Author Archives: Daniel Christopher Gallagher

The strongest material you didn’t know about.

I’m talking about a material called Graphene, no not Graphite like in your pencils, though graphene is technically taken from graphite. Let me give you a little history in this relatively new material. At the University of Manchester in England there were two physicists, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov. All they did was simply take a roll of sticky tape, and put it over a slab of graphite. Then they kept repeating this process while making the sample left on tape thinner with each try until they came up with a one atom thick material which is now known as graphene. Grim and Novoselov received the Nobel Prize for physics in 2004 for this simple experiment.

So now you’re probably wondering, what’s so special about what’s so special about graphene? Well for starters it’s only one atom thick, making it the only two dimensional thing known to mankind, obviously making it the thinnest material in the world as well, about one million times thinner then a single piece of hair. It conducts electricity better then silver, conducts heat better then diamond, and is 200 times harder then steel yet it is flexible and stretchable.

Now, how can we use it? It can be used to replace micro chips which is primarily made of silicon. Graphene can conduct electricity at 1000GHz which is ten times more then silicon can handle. And since it is an excellent conductor of electricity it can also be used with touch screen technology. Imagine having your cell phone screen if it were 200 hundred times harder then steel, no more cracked screens! And for the future scientists believe that it can significantly improve water purification technology that can provide clean drinking water for million.

The only problem with graphene is that is extremely difficult to obtain. Peeling sticky tape over and over again isn’t really ideal from a mass production standpoint making it somewhat expensive. Market price is about 100 dollars for five grams of graphene. We can obtain it by by heating up hydrocarbons such as methane till the hydrogen separates leaving only the carbon behind but then the graphene you would get from that is low quality and not useful.Graphene

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Are video games as addictive as drugs?

I know today that modern gaming has become so advanced that it almost looks real with the advances in technology. Although video game addiction has not been proven as an actual illness the signs and symptoms of a person who is allegedly addicted to video games have many correlations with the symptoms of someone addicted to drugs.

What exactly is addiction? According to a medical dictionary, addiction is a persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance. Addiction is a neurological disorder that affects the dopamine intake and uptake within the brain. When someone engages in a pleasurable acts, the brain then activates dopamine producing neurons which travel from the ventral tegmental area (VTA), which is located mid brain and is rich in dopamine and serotonin neurons. Dopamine then travels to the synaptic space, the space between neurons. Then dopamine molecules travel to the dopamine receptors on the receiving neuron. After then dopamine travels back through the synaptic space through a protein named dopamine transporter and back to the transmitting neuron.

In the case of a person addicted to drugs, the drug indirectly triggers a dopamine release in the VTA that is much more powerful and releases more molecules then it would naturally. Addictive drugs such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, or MDMA blocks the dopamine transporter so when dopamine travels back through the synaptic space the transmitting neuron can not retain the dopamine molecules that was releases from the VTA.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information took 19 healthy males, ages 18-23. All of which were pre-screened, had medical examinations, and underwent MRI scans in case anything happened to them. They were asked to play an online computer game for 60 minutes a day for 10 days for a total of 600 minutes. Six of the men played the game for over 900 minutes. The results from the MRI scan show that of the six men who played the game for 900 minutes or more, all of them had increased brain activity significantly in six clusters of the brain compared to the general population. Of those six clusters, three of them are directly related to craving or desire. These areas of the brain are also active in a person who addicted to drugs. This is just a correlation though and doesn’t answer if the brain is just reacting to the computer game or if the game actually changes the brain to spark addiction.

Some of the side effects also correlate with that of a someone addicted to drugs such as migraines, disturb sleeping patterns, restlessness, eating irregularities, and fatigue. Although that may not seem like many the graph below shows a group that played violent video games extensively for two weeks and another group who didn’t play any video games. You can see that there is little to no brain activity going on while trying to control behavior compared to those that played no video games. I think this could be a possible correlation with drug addiction when there is a block in the dopamine transporter and the brain is flooded with dopamine with no way to uptake the dopamine molecules back through the neuron to the VTA that it was transmitted from.


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Why it’s time to legalize anabolic steroids

Growing up in a pretty stable home with two good parents, I was always told that all drugs are bad and to stay away from them. I researched and read up in steroids, which are illegal in the US and considered a class 3 narcotic by the DEA, looked at all the different variables and realized that statement isn’t entirely true in my opinion and I know I will catch some criticism for this but hear me out please.

Steroids were developed in the 1930’s in Europe for males who’s testicles didn’t produce enough testosterone. The main ingredient in steroids in most cases is pure synthetic testosterone. There is also a compound named DecaDurabolin or more commonly known as “Deca” which is given to patients who just recovered from chemotherapy or HIV/AIDS to stimulate the appetite to put back on all the weight lost during treatment. Steroids really didn’t get any recognition in sports until the US caught wind of Russian olympic athletes using them to get the edge of the Americans. So what did we do in response? Made a stronger and more potent compound to give to our athletes to win, keep in mind this was during the cold war and the US was not going to take any chances losing to the Russians.

As I’m researching more into the subject matter I can see why they are illegal because of the side effects which can be reduced sperm count, irritability, increased chance of a male to have impotency, increased anger “roid rage”, increased chance of heart attack, and even death. But only a total of three people die per year due to steroid use yet alcohol is responsible for every one in ten deaths in adults and tobacco kills roughly five million people a year worldwide. Aspirin, advil and multi-vitamins kill 106,000 people per year yet steroids are still illegal.

I feel that if steroids were made legal then the risks would be greatly reduced. Users would have dosages administered professionally by a nurse, users would have blood work done regularly and be monitored by a professional to help the steroid user. I don’t personally use steroids and can’t really give an opinion on how it affects the body but as far as I can see it’s just another supplement to give you an edge over the competition.


Initial Blog Post

Hello, my name is Daniel Gallagher and this is my second year here at University Park. I declared Hospitality Management as my major this year because the hotel and casino industry fascinates me, I love to travel, and the field is very open to many career opportunities. I’m originally from Philadelphia and am a huge Eagles and Flyers fan, hopefully we have a good year this time around. In my free time I like to exercise frequently, and when it’s cold enough myself and a group of friends drive out a few miles to a pond to play with our ice hockey teams we made up. I chose this course because I am not too thrilled about science honestly and I’m using this course to fill my Gen-Ed requirements.