Daily Archives: September 8, 2016

Napping is my middle name

I think I can speak for most of Penn State when I say naps are a crucial part of college. I LOVE naps. It’s actually a little scary how much I actually do sleep. For example, I sleep 7-8 hours a night and i’ll be up for 5 hours and then I’ll nap for 4 hours and be up for another 6 hours then go to bed for the night. I recently realized that while napping is great and helps, it may not always be the best thing to do. I have also heard recently that napping isn’t good for you. So I am going to explore the positives and negatives associated with napping.



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Take a nap, it helps! 

I found an article that is all about napping from the National Sleep Foundation (pretty cool if I do say so myself). It states that 85% of people plus more will sleep throughout the whole day. There are two parts of a day, the time where we are asleep and the time that we are awake. While napping isn’t bad for a person, it is only recommended to sleep for 20-30 minutes not 4 hours like I have been doing. Another factor that plays a huge role in all of this is the temperature outside especially when you live in East Halls and there is no AC. Thanks Penn State!! According to sleep.org, there are 3 main reasons that the sun plays a huge part in making a person drowsy. The first one is that being in a hot room or directly in the sun can cause your body to overheat and lose track of its temperature. Your body is constantly trying to cool itself down and doesn’t have time to slack which results in your body feeling very tired and weary. Another problem which I know I do is not staying hydrated. I tend to forget to drink something and sometimes I’ll go all day without drinking water. It is bad but for me I am just not trained to drink water all the time, I never have. Even though we walk to class, we are still getting hit with sunlight which can cause skin to burn. We all know how we feel after being in the sun all day and getting a sunburn. All you want to do is sleep.

Sometimes the only way to get through a long day is to take a nap, I completely understand. Best Health Mag listed 19 reasons why taking a nap is good. Some of the reasons are it helps alleviate headaches, perks you up and even boosts your sex drive!



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Naps aren’t good, says who?!

According to Telegraph news, napping isn’t good for you and can increase your risk of getting diabetes by 46%. Ralph Downey III, PhD said, that even the small naps can reduce your sleep at night. Rachel Nuwer from the Smithsonian states that from a study should looked at that naps during the day for an extensive period of time can actually decrease your time here on Earth. Obviously one can conclude that naps aren’t always the best for a person, but a quick power nap will for sure do the trick. I couldn’t find that much information on why naps are bad for you.

All in all, I have found out a lot about naps. Growing up I was told that naps were good but now that I am in college and I nap frequently I am getting told to go to the doctors to have it checked out. I understand the concerns, but come on.. it’s just napping, right?



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How Does Anxiety Affect College Students?

How anxiety relates to myself and the people around me. 

While sitting here thinking about what to write about and getting anxious while doing so, I thought why not write about something that hits close to home. Anxiety has been present in my life way too long, I have been diagnosed with severe anxiety and a panic disorder. Panic disorder pretty much means that I can have an anxiety at any time and I don’t expect it, although sometimes I know they can still be random, which really stinks. I have been seeing a counselor the last FOUR years of my life and I am very thankful to have someone in my life like her. She’s great and it’s nice talking to someone who actually keeps a secret. As I stated in my last blog post, I am very interested to see how anxiety can affect people, especially college students. Being a RA I see a lot of this first hand, it can be anything from classes, sorority rushing, adjusting to college life, roommates, etc. I want to make this blog post all about anxiety and why college students are so heavily impacted by this small word.


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What is anxiety?

Learn Psychology states that stress is caused by a challenge that is presented to us whether it be good or bad. Personally for me, when a homework or exam is presented I immediately lock up and it isn’t good at all. There are 3 types of stress that are known by psychologists right now. Acute stress is the stress that mostly everyone goes through, it can be anything from being stressed/excited about going to your prom or starting college. This type of stress can be positive or negative but at the end of the day it passes. Episodic stress is the next level of stress that usually happens to Type A personalities. It is when there is a constant or reoccurring stressor that keeps coming back. Chronic acute stress is the last one that is truly the worst one. As many would say this stress is like seeing no light at the end of the tunnel.

Anxiety comes from numerous different outlets. But when talking about college students it usually stems from classes, a job, relationships or trying to fit in. Another article I found interesting that answered a lot of questions that I have is this article right here. This article talks about the different stressors that college students face, especially first year students or transfer students. I remember when I first came to Penn State there was so much diversity and I honestly just didn’t know how to handle it. But not in a bad way, I came from a 95% all white community with the occasional study abroad student who came and lived with a family.  I am completely all for diversity but sometimes you don’t know what to say to a different race or culture because you don’t want to offend them. College is about stepping out of your comfort zone and to a lot of people that can be anxiety inducing.

According to BU Today, anxiety is now the number one diagnosis in college students. This statement makes so much sense to me and I am glad that the word is finally getting out there. Professors are a hit or a miss when talking about this topic. I have had a professor personally say to me “Don’t worry, your anxiety won’t interfere with your work in this class.” HELLO, yes it will. It drives me absolutely insane when people say that. ESPECIALLY PROFESSORS. According to the study, from 2010/2011 to 2015 the number of college students that reached out for help nearly doubled. Another part I want to hit on is how anxiety can affect school performance in college students. In the year 2015, the Penn State study from BU Today reported that 21.8% of students enrolled in college had either did poorly on an exam or dropped a class from high levels of anxiety. I am apart of that 21.8% without a doubt. During my sophomore year I had to go to the hospital for an anxiety attack over ECON 102. Later I had to drop that class due to health concerns. Can you believe it? A class like economics can cause a student that much anxiety.


How can we help those affected by anxiety? 

Since I wrote a whole blog post about anxiety and the negative effects that come with it, I figured now would be a great time to talk about how we can help those who are affected by anxiety. From experience with residents, friends and family the best thing anyone can do is to just listen. Don’t ever get frustrated when talking to someone with anxiety. Sometimes people just need to vent and they feel a lot better afterwards. Don’t love them any less because they suffer from anxiety. Anxiety can be stopped in anyone just by love & support.

Teenager consoling her friend

Teenager consoling her friend

Image found here.




This election has been known for its unique hostility and unprecedented style of commencement, the current presidential election is, uniformly agreed upon, as one of the most divisive political events of our time. The name Donald Trump conjures images of walls, immigration, and curt decisive statements. However, a much-overlooked issue when facing the behemoth that is Donald Trump is the environment.


Before drawbridges are pulled up and guards raised, it would be very appreciated if an open mind was kept while reading this blog. I am not trying to write any sort of Pro-Hillary or Anti-Trump propaganda, but rather, address an issue many of us are directly involved in.

Anyway, back to the wall. When looking for possible solutions to certain issues it is important to consider all impacts the solution will have, both negative and positive. Trump’s solution to immigration is no different. The area surrounding both sides of the current wall and the proposed extension to the wall is home to some of North America’s richest ecosystems. According to Krista Schlyer, a reporter for newsweek.com the Rio Grande River Valley is a busy migration path for 500 different species of birds, home to 700 species of vertebrates, and many different species of plants. These plants and animals include the saguaro cactus, roadrunners, the endangered North American Jaguar, and Ocelot. Adele Conover of the Smithsonian was quoted as saying the once common ocelot’s population now hovers around 80-120 cats, 40 of which live in the region that the wall would cut in half. For more information, you can read more about this topic here.

Unsurprisingly, animals do not have much of a concept of political boundaries or international affairs. When choosing their habitats they do not much care for whether their hunting territory is in Mexico or United States. By creating physical boundaries, we break up ecosystems with potentially devastating consequences.



For example, the Black bear that lives primarily in Texas relies on mating with their cousins in Mexico. With the new wall that trump has estimated to be somewhere between 30-60 feet high and made of pure concrete, it is certainly unlikely that the black bears of the United States and the bears in Mexico will be able to find any way around to continue mating.

As well as the direct consequences a wall like this could have on the environment, there are many other indirect ramifications this may have. Some of these include the accidental destruction of habitats by redirection of watershed leading to flooding as well as psychological damages to the animals living in the area. In a BBC article written by Jonathan Sullivan on the topic, he tells a brief anecdote about the death of thousands of antelopes in the 1880s due to the construction of railroads. The antelopes were unable to cross the tracks and, as a result, more than 10,000 antelopes died. To think that something as small as a railroad track can kill thousands of animals it is hard to imagine the result of a 2,000-mile wall.

To conclude I believe decisions like the decision to build the Great Wall of Trump should not be taken lightly, and every outcome must be investigated. This possible repercussion is one that I do not believe has been given proper consideration, especially due to the fact that I had not heard of it until I typed science into the BBC website and it came up as a minor article. So next time you hear mention of the “the wall” think of all the animals it affects.



Conover, Adele. “Not a Lot of Ocelots.” Smithsonian Magazine. Smithsonian, June 2002. Web. 08 Sept. 2016. <http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/not-a-lot-of-ocelots-63683601/?no-ist>

Gaskill, Melissa. “The Environmental Impact of the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall.”Newsweek. 2016 NEWSWEEK LLC, 21 May 2016. Web. 08 Sept. 2016. <http://www.newsweek.com/2016/02/26/environmental-impact-us-mexico-border-wall-426310.html>

Sullivan, Jonathan. “What Would Trump’s Wall Mean for Wildlife?” BBC News. BBC Online, 1 Sept. 2016. Web. 08 Sept. 2016. <http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37200583>

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Why do we like the things we like?

Everyone you meet is different and unique in their own way. Everyone has those things that they like and dislike and things they enjoy doing and things they despise doing, but why do some people enjoy certain things more than others?

According to Paul Bloom, most pleasures are developed from origins, not experience. People enjoy most things for obvious reasons. Sugary candy and salty snacks, for example, some people have a sweet tooth while others prefer a more pungent taste.

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(Image Source)

Paul describes this as the adaptationist theory of pleasure. Those pleases that I described earlier, the ones developed from origins, are common throughout all individuals. If you compared all the different types of communities, you would notice a common ground between them.

People find pleasures in things they do because they have qualities of things they already enjoy. For example, someone who enjoys crossword puzzles enjoys doing them because they find pleasure in philosophical activities.

People can also find pleasure in things they are exposed to. For example, I personally used to hate country and rap music but, my friends from home loved both genres. After being exposed to both types of music for an extended period of time, I now enjoy listening to them.


Embrace the Bush

For many years, there has been a trend in female grooming that they should be as bald as a pre-pubescent tween in our more intimate area. Besides the fact that it is obviously expensive for such upkeep, science suggests it is better to keep your pubic hair versus shaving it off.

As a young woman, the idea that body hair was unhygienic was seared into my brain. However, it was the idea that female body hair was unhygienic. Males, on the other hand, could walk around with the body hair of a yeti judgement free. I began shaving and waxing at a very young age; getting rid of all the body hair that I could. This came to a very sudden stop around a year ago. I realized how much money I was spending, and as a soon to be broke college kid, I needed alternate methods. I do think I have found the perfect one: not shaving. As much anyhow. If the money I was saving from shaving less regularly wasn’t enough, I had discovered that there was indeed scientific reasons to not shave as much.

In an article written by Ellen Scott from Metro, the reasons to keep your hair as nature intended are outlined. Firstly, the hair is there to show that you are physically ready to procreate. As well, it helps against uncomfortable friction during sex. Shaving your vagina also often causes skin irritation; which include red bumps and some of the worst itching imaginable. Not to mention, it is quite risky to take a razor to such an intimate area. Most genital injuries reported in the emergency room are due to removal of pubic hair.

The most significant reason listed in the article to not shave your pubic hair is the correlation between the hair removal and an increase in sexually transmitted diseases. More specifically, the theory is that there is a correlation between the increase in removing pubic hair and an increase in gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HPV. Evidence from another article written by Jessica Winters from Thought Catalog only further reinforces this reasoning. She cited a study done by the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, which stated that more than half of women who remove their pubic hair develop some sort of health problem related to it. Needless to say, I think the science behind it is telling we need to start embracing our body’s

Source: Tri Vo/Mic

Source: Tri Vo/Mic

more natural state.

Links to the articles:



Why You Need to Chill Out with the All-Nighters

I rarely sleep. I feel blessed by the lord almighty himself if I get five to seven hours of sleep. This is because I am extremely productive between the hours of seven at night and 3 in the morning. Also, I get caffeine cravings around this time and I drink the miracle that is sugar-free monster. My neurologist hates me for all of this. He has begged me for years to change my ways given how bad it is for me to have these sleep habits.

After doing a tiny bit of research, I can see why my neurologist is in despair for his favorite patient with chronic migraines and anxiety. In an article by Sarah Klein of the Huffington Post, some very typical lack-of-sleep side effects were listed: groggy, inability to focus, struggling to do typical activities at your usual speed, and the need for a nap. Some signs I wasn’t aware of were being ore emotional than usual, as well as being hungrier and even clumsy. The article also claims that to avoid this, we need to be getting seven to nine hours of sleep on a regular basis.

If those side affects of sleep deprivation weren’t bad enough to convince you to actually go to bed, it gets worse. An article by Camille Peri, published by Web M.D., illustrates even further why sleep is so essential. According to the article, it can cause health problems. Most people with insomnia experience another health condition; these include heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes just to name a few. The next point the article makes should be especially troubling to the young men reading. Sleep-deprivation lowers your sex drive. As well, men with really bad sleep apnea had extremely low levels of testosterone. In short, no sleep means no sex. Insomnia is also linked to depression and anxiety. Those diagnosed with either anxiety are depression are likely to get less than six hours of sleep a night. Finally, to those of us worried about the freshmen fifteen, not getting enough sleep contributes to weight gain. This is due to the fact that sleep deprivation lowers leptin levels; which is the chemical that makes you feel full.

I’ll stop worrying you, and myself, with the plethora of horrible things that come with sleep deprivation. Instead, let’s just get some sleep.

Links used:



Source: Huffington Post

Source: Huffington Post

Every high schooler, college student and even sometimes your parents fall trap to the wonderful life of procrastination. Most see it as they have more important things to do at that given time, then when the assignment is due they see themselves stuck in a ditch with no way of getting out. I see my friends and I currently falling into this trap even knowing the resulting consequence. Talking to college students, many of them try to convince you that they work better when they get closer to a deadline, but with new studies being released, that might not be accurate. So the overwhelming question remains does procrastination ultimately lead to lower grades?

Warwick School of Business in England conducted a survey where they received results saying that every hour you procrastinate, your grade drops. In addition, students who happen to wait until the final moments of the assignment tend to do a couple percentage points worse than if they started earlier. Reading this result made me remember something that we mentioned in class one time. Andrew mentioned every time you check your phone in class, your grade is going to drop one letter. Both of these are connected because in both situations the student is getting distracted in some way. According to the Warwick School of Business in October 2015, they investigated roughly 500 first year students and 275 third year students as they came to the end of their term assignments. As you would assume since we are dealing with college students, the majority of them turned in the assignment within the last day that it was available. Studies concluded that close to 90 percent waited towards the end of the deadline- and that caused their grade to drop 5 percent (Study Here). While also looking at this study, we wanted to see if there was variance to the students who submitted assignment well before the last day. Where the biggest variance in the scores came from the students waited until the last seconds to submit their assignments. As you would conclude by yourself, these students received almost a half letter grade lower than their classmates. So do you think students are lazy or just don’t have the skills necessary to complete task in adequate amount of time?

To prove that this wasn’t just by chance and there seems to be a relationship, we look at another study. According to Hillary Green-Lerman, this study conducted was performed on few thousand students taking a college chemistry course. For the assignments that were giving, the had at least a week to work on it. Results showed that the majority of the students waited a couple days to start the assignment, like no more than three days before it was due (Green-Lerman 2015).




The conclusion that they came to was students who worked on the assignments the day before it was due, did worse than the rest of their fellow classmates, falling below the class average by a few points. On the other hand, students who spent time working on the assignment over a long time period scored a lot higher than the average of the class, roughly three points.



I feel like I can relate to this study because obviously I have fallen victim of procrastination throughout my academic career. It wasn’t of recently where I really felt the impact of waiting until the last second to complete a final project. Junior year for my final project of AP US History, I didn’t give myself adequate amount of time to complete a rough draft. As a result, my grade showed for it, having an impact on my final overall grade. From the experience, I managed my time better when it came to submitting my final, getting a much higher grade, something I think I deserved. Ultimately, this can be used at evidence to show the difference makes when allocating more time to a certain task, as it can make a dramatic difference in your grade. After comparing the studies done by the two independent sources, we can conclude that there seems to be a correlation between the amount of time that you procrastinate and the grade received on the assignment. Both studies show drops in grades when deciding to wait until the last minute to work on the assignment. So this could add another question, whether there is a way to motivate students into working on assignments over a long period of time, maybe go about the approach that Andrew does and offer extra credit if you affectively manage your time.


https://www.knewton.com/resources/blog/adaptive-learning/the-early-bird-gets-the-grade-how-procrastination-affects-student-scores/ (Source for Pictures)



Freshman 15: The Science Behind the Stigma

I’m a “live to eat” rather than a “eat to live” kind of girl. Thus, while college has changed my level of independence and responsibility, the toughest adjustment for me is the food. I cannot explain to you how desperately I long for a home cooked meincredible_freshman_15-front-largeal, something balanced and relatively healthy yet enjoyable. With my busy college schedule, I find myself opting for the unhealthy and “snacky” type of meal. Furthermore, all previous consideration
to my health vanishes when it comes to late night eating, and I’ll carelessly take a trip to D.P. Dough or Gumby’s to satisfy greasy cravings. It all comes down to one thing: the
freshman fifteen. The infamous theory that college kids are doomed for a depressing weight gain due to their mediocre habits. I wonder, what is the science behind this stigma?

In my effort to analyze the freshman fifteen phenomenon, the first piece of valuable insight I came across was a Huffington Post Blog that actually featured an interview with Penn State nutritionists. Thus, a very relevant source of information pertaining to the question at hand. The Penn State dietary gurus shared that a possible explanation for the freshman weight gain was the fact that most dining halls are buffet style. They shared how the freedom of choice paired with the unlimited access to food causes students to either make unhealthy dining decisions or to over-portion their meals. Melissa Hendricks, one of the Penn State University dietitians mentioned in the blog, described how many students take advantage of the constant opportunity to consume foods that were previously eaten only occasionally. While I strongly agree with her claim, it also made me think about my own dining hall, Findlay Commons. It is currently under construction, so there is only a la carte options rather than a traditional buffet. So, why do I still feel like my choices aren’t healthy? Well, I believe I don’t need a professional Penn State dietitian to answer this one. The first thing I remember learning in my elementary science and health classes is the food pyramid, which required that we have an adequate amount of each food group in each meal in order to make that a healthy decision. However, Findlay Commons does not set me up for success according to the food pyramid. If I choose the salad bar at Findlay, I don’t get a good enough serving of protein. If I opt for the Italian food section, I am missing out on my vital vegetables. Then, I am becoming a part of the 66% of adults who fall short of the recommended amount of vegetables each day, according to a Kansas State University article. Therefore, while the buffet style dining promotes overeating and unhealthy options, the a la carte option promotes an unbalanced diet. Each meal, I am choosing which food group I am in the mood to sacrifice. Both dining systems are flawed, and I believe both contribute partially to why college students gain weight in their freshman year.


In addition, many experts claim that the freshman fifteen can be attributed to the increase in stress levels for freshman students. As I have witnessed, the adjustment to college life has been a rollercoaster of emotions. On my first day at Penn State, I actually jumped up and down with excitement and hysterically cried of depression within the same five minutes. From the same Huffington post blog mentioned earlier, a Penn State nutritionist, Alison Borkowska, commented on how stressful college adjustments can in turn cause weight gain. For example, she discusses the increase in strict scheduling that overwhelms most students, causing them to binge eat out of stress. Similarly, a Psychology Today article shares the details of an intuitive research project done by Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management Cornell University that alludes to stress being a catalyst for the freshman fifteen. The research team discovered that students ate more of what they defined as “unhealthy
snacks” than “healthy snacks” during the week leading up to final exams. In other words, the week containing the highest stress levels for the student population. This also aligns with information presented in the 2013 publication of The National College Health Assessment, which declared that 46.3% of surveyed students expressed feelings of inundation in terms of the increase in their college responsibilities and stress levels. Therefore, it seems that the newfound stress that comes with transitioning into college is a clear explanation for the freshman15myth_amanda_jpegfreshman fifteen.

The final cause of the freshman fifteen that I explored was one of the most popular college habits… late night eating. As college students, our bedtimes are not as strict as when our parents set them for us. Furthermore, after late nights of studying or spending time with friends, we usually feel in need of some fuel. However, this Washington Post article explains that the closer you eat to bedtime, the more likely your body will store those calories as fat rather than burning them as energy. In addition, scientists have performed various studies on the reaction of animal bodies to late night eating, which revealed that how the body processes food late at night varies do to a variety of factors. Director of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at Oregon Health & Science University, Steven Shea, explains that “body temperature, biochemical reactions, hormone levels, physical activity and absorption and digestion of food” all fluctuate when one eats out of rhythm, in this case late at night. However, studies also have noted that there is a confounding variable in the correlation between late night eating and weight gain. Usually, people tend to crave calorie rich foods the later they eat, which would account for the greater calorie intake. 

Overall, the freshman fifteen can be attributed to a plethora of factors. While the dining options throughout campus are unlimited and unbalanced, I believe the primary cause of the freshman fifteen is psychological. The stress and responsibility of adjusting to the collegiate lifestyle is such a prominent source of the tendency to overeat. Furthermore, student brains give into the temptations of college culture, such as late night cravings and unhealthy choices.


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Grass vs Turf: Which is Safer?

Anyone who has played an outdoor sport in their life can relate to this topic and probably has an opinion of their own. Grass or turf? For most people, it is a matter of preference. As a kid, turf fields seem much more professional because most kids play on grass fields that are poorly taken care of. However, once you play in high school, you start to form your own views. In the summer, turf is too hot. In the winter, grass becomes muddy and icy. In both scenarios, the playing field can be hazardous for athletes to run, cut, slide, kick, tackle, and pretty much any other movement needed to play a sport. Rather than asking which surface players prefer to play on, I wonder whether there is a difference in the frequency of injuries on turf compared to on grass.

Comparing the safety of new and improved modern artificial turf fields to grass fields has become a back-and-forth debate over the past few years. Studies have provided evidence supporting and opposing the idea that turf fields are more dangerous than grass fields. According to Justin Shaginaw, an athletic trainer for the US soccer federation, a 2011 study found a higher frequency of ankle injuries on turf for football, soccer, and rugby players. Also, a 2012 study showed that more college football players suffered ACL injuries on turf than on grass. On the other hand, both a 2010 study on college football players and a 2013 study on female college soccer players showed a higher frequency of all injuries on grass than on turf. However, according to John Brenkus in one of his Sport Science videos, recent studies have shown that turf reduces the risk for injury by over 10%, yet turf increases stress on the ACL joint by about 45%. Brenkus even talked about a study covering over 2,600 NFL games, saying players were 67% more likely to sprain their ACL on turf than on grass.

So what makes one surface more dangerous to play on than another? According to Mark Drakos, most scientists believe there are two features of turf and grass that affect injury rates: the coefficient of friction and the coefficient of restitution. The coefficient of friction is exactly what it sounds like, how much friction the surface creates. For instance, a low coefficient of friction would cause people to slip a lot, whereas a high coefficient of friction creates a stickier surface. Therefore, surfaces with higher coefficients of friction cause more ACL injuries because there is not as much “give” on the turf or grass. Similarly, a higher coefficient of restitution will, in general, cause more injuries. Basically, the coefficient of restitution means how hard the surface is and is measured with a G-max value. For instance, concrete has a very high G-max value. Consequently, certain grass and turf fields have higher G-max values, which lead to a higher rate of concussions and other contact injuries.

Although grass and turf fields might cause a similar rate of injuries, some scientists believe there is one feature of turf that makes it much more dangerous to play on. No, I’m not talking about sprained ankles, pulled muscles, or torn ligaments, I am talking about cancer. According to Hannah Rappleye, the crumb rubber in artificial turf is made up of bits of tire that contain carcinogens and chemicals that could cause cancer. There is evidence that exposure to benzene, carbon black, and lead, among other substances, can cause cancer, but proving this is more difficult than it seems. Crumb rubber has tens of thousands of different tires from different brands, making it difficult for scientists to research the relationship between crumb rubber and cancer.

Personally, in my experiences playing soccer, football, and even baseball on grass and turf fields, I enjoy playing on turf more, but am definitely more sore after playing on turf than I am on grass. However, assuming the weather is normal and both turf and grass fields are well taken care of, it is a tough choice. In a few years, the distinction between injury rates on turf fields and on grass fields should be more clear. Nevertheless, with the information discovered up to this date, I would prefer grass for a few reasons. Primarily, grass may cause more common injuries such as ankle sprains and muscle strains, but turf fields seem more likely to cause more serious injuries like ACL and MCL tears. Also, although this may end up being nothing, I would rather avoid any potential risk of cancer if I had the chance. The higher risk for common injuries would be worth it compared to risking an ACL injury, or worse, getting cancer. So there it is, grass fields win. To conclude, enjoy this video from The Comebacks of someone tearing his ACL, great scene.

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Do Physical Traits Shape Leadership Ability?

I was browsing the internet the other evening, as one does when procrastinating on Accounting homework, and I came across an interesting link. It was an online collection of art pieces by Argentinian artist Alejandro Almaraz titled Portraits of Power. This is a collection of 15 digitally created works whereby Almaraz blended together the portraits of different world leaders, each individual piece is a compilation of a country’s leaders within a certain time period. For instance, the 3rd work in the installation is a mash-up of the portraits of all United States presidents from the years 1960 to 2008. The 8th work uses the same technique but for all of the men who ever lead the Soviet Union. Aside from being creative art pieces, all of the works in Portraits of Power have something in common: they all seem to create an eerily similar face, or all of the leaders in a work make the face of what could be their shared relative. This got me thinking: if all of these leaders within certain time periods in certain nations share some physical qualities, does that mean that having those qualities in question make you more likely to become a leader? While I was unfortunately unable to find a conclusive answer, I discovered some findings that made me to believe that the idea isn’t so far-fetched after all.

Almaraz’s 2nd piece in the collection features all of the U.S. presidents from 1789-1889, a 100 year span

The first physical characteristic that I looked into was probably the most obvious one to begin examining: height. Aside from being the characteristic that can make someone the most physically dominating in a room, height has been consistently shown in statistical data to be a correlative feature among leaders. Among the general population, 3.9% of people are 6 feet 2 inches or taller. However, among CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, 30% of them are that height or above (“The Look Of A Leader | The Economist”). Height isn’t just prominent among industry leaders either, it extends to political leaders as well. Across time, average height of the presidents within a century have been greater than the average height for the general populations of each century. In terms of average male height, it was approximately 5′ 3.5″ in the 1800’s, 5′ 9″ in the 1900’s, and 5′ 10″ in the 2000’s (Kennedy). The average presidential height for each century was larger, approximately 5′ 10″ in the 1800’s, 6′ 0″ in the 1900’s, and 5′ 11″ in the 2000’s (Papathanassiou). Unfortunately for you shorties out there, it looks like being on the shorter end puts you at a bit of a disadvantage. Yet sometimes like many musicians, it’s not about the look of the leader, but the sound of one.

The quality of one’s voice has been found to be an important component in one’s appearance as a leader. Many of us have heard that having a deeper voice, whether that be for men or women, makes someone more memorable and more attractive (PsyBlog). Aside from being more successful in your love life, deeper voices are also very helpful in the business world. Researchers from UC San Diego and Duke University listened to presentations for investors from 792 male CEOs, and found that those whose voices are on the deeper end of the spectrum made about $187,000 more per year than the average CEO (“The Look Of A Leader | The Economist”). Now things are really starting to look good for all of you height-gifted baritones out there, however in my Management 301 class I learned about another, unexpected factor that can play potentially a role in your leadership ability: handedness.

(clockwise from top left) Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Gerald Ford all sign legislation using their left hands

(clockwise from top left) Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Gerald Ford all sign legislation using their left hands

Good news for the 12% of you out there who are left-handed, because you may be more likely to become the President of the United States over right-handed folks. Five of the last seven presidents have all been southpaws, or have dominate left hands (“Odds Are Next U.S. President Will Be Left-Handed | Toronto Star”). So for the last 7 presidents that means 71.4% of them were lefties, a big difference when looking at the general population. No real explanation can be given for why there seems to be a trend for left-handedness among presidents, I believe that it may appear more formal when the cameras are facing them but I don’t have any research to back this theory. Until then, the southpaws reading may want to look towards a career in politics.

In the animal kingdom, those animals whose physical presence is the most frightening tends to be the top of the food chain. In the world of leadership, whether it be in business or government, physical dominance also seems to have a large part in how successful you are. I know that this blog post may be sad to read for those of you who are short, have high voices, are right-handed, etc. But fear not, my advice is to keep your backs tall and speak confidently wherever you go, maybe you can help in eliminating this bias towards the more physically prominent so everyone can be a leader, no matter the look.


“10 Ways Your Voice Influences Other Minds – Psyblog”. PsyBlog. N.p., 2013. Web. 8 Sept. 2016.

“Alejandro Almaraz / Portraits Of Power”. Alejandroalmaraz.com.ar. N.p., 2016. Web. 8 Sept. 2016.

Kennedy, Rita. “The Average Height Of Humans Over Time”. LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., 2016. Web. 8 Sept. 2016.

“Odds Are Next U.S. President Will Be Left-Handed | Toronto Star”. thestar.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 8 Sept. 2016.

Papathanassiou, Manolis. “USA Presidents – Height & Weight”. Presidenstory.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 8 Sept. 2016.

“The Look Of A Leader | The Economist”. Economist.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 8 Sept. 2016.

(The first photo comes from Alejandro Almaraz’s Portraits of Power)

Presidential Signatures Collage:






NARCOS- No Spoilers

No details about the TV show will be revealed in this post.

Image result for narcos

Image via Esquire

Released last Friday on Netflix, the second season of Narcos may have been on of the most discussed topics over the weekend. Sitting on the bus, two guys were talking about it and not 10 minutes later did we have the entire back of the bus talking about it. Narcos is definitely up there on my top favorite TV shows, besides having to read half of the script.

Laying in bed watching an episode, I had the idea for this blog post. What do I really know about cocaine? Nothing. So here is a little more you can know about cocaine.

What is Cocaine?

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Image via drugdetails.com

Cocaine, either in powder or crystal form, comes from the coca leaves. This is a plant grown in South America where the tropical conditions are perfect for growing the plant. A combination of perfect altitude and humidity are needed to effectively grown coca plants; the Andes mountains and the Amazon together create an ideal growing environment. Coca plants can be grown in other places (not very easily), but is most effectively done in South America. The leaves are processed through various steps until it finally becomes Cocaine Hydro-chloride. As it gets passed from dealer to dealer, it is often cut with other products to increase profits. This means that the dealer may throw any cheaper substance (flour, baking powder, other drugs) into the cocaine. Obviously, it becomes very dangerous as multiple unknown substances are mixed into it. (Narconon)

Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia are the leading producing nations of cocaine, almost having no
competition (Narconon). The majority of the production is sent to America to satisfy our massive coke loving population. According to Mike Nudelman, Cocaine is a very popular drug on Wall street, being used since the 1970’s. The remainder of cocaine distribution goes to mainly European countries and Australia. It then gets purchased by every type of person from the poor to rich business executives, and eventually used.

Cost of Cocaine

Each one of these packages is one kilogram of cocaine- image via Vice

According to Scott Stewart, When a kilogram of cocaine leaves Colombia, it is worth approximately $2,200.  By the time it reaches The Mexico-US border, it is worth $16,000. In just 2,000 miles, the price increases by 700%- no longer surprised why these drug lords take the risks they do. Reaching Dallas, it hits a price of $24,000 per kilo and than $27,000 per kilo when it reaches New York City. (Stewart) An overall increase by over 1200%. Now this profit is split among many dealers and transporters, but still gives a huge profit to the cartel- which is why they are able to hold so much power in their respective areas. Money is not the only cost of cocaine, many lives are also lost in the process. According to Jason Breslow, over 164,000 people were murdered in Mexico between 2007 and 2014.  It is estimated that at least 55% of these deaths were directly at the hands of the cartel. (Breslow) The costs quickly add up to millions of dollars and thousands of lives being spent on cocaine each year.

Cocaines effect on the body
Cocaine can be taken in multiple ways. Many people choose to snort it but it can also be ingested through smoking, injection, or absorbtion though the gums. Effects occur almost immediately after the drug enters the body,
changing chemicals in the brain to deliver a high to the user. This high is created through the drug blocking neurotransmitters in the brain. The results heavily stimulate the user. The stimulation comes in the form of making the user very energetic and alert. The energetic effect transfers into curving the users ability and or wish to sleep, which may be why so many people are using it on Wall street- the can work all day and party all night, supplementing their lack of sleep with cocaine. (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Cocaine is used and love by many: some use it recreationally and others to stay awake through the day. In either situation, there is someone, most likely thousands of miles away, profiting very heavily from those addicted to, or just using, cocaine. Not only is there a massive trail of money, but also bodies of anyone who interferes with the business of the cartels.



The Staggering Death Toll of Mexico’s Drug War







Can Too Much Protein Actually Be Harmful?



According to Jessie Szalay, proteins are complex molecules made up of amino acids that are essential to the increase in muscle mass and growth among a persons body. Protein is a macronutrient that is needed in order to repair bones, muscles, skin, hair and even nails. It is extremely important because they produce enzymes, antibodies,  and hormones which help our body function to its maximum potential.According to A Calorie Counter, an average male and female that doesn’t exercise should intake about 0.5 grams of protein per pound of their body weight. For example a person weighing about 175 pounds should eat around 87.5 grams of protein. If an athlete trains hard and wants to put on muscle then they are recommended to have 0.8 grams of protein per pound of their body weight. In this case that 175 individual should have 140 grams of protein per day. If you want to find out more about how much protein you should have click here.

Lately protein food products are being publicized as their labels include “Protein” in big letters in order to catch the attention of consumers.People are trying to eat low-carb high protein diets in order to loose fat and gain muscle. For example pasta, cereal, yogurt, granola bars, protein packs, milks and plenty more all are including high protein options. In reality, those products aren’t necessarily  beneficial to a person. Also there are excess of supplements like protein powder that attract athletes who want to maximize their muscle growth. If you walk around a gym, almost every person is taking their protein after their workout, even i do. I know I have also been buying protein powder and protein bars for years in attempt to get bigger and stronger. This reveals most people are taking in way more protein their bodies can handle. A standard protein powder contains 25-28 grams of protein per scoop but our bodies can’t absorb,breakdown and then transport all this protein into the small intestine. In one hour only 8 to 10 grams of protein can actually be absorbed by the body. So when one takes a protein shake usually 15 grams aren’t even absorbed by the body and is turned into fat.

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There are even many dangers when eating too much protein. First, excess proteins are turned into sugars and then fats which will ultimately lead to weight gain and other health problems. After consuming to much protein a person is going to feel bloated. When a person is eating proteins from animals like chicken and beef, they have higher saturated  fats, and in the long rurisks-too-much-protein-fbn this can lead to cancers and increase the chance of heart problems. Also high protein consumption will cause damage to the kidney. It is very possible kidney stones can form because high protein causes stress on a persons kidneys making it hard for the blood to flow through. When the kidneys are  damaged the blood urea nitrogen levels decrease which leads to dehydration. Athletes taking in to much protein will hurt their bodies in the long run because they will be dehydrated when performing.Another reason why too much protein is bad is that it can lead to bad breath. Yes Bad Breath! To much protein causes your body to use fats for fuel instead of carbohydrates in a process called ketosis. Ketones make a persons breath smell atrocious and are stored right on a persons mouth so when they speak the unpleasant ketones are released as well.                                                                      Image 3

Protein is extremely important for the bod because it repairs tissues and give the body energy throughout the day so a person won’t fatigue. Protein also helps the body heal from wounds and increases metabolism. Proteins are a necessity in an individuals diet, but the problem is too many people are consuming way too much protein and their bodies can’t handle all of it. People are trying to consume more in order to be healthier and gain muscle but the negative externalities can cause harm to a persons body. People need to start being cautious on the amount and the specific proteins they are putting into their body.











Showering Everyday: Good or Bad for Your Health?



We’ve all sat next to that person in class, the one who smells like they haven’t showered in days. We always wonder, “Why can’t they just shower everyday, are they trying to push people away?”. Personally, I shower between once or twice a day, depending if I worked out that day. I never understood people who don’t do the same thing I do. Societal norms tell us that we should shower every single day (at least in America, in Europe it’s every few days). So, we’re going to see what science has to say about the matter.  As we discussed in class, science is a formalized error detection system. Therefore, it’s the perfect thing to use to determine if it’s good or bad for you to shower everyday.


THE GOOD: According to this article, there are many reasons you should shower everyday. Not only does it make you smell better by getting the sweat and natural oils off of your body, but it also does things like increase blood flow, reduce stress (because who can be stressed in a shower!?), boosts the immune system, improves sleep, among other great benefits (these are listed from the same article listed above). Likewise, it also opens up your pores, making you look better to others and feel better as a result. Obviously, there are massive benefits to keeping your hygiene up. And now we know that not only does it make you smell better for all of those around you, but it also helps you in other ways as well.

THE BAD: Obviously, taking a shower everyday will use up a lot of water, something we have to be mindful of in this day and age. According to this article on the guardian, the average 10 minute shower uses 60 litres of water, a truly staggering amount considering how many times I shower a week. Likewise, more showers=a higher electricity bill per month. Again, according to the same article, the cost of a family of four showering everyday equals about $450 extra a month, something that a lot of families probably cannot afford. This goes to show that, while showering everyday may be good for your health, it may be bad for your bank account (something that we, unfortunately, put a lot of focus on). Likewise, the same article talk about how using a lot of shampoo/soap on your hair and body can be damaging to your skin and hair. Your hair has natural oils that get damaged, causing your hair to become brittle (which is why you need conditioner as well to keep your hair soft, costing you more $$$$). This can lead to baldness later in life and can also lead to skin conditions as well.


So, in reality, the answer is that I have no answer for you. While my hypothesis was that showering would be beneficial for you (which it is, in a way), my research showed that it can also be harmful for your health in other ways, and likewise put a hole in your wallet. So, in essence, I would say that you should shower as you see fit, so long as you aren’t too smelly next to me in class, because there are positives and negatives to showering daily and to showering weekly. Obviously in the summer, or if you are an active person like me, you should probably shower everday. However for others it may be perfectly acceptable to wait a few days between showers!


Sometimes, science doesn’t answer the question, but rather make you more unsure of the answer. Unfortunately, in this case it’s the latter, and I now am not sure if I’m making the right decision showering so often. Often in science evidence may change your hypothesis, and this may be one of those times for me. Hopefully this article at least informed you on reasons to or to not shower. But remember, the next time you’re in bed and know you should shower but you’d rather lie there an extra 20 minutes before class, that it may not be that big of a deal.

Finally, I wanted to show you this video on why showering everyday might not be all it’s chalked up to be.

Thanks for reading!


URL sources




You’re Fired

Today’s class (9/8/2016) opened up with a very interesting survey that was conducted by Michigan State University. I know, I know, I don’t like Michigan State either, but I’m willing to keep what happens on the football field out of this. Anyway, the survey went through a list of reasons why recent Michigan State graduates were getting fired from their jobs.

Image result for youre fired

Unable to demonstrate proper written and verbal skills, unethical workplace behavior, late assignments, and being late for work were some pretty common reasons as to why recent graduates are losing their jobs. This article also describes similar reasons as to why college students are not getting and keeping jobs. You would think it would be common knowledge by the time you graduated how to properly act while at work or how to arrive to work on time, but I guess some people will never learn. This really got me thinking about some of my past classmates and their actions while in school.

In high school, students have a tendency to feel very entitled. If they receive a grade they do not like, they feel as though they can argue with the teacher until their grade is brought up. Or, even worse, they have their parents do their dirty work for them. I have seen students who put off doing assignments time and time again, boasting to their friends how late their work will be turned in but how they know they can sweet talk their teacher into accepting it.

Now, that is not just a problem with my classmates, but I feel as though this problem goes deeper into my generation as a whole. People feel as though they can push limits without consequence, which in the real world just isn’t the case. Once you make the transition into college, deadlines start getting more and more strict. Parents almost never get involved with educational maters, although I would not be surprised if some students still tried to pull that stunt. Now, maybe I am jaded because my parents taught me at a very early age about accountability, but there is no excuse for bringing your parents into a situation in college when it comes to arguing a grade and whatnot.

I guess what I am trying to say is people need to start to realize that in the real world, a deadline is a deadline. You are expected to be professional in everything you do, including the work you must get done. A boss will not extend deadlines for you- if he or she expects something at a certain time, you need to get it to him or her at that time. It simply blew my mind to see the mistakes some recent college graduates are making, resulting in termination. Things like verbal and written skills often get lost today because we are so caught up in technology. We went from calling people on the phone or writing them a letter to simply sending them a text. This severely limits our ability to practice and sharpen those skills, making those skills almost a lost art.

Over-all, this talk of this survey has made me realize that I truly need to start working on my professionalism. If I simply work on basic human skills, then it looks like I will be one step ahead of my peers when it comes to finding a job. I encourage everyone to do this as it will only give you an advantage when it comes time to start a career.

Photo credits: http://expandhumanresources.com/blogs.php

Article: http://www.cnbc.com/2014/01/29/the-surprising-reason-college-grads-cant-get-a-job.html

Barbie or Bust

Self-Image is a popular phrase with young women in society today. Just about every girl is worried about how they look and what people think of them. I noticed recently, too that on social media girls can edit pictures and make themselves look like someone that they are not at all. Also, it seems as though young girls that are only of age 13 actually look like they are 25 on the internet because of the layers of make up on their faces. It is absurd that these young girls feel the need to grow up so fast and become someone else before they truly know who they are.

I know that most girls nowadays are all into looking like a Kardashian or other celebrity icon, but why is just being yourself not good enough? It is hard to look at someone or something and not want to become them. One perfect example of this would be a Barbie Doll. The perfect blonde hair, blue eyes, tiny waist, big bust, and large butt combination is what every girl dreamt of looking like for so long. However, these qualities are actually not realistic. Barbie has a direct impact on body image and upholds unrealistic standards.

Recent studies have anatomically broken down Barbie’s image to show people why it is impossible to look like her. Barbie, if she was human, would be 5 feet and 9 inches tall, weigh 110 pounds and have a 16 inch waist. This means that she could not menstruate or have room for some vital organs in the abdominal area. Most American women have an average waist size of 35 inches. Barbie also would have small feet that would measure out to be about a size three with small ankles. Her small 3.5 inch wrist does not do her any good either. With that being said, Barbie would have to walk like a dog using all four limbs instead of her two legs. Barbie’s head might also be dangling quite a bit because it would be hard for her abnormally thin neck to hold it upright in anatomical position (Goldstein).


Although Barbie seems like a beautiful and amazing image for young women just by looking at her, she is actually causing a lot of harm. Women try to lose weight to look like Barbie and have found themselves seriously risking their health. For example, anorexia nervosa is becoming more prominent in young women trying to be a look-alike-Barbie. In a study, young girls were shown images of Barbie and it was concluded that they felt worse about themselves after seeing the “perfect” doll LINK (Dying…Impossible). Anorexia is not a condition to mess with and causes so many deaths around the world. No girl should have to feel like every bone needs to be out of their body in order to feel beautiful.

Makers of Barbie need to send a message to young girls that you do not have to fit their image in order to be beautiful. Barbie is a doll and we should not have to worry about our youth dying because they are not meeting the standards of their favorite toy.


Works Cited

Goldstein, Sasha. “Barbie as a Real Woman Is Anatomically Impossible.” NY Daily News. N.p., 15

               Apr. 2013. Web. 08 Sept. 2016.

“Dying to Be Barbie: Eating Disorders in Pursuit of the Impossible.” Rehabs.com. N.p., n.d. Web.

08 Sept. 2016


Picture Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/423056958718881456/

The Science Behind Yoga: Does It Really Do Anything?



When I think of yoga, my mind tends to think about stay-at-home moms who drop their kids off at school, go to yoga class, and then go out to brunch with their girl friends. The concept of yoga has introduced itself into society as the “cool” way to get a workout and relax all at the same time. But what if it’s really all that it’s cracked up to be? Of course, going for a run or swimming laps in the pool have great benefits, but for us slightly less athletic and less coordinated people, there’s good news: yoga has its benefits, and they don’t just include weight loss of that pesky freshman ‘15. Yoga has amazing effects on our body as a whole, from managing stress to boosting our immune system to curing addiction.

Yoga has been around for nearly 5,000 years, and everyone that has practiced it has felt its benefits, but why? What is the mechanism behind why yoga makes us feel better and calmer?

Our brains are so complex that scientists haven’t even begun to tap into their power, but one thing that scientists have been able to figure out, though, is the connection between our brain chemistry and yoga.

According to Uplift, we have two “sides” to our brain, the emotional brain and the logical brain. The emotional brain’s job is to initiate stress and the response to stress which causes adrenaline and cortisol to soar through our bloodstreams. (These are not good things to have in our bloodstream, but I’ll explain that later.) Then we have the logical brain, which tries to turn off the emotional brain’s stress response. People who are very logical thinkers have a very easy time turning off and managing their emotional brain, but for those of us who are ruled by our emotions, if feels like there’s no end in sight when it sets off. This is where yoga can come in: We can physically manipulate our brains’ responses to situations by practicing yoga on a regular basis.

We have these sort of “pressure points” throughout our body, which can be triggered or signaled depending on how we stretch our body. When we bend forwards to touch our toes, or backwards to see behind us, these “switches” in our neck turn on our stress response signal, or our emotional brain. Our logical brain, then, has to overcome this stress in order to stay balanced. The more we train our logical brain like this, the easier it will be in the future for our logical brain to take over our emotional brain in times of stress and help us calm down.

According to Stephen Cope, the head the program “Yoga and the Brain” at the Institute for Extraordinary LIving, yoga can also help our nervous system. The nervous system, responsible for the “fight or flight” response to stress produces the hormone cortisol, “which not only fuels our split-second stress reactions,” but can cause severe damage to our bodies when we are continually stressed. Reducing cortisol has it’s many benefits, including lower stress levels and a healthier immune system.

Among helping our nervous system and controlling our stress, yoga has countless other benefits as well, including reducing inflammation, helping with and sometimes even curing addiction, and enlarging the number of our brain cells, according to the Art of Living. According to Paula R. Pullen, yoga has the ability to positively influence the smallest of molecules which can help later in on in diagnosing the risk for many serious diseases.

For those of us who thought yoga was only for stay-at-home moms, we need to re-think this type of exercise and relaxation. The benefits are numerous. Not only does it just help with managing stress, but it can also helps heal countless other ailments.



Two Evil Words

Cancer. Isn’t it amazing how one word can have such an impact and evoke such strong emotions? That one little word can flip someone’s world upside down and change their life forever. Cancer not only affects its victims, but the victim’s families as well.

            My grandfather was my absolute best friend. He taught me how to love the sport of baseball, as well as how to love a family member with all of your heart. A few years before I was born my grandfather received his first cancer diagnosis. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and had surgery to remove a portion of his lung, significantly reducing his lung capacity but eliminating the tumor. This surgery was a huge success- when my grandfather was first diagnosed, he was only given a few years to live. However, my grandfather was a fighter and went on to live for 15 years after he was first diagnosed!

            The cancer came back time and time again, but my grandfather would not give up. He was a stubborn old man, and although some saw this as a character flaw, I saw it as something that kept him going. He fought the good fight up until his last breath. I saw cancer take a very active man and slowly take away the things he enjoyed doing. I would never wish seeing that on anyone, and I hope a cure is in the future.

            Another word, or date, that has the same effect as the word cancer is the date of 9/11. Images and scenes of that horrid day flood into my mind when I hear talk of that date. With the 15th anniversary coming up in just a few days, I have been thinking a lot about that fateful day in 2001. Although I was only 4 years old, I still remember the fear I saw in my parent’s eyes and the sorrow they expressed as they tried their best to explain to me what was going on in terms I could understand.

            I have learned a lot more now about that day now that I am almost twenty years old. I have seen the impact that it has had on the victim’s families, as well as the first responders and their families. I have learned stories from close friends about how some of their parents ran late to a meeting in the towers on that day, which ended up saving their life. I get chills just writing about it- I hope we never experience such a dark time ever again.

            Cancer and 9/11 seem like very topics to be bringing up, but according to a new study, there could be a connection between the two. In this article here, researchers have found that first responders are at risk for various types of cancer, including thyroid and prostate cancer. Researchers believe they are at a higher risk than others due to the debris they encountered while bravely entering the towers after the attacks (Medscape.com).

            I find this article to be very intriguing given our recent talks in class about correlations and causation. Sure, the studies did find the first responders where at a slightly increased risk of getting cancer than the average population (Medscape.com). However, there is no real way of telling whether or not it is exclusively because of their involvement with the recovery efforts of 9/11. When you take a look at who the first responders were, you see they were people such as firefighters, police officers, and EMS workers. People in those professions face dancers every day that the normal person doesn’t that could cause cancer. Fire fighters are constantly dealing with spoke-filled buildings and dangerous substances entering their system. EMS personnel are constantly surrounded by sickness and germs. Although cancer is not something you can “catch” per se from someone, constantly being sick truly does take a toll on the immune system.

            Over-all, I sincerely hope that in the near future, nobody will ever have to deal with cancer. Cancer is an awful disease that must be stopped. As for the victims of 9/11, I have nothing but the utmost respect for the bravery and selflessness that they demonstrated on 9/11. I truly hope that given what they have been through, a battle with cancer is not in their future.

Image result for 9/11 memorial

Photo credit: http://shilohil.org/parks-recreation/shiloh-911-memorial/

Article: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/868423

An Apple a Day?



One of the most famous quotes from our childhood is undeniably “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Whether you heard it from your parents or your doctor it was almost always part of a ploy to get you to eat healthier. The main question on my mind however, is whether this is actually true and if people who eat apples on a regular basis legitimately get sick less and make fewer trips to the doctors. Why is this such a burning question in my mind you ask? Well it is the first few weeks of school and with that of course comes illness. It is rare that you will find a student lacking a cough or the sniffles and in my case I have both. I have been sick since the end of the first week and have already been to the health center twice and have had no success. That being said I can’t help but wonder if I would be in a different place if I had just eaten one more apple.

The Apple a Day myth, dates back as early as the 1860’s and has had many different forms from  “an apple a day, no doctor to pay,” to “an apple a day sends the doctor away” to the phrase we commonly know today. However, the myth may not be so much of a myth. The saying itself originated from the fact that apples are rich in Vitamin C and fiber and contribute to a healthy diet. This leads me to wonder whether eating more apples is:

  1. Directly correlated to less doctors visits,
  2. Whether fewer doctors visits is reversely correlated to eating more apples


3. If the two are affected by some third variable.

This third variable could be anything from people who live in wealthier areas eat cleaner and are thus healthier and go to the doctor less or some people just get sick less etc.







A recent study conducted by UC Davis Medical Center tracked 25 men and women over a 12-week period and had half of them drink apple juice daily for six weeks and the other half eat two apples a day for six weeks and then switch for the remaining six weeks. The study found that those who drank apple juice had a increased their lag-time by 20%. Lag-time is the amount of time it takes for cholesterol to oxidize. Therefore the longer the lag-time means a lower risk for heart disease. The study also revealed a 22% increase in fiber intake in the subjects. According to other recent studies cited by UC Davis Medical Center, people who added apples to their diets showed reduced risk for stroke and lung cancer. Similarly, it was discovered that the phytonutrients that are present in apples including their skin were able to restrain the growth of certain cancer cells.

The important part from this research is that the majority of the health benefits, that being antioxidants and phytonutrients lie in the skin of the apple. According to researchers at Cornell University, it is actually better and healthier to eat apples with the skin on. The health benefits found in apples are so important because they can’t easily be gotten from your local pharmacy. While yes, of course they do sell Vitamin C the fact of the matter is that you can’t get the quantities or the combinations of nutrients that the fruit itself offers. According to the author, an apple can contain 1,500 mg of Vitamin C, this is due in part to the many nutrient combinations found in apples.

So what is to be taken away from all of this? There is no evidence that people who ate more apples physically went to the doctors less, however it is evident that they were healthier and incurred a lower risk for some serious health problems over time. That being said I cannot answer whether the two are directly correlated however, it does prove that there is a connection between apples and better health.

The big take away from this is that if eating an apple a day is going to save you from anything, it may just be saving you from added trips to the pharmacy to get your daily Vitamin C supplements. Even though it won’t save me from getting a cold or the flu, I will be sure to eat an extra apple and hopefully improve my overall health in the long run.


Picture sources:










Are Athletes Born or Made?

Was LeBron James born as the best basketball of all time? Was Michael Phelps born as the greatest swimmer of all time? The answer to that is… kind of. Many people have set out to get to the bottom of this, and, according to CBS News article written by Susan Spencer, one of them is photographer Dan McLaughlin. Refusing to believe that genes are the result of freak athletes, McLaughlin has set out to become a professional golfer alongside the best players in the world. This man, with little to no golf experience, has set a goal to compete on the pro tour against players like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. McLaughlin says that there is no such thing as “inborn talent.” He relies on another idea started by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. Malcolm Gladwell recommends 10,000 hours of practice in order to become an expert at anything. With this concept, McLaughlin is currently still training to reach his goal and will likely complete his 10,000 hours of training. Here he is in route to his goal…



If he does in fact reach his goal of making it onto the pro tour, this may be a groundbreaking experiment that will offer a new view on freak athleticism.

There are numerous scientists and everyday human beings who strongly disagree with McLaughlin’s ideas. According to David Epstein, author of the book The Sports Gene, profiting more efficiently from training is decided by our genes. He believes that half of athletic greatness relies on training and the other half relies on natural athletic genes. Susan Spencer of CBS News, in this article, is relating two professional high jumpers, Stefan Holm and Donald Thomas. Both of these athletes competed in the 2007 world championship. She states that Holm had been training for 20 years, as opposed to 8 months for Thomas, and Thomas beat the veteran in his 8th month of high jump. With this event, we have to think there is some direct causation between genes and athletic greatness.

Elizabeth Quinn, and exercise physiologist, seems to agree with this concept in an article explaining how genes affect athleticism. She states that endurance, flexibility, lung capacity, anaerobic threshold, muscle fiber composition, and muscle size are all greatly influenced by genes. All of these factors significantly contribute to a persons athletic ability. She also goes on to explain that genes also affect the way that an individual responds to training, which can give someone a serious advantage over other athletes. This relates back to Epstein’s idea of genes that provide for better reception to training. However, this is where it gets a little confusing. If you are a person with genes that respond better to training, then you may become “great” without having been born with “athletic genes.” However, this doesn’t disprove that athletes are born because it is those genes that you are born with that allow you to make yourself into a great athlete.

So now the question is, does Dan McLaughlin have genes which allow him to respond better to training than the average person. If he does, the results of his experiment will have little to no significance because the effectiveness of his training was due to the genes he was born with. Dan McLaughlin probably should have done a little more research into the gene aspect of training. As of now, the only conclusion we can come to is that athletic greatness comes from both athletic genes and training. However, we can’t forget that the efficiency of training does in fact come from genes we are born with. I still find it hard to believe this man was born to be an athlete…

screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-6-38-46-pm Photo


Muggsy Bogues was a 5’3″ NBA basketball player if you’re wondering.




Chew Gum for Good Grades?

Do you chew gum in class or while studying? If not, then maybe it is time that you start.

In college students are always looking for ways to boost their grades. A lot of students go to office hours. Some students go to Lion Tutors. Others resort to study drugs. What if there was an easy way to give your grades that little extra boost that you need without spending a little time or money?


Maybe the answer is brain-boosting gum, or maybe all you need is just some gum in general. Gum has been found to increase heart rate and blood flow as seen here. This means that more oxygen will be getting to our brain, but does this mean better grades? There have been experiments done that have actually produced results that agree with this hypothesis. In these experiments, the common theme is that gum helps people stay more attentive for longer tasks, have quicker reaction times, and have better memory.

A Toronto teacher is such a big believer in gum that she encourages her kindergarten students to chew gum in class. She said that she has noticed the kids are more attentive, less anxious, and more likely to sit still while chewing gum. Many other teachers have agreed with this too, but they are unsure of how to introduce gum in a classroom because of the many problems it can cause.

Gum can even be used while studying. That extra focus for longer tasks can be put to good use while studying too. Some researchers believe that chewing gum while studying and while taking a test makes it easier for your brain to remember the studied information.

I’m not saying gum will get you an A in every class, but it might help you to get a couple more answers right on your exams. Gum is relatively cheap so you don’t have to worry about costs. There also have been many advancements in types of gum over the years, so you don’t have to worry as much about the health effects.

With all this great news about gum, everybody wants some.

Bed Bug Infestation in Colleges

Entering college is a big change for many people. While attending college you are forced to share many things. This includes bedrooms, bathrooms, washing machines, to name a few. With sharing all of these things people become more susceptible to sickness because this is a jurassic change. In addition to things people may be get from the college, problems can be created as well. Part of the college experience is living in small dorms where a lot of items are packed into a small space. Many people may not think of this as much, but there are many issues that can arise from something like this. Recently one issue that has effected many colleges is bed bugs.


Bed Bugs are one of the most significant and detrimental problems that a college campus can face. Buildings, specifically housing at Penn State tends to have structures close together. Bed bugs can produce hundreds of legs which would support the fact that they can spread and multiply easily. In addition to all of this, they are extremely hard to find without professional assistance. Students are constantly on the move bringing their belongings in and out of different building not knowing what they may be carrying with them.

Some things that college students can do to avoid bed bugs are as follows:

-examine room the day you move in

-wash clothes frequently

-do not allow things such as backpacks to be on the floor

Identifying them is extremely difficult because they travel quickly and can often times be the size of a speck of dust. If you can’t identify them while trying to look there are other ways. A bed bug bites and withdraws blood from people at night. If you notice any itching or irritation when waking up, it may have been a case of bed bugs. To find out more about identifying bed bugs look here.

As a college student I do not prioritize things such as this do to the work load and other activities that I’m focused on. Thankfully there are other ways to determine and eliminate these pests. Terminix is one of the major providers of pest relief in the U.S. They serve over 2.8 million people. They will develop a custom plan to eliminate the issue using RapidFreeze, which is a solution they own. They are extremely effective in getting rid of any pest or rodent. For more about there services and tips to avoid bed bugs read this article.


All in all college campuses are an ideal environment for bed bugs. People aren’t necessarily always cleanly in college and have no concern for these issues. However it is very important that students do what they can to avoid and/or eliminate any bed bugs. There are so many different ways they can get into a college and once they are in they spread like wild fire. Every student should start by searching their mattress thoroughly and go from there. If there is any doubt or possibility that their might be bed bugs, consult an RA because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

We love chocolate !

The other day in class we looked at a possible correlation between the amount of chocolate a country consumed and the amount of Nobel prizes won per country. This was especially curious to me, and our class was able to identify some confounding variables that could explain the correlation, including the country’s wealth, population, and education.

This graph can be found

This graph can be found here

I love chocolate, and was really interested to find out if consuming more chocolate actually could make someone smarter, so I decided to research this new correlation and write a blog about it!

The Daily Express ran this headline claiming that a 40 year-old study declared that chocolate could actually make us smarter.   The study affirmed that the individuals who brandished more impressive scores on various tests consumed the sweet stuff at least once a week.  (U.S National Library of Medicine, 2016) The researchers concluded that the habitual consumption of chocolate could be responsible for results, indicating an increased intelligence. The key word in this conclusion is “could” , and that is what I think is something particularly important to focus on.

A recent article from the UK News went into depth about the Daily Express’s report, including details regarding how the experiment was conducted. This experiment was completed with 1,000 participants- an important detail we should always take into account, as we learned in class Tuesday. (Here is another site that also details the importance of having an acceptable test subject population.) 1,000 participants really isn’t a lot of people, so we should be cautious when accepting broad conclusions based off of small groups of people. 1,000 people is a relatively small sample size, because it is still possible that the results the scientists gathered could be due to some fluke, or chance. The more participants, the more accurate the study is, and 1,000 test subjects may not quite cut it for a conclusion that applies to the entire population. (Science Buddies, 2016)

Before you reach for some chocolate before an exam, keep in mind that researchers haven’t really discovered the true mechanism behind this correlation. (According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and what we learned in class,  a mechanism is the reason why one factor affects another factor.) Researchers weren’t able to discover the mechanism behind the correlation of chocolate consumption and intelligence because there are many possible confounding variables, such as gender, age, race, and overall health. (U.S National Library of Medicine, 2016) Consuming chocolate is not solely responsible for the increased cognitive capacity hinted at throughout the experiment.

This relates to what we have been studying in class; correlation does not mean causation! (Wikipedia, 2016) There is no way to prove a direct correlation because a reverse correlation is equally possible. In this particular study, the reverse correlation is that people that are more intelligent eat more chocolate. However, the researchers could not confidently label the correlation, and supposedly the media ran the story with an interesting title to promote more clicks.

Beyonce rocking a KALE sweater, from here

Beyonce rocking a KALE sweater, from here.

Articles with catchy and appealing headlines always get us excited, but its important to note that the science behind the headlines is not as accurate as we would like to believe. Even though we want to believe eating chocolate hand-over-fist will make us smarter, the mechanism is still unidentifiable.

How about some kale instead?


  1. http://www.nhs.uk/news/2016/03March/Pages/can-chocolate-make-you-smarter.aspx
  2. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/the-curious-wavefunction/chocolate-consumption-and-nobel-prizes-a-bizarre-juxtaposition-if-there-ever-was-one/
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfXf6FtTs-E
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/behindtheheadlines/news/2016-03-09-can-chocolate-make-you-smarter/
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4148275/
  6. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/science-mechanisms/
  7. http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/top_research-project_signal-to-noise-ratio.shtml
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation




Do You Get A Cold From Being Cold?

College is a time in life where going out at night in the winter does not call for a parka, gloves, a hat and scarf.  “Frackets” are a phenomenon that I have never heard of before coming to Penn State.  I suppose being warm is outdated, or everyone is just afraid of their nice coats being stolen.  It is all understandable, but everyone tends to blame their annual winter cold on putting themselves through the agony of the frigid weather.  My roommate has convinced herself that the pneumonia she acquired last semester was 100% a result of her duct tape Halloween costume that left her body without much protection on that late October night.  Most people have probably heard from their grandparents or an elder: “You better wear a scarf and a hat or you’ll catch a cold!”Sexy-girls-in-bikini-on-snow-8211-to-hot-for-show

I usually don’t speak up when I hear this discussion, but in my head I always question if being cold actually does make you ill.  It has always sounded ridiculous to me.

First I thought about the things I already know.

#1. A cold is a virus

#2. Viruses come from germs

My mom always used to tell me that “being cold doesn’t give you a cold”, but she also mentioned that the cold weather weakens your immune system.

So maybe being cold just leaves your body in a more vulnerable position to catch a cold? I have always had a lot of questions that I hope to answer for myself and everyone else within this blog.

After doing some research, I learned that colds are most definitely only caused by viruses, which derive from germs.  In order to get this virus, you must come in contact with these germs.  Illness is more common in the winter because people are more frequently inside, and not getting as much fresh air.  According to a CNN article about cold weather and colds, Dr. Sorana Segal- Maurer says that when the air is dry and cold, people are more at risk of catching viruses due to dry mucosa.  I have never heard of mucosa before but apparently it is located in the backs of our throats and sinuses.  When it is dry and cold out, the mucosa is also dry and more vulnerable towards viruses.


In another article I found that cold weather weakens the nose’s immune defense.  According to a team of Yale scientists,  cold weather makes it harder to fight off infection. They conducted an experiment on mice, where rodents were infected with a strain of the cold virus and then tested the cells lining their airways to see if different temperatures affected the mice’s ability to fight it off. A conclusion was made that colder temperatures resulted in a weaker immune response, or more prone to infection.

Moreover, I think I had the right idea that the cold weather does not form a cold virus.  However, there are factors in the colder months that contribute to the more frequent attainment of viruses.  It is probably a smart idea to bundle up in the winter, but more so to protect from frostbite than viruses!






Froyo vs. Ice Cream

Ice cream is such a great, yet dangerous treat that almost everyone enjoys. Great, because its so delicious. Dangerous, because it has so much sugar and if you eat too much of it, you pack on the pounds fast. Ice cream is in the same category as cake, brownies, cupcakes, etc., because of how unhealthy it is known to be. Unlike the other desserts however, ice cream is known to have a substitute.

Many times I have heard my friends say “lets get frozen yogurt, its not even bad for you like ice cream is,” or even “we should get froyo, its healthy!” Of course I always go along with them, however, I’m not quite sold on the idea that frozen yogurt is good for you or even that it is significantly better for you than ice cream!

 find picture here

I was for sure interested in finding out just how “healthier” froyo is than ice cream being that I work at an ice cream place and love both of the treats equally. After researching and comparing the two, I came across this article!

What I found is that it really depends on what unhealthy aspect you are trying to stay away from. In terms of fat content and overall calories, froyo is the better option. However, if you are trying to lower your sugar intake, neither ice cream or frozen yogurt is the treat for you. Both options have just about the same about of sugar. Froyo itself has a bucket load of sugar and you’d be lying if you said you didn’t add the delicious toppings that are associated with it. With the candies and hot fudge that people top their treat with, comes with even more sugar to overpass the sugar content in ice cream.

I also found this interesting article that states that although froyo is said to just be yogurt that has been frozen, it does not have the same nutritional benefits that a normal cup of yogurt has. During the process of making froyo, the healthy cultures of bacteria are killed and never make it to your stomach. So not only are you more than likely consuming a high amount of sugar, you are also not receiving the health benefits that you would get from just eating regular yogurt.

find picture here

That being said, if you are on a diet, anything in moderation is okay. Froyo should never be considered a health food but it can be a slightly better option than ice cream if you are looking for something with fewer calories and less fat. You can keep the calories and artificial sugar and or sugar preservatives down by topping the treat with fresh fruit instead of candy and by making sure that you stick to the serving size. If you are strictly watching your sugar intake but want to indulge,  stick to your ice cream if thats what you prefer because you are not doing yourself any favors when it comes to frozen yogurt and its added sugary toppings.

What I hope you all get from this blog is, eat whatever you want but never let anyone tell you that frozen yogurt is healthy or is good for you because if you eat too much of it, you”ll be quite surprised when you step on the scale.

What am I Putting Under my Armpit?… Is Antiperspirant Safe?

Its something we do everyday, just a normal part of our morning routine.  But have you ever stopped to think about whats in the sweet smelling Old Spice that all the ladies love and what keeps your pits from looking like a pool?  Since the ancient Egyptians, humans have been placing scents under their arms, but like many other products most of those ingredients are concocted in a lab rather than being all natural.  Deodorants and brands have definitely evolved from the first commercial product (Mum brand in 1888), to now a wide variety at any given store.  Seeing strange Axe commercials and Terry Crews on a horse has just become an accepted part of the lifestyle and trend of this product.

terry crews blog

The Scare…

Why do we use products like these in the first place?  There is actually two types that perform different tasks. Deodorant is just a scent while antiperspirant blocks sweat as well.  This blocking of the sweat is where the rumors, issues, and fears arise.  We try so hard to block a natural body process that it doesn’t seem healthy.  According to a Huffington Post article, Americans spend a whopping 18 billion dollars a year on deodorant. Yep, thats a billion with a “B”.  Another fear surfaces due to the fact that many antiperspirants (not all) contain some form of aluminum.  This aluminum has be hypothesized to have correlations to breast cancer and even Alzheimer’s.  The correlation does not equal causation in these cases so no need to worry.  It had been guessed that as you put on the deodorant, the aluminum chemical gets through your skin to cause shifts in your body that put the individual at risk for cancer.  Instead what actually happens is that the aluminum mixes with your sweat to create a stoppage outside of your pores instead of penetrating the skin, meaning the aluminum does not poison you by entering the body.  This is straying from popular rumor that all the chemicals actually enter you from under your arm possibly doing harm. Another instance where the correlation did not equal causation was with the Alzheimer’s claim.  In the 1960’s, tests on Alzheimer’s brains showed aluminum however there was no evidence to show this was because of antiperspirants.  This was yet another speculation.

deodorant image blog

Wheres the Evidence?

Of course there have been other suggestions of other terrible life threatening illnesses due to applying this everyday, another being kidney failure.  The common theme reoccurs with all of these theories.  There is no way enough aluminum could enter the body to cause these ailments.  Tons and tons of exposure could perhaps be a culprit but not the little exposure from a hygienic product. How does something like this with seemingly no strong support gain momentum?  When something is speculated, it is so easy nowadays to spread false or even misleading info or “studies” that can definitely appear to be true.  Lucky enough for this topic it seems as if we are all safe from the deadly Axe.

A Rumor?

These speculations have no substantial evidence or testing to back them up.  In turn, it probably would be nicer to know you are putting better ingredients under your arm everyday, but with correlation not equaling causation you can continue applying that old spice without worrying about drastic effects under your armpit.

Best Old Spice Commercials


Web MD

Huffington Post