Author Archives: elb5372

The Mantis Shrimp

What is a mantis shrimp? 

Only the coolest animal to ever exist in the freaking ocean. The mantis shrimp is a crustacean that lives in shallow water and can grow to typically be as long as six to twelve inches long. This little guy is one of the most fascinating creatures to ever exist though, and one that can certainly pack a punch.

Why it’s Unique

This animal is extremely advanced, even compared to us humans. To begin we will examine the mantis shrimp’s vision. The human eye has a mere three different color receptors. Together, these three receptors can gather the entire range of the rainbow. However, the mantis shrimp has an astounding 16 color receptors. This insane amount of receptors allows this shrimp to collect the light of different colors and images we can’t even fathom. Perhaps this wide range of colors the little guy can detects pays part to why they are so beautiful and magnificent to look at. This beauty that they have on the outside perfectly leads me to my next point. Though they may look appealing, the mantis shrimp is one that is not, and should not be messed with by any means. As a defense mechanism, the mantis shrimp has two raptoral appendages that are tucked away under it’s body, and are extended with acceleration and velocity that simulate a gun shot from a twenty-two caliber rifle ( This is no joke. Below is a video of a mantis shrimp absolutely annihilating the outer shell of a clam with these appendages.

Not only is the pure speed of the attack impressive, what goes into the science behind it is even more impressive. The body parts of the mantis shrimp move so quickly that super-cavitation occurs. This means that the speed moves so quickly that the water around them actually becomes so hot it goes into a boil. When these cavitation bubbles then begin to disappear a shockwave is created through the force used. The force of these collapsing bubbles can get to temperatures of several kelvins of heat that creates an actual emission of light and sparks upon impact ( This can be seen in the video I posted above when the mantis shrimp dismembers a poor clam.


The mantis shrimp is a pure phenomena of nature. If a small innocent looking shrimp that can spectacularly receive more than 5 times the color that we can doesn’t impress you enough, the fact that this little guy can produce a defensive mechanism that goes the speed of a bullet and can create an actual shockwave definitely will.  The mantis shrimp is an animal of the sea that still has many different questions left surrounding it, but is an animal that is purely a fascinating work of art.




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“First Impressions are Everything!”

What is a “First Impression?”

Whether its an interview, first day of school, or just going out into public you always hear the same advice, “First impressions are everything!” This can be the way you dress or the first words that you speak to someone, but the first impression someone perceives of you is almost immediate. Psychology shows us that one of the first things that we look for when initially introduced to another is similarity. When similarities are found between two, the common ground is one that sheds a positive light on the potential friendships (Psychology Today). This is an idea that finally has some research to back it up and show us that the first impression you leave to someone can be a detrimental factor in a future relationship with that person (

The Study

At the Ohio State University in Columbus, a study was done of 164 college freshman that lasted over a 9-week period. The students were split into groups of males and females for the researcher did not want any romantic interactions to occur due to the blending of genders. The null hypothesis of the study is that the first impression that is made and the relationships developed in 9 weeks will have no relation. The alternative hypothesis of this study will be that the first impression that is made will have an effect on the relationships that are developed in 9 weeks. After being split into groups, the students were then randomized and paired with another student for periods of three, six, or nine minute conversations. Immediately after the conversation, researchers asked the students if they thought that there was a chance of being good friends and developing a relationship with that partner. The students then were watched over the 9 week period to check on the status of that friendship. Over the 9 weeks students were required to interact with other students that were also apart of the study (

What can be found from the study?

After the conclusion of the nine week study, it was found that partners who had a positive outlook after the first impression had the strongest friendships throughout the group of students. This correlation held consistent whether the initial interaction was for three, six, or nine minutes, the difference in time held no barriers furthering the impact of initial interaction. In this experiment, the conclusions will show us that the null hypothesis is rejected due to the fact that first impressions do have an effect on future relationships that can be created.


The articles will go on to explain that there are some instances where a strong relationship can be built, even if the initial first impression was negative. This is just how human interaction works, sometimes first impressions are wrong, but nonetheless very important. A sudden judgement is made, simply by human nature, on the very first sight you may lay on someone you have never met before. The saying, in my opinion, continues to be true and it’s smart to listen to someone when they tell you, “First impression is everything!”


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Study Alone vs. Group Study

As we all enter into college, or have been here for a couple semesters, studying still stands as something that can constantly be improved upon. Heading into every single quiz, exam, or project it is always impertinent that you study before hand to be as prepared as possible. However, what is the best way to study? Do I go sit in the deep gallows of the stacks, completely isolated, or do I gather with a few of my friends who are also studying?

Studying Alone

Studying alone can also have many different parameters, from being completely isolated from all civilization in the stacks, to simply being a table by yourself with your headphones in. This strategy absolutely comes with different advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages to studying alone are that it minimizes distraction, allows you to pace yourself, and can improve your focus. When you are by yourself, distraction is minimized due to the lack of other interaction you have other than with your schoolwork. You can take breaks whenever you feel overwhelmed, or even read at a speed that suits you. This pacing of your own work can be extremely beneficial to you, for no one knows you better than yourself. Lastly, the improvement of focus that comes with studying alone is crucial. This lets you have the flexibility to learn different sections that you personally need improvement on as well as leave less stress on aspects you may have already mastered (

Disadvantages to studying alone is not having your peers and friends around you to push you to study if you become off task. Even the best of studiers can sometimes become off task for hours without even realizing it. Having that group around you will allow you to push to maximize the time you spend studying (

Group Studying 

When you study in a group of people, like studying alone, will come with advantages and disadvantages. Group studying typically involves anywhere from one to four other people that will studying either the same, or different, material that you are. Some advantages to this study technique are it can increase retention, expand access to information, and boost motivation to study. This increased retention will come from the ability to vocalize ideas you may have to someone else, a technique that is proven to allow you to remember information better. Along with this will come the knowledge not just that you have, but the knowledge from everyone else around the table. The biggest advantage will come from the increased motivation that comes from a group study. Having others around you that are also studying, will prevent distraction and allow you to maximize this study effort (

Disadvantage that accompany studying in a group is that you can only be as productive as the group’s weakest link. This means that if there is one person that is extremely distracted, too loud, or constantly being outlandish it can be detrimental to the group as a whole. If that one person is off, every single member of the group can suffer for his or her actions (


I think that one way in which this could be decided is through a study. This study could gather random people that are separated into random group. Then each group will either study individually or within a group, and given an exam to see who scores better. Obviously there will be a large amount of confounding variables such as previous intelligence and an individual’s habits. This is just an idea that could be purposed in order to determine which study method yields better school performance.


Every single person studies and performs in different ways, whether that be with a group of friends or independently. Studying is no different. In order to succeed you must try each option and stick to what works. Personally, I enjoy studying with groups because I feel less stress and feel like they keep me on task more often. When I am studying alone I can sometimes catch myself an hour into random videos on YouTube. Each method has several different advantages and disadvantages, it is up to you to decide which method will yield the best results.


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Study Buddy!

What is a Study Buddy?

It’s finals week, you had an exam at 6 pm and now you find yourself at midnight with two exams the very next day. You hadn’t studied for them at all, what is your best option? Nowadays if you were to ask a typical undergraduate study in the United States, you may commonly find that a “study buddy” is your best option. A “study buddy”  is, “adderall, or prescription ADHD medication that can induce concentration for extended periods of time. Often taken without prescription by students who want to cram” (Urban Dictionary). This type of ADHD medication is one that will keep you alert and awake and will make you want to get things done, including studying (Gladu,

According to a survey conducted from 2003 taken around individual campuses, as many as 20% of collegiate have used these prescription drugs in order to study; this statistic is one that has tripled between 1992 and 2003, and has even increased today (The Adderall Advantage). With such an increase in the students who use them for studying, I continue to wonder, do these prescription drugs work? Do they make a difference?

Do they work?

While many students will swear by the fact that the prescription drugs do work, maybe the students only think that they do. According to an article by when adderall is taken after about 20-30 minutes you begin to get that “feel good” energy. The adderall causes different cells to release a chemical that will mimic dopamine and make you happy. Maybe this illusion of happiness is why students seem to think it works. Time Magazine decided to look into it.

A study was done at the University of Pennsylvania with 47, non-diagnosed (with ADHD), test subjects. The group was randomized and then without knowing, given either a placebo pill or an ADHD prescription drug. They were then tested and their results were analyzed. The performance on the test showed no significant difference in scores between the group who had taken adderall and the group who had taken a placebo. However, one thing the study did find was that the subjects that took the adderall reported that they felt more confident in their scores than the placebo group (

This test was one that couple have possibly been constructed different. Many variable such as the student’s previous intelligence, time allowed for the drug to activate, number of test subjects, and even if the subjects had other health concerns other than ADHD could have all skewed the test. With this many possible confounding variables, the experiment may not be the most reliable but did have some interesting findings.


Though the test scores of the experiment showed no substantial difference, the fact that students who took the ADHD medication felt that they had done better on the test could give some answers. The illusion of doing well could heighten morale, and allow for better studying and test taking due to the confidence boost. Overall, this new craze of “study buddies” is one that is becoming more and more popular in the colleges and universities of the United States. Though most studies show no substantial difference, students who currently take them are not likely to stop. With all this being said, I do not recommend taking ANY prescription pills that you are not supposed to for it can be very dangerous.


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Really, how bad can cigarettes be?

Through all of the new findings about cigarettes, we know that they are ultimately bad for us. However, just how bad is smoking cigarettes for our health and well-being? Throughout my entire life I have been told that they were severe taboo and I should stay away from them at all costs, but I did not realize just how damaging these can be.

Cigarette smoking can be directly linked to cardiovascular impairment, high blood pressure, shortened breath, yellow teeth, and even high cholesterol (How Cigarettes Damage Your Body). Another risk factor that cigarettes play a large role in is strokes. In an observation study done by the Framingham Heart Study, you can see that the effect of smoking greatly increase the chances of a stroke occurring. The study consisted following 4255 men and women over 26 years and documenting and analyzing those that were smokers. The study was able to be controlled after the scientists took out the factors of age and hypertension. The study concluded that the chance of a stroke in the subjects increased as the amount of cigarettes they smoked increased (Cigarette Smoking as a Risk Factor for Stroke).

I believe that this Framingham Study was one that was sufficient enough to find compelling evidence, but also could have been improved. Though it may become an ethical issue, it is obvious that an experiment would discover even more substantial evidence than just an observational study. However, one way that observational studies can be found to be more reliable is through meta-analysis.

Though some studies had found a correlation to appear to exist, conclusions of these observation studies were not enough for some. Due to this, a meta-analysis was then conducted on cigarette smoking and the increased risk of a stroke. The meta-analysis began to analyze 32 different studies on if cigarettes effected the chance of having a stroke. The overall risk of stroke that was associated with cigarette smoking was 1.5. This being found it was concluded that, “the meta-analysis provides strong evidence of an excess risk of stroke among cigarette smokers” (Meta-analysis of relation between cigarette smoking and stroke).

I believe that this meta-analysis does in fact provide enough sufficient evidence to conclude that smoking cigarettes does increase the risk of a stroke, among other health hazards. The smoking of cigarettes has been known for some time now to impede the overall well-being of an individual, but now there is strong supporting evidence to prove this. The smoking of cigarettes is one that can have many different health concerns from high blood pressure to cardiovascular disease, but especially the increased chance of a stroke occurring. In essence, one should never smoke cigarettes or if they do they should undoubtably make every attempt to discontinue this bad habit.


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The Hardest Sport?

Though each sport is difficult in it’s own specific way, the question of which sport is the hardest still stands. An athlete that participates in a sport is naturally going to have bias towards his own, but through recent studies and careful consideration, experts at ESPN have been able to rank the top 60 hardest sports.

Primarily, a sport in itself must be defined. According to a sport is defined as, “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of competitive nature” ( This can include an extremely wide array of activities from football and baseball, to finishing and bowling. Though it may seem obvious whether football is harder than fishing, it is very hard to determine where football lies on a fitness scale next to boxing.

Experts at ESPN took different aspects of each sport into consideration when doing the rankings. They gave a quantitative value to different aspects including endurance, strength, power, speed, agility, flexibility, nerve, durability, hand-eye coordination, and analytic aptitude. These are the categories that 60 sports were ranked upon. After doing specific studies on each of the sports being tallied the scientists were able to give a score in each category, quantify the scores and determine who’s sport was the highest (Boxings Knockout Punch, ESPN). The results are as follows:

Hardest Sports (Top 5) – 1. Boxing 2. Ice Hockey 3. Football 4. Basketball 5. Wresting

Easiest Sports (Lowest 5) – 60. Fishing 59. Billards 58. Shooting 57. Bowling 56. Curling

Though many people may disagree with these studies, it is clear that there may be some room for error in the rankings. However, with these numerical standings and the categories that were carefully considered, this is one study that can show just who holds the title for hardest sport.


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What are psychedelic drugs?

In today’s culture you hear of many different illegal substances, doing many different crazy and bizarre things to the mind. From the 1960’s hippy culture to now, different psychedelic drugs are experimented with and done recreationally. You see them portrayed in different movies and glorified by old classic rock bands, but what do these drugs do exactly? What are psychedelic drugs and how do they effect the brain to make one ‘trip?’

According to many different drugs exist on the market today, such as mushrooms, LSD, acid, DMT, and much more. These different drugs each have effects such as, “intense hallucinations” and “distorted sense of reality” ( Each type of psychedelic will have a different effect on the brain and the different chemicals it can produce or expose. When a person is on one of these drugs, they are considered to be in a “trip” where that distortion of reality is at its peak. This is due to an imbalance in the brain and chemicals that can either be exposed or created.

One example of this would be with the ‘magic mushroom,’ where the magic in it is actually from the chemical psilocybin. Once in the body this chemical will begin to bind with serotonin receptors will have the effects of ‘mixed senses.’ The mixing of these occurring senses will result in the hallucination and distortion of reality (Live Science, 2011). Each of the different drugs that are listed under the psychedelic category will have a similar effect on the brain and body, each releasing a chemical that is specific to it’s specific drug.

Though many of these psychedelic drugs have a very negative connotation attached to them, there have been studies that can show a positive side to the use and reuse of them. In a study conducted by Peter Hendricks, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Alabama, shows that the use of psychedelics have been linked with reductions in suicide and distress (Psychedelic Frontier, 2015). During this study, it was concluded that the users of psychedelic drugs were 36% less likely to attempt suicide. Another study conducted by a Norwegian team back in 2013 showed that the use of psychedelic drugs had an effect of improved mental health. The article states, “psychedelic users were shown to have a lower incidence of psychosis, anxiety, mood disorders, social phobia, and PTSD” (Psychedelic Frontier, 2015). Even though these psychedelic’s are listed as schedule 1 drugs by the government, there are some positive signs that can be at the hand of them.

Psychedelic drugs are a very interesting topic to me because of how differently they can effect each person. The drugs such as mushrooms, LSD, acid, DMT, and so on each have their own way of making the human brain react. Though these can be extremely dangerous, different research has shown that when placed in the correct hands, I suppose they can do some good. However, with that being said, I don’t recommend giving them a shot because they are in fact, illegal.



Do aliens exist?

One thing that has always peaked my interests is the idea that there is life elsewhere in space. Since we were younger, we have always seen different aspects of aliens portrayed in our media through movies and tv shows. It made me start to wonder, what are the chances that other life exists in space and if so, is there any reliable evidence of these extraterrestrials? People always claim that the life we have on Earth is a miracle, but I’m starting to believe that the miracle may exist on another planet.

An alien, or extraterrestrial, is defined as a creature from outside space according to This idea is one that has been portrayed time and time again in the media. Movies such as E.T. The Extraterrestrial, Independence Day, and War of the Worlds have sought to make this idea entertaining. However, could this idea be real? Could other lifeforms out in the great space exist? According to an article from the Daily Galaxy the use of statistics shows that there are about 50 quintillion potentially habitable planets in the universe Earth exists in (Daily Galaxy, 2012). This same stat, proposed by astronomer Frank Drake, was resurfaced in 2001 to conclude that statistically hundreds of thousands of life-supporting planets should exist (, Ancient Aliens).

Throughout history, from ancient times to today there have been claims that aliens have been seen and encountered with by fellow man. One of the most famous conspiracy claims of aliens was made way back in the 15th century. A painting done by Domenico Ghirlandaio called, “The Madonna with Saint Giovannino” can clearly show a mysterious floating saucer with a man and his dog looking at it (The Madonna with Saint Giovannino – The UFO Painting). Another, more recent example of alien interaction came in March of 2015 in the state of Florida. A witness claimed that she saw very bright lights that changed speed and direction in a way she had not seen before (UFO Sightings: Top 10 States with Highest Number of Reports, ABC News). These interactions have led to many studies by astronomers and scientists because the idea of aliens is one that many people have interest for.

Not only are people claiming that they have seen aliens, but one professor from the University of Sheffield has discovered proof that extraterrestrial organisms do exist. In an article by Nathan Rao for Express in the UK, Professor Milton Wainwright explains how he discovered the correct evidence to make this claim. He says that during a study he collected a photo of a ‘dragon particle’ made up of carbon and oxygen. Wainwright then goes on to explain how the biological makeup of this organism confirms that it is from space origin (The incredible picture that ‘proves’ there is life on other planets, 2014). This evidence is some of the first of its kind and is some that can develop into a very compelling argument for the existence of alien life.

Whether or not aliens exist, if you believe in them, or if they have made contact with Earth, it is undeniable that the very thought of other life existing is interesting. Statistically, other lifeforms and extraterrestrials should in fact exist, through personal experience of some people here on Earth extraterrestrials are certain to exist, and experimentally through professors in universities there is enough evidence to prove that extraterrestrials exist. The thought of this is interesting and one that some have developed an intense passion for.



Initial Blog Post

Hello. My name is Evan Bogdan and I am currently a sophomore here at Penn State. I am in the College of Undergraduate studies because I still have no clue what I plan on doing with my life. I am from Palmyra, Pennsylvania which is a small town right next to Hershey. I normally just skip the Palmyra part and tell people I am from Hershey due to the popularity of

I am not a science major nor do I have much interest in sciences such as Chemistry or Biology. I took this class because I really enjoy the conceptual aspect that accompanies it. Finding out what science is actually used for is much more appealing to me, rather memorizing the periodic table. Simply, I am not a science major for I find it boring. However, this class appeals to my interests and sparks my curiosity which is why I am excited to take it.

Below, I have an accurate representation of what I would look like in a science lab.