Author Archives: Morgan Alexandria Parker

Is shopaholic a real disease?


For some people, resisting the new shoes or nice sweater on sale just is not possible. I know personally every time I start browsing the internet I end up on Forever21’s website with a cart full of clothing. A shopaholic is defined as “someone who shops compulsively and who may feel like they have no control over their behavior.” I have heard this time numerous times in my life time, although it is generally referred to in a joke matter. Is it possible to be an actual shopaholic?

Shopaholics are real and they come in all different types of forms, according to The different types are as followed:

  • Compulsive shoppers– they venture out to the stores when they’re feeling some sort emotional distress
  • Trophy seekers– they are after a very specific product and don’t stop until they find the perfect thing
  • The “Big Spender”– looking for expensive/flashy items
  • Bargain shoppers– buying things you don’t need just because there’s a sale
  • The shopper who buys things just to return them
  • Collectors
  1. Causes:

In an observational study done at Indiana University, they looked at how the brain functioned while certain people shopped. As shoppers boughtaaaaaaa more and more, their brain’s released endorphins and dopamine. While this could be by chance, it is believed that the feeling caused by the release of endorphins and dopamine is addictive. In other words, it is the way your brain feels while shopping that causes the addiction. According to Professor Ruth Engs, 10-15% of people have this feelings. According to Donald Black from the University of Iowa , “nearly two-thirds of all shopaholics struggle with depression or anxiety.” This made me question the difference between an anxiety disorder and a shopaholic and whether or not the two were the same thing. While bother show similar behavior, shopaholics display unique behaviors as follow:


  • Spending more money than they have
  • Angry or sad shopping
  • Spending habits are putting relationships at risk
  • Can’t control spending habits
  • Lying about how much they spent
  • Hiding evidence of shopping (bills or receipts)

Most people report the short term shopping addiction effects to be positive since the initial rush of a shopping spree is what triggers an addiction. The long term affects are what tends to be the problem when it comes to shopping problems. The severity of shopping problems can vary obviously. While some people just max out credit cards or spend their money, others end up taking second mortgages out on their house. No matter what the case is, it will definitely have an effect on not only your life, but the life others and relationships you hold with them. According to experts, such behavior can even lead to divorce. While this disease by not sound that serious, the Chicago Tribune found that many people with shopping problems actually suffer from withdrawal symptoms comparable to drug addicts. This includes feelings of irritability, anger, and depression. In a study done by MSN Money, they were looking for a drug that could treat those with shopping problems. While these researches have not found anything to treat the problem directly, ABC News did a report on a drug called memantine, which was developed by Annals of Clinical Psychiatry. This drug was originally designed to treat Alzheimer’s, but was thought to be able to help with the compulsive behavior shopaholics generally have.

The correlation between those with anxiety and shopping problems is strong. While forms of anxiety may not be proven as  the cause of a shopping addiction, there are studies showing they correlate. In an experimental study done with a controlled group, a huge improvement was seen those who were given an anti-anxiety medication versus those who were not when it came to spending habits.  All the effects of the drugs are still being analyzed, but a few side effects showed the following:

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia aaaa
  • Increased anxiety
  • Excess sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches


What’s the conclusion?

Being a shopaholic is a real disease. While it correlates strongly to those with anxiety disorders, there are distinct differences between the two. It is unknown whether or not anti-anxiety medication is the best treatment for this problem or not, but it a problem that is definitely underestimated.

Just because you enjoy a shopping spree every once in a while doesn’t necessarily mean you are a shopaholic, but if you find yourself experiencing out of control behavior, it may be a problem. If you take a look through your closet at there are multiple items that still have the tag on them, it may be time to get some help. The best advice for most shopaholics is to try new things, like running, movie watching, or crafting. Look for what triggers your shopping escapades and do NOT do that. Whether it is stress at work or an argument with a loved one, resist the urge. Do not go to the mall unless it is necessary and avoid going on the computer to online shop. Instead focus on your newly founded hobby and enjoy life with more money and less stress!



Are ghosts real?

Did your door peak open with no one on the other side pushing it? Or did you hear foot steps from upstairs, but you’re the only one home? No matter what it be, we have all had some rather creepy and unexplained things happen to us. Is it a ghost that causes these weird phenomanas?  Or is there more rational reasoning?

While the hunt for proof of ghosts is a large one, at the moment most ghost research is based off of assumptions. For example, researchers will assume something likghostse ghosts can show themselves in the form of dark shadows, and then try to prove that point. While that is one way to go about trying to prove something, it is not exactly the most scientific. Assuming theories about ghosts has not lead to any earth shattering breakthroughs. As we learned in class, the proper way to test a hypthosisies is by going through the scientific method. It is necessary to collect data and evidence, conduct tests, and use your results to draw a conclusion.

Below is a table from , which gives examples of different assumption based experiments that have been conducted throughout the years:

Use of mediums assumes that mediums can contact ghosts 
calling out assumes ghosts can hear and react 
baselines at start of vigil assumes instrumental readings at the start of a vigil are ‘normal’ 
taking orb photos assumes orbs are paranormal and associated with ghosts 
using Ouija, seances assumes ghosts can be contacted by these methods 
EMF meters to detect ghosts assumes ghosts can be detected by EMF meters 
dowsing for ghosts assumes ghosts can be dowsed
researching former inhabitants assumes ghosts are former inhabitants of haunted site 
vigils in graveyards assumes ghosts are more common in graveyards than elsewhere 
trying to record EVP assumes ghosts can be contacted with EVP 
using instruments to ask questions assumes ghosts can manipulate devices like torches, EMF meters, etc
holding vigils in the dark assumes ghosts are easier to detect in the dark

While these assumptions may or may not hold truth, it is not scientifically proven. Many methods people consider “evidence” like Ouija boards, orbs, and those who claim to be able to communicate dead, can be conducted at any point, which makes the conclusion open to a number of third variables that have not be considered. The problem is that these studies can be conducted in a haunted area, or a not haunted are, but the results can end up being exactly the same regardless of the scene. With that being said, many places have a history that would lead the average person to believe ghosts reside there, the readings in an EMF meter can be different in any given building, and a vigil could given off the same results no matter where you are. The research just simply is not scientific.

What’s the right approach?

The scientific method is an investigation based on evidence. To begin, there is no room to assume anything about ghosts within the study. You must consider all prior experiences a strange event, that could be connected to anything, not just ghosts.  Start off looking for witnesses, one who witnessed an unusual event unexpectedly. If you can find two or more people have the same stories, it is pretty reasonable to begin a study. After a site to conduct your study is established, it is time to explain the witnesses’s stories. Possible explanations for every scenario, not just ghost related ones, should be throughly tested. While you may want to believe the stories are connected to ghosts, is it possible they were all just a series of unconnected events. If a study is conducted based on evidence, you result is more likely to be accurate. Unlike assumption based studies, evidence based studies explain observations from witnesses that were not expecting any signs of a haunting. Going off that, it is more likely that the observers have more accurate and real answers, as they were not looking for anything to begin with.

Findings and ghost theories

Many people based their opinions on ghosts on their personal experience, rather than what’s important: scientific findings. Some people think ghosts are spirits that have died and have trouble “crossing” to the other side, and some think they are simply a configuration of the mind. They different types of ghosts range from the following:

While these are thought to be the different “types”, it can vary and more can be added to the list at any time. Many people believe in ghosts because what they see on TV or hear from other people. It is not hard evidence that leads them to believe in ghosts. Another thing that tripped a lot of ghosts believers up is Albert Einstein’s law that energy cannot be destroyed or created, which is why many people in ghosts. While this does sound reasonable, physics does not support this theory. After death, our energy is turned into heated. The animals who eat our bodies (bacteria, bugs, plants, etc) receive this energy. Our bodies do not transform into orbs that float around and show up later in people’s family photos  (or at least there is no proof of that).

With all this being said, there is no scientific evidence that ghosts exist. There are one of two options, and those are that ghosts simply do not exists, or that ghost hunters aren’t quite up to par yet. Ghost hunting is not the way to prove ghosts exists. Certainly it creates memories and funny stories to share with your family around the camp fire, but when it comes down to it, ghosts can only be explained by scientific experiments that are tested through the scientific method.


The truth behind waist training and healthy living

The latest Hollywood fad has been tying an extremely tight corset around your waist while working to shed some inches of body fat. This is known as waist training, and has made appearances on the social media websites of many known celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and her sister Khloe Kardashian. While the Hollywood celebs swear by this, I decided to look into some expert opinions and see how well this method really work for shedding some lbs off your mid section.

According to medical expert Mary Jane Minkin, who was a clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine, “Mwaist traineredically, it doesn’t make sense that that clinching your waist tightly will make it permanently smaller. Once you take the garment off, your body will return to its usual shape. It’s also uncomfortable, restricts your movements, and if you wear it really tight, it can even make it difficult to breathe and theoretically could cause rib damage.” This is a general consensus among experts. While it is thought that wearing the waister trainer makes you sweat more, the general rule is that 3,500 calories=1lb. With that being said, the amount you sweat from it will not cause your to lose so much weight you really see a difference.

So if waist training isn’t the answer, what is?

Want to lose weight and see results? The best way to do that is, you guessed it, eating healthy and working out.  While we all want a quick fad diet/form of exercise toplate help us lose weight quickly and keep it off, it just isn’t possible with changing your lifestyle. A well balanced diet with the right amount of complex carbs like bread, rice, and whole grain pasta, dairy/milk, lots of fruits and veggies, and protein are what is necessary to live a healthy life and see the results you want to see. Balance is essential in a healthy diet. It is important to eat the right amount of nutritious food in order to maintain a healthy body weight. The ideal plate is shown on the right, produced by Harvard’s Health Publications. In America, it is no secret that obesity is a problem. According to a national tally on, “More than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of adults are considered to be overweight or obese. More than one-third (35.7 percent) of adults are considered to be obese.” To me, this is alarming. It is not only in the United States either. According to, majority of adults are overweight/obese in England as well. It is bad enough that adults aren’t focused on living a healthy life, but children aren’t either. According to the same site, 33% of children from 6-19 are overweight and 17% of children are obese. That means 1 out of 3 children are overweight and 1 out of 6 children are obese.

Now you may be asking, what’s the big deal?

Being overweight can cause many healthy problems including the following:

In a study done at the University of Pittsburgh, 94 people that were 70+ years old were observed. Researchers wanted to see how the brains of people weight normal weights varied from those who were over weight. A healthy weight is determined from a BMI (Body Mass Index) Calculation. For example, if you are 5’6″ and 135 pounds, that is considered a healthy weight. If you are 5’10” and 190 lbs, you are considered overweight/unhealthy. This method is generally pretty accurate, with the exception of those with a large amount of muscle mass. The results of this study are startling. Those who were obese were said to have 8% less brain tissue than the healthy weight participants. Those who were overweight had 4% less brain tissue. “This represents ‘severe’ brain degeneration, that’s a big loss of tissue and it depletes your cognitive reserves, putting you at a much greater risk of Alzheimer’s and other diseases that attack the brain… But you can greatly reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s, if you can eat healthy and keepaaaaaaaaaa your weight under control,” says Dr. Paul Thompson, UCLA professor of neurology. These weren’t the only findings either. Many other areas of the brain such as the frontal and temporal lopes, anterior cingulate gyrus, hippocampus, and basal ganglia were effected. This means that those who were overweight had poorer memory, attention and focus, long-term memory, and coordination than those who weren’t. Not only that, but those who were of a healthy weight actually looked about 8 years younger than those who were overweight and 16 years younger than those who were obese. While there could be third variables such as smoking and sun exposure of their lifetime, there is certainly a correlation between brain function and appearance based those who are of a normal weight and those who are overweight/obese.

Changing your diet change be a tough thing to do. According to, only about 5% of people actually succeed in changing their habits. In a study called the cookie study, it proved just how hard it is to avoid foods completely. People were brought into a room a given puzzles to solve. In another group, they were asked to do the same thing with a plate of cookies in front of them that they could not eat. The results showed that the group with cookies in front of them did much worse than the other group, because people can only consciously focus on one thing at a time. While this could be due to third variables such as how hunger the participants were, it is likely that the cookies were a distraction and very hard for some people to resist. With that being said, trying to completely avoid unhealthy foods is just not possible, making it hard to change your eating habits.


While it may be difficult, it is very possible to live a healthier life. By joining the gym and eliminating as many unhealthy options from your life as possible, such as the bag of chips in your pantry or chocolate cake sitting on your kitchen counter, you can avoid the temptation and live a healthier lifestyle! The more you do to live a healthier, more positive life, the better results you will see.




gmos GMO’s stand for genetically modified organisms, which according to, defined as a broad group of plants, animals, and bacteria that are engineered for a wide variety of applications ranging from agricultural production to scientific research. GMO’s are seen everywhere now a days, and pose many significant health risks and hazards to the beings consuming them. The main problem around GMO’s are that they are often found in human food. According to the FDA website, the only food approved that contain GMO’s are plants. While every food that has been genetically modified is technically approved by the government, they are not considered safe or regulated by the FDA. The effects of consuming GMO’s range from bad nutrition, toxicity, allergens, and antibiotic resistance.

  • Allergens to food from GMO’s

5% of kids and 2% adults in America suffer from food allergies. Food allergies are extremely dangerous if a person consumers the food they are allergic to and this problem is a considered a health threat. According to definition of an allergic reaction is “An overreaction of the body’s natural defense system that helps fight infections (immune system). The immune system normally protects the body from viruses and bacteria by producing antibodies to fight them. In an allergic reaction, the immune system starts fighting substances that are usually harmless (such as dust mites, pollen, or a medicine) as though these substances were trying to attack the body. ” In genetically modified foods, the main protein that causes allergic reactions could cause an immune response in humans. It is not known if any allergic reactions have resulted from GMO’s, but it certainly a concern, causing certain companies to stop producing these genetically modified organisms. Anything could be caused by a third variable, such as an unknown allergen by the consumer or a bad reaction to something in the environment around the consumer. While this is true, there is a correlation between food allergens and GMO’s.

  • Toxicity Rising 

While most plants are considered to toxic to humans, it is rare that enough of these toxins are consumed to show any signs of a reaction. When GMO’s are put into food, humans end up consuming higher levels of the toxins from those plants. Many things could result from this. A metabolic pathway is defined as “a series of chemical reactions occurring within a cell. In a gmo2pathway, the initial chemical (metabolite) is modified by a sequence of chemical reactions. These reactions are catalyzed by enzymes, where the product of one enzyme acts as the substrate for the next.” This process could be disrupted by GMO’s, which would cause plant’s to make more toxins due to stress, which is extremely dangerous for human beings consuming this food.

  • Lack of Nutrition and Antibiotic Resistance 

Because certain GMO’s aren’t digestible for people, it is very possible that they could take away the nutritional value of many of the foods consumed by humans. Not only that, but it adds to the increasing epidemic with antibiotic resistance in the world. Throughout the last few years, antibiotics are no longer about to kill a lot of bacteria. This may not sound like a big deal, but it could mean that something as simple as strep throat could not be cured. The process of antibiotic resistance occurs by natural mutation. To test this theory, scientists have used these genes and injected them into plants. If the plant does not die from this injection, the plant is considered to be antibiotic resistant. This is scary, considering humans and the animals humans eat will possibility consume this plant, increasing their level of antibiotic resistance. We don’t exactly know what the risk of this is yet. Unfortunately, scientists have yet to watch bacteria with   antibiotic resistance in labs yet. The FDA has made several statements issuing this as a huge problem and “encourages biotechnologists to phase out the practice of using antibiotic resistance genes.”

  • Ignored by the government 

As I stated before, the government has not paid much attention to this problems and the safety regulations that are necessary when it comes to GMO’s. The FDA doesn’t require that labels include whether or not there are GMO’s in foods and most companies prefer not to market them. In my opinion, if a company wants to hide the fact that they are using genetically modified foods in their produces, that is enough to say it most likely is not the healthiest thing for humans. The government claims that they “do not have information showing genetically amodified foods were substantially different,” according to Although they claim this, the FDA was made aware by scientists that the health effects of GMO’s were complicated and very hard to predict. Secret memos actually filed a lawsuit to stress how strongly the scientists felt about the fact that GMO’s should not be used. As GMO’s are a fairly new concept, they long term effects of them are unknown, but are hopefully going to be studied over time. In class, we talked about how smoking caused lung cancer, but was not proven for a long time due to the numerous third variables. It is very possible that genetically modified food while cause the same sort of epidemic around the world. Unfortunately, only time can tell the real effects of GMO’s. Sadly, the man in charge of the FDA at the White house, Michael Taylor, instructed for the FDA to continue with creating genetically modified foods.

As the use of genetically modified foods increases throughout the world, it will cause more and more problems. The lack of attention this problem receives by the government is rather alarming. Antibiotic resistance, allergens, and toxicity levels in the body are only a few dangerous effects from GMO’s. Only 5% of shoppers are non-GMO focused consumers. With the proper attention, the world could be a safer and healthier place for consumers.

Weather and Mood

aaaaaaaaI don’t know about everyone else, but as it starts to get colder, I find myself becoming increasingly lazy and tired. The thought of going out on a Friday night is no longer as appealing as laying in my bed and binge watching a season of Grey’s Anatomy. Now obviously most people do not prefer to spend their time walking a few miles to their destination in the freezing cold, but I’m wondering, does the change in seasons actually effect your mood? 

Let’s take a look.

According to World of Psychology, weather does effect people’s mood. This is not due to positive mood effects, but rather due to an effect in a person’s negative mood. That With that being said, wind can actually make a depressed person feel even worse, while warm weather can improve someone feeling down in the dumps. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a depressive disorder where a persons depression is connected to a specific season.


The exact reason why someone suffers from SAD is unknown, but there is a correlation between the amount of light a person receives and their mood. Light can trigger reactions in our brains, which will automatically make us happier and more aware of our surroundings. With that being said, it’s not always the cold that makes a person depression, but rather the lack of sunlight that is seen in the winter time. Believe it or not, fertility problems, cancers, bad health, and depression have all been linked to lack of sun. People have been reported to experience sadness, fatigue, and hopelessness all from not getting enough sunlight.

Heat/excessive rain epa-tempgraph2

According to a study, correlation between human aggression and heat was found in 2013. In an observational study done, researchers found that 14% more problems and 4% more of interpersonal violence occurred between the group of people being tested when the temperature rose. Rain also caused similar behavior. Aggression grew in people in areas where it rained more. While this does show a correlation, as I stated it before, it does not mean that rain causes the higher aggression levels, but it sure is an interesting theory. While testing students in three different temperature rooms, it was found that students did a lot better in a room that was average temperature instead of hot. Based off of Marie Connolly’s interviews with women on days hot and rainy days, it was reported that “with more rain and higher temperatures statistically and substantively decreasing life satisfaction, consistent with the affect results.” But when it was the temperature decreased and it wasn’t raining, the same people said there life was better.

Suicides in spring/summer

A lot of people like the spring time for many reasons. With sunny skies and increasing temperatures, some people have a more hopeful, positive mood. For others, the exact opposite happens. Researchers found that a lot of outdoor employers committed suicide in the spring rather than the winter time, while indoor workers commit the highest number of suicides in the summer. “Studies from both the Norther and Southern hemisphere report a seasonal pattern for suicides. Thus, it seems that seasonality is observed with an increase in suicides for spring and early summer anseasonsd an analogous decrease during autumn and winter months, that is a constant, if not a universal behavior that affects both the Norther and Southern hemisphere.” This was finding of a meta-analysis studying the link between seasons and suicide in 2012. In another study in Sweden, from 1992-2003 the same pattern was discovered. A peak for suicides was found in the spring and summer months.

Connections to personality and weather

A study was done with a group 415 adults. Of those 415, half were said to not have been impacted by the change in weather. The rest of the participants concluded this according to

  • “Love Summer (17%) – “Happier, less fearful, and less angry on days with more sunshine and higher temperatures. More hours of precipitation was associated with less happiness and more anxiety and anger.”
  • Hate summer (27%) – “Less happy and more fearful and angry when the temperature and the percentage of sunshine were higher. With more hours of precipitation they tended to be happier and less fearful and angry.”
  • Hate rain (9%) – “Angrier and less happy on days with more precipitation. By comparison, they were more happy and fearful, but less angry, on days with more sunshine and higher temperatures.”
  • Unaffected by weather (48 percent) – Largely unimpacted by changes in the weather.”

To critique this study, it seems to me that those who have a more positive attitude in general (ie. “love summer” are automatically happier, while those who “hate” seasons seemed to be naturally angrier people. This study was conducted on teenagers as well, which means the results could vary on other age groups. While there is a correlation between weather and mood, the results of the study could change based on the person’s own personal preferences. Just because one person hates the rain, does not mean everyone has to.

Don’t let the weather effect your mood!

In a study done on just men, the response to a change in weather is a change in plans. If the plain was to go on a boat ride but it started raining, they decide to watch a movie or hang in the house for the day. When looking at women, they did not change their plans. Instead they dealt with the weather, therefore, their mood worsened. It seems like weather can have the ability to effects peoples’ mood, but varies throughout personality types and genders. So next time you are planing on going on a day trip to the beach and wake up to thunderstorms, maybe try changing your plans to something else like a trip to the museum. You may end up having an unexpected great day!


Black Holes

I have always been completely and totally fascinated by the universe. There is something that is not only extremely intriguing, but also terrifying about all that lies in space. It is baffling to me that there can be a region in space where the pulling force of gravity is so strong that light is not able to escape. This is defined as a black hole. There are so many questions about black holes that I decided to take a closer look into.

black holeWhat exactly is a black hole?  

Like I stated in the first paragraph, a lack hole is a part of space where gravity is so strong no light can escape from it. Black holes normally start at the end of a star’s life or a result of a star’s death. Black holes are due to matter being pressed into a small area. Believe it or not, they cannot be seen unless they are being viewed through something called a space telescope. These telescopes look for the age of a star/how close to death it is and behavior of the star. Black holes come in three different types: primordial, stellar, and supermassive. Primordial black holes are the smallest of black holes (as small as a single atom). Though they are tiny in size, they hold a very large mass. The average mass of a primordial black is one of a mountain. The next black hole is called stellar, which is the medium-sized one. According to , “the mass of a stellar black hole can bediagram up to 20 times greater than the mass of the sun and can fit inside a ball with a diameter of about 10 miles. Dozens of stellar mass black holes may exist within the Milky Way galaxy.” Last but not least, the supermassive black hole. You could combine 1 million suns, and it still wouldn’t compare to the mass of this black hole. According to scientists, there is a theory that there are supermassive holes at the center of every galaxy. Our very own galaxy has one, which is named after the zodiac symbol Sagittarius. The one in our solar system has a mass of 4 million suns, but fits into the diameter of our sun, which leads me to think about just has large and complicated our universe really is. If every galaxy has one at the center, does that mean nothing can exist close to the center of the galaxy due to the gravitational pull? After looking into in further, scientists concluded that black holes can actually measure the field strength near black hole and that magnetic force is comparable to black hole force, which makes in unlikely for anything to reside near it.

How do black holes come to be?

The universe is said to have started approximately 13.8 billion years ago. The explanation for the universe’s birth is called the Big Bang Theory. Very soon after the universe was created, it is believed that black holes were present in the smallest form (primordial black holes). After that stellar black holes were seen. Scientists claim stellar black holes are just collapsed stars. After stars collapse, a supernova shoots the stars off into space (AKA a shooting star). Isn’t that cool that next time you see a shooting star you’ll know where it comes from? Anyways, moving onto the supermassive black holes. It is believed that they form with their galaxy at the same time and match up with the size/mass of the galaxy they reside in.

How were they discovered? 

After reading that black holes were indeed invisible, it made me question how exactly they were discovered then? If you can’t see them, how do you know they are there? As stated before, a black hole has very a very strong gravity pull, sucking all the light into the center, which is why they are invisible. However, because of the strong gravity pull, the black hole is evident due to the effects on the stars and gases black hole2surrounding it. A star’s motion is the key factor in determining if a black hole is around it. Generally, if it is orbiting a point in space, there is a black hole there. High-energy light is produced by stars and black holes being close. Scientists can use specific instruments to see this light, which is another way to find black holes. There is something called a accretion disc, which is defined as “a black hole’s gravity that is strong enough to pull off the outer gases of the star and grow a disk around itself,” according to Nasa. This disk releases X-ray lights due to it’s high temperatures, which makes it possible for scientist’s telescopes to pick up on the light.  This is one of the many methods scientists use to pick up on black holes.

Where do black holes lead to? 

Something I always wonder was if you were to just jump into a black hole, where would you end up? If you were to be trapped in a black hole, there is no escaping. The fastest thing in our universe is light, and not even light can escape them. After looking into it, according to, you don’t go anywhere. Black holes are not a portal to some unknown world (at least as far as we know). You would simply be added to the black hole. To be quite frank and maybe a little bit morbid, a black hole experience would be far from a good one. Basically the gravitational pull in the hole would lead to disassembly of the body and a quick, but very painful death.  It is believed that it would take a very, very long time before you actually become a part of a black hole. To be even more morbid, a scientists came that, “Even photons reflecting off your newly shaped body would be stretched out to the point that you would become redder and redder, and eventually, just fade away.”

With all that being said, black holes are not a cool portal to another secret universe. They are extremely fierce gravitational pulls with that has the power to engulf anything that comes within it’s reach. So given the opportunity, I would not suggest jumping into a black hole unless you want to become apart of it.


Freshman 15: Myth??

freshman 15Starting a new chapter in your life can be stressful. As if the work load in college isn’t hard enough, we are now beginning to live on own, make our own decisions, and live life as an adult instead of a child being watched by your parents. This is a huge change in your life and it is very exciting. One of the biggest fears college students have is a well known myth known as the Freshman 15.

The Freshman 15 is known as the 15 pounds that new students gain after their first year at college. 15 pounds could be the difference between being healthy or overweight, so this is obviously an intimidating myth.

But lucky for us, the Freshman 15 is only a MYTH.

The average freshman only gains about 3 pounds a year opposed to fifteen. This is the same average as those who do not go to college gain as well.

1So why is this myth even a thing?? How did it come to be? 

Let’s start at its origins. Believe it or not, the myth has been created in many different countries. First Year Fatties, the Fresher Five, and in Australia, “Fresher Spread” all just names other countries call the “first year at college” weight gain.

Weight gain at the first year of college started off as being called the Freshman 10, and grew to 15 as Americans in general became much heavier. In 1981, Jodie Foster began her first year of college at Yale. The New York times did a full article following her time at college. The article consisted of comments like, “She appeared to have what is known here as the ‘freshman 10,’ the 10 pounds many freshmen gain in their first weeks.”
Another article by Seventeen Magazine was published later on in 1989. An article referenced the Freshman 15 for the first time ever. It’s strange that the name was just made up without any scientific proof that the first year at college causes a significant amount of weight gain. The only study done prior to the release of the Seventeen Magazine article being done was the 1985 Addictive Behavior. This study still only concluded that the average student gains 8.8 pounds within the first few weeks of being at school.
The biggest thing to be known to cause weight gain is the obvious: HEAVY DRINKING. 
If you find yourself drinking 4-7 drinks on average 3-4 nights a week, you are obviously consuming way more calories than before and are probably not focused too much on living a healthy life style. Believe it or not, studies have been done that found that 25% of studies actually lose weight in college rather than gain it. Generally, only about 10% of students gain 15+ pounds their freshman year.

Most people tend to gain weight as they get older as well. Compared to those who do not go to college, freshman on gain one half a pound more than them. With that being said, it is easier than most think to avoid gaining weight in college. There are a few simple tips to follow that will make avoiding weight gain in college a little bit easier:

  1. Select healthy choices from the dining hall– being at Penn State, the dining hall DOES have healthy choices. It is important to find them and decide on well balanced meal.
  2. Exercise– Get moving!! Go to the gym, walk/bike to class instead of the bus, or just go for a jog sometime throughout the day. Whatever it is, exercise is essential to living a healthy life style.
  3. Avoid social calories-– social calories are the times you eat and drink just because it is the social thing to do. If you are not hungry– DON’T EAT. If you don’t want to drink, DON’T.

There are many of ways to live a healthy life style in college so don’t stress to much over the Freshman 15. Through exercise and healthy choices, you will find yourself avoiding any possible weight gain.

Girls vs. Injuries

My junior year of high school, 7 girls on our soccer team and 3 girls on the volleyball team tore their ACLs. ACL stands for Anterior Cruciate Ligament, a ligament that keeps the knee stable. The entire team spent the entire summer going through training to make sure our ACLs were strong enough for the season to avoid the same experience happening to some of our players again. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” 46,000+ female athletes younger than 19 tore their ACLs in 2006. Not only that, but girls are about 5 times more likely to tear their ACLs than boys.”


To understand this, we first must understand the basics of how ACL injuries occur and what exactly they feel like. acl

ACLs are generally torn 1 of 5 ways:

  • Changing directions quickly
  • Stopping quickly
  • Slowing down pace
  • Landing incorrectly
  • Direct collusion


  • Pain and swelling
  • No full range of motion
  • Tenderness
  • Discomfort walking
  • Popping noise/knee gives out

The physical make up of boys vs. girls has a lot to do with the explanation. Women have a Narrower intercondylar notch and smaller ACLs. With them both being smaller, it makes women much more prone to injury. Women also have a slower reflex response time than men. Because of this, it would take longer for women to respond and stabilize the body to avoid injury. Women’s ligaments also tend to be more elastic than men’s, causing them to be more vulnerable to injury.

Another theory is women have have more elastic muscles than males. This means their muscles are more flexible than men’s. Because of this, women have a fuller range of motion than men, causing more chance of injury.

Scientists has before that women don’t respond as quickly as men do when stabilizing the body. Because of this, by the time a women stabilizes, it is too late, causing injury. When also tend to land flat footed, unlike men, who generally land on the balls of their feet after jumping, according to Dr. Boden. 

So how do you prevent this from happening to you?

There are many different precautions that can be taken to avoid this injury: 

  • Training your legs and core– research exercises to help strength your legs and core. A strong body will lead to less injuries.
  • Balance and speed training– Improve your balance and agility.
  • Jumping/Landing practice and training– Work on learning how to jump and land properly. It is less likely you will get hurt if you know how to move to avoid injuries.
  • Proper/supportive shoes– SHOES ARE IMPORTANT. Your feet/body should be supported at all times during activity to help avoid injuries.
  • ALWAYS warm up and stretch– Warming up before exercise is essential to avoiding injuries. It gives your muscles a chance to get warm after not moving for a while before getting thrown into a quick pace environment. Stretching afterwards gives your body a chance to cool down after activity.

Do what you can to avoid this injury and set yourself apart from the 46,000+ girls effected every year by ACL tears! Train hard, warm up, stretch, and invest in proper equipment!

Click here to watch a video on some ACL prevention exercises.



Why are you so ticklish?

Some of us want to kick people in the face when they so much as even touch our feet. The near thought of someone tickling them puts them in a panic, while others can be tickled to death and they don’t even flinch.

Why is this? Why are some people so ticklish and others aren’t? There are many theories behind this and we are going to dig a little deeper to see what we can find.

Some people respond to tickling with laughter. Not necessarily a happy laticklingughter, but more of a panic. Dr. Robert Shmerling suggests people learn from other people to laugh
while being tickled. It’s more of a social reaction that is learned than a natural one. This is known as social conditioning. I found this theory very interesting, considering both of my parents have no reaction to being tickled, while I am ready to kick someone in the face when they touch my feet.

Turns out sensitivity to touch has a lot to do with it as well. Some people have “tougher” skin than others. Therefore, they don’t feel as much of a sensation as others do while being tickled. Certain body parts like feet and stomaches are more vulnerable. It is thought that maybe if you learn to protect them as a child, you will be able to protect yourself later on in life. In the mean time, other scientists believe that the reason we are ticklish is because certain areas of the body were made to be more sensitive so they are placed correctly in the womb. Not only that, but their sensitivity emotionally as well. While some people ma feel it while being tickled, the way it makes people feel can vary. A lot of people feel extremely uncomfortable being touched by other people. Therefore it causes them to tense up instead of laughing.

According to Dr. Anthony Komaroff, Harvard Medical School, tickling bonds people. This would explain why mothers tickle their babies. The baby laughs when the mom tickles and smiles at it, therefore, kids try to bond over the same experience. This theory shows a correlation, as we talked about it class. Meaning, most babies who’s mothers tickle them, laugh in response. Is it the tickling that causes that, or is theere tickleajfli

So is tickling a controllable reflex? Or something we learn to react to as a child?

No one really knows for sure.

One fact that is particularly interesting is that you cannot tickle yourself. One theory is if you know it’s coming, it will not tickle.  In fact, some studies have shown that people laugh more being blindfolded and not knowing where/ when they’ll be tickled. This could be from a sense of panic that the body feels when it does not what is happening, causing you to laugh out of nervousness.

There isn’t a definite answer as to why some people are more ticklish than others, but personally, I think that it is a combination of the two. I believe we are born with a sensitivity to being tickled, but our social conditioning reinforces that idea. An interesting experiment to reinforce this idea is to have mothers tickle their babies without smiling at them and see how the babies react. Will they smile still? Will they find tickling funny in the future? Only time will tell.



Stress is defined as a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation, according to Merriam Webster.  No matter who you are, what you do, or where you live, if you are living on this planet right now, you most likely are stressed out on some level. Stress can be triggered by pretty much anything: work, family/friends, divorce, war, death, you name it. If there is one thing I know for sure, it is if you are a college student at Penn State right now, you are most definitely stressed out.

stressNow is the time of year where work load gets heavy. Exams and papers are due one after another and you feel like you don’t have a second of the day to relax. With the weight of school work, extra curricular activities, and jobs on your shoulders, you are in a deep hole that you won’t be able to dig yourself out of until Christmas break. The constant feeling of stress is something we are all pretty used to at this point. Most of us just ignore how we feel, knowing there is not time to feel bad for yourself, right?


Have you ever taken a step back and thought, “Wow, I need to drop all my responsibilities for a little bit and take a break. Feeling this stressed out all the time can’t be good for my body.”

Most people assume taking a break to do something they enjoy or relax is unrealistic and irresponsible. When it reality, it is more irresponsible to ignore what you body is telling you and not do what is the healthiest option for it.

According to WebMD, the body is designed to react to stress. Stress keeps us safe and alert. When it becomes dangerous is when people don’t take a break in between times of stress to relax. and the body becomes over-worked and overwhelmed. This is called distress.  Over 47% of adults are reported to have health problems related to stress. Ranging from anything to headaches, stomach pains, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes, and depression.

While there could obviously be third variables relating to these diseases, such as diet, lifestyle choices, and living conditions, stress has been proven to not only correlate with these diseases, but to be a major cause of them. In fact, according to WebMD, anywhere from 75%-90% of doctors visits are stress related.  Not only that, but over 50% of mental disorders have been linked back to times of stress that were never taken care of.

According to Google Scholar, college students, particularly freshman, are more prone to stress than the average American. This is due to the transition of living on your own and adjusting to a completely new environment. A study was done at Midwestern University on 100 college students. The study consisted of students checking off a list of 30 possible things that stressed them out, ranging from personal problems to environmental problems to find out what stressed them out the most.  It concluded 81% of stress comes from daily hassles and responsibilities. The researchers of this study suggested students take part in some sort of stress management course their first year of college, as a great number of students are stressed out.

What should you do? stress2

Researchers suggest the following:

  • Writing: Sometimes just getting out how you feel can make the world of difference. Take 10 minutes and write out about your thoughts and feelings.
  • Exercise: Exercise can release a lot of tension and aggression. Take an hour out of your day to do your favorite physical activity, such as running, walking, or swimming! See how much better you feel.
  • Meditation: Focusing on the present can make a world of difference. Try not to think about all your troubles and just be in the moment for a few minutes.
  • Talk: Sometimes writing isn’t enough and you need feed back on your problems and stressors. This is okay. Schedule a lunch with your best friend and try talking about how you feel. You never know, they could even be going through the same thing.

So take a step back and think about how you feel every day. Are you stressed out and overwhelmed all the time? Maybe it is time to take a quick break from that feeling and go do something you enjoy. Whether it be exercise, your favorite TV show, or a quick nap, you deserve it!

Social Media and Self Esteem

We live in an age where social media is huge. Whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Tumblr, chances are you are on some form of social media. It can be a great tool to expand your knowledge of the world in and connect with friends you have not seen in a while. That’s all great. Tsocial mediahe problem comes when people base their self worth on the amount of likes they get on an Instagram picture or retweets on Twitter.

So the question is:

Does social media effect our self esteem? 

According to a study done last year at University of Salford in the United Kingdom, out of 298 people, 50% of them reported that social media makes their life a lot worse. This is because people often find themselves looking on other people’s pages. When this happens, they compare themselves to their friends, focusing on all the things their friends have and they don’t. To see other people doing better than you can be harder and quite frankly, a little bit depressing. Not only looking at other people’s lives a problem with your own self esteem, but 25% of people report that they have had a problem with their significant others or in relationships because of social media. They reported that it made them lose trust for their partner, as email and directed messages make it easy to hide things from one another. Many people rely on the amount of likes they receive on a picture to determine their self worth. It is reported that the amount of likes people get can actually make or break some people’s day.

Believe it or not, most people literally can not be without their phones or laptops. According tot the same study, 45% of people get anxiety being away from their phone. Does this mean it’s being away from the phone that makes their life worse and not social media itself?


Anxiety specialist Nicky Lidbetter says, “These findings suggest that some may need to re-establish control over the technology they use,rather than being controlled by it.”

Social media not only imposes upon social activity, anxiety, and your overall all well being, but sleep as well. According to experts, about 75% of people sleep with their phones close enough to reach every night. Lack of sleep can lead to many problems such as headaches, anxiety, and decreased alertness. 

Do you think this is a problem for you? According to, thUnknownere are 7 signs to tell if it is:

  1. Social media gets in the way of your real world interactions
  2. Social media affects mood
  3. You can’t be alone
  4. Jealously of others
  5. You’re happy to see others fail
  6. Compare your success to other’s
  7. Addicted to attention

Tips to avoid this being a problem for YOU:

  1. Socialize– Develop real life conversations and relationships and approve upon social skills. This will not only higher your self esteem, but will give you a level of self worth outside of the world of social media.
  2. Exercise– Exercise is a get way to higher self esteem and stay away from the computer. It gives you something else to focus on and allows you to change your lifestyle.
  3. Be positive– commit yourself to being happy and living a mentally positive life.


With exams in full effect and schedules crazier than ever, sometimes it seems like there really is not a minute of the day to just sit down and study. With that being said, sleep generally
gets compromised for a few extra hours of studying. But hey, what’s a few hours of sleep if it means you will be able to retain more knowledge, right?

I want to take a closer look at the benefits of sleep and whether not pulling an all nighter is more or less beneficial than getting a good night’s sleep.sleep2

It is about 11:30 P.M. You just got done a long day of classes and work, but you have an exam at 8 AM. If you go to sleep now, you can get just the right amount of sleep for your exam, but you have yet to find the time to sit down and study. You swing by Starbucks on your way home and grab some coffee to keep you awake for the night. Seven hours later, after a night of slaving of the books, the sun starts to rise and you realize you have to go take your exam soon. Too bad you are so exhausted you can barely keep your eyes open anymore let alone take an hour and half long exam.

Let’s compare this situation to another one. Say you are going to run a marathon the next morning, but you have put off training for a while. Are you going to stay up and run the whole night to prepare yourself for the next morning? Probably not. And if even if you did, chances are you would not do well the next morning with tired muscles and a fatigued body. You mind if the same way. You can not work it the entire night and expect it to produce quality results on an exam the next morning.

Sleep is crucial to producing solid results on your exams. In class, we discussed with Andrew the difference between observational studies. and experimental studies. At Harvard, in 2001, an observational study showed that 89% of students don’t sleep well at night.  Another observational study was done by American College Health Association. They felt that 60% of students did not feel well rested without the proper amount of asleep. That means that almost half the amount of students at Harvard are used to feeling unrested.

Understanding how we learn: Learning is made up of three brain processes:

  1. Acquisition- (Receiving Info)
  2. Consolidation- (strengthening memory over a period of time to make it stable)
  3. Recall- (accessing store information)

The first two of the processes, acquisition and consolidation, show the most noticeable changes. This happens because generally a person can’t concentrate when they are tired, so they simply have troubling recalling anything. Many theories support the claim that no sleep=poor memory. Lack of sleep can effect your recollection of not only information, but other things you knew how to do before such as how you drive your car or ride a bike.

Many studies suggest a person retains the most information after studying right before bed, but sleep is still critical aftesleepr the study session. If you pull an all nighter, it is too hard to catch up on sleep, and you’ll find yourself being drowsy and tired for days until your body catches up on sleep.

It is proven that lack of sleep with lead to poorer test results. The best advice given is to NOT procrastinate and manage your time. But obviously that’s not always possible. In which case, researchers suggest aiming for 8 hours a night regardless and study your information before you go to sleep. Study sessions right before night’s worth of a recommended amount of sleep will lead to the best results.

How a Clean Room Can Change Your Life

We all have busy lives, there’s no doubt about that. Sometimes doing our laundry or making the bed after we wake up simply isn’t at the top of our priority lists. It’s easy to just close your door and forget about the mess you’ve left behind. But it’s not easy to forget about the germs and bacteria that could be collecting if you ignore it for too long.

Keeping a clean room is an achievable goal with many benefits. It doesn’t takeclean room much to keep your room  clean and orderly, just a little time and dedication.

Having a dirty room can affect your mind negatively, even if you aren’t aware of it. In class, we talked about correlation and causation. A messy room has been proven to both correlate to and cause depression in people, says psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter in Psychology Today. “Your bedroom is your personal space. It’s where you drift off, wake up and likely spend a lot of me time. Unlike a cluttered space, an uncluttered room won’t overstimulate your senses, distract you, make relaxation difficult or trigger guilt for letting things get out of control,” says Carter. I think we can all agree after a day spent cleaning we feel like we have our life in order. It’s a refreshing feeling when you are organized and is definitely good for your mind. According to Charles Duhigg’s, The Power of Habit, “making your bed every morning is directly correlated with higher levels of productivity and overall happiness.”

The benefits of a clean room don’t just lift your spirits, they help your health as well. How many of us suffer from allergies? The annoying runny noses, sneezing, and coughs when the seasons are changing? Well, believe it or not, a clean room can lead to improvement with your allergies. Dust mites, mold, dander, and. many other allergy aggravators often live in fabrics like carpeting, bed linens, curtains and pillows. What do all these things have in common? That’s right, they pretty much make up your bedroom. Washing your linens and cleaning these allergy promotors could significantly improve them.
And how stressful is it when you are running late and you have to search through piles of clothing and messes just to find a shirt. With an organized room, there’s a place for everything and everything’s in its place. You won’t find yourself running late anymore or not being able to find the paper you need to hand in for class. clean

If I told you making your bed in the morning would increase your self-esteem, would you do it? The feeling of accomplishment you get when you simply make your bed in the morning can be a big deal. It can make you feel productive and proud of yourself for starting your day off right. Being proud and productive will certainly increase one’s self esteem. According to Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, “making the bed in the morning was the number one most impactful change that people brought up repeatively.”

So if one quick cleaning sesh could improve your daily life so much everyday, why not do it? Not only could you kiss your pesky allergies goodbye, but you can lift your spirits, becoming a happy and healthier person. We could all use a little less stress in our busy, high pace lives. So next time you’re about to shut the door on your cluttered dorm room, remember the benefits of a clean room, turn around, and decide to make today different from all the others and clean your room.

Deja Vu

You are standing in an art museum, admiring a beautiful painting hanging on the blank, white wall. It’s a painting you have never seen before and you are standing in a museum you have never been to, but for some reason you can’t shake the feeling that this has happened before. You don’t know what it is, but you were here before. Or so you think.

It’s happened to most of us. In fact 70% of the population has reported having experienced this phenomena. The feeling that you’ve already experienced the current moment you are in. This feeling is called Deja Vu.

The term déjà vu is French and means “already seen.” This is a complex concept and there are many different theories behind it. things-to-do-in-lucid-dream

Swiss scholar Arthur Funkhouser suggests “that there are several “déjà experiences and in order to better study the phenomenon, the shade between the experiences need to be known.”

Déjà vu has been associated with temporal-lobe epilepsy. One theory is  déjà vu can occur prior to a temporal-lobe seizure. People who get these type of seizures experience déjà vu during seizure activity or in the moments between them. Several psychoanalysts think déjà vu is simply one wishing fulfillment. Others believe it is a confusion in the brain that causes the brain to mix up the past and present.

Another interesting theory is that it is a form of remembering past lives. Some believe we dismiss this and just look at them as coincidences. Researchers believe their significance is the feeling of familiarity. They believe it is the universe telling you that you are exactly where you should be, at the right time, with the right people. They believe the moments are signs that are telling you that you are on the right path.

One theory says that deja vu happens when two separate universes are in sync.

Theoretical physicist Dr. Micho Kaku explains the idea that multiple universes coexisting and come together to create the feeling of deja vu. “This theory is possible but doubtful. The idea of multiple universes is an accepted by many people. It is believe we are surrounded by them all the time and made up of different waves. These waves work on different frequencies, but we can only see and experience those that are on the same frequency as us.”

One last theory is the theory of memory in deja vu. This theory states that we remember things that happened to us from all points in time. For example, we remember things from movies, readings, and TV shows as our own personal memories. This could explain why when standing in a foreign country for the first time, looking at land we’ve never seen, we feel like we’ve already lived that moment.

There are so many theories that explain the odd phenomena known as deja vu. It could be anything from past lives, to seizures, to multiple universes, to memory. No matter what it is, when you are standing in front of a painting you’ve never seen in a museum you’ve never been in, but swear you’ve lived in that moment before, you are bound to be curious about what caused you to feel that way.

Is Homework A Waste of Time?

You just had what seemed like the longest day of your life. You walk into your room after a rough day of classes. You took two tests that you didn’t do so hot on and you are exhausted. All you want to do is relax for a little bit, but you can’t. Why? Because tomorrow you have 40 math problems due, a paper to write for your English class, and a speech outline due for your public speaking class.

aaaaAccording to USA Today, “college students spend an average of 17 hours a week doing homework, readings, and other assignments.” That’s about 2 and a half hours a day at least doing homework. That doesn’t seem like a whole lot, but take into account the amount of time students spend in class everyday as well. Personally, I spend about 3 hours in class everyday. This may not seem like a lot either, but on top of extra curricular activities, working, and other things students take on, it can be hard to find the balance.

So the question is, is all the homework really worth it? Is there any evidence that homework leads to a stronger academic student? Let’s take a look.

According to District Administration, there is a positive correlation between homework and better scores on tests. When interviewed, researcher Robert Tai said, “Homework should act as a place where students practice the skills they’ve learned in class. It shouldn’t be a situation where students spend many hours every night poring over something new.” A study was done by Harris Cooper in 2006 (director of Duke University’s Program in Education). He analyzed and combined the results many homework studies. He found that students who had homework performed better on class tests compared to those who did not.

On the other hand, there are many studies that suggest otherwise. Some studies conclude that homework does not impact achievement significantly. In fact, some believe it has the opposite effect.  One study from Penn State looked data from the late 1990s. They found that in countries that give more homework, student’s performance on the international test, Trends in Mathematics and Science Study, was lower than those with less homework. These professors and researchers do not call for no homework necessarily, but they do suggest making homework more about the quality than quantity

What can we take away from this? homework

Homework is helpful. Practice problems do in fact improve test grades and guide students in succeeding in the classroom. However, after about 90 minutes of homework, results will start to diminish. It’s important to find the happy-medium when it comes to homework and make sure students aren’t overloaded with busy work.

So next time you walk through your door after a stressful day of class, club meetings, and work, just remember that a few minutes hitting the book will benefit you in the long run. But after 90-120 minutes it may be time to put the pencil down, close your laptop, and call it a night.

Is Swimming the Best Exercise for Your Body?

Looking for a new way to be active and stay healthy? Have you tried everything from going on long walks, jogs around the neighborhood, or joining a sports team? Or maybe you’re recovering from an injury but still want to keep active? If the commitment of a team and the physical effects of running are too much for you, maybe it is time you try something new.

poolSwimming, though cannot be proven to be the best exercise for your body, is certainly a very beneficial exercise with many advantages and positive health effects. According to Bucknell University, water exercises come with psychological, social, and physical benefits.

Obviously not all forms of swimming are as beneficial as others. If you float around in the pool on your back to catch some rays of sun, you mostly like won’t see the same cardiovascular benefits as you would if you swim laps competitively. Fast pace swimming is a full body  workout and leads to stronger arms, legs, shoulders, back, and more. Swimming can be an intense cardiovascular workout that not only burns quite a few calories, but will also strengthen the lungs and improve breathing.  For those dealing with asthma, swimming has been proven to reduce the severity of asthma and improve the cardiovascular system.

Swimming is also very ideal for those dealing with injuries. Swimming is easy on the body and generally does not lead to additional injuries. Some people struggle with the pressure and impact running and other forms of exercise put on their knees. Not only does it provide physical relief, but mental as well. Swimming can help calm the nerves and provide an escape from all your troubles in the world for a few minutes. If this sounds like something you need, swimming may be the perfect alternative exercise.

Swimming generally does not help to increase bone strength or bulk up your muscles. In order to achieve these results, weight lifting will probably be necessary. Though it will not cause you to bulk up, swimming is a great cardiovascular exercise that can increase lung strength, muscle strength, and help clear the mind after a long day.

So next time you are walking out the door, dreading your daily run around the neighborhood, consider hopping in the pool in your backyard or at your local gym and swim some laps. You won’t be disappointed in your results.

Diet Soda vs. Regular Soda

Everyone has done it. Whether it be a special occasion or simply your beverage of choice, we have all went into the fridge and grabbed our favorite soda to drink with dinner or maybe to quench our thirst after a long day in the sun. It is no secret that soda isn’t the always the best beverage of Achoice, with a countless amount of sugar that could lead to weight gain and bad health, but some people can’t do with the bubbly beverage in hand everyday.

The solution to this seems simple. Why drink regular soda everyday with the countless amount of calories and sugar that could lead to weight gain when you can drink diet soda? Diet soda contains zero calories, no sugar, and seems like the perfect healthy alternative, right? Seems too good to be true.

While diet soda doesn’t contain any calories or natural sugars, it does contain artificial sweeteners that give the alternative beverage the delicious and sweet taste of regular soda. So, so what? If it doesn’t have any calories it has to be healthy, right?

The answer to this question is often debated by researchers, who have not been able to find a definite answer to the question bothering everyone: is diet soda a healthy alternative for regular soda?

Artificial sweeteners vary and are seen in a lot sweet foods and drinks. Well known examples of aaartificial sweeteners are Splenda, Equal, Sweet and Low, etc. While low in calories, artificial sweeteners have been proven to be loaded with chemicals and sugar substitutes that could be equally as detramental to your health.

A possible side effect from artificial sweetener over load is aspartame poisoning. Common signs of aspartame poisoning are sudden decreases in your ability to see and hear, stomach aches, skin problems, and chest pain. Not only does aspartame poisoning serve as a problem in itself, but researchers suggest it can also trigger other diseases. While this claim can not be scientifically proven, some researchers believe  ALSMS, Lupus, post-polio syndrome and Lyme Disease  can all be triggered by aspartame. Some studies also suggest that diet sodas can lead to even more weight gain than regular sodas.

So which is better: Diet soda or regular?

While researchers have put a lot of time and effort into answering this question, it is still unknown. Artificial sweeteners have not been around long enough to really know the long lasting effects. While there are many experiments working on this issue, it could be quiet some time before we really know the answer. For now, try sticking to the golden rule: moderation. If you want to treat yourself with your favorite bubbling beverage every once in a while, go for it. Just remember that too much of anything isn’t good for you and sometimes we may be best off grabbing a cold water instead.

First Post

Hi everyone! My name is Morgan Parker and I am freshman.

I am taking this course because I am not a science person at all, but need to fulfill the science gen ed. I heard this class is really fun and geared towards people who aren’t looking to major in science and thought it be a good fit for me.

I am currently undecided, but I am not planning to be a science major. I have never been good at science classes or particularly interested in it. I think certain areas of science are really cool, but I’m definitely more of a math person and want to major in finance or accounting.

Here’s a link to some cool science experiments.

10 Amazing Science Experiments

science blog