Monthly Archives: April 2015

Freshman Fitness- My Adventure

College is a defining time in the life of all those who choose to attend. There is no say in the matter. The life that you had before you arrived is gone in the wind and you become an entirely new person. Freshman year is a time of major transformation. Many people enter freshman year with goals. Some of the goals include fitness. People say, “I will never get the ‘freshman 15’.” Others say, “It’s time for me to get in the best shape of my life.” To be honest, when I entered college, I had no idea what I wanted. I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t have any major fitness goals, I only knew I wanted to keep working out. If I were to gain the freshman 15, I wanted it to be entirely in muscle.

The first week of my freshman year, I purchased a membership to the campus gym. The second week of the year, I joined the Powerlifting team. I saw myself on a great path. I went to the powerlifting workouts and I loved the team. There were a few guys on the team who were intimidatingly big, and I saw them as role models in the gym. I went to the workouts every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. For a time, I was doing very well. I started squatting and deadlifting again, something I had not done since football workouts. I improved my form and gained a bit of muscle, but not as much as I would have liked.

Admittedly, I got a little bored of the powerlifting workouts. In the two hours that we would work out, we would only do three exercises: bench, squat, and deadlift. To me, I felt like we were moving insanely slow. When I typically go to the gym, I can knock out at least seven exercises followed by an abs workout in less than two hours. After a while, I started making excuses to myself that seemed valid as to why I couldn’t go. I was pledging a fraternity, so they already had us doing tons of push ups, wall-sits, planks, and flutter kicks. I told myself that I couldn’t workout the day before a line-up because I couldn’t be so sore that I couldn’t keep up with my pledge brothers, and I told myself I couldn’t go the day after because I had already worked out the day before. After a few short weeks, I stopped going to Powerlifting workouts entirely. I told myself I was getting a good enough workout regardless, but I knew that was a lie.

Once pledging was over, I told myself I would get back to the gym. The problem, though, was that once I got back to the gym, I couldn’t lift what I used to be able to. When I saw that, I lost my motivation to go back to the gym, because I no longer felt confident. When winter break came, I was too busy getting drunk and hanging out with my girlfriend to make time to go to the gym. I was lazy. 

When the next semester began, I was no better. In the heart of the frigid and dreary Penn State winter, I found it hard to find motivation to do anything other than finish a season of my favorite show on Netflix every other day. I used the excuse of the gym being too crowded with all of the “New Years Resolutioners” for it to be worth going. It wasn’t until I planned my spring break that I finally got back the motivation to get back to the gym. I was going to the gym at least three times a week, every week for a month, and I felt good. I got myself all the way back up to the point I was at when I first got to college.

Once spring break was over, I didn’t go back to the gym for a month. I didn’t have any good excuses, and I didn’t have any motivation. In the past few weeks, I’ve managed to get my lazy ass to the gym once or twice a week, but I know I’m not doing enough to make any real progress. Once you fall off the horse, it feels so hard to get back on. I can’t say that I’m unhappy with my body today, but neither can I say that I am happy with it.

As Bro Science Life said,

My only hope is that this summer I will regain the determination I once had.

Solar Roadways- Final RCL Post

Today, we’re going to be talking about the revolutionary idea by Scott and Julie Bursaw of Solar Roadways.  Solar Roadways is the idea of replacing the pavement and asphalt on all roadways in America with solar panels. The idea is that these solar panels could generate electricity, digitally draw traffic lines, and be easily replaceable. The idea started when Julia recommended to Scott that we should replace all roads in America with solar panels. At first, Scott thought the idea was ludicrous, but after much thought and careful planning, the idea has gained a sense of reality.

Solar Roadways is a startup company that is based in Sandpoint, Idaho. Scott Bursaw is the lead engineer on the project, having earned his master’s degree in electrical engineering. Solar Roadways first gained its insane amount of hype when they started an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. Their goal of $1 million was reached and exceeded to the point of $2.2 million at the deadline for the project funding. This has become the #1 most lucrative Indiegogo campaign of all time.

The prototype has already been built for Solar Roadways, and it is currently in the second stage of production. In the first stage of production, Solar Roadways focused on perfecting the LED system to be implanted within the panels. These LEDs will be used to make designs collectively on roadways, easily being programmed to “paint” and “re-paint” road lines. Since the panels are pressure sensitive, the LEDs can warn a driver if there is an animal or pedestrian ahead on the road and urge them to slow down. Additionally, LEDs in the road would make nighttime driving much safer.

The second revolutionary feature of the Solar Roadways are heated roads. The purpose of heated roads would be to easily and cheaply remove any and all snow from the roadways during the winter. The panels would do so using the same technology that a rear window defrosting unit uses, simply running electric currents through the glass to heat it. This would save the millions that are usually spent on snow removal and the money lost in accidents caused by unsafe roadways.

Panels testing their snow melting ability

After doing some research, Solar Roadways concluded that glass indeed would be a suitable material for roadways. Specific types of glass actually have a hardness that is rated between steel and stainless steel. After running calculations, they determined that the glass that they would plan to use in the roadways is hard enough to sustain an 18-wheeler flipping and smashing onto the road.

At first, a troubling thought was that vehicles would not be able to get enough traction on the glass, so Scott redesigned the glass with hexagonal structures with groves that surpassed the requirements of all traction tests that they ran. They drove a tractor over the sample parking lot they made with the panels, and it found no trouble at all in this endeavor.

As for the structural support of the panels, Solar Roadways have found that they could actually use recycled materials combined with organic materials to produce a viable structural integrity in their panels. This would greatly reduce the amount of recyclable waste that is found throughout the world.

The impact of this idea would be immense. First off, the production and implementation of the panels alone would create millions of jobs. Once the panels are put in place, little to no maintenance work would have to be performed at all. One major upside to these panels is that the problem of potholes in roads would be completely eliminated, as you can’t get potholes in glass. If a panel does happen to break or begin malfunctioning, the surrounding panels are actually programmed to automatically recognize this and send a repair crew immediately. Millions of dollars are wasted and lost in potential revenue every year because vehicles are stuck in traffic due to construction. With the modular design of Solar Roadways, a construction crew would be able to get to the site and replace the panel and be gone within eight minutes, which would almost entirely eliminate traffic jams due to construction and repair.

With the implementation of Solar Roadways, there comes potential for countless possibilities. If all of the roads in the United States were covered in these solar panels, the US would actually generate three times as much energy as it uses. This extra energy could be turned into the form of revenue for the US. With the cheap cost of energy, due to its great abundance, electric cars could actually become an economic possibility. Solar Roadways has even proposed that there is potential for technology within Solar Roadways that could charge a car as it’s driving, which would immensely increase the range of an electric car, which is currently the largest drawback associated with electric vehicles. With this concept, we could nearly eliminate the necessity for fossil fuels and save our planet. Additionally, we could stop using petroleum based asphalt and pavement.

With the implementation of Solar Roadways, all internet and power lines could be put underground instead of being in unattractive looking telephone pools. Not only would this improve the view outside, but power and internet lines would no longer be damaged during storms. If all of the internet lines were replaced by optical fiber, internet connections would become exponentially faster with zero data interference.

Solar Roadways is an idea of the future. With their implementation, we would see a revolution in the world that we live in today and our standard of living could continue to rise. The United States would become a beacon of the future.

My biggest concern is: how long will it be until hackers program giant penis designs onto the road?

To learn more about Solar Roadways, visit their website. They have an abundance of information to entertain the curious mind.

The Whole30

Dieting is a touchy subject that I addressed briefly in my blog post Spring Break Body. There are few diets that I will ever endorse due to the negative connotation attached to the word, but I’ve recently come across the Whole30 diet, and it is one of the few that I will ever personally endorse. It has been endorsed by doctors, nutritionists, dietitians, physical therapists, and acupuncturists worldwide. (Testimonials.) As many health issues have to do with your diet, I find it important to mention that it is reported that the Whole30 can actually help with skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies and fertility issues.

Most diets tell you to eat less, eat fewer meals, buy their prepackaged meals online, or an endless list of other crazy things. You should never eat less; you need your calories. You should never eat fewer meals; you need to keep a healthy, regulated metabolism. For the love of god, you should never eat prepackaged meals. Do you have any idea how many preservatives and hidden additives are in them?

The Whole30 diet is unlike most diets that you have ever come across. Whole30 has nothing that they’re trying to sell you. They’re not trying to help you get fit and sexy in the next 30 days. They are not at all your typical diet program, though they are one of the most difficult diets out there.

It’s not going to be easy, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

The only thing that the Whole30 diet advertises is making you feel the healthiest you ever have in your life.

The Whole30 rules are (in summary) as follows:


Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed. Don’t worry… these guidelines are outlined in extensive detail in our free shopping list.


Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial.
Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking.
Do not eat grains.
Do not eat legumes.
Do not eat dairy.
Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites.
Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients.
One last and final rule: You are not allowed to step on the scale or take any body measurements for the duration of the program.”

Personally, I don’t think that I could ever follow this diet, but I’m only missing out. The benefits listed in the advertising for this program as well as in the testimonials are substantial. Yes, this is a hard diet, and yes, it is possible. In fact, many testimonials state that after the Whole30 challenge, it can be hard to return to your old diet. The reason for this is that many things in your everyday diet aren’t necessary nor healthy for you.

It’s important to note that the food pyramid that many people abide by is drawn up to sell exactly what the government wants us to buy. Two major groups on that are dairy and grain, neither of which are at all essential to the human diet. Don’t believe me? Ask a celiac or someone with lactose-intolerance if they’re still living and breathing.

Something I like the most about the Whole30 diet is their final rule of no scales and no measuring. This shows that this diet really is just for your health, though you will reap countless other benefits from it. (It is important to note that it is acceptable to measure yourself and step on a scale before and after the Whole30- just not during it.)

Unlike most other diets, the Whole30 will change you not only physically, but mentally. On their site, they hilariously outline each of the stages of the Whole30 challenge, and they’re not lying. I have a friend who did the Whole30 diet and calls it one of the best things she ever did, but you should know what you’re in for. If you can make it through this challenge, then you deserve my undying respect. To see the timeline of the stages to expect, head on over to the Whole30 Timeline!



The “N” Word

Today I’d like to discuss a word that many people grimace at when heard. Other people think that it’s something that has developed so much at this point that it’s ridiculous to avoid it. Some people call it dangerous. Some say that our future would be lost without it. It’s been buried, but some people say that its toxins will seep out and harm everyone around us. Today, the word I would like to discuss is “nuclear.”

Nuclear energy gets a bad rep. People have negative perceptions of nuclear energy because of events such as the Three Mile Island incident, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with nuclear bombs, and, most famously, Chernobyl. Today, I would like to address the fears of nuclear energy. Then, I would like to go on to explain the true risks and benefits of nuclear energy



All of these images are propaganda against nuclear energy created out of unreasonable fear. People fear nuclear energy as the monster under their beds. When one doesn’t know that the danger doesn’t actually exist, it feels very real. Once it is explained though, one can gain comfort.

Three Mile Island was the nuclear incident that contributed the most to the public’s fear of nuclear energy, which led to a rapid decline in the building of additional nuclear power plants for years after the incident. What happened at Three Mile Island was not a disaster, but rather a lesson to scientists and engineers. “In 1979 at [the] Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in [the] USA, a cooling malfunction caused part of the core to melt in the #2 reactor. The TMI-2 reactor was destroyed.” (Three Mile Island Accident.)

Now, when people hear meltdown, they instantly think of an immense disaster, though this was not the case. People think that radioactive reactors are in complete exposure to their surrounding environment, though this is completely false. “The containment building worked as designed. Despite melting of about one-third of the fuel core, the reactor vessel itself maintained its integrity and contained the damaged fuel.” There was only a minuscule amount of radiation that escaped the plant. All experiments done to measure this amount of radiation proved it to be no more than background radiation levels, “This was confirmed by thousands of environmental and other samples and measurements taken during the accident.” (Three Mile Island Accident.) The largest contributor to the surrounding panic of the incident was communication problems that led to conflicting information being delivered to the public. It would do well to note that no one was killed nor injured by this incident, and there were no lingering effects due to it.


The fear surrounding nuclear energy due to the immense devastation inflicted on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the August 1945 bombing near the end of the Second World War is understandable. I have been to ground zero at both sites in Japan. The result of the bombings was the formation of two immense lakes- some of the largest ever formed by mankind. I took a ferry from one side to the other and it was not a short ride. Though this does demonstrate the destructive power behind nuclear bombs, it clouds the public’s judgement into thinking that all nuclear power is destructive. The way I ask you to view this is the same way that you would view fire. Fire has the ability to warm your house in the hearth of your fireplace, but it also has the ability to turn your entire house to charcoal. The difference between the two is control.


Chernobyl is the absolute nightmare of nuclear energy. The Chernobyl incident occurred in 1986 in the former USSR due to a reactor that was flawed in design and operated by inadequately trained personnel. Chernobyl was the equivalent of 1 million Three Mile Island meltdowns. The meltdown released more radiation than the intentional bombing of Hiroshima. Chernobyl was the only nuclear related accident in the world where people died as a result. Two people died as a result of the explosions the night of and another 28 died within a few weeks due to acute radiation poisoning. The incident occurred because the operators wanted to test how long the turbines would spin and continue to supply power to the main circulating pumps following a (simulated) loss of main electrical power supply. The issue with this is that, in order to test this, the Chernobyl operators intentionally turned off all automatic shutdown mechanisms- a recipe for disaster. What followed was explosions, a meltdown, and 5% of the radioactive material being released into the environment. An incident like this should never have happened. It would never have happened under educated, intelligent supervision, but it did. Let it be a lesson. (Chernobyl Accident 1986.)

If there’s anyone out there who likes numbers, the following should be comforting.

Energy Source Mortality Rates; Deaths/yr/TWh: 

Coal – world average, 161.    Coal – China, 278.    Coal – USA, 15.    Oil – 36.    Natural Gas – 4.    Biofuel/Biomass – 12.    Peat – 12.    Solar/rooftop – 0.44-0.83.    Wind – 0.15.    Hydro – world, 0.10.    Hydro – world, 1.4.    Nuclear – 0.04“”

(The Energy Collective.)

Deaths Per Year from Miscellaneous Things (U.S.):

Candles  – 126.    Roller skates  – 10.    Window blind cords  – 13.   Drawstring hoods  – 17.

(No Tricks Zone.)

Airplanes – 761


Falling out of bed – 450 (U.S.)

(Economic Policy Journal.)

Auto-erotic Asphyxiation – 1000 (U.S).

(Medicine Net.)

Now that we’re done addressing those fears, let’s talk about why we should be using nuclear energy.

Clean Electricity

Nuclear energy is perhaps the cleanest form of energy out there. The great thing about nuclear energy is that there are 0% carbon emission due to nuclear energy. The only carbon emissions are due to the transportation of the nuclear fuel to the sites, though this is a laughable amount, as 26 grams of nuclear energy produce the same amount of energy as 100,000 metric tons of coal. The energy potential of nuclear energy is immense. “In the fission of uranium 235 nucleus, the amount of energy released is about 60,000,000 times as much as when a carbon atom burns.” (Conserve Energy Future.)

Reliable, Safe, Efficient

Nuclear energy is reliable, safe, and efficient. Nuclear energy is produced and monitored by highly trained scientists and engineers at all times, which is not something that can always be said for fossil fuel plants. “The safe operation of each nuclear energy facility is overseen by experts from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC.) American nuclear energy facilities are among the most highly-regulated in the world, with NRC inspectors onsite at facilities 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.” (Conserve Energy Future.) Nuclear energy is produced at an 91% operational efficiency. To make a quick comparison, the operation efficiency of other fuel types are as follows: Wind, 32%;  Natural Gas, 50%,  Coal, 59%. (Nuclear Energy Institute.)

Background Radiation Concern

One major concern of people with nuclear energy is radiation seeping into their surrounding environment. One thing I would love to tell you: I grew up within 20 miles of a nuclear power plant, and I didn’t even know until my senior year of high school. Living near a nuclear power plant is less dangerous to your health than having granite counter tops in your kitchen. Regard this illustration presented by the World Nuclear Organization on the radiation exposure throughout the life on an average American:

Nuclear energy is not dangerous; it is the future. In 2013, the United States received approximately 19% of its electricity from nuclear energy. (Nuclear Energy Institute.)

Though this figure is impressive, we have a tremendous amount of untapped potential.

“In 2012, France derived 77 percent of its electricity from nuclear power.” (Institute for Energy Research.)

Not only is nuclear the future, it’s lucrative- and who doesn’t like money?