs, is because they have some positive effect on us, that we might or might not notice.

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For example, most people while cleaning tend to listen to music. Why is that? Well, my theory goes as follows: Cleaning is virtually a boring thing to do. And we all know, that when one is bored, one is naturally not-so-productive. But, by listening to music, we become less bored, or sometimes not bored at all. Thus, increasing our productivity. No boredom does not necessarily equal fun, but it does equal not un-fun. Listening to music while cleaning makes cleaning more bearable. For me personally, it makes it fun. 

If you were to compare the neatness of my room after I finish cleaning with music compared to the time after I finish without music, you will notice that it is more neat and clean when I clean with music. I am sure this applies to many of us. 

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Also, listening to music while running could increase one's speed. 
Dr Costas Karageorghis, who is an expert on the effects of music on exercise, claims in book, Inside SPort Psychology that listening to music while running can boost performance by up to 15% 

That' s a great value, compared to the cost of putting headphones in your ear and turning on music that you like.

My personal experience affirms Dr Costas Karageorghis claim. I am much more productive when I run or play any sport or do any activity while listening to music that I like.

 

My best-friend and I used to always say to each other back in high school that we wish there were music playing in our ears while we're playing our soccer, football, or volleyball games. That is because we both know that we will play better if we were listening to music, unfortunately, that is not possible or even allowed in a professionally organized sport games.

 

What are YOUR experiences or correlation with listening to music and productivity? Does it increase? Decrease? Or about the same? Do you see or experience any positive benefits from listening to music that you like while doing an activity?

 

Please share your thoughts, observations, and/or experience. 


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What's Curiosity Been Up To?


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In the beginning of the semester, we briefly spoke about NASA's Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in the beginning of August. mars_curiosity_1_r640x453.jpg

Well, what's the rover been up to?

Today, I read in the Huffington Post's Science section that the rover is going to use it's robotic arm to pick up a pyramid shaped rock that is about the size of a football. 

The rock has been named after a NASA engineer named Jake Matijevic who died in late August. According to NASA, Matijevic was a lead engineer "for all three generations of NASA Mars rovers".

NASA also reported that the rover is still in good health.


P.S. On a more fun note, check out Curiosity's twitter account, and another parody twitter account (which I think is really funny), Sarcastic Rover.


Texting


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The position you're in is probably causing you pain, whether you're aware of it yet or not. Don't worry, physical therapists have a diagnosis for the headaches, neck cricks and achy shoulders. They call it "Text Neck."

"Text Neck is not just a texting problem," says Dr. Dean Fishman. "Text neck is a gaming problem. Text neck is an e-mailing problem."

The average human head weighs 10 pounds in a neutral position -- when your ears are over your shoulders. For every inch you tilt your head forward, the pressure on your spine doubles. So if you're looking at a smartphone in your lap, your neck is holding up what feels like 20 or 30 pounds.

Sleeping with your smartphone?

All that extra pressure puts a strain on your spine and can pull it out of alignment. Dr. Tom DiAngelis, president of the American Physical Therapy Association's Private Practice Section, compares it to bending your finger back all the way and holding it there for an hour.

"As you stretch the tissue for a long period of time, it gets sore, it gets inflamed," DiAngelis says. "The real question ... is 'What are the long term effects going to be?' "

Staying in what experts call the "forward head posture" can lead to muscle strain, disc herniations and pinched nerves. Over time, it can even flatten or reverse the natural curve of your neck.

As your mother used to say: Be careful or it might stay like that.

I've always been told that women naturally have a higher pain tolerance than men do. But its difficult to believe because the majority of men prance about like its nobody's business. Also, since women are generally smaller I thought that this couldn't be the case. 

But then again, with the gloomy future of childbirth and the monthly pains that women suffer through, I thought maybe this could be true! I mean, imagine a man going through childbirth. Actually don't. 

So I stumbled upon an experiment executed by the MythBusters cast that seemed pretty solid to me. Here's how they did it:
  • They filled a large bowl with water, ice, and salt. (which is pretty freaking cold) 
  • Asked a good amount of men and women to agree to be a part of this project and separated them into two equal groups.
  • They then had the men and women, one by one, put their hand in the bowl for as long as they could hold it there, but for a maximum of three minutes. 
THE RESULTS...
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Women win! They can hold their hand in a bowl of ice cold water for a longer period of time than men can. 
I would conduct more test of different kinds to work with different kinds of pain tolerance, but I think the ice water is the most ethical way to do it. 
Chopping off a hand and listening to how loud they scream probably couldn't be done.
If you'd like to watch a short clip from the MythBusters episode, you can do so here.

Losing Our Ability to Communicate


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Being a journalism major, I am constantly reading the newspaper.  While browsing throughout the New York Times Online, I found an article about how face-to-face conversation is starting to go down the drain because of cell phones.  We use cell phones to be in touch with our friends and family constantly, to tell a boyfriend we love or don't love them, or to constantly check twitter and facebook to keep up with the ever-changing tech world.  While technology can be helpful at times, when someone is going through a rough time and just needs a hug, a text is not going to be much help.  The new generations are so addicted to their cell phones that we don't feel the need to go out and start a conversation.

- 84 percent of respondents said that they could not go a single day without their cellphones.
- 50 percent of Americans sleep with their phone next to them like a teddy bear or a spouse, a number that includes more than 80 percent of 18-24 year olds.
- 20 percent of respondents check their phone every 10 minutes.
- 24 percent said they had used text messages to set up a rendezvous with someone they were having an affair with, a number that includes 56 percent of Chinese respondents.

These are just some phone.png about the addiction to our cell phones and the need to constantly have it.  I was shocked to find that the above facts all apply to me except the last one.  Its scary but we all need to give our phones a break every once in a while and enjoy all of what State College has to offer us.

A natural part of human behavior is people's motivation to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. How can this be reconciled with the decision to engage in watching terrifying horror films? Personally, I dislike watching horror movies because I get sick over the blood and gore and I am often awake for days afterward. Because we like to avoid pain, it seems strange that so many people would voluntarily indulge in almost two hours of fear and terror.

the-woman-in-black.jpghttp://pcmreviews.com/news/2012/02/the-woman-in-black-review/According to the article "Why do people love horror movies?," scientists generally use one of two theories to explain why people like horror movies. The first is that the person is not actually afraid, but excited by the movie. The second explanation is that they are willing to endure the terror in order to enjoy a euphoric sense of relief at the end. But, a new study by Eduardo Andrade (University of California, Berkeley) and Joel B. Cohen (University of Florida) appearing in the August issue of the Journal of Consumer Research argues that neither of these theories is correct. They argue that horror movie viewers are happy to be unhappy. This approach to emotion reveals that people experience both negative and positive emotions simultaneously. People may actually enjoy being scared, not just relief when the threat is removed.

In the article "Horror films are more graphic than ever. Why do we watch, and what do scary movies do to us?," Joanne Cantor, PhD, director of the Center for Communication Research at University of Wisconsin, Madison, explains why this phenomena of loving horror films is true.

"No doubt, there's something really powerful that brings people to watch these things, because it's not logical," Cantor said. "Most people like to experience pleasant emotions."

Cantor said the impact of these films on the brain could be as powerful as the attraction people have to them. These impacts are felt by adults as well as children, by the well-adjusted as well as the disturbed. They may linger sometimes for years and they may be anything but pleasurable. Why do you think people engage in scary movies?

Photo courtesy of: http://pcmreviews.com/news/2012/02/the-woman-in-black-review/

Cancer is commonly talked about due to its large influence on society. More and more people are getting cancer, causing the search for the cure to be desperately in need. So, when I stumbled upon this article about mollusk blood potentially being a cure for cancer, I had to know more.

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I found out that a protein in limpet hemolymph contains epitopes, KLH, causes a powerful immune response in humans. If cancerous spots are attached to KLH, the immune system can respond and attack the cancer. According to the CEO of Stellar Biotechnologies, "the body tolerates the cancer cell because the body believes it is a part of you" and KLH can break this tolerance in the body.

Scientists preformed experiments on rats, giving them a dose of heroin-like molecules with KLH attached. Similar to the cancer vaccine, the KLH stimulated an immune response, repressing the high from the heroin-like molecules. 

I found the process of extracting the KLH to be the most interesting. Since KLH is not easily synthesized, the giant keyhole limpets provide the best outlook. In order to extract KLH, researchers remove limpet's blood with a syringe, isolating the KLH. The limpets that are used for this process must be human raised because wild limpets die after the extraction, instead of the needed 16 weeks to recover.

Even though this type of vaccine is not fully approved, it is doing damage. In Europe and Asia, a KLH vaccine is approved to use for bladder cancer. There are high hopes for KLH vaccines in its cure for cancer, but is this really the solution?

 

Source: 

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-11/how-mollusk-blood-could-cause-cancer?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews

http://www.kidport.com/reflib/science/animals/mollusks.htm

Is snoring a bad sign?


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Doctors are now saying that snoring while you sleep could be a sign for other health problems such as hyperactivity, inattention and depression. CNN observed 249 children in the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and concluded that kids between the ages of 2 and 3 who snore had more behavioral problems than children who do not snore. 

Children that snore regularly for months is not normal. CNN recommends that parents of snoring children should take their kids to see a doctor to see if the children are experiencing any other health issues. Snoring in children can also be a sign of certain kids of breathing problems which can be easily treated if detected. 

Is snoring a bad sign?


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Doctors are now saying that snoring while you sleep could be a sign for other health problems such as hyperactivity, inattention and depression. CNN observed 249 children in the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and concluded that kids between the ages of 2 and 3 who snore had more behavioral problems than children who do not snore. 

Children that snore regularly for months is not normal. CNN recommends that parents of snoring children should take their kids to see a doctor to see if the children are experiencing any other health issues. Snoring in children can also be a sign of certain kids of breathing problems which can be easily treated if detected. 

Is snoring a bad sign?


| 0 Comments
Doctors are now saying that snoring while you sleep could be a sign for other health problems such as hyperactivity, inattention and depression. CNN observed 249 children in the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and concluded that kids between the ages of 2 and 3 who snore had more behavioral problems than children who do not snore. 

Children that snore regularly for months is not normal. CNN recommends that parents of snoring children should take their kids to see a doctor to see if the children are experiencing any other health issues. Snoring in children can also be a sign of certain kids of breathing problems which can be easily treated if detected. 

Is snoring a bad sign?


| 1 Comment
Doctors are now saying that snoring while you sleep could be a sign for other health problems such as hyperactivity, inattention and depression. CNN observed 249 children in the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and concluded that kids between the ages of 2 and 3 who snore had more behavioral problems than children who do not snore. 

Children that snore regularly for months is not normal. CNN recommends that parents of snoring children should take their kids to see a doctor to see if the children are experiencing any other health issues. Snoring in children can also be a sign of certain kids of breathing problems which can be easily treated if detected. 

The Importance of sleep


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Sleep? Eh I'll sleep when I'm dead.

Obviously noone takes this literally when they say this but putting off sleep is something that many Americans do. I do this all of the time but for good reason. If I end up having to go to sleep the same day that I will awake, its because I am up doing school work. Studies show though that putting off sleep is a dangerous thing, so many want to think twice before they put off sleep without good reason.

According to my research approximately 20% of Americans don't even get 6 hours of sleep and the numbers are decreasing for how many Americans get at least 8 hours of sleep. This is really bad because studies show that lack of sleep can have multiple negative factors. Lack of sleep can cause us to do poorly in from simple things like comprehend material in class to doing whatever way we need to for a job. Not getting enough sleep can also lead to something as major as a physical or mental breakdown. As this course has taught us correlation does not prove causation. In this case its easy to leave room for space because there can easily be a third variable that causes a person to have a physical or mental breakdown. I trust scientists to believe that not getting enough sleep wouldn't help, but not enough to say that sleep would be the only thing that caused a person to have a mental or physical breakdown.

One of the biggest existing problems in the National Football League today is injuries.  One of the worst injuries to receive today is a concussion, and when you think about it they are pretty easy to come by.  A concussion defined by MayoClinic.com is a traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions. Effects are usually temporary, but can include problems with headache, concentration, memory, judgment, balance and coordination.  I have had experiences when I played football where I have gotten multiple concussions, and trust me they are not fun.  Here is a demonstration of a problem in the National Football League today:

This is Austin Collie, Indianapolis Colts receiver getting a concussion after a blow to the head.  This will always be a huge problem in the NFL, however, Riddell, "The Official Helmet of the NFL," released its new helmet.  The new helmet is called the Riddell 360.  When releasing this helmet, a Riddell spokesperson said, "Player protection is the number one priority in developing new helmet technology." On the other hand, he also said, "It's important to remember that no helmet can prevent a concussion."

Screen_Shot_2012-08-15_at_4.51.39_PM_medium.png"The 360 offers some hope for the future. It's been tested against 1.4 million impacts, and if it's not guaranteed to prevent concussions, it was certainly designed to try. One of the biggest challenges football players face at any level is finding a helmet that fits--the less room there is for a player's head to bounce around inside the helmet, the better."  Researchers at Virginia Tech pronounced this helmet as one of three helmets that provide the most safety and prevention from concussions.  "The ridged feature helps manage energy from any hits, all in an effort to limit the pounding that might be transferred a player's head. And then there's the facemask, which flexes on impact to absorb energy from head-on hits, limiting what goes into the helmet."  This new helmet will be the future of football and hopefully it will be a step forward in the safety for athletes in the NFL.  There will always be questions about helmets and how much safety they actually provide, especially as athletes become more athletic at a young age since they are exposed to more technology.  However, this helmet will help out with concussions and player safety.

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Losing Our Ability to Communicate


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Being a journalism major, I am constantly reading the newspaper.  While browsing throughout the New York Times Online, I found an article about how face-to-face conversation is starting to go down the drain because of cell phones.  We use cell phones to be in touch with our friends and family constantly, to tell a boyfriend we love or don't love them, or to constantly check twitter and facebook to keep up with the ever-changing tech world.  While technology can be helpful at times, when someone is going through a rough time and just needs a hug, a text is not going to be much help.  The new generations are so addicted to their cell phones that we don't feel the need to go out and start a conversation.

- 84 percent of respondents said that they could not go a single day without their cellphones.
- 50 percent of Americans sleep with their phone next to them like a teddy bear or a spouse, a number that includes more than 80 percent of 18-24 year olds.
- 20 percent of respondents check their phone every 10 minutes.
- 24 percent said they had used text messages to set up a rendezvous with someone they were having an affair with, a number that includes 56 percent of Chinese respondents.

These are just some phone.png about the addiction to our cell phones and the need to constantly have it.  I was shocked to find that the above facts all apply to me except the last one.  Its scary but we all need to give our phones a break every once in a while and enjoy all of what State College has to offer us.


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I have always wondered if it was possible to improve your memory. When I am deep in my studies, typically for a large exam, sometimes it seems as if I just have no more capacity in my brain to remember all of the information that I need to know. No matter how much I study, I cannot retain the course material. I have seen supplements being advertised to improve memory, but I wonder if it is actually possible to improve your memory.

Recently, a new drug has been discovered that blocks stress-enhancing molecules in the brain that improves memory and learning abilities in mice. Researchers think a future pill with these characteristics that can be used as a therapy for Alzheimer's in humans.

An enzyme, PKR, which protects against viral infections is used, having an effect on the brain. It responds to stress and regulates synaptic activity. Researchers also found another immune enzyme that took over some of PKR's memory functions. It is thought that this drug will be used best in a pill form or to b injected in the gut. It is also thought that in the future this can be used to help people who suffer memory loss.

Who knows? Maybe it is possible to improve your memory after all.

 

Source: 

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-12/new-memory-enhancing-drug-could-someday-treat-alzheimers

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/aprilholladay/2007-03-12-memory-first_N.htm

 

Baby Teething Pains


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A couple of weeks ago, I found an article warning parents about the dangers of Orajel or other Benzocaine based teething pain relievers for teething babies. This type of pain reliever seemingly can cause are but dangerous condition called Methemoglobinemia. The FDA has placed a warning on these types of oral anesthetics as Methemoglobinemia has been shown in 29 cases in children starting in 2006. This rare condition causes incredibly low amounts of oxygen in the child's bloodstream, leading to a myriad of symptoms from blue skin, lips and nail beds, lightheaded-ness and even a rapid heart rate.

 Since I am planning on eventually becoming a mother, and have at one point in my life been a teething child, this news was scary to me! I asked my mother if she had used this on any of my siblings or I, and thankfully she hadn't. Have your parents ever used these types of medications to sooth your pain? I've seen many a teething baby in my life, and that process looks so extremely painful. The poor kids are drooling, constantly crying and in an obvious amount of dull, aching pain. I wanted to see if there were other, safer and possibly natural methods of pain alleviation and found quite a few!

 I looked for some methods online and came up with a list found at this site. The number one method is surprisingly a teething necklace. This necklace consists of an amber stone, which releases succinic acid into the skin. This acid is known to do so many things, such as accelerate the healing of wounds, ease muscle pains, reduce inflammation of the throat, ear and stomach, reduce/prevent respiratory disease, decrease colic symptoms, reduce acid reflux, reduce eczema and improve heart, liver, kidney, and intestinal function (Natural News).  Hazel wood is another option, which provides similar pain relief when worn around the neck.
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This is how the necklace looks like. Cute, right?
 
Other options of teething pain relief include rubbing vanilla essence on gums, chewing on frozen vegetables, sucking on a Popsicle of some sort, applying pressure to the swollen gums, using homeopathic remedies, the act of breastfeeding, rubbing clove oil on the gums, applying flowers in the mouth, behind the ears or on the forehead (sounds so hippie chic!), and last but not least, applying a type of barrier (oils) around the lips and chin to prevent irritation from the excessive drooling, which also causes discomfort.



 What do you all think of the first "natural" method (the amber necklace)? For me this one was the most interesting and unique of the natural methods. Would you try this on your own children, knowing that its something that is getting absorbed into your child's skin? 

Wheat or White Bread?


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As I was in the cafeteria the other day I had the option of getting wheat or white bread. My mom always tells me that wheat bread is healthier for your health because it contains wheat. But, I personally prefer the taste of white bread. 

 

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So what is the difference between the two types of bread? According to an article by the Health Guidance the main difference between wheat and white bread is the processing and the nutrition value. The flour in wheat bread is made from wheat barriers, while the flour in white bread is made of endosperm. Endosperm is a starchy inner layer. Wheat bread is filled with nutrients while white bread is missing thirty nutrients. The nutrients in the bread you eat could have a major impact on your health.

So what bread should you pick when you are giving the option between wheat and white? Clearly wheat bread because it is full of nutrients. Wheat bread contains fiber. Fiber helps your digestive system and weight control. Research shows that men and woman who have diets with high fiber have less heat attacks and strokes than people who don't. Also children who eat white bread are more susceptible to get diabetes.

And in case any of you guys were wondering, I chose the wheat bread, what will you choose?

A natural part of human behavior is people's motivation to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. How can this be reconciled with the decision to engage in watching terrifying horror films? Personally, I dislike watching horror movies because I get sick over the blood and gore and I am often awake for days afterward. Because we like to avoid pain, it seems strange that so many people would voluntarily indulge in almost two hours of fear and terror.

the-woman-in-black.jpgAccording to the article "Why do people love horror movies?," scientists generally use one of two theories to explain why people like horror movies. The first is that the person is not actually afraid, but excited by the movie. The second explanation is that they are willing to endure the terror in order to enjoy a euphoric sense of relief at the end. But, a new study by Eduardo Andrade (University of California, Berkeley) and Joel B. Cohen (University of Florida) appearing in the August issue of the Journal of Consumer Research argues that neither of these theories is correct. They argue that horror movie viewers are happy to be unhappy. This approach to emotion reveals that people experience both negative and positive emotions simultaneously. People may actually enjoy being scared, not just relief when the threat is removed.

In the article "Horror films are more graphic than ever. Why do we watch, and what do scary movies do to us?," Joanne Cantor, PhD, director of the Center for Communication Research at University of Wisconsin, Madison, explains why this phenomena of loving horror films is true.

"No doubt, there's something really powerful that brings people to watch these things, because it's not logical," Cantor said. "Most people like to experience pleasant emotions."

Cantor said the impact of these films on the brain could be as powerful as the attraction people have to them. These impacts are felt by adults as well as children, by the well-adjusted as well as the disturbed. They may linger sometimes for years and they may be anything but pleasurable. Why do you think people engage in scary movies?

Photo courtesy of: http://pcmreviews.com/news/2012/02/the-woman-in-black-review/

At some point in my life, I crossed paths with someone who told me red wine was good for "you." I asked myself how could red wine possibly be good for anyone's health?  And what's the difference between red wine and other types of alcohol? I don't know about you guys but I was taught not to drink alcohol because it's terrible for your health, especially you immune system. But.....to my surprise not only is Red wine good for you, it's good your heart!

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According to this article by the Mayo Mayo Clinic  staff red wine contains antioxidants. These antioxidants could help you heart fight heart disease by increasing levels of "good" cholesterol in your body which protects your body against artery damage.  

So what separates red wine from other types of alcohol one might ask? It's the antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols. Polyphenol protects the lining of blood vessels on your heart. Besides polyphenol red wine contains resveratrol. Resveratrol is a naturally occurring, powerful polyphenol (plant-derived) compound that has some significant antioxidant properties. Research done on mice shows that resveratrol helps protect mice from obesity and diabetes. Obesity and diabetes are two diseases that cause heart disease. More research show that resveratrol could help reduced risk of inflammation and blood clotting which both cause heart disease.

Although red wine has some health benefits it still contains alcohol which is bad for your health. Many doctors are skeptical about encouraging people to drink red wine because of the negative effects of alcohol such as high-blood pressure, liver disease, and even cancer. But what do you guys think?

Confessions of a Shopaholic


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Clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, technology -- buying various types of material goods can be pleasurable for many people, especially if it makes us feel good about ourselves. Although I wouldn't consider myself a "shopaholic," I definitely get a rush from picking out the perfect outfit or snagging an awesome deal. However, there's a clear difference between enjoying shopping and being a "shopaholic," or having a shopping addiction.

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In the article "Addiction to Shopping & Mdash" by Diane Stresing, the abnormal impulse to buy things -- called oniomania -- is considered a compulsive-impulsive behavior. Mental health professionals classify it with impulse control disorders, or (ICDs), including kleptomania and gambling. Studies suggest shopping addiction may be related to other emotions and conditions including anger or feeling out of control, depression or loneliness, and bipolar disorder.

Shopping seems to act like a behavioral antidepressant, giving shopaholics a rush or a high -- much like alcoholics and drug addicts report -- typically followed by a crash with feelings of guilt, fatigue, and more anxiety. Shopping can trigger reactors in the brain, notably the feel-good receptors dopamine and endorphins. When a shopaholic stops shopping, she experiences withdrawal symptoms much like those experienced by substance abusers. Also, because both drug and psychological treatments have proven helpful to those with compulsive shopping and other impulse control disorders, the term "addiction" seems an accurate way to refer to compulsive shopping.

According to the article "The new science behind your spending addiction," as brain scientists are discovering measurable differences between the brains of people who save and those who spend with abandon, particularly in areas of the brain that predict consequences, process the sense of reward, spur motivation, and control memory.

Neuroscientists are mapping the brain's saving and spending circuits so precisely that they have been able to rev up the saving and disable the spending in some people. The result: people's preferences switch from spending like a Rockefeller, to saving like a child of the Depression. This proves that although shopping addictions are a real problem in society, there is a way to calm, and in many cases, stop the addiction.

My question is, if shopping can become an addiction, would the means of coping be similar to those of a recovering drug addict or alcoholic? 

Is it possible to be addicted to sugar? Moreover, can sugar be classified as a drug? Lately, I find myself constantly craving sugar.  Whether it is in the form of a drink or food, I need sugar to get through the day. What can I say? I guess I am addicted. Although the true question is, can sugar be compared to a drug?


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Researchers at Princeton University have been testing the idea that sugar is addictive on rats. They have discovered that the brains of animals that ingest large amounts of sugar undergo similar changes to the alterations in the brains of humans who abuse cocaine and heroin. The researchers observed that in taking large amounts of sugar caused a stream of dopamine in the brain, similar to the increase of dopamine from the use of drugs. When the rats were withdrawn from sugar, they became "anxious" and acted similar to being withdrawn from an illegal drug. The scary thing is, is that I find myself going through similar withdrawn symptoms as the rats when they are deprived of sugar.

It turns out it is possible to be a sugar-holic. Sugar is an addictive substance and could potentially become harmful, not only towards my health, but to my brain.

Even though the thirty-second sweet boost keeps me coming back for more, this sweet addiction needs to stop before it gets out of hand.

Bring on the veggies!


Sources

http://articles.nydailynews.com/2008-12-12/entertainment/17912875_1_sugar-dopamine-sweet-addiction

http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/cocaine-users-face-risk-of-skin-rot-weakened-immuned-systems/

Cell Phones Cause Cancer


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Sophmore year I had a professor who shared with us that she was surrering from a brain tumor. She had told us that her DR brought to her attention that the tumor could have been caused by over-use of her cell phone. Thinking about this professor, I decided to look up an article related to the topic. I found an article by Environmental Working Group that discussed exactly this. Many studies are being conducted to discover if long term cell phone users are being diagnoesed with brain tumors. One study was started in the late 1990's by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. In 2008, 6 cases in the study found that there was an increase in risk for glioma, which is a tumor in the brain that comes abount from glial cells that provide support for the nervous system, especially on the ipsilateral side of the brian. The ipsilateral side of the brain absorbs anywhere from 97-99 percent of the electromagnetic enegry projected during cell phone calls. This was just one finding of many studies being conducted. The article also states that there are other health issues that can possibly be related to cell phone use as well, such as; migraines, vertigo, Alzheimer disease, and behavorial problems in children that we prenataly exposed to cell phone use by the mother. This is such a big concern because technology is the biggest aspect in today's society. Especially our generation. Teens and young adults are attached to their cell phones 24/7. I admit I am as well, but learning that cell phone use may lead to cancer makes me double think before I make a phone call. It makes me wonder what is more important; my life or my cell phone.

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Picture above was taken from google images and is a picture of a brain with a glioma brain tumor.

Ever wonder why people tend to go for bite-sized foods like popcorn chicken and pizza bites instead of full portioned options? Well according to an article in science daily, both human and animals are more satisfied by eating multiple pieces of food instead of piece with the same caloric value. Our brain tricks us into thinking that a larger number of pieces equals a  larger quantity of food. When tested on rats, preferred food that was broken up into 10 pellets and ran faster towards them in maze activities. In a way the same experiment was conducted on humans by giving out free lunches to several college students. One group was given a whole 82g bagel while the other group was given that same bagel just cut into 4 pieces. After eating the bagel, the students were told they could eat as much or as little as they wanted from a test meal. The students given the whole bagel ate more calories from their test meals, while the other students tended not to finish as much of it. This meant they were satisfied and full quicker than those who had the whole uncut bagel.
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This may prove to be a successful dieting tactic for those who tend not to be full from smaller meal portions. If you cut up more calorie dense foods before putting them on your plate, according to this study, you should get more full from eating the pieces than you would eating the whole thing as one piece. So to all those people trying not to gain weight from the notorious college food, maybe this is an option for you?
Ever wonder why people tend to go for bite-sized foods like popcorn chicken and pizza bites instead of full portioned options? Well according to an article in science daily, both human and animals are more satisfied by eating multiple pieces of food instead of piece with the same caloric value. Our brain tricks us into thinking that a larger number of pieces equals a  larger quantity of food. When tested on rats, preferred food that was broken up into 10 pellets and ran faster towards them in maze activities. In a way the same experiment was conducted on humans by giving out free lunches to several college students. One group was given a whole 82g bagel while the other group was given that same bagel just cut into 4 pieces. After eating the bagel, the students were told they could eat as much or as little as they wanted from a test meal. The students given the whole bagel ate more calories from their test meals, while the other students tended not to finish as much of it. This meant they were satisfied and full quicker than those who had the whole uncut bagel.
Getty_071012_CuttingFood.jpg

This may prove to be a successful dieting tactic for those who tend not to be full from smaller meal portions. If you cut up more calorie dense foods before putting them on your plate, according to this study, you should get more full from eating the pieces than you would eating the whole thing as one piece. So to all those people trying not to gain weight from the notorious college food, maybe this is an option for you?

Grades: Are they Accurate?


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The other day I was watching TV with my roommate and he said, "I would learn so much more if I wasn't being graded." I couldn't agree more and I actually was thinking the same thing in our class a couple hours before.

The first time I thought this was when Andrew told us not to take notes and just listen. I thought "yes!" I love when teachers teach like this because then I actually learn. When I take notes, I am not really listening I am just stressing about getting all the facts written down so I can study them later for the exam. Then later when I am studying for the exam, it is not that I want to learn the material, I just want to memorize the facts and get the test over with.

I think people work best when they are not being judged, not only with their education, but in all areas of life. We are willing to take more risks when we know we can't fail. For this reason I question if grades really do matter. Grades determine students' academic performance but are the grades we get accurate? I think students have so much potential and are better than the grades they are given. Every student has their strengths and weaknesses but students would still do well in a subject they aren't good at if the subject was of interest of them and they wanted to learn about it. I think they would do even better if they weren't being graded.

So why not stop grading students and let the students choose what they wanted to learn? It is said that students learn better when they are interested. If they could pick what they wanted to learn they would be so much more engaged in what they are learning about. I think they would learn so much and actually remember what they learned and put it to use.

However, I know why students are graded. There needs to be some sort of organization in our education and grading gives students a reason to work hard. Maybe students would learn more about what they wanted but not about what they needed to learn for their future careers.

I could continue this argument because I think when we know we need to learn how to do something, we do learn how to do it. If I needed to know how to change a flat tire, I would learn how to do it. If I knew I needed to learn accounting for my business, I will learn how to do it. Students are not as lazy as people think, we just don't put in our best effort when we aren't interested.

I know this would never be considered but it is interesting to think about. It would be amazing to see what we are capable of when we wanted to.  

Stiletto Science


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One day, I hope to own a pair of Christian Louboutin stilettos. One day, I'll be known as "the broke journalist with nice shoes." But why is it that I have such a fascination with stilettos? When I put them on, I don't find myself teetering and tottering around, but I turn into a confident person who makes the world her runway. Why is it that I can walk in 4.5+ inch heels when other people can't? Louboutin

After doing some digging, I managed to find a very interesting article from APS Physics entitled, "Zero Gravity: The Lighter Side of Stilettos."

Paul Stevenson, a professor at the University of Surrey (that's in England), did a study based off of Sex and the City, and Carrie Bradshaw's love of Manolo Blahniks. The question that he and other researchers asked themselves was "What is the height of the heels that Carrie Bradshaw could wear without falling over or cramping up in pain?"

Stevenson helped out his colleague, Dianne Stilwell, a physicist at London's Institute of Physics with an interesting equation: h=Q x (12+3s/8).

The formula helps people calculate the tallest heel they'll be able to wear before they tip over and fall. The h represents the heel height, Q depends on a bunch of sociological factors, s is the shoe length, and the numbers show how foot slope increases one's ability to tip and fall.

Going back to Q, just what are the sociological factors that it depends on?
  • Q is defined as:
  • Q=[p •(y+9)•L]/[(t+1) •(A+1)•(y+10) •(L+£20)].
  • p is the probability that wearing the shoes will turn heads.
  • y is the number of years experience you have wearing high heels.
  • L is the cost of the shoes, in British pounds.
  • t is the time since the shoe was the height of fashion, in months.
  • A is unit of alcohol consumed.
I would do this equation to calculate the tallest shoe height I could wear, but I'm not a math person. It's too much thinking for me this morning!

But basically, this equation is a fancy way to say that the higher the heel is on your shoe, the more unsteady you'll become. This is why wearing stilettos is harder (and puts more pressure on the foot) than wearing wedges, sneakers, or even shoes with a chunky heel, like Jeffrey Campbells.

 

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                                                Image copyright (c) sevengrains.com 

 

Why do people eat organic foods? Is it because they feel like it's safer due to its concept of no pesticides? Is it because both observational and experimental studies have shown that organic food is healthier and less destructive to our Earth? Is it because one feels that by paying more for their food they are getting a better quality product? Whether it be any of the above reasons or another that was not written, why do people continue to eat organic foods when recent studies have shown that there is not much of a difference health wise? 

 

I must say, that personally, my family eats organic produce (for the most part) and that I used to attend a high school that was extremely conscious of where our food came from and stressed how important it was to eat organically. Up until I read this article, I too had thought that organic food had extreme health benefits for me as apposed to non-organic foods. 

 

I believed that since organic food tasted better, looked better, and was grown without pesticides, that it must be better for me. However, according to a study conducted by scientists from Stanford University, there isn't much of a health difference between the foods. The only difference that they seemed to find was that the amount of bacterial exposure was the same however, in organic meats, 33% had a higher risk of having bacteria that were drug resistant to antibiotics, which was accredited work and printed in the Annals of Internal Medicine. As I continued to research, I learned that the organic food market accounts or $31.4 billion dollars a year in the US.  As of right now, the organic food market has grown nearly $29 billion dollars since during the Clinton Administration in 1997. 

 

For their study, Stanford University did something similar to what the Cochrane Collaboration did when it came down to Leibovici's experiment dealing with prayer and it's validity. They went through thousands of studies and tried to pick out the one's that seemed to aggressively compare conventional foods with organic foods and came up with 247 for their study. Sadly, out of that number only 17 compared how people were affected by their diet as apposed to the remaining 230, which looked at the properties and development of the food itself.  

 

Through looking at these experiments and conducting some of their own, where in one study they tested urine samples of children who both ate and did not eat organically and saw that the urine sample from the child who ate organically, had lower pesticide levels but said that it might be their home environments' insecticide that's to blame for that. So after all of these facts, what was the conclusion? 

 

The conclusion was that the data the researchers at Stanford University collected and analyzed showed that there really are no health advantages in Organic food. What you're paying for is how they are processed. 

 

However, for those concerned in the amount of pesticides or hormones in their food or the possibility of eating bacteria that is drug resistant, it is suggested that if you do in fact choose to continue to eat organic, that you eat organic food coming from the US or Canada.   

 

So whatever your reason for eating organic or non organic may be, keep in mind of this study before changing your whole diet around! 

Are yawns really contagious?


| 1 Comment
It happens all the time...
You're sitting in class and you see someone yawn then you yawn and it just starts a vicious cycle. Everyone says that they are contagious but are they really? Or do we just think that they are contagious?
     Before we can determine if they are contagious, we must discover what exactly a yawn is. A yawn is a reflex of simultaneous inhalation of air and stretching of the eardrums, which results in an exhalation of breath. Many people, including myself, just think that yawning happens when we are tired or bored. 
     According to scientificamerica.com, yawns are contagious. If you see, hear of think about yawning, it will happen. However, there is still not a lot of understanding scientifically as to why they are contagious. There are some scientific theories that state that this occurs as ways of communicating changing environmental or internal body conditions to others.
     Scientists have also discovered that yawns are contagious among other species, such as chimpanzees. The Finnish government recently set up a brain scan test to see why this occurs. And what they found is that these contagious yawns mostly occur in the unconscious.This is just a start to one day finding the exact reason why they are contagious.

contagious-yawns03.jpg

Are yawns really contagious?


| 0 Comments
It happens all the time...
You're sitting in class and you see someone yawn then you yawn and it just starts a vicious cycle. Everyone says that they are contagious but are they really? Or do we just think that they are contagious?
     Before we can determine if they are contagious, we must discover what exactly a yawn is. A yawn is a reflex of simultaneous inhalation of air and stretching of the eardrums, which results in an exhalation of breath. Many people, including myself, just think that yawning happens when we are tired or bored. 
     According to scientificamerica.com, yawns are contagious. If you see, hear of think about yawning, it will happen. However, there is still not a lot of understanding scientifically as to why they are contagious. There are some scientific theories that state that this occurs as ways of communicating changing environmental or internal body conditions to others.
     Scientists have also discovered that yawns are contagious among other species, such as chimpanzees. The Finnish government recently set up a brain scan test to see why this occurs. And what they found is that these contagious yawns mostly occur in the unconscious.This is just a start to one day finding the exact reason why they are contagious.

contagious-yawns03.jpg

Are yawns really contagious?


| 0 Comments
It happens all the time...
You're sitting in class and you see someone yawn then you yawn and it just starts a vicious cycle. Everyone says that they are contagious but are they really? Or do we just think that they are contagious?
     Before we can determine if they are contagious, we must discover what exactly a yawn is. A yawn is a reflex of simultaneous inhalation of air and stretching of the eardrums, which results in an exhalation of breath. Many people, including myself, just think that yawning happens when we are tired or bored. 
     According to scientificamerica.com, yawns are contagious. If you see, hear of think about yawning, it will happen. However, there is still not a lot of understanding scientifically as to why they are contagious. There are some scientific theories that state that this occurs as ways of communicating changing environmental or internal body conditions to others.
     Scientists have also discovered that yawns are contagious among other species, such as chimpanzees. The Finnish government recently set up a brain scan test to see why this occurs. And what they found is that these contagious yawns mostly occur in the unconscious.This is just a start to one day finding the exact reason why they are contagious.

contagious-yawns03.jpg

Are yawns really contagious?


| 0 Comments
It happens all the time...
You're sitting in class and you see someone yawn then you yawn and it just starts a vicious cycle. Everyone says that they are contagious but are they really? Or do we just think that they are contagious?
     Before we can determine if they are contagious, we must discover what exactly a yawn is. A yawn is a reflex of simultaneous inhalation of air and stretching of the eardrums, which results in an exhalation of breath. Many people, including myself, just think that yawning happens when we are tired or bored. 
     According to scientificamerica.com, yawns are contagious. If you see, hear of think about yawning, it will happen. However, there is still not a lot of understanding scientifically as to why they are contagious. There are some scientific theories that state that this occurs as ways of communicating changing environmental or internal body conditions to others.
     Scientists have also discovered that yawns are contagious among other species, such as chimpanzees. The Finnish government recently set up a brain scan test to see why this occurs. And what they found is that these contagious yawns mostly occur in the unconscious.This is just a start to one day finding the exact reason why they are contagious.

contagious-yawns03.jpg

Are yawns really contagious?


| 1 Comment
It happens all the time...
You're sitting in class and you see someone yawn then you yawn and it just starts a vicious cycle. Everyone says that they are contagious but are they really? Or do we just think that they are contagious?
     Before we can determine if they are contagious, we must discover what exactly a yawn is. A yawn is a reflex of simultaneous inhalation of air and stretching of the eardrums, which results in an exhalation of breath. Many people, including myself, just think that yawning happens when we are tired or bored. 
     According to scientificamerica.com, yawns are contagious. If you see, hear of think about yawning, it will happen. However, there is still not a lot of understanding scientifically as to why they are contagious. There are some scientific theories that state that this occurs as ways of communicating changing environmental or internal body conditions to others.
     Scientists have also discovered that yawns are contagious among other species, such as chimpanzees. The Finnish government recently set up a brain scan test to see why this occurs. And what they found is that these contagious yawns mostly occur in the unconscious.This is just a start to one day finding the exact reason why they are contagious.

contagious-yawns03.jpg

My Lobster has a first name...


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Over the summer, my mom was trying to convince my dad to take a weekend trip up to Maine just to buy pounds and pounds of lobster.  Sounds like an expensive weekend, right?  Wrong.

The unseasonably warm summer caused an overabundance of lobster in New England.  Having excess lobster caused the price to drop dramatically, coming down to less than the price of bologna per pound.   

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So what's the problem?

Normally Maine lobsters end up going to Canadian processors, but since Canadian lobstermen also had a great season there was no need for more.  Also, the lobsters being caught were soft-shell, and they were far too delicate to travel long distances so they had to be sold at the local markets. The Maine lobstermen were not making nearly the money they normally would.  Some of them even chose to not catch anymore until the prices went up so their efforts would be worth it. (NYtimes.com)

 

This month, the price of lobster per pound has increased to around $6.49/lb. 

My mom never did get her cheap lobster. 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48047467/ns/business-us_business/t/maine-lobster-cheaper-bologna/

I'm sure everyone has heard that music can help you study or retain information.  Isn't funny how we can hear a song from our childhood and instantly remember all the lyrics?  I can go years without listening to a particular song and then hear it on the radio and start singing along without missing a beat.  I always thought it was interesting how people could remember so many lyrics and beats to so many songs.  But when it comes to taking a quiz on material I learned last week I have a difficult time recalling the information.  I learned the alphabet in kindergarten with a simple song; I'm sure someone reading this is singing the song in their head right now.  Memory retention and music go hand in hand.  If you are trying to memorize information it's best to stay away from music with lyrics and go with some classical music.  Classical music also can calm a person down before a test and give them focus suggests Laurence O'Donnel,


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For the last few years, many people have been making claims about organic food being superior.

"There are more nutrients in my organic apple than your chemical-doused apple!"

"It costs more because it's better!"

"You are what you eat, you pesticide!"

While some "organic only" eaters may not be so loudmouthed, they still have similar beliefs about the food they choose to eat. 

Scientists at Stanford University recently discovered that organic fruits and vegetables did not contain more nutrients than conventional produce.  Also, there was the same probability that they could be contaminated by dangerous bacteria.  Along with fruits and vegetables, researchers also found that there were no health advantages in organic meats and any antibiotic-resistant bacteria in any type of meat would be killed during cooking. (NYtimes.com)

While inorganic produce did have more pesticide residue, the levels were almost always under the safety limits.  Also, organic items had small levels of pesticide simply because of neighboring farms. 

 

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Organic Tomato      vs      Regular Tomato

 

 

Do you think organic foods are simply a way to make money off of health conscious people?

 

 

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/04/science/earth/study-questions-advantages-of-organic-meat-and-produce.html?_r=0

I suspect that at some point, everyone has taken a moment to look up and notice an enormous flock of birds covering the sky. Have you ever wondered how why they fly in the patterns that they do? Or which bird, if any, is leading the others? As fall quickly approaches and birds migrating take over the sky, you'll now hopefully have a better idea of how they function together.

 

            I'll be talking about starlings. A flock of these birds is known as a "Murmuration", and this usually includes about a thousand of them all flying about together. A murmuration usually is visible when the birds are in search of a place to roost for the night- so typically around dusk, at the beginning of winter to be specific. During this flight, the tiny birds can reach speeds of 20 mph.

 

A girl out canoeing with her friends in River Shannon Ireland caught an amazing occurrence of this on video.

 

What is really cool about this is that the birds, much to our surprise, aren't just flying in such a way for the sake of entertaining us human onlookers. They are indeed in the midst of an epic battle of survival. Different bird flocks battle in such a way to see who will survive, and who will be left behind to be consumed by vicious predators surely lurking close by.

            Obviously, no bird among the thousands wants to die. For this reason, they fly in such large packs. It's understandable- strength in numbers.  Lucky for us people, that is what makes their flying formations so staggering.  Because no bird wants to be detached from the group, they all follow each other's moves like a giant stream of photocopies. No bird wants to land first as they all continue to swirl and fly and transform as a group, creating an extremely beautiful ripple effect.

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image source

 

Paul Stancliffe of the British Trust for Ornithology explains,"Numbers build up slowly near the roost over the afternoon as small groups of birds return from the foraging area. " The birds begin to grow their numbers until they feel secure enough to take flight. Then, Stancliffe further explains, " By late afternoon there is a huge swirling cloud." This creates one of the most beautiful natural phenomena on earth as the birds find their resting places for the night.

            I find it so cool that something so necessary and practical for birds is so staggeringly beautiful to humans.  I wonder what other species travel in large rippling flocks such as this. Maybe for another blog post I will discuss Geese's "V" flying formation.

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