Tag Archives: science

The Wint-O-Green Saver Effect- Lightning in Your Mouth

19winto.1901Imagine a dark room. A closet. With a friend. Your friend pulls out a circular-like object out of their pocket and they whisper to you “Let’s do it.” Nervously, you accept your partners offer. You then proceed to do it. You stick the circular-like object into your mouth and then Boom! Crackle! Pow! Sparks start to fly and your mouth seems to be glowing. What was that?! Your friend then smiles at you, “that my friend was The Wint-O-Green Saver Effect.”

You are probably extremely confused, but the fact is that Life Saver candies may shoot sparks out of your mouth in the pitch black. Besides being a totally awesome discovery, this provides scientists with a better understanding on how things break on an atomic level(Chang 1). According to scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “…those faint sparks were energetic enough to power chemical reactions along the fracturing surfaces”(Chang 1). In other words, the effect of biting down on a Life Saver is so strong that you can see the sparks flying out of your mouth. Professor of Chemistry at Illinois, Kenneth S. Suslick, claimed that the sparks from the Life Savers gave him the bold opportunity to perform spectroscopy, the study of interaction between matter and radiated energy(Spectroscopy 1). He would use this study to find specified colors of light that were given off by various atoms and molecules(Chang 1).


The technical term for the interaction between ones mouth and the Life Saver is called triboluminescence, “light produced by rubbing”(Chang 1). This term was founded by an English Philosopher, Sir Francis Bacon, in the early 1600’s(Chang 1). He expressed his findings in the “Novum Organum” in 1620, concluding that “It is also most certain that all sugar, whether refined or raw, provided only it be somewhat hard, sparkles when broken or scraped with a knife in the dark.”


Sir Francis Bacon

Triboluminescence is the back-bone behind this discovery. In scientific terms, in sugars or quartz crystals, electrons build up which causes fracturing and chemical bonds to break(Chang 1). These “electrons jump to nitrogen or oxygen molecules in the air, which shed the excess energy by emitting light”(Chang 1). Since the Life Savers have oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate) to flavor them, it is easy to witness the The Wint-O-Green Saver Effect(Chang 1).

If you want to try out this phenomenon yourself go right ahead! All you need is a dark room, a mirror, a Winter-Green Life Saver, and maybe a buddy for company! All you do is throw the sucker into your mouth and hold the mirror up to your face and chew! Watch the magic happen as your mouth begins to bubble and sparkle with various colors(Lightning 1). It is lightning in your mouth.

So what do you think?


Works Cited

Chang, Kenneth. “Sweet Spark May Hold Clue to How Things Break.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 18 June 2007. Web. 26 Nov. 2014.

“Lightning In Your Mouth.” Https://www.exploratorium.edu. Science Of Cooking, n.d. Web.

“Spectroscopy.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Nov. 2014. Web. 26 Nov. 2014.

A Shock that will MELT Your Heart


It is a hot sunny day and you just want to relax by the pool… you know what that means? Snack time! There is nothing better than an ice cold tundra-like snack to freshen up your burning hot body. As kids, the classic snack to have during these times are ice cream sandwiches of course! There is nothing better than a milky vanilla bar squished between two gooey chocolate doors! However, what if I told you that these childhood favorites are disgustingly unnatural?

Over this past summer, a shocking video was posted to Youtube concerning the naturalness of Ice Cream Sandwiches. This video was posted because a mother in Cincinnati was concerned once she saw that her son’s Walmart “Great Value” Ice Cream Sandwich did not melt after laying out in the boiling hot 80ºF sun for twelve hours (Pasulka 1). Twelve hours? What?!… What could cause the ice cream bars to not melt after such a long period of time in very warm weather? Isn’t ice cream meant to melt?


After the video and news story went viral, Consumer Reports decided to tackle the subject and find out what is really going on with these ice cream sandwiches. They began an experiment and decided to test other Ice Cream Sandwich brands besides the Walmart “Great Value” brand. Consumer Reports used the following brands for their experiment: Klondike, Nestle, Walgreens “Nice!”, Blue Bunny, and Walmart “Great Value” (Reports 1). The group of scientists then lined up one bar of each brand outside in 100ºF weather and timed how long it took for each sandwich to melt. After 10 minutes, the Nestle brand melted; after 15 minutes, the Klondike brand melted; after 30 minutes, the Walmart “Great Value”, Walgreen “Nice!”, and Blue Bunny brands were softer, but they still held their shape; finally, after an hour, the Walmart “Great Value” brand was the only sandwich that had not melted (Reports 1). Clearly there is a huge problem with most of these brands, but what is it?


After tasting all of the brands, the Consumer Reports Employees all found something in common. They all noticed that the ice cream part of the sandwich contained guar gums, “a carbohydrate consisting of mannose and galactose at a 2:1 ratio that can swell in cold water…one of the most highly efficient water-thickening agents… is widely used as a binder and volume enhancer” (Food 1). According to Consumer Reports Scientist, Linda Greene (A.K.A. my mother), ingredients such as guar gums, calcium sulfate, and mono and diglycerides are found in all of these products (Reports 1). These additives are all used to help slow the melting rate of the ice cream and to prevent large crystal formations when taken in and out of the freezer (Reports 1). “These ingredients… are added at very low levels… Manufacturers add them so that ice cream sandwiches don’t dribble down your arm when you eat them”, stated Linda Greene. With that being said, these ice cream sandwiches are not natural at all which is quite gross.

We must reconsider the possibility that this experiment could have been flawed. Walmart did shoot back saying that “Ice cream with more cream will generally melt at a slower rate”, which could be an understandable factor (Reports 1). Also, some of the ice cream sandwiches could have been more frozen than others or maybe these results just happened by chance.

In the long run, it is better to choose foods with fewer chemically sounding ingredients. An ice cream made from just milk, cream sugar and vanilla is a better choice than one with a list of many chemically sounding ingredients. In other words, just stick to the Creamery!


Works Cited

“Food Gums – International Food Additive Council.” Food Gums – International Food Additive Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.

Pasulka, Nicole. “Here’s Why Those Creepy Walmart Ice Cream Sandwiches Don’t Melt.” TakePart. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.

Reports, Consumer. “Science Behind Walmart’s ‘Non-Melting’ Ice Cream | Consumer Reports.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2014.

“Savior Siblings”

PGD I’m sure many of you have seen, “My Sister’s Keeper” but if not I’ll catch you up on the basic plot of the movie. The girl in the family had a type of cancer where she needed bone marrow and no one in her family was a match (mom, dad, and brother, Jesse), so the doctor suggested that the couple have another baby, and he could make it where she would be the perfect bone marrow match for her sister. Fast forward a few years later and the movie takes on a hollywood plot where the “savior sibling” sues her parents for the rights to her own body because she doesn’t want to do it anymore. I personally loved this movie, but thought that there is no way this plot could be true. Do people really have a child and mutate it’s genes so that they can be a medical match for his/her sick brother or sister? The answer to that is yes.

There is a big ethical debate over whether PGD is the right thing to do when having a child because you are essentially, “playing God,” but I won’t get in to that here, we’re just gonna take a glimpse at the science behind the whole process.

PGD stands for “Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis.” That is when you have kid using IVF, instead of the natural way and doctors look at the embryos and study the genetics in them before plantation into the uterus. The doctors stick a needle in the woman’s vagina to retrieve the egg from the ovary and then fertilize it with the male sperm. After 3 days they do a biopsy of the embryo and then choose the best ones to implant into the mom to be’s uterus. (Penn Medicine, 2014).

PGD is not just used to have “savior siblings,” a lot of times it is used when a couple doesn’t want to pass on a gene that they carry. If a woman has the BRCA1 gene she can use PGD so that she won’t pass that gene on to her unborn child. I feel that PGD can kind of be like the Texas Sharp Shooter scenario, the doctors do all these tests on the embryos looking for anything abnormality with, and I’m sure that they find at least one thing wrong in at least on of the embryo’s. I know this isn’t quite to that extent but it might help i you look at it that way to see the plus sides of PGD.

Another thing that PGD can do, that is extremely controversial is give the option of choosing what gender child you would like to have. You can use PGD for sex selection if there is a risk you are going to pass on a gene that only affects one gender if they get it. For this to happen, you go through the same procedure as above, but the doctors then exam which chromosomes are making up a male embryo and which ones are making up a female embryo. 1-3 embryos of the choice sex are then implanted into the uterus. There are some risks to this, the embryos can be damaged in the process, there may only be the unwanted sex’s embryo’s and this procedure is not 100% effective.  This here defeats the purpose of natural selection because you are choosing what sex you want. It may sound absurd but it helps save the lives of countless children who could be born with terrible diseases everyday. (PGD, 2014).

A lot of woman that use PGD are of advanced maternal age (over 35), have had a series of miscarriages, and have had previous implantation failures. PGD has only been around since the 1990’s so it is relatively new, and all of the embryo’s that go unused are sometimes donated to science.

In a case study of PGD, there was a family who had a daughter who suffered from, Fanconi anemia (her body couldn’t produce enough red blood cells), and the parents had another child, a son who helped save his older sister’s life. Jack and Lisa Nash decided to go through with IVF and have a child who would not carry the gene of Fanconi anemia and who also was a HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) gene match for his sister Molly. Baby Adam was born in August of 2000 and the doctors’ saved his cord blood from the placenta and then started Molly on chemotherapy to destroy her bone marrow so they she could get a transfusion of her brother’s cord blood a few months later. Molly now is Fanconi Anemia free, thanks to her younger brother. (Rivard, 2013). If it wasn’t for Adam, Molly most likely would have been dead and The Nash;s would be childless. Just because Adam was born with a purpose, does not make him any less loved. This procedure is becoming more and more popular in the world today and I think in the future we will be hearing a lot more about it as it continues to marvel our minds at it’s scientific wonder.


Work Cited







The Calm Before the Storm?

The Calm Before the Storm

We’ve all heard it before, whether we were enjoying a day at the beach or waiting for our uncles to fire up the grill, and it goes something like this:

Mom: “Ah, what a beautiful day!”

Dad: “It’s a wonderful day for grilling up some dogs”

Grandpa: “Ah, yes, the dreaded calm before the storm, mother nature’s finest trickery.” (okay, I may have just turned your grandfather into Ahab from Moby Dick, but just roll with it please.)

image courtesy of: the culturegeist

My sister used the phrase throughout our vacation this year. Every day we were there, it was supposed to rain. Every day it didn’t rain. But the water was always calm (thank goodness, because I am a terrible swimmer with a fear of drowning and I still choose to venture into the ocean. But that’s for another time.) So every day when we went to the beach, she looked at the water and said “it’s the calm before the storm.” But it never stormed? Which lead me to wonder if there was actually such a thing as “the calm before the storm” or if it is just a myth?

According to The Discovery Channel1, “storms are caused by an updraft of moisture and heat.” But I’m sure that means absolutely nothing to you, because it sure isn’t doing anything for me. So I turned to a very helpful demonstration from how stuff works2.

There are 3 steps to this “updraft of moisture and heat”:

  1. Moisture and heat are sucked up toward the storm. Powerful updrafts pull some of this upward (to the top of the cloud)
  2. Some saturated air is removed due to the updraft. It spills out of the top of the highest storm clouds.
  3. While it descends, it is compressed, which makes it warmer and drier. Warmer and drier air is more stable. It also causes a reduction in cloud formation, thus creating the calm before the storm.

*you can watch this short clip here. The visuals are a tremendous help

According to the same article by howstuffworks, large storm systems often do not bare any warning. This is due to their complexity, as smaller storm only have 1 unified system and large storms have several2. So basically, it’s a 50/50 chance. Some storms provide a warning while others leave it up to the meteorologists to track.

Although not all storms have a “calm”, several natural disasters do. As I learned from the Thailand/Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, tsunamis are known for their rapidly receding tide. But the warning only gives you a few minutes to reach higher ground3. Tornados also have a “calm”, but it occurs during the storm in the center of the tornado (known as the eye). I’m not sure if this is a comforting place to be, but it is much better than being on the outside of the tornado.

In conclusion, the “calm before the storm” certainly does exist. Because it usually only occurs before a small storm, it should probably not be seen as a threatening situation (unless you’re terrified of getting wet. In which case, go inside, the barbeque can wait.) “The calm before the natural disaster” would be a much more terrifying metaphor, because it always means danger.


1. http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/why-there-calm-before-storm

2. http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/climate-weather/storms/calm-before-storm.htm

3. http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/hzd/tsnms-bfr-eng.aspx

*all of the links (the ones above and the superscripts) open in new tabs. So feel free to explore!

Attraction RXN

Attraction Reaction

Wouldn’t it be nice if the girl in your science class thought you were as attractive as you think she is? Or what if the boy who dumped you last year suddenly had a burning desire to be your boyfriend again? Wouldn’t it be lovely if everyone you find attractive found you attractive too? Science is not able to do this yet, but is it a possibility?

Image courtesy of: Austin Carty

The ingredients:

According to the BBC U.K., there are three stages to falling in love. These are lust, attraction, and attachment1. In order to examine the likelihood of a pill that increases attraction one feels toward another, we are only going to focus on the chemical reactions of the brain in the second stage. During the attraction stage of falling in love, several chemicals are released into the brain. They are: Dopamine, Serotonin, and Norepinephrine1.

Last year in psychology, I learned that Dopamine is the reward/pleasure chemical of the brain. It is often stimulated by drug usage2 but can also be affected by the foods you consume, amount of sleep you get per night, and your exercise3. If chemists already produce artificial Dopamine for anti-depressants, and natural foods can increase Dopamine reception in the brain, then chemists should have no problem making artificial Dopamine strong enough to release sensations of attraction.

Serotonin is a neural transmitter that is in charge of keeping a balanced mood4. Like Dopamine, Serotonin can be substituted by different medications and increased by consuming certain foods and vitamins5. According to Chatelaine Magazine, being exposed to sunlight also increases Serotonin levels in the brain5. It is common knowledge that sunlight gives Vitamin D, so it should be possible for this attraction-pill to contain natural extracts from peppers, oranges, strawberries and other fruits3, as well as artificial vitamins B and D5, to help release these hormones in the brain.

Norepinephrine seems like a big sciency word, so just think of it like adrenaline. They both are hormones that initiate the fight-or-flight receptors in the brain6. Like adrenaline, norepinephrine causes an increase in heart rate. (This would be the nervous, pounding, butterfly sensation you get when you find someone really cute.) Norepinephrine can also be taken in dosages. It is used to treat people with low blood pressure6. If doctors are able to add a small amount of the dosage into our attraction potion, it should be complete!

Why this hasn’t been done yet:

There are several reasons why this science hasn’t been tested yet. First off, it is extremely dangerous to mess with chemical outputs of the brain. A major contribution to drug addiction is assumed to be Dopamine dependence. When drugs are introduced to the body, they greatly increase the production of Dopamine. As the drug abuser continues the use of the drug, the body becomes less able to naturally produce Dopamine2. This causes the drug user to become solely dependent on the drug to feel the beneficial effects of Dopamine. If we began to test an attraction pill, the subject may become addicted to the feeling of being infatuated with someone. This could cause the test subject to develop drug dependency. The test subject could also develop mood disorders such as depression and bipolar, because of the lack of Dopamine and Serotonin being released in their brain.

The other reason we cannot scientifically test an attraction pill is because it is unethical. A person has free will to choose whoever he or she wants to be infatuated with. If we begin to drug people in order to get them to like us, it would be an extreme violation of human rights.


  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/hottopics/love/
  2. http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/addiction-science/why-do-people-abuse-drugs/nearly-all-drugs-abuse-increase-dopamine-neurotransmission
  3. http://www.wikihow.com/Increase-Dopamine
  4. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/232248.php
  5. http://www.chatelaine.com/health/wellness/natural-ways-to-increase-your-serotonin-levels/
  6. http://www.caam.rice.edu/~cox/wrap/norepinephrine.pdf

these are also hyperlinked in the text and they open in a new window so feel free to explore!

To Ink or not to Ink, That is the Question


By Megan Butter

Tattoos are becoming more and more popular everyday. Almost every where you go see one person in the room with a tattoo or two. Tattoos tell a story, whether they’re honoring a loved one that passed away, or were a trip to the parlor at 2 A.M. after too much to drink. They also tell a lot about the person wearing them, and shed a glimpse of light into their life. The big debate today is if they are professional for the work place or not. I feel that as time goes on, tattoos are going to become more accepting and you will see a business man with his sleeves rolled up and tattoo on his forearm. It’s going to be the norm, and people are just going to have to accept it, because there is nothing wrong with it, it is a form of expression of oneself on their body.

A recent study shows that 15-38% of Americans have some form of body art on them (Karim, 2013). Another said that 1 in 5 Americans admitted to having a tattoo (Kelly, 2013). Tattoos are a means of expressing yourself, and usually the people that get them are more extroverted than introverted. Men and women that have tattoos were shown to, “…had higher body appreciation, higher self-esteem, and lower anxiety right after getting new tattoos,” (Karim, 2013). Tattoos can give people higher self esteem because they want to show off their new ink. They feel better about themselves because they are letting out their artistic freedom. My friend, Alexa, has 3 tattoos. All of them mainly covered (2 on her back and one on her thigh). All of her tattoos have meaning to them, and she always has a big smile on her face when she talks about them and why she got them. The one she recently got was the birth flowers of all the members of her family and she was so excited to show it off. She is proud of her ink and it shows that having tattoos can be a conversation starter and confidence booster for those who have them.

A graduate student at Yale University, Mark Celano wanted to study tattoos and how people react to them. He himself has 2 tattoos and wanted to conduct this experiment to see how people reacted to those with body ink. He had people in a lab some with tattoos visibly, some without any tattoos. He wanted to see if the people without tattoos treated the ones with them any different based on body language, etc. “The study is specifically designed to assess if and how the presence of visible body modifications affect interpersonal interactions,” (Celano, 2014). While his research is not done yet, he is hoping to get some answers on to how society views tattoos.

Tattoos don’t mean that someone is uneducated, an alcoholic, or anything like that. They are a form of self expression, and if someone wants one then they should be able to feel the freedom to get it . They shouldn’t be judged because a lot of successful people have tattoos you just might not know. They shouldn’t change your opinion of anyone and if they do, you need to look in the mirror and think that you yourself is the one that needs the change.






“Turn That Frown Upside Down”


By Megan Butter

When I was younger (and hey I still catch the reruns from time to time), like I’m sure many of you did, I watched Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. I remember one episode when Ned wanted to spread his positivity to the “negative charged” girl in class. While his efforts went unsuccessful because a positive and a negative makes a negative, I wondered is smiling contagious?

To answer this question, yes smiling is contagious. First we’ll take a look about what happens inside of you when you smile. Smiling releases neuropepdtides that fight off stress. So if you’re ever feeling that you wanna scream, just let out a smile and see how it feels. Dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are released when you whip that smile across your face. These neurotransmitters “relax your body, but it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure,” (Riggio, 2012).  The endorphins are a pain reliever and the serotonin is an anti depressant. Smiling is a cost effective way to lift your mood without messing with the chemical balance of your brain!

Want another good reason to smile? Smiling is scientifically proven to make you more attractive! “A study published in the journal Neuropsychologia reported that seeing an attractive smiling face activates your orbitofrontal cortex, the region in your brain that process sensory rewards. This suggests that when you view a person smiling, you actually feel rewarded,” (Riggio, 2012).   There was also a study done in Scotland where men and women hate to rate people based of their looks, and the people who were thought to be more attracted, were the ones that were smiling.

Finally science does prove that smiling is contagious. “The part of your brain…responsible for your facial expressions…resides in the cingulate cortex, an unconscious automatic response area. When the picture of someone smiling was presented, the researchers asked the subjects to frown…It took conscious effort to turn that smile upside down,” (Riggio, 2012).

Now it’s your turn to try. Next time you go walking around campus, make sure you have a smile on your face and see how many people smile back at you in return. I bet you’ll make a lot of new friends that day too.




Studying The Beat


By Megan Butter

Music surrounds us all the time, and I can’t name one single person that doesn’t listen to it. It is  a part of our culture and everyone can relate to it some way or another. Recently studies have been conducted to see how exactly music effects our bodies.

Music stimulates our brain, and has a positive effect on our bodies. According to an article on CNN there was a study done with people who were about to undergo surgery, some were given a pill to calm their nerves, while others were told to listen to music. “The patients who listened to music had less anxiety and lower cortisol than people who took drugs,” (Landau, 2013). Music has a calming effect on the body and if some patients can be treated with music rather than drugs before surgery, then that is a great new cost effective way to help patients cope with the anxiety before surgery.

Also for some people music can give them chills. I know for me when I am in the zone and listening to a really good song by Eminem, I can feel chills, but I also feel that is because I can relate to the words that he is speaking in his rap.  According to Silvia and Nusbaum, “openness to experience was the strongest predictor of the typical experience of chills during music….Several markers of people’s experience and engagement with music in everyday life…did mediate openness’s effects,” (Silvia, Nusbaum, 2014). Hearing your life experiences in songs is incredible and can cause an overwhelming feeling to just come over you.

Finally, music can make miracles happen. There was an experiment conducted with stroke patients whose vision became impaired. The study happened in the UN and they used 16 stroke patients who had recently suffered their stroke (within a week). They had the patients either listen to classical music, white noise, or nothing. And surprise, surprise, the group with the highest score during the Behavioral InAttention Test were the patients who listened to classical music. The scientists concluded that, “listening to classical music may improve visual attention in stroke patients” (AJOT, 2013).  That is an amazing find! They want to do more studies to solidify their findings, but it is promising for all stroke patients, since majority of them suffer some sort of vision problems.

Music is universal and brings all different kinds of people together. It also has a huge influence on our health, and can change our mood in an instant. Next time you’re feeling blue you can either turn on a sad song and relate or you can turn on an upbeat jam to pump you up. Music is endless and is always changing and it will interesting to see what else scientists find it can do to our bodies and mind.








The Aftermath of Divorce on the Kids

By Megan Butter

blogWhen I was 4, my parents divorced. I don’t have any memories of them, my brother and me together as a family, but I do remember what was my “normal,” which was living with my brother and my mom and seeing my dad on the weekends. 89.4% of children live with primary live with their mother (Bowles III) My parents never talked about their divorce nor did they bad mouth each other in front of my brother and me, in fact they usually only talked about the good times with us. They would come together on Sundays for soccer games, and for holidays and some birthdays, but other than that my parents didn’t speak or see each other. I decided for this blog post to research the affects that divorce has on children, after watching the movie “A.C.O.D. Adult Children of Divorce”, starring Adam West Scott.

The divorce rate in America is 50%, and in many of those failed marriages, children are involved. First I want to take a look at Bowles III’s work because he had an interesting take on how children are affected by their parent’s divorce. For me when I see marriage, I see it as just a piece of paper. If you love somebody and are happy then who cares if you have a certificate saying that you’re mr. and mrs. so and so, that doesn’t matter, what does matter is how you feel about each and a piece of paper doesn’t determine that. Hell I could rip that piece of paper up easily and nothing would change, the feelings are still the same. Bowles III’s research seems to agree with my statement because he says that most children whose parents have divorced are a bit weary towards marriage themselves. Also according to Bowles III, we don’t fear of having successful relationship, we just fear about having successful marriages. We don’t want to follow in our parents’ footsteps. He says that we have gaps in our “relationship template” which is true since the only marriage we would be able to compare our own relationship too, would have been a failure, and who wants that. Children whose parents have divorced can also have trust issues, especially if one of the parents had completely vanished from the picture. I know from my own personal stand point that I have a closer relationship with my mother because she was the primary custodian of me and my brother. As I got older and got into relationships of my own, I noticed that I didn’t  have trust issues my with partner but I wouldn’t take him home and introduce him to the family. The only person to ever meet any one that I dated was my cousin and I feel I did that because I may not have felt secure in those relationships, as Bowles III has pointed out children of divorce parents don’t have a “relationship template.” A lot of the marriages in my family, expect my cousin’s have mainly ended in divorce. Which that could be why I only introduced my boyfriend at the time to my cousin because she has a successful relationship, one that  I can look up too and have an example of, one that I was lacking as child.  Bowles III goes on to say in his research that sons are more likely to resonate their absentee father and daughters are more likely to have “daddy issues.” Speaking from personal life, my brother does hold a grudge against our father for leaving and making promise that he couldn’t keep. I on the other hand did not hold a grudge over my father but I did do things that I knew he wouldn’t like to get a rise out of me. Children in divorced families tend to show more feelings than other kids and are more attached to their primary parent (Bowles III).  Now while all this research may seem daunting, it doesn’t mean that children of divorced parents are any less successful than those who come from intact families.Divorce mainly effects kids in the short term but in the long run they’ll be okay and can/will find someone were there not afraid they will become just another statistic with.




Hockey: Man’s Toughest Sport

By Megan Butter


Concussions are a problem is every sport, but they have been on the rise in hockey. In fact Pittsburgh Penguins Captain, Sidney Crosby, is the poster boy for concussions in the NHL. It all started for him with a hit in the 2011 Winter Classic against rivals, the Washington Capitals. David Steckel hit Crosby and then four days he suffered another hit against Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman. Those about did it for him, and he had been battling the issues since this past season. He did make a short lived comeback only, to be sidelined again after a game verse Boston that resulted in another blow to the head.

Concussions are a seriously head injury and need to be taken seriously. Concussions happen when the brain comes in contact with the skull and changed the way have brain cells work. They mainly occur in contact sports such as hockey, football, and soccer.

Their are several signs of a concussion and some of the prominent symptoms are: being dazed/confused, headache, sensitive to light, vomiting, loss of conscious, slurred speech, and poor concentration. If you think you have a concussion there are some tests that you can go through in order to determine if you have sustained the injury:  if you are in a game situation a common thing to do is to ask who you are playing, what the score is, and what period/half/quarter it is. Also just talk normally and see if they are paying attention to the conversation or if they are too distracted (poor concentration), and touching a finger to the nose a few times is also a common idea that people do to evaluate a concussion (http://www.minnesotahockey.org/concussioneducation). Of course if you think that a player on your tea does have a concussion, seek medical attention immediately.

As for treating a concussion, they is not much you can do but rest until the symptoms stop. Also a lot of times some doctors will recommend that patients stay away from tv’s, computers, and electronic devices because those can trigger headaches.  After the symptoms have stopped, the player can go back and get evaluated by a doctor and they can start them on light exercise routines until the player can get back on the ice/field.

For hockey there are a number of steps that can be taken to ensure that concussions don’t happen and those include: making sure the helmet fits properly, no hits from behind, no hits to the head, and getting a correctly fitted mouth guard (http://cdn.agilitycms.com/hockey-canada/Hockey-Programs/Safety/Concussion/Downloads/concussion_card_e.pdf).

The New York Times published in article in February stating that hockey player’s who experienced concussions had “acute micro structural changes in their brain.” They studied 45 male and female Canadian College Hockey Players. They had to undergo M.R.I.’s before and after the season, but if you received a concussion you were given additional M.R.I.’s 3 days, 2 weeks and 2 months after the diagnosis. The 11 players that suffered concussions that season had, “microscopic white matter and inflammatory changes in the brain,” (Klein, 2014).  These players are showing what happens to athletes when they get injured during the game they love. While you might be saying well everything is microscopic, this affects them later on in life. The article goes on to say that hockey players who had concussions developed chronic injuries due to the head trauma they suffered for the concussion later on in life.

The brain is the most important part of the body and we need to protect, and sports these days are getting hit wit concussion lawsuits left and right. There needs to be a new system in pace to protect player s from concussions because it affects them  not only on the ice but off it as well.

While this research was very well done I think that more needs to be done on children playing hockey that are dealing with concussions. Studies on children can show how their brain changes upon the impact of the hit and the aftermath of having a concussion. Your brain is not fully developed until you are 25 and doing studies on children when their brain is the most fragile would be highly beneficial to the ongoing research on concussions.




Is Food More Addictive than Crack?

source: krispykreme.com

source: krispykreme.com

“Oh my god…this [insert delicious food] is better than crack.” Everyone from professional food critics to starving college students has used the phrase time and time again. Whether they are talking about nutella, krispy kreme donuts, or canyon pizza, everyone has experience a time where they believed they loved a food so much, that its magnitude was comparable to that of an addiction to an illicit drug—but most people aren’t serious when they make this statement because of the simple fact that most of them have not tried any illicit drugs.  I will admit myself that I have experienced desserts that left me awake at night, rapt in thought of getting up in the morning to speed off to the grocery store to buy all of them off the shelf. And when I think about it more, I began to question whether or not I was addicted to food, or if it was even possible to be.


I found two articles on Time Magazine’s website that deconstructed the idea of food addiction and what it physically looked like on a person’s brain. In the first article, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, acknowledged that the idea is controversial since many people have rejected it, however, believes that food can be as addictive as drugs. She believes that understanding the similarities between food and drug addictions could offer insight into an array of compulsive behaviors. Volkow described a similarity found between the brains with food and drug addictions—similar dysfunctions in the areas that are connected to pleasure and self-control. The neurotransmitter involved is dopamine, which these brain areas rely on, and a reduction in the number of dopamine D2 receptors were found both in drug addiction and obesity. That is why when we eat food we tend to feel happy and more relaxed, because dopamine elicits those feelings.

The second article in Time references a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry that suggests that there might not be a clear distinction between addictive and normal responses, adding to the evidence that all “addictions” act on the same motivational system. The study involved 48 health women ranging in weight from lean to overweight or obese. Their objective was to test the hypothesis that elevated “food addiction” scores are associated with similar patterns of neural activation as substance dependence. Their independent variable was whether or not the participate received a chocolate milkshake or tasteless substance—so the experiment was neither blind nor double-blind. The dependent variable was the neural response after beverage consumption. The study’s conclusion stated that there are similar patterns of neural activation in addictive-like eating habits and substance dependence, such as elevated activation in reward circuitry in response to food cues and reduced activation of inhibitory regions in response to food intake.

So currently, the evidence supports the hypothesis that one can actually become addicted to food. I feel like this study could go more in depth though, like whether or not some foods are more addict than others and if there are any negative side effects to food addiction similar to those of illicit drugs.




Juice Cleansing…Good or Bad?

Source: nyulocal.com

Source: nyulocal.com

Over the summer, I had noticed a health trend that was getting pretty popular in my age group, where you would commit to only taking in all natural pre-made juices—or sometimes you made the juices yourself—to cleanse your body of toxic build up and help you drop excess weight.  The cleanse could last for three or even up to ten days, and every meal you would only be allowed to drink your food. I found this growing trend extremely interesting because during my freshman year I tried an all liquid diet for one week, however I added ample amounts of protein into my drinks in order to maintain energy levels and not loose muscle mass. By the end of the week I felt refreshed and energized, but completely ready to go back to food. But when I was looking at some of the recipes put together for the juice cleanse programs promoted online, little to no protein was added to any drinks which made me wonder, “Could this juice cleanse fad potentially be bad for you?”


source: blueprintcleanse.com

source: blueprintcleanse.com

I was researching if there are different type of juice cleanses out there and found that there actually are; there are juice cleanses that involve blended fruits and vegetables and then there is the “Master Cleanse” which only allows the cleanser to drink a mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water. According to Health.com, many people turn to juice cleansing because they feel like their body is off—they feel sluggish, heavy, or bloated. It is believed that only drinking these fiber-rich drinks will rid your body of the toxins that are preventing it from operating at maximum capacity, but this may not be the case. There are already organs within your body—such as your kidneys and liver—that remove all the toxins within our bodies, thus making the idea of a juice cleanse obsolete. According to the Huffington Post, the reason it seems like the juice-cleanse is actually a viable way to loose weight is because it increases the rate at which we lose water weight. Switching over to a liquid diet reduces calorie intake, causing the body to release the carbohydrate glycogen for extra energy for the body to function. Glycogen attaches to water so when it is lost, so is water—but normally the water is gained after the cleanse ends.


The general consensus is that taking part in a juice cleanse isn’t a sustainable way to lose weight—it is still suggested to watch what you eat and exercise regularly.  However, there is nothing that shows doing a cleanse for a couple of days would do detrimental harm—so if you’re particularly interested in taking part it is generally safe. However, it would be unwise to partake for more than 10 days because there are not any commercial juice cleanses that go past that length.


source: whatsgabycooking.com

source: whatsgabycooking.com



Do Our Senses Make Sense?

We are already finished our second week of fall semester and I can already feel the physical, mental, and emotional drain from the stress and pressure of classes. I don’t want to be mistaken, I am super excited to be back and working, however, I cannot help but feel—like physically feel—how these external forces are affecting me. When I look at my schedule and see how many assignments are due within the next week, I can literally feel the weight of stress on my shoulders as if it was compressing me. Also, no matter what the weather is like—hot or cold—I feel much more relaxed and at peace when I have a hot cup of coffee in my hand.


So naturally I questioned, “Can my senses be affected by external forces—that I am either aware of or not—that can in turn change my perspective?” I was searching online if this was a possible explanation for my physically responses and found a book called Sensation: The New Science of Physical Intelligence by Professor Thalma Lobel that explores how colors, tactile sensations, scents, tastes, and visual perspectives significantly influence us, without us even realizing. So, in short, the answer to my question was yes, but my curiosity was peaked and I wanted to see what other things were affecting my perspective and even my decision making process.


Personally, I think I am most in tune with my sense of touch and sight—I have always been told I was touchy and I thoroughly enjoy the visual stimulation of art and color—so I decided to look through those chapters.


Researchers set up an experiment with two groups of participants and asked them to rate a fictional person presented to them as skillful, intelligent, determined, practical, industrious, and cautious on several other characteristics. However, right before the participant answered, the researchers asked for them to hold their cup of coffee for a moment while the researcher made a quick note—half were handed a warm cup of coffee and the other half an iced coffee. They found that participants described the fictional person similar to the drink that they were asked to hold. So those holding the hot cup of coffee said that the personal also seemed caring and generous (an overall warm personality), while those holding the cold cup said the person seemed selfish and antisocial (a generally cold personality). The only manipulated variable was the temperature of the cup they were holding. That warm sensation of touch relaxes us and makes us feel at ease, so when we meet new people—or even old friends—we see them as friendlier and more pleasant to around. With that in mind, I now try to tackle any situation that I feel might present some sort of distaste with a warm cup of tea in my hand.


The portion regarding color perception was framed around sexual attraction and if certain colors made someone more attractive. I always believed that someone could look nicer if they were wearing a color that suited them based on their skin tone or hair color, but I was skeptical about whether or not just the color could enhance attraction. In their study, men were shown pictures of the exact same woman, but in different color blouses (red, green, blue, and grey).  Consistently, the men rated the picture of the woman in the red blouse as sexier and more attractive. They also reported that they would most likely spend more money on the woman wearing red if they went on a date. The key point to note though is that the woman wasn’t perceived to be more intelligent or kind, just more alluring. Taking mote of little things like that could be vital to quick yet highly selective interactions, such as dating or interviewing.


I did not want to dive deeply into the other senses mostly because I like the mystery of not knowing how things may or may not be influencing me—alsoI might look into them for a later blog. But for now, knowing what is directly influencing my senses will allow me to better manage my stress and workload…At least for the time being.


Winch, Guy. “How Mastering All 5 Sense Can Get You What You Want.” Psychology Today, 1 May 2014. Web. 3 September 2014. < http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201405/how-mastering-all-5-senses-can-get-you-what-you-want>


Lobel, Thalma. The New Science of Physical Intelligence. Atria Books, 2014. Print

Not a Science Major

Hi guys, my names Alex Brooks and I’m from Battle Creek, Michigan. I’m taking SC 200 because a friend who is older than myself took it last year and said nothing but good things about the course and specifically Andrew. I’m not a science major because I had a terrible experience with a creepy physics teacher in high school, but my freshman and sophomore year of high school I participated in my school’s Science Olympiad club. Attached is a photo of my friend, Alisha, and I with our model of an atom we built the night before the competition in 2012 at Western Michigan University. If you’re bored and want to look through the high school science olympiad homepage, click here. Thanks! science

First Post

My name is Alex, I am from Long Island, New York and I am taking this course to finish my science GenEd requirements. I am not planning to become a science major because it has always been my dream to work for ESPN and that has nothing to do with science. As I said I want to work for ESPN so here is a picture of the ESPN logo. espn_logo_887

Science Is Not For Me

I am doing this course for a two reasons. The first reason I am doing this course is because I am not very good at science, which is convenient since this class is not scientifically intense at all. Since I am not very good at science, my academic advisor recommended that I should take this class. The other reason why I am taking this course is to make my mother happy. My mother is a food scientist at Consumer Reports. Since she is a huge science geek (2:00), taking a class or two on science would really make her happy.

Although science seems intriguing to me, I am horrific at it, which is why I do not plan to be a science major. I have always struggled with science throughout my academic career and is clearly not a fit for me. I am more interested in history because everything is a simple fact that is already proven, unlike science which is incredibly confusing and makes you think deep. Although science is not my ‘cup of tea’, I am very excited for this class based on the first day. Science Hate