Tag Archives: babcock

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?

Spring Break Body

It’s about that time of the year that everyone starts scrambling to get a “spring break body.” This is an approximately month long rush that consists of people who do not regularly work out scrambling to the gym in a last ditch effort to look good for their spring break vacations. To people who are constantly dedicated to the gym, these crowds of people are quite the nuisance. Constant gym goers dread the popular gym rushes throughout the year, such as the fall “new school year new me” rush, the “New Year’s resolutioners” rush, and the “spring break body” rush. But alas, we are all at the gym to get in shape, so those who are jumping in the game late deserve just as much respect as anyone who is constantly at the gym. I’ll help you out to get the most out of this month. I’ll just be looking forward to the week that the gym is empty after spring break when few of the “spring break body rushes” return.

First and foremost, it is important that you set a specific goal of what you want to accomplish. The problem with many people is that they constantly work towards something, but they don’t know what it is. It is immensely helpful to set clearly defined goals so that you have something to keep striving for and so that you get the feeling of satisfaction when you finally accomplish your goals. It is important to make sure that your goals are realistic. For example, these goals are not realistic expectations for one month of working out.

(Note: the image on the left is fake and photoshopped.)

Setting realistic goals is essential to the process, as setting your goals too high will leave you in constant disappointment.

It is important to note that just as important as going to the gym is making sure that you’re putting only exactly what food your body needs to recover into your diet. This means no cheat days, no cheat meals, and no cheat snacks. Any of these things are likely to lead into a downward spiral. Personally, my diet consists almost exclusively of fruits and vegetables, lean meat (chicken,) beans, and protein shakes. Realistically, these are the only things that you need in your diet to survive and they are the healthiest thing for you. My personal recommendation for a good breakfast would be to skip the bagel or muffin and instead opt for fresh fruit, or a Naked juice drink. Personally, I start every morning with a Naked: Protein. The fruit replenishes the vitamins in your body and the natural sugar wakes you up. When you’re looking at what to eat, don’t look at the label, simply ask yourself “is this healthy or not.” Some people make mistakes such as forsaking something because it contains fat, although that fat may be healthy fat.

Most importantly, eating healthy is likely to help you burn fast faster than fasting will, as fasting causes your metabolism to slow and causes your body to digest your muscle and not the fat, leading to a very frail appearance. It’s important to realize that in these days, fit is sexy- not just thin. Whether your mission is to bulk up or to slim down, make sure that you are including a great deal of protein in your diet. The ideal protein intake for both weight loss and for muscle gain is equivalent to your body weight in grams of protein. For example, someone who weighs 150lbs should ingest 150 grams of protein a day.

One of the things that I find to be most vital to my process is staying hydrated at all times. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere, and constantly drink it. It is suggested to have 8 12oz glasses of water a day. The reason why it is important to hydrate is that the water will flush the toxins out of your body, hydrate your cells, and allow you a quicker recovery. Recovery is essential to the process, as it is not ideal to always feel sore. This is a sign that your body is not regenerating what it has used up and this is unhealthy. In order to optimize your recovery, make sure you get at least 9 hours of sleep. Sleep is when the majority of the recovery process takes place, so if you skip on sleep, recovery will skip on you. Make sure you’re ingesting sufficient protein and stretch your muscles to open up the tears in your muscle tissue and allow for better growth and results!

Save Energy, Save the World

The biggest issue that has to do with energy, perhaps, may not be how much energy we are using, but rather how much energy we are wasting. It is predicted that the United States uses 95.1 quadrillion British Thermal Units of raw energy each year. While this is a great number, it is not an accurate depiction of how much energy actually fulfills a purpose. Experts predict that the United States’ use of energy is overall only 14%-39% efficient. (How Much Energy Does the US Waste?) This figure is staggering. This shows that the United States actually loses more energy than it actually puts to use each year. Additionally, much of the energy that we use would not be necessary if we took advantage of more efficient technology and habits!

It would appear that, in many ways, people in the United States are either wasting idle energy or using extremely inefficient technology that wastes most of the energy put into it. For example, with an Xbox a great amount of the energy wasted is due to the fact that people leave it plugged in when not using it. Even worse than the Xbox could perhaps be home computers, which are usually left on twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, while only being in use for maybe 10% of that time. This wastes an immense amount of energy. Devices in your household should be unplugged whenever they are not in use. If not, these “energy vampires” will account for up to 10% of your utility bill at the end of the month! (Are Energy Vampire Sucking You Dry?) Along with this, there are numerous simple adjustments which can be made in our lives to become more energy efficient.

Unplugging things in your home is not necessarily as important as being mindful of what you plug in. One of the most important adjustments to make within your home is to switch all of your lightbulbs to energy-efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs. Though they have a higher initial cost, they will end up saving you a reasonable amount of money in the long run. Fluorescent lightbulbs use only a quarter of the energy used by an ordinary incandescent lightbulb and they last eight to twelve times longer than incandescent bulbs.

Don’t be fooled. The only reason to be energy efficient isn’t just to appease the hippies. Some energy efficiency tricks can actually save you a boatload of cash! One of the greatest energy efficiency strategies you can incorporate into your life is passive solar heating and cooling. The premise of PSHC is that you design your house in order to keep it at a comfortable temperature while using as little energy as possible to do so by allowing the sun to heat your home. PSHC is a massive money saver, as “Heating and cooling account for about 48% of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making it the largest energy expense for most homes.” (Saving Energy at Home)

The first and most important part of PSHC is to have large, south-facing windows. Ideally, the windows should face within 30 degrees of true south. These windows should be able to receive direct sunlight from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. during the colder months. PSHC will be most effective if the floor where the sun hits it is made of something such as tile. What happens in PSHC is the sunlight comes in through the window and heats up the tile and other objects to be referred to as “solar mass.” Once the solar mass is heated, convection allows that heat to be drawn away from the solar masses and distributed throughout the rest of the home. As dark objects will absorb more light than light objects, it is advisable that the solar mass within your home be a dark color. Once the sun goes loses sight of the inside of your house, it is suggested to close heavy curtains in front of your windows in order to aid to keep the collected heat within your home.

There are a few variables to consider outside of just solar mass and window position in order to make PSHC as efficient as possible. In order to keep in the heat that comes through the windows of your home during the colder months, it is highly advised that you make sure that your home is effectively insulated. Windows and doors are important places to check for air seal effectiveness. A building professional would gladly be able to help you with this. Another great trick for PSHC is to plant deciduous trees in front of your south facing windows. The reason for this is that during the hot summer months, the deciduous trees will block direct sunlight from shining in and heating up your home, whereas during the cold winter months, the tree won’t have any leaves to block the sunlight. This will prevent from your home from overheating in the summer without having to block all of the outside light from entering your home. Depending on how many adjustments you make, PSHC can save you from 5 to 75 percent on your home heating bills for the year! (Passive Heating and Cooling article)

A few other things may be done to greatly reduce the cost of your home energy use. First off, turn down your thermostat in the winter! There is no need for you to be walking around your house in shorts and a tank top in the winter. Turning your thermostat down to 68 degrees will put your house at a comfortable temperature while decreasing your energy use and, therefore, your energy bill! In order to make your fridge and freezer as efficient as possible, it is recommended that you set your fridge temperature to 37 degrees and set your freezer to 3 degrees. These tips will save you money, and hopefully make you not too hot, not too cold, but just right!

There are a few basic things that should be said when it comes to conserving energy and saving money on your electric bill. They should go without saying, but some people still make mistakes. Always, always, always turn the lights off when you leave a room. To go along with that, don’t turn on lights during the day unless you really need them! Open the windows and let in a little bit of natural light! The other thing that is always important to bring up whenever talking about energy is the “Three R’s,” which are “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Do your best to not use more materials for everyday things than is absolutely necessary. If you finish using something, try to think of another use for it before you get rid of it! Last, but not least, please recycle. Recycling goods keeps our Earth green and cuts down immensely on energy and material costs.

Save money, save energy, save the planet!


Running is an activity that millions of people participate in as a way to get in shape or stay in shape. Some people run competitively or solely for the “runner’s high.” Before I start talking about running though, I would like to address many of the issues with it so that you can take precautions before you injure yourself. Dr. Weil says, “Running traumatizes the body, especially joints in the legs, knees, and back, as well as the kidneys.” (Dr. Weil’s article on running.) Running is something that can lead to osteoarthritis, or joint damage in other words, as it is a high impact form of cardio. Running can also lead to breast sag, which is caused by the bouncing of breasts as women run. Lastly, runners are much more likely to get skin cancer, as runners often sweat off their sunscreen and because high-intensity training can weaken your immune system. As a precaution to osteoarthritis, it is advised that you never run on concrete. Optimally, you would want to run on either dirt paths or on cinder tracks. To minimize breast sag caused by running, sports bras are actually very effective as they reduce bouncing by 78%. (Osteoarthritis and Skin Sag Source.)


Now, enough with the scary stuff, let’s get on to talking about how to make running easier!

Take vitamins. I believe that this is the most important thing to improve how much you get out of a work out and how quickly and effectively you recover. The difference that vitamins make is definitely noticeable. If you want to run, first make sure that you’re also getting sleep. Sleep is essential to recovery, so don’t sacrifice sleep for running. Find a way to fit both into your routine while trying to sleep at least 8 hours a night. It is essential that you make sure to eat iron. Without sufficient iron in your diet, you will constantly feel tired and drained. Some good sources of iron are red meats, eggs, kidney beans, and fish.

It is important to be progressive in your running routine. If you try to push yourself too hard, it is likely that you will injure yourself, as your body is not yet used to training at that intensity. Also, try to breathe slowly when you run. Breathing hard is one of the biggest mistakes that people who are new to running make. Breathing quickly does not allow all of the CO2 to exit your lings. Stay hydrated. Speed up the second half of your run and try to beat the time from the first half of your run. Use this to motivate yourself. Push your chest forward when you run to avoid slouching shoulders.Repeat mantras to yourself to motivate yourself to keep going. Most importantly, run on your forefoot (the front ball of your foot below your toes) as this will reduce the impact on your joints.

Take a cold bath after you run. Even if you can only bare it for five minutes, you will feel more than rewarded. Whereas taking a hot bath after a workout can cause your muscle tears to bleed out, a cold bath flushes the lactic acid out of your muscle, effectively reducing soreness.

Well, that’s one way to take a cold bath.

Squatting is advisable for improving your running form and increasing the stability and mobility of your joints. Squatting will also give you more power in your legs which may allow you to run faster.


Set new goals. This will keep you from plateauing in your improvement. Change your routes. Some routes put more pressure on one leg than the other and cause disproportionate strength. Keep a record of your running. This way, you can see your progress and set new goals. Now get on your sneakers and go run!

Energy Consumption

There are many issues that plague our world today ranging from starvation and sickness to war and cyber attacks. Though these issues are huge on their own, the largest of all issues is in our energy consumption. Not every is sick. Not everyone goes hungry.  Not everyone is a soldier or a hacker, but we are all consumers of energy. The worst part of all is that many people have no idea what impact their energy consumption has on the world. People often don’t even know when they’re consuming energy. People say, “Oh, I don’t really use much energy. I always turn the lights out when I leave the room,” but then they throw out three polystyrene containers a day along with matching sets of plastic cutlery and wash near empty loads of laundry. People do not understand that a great deal of energy goes into all of the things we do and use throughout the day.

The two greatest issues that have to do with energy consumption are our limited resources for energy consumption and the adverse effects of each of our energy usage methods. For a little background, this is how we provide our energy today: “Oil and coal currently provide about 63% of global energy, followed by natural gas, nuclear and hydro, with the rest of the renewables — wind, solar, geothermal and biofuels combined — making up less than 2% today. (These figures don’t include biomass, like wood, straw and dung, burned in cooking fires and to provide heat, which still makes up a surprising 10% of energy today.)” (Source.)

Oil, natural gas, and coal are perhaps the most troublesome sources of energy. The first issue is: according to current reserve predictions performed by BP, there are currently only 1,687.9 billion barrels left for us to recover in the world. According to estimates by Ecotricity (Britan’s leading green energy supplier,) judging by only our current consumption of oil, we will run out of oil in the year 2052. Once we run out of oil, we will focus on natural gas and coal to fulfill our energy needs. If we increase our natural gas consumption to compensate for the absence of oil, we will run out of natural gas by 2060. At that point, we will have to rely almost entirely on coal to fulfill our energy demand. Luckily enough for us, we would have enough coal to last us 28 years, all the way to 2088. The problem is, by the year 2088 we will no longer have any sources of fossil fuels to fulfill our energy demand, not to mention the horrifying amount of carbon dioxide gas we would have released into the atmosphere at that point. (Source.) These predictions are all based upon the current reserves that we know of, so the timeline may be off by a few years considering the reserves that we have not yet discovered, but the point is made. If we are to ensure the survival of our current ways of life, we will have to turn our focus onto renewable sources of energy and we will have to innovate in them. This will be our future; we have no other choice. “As the Saudi Oil Minister said in the 1970s, ‘The Stone Age didn’t end for lack of stone, and the oil age will end long before the world runs out of oil.’”

What I say next is often regarded as a political stance, but in all reality it is strictly a scientific fact. Climate change is real and it is happening. As David King, the Former Chief Scientific Adviser in Britain, said “Climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today, more serious even than the threat of terrorism.” A report from the United States Environmental Protection Agency says, “Earth’s average temperature has risen by 1.4°F over the past century, and is projected to rise another 2 to 11.5°F over the next hundred years. Small changes in the average temperature of the planet can translate to large and potentially dangerous shifts in climate and weather.” (http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/basics/.) Climate change causes innumerable problems, such as floods, droughts, heat waves, the oceans warming and becoming more acidic, and most famously, the melting of the polar ice caps.

Some people argue that climate change is something that is natural and not something that the human race has caused. The problem with this is that it is basically saying, “although we have been doing many things that are known to worsen this issue, they are not the cause of the issue.” Human beings are almost solely responsible for climate change. Experts predict that one-fourth of Earth’s species will be headed for extinction by 2050 if the warming trend continues at its current rate. (Wildlife at Risk.) Some may say that they don’t care if a few animals die out, but what they fail to see is that this could drastically alter many ecosystems. If ecosystems are altered, we may face challenges in areas such as agriculture, which would be detrimental to the human population.

Climate change is caused by numerous human actions such as fossil fuel consumption, industrial processes, deforestation, and a few agricultural processes. The issue with all of these actions is that they either add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere or they interfere with the removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The function of greenhouse gases is to trap heat within the atmosphere. To clarify, greenhouse gases are not all bad. The natural level is actually important to the Earth. Without greenhouse gases, UV radiation would kill us all, there would be nothing to keep the heat within the atmosphere, there would be no gases to breathe, and the sky would be black and filled with stars all around the clock.

There is evidence that suggests that humans are the greatest cause in climate change due to an increase in greenhouse gases. For example, “Atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased by almost 40% since pre-industrial times,” (http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/causes.html.) CO2 is not the only gas that is increasing at this rate. See these graphs to see how greenhouse gas concentrations have changed over time.

Our current energy consumption and methods are ruining the environment. We are running out of resources, and soon enough the Earth will not be healthy enough to live in to be called our home. If we do not change our actions, there will be drastic consequences.

TED Talk Evaluation

Overall, I thought my TED talk went amazingly well. It appeared well rehearsed. Personally, I love public speaking, so I was excited to have this opportunity. I truly enjoyed my topic, so it was easy for me to talk about it. I thought that my hand motions throughout the talk lined up very well with what I was saying and I thought that they overall made the talk appear to be more engaging. My posture was good, which is a very important part of public speaking. Proper posture instantly makes a person appear to be more confident. I think that I took a very appropriate approach to sentiment where it was necessary in my talk. I talked in a low, but confident voice which made me appear to be confident in what I was saying, though in my head I wasn’t exactly confident at every line.  I made great eye contact throughout the talk, though the video makes it appear as if I am looking down.

Though I did think that my talk went well, I can’t help but to be self-critical. That’s the hard part. It is often easier to see failure in one’s self than to see success. To start off, I would like to start off at the beginning. The very first line in fact. When I first started my talk, I had a ridiculous voice crack. My voice had been very sore from a long weekend of screaming my lungs out, so I will admit that I was nervous to have to talk in front of a group. Next, I was disappointed in the fact that I had slight stutters at times where I would repeat a word until I connected the right thought to it. It wasn’t that noticeable, but it was noticeable to me. Sadly, I had poor parallelism in a few of my sentences, and at times my diction just completely didn’t match what I was trying to say. The hardest trial of my experience was that at times I would start talking about the next slide without realizing that I actually wasn’t quite on it yet. I think it would have been helpful for me to have better rehearsed my talk to line up with my slideshow.

If you are interested in viewing my talk, you can watch it here.

Why You Should Deadlift

Every time that you go to the gym, the deadlift should be the first thing on your mind. Deadlifting is unarguably the best workout you can do. According to David Robson, a bodybuilder, personal trainer and contributor to Bodybuilding.com, “In my experience as an athlete, and based on the results witnessed by many of my personal training clients, the deadlift, if performed correctly, will build unparalleled mass while strengthening all the major muscles groups.”

Form is the post important part to deadlifting. Without proper form, you are going to hurt yourself. There is no question about that. With a lot of workouts, you can get away with improper form, but deadlift is not one of them. In order to deadlift properly, there are many elements of your form that you need to perfect. Firstly, you should set your feet about shoulder width apart. Next, you should grab the bar with your arms straight so that the inside of your elbow is touching the outside of your knee. Next, you should pull the weight all the way up to your shins. This may feel uncomfortable, but it’s necessary to keep the weight aligned with your center of mass and so that you lift the weight in the most efficient motion. That means pull the bar all the way up to your shins. Wear high socks, because if you’re doing it right the bar should drag across your shins as you lift it. Next, you should have your hips low, your knees bent, and your back straight and as tight as possible. You should also align your head with your spine. When you lift the weight, you should be lifting almost entirely with your legs. You should only significantly use your back muscle when you get the bar all the way up and you have to lock your hips out.

One of the great benefits to the deadlift is it gives you a great increase in posture. This is because the final part of the deadlift is for you to lock your hips out and to stand with valiant posture. Locking the weight out is possibly one of the most satisfying moments you will have in the gym. Having good posture is an essential part of life because it ensures that you do not encounter back problems. Additionally, it makes you look like a much more confident person.

According to exercise physiologist Kevin Farley, the deadlift engages all of your major muscle groups. It is honestly the way to get the most bang for your buck while you’re at the gym. No workout engages as many muscle groups as the deadlift.

Deadlifting, along with all of its aforementioned benefits, is simply the most practical exercise. Throughout our life, we are constantly faces with the task of lifting up simple objects and putting them back down. Seldom will you find yourself faced with the task of pushing something off of your chest or holding something and having to squat with it.

If you’re someone who is afraid of failure at the gym, you never need to be afraid of the deadlift. The great thing about the deadlift is that if you find that you cannot lift the weight, you don’t have to worry; you can simply drop it. With other workouts, you may end up trapped under the weight, but with deadlift, you can just let the weights hit the floor. In fact, on your way back down from a deadlift it is actually recommended that you practically drop the weight whilst keeping your hands on the bar. So go out and deadlift!