Author Archives: Heejin Pak

Project: Projection Mapping


For my last blog, I would like share something that relates to my major. I first came across this technology on Facebook.

Le Petit Chef uses 3D projection mapping on a plate. It is a video of a little chef that virtually prepares a meal. The 3D projection mapping turns an empty plate to a grill as he appears from a manhole. This little guy grills a juicy steak, and it feels so lifelike. This is a creative, funny and overall entertaining digital attraction that entertain guests while they wait for their food.

Basically, 3D projection mapping can paint any image onto any surface.

Another example would be Disney’s wedding cake mapping. It is a reduced version of Disney’s nightly slideshows at Magic Kingdom on a wedding cake, where couples can customize video sequences to be projected on their blank wedding cake. This allows them to use their wedding cake to tell a story. It costs $2,900 for a 5 tiered fake cake. A real cake would costs extra.

Project mapping does not stop with a fake cake. There are restaurants that use 3D projection mapping, along with surrounding sounds and performances, to create an atmosphere that fluctuates to be tailored for different dishes.

First one is Sublimotion at Ibiza’s Hard Rock Hotel, opened in 2014. It was created by Paco Roncero, Michelin Two Star Chef. It is a 70 square meter and seven meters high room where a group of 12 guests will be served 20 entrees that stimulates five senses. A team of 25 professionals will spend three hours to take you on a “multi-sensory culinary voyage.” It will just costs $2,000 per guest. But it will be once in a life experience where you will enjoy a blend of art, gastronomy and virtual reality.

Second restaurant is more intense. It was created by Joan and Jordi Roca. Its theme is number 12, as it serves 12 dishes to 12 guests based on 12 ideas that are integrations of 12 songs, 12 videos and 12 acts. This project was created to approach the intangible aspects of eating. With 3D projection, possibilities are limitless. Joan and Jordi Roca brought in professionals from different sectors, such as chefs, designers, illusionists, set designers, architects, choreographers, and screenwriters to achieve “the merger of haute cuisine gastronomy and the most breakthrough technology.”

Science is not limited to medical studies and animal experiments to find incredible results that will change the world. Science can be incorporated into something as simple as eating and enrich the experience. And this is what I take on from SC 200 this semester.

Smelling myself back home

I am 23 years old. I am pretty much done with binge drinking to the point that I don’t remember how I came home. But you know, I’ve been there. I’ve been carried home before. Once, I woke up and thanked God for waking up in my bed. Or, I had a roommate who always managed to get home really drunk. She would casually walk in and just pass out on the sofa. I feel like we just knew we had to go home and somehow made it; human instinct is super impressive. Apparently, it might be something else that guided us or enabled us to come home.

Featured in the video is how dogs have 300 million olfactory receptor cells to see the world, tracking the past and predicting the future.

Featured in the video is how homing pigeons use their sense of smell to map their way home.

As we are also an animal, of course, we can do the same. Lucia Jacobs, a UC Berkeley psychology professor, conducted investigations where humans were blindfolded to navigate themselves by smelling scents. This was the first ever testing of such experimental study. “What we’ve found is that humans have the capability to orient ourselves along highways of odors and crisscross landscapes using only our sense of smell,” said Lucia Jacobs.

Her data included two dozen study volunteers. They were blindfolded and had headphones, in which made them concentrate on their sense of smell. The room was a 25-by-20 foot room with gridded floor and had 32 containers placed around the room that diffused different scents. These containers also worked as location markers. When the volunteers first walked into the room, they had to walk in circles; then, on a specific grid, they inhaled a combination of two fragrances. Then, they were walked in circles again. After being disoriented, they were asked to find the starting point where they inhaled the two fragrances. On average, the volunteers were able to orient themselves within 90 seconds.

The result was surprising. No one thought this was possible. This was never tested, because no one questioned it before. I am sure there are more things our olfactory system can do. Like how smelling certain scents bring back memories that are associated with them, I question if scents could be used to alter our memories as well.


Will having a daughter make me beautiful?

I have a deep appreciation for beautiful things. Of course, one might not find what I found  beautiful. But for my taste, I love harmonization of different colors, usage of different textures, anything sparkling, flowers, and cursive writings. I am a huge fan of eye shadows, lipsticks, and blushes. I have always liked and been interested in clothes, purses, and 4-inch high heels. All these make me feel beautiful. Wearing the perfect outfit and having a flawless make up day with the perfect eyeliner, rosy cheeks and plump lips boost up my confidence. It turns out being beautiful not only influence one’s confidence level, but offspring sex ratio.

In his paper, Beautiful Parents Have More Daughters, Dr. Kanazawa concluded that more attractive women give birth to daughters than those less attractive. His data included a sample of 20,745 adolescents who were interviewed in 1994-1995 and then interviewed again in 2001-2002. From 20,745 of 18-28 respondents, 2,972 had at least one biological child. He observed the sex of the first child as a dependent variable and the parents’ physical attractiveness as an independent variable. This physical attractiveness was measured by interviewer after each home-interview, from scale of 1 to 5, 1 being very unattractive and 5 being very attractive. From this data, he observed the sex of the respondent’s first child.

CaptureHe found that proportion of boys among the first child is substantially lower in “very attractive” category. The analysis further shows that “very attractive” woman are “about 26% less likely to have a son, even when controlling for the respondent’s education, income, race, sex, age at first sex, and the number of sex partners in the last 12 months.

Dr. Kanazawa further rationalizes his founding that this is because physical attractiveness is more beneficial to women. According to his book, Why Beautiful People Have More Daughter, he claims that males consider spouse’s attractiveness more for something long-term, whereas females are more attracted to physical appearance of males for something short-term. Although physical attractiveness is equally important factor for the both sexes, it contributes more for “women’s reproductive success than to men’s.” This is said because, according to him, women need to be beautiful to be attractive to men , to give birth to beautiful daughter, so this beautiful daughter can give birth to even more beautiful daughter. In this sense, Dr. Kanazawa predicts there will be more number of beautiful women after one generation to the other. Women are progressively getting beautiful.

CaptureHowever, in 2011, Dr Kanazawa published a research that titled “Why Are Black Women Rated Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women.” When he was questioned, he could not provide any evidence to support his conclusion. However, he did defend himself saying it is possible that Black women tend to have more masculine features due to their above average level of testosterone.


CaptureI believe that someone’s beauty cannot be determined by science and scientific founding should not be rationalized. Preference and ideal of beauty has been changing throughout decades. Most scientific method of determining beauty might be through the Gold Proportion, found in phi.

How Are We?

There are several ways to figure out someone’s characteristics. I know that people tend to take them pretty seriously. Believe it or not, this is what I found.

A female born in year 1992, September 29th, with a blood type O, was born in the Chinese year of monkey with a zodiac sign of Libra. This will tell us her characteristics as a person.

According to Chinese year of monkey, she is:

  • Fun, loving, cheerful, energetic, clever, creative, generous,
  • A center of attention with their charm and humour,
  • Transparent with their emotions,
  • Curious with “a great thirst of knowledge,”
  • Good at persuading themselves
  • Opportunistic, and
  • Loyal, devoted, and passionate.

According to zodiac sign of Libra, she is:

  • Fair and balanced, with a desire to know every side of every situation,
  • A leader, someone everyone is naturally attracted to because she brings out the best in people,
  • A peace seeker who doesn’t like confrontations,
  • Accepting of others,
  • A social butterfly who loves communicating,
  • Charming, with excellent social skills,
  • Civilized and compromising,
  • Beauty seeker, and
  • An Idealist.

According to blood type O, she is:

  • A leader,
  • Generous and kindhearted,
  • Popular and acception, and
  • Trustworthy.

It’s really interesting to find so many common words from these three categories. Let’s look at a male born in year 1962, December 17th, with a blood type B. He was born in the Chinese year of tiger with a zodiac sign of Sagittarius.

According to Chinese year of tiger, he is:

  • A “born leader,”
  • Noble and fearless,
  • selfish sometimes but “capable of great generosity”,
  • Unpredictable, and
  • Warm-hearted.

According to zodiac sign of Sagittarius, he is:

  • Intuitive,
  • Optimistic and adaptable,
  • Active, direct, and hardworking,
  • Striver to achieve the bigger picture,
  • Curious, and
  • Forgiving.

According to blood type B, he is:

  • Curious,
  • Focused,
  • Driven to be the best, and
  • Isolated her/himself from others.

Similar with the first founding, there are common words among the three categories. The studies of Chinese years and zodiac signs are all about astronomy, which is science. Blood type studies are based off of the belief that different blood types must contribute to our body differently.

May be we are born with our characteristics already set for us. We will have many variations of characters if we mix them up. In class, Andrew talked about how we are who we are by this crazy chance, where crazy number of atoms could’ve had crazy different number of combinations, separations and reactions, but decided to make us us. But may be, there is more to chemical reactions when developing or being born with our characteristics. And may be, it is something universe decides.

Twitter Influences Your Health

Photo from

Twitter allows us to write 140 characters. With 140 characters, we can “tweet” to share anything from our thoughts, activities, whereabouts, feelings to interests. And of course, we can read others’ “tweets.” These others are more than 500 million users, from all over the world, including Barack Obama, Justin Bieber to YouTube.

University of Rochester in New York published an interesting research that used Twitter tweets to gather information about people’s health. With the help of GPS information provided by the users, showing exactly where the user was at the time of “tweeting”, Adam Sadilek and his team collected “tweets” that were “tweeted” only from New York City. The team observed “tweets” that self-report and claim to be sick to track when and where these sick people were located so they could predict “how likely it is for a Twitter user to become sick,” in the near future. The team was able to collect 16 million tweets from 630 thousand users for a month in 2010. They were able to map out those feeling sick, took medication, resting at home due to cough, having runny nose, with fever, and suffering with headache tweets. This was to figure out the locations of the claimed illnesses, in order to predict how likely someone near those sick Twitter users will claim to be sick in the near future.



An example would be collecting sick tweets from my Twitter friends and/or the strangers from my recent locations, and find out how their sickness can influence my health, the probability and likelihood of me getting sick. According to Sadilek, the data can predict how my health is going to be like 8 days into future. This will be based on where I have been, what I have been doing and who I have met, collected from my Twitter account. The prediction is 90 percent accurate. However, are self-reported tweets accurate?


Photo from:

In November 4th, 2015, teenage Instagram star, Essena O’Neill quit her social media account and confessed her posts were not real to her half a million followers. Essena claimed that she edited her photographs to showcase only the good of her life and to make herself look attractive. This was because getting more followers, likes and views in need of feeling accepted and worthy; however, she still felt lonely. She also confessed to have been paid by companies to wear their clothes, shoes, accessories and more. Essena O’Neill proved that social media can be inaccurate and was used to seek attention.

Moreover, In her USA Today’s article, Are Social Networks Making Students More Narcissistic, Jayson states that 57% of 1,068 college students reported to have “used social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter for self-promotion, narcissism and attention-seeking.” So, when people tweet for being sick, are they telling their followers that they should not come near them or do they want their followers to wish them well? It seems like the probability of them seeking attention for their sickness cannot be ignored. Furthermore, it seems like Sadilek’s study might be suffering with file drawer problem, where he made his conclusions with positive results. I mean 90% accuracy using people’s Twitter? Really?

Sadilek wishes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention utilize his Twitter founding for future prediction and prevention of influenza breakouts. I do not think this is a good idea. His research was possible because people are actively and willingly sharing themselves on social medias, however, this activeness and willingness do not infer honesty and reliability. Those sick can stay home, take medication, and sleep deep to prevent getting others sick.

Tapeworm Killed Its Host

Do you remember we learned about how science proved worms make kids stupid? It turned out worms can cause you cancer as well. In his article, Man Killed by His Tapeworm’s cancer in, Quinn reported that the tumors found in a Colombian man was not composed of human cells.

According to November 5th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, in January 2013, 41 years old Colombian man presented with “fatigue, fever, cough, and weight loss of several month’s duration.” He was diagnosed with HIV in 2006 and was not being treated properly. This showed that the man’s immune system was not healthy. However, the study further reports that a CT scan showed tumors in his lungs, adrenal glands and lymph nodes, and stool examination showed H. nana eggs. H. nana, known as dwarf tapeworm, is the most common human tapeworm  that can mature and self-reproduce inside the intestine. After dozens of tests, the researchers found tapeworm DNA in the tumors, which was “10 times smaller than human cancer cells.” The man slipped into coma and died 72 hours after the diagnosis of tapeworm cancer due to kidney failure.This was the very first documented and known case of “a person becoming sick from cancer cells that developed in a parasite.”

So, what are the correlations? Direct causality would be H. nana’s cancer caused his immune system to further weaken to death. Reverse causality would be his weak immune system caused H. nana’s cancer. Confounding of third variable could be his genes, non-adherence to HIV therapy, or unsanitary environment. And of course, it might have been a chance.

However, could you believe if I told you all four worked together? First, it is Colombia unsanitary environment that infected him with H. nana. Second, according to Dr. Atis Muehlenbachs, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, H. nana’s cancer did kill him. However, it was only because his non-adherence to HIV therapy immunosuppressed him that when H. nana multiplied and reproduced in his gut, H. nana’s cells mutated and proliferated as malignant cancer, instead of dividing to create a new tapeworm. Further, his weak immune system couldn’t keep the cancer cells in his guts and caused them to spread to his other organs. Lastly, according to World Health Organization’s 2013 data, there are 35 million people people living with HIV/AIDS; moreover, up to 75 million people are estimated to be infected with parasites, however, very few parasites are able to self-reproduce with their hosts. Of all these people, this Colombian guy not only had HIV, was infected with self-reproducing parasites, and died of both. That’s one bad stroke of luck.

I researched more on how worms could do more than just make kids stupid and found out that there are parasites known to cause cholangiocarcinoma, liver/bile duct cancer. They are called Clonorchis sinensis and Opisthorchis viverrini. According to The Tumorigenic Liver Fluke Opisthorchis viverrini -multiple Pathways to Cancer, published in 2012,  they are common in less developed Asian countries, where an estimate of 40 million people are infected by eating raw or uncooked fish that are already infected with these tiny parasites, liver flukes. These parasites can reside in their hosts’ bile duct for 10 years. Therefore, the activities of these parasites could wear away the lining of the bile duct and cause scarring. This can further cause bacterial infections that block bile duct, enlarged liver, and/or cancer. 

Figure 1.1

Adapted from

Honestly, I am not too worried about being infected with parasites, although they can cause death. This is because it seems like worms are common in developing countries. What I got out of these studies is not only that worms cause cancer but that we need to figure out ways to provide clean water to those in need.


Initial Blog Post

Good evening, my name is HeeJin Pak. I am an international student from Seoul, Korea, studying hospitality management. However, I spent majority of my life abroad, such as Amman, Jordan and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. I am taking this course to fulfill my science requirement. SC200 was honestly the only class I could take; however, it turns out to be a pleasant surprise to me. I have never blogged and am somewhat concerned. At the same time, I am excited to read what everyone else has to share with the class. Hearing and reading others’ interests are always informative and eye-opening.

The reason I am not majoring in science is because I absolutely love my major. I just returned from taking a year off of Penn State. This past year, I went back to Korea and started a Lego Café for children. It is where parents can drop off their children to run errands, grab coffee, or just relax. Also, we had children coming in because they simply enjoy playing with Lego. There were kids from five to twelve, calling me Ms. HeeJin. I would find them missing pieces and teach them a thing or two. Moms loved our café, because I would greet speaking English and continue to speak English to children if they asked. My café isn’t a fancy restaurant or a five-star hotel, but it is where I invested my energy, time and passion in. And it is where I will be after I graduate!

This is Dubai!

Here are a picture of Seoul and Amman!

Amman sc200

Downtown skyline of Seoul, South Korea with Seoul Tower.