Daily Archives: September 6, 2016

Stopping to smell the roses can help reduce risk of Alzheimers

Have you ever smelled fresh food? Or a bouquet of flowers? Or cow manure? When you go out to eat with your parents and they order a bottle of wine, do they swish the wine around and smell it? This smelling —believe it or not— could lead to a lower risk in developing Alzheimers.

Why? Read on and find out.




Something to know before I continue, Dementia is a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities.

What is Alzheimers exactly? 

Alzheimers accounts for a majority of Dementia cases. Alzheimers affects the brain in such a way that your memory, thinking, and behavior are inhibited in a serious way. Scientists believe Alzheimer’s disease prevents parts of a cell’s factory from running well but, more research is needed because there are still holes that need to be filled before we move forward and try to cure Alzheimers. Essentially, as the damage spreads around the brain, the cells lose their ability to do what they were made to do and die. This is what causes parts of the brain to deteriorate because irreversible changes have been made in the cells.

Now back to how smelling can reduce risk of getting Alzheimers: 

What started as a study  investigating why wine experts can smell and taste some things that others can’t, turned into a potential breakthrough for Alzheimer’s disease. The director of wine at the Mandalay Resort, Harley Carbery, has been more exposed to using his sense of smell than the usual person. Seeing as Carbery’s profession is wine, he has constantly been relying on his taste and his smell. He has developed an incredible talent (that he gets paid for) and claims that he can detect almost any ingredient in a glass of wine.

Alzheimers usually sets in parts of the brain that we do not use as much. Dr. Sarah Banks, who works for the Cleveland Clinic Center for Brain Health, did brain scans on 13 “wine experts” and 13 “non-experts” as they smelled various scents of wines and fruits. She found that individual’s who were “wine experts” could detect scents that the “non-experts” could not. After conducting this study, Dr. Banks discovered parts of the “wine experts” brains were bigger, including areas susceptible to Alzheimer’s. “The fact that the parts of the brain that are bigger are those parts that are most vulnerable to diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s bodes pretty well for the wine experts,” said Dr. Banks, “It suggests that they might have some degree of protection.”

Using our sense of smell, with wine specifically, could be a major component in the future research for Alzheimers. It may also give us information about how to help prevent other diseases!


In conclusion, try not to rely on your vision as much. Use your other senses and maybe in the future we will find more breakthrough research we thought we would never discover. This potential breakthrough could let our grand kids or their grand kids remember us as we actually are and not what some disease has made us.



“Wine Experts Possible Key In Alzheimer’s Research Breakthrough.” CBS Miami. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Sept. 2016.


What makes people sexy?

Have you ever been out with your friends and you saw someone and just thought, “Dang, that is one attractive person”? Have you ever wondered why certain people just appear to be more attractive than others?

According to Telegraph.co.uk, a recent study shows that long distance runners appear to be more attractive because their levels of testosterone are higher making them appear more manly and also causing them to be more fertile. There are many biological traits that draw us to people and cause us to become attracted to them.

One of the most important traits is facial symmetry. Having a face that is symmetrical is appealing to prospective partners. It tells them that good genes will be found in this persons body. This characteristic is also linked to extroversion, congeniality, and faithfulness, which makes it easier for good looking people to find jobs and make friends.

Physical appearance is not the only thing that can cause a person to appear more attractive; personalities also play an important role. According to  StanleyDucharme.com, a study was conducted to see what men and women found out about each other. These men and women were generally attracted to people who seemed happier, more positive, and friendlier in their attitude towards others.

These things are what typically attract people to each other Is there anything that attracts you to another person? Is there anything that makes you un-attracted to another person? What personality traits are a turn on for you? turn off?

Image result for what makes people attracted to each other

Why does a British (or New Zealand) accent sound more intelligent?

My boyfriend’s father is a British national who lives in America because of his marriage. Every time he speaks, I find myself at full attention, hanging onto every word. For some reason his accent just exudes a sense of intelligence that I can’t get over. Because of this course, I’ve begun to wonder about my reaction to his accent. Is a British accent a subconscious societal indicator of intelligence? Is it just because he sounds different than I do? Or is there something more sinister at play, ie: an aftereffect of colonialism that leads me to believe that the British are superior to me? I consulted these articles in my research.

A study was performed that found that, although the results were not statistical significant, British-accented people ranked higher on intelligence and attractiveness levels than Americans, Latin Americans, and Middle Eastern people. The theory behind this study was that people with accents from historically strong nations (ie: England) would be ranked much higher than any of the other people. Because the results were not statistically significant, this claim is not actually supported. So, if science can’t help me… what next?

My next article, published by “The Conversation”, named a study done by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission which did find evidence that job recruiters did discriminate between different British accents. The “Queen’s English”, aka the most widely known iteration of the British accent despite only being spoken by 3% of the English population, was equated with a higher IQ and those people were offered jobs more frequently. On the opposite end of the spectrum are people with accents like Ozzie Osbourne, called the “Brummie accent”. The people who spoke with the dialect were ranked lower than “silence” in the study. So British people are considered to have a higher intelligence, but only if you’re from a certain group of British people. I suppose that makes sense, though, as different regional accents throughout the US have different connotations, for positive and/or negative.

My final article was also about the study done on different British accents, so I was left with no real conclusive answer to my question. The consensus from the Internet seemed to be that although there is not factual, statisical evidence that supports my claim, that perhaps just the worldwide perception of British accents leads us to believe we find them intelligent. Truly confounding. We might never know what leads us to percieve the subconscious things that we do. Until then, I will be continuing my search for an answer to this pressing question.

Photo Credit: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7329768.stm

Leaves or Latte’s?

Throughout the year the seasons transition and each is marked by the changing of weather, holidays, changes in nature, and even by seasonal drinks. But being in SC 200 today made me question that thought. We discussed both direct, and reverse correlations. So, is it the season that denotes the change? Or is it the change that denotes the season? Many times throughout the year we qualify the start of a season when there is a dramatic change in weather such as the first snow storm of winter, however this ideal is shifting.

In the case of Autumn, we have no longer declared the start of fall by the first leaf to drop, no, but rather the first Pumpkin Spice Latte sold. The day café’s and coffee shops begin to sell these sought after seasonal drinks, is the day society declares the start of Fall. In 2003 Starbucks introduced this fall favorite between September until mid-November, and the results were staggering. Having known their seasonal holiday drinks were successful, they decided to broaden their spectrum to cover fall flavors. Not expecting their limited offer to be as successful as it was, they chose to make it one of their seasonal drinks.

But why? What third entity has caused society to alter its view of the start of a season? There are multiple possible correlations that could explain why so many people buy this drink; the first and foremost being that it is a, “social Norm,” to enjoy these drinks. As the season progresses the number of latte’s purchased increases. This correlation could be a result of a change in climate or could very well be a result of the popular fad. What do you think? Is there a second entity influencing the purchase of these drinks?

Why do Females and Males Have Different Handwriting Styles?

If you were to ask a random person which gender had, “better” or “more legible” handwriting one could assume a typical answer would be females have more legible handwriting.  This is most likely due to the social stereotype that women have neater handwriting, and that men are quite sloppy when in that department.  But after thinking about people’s possible responses, I decided to research why people think this and to discover if there is empirical evidence backing the notion that females truly do have neater, or at least different handwriting than males.



I found an experiment performed by John R. Beech from the University of Leicester, in which participants had to guess the gender of the author of random writing questionnaires based upon their handwriting.  Overall 65.67% of the males handwriting was identified correctly, and 66.08% of the females handwriting was identified correctly.  So overall the majority of the time people could correctly indicate which gender was behind the handwriting.  Within the results of the experiment, multiple mechanisms were identified to explain why men hand women have different distinct handwriting styles.  One mechanism was the different physical features of men and women.  On average the males in the study had bigger hands than the females, and their second finger tends to be relatively shorter than their fourth finger possibly resulting in a different writing style.  Although, those who judged the handwriting were given criteria to rate the quality of writing on a scale of 1-5, and both genders writing on average resulted in a 3.  This highlights the fact that females handwriting is not necessarily neater than males, yet they can still be differentiated from each other.  Another mechanism is that women have prenatal hormones that cause for more “feminine” handwriting which on average contained more curved and bowed-out letters rather than straight.


After further research I discovered the pseudoscience of graphology.  Graphologists allegedly claim to be able to determine people’s entire situation based on patterns displayed in their handwriting.  Everything from the lines they use to how they space out paragraphs is taken into consideration by the graphologists.  From this the graphologists can determine a persons psychological state, current social situation, and even there current state of health.  For example, a graphologist may say someone who has large spaces between their words and letters may be an introvert and isolate themselves from other people because they are afraid of close proximity and intimacy.

Now obviously graphology is still a pseudoscience because no one can prove what graphologists say about handwriting is a direct result of the happenings in a persons life.  Some scientists such as Barry Beyerstein, a psychology professor and science skeptic at Simon Fraser University, claimed graphology was nothing more than, “sympathetic magic”.

Despite all of the skepticism behind the notions of graphology, I believe the underlying concept of graphology could relate to why people can tell the difference between a male and a females handwriting.  As I stated earlier stereotypically women are expected to be neater, cleaner, and have a feminine aspect to their daily lives.  Because of these notions, women may subconsciously apply this to their handwriting in order to satisfy this expectation.  Men on the other hand are thought to be more careless in regards to being neat, presentable etc. and it is socially acceptable for men to be this way.  Therefore subconsciously they do not apply this to their handwriting and therefore have a different style then women, who may feel they need to write a certain way.  This is all just a hypothesis based on the notions of graphology, but I feel this could be another mechanism as to why men and women have different handwriting.

Chivalry is Dead, Smartphones Are Alive and Well

Throughout high school, my friends and I seemed to always blame the fact that “chivalry is dead” on our generation. Specifically, we’d acknowledge the presence of smartphones contributing to how “romance” in the 21st century was essentially depleted. I can remember my friends obsessing over their contact with boys on apps like Instagram and Snapchat, picking apart and analyzing a like on a photo or an unreciprocated snap. I can also remember my mom being puzzled by the nature of relationships in my generation. She told me how in her day, if you liked someone, you called them, you set up a date, and it was as simple as that.

source : http://arvestblogprod.blob.core.windows.net/image/ARV_Social%20Media%20Icons.jpg

Now I’m not complaining, modern technology has given me the luxury as a student to have a vast amount of available knowledge at the tips of my fingers. I don’t have to go to the library and dig through an encyclopedia to find out when Abraham Lincoln became president, I can type it into google and get the answer in a matter of seconds. I am able to connect with friends in different parts of the country in the same amount of time, I can even video chat with my family when I am homesick with about as much effort as it takes me to blink. But, with all of this amazing technology of the modern world, it is inevitable that there will be negative effects on our society as well.

I recently read an article on the TIME Magazine website by Mandy Oaklander that analyzed the effects of smartphones on modern day relationships of college students. The study performed focused on the “dependency” people within these relationships had on their phones. The negative impacts smartphones had on these relationships were abundantly clear. Feelings of mistrust and uneasiness were blatant within relationships where one or both partners relied heavily on their devices. Many of the partners within the relationships studied felt as if their boyfriend or girlfriend focused more on their smartphones than they did on their relationships. The study reported that some partners even felt “jealous” of their loved one’s relationship and reliance on their devices. And although smartphones have improved much of everyday life to people around the world, researchers believe that there are more unforeseen negative psychological impacts as a result of their growing prevalence in society. The article reports that the growing obsession with smartphone usage worldwide is currently being studied to see possible effects it could have on self image and education.

source : http://s7.favim.com/orig/151102/apple-couples-cute-iphone-Favim.com-3514894.jpg

The study I read about in TIME Magazine made me consider the nature of the research done on the effects of smartphones on millennial relationships. The research could very well be a source of direct causation, more smartphone use equates to more distance, less time, and heavy mistrust between you and your partner. But, could it also be a case of reverse causation? Could unhealthy relationships simply lead to more dependence on smartphones as a sort of “escape route”? Or could there be the presence of a third variable, such as the fact that our values and the nature of relationships have changed as we have modernized and grown as a society. After all, the divorce rates as of 2008 have reached 40% (source), so are smartphones really to blame? Or could they be a contributing factor that aids in this particular statistic growing each day?

No matter what the correlation behind smartphones and failing relationships is, we must learn as a society to adapt and learn to balance the devices in our changing world and the relationships that we must sustain to lead a happy and social life.

Athletes – Are they the key to a successful U.S. Army?

Having played lacrosse for almost twelve years, I’ve acquired skills not only having to do with the sport, but skills that will stick with me throughout my entire life. Practicing for five hours a day, then having to go home and not only do homework, but make time for friends, family, and other activities as well, has taught me the valuable lesson of time management. Playing a game in an outdoor field in the middle of December with snow surrounding me from every corner while wearing only a racerback and a skirt has taught me not to complain when things get hard. Losing a game has taught me that you can’t always be number one, but that that’s okay, and shaking hands with our rivals after we won has taught me to stay humble and not make others feel bad when you’ve been successful.

According to this article, Lindsay Danilack, the fourth woman ever to be honored as First Captain at West Point, believes that there is a crucial relationship between an athletic background and being a soldier. But why?

The first reason is because athletes are mentally tough and are the most capable in successfully going through Army training. According to a study at The University of Queensland in St. Lucia, Australia, this proved to be true. 214 boys between the ages of 16 and 18 were separated into two groups, athletes and non-athletes, and were given a series of difficult, physically and mentally demanding tasks to complete. The study found that “both were observed for achievement goals and sport motivation, with the high mental toughness group favoring both mastery- and performance-approach goals and self-determined as well as extrinsic motivational tendencies” (NCBI.gov). The athletes were able to make it through the difficult tasks and even used techniques acquired while playing their sport to push themselves to keep going. When a General is yelling at a soldier, he expects them to take it, not run away in fear or disobey in anger. Athletes are conditioned to “take the heat” from their coaches, making them the perfect recruits and future cadets.


The second reason is because they have developed the ability to work well in teams. No matter what sport you play, whether it be soccer, lacrosse, basketball, etc, no one person can take on an entire team on their own. Sure, there are the more skilled players with more developed abilities than others, thats why titles like MVP and Best Offensive Player exist, but without the help of their teammates they could never achieve the great things that they have done in their athletic careers. The Army is looking for team players because these are proven to be the most intelligent people. A study was conducted by the Theoretical Ecology Research Group at the Trinity College of Dublin that created digital organisms that electronically evolved “brains” in order to succeed in social games where they could either cooperate or cheat on their opponent (NBC News). The study found that the digital organisms that cooperated and worked together with the others not only developed more complex brains, but also ended up reproducing and creating a new generation of evolved intelligence, while the organisms that “cheated” on their opponents ended up dying out. Although in the Army the soldiers that you are with are certainly not your opponents, this study definitely correlates the idea of team work and success; team work being something that athletes have been conditioned to live by through endless quotes like “There’s no i in team” their entire lives. This is incredibly crucial in the Army because help from others could be the difference between life and death in the battlefield.


The third reason is because they are the most likely to follow through with something, and even become a leader. According to goarmy.com, 59.5% of recruits fail out of Ranger School, with 36.5% dropping out in the first four days. Athletes, known to be extremely tenacious and hard working, have the drive to practice a task rigorously, relentlessly, and push through failure and obstacles until they succeed. Although physical strength plays a huge part in this, the mentality of the athlete is what makes them the Generals, the Sergeants, and the leaders. Harvard Business Review recently revealed that athletes are among the greatest percentage of people with developed abilities of synchrony. Synchrony is a neural process where the frequency and scale of brain waves of people become in sync (Harvard Business Review). This plays a huge role in the relationship between leaders and followers, and often times people will listen to the leaders that they feel “in sync” with, making the athletes the most approachable and respected. The Army needs these types of leaders, the athletes, for the operation to run smoothly. In business, happy employees mean a successfully run company. The same thing goes for the Army.

If you were a student athlete in high school, or even continued to be one here at Penn State, congratulations! Your drive to succeed, and your ability to manage time and work well in teams not only benefits your life in positive ways, but it could also pave your way to a possible leadership opportunity in the armed forces (if you ever decide to go down that path).



Sources –

  1. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/47011616/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/cyber-brain-game-suggests-teamwork-boosts-intelligence/#.V882VJMrLR0
  2. http://www.benning.army.mil/infantry/ARTB/
  3. https://hbr.org/2016/03/the-science-behind-how-leaders-connect-with-their-teams
  4. http://greatist.com/fitness/mental-training-tips-professional-athletes
  5. http://laxmagazine.com/mag/2014/14November/102714_special_ops_pipeline_links_lacrosse_and_elite_armed_forces

What is India’s Plumbing Problem Doing to the Environment?

I was speaking to my friend from Sri Lanka this weekend and I asked him how often he had been to India. He said that he has been several times, and I asked about the living conditions there. I had heard that indoor plumbing was a problem in India, and as a result many people urinated or defecated outdoors. After doing some internet research, I was blown away at the magnitude of this issue. According to an article by Public Radio International, approximately 60 percent of the country’s population, or 720 million people, still defecates outdoors! (Chatterjee). In 2016, the thought that the majority of one of the most populous countries in the world was still didn’t use indoor plumbing boggled my mind. Obviously, this kind of an issue has major impacts to the overall health of the Indian population. However, my curiosity led towards the direction of the environment. I wondered as to how 720 million people relieving themselves without indoor plumbing has affected the ecology of India. I was expecting the news to be bad, to my surprise it turns out as more efforts have been made to increase plumbing there have been many positive results for the environment.

Image result for indian people shitting

The problem comes from a general lack of infrastructure in India. While it has made its way up in terms of economic expansion and moving towards the first world and has been successful in becoming #4 in the world for manufacturing competitiveness (Prentice), India is still very much a developing country and as such it still has many motions to go in terms of getting to the infrastructure of a first world country. Unfortunately for the Indian people, they are very far behind in terms of getting to the first world’s level of plumbing due to there not being central disposal systems in place. It’s not a problem of widespread repairs that are necessary in each town/village’s waste disposal system, the problem is that there is no waste disposal system. Putting in waste disposal systems is no easy task, as they require large amounts of water that poor countries typically lack. So for now, the concept of India getting any waste treatment systems is too far into the future to do anything about now.

However, it seems that the introduction of ecologically-friendly toilets have started to make the living situation as well as the environment in India much better. Banka BioLoo, an Indian business enterprise that partners with a variety of different firms to further developmental well-being, has been introducing and installing “bioloos” into the Indian population. Bioloos are waterless toilets that go far beyond what the traditional porta-potty can do. They can be installed in any area, even onto moving trains, meaning that they can now access every corner in India’s borders, from densely populated urban areas to isolated villages (The Guardian).

The environmental benefit that comes from the introduction of the bioloos is the use of the human waste product for productive purposes. Now rather than a portion of fecal matter going into water sources, bioloos help properly gather feces to be used for manure and composting material. This can further the progress in agriculture and getting proper nutrition to the people of India. Bioloos leave behind clean, pathogen-free water that can also be used for agriculture, as well as clean drinking water for the population that would have otherwise been thrown away. In addition to that, methane can also be collected in order to be used as an alternative fuel source that burns much less carbon than traditional gasoline engines (The Guardian).

India’s lack of indoor plumbing is without a doubt a very bad health issue that has lead to negative effects in the well-being of the Indian population. However, using bioloos as opposed to traditional indoor has been providing positive effects on the environment in India, reducing the carbon footprint while simultaneously providing more ways to improve agriculture and potable water. In implementing the use of bioloos, India may have found a way to effectively tackle their human waste problem as well as improve the environment and economy. Maybe it won’t be so soon before their lives aren’t so crappy.


Chatterjee, Rhitu. “In India, Access To Toilets Remains A Huge Problem — Worst Of All For Women And Girls”. Public Radio International. N.p., 2016. Web. 6 Sept. 2016.

“Eco-Friendly Bio-Toilets Improving Health And Dignity For India’S Poor”. The Guardian. N.p., 2015. Web. 6 Sept. 2016.

Prentice, Courtney. “Effects Of India’s Poor Sanitation – The Borgen Project”. The Borgen Project. N.p., 2014. Web. 6 Sept. 2016.

Picture 1: https://www.rooshvforum.com/archive/index.php?thread-51373.html

Picture 2: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/oct/22/eco-friendly-bio-toilets-improving-health-and-dignity-for-indias-poor



Music is a big part of my life, and I’m sure this is the case for the majority of college students as well. I’m constantly listening to music, whether I’m walking to class, relaxing in my room, or working out at the gym. I love listening to all types of music, and I’m constantly on the hunt for new songs or albums to listen to. I’ll listen to any kind of music, and I love when I learn about new songs from my friends. Listening to music automatically helps me feel better. I’m fascinated by the effects that music has on the human brain. Time and time again, people have wondered: Does music make you smarter?

Scientists have been researching the effects of music on the brain for a long time. I’m interested in the discoveries they’ve made, because maybe all of the music I’ve been listening to will help me out in the long run. Before I even discuss what science has to say on the matter, I absolutely think that music can help make people smarter. I think music can help me to focus, and it helps to relieve stress. Overall, listening to music helps me become more relaxed and less tense.

Many professionals tend to agree with me. One study, which I learned about here, suggested that early exposure to music can lead to children having higher IQ scores and reading levels. I can definitely attest to this. When I was about eight years old, my mom enrolled me in music classes at my school. A few times a week, I would meet with my class, and we would play musical instruments and listen to different songs. It was during this same time that I was given a standardized reading test, because my mom feared that my reading level was not up to par with that of my peers. On this reading test, I got the same score that an average seventh grader would receive. Now this could be due to the fact that I was absolutely obsessed with reading the Harry Potter series around the same time, but it also could have had something to do with music.

music girl

Now, some people think that it’s the listening to and performing of music that can make you smarter, but others believe something else. According to this article, it’s the studying of music that actually increases brain functionality. The term ‘musical aptitude’ refers to one’s ability to learn music. It is very clear that not everyone has the same abilities when it comes to learning music. However, it has not been determined whether musical aptitude is something people are born with, or if it is something that is learned at an early age. I, for one, know that I am very musically inept. My music career started and ended with those music lessons I took when I was eight. This leads me to believe that musical aptitude is something that is learned throughout one’s lifetime. Some people have a knack for music, while others simply do not.

I know that I certainly won’t be the next Mozart, and I’m okay with that. However, I strongly believe that listening/performing music can help cognitive functions. From what I’ve gathered, nobody has found any negative impacts of music, only positive ones. Now, I know that listening to music won’t suddenly boost my GPA to a 4.0, but I do think that only good things can come from listening to music.

Why Dogs Are the Real MVP


Click image for source.

Approximately 78 million dogs are owned as pets in the United States – in about 54% of all American homes – according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), so I think this post is something many of us can relate to. Why do we keep dogs around, though? They can cost up to and above $1000 on the initial purchase if they aren’t rescues, they often get sick as puppies and require expensive treatment, and the continual upkeep of food, grooming, and miscellaneous supplies can create an average annual expense of around $1500, give or take a few hundred. So, what makes having a dog as a pet worth all of that extra spending? The simple answer, true nearly 100% of the time, is that we love them, so the money we spend on them doesn’t matter. They’re worth it. I, personally, share this belief and would give you the same answer if you asked me why my family chose to spend thousands of dollars to treat my dog’s cancer instead of putting him down. But, rather than leave it at that, I’d also like to give a more in-depth explanation as to why human society would be a much more depressing place without dogs by our side. (APPA 2015)

Canines Throughout History

Ancient Dog Statue

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Dogs have been companions to humans before any other animal; they became the first animal humans fed purposefully, even before livestock, in 13,000 BC Central Asia. The ancient breeds would scavenge around human campsites, looking for scraps. At first, they were shooed away, before humans realized that these animals helped reduce the more unwanted population of rats. Over time, people realized that dogs were actually multi-talented animals, with the ability to bark in warning when predators or unfriendly humans were near, track down small game for hunting, and eventually even help transport people by sled. The relationship between human and canine continued to grow as society civilized, and the capabilities of dogs are still being discovered to this day. (Carr 2016)

The perseverance, dedication, and loyalty of dogs can be seen through several examples in history. Since the origin of their domestication, dogs have played surprisingly significant roles in the development of human culture. Alexander the Great’s dog, Peritas, saved him from being stampeded by an elephant so he could go on to begin the journey toward Western civilization. A nameless Newfoundland saved Napoleon Bonaparte from drowning, so the man could live to then face his downfall at Waterloo later that year. Oddly enough, even Robert the Bruce’s dog, Donnchadh, who saved his master’s life in 1306, was instrumental in the road to the American revolution, as Robert the Bruce’s direct descendant’s actions would create the dissonance between the American colonists and England that leads to inciting the revolution. Without these dogs, two of whom protected their master’s and one of whom saved a stranger, history as we know it today would be completely different. (Bougerol 2007)

Continued Relevance Today
As long as the past relationship between humans and dogs has been, the future is just as promising and extensive, if not more-so. As science paves the way for new advances in every aspect of our world, it isn’t surprising to find that dogs will play a rather involved role in several areas, such as the “test tube” puppies that could help rekindle life for endangered species, dogs outfitted for military espionage, and drug trials on dogs that could extend their lifespans and, potentially, human lifespans as well. Although there are many studies I could talk about, I’d like to focus on one in general that I feel is extremely beneficial to our society: therapy dogs in nursing homes, hospitals, and schools.

The first dog connected to therapy was Jofi, Sigmund Freud’s Chow who he would take to his therapy sessions with his research subjects, as he believed Jofi helped create a calmer environment for the subjects. However, the person to whom the practice of using therapy dogs is attributed to is Elaine Smith. She created a program in 1976, in which she trained dogs to socialize with patients of hospitals and other institutions. Smith’s program, Therapy Dogs International (TDI), performed a study from 1996 to 1998 on the effect of therapy dogs on staff, residents, and patients in facilities which had the TDI program. They received 200 responses from their international survey, which involved various questions about the program’s effectiveness, the moods of the participants before and after, and the opinions of the staff. One such question inquired as to the benefits of the program. Ninety-two percent of responses recorded positive changes in mood as one of the benefits, followed closely by 86.5% reporting an increase in socialization and 86% reporting


Click image and go to pg. 13 for this chart.

an increase in verbalization. Even when staff were questioned about the effect of the therapy dog program on them, the responses were all positive, with the greatest response being that the dogs helped raise the staff’s morale during the visit. When asked if they would recommend the program to other facilities, the response was overwhelmingly affirmative, with most of the reasons for the recommendation being the increase in patient socialization and the elevated faculty mood. (TDI 1998)

In the future, I hope more grade schools consider utilizing a therapy dogs program for their students, as young children are more volatile to negative emotions and issues with socialization. As a college student, I know that having the chance to play with a dog before having to take an exam would help my stress immensely. Even being around untrained dogs can feel therapeutic, and is one of the many reasons people love their pets and consider them family.  For people that are interested in helping dogs that don’t have homes, consider visiting the ASPCA website to donate or find more information, or check out Penn State’s very own therapy dog training group, Roar for More.

Can My Cats Understand Me?

I have always been an animal lover, and I will approach any dog or cat on the street as if it were my own (which doesn’t turn out to always be the best idea). My family has adopted their fair share of cats throughout the time that I have been around, adding up to around six. Ever since I can remember, I have held one-sided conversations with my cats, and kind of always assumed that they were listening without even considering the fact that they didn’t understand me.


Recently I came upon a video by New Scientist while progressing through my daily scrolls of social media that reopened my case of whether or not my cats can understand what I say. The video explains that recent MRI scans are showing that dogs have the ability to learn and interpret language. Dogs, just like humans, process the meaning of words with the left hemisphere of their brains, and the tone of the words with the right hemisphere. Additionally, the scans prove that dogs understand more than just the upbeat inflection of a person’s voice. In order to stimulate the reward center in their brain, both the actual word and the sound of your voice paired with the word need to be positive (New Scientist). I looked further into dogs’ communication skills and found that a majority of dogs have the ability to comprehend 165 words, potentially more if the dogs are trained. There is even an exceptionally trained dog who learned 200 words, proving the strong correlation between training and a dog’s ability to understand language (Animal Planet). I figured that if dogs are as advanced as some toddlers, my cats must be able to understand what I say on some level.

I ventured out to see if anyone else had felt a similar connection with their cats. I found an article by a Wildlife Rehabilitation and Cat Physiology and Behavior Specialist who advocated cats’ skills in responding to sound as oppose to the actual words being spoken. Unlike dogs, if a meaningless word or negative word is exclaimed to a cat, they will react as if I had said “come get your food” in the same manner.

So why are dogs more advanced in language than cats? Scientists performed the Strange Situation Classification (SSC) on a group of dogs to understand their attachment to their owners (BTG Studios). The SSC is a study that was performed in 1969 by Mary Ainsworth to examine the attachment levels of children (Simply Psychology). The original study can be found here, but in summary of the article, children ages twelve to eighteen months were observed in contact with their mother, in contact with their mother and a stranger, in contact with the stranger alone, alone, in contact with the stranger again, and in contact with the mother again. Most children had a secure attachment to their mothers, meaning they felt the safe when their mothers were present and unsafe when they were not. When the SSC test was performed on dogs, the results were extremely similar as to when it was performed on humans, however the test was a failure when attempted on cats (BTG Studios). Historically speaking, cats are known to be independent, whereas dogs have a tendency to form a strong companionship with humans due to their nature to live with a pack (BTG Studios). One of the scientists involved in the SSC study with dogs explains that psychologically dogs’ and cats’ brains are the same, but what draws them apart is their discipline (BTG Studios). Due to their instinct of self-reliance, cats are harder to train and therefore learn language. Dogs are easier to train because they are ambitiously looking for approval from their owner (BTG Studios). As I said before, there is a correlation between dogs’ training and their understanding of language, therefore leading me to think that there is a direct cause between consistent training and their understanding.

All in all, my cats sadly cannot translate my language into their cat language, but they can detect my tone of voice and, therefore; my emotion. This makes it possible for them to snuggle with me when I am having a bad day.



New. “Brain Scans Show Dogs Understand What We Say.” YouTube. New Scientist, 31 Aug. 2016. Web. 06 Sept. 2016.

Forbes, Logan. “How Well Do Cats Understand Human Language?” Quora. N.p., 20 Aug. 2015. Web. 6 Sept. 2016.

“Can Dogs Understand What We Say?” Dog Training. Animal Planet, 27 Feb. 2015. Web. 06 Sept. 2016.

Douglas, Kate. “Scientists Prove Dogs Are Better Than Cats.” Occasional Observer. BTG Studios, n.d. Web. 6 Sept. 2016.

McLeod, Saul. “Mary Ainsworth.” Simply Psychology. N.p., 06 Sept. 2016. Web. 06 Sept. 2016.

Image 1: http://www.memegen.com/meme/kqadkp

Image 2: http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/snuggly-saturday-kitten-hugs


Caffeine addict.

Every morning I wake up, make my coffee and then go about my day. Maybe you know somebody like this, or in fact this has YOU written all over it. I admit it, I am most certainly a caffeine addict. Yes, I legitimately need caffeine to function throughout the day. Well of course this can’t be horrible for you, right? Or can it…?

I’m sure we all have our own ways of drinking coffee: iced or hot, 2 Splenda with milk, creme no sugar, or black- just how I like it. Not only am I obsessed with the caffeine fix I have every morning; Im obsessed with the taste of plain coffee, gross, I know. What is this coffee really doing to my body? ( A question I decided I probably should look into)

As I search the internet looking for legitimate answers to this question; it is clear that there are both pros and cons to coffee. Well duh.. there are pros and cons to everything but whats the deal with coffee ? Check out this article I found here ….

This article spits out some general pros and cons to coffee. The only clear disadvantages according to this specific site are simply unreasonable. Coffee can kill you…yes, this is true but only if you drink 80-100 cups in a short period of time. Realistic? Probably not. True? I can only assume so. Coffee can lead to insomnia as well restlessness…. well, I could of told you that! Caffeine is known to do this to you. Now besides from these two negative claims regarding coffee, lets hear some positives. Coffee helps you lose weight, burn fat and helps you focus and stay more alert… I like the way these sound. Now besides the fact that I am sure we all have heard before, caffeine can help speed up your metabolism (in regards to the weight loss), the caffeine  would probably have most to do with the alertness aspect. Now I am sure your mom, dad, friends or doctor could of told you all of this, but what is caffeine REALLY doing to your body?


(Picture found here)


(Picture found here)

After reading a quite lengthy article this is the gist of what I found…

Once caffeine is within your body, it seems to travel to the CNS rather quickly. Caffeine reaches your brain and can cause headaches, can give you the jitters or tremors and cause anxiety in some cases.

In regards to your digestive and excretory track, caffeine is known to cause more acid produces in your stomach- this is the reason you might experience heart burn or a belly ache when not used to the amount of caffeine you are consuming.

Although studies have shown that caffeine has no direct effect with long term blood pressure, following consuming caffeine your blood pressure might increase temporarily- this is in relation to your circulatory and respiratory systems.

Within your skeletal and Muscular systems I found that large amounts of caffeine can interfere with absorption of calcium within your bones and this can cause bone thinning with leads to osteoporosis ( fun fact; last year I was a Kinesiology major and we had a whole unit on osteoporosis in Kines101 an.d caffeine was never mentioned as an effect on it)

Finally for women, in your reproductive system there are no clear indications of caffeine effecting this while not carrying a child, BUT if you are pregnant they say not to have more then one cup a day. Why you may ask? The caffeine can diffuse through the placenta and can increase your baby’s metabolism and heart rate. For clear reasons we can see why this would not be good for your baby’s health.

After conducting a ton of casual research regarding this topic I genuinely knew nothing about, it is safe to say I am now updated on caffeine completely. I do NOT think I will stop drinking coffee, nor do I plan on cutting back, but I am honestly more aware of the effects of caffeine taking place within my body. Not only am I fully aware of the obvious signs of “too much” caffeine, I also will be more conscious of it due to the not so obvious effects caffeine does to your body.





Is Procrastination a good thing?

Well that depends!

According to UCSD professor Frank Partnoy procrastination is split into two different levels, one being Active Procrastination and the other Passive Procrastination. Usually when we think of procrastination we think of a lazy dude chillin out on his sofa as he eats potato chips and watches Netflix all day. This stereotype is best characterized as passive procrastination where procrastination is just an excuse to be ultra lazy. This sort of procrastination is clearly a problem. We’ve all heard, taken part in, or bore witness to passive procrastination but what about active procrastination, what makes that different?


Professor Partnoy characterizes active procrastination as the idea that “active procrastination means you realize that you are unduly delaying mowing the lawn or cleaning your closet, but you are doing something that is more valuable instead.” For example, you have a homework assignment thats due in 40 minutes but you also remembered that today is trash day, its very clear that doing your homework is far more important than taking out the trash so you choose to ACTIVELY postpone taking out the trash in order to as Professor Partnoy puts it “[do] something that is more valuable instead”. Partnoy advocates that we should analyze how much time we have to make a decision or perform a task and then wait until the last possible moment to do it. Partnoy argues that procrastination is “a universal state of being for humans. We will always have more things to do than we can possibly do, so we will always be imposing some sort of unwarranted delay on some tasks”. Research into decision-making across multiple fields of work found that many professionals follow this exact same mindset. Partnoy delved deep into research in fields like sports, comedy, medicine, military strategy, and even dating to examine the decision-making process that each of these industries rely on and he was shocked to find that the overall trend in these industries is to procrastinate until the last possible moment before making any decisions.

For example Partnoy uses the idea of a professional tennis player saying “a professional tennis player has about 500 milliseconds to return a serve. A tennis court is 78 feet baseline-to-baseline, and professional tennis serves come in at well over 100 miles per hour. Most of us would say that a professional tennis player is better than an amateur because they are so fast. But, in fact, what I found and what the studies of superfast athletes show is that they are better because they are slow. They are able to perfect their stroke and response to free up as much time as possible between the actual service of the ball and the last possible millisecond when they have to return it”. This idea can best be explained by the fact that when we take the most available amount of time to make a decision we give ourselves the most available amount of information about that decision and we allow our minds to process the information and compare it against other decisions we may have made. Partnoy believes that “Innovation goes at a glacial pace and should go at a glacial pace” meaning that no one really thinks of a spectacular idea on the fly, great ideas and great decisions are based on carefully thought out plans and DELAY.

If this subject interests you check out these two books listed below:

  1. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  2.  Wait: The Art and Science of Delay by Frank Partnoy

For more sources:


Crispr Future?

Ever hear the infamous phrase, “back in my day…”  Yah me too, a MILLION times.  Why do adults keep brining up “their day”, it’s today, that doesn’t make any sense right?  Well for a moment, take some time to think about your parents and your grandparents growing up.  I know, hard to think of them as kids but lets give it a shot.  Think of when someone told them that one day they would be able to pay bills on their phone and facetime with anyone around the world within seconds.  Although it is common knowledge to us and a privilege we are numb to, this was science fiction to our parents and grandparents.  The move Back to the Future was literally science fiction but many of the inventions in the movie are now reality.  It must be really strange for them to adjust to this and for some, they may still be in denial or totally against it.

Now for us, the millennial generation, we are at a similar impasse with genetic modification.  It’s something that I am aware of but don’t really look into because I think of genetic modification as something scientists do in a lab and the affects never really reach me.  But that’s far from the truth.  For all of humanity, we have messed with the genetics with plants and animals but never really understood what we were doing.  Then we identified what we know as DNA and more structured experiments began with different foods and plants.  The first genetically modified food went on shelves in 1994 and was a tomato that had a much longer shelf life.  Ever wonder how surrogate’s work?  Genetic modification.  Ever see featherless chicken, glow in the dark fish, fast growing salmon, or see through frogs?  Genetic modification.  But are these little experiments all we could do with it?


I know I’m not a science personal and I think most people in this class aren’t so I’m going to try to explain this in laymen’s terms.  When you’re body fights infection, there is something called CAS 9 that is like a database for your DNA that cuts out the bad parts of your DNA and copies good parts in it.  There’s a process called CRISPR that can be programmed (genetically modified) to create a continues sweep of any defects in your DNA and can essentially create perfect DNA.  CRISPR has the ability to change DNA and cells for you to modify it as you please.

So what are the possibilities?  Curing cancer, getting rid of disease that runs in the family, enhancing metabolism, extraordinary intelligence, and anything you can think of including aging.  As the possibilities grow with the progression of science and the process, the main point is that this is going to happen.  Whether it is ethical or not shouldn’t be our concern but more so how do we make it ethical.  Is it a free for all or are there regulations put in place?  As a philosophy major, there is a belief that this is a world of opposites.  For everything that exists there is an opposite.  Hot and cold, tall and short, good and bad, etc.  If we are able to create the perfect human, what will be its opposite?  There are a lot of questions and this may be uncomfortable to know.  If we deny this science it will only go underground and into the wrong hands so rather than ignore it, we must get ahead of it.  So in relation to our class discussion on how science makes you think critically and explore option, we are going to need to explore these options.  Only time will tell what will happen.


Here is a link to a video that explains it all in the shortest amount of time possible.  Other videos were hours long so I’ll save you the trouble.

Does Having Cellphones Near Our Heads Cause Cancer?

In this day and age, cellphones are practically attached to us. It is almost impossible to be out in public and not see almost everyone with a smartphone in hand. Cellphones are with us 24/7 and after a long day, most of us lie down in bed with our cellphones in hand. We sit in complete darkness with a bright screen over our head (occasionally dropping the phone on our face) and sit there for a long time- sometimes even hours. We often tend to fall asleep with our phone beside us. In my room I have a night stand beside my bed, but for some reason I always go to sleep with my phone on my bed-often very close to my head.


My mom always tells me, “Don’t sleep with the phone by your head, it’ll cause cancer!” Now, every time I hear her say that, I wonder whether what she is saying is true, or it’s just because her intuition is so narrow that she, like most of us do, believe everything we hear. Newspapers, magazines and all other forms of media are always coming out with new phenomenon. One day, you’ll hear that drinking that extra cup of coffee will cause cancer, and the next day you’ll hear that drinking coffee is actually good for you!

There has and will always be skepticism when it comes to cellphones and our health. Just like any other technology, there always seems to be something good and bad about it, but is there really a correlation between having a cellphone close to your head and cancer?

After doing some research, I began to think that maybe my mom was right. I know that too much cellphone use is not good for you, but cellphones causing cancer, now that was something I truly never really considered. After scrolling through the scary google searches and reading into the articles more, I discovered some information. According to Camille Chatterjee of Health.com cellphones do give off electromagnetic radiation. But Chatterjee explained that the radiation that is emitted is small. So having a phone next to your head for the night  is not going to give you cancer immediately. That small emittance of radiation is not exactly great for you though. That being said, I decided to look into what this electromagnetic radiation was exactly (Chatterjee 2014).

Whenever you go to the doctor and need to get an x-ray, the doctor will give you a jacket to slip on. Those jackets are called lead vests. They protect you from the same electromagnetic radiation that cellphone’s project, except x-ray radiation is ionized (Hull 2008). According to Janet Starr Hull of Janethill.com ionized radiation has a much greater chance of harming humans, so that is why we wear the vests to protect us. On the other hand, radiation from cellphones is non-ionized just like the radiation from your microwave. That means that exposure to this type of radiation is not terrible. So that makes me wonder why some people associate cancer with cellphones near your head if the radiation emitted is minimal and not life-threatening? The University of Twente explains in an article titled Working With Non Ionizing Radiation that if one person has too much exposure over time, then the threat increases and the chance of a disease like cancer is more likely. What I think everyone should take away from this is to try to keep cellphones away from your head and off (look at the picture below to see the difference in radiation in one’s head overtime due to cellphone use). If you must have it on, Alex Stadtner, author of an article called Cell Phone Safety Tips For Limiting Radiation urges that you have it on “airplane mode,” especially when you sleep. Cellphones close to your head CAN cause cancer overtime. Even if it’s not cancer, according to cancer.org’s article  it could be a non-cancerous tumor, but either way avoid the risk of any kind of tumor! For more tips about how to reduce emitted radiation from cellphones, even beyond lying in bed with it near your head can be found HERE.


If microwaves and electromagnetic radiation are both non-ionized forms of radiation, then why is it that we focus so much on the use and closeness of cellphones to our faces, when microwaves have been around longer?  This type of question is something I would answer if further research was conducted. I know that the average human does not use the microwave as much daily, but microwaves are something very commonly used, so the question now, do microwaves cause cancer?


Photo Credits:





Is Seasonal Depression Real?

I was recently going to get a manicure and I automatically thought to myself, “fall is approaching I have to get a dark color”. For the first time, I thought about why my mind went to dark colors for cold weather and why I had light colors all summer. This corresponds to my clothing as well. I have a black winter coat, black boots, black leggings, grey sweatshirts, but in the summer, I wear all sorts of bright colored clothes. It could have a lot to do with thermodynamics, but in my opinion, it’s because I wear what reflects my mood.

20140111-175511I hate winter. If I were to list the most terrible things in the world, winter weather would definitely be up there. I never question my decision to attend Penn State until October rolls around and I spend the next few months in frozen agony. Walking to class becomes a chore and so does pretty much everything else. Skiing is fun, but not nearly as fun as the sunshine! This topic reminded me of the pop quiz we had in class that related depression to TV light.

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is in fact very real. But contrary to my hypothesis, it is believed to relate to daylight, not the temperature. Jessica Blaszczak, author of an article for the Psych Central said that half a million Americans are affected by the changing seasons and the darker outside light. Most people experience it during the fall into early winter and it usually goes away during spring and summer. But for others, it could be the other way around. The Mayo Clinic says it can lead to:

  • Irritability
  • Tiredness
  • Problems getting along with others
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Heavy feeling in the arms or legs
  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight gain

SAD is caused by several things. One of them being the change in your circadian rhythm. The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter could possibly disrupt your internal clock, causing problems for you and your body. Another reason is that your serotonin levels can drop. Serotonin is a brain chemical that affects your mood so when the sun starts setting earlier, you can become depressed due to lack of serotonin. Another chemical can also be affected: melatonin. This chemical helps make your sleep patterns and mood so it makes sense that if this drops, so does the way you feel. If you find yourself feeling down when fall and winter arrive, check out this article about ways to cope with SAD.

There are a few treatments that can help improve your mood and motivation levels if you experience SAD, light therapy being one of them. This therapy mimics outdoor light and in return, can change levels of brain chemicals linked to your mood.  Between 50% and 80% of light therapy users become symptom free (source)! If light therapy does not work, and SAD really starts to affect your daily life, further action can be taken after speaking to your doctor. You can be prescribed antidepressants that increase the serotonin in your blood, which in return, makes you happier! For those not wanting to take these steps, there are a few ways proven to help at home. You can make your home environment sunnier and brighter. Something as simple as opening the blinds can help affect your mood! It is also important to spend time outside. Even on cold and cloudy days, outdoor light can help how you are feeling. Exercise is another way because it is proven to relieve stress and anxiety which can increase SAD symptoms.

Unfortunately, there is no known prevention to be taken to avoid SAD.  It is recommended that you get ahead of it, meaning; if you know you experience some of the symptoms of SAD, start treatment early. As for me, I am already counting down the days until Spring Break in Florida!


Photo: https://artisticdrama.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/holistically-conquering-sad-seasonal-depression/

Why Do Dog Owners Look Like Their Dogs?

Do you ever see a dog owner and their dog waking down the street and think to yourself, “the owner looks just like their dog!?” This has happened to me multiple times and for some reason I have thought nothing about it until now. Now obviously we all know that dogs are not created by the owner like babies, so why is this phenomenon something people see so often?

Being able to say that a dog owner looks like their dog is easy, but the hard part is being able to explain why. With much curiosity, I began to do some research. The coincidence of a dog owner looking like their dog obviously has nothing to do with genetics. When further researching, I found that it all has to do with something else and that something else is what Stanley Coren of Psychology Today calls “familiarity.” According to Coren (2013)  a lot of the time, people chose certain things because of the familiarity of it. They are able to relate to it, so therefore it is easier to connect and be comfortable with it. This idea is carried over when dog owners are figuring out what dog to buy. Coren also makes a point to say how familiar we are with our own faces. How many times a day do we look in the mirror or look at a picture of ourselves? Being so familiar with our faces often influences what dog we chose. To further enhance his point, Coren conducted a study at the University of British Columbia using 104 female students enrolled. For each woman, Coren would show four different breads: An English Springer Spaniel, a Beagle, a Siberian Husky and a Basenji (Coren 2013). He asked them to rate how much they liked the dogs. Coren then asked the women which were their favorite hair styles when shown pictures. After conducting this experiment, Coren found that women who liked certain hairstyles often liked the same type of dogs. According to Coren, women with long hair covering their ears liked the Springer Spaniel and the Beagle. On the other hand, women with shorter hair who showed their ears preferred dogs like the Siberian Husky and the Basenji. What he had concluded from this experiment was that humans often find comfort and familiarity with dogs who “look” like them. Of course though, there were a number of woman with long hair who preferred short eared dogs and vice versa, but the statistics for familiarity in dogs with similar looks was much greater (Coren 2013).










In a Huffington Post article titled “People Really Do Look Like Their Dogs, And Here’s Why” writer, Dominique Mosbergen talked about a psychologist, Sadahiko Nakajima and his experiment. Nakajima conducted an experiment with dogs and their owners. In a few photos, Mosbergen covered certain facial features in either the dog or the owner. He then asked people to identify the dog owner and dog who resembled each other. The results showed that when the eyes of the dog and dog owner were covered, it made it extremely hard for people to pick a dog and dog owner who had resemblance. From this experiment Nakajima concluded that people find familiarity in the eyes (Mosbergen 2014). I think that it’s really interesting that we are attracted to dogs because of the familiarity in our eyes. It’s funny because my friends and I have discussed before that when we first meet someone, the first thing we notice is their eyes. Eyes are something we tend to connect to and clearly that connection is the same with dogs.


Who would have thought that it all comes down to familiarity when choosing a new four legged friend? Well that’s science for you! We even see this phenomenon in movies, like Disney’s One Hundred and One Dalmatians. Click HERE to see an entertaining scene where the dogs and dog owners are very similar as they walk down the street. Although it is exaggerated, it definitely brings a comical aspect to the similarities between dogs and their owners.


Sources and Photo Credit:





Beauty is Pain

One of my favorite pastimes is watching videos of makeup tutorials on YouTube. I am hugely fascinated by the amazing ability some people have at transforming a face with the help of makeup. After watching one video in particular called The Power of Makeup! I found myself asking the question, “what affects does makeup have on eyes and skin?”. I took to the internet to find out.

I came across a very informative article by Alexandra Perron for Yahoo! Beauty called, “Can Eyeliner Affect Your Eyes?“.  The article discusses a study done by Dr. Alison Ng who is specialized in Optometry and Vision Science. Dr.Ng used relied on video recording to track the movement of eyeliner particles into the eye. Dr.Ng would note how each person applied their eyeliner and the placement of it as well. The experiment called for each participator to apply glitter eyeliner to their outer lash line first and then to their inner bottom waterline. Through this study Dr.Ng observed that makeup migration is sped up when the eyeliner is applied to the inner lid or waterline.

Through Dr.Ng’s study, application to the inner lash waterline allowed 15-30 percent more particles into the fragile protective coating on the eye, much more quickly than when applied to the outer lash line. Effects of eyeliner migration into the eye, past the tear film, include unpleasantness if you are someone who has sensitive or dry eyes (this applies strongly to me). Even blurred vision was reported as an effect of putting eyeliner on the inner waterline. Dr. Ng also explains that people with contact lens are even more at risk of the effects of eyeliner migration into the eye. For people with contacts, eyeliner can get stuck to their lenses and increase the bacteria deposits that can cause cloudy lenses, causing vision obstructions (Yahoo! Beauty).

While reading the article one specific part about the bacteria in contacts hit home with me. A few years ago I was sitting in math class when I noticed that all over the course of my 80 minute class my vision in my right eye had gone from perfect to awfully blurry, I even felt a little bit of irritation. I decided to suck up the pain for two weeks before finally begging my parents to make me an eye doctor appointment. The morning of my appointment I woke up and my right eye had become so irritated. The discomfort I felt was unbearable, my right eye would not stop tearing up, I was so thankful that I was seeing the doctor that day. My eye doctor looked at my eyes under the fancy microscopes and began to determine what was the matter. He asked me if I wore eyeliner on my waterline and I told him that I did. He immediately told me to stop doing so because it was damaging my cornea. He explained that it seemed that a speck of my eyeliner had gotten into my eye and scratched my cornea. This made the horrible discomfort I felt for the past few weeks make sense. I had a hiatus from wearing eyeliner for a few weeks before I caved and started wearing it again. So yes, beauty is pain.

The article on Yahoo! Beauty that I have been discussing lists a few ways to avoid damaging your eyesight without giving up the eyeliner look that many people love so dearly. One makeup artist, Lisa Aharon recommends that people use a cream eyeliner pencil as oppose to a kohl eyeliner pencil. Kohl eyeliner pencils are more harsh on your eyes and run the risk of containing a heavy metal like lead. I myself have always used a kohl eyeliner product but after reading what Aharon has to say about the harmful affects, I will try and stray away from the product. Aharon warns of the possible irruption of glitter and metallic eyeliners on the waterline as well. One way to keep your eyeliner sterile and bacteria free is to sharpen it prior to each application or cleanse the tip with rubbing alcohol.

Here’s a list of Lisa Aharon approved eyeliners:

  • Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon ($25)
  • Laura Mercier Longwear Crème Eye Pencil ($24)
  • Chanel Long Lasting Eye Liner ($32)

Picture Source:


Unlocking The Truth

As I have myself with more time on my hands than I know what to do with, I continue to dive deeper and deeper into the world of TV obsessions. After finishing up a favorite, Are You the One, I browsed through the endless number of new shows able to take over my time. I kept on my MTV kick and cracked into a more recent program, Unlocking the Truth. 31 year old Ryan Ferguson is a recent exonerate of 2 years, after he spent nearly 10 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t even know had been committed. Teaming up with Eva Nagao of The Innocence Project, Ferguson works to reopen cases where convictions could easily have been skewed. He makes it clear that they are not working for the convicted or for their families, however they work to “unlock the truth” so to speak in hopes that justice will be served.

This topic caught my attention quickly and sucked me into 4 hours worth of obsessive TV over our long weekend, therefore I decided what better topic to begin my blogs on. mtv-unlocking-the-truth-ryan-ferguson-eva-nagao

I began looking into these convictions and questioning what could possibly put nearly 10,000 people each year wrongfully behind bars. The number one cause of these illegitimate sentences? Eyewitness Misidentification. Seems simple right? A relatively frustrating fact that these unjust convictions could be fixed with a little bit of truth. However, its not simply the untrustworthy words of eyewitnesses that lead up to the unfortunate demise of many each year. There is a science behind it all, and The Innocence Project has done all the research.

The most talked about factor behind the many contributions to wrongful convictions is the fact that the human mind is not a video camera nor is it a tape recorder. The human mind is unable to record events exactly as we see them and not only are there a lot of natural factors there are a lot of environmental factors brought on by safety personnel.

Naturally occurring factors such as the lighting as the crime took place or the distance the witness was from the crime scene are just a few of the factors we may almost prefer to be the case over system variables that could be purposefully brought upon the witnesses. Besides simply an angry vengeful ex turning in an innocent person to the authorities we have those who are behind the scenes who know no other techniques to get the pin down on at least someone. One of the biggest issues is blind administration. The problem here is the fact that although mostly unintentional, an administrator may make gestures or be suggestive as to who the suspect is, creating a bias within the witness’s mind. Additionally, it is crucial the way that mugshots are presented to witnesses as as random colored picture can stand out against a line of several other black and white photos as seen in the case of Marvin Anderson. Witnesses may feel pressured to point out a perpetrator regardless if they see who they are looking for in the lineup, and those given confirmatory feedback were even more certain in who they were putting their bets on. (The Innocence Project 2016).


According to the Innocence Project, in order to reform the system that needs it more than attention is brought to the table, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is working to run tests and lead research to create more effective ways to interrogate and accomplish what must be accomplished as ethically as possible.  The NAS suggests that administrators should have no information on who the suspect is prior to speaking with the witness. Additionally, those in the line ups should look relatively similar leaving no man or woman as the only suspect of their race, gender, or with their striking characteristics. It is also important that witnesses are aware of the fact that their information is helpful however, the investigation is not over simply because they cannot identify a perpetrator. It was also suggested that not only should documents be signed on account of confidence level but also, investigations should be videotaped. (2016).

The Innocence Project works all around to reform our system. Here is where you can browse their website in its entirety.