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Is Laughter Contagious?

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It is a scientific fact that during conversation, we mimic the actions and words of the person we are talking to. I had a childhood friend who would unconsciously finish everyone's sentences with the same word they were saying. It was pretty annoying, but when I asked him why he was doing it, he was completely unaware he was talking at all. Laughter, according to Sophie Scott of University College London, is no different. I noticed this while sitting in class today. I was playing around on my computer while the professor played a video of an interview. The person being interviewed was very nondescript and boring, so my attention waned. I distinctly remember a part of the interview that caught my attention. The interviewer must have said something clever, because at that moment loud, boisterous laughter erupted from the video. I caught myself smiling and laughing along, even though I had no idea what everyone was laughing about. I caught myself and looked around the room to find that other students in the class were smirking and laughing, too. Why is it that we laugh or smile when others do, even if we don't know why they are doing it in the first place?


A study by Scott had volunteers listen to a series of positive and negative sounds. They had their brain activity monitored via fMRI and measured the response to the sounds. It was found that the brain reacted more to the positive sounds, such as laughter, more than negative sounds (screaming, retching, etc.). The sounds triggered a response in the premotor cortical region of the brain, which is responsible for preparing the facial muscles to respond to sensory queues. The study states that because the response was much stronger for the positive sounds, this can explain why laughter is so contagious.


The study doesn't exactly provide conclusive evidence, so I decided to dig a little deeper. Apparently, a laughter epidemic was actually recorded in 1962. In a small African village in Tanzania, Three girls began to laugh uncontrollably. Soon thereafter, 95 of 159 students were laughing and crying hysterically. The laughter continued for so long that the school eventually had to be closed, only to reopen later with 50 students still exhibiting the same behavior. The epidemic spread to nearby villages, and for two and a half years over 1,000 villagers were affected by an apparently bad case of "the giggles". That must have been one hell of an episode of the Big Bang Theory!


It is now known that the two year long laughing fit was potentially caused by a stress-induced mass psychcogenic illness. Does this prove that laughter is contagious, or just that everyone in the village was going crazy? The answer is still convoluted, but the answer could possibly be revealed in an interesting point made by scientists for years (and my older brother). My brother and I were deciding what to watch on Netflix over thanksgiving break when he made an interesting point: movies are much funnier when you are watching them with other people than by yourself. This is true with all things, not just movies. According to researcher Robert Provine, laughter is up to 30 times more frequent in group settings rather than in private. Provine and his colleagues did an interesting study on what happens right before we laugh, in order to find the cause. They went to local malls and public places and recorded over 2,000 cases of natural laughter over a 10-year period from random passersby. Interestingly enough, they discovered that the majority of laughter does not actually follow jokes. It was recorded that most laughter followed statements such as, "How did you do on the test?" or "Do you have a rubber band?"


This helps conclude that laughs are involuntary, and act more as a social glue to bond people together in conversation. It is worth noting that laughter rarely interrupts speech, and usually occurs during pauses in speech or where a breath would normally occur.


The only biological mechanism we can identify for the contagious laughter hypothesis is the one stated in the study by Scott, however I challenge you to think about it in your own life. It is pretty difficult to force yourself to laugh, but if you walk into a room where your friends are telling a funny story, try to catch yourself cracking a smile. Studies say that is your premotor cortex at work. The question remains, is laughter socially induced, or is it a biological event?





Why Sleep?




I came to Penn State almost a month ago, and I quickly found out that college students don't get enough sleep, or no sleep at all. Sleeping has become an option, not a necessity, for us college kids. I, as a 4-week college student, too don't get enough sleep. It became normal not to go to bed until at least 2 in the morning! (and yes, I used to go to bed before midnight before)

I thought I was going to be so tired all the time to do anything because I don't get enough sleep. However, I experienced something interesting instead. I'm not that tired!

Then I began to think, why do we need sleep at all then? Our parents and our older people say that we need sleep. But sleeping is for restoring energy, if we have that energy without sleep, then why sleep?

Well, This article, Why do we sleep, Anyway?, suggests several theories as to why we need sleep.

 First theory is "Inactivity Theory"; this theory suggests that "animals that were able to stay still and quiet during these periods of vulnerability had an advantage over other animals that remained active".

 Second theory is "Energy Conversation Theory"; it suggests that "the primary function of sleep is to reduce an individual's energy demand and expenditure during part of the day or night, especially at times when it is least efficient to search for food."

Third Theory is "Restorative Theory"; and it says that sleep in some way serves to "restore" what is lost in the body while we are awake. Sleep provides an opportunity for the body to repair and rejuvenate itself."

Last theory is "Brain Plasticity Theory" which illustrates that sleep is correlated to changes in the structure and organization of the brain. This phenomenon, known as brain plasticity, is not entirely understood, but its connection to sleep has several critical implications."

Then what happens if we don't sleep? This article, Sleep, Learning, Memory, indicates that "when we are sleep deprived, our focus, attention, and vigilance drift, making it more difficult to receive information. Without adequate sleep and rest, over-worked neurons can no longer function to coordinate information properly, and we lose our ability to access previously learned information" and it might affect our interpretation, no sleeping makes us not capable of making fair judgments on life because "we can no longer accurately assess the situation, plan accordingly, and choose the correct behavior."

Here is a video on Why Do We Sleep.

So guys, whether you party or study, make sure you get sleep daily!

The Big M word...


So you're probably thinking in you head 'what the heck is she talking about?' 'What the heck is the big M word?'... with the fact that I'm posting this on a Sunday night, you could probably guess the big M word is (yes, you got it right) Mondays. 

We know we all hate Mondays, but do we ever wonder why? Just the besides the fact that they come right after weekends, Mondays have done nothing wrong to us. But why do we hate them so much? 

The researchers from Journal of Positive Psychology did a survey on 340,000 people; and  Arthur Stone, a professor at Stony Brook University, analyzed this data and concluded that "Mondays aren't especially horrible according to people's reported moods on that day compared to other days, but are focused on -- and thus, made out to be more intolerable -- due to their juxtaposition with the weekend. When something not-so-fun happens directly next to something fun -- in the case of Sundays and Mondays, being able to do whatever you want compared to having to work -- that only enhances how much or little fun something is. Ever watch a really good television show right before a really bad one? Same concept." (Science Finds That People Hate Most Workdays, Not Just Mondays. Thanks, Science)

The researchers also found that people also hate the weekdays, other than Mondays, equally, if they're workdays. This fact indicates that people hate working, not just the Mondays. To prove the hypothesis better, the researchers also found that people are in better moods on Fridays and weekends, on which they don't have work to do, the article Science Proves It - We Just Don't Like Mondays says. This article has another interesting fact; when the researchers surveyed older or retired people, they don't hate Mondays. They like Mondays as much as they like the other weekdays and weekends! And yet again, they don't have work to go to, or school for that matter. 

So, don't be hating on Mondays just because you have to go to work or school. Blame it all on work and school!

After all, Have a great Monday and fantastic week guys! 


Why do we fall in love?


Have you ever fallen in love? If you said yes to the question, let me ask you this, why did you fall in love? Personally, yes, I have fallen in love before, at least I think it was love. If you ask me why I fell in love with the guy, I would say, it was because it was him. I don't know the specific reasons as to why I fell for this guy.

According to, love is a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person; or a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend. In the article Science of Attraction, to Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and professor at Rutgers University who studied love for over 30 years, love is a drive that happens in three parts, the first is lust, stimulated by the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen; the second part is romantic love, driven by dopamine and serotonin and activated by cocaine and heroin. Finally, attachment is cultivated by oxytocin,  and vasopressin, an important chemical for commitment. And she says love is a chemical concoction and an addiction.

But why do we fall in love though? Appearance, right? In the article Why Do People Fall In Love?,  The researchers at the University of Texas found that women with a low waist-to-hip ratio (in which the waist is significantly narrower than the hips) are more attractive to men than those with wider waists. They believe that a good waist-to-hip ratio may subconsciously signal to a man that a woman has good health and reproductive ability.

Next, Chivalry. A survey by the University of Chicago showed that people who agreed with altruistic statements, like "I'd rather suffer myself than let the one I love suffer," reported more happiness in their marriage than those who did not concur with those statements.

There is a saying that "opposites attract each other" but the researchers who has helped explained the phenomenon of doppelganger couples, found that people are actually more attracted to people who have similar traits and appearances. 

But let's get real here. Even though there are billions of researches on love, nobody truly knows about love. I think that is why love is so great. (even though it could be very much so hurtful sometimes) When you fall in love, you don't study love, you just feel it.



P.S there are some tips on how to keep the flame alive in case you are in love right now.

- "Do novel things" - that drives up the dopamine system.

- "Stay in touch physically" - hold hands, lie in your lover's arms. Touch drives up oxytocin.

- "Say nice things to each other on a daily basis" - positive illusion is the ability to look past the negative and accentuate the positive.


from Science of Attraction






Initial Blog Post

Hello Everyone my name is Sean Peyton, I am from Collegeville, PA which is about 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia. I am a freshmen and currently my major is undecided, however, I intend to major in one of the numerous business majors. I come from a family of 5 and have a dog named molly. My favorite place in the world is Beaver Creek, Colorado (I love to ski). Feel free to follow me on twitter.

I took this course because I have no intention to major in science and classes like bio and chem bore me to death. I was originally taking astronomy but the whole idea of space and all of the things in it makes my head spin so I transferred into SC200. I know science is very important to technology and how we live, but, it is simply not the field for me.


If I said was currently enrolled in Science 200 because I needed fulfill my last general education requirements for natural sciences, I wouldn't be lying. However, I chose this course specifically because it is an interactive one and I find the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of other students to be extremely valuable. Blogs create the opportunity for students to connect with the material on a more personal level and to pick the brains of their classmates. And, for me, nothing is more interesting than what goes on in a person's mind. That being said, I am a psychology major with a minor in human development and family studies. Yes, I am aware that psychology is a science. For me though, it is unlike any of the science classes I was forced to take in high school or to fulfill general education requirements. I am not a science major because when I think back to my high school physics class all I can picture is me squinting at the formulas on the chalk board and papers with smudges and rips all over them. I have perfect vision and sat towards the front of the room, so I was squinting because I felt like I was staring at symbols from an ancient tribal language. The papers were torn and sloppy from my constant erasing and occasional fury. So, I guess it's safe to say science and I were not on the best of terms. Since attending college and having some reign over my curricula, science and I are no longer enemies. I now know all about the pH balance of the ocean, random facts about plate tectonics, that diesel fuel is more energy efficient than regular petroleum, the marine food web, among other things. While almost none of this is going to be useful when I am one day working in a therapeutic setting, I realize that science doesn't have to be this huge struggle and could even be enjoyable. However, I am almost certain that the knowledge I will acquire from taking this course will be useful for my future.

Here is the single reason my brain didn't explode from chemistry and physics during high school (his devilishly good looks kept me captivated):


Here's a picture of a scene from my favorite movie:



Hey there Sc200, Im Luke Matthews from outside of Philadelphia in Bucks County. I'm a sophomore student planning to major in business. Everyone always says it's so hard to decide what you want to do in life, but ever since I was in elementary school and we had to watch the annoying nerd Bill Nye, I knew damn well exactly what I wasn't going to be doing; science.  Call me a quitter, but I have always sucked at science and really just never had the desire to excel in this topic. I almost can't think about one aspect of science that I truly ever appreciated. What better class for me to take than "The Appreciation of Science", right? I've come to the conclusion that I will enter this class with an open mind and try to allow myself to really appreciate as much as possible and see things for more than just an in depth problem.  All in all, I hope to take away more from this class than an aggravating headache.
Here's a quick look at my hometown; really exciting place as you may find.,_Pennsylvania


Initial Blog Post

Hi! My name is Stephanie Moore and I am a junior here at Penn State University. I'm from Sugar Land, Texas. No, I do not eat candy all the time, and no, I didn't ride horses to school. I assume whoever is reading this is wondering, why did you chose PSU? Well, I always wanted to go to school out-of-state and I love the east coast (and the fact that it has 4 seasons). I'm currently majoring in IST (Information Sciences and Technology) and am pursuing a minor in SC&IS (Supply Chain and Information Systems). I suppose IST sounds like a science major, especially because of the title, but to me it doesn't seem so. 
Ever since I can remember I loved science and the small experiments we did in elementary school. But as I got older, classes got harder and science became much too difficult to understand. Soon enough we went from growing lima beans out of plastic baggies to understanding electrons, velocity, and photosynthesis. And that's where science lost me. 

I'm taking this course to fulfill my last GN credit. I had heard about it from a friend and after I read the description I was sold. Who wouldn't want to take a science course that only teaches interesting topics? I really like that we aren't responsible for remembering facts/figures (I am a terrible memorizer), but are taught concepts and critical thinking instead. I hope everyone has a good week!

Cogito Ergo Sum


      Hello and good evening to my fellow Science 200 classmates! My name is Michael Rangel, and I am a graduating Psychology (B.S.) Major with a focus within Neuropsychology. I was born in Philadelphia, and I frequently travel out of the country (Colombia specifically) to visit my family. I am going to be the first person in my entire family to graduate from a University, and I am honestly proud to say that it was Penn State that gave me the opportunity to do so. However, as a Senior, there is a stronger sense of pride to know that according to the United Stated 2012 Census, 27.5% of the population have acquired a College education and as of 2013, the 'Pennsylvania State University' is also ranked the top 50 University in the world!

     Now, as a Psychology major, I feel as though I have the upmost curiosity to learn more, not only about how one interacts with one another and their environment, but more so about the natural world around us. Albeit, despite being a Neuropsychology major, I'm required to take plenty of Science related courses, including Chemistry, Neurobiology and Biology courses. Never the less,  I absolutely love Science, and originally, I was a Biology major, but due to a severe burnout, I decided to retire from the major and pursue a mixture of both Natural Science, and Social Science. In the end, I'm happy with my decision to become a Neuropsychology major. If anyone is curious about Neuropsychology, feel free to ask questions about the major, but it is truly a fascinating major.

       If I had any words of advice for anyone whose a lower class-men, I would say the following: Enjoy the next 4 years of your life. This is a moment in your life where a lot of self-discovering occurs, from the good, bad and the ugly. One will make memorable friends who would walk through Hell and back for you, and most likely, you would do that same for them. Join clubs, go out and socialize, learn about your Professors' but above all, study. Do not forget the reason why you are here at Penn State. Do not fear failure either, instead learn from these faults and improve on them, trust me, I've made my fair share of screw-ups, but I am proud of them.


So, whose ready to do Science?

Hello everybody! My name is Ryan, but you can call me Bender because Ryan apparently is a pretty boring name. I am a Freshman and I am an Undecided major but I want to do something with business. I am taking this class because I needed to take a science course and the description of this class made it sound pretty cool. I'm not gonna be a science major because throughout high school I hated all of the science classes we had to take even though I was pretty good at all of them. Also click here to see some funny clips from a funny show!

First Blog Post!

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Hey all! My name is Joffrey and I'm from Coatesville, PA. I am a sophomore in the college of communications and I am still unsure of what to major in. A big passion of mine is music. I love to play, write, and listen to it. I listen to all sorts of music but if I had to listen to one band only for the rest of my life I would quickly choose The Beatles.


I am taking this course (SC200) because it was recommended to me by my guidance counsellor and I needed the science credits. I am not planning to be a science major. Why? Honestly, I never really gave it any thought but I guess I never excelled in my high school science courses and never felt like I made significant contribution in labs. I think science is very interesting but I have never felt that it is necessary for me to know all aspects of it. 



Hi, I'm Sunny. I need six more credits in general science, and this course caught my attention because it was what I was looking for - a class that deals with 'science' as a discipline. My education is shoddy with regard to that, but I am very interested in what science is, what questions it asks or can ask, and how it is done.


My major is in philosophy, but I'm interested in the direction the arts. As it stands I need room for science in my life and I think it will have application towards those other areas but my orientation towards it is not of one towards a profession.



You can use a wine glass as a phone amplifier. You can read a little more about it here.

I'm the Amanda Bynes of Science


Hi Everyone,
My Name is Zach Slater and I am a Junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism with minors in Business and Art History. I am really passionate about television, pop culture, twitter, breaking news and anything that is on Netflix. 

I am taking this class because I need 3 more credits in science, and this class fit really well in my schedule. I am not a science major because I am very passionate about other things, but will always have a place in my heart for science. 

Like Amanda Bynes acting career, my success in science was incredible in the late 90's and early 00's. As Amanda would say "Amanda Please!", I would say "Science Please!" I would beg my parents to take me to the Planetarium, Aquarium or anywhere my mind would be full of questions. In the mid 2000's Amanda Bynes was featured in several blockbuster movies, but wasn't the star. This is parallel to my science career, in the sense that I was still taking science classes in school, but they were not the focus of my education. The picture of Amanda, above, was taken earlier this summer and is a perfect representation of her career status today. Acting is not her main priority, getting herself together is(or at least should be.) As a junior in college my priority is to get myself together and to begin my career, science is not my main priority, but I have no problem taking some time to learn about it. 

Here is a link to Amanda's Twitter and my own twitter so you can keep up with our shenanigans.

Hey everyone, I'm Shawn Quinn, a Senior Telecommunications major. To be honest, I'm taking this course because I have to in order to graduate. I've never really aspired to be a scientist; it just has never been my thing. After a couple less-than-fun experiences with science courses in high school, I was hoping to not have to take any at Penn State. I'm taking this course because despite my lack of interest in core science courses, I am curious as to how it affects our world and my life. I'm gonna use this live link opportunity to promote my Twitter !!! If you could follow me I think I'd be a real home run! 

fat mac.jpg

PS: For those who don't watch Always Sunny, that's not actually me. Mac's my favorite character though. See you in class!

First Blog Post


Hey everyone, I'm Megan Galloway and I'm a freshman from Elverson, PA- about an hour from Philly. Although I'm undeclared on a major as of now, I am not planning on being a science major at all because I really just do not like science and I'm not great at it. This class came recommended and I needed to fill my science requirements so I figured why not?

A little about myself would be I have two brothers and two sisters, all older, so I am of course the baby of the family, and my pit-bull/ boxer mix doggie that I love so much.


That's Yogi watching some TV.

I really have a problem with taking pictures of him and that's basically most of what is on my phone. If animals were allowed in dorms, Yogi would absolutely be here with me right now! Feel free to check some more pictures out on my Instagram because I post them all the time!

first blog


Hi, my name is Sean Pyle and I'm a sophomore from Watchung, New Jersey.  I'm currently enrolled in the college of communications going for a major in telecommunications.  I have always had a major passion for sports, especially baseball.  I was an avid New York Yankees fan and when I was young it was a dream of mine to be a part of the Yankees.  When I came to the realization that I would not be professional athelete, I knew that I still wanted a career that involved athletics.  When searching through the majors I decided that telecommunications was the major that made this a possibility and kept my interest the most. 


            Growing up, science was never a strongpoint of mine, but I didn't mind it too much.  Once I got to high school, I had a few teachers that ruined science for me.  I would never do as well as I wanted to either and the combination of both factors led to a hate for science.  This was obvious to my advisor last year when I met with him to schedule classes for the fall.  He told me that I was required to take a few science classes in order to graduate and showed me how this class was a class for people who didn't like science but could still earn the credits needed.  So far, I am still interested in the class, which was a surprise to me, and this will hopefully continue. 


First Blog Post

Sooo first blog post... Well to begin with I just got back to Penn State from the Summer Stock I was was working at. I was employed by the Totem Pole Playhouse where I was the Sound Designer and Engineer... which is just a fancy way of saying I made everything sound pretty.

I'm taking this class because when I was signing up for classes I needed a gn and this one sounded fairly interesting... Other then that I don't remember why I picked this one in particular it probably fit in my schedule the best.

Now as for why I'm not a science major... Well I sort of am. What most people over look is that my degree is in theatre design and technology. I have to be just as well versed in the art as well as the science. In example next spring I will be the master electrician on our production of Into the Woods. My job for that show will be to take the plot the lighting designer gives me and get electricity to all the lights, data to all the intelligent fixtures, make sure the entire place doesn't burn down, among other things. I need to have at least a working knowledge of electricity and networking. Now you might say that's not really science-y enough but that's just my opinion take it or leave it.

So at this point all I need is a picture sooo
Jack Jack.jpg
That's my puppy

My Initial Post


I am taking SC 200 for a few reasons. The first is simply to fulfill my GenEd requirements. The other is that I enjoy science. When I was a kid I participated in science fairs and was very good at them. I am also a huge fan of psychology. The final reason are the great reviews Andrew has received.


Now I know what your thinking, "if you like science so much than you must be a science major".  Well, actually no. My major is Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management ( major. This is because though I enjoy science I am not good at math, which science requires a lot of. Also, I am not interested in the detailed aspects of it. I want to know how and why something happens to some degree of depth but to dedicate my life to it is too much for me.

Initial Post

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Hi All! My name is Rachel and I am a sophomore in the School of Communications, majoring in Advertising! I am originally from State College and like some of you, came from a Penn State family through and through.

Like many of you I am taking this course because I have to fill a science credit and this class (and Andrew) came highly recommended. It's not that I hate science or anything. I actually had really good teachers in high school and last year when I lived in Pittsburgh I would often go to the Carnegie Science Center, but science has often been linked to math and I do strongly dislike math.


The First of Them

I am taking SC 200 for a couple reasons the first of which is that I am not going to be a science major but instead I am going into business. Second off because it will fulfill gen ed requirements for me and last of all I heard the teacher was very entertaining.Which I would have to say Dr. Read has not let his reputation down.

If you were wondering why I am not going into a science related major I have a few reasons. I do enjoy learning about all the different animals and how things interact, which is why so far this class has held my attention. But I do not like learning about the different rocks in the earth or why they are different and I especially did not enjoy physics. That is why I chose to pursue business over a science related field.

Initial Blog Post

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Above: Aluminum Precipitation, Phillipsburg PA. April 2013

I probably have a different perspective on this course since I'm a entering my fifth year as an undergraduate photography student, and am therefore in my final semester as opposed to my first. The decision to take this course came after late dropping two other entry-level science classes, including Biological Anthropology and a web class on Energy, leaving me with a remaining Gen-ed requirement to fulfill.

Despite my aversion to science, I have encountered scientific practices in a sort of indirect way within my own discipline. Although I am first and foremost a photographer (my work can be seen here, here, or here), I have found opportunities to deal with scientific issues in a visual manner. 

The above image, for example, was my way of depicting water pollution in central PA water. During a field trip into Central PA for Katarin Parizek's Environmental Photography class, we encountered a severely polluted stream that was almost opaque because of this white precipitation. My professor stated that it was a result of the combination of acid mine drainage and aluminum content in the waters, but the details are unclear and I'll have to devote a different blog post to the subject. 

The idea of directly majoring in a science was never really an option for me, mostly out of sheer lack of interest. However, there are some points of my own life in which scientific knowledge does help my understanding of things. I'm simply taking this class to try to approach these isolated problems with more of a scientific mentality as opposed to a purely artistic one.

Olde English

In a heated game of poker on the rainy night of 1777 Benjamin Franklin leaned over to his friend Alexander the Great and said "Man we're pretty smart guys right?" Alex nodded and pointed at his friend Nikola Tesla. "Yeah man we're great, just look at Tesla. Look at that hair:"

Nikola Tesla

"Thanks guys, I really needed that." Said Ben. "I've just been really intimidated by this Jason guy." That's when I came in and taught them everything they knew. Then we drank and drank The end.

Hi everybody I hope you all enjoyed my story that really happened and was about me. My name is Jason Blake and I am a Senior Psychology major focused in Neuroscience. I want to go to graduate school for a PhD in Clinical Psychology or Neuroscience. So yeah, I'm into science. I don't think my major is technically a science major but the damn thing has neuroSCIENCE in it so I think I'm like a bad student or something for being in this class. This class looks like fun even to somebody like me who does actually like science and I'd love to talk about all the cool shit I'm into. Also I'm taking this course to fill out my last GN credits, so mostly that.

An interesting fact about me is that even though I do not look half Negro American I am actually a mixed person. Half black half and half who the hell knows, white or something. But despite all that adversity I still managed to love science even as a kid. I know I know I should have started rapping or never stopped playing sports but I just happened to have interests in more complicated things, like the brain.

Anyway science is cool because it tries to answer questions we've NEVER KNOWN. Like how scientists still don't know WHY we SLEEP. Or if we can post curse words in our PSU blog entries. These questions may never be answerable to human beings. Cool as shit.

I have a twitter. I have a facebook. I'd rather just give you a link of this

Hey guys, I'm Liz: a sophomore from Central New Jersey. I am intending to double major in Business Management and Broadcast Journalism. My ultimate goal is to produce the news, or work as an international correspondent for a non-corrupt prime time media network. I am an avid sports fan, with a particular love for hockey (GO DEVS). I like to think I'm a well-rounded student and eager to learn, yet science has always been one of the subjects to deter my interest in school. 
     I was introduced to this class by a friend who had previously taken it, and I'm really glad I took her advice. I mildly enjoyed chemistry, hated biology, and despised physics completely. I think having knowledge that is applicable to my everyday life will actually help me in the long run, rather than learning the basics of photosynthesis and statics. However, I love the show Mythbusters which is pretty science-y, and I do enjoy watching Walter White cook meth on Breaking Bad, but I figured those two things probably won't get me through four years of core science classes, thus I settled upon my majors listed above. 
Here is an awesome video compilation of the Mythbusters' best explosions

Blog Post #1

Hey everyone! I'm Gregory. It's great to virtually meet all of you. I'm a junior majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in business. I'm in this class because I want to give science another shot. This course seems like a good survey of what science has to offer.  I hate "science projects", but I love statistics, analysis, and critical thinking. So far this class seems like a good environment to explore things we encounter every day from a curious, scientific standpoint. I enjoyed Andrew's first few lectures, so I'm excited to learn about the rest of this year's topics.

Science Kid.jpg

I am not planning on being a science major because I lost interest in science at an early age. Like Andrew said, my first science courses were too fact-oriented. I remember how much I hated learning about rocks, minerals, and gravity. I would much rather ask questions that don't have a definite answer. I also never want to look at a math problem again in my life (until I have children who need help with their homework, of course). Science usually incorporates math, which I do not usually find particularly interesting or rewarding.

Andrew's discussion on why American students dislike science from an early age made me curious, so I did some Googling and stumbled upon this article. It's worth a look.

If you want to hear more of what I have to say, I host a talk-show (@RadioFree_PSU on Twitter) Monday through Thursday from 5-6pm on or 90.7fm WKPS on the TuneIn app. I'd love to hear some of my classmates' feedback on our program. Thanks!

First Blog Post

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Hello! My name is Amy Mohler from Downingtown, Pennsylvania and I am a freshman here at Penn State. I would say it is pretty thrilling to be writing my first ever blog post and now have my thoughts published for all 60-some students in our class to see. Although I am undecided as to what I would like to major in, I am confident it will not be science-related. Throughout my high school experience of chemistry, physics, and a couple years of biology, I came to realize that blaming the teacher for my inability to understand many of the concepts and topics taught in these classes would not work in college, and especially not in the real world if I were to choose a science-related career. In a way it is a shame because I do find science interesting and very applicable to life, however, the math end of it goes right over my head. That is what landed me here in this class. I originally signed up for Biological Sciences 004, hearing it was an interesting class (non-math related as it has to do with the human body), but I read reviews on, sat through one of my Russian teacher's lectures and decided to drop it for a class with much more interesting topics, and a professor with a higher rating and a way cooler accent. I am really excited already by how interactive and applicable SC 200 has been and cannot wait to voice my opinion in discussions. A little about myself is that I love to run and I am a spiritual/religious person (Christian) so a number of my blogs may have to do with those two topics. I am very interested to see how my religious beliefs and science possibly clash and coincide in this class. For anyone who has heard of the Color Run and/or is interested in doing a super fun 5k here on campus, check this out. Below is a picture of a few friends and me after the race this summer! I'm the one holding the camera.Thumbnail image for IMG_1987.JPG

Initial Blog Post

Hello Everyone! My name is Mark Paulson. I'm a sophomore here at Penn State but I hail from northern Virginia. Currently I am undecided in major, but am trying to do something in business. The reason I'm deciding not to choose a science major is because I have always dreamed of one day running my own business, something that obviously works best with a business background/major.  I chose this class because I read that it was specifically designed for non-science majors and I have never been very good with science. I realized after barely squeaking by in chemistry and almost failing out of AP Physics in high school, that science is not for me. I always knew that I would one day go to Penn State as my mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandfather and grandmother are all alumni, and my other grandfather was a dean for 15 years! I grew up watching the nittany lions play football on TV, and had no idea what the student section was really like, but going to the games has become my favorite part of attending this school. I am also a musician and love music. Here's an awesome song I found earlier today. Enjoy!


Hey everyone! My name is Carissa Nicole Kehoe. I'm a junior here at Penn State University and I am Penn State Proud!!! I was born and raised in Kingston, Pennsylvania- representing the 570!!! I am majoring in Psychology and I am absolutely in love with it. I've always been so intrigued by the mind and the way living things think. Science has always been very fascinating to me, but Psychology has my heart, so that's why I am not a Science major. But I still think Science rules!

I decided to take this course because I do have a strong interest in Science, and I would love to know more about it because there's so much to learn! I've heard nothing but positive feed back about this class and the professor as well. I'm excited for this semester and hopefully once I've completed the course I could have an educated conversation with my Science obsessed roommate, lol!

A little about myself: I'm a Leo, I wish I was a Disney Star, & I go on tour a lot.

My face.

Oh & if there's any other blogging addicts in the building, follow my Tumblr! :) I'm almost at 2,000 followers, woo!!!

Initial Blog

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Hello everyone, I am Tim Behan in my sophomore year here at Penn State.  I'm from Freehold, New Jersey and am majoring is Broadcast Journalism.  I love sports and it has always been my dream to have a career in sports broadcasting.  Hockey would be my preference because I played since I could walk and it is my passion.  I am involved with PSU's ComRadio, a student run web based radio station which delivers both news and sports coverage through talk show's and live play-by-play of Penn State sports.  You can listen on the internet by clicking the link or on your phone using the Tune In app and searching comradio.

I took this class to fulfill the science gen-ed requirement after taking astronomy last year.  As others have already said, I too never had heavy interest in science throughout my life.  It was fine until things became difficult and that led to more disinterest.  I have a tendency to not remember things that don't interest me, as I'm sure some can relate.  My adviser recommended this course as an interesting one that was a good fit for the non-science majors.  I like how this course looks at an open field of topics that can relate to science.  I am eager to see what ideas we all will come up with to share.  I look forward to this semester and I guess this whole blog thing means we will be getting to know each other better.

Here is what I'm most excited for this year:


My name is Victoria Gibilterra and I am a sophomore here at Penn State. My major is Actuarial Science with a minor in Spanish. I am on the Club Gymnastics team and I am involved in Ohana. I am taking this course because I needed one last science class and my adviser said that this class is very interesting. I also heard from other students that it is fun and is not going to be a huge amount of work.

I have never enjoyed science and I am more than fine with my science career ending after this semester. In high school I was always very bad at science and the only C I ever got was in my honors Chemistry class. Right now my major has the word science in it which one would think means I enjoy science but it is more the science of finance. I love numbers, math, and anything business related but I hate science. I have also heard that the science classes here at Penn State are really difficult so I am avoiding them like the plague. I knew coming up here that the one major I knew I could never do is science so that is how I ended up in this class.

Initial Blog Post

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Hey Everyone! My name is Jake Manchester, and I'm currently a sophomore here at our beloved Penn State. I'm currently enrolled within the Smeal College of Business, where I hope to be accepted into either the marketing or accounting program following this school year. Unfortunately for me, however, it seems as though my mind is going to wait until the very last moment to decide between the two. Just when I begin to think that I've settled upon one or the other, something comes along and completely changes how I feel..

But I digress.

Science, for me, is kind of a double-edged sword. From the earliest parts of my childhood, I had always wanted to be a marine biologist...not a fireman, not an astronaut, but a marine biologist...I think my family had me watching Steve Irwin too much as a kid. I never had any problems with science classes when I was growing up; biology and your basic sciences were a breeze. Then along came chemistry...and then physics...having perhaps the two hardest courses offered in my high school back-to-back was a death wish to anyone who wasn't a hardcore science geek (for lack of a better word). Needless to say that after that experience, I shifted away from the sciences pretty quickly. Heck, I didn't even take a course that was remotely science-related my senior year! Science still fascinates me to this very day, though, and I love learning about how science touches every aspect of our lives. I'm really excited for this class, and can't wait to get into some of the awesome material that Andrew has for us.

Outside of school, I'm an avid golfer and music enthusiast with an ear for everything from George Jones to Skrillex. I'm pretty active on Twitter, so give me a follow if you want!

We Are!!

Initial Post

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Hey non-science majors! I'm a junior IST major this year. I was desperately in need of another gen ed science class that wouldn't completely destroy my GPA. Science was never my strongest subject in school, but I still loved it. Sc200 seemed like the perfect class for me. I think science is fascinating and I love learning about things that are relevant to my life such as "Do sugary drinks cause obesity?", but I'm not so interested in the process of researching something that I don't know the answer to. In my major, there always seems to be an answer with logic and reasoning behind any question I have. I like knowing that something is right or wrong.

I do however enjoy travelling, especially to national parks. I was on vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine a few weeks ago, and spent a few days exploring in Acadia National Park. If you've never been there, I highly recommend it. The scenery is gorgeous and there's plenty of hiking trails and places to swim, kayak, and fish. Below is a picture of Thunder Hole. During high tide, the water rushes in and makes a sound that is surprisingly similar to a clap of thunder. If you want to learn more about Acadia, check out this website .


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Initial Blog Post


Yooo Science 200!!

My name is Jon Karley and I HATE SCIENCE! Well I never used to hate science, but then High School came along and I just like many of you, was a victim of poor science teacher after poor science teacher. Biology, Chemistry, and especially Physics were the three most painful courses of my high school tenure. Don't get me wrong though, I never used to hate science, there was once a time when I actually enjoyed the course. However, that was way back in grade school before it ever mattered how many elements were in the periodic table or the difference between plant and animal cells, and for this reason I have decided to take this course. I would also like to regain the love for science I once had, and after reading through Andrew's ratings on Rate My Professor and the course description, I believe I will find my long lost love. This loss of love is a major reason why I have no aspiration to be a science major along with the fact that I find a much greater interest in business. I am currently enrolled in D.U.S. but after greater thought I would like to major in finance with a minor in entrepreneurship. I am from Philadelphia Pennsylvania and am I die hard EAGLES fan, I am also an avid tennis player and would enjoy a good partner if anyone is interested. If so you can email me at any time ... feel free to hit me up whenever!


Science...dear God no.


Hi all, my name is Karissa and I am a first year student here at Penn State. I want to major in either Management Information Systems or Marketing. I am from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania which is about 15 minutes away from campus. I grew up living and breathing anything Penn State, and I think it will always have a huge influence over my life. I am a member of the Blue Band, however I don't play an instrument. I twirl silks. Some of you may refer to it as "flags" or "colorguard", too.


 I don't think I can ever remember a time after elementary school where I actually understood science. That is why I decided to take this class to fulfill a general education requirement. It seemed to focus less on DOING the scientific equations, and more on understanding how science works in our world.



Wishing you all a great semester! Follow me on Twitter if you wish...



Science Blogging woo!

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Hello, everyone!

My name is Jamie Lee and I'm a sophomore here at our lovely university.  I am hopefully going to major in Health Policy and Administration, but I've changed my mind about my major so many times since I've started here at Penn State so hopefully HPA will be the one!  I've always enjoyed science in the sense that I like that it is the basis for pretty much everything and is always evolving and changing, and it is something that is so important to us for the rest of our lives.  The only thing that I dislike about science is that for the life of me, I can't wrap my head around it to understand it.  My lovely cousin Kaila is a on a pre-med track, so she has taken semester after semester of biology, chemistry and calculus.. yikes! I take one look at her homework and it's basically like reading a foreign language.  The only science class that I ever really enjoyed was my senior year horticulture class, where we had an excuse everyday to go outside and plant various flowers and plants, which you could call a treat when you're locked inside of your high school walls from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. everyday.

I'm happy that I decided to take Science 200 because it will be interesting to learn about different and entertaining topics every class, and the free range blog posts might actually make homework somewhat fun, for once!  Also, because it's designed for non-science majors, which is exactly what I need, because heaven forbid I try to wrap my head around chemistry equations and biological processes.


^^ Yinzplosion!

And who doesn't like to listen to music while doing homework? While writing this blog post I was jamming to one of my favorite bands Radical Something's new album and it's really awesome, so you should definitely check it out!

Imagine that you are 13 years old. You're in middle school, so naturally, your life is a nightmare. Currently, your problems are so earth-shattering that you can't be bothered with your education.

 As a result, when your science teacher assigns you a project, you leave it to the last minute. The project in question involves growing bean plants and recording their growth. You gag at the idea of gardening. Unfortunately, beans are as difficult to work with as 13 year olds and both refused to be rushed. 

Therefore, you get a "C" on the project. This "C" single handedly ruins your class grade. This grade single handedly keeps you from entering the advanced science class. Not entering 8th grade advanced science single handedly keeps you from all advanced science class from there on.

Instead of listening to dumbed down powerpoints about nobel gases, you read novels under your desk. Now you're an English major who generally refuses to eat beans.


My name is Lauren Parrott and I write in second person far more than necessary. This class sang out to me, "Science for English majors!" The class was chosen mostly because it was the least offensive thing that fulfilled the GN requirement. Science and I have a strange relationship. Mostly, it tries to tell me what to do, and in turn, I write extravagant lies about it for the sake of a story. When I'm not working on our relationship issues I watch unhealthy amount of television or pretend to be a lawyer.

I'd shake your hand...but well, you know...

Initial Blog Post


My name is Jacklyn Hanson. I am a sophomore this year majoring in broadcast journalism. I am currently interning with the football team on the recruiting staff, and I can't even put into words how excited I am for this upcoming season! I am also working with Com Radio on campus in the sports and news department. After graduating, I hope to get into sportscasting on a major network.

 Like many other students, I am taking this course to fulfill a requirement. For the longest time as a little kid, I wanted to be a vet. I was a tom boy growing up so I thought nature and all types of animals and little critters were cool. After a lot of thought I knew that it wasn't for me. I am a very outgoing person, and definitely don't want to being spending my time in a science lab or studying for years.  Personally, I think science is fascinating, however, I am not interested in making a career out of it. Since, I've always been into science, I think I'm really going to enjoy this course.

Initial Blog Post


                Hi everybody! My name is Andrea, and this is my second year at Penn State. I am not exactly a "townie" but I have lived pretty close to Penn State my whole life so it became my dream to come here. After a year of exploring different majors, I finally settled for Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Management in the college of Health and Human Development.

                I am taking this course because I am really bad at science. I take tests in non-science courses, where I barely study and getting A's but use all my study time for advanced science classes that are not even required in my major and I fail. I am here because this class was recommended to me by my old adviser because she realized I was not a fan of science. Also like everyone, I need my General Education and if I can have a less stressful course than I am definitely going to take it! I am a very creative person and I would take writing blog post over taking a test on information that I think I know but actually do not.

I am not a science major because I personally see it as a lot of work and pointless to my life. I respect the people who can tolerate it and not to generalize but a lot of the things I look for in life are usually not what science majors want in life. I am sure a good number of them find studying sciences is more important than the way I think leisure activities are important. In reality it is all very important but certain people prefer different things. I enjoy studying leisure activities and hate studying sciences and there are people who enjoy studying science that hate studying things that seem pointless to them.

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Why I Came Here

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Ayy, Science 200.

My name is Jonny Wise. I'm from Lock Haven, a small town just 30 minutes from State College. I remember attending my first Penn State football game when I was just a little kid, probably around seven years old. It couldn't have been a better game to see for my first time, as we were hosting arguably our biggest rival, Ohio State. I remember being very upset because I couldn't see over all the taller people in front of me. Seeing my frustration, my dad lifted me up to see the rest of the stadium. It was like nothing I had ever seen. More than 100,000 people dressed in all white, rooting for their beloved team. All the sudden, I heard a mighty roar from the other side, "WE ARE!" I was very confused as to what this meant, but not for long... "PENN STATE!" My dad belted, along with 50,000 others from my side of the stands. I watched bewilderedly as the crowd continued to chant. Eventually the noise of these two sayings had overtaken me, and soon enough I had become part of it. 

We Are.jpg

This experience has stayed with me all this time, and definitely had a huge impact on my decision coming to Penn State. But other than the amazing football games, I have also realized all the other opportunities that this University has to offer, such as ThonAwesome ProfessorsGreat Networking Opportunities, etc. These opportunities and the overwhelming pride this school has is what ultimately lead me to come here. Although I could have went to my hometown college for free with a decent education, I chose Penn State because I wanted to expand my experiences. And with all these great opportunities and the diversity here, I knew PSU was the right choice. 

This class is the perfect example of what I wanted to get out of coming here. It offers a class I hate in a unique way - something I've never experienced before. Andrew has already made me realize that I don't hate science, I just despise all the math and science-related work it takes to solve technical problems. This is why I could never be a science major. Luckily for me, however, Science 200 will not require me to do all the math and science work I dread, but rather it will require me to think critically about topics that I find very interesting. This is perfectly fine with me!

Science is for Dorks

Hey guys, my name is Paul Cassano and I am a Junior studying Security Risk Analysis. The majority of my roommates are huge science dweebs, ranging from industrial engineers to biology majors. Hell, my one roommate is a science major. Literally, just science. I guess you could say I am taking this class as a way to get on their level, although I guess I probably could just watch a season of the Big Bang Theory and it would probably have the same effect (I actually hate that show, hence the reason why I'm here writing this blog post). Secretly, however, I do actually have a soft spot for interesting science courses. I have taken ASTRO 001 and GEOSCI 040 and to be honest I loved both classes. You can learn really cool stuff about the world around you from a science course that you could never learn in a business or English course. I took one look at this course syllabus and knew that this was the class I wanted to be in for my last science course. On November 21st we're learning about whether or not animals can be gay! Tell me you haven't stayed up late at night wondering about whether or not there are squirrels out there that listen to Clay Aiken and own Gucci handbags. Maybe I'll write a blog post after that class with the answers I've been searching for.

While I have you here, Follow me on Twitter if you want! I'm only mildly offensive and it doesn't cost any money.

Hi everyone! My name is Sarah Linnemann and I am currently a sophomore.  As long as I can remember, I have been an extremely indecisive person, which has made choosing a major a very difficult task. Most of the time I even struggle with small decisions such as what to eat for dinner, so you can imagine how hard it has been trying to decide what career to pursue for the rest of my life. But one thing that I have always been certain about is my lack of skill in the fields of science and math. I don't know what it is about it, but my mind refuses to comprehend numbers and data, which have made taking certain classes almost unbearable.

            My complete and utter lack of knowledge of anything science related is exactly what prompted me to take this course. You see, my advisor and I have a great relationship, and he is the one who recommended that this class would be a perfect fit for me. I will never forget being the last student left sitting in my FTCAP day, and he sat with me until we picked out the perfect schedule for my first semester. Ever since then, I have basically trusted him with my life, so when he recommended this course I didn't even have to think twice about it. Overall, I'm genuinely excited for this class because I feel that it touches on the interesting points of science rather than the mathematical side of things. It's cool to see how many people are as clueless about science as I am, and I look forward to a great semester with all of you!


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