Author Archives: No Name

Breastmilk Vs. Formula


Hmm seeing all of this pic around campus and information booths at the Hub made me want to do some research on breast, but not necessarily breast cancer. I decided to focus on breastfeeding and baby formula.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Dietetic Association (ADA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) all believe breastfeeding is the better option when it comes to the baby health. But why? Well, there are many, many benefits to breastfeeding as opposed to feeding an infant baby formula. For instance, breastfeeding will enhance the baby’s immune system and provide the child with natural antibodies that can help lower the occurrence and risk of many illnesses, such as ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory infections, and meningitis. Also, breast milk usually more easily digested than formula and studies have shown breastfed babies have higher levels of cognitive function, in other words are smarter than the babies who are not breastfed. In addition, the bonding or skin to skin contact between the baby and the mother stimulate an emotional connection between the mother and infant. It many ways breastfeeding is beneficial to the mother. Breastfeeding burns calories and helps shrink the uterus. This effect allows the woman to lose her “baby fat” and get back down to her original size. Also, women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and ovarian cancer. One of the top reasons woman choose to breast feed is because it’s absolutely free and formula quickly adds up. During the babies first year, formula could amount to about $1,500. These benefits seem to be appealing, however there are many benefits to baby formula.

Baby formula is convenient, can be fed to babies at any time because you wont have to fit pumping into your schedule and the baby can be fed anywhere, including in restaurants and parks. Furthermore, because baby formula isn’t as easily digestible as breast milk, babies will not need to eat as much. Some moms love formula because they don’t have to worry about what their diet and what they wouldn’t want to pass onto their babies. Mothers who breast feed have to watch what they eat because babies can’t tolerate all foods and they go straight to the breast milk. Mothers who love their wine and spirits definitely love formula because woman who breast feed pass a small amount of alcohol to their babies through their milk. Another benefit of formula is the mom can relax. She doesn’t have to be present to feed the baby so her significant other, or baby sitter can feed the baby for her.

Although experts believe breast milk is the best nutritional choice for infants, breastfeeding may not be possible for all women. For many women, the decision to breastfeed or formula feed is based on their comfort level, lifestyle, and specific medical considerations that they might have. For mothers who are unable to breastfeed or who decide not to, infant formula is the alternative. Some women feel guilty if they don’t breastfeed, however, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates formula companies to try to ensure they provide all the known necessary nutrients in their formulas. Kidshealth, a website dedicated to the growth and development of babies assures “Commercial formulas try to duplicate the ingredients in breast milk, but haven’t matched their exact combination and composition because milk is a living substance made by each mother for her individual infant, a process that cannot be duplicated in a factory.”

According to the New York Times campaigns to increase the rate of breast-feeding have been highly successful in recent years and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe about 75% of American mothers now breast-feed, an almost 10% jump since 2000. Overall, breastfeeding is considered the best nutritional option for babies by the major medical organizations, but it’s not right for every mother.


Soft Skills Pay The Bills

I was wondering why college graduates have a hard time finding a job. We have the degree, so what’s the issue? According to my studies, it’s not our knowledge that’s the problem, it’s our ignorance. According to USA today, our youngest professionals are underemployed, under paid and potentially facing a life time of financial set-backs. Along those same lines, Slate, an online magazine, provides information writing the Economic Policy Institute or the EPI believes there is an almost 17% rate of college graduates who are “underemployed,” meaning they’re either jobless or working part-time because they can’t find or land a full-time job, dream job or a better job than the one they have settled for. Time Magazine suggest this lack and underemployment goes way beyond lack of STEM skills or hard skills. College graduates often become experts in their fields of study ranging from business, software, programs they are proficient in and more tangible material. According to Peggy Klaus, a consultant, soft skills are not necessarily undervalued, but people definitely don’t pay enough attention to them and unfortunately, agreeing to Wall Street Journal, more companies are after soft skills, the intangible material, such as leadership and time management. A survey by the Workforce Solutions Group at St. Louis Community College finds that more than 60% of employers say applicants lack “communication and interpersonal skills,” which translates to soft skills. Along those same lines, another employer survey, this one by staffing company Adecco, turns up similar results. The company says in a statement, “44% of respondents cited soft skills, such as communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration, as the area with the biggest gap.”

Not surprisingly, soft skills are not overlooked as much and if you don’t know these simple skills, you may not appeal to your interviewer or your boss will soon be concerned with your organizational and interpersonal proficiency. According to the New York Times, until recently, soft skills were undervalued in corporate America. Everyone thought going to the right schools was what would make you successful, but in reality the absence of these skills can hurt you on the job or prevent you from getting the job you want.

I wasn’t necessarily looking for the answer to the problem, more so what experiment would agree soft skills are the solution. I found there is one policy formed by The Department of Labor’s Office of ODEP or Office Disability Employment Policy titled “Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success.” This is a curriculum developed by ODEP focused on teaching “soft” or workforce readiness skills to youth, especially youth with disabilities. The curriculum will aim to teach and ensure 6 soft skills, 1) communication, to help participants practice and recognize how they provide and receive information to and from others, 2) enthusiasm and attitude, to teach students of the importance of enthusiasm, a positive attitude in the workplace and how to turn negative thinking into positive thinking, 3) teamwork, to teach participants about the importance of teamwork and the specific role each individual on a team can impact others, 4) networking, which will explain the process of and its relevance to career development, as well as potential guidelines to consider when using social networks, texting, and emailing, 5) problem solving  and critical thinking, which will help students learn how to solve problems in a variety of ways, learn how to properly tell the difference among criticism, praise, feedback and reacting appropriately and learn strategies for making ethical decisions and lastly 6) professionalism, which will coach students on how to blend and integrate the top 5 soft skills. The basic structure of the program is comprised of modular, hands-on, engaging activities.

However, there are some barriers to this policy. Roderick Nunn, vice chancellor for economic development and workforce solutions at St. Louis Community College suggest along with Time Magazine that it is a great challenge correcting a lifetime of bad habits in a short period of time. Also, the hiring pool will get more competitive because so many more individuals will be well qualified. If there are a large number of well-qualified applicants, University of California Santa Cruz, Staff Human Services suggest employers may “screen out” candidates based on small qualification differences. Brief phone interviews may become more popular, thus may cause frustration and pressure for the candidates who are trying to pitch themselves in a small amount of time and especially for those indivuals who count on their first impression and firm handshakes. Along those same lines, according to Career Rocketeer it may all boil down to your personality. Are you the more likeable candidate? Will your personality triumph the other candidate’s talent? Lastly, cost is always a factor, but individual development of this course for each college grad could definitely outweigh the cost and cover the world with millions of well-rounded students. On the upside, the benefits of enforcing this policy could get rid of the companies challenges to find well qualified college graduates and studied show about half of college grads say they’re prepared for the workplace while the number of bosses who think they’re prepared is lower than 40%.

In conclusion, to what extent is this policy’s validity and reliability? Could enacting and enforcing The Department of Labor’s Office of ODEP policy create more team players and problem solvers? It seems logical. Companies should definitely have less trouble finding well qualified, motivated, punctual and flexible candidates but what could this do to our future, economy, expectations? What impact could enforcing this kind of policy have on today’s society? Sure potential applicants will be able to communicate effectively, improve time manageability, reach and self-promote goals that could win them that promotion or pay raise, development leadership skills essentially to well living, ripen their presentation skills and become overall more well-rounded individuals, but the big question is, is the world ready for this rapid change or will the workforce become a bloody war?




Micowaved Popcorn is toxic


Nowadays, it is believed by many Americans that anything can cause cancer. Fairly recently, within the last few years, it was discovered that eating our favorite movie snack, microwaved popcorn, was not healthy, unless in moderation. Research suggest microwaved popcorn isn’t safe to be eaten often because the packaging around the popcorn and added flavors such as chipotle, cheddar and pizza contain chemicals that can increase the risk of cancer and disease.

The nonstick plastic material that surrounds the popcorn contains a chemical that brakes down as the popcorn pops in the microwave. When the chemical is broken down, it creates a compound called perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA. This chemical has been associated with increased risk of liver and prostate cancer as well as liver disease. Dr. Frank Gilliland reported in a 1993 article “Journal of Occupational Medicine” that “factory workers exposed to the chemical had increased cancer mortality.” University of California has done a recent study that links PFOA to infertility in women as well. The study further explains exposure to this chemical significantly increases the risk of kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas and testicular cancers.

Not only does the packaging cause serious health issues, but the flavoring powder that companies add to the popcorn contain a chemical called diacetyl. Dr. Frits van Rooy in a 2007 article “Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine” claims Bronchiolitis, a condition caused by inhaling diacetyl fumes, is rare to be diagnosed with, however, this chemical in the popcorn severely increases those chances, increases difficulty in breathing and can even lead to death.

For instance, popcorn factory workers are exposed to much larger quantities of PFOA and diacetyl fumes for long periods of time. This amount of exposure leads to something called “popcorn lung.” Most likely, you are not exposed to this much of PFOA or dangerous fumes, but if you eat it every day for years like Wayne Watson you could develop “popcorn lung” like the factory workers.

­”In 2003 and 2004, federal health officials looked into the cases of hundreds of sick workers at popcorn manufacturing plants.” All of the workers had popcorn lung and died.

The idea I am trying to get at is as consumers we are at risk, but not as dramatically as the factory workers. Still, if you are going to eat microwaved popcorn, at least wait until the bag has cooled down. DO NOT inhale the fumes no matter how good it smells and be aware that there are chemicals, not including the genetically modified ingredients, that can be harmful to your health.


Little Red Dress

It is said that men are more attracted to woman in a red dress as opposed to other colors. This idea is portrayed in the movie The Matrix when the main character is distracted by a woman in a little red dress during one of his conversations. The down side to this idea is that a good amount of woman tend to feel more threathed when they see other woman in red. The colors we wear are said to say a lot about our character and red happens to be that one color that gets our attention, positivitely and negatively. In short, the men LOVE it and the woman in general HATE it.  But why?

The University of Rochester, Trnava University and the Slovak Academy of Sciences as well as the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin did similar studies. Their studies suggest when woman see other woman in red, they are more likely to guard their men because the lady in the red dress poses as a threat, a sexual one to be specific. The assumption, being woman in red dresses are more sexual, is automatically drawn from the woman who were observing other woman in different colors, same dress, just different colors, white in comparison to red and red in comparison to green. 3 experiements were done by the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin using hundreds of woman. The same woman whose face was blurred in the photo was judged to be more as a threat and more sexual when her white dress was photshopped to be the color red.
Of the females doing the judging their own psychological factors, society and history all contributed to their decision to believe they would feel a lot more safer if their man was around the woman in the red dress. All these of these factors have influenced the color red and decided that it is a sexually appealing color. According to the studies and Adam Pazda, a graduate student from the University of Rochester, “It’s not just a pretty thing in our environment that adds to the aesthetic experience in the world. Behind the scenes, it can affect us psychologically in the way we perceive others or ourselves.” For instance, Pazda added than even a 2008 study on male subjects showed that men, in short, view woman in the color red to be a “signal of sexual receptivity.”
Questions asked in the sudy were “How interested in sex is she?” and “How seductive is she?” Not surprisingly, the woman in the red dress recieved derogatory comments from the from the woman who were judging them. The green color was added to replace the white because white is highly associated with virginity and purity. When the green color was compared to the red color, there were similar results. Good with the green, watchful of the red.
However, there is always an exception. Not all woman despise other woman in red. Several women interviewed by ABC News viewed the color positively. Some woman feel the color suggests confidence and pride. Researcher Pazda said “You might think twice about wearing red to send off the wrong vibes.” In conclusion, if you do decide to wear red, especially a little red dress, you might be perceived negatively by other women, but not all.

Second Thoughts: Sexual abuse and sexual orientation

In my last blog, I argued that there was a possibility I may be bisexual due to my experience with sexual assault. I attended a Straight Talk, sponsored by the LGBTAQ community and was told something shocking. The truth is, there may be no relationship between sexual abuse and sexual orientation. I found this to be quite fascinating because for some time I believed that this was most likely my reason. I thought it made sense. I thought it was the woman’s fault  who touched me at a young age opening up my mind to this new phenomenon, but it isn’t her fault according to the Straight Talk. I decided to do some research.

Warren Throckmorton suggested in a 2009 journal that a study that had been conducted aimed to seek if childhood sexual abuse  had any relationship between the likelihood of same-sex partnerships in the future. The study pulled 72 sexually abused children, 429 neglected children and 415 children living healthy lifestyles with no sexual abuse or neglect. These numbers are a little questionable. It is a rather small group to study. Meanwhile, all of these children were asked about their sex lives at the age of 40 and roughly 8% of the entire sampled children responded that they have had a relationship with the opposite sex. The study shows that the abuse was not significantly associated with the sexual orientations of the children when they reached adulthood. The findings in the study are so called to be tentative and the link provided these results and this study is rather weak, but there’s the issue with the sample size. The journal further encourages more research to explore the relationship between sexual assault and sexual orientation.

I decided that the numbers were too questionable so I moved on to another study, an even bigger one, specifically The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey which consist of 2010 findings on victimization by sexual orientation. Even though the data is in the thousands and hundred thousands, the sample size cannot provide adequate data for everything it wants to accomplish. For example, 98.3% of bisexual woman and 99.1% of heterosexual women who participated in the study and have been sexually assaulted reported that there perpetrators were mostly male, but that did not change their sexual orientation. However, estimates for lesbian women were too small to determine a reliable estimate so the statistics for those woman were not reported. The study suggest “Statistical tests comparing the sex of the perpetrator across sexual orientation for female victims of sexual violence was not conducted due to small sample sizes.” This is the same for male victims. 78.6% of gay men and about 66% of bisexual men  who experienced sexual assault reported that there perpetrators were mostly male as well, but that has not had any influence on their sexual orientation. However, estimates for gay and bisexual men were too small to determine a reliable estimate so the statistics for those men were not reported.

Overall, both studies have some gray areas specifically due to there sample size and no matter how small or large their sample size is, both readings support that the relationship between sexual abuse and sexual orientation is weak, even without complete data.


Born Gay?


According to this website, my sexual orientation (bisexual) could be due to the structure of my DNA or certain exposures in my environment. I’ve never thought there was a “gay” trait. Before I was molested by a female, I’ve never thought of females sexually. Might I add, William Byne, Director of the Laboratory of Neuroanatomy and Morphometrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, stated in his 1995 Journal of Homosexuality article “”While some authors have speculated about the existence of ‘genes for homosexuality,’ genes in themselves cannot directly specify any behavior or cognitive schema.” Also, Jeffrey Satinover, Founder and former Director of the Sterling Institute for Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, wrote in his article “The Gay Gene?”: “There is not any evidence that shows that homosexuality is ‘genetic’, and none of the research itself claims there is. Only the press and, sadly, certain researchers do…Homosexuality may run in families but you get viruses from your parents, too, and some bad habits. Not everything that is familial is innate or genetic.”
Based on my findings, “gayness” does not have any relationship with the structure of your DNA. People who agree with me might also agree being gay is a choice. Some scientist have concluded this choice must’ve had something to do with bad parenting styles or maybe peer pressure and in every case that is not true. My parents have had no influence on my decision. In all honesty I have excluded their opinions totally from it. In addition to that, I definitely wasn’t brain washed by any of my friends. I was the first one in my group of friends to admit this and they were all shocked. Personally, I think my sexual orientation is based on my environment/experience with sexual abuse and to me that seems the only logical reason.
The hormones come after. When I decided in my mind I was attracted to the opposite sex, messenger molecules stemmed from my mind that I have never initiated or experienced before my first experience with another woman.  So if this “gay” piece of DNA is existing, why haven’t I released these same chemicals earlier? Say from the time of accountability to before my experience. Why did it start all of a sudden after my experience?

The American Psychiatric Association concludes my dilemma can be defined as “faulty psychological development,” but I would like to emphasize nothing before my experience psychologically made me sexually or even remotely think of woman pass “My friend, Leslie, is super pretty.” Furthermore, I would like to point out the website writes “However, to date there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality.” The association further concluded no exact psychosocial evidence or family structure factors have been the cause of same-sex relationships.


Initial Blog Post

My name is Azhane and I am from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In all honesty, I’m taking this course because my residence hall program coordinator, Laura Brown, suggested it. I wasn’t expecting it to be this interesting, but I’m glad I took up on her offer and switched out of Astro because I heard that class was madddddd hard and based on my interest I wouldn’t enjoy it. I feel this course is a lot more worth my time (and college debt). Hmmmm, since I am in discover house, I wasn’t exactly not planning on being a science major. I am keeping my options open and staying very open minded while in discover house because my whole purpose in this special living option is to explore.


Olivia Pope