Daily Archives: September 9, 2016

dangerous space junk around earth

th     Space junk refers to space debris, junk, waste, trash, or litter is that the collection of defunct man made objects in space-old satellites, spent rocket stages, and fragments from disintegration, erosion, and collision, including those caused by debris itself. Generally speaking, the source of space debris falls into four major categories. Ever since the launch of the first spacecraft Vanguard by the United States in 1958, a large quantities of man-made crafts have been sent into the space to help humans explore the universe. Union of Concerned Scientists 16 July 2009. That is to say, uncountable dead spacecraft remained defunct in the space forever. Besides, a lot of space debris derives from lost equipment during space missions either from astronauts or man-made crafts. More fragments are the products of explosion due to rocket upper stage, namely boosters. The last debris source comes from the test of anti-satellite weapons; the disintegration of a satellite by missile will create dangerous space debris that would hardly return to Earth. Altogether, as a whole, according to NASA’s statistics recently, there are about 4000 satellites and rocket residues in operation in earth orbit, besides there are about 6000 pieces of space junk that can be seen and tracked, space junk moves with highly fast speed, which poses a fatal threat to unmanned and manned spacecraft, space shuttle missions, international station, Earth and so on! Throughout history, humans have eye witnessed many space junk accidents.  

This thesis is going to explore three possible solutions in terms of the disposal of space junk as proposed in my topic proposal. First of all, with a brief background of the cause of space junk and current situation of it, I will state solution one which is changing spacecraft’s working orbit to avoid space junk along with its positive and negative results, then analysis and conclusion will be drawn accordingly. In addition, solution two discusses a kind of military technology by means of launching missiles to explode space debris with relevant positive and negative factors, followed by analysis and conclusion. What’s more, solution three pays attention to the natural process of burning space junk while going through the atmosphere with both positive and negative effects, attached with analysis and conclusion. In the end, in comparison with solution two and three, my final analysis is in favor of solution one. A reasonable final conclusion also will be drawn to bring the research essay to an end.


For solution one, nowadays, Space junk can be monitored and tracked, so out of three proposed solutions to deal with space junk, the first one lies in the method of changing spacecraft’s working orbit to avoid potential risks. ESA, October 2012). With the fast development of space industry, scientists have invented many precise instruments such as astronomical telescopes and space models, which enable launchers to detect actual positions and rotating orbits of different debris floating in the space, thus preventing large man-made space shuttles, rockets, crafts from being hit or hitting space junk. To be positive, economically, monitoring or tracking space debris’ orbit is a sort of saving of time, money and labor. It only requires the observation of the location of space junk in a certain orbit via telescopes and calculation of upcoming collision between a space craft and debris. Then before the launch of a space mission object, the orbit can be altered to stay away from hazardous space trash. For negative side, without being able to remove space litter, changing a spacecraft’s orbit serves only as a palliative method. For as time goes by, more space missions will take place in the near future, that is to say, inevitably, an increasing number of space trash is to accumulate. In the long run, a space crowded with large quantities of space junk will be a disaster to space mission launches.


Plus, solution two as a perfect combination of military weapons and space science, some advocate that launching missiles to destroy debris might be a new solution to look at. As a tube-shaped weapon that travels to reach its target, missiles are designed to lock on any moving target with almost 100 percent precision. Not long ago, in 2007, China launched a missile to destroy a weather satellite named Fengyun-1C that had already become out of service for so long, but at the same time (click here for specific information). Solution two is great in technical aspect that to eradicate large defunct satellites by means of missile explosion is no doubt a perfect resort. Satellites share similar orbits and have a direct impact on the orbit of other satellites that are followed. With the explosion of missile, these dead satellites fall apart and the broken pieces have a fat chance of deviating from original orbits. Unfortunately, shattered pieces of satellite fragments are not likely to be neglected at the same time. (David, 2 February 2007). Vividly if seen from a 3D picture, orbit planes are filled with debris from satellite disintegration. As a vicious circle, debris of satellite continues to rotate.6

As for solution three, some debris tends to be burnt out into ashes when they travel across the atmosphere because of the atmosphere’s highly scorching heat. When space junk goes across the atmosphere at an amazingly fast speed, the force of friction between the junk and the atmosphere generates so astonishingly high temperature that space junk melts and disintegrates in no time. Truthfully, rather than intervention, humans don’t need to get involved in the process of disposal. In this way, all necessary actions that are supposed to take can be omitted, what scientists have to do is nothing but sit and wait for the friction to burn everything into particles. Seemingly, humans don’t have to engage in the course of the removal of space trash, but as a matter of fact, waiting without taking any actions to cope with space litter is not going to make any difference.

Finally, in comparison with solution two and solution three, solution one has an advantage over two and three in light of positive factors. While the collision of missile explosion will only incur more debris and depending on the atmosphere to burn out space junk is somewhat equal to chronic suicide. The only available solution now is taking precautions beforehand to pre-calculate the orbit of debris so as to avoid the collision.  clicking here to see NASA’s solution.

In conclusion, due to the limit of space technology at present, except for avoiding space junk, there is no the so called solution to remove or take back roaming debris. Unlike the complication of solution two and the inaction of solution three, solution one is superior and effective as a perfect saving of time, money and labor. But I will be looking forward to the revolution of super-advanced methods in the future to wipe space junk away and create a clean and safe space. 2

Here is a link to see the space junk.


What makes us buy?

I’ve always been interested in marketing. I love learning what makes humans susceptible to advertisements and what makes a brand appealing to a consumer. The concept of selling and buying is fairly superficial, even when you break it down and yet, it is what every country’s  economy is based on. So what makes people buy so much? I find it strange that we are so receptive to advertisements and brands and we aren’t even aware of it. According to Joshua Becker, a human behavior specialist, humans view about 5,000 advertisements and brands each day. And what’s even weirder is that we don’t even realize it. According to Sheree Johnson, consumer psychologist, the number of pure advertisements we see per day is about 362 and yet, the average “noted” number of advertisements is 153. We see so many ads and don’t even internalize them! Subliminally, they make their way into out subconscious and this constant exposure is one of the many ways companies get consumers to buy.

Another way companies make us buy what their selling is by appealing to our nature. It’s in human nature to “save.” Money, time, material things, humans like to save them. According to Philip Graves, consumer behavior specialist, back in prehistoric time, the urge to save became imbedded in our biology. Humans had to save wood and food and other resources for the winter if they wanted to survive. While these primal needs are no longer a concern for many people, the instinct to “save” is still in us. Brands and companies appeal to this instinct by convincing us that if we buy their products, we’ll somehow end up saving more in the long run.


Have you ever had a night when all your friends were going out and even if you didn’t quite feel like it, you went out too? It was probably because you had a fear of missing out. This is completely normal human behavior and it’s another way companies attract buyers. They engage the instinct in you that’s saying “If you don’t do this right now, you’ll be missing out on something great and not have the opportunity to get it back!” According to Graves, this is called the loss aversion switch and this is why many companies put “limited time offer” on many of their advertisements, even if the offer is not for a limited time only. It’s also why you’ll tend to receive emails with timers on them, it’s so you feel the need to rush and buy. Companies want you to feel like you have to buy this RIGHT NOW or you won’t be able to ever again.


Another way companies gain the interest of people is buy convincing them that if they buy this product, their current problems will fade away. More often than not, companies will create the problem and convince the buyer that they have the problem and the product will fix it. According to psychologist Gareth Goh, companies will instill in its viewers the idea that “you have the power to change your problems with this product, so why wouldn’t you buy it?” If we feel that a product will take away our pain or leave us in a better place we were before, we’re likely to buy it.

And finally, a ploy that will make us all feel five years old, if you touch or play with a product, you are more likely to buy it. According to marketing professor at UCLA, Suzanne Shu, touching a product instills a sense owning the it already. This emotional attachment makes a consumer more likely buy it. So if you feel like you can’t keep your hands off, get ready to buy!

These and many more are tactics companies use to draw us into buying what their selling. Don’t fall for them!

sources:  http://www.insightsquared.com/2014/07/why-buyers-buy-the-psychology-of-purchase-decisions/http://www.becomingminimalist.com/fooled/https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/consumer-behavior/201303/five-reasons-we-impulse-buyhttps://sjinsights.net/2014/09/29/new-research-sheds-light-on-daily-ad-exposures/ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/26/retail-science-tricks-_n_6525062.html

photos:  https://www.truthinadvertising.org/every-single-auto-insurance-ad/http://www.pngall.com/limited-offer-png



Savants are Smarter Than the Average Cookie.

If you read the title of this article, you are probably wondering what a savant actually is, so here it goes; a savant is someone who suffers from the formal medical condition known as savant syndrome. This affliction occurs when someone with a certain developmental disability, ranging from autism to down syndrome, has capabilities far more reaching than the average human being. Essentially, those suffering from savant syndrome have lower IQ test scores than the average person, while outperforming said average person tenfold in any specific given area, such as memory, art, rapid math calculations, or music.


This chart shows the spectrum of autism; all the way to the left are the cases of autism associated with extreme talent in given areas, which, in this case, is savant syndrome. As you can see, however, most of the cases of autism are not correlated with some level of genius. As a matter of fact, the chart further proves the rarity that is savant syndrome; there are less than 200 savants on the planet, making savant syndrome one of the rarest medical conditions in existence.

*With the previous information in mind, I hypothesized that savant genius has a direct correlation with some malfunction in some order of the brain. In other words, it is not passed down from generation to generation through a family tree.

So why are savants truly smart? Is it a brain mutation, or is it hereditary?

One of the most notable (and awesome) examples, taken directly from the Wisconsin Medical Society article right here, was Kim Peek, a savant who had extraordinary abilities to memorize everything that he laid his eyes on. Growing up, Peek’s doctors seemed convinced that he was bound to be a failure, going as far as recommending that he be “institutionalized” due to his ever-present mental disability. However, by the tender age of 6, Peek had already fully memorized nearly eight encyclopedias that his family had at their home, and only eight years later, at the age of 14, had he finished an entire high school curriculum. Today, he has memorized many different kinds of books and pieces; these include The Bible, all Shakespearean works, and all roads and routes within the United States. Impressive, right?

Watch this documentary about Kim Peek, and I promise you that you will be amazed!

Kim_Peek_on_Jan_16,_2007Why are savants, like Kim Peek, so smart? Well, Adam Piore expertly explicates the reasons behind the answer in his article post right here. In it, he writes about how behavioral neurologist Bruce Miller, director of the University of California San Francisco Memory and Aging Center, has found a direct correlation between certain levels of genius and dementia in his patients. As a matter of fact, one of his cases in 1990 dealt directly with a man who, as his Alzheimer’s disease worsened and his symptoms increased, began to create art that progressively became better and more articulate. What’s more is that this increased work came without any correlated practice; simply, one day his artwork was considered average, and within the next days, his work was considered genius in the art community.

In addition, it is clear that savants and dementia patients share the same defects in social and mental atmospheres; both seem to be compulsively drawn to whatever skill(s) they possess, while being severely lacking in language behaviors. That means that one can assume that savants and dementia patients most likely have more in common, as well, such as the brain mutations that cause them. Miller actually studied brain samples of young savants that began exhibiting extraordinary skills, and to nobody’s surprise, the scans drew a direct correlation to dementia; the scans showed that in the anterior temporal lobes, there were portions that were inactive.

What does this discovery mean for the scientific community, though? Well, essentially, much like other diseases and afflictions, once it has been concluded to be extremely similar to another disorder, doctors and scientists can study it with more background knowledge in hopes to learn even more. In extraordinary cases, correlations between diseases can even lead to cures! In this specific example, the link from savant genius to dementia might help to better understand Alzheimer’s and other problems that eventually arise within the brain due to age. If scientists continue to study this syndrome, perhaps they can learn how they acquire such talent or skill in specialized areas, which might, in-turn, create ideas for future medications in patients that demonstrate its need.


Perhaps if a scientist wanted to draw more conclusions on the similarities between savants and dementia patients, he could introduce them too each other and observe their interactions and behaviors; since they both express similar personality behaviors and lack of social skills, maybe how they interact with each other might lead to new discoveries in either the savant or the dementia patient.

The Science Behind Savant Syndrome: Correlation and Causation

Remember when Andrew was lecturing about the worms and whether or not there was a valid correlation between worms and the stupidity within kids? Did the worms cause kids to be stupid, or were the stupid kids just more likely to get worms? This very principle, correlation and causation, could be applied to the science between savant syndrome and the measure of genius a savant has.

According to the same article from the link above, the more severe and serious the savant syndrome found in a person, the more extraordinary the ability he is gifted with. The example used in the article is of a man named Derek Amato, who, at the age of 39, slammed his head against the concrete floor of his pool and acquired savant syndrome. In comparison to many other savants who were born with the affliction, he somehow contracted it after extensive brain damage through a concussion. Thus, there is a clear correlation between the method that the syndrome was contracted and the extensive extraordinary ability acquired. It is also a safe assumption that reverse causation, which is the predicament of a reversal chain of consequence, is not a factor; there is no way that the ability causes the syndrome, only vice versa. One has to acquire savant syndrome in order to get the given ability, not the other way around.

Deductions from Personal Experience

Personally, I have never come into contact with a savant; I have, however, come into contact with geniuses, which, for the purpose of my argument, are extremely similar. I am always in awe of how quickly they are able to pick up course material. For example, while it would take me a couple hours to study for an upcoming exam, for some of my friends that were in the gifted program at my school (East Stroudsburg High School North), it would take one hour maximum! I would try to comprehend how they would do it and consistently ask them for their study habits, but my inquiries would come with simple replies like “I don’t know how I do it” or “It was really easy!” When my friends would respond like this, I would just roll my eyes and think to myself “they don’t even realize how smart they really are!”

Regardless, everyone is gifted in his own way; whether it be in a specific sport, a genre of art like music or sculpting, or even singing and acting, people from all over the world have their own special talents. After speaking with my roommate about some of the genius friends we have at home (we came from the same area and high school), we came to the mutual agreement that no matter what you think of yourself and your talents, there is something special in everyone!

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And You Thought Lullabies Were Just For Babies

Ever sine I can remember, I have always listened to music while I was trying to sleep. Last night as I picked a song to sleep to, I was really curious if there were benefits or if sleeping with music at night was an actual thing. I then got extremely curious about what types of songs matter when you sleep, especially since I ABSOLUTELY need to have the song I’m listening to on repeat for the whole night and that I almost always pick the same type of song. I also know, from a personal experience, that some people take medication to sleep but is that entirely necessary if music can provide the same benefits?  I did a little research and this is what I found.

sleep insomnia


I had a little trouble at first finding something that looked reliable, factual, and not like an add for some sleep therapy. I then turned to the scholarly articles on goog
le and found an amazing source that conducted a study and everything. They defined sleep as a rhythmic process that can be altered as one ages over the years.  They, unlike other sleep studies, have decided to focus on the idea of using music to help common sleeping disturbances. The types of music that  Hui-Ling Lai PhD RN and Marion Good PhD FAAN, the researchers, used in their study varied in instrument, form, genre, and artist. However, the one thing that the songs had in common were that they had a calming and soothing rhythm. The design of the study was a randomized control trial. This was used to try and eliminate some bias within the study. About 60 people who had sleep discomfort or disturbances were contacted and were willing to participate. The music that the participants could choose from was originally 30 minutes long but researchers asked to extend the tapes to 45 minutes and were able to do so by repeating the first 15 minutes of each song at the end of the song. To determine if music causes relaxation and therefore helps people sleep, the measurements of the study were heart rate a visible respiratory rate that were taken for 30 seconds before and after (at the first home visit and at the last home visit). Participants were also required to keep a sleep log to determine how many hours they’ve slept vs how many they were awake. This included sleep disturbances such as getting up in the middle of the night.


At the end of the study, the results are shown in the graph under the title “Component Scores”. These results show that music had efficiently helped reduce sleep disturbances and that the participants woke up feeling more awake and well rested. So, due to experimentation, it is safe to say that sleeping while listening to music is beneficial for a person’s help. One recommendation that I have if you try this for yourself, don’t sleep with headphones in. It is very uncomfortable and will probably the reason the music isn’t working for you. I found that the music that the researchers used were not the same type of music that I listen to but it did have the characteristics of being calming and soothing, allowing me to fall asleep faster and have great nights sleep!



Another level of OCD?

Imagine this (viewer discretion is advised): you wake up in the morning, reach your arms out above you for that satisfying morning stretch, let out a satisfying groan, rub your eyes-and oh wait, you have some unfortunate dust bunnies in there. Lets be honest, it happens to the best of us. Now imagine this alternative scenario: same thing. Wake up, stretch, rub your eyes. But instead of those minuscule dust bunnies, you literally can’t open your eyes at all. Your eyes are glued shut by the own mucus of your eyes. You have no option but to run to the bathroom (blinded) and run warm water on your eyes until you have drained all the mucus out of your eyes. Not only does this happen to you in the morning, but during various parts of the day.


This was a reality for me a couple years ago. This syndrome, known as Mucus Fishing syndrome  is a OCD victim’s nightmare. Mucus fishing syndrome involves the constant build up of mucus in the eyes, resulting from inflammation or infection of the cornea or around the eyelid. Once you succumb to the ugly aspect of it-actually placing your finger on your eyeball to remove the stringy, clear mucus, you’re hooked. Yes, hooked, but in the worst possible way ever. Once your eye has been exposed to that level of viral touch, a vicious cycle of never-ending removal will occur. Along with the constant string of mucus in the eyes, victims of the syndrome will experience irritation, redness, eye conjunctivitis, possible eyesight hindrance, and other eye-related infections.

The most detrimental symptom of this syndrome is right there in the name- fishing. Once you start trying to fish out the mucus in your eye, it doesn’t stop. It’s a continuous cycle that is unbelievably hard to stop. According to Dr. Paul Ajamian, victims of the Mucus Fishing Syndrome can experience symptoms for extended periods of time- weeks, months, and even years. Because it is so subjective to the individual, treatment cannot occur without self willingness and determination. The first step to treatment is much like one they teach you in any rehabilitation center: accept it. I doubted myself for the longest time when I started experiencing symptoms, and felt too embarrassed to go to the doctor and explain that I was pulling out long, white strings out of my eyes. Let’s be honest- would you believe it if someone told you that? Not only does it sound highly disturbing, but the very description of the syndrome can send anyone running for the hills.


What is interesting about this particular syndrome is it’s relationship (possible?) with OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Since the most common symptom involves continuously fishing out mucus from the eyes, this can be linked to the anxiety driven aspects of OCD. Personally, I suffer from OCD in a mild sense, to the point where I do not feel satisfied with certain things. For example, if I were to write a series of notes during class and found my handwriting to be insufficient towards my own expectations, I would go home and rewrite the whole thing until I felt satisfied. Granted, I used to do this in middle school. Imagine doing this in college-that would be the least time-efficient task I could burden myself with. Sometimes I wonder if there really is any causal relationship between my mild OCD and the development of mucus fishing syndrome a couple years back. In one particular study, Molly Cardenal and Deborah Williams describe a 52 year old female patient who was suffering from extreme Mucus fishing Syndrome and Trichotillomania (obsessive pulling and removal of the hair). She was concerned with the actions of her own symptoms, and desperately sought out help. Ultimately, she received care through electroshock therapy and counseling services, which dramatically improved her condition. She was noted for being treated for obsessive compulsive disorder/mania. This study certainly exemplifies the relationship between Mucus fishing syndrome and OCD, but it’s important to note that correlation does not equal causation. For example, it is possible that this happened by chance but it is also possible that OCD was a supplemental factor in the development of Mucus fishing syndrome and Trichotillomania. It is also possible that confounding variables such as the patient’s medical history, family’s medical history, and environmental conditions had some role in the development of the syndromes. To determine if there really is a causal relationship between OCD and Mucus fishing syndrome, further randomized studies would need to be done, possibly with a large sample to ensure further credibility. That being said, the syndrome itself is not that prevalent that this sort of study would be realistic today.

I’m lucky enough to be cured of this awful syndrome today, and hope that no one will ever encounter it and the terrible inconvenience it entails. God forbid you already have this syndrome- check out these tips for getting rid of the symptoms.

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Superpowers in the Real World


Click image for source.

The superhero trend of our generation began, debatably, in 2008 with the release of Iron Man. Since then, dozens of major motion pictures have been released in the same ‘superhero’ genre, as well as television shows on the CW and Netflix. Of course, the beginning of the original superhero trend began in the 1930s with Superman – when people were mystified by the fantastical abilities and appearances of the characters – but has managed to continue producing similar media for the past eighty years. Why are we continually entranced by the idea of superhuman beings with supernatural powers? My guess is that because the genre tends to fall under magical realism, usually based off of scientific theories or alterations of real-life practices, people see superheroes as something that is not completely out of reach. And perhaps some aspects are not that far-fetched, as technology continues to evolve over time. Already, there are several scientific advances in our world today that are similar to technology and powers possessed by three Marvel superheroes.

‘Iron Man’ suit


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Tony Stark: billionaire, playboy philanthropist. Once a developer of nuclear weaponry, Stark is more than just a very, very rich man. With his fictional intelligence rivalling real-life Elon Musk, Stark has the technological ability to create a suit of armor flexible enough for moderate movement, general invincibility against bullets and strong energy blasts, and light enough to be able to walk comfortably when he’s not flying by way of propulsors. While the exact schematic I described has not been invented yet, and may well be completely out of engineering possibility, there is a similar suit in the works. Last year, the U.S. military released the details behind plans for a new tactical assault suit for soldiers in combat situations, shown as an exoskeleton around the soldier’s body. The exoskeleton has various purposes, such as giving the soldier support for carrying the weight of the suit along with additional equipment and robotically enhancing the soldier’s strength and stamina. The military group behind the project completed a study comparing one group of people wearing the suit, along with carrying a load of equipment weighing about 60-80 pounds, and another group not wearing the suit and carrying the same load. The results showed that the first group were 7% more efficient than the second group, showing a positive but rather low boost to performance, and with a possibility of confounding variables as the surveyed population was only seven people (Cornwall 2015). Thus the project, named TALOS for Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, has faced more failures since its inception than successes. Just like how one would attempt to explain the science behind the fictional Iron Man suit, the attempt to create the complex goals of the TALOS project is extremely difficult. With enough funding and effort, there may be a breakthrough in the future, but the only Iron Man we’ll be seeing for a while will be on the big screen. (Cornwall 2015)

‘Daredevil’ ability


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Matt Murdock is a blind lawyer in Hell’s Kitchen, New York by day and masked vigilante Daredevil by night. His power is the ability to use his remaining senses to the extreme, enough so that he can sense his environment and distant sounds better than a dolphin or bat using echolocation. In relation to Daredevil’s powers, less than two months ago researchers claim to have identified the area of the brain that makes people sensitive to room size by identifying how different sounds reverberate throughout a closed area. In the study conducted by MIT researchers, three different sounds were recorded and then synthesized into three different virtual rooms. Based on how the sounds emanated in each room helped the subjects of the experiment determine the size of the room, even if they weren’t able to see it themselves. The results of the study were quite satisfying, with a significantly high success rate between 75 and 100 percent, providing convincing evidence that people are able to guess the size of a room just from reverberations. So we now know that Daredevil’s ability isn’t as unbelievable as previously thought, as we have identified that even us everyday folk possess a similar ability, although to the lesser extent. Perhaps later research might add more to the scope or possible enhancement of our sense of perception. (Price 2016)

‘Spider-Man’ silk


Click image for source.

I don’t know if many people are Spider-Man fans, but this is probably the most exciting story for me. In the ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ comics, unlike the Tobey Maguire movies, Peter Parker learns how to build his own spider web-shooters, rather than producing them himself. However, it turns out that the synthesized webs might actually be less durable than the ‘real’ webs Maguire’s Spider-Man utilizes. It’s been going around for a while that spider silk is known to be pretty durable, but only recently has a biotech firm been able to create a type of spider silk stronger than both steel and Kevlar. The article itself references Spider-Man, this time speaking of the second Tobey Maguire movie where Spider-Man saves a train full of people from dying by stopping the vehicle completely with his webs. In the past, this event seemed only possible in a superhero film, where physics and science in general are questionable. However, biology professor Randy Lewis claimed to have gone over the requirements needed to stop the train using spider silk and concluded that, if such an occurrence had been real, the rescue would have indeed been a success. The article explains that spider silk has an extremely high capability of absorbing kinetic energy without being snapped; there is even consideration of the use of spider silk in creating artificial tendons in humans, as it is an organic material neither harmful to nor incompatible with human bodies. While a real-life Spider-Man can only be actualized if any radioactive spiders endow their victims with super-strength and agility instead of immediate death, it is endlessly interesting that spider silk may well be one of the toughest fabrics on Earth. (Scott 2014)

For more real-world science regarding superheroes, watch this video about the Avengers!

The science behind a S’well bottle

Upon arriving to school I started noticing these “fancy” water bottles. As I started to pay more attention I realized about 1/2 of my sorority also had one. I decided to ask my friend about it. She then told me “It’s a S’well bottle…duh” as if I lived under a rock or something. Obviously I HAD to have one, so I went on the website and checked it out. For those of you also living under a rock …….


(Picture found here)

….. this is a s’well bottle. Well ,whats so good about this over priced trendy water bottle? My friends describe it to me as a LIFE SAVER; as if they couldn’t get more dramatic to begin with. Apparently they keep your water ice cold for up to 24 hours, and your hot drinks steamy for up to 12 hours. Sounds legit considering warm water isn’t acceptable anymore! I looked into the dozens of designs, colors, sizes, and types of these bottles- not to mention their sister company Sip by S’well, but thats a whole other story. Finally, I found the one I wanted… kinda resembles 18 Karat gold, I had never seen anyone have this one, so I now own it.


Check it out.. cool right?

Besides the obvious appeal of it being cool, it actually works, extremely well I might add. I am down right obsessed with it. So after being convinced of it actually working, I wondered ; how?

I decided to look more into the technology or science behind it.

According to S’well themselves in an FAQ I found herethese bottles are made out of 18/18 stainless steel. Great, what the hell does that mean?! Basically after a quick google search and a short article I found, 18/18 stainless steel is considered food grade. The grade basically asses the specific products, resistance to temperature and longitivtiy of the temperature being held, as well as the metals durability and overall quality of the meals being used. 18/18 in a nut shell means 18% of all nickel, stainless steel and chromium. Food grade stainless is steel is the most resistant to rust.

Okay, now that we got the meal down S’well says their bottles are produced with ‘thermaS’well’ technology- this basically means they are vacuumed sealed to keep the steam within the bottle for your hot drinks, and your cold drinks COLD at all times. Pretty cool.

For all of you tree huggers, if you still need to be convinced : S’well has a mission to become eco friendly. Not only do these bottles come completely BPA,BPS toxin free- they’re goal is to eliminate the use of a plastic water bottle. According to a fact I found herethe US dumps 50 billon of our normal plastic water bottles into landfills each year- and globally… 200 BILLION.

So yes, I plan on becoming the next S’well bottle ambassador!!! But really, if you are totally into this type of stuff like me, Check this out!

Can carrots really make you orange?

It’s a common belief that eating enough carrots will turn you into one, at least in terms of color. Well, as it turns out, this urban myth actually has a lot of truth to it. Carrots contain what’s called “beta-carotene”, which according to uamshealth.com who cites their Dermatology Clinic, does in fact cause the skin to change colors to a more yellowish tone, which can be perceived as “turning orange” to some people.

Hand with carotenemia (left) vs. no carotenemia (right). Retrieved from: https://slendergrapefruit.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/img_20130811_193929_7301.jpg

Hand with carotenemia (left) vs. no carotenemia (right). Retrieved from: https://slendergrapefruit.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/img_20130811_193929_7301.jpg

As you can see in the photo, no, you don’t actually become a carrot. However, the condition shown in the photo above on the left, known as carotenemia (also known as “carotenosis”), is what results from consuming too much carotene.

Similar effects on the body include jaundice, though unlike jaundice, the whites of the eyes do not take to the discoloration. In fact, with carotenemia, the clearest effects take place in the palms and soles, and generally effects younger children more than adults.
The effects of beta-carotene is based on the consumer’s level of metabolism. Not everyone becomes “orange” in the same dosage of carrots.

Thankfully, this condition usually doesn’t cause other health problems or diseases, and carrots, being a great source of vitamin A, and can also benefit eyesight (Jill B Koury, MD).

So yes, carrots can in fact convert you into an rather orange-looking human, however, you really don’t need to worry about it happening to you too easily. But hey, you are what you eat!

Me? Sarcastic? Yeah, right

As a freshman at Penn State, I’ve been thrown into a big pond with a lot of fish. That being said, I’ve introduced myself countless times to countless people, usually having the conversation geared to the most generic “freshman” questions; “where are you from”? and “what’s your major”? After being introduced to numerous people, I have gathered first impressions, good and bad alike. One particular night, when I was out with my roommates, I was introduced to a new person. After some small talk, I became more comfortable with the conversation. Soon enough, he stopped me in the middle of my sentence and yelled “You’re so sassy, WOW”! Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve been described as highly sarcastic or sassy. I’ve been told by multiple people: friends, family, even strangers (as this instance described) that I seemingly respond to questions or humor in a highly ironic manner. For as long as I know, I’ve been highly sarcastic. My personal belief is that it stems from my own personality, and simply who I am as a person. I can also attest to the fact that it doubles as a defense mechanism at times, especially when I’m in a new environment or trying to “lighten the mood”. Although I fully embrace my own sarcasm and witty humor, I’ve always wondered: where does sarcasm stem from? Why is my brain geared towards making sarcastic remarks, even in the most arbitrary times?


According to Elizabeth Bernstein of the Wall Street Journal, sarcasm does have a place in everyday conversation, just in small doses. While sarcasm can be seen as lighthearted humor, it can often lead to conflict if the parties involved are not close with each other or do not possess a personal relationship. Often times, sarcasm is used to deflate negative conversation or uncomfortable interactions. People insert witty remarks into the conversation to lighten the mood and ensure the carefree nature of the interaction. While sarcasm can change the mood of conversation from tense to playful, it can also be used as a means of flirtation or teasing at another individual to show affection and desire. Additionally, the hypothesis of whether or not people who utilize sarcasm are more intelligent than those who do not has been prevalent in research today. A study published in the journal of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes supports the idea that people who generally use sarcasm appear to be increasingly more intelligent and creative in their process of thinking compared to those who do not. Those participating in the study were randomly assigned to three groups: neutral, sarcastic, and sincere conditions. Each group was to recall an incident in which they acted neutrally, sarcastic, or sincere. Later on, the groups were given a cognitive task to perform which utilized creativity and thinking outside the box. The study also exemplified the role of sarcasm in personal interactions and the degree of comfortability that it brings to the conversation depending on the relationships between the individuals. People who have closer personal relationships tend to have more positive attitudes towards the use of sarcasm in social interactions and also avoid any means of conflict.


Richard Chin from The Smithsonian makes a solid point about the duality of sarcasm. While it can definitely soften the blow of insults, petty banter, and criticism, sarcasm proves to be even more demeaning than criticism at certain times. The very act of sarcasm can elicit negative connotation, like the false perception of superiority towards another person. Sarcasm has the ability to be taken the wrong way, which will ultimately result in hurt feelings and an even more uncomfortable interaction. Nowadays, kids are becoming more exposed to incidences of sarcasm in their interactions and relationships with their peers. Even more so, researchers are jumping at the conclusion that children who are unable to recognize sarcastic remarks at the young age of 5 may be at risk for brain disease. Now, this seems a little overdramatic, don’t you think? This just goes to show the overriding role that sarcasm has taken in our society and it’s effect on our youth, interpersonal relationships, and everyday conversation.


Picture link

Picture link

Science Behind Netflix Binge-Watching



As you may expect, I am one of the numerous people who has spent endless hours watching Netflix. From watching countless episodes of a show until 2:00 a.m., to ignoring plans to watch a show, I have experienced my fair share of the affects of Netflix binge-watching. Due to this, I decided to research the science behind this, because I truly hope there is a justifiable reason as to why I watched all 121 episodes of Lost in ten days, and all 125 episodes of Parks and Recreation in a mere two weeks.

Apparently, there are various reasons behind the science of binge-watching. According to ThriveWire Contributor, one reason is due to the fact that we perceive watching television as a task. Naturally, as we finish a task, our body releases dopamine. Dopamine is the control center for rewards, so we innately want more of this. One way of receiving more dopamine while still watching Netflix is to finish the series of that show. In another discovery, it was also found that during the night, bright lights increase our serotonin levels (Thrive Wire Contributor 2015). Serotonin is a mood stabilizer, so again, naturally, our bodies want more of this. This would explain why so many of us binge well into the night, opposed to binging during the daytime. Going off of this, in a recent pop quiz, we learned that light during the night led to signs of depression in hamsters. One question on the quiz asked if people should avoid light at night too, causing different opinions among people in the class. Although the general consensus was that we should in fact turn off the light to avoid these signs too, maybe we shouldn’t if this light increases our levels of serotonin.

Moving on, due to recent realizations of the neurological reasons as to why we binge-watch, writers have taken this into account and have written episodes with the knowledge that we will most likely watch/want to watch more than one episode at a time. In other words, writers create episodes similar to how a book would be considered a page turner. They do this by filling episodes with a lot of action, high levels of intrigue, building storylines, and ending with plot twists (Holloway 2015). Here it is clear that although scientifically our brain has reasons for binge-watching, television show creators have manipulated their strategies to even further our need/want for binge-watching.

Even though at 2:00 a.m. it may seem impossible to stop watching a show, there are some helpful ways to break your habit. For example, doing something unrelated to Netflix such as simply talking to someone, or going on your phone can help create context to real-life, opposed to life in the world of the show you are watching (ThriveWire Contributor 2015). Another tip is in relation to the recent popularity of cliffhanger endings. Michael Hsu suggests that you watch only a part of the next episode to clear up and gather answers to the previous episode. From only watching part of the next episode, you are able to get answers before getting dragged into another storyline.

In conclusion, there are in fact neurological reasons as to why we binge-watch Netflix, so there’s no need to feel bad about yourself the next time you’re up late at night unable to stop watching a show. If in fact you do feel bad though, there are still ways to help stop your binge, so don’t worry too much. 


Learn The Science Behind Why Our Brains Love Binge-Watching On Netflix




Migraine: Not Your Typical Headache


I’ve been suffering from migraine headaches since I was 14 years old. The first time I had an attack I was in chorus at school and suddenly lost a good part of my vision. I was concerned and started to feel sick so I went to see the school nurse. We didn’t know it was a migraine until I was in the car with my mom a little while later and that weird feeling had progressed into the greatest pain I had ever experienced. A migraine isn’t your average headache, and for those who have never experienced it before, it can be difficult to explain exactly what it feels like. Yes, there is a blinding (literally, blinding), effect that this specific headache has, along with nausea, disorientation, and chills. Not everyone experiences them in the same way. For example, I have what is called migraine with aura. All this means is that the headache has an affect on my ability to see. Of course I wanted to know why this was happening to me, and if there was anything I could do about it. The sad thing for people who suffer from migraines is that there isn’t a whole lot out there that explains where the attacks come from and why (aka the mechanism). There are a few theories that I’ve heard and read about:


  1. Food Triggers (this word “trigger” is common jargon in the migraine world). These include things like red wine, cheese, and chocolate, for example.
  2. Stress. 
  3. Menstruation. It has been speculated (key word: speculated) that migraine headaches could be triggered by hormonal changes in the body. Websites like Migraine Trust  go into more detail about the specific hormones that have been attributed to migraine headaches. Most websites I’ve visited mention something about how it’s way more likely for a woman to suffer a migraine than a man, so maybe science is on the right track in investigating hormonal changes in women.

Of course there are other theories out there about why migraines are caused. MedlinePLus explains how migraines were thought to be caused by constriction of the blood vessels in the brain. Now doctors are looking to genes for an explanation.

Treatment Options

I am fortunate that I don’t have chronic migraines. These people can suffer multiple attacks a week, whereas I usually get one or two a year if I’m lucky. People always tell me to take Advil, eat some food, take a nap, etc. What people fail to realize is that for many people there is no way to ward off a migraine, and your typical “get rid of my headache” methods will DEFINITELY NOT WORK. For me, once I start to lose my vision and feeling in my feet and hands, it’s already too late. Migraine “prevention” has to come from weeks of taking care of my body and hoping that the migraines will stay away.

There is hope though! There are tons of over the counter medications like Excedrin that can help some people with Migraine (not me, unfortunately). If that doesn’t work, there are plenty of migraine specialists out there that you can work with and even be prescribed something a little stronger to help fight off a migraine. I can’t remember the name of the medicine (something with a T?), but I actually got an injection into the stomach one time that dulled the pain a little bit. If I decided to be a doctor or a scientist, I think that I would definitely go into researching migraines. It’s fascinating to me that there is so little information out there, and so far, no cure. 🙁

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Migraine checklist image


Athletes V Athletic Trainers

For the past four years, I have attended a high school in Montgomery County, Maryland. There, I played lacrosse and basketball. The sports teams at my school are collectively very competitive not only in our conference, but at a national level as well. With that being said, athletes in general would obviously prefer not to sit out during any part of the season due to medical reasons. But, at my high school, injury is not what most athletes fear. Ironically, it is the training staff that most athletes are afraid to consult. The trainers at my school have a reputation for prolonging the amount of time in which athletes are not allowed to play- especially when there is a concussion at hand.

So, I decided to ask: do doctors over-diagnose injuries among high school athletes?

Before I continue, I will say that obviously, there are extreme cases where athletes need serious recovery time, or even need to stop playing their sport all together. For example, one of my friends from middle school suffered 6 concussions over the course of 5 years, and he is no longer allowed to participate in any contact sport. In addition to this, it is also important to note that obviously all athletic trainers should and usually do have the athlete’s health and safety in mind when diagnosing injuries.

To first address this question, I did a bit of research on how age and brain development may effect recovery time. Bentz & Purzycki (2008) explain that younger athletes, and high school athletes in particular, are more susceptible to longer recovery periods after concussions. This is due to the fact that the brains of younger athletes are not as developed as the brains of college or professional athletes, which makes the younger athletes more vulnerable to more extreme brain damaging. The chart below shows the difference in recovery time between high school and college athletes.



With that knowledge, it’s also notable to touch on the presence of pressure put on physicians and trainers to get athletes back on the field as soon as possible. This Amednews article (2010) acknowledges that pressure, explaining how physicians and team trainers are pressured at all levels to clear players from injury before they are ready to play again. Because of this, the article explains, certain states have decided to crack down on concussion law. They propose things like increased teaching of concussion risk and legitimate doctor approval before being cleared to resume activity. If passed, these laws could help protect athletes and potentially save lives in the long run.

According to Joseph Nordqvist (2015), athletes who suffer concussions during their athletic careers are still affected by the incident months later, whether they realize it or not. In addition to that, older players who suffered concussions earlier in their lives are also likely to feel the effects, showing symptoms that mirror both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. The article ends by clearly stating that athletes who suffer multiple concussions after prematurely returning to sport before adequate recovery are much more vulnerable to more severe brain damage in the long run.


To conclude, I would say that students at my old high school, including myself, should have probably trusted our athletic trainers more than we actually did. Brain damage and injury is a very serious matter, and it seems that any degree of concussion can be somewhat dangerous. Athletic trainers have the athlete’s best interest in mind, and high school athletes should trust them.


The first image came from HERE.

The second image came from HERE.

Panda and Bamboo

Pandas, such majestic and lovable creatures that have characteristics that no one would forget. The black and white fur to match the yin and yang, the ability to climb, the powerful sneeze that seemed to went viral shown here. But, have you ever wondered, why do pandas eat bamboo?

I mean, I have wondered for the longest time, as the species is one of my favorite animals. I have actually seen pandas in their native habitats and in various zoos in China, watching them defy normal bear diets by eating the fiber-filled bamboo. But always wondered why they did not eat meat like the rest of the carnivorous bear family. How do they survive on bamboo, which has so little protein to tend to such large bodies of muscle, fat, and fur?


Panda eating bamboo shoot, picture found here


Giant pandas are actually no different from any other bears digestive system, as they have the tongue with sharp teeth, wide throat and neck connected to a singular stomach and small intestine. One would typically hypothesize, since panda’s have the same basic digestive system, they should survive on meat and other nutrient-rich food substances. But as Andrew has said, our intuition is lousy, as science helps us find explanation for why the thought is wrong.

Pandas distinguish themselves from other bears through typical adaptation that all animals go through. From living in the high altitudes of forest within China, the pandas are surrounded by mostly one edible resource of bamboo. Through series of mutations, pandas actually digest bamboo similar to herbivores, even with a carnivorous system. Researchers within National Geographic conducted a study, an observational study, looking actually at the gene sequences within the poop of several wild pandas and several captive pandas. The study was observational, because they did not complete anything that would change a variable within the panda’s normal diet. But it was found that pandas, within their digestive track, have special bacteria that help break down the cellulose found within bamboo, and retain most of the calories and nutrients of nitrogen, phosphorous, and calcium.

The black and white anomaly also uses very little energy, with an extremely low metabolism. This may be due to their special bacteria that helps them breakdown more nutrients from the bamboo. According to research conducted through NBC Science, it is due to their levels of thyroid hormones which are the regulators within the digestive tract, slowing their metabolism. Compared to other animals of similar stature, and other bears, pandas expend less that 40 percent in energy, and have smaller organs to sustain the energy use.

Though it is said of how pandas survive on a strict bamboo/vegetarian diet, bamboo still has very little nutrition. According to an article by Sandhya Sekar for Science Magazine, pandas need eat up to 30 pounds of the shoots every day! Going to the bathroom must be a struggle.


Panda using little energy, picture found here


Pandas eat bamboo for the same reasons we eat in general, to survive. Over time, adaptation calls upon species, as the panda bears were called upon to live in the highlands of China, surrounded by the plentiful bamboo and little prey. Their bodies morphed over time, favoring traits that helped them digest the bamboo better. Bamboo also has a variety of different species, that hold different nutritional levels in different categories, as pandas will shift their focus on certain plants throughout the seasons. But for most of the reason, is due to bamboo species ability to grow up to three feet in just one day, as most of the variety can grow rapidly and replenish its supply.

The magnificent species is slow moving with a smaller snout compared to most other carnivorous bears. Becoming a predator does not suit them in the least, as they are unable to catch most prey. But, as rare as that time comes, pandas will seize the opportunity to eat meat, as according to WWF, about one percent of their diet comes from small rodents.


Bamboo stalks, picture found here

Though my typical pizza order would be a meat lovers pizza, I still respect the slothful vegetarian pandas. They are calm, cool, and sneeze like no other, and for some reason people make platinum songs strictly about them. Though I would never consider being vegetarian myself, I still have the giant panda as my favorite animal.

Why we bite our nails?

Do you often bite your nails? Many nail biters want to quit this habit, so do I. Because this is disgusting for other people to watch, ruining the appearance of hands, and even eating myself. I’ve tried to quit it several times, but I have never succeeded.3430905735_15e60305c0_o-0

Actually, people have bite nails for millennia. Cleanthes, the ancient Greek philosopher, was said to be addicted to biting his nails. Now, according to Joseph Stromberg’s article, the small-scale studies indicate about 20 percent or so of adults bite regularly, which would suggest a large amount of people do it.

So what is the reason that people bite nails? Are nail biters weaker willed? Or are we more neurotic? Some psychological researches could be answers to my questions.

First, (medical name for excessive nail biting is “onychophagia”) some psychologists argue that nail biters can be “pathological groomers” for whom normal grooming behaviors, such as pulling hair or picking skin. In other words, they have been out of control. American Psychiatric Association’s DSM puts pathological grooming in the same category as another disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, OCD. Carol Mathews, a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, studies in pathological grooming which is known as dermatillomania. According to what she said, pathological groomers are behaviors that stem from normal grooming — the kind of thing that most animals do and is evolutionarily adaptive. However, she also believes that they just become automatic behaviors that have no relationship to external stimuli at all, which means that biting nails and OCD are in common.

Second, Recently psychologists have a more convincing theory of nail biting, that biting nails can give biters pleasure and relaxation so they can escape from pressure temporarily. According to the argument of Fred Penzel, a psychologist who specializes in helping patients deal with nail biting and other body-focused repetitive disorders,  biting nail helps biters to calm down. So to say, nails biting is like nicotine, having two effects which one is stimulating under certain situations and the other is relaxing in other else situations.shutterstock_155114144-0

Third, there is increasing evidence showing that people who uncontrolledly bite their nails and do other similar behaviors, which I mentioned above, are often perfectionists and their actions may help them soothe boredom, irritation and dissatisfaction. From SC200, I learn that correlation doesn’t equal to causation. So although I cannot say that biting nails causes perfectionism or perfectionism leads to biting nails, they probably have some relationships. A new study supports this theory. To be specific, the researchers randomly surveyed 48 subjects, half of whom had these disorders and half of whom did not, on their organizational behavior and ability to regulate their emotions. Those having the defined as organizational perfectionists, who have a tendency to over plan, overwork themselves and are easy to get frustrated without high levels of activity. Therefore, nail biting may arise from perfectionism.

There are still some other arguments about nail biting, such as under-feeding or over-feeding, breast-feeding too long, or problematic relationship with your mother due to oral fixation, linked to myriad causes. Also, Sigmund Freud said that excessive nursing as a baby lead people to become orally receptive that means that people just simply love putting things in their mouths.

I think there is nothing wrong with biting nails. Many people derive pleasure from biting their nail; biting nails relieves stress; nail biters work well under pressure. Additionally, it is funny but true that nail biting boosts your immune system. (Though biting fingernails isn’t the cleanest of habits, it has been linked to certain health benefits. Biting nails makes newer germs get into body, so it can keep our immune system actively fending off bacteria and make it strengthener.) So biters do not need to quit this habit.









The Science Behind a Knuckleball

The knuckleball is one of the most interesting phenomena in all of sports. In baseball, Tim WakefieldRA Dickey and countless other pitchers made a name for themselves just because they could throw the ball with almost zero spin. In soccer, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Turkey’s Hakan Calhanoglu have both left opposing goalkeepers stunned and beaten by their knuckleballs. Although there is virtually no spin on the balls thrown and hit by these four athletes, there is a huge amount of movement on each ball. Why does the ball move so much when so little spin is put on it?

Jeremy Lynch and Billy Wingrove, known on YouTube as the “F2 Freestylers”, are an extremely popular duo of talented soccer tricksters who have made a name for themselves online. In this video, they explain how they’ve perfected their ability to hit a perfect knuckleball (and show off their skills a little in the process). According to phys.org, the swerve that makes a knuckleball almost impossible for a goalkeeper to save is caused by the air around the ball. Since a ball is a smooth sphere, the forces caused by aerodynamic lift fluctuate as the ball travels towards the goal in its straight path. These fluctuations cause the ball to move in such a seemingly unnatural way.

The knuckleball, however, is not exclusive to just a soccer ball or a baseball. A study by students at École Polytechnique’s Hydrodynamics Laboratory in France found that almost any ball, be it a tiny plastic bead or a 7 kg steel ball, will move similarly to a knuckleball seen in sports if dropped into a tank of water.

To this day, the knuckleball leaves opposing batters and goalkeepers bamboozled and frozen by the unpredictable, erratic ways that the ball moves towards them. Though extremely difficult to master, many goal-scorers and pitchers will continue to use the knuckleball to their advantage in the coming years.

Physics on Skates?

Everyone has something that they are passionate about, and mine just happens to be figure skating. I first stepped on the ice when I was 5 years old. A local figure skating club in the area caught my older sister’s attention, so we decided to join together! This passion of mine grew exponentially every year as I learned new tricks and jumps and attended more and more competitions. My skating career ended abruptly during my sophomore year of high school, the year my coach moved out of state and my family decided that the sport wasn’t worth the priciness of it without such an amazing coach to make it all worthwhile. So here I am now, finding a reason to blab on about my favorite sport in the world by relating it to physics!

First, lets talk about friction. To put it simply, friction can be defined as the resistance, or lack thereof, of two things as they touch each other. The beautiful thing of skating on ice is that there is hardly any friction because of the smooth ice that your blade glides straight through.


picture found HERE

Therefore, it is easy to understand why physics can explain every aspect of figure skating and why the blades perform differently on ice than they would on other surfaces such as wood, for example. You don’t have to be a science fanatic to be able to identify the fact that it surround us and is all around the world we live in. Personally, I’ve never taken a single physics class in my life, so I found this article from NASA incredibly helpful as I was researching about this science and how it could be applied to such an amazing sport.

Newton’s first law of motion deals with an object remaining in its current state unless an outside force causes that state to change. Every time your muscles propel your legs forward and backward and up and down, the state of your body is changing because of all of these forces. Literally every movement can be explained by this first law. However, I find Newton’s third law to be the most interesting way to apply his studies to figure skating because it accounts for something that isn’t usually considered when describing all of the complex movements involved in the sport. According to NASA, Newton stated, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite re-action.” Think about the blades on ice again and the force produced by your legs as you glide through the ice. Key word: THROUGH. A zamboni has to resurface the ice every few hours in order to maintain a smooth and enjoyable surface for the figure skaters– this goes for hockey players as well. This is because the action of forcing your blade through the ice creates the opposite reaction of that same ice becoming cut up from absorbing the forces you’ve imposed upon it. The cuts are a result of the ice “pushing” back and therefore allowing the skater to move in the desired direction. This is something no one typically considers or thinks about, but it all makes sense! If physics didn’t exist, then figure skating wouldn’t exist and that would be quite tragic.

Next topic: momentum. Why am I able to spin for a sustained period of time and not lose all of my speed? img_3482 Well, the answer is angular momentum conservation, and it can be related back to Newton’s laws. Without a force to slow a spinning skater down, momentum will be conserved! (Samuel Hokin)

There are so many other aspects of figure skating that can be explained by physics and all of the other impressive findings that scientist have discovered at this point in our lifetime, and this is just one sport! I am willing to bet that students’ interests in physics would be increased dramatically if the science was related to something they were passionate about, which isn’t hard to do! Science IS in our world, we just need to acknowledge it.

Now, I would like to conclude with a video to prove that what goes up must come down, featuring myself. Enjoy 🙂


The Millennial and Scientific Mindset


Picture found here

I recently read an incredible book called A Millennial World: Understanding the Drive of a Rising Generation, which explores the journey of Andrew Rosenstein, a 17 year old from my hometown of Plymouth Meeting, PA. Andrew has struggled with dyslexia since elementary school, and attends a school specialized in teaching children with learning disabilities called AIM Academy. In the book, he shares how this struggle inspired him to start a business, therefore catalyzing his thriving career in entrepreneurship. Now, he does everything from speaking at massive conventions to building strong relationships with eminent business executives. Most importantly, Andrew confidently attributes the success he has achieved today to his identity as a millennial.

This is not a traditional blog post, where I try to answer a common question through science. This post is a creative attempt to aid a better understanding of the scientific process and the identity of a scientist by comparing it with something we can all relate to: being a millennial. Everyone enrolled in SC 200 is a millennial, as it is the generation born between the late 1980s and the early 2000s. However, there is far more to being a millennial than simply our birthdays. We are millennials due to the the unique traits that we embody as a product of our upbringing. For example, we have grown up with constant exposure to technology. Therefore, we are prone to documenting our daily lives on social media. In addition, we are able to be more productive and resourceful when given a task in our education or in the workplace. Overall, millennials have a distinctive way of thinking and behaving that defines our generation, which Rosenstein refers to as our “millennial mindset.” After reading Andrew Rosenstein’s book simultaneously with listening to Andrew Read’s lecture in SC 200, I have come to the conclusion that the millennial mindset and the scientific method is more similar than I previously thought.


Picture found here

Both scientists and millennials follow an innovative process of thinking. They are not the “cubical” type of workers, who wait for a problem to be presented to them by a higher authority and then work towards a traditional solution. As Andrew mapped out in class, scientists follow the procedure of questioning the world around them, identifying a problem or curiosity, and then creatively generating possibilities to form an explanation. They think outside of the box, broadening their horizons to a plethora of unique approaches and revolutionary ideas. Next, they take action! Science requires testing and trying each possibility in order to identify a unique solution, which isn’t always an easy or straightforward process. For instance, this National Geographic article describes how an experiment testing the solidity of tar started in 1944 was recently finished in 2013. In A Millennial World, Rosenstein shares his concept of refusing “no” as an answer, a similar process to scientific thinking and experimentation. He gives an example of how he was trying to contact Simon Sinek, an eminent marketing expert. He emailed Simon countless times, yet received no response. One day, he picked up a call from a random number that said, “Hi Andrew, this is Simon Sinek.” When he didn’t get immediate results, he did not give up. Like a scientist, Andrew was determined in his pursuit despite how long it took or how many failures it involved. Both scientists and millennials are eager for meaningful results, and they are extremely driven to achieve their goals.

Along with similar mindsets and motivations, the scientific process and the millennial mindset are both geared towards searching for the most accurate, most efficient, and overall best way to explain or do something. Albert Einstein once said, “To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.” In other words, science is an ongoing process of advancement, disproving the old and developing the new. Furthermore, Andrew lectured about how scientists invest their time and emotions into this process in hopes that our greater understanding will advance as well. Millennials act in the same manner, always searching for cutting-edge ways to reach their goals more efficiently. For instance, Rosenstein touches on how the desire for the overall best is the reason for Snapchat. Some non-millennials are baffled by the idea of Snapchat. I’ve heard from my dad too many times, “What’s the point of sending faces back and forth?” Andrew believes that Snapchat is the most authentic form of communication, which is why millennials utilize it so often. In addition to sending a textual message, you can also pair it with a picture that expresses how you feel about what you’re saying. Better yet, you can even send a video to encapsulate everything into one message. Snapchat, along with every millennial targeted good or service, is constantly evolving in order to satisfy the generation’s desire for the most ideal way of expression. This is analogous to the evolution of science and scientific theory.

In addition, millennial and scientific nature thrive on collaboration. As Andrew Read explained, a scientific theory will only stand if it can hold it’s ground against an overwhelming amount of peer criticism. According to this research article, division of labor is an extremely important scientific strategy because each scientist can contribute a unique perspective and skillset to the group. Therefore, scientists usually work in teams. Likewise, so do millennials! Andrew Rosenstein makes a bold statement in his book pertaining to this idea, as it goes against the traditional idea that we must improve our weaknesses to be the best version of ourselves. Instead, he claims that people with the millennial mindset are more successful when they hyperfocus on their strengths and surround themselves with a circle of people to make up for their weaknesses. In essence, improving their weaknesses through sole collaboration.


Finally, millennials and scientists usually aren’t as widely appreciated as one would think. They constantly have to withstand harsh criticism, and prove their potential in order to gain the praise they deserve. On the first day of SC 200, Andrew asked if anyone could name a living scientist… the room went quiet. Scientists generally go unnoticed unless they propose or discover something that earns positive feedback from others. Furthermore, even the most revolutionary discoveries, breakthroughs, or theories face an extreme amount of condemnation. Thus, scientists are motivated by this peer criticism to acquire merit and recognition. The same goes for millennials, as they often are extremely misunderstood and underappreciated. For instance, Rosenstein relates this concept to the stereotype that millennials are addicted to technology. Non-millennials might argue that we are dangerously submerged in technology to the point where we are losing our sense of real communication. They would call social media “useless” and call us “lazy” or “self absorbed” for using it. In opposition, Andrew writes in A Millennial World that millennials have mastered the appropriate and resourceful utilization of technology. He claims that millennials actually turn to social media for “productive entertainment” and news. For example, this American Press Institute article states that 88% of millennials use Facebook as a medium for staying informed with the news. Therefore, they must prove this by showing non-millennials how their absorption in technology is a positive, keeping them more informed and allowing them to complete tasks more efficiently. Millennials, as well as scientists, work hard to defy the criticism they face in order to express their true power and influence.

Being aware of the strong correlation between the qualities that millennials and scientists embody should allow each and every SC 200 student to better understand what it means to be a scientist and the power of science as a whole. If you’re interested, you can learn more about A Millennial World: Understanding the Drive of a Rising Generation and purchase it on Amazon! It is an amazing read, and truly inspired me to be more in touch with my own millennial mindset.

Is Diet Coke worse than regular Coke?

It’s a well-known fact that soda has detrimental effects on your health so as an alternative many people choose to drink “diet” versions of their favorites such as Diet Coke, Sprite Zero, Diet Mountain Dew etc. What many people don’t realize is that despite having no sugar, diet drinks contain many other chemicals – some which are a lot more harmful than sugar.

36kszt Image found here

A study by the University of Texas at Austin found that 59% of Americans drink diet soda regularly. I think what appeals to people about these diet drinks is the big fat “0 CALORIES” printed on their labels. I mean, if a drink is calorie free then it must not be bad for you, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, diet sodas contain other addictive, dangerous and artificial sweeteners that have a serious negative impact on your health. The most common artificial sweeteners are aspartame, sucralose and saccharine.

Aspartame is much sweeter than sugar, it is used in small amounts which as a result reduces the amount of calories. It is the combination of the amino acids: aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Aspartic acid in liquid form is absorbed much quicker by the body and can cause an individual to have headaches, nausea, sleep problems and fatigue. The consumption of excessive aspartic acid could eventually lead to neuron damage in your brain which could lead to chronic illnesses, including: ALS, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand, phenylalanine decreases the levels of serotonin in your brain which leads to depression.

Although sucralose and sugar taste extremely similar, they have one big difference: our bodies can’t metabolize sucralose so it goes right through us. Our body detects that something sweet has been eaten and activates mechanisms to capture the energy that sugars usually provide but receive nothing. After some time, our body stops responding to all sugars, even the real ones from sweets and fruits! As a result, people who drink diet drinks are 34% more likely to develop metabolic syndrome (which could lead to various heart diseases as well).

Saccharine is considered to be sweeter than sugar but has a bitter aftertaste. Until 2010, anything with saccharine had a warning label on it because it was considered that dangerous. Although it has no calories, the two main potential side effects of consuming it are weight gain and diabetes. A study done with rats, showed that the group given artificially sweetened food had a slowed down metabolism, higher calorie intake and gained more weight (compared to rats given real sugar food).

To conclude, I think regular sodas might just be better than diet sodas. Excessive consumption of either one could lead to serious health issues but if you’re desperately craving soda, drinking regular in a small amount is probably best. However, if you want a calorie free drink but don’t want to be obese, have diabetes or rotting teeth, stick with water!

Other sources used:

[1] [2] [3]


I got a rock.

Last Thursday in class we took our first pop quiz on an article that summarized an extremely thought-provoking study. As we can all probably remember, the TIME Magazine article described a depression study done on hamsters. When the hamsters were exposed to light at night, they suffered changes to their hippocampus. The decrease in melatonin resulting from this could be a cause for depression (Kluger).

Our last question on the quiz asked if rational people should shut the blinds based on the experiment. As we went over the quiz in class, we deduced that a rational person should follow this suggestion, because as Andrew said, making the small sacrifice of shutting off the lights every night is better than the horrible depression that could eventually arise from keeping them on.

But what if there was a light that, when kept on at night, actually improved our health? SC200, it exists. On Monday night, I received an unexpected package in the mail from my mom’s best friend, Karen. Karen is extremely notorious for sending me gifts that some would consider “Zen” while others label “crunchy.” This gift was no exception. I tore open the package and came face to face with…drum roll please…this:

A chunky, heavy, light up rock. The proper name: a Himalayan Salt Lamp. Basically, these lamps are oversized slabs of Himalayan Salt surrounding a light bulb (WellnessMama). I know; it didn’t really seem like anything special to me either. But these lamps do so much more than merely decorate your most frequented household room! In fact, here is a list of the top ten reasons to purchase one.

The importance behind the Himalayan Salt Lamp is its natural ability to produce negative ions. Negative ions and positive ions both exist in the natural world, but are created by completely opposite things. Electronic devices and machinery give off positive ions, while natural occurrences like rainstorms, lightning, and sunlight produce negative ions. Negative ions cancel out positive ions, purifying the air of the toxins that electronic devices tend to give off (WellnessMama).

Not only do the Himalayan Salt Lamps purge the air of its electronic toxins, but they also clean mold, dust, and bacteria (all of which consist of positive ions) from the air. All of these negative ions at work naturally increase the flow of blood and oxygen to our brains—aiding us in our sleep patterns and concentration abilities (Taylor).

So this brings us back to the debate of whether or not to sleep with this light on. Personally, my roommate and I have kept our Salt Lamp on every night since Monday; consequently, we’ve both noted slight improvements in our sleep patterns, and our overall abilities to relax and breathe in the room. While it is too soon to tell whether or not this will have a depressing affect on us in the long run (or whether we will actually benefit fully from the lamp), we both agree that the dim orange glow is more soothing than sad. Sorry to say Charlie Brown, but sometimes getting a rock isn’t always a bad thing.

Additional Sources:

Kluger, Jeffery. “Depressed? Kill All the Lights.” TIME 29 Nov. 2010: n. pag. Print.

why it’s difficult to get up








With the well development of our society, more and more tasks and homework come with teenagers and new workers. The large amount of people who are young now faces a serious problem that it’s difficult for them to get up in the morning. One strange thing ought to be noticed that teens with more energy than older people,  but why they seems like more exhausted than middle age people during working in the morning.

According to a reliable survey, difficult to get up is related to insomnia, but not directly. Professor Andrew told us the third way about relationship named confounding can be applied here that the reason for both of them is chronic living habit. The brain cortex of human is not constant, and if we often go to sleep early or get up late in a long period, cortex will suit this biological clock. It means that once our bodies adjust to this living habit, it’s difficult to change. In addition, insomnia is the result of giant external pressure comes from work, family, or social relationship, but difficult to get up is product of losing self-control ability. Fortunately, the people who are difficult to get up have less pressure than normal people, because they don’t need to make their brain over work all the time, and in another way, this bundle of people is reliable for friends with pure spirits. Like an investigation says, the relationship in society is filled with lying, hypocritical mind, and selfish action, but the analysis in physical field, the people who are difficult to get up are more cordial than normal people.


What’s more, there is a magic phenomenon attached to difficult to get up that biological clock can be reversed. In general, teenagers have no energy in the morning, but they have double or triple energy in the evening. When teens decide to get up and work before 10 o’ clock, their biological clock aren’t active, and their brains still like in sleeping. To be balance, their minds are incredible excited in the evening, and they can work or study more effective. One of the most famous entrepreneur and inventor in 19 century, Thomas Alva Edison, likes to work at night, and many of his inventories are came up with during the night instead of morning. As scientists mentions, people’s brains are amazing for using. In the evening, brain cells are more likely to be innovative, but in the morning, they can only follow constant orders without passion.


Finally, a survey points out that another reason why some people are difficult to get up can be attributed to romanticism such as love, and following stars. The people who are romanticism rather than realism have more soft heart, and they are not adamant. In many times, the people who get up difficult are likely to depend others. What they need is a person can wake them up on time, while clock is useless for them. Plus, on the one hand, the people with soft heart won’t get stupendous achievement in career, because they lack innovative pursuit and courage, on the other hand, the great personalities they own are loyalty, and earnest. In the morning, clock is a machine instead of reliable person such as parents, and friends for them, and they can’t realize safety on machine. Because they are romanticism, they hope their intimate friends can replace clock to wake them up. Nevertheless, when they live alone, clock is nothing for them, and if they are in lonely situation for a long period, they will be difficult to get up.


To resolve this big problem, we have two scientific solutions. First, we need a make a schedule that what we will do tomorrow.  To be essential, schedule is important for everyone, because it can let you be clearly about your future. In the meantime, only the people with strong heart can get over this problem, so as soon as you make a schedule, you ought to imply yourself that you are excellent enough to get up on time. In the prior time, even thought you are difficult to get up, you can promote yourself with strong heart and consciousness because you know what you need to do on schedule. As for solution two, the external situation of sleep is also important such as noisy, and light. The scientists recommend that the temperature of light ought to be turned to warm when you go to sleep. The warm light can make people’s brain enjoy sleeping time better, and the efficiency of sleep is same important like sleep time. Warm light makes you enjoy deeper sleep easier, and deep sleep is more appropriate for teens to relax tired brain.

The problem of difficult to get up is more and more popular in society. Click here to see it.


Should You Spank Your Kids?

Recently I got into a dispute with my significant other. We seemed to clash with the views we had on spanking children. I will preempt this blog with the fact that I am an extremely sensitive and emotional person, with a mother whose profession is Early Childhood Education- I’m guessing you know which side of the argument I took. I attempted to not overreact and failed hopelessly. I just couldn’t get over it, and I knew I needed to do my research so I had facts to back me up; luckily, my mom sent me a really helpful article.


Psychology Today wrote a wonderfully clear-cut article on how spanking your kids is harmful to their health. Their evidence is backed up with over 50 years of research done by the University of Texas and the University of Michigan. After sampling over 160,000 children the results discovered that spanking your child was almost as detrimental as physical abuse; such as punching (Psychologytoday.com). In the article they split the outcomes into short-term and long-term, and they explained the unfavorable effects that each brought with it. Short-term effects of spanking for discipline were noted as depression, anti-social behavior, a higher level of aggressive behavior, low self-esteem, and a poor relationship formed between the parent and the child. The long-term results displayed signs of mental illness, anti-social behavior, as well as anxiety (Psychologytoday.com). The apple doesn’t seem to fall far from the tree either- adults who were spanked as children tend to spank their own kids while adults who were never spanked as a child cannot bear the idea of it.


I know that this can be a controversial topic, and since I started researching this I have been asking all my friends whether or not they were spanked when they were younger. I received an alarming amount of stories of soap in the mouth, wooden spoons on the backs of hands, leather belts, and spanking. It seems a great deal of people in my life were more familiar with physical punishment than I knew- and my friends are amazing…so who am I to judge? Everyone is raised differently with various backgrounds and parents who deal with things in their own ways.

Of course we need to be skeptical of the information we hear everyday- a lot of it is complete bogus. Like the pop-quizzes in class have been demonstrating, we need to be wary of what we read, and how/if we are going to decide to act on it! Direct causality could turn out to be reverse causality. If some of my friends were spanked when they were younger and are now fine, how much harm did the spanking do? The research shows that it is not beneficial in any way, and that although it can give you immediate obedience, it could be disastrous in the long run. And we always need to consider the correlation could be completely up to chance. Basically we need to think critically- as Andrew reminds us daily.

Although I agree with the research and my opinion is obviously biased in this blog, I also know that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs. And if you are ever a parent one day you can choose how you want to raise your child. I hope you found this blog interesting and revealing- let me know your thoughts!

If you are just as interested in this topic as I am, here is another short but informative article- Aha!

Lose Your Loofah

Picture this: It’s 9am, you just woke up and are heading to the bathroom to start your day. Walking down the hall in your towel wrap and shower shoes with your shower caddy in hand, you turn the shower nob all the way to the warmest setting. Just as the shower starts to get hot, you start your shower. Head to toe you start washing, scrubbing, rub-a-dub-dubbing, and so forth, all with a little help from your loofah.

The member of the Plantae Kingdom, the Luffa in its most original form of sponge, can be used as a Loofah for the shower

The loofah- a common shower accessory for most; usually brightly colored; soft to the touch; great for lathering ones body in body wash and exfoliating soaps; home to grimy mold and bacteria.

Once just a member of the Plantae Kingdom, in the fruit species, Loofahs have taken over the world of spas and pampering.

Hidden inside the (happy) valleys of sponges and mesh sit week and month old bacteria that mature into viruses. If not washed out properly, these shower sponges can infect the skin of the person using them. According to the Huffington Post, if you aren’t careful, innocent exfoliation from loofahs may result in an Staphylococcal Infection near the source of a cut, which can lead to puss filled bumps on the skin.

While looking for images to include in this post, I could not find one photo from a movie or TV show where a character was using a loofah. I saw the occasional wash cloth, but I promise, even the big shot Hollywood movie makers know not to mess with loofahs.

Although they look soft, loofahs are actually far more rough on the skin than they seem. According to MSN Lifestyle, avoiding your face while loofah-ing is a key component to any shower. The skin on your face is too delicate to pummel with the mesh that makes up a loofah, so make sure to keep the loofah designated to your back, chest, legs, and arms for optimal exfoliation and washing- if you even want to keep using it at all.

Wanna hear something really gross? Every time you use the same loofah, you’re putting millions of baby germs back onto your body that you had “cleaned off” before. The Huffington post says, the only difference now is that you might smell a little better than before you showered.

What should I do if I still want to use a loofah?

  • Hang it up to dry and light after you shower (and make sure it is actually dry…because otherwise you’re just asking for bacterial growth)
  • If you don’t remember when you bought the loofah, it’s time to get a new loofah. The bacteria build up will get to be too much and it will just stop being an effective method of cleaning.
  • Soak your loofah once a week in boiling water to kill of any germ colonies.


Love and Loofahs! -Dani