Author Archives: Madisen Lee Zaykowski

French Fries to Diesel Fuel- Why Choose Biodiesel?

New technologies are being invented every day, and now there is a technology that turns the vegetable oil used to fry food into a main ingredient for diesel fuel. Created by U.S. Department of Energy Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, this specific “biodiesel” is known to be a bit more eco-friendly than regular fuel as well!

UnknownSome main benefits of biodiesel:

  • Better for the environment- biodiesel burns cleaner than petroleum diesel. Made out of a renewable resource, biodiesel has lower emissions and burns more completely as well, expelling less pollution because it does not contain sulfur or aromatics. By using biodiesel, there is a decrease of carbon monoxide , hydrocarbons, and particulate matter released.

There was a study done by the U.S. Department of Energy that showed that, “the production and use of biodiesel resulted in a 78.5% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared to petroleum diesel. Additionally, biodiesel has a positive energy balance. For every unit of energy needed to produce a gallon of biodiesel 4.5 units of energy are gained.”

Science daily also informs us that, “The domestic production of biodiesel generates another critical advantage over petroleum diesel by decreasing USA’s dependence on foreign oil and strengthening the American economy.”

  • Better for our health- the less pollution released into the air, the better for the environment, but also your body, specifically your lungs
  • Benefitting the economy-
Our domestic economy has benefitted greatly from biodiesel because this industry has been able to create about 51,893 jobs and is predicted to increase that to 78,000 jobs by 2012. The Gross Domestic product in the United States has also increased a whopping $4.287 billion,.
  • Benefitting our Vehicles- the cetane number in a vehicle measures a fuel’s ignition delay, and the cetane number for biodiesel is greater than that of petroleum diesel fuel. This shows that biodiesel produces a “high level of combustion quality during compression ignition…In more than 50 million miles of in-field demonstrations, biodiesel showed similar fuel consumption, horsepower, torque, and haulage rates compared to conventional diesel fuel.” So, with all tis other benefits…why not just switch to biodiesel instead of petroleum?
  • The fuel smells better:)

The idea circulating about this new product right now is to not to completely replace petroleum diesel. Instead, biodiesel is meant to help create a balance of energy, and serve as an alternative. Petroleum will continue to be used for certain things, but if biodiesel is able to be used and is a beneficial solution, then we should be able to have an opportunity for a healthier and eco-friendly solution. This relatively new biodiesel idea will help contribute to a more efficient community by keeping the money within our country, and also helping our environment a little bit at a time.

Why Fly in a V-Formation?

Did you know that the scientific term for the V-formation that birds fly in is called echelons? And although the majority of the time you look I the sky and see the birds migrating in a V structure, they also fly in a J like shape as well too. Actually, studies of several species have shown that a J formation is actually more common than a V formation. Why is this?hi-birds-v-852-jpg

There are more than the standard reasons why this occurs, but a few reasons why are: to conserve energy-fluid dynamics, and the shapes help with communication between the birds- helping with their coordination.

For birds that are migrating a long distance without landing, conserving energy is essential. Energy is conserved between the birds because the wings of the birds in the front of the formations create upwash vortex fields. A blog on BU explains, “Conservation of energy occurs because instead of flying on the same relative plane, each bird is at a slightly lower altitude than the other. This difference allows the birds to take ‘advantage of the upwash vortex fields created by the wings of the birds in front.’” All of this construction results in lower air resistance on the birds and each bird behind the next feels a reduction of the drag of air resistance. As the bird in front becomes tired, it falls behind the others as a new bird takes on the leading position. These rotations of positions allows the entire flock of birds to comfortably and successfully fly longer distances without becoming to exhausted.

A man by the name of Henri Weimerskirch conducted an experiment in 2001 where he placed heart rate monitors on a group of pelicans. The flew as a flock in a V-formation and Weimerskirch “found that birds at the back of the V had slower heart rates than those in the front, and flapped less often.”

This formation also helps the birds to coordinate where their flock is going next. With each bird being behind the next, it reduces the chance of one bird becoming lost or crashing into another bird in his or her flock, while the bird ahead is the director. As all the birds watch the leading bird, they are able to successfully fly in one direction toward their destination.

Even humans have adopted this smart idea used by these animals. A group of researchers at Stanford have “devised a flight pattern for airliners that borrows from this same energy saving mechanism to increase fuel efficiency. The proposed arrangement is to have three airplanes, spaced about 4 miles behind each other, and would have an increase of fuel efficiency of about 12 percent.”


Drink More When You Drink

28curious-span-articleLarge            College is known as a time in your life where you learn a lot, decide what you want to do with the rest of your life, and where you can party. Drinking (even underage drinking) is an issue among the majority of college campus’s, and it is important to know how to drink appropriately, but also to know how your body reacts to alcohol consumption. Alcohol can cause you body to dehydrate, but why?

Each individual person has a different tolerance of alcohol that depends on gender, age, and weight. For example, a person who drinks more tends to have a greater tolerance to a larger amount of alcohol as opposed to someone who infrequently drinks, and woman and men have different tolerances as well. With that in mind, as a person drinks their body changes. Your body is very smart and has detectors that tell your body the amount of water you have in your body at a period of time. These detectors can tell when you don’t have enough water in your body and signal to your posterior pituitary gland that you are dehydrated. Your posterior pituitary gland then begins to release anti-diuretic hormones (ADH), which makes you stop urinating. Gastrolyte explains, “Firstly, alcohol decreases the body’s production of anti-diuretic hormone, which is used by the body to reabsorb water. With less anti-diuretic hormone available, your body loses more fluid than normal through increased urination. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can also cause vomiting, which depletes the body of fluids and can causer further dehydration.”

A study was conducted in 1950 served 5 shots of bourbon and researchers examined the amount of urine released by the participants. They found that the alcohol caused participants to produce an additional 120 milliliters of urine per alcohol drink. Back then, they did not realize why this occurred, but form the information known today in the above paragraph, this experiment proves that an excessive amount of alcohol makes your body do the opposite of what it should do when it is dehydrated.

How do you avoid this dehydration?

  1. Don’t drink as much.
  2. Drink a large glass of water before you start drinking alcohol.
  3. Drink a large glass of water before you go to bed.
  4. Drink water with the alcohol. For every alcoholic beverage, drink a glass of water.
  5. Keep in mind that electrolytes can substitute for a large glass of water, so drinking a beverage that has electrolytes is another idea.

Sulfate free Shampoo vs. Regular Shampoo

In one of my recent posts, I wrote about if a person should shampoo their hair every day or not. While researching that topic, some articles mentioned sulfate free shampoo, and how it can be beneficial for hair so I thought I would follow up and write a blog about sulfate shampoo.

loreal-hair-sulfate-freeTo understand better, sulfate is “a type od anionic detergent that’s found in various care products, including soaps, toothpaste, and, as mentioned,Madiz123 It is essentially what makes the shampoo thicker to lather in your hair, and helps remove the dirt, oils, and other substances from your hair. Although you may not notice the difference in your hair when using a sulfate-free shampoo, there is a difference. The sulfate is actually to blame for frizzy hair and strips hair that has been colored, which is why most salons recommend and sell sulfate-free products. So instead of this salt like substance, sulfate-free shampoos use a different type of detergent to remove the grime from your hair, like sodium lauryl sulfoacetate.

However, “The Health Site” contradicts the idea that sulfate-free shampoo is the better option and says, “Sulfates are responsible for the actual cleansing action. Sulfate-free shampoos will therefore not have that level of cleansing and this could lead to resultant dandruff and other associated problems. Thus, a small amount of sulfate is important. This way, the damage is minimized and cleansing is maintained. Remember, finally, any shampoo which lathers has to contain sulfates.”

So, is it worth it to spend the extra money and buy sulfate-free shampoo? Well, it is more of a personal preference once again. If you feel as though your hair is dry, frizzy, or the color of your dye is fading; try a sulfate free shampoo.

Money and Germs

In today’s world, paper dollar bills are used to pay for things that we buy. But, when you reach in your wallet for that dollar, do you realize what is on it and how many germs you may be exposing yourself to?            It certainly was not hard to find articles on this topic. Most people don’t comprehend the amount of bacteria and other scary substances that linger on money as it gets passed around. An article by CBS News writes, “The dollar bill is home to thousands of microbes — bacteria, fungi and pathogens that can cause such illnesses as skin infections, stomach ulcers and food poisoning, according to scientists.” This article talks about an unpublished study that examined 80 $1 bills that circulated in February and July 2013 in NYC done by researchers at New York University. This study found around 3,000 different types of bacteria on the dollar bills! It is states that, “They identified DNA from several different sources including E.Coli (food poisoning), bacillus cereus (food-borne illiness) staphylococcus aureus (skin infections) and about half was from human DNA.” If you think about how much the money is circulating, from bathrooms, to households, classrooms, airplanes, and much more, it is not surprising that they discovered live, viable bacteria present on the dollar bills. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic resistant bacteria, a bacteria that is transmitted by something as simple as money, was the cause of 23,000 deaths in 2013. Of all the bacteria found on a dollar bill, the most ample amount found is a bacterium that causes acne whereas some other bacteria was linked to “gastric ulcers, pneumonia, food poisoning and staph infections, the scientists said. Some carried genes responsible for antibiotic resistance.”

The transmission of these bacteria through money is almost inevitable due to its demand and what dollar bills are actually made of. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing explains that, “the average $1 bill is made of 75 percent cotton and 25 percent linen. It has an estimated lifespan of about 22 months.” The linen and cotton hold in the bacteria and other germs that people unintentionally leave as they pass around money.

As stated before, the transmission of all these gross substances on your dollar bills is inevitable, and there really is nothing that people can do about this problem…except maybe cleaning and using their personal credit cards more often! Maybe now when you’re out at the mall or grocery shopping, you’ll know to try and your hands away from places that bacteria can enter your body, like your eyes, nose and mouth!

To Fast or Not to Fast

Hungry person hand holding fork knife on food plate

Whether it’s religion or a personal preference, some people choose to fast. Fasting is when a person willingly abstains from a certain, or all food for a period of time. With religion aside, this blog post will be all about the benefits of fasting.

Life Hack is a website that wrote a helpful and informative article on this topic, specifically 10 benefits of fasting. Those 10 are:

  1. Weight loss- fasting can actually help you lose weight (obviously)! However, it is smart to know the difference between STARVING and fasting. Starving yourself and not eating anything at all is not healthy, whereas “intermittent fasting – fasting that is controlled within a set number of hours – allows the body to burn through fat cells more effectively than just regular dieting…allowing the body to use fat as it’s primary source of energy instead of sugar.”
  2. Along the lines of sugar, Fasting can help with improving insulin sensitivity- this allows your body to obtain carbohydrates (sugar) more effectively.
  3. Fasting can increase the speed of your metabolism- because you’re eating less, your digestive system has to digest less and your metabolism begins to kick in more to help burn calories. “Intermittent fasts can regulate your digestion and promote healthy bowel function, thus improving your metabolic function.”
  4. Expand your life span by fasting- this corresponds with the topic above, a healthier metabolism equals a healthier body.
  5. Hungry? Fasting can help- your body adjusts to eating less while managing to keep your body healthy. Where most people don’t truly experience severe hunger, fasting can regulate the hormones in your body that tell you when you’re actually hungry. This regulation of hormones cannot only help your body to know when you’re truly experiencing hunger, it can also make you feel fuller over time.
  6. Your regular eating habits improve- fasting helps with binge eating because as your body adjusts, you mentally adjust as well and your desire for food decreases. As you intermittent fast, you create a pattern for eating.
  7. Your brain function increases- life hack writes, “Fasting has shown to improve brain function, because it boosts the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF.) BDNF activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, and triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health. This protein also protects your brain cells from changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.”
  8. Along with your metabolism, fasting also helps your immune system- fasting “reduces free radical damage, regulates inflammatory conditions in the body and starves off cancer cell formation.”
  9. There is an intellectual advantage to fasting as well- because your body does not have to use energy to digest food, the energy is used in other ways throughout the body when fasting.
  10. Fasting=clearer skin- related to what was mentioned above, the energy previously used to digest is able to focus on other systems in your body like you skin, including your blemishes! Along with the energy side, your intake of toxins also decreases when eating less, ultimately improving your skin.

An experiment with intermittent fasting was conducted man by the name of John M Berardi with Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon and Nate Green. The first experiment was to weekely fast, where Berardi fasted for one day out of the week, and progressed past that. His schedule looked like this:

Monday Upper body strength exercise – 45 minutes Moderate calorie intake (2500 kcal)
Tuesday Treadmill sprints – 10 minutes Moderate calorie intake (2500 kcal)
Wednesday Upper body circuit exercise – 30 minutes Moderate calorie intake (2500 kcal)
Thursday Treadmill sprints – 10 minutes Moderate calorie intake (2500 kcal)
Friday Lower body strength exercise – 45 minutes Moderate calorie intake (2500 kcal)
Saturday 100 push-ups before each meal Eat whatever I want, stopping at 10 PM (5000 kcal)
Sunday No exercise Fast until Monday morning (0 kcal)

After 8 weeks of this plan, Berardi lost 12 pounds, on his fasting days he describes how he had much more time to do activities that he wanted to do throughout the day, and his mood ultimately improved in the end. He mentions how before his body adjusted, it was difficult for him to not eat as much and he was cranky about not being able to eat when he immediately wanted to. So, if you correctly fast and do not mistake starving yourself for fasting, your overall physical and mental health could ultimately improve!


I recently went to a hair salon here at Penn State to dye my hair and had a terrible experience that ended up destroying my hair. Before this incident, I always washed my hair every night when I showered. Now, my hair is too brittle and ruined to shampoo it every day…says the hair stylist. So, was it bad that I used to shampoo my hair that often? Or does it all depend on the person and their specific hair type?

test_im            Well surprisingly enough, WebMD is the first website I looked at for an answer. The article stated that, “Experts say there’s no single answer to how often people should shampoo. You may not need to do it as often as you think. It usually comes down to personal preference.” However, there are certain reasons as to why one should or should not wash their hair every day and the article continues to state, “The experts agree: Only a small group needs to shampoo daily, like those with very fine hair, someone who exercises a lot (and sweats), or someone living in very humid place, Goh says.” So really, it all comes down to what an individual’s hair is like.

Okay… then what is shampoo made of and how does someone determine how he or she should treat their hair? The Chemists Corner was helpful when answering these questions. Although the majority of shampoos are make up of 70-80% water, each shampoo has a different make up with different amounts of certain ingredients, but in general all are, “cleaning formulations made up primarily of chemicals called surfactants that have the ability to surround oily materials on surfaces and allow them to be rinsed away by water. While there are numerous types of shampoos the majority are low viscosity, solution formulas delivered from a plastic bottle. Often they are marketed towards different hair types or conditions.” Determining how much you shampoo is truly a preference, on how your hair feels and reacts to the amount of washing, but it is also important to take into consideration that healthy hair also includes natural oils from your body that should be left in your hair for period of time to allow growth and strength, and you will personally be able to feel and see when these oils become too profound. Again, each person produces a different amount of bodily oils so you must determine that individually.

I did not find any formal experiments testing how often a person should wash their hair because every person’s hair is different and all conclusions would be drastically different. However, in the comfort of your own home, you can always conduct your own experiment super easily to find out how your hair personally takes to shampoo. Pay attention to the ingredients in the shampoo you use, and record how much you use and how often you shampoo. Then, after using a certain shampoo for a certain amount of time you will be able to compare what your hair feels like and alter you shampoo usage and which shampoo you use according to your preference.



Stock Photo by Sean Locke

The idea to research about this topic was influenced by our class discussion about sugary drinks and if they can cause weight gain. Personally, I have always been told that sodas like Coca-Cola and Sprite are not good for you and can cause weight gain. I have also been informed that dark sodas cause a person’s acne to increase more than a clear soda. How much of that is true?

Medical Daily wrote a very informative article about how soda can negatively affect a person’s health. In medical terms, drinking soda, an extremely sugary drink, makes the body create insulin which is “a hormone produced in the pancreas by the islets of Langerhans that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood.” Insulin is created in response to an increase in sugar in the body because without this insulin, the result can be a form of diabetes. Medical Daily writes that when someone drinks soda, “Within just 20 minutes, blood sugar levels spike and the liver responds to the insulin by turning sugar into fat for storage…Soda’s connection to the obesity epidemic is so intertwined, Harvard researchers ( have calculated each additional soda consumed increases the risk of obesity 1.6 times.” Logically, consuming soda is not as filling as eating a solid food. The same Harvard researchers explain that, “A typical 20-ounce soda contains 15 to 18 teaspoons of sugar and upwards of 240 calories. A 64-ounce fountain cola drink could have up to 700 calories. People who drink this “liquid candy” do not feel as full as if they had eaten the same calories from solid food and do not compensate by eating less.” So, a person is bound to consume more calories when drinking a can of soda with their meal as apposed to drinking something healthier, like plain water. Therefore, with the amount of calories and fat being created due to the sugar within a soda, it can be concluded that soda does make an impact on a person’s weight gain.

After researching the rumors of dark sodas causing more acne than clear sodas, I discovered that the type of soda does not matter in regards to how a person’s acne may increase due to a can of soda. However, an article on the Fox News website comments that, “many dark colas contain advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. A recent study from the National Institutes of Health determined that AGEs react with proteins, lipids and nucleic acids in almost all skin cells, contributing to and potentially accelerating skin aging.” Overall though, soda actually does not DIRECTLY affect a person’s acne, but its contents and what they do to our body can. Again, the amount of sugar is an issue, and the caffeine as well influences acne. Just like in the subject of weight gain and how the amount of sugar your body takes in with a can of soda, insulin is produced to counteract that amount of sugar which, according to, clogs pores and can cause inflammation in the skin.

There are many ways to test these theories of if soft drinks cause weight gain and an increase in acne. Studies can be shown how soda can affect a person’s health medically, and experiments can also be conducted. Experimenters can create a test where they have a group of people, different ages and races, on the same sleep pattern, eating the same meals with a controlled amount of soda to see who’s acne may increase and if they gain any weight. Testing these theories can be difficult though because other factors may be altering the results. For example, everyone’s body is different and may react differently according to gender, age, race, and even genetics.

In conclusion, it is a fact that soda does contain high amounts of sugar. This amount of sugar is larger than necessary in one sitting for a person, and can affect how the body may react to such an intake of sugar, causing weight gain and increase of acne.

Does An Apple a Day Keep the Doctor Away?

Polish-apple-exports         We’ve all heard the saying, and said it ourselves. An apple a day keeps the doctor away…But what does that mean? Our doctors always tell us to eat healthy, and apples are part of a large food group; fruit. I personally wonder why apple was the food of choice for this particular saying.

This aphorism first began in 1866, and was coined in 1931. Today, tests show that an apple a day really did not keep the doctor away, but an apple a day does benefit a person’s health, and can decrease a person’s visit to other health care services. An article on medical news today talks about a study that was given where, “Of the 8,399 participants who answered a questionnaire to recall their dietary intakes, 9% (753) were apple eaters and the remainder, 7,646, were non-apple eaters. The apple eaters showed higher educational attainment, were more likely to be from a racial or ethnic minority, and were less likely to smoke. The data for the analysis came from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted during 2007-08 and 2009-10.” Although there are many other foods that have the ability to increase one’s health, apples are truly beneficial in a diet.

There are multiple qualities within the human body that just eating an apple can improve. The Best Health Magazine website was very helpful when researching how beneficial apples can be, listing 15 benefits! The 15 benefits include:

  • Making your teeth whiter, just by biting into an apple.
  • Avoiding Alzheimer’s- eating an apple can increase a persons levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which contribute to the aging of the brain.
  • Protecting against Parkinson’s Disease- the amount of antioxidants and high fiber helps decrease the amount of breakdown of the brain’s dopamine-producing nerve cells.
  • Where there is no cure for cancer, apples can help! The article states that, “the consumption of flavonol-rich  apples could help reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23 per cent. Researchers at Cornell University have identified several compounds—triterpenoids—in apple peel that have potent anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast. Their earlier research found that extracts from whole apples can reduce the number and size of mammary tumours in rats.”
  • Helps the risk of obtaining diabetes- apples are filled with soluble fibre which help with controlling blood sugar.
  • Reduces a person’s cholesterol- the soluble fibers in apples are also to thank for this.
  • Benefits heart health because of the lower cholesterol, dicreasns cholesterol-rich build up in the heart’s arteries.
  • Can prevent gallstones due to high fiber in apples.
  • All this fiber within apples can also decrease constipation, and even diarrhea.
  • Like the previous benefit, this high fiber can neutralize irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Help avoid hemorrhoids, another benefit of the fiber within apples.
  • On a diet? Eating an apple a day can control your weight because they fill you up while also tasting delicious due to the fiber as well!
  • The antioxidants found within apples can detoxify your liver.
  • The article mentions that, “Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin . Recent studies have found that quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune system, especially when you’re stressed out.
  • Last but not least, apples can decrease your chance of developing cataracts dut to the antioxidants.

04_Apples            So, an apple a day cannot completely keep the doctor away, but it can increase many qualities within your body!

Wine OR Liquor? (At Age 21)

When you’re of age, which will you drink? My mom is the type of woman to have a glass of wine at bed, where my dad’s favorite drink is a mimosa. There are rumors that wine is a better alcohol drink, even healthy for you! But how much of that is true…and why?


When going on a diet, one of the first aspects people watch and take into account are the amount of CALORIES food or drink have. Truthfully , wine has fewer calories in one serving size compared to the calories in a serving size of liquor. One average glass of wine, about five-ounces, has a rounded amount of 100 calories. Whereas, the average “shot” size, about 1.5 ounces, has about 105 calories. Such a small difference! In regards to this, the amount of calories you’re consuming to these types of alcohol all depends on a persons personal serving size consumption. Are you more of a person who drinks one glass of wine, or a mixed drink with a few shots of liquor in it?





According to Fox News Magazine, “Wine is considered a heart healthy drink — especially red wine, which contains resveratrol, the antioxidant compound linked to heart health benefits.  The American Heart Association recommends 1-2 four-ounce servings of wine per day.” I have heard many times throughout the years that a glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away! Or wait…maybe that was an apple. Either way, there have been studies conducted on this topic. Harvard researchers suggest, “Middle-aged women who drink alcohol in moderation have a better chance than nondrinkers of staying healthy as they age, especially if they spread out their consumption over most days of the week.” This particular statement refers to alcohol in general, but later in the CNN article, are more facts about wine and its actual benefits. This particular article talks about a study of around 14,000 women from 1976 to present day and how their drinking habits affected their health. This study showed that, “those who averaged roughly three to 15 alcoholic drinks per week in their late 50s had up to 28% higher odds of being free from chronic illness, physical disability, mental health problems, and cognitive decline at age 70, the study found.” However, when looking at this experiment we have to take into account that there could be a third factor in this experiment that made these woman “healthier.” Yet, my research all shows that a glass of wine can actually be a healthy option at the dinner table (if you’re 21 or older).



Throughout my research, it was difficult to find articles on just the consumption of hard alcohol, as apposed to alcohol in general. All websites referred to wine, and said that drinking alcohol in moderation can really increase ones health. However, an article on compares wine and liquor to how they can both boost heart health. This article states, “A study published in Circulation measured the relationship between heart health and booze. Researchers compared the effects of both red wine and vodka on the cardiovascular system. It turns out that both beverages increased the blood flow to the heart and raised HDL (the good kind of cholesterol), which can help prevent atherosclerosis and other problems with the arteries.” Although this is just one aspect, heart health, it shows that liquor in moderation can be healthy. However, excessive use of liquor, or any alcohol for that matter, can be extremely life threatening and even destroy a persons liver.


In conclusion, there have been experiments conducted that “have shown that moderate alcohol intake — roughly one drink a day for women, or two a day for men — can reduce inflammation, promote healthy cholesterol levels, improve insulin resistance, and help blood vessels function properly.” All alcohol consumption must be in moderation however. Also keep in mind that this blog is not to tell you all to start drinking for your health, or to tell others of age to drink more. It is a personal preference on which drink you enjoy better, but hopefully this blog will help your future self decide!

Pros and Cons of Getting the Flu Shot



Ever since I was little, I chose shots over medicine. Liquid medicine, in my eyes, was a personal version of hell at the age of three. So, I got all shots possible in one day. As I grew older, I continued to get the shots that my doctors, and mother, told me to get. However, is t a good idea for me to continue to get the flu shot?


Doctors tell you that your best way to avoid influenza is to get a shot, which contains antigens that will help create immunity to the virus. After during research on multiple websites, all asy the same pro to getting the flu shot; that it will prevent you from getting the H1N1 flu virus. Mayo Clinic writes, “Influenza is a respiratory infection that can cause serious complications, particularly to young children, older adults and people with certain medical conditions. Flu shots are the most effective way to prevent influenza and its complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age or older be vaccinated annually against influenza.”

Okay, so the shot can help humans to avoid getting sick BUT, does it truly make a difference? If I do get the shot and I am not susceptible to getting the flu, it will not negatively affect me. If I don’t get it, what will happen? I could still get the flu, getting the shot reduces the rick of only about 70%. So, what are some cons of the flu shot?


Even with the shot, there is still a 30% chance left that you could still get the flu. Here are some cons:

  • A simple con could be that people would have to get a shot, which is not the most pleasant thing to endure.
  • The vaccination contains thimerosal which, according to Immunization Action Coalition is, “a widely used preservative in biologic and medical products.” However, this preservative contains All these science words may not mean anything to the average person researching the flu shot, but an article regarding cons of the flu shot on Women’s Day states, “While there’s no conclusive evidence that thimerosal causes any major problems, some people have expressed concern about this ingredient (especially in regards to exposing kids to it). Flu vaccines without thimersosal are available, but only in limited quantities.”
  • There are ingredients within the shot that people may be allergic to.

In conclusion, it really is your personal preference on if you get the flu shot or not. Personally, I have gotten the flu either way, but I get the shot anyway and will continue to as well since there have not been any known tragic deaths or diseases caused by the shot.

Christians V. Dinosaurs

            Have you ever watched Jurassic Park, Dinosaurs, or maybe even The Land Before Time movies when you were a kid? I did! Ever since I was a little girl, I loved dinosaurs and even picked my brachiosaurus toy over my Barbie doll. I read all the books, and watched the movies. However, I went to a catholic high school where I was taught that God created man and everything around us…but what about dinosaurs? How do Christians explain the existence of dinosaurs?

The Beginning of Dinosaurs:

According to scientists today, about 230 million years ago, dinosaurs came into existence and were in existence for 135 million years until extinction. The cause for this extinction is unknown, along with how dinosaurs were truly created. A Live Science article states that, “Dinosaur fossils were first recognized in the 19th century,” and from there, the research on these creatures began.


In the Bible:

            Throughout my research on this topic, I have noticed that the existence of dinosaurs seems to be almost threatening to Christians. In one article I read, it stated how some groups of Christians don’t necessarily deny the existence of dinosaurs, but disagree with the date that scientist say they roamed the Earth. In the article, there is a section about an earth creationist, Dr. Kindell, and his views. The article says, “What Dr. Kindell and his collaborators argue is that as the Bible teaches the world is only 6,000 years old, dinosaurs must have been created by God and co-existed with human beings.”

            Specifically in the bible, there are creatures mentioned that could relate to dinosaurs. The Book of Job has stories where these creatures are mentioned, around the time of Adam and Eve.  A website called “What Christians Want to Know”  has a passage from the Book of Job where there are sounds described that could be from a dinosaur:

“15 ‘Look at Behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox.

16 What strength it has in its loins, what power in the muscles of its belly!

17 Its tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of its thighs are close-knit.

18 Its bones are tubes of bronze, its limbs like rods of iron.

19 It ranks first among the works of God, yet its Maker can approach it with his sword.

20 The hills bring it their produce, and all the wild animals play nearby.

21 Under the lotus plants it lies, hidden among the reeds in the marsh.

22 The lotuses conceal it in their shadow; the poplars by the stream surround it.

23 A raging river does not alarm it; it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth.

24 Can anyone capture it by the eyes, or trap it and pierce its nose?’”

However, there is no exact evidence that this creature described is a dinosaur, what if Job just saw an elephant? This story was set at the beginning of creation, so what Job saw could have been any new animal. The stories throughout the bible are not necessarily all consistent with the existence of dinosaurs and what scientists have discovered, but there are creatures in stories that could be compatible to dinosaurs, and there are events that could explain their disappearance, like the flood in Noah’s arc, or even disease.



There are many unanswered questions in the world today; Christian’s explanation of dinosaurs is one of them. This is a topic that can be merely someone’s opinion, and could be explained in many different ways. Did dinosaurs exist? I certainly believe so, and so do archaeologists and their discoveries. I still have many questions within my own faith, but will always believe in the existence of dinosaurs.


Dance, A Healthy Outlet

I have been a dancer for 15 years. My mom placed me in a “combo” dance class of tap and jazz at Marguerite’s Academy of Dance in Erie Pennsylvania at age three. At that time, I did not realize that dance would become such an impacting factor in my life. As I grew older, I become more serious with dancing and specific types of dance like ballet, jazz, lyrical, and hip-hop. I went to a performing arts high school where I was also able to take dance classes. With all this experience, I can personally say that there are many benefits of dancing in general, but there are also others that agree with my opinion.

According to, “There are numerous benefits to partaking in dance classes ranging from increasing your amount of daily exercise to making new friends with shared interests…. The benefit of dance is not only that of increased exercise, but the participation in an art form, which is routed in technique, and giving the opportunity for a creative outlet.” This specific website focuses on reasons one should participate in a dance class. This website talks about how dance classes can open up new opportunities for a person as well. For example, Berkeley Wellness says that, “Dance can also open new opportunities in terms of careers…There are numerous professions in dance from dancing, teaching, choreography or dance notation. In addition to this, people work in the dance industry as; community dance practitioners, promoters, producers, designers, publicists, technicians, physiotherapists, medical and alternative practitioners, therapists, writers and academics.” Along with opportunity benefits from dance classes, there are also many other benefits to dancing in general, even outside of class.

People around the world dance either professionally or just for fun. Whether it is dancing in your kitchen, at a school dance, or on a stage, there are legitimate health benefits to dancing. Dancing can truly improve balance, boost heart health, burn calories, and improve a person’s mood. Berkeley Wellness wrote an article about all these aspects called The Many Health Benefits of Dancing on November 20, 2014. The first aspect touched on is balance. Berkeley writes, “Many studies have found that dancing can improve balance…[shown] improvements in walking speed, and reaction time, as well as cognitive and fine motor performance…according to a review in the European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine in 2009, dancing may help people with Parkinson’s disease.” Like any other physical activity, dancing burns calories and increases a human’s heart rate, while also increasing heart health in general. Berkeley states that, “One study even found that in people with stable chronic heart failure, slow-fast waltzing improved heart and blood vessel function and overall quality of life.” Dancing can truly change a person’s health and quality of life.

woman-dancing-in-the-kitchen-270-thumb-270x270     One’s quality of life can depend on their mood, which dance can also improve. Have you ever seen someone dancing with a frown on their face? Hopefully not! While there are classical and formal forms of dance, like ballet, dance is always intended to be enjoyable. There are songs that even make people WANT to get up and dance! Dance is seen a form of therapy. Berkeley Wellness writes, “It has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, and stress and boost self-esteem, body image, coping ability, and overall sense of well-being, with the benefits lasting over time. In one study, it even helped control ‘emotional eating’ in obese women who eat as a response to stress.” On another website called,  Iris Bräuninger, Ph.D. , writes, “To see someone dance is to witness release, self-expression, and often, joy. For many of those reasons, many therapists who treat anxiety are finding that dance has the potential to act as an effective treatment for anxiety. Dance can be both an outlet for creativity and a method of accessing a peaceful state of mind.” Clearly, dance is an appealing form of therapy that can improve a person’s mental well being, while also helping people keep active and physically healthy.

As a dancer, I can attest to the studies that show that dancing improves physical health, along mental health. Dance to me, has a healing power where when I step into class, everything else that is happening in my life disappears. I know now from reading many articles about this subject, that this sensation does not just apply to myself. On another website called The Denver Post explains, “Participants in dance classes often find that the camaraderie and enjoyment they experience motivate them to continue staying active, thereby improving health longer term.” So, go dance! It will help you in the long run!


Initial Blog Post

Hi! My name is Madisen Zaykowski, but go I by Madi. I am from Erie PA and went to Mercyhurst Preparatory High School. I am a freshman here at PSU, currently in the Division of Undergraduate Studies with some ideas of what I wish to major in, specifically business and/or broadcasting.

I switched into this class two days after classes began. Originally, being in DUS, I was placed in Bio 141 because of a major I was maybe intending on pursuing earlier on in the year. However, I changed my mind and decided to focus more on a business or communications major. So, I went to a walk in advisor, who highly recommended this course for me. In the end, I chose this course because I believe it would be appropriate for me, along with interesting, especially because science is not necessarily my strongest subject.


Here is a picture of Lake Erie’s Peninsula I took one day on a run:


Here is a link to one of my favorite childhood songs <a href=””> Jack and Diane by John Mellencamp.</a>