Daily Archives: September 7, 2016

Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate

Did you ever dream of being the chubby red-head kid from the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory who fell into the chocolate river? Yes? No? Well, I sure as heck did!

Chocolate. That word alone can spark a feeling of happiness, joy, love, and euphoria at the mere mention of it.

In America, we consume about 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year (The Chocolate Store). Which means that each individual person eats about 11 pounds of chocolate a year. Your head weighs about 11 pounds, so each year you eat the weight of your head in chocolate! That is a lot of chocolate (but totally worth it!)


(Photo can be found here)

I am sure many of your parents limited how much chocolate (and other candy) you ate as a kid because chocolate “isn’t good for you.”

But is it really bad for you? Many scientists and doctors are beginning to think that it benefits us more than we think.

One doctor in particular, Rashed Latif, published an article of the health effects of chocolate in the Netherlands Journal of Medicine.

In the article Latif says, that there has been a recent biological discovery of active phenolic compounds that are found in cocoa. Latif goes on to suggest that this has initiated research on the effects of aging, as well as oxidative stress, the regulation of blood pressure, and atherosclerosis (Latif).

Recently, chocolate has been praised for its abundance of antioxidants. Furthermore, when cocoa is more potent, there are more health benefits and less sugar added to the chocolate which makes it a lot healthier (Nordqvist).

Other POTENTIAL benefits of eating chocolate include: lower cholesterol levels, prevention of memory decline, lowering the risk of heart disease, decreased chances of stroke, helps fetal growth, ability to improve cognitive function, lower risk of diabetes, and potential to better athletic performance (Nordqvist).

I am highlighting the word “potential” because (as the article states) the research done on the benefits of chocolate have been conducted in one-off studies. Therefore, to prove that chocolate causes these health benefits, more studies need to be conducted (Nordqvist).


(Photo can be found here)

On that note, I want to use the information I have just given you to connect to the material we have been discussing in class.

When deciphering the truth behind correlation and causation we have been looking for a mechanism within the data (Read). Mechanism is defined by the linking between two things. Having a mechanism defines the cause and verifies the correlation (Read).

In class, we looked at the image below. The image showed a direct correlation between amount of chocolate consumed and the number of noble peace prize winners from a certain country. The data showed that the countries that consume more chocolate, have more noble peace prize winners. However, does the amount of chocolate consumed really determine the number of noble peace prize winners from a given country?


(Photo can be found here)

We have a couple of mechanisms to consider within this data.

The results could be a result of (Read):

  1. Direct Causality: The amount of chocolate consumed is what causes the country to have more noble peace prize winners
  2. Indirect Causality: The number of noble peace prize winners determines the amount of chocolate consumed
  3. Third variable: A third party variable could be causing this correlation, such as: happiness or wealth
  4. Chance: this could all just be completely coincidental

The reason I am presenting the material above is because we won’t know whether or not chocolate is more beneficial or detrimental to your health until we continue to do more research and find out what mechanism is responsible for the presented results (Read).

It may be awhile until we know the true outcome of consuming chocolate, but until then, we can decide whether or not we want to continue to consume chocolate based on all the information presented (Read).

Regardless, I know that I will always continue to eat chocolate no matter what!


Nordqvist, Joseph. “Chocolate: Health Benefits, Facts, and Research.” Medical News Today. Ed. Natalie Butler. MediLexicon International, 1 June 2016. Web. 07 Sept. 2016.

Latif, Rashed. “Chocolate/cocoa and Human Health: A Review.” Netherlands Journal of Medicine 71.2 (2013): 63-68. Web. 7 Sept. 2016.

What is the deal with concussions in the NFL?

A very controversial topic in the sports world right now is the topic of concussions, and the impact that they present currently in the NFL. The NFL stands for National Football League, it is the professional level of football in America. A concussion, for those who do know, is practically defined as head trauma resulting from a fierce strike to the head. Many parents are not allowing their kids to play football in fear of damaging their child”s brain, and many parents including current NFL players, such as Arizona Cardinal safety Tyrain Mathieu, are pushing for their children to play soccer instead.
What is CTE?
The game of football is a very aggressive sport, and it requires medical attention almost all of the time. Many injuries stem from football, both long term and short term. CTE- Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, is a disease in the brain, practically this is a build up of proteins in the brain. This is not good. Proteins in the brain can lead to many bad things, such as anxiety or even to the extent of Alzheimer’s in some specific cases. CTE causes long term stress too. This disease is common in former NFL players. Not just NFL is where it is common but also in professional wrestling and even boxing.
Some guy
A pathologist named Dr. Bennett Omalu ran a study and found CTE in 19 out of 20 players that he tested. He brought this to the attention of the NFL and thought that they would be happy for this discovery. The NFL reacted with straight anger and denial, practically shunning this guy for his findings. The NFL denied that this great sport of football caused such a terrible thing. Omalu received scrutiny from NFL players,coachers,and executives for his findings. The NFL denied this and called it an absolute coincidence.
Mike Webster
Omalu specifically examined the brain of former Pittsburgh Steelers player, Mike Webster. Webster went from being on top of the world to being found dead, a victim of his own suicide in his pick-up truck. Webster battled anxiety and stress after the game of football, the NFL did not give a damn about him after he received his last paycheck. Omalu was disturbed by his findings and wanted to raise awareness for this issue, the strangest thing off all is that he never watched football in his life.
Today in the NFL
For twenty years the debate continued whether conclusions in the NFL were a major thing or not, the NFL still denies it to this day. Improvements have been made though, many rules have been implanted in order to protect players, helmets are now technologically advanced in terms of reducing impact. This can lead to less concussions. The NFL has set the standard in regulations in terms of player safety, the rules have trickled down to the pop-warner level (young kids) and they are even teaching how to tackle safer. The NFL is a large corporation, and they practically own a day of the week. Omalu’s research may have saved the lives of several.


The Science Behind Music

Like everyone on Earth I love to listen to music. Everyone listens to different types of music but something that I have always wondered was what makes us like the music that we like.


Here is an article explaining how we grow to like music as we get older. It talks about how the music we listen to growing up stays with us. Another thing mentioned in the article is how the music we listen to affects how we take on differences. If we listen to the same unchanging music growing up, we are less likely to be open to different music. For example if we listen to pop for years, it would be hard to switch to rap. The article also talks about how when researchers studied music many of the melodies and sounds were the same, but the loudness and pitch differed. So we are not really listening to new music, we are listening to the same thing except it is louder. Another factor that can determine the music we like is how we are feeling when we hear the music. There are many examples of people, including myself, who at first hate the song at first because you are in a bad mood, but later when you are happy and the song comes on, you like it.

Here is another article/blog from Doctor’s and Professor’s who talk about music and how we come to like certain music. While the Professor’s in the blog do not argue that the music we like comes from when and where we grew up, Doctor Robert Zatorre proposes that if you have any musical experience you are more likely to like the music that you were taught to play. In the blog, Mariusz Kozak talks about the use of a mechanism in music, meaning that music brings all types of people together.


Because there is always music that matches our mood and feelings, music is extremely influential in our every day lives. If we are sad we listen to depressing music, if we are happy we listen to happy music, and if we are trying to get pumped up for a game you listen to rap or whatever music gets you excited to play. In a way music is a way for us to describe ourselves in ways people do not understand and we also associate music with certain stereotypes of people. For example someone who you think is very sweet and cute could actually listen to heavy metal music. An example of this is found here. In the video two siblings try out for America’s Got Talent and what the judges and audience hear is not what they expected.

In conclusion the type of music we listen to has nothing to do with a special chemical that makes us like one type of music over another. It has to do with the people we hang out with and what we have grown up with. Music shapes our minds and what we believe. Like Friedrich Nietzsche said “without music, life would be a mistake.”


Here is where I got the quote from.

Here is where the video is from.

Here is where I got the music picture from.

Here is where I got the different genre’s of music from.

Promising New Alzheimers Drug?

At a very young age in my life I watched my grandmother suffer from Alzheimers, so a breakthrough this big is very near to my heart. Alzheimers is a form of dementia and it is a progressive mental deterioration. This disease is ranked sixth as the leading cause of death in the United States. The main symptoms that go along with this are memory loss and confusion but also include to mood swings, depression, and eventually the lost of ability to combine muscle movements. By the end of someones fight with Alzheimers they lose the ability to preform simple tasks.

What goes on in the brain?

Scientists have observed that the damage to the brain starts a decade or more before symptoms begin to show. During this time they may not experience any symptoms, but toxic changes are occurring. Abnormal deposits of proteins form amyloid plaques and tau tangles throughout the brain. Then the healthy neurons stop functioning, lose connections, and then die off. This process begins in the hippocampus, where memories are formed. As it grows, more and more parts of the brain are infected until the damage is significant and brain tissue has shrunk.

Is there hope?

Larger clinical studies are currently being done because although promising, this drug has only been tested on 165 people and results could change in a larger group. The results from this first study show that an antibody called aducanumab can reduce amyloid in the brain. Amyloid-beta are the proteins that form in the brain of people with Alzheimers. When this drug is delivered by an intravenous injection, the aducanumab antibodies destroy the Amyloid-beta plaques. The more of the drug administrated the more Amyloid-beta plaques were being destroyed.


This picture shows the brain scans of a few of the 165 people in the trial. These scans show the reduction of the red, Amyloid-beta, when people were administered the antibody. Compare to the placebo.

What does all this mean?

Although proven that this drug can reduce the Amyloid-beta plaques in the brain, the next question is whether or not the drug can preserve thinking and memory skills. This study was not designed to test this, although the ones who took the drug showed less decline on these tests while the participants that received the placebo showed more decline.

Also, during the trial 27 of the patients had a reaction to the drug known as ARIA. There are no side effects to this although it can cause headaches or more serious trouble in some people. This reaction was more common at higher doses.


This research trial was definitely a step in the right direction but there are still a few kinks to work out before this drug can go on the market. First, they need to continue this research in a much larger clinical trial. 165 people is promising but beneficial effects could disappear in a larger group. After this they need to conduct a experiment to test the participants thinking and memory skills before and after the trial. This will tell us for sure whether or not the drug can preserve these skills. Finally, scientist need to find the most effective dose with the fewest side effects to perfect the drug. This research is very promising and i’m interested to see where it goes.



Organic Foods; Are they worth is?

Many people believe that eating organically is the right way to go. At times it can be extremely expensive and not worth it at all. As a consumer of the organic food industry it has been a complete waste of money, to brain wash people to spend more money. Many products are reportedly more expensive, than other produce, such as mesclun a type of vegetable was 23% more costly.  Not all “Conventional” produce shows traces of pesticides. An article written by  The Huffington Post said that not all avocados had pesticides in them, only about 1% of them did. Meaning that people are only buying these product because they believe that organic foods have better health benefits, which is not true. Seafood is impossible to track or regulate if it has been contaminated with pesticides. From the same  The Huffington Post article it states . As we speak there are currently new rules in place to try to regulate what “Organic;” is by the USDA ” With that being said there is no such thing as organic seafood so be mindful, when a store trying to sell you that.





On the other hand organic foods are a great way to stay healthy and offer great health benefits. Conventional  foods have increased the amount obesity in the community. Stated in Organic Facts in some cases organic milk may be more beneficial and may be packed with more vitamins and minerals. Organic foods do have benefits, and are sometimes packed with more nutrients.

There are several misconceptions of organic foods such as people may think that food that has labels such as “pesticide free”, just because these labels say this does not mean they are not used. Organic just means that the pesticides use to grow these product ,just come from natural sources.









Are we better off with less school days??

Having Labor Day just passed, I don’t think there was anyone that did not enjoy the long weekend. Whether it was relaxing, sleeping or catching up on work, students took advantage of the extra 24 hours without classes. Fortunately, for me, this is what every week is like. When scrolling through the hundreds of options of how I wanted my school schedule to look, I immediately gravitated towards the 4-day one. I knew that getting all of my classes out of the way Monday through Thursday would be worth the benefits associated with a 3-day weekend.


Health: Coming from a girl that takes about 5 naps a day, I can say that having a day to catch up sleep is so important. After four days of forcing myself out of bed, finally being able to get the proper amount of sleep benefits me not only physically, but mentally as well. In addition to feeling energized, I wake up feeling refreshed and destressed. This is so vital at a time when there are so many things that we, as college students, spend time worrying about.

School:  If there is one thing that I definitely struggle with it is time management. I’d be lying if I said I did my homework consistently every night. Nope not me. Instead I somehow always manage to procrastinate, leaving assignments to stack up. The extra day of no classes presents the opportunity to get work out of the way or catch up if behind. Not having to worry about these things over the course of Saturday and Sunday is the best feeling.

Don’t just take my word for it; The article, “Should We All Be On the Four-Day Workweek”, highlights the increase in quality and quantity of the work performed by those with a four-day week. Whether it is a job or school, just one more day of the weekend can generate numerous advantages. Next time you find yourself putting together your class schedule, take yourself and your work into account, and consider choosing to have one less day.

Studying and Listening to Music, Do They Go Together?

A few nights ago I was studying my Chinese homework at my desk in my dorm, and one of my room mates sat down next to me and opened his textbook. What happened next was absolutely awful. He started blasting music. As I was writing the characters and talking to myself in my head I couldn’t concentrate. All I heard was Lil Uzi bouncing around in my head. I then politely asked him to put his headphones on and began to investigate how some people can study with music and if it actually helps.

I was quite surprised throughout the research I conducted, because every single study I read, the answers were the same. It depends.  This article discusses five different groups that were tested on. Not to my surprise the groups that either listened to music or had randoms digits sounded out in the background had substantially lower scores than the two groups who had a repetitive sound or no sound at all. Even though the three groups who listened to music had lower scores their scores varied, which made me think I just didn’t enjoy the music being played at the time.

After I read that article I then asked my room mate how he could possibly listen to music while he studied and read. His reply was that he never really thought about it, and that it was something he did all through high school. I then asked him what his GPA was about the same as mine. I never listened to music and studied in high school. So I’m going to ask you, my classmates, do you listen to music while you study? Or are you like me and can’t bare sound in your head while you’re trying to retain information? Feedback would be appreciated I’m excited to read what you all have to say.

Slow Walker and Proud of It

If I had three wishes from a genie, I would ask him to make me taller. Then I would ask him for millions of dollars, and then a cure for cancer. And yes, you did read that correctly- I would use my first wish from this magical creature to ask him for a couple more inches of verticality.

The wish seems so simple, yet here I am standing just barely at 5 feet 3 inches while the rest of the world towers over me. Just the other day I ran into a friend of a friend that goes here. I recognized him from some of my friend’s Instagram posts and stopped him to say hi. Now, just so you can get a visual of this boy, he is a linebacker on the football team. He is probably the tallest human I have ever talked to. So there I stood introducing myself, neck craned, and it finally hit me- I am really, really, REALLY short.

My dad is a rather tall guy. He is about 6’3”. My mom on the other hand is a shrimp, standing at just 5’1”. You would think when their genes came together I would fall somewhere in the middle, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. My genes decided to give me two inches on my mom and leave it at that.

I am very much a sports person and I have been playing sports for as long as I can remember. Soccer, basketball, and softball were the three sports I played growing up. As much as I loved those sports, my height always hindered my ability to be better than the rest. I only played basketball for a few years, but it was plain to see that the other girls were outgrowing me and soon my shot would stand no chance against their tall arms trying to stop it. Soccer was always a dud for me because I could never run as fast as the other girls. Their long legs carried them at speeds faster than I could ever hope to achieve. My illustrious soccer career ended the year before I hit high school.

My softball career lasted much longer than my soccer or basketball careers did. I continued to play softball until a few months into my freshman year of college when I decided I needed to focus on school. I was a pretty good first baseman, but I knew in college I would never see the likes of first base because I was too short. I could track down fly balls better than most people, but yet again my little legs couldn’t propel me after fly balls like other people’s legs could.

As you can gather from reading this, I am not a fast person. I will never be an Olympic sprinter or even an Olympic speed walker for that matter. Here on campus, I always find myself trying to run to catch up with my tall friends when we walk together. I’ve often found this to be very annoying. However, I never knew this was a sign that I could be dying soon.

I’m dying soon?

Well, I don’t believe so, but all this talk in class about correlation not necessarily equaling causation got me thinking about this study I heard about. Last year in my SCM 200 class, we were studying this exact topic when my professor told me that researchers found a connection with people’s walking speed and their life expectancy. You can learn more about this experiment here. However, just like worms not making kids stupid, I don’t believe life expectancy can be predicted from walking speed.

You see, the reason I walk slow is due to my height. I do not walk slowly because I am sick or anything else. The children who aren’t as smart as others may not have access to good school or to books, which explains why they are on the academic level that they are. Sometimes in our society, people will make connections between anything as long as it will grab the attention of the public eye. However, just like in our justice system you are innocent until proven guilty, I will not jump to any conclusions about correlations until I have hard evidence. So, sorry friends- I’m going to be around for a long time to walk slowly behind you and make you wait up for me!

Image result for slow walker

Phot curtesy of http://cuindependent.com/2011/10/04/slow-walkers-are-ruining-my-day/

Article: http://www.livescience.com/10406-fast-walk-predict-long-youll-live.html


Benefits of Singing


I’ve been singing in choir since I was in the second grade. As I got older it became one of my favorite things to do, and something that I now spend a lot of my time working at. I remember a conversation with one of my singing buddies about how great it feels to make music. We realized that not only did we feel mentally accomplished, we also felt happier and physically better as well. Apparently, we weren’t the only people to notice this change. There are hundreds of articles and research projects being centered around the almost euphoric feeling that singing (particularly in a group setting such as a choir) can bring you.

For example, an article by Suzy S. from the takelessons blog goes into detail about physical, mental, emotional, and social benefits that come from singing. She describes a study by the University of Frankfurt that actually tested singers’ blood before and after singing Mozart’s “Requiem”. They found higher levels of proteins and concluded that singing can help the immune system. I especially loved this piece of information because Mozart’s “Requiem” was one of my all time favorites to perform. Suzy also mentions that singing can strengthen your diaphragm (breath control is super important for a singer), improve posture, and even help with sleep.

Singing also produces endorphins and all other kinds of happy chemicals in the brain that can improve your mood. An article from how stuff works science by Julia Layton describes an Australian study where it was found that choral singers were happier in their lives than the rest of the population. Did you know that the Alzheimer’s Society even recommends singing for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia? Suzy S. has a link to their website on her blog. Singing acts as a mental exercise that can improve memory and overall functioning. Reading music takes training just like science or math. It makes sense that it would work your brain like a math puzzle.

here is a cool picture from Pinterest that shows some other benefits of singing.

All of the reasons described above can also apply to solo performances (yes, even in the shower). However, one benefit that can come out of choral singing in particular is socialization. Obviously the more scientific advantages to singing are so important, but singing can help with more than your brain chemicals. When I started out as a singer, I could barely perform even when I was among the choir. It took a lot of practice, but singing with a group provided me with more confidence, and I was eventually able to do solo performances. Singing has helped me in a lot of areas in my life, not to mention its fun!

Spongebob image found here.

Great info from Suzy S. here.

How stuff works science article here.

Futbol, not Football

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, but here in the United States, most people don’t even know when the MLS season even starts. Why is this? Why don’t Americans appreciate soccer the way most European, African, South American, and Central American countries do? Will this ever change?
I’ve done some research and come up with a few theories.


It’s not violent enough- America’s two favorite sporting events are Football and NASCAR, both sports where the players put their life on the line. This isn’t changing. In fact, baseball, a less violent sport, is decreasing in popularity while, according to bleacher report, MMA is now the fastest growing sport in America. Violence does correlate to a sport’s success in the US, but why? Are Americans really more entertained by brutality than most nations? Answering these questions could very well help us discover if the lack of violence really is the reason for soccers lack of success in the US.


Low scoring- Americans are used to seeing dozens of points scored in NFL or NBA games. Because of this, low scoring soccer games can seem disappointing no matter how competitive the game is. Despite being a relatively worse game, a score of 112-105 could very well appear more exciting than a score of 1-0. The average American’s attention span is decreasing and could likely be taking soccers chances of succeeding down with it. If this theory were true, increasing scores, wether it be through bigger goals or less people on the field, should help the sports popularity in the states.

American Exceptionalism- This third and final theory is the one I find most likely. It is basically the idea that the reason Americans don’t like soccer is because we’re not the best at it. There could be truth to this as Americas four favorite sports are also 4 sports that Americans do extraordinarily well in on the global stage. America dominates most nations in football, basketball, baseball, and hockey, but we could very well lose to a small African or European country in soccer. We dominate just about every Olympic Games and call ourselves world champs in sports only we play. Our nations lack of superiority in soccer could be the reason for our lack of interest in the world’s favorite sport. Wether the truth or simply propaganda, most Americans truly believe they live in the best nation on earth, so if Americas not the best at soccer, then soccer must not be important, right? If the US one day wins the world cup and Americans still don’t warm up to the sport, this claim could easily be refuted, but as of now it seems to be the most likely explanation for this phenomenon.


The New York Times did an article about American Exceptionalism in the world of sports, it can be found here.

I’m not optimistic that soccer will be catching on any time soon in America. The sport isn’t getting any rougher, the number of goals scored isn’t increasing, and America is still not the best, but I could be wrong. While all of these factors could contribute to soccer’s lack of success in America, none have been proven to be the cause. Which do you find most likely? Is there something I missed that you think could be contributing? Let me know in the comments below.

Breaking Fast

Typically, when my environments undergo a big change, it takes about two days to develop a new routine. The first two days consist of many stressful and unexpected events and since I’m me, I hate that. Most of my friends criticize me for my tendency to plan most of the things I do. But I will repeat to you what I always respond to them and say it wasn’t in my control that I was given a crazy brain, deal with it. Since arriving at college my routine has usually been like this:

  1. Wake up 45 minutes before my first class starts
  2. Go to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth but I ALWAYS forget my toothbrush so I have to make two trips to the bathroom
  3. Make myself a cup of coffee (keurig was the best purchase I’ve ever made)
  4. Do my makeup
  5. Get dressed
  6. Sit on my desk and eat a yogurt
  7. Proceed to my class (at a fast pace because I never give myself enough time to get to class early)

Now why did I make my routine public to all of you? Take a look at #6 again. Many of you may think this is not unusual. Eating before class, yeah, what’s so great about that? But for me it’s a huge deal. Since arriving at college, my eating habits have drastically changed. Before here, I would never eat breakfast. I was the crankiest girl to walk into Pascack Hills until 11:53 when lunch would begin. By adding this little detail to my routine, I have felt a tremendous difference in myself: a good one.


The saying is right! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Although many of you may argue with that statement and claim coffee does the trick I will tell you this, coffee won’t help when your professor asks you a question about the reading you were suppose to do the night before. Coffee speeds up your brain, making most of your thoughts jumbled into the web with all your other thoughts. Anyways, before eating breakfast, I would eat anything and everything that was put in front of me during lunch. Now adding breakfast to my diet, preferably with lean protein in it, it gives me that boost to feel full until lunch. (Born Fitness) So when lunch finally does come around, I’m not scavenging for more food.

The benefits in breakfast start with it’s name. Break-fast. You are breaking your fast from sleeping. If you skip your morning meal, it can throw off your body’s routine of fasting and eating. So right now I want you to think about when you wake up. Your arms and legs are usually flimsy, your thinking capabilities aren’t on full alert as they usually are, and you’re just overall not 100% the best you. Breakfast replenishes the nutrients and sugar that your body needs. (WebMD)


You don’t need to have a breakfast as yummy and big as this is. My promise to you: Just a little something to get your juices pumpin’ and you’ll feel amazing.



Bornstein, Adam. “Breakfast Is Not the Most Important Meal.” Born Fitness, 2015.
Zelman, Kathleen. “The Many Benefits of Breakfast.” WebMD. WebMD,  2016.



Lefty or Righty?

After many difficulties in math classes year after year and even almost creeping over the edge of a failed grade, I knew for a fact I was not strong in math. Just to add to it, a bombed physics class in 11th grade led me to believe that the maths and sciences just were NOT for me. When Andrew had us writing about why we took this course, and as I found out that a lot of people were like me, disasters in everything math and science related, I wondered what the divide was all about. Why most students tend to either be talented in either maths and sciences or english and social studies was beyond me and was a topic I was very interested in looking into.

I have heard many times students refer to themselves as being left brained or right brained, in fact I heard a classmate say it just the other day. I have always the differences and wondered the science all behind it.


The main component of the left and right brained thinking is the fact that both sides of the brain process information differently. While both sides of the brain are working together at all times, we do have a natural tendency to lean towards one side of thinking. The two hemispheres have two very different jobs, both working equally and contributing equally to everyday. Additionally, the hemispheres control each side of the body, not respectively however. The right side of the body is controlled by the left side of the brain and vice versa. It has been proven by Nobel Prize Winning American psychobiologist Roger W. Sperry that the brain has two different ways of thinking. The brain is broken into two parts; the visual and intuitive right brain and the verbal analytical left brain.

So what does this all mean?

As Kendra Cherry of www.verywell.com states,


On one side of the brain, the left side, information is processed in pieces and then put together to create the whole. The left brain can be described as the digital brain, known for reading, writing, calculations, and logical thinking.

The left brain is very well known for acknowledging the following:

  • language
  • logic
  • critical thinking
  • numbers
  • reasoning


On the other hand, the right side processes information by looking at in the big picture and slowly breaking down the little details. The right brain is known to be best at expressive and creative tasks that allow for a lot more flow and a lot less specifics.

The right brain is specific to the following subjects:

  • recognizing faces
  • expressing/reading emotions
  • music
  • color
  • images
  • intuition
  • creativity


Many children at young ages tend to lean towards the right brain and have many creative tendencies. What is unfortunate is the fact that although most young students lean to the right brain, eventually, primary schools most prevalently lean towards a lot of left brained work, leaving the right brained workers to feel left behind. Our school system focuses mainly on left brain strengths, therefore only 10% of  these same creative students will rank highly creative by age 7.

All of this previous information is based solely on a theory. While there is no rock solid evidence, and many have attempted to debunk the information, some still tend to find correlations. Whether or not these correlations are causal or not is up for discussion. (check out that vocab!)


If you are someone who still believes that there is some truth to this theory, try it out for yourself! You may end up with an answer you wouldn’t have guessed. The positive to knowing what side of your brain you lean towards, allow you to work on the side you may not have the tendency to use.


Exercise as therapy

This summer I sorta became a gym rat. Besides the obvious benefits of getting in shape and maintaining a healthy weight I started to think what else is the gym doing for me that I am unaware of. Well yeah, burning calories is a plus but besides the obvious changes I can see with my eyes ; what is the gym really doing for me?

Throughout school I have always heard exercise releases endorphins. Ok, yeah so does chocolate, Am I right?  Not sure. This summer I did little to nothing besides workout 2-3x a day and then lay in my pool or by the water in my spare time. Obviously this summer I experienced little to no stress. Was it from my relaxed lifestyle I got to embrace this summer or was it from the gym? I intend on finding out.


(Picture found here)

After skimming a BUNCH of intriguing articles I found one that acknowledges a few more aspects to exercise that I think everyone should check out.

I know that after a bad breakup, a fight with a friend, a bad grade or just a lot on my plate a good workout will always make me feel better, but I never cared to know why. It turns out that one of the most common benefits of exercise happens to be stress relief. Working out causes an increase in norepinephrine in your brain. This helps to moderate your response to stress within your brain.

Obviously sometimes I dread going to the gym (especially here at school) (because who are you kidding you would prefer to lie in bed and watch netflix too). But after I finish a workout at the gym I never find myself saying; wow, I wish I didn’t do that ! I always find myself feeling great and energized after the gym and I wonder why. Just as we were taught in school -exercise releases endorphins. This causes feelings of happiness and euphoria. Not only do you feel good naturally following a killer workout your self confidence is also increased. You feel good both physically and mentally.


(Picture found here)

Obviously sometimes I dread going to the gym (especially here at school) (because who are you kidding you would prefer to lie in bed and watch netflix too). But after I finish a workout at the gym I never find myself saying; wow, I wish I didn’t do that ! I always find myself feeling great and energized after the gym and I wonder why. Just as we were taught in school -exercise releases endorphins. This causes feelings of happiness and euphoria. Not only do you feel good naturally following a killer workout your self confidence is also increased. You feel good both physically and mentally.

Now, lets be realistic, some of us can’t get to the gym with our schedules and not all of us are athletes but you don’t need to stress over it. After learning this I decided to find some stress reliving, endorphin releasing alternatives just out of curiosity.

I found some easy alternatives.

So first off, I was right about the chocolate thing. The chemicals found within chocolate are prompted to release endorphins just like exercise! Heres an easy one for you, LAUGH! Laugh until it hurts; same effect on your brain, reduces stress hormones as well as triggers the release of these feel good endorphins! And lastly another one of my favorites (if your 21 or over of course) Spike your drink!! Is this the best habit? Probably not. But they don’t call it happy hour for no reason. After a drink or two your brain starts to release endorphins in regions of your brain responsible for pleasure and reward. Anyways, drink responsibly.

Overall, I believe my summer was overall stress free due to my workout schedule as well as the life of leisure I lived. I do believe the workouts had a lot to do with it. I am sure to make sure I keep up these good habits throughout the school year to remain somewhat stress free, and when I cant make it to the gym.. I now know some easy alternatives.

I’m red with anger!

In 12th grade honors english class, each term had a different topic, and every Tuesday and Thursday rotated through each student. Who ever was up that day had 2 minutes to talk about that topic in whatever way could get them through those 2 hellish minutes. The second round of questions required each student to write a question, as random and ridiculous as possible. After I fought my way through a horrible 2 minutes, my good friend was up and ready…or so she thought…

“Why do you hate the color yellow?”

“……… yellow reminds me of sickness and makes me want to puke.” she responded.

As I reminisced on my last year in high school, my mind came across this entire weird term, as the questions only got more random from there, and decided that although very random, I would look into the effects that colors have on our thinking, moods, and attitudes.

Colour mood chart

Looking into how room color changes mood, how colors effect feelings and how colors effect behavior I have found that this subject although not wildly popular, is actually something people do look into and use regularly.

According to Mihai, room color to begin with can actually give a look into your personality. Although color effects may vary between age, sex, and ethnic background, colors usually spark a pattern in feelings and emotions in different parts of a house. The colors on your walls have three options: they can either be passive, active or neutral. On a more basic level, light colors open a room making it airy and calm, where as dark colors are more sophisticated in a space and create a more intimate feeling.

More specifically colors should be chosen carefully as the following effects have kept a pattern that’s hard to ignore:

Red: a very intense and loud color, red brings up energy in the room and creates a sense of togetherness that easily sparks conversation.

Yellow: yellow is a strong symbol of happiness and is best placed in a kitchen or bathroom where it is welcoming, and in smaller spaces yellow creates a larger more excited feeling.

Blue: blue is perfect and relaxing for bedrooms and bathrooms especially. Light blues are the best for calming where dark blues tend to evoke sadness.

Green: being the most restful color to the eye, green is suited for just about anywhere and allows for a sense of togetherness.

Orange: very energetic and enthusiastic, great for exercise spaces.

Purple: in light shades purple has a similar effect as light blue, whereas in dark shades, purple is the symbol of luxury and sophistication. (2015).

As Mihai points out, some other important color schemes to consider include a green desktop wallpaper to increase productivity and an orange workout room to bring about the passion of red and the joy of yellow. When going on a date, women are encouraged to wear red to display passion, and men are encouraged to wear blue as it is seen as stable and can calm the nerves of both. Black is seen as an aggressive color and especially is seen with sports teams who tend to show more pent up aggression when wearing their black away jerseys. Last and certainly not least, grey should be avoided when getting dressed to head to work and a green and blue workspace should be looked at as desirable.

In a recent study, Gruson (1982) writes of a large group of juvenile detention centers that began placing those who were manic and rowdy in rooms with walls of bubble gum pink. Rather than the long used restraining they once did, the “passive pink” room helped calm the children and eventually put most to sleep. Colors can be used in restaurants as red increases appetites and ultraviolet rays are used in dentist offices to help reduce cavities. Blue has had a huge impact as it was said to have influenced chinchillas to breed more female offspring than males and has even been the color painted on London’s Blackfriars Bridge in order to decrease the number of people who attempt suicide off of it.

Truly amazing, although not 100% guaranteed, colors have the ability to influence simple parts of everyday whether we allow them to or not. Here is an even more specific breakdown of each color and the feelings each one evokes!

To Skip or Not to Skip: Breakfast


(photo credit)

You’ve heard this mantra over and over again, “Eat your breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day!” Is there any truth to it, or are we blindly complying with an inaccurate proverb? According to an NPR  article, eating habits have changed, most significantly with the millennial generation. In previous years, breakfast, lunch, and dinner times were highly regimented and the idea of a “family meal” was imbedded in societal norms. Now, however, it seems that millenials are more irregular in their meal times and actually skip eating breakfast more often than older generations. This is an interesting finding. I think that eating behaviors can give insight as to what the values are for a particular time period. Family values were much more stressed back then. They aren’t completely gone now, but there is definitely a noticeable change in how the family unit is appreciated. Although an average job requires the employee to work five days a week starting at 9 a.m. and leaving at 5 p.m., there is an increasing demand to work beyond that five day, eight hour period. Because of this growing mentality that one must work beyond the set hours or days, meals are often skipped and they do not have the same importance or emphasis as they once had. This change is quite alarming to nutritionists and scientists alike. The motto of eating breakfast does not seem to apply to the younger generation, which goes against not only scientific research but also what they’ve grown up being told. And, naturally, anything that goes against a societal norm is “wrong.” Or is it?


(photo credit)

Numerous studies have tried to show a correlation between not eating breakfast and being obese. The Huffington Post cited a 2013 study that analyzed the scientific backing behind such claims, and found that skipping breakfast did not cause obesity. David Ludwig, obesity researcher at Harvard School of Public Health, had said that the emphasis shouldn’t be on what time you eat, but rather, what you eat. For instance, if you are a habitual breakfast eater, but your breakfast consists of sugary foods such as donuts or cereals, you aren’t benefitting your body in the slightest. Simple sugars found in foods like these don’t satisfy your hunger for a long period of time. Instead, those foods actually induce fat storage in your body and can make you hungrier, faster. Drew Ramsey, a Columbia University psychiatrist, weighs in on what makes a “good” breakfast. Anything high in protein (such as eggs) wards off hunger pangs by making you feel more full because it slows down your digestive system. So, circling back to the original question of is breakfast the most important meal of the day, I would have to side with no. I think the importance of eating breakfast comes from the nutritional value of the food you’re consuming, and not the timeframe in which you are consuming it. Also, it depends on how hungry you are when you wake up. If you find yourself not being hungry, then don’t consume the extra calories. However, do not deprive yourself of a meal if you are hungry, because that could lead to over-eating later in the day.

Can vegans actually better their lives and the lives of animals?

Throughout my entire life I’ve been an avid meat eater. My diet has always, even to this day, consisted of red meat, chicken, pork, vegetables, grains, and all the other good stuff in the food pyramid; but meat especially has almost always been included in every meal. It’s definitely a cultural thing in addition to the fact that I just genuinely enjoy it, too. My family and I are from Ukraine, and most of the dishes, like Kapusniak, a soup with pork, cabbage, and sour cream, include some sort of meat.

When I got to high school, one of my best friend’s told me that she was a vegan as soon as we met. I couldn’t fathom the idea of not only eating lettuce and apples all day (which she later told me was an inaccurate stereotype), but also not being able to enjoy any sort of animal products in general, like honey or gelatin. Often times I asked my 4’9, 92 pound friend if it was really worth it and if she was getting all the nutrition that she needed, and she seemed to think so. She loved the fact that she was helping animals and living a “healthier lifestyle”, but to be completely honest, I wasn’t buying it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe in being healthy by eating nutritious foods and exercising daily. I would probably benefit by cutting out some of the meat that I consume, too, but to completely get rid of something that’s been proven by science to be good for you, if eaten in moderation, sounds completely crazy to me.


One of the biggest problems of being a vegan is not getting the proper nutrients that a person needs to live a healthy lifestyle. According to a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, vitamin B-12 deficiency is extremely prevalent in vegetarians, including 62% of pregnant women, between 25% and almost 86% of children, and 11% to 90% among the elderly (PubMed.gov). And this is just for vegetarians! We could expect the percentages to be much higher for vegans since they have an even smaller window of foods that they can consume. This information is important because B-12, known as the energy vitamin, helps the body with circulation, formation of red blood cells, and mental clarity and memory function. A B-12 deficiency can lead to mental fogginess, memory troubles, muscle weakness, and fatigue (Mercola).

What’s even worse is that theres only seven vegan foods that have B-12, and four of them only count if they’re fortified with it. Vegans also tend to lack Vitamin D, Protein, and Zinc, all of which are mainly found in meat. The dearth of zinc, for example, can cause growth and developmental problems, hair loss, and diarrhea (Mayo Clinic). I found an interesting article that you can read here that describes many of the risks that have to do with a vegan diet. Although technically eating more leafy greens IS good for you, don’t these other health risks make the losses outweigh the benefits?

Another argument that I never fully agreed with is the fact that vegans are saving animals by avoiding consuming animal products. Out of 318.9 million people in the United States, only 7.3 million are vegans and only an additional 22.8 million follow a planet-based diet, according to the Vegetarian Times. This means that 288.8 million people, or roughly 90% of the population, consumes meat. Whatever animal it was that the vegan didn’t eat undoubtedly went to another meat eater in the country, meaning that no animals were saved by their efforts. And what about aquatic animals such as frogs and fish that die in the pesticide runoff from growing fruits and vegetables on farms? After reading this article, I was extremely shocked to find out that about 90% of the United States’ rivers are contaminated by pesticides and 80% of fish are affected by it. Vegans can stop eating meat, but they can’t change something as great of a factor as that.

What’s even more bothersome about veganism is that it’s been the “cool” and “trendy” thing to follow nowadays. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Manhattan, and Chicago are among the top ten cities with a growing population of people going vegan, even though there are a plethora of health risks associated with the transition. I think it’s strange that such a great number of people care so much about posting a picture of their acai bowl on Instagram from the popular new vegan cafe, because not only is it overpriced but often times it’s also not tasty. Speaking from personal experience, I hope I can go back home to Brooklyn during Thanksgiving break and this craze blows over. I definitely miss eating pizza and wings with my non-vegan friends, especially at two in the morning when you’re craving them the most.



Sources –

  1. http://oldwayspt.org/programs/oldways-vegetarian-network/vegetarian-vitamin-b12-food-sources
  2. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/15/how-to-avoid-the-most-dangerous-side-effect-of-veganism.aspx
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23356638
  4. http://www.thesweetbeet.com/vegan-diet/
  5. http://www.vegetariantimes.com/article/vegetarianism-in-america/
  6. http://www.naturalnews.com/027971_pesticides_bees.html


Why stars are star-shape?

What do stars look like? My first reaction is that star is star-shaped, a shape has five points. It is probably a mathematic question. Because we can draw a continues line into a five-pointed star, which is very convenient and efficient. But actually stars are big balls of gas, giving off heat and light. Therefore, most of stars is not star-shaped, but spherical.


So why we always draw stars with points? The answer is a little surprising that we see stars as pointy. What’s more, the images captured by telescope show that star is pointy. This is the image of the cluster Westerlund 2 from NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. It is not because the stars have points. Actually, the accuracy of pictures could be affected by several optical phenomena since pictures just record object’s images in several different mediums by some apparatus.

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the cluster Westerlund 2 and its surroundings has been released to celebrate Hubble’s 25th year in orbit and a quarter of a century of new discoveries, stunning images and outstanding science. The image’s central region, containing the star cluster, blends visible-light data taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys and near-infrared exposures taken by the Wide Field Camera 3. The surrounding region is composed of visible-light observations taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys.

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the cluster Westerlund 2 and its surroundings has been released to celebrate Hubble’s 25th year in orbit and a quarter of a century of new discoveries, stunning images and outstanding science. The image’s central region, containing the star cluster, blends visible-light data taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys and near-infrared exposures taken by the Wide Field Camera 3. The surrounding region is composed of visible-light observations taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys.

As we know, light is a wave. When a wave encounters an obstacle or a slit, diffraction occurs. To be specific, when light from a distant source passes through a hole or around an object, its waves are reflected or bent a little and interfere with each other. So the passing light leaves an imprint of the hole or object. When the object is a straight line, it spreads the light out into a perpendicular series of dashes. So if we use camera focusing on a point light when there is an obstacle between light source and photographic plate, the photo would represent that a line, brighter in the center and darker in the two edges, is perpendicular to the point light. When the object is a cross, it creates two perpendicular series of dashes. What’s more, circles can lead to concentric rings and hexagons can cause six-pointed stars. We can find that the photo Hubble Space Telescope taken is very similar to diffraction pattern. Since Hubble Space Telescope has four struts in order to support its small secondary mirror, and their imprint causes the four-pointed stars in its photos.


As a result, we see the pointed stars due to the lack of apparatus. However, before invention of camera and telescope, human draw stars with points according to Uranometria, the short title of a star atlas produced by Johann Bayer in 1603.


The reason is very simple. Because human’s optical structure, our eyes have defect. So to say, our crystalline lenses is camera lens, our iris is aperture, and our retina is imaging device. In detail, our lenses are not very perfect, having subtle structural imperfections called suture lines. Light passes the imprint making those imperfections leave. So when light reaches our retina, it shows that it is star-shaped. Additionally, during the lifetime, the surface patterns of human’s lenses have changed more and more complexly. Consequently, our optical structure would cause diffraction. The researchers of Instituto de Optica Daza de Valdés confirmed this statement. They utilized a set of complex mechanics to record what was happen after the green light reaching a human’s eye left a light spot in the retina. The light spot was exactly star-shaped.

That people used to draw shapes with five or six or more points to represent stars is not the reason that stars are star-shape. Different image of object is due to the interfere of light and imperfections of optical structures. Although scientifically most stars just like our star, sun are spherical, we still look stars with points. “Twinkle, twinkle, little star. How I wonder what you are.” Next time when we look at star, we already know that actually it is scientifically acceptable that we see stars with star-shaped but without spherical.

Source and credits:









The Dining Hall Blues

With college comes a lot of firsts: sometimes its your first time doing your own laundry, your first time living alone, but the most prevalent is probably that its your first time choosing when and where you eat for every single meal. A result of this new culinary freedom is often the dreaded Freshman 15. However I beg the question, is the Freshman 15 actually a thing or is it rather just a scare tactic employed by our parents to ensure we continue to eat our daily servings of fruits and veggies?



You meet a lot of personalities in college, and your dining hall serves like a exhibit, displaying those personas in their most natural form. As you walk through the tables you will probably see toothpick thin girls nibbling on lettuce and sipping water, those whose recent liberation from Mom made them realize they can in fact have ice cream for dinner every single night, and 18 boys who resemble “Super-Super Seniors” balancing 10 plates on one tray. To outsiders these trends might seem to be just stereotyping, however a recent study of college students in Taiwan show a direct correlation between personality traits and eating habits. Some of the most confounding results of this study state that more neurotic people tend to eat breakfast less often, those who score high on the conscientious scale tend to stay away from desserts, and eating out for college students is heavily dependent on employment status. In regards to the Freshman 15’s legitimacy, this study found that freshmen have the least time to eat out, leaving them susceptible to unhealthy dining hall options or simply just skipping meals which slows the metabolism.

Another huge downfall in college students’ diets is a lack of fruits and vegetables, shown both in the Tawian study and a 2011 study conducted at Oregon State University. The OSU study recorded the eating habits of over 500 students, most of them being freshman, and showed that students are only eating about 4 or 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a week. The research went further and revealed that though male students tend to eat more fruits and vegetables, female students tended to be more conscientious when it came to eating healthy and skipped fewer meals. This coincides with the Tawain study, again stating that a student’s susceptibility to gaining weight their freshman year is heavily dependent on one’s traits



Ironically, malnutrition has a large factor in the Freshman 15. As presented in this article, the high cost of healthy food in combination with higher living/tuition expenses and lower incomes, cause over 59% of college students to have a phenomenon labeled as “food insecurity”. They often eat less often and when they do eat they eat unhealthy foods lacking any nutrients. This sporadic eating in addition to unhealthy choices cause weight gain, depression, and erratic behavior.

It is clear through these studies that eating habits definitely change once you enter college, especially for freshmen. Whether or not you gain the Freshmen 15 though is entirely dependent on lifestyle and the choices that you make. It might be hard to pass up those cookies in the dining hall and life is too short to stop eating Creamery Ice Cream, but you have to remember that when indulging, lifestyle adjustments need to be made to counterbalance these choices. Though taking the Bloop or Whoop to class everyday might be tempting, walking from East to Willard every morning could help to work off those late-night Pokies. So the question becomes, are you going the Freshman 15’s next victim?