Today as I was walking back class I overheard a conversation between a girl and her mother on the phone. The girl was whining that her mother had decided to buy her a new computer for school, instead of an iPad for Christmas. This led me to realize what many Americans have already realized: we've really lost the true meaning of Christmas.
The original reason Christians celebrated Christmas was because of the birth of Jesus Christ, whom they believe to be the savior. After Jesus's birth the wise men brought gifts to the manger where Jesus was born. You're probably wondering a fat, jolly man in a red suit came into the equation? Well, the legend of Saint Nicholas states that Saint Nicholas was a very rich and giving man who knew of a poor family with three daughters who could not afford to get married, so Saint Nicholas secretly dropped a bag of gold down their chimney. Then there is also the story that some countries in Europe and Scandivia originally celebrated Christmas around the time of the winter solstice (darkest point of the year) to bring some light into the darkness. These are three really different explanations for celebrating Christmas neither of which anyone really seems to remember anymore. Somehow the magic of Jesus's birth, the kindness of Saint Nicholas, and the light on the darkest day of the year have morphed into a holiday that revolves around arguments over how nice the gift you get is. Christmas has truly become entirely about materialism.
Some people might say why is materialism around Christmas really relevant, the sad part is that the materialism displayed at Christmas seems to be perpetuating all aspects of our society. Today people put more value on the money they make and not enjoying their job, what you wear is more important than what you think, and money can buy anything or anyone. I suspect gained our greediness and materialism right around the time we fogged up the meaning of Christmas. While stopping the materialism around Christmas may not stop the materialism we see all over society, Christmas definitely contributes to the materialism we see everywhere today.
Most people believe that stuffed animals are only for children but I completely disagree to be honest. Luckily for me, thanks to 35% of British adults, I'm not alone. Studies show that 35% of adults in Britain still sleep with a teddy bear for the purposes for de-stressing while they sleep! In their efforts to re-unite past customers with their lost teddy bears, a hotel chain, Travelodge, noticed that many of the teddy bears they were returning belonged to adults and not small children! After making this funny observation, they surveyed about 6,000 adults to find out what their reasons were behind still using a stuffed animal. Their findings were also just as funny.
As it turns out,
about 25% of the male respondents will take their teddy bears with them while
they're away on business (or vacation like this
guy). It's comforting for them, even reminds them of home and plus, " ...a cuddle
helps them to nod off." Fifty- one percent of British adults still have a teddy
bear from their childhood and the study also found that the average teddy bear
is 27 years old! One in ten single men admitted to hiding their stuffed animals
when their girlfriends come over and about 14% of married men hide theirs when
friends and family come over!
Among other pro- adult teddy bear loving responses that responsdents gave, it's easy to see that in Great Britain at least, adults having teddy bears is quite acceptable! It's quite refreshing that this study was able to test Britons' level of tolerance towards adults with teddies. However, to take the study even further, it would have been awesome to see them expand on their statement that people use their bears to de-stress while they sleep. Testing stress levels of adults of varying ages who still sleep with stuffed animals and comparing them to the stress levels of adults of the same age would be an interesting start to finding out if there really is a true benefit to hanging on to your stuffed animal later in your life. Or is it all just imagined and a stuffed animal doesn't really do much else but provide something soft for us share our bed with? Also, it would be interesting to compare Britons' level of tolerance towards adults with stuffed animals to that of Americans'! I get the feeling that in America, the number of men who carry their stuffed animals away on vacation or business would be much lower than 25%. How much of a difference can be expected when we compare stuffed animal tolerance across cultures?
Many of you have most likely seen Luminosity commercials or heard about it's efficacy. It claims to train your brain using the power of neuroscience and neuroplasticity! How scientific sounding is that?! But are they just using buzzwords or is this legit?
Still sounds pretty convincing. Start their training and they'll give you an insight into how they will train your brain to be better and smarter.
Graph with a picture of a brain. Can't go wrong there. Science!
The real question is, does it really work? Go to www.luminosity.com and look at their portion of the science behind it. They claim to have published many papers and given many talks on the project. But that's from the website itself, of course they're not going to say it's a scam. Well a third party study was done on these brain games and Dr. Shelli Kessler has led a study at Stanford to try and prove whether or not these do work.
Her experimental group played the Luminosity game four times a week for 12 weeks. The results before and after the 12 weeks showed they improved on "word finding, executive functioning, and processing speed" over a control group. However this study had flaws, as it depended on self-report for a few measures.
Two more studies gave conflicting results. Professor Susan Jaeggi led a study that showed positive results of brain training game, while a Georgia tech study found no such effect on it's participants. There is new research coming out that says that playing video games in one area can improve cognition in that area. But for how long? Do you have to constantly play these games to maintain that level of cognition? And are the Luminosity games the best ones for your brain? These questions are still being debated by scientists right now.
I did the free trial myself and this is what Luminosity claimed it could do for me:
But what do those numbers MEAN?! I'll be 92% better at spotting birds and remembering tiles (two games the trails had me do)? Or will I score better on my completely unrelated biology test? I don't know about other people that see these ads but it really does seem like a sensationalist scam.
I do not think there is one person in this class that has not eaten a stale chip. I know I will look in the cabinet, reach in for a snack, grab a chip bag down, and when I bite in the chip has a stale taste I'm wicked disappointed. The word stale has been in my vocabulary for as long as I can remember; I have just accepted it, but truly I have no idea why chips go stale in the air and not in the bag that they are in. There is air in the bag isn't there?
Well the answer is: Nitrogen. The article I said pointed out that if you think of feeling a chip bag, you think of it feeling inflated, similarly to a balloon. This is because chip bags are actually not filled with air but nitrogen gas! The nitrogen gas is actually what keeps the chips from going stale. Oxygen cannot do the trick because it is very reactive and when it is combined with other molecules it can cause chemical reactions. Nitrogen is the opposite being very stable and unreactive. When a food reacts with oxygen it is said to oxidize quickly and these nitrogen atmospheres can prevent that from happening. Something that should be mentioned though is that air is not just oxygen but actually 78% nitrogen gas! So don't worry opening those chips, nitrogen gas is all around us.
The short answer to this question is sometimes, but the real story is the effect that traumatic events can have in a baby's development. To start off I'd like to define what constitutes a traumatic event; traumatic events include, but are not limited to: car accidents, natural disasters, sudden illness, death in the family, abuse/neglect, terrorism or witnessing violence. If an adult were to experience any of these events it would have a traumatic impact on their life and for babies the effect of traumatic events is often magnified.
Experiencing traumatic events before the age of 3 can cause physical and emotional developmental problems in babies. Babies who witness traumatic events often experience issues with mobility and managing or developing emotions. If the traumatic event was witnessing a family member dying or losing a primary caregiver to divorce, babies are more likely to have issues developing relationships and have separation anxiety. Further, in the first few months of a baby's life they are especially sensitive to arguments between parents or issues with caregivers and they often feel like they caused the event because they don't fully understand it. Traumatic events frequently lead to physical and emotional developmental problems in babies.
A major issue for babies who witness or experience traumatic events is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Babies will re-experience the trauma they suffered when they are older through dreams, sounds, smells, or sights. This can lead to issues sleeping, increased anxiety or irritability. However, what is really significant about the PTSD that babies experience it that when they are older they are more likely to remember the traumatic event that happened, than the good events that took place in their childhood.
While traumatic events hinder the physical and emotional development of a baby, they also cause a serious disorder, PTSD. However the question still remains can children actually remember traumatic events that occurred when they were babies? The answer to this depends on the child and how developed they are. For children who are a little older and more developed(around 6) they are likely to remember the actual event, while babies who are only a few months old are likely to experience more negative development effects, but do not remember the actual event. Scientists have determined that there is not a specific age at which children remember or don't remember traumatic events, because every child responds to traumatic events differently and develops at different ages.
We all know that we normally wear dark colors to funerals and bright colors to weddings, but why? What is it about colors that communicate a message to others? Colors are such an important part of our world and society, from marketing campaigns to clothes to cars, it seems like colors are a major selling point wherever you go.
Red signifies power, passion, love, war, energy, and intensity. It is a very emotionally intense color which rises heart rate and metabolism. It has a high visibility and it found in many national flags. It is widely used to promote warning signs, energy drinks, and passionate love.
Orange combines the energy of red with the happiness of yellow, creating joy, happiness, and creativity. It gives the impression of heat without being as intense as red. It stimulates appetite and is associated with healthy foods. It is often used for promoting toys and food products. You will find it on many restaurant logos.
Yellow is also associated with energy, as well as intellect and happiness. It generates muscle activity and brain stimulation. You should avoid using yellow if you want to communicate stability and safety. Yellow is used most often on leisure items and children's products.
Green says freshness, fertility, and natural. Lighter greens make you feel safe, and dark green is often associated with money and wealth. It is the most restful color to the human eye. You should use green for medicine packaging since it is a "safe" color.
Blue is the color of depth and stability, like the sky and ocean. It slows the metabolism and calms you down. It is a masculine color, deeply accepted among males. Avoid using blue to promote food, because it suppresses appetite. However, you should use blue for travel, cleanliness, or a high tech product.
Purple is the recognized color of royalty, power, and luxury. Purple is better for women's designs.
Black symbolizes power, mystery, and evil. It denotes strength and authority, and also the unknown. It gives the feeling of perspective and depth, and can make you look thinner. Combined with more powerful colors, it mixes to be a great color scheme.
White is the symbol for light, pure, innocence, and virginity. These are all reasons that a traditional wedding dress is white. It is considered to be the color of perfection. It should be used to promote clean or pure products. It would be appropriate to use with medical products, salons, dairy products, and low-fat foods.
So, you can tell a lot about someone depending on the colors they choose to wear, and you can also use colors to your advantage to communicate subtle messages or make other people feel a certain way toward you. It's all in the eyes!
Despite the incredibly advanced society that we live in with treatment for almost all of the threat posing illnesses, much of the world is not as fortunate and is victim to diseases treatable in other areas of the world. It seems that people are as philanthropic as ever and are looking to solve the world's problems of hunger and disease. The world's donor countries have raise $12 billion over the past three years for the treatment of AIDS, Tuberculosis, and malaria.
I feel that country to country to aid is important. If one country has excess, while another is still in development (which is obviously always the situation) then the able country, barring any major misunderstanding or conflict between the countries, should provide aid in any way possible. Nowadays there are major donating foundations. At the same time, there are a select few of extremely wealthy people that are charitable. Bill gates is one of the more humanitarian and charitably active people. In 2007, Bill Gates set an initiative to completely eliminate malaria by donating $4 billion a year for the fight against AIDS, TB, and malaria. In recent years, global aid has been helpful. With the help of more widespread insecticide nets, sprays and drugs, malaria deaths have dropped to about 650,000 per year compared to one million in prior years.
Charitable donations will hopefully continue to grow in future years. Selfishness with money is not an option; money funds research which is the ultimate answer to the worlds problems. In the meantime, money has its uses and makes the distribution of medicine and preventives readily available to those in need. Global Medical Brigades and Doctors Across Borders are examples of the many foundations that are committed to aiding through action as opposed to monitory donations.
With the impossible standards girls feel the need to live up to and the growing rate of obesity, everyone is constantly looking for the next big thing to help weight loss. I have heard people say before that green tea is good for weight loss and have seen it being sold in stores like GNC, but never saw any evidence backing up everyone's claims.
Researchers of Penn State in the College of Agricultural Sciences experimented on mice the effects green tea would have on their weight gain patterns while also having a high-fat diet. Mice fed the compound found in green tea (EGCG) had 45 percent slower weight gain than the control group who had a high fat diet without the green tea compound. They also concluded that the mice fed the green tea supplement showed a 30 percent increase in lipids that suggest the tea limits the body's ability to absorb fat, making it enhance the ability to use the fat instead of storing it (1). A problem that could have altered these findings is how relatable they are to humans. They stated a person would need ten cups of green tea daily to intake the amount the mice used in the study. They also only focused on already obese figures; resulting in little legitimate evidence on the effects green tea could have on people who are a healthy weight.
In a second study, they said green tea didn't only slow down weight gain in mice, but reduced their weight by 49%. They also claimed that the rats injected with green tea extract daily showed a loss of appetite and reduced their food intake by 60 percent after a week. This alone led to a 21 percent weight loss in the rats. They gone on with stating the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed green tea increased metabolism by 4 percent. They claim adding 3-5 cups of green tea a day can help drop extra pounds and give people the energy they need to want to exercise.
This second study was trying to prove it would increase weight loss, but consisted of many flaws and has been put beside a much better study method stating it does not increase weight loss, but slows down weight gain. The first study consists of a control group and a group being tested with the green tea extract. They also informed us of how much extract the mice were receiving and the amount that would be equivalent to for a person to take. The second study never even mentions having a control group. They also never claim how much extract is being injected which could result in exaggerated results. By not having a control group in the second study, it makes it nearly impossible to say they have made a legitimate claim with so many possible third variables. One third variable they mentioned they didn't even take into consideration for the significant weight loss in the mice. They said after a week they were only eating 40 percent as much food as they were before the extract was being injected. The tea could have kept their metabolism constant (not necessarily raising it) when the body's natural functions would quickly slow down the metabolism on it's own if someone were to take in less than half of what they use to ate. If humans were also given this unknown amount of tea extract, it looks as though it could give them possible eating disorders, rather than healthily improve weight loss. Since the first study found no signs of loss of appetite and stated their amounts were equivalent to ten cups of tea a day, the second study could be related to a fad diet, which is extremely harmful to the body. Taking in well over ten cups of tea a day and eating less than half of what you use to? Doesn't really sound like a healthy way to lose weight when you put their findings into perspective.
I have noticed and many would agree that global warming is an increasingly debated topic. It is becoming more apparent that the government is taking it seriously by the amount of regulatory legislation being passed. To my satisfaction, climate-related carbon taxes are being imposed on some of the countries biggest oil corporations such as ExxonMobil- the most profitable corporation in the nation.
I am an advocate of natural gas because of the fact that it emits the least amount of carbon of the nonrenewable resources and I support the passage of this legislation. Oil companies are now inadvertently forced to switch over to the natural gas business to avoid paying the carbon tax. I am also supportive of the policies focus on consumers. As a result of the tax, the price of oil based products, mainly gasoline, are going to spike deterring consumers from purchasing the product. I do not think there is a more effective way to regulate carbon pollution then this. The thing that motivates these corporations to carelessly reek havoc on the environment is the exact thing to target in efforts to stop them. Money.
In this day and age, climate change is a reality and we are well aware of who the culprit is. It should no longer be acceptable for greedy corporations to suck up money from the ground with no regard for the toll that these activities are taking on the environment. Future generations are going to pay the price for our actions and the government should continue to regulate carbon emitting activities. Though companies are largely to blame, we also must admit that we are equally contributing to green house gas emissions: Every time it is a little cold in our house we turn up the thermostat as opposed to putting on a few more layers; every time we leave a room the majority of us turn of the lights infrequently.
I am taking the class English 181b which is an adventure lit class offered at Penn State where we venture to places that connect with what we our learning in class. Our latest field trip was to the State College sewage treatment plant, University Joint Association, where we were given a tour by the manger, Art, and spoken to about how the plant works.
I will fully admit that I was nervous about going; I fully admit to being a girly girl and spending an hour or so touring the place where all people's waste from this area goes sounded smelly and unfortunate. Now I am not going to lie, it smelled, not unbearably, but I actually found the tour very engaging, the sewage treatment plant is actually doing many high tech things.
The first building we ventured into was where the sewage water was being filter through these tubes (each tube worth about $1,000) that had a sort of microfiber inside of them that cleaned/strained the water that went through it. In the back of the room there is a computer set up that monitors all the machines in the plant and actually controls all of them. During our tour we were shown how they monitor how clean the tubes are, that there number on the screen when said 15 must be changed. When he was showing us the middle section was showing the number 14 so he said that meant tomorrow they would need to be changed (meaning almost $90,000 worth of new equipment would be used tomorrow). This is not all that the water goes through he said it also is it with ultraviolet light to separate the particles and previously to what we were seeing it had already been strained between solids and liquids and went through machines that used processes such as light and chlorine to separate the water (this is clear because it went from mucky brown water to clear).
One could tell that Art was very proud of what they were doing at the plant. During the beginning of the tour he was prefacing what he was going to show us and he said that the plant is allotted 9 million gallons but due to regulation they are only allowed to dump 7 gallons into the river. They needed to figure out what to do with the rest of the of the waste they had. This is when they hired engineers to create a way to turn this waste into water that could be used to within the community. Currently the plant's water they produce is feeding the stream at the bottom of their property as well as the wetlands on their property and that's not all. The water is being used in local hotels pools and for dishes and laundry machines. He also spoke of a few other different places using their water lines for example the gold course uses their water to water the courses grass.
Since this is before I had seen anything the plant does my first thought was I am never, ever swimming in that pool. As we went through the tour though I saw how clean this water really was getting; he even said that it is actually cleaner than the water we actually use in State College, but it is plain and simple that people just cannot get past that it is poop water and therefore do not want it to be classified as drinking water.
When I shower or do the dishes or use the restroom to me that water and the waste I am producing was just gone. I never thought about the fact that it had to go somewhere, and that it was someone's problem to deal with. Even if I had though I now I could have never guessed how much science has gone into making our sewage benefit the environment and be safe to reuse. Art said that they even have 2 million fresh gallons of water stored in case of emergencies, such as if the fire department needed to pull water from it.
He walked us down to the river that their water was feeding to and gallons and gallons of water was being pours into it, which opposed to the wetlands where it was almost just a constant trickle feeding into it. There plans for the future is to expand, apparently there is a stream next to IHOP that goes dry during the summer season, last year people had to save the trout in it because there was not enough water for them to survive, and they want to pipe and keep that stream active. In that direction they also want to create a wetland with their excess water; he says everything they are doing is in attempt to give back to the community and environment.
The thing I thought that was really interesting that he was that through looking at the sewage in State College he can actually infer life at State College. He said Christmas day is the day when sewage produced is the lowest; he also said that breaks he can tell how many people left because the numbers drastically drop. Laughing he said he can even tell when it was a particularly fun night at Penn State! How weird that our sewage is telling our story!!
Black Friday shoppers are always a sight to see. With their raging emotions to grab the best deals from their competitors they spring into animalistic action. Consumers suddenly drop all of their morals and sometimes literally fight to the death for that Best Buy TV that's 500 dollars cheaper than before. But why to we do this? What sparks in our minds that make us think like acting like barbarians is okay. I believe that the important variable to consider is the environment. A scientific study on the craziness of a black Friday shopper concluded that there is a switch in our brain that is turned off when participating in these activities. "Consumers process information in two ways: high-level abstract and low-level concrete forms of thinking. With high-level abstract information processing, consumers consider things like the overall effect of the product, such as the brand value. At low-level concrete processing, however, consumers look at details such as how cheap the price is". This study was a beneficial learning for me because it aided in a psychological concept of black Friday. Our brain plays a major role in how we interpret situations and this study provided support in the hypothesis that depending on where we are and what were doing we take on a specific role.
Another website provided the fact from an observational survey that "44% of respondents said they'd mostly be purchasing goods for themselves on Black Friday". This fact didn't support my original thinking because I proposed that a confounding factor in our animalistic ways on black Friday is because we are hunting down gifts for our loved ones so we have a greater motivation to snag them more.
The main purpose of these studies though is to help people learn ways into not acting like savages when partaking in Black Friday experiences. Frankly, this behavior has a domino effect; once one person cracks another does, and then so on and so on. So how do we embrace our inner classiness during these shopping rampages? One option is to know the store's promotions and their tactics to not end up in such situations. If you are aware of a stores hot deals but are also aware of equal deals that may not be as promoted you may save yourself from a fistfight in Wal-Mart! Another option is to avoid the chaos all together. Now with Cyber Monday deals arising people can stay in the comfort of their own homes while still obtaining door-busting savings. So be smart and process information on a higher level rather than lower and beware of your surroundings.
Although it seems like a rather elementary concept, the science behind popcorn popping is actually quite interesting. What makes this delicious treat come out of small, hard kernels?
Each popcorn kernel is special, and contains oil, water, and starch. It is surrounded by a hard outer coating that keeps it all together. When heated, the water inside wants to expand into steam, but the coating prevents it. The hot oil and steam make the starch like a gel, making it softer and more moldable.
When the popcorn reaches a temperature of 180 degrees Celsius, the pressure inside is enough to burst through the popcorn hull. It actually turns the kernel inside-out. The pressure expands the proteins and starch inside the kernel into a foam like texture.
Of all the types of corn grown all around the world, popcorn is the only one that can pop. This is because it's hull is the thinnest out of all types of corn.
Americans consume more than 16 billion quarts of popped popcorn per year. Get popping and enjoy this scientifically delicious treat!
One time or another in your life, you have an impending task you want to get done as soon as possible and then you look at the clock, or out the window, and conclude that maybe you will have time to do this task tomorrow. Possibly you have felt like me and had so much pent up anxiety about a task that you cant possibly start now while your mind is racing and you are more concerned with what happens if you DON'T complete the task. The feeling I am referring to is the dreadful procrastination. Procrastination is the act of putting off certain tasks with the hopes of completing them at a later time. There have been speculations that procrastination could be linked with anxiety and depression.
The heartbreaking thing about procrastination is that it is a full circle disappointment. You're anxious and have little confidence starting the task. You continue to put off the task until the very last minute and when you finally complete the task, instead of a feeling of accomplishment, there are just feelings of guilt and anger for wasting so much time.
A more scientific approach taken from Amy Spencers <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/time-management/procrastination-00000000055281/">article<a> is
"The prefrontal cortex is a newer and weaker portion of the brain. It's what allows you to integrate information and make decisions. "This is the part of the brain that really separates humans from animals, who are just controlled by stimulus," says Pychyl. The prefrontal cortex, located immediately behind the forehead (where we tap when we're trying to ), gets the job done. But there's nothing automatic about its function. You must kick it into gear ("I have to sit down and write this book report!"). And the moment you're not consciously engaged in a task, your limbic system takes over. You give in to what feels good--you procrastinate."
It is possible to combat procrastination however it takes time to train your brain (not everyone is the same). There are ways to combat procrastination such as breaking up your work and engaging with those who inspire you to take action.
Well, it's that time of the year everyone. The time where every radio station you turn on, there's Christmas music playing. Also it's the time when everybody goes out to get a Christmas tree. Every year "about 25 million Christmas trees are purchased in the United States, according to the National Christmas Tree Association." Wow, there's actually a National Christmas Tree Association, I learn something new every day. Anyway, it is very important for one to take good care of the tree so that it can stay fresh for longer and also so it doesn't become a fire hazard. Between 2006-2010, U.S Fire Departments responded to 230 fires that stared with Christmas trees with an average 4 dead, 21 injuries, and 17.3 Million dollars in property damage. More Statistics Here
People who celebrate Christmas buy the Christmas trees to celebrate the holiday and bring a lively hood to the houses, however, how is it that some studies have proven that Christmas trees cause depression? Study Researcher Michael Schmitt of Fraser University asked participants to fill out surveys about themselves while sitting in either a nondescript room or a room with a small Christmas Tree. In this study, 30 celebrators and 22 non celebrators took part. The researchers repeated this study, this time have 19 Buddhist students, 19 Sikh students, and 47 Christian students.
In both studies, the Christians/ Christmas celebrators felt mostly cheered by the tree, while the non-celebrators/ religious minorities felt fewer positive feelings towards the presence of the tree. This seems like the obvious response people were looking for, people that like to celebrate Christmas like Christmas trees, and vice versa. Of Course, even for Christmas lovers the holidays can be a stressful time. However, the interesting part is that both groups thought that Christmas decorations would make them happier.
This result I don't really understand. How could religious minorities and non-celebrators be inside a room with a Christmas tree and be uncomfortable and have fewer positive feelings, but also at the same time think that decorations would make them happier? Schmitt explains that "Maybe it's a subtle effect, and they weren't really aware that the tree is affecting them."
This article is then concluded by explaining that positive things for some people could have a negative effects for others so one should take time to think about how their symbols could affect others.
Christmas lights are usually the catalyst to the fires, so remember to unplug lights before going to be or leaving the house. Other safety tips here.
How many of you guys celebrate Christmas and what's the best present you've gotten?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that cigarette smoking causes 90% of lung cancers, and smokers are 15 to 30 times more likely to get or die from lung cancer. The relative risk seems insanely high, so I decided to research what the risk for getting lung cancer is for a non-smoker.
The American Cancer Society states that 16,000-24,000 "never smoker" Americans die of lung cancer each year. They define a "never smoker" as someone who has smoked fewer than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime. It seems interesting that you could smoke 99 cigarettes and still be put in the same category as someone who has never touched one. This seems to be an inherent flaw in the research already, but cancer.org may have a slight bias in order to try and convince people to quit or never start smoking. Either way, these numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt.
The important thing is, if there were a separate category for lung cancer in "non-smokers" (notice the quotations), it would be in the top 10 deadliest cancers in the US. The leading causes of lung cancer in non-smokers are secondhand smoke, gas and carcinogen exposure as well as air pollution. Looking at the numbers, it is interesting to note that the American Cancer Society estimates 3,400 people die per year from secondhand smoke. I stated above that they also said 16,000 to 24,000 non-smokers die per year from lung cancer. What accounts for the other tens of thousands of deaths?
The answer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, is radon gas exposure. An estimated 20,000 people per year die in the US from lung cancer caused by radon gas exposure in the workplace or elsewhere. The reason I am giving you these statistics is for perspective. According to an article from LiveScience.com, "fewer than 10 percent of lifelong smokers will get lung cancer", and you apparently are "more likely to have a condom break than get cancer from smoking".
You have to look at the facts objectively or else they can become extremely ambiguous. As you cans see, the statistics I gave in the first part of this blog would make you wonder why anybody would ever pick up a cigarette in the first place. The information from this article attempts to explain the different risks and percentages that get thrown around in the cigarette danger conversation. It is important to note that if the CDC or the American Cancer Society posted the stats on how many smokers beat lung cancer and survived, it wouldn't make for a very good anti-smoking platform.
The problem with trying to research hard data on topics like this is the amount of bias and statistical manipulation that goes on. It really does feel like walking in circles, with one pro-smoking website giving one number and an anti-smoking website giving the inverse of that. This just furthers the importance of learning the skills like we have in class so that we can become more educated in how to see through the smoke and mirrors and identify the true facts. I am curious if anybody else can find a true, unbiased number of deaths occurring from lung cancer in smokers and non smokers.
We all remember that time of year as an adolescent when we had to take our standardized tests. Up to three hours of pure boredom of writing in the box provided below and always "showing all work and explaining each step". These tests seemed like a gift of torture from our government. Now as I am past that stage of my educational process I pondered what the effects of these tests are. Are they even beneficial to teachers or students? My personal hypothesis is that the null holds true and that these tests do nothing for the teachers and students. Personally I think that the remedial aspects on these test downplayed my schools curriculum. The confounding factor that the test makers didn't think about was the demographics of the schools. All of the tests across the state were the same, and yes some of the simple math topics may have been difficult for some students in some areas but in others their simplicity was a nuisance and a waste of time.
One study disagrees with my hypothesis in saying that testing is beneficiary to schools because it increases pressure on teachers to improve their students' learning. "Fish found that apparent pressure on teachers to improve their students' test scores was influenced by a number of factors including: the degree and nature of administrator involvement, teachers' professional self-concepts, and teachers' years of teaching experience (Fish, 1988)". One important note Fish's study was that there was a confounding factor was that experienced teachers thought that inadequate test scores were caused by factors beyond their control "such as low student ability and discrepancies between the test and curriculum, than did novice teachers". I admired the variety of the observational studies. The study observed different types of teachers in various types of settings and this helped explain the confounding variables that were found.
But what about the effect it has on the students? I also thought that it had no effect on the students because the tests were too easy to make a student think about the testing process. Another observational study agrees with my hypothesis in saying that the tests do nothing for the benefit of the students. The study says that the important traits of learning ("Innovation, creativity and love of learning") are not enforced through these tests, so "Subjecting students to incessant drills and practice under the guise of test preparation does them few favors in the long run". The issue that I have with this notion from this study is that these matters are subject to opinion and frankly if you ask a child does a standardized test help you in your process of the love learning, many will say no simply because of the fact that many hate the tests and think they are boring.
A third finding collaborated the pros and cons of standardized test. The website stated "93% of studies on student testing, including the use of large-scale and high-stakes standardized tests, found a "positive effect" on student achievement". It showed a randomized study that also provided reasoning for students to benefit from standardized tests. As the first study stated this one alike said that students feel pressure to do well on these and gifted students in particular feel pressure to bring up scores and have frustration for these tests. With these conclusions from the study I inference that standardized tests are detrimental to the learning process of students because it doesn't allow them to enjoy learning materials with the thought in the back of their head that they are only doing this for the benefit of their teachers and school personnel.
With the results from all of the studies I chose to adjust my original hypothesis. Now I believe that the null hypothesis remains true in saying that standardized tests have no benefit with regards to students, but the opposite is true for teacher in which the alternative is true.
As predicted, couples reported experiencing much more pleasure after their sexual activity than the exercise activity. Women assumed more energy output occurred for them during sexual activity than what actually did occur. The actual results somewhat surprised me. The energy expenditure for men was 101kcal (4.2 kcal/min.) and 69 kcal for women (3.1 kcal/min). This proves to be less strenuous than jogging at 8 km/h, but more strenuous than walking at 4.8 km/hr. From a very simplistic and general viewpoint, unless you are going to hit the gym and jog for thirty minutes or more, opting for sex isn't necessarily the lazier option. However, the 30 minute exercise proved to exert more energy and had greater intensity overall. On the contrary, though, men did occasionally exert more energy during the sexual activity than in the exercise activity. Also, sexual activity overall had an intensity level that represented more than 2/3rds of the treadmill exercise activity. The way I see it, sex can and has proved to be a rigorous exercise activity that can exert as much energy and burn as many calories as low to moderate intensity exercise. I find that if someone is having regular sex, they may have a health advantage over those who are not. Not only does it count as exercise but it can lower risk of heart attack, improve mood, promote well-being, improve sleep, increase chances of longevity, improve immunity, and lower mortality rates. The way I see it, everyone could benefit from some sexercise!
I told myself I wasn't going to write a molly blog because it would be too predictable, but it is so popular it almost be ignore not to, so here it. This is about purity of supposedly pure drugs.
Molly is the trendiest drug right now. According to the New York TImes, it was patented by Merck pharmaceuticals in 1914, but did not start getting abused until the 1980's where it was used primarily in New York nightclubs. Molly is designed to make people happy and upbeat. It has become popular recently due to the popularity of EDM.
CNN Investigators, reported that Molly is appealing because is pure MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine), which is the active ingredient in Ecstasy. It was intended to be a medication to help with depression but the Molly sold today (or what is called Molly) is a dangerous mixture of lab created chemicals according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Either way, anything done excessively is not good in my opinion.
"You're playing Russian roulette if you take these compounds because we're seeing significant batch-to-batch variances" say deputy drug administrator Al Santos. Law officials have found completely different ingredients in the same package of molly. The main chemicals in Molly are created in China then distributed to middle men in the US who then combine it with other drugs. The worst part about it is that some of the filler drugs are drugs that are not even used for recreation, such as, plant chemicals. In other words it is not pure at all.
I do believe there is any pure drugs, even prescribed ones. The are manufactured chemical substances, so technically it cannot be pure in overall quality. This especially goes street drugs which are what are used for fun such as Molly.
I am one of the few people who can say that they have never seen an original Disney movie. Did your jaw drop just like many of the other people I tell this to? Now you're confused and you want to know what I mean by "original" because clearly I MUST have seen the Lion King, Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Pocahontas, Peter Pan, Snow White and if not those then Tangled. Well you may have to sit down because no I have not seen any of those movies. My mom hates cartoons, always has, and when my older sister was born she sucked it up and tried showing them to her. According to my mom my older sister hated them and would cry, so she got what she wanted anyway which meant not watching cartoons. When I was born two and half years later my sister's hatred for cartoon had not changed (she's twenty two and still hates them) so there was no reason to show them to me.
People always ask me how is it possible that I have never been exposed to any of the movies and that's the thing I have been exposed to them. I can look at a character (for the most part) and tell someone which movie that character is from, but I cannot name the dwarfs from Snow White for the life of me. I mean it is funny because now that I am older and I hear all the ways Disney movies are actually bad for children to watch I am glad the way I grew up. I think that people who grew up with the movies cannot admit that they can do harm, but I get to have an outsiders view which is pretty unique.
It is easy to find sites that can point out bad things about Disney movies. Still in denial that Disney movies are bad because I will list some things that kids observe from them:
· Importance of social status
· Historical Inaccuracies
· Beauty is thinness
· Sexual harassment is acceptable
· Ugly is immoral
· Beauty is moral
· Gender stereotypes
Above are just a few examples that overlapped on multiple sites. Since I never watched Disney movies though I am more curious about what I could have missed from not watching them. In the article Disney Princesses Have Mixed Effects on Children it summarizes Sarah Coyne's findings from her research on the topic at hand. Coyne, inspired by her 3 year old daughter, predicted with her research team that, "higher levels of Disney princess exposure would lead to more female gender stereotyping, higher levels of pro-social behavior, worse body image and lower aggression."
The study took three preschools, three hundred and seven kinds total, and tested them as well as their teachers and parents trying to understand as much as they could the child's tendency and exposure to Disney culture. A strange result occurred, everything matched the teams' hypothesis except their assumption about body image. Those more exposed to princess lifestyle most were actually more likely to have better body image. The data had definitely shown that the negative of producing gender stereotyping but the positives were pro-social behaviors and better body image as well as lower aggression.
What I found was interesting was Coyne's comments on how when speaking to the children about Disney princesses they are very real to the kids. This realization of hers is exactly why I think when those kids, who almost think a Disney characters like real people from their past, are not inclined to believe that Disney can be bad. Coyne's recommendation is to watch princess shows in moderation, there are positive effects she states but the negatives are there to and in order to reduce them moderation is key.
A comment on an observation Coyne made in the article had me thinking there may have been a flaw in the study. She said that kids who watched princess movies seemed to be kinder; I then thought of the fact that she never spoke of splitting up genders in this study, which I would be curious to see their groupings they made off of their observations of who watched princess movies because I'm assuming it would be split majority boys versus girls. If this is true boys and girls have very different aggression/social behaviors at that age and therefore their findings could have been more because of gender than princesses influences.
- Sifferlin, Alexandra, and Alexandra Sifferlin. "Why Teens Stay up Late: Blame Their Friends." Time. Time, 5 Dec. 2013. Web. 05 Dec. 2013.
- "Teens and Sleep." Sleep for Teenagers. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.
- "How to Sleep Better." : Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep. Help Guide, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.
No matter how old I get I cannot stop the habit of biting my fingernails. I have tried everything over the years: fake nails, polish, nasty tasting polish, and different products that all just ended up in the trash. My parents even tried reward techniques; my mom finds the habit really gross saying she would pay me to stop. When that did not work they even tried the opposite approach insulting my nails, telling me people did not find it attractive. Nothing worked. I would even get to a point where my nails had grown out and without thinking about it I would just bite them down.
In an article about nail biting it talks about how nail biting is over looked and how experts are classifying it as an addiction/mental disorder, an addiction that is even harder to get past than cigarettes. Decisions have been made to change the classification of nail biting from a simple habit to instead will be a form of OCD according to The American Psychiatric Association and will be in the upcoming issue of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
When compared to other disorders that are characterized within OCD such as repetitive hand washing and hair pulling, so nail biting fits right in with those. What people need to understand though is that even with this new classification it is a disorder that is not impairing, therefore not very serious medically. Not everyone who bites their nails even should classify oneself to the level of OCD, nail biting becomes an issue when it is destructive meaning when one is impairing their hands or are getting repeated infections from biting.
During my research I actually found a correlation between nail biting and the pinworms we discussed at the beginning of the semester. Pinworms are actually not a dirty thing, anyone that has pinworms can spread them on anything they touch: literally anything from couches, to blankets, to towels, ext. No matter how clean a child, children most commonly get pinworms, is the eggs live up to two weeks so if they catch one under their fingernails and stick that finger in their mouth, they will get pinworms. The unfortunate thing about pinworms is that they are even contagious to oneself, if one is also a nail biter (or even just puts ones finger in his/her mouth) one can give themselves pinworm all over again. If a child was getting pinworms over and over again from nail biting this becomes an example of nail biting being destructive.
TLC's show My Strange Addiction featured someone who is a nail biter and has been for 35 years. They bite their nails without the willpower to stop even after blood is drawn; they keep biting through the pain. That episode was in 2011 but actually is not the first time TLC has touched on nail biting in 2009 TLC printed an article in InTouch reporting on a study done by Dr. Jon Grant on the effectiveness of N-Acetyl Cysteine when used to treat skin picking and nail biting. After using the product Dr. Grant reported that 56% of the tested subjects had prominent reduction of symptoms. This was a double-blind placebo-controlled trial of NAC that was funded by a donor-funded Research Grant Program within TLC.
NAC is an amino acid, which affects the levels of glutamate within the brain, therefore making it easier for people to control unwanted behaviors. This knowledge is why Dr. Grant chose to test NAC on nail biting for he believes that glutamate modulators have the capability to help with disorders, addictions, and compulsions. This study produced results in favor of Dr. Grant's hypothesis (56% improvement of subjects on NAC, 16% improvement on subjects on placebo), which in this field in science is actually rather exciting. This study is actually among the first studies that focus on glutamate's effect on compulsive behaviors as opposed to serotonin. The hope is that from this study doors will open allowing them to expand with a larger subject pool and high dosages.
People like myself (though I am not as bad as the person on the TLC episode) are struggling to stop biting their nails. A study where 44% still do not see significant effects from the drug does not make me want to jump up and go buy the product. Clearly though 56% of people having an effect shows that there is a hope and a reason for more research.
A UCLA study conducted with researchers at the University of Washington in St. Louis and the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute found both "bad" strains of bacteria that cause acne and "good" strains that may protect it. Every study can lead to a breakthrough, but this particular study caught my eye not necessarily for the content, but due to the intentions of the principal investigator. Huiying Li, an assistant professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA reported the following: "We hope to apply our findings to develop new strategies that stop blemishes before they start, and enable dermatologists to customize treatment to each patient's unique cocktail of skin bacteria." When a researcher's intentions are so clear-cut and innovative, I think he deserves his own fan-base. Anyway, the results of the study were eye-opening and potentially helpful for the cause.
With the use of pore cleansing strips, microbial DNA (P. acnes bacteria) was extracted from the noses of 52 clear-skinned participants and 49 acne sufferers. They then used technology to isolate over 1,000 strains of bacteria. They found that the strains of the diseased (acne-ridden skin) looked very different than those of the clear-skinned individuals. Also, two unique strains of bacteria appeared in 1/5 of the acne participants, but none of the clear-skinned individuals. The most helpful results of the research resulted from finding a third strain of bacteria found mainly in healthy skinned individuals. Researchers think that increasing this strain in acne sufferers through cream or lotion could help treat them. It is very possible that this strain is what is in charge of protecting the skin from breakouts. I wonder if this "good" strain kills or fights the harmful bacteria or if it acts as a balancing mechanism. Regardless, it seems that those who have too little or none of the bacteria seem prone to breakouts. Eventually, researchers might find a way to make individuals' bodies produce more of this bacteria on their own through a pill or injection. Hopefully the use of topical treatments will spike the body's own natural production of the bacteria if it's already present. I am curious as to how they will make these creams, what the side-effects might be, what balance of other ingredients/medications might be used, and how effective the treatment will be. Overall, I think this was an extremely effective study and one the population might benefit greatly from.
Step one: snap an awesome pic! Step two: pick out a flattering filter. Step three: Post it on the social media outlet of your choice. Step four: repeatedly check throughout the day to see if you've accumulated a sufficient amount of "likes".
We all find ourselves following these four steps multiple times during our social media careers. But does step four have a bigger impact on ourselves more than we perceive? Research studies have shown that an alternative hypothesis holds true when it pertains to social media. This alternative hypothesis is that the more social media "likes", comments, and interactions with friends the higher users self-esteem tends to be. There seems to be a positive correlation between the two aspects.
So if social media is so great on our self esteems and makes us all feel good there could be no down side right? ... Wrong. Studies show that all the attention that we receive promotes narcissism. Also the lack of likes that we don't earn defeats our self esteems. A study conducted by Cornell University tested the affects that viewing ones own Facebook page as opposed to gazing at a blank screen would have on a person's self-esteem. The experimental study proved after an evaluation that the participants who made adjustments to their Facebook pages during the study had higher levels of self-esteem than those who simply stared at a blank screen. The findings had to do with "selective self-presentation in digital media"; meaning that when on a social media website a person can instantly become a 'better' version of themselves causing them to become more confident. Baseline of Health Foundation describes Facebook as a way to put "the most positive spin you can put on yourself without losing reality or being deceptive".
In my opinion I believe that the Cornell study should have gone further in depth to discover what parts of the social media experience causes this self-esteem boost. Is it the interactions with friends?; The "likes" that we receive on statuses and pictures? The recreation of ourselves?; Or all three aspects combined?
A psychology student was also curious about how social media affects our brain and discovered studies that proved that social media has a greater affect on our self-worth than we imagine. She discovered that a study in the UK "reported that participants also said that their self-esteem suffers when they compare their own accomplishments to those of their online friends". This finding allows for justification of why we feel defeated when our profile pictures only get 15 "likes" compared to one of our friends picture that accumulates a massive 100 "likes". We begin to question whether or not our online selves are less popular or attractive compared to our friends, and even worse we begin to wonder if our actual selves are on a lower level than our friends.
This is where the danger of social media experiences comes into play; when we transfer our feelings received from social media into our everyday life experiences. The UK study was beneficial as it explained how the feelings we receive from social media experiences transfer into our own lives.
We as users though need to make the final push towards helping ourselves. Personally I know the attention I receive from my online friends effects myself esteem, so I know now that I need to take two steps back from my lap top and realize that its only a one second click of a button that causes these feelings. How will you control your emotions?