Daily Archives: September 2, 2016

So get this, if someone wants to be a recognized saint by the Vatican one of the requirements is that they have to have two scientifically proven miracles.  Let me repeat that, two scientifically proven miracles… Now as much of an oxymoron that sounds like it actually holds a ton of weight.  But before I get into that I should probably explain why I’m writing about such an odd topic.  I mean, religion and science don’t really see eye to eye most of the time.  Yet, they rely heavily on each other.  It is exactly that reason that I am FACINATED by this conflict.

In class, when it was brought that Mother Teresa was in the process of becoming a saint, I wasn’t too excited about the conversation.  Then the class bursted out laughing when it was said that one of the criteria to become a saint was that you needed two documented miracles.  A little odd, granted but then everything was shaken up when he mentioned that they needed to be scientifically proven.  Me, being the Liberal Arts major who thinks very logically was at a stand still.  I had to hear it again to realize what was said but yes TWO scientifically proven miracles.  So I was perplexed and wanted to know more.  So here I am!

Alright ladies and gents so here’s the full list of requirements needed to become a saint for purpose sake but then we’ll focus in on the miracle.

So I’m going to focus on the last two requirements since those are the ones that are related to science (which is still weird to consider).  According to the church, miracles, or divine events that have no natural or scientific explanation, serve as proof that the person is in heaven and can intercede with God to change the ordinary course of events.  So although the church defines a miracle in part by saying it can’t be explained by science, they still rely on science to prove it.  How could that be?  As I continued to look into it, it wasn’t the science I was expecting.  What the vatican (or the Miracle Commission, no joke that’s what it’s called) uses isn’t science specifically but a scientific process of gathering information.  So how does this scientific process work?  Vatican scientists work to try to prove these miracles and if they are able to prove a miracle then it is then not a Vatican accepted miracle since science can explain it.  If they can not explain it then the miracle counts towards your requirement.

In conclusion, for two entities that differ on many issues, both religion and science still rely on each other.  And like we talked about in class, science tries to sort through options and find causation which is exactly what the committee is testing them to do.  Another connection is when we talked about the importance of science since our intuition is lousy.  I would say claiming miracles is pretty out there and might be considered lousy but that’s where the scientists come in and try to prove.  It’s not easy to become a saint.  So much so that religion uses science to filter out the true saints from the want to be’s. Maybe it’s a little obscure, but maybe its a miracle.

 

Work Cited

Uhrmacher, Kevin. “So You Want to Be Declared a Saint by Pope Francis? See Your Odds Here.” Washingtonpost.com. N.p., 14 Sept. 2015. Web. <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/09/14/so-you-want-to-be-declared-a-saint-by-pope-francis-see-your-odds-here/>.

Chopra, Deepak. “A Science of Miracles–No Longer Optional?” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 8 Oct. 2014. Web. 09 Sept. 2016. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/a-science-of-miraclesno-l_b_5939228.html>.

Ghose, Tia. “The Science of Miracles: How the Vatican Decides.”Livescience.com. N.p., 9 July 2013. Web. <http://www.livescience.com/38033-how-vatican-identifies-miracles.html>.

Shower No More..?

Let’s make this clear right from the get-go. My title is misleading. If you take anything out of this blog, please don’t let it be to never shower because that is not what I’m saying. However, before we start, take a second to think about how much you actually shower- and be honest. Once a day..twice a day..once a week? In our universe today, we like to live by the stigma that cleanliness is key. The idea that one must shower everyday has been plastered into our heads ever since one can remember. But how accurate is that though? Does one reallllyyyy have to shower everyday? Is that even healthy?

Let’s start with the pro’s of showering everyday:
1. You feel squeaky clean. Coming straight from a workout? Get a shower. Feeling gross from greasy fast-food? Get a shower. Don’t feel like doing homework? Get a shower. No-matter what the cause, shower’s are always there for you and will never fail to give you that squeaky clean feel.
2. You smell delightful. Whether you support Dove, Irish Spring, Suave, or Axe, you leave the shower smelling 10x more charming than you did going in.
3. You instantly become a rockstar. Take it from Fez, once the curtain closes, the concert begins.
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4. You get daily alone time (this becomes very essential, especially when you live in supplemental housing).

But where there are pro’s, there are con’s:
1. Bad for hair. As gross as it sounds, the greasy hair one gets after not washing it once or twice actually matters! The oils moisturize your hair and keep the scalp healthy. Not only does washing your hair too often dry it out and makes it vulnerable to dandruff, but it also ruins color. Let’s not forget about all of the minerals from the water having the ability to dull colors and cause a lost in richness. How rude.
2. Skin damaging. As discussed here, the barrier of ones skin is called the stratum corneum. This layer of hardened, dead skin cells are held together by lipids which help maintain moisture throughout the skin (Josh Clark). These fatty compounds secure the healthy cells that rest underneath. However, taking frequent showers and washing your body with washcloths and loofahs damages this layer. The combination of soap and hot water dissolves the fatty compounds. Also, scrubbing with either washcloths or loofahs quickly increases the damage. The destruction of the stratum corneum prevents moisture, therefore drying out the skin causing it to be irritated and cracked. As studied by Dr. Elaine Larson, cracked, dehydrated skin opens perforation for infection causing germs, bad bacteria, and diseases.
Long story short, the more you scrub your body, the more prone you become to breaking apart the stratum corneum. This damage causes lost of moisture and prevents the immune system-supporting bacteria from spreading. That being said, showering everyday gives less time to the skin to repair the breakage of the dead cells (outer layer), causing irritation and potential infections.
3. Time consuming. While they may be relaxing, think about all the time you spent standing up soaking in water. You could have be catching up on homework, running errands, or checking out a new series on Netflix. This may not be scientific, but it holds truth.
4. BILL$ BILL$ BILL$. The cost of your water bill skyrockets per shower-especially if you’re like me and take 20/30 minute showers. It only becomes worst showering more than once a day. Not only does your water bill double, but so does that amount of money you put out to buy shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. $$$
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Conclusion:
It is clear that the pros are overshadowed by the cons. Showering everyday is horrible for your skin and can cause health problems in the long-run. Nevertheless, even with that being said, I believe it just comes down to personal preference. Although I am now aware of the dangers that come along with showering frequently, I will still continue to shower seven times a week. However, if one is concerned with the hazards involve, there are ways to get away with not showering everyday. Check this out for ways to “look great even when you don’t shower”. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll take up a few of these life hacks.

Picture sources: 
Fez
Budget

Dogs=happiness

One of the most favorite times of my day is when I get to see other students walking to class with service dogs. I mean really, how can you look at this face and not become instantly happier? UnknownI have always been intrigued as to how dogs can make us feel so much better. Click here to learn more on how you can bring one of these guys into your life!

As I said in my initial blog post, when I was in high school I did an internship/class at the local hospital. Although I can not disclose specific information, a patient was in the ER with her dog. At first I was confused because the patient did not seem to have sort of physical handicap so why would a service dog be with her? My instructor told me that service dogs can be placed in homes of people who also suffer from mental disease such as depression or anxiety. I have grown up with dogs always in my household. My whole family loves golden retrievers and my heart swells just thinking about my dog Lucy. I feel so much empathy and compassion toward her, and even though we can’t talk to each other, I feel as if I know her like I know a person. Ever since I moved into my new apartment, Lucy gets so excited to see me when I come home and it brightens my whole day, erasing any bad things that had happened.

In a scientific manner, dogs have many health benefits. As I’m sure many of you with dogs at home have experienced, dogs make you happier in general. This is because of the rise in oxytocin levels in your brain when you see or touch your dog. This hormone is basically a happy hormone because it causes you to feel good the higher your levels are. So, therefore; the more interaction with your dog, the happier you become! This reminded me of the worm studies in kids because they both have a correlation. The more time spend with your dog, the more oxytocin is released, the happier you are. Not only can they help you feel happier just by looking at them or playing with them, they also encourage a healthy lifestyle without even knowing. Having a dog can increase your likelihood of exercising because you know your dog needs it, so going along with them benefits you both. Dogs can also help you find meaning in your life by making you happy to have a connection with them. They also provide constant companionship and in doing this, reduce your stress. Just petting your dog lowers blood pressure which in return, can lower your stress levels. It is also reported that dogs have a much better sense of smell than we do. In an amazing case, Marine, a black lab, detected cancer just by using smell. This amazed me. The more I read about how helpful our dogs our to our lives, the more I began to understand that I found most of this to be true to my relationship with Lucy.

Dogs are no doubt amazing creatures. From a personal standpoint, Lucy not only makes me happy but she has taught me empathy. How on earth could she have done this without talking to me? I don’t entirely know the answer to that but I know that if I am feeling down, she knows because she brings me one of her toys because she knows it makes her happy, so she thinks it will make me happy too. Of course, this is all just speculation, but it is something I firmly believe in.

Dogs make the world happier. Dogs make humans happier. Dogs make other dogs happier. Dogs make everything happier. 🙂

Photo: https://3blmedia.com/News/Puppy-Raisers-Needed-Susquehanna-Service-Dogs

q-TIPS

I think it goes without saying that Q-tips are quite possible one of the best inventions in the world. The feeling of sticking these little things in your ears cannot be beat- especially after a long day on the hot, sandy beach. But, have you ever looked at a box of q-tips? On each container, it points out the variety of uses such as First Aid, Baby Care, Electronics, and Household Use. Where does it say anything about ears? Look a little closer. If you turn the box to the side, you’ll see “WARNING: Do not insert swab into ear canal”. Wait, what? How is it that one of the main uses of Q-tips is under a warning label? Well, here’s why.

As explained by William H. Shapiro in this brief video, wax is essential for your body, specifically your ears. Two essential “duties” of earwax are to protect your body from insects crawling inside of you (ew, right?) and to also prevent fungus, bacteria, and viruses from forming. You’re not going to be known as a fun-guy if you have a ton of fungi in your ears.. if you know what I’m saying.

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Also, the potential for physical harm arises as well. If forced in too far, Q-tips will push back the wax in your ears and impact the ear canal. Harm to your ear canal can likely cause loss in hearing. If effected enough, one can even rapture their ear drum. Ouch. Not worth it if you ask me. However, what is one expected to do when they get that “itch” in their ear? Klein explains this cycle through a metaphor which we can all relate to. When one gets a mosquito bite, they feel obligated to scratch it. While there’s a sense of relief and pleasure throughout these few scratches, it just becomes more itchy! Now replace the mosquito bite with a Q-tip in your ear. Klein refers to this as a “vicious” cycle, and I find that hard to argue against.

Nevertheless, is the temporary pleasure worth the spiders, fungi, or a raptured ear drum? Don’t risk it. Make a Q-tip snowman instead.

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Picture sources:
Glasses Man
Qtip Snowman

Parents may be the source of student anxiety

Going into the third week of college, I am sure we can all say we miss our families, friends, homes, beds, cars, and whatever else fulfilled the comforts of our “normal” lives. Myself, missing home a little, recently decided to research why we miss the things we spend so much time with after we begin to spend a great deal of time a part, curious to see if there was any scientific reasoning behind this.

The best answer I kept coming across had to do with symptoms of possible separation anxiety. Separation anxiety can be defined as an extreme distress of physical or emotional detachment from close figures or environments, such as loved ones or home. Some cases are more extreme than others though, and some only develop symptoms rather than the disease in its entirety. The research done by Cade Hulbert in this link, suggests that having symptoms of separation anxiety is not uncommon in first year college students, but only found a small percentage of college students who experience the symptoms of separation anxiety.

Looking at this study you will find that college students from Boise State University, ages 18-60, participated in a survey to determine whether parent involvement during their child’s college experience had any correlation between the student’s separation anxiety while attending college. The survey asked questions regarding how overprotective the parents are, if being away from parents at college gives the student anxiety, and other questions concerning parenting style.

At the end of the research, Hulbert came to the conclusion that certain parenting styles may increase the likelihood of college students developing separation anxiety. In fact, it is seen that students with a more overprotective parenting style are more susceptible to anxiety than students who have a less overprotective parenting style. Symptoms of anxiety were also found more commonly in female students than male students due to parents being more susceptible to intrusiveness with daughters rather than sons. Also, data showed how freshman who did not feel any separation anxiety as a freshman, are more less likely to develop anxiety as a senior or in later years. (Hulbert 2010)

I think this research was good but could have been better in a few ways. First, there was a pretty wide range of ages included in this research. Personally, any age over 23 is irrelevant to the general title of a young adult/college student for this study in particular. Also, although the results of this study were clear, the percent value system in the research write up was hard to follow, hence why I did not include percentages in this blog. The study could have also, surveyed whether or not the student felt like their parent was putting pressure on them, whether the student had any feelings of anxiety prior to college, or if their parents were over protective when they were a child or not. Lastly, the study could have not only surveyed the students but the parents as well, to try and get a greater sense of where the anxiety is truly coming from. All these, in my opinion, could have lead to even more valid reasonings behind this research.

Overall, I think as a first year student, feelings of missing home and loved ones doesn’t mean you are diagnosed with separation anxiety. It just makes you realize how much those things meant to you now that you are without them. Missing these things is going to come natural because of our human nature, no matter the parenting style. The feeling of home is something everyone vales dearly and adapting to a new lifestyle and environment can take time. But what this study made me realize is, that for those who it may concern, it may not be the student who has the symptoms of separation anxiety, but the parents.

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Picture Source:

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Self Driving Cars

In our world today, technology is consistently evolving. Computers, cell phones, transportation, you name it, and I can bet that the technology that makes it up now is light years better then it was when the product was unveiled. Some of the most intriguing examples of these technological advancements can be found in today’s cars. Being a car fanatic myself, I have always enjoyed reading and informing myself about the ever improving technology being used by todays top manufacturers. The new innovations are very exciting, and will change the way people use transportation in the near future. The technology that I am describing is self-driving cars.

Years ago, only in ones wildest dreams could a self-driving car seem feasible. It was doubtful, at the time, that we would ever be able to develop the technology necessary to even think about a car that requires no human operation. Technology used in cars today are examples of amazing revolutions alone, yet a car that is able to drive by itself truly would be incredible. The first step in the development of this innovative technology can be credited to the engineers at Tesla. Tesla’s designers (geniuses) were able to establish and implement an auto pilot system into their model lineup that A member of the media test drives a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S car equipped with Autopilot in Palo Alto, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. Tesla Motors Inc. will begin rolling out the first version of its highly anticipated "autopilot" features to owners of its all-electric Model S sedan Thursday. Autopilot is a step toward the vision of autonomous or self-driving cars, and includes features like automatic lane changing and the ability of the Model S to parallel park for you. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Imagesallows drivers to take their hands off the wheel and relax as the car drives by itself. It uses a combination of ultrasonic sensors, radar, cameras, and data to automatically drive the car. You can see the system in use in a video found here. An article found here also describes the cars abilities to scan for a parking spot once you have arrived at your destination and park itself on your command. This system also uses a lane keeping system and computerized data to analyze traffic, change speeds, and execute lane changes depending on the traffic conditions being experienced. Tesla is continually testing and evolving this system to make it the best it can be. When an update is available, Tesla is able to send it directly to the cars computer just as you would receive a software update on your phone. While this example is not exactly a completely self-driving car, Tesla is the first to stick its foot in the door of a car that requires no human operation.

Google, yes the same google that you use for most of your internet searches, is next to the party.home-where Their cars, like the Tesla, use a combination of sensors and software in order to navigate whatever the streets have to throw at you. However, unlike the Tesla, Google’s car does not even feature a steering wheel or pedals. The interior, as described by Google, is “designed for riding, not for driving.” asset-version-f13d804524-app_6146While this car is just a prototype and has not hit the road just yet, it is still a super exciting advancement to keep in mind for years to come. The idea that a car in the near future will be stripped of its steering wheel and pedals is simply incredible. Not only will the use of self-driving cars make humans lives easier, it should also cut down on the amount of traffic accidents. If everyone has a self-driving car that has sensors to help it avoid collisions, then human error will no longer be the cause of so many accidents. You will suddenly be able to text all that you want when you’re in the car. No longer will you have to worry about sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. You will soon be able to sit back, and relax as your car handles whatever the road has to offer.

Will we ever get to Mars

I believe that one of the most interesting topics in all of Science involves the ability for life to be sustained on other planets. How cool would it be to say that you live on another planet other than Earth? Instead of moving to another town or state for a change of scenery, how about hopping on a spaceship and flying to Mars, or Jupiter, or Saturn. Obviously, some planets have a better ability to sustain life than others, and Mars sits atop of that list. So let’s gas up the space shuttle and go! Wait, not so fast. With the technology we have available at this current time, I realize this may not be attainable just yet. However, we have already completed the first step and discovered factors that point to Mars’ ability to sustain life. Evidence suggests that water once flowed on Mars and that is an essential part to supporting a life similar to the one lived here on Earth. Add in the facts that a magnetic field and key nutrients have been discovered there, life on Mars doesn’t sound as preposterous as it may have thirty or forty years ago. With our ever evolving technology, knowledge, and desire to explore, I don’t think that life on Mars or other planets is as far off as some think.

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Humans brains and knowledge in general, are always evolving and with that, technological advances are made as well. Spacecrafts now are much more well suited to withstand the rigors of our earth’s atmosphere and the hardships of our solar system then they were when men took their first trip to the moon in 1969. An article found here highlights some of the advancements being made by NASA in order to build a spacecraft capable of traveling to Mars by 2030. Another article found here details the series of advancements being made in the coming years leading up to 2030 to help assure that the mission to Mars goes as smooth as NASA wants. This is exciting stuff. The simple fact that NASA feels that they have the proper equipment to be able to send a man to Mars in less than 15 years is very interesting to me. Between now and the end of my lifetime, there is a possibility that there will be life on another planet. Maybe I won’t be able to enjoy it, but for future generations this can be a big thing to look forward to.

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The idea of life on another planet such as Mars can be related to many other instances in our life, such as the invention of the airplane or the invention of the computer. Innovators need to have a wide open mind to think of brilliant ideas like this. If you went back in time to early 1900s, there were only two men in all of America with the insight and intuition to think of a flying form of transportation. Not only was that invention amazing for the time, but the airplane is still a vital part of lives today. Basically, without the Wright brothers and their great idea, we wouldn’t have planes, which in turn means we wouldn’t have been able to get to the moon, which also means we wouldn’t be able to get to Mars. The same can be said about the computer, which is another instrument that is so vital in our everyday lives today. Computers play such a huge role in almost everything people do. Over 40% of the entire world takes advantage of internet access and that number is continually growing from the 1% back in 1995. I personally can’t live without my computer. It provides me with access to the internet to learn, allows me to take notes for class, as well as stay in touch with people. In fact, without a computer, I wouldn’t be able to write this blog post right now. The brilliant minds that invented things such as the airplane and the computer are the same minds that are working on sending people to Mars. I really hope that life is able to be sustained on Mars at some point throughout my lifetime because I feel that it would rank right up there with the invention of the computer and the airplane which were both invented before I was born.

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Does your dog understand you?

In today’s society, people’s love and affection for pets play a huge role in their happiness and wellbeing. While all pets are particularly lovable, there are more dog-owning households in America than any other pet. Like many people who love dogs, I also share a deep love for “man’s best friend.” When you are exposed to owning dogs, it is common to speak to them like humans as if they are another member of the family. I have always wondered if they can actually understand the commands you give them and the tone in which they are given. I realize that dogs are intensely smart and attentive creatures that are useful in many fields yet that question always seems to stick out in my mind. Because dogs play such a huge role in the family life of many, it would be nice to know if they actually do understand when you tell them “Let’s go for a walk,” “Lay down,” “Play dead,” or “Stop barking.”  If a dog can actually understand your commands, it opens up a world of possibilities where dogs can be used for anything we can command them to do.imrs.php

In my research of this topic, I first came across this article which goes into vast detail about how a dog’s brain works. Researchers were able to gather household, family dogs and train them to sit in a machine that measures brain activity. Then by using a combination of neutral and praise words, they were able to determine how the dog’s brains work. The results were astonishing. A dog’s brain uses a left and right hemisphere system that is identical to how the human brain is wired. The left side is used to process language whereas the right side is used to process tone. Another test used was saying a variety of praise words in a neutral tone and using neutral words in a praising tone. The dogs were able to identify the praise words in the brain’s “rewards center” when spoken in the neutral tone, yet didn’t respond to them. The similarities between a dog’s brain and a human’s brain are endless. Just like humans, dogs can decipher whether or not a positive word is spoken in a positive tone and then combine the idea of word and tone to completely understand the commands being given.

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This knowledge about how a dog’s brain works can also raise another question about a dog’s behavior. When their master is showing emotion, is their dog able to tell. Studies show that based on their facial expression and the sound of their voice, a dog can actually decipher how a human is feeling. An article that can be found here goes into greater detail about how dogs can sense how you are feeling, and whether or not humans can sense how a dog is feeling based on their facial expressions. In my own personal experience, I think that my dog can sense if I am happy or sad. Whenever I am in a happy or cheerful mood, my dog seems to be feeling the same way and is anxious for attention. However, when I am sad, my dog also seems to be able to sense it. A recent example is when I left for college last Friday. My mom was very upset about sending her oldest off and was in tears before we even left the house. My dog seemed to be able to sense this, walked over to my mom’s feet, and laid down. This instantly made my mom feel better because the dog is probably the favorite member in my household. He gets away with everything. This example in my life helps add to the credibility and my belief in the article above. Attached here is a picture of my dog.

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gymScience is seen everywhere throughout our daily life.  Whether it be in our hobbies, studies, health, or what we consume, it plays a major part and we would not be where we are today without the knowledge and understanding of science.

After thinking of topics to write this blog about I decided to look into the good and bad aspects of pre-workout and the main purpose of athletes using it.  Growing up with two typical “gym tan laundry brothers” I always watched them trying new powders and supplements and wondering if they are actually safe and healthy for your body. Marketing can be extremely persuasive on humans and sway their decision to buy something solely based on the appearance of the container and the benefits, rather than the importance of health and what it can do to a persons body. I often questioned the point and the side effects thinking it cannot be that good to put a powder in your drink to get a rush of energy just to burn off the calories shortly after. Some say it is the exact same thing as any caffeinated beverage like coffee just in a different form, others say it could be extremely damaging to your health down the road. For those who are unsure of what pre-workout is exactly, here is an article describing the process and point of using it. I, myself do not take pre-workout on a daily basis but there has been many times where I tried my brothers before working out with them. my lips would instantly begin to itch and tingle as one of the major side effects. There are many chemicals and ingredients formed together in these supplements and powders to give the quick energy booster it is known for. The ingredient creating my lips to tingle every time I try it is called Beta Alanine. Beta Alanine is an amino acid already in our bodies, but when it is combined with another amino acid called Histidine it forms muscular carnosine, which works to fight off the muscles that create discomfort, especially during a workout. One additive in a majority of pre workouts is Niacin. Niacin is a B vitamin most importantly used for fueling your body and reenergizing it. It also serves a purpose in lowering cholesterol levels and protects the body against heart diseases. There are many other chemicals and ingredients in pre workout but these two are examples of how it could be considered harmful from the uncommon chemicals used to create it, yet beneficial for the vitamins provided and aid to fulfill a good workout.

The chemicals in pre workout are questionable to athletes health but is so commonly used because of the instant energy rush it gives you, which is tremendously helpful for a workout especially if you are tired and do not want to be there after a long school or work day. Whether or not to use pre workout will forever be a controversy that some are totally for and some are against until it is proven that it is hazardous towards humans health.

 

 

 

Dogs Know

Have you ever heard the saying, “Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell”? The poet Emily Dickinson wrote this in her poem Hope Is the Thing with Feathers and even though I have never read the poem I think that this statement is true. Many times in my life my dog has been there during the best and worst of times and every time I would wonder, “how do they know that I how I am feeling right now?” Before I left for college, every day I hear someone in my family say “where’s Emily?” and my dog will find me. It never mattered what room I was in, she always found me. Since I have been in college my parents have told me that when they ask her where I am, she looks at them and does not move because she knows I am not there. Through this example, I have confidence in that dogs know what we are saying to them and respond to what they hear.

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It seems unlikely that dogs would know what we are saying but with a new study, scientists are in the beginning steps of determining more about dogs and how they interpret what we say. We can train dogs to listen for certain commands or their name but we cannot teach them our language and speak it back to us. However, in a way they do respond back to us through their body language and facial expressions. This shows that interactions with other beings does not always have to speech, it can be little things as well.

Stephen Huneck Gallery

Stephen Huneck Gallery

Here is an article explaining how scientists are experimenting with dogs to see how they can understand what we say and how we say it. Even though they are only in the first stages of the experiment, they are learning so much about how our communication with animals affects not only us but also them as well. In the article, it talks about how they use their left hemisphere to process meaningful words and they use their right hemisphere to figure out whether or not they are receiving praise. But the researchers previously found that the right hemisphere also processes non-emotional noises from both humans and dogs, making it so that their way of understanding us may not necessarily be in our words but in our tone of voice.

Here is an example of a video of a man and his dogs, and how they interact with each other. In the video, when the man comes home, his voice is very high pitch and happy making his dogs happy. As the video goes on his tone of voice and language changes to become lower and  more serious. When this happens the dogs walk away knowing that their owner is not happy with them. By changing the tone of his voice the dogs change their attitude and body language as well. They go from wagging their tails and almost grinning to no wagging and no grin.

Our language says a lot about us and how we use that language is up to us. But we have to keep in mind that it can affect whoever or whatever is around us. Even if it is not through speech, our actions towards animals and other beings create a language and understanding of it’s own.

Sources:

Here is where the picture of the black lab came from.

Here is where the brain came from.

Here is where the video is from.

Here is where the quote is from.

 

 

Link

Living in the 21st century, the discovery of the newest and most hip diet craze is just a normal everyday occurance. From juice cleances, to going gluten free, there are many different outlandish diets you hear about in todays world. One diet that is making its way to be a new craze is the paleo diet. Paleo is short for Paleolithic, referring to the prehistoric era called the stone age. The reason why this diet is called this is because it includes food which can only be hunted or gathered (basically what the cavemen ate). The diet alters the levels of certain food groups you eat. For example, you consume high amounts of proteins and low amounts of carbs. Also, you cut out all prossessed foods. This means things like sugar and refined grains, which have been linked to cause significant health issues, have been totally eliminated from your diet.

paleo-foods-paleo-food-list-paleo-diet-recipes

Sounds good right? A healthy natural diet with no processed foods that could block your arteries, and no fake sugars that could turn your liver white. So I ask, is the paleo diet worth a try? I read many articles about this mystical diet (here and here) trying to figure out whether if it is a safe and beneficial way of eating. So first, let me lay out the positives and negatives to decipher if this diet is worth a try.

So first, the positives. This diet cuts out all processed and manufactured foods. For example, the elimination of sugars and refined grains, which have been shown to lead to obesity and diabetes. This is very important because of all the chemicals and preservatives manufactures put in their food in todays world could lead to things like heart diesease. This diet also encourage the consumption of a verity of fruits and vegetables, leading the obtaining a multitude of different vitamins.

Now the negatives of this diet. Because the Paleo diet mostly consist of organic, whole some foods, which can be very expensive. This also possesses a challenge to obtain the food, making it hard to always have the specific foods needed on this diet. Also, with the high amounts of animal protein consumed with this diet, this could lead to the intake of fats and leading to cholesterol levels to rise. As well as cutting certain whole grains out of your diet like beans and sweet potatoes, which can be very beneficial to your health.

So the take away? Is it worth a shot? Well the answer is yes, and no. This diet is a great way to kick start weight loss and try new things, but in the long run this diet is not sustainable. The reason it is not sustainable because of the amounts of animal protein consumed in meals and the inconvenience for many 21st century people. Suggestions for those who do want to pursue this way of eating, is to not include animal protein in every single meal and snack you. As well as try not to limit yourself to only three meals a day, which can ultimately have bad effects on your metabolism.

Science is not the truth be told

In class on August 30, I gained a clearer understanding of science and why it’s not what we always thought it to be. Science is not a collection of true factual evidence and theories as we were taught as kids. In reality, science really isn’t the truth at all. There is no way to prove the “truth” behind this universe and how it operates. Things just happen to occur naturally and science was created to try to figure out and explain the puzzling aspects found both within and beyond our world. It is our human nature to have answers to things that puzzle us and science is a way to satisfy that curiosity until a better, more elaborate answer comes along. We either learn someone else’s theory or create our own for others to accept and learn, it’s a never ending cycle and this is why science changes over time.

There have been many incidents in history when a scientist publicizes their empirical theory, making others believe and invest in it, until a later discovery of that topic exploits and disproves it. Meaning, the science that had been followed for all that time had been wrong and, depending on the extremity of the theory, could have even caused damage in some form because of it.

Andrew talked briefly about scientific truths being disproved in class on August 30 and listed just a few examples throughout scientific history. Here is a list of scientific statements I came across (from here and here ) that we were probably told one point in our lives to be true: there’s a great amount of genetic differences between humans; only nine planets exist; earth is the only place where water exists; Pluto is a planet; ulcers are caused by stress; heavy drinking kills brain cells; microwave radiation causes cancer; shaving your hair makes it grow back thicker; lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice; a penny dropped from the empire state building can kill you; blood in your veins are blue; your fingers swell up from water; sunflowers follow the sun across the sky; gum takes 7 years to digest; bats are blind; dogs and cats see in shades of grey; a bulls anger is generated by the color red; seasons are caused by how close we are to the sun; you must drink eight cups of water a day; you must wait 30 minutes after eating to go swimming; a worm cut in half will grow into two worms; humans only have 5 senses; red heads are going extinct; frogs and toads give you warts; sugar makes kids hyper; cracking your knuckles will result in arthritis; stress causes high blood pressure; the earth is flat; animals can’t get cancer; all organic food is pesticide free.

And the list goes on. Although most of these are not completely life changing, it still proves the point that a good amount of scientific truths you’ve been told to believe earlier in your life have come to be disproven now. Were there any on the list that you believed to be factual until now? Let me know in the comment section!

pz-myers-on-science-and-truth

But let’s take a closer look at one of those disproven scientific truths listed above. Assuming we all remember the days when Pluto was talked about as a planet, I think we can all relate to this one scientific truth that changed before all of our eyes and ears, the death of Pluto the planet. I did more exploring of this topic and found two articles to helpful further my understanding of why Pluto is no longer a planet today. Click here and here to view them.

According to both Cain and Rincon, after many years predicting that astronomers would find another plant, Pluto was discovered in the Kuiper Belt in 1930. Measuring small at 2,400 km long (Cain 2015), Pluto was still happily announced to be the ninth member of the solar system family. The small size of Pluto did not worry astronomers at first. However, as time and more research went on, scientists realized that sooner than later, a similar icy object in the Kuiper Belt bigger than Pluto is bound to be discovered. And that is exactly what happened.

In 2005, Scientist Mike Brown and his team founded Eris. Eris was around 2,600 km long and 25% heavier in mass than Pluto. (Cain 2015) This discovery started to shake the 9 planet concept that had been put into place when Pluto was founded. If little Pluto could be considered as a part of our solar system, then why couldn’t Eris and all the other hundreds of similar icy objects orbiting the sun in the Kuiper Belt? According to both Cain and Rincon, this would increase our solar system from 9 to 12 planets, and then 12 planets to who knows how many. Allowing this to happen seemed too messy to accept and share to the world for the scientists and astronauts in the project. This is when they decided that the definition of planet must be changed. Ultimately, after a long voting process, Pluto was removed from our solar system, which definitely disappointed all the kids who had Pluto as their planet project in school.

pluto-not-a-planet

According to the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union, a planet must be in orbit around the sun, have sufficient energy to pull itself into a spherical shape, and have cleared the neighborhood of its orbit. Pluto and Eris break that last rule on the checklist, classifying them as dwarf planets, and bumping our solar system down to the 8 planets we have today.

Pluto

Just because a new scientific discovery is made, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to stay around forever. Something as simplistic as a change in definition could alternate the science we are already familiar with. Science is competitive and constantly trying to find improvements to existing experiments and theories, so we as humans, can become that much closer to finding the right answer to this big puzzling universe. Pluto is just one example we have witnessed change ourselves. There are many other examples, along with many more to come.

 

Picture Sources:

https://funnyatheists.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/pz-myers-on-science-and-truth.png

http://www.lovebigisland.com/hawaii-blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/pluto-not-a-planet.png

http://researchmaniacs.com/Images/Pluto.jpg

It rings, it vibrates, it beeps, it lights up, and it is something you carry on you all of the time. If you guessed cell phone, you are right. With a constantly changing world of technology, a cell phone has become a daily necessity. It stores important dates, contacts, and all of your valuable pictures and music. However, have you ever thought about the amount of times that you have put your phone up to your face, near your mouth, or in the palm of your hand? The answer to that is, probably too many times to count. Although cell phones seem like harmless devices, they are actually loaded with germs that can harm your health. In fact, it is estimated that there are about 25,000 germs per square inch of your phone (Boshell). I mean think about it, germs breed in nice warm places and your hand constantly warming your phone makes it an ideal location to reproduce.

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The germs found on a cell phone are not harmless either. Actually, the germs on your phone can cause skin infections and rashes like E Coli, Influenza, and MRSA. Those are some pretty nasty germs to be messing around with on a daily basis (Boshell). These germs also thrive on cellular devices because not many people ever take the time to disinfect their phone. It is usually just an item that we take everywhere with us and assume it is as clean as we are when in reality it is one of the dirtiest objects that we touch all day.

Interestingly enough, there is fascinating research that has been done to prove that things cleaner than a cell phone include: dog bowls, door knobs, and even toilet seats. Yes, that is right, toilet seats LINK. It is pretty nasty to think that something we sit on to get rid of waste is cleaner than something we use to take a picture or call a friend.

How many of you take your phone into the bathroom with you? The answer to that is probably a lot. I mean come on who doesn’t like to scroll through the daily twitter feed while sitting on their throne bright and early in the morning? Astonishingly enough, approximately 40% of people take their phone into the bathroom with them. According to a British Study, about 1 in 6 phones are contaminated with fecal matter (Schultz). DISGUSTING! Yet, we all continue to touch our phones like they are our most prized possession. It is pretty gruesome to think that the next time you touch your phone you could actually be touching poop!

Cell phones will still be constantly used despite all of the gross germs living on them, but we should try to disinfect our phones more in order to protect ourselves from the harmful diseases that these germs carry. We need to be aware of where we take our phones and what germs they might pick up from those places. Cell phones are very useful, but the contamination may not be worth it.

 

 

Works Cited

Boshell, Patrick. “Your Mobile Phone Is Dirtier Than You Think.” Your Mobile Phone Is Dirtier Than

                You Think. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Sept. 2016.

Schultz, Rachael. “4 Reasons Your Phone Is Teeming With Germs.” Shape Magazine. N.p., 19 Jan.

                2015. Web. 02 Sept. 2016.

Photo: http://brazoderm.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/germs-on-cell-phones2.png

Why are some humans more creative than others?

At a young age, it was a clear understanding that my mother was a very creative person. She had transformed our basement into the ultimate play area that any child would dream of having. The walls were painted telling the story of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robins alongside their friends as they explored the Hundred Acre Wood. Ordinary cabinets were turned into giant six foot dominos and bland white tables were painted to feel as if you were attending a fairy tea party. Every detail in our basement was perfected; yet, her ideas did not stop there, she had painted and added murals to give loving vibes throughout our home. When I began school it became evident that I too possessed the same creative characteristics that my mother has. I believed that everyone was just as creative as me and my mother yet, when I discovered that creativity didn’t come naturally to them I wondered why. Why are some humans more creative than others?

Steve Jobs once said “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they got something they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it they just saw something.” Creativity is more than just inherited genes, it is a way of thinking. Psychologists define creativity as divergent thinking, which is the ability to conclude answers and theories by using many different solutions. People who think divergently don’t use logical steps in order to reach an answer, but instead use spontaneous ideas to discover an answer.

Divergent thinking has been believed to be connected to understanding concepts in one’s long term memory. The picture below explains how one thought connected other thoughts in order to determine the answer. This process is called ‘semantic networking’. For example, the thought process of getting to the word sunsets all started from the word street. Obviously the two words are not at all connected, but by bouncing off other ideas, or words, a divergent thinker can go from street to sunset without any problems. By being able to connect concepts to achieve different answers proves that one is a divergent thinker.

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An experiment  conducted by Edward Neckaa and Teresa Hlawaczb was between 60 bankers and 60 artists to understand the difference between divergent, creative thinking and temperament, logical thinking. It was discovered that the artists did posses the temperament thinking just like the bankers; however, the artists scored much higher on the divergent thinking process than the artists did. According to Neckaa and Hlawaczb, the artists possessed characteristics such as briskness, endurance, and activity which shows that more creative people are able to understand and change their way of thinking quicker than temperament thinkers are. As the experiment concluded, the most interesting piece of evidence the scientists took away was that temperament thinking is at the base of all creativity. So, if the artists weren’t able to think logical like the bankers, they would not be able to think divergently.

So are you a divergent thinker?

Here is a link that can help you determine if you’re a more temperament or divergent thinker:

https://www.quotev.com/quiz/4214392/Are-you-a-convergent-or-divergent

Sources:

http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Semantic_network

http://www.complex.com/style/2014/05/science-explains-why-some-people-are-more-creative-than-others

http://www.inc.com/dylan-love/steve-jobs-most-inspiring-quotes.html?cid=readmore

 

 

The Science of Beauty

Human beings’ opinions vary in almost every aspect of life. When you think of “beautiful”, everyone has different traits that come to mind. Some people prefer blue eyes and blonde hair, some like of a darker complexion and some can appreciate a multitude of looks. While these differences in what is viewed as attractive can range, why are some people internationally accepted as beautiful? You’re going to have a hard time arguing that Cindy Crawford, Christie Brinkley, Miranda Kerr, Robert Redford or Zac Efron isn’t attractive. Here’s why:

The Ancient Greeks were one of the first civilizations to think about the standards of beauty and just exactly why some people were considered beautiful by all. It was Greek philosopher Plato who came up with certain proportions known at the time as the “golden proportions.” While most modern day civilizations no longer think of these specifics as the standard of beautiful, this sparked the idea that universally, some people are just more attractive. Nowadays, studies have shown that a symmetrical face is the number one feature that people find attractive. Babies are more likely to stare at a picture of a symmetric face as opposed to an asymmetric one. A study done at New Mexico State University found that when people rated faces on attractiveness on a scale from one to ten, all the faces rated “ten” were very symmetrical. This love for symmetry is not just baked into the biology of humans, but also animals. Swallows have been found to prefer mates with more symmetric tails and female zebra finches were found more likely to mate with other finches that have symmetrically colored leg rings.

perf faceAlexandre Bonadiman by Julio Torres

While this attraction to symmetry is pretty universal, there are very specific features in Western civilization that have been consistently seen as beautiful. Studies have shown that men often prefer a smaller nose and jaw, chiseled cheekbones and big eyes on women while women like heart shaped faces with a small chin, light skin and big lips. Both of these profiles matches what is known as a “baby face” and the reason people find these youthful faces attractive is because a baby face suggests a strong life partnership and promising reproductive success.

There are also things that are not necessarily physical that are thought of as attractive. Kindness and friendliness have been found to play a key role in what is seen at beautiful. A study done at college found that 70% of students thought a professor was attractive when he acted in a friendly way as opposed to only 30% that did when he was acting in a stand-offish way.

These standards of beauty have changed immensely throughout the years and will continue to change. Who knows what people will consider “beautiful” in 30 years!

Sources:

http://legacy.jyi.org/volumes/volume6/issue6/features/feng.html

Photos:

https://www.wemakespokanesmile.com/illness-adaptability-reflected-facial-symmetry/

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjXoaSljfHOAhXBJiYKHao1Ar8QjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Ftheperfecthumanface.blogspot.com%2F2013_12_15_archive.html&bvm=bv.131669213,d.eWE&psig=AFQjCNEm_zt1d5-u88R3EsyczZeY1_mniw&ust=1472920121588983