Daily Archives: September 12, 2016

The fear of clowns

Clowns have been around for a long time as entertainment for little kids at birthday parties and other events. Kids find them amusing, but why are many adults afraid of them? What is it about clowns specifically that causes so many people to fear them? Heres the science behind it.

Why makes people afraid of clowns?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM), the unrational fear of clowns is described as coulrophobia. It is the the unknown aspect of clowns that seems to scare people the most. You never know what they are going to do next or what they have up their sleeve. Their unpredictability of clowns is what people tend to fear. Because of this many people seem to connect then with the supernatural. Another theory is that people fear them because you never know who they truly are. They hide behind makeup, costumes, wigs, and and more and this seems to cause a sense of panic.

The science behind it

Psychologists say that the tricks that the clowns play cause a rush of emotions that many people seem to find overwhelming. They don’t like the fact that they cant wrap their head around what is happening and they do not like the feeling it causes them. On top of all of that, the recent horror movies that have come out depicting clowns as creepy killers has not helped their image. These movies turned the clowns exaggerated smile into a haunting and diabolic one. If you’re interested to see what the top 10 scariest clown movies are then click here!


photo source

The fear of clowns, coulrophobia, can also most times be linked to anxiety. When people are exposed to clowns in a negative way they seem to have a anxiety response. Although therapists say this is very common, experiencing fear when you see a clown only a few times a year does not mean you need help.

How to treat coulrophobia

Therapists use a strategy called exposure therapy. With this technique you slowly and gradually introduce the patient to whatever it is they fear. Hopefully by the end of this process they will be able to face their fear and get over it. With treating coulrophobia, they might start with just showing the patient a photo of a clown and by the end of the treatment they should be able to watch scary clown movies and not experience a large anxiety response. Therapists have found this to be a very useful technique and is used to cure many different phobias.

Overall, the fear of clowns is not an uncommon one and if you think you may suffer from this there are ways to get help. Its not an irrational fear that only you may have its actually very common and reasonable. I definitely dont have coulrophobia myself but I find clowns a little unsettling with me. Its just the unknown aspect of them that seems a little creepy to me. For now ill just do my best to stay away from them 🙂

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The 5 second rule

My favorite rule of all time has got to be the five second rule. As a lover of food, one of the worst things that can happen is dropping it on the floor. The five second rule is idea that your food will not be contaminated within 5 seconds of touching the ground. For something that is such a well known phenomenon, one would think that there should be science that backs this up. This “myth” was debunked by the Mythbusters 

The myth busters perform experiments in the short clip to determine how much bacteria is obtained on a piece of food in less than and more than five seconds. The myth busters had used a control “floor” by making trays have a uniform layer of bacteria because a real floor would be inconsistent. the also wanted to account for dry and wet foods, so they included crackers and lunch meat in their experiment as well as eliminating food as a constant altogether. Their finding eventually concluded that no matter if it is 2 seconds on the ground or 6 seconds on the ground, the bacteria count found is almost identical. It’s safe to say that maybe you shouldn’t eat food that has fallen on the ground. It’s much safer for your health to make another sandwich than to potentially contract salmonella from trust the “5 second rule”.

As an adult, I can’t imagine eating food that has fallen on the floor, unless it was in a wrapper.

What I find interesting is that people are not likely to eat food that has been dropped on the floor, but a lot more likely to eat it if it fell on the table. Would you eat a slice of apple that may have fallen into the kitchen sink at home? I probably would. This study published by Charles River Laboratories International Inc.  takes a look at different surfaces found in the kitchen and how much bacteria they contain.

Charles River International Inc.

The bar chart from this study will show you how contaminated a regular kitchen sink can get. I hope this may open your eyes to the idea that the 5 second rule is one that may be best to ignore.

Beer: Foe or Friend?

To many outsiders, life at an American university or college seems to be about one thing: drinking. Movies like American Pie, Old School, and Animal House have help to paint a stereotype that the college experience is one filled with drunken debauchery and womanizing. After spending my summer at Penn State, I realized one of those stereotypes held true: College kids love their beer. Given Penn State’s propensity to consume copious amounts of beer, I took it upon myself to figure out if beer or other types of alcohol actually have any health benefits.



Binge drinking is a period of drinking in which one consumes enough alcohol to achieve a BAC of .08 or higher. This type of drinking has proven to be egregiously hazardous to one’s health. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), one and six US adults binge drink over four times a month. Even more interesting, binge drinking is more common among people or house holds that make over $75000 a year (CDC). The CDC reports that binge drinking can cause liver disease, neurological issues, and various cardio vascular diseases. It is clear that drinking to the point of severe intoxication is harmful to one’s health. But what if one drinks in moderation?

Alcohol has been a staple of the human diet for thousands of years. Beer and wine in some places were often more safe to drink than the water itself, due to a lack of purification means. According to The Harvard School of Public Health, moderate alcohol consumption can carry with it some positive health benefits. In over 100 studies, moderate alcohol consumption, less than three drinks in a day, carried with it a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. Aaron Carrol of The New York Times, wrote that in several long term studies of long term moderate drinkers juxtaposed against those who don’t drink, the former was less likely to die from heart disease than their counterparts.



Alcohol may have a positive effect on cardiovascular health, but for some diseases like cancer it has been shown to be harmful (New York Times). Carol remarked that some studies found that alcohol can be linked to certain types of cancer, in other studies the same finding was reported but mostly in those who regularly binge drink. Carol wrote than in a study done in England, a correlation was found between those who drink casually and mental function later in life. Whether or not these connections are casual is unknown. Many of the studies done on alcohol are definite, but a large portion are not. Many lack an understanding of the mechanism, which may not be necessary but is important for further research. Whether or not confounding variables can explain some of these correlations is always a matter of the the way the study was conducted.

Are beer and other types of alcohol friend or foe? It appears that there are some benefits in the long run, with sustained consumption, but overall it seems to do more harm than good. The problem with alcohol is that it lowers your inhibitions, so once you’ve had a good amount, you always want more. While this may not be true for everyone, it is for many; so next game day weekend drink safe, and above all don’t drink and drive.

Is the new Iphone 7 safe to use?

Image result for iphone 7

Recently, Apple has released their newest Iphone. They shocked the world by making it waterproof, and taking out the 3.5 mm headphone jack. The 3.5 mm headphone jack is something that every single smartphone has in today current day and age. For some reason, Apple thinks differently and they think that the future of smartphones is going to be wireless. Essentially, Apple is encouraging you to use Bluetooth headphones. This also raises the question, “Are Bluetooth headphones safe to use?” According to John Moulder, who is a radiation biologist from the University of Wisconsin, says that there aren’t any ways that Bluetooth can harm a person’s brain cell’s according to physics.

Overall, it looks like the Iphone 7 will be “safe” to use. Even though a lot of people disagree with their decision to take out the 3.5 mm headphone jack, there is so scientific proof that Bluetooth is going to reduce the amount of brain cells. And lets be honest… everyone is still going to buy it because its apple.

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Are dogs smarter than we thought?

Researchers in Budapest have found that dogs can actually understand human voice more than what we knew they could before. According to the study it shows that dogs can comprehend words and tone and use similar parts of the brain that humans use to comprehend words and tone. The research team would use MRI’s on dogs while the animals listened to their owners talk to them. The research team tested 13 actual family dogs made up of border-collies and golden retrievers and tried to confuse the dogs as well.

The owners would talk to the dogs using praise words in a normal tone of voice as well as saying command words in a praising tone of voice.

According to the research and testing, scientists discovered that tone and voice were registered in different areas of the dog’s brains. Tone was found to be registered in the right hemisphere of their brain which is the same place humans do. Dogs can not only separate words and tone but they can also combine words and tone for a better understanding of what someone is saying which is exactly what humans do.

So, long story short you better be nice to your dogs because they know more than we think! Here is more research that has been found positive that dogs can perceive emotion behind what you tell them.


After reading this article I couldn’t have been happier. I’ve grown up with a dog in my life every step of the way. I sometimes feel like I get out of hand talking too much to my dog like he’s a human but apparently not. I’ve actually always wondered how much my dog could understand or if he had feeling if I yelled at him ever. This makes me feel a bit more relieved that my dog might not be so mad at me! Here is just some more information about the intelligence of our dogs.




Children and I-Pads

Every summer my family and I take a vacation to Mexico; we always arrive bearing gifts for the many relatives that we sadly only see once a year. Two summers ago, we just so happened to have a new family member, a one year old baby girl named Alyssa. In our confusion of what to gift her, my mom went out on a limb and bought her an I-Pad. Now, I know that to many of you it may leave you raising and eyebrow and questioning why a one year old would possibly need such an intricate piece of technology, trust me I was left in the same state of shock when I opened the door to the delivery man and opened the package only to find the newest released gold I-Pad with the name “Alyssa” engraved on the back of it. To us “Millennials” it might seem almost unfair that these young children are getting something that we saw evolve before our very eyes. It is hard to imagine that these children will never know what it is like to grow up without the world at their fingertips; to not have an endless amount of app’s to play on road-trips but to instead have to play games of “Eye- Spy” and “Punch Buggy”.

img_6381            As I went back to Mexico this past summer I was once again left in shock as I watched Alyssa, now two years old, scroll up and down through her I-Pad knowing exactly how to maneuver through all of it’s features. I must admit, I don’t even know how to work my phone as well as she knows how to work all the features on her I-Pad. Her fingers are so tiny yet she scrolls up and down the screens with her thumb looking so focused, much like many of our grandparents reading a newspaper yet, she is a two year old on an I-Pad. A two year old who I must say has even begun to learn words and phrases in English simply by playing around with apps and games on her own.

All I could help but wonder at this point was how in the world is her accessibility to this immense amount of technology affecting her learning ability?  There is so much that can go on these apps that you practically do not need any other form of entertainment. From educational apps that teach you different languages and ABC’s to apps made for coloring and music, it is all a touch away for them. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under the age of two should be steered away as much as possible from having any screen time at all, meanwhile children over the age of two should be restricted to 2 hours maximum of screen time. We all know this is rarely the case. When a parent or caregiver hears a screaming child and needs a quick distraction the first thing that will land in the child’s lap will be an electronic device rather than a book to read.

I-Pads and similar technology offer an endless amount of activities. E-books for instance are something that has been popularized in recent years. There are story time books for children of all ages. Instead of parents reading books to their children they can simply sit them down with an I-Pad and it will be read aloud to them with animations and all sorts of gimmicks, all with the push of a button. Research done by Krcmar and Cingel, states that the reason why there is not a definitive line drawn between whether e-books and educational applications are actually helping children or just serving as a distraction is because of the lack of longitudinal research on the topic. They have split information, some researchers say it is helpful to instill technology use with children and others say it causes more room for distraction and reduces focusing ability. This being because the research is being done very generally, they are not digging deep and evaluating each aspect individually, all apps are different and state different purposes, even if to us as the user they all seem similar. Not only apps, the technological device as a whole needs to be studied in relation to children, along with its pros and cons.

In relation to class where we spoke of children with worms being stupid; could I-Pads and technology be the equivalent of worms in our young children, today? It seems to be just as controversial, some seem to believe that it will help them learn and others believe it is a gateway to an inability to focus. Much like the worms and the children, the use of I-Pads and technology is a topic that needs to be further studied before conclusions can be made.  With something that is so up and coming and being presented into our everyday lives, it is very worthwhile to provide more time and funding into researching the benefits and ways In which we can adequately use these instruments to improve our children’s educations.



Is your toothpaste effecting your metabolism?

Ever since you were young you have gotten it drilled in your head that you must brush your teeth everyday, twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night. Yes, this is very important and highly recommend but are you using the right brand of toothpaste?

BJK315 Boy brushing teeth in bathroom

BJK315 Boy brushing teeth in bathroom

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What is wrong with Colgate?

One of the best selling toothpastes in the world today, Colgate, uses an ingredient called triclosan. This is used as a pesticide and in a study it showed that when animals were exposed to this, their thyroid hormones lowered. Thyroid hormones effect a lot of things in your body including your metabolic rate, digestive function, muscle control, and more. After looking into this researchers believe that triclosan can lead to antibiotic-resistant superbugs.


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Why is it still being used?

Although this ingredient does seem to have a negative effect, there are many positive benefits that come along with it as well. Triclosan removes plaque and helps prevent many gum diseases a lot faster than the common fluoride. The negative effects of triclosan have only been seen in small studies so the FDA has not yet done extensive research on it. This means that Colgate will continue to use it until the FDA says no more. But, the FDA also has to power to say whether the benefits outweigh the negative effects. We are still waiting to here if more research has been done on this.

What has Colgates response been to this?

Soon after this was was hypothesized, Colgate came out with their own statement on this. They claim that the triclosan ingredient is safe and has been approved by the FDA. They believe that the further studies being done will only confirm the safeties and effectiveness of their toothpaste. They will continue to call themselves the #1 trusted choice.

Should I switch my toothpaste?

Similar to what we mentioned in class with the turning off the lights study, I don’t think it is that difficult to go out any buy new toothpaste. I mean if switching your toothpaste is really going to effect you negatively its not necesary. But its such a simple task that can avoid a some negative consequences. If you talk to a dentist, they will recommend you a toothpaste made with fluoride because it does a very good job with removing plaque and doesn’t come along with these negative effects. Personally I have always used Crest and I have loved it, so I would recommend switching over to that if you want. Again its up to you but, its not a hard switch so it is recommended.

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Body Language: More Than Meets the Eye

In our day to day lives we interact with hundreds of new people. Whether it be the cashier in The Hub, or the cute girl you talked to on the way home, these interactions are seemingly unavoidable. The fact is that communication is everywhere in today’s society especially considering the recent rise in social media and cell phone use. Much of this communication is non-verbal, but the communication that really matters is face to face.



Face to face interaction and communication is an art that few have mastered. Many believe that this type of communication merely consists of talking and engaging another. However, research shows that one of the most important factors in communication is body language. For those who don’t know, body language consists of the subconscious, or sometimes deliberate ways in which people position their body.  Body language has the ability to change the way in which people perceive others.



According to Amy Cuddy, a Harvard psychologist, the way one positions their body can go so far as to affect their attitude. Positive body language, i.e. poses that project confidence and power, can have an effect on testosterone levels. In a study done by Cuddy at Harvard University, Cuddy found that positive body language can increase testosterone levels by 20 percent. The study also found that positive body language can decrease cortisol levels. Cortisol is a chemical that the body naturally produces, that causes stress. Cuddy wrote, that when testosterone levels rise and cortisol levels fall, people become better a performing in stressful situations. This in turn leads to a happier being, more likely to take on risk and challenges.

Personally, I have found the science of body language to be utterly fascinating. After watching Cuddy’s TED Talk, I decided to attempt to put some of her ideas into effect. Furthermore, I became more adept at observing the body language of those around me. Unlike Cuddy, I myself did not experience a dramatic upturn in attitude or confidence. This however does not imply that she was wrong. Rather, I think that I am a naturally confident person, so perhaps body language is the reason for the latter.



The science behind body language goes far beyond personal application. According to Bjorn Carrey of the Stanford Report, body language can go as far as to tell us of a person’s creativity. The study used advanced cameras to record the specific movements of the participants bodies. The study went so far as to pay attention to the movements of hands, limbs and etc. Afterwards, this data was put into a system with an advanced algorithm designed to detect any available patterns. The results revealed that people are more likely to work well with those with whom they share common movement patterns. The results of the study also revealed that movements of an instructor during class may affect class performance.

A recent Princeton University study, revealed that body language may play a more important role in the judgment of emotions than facial expressions. The study showed participants numerous photos of people in emotional situations and asked participants to judge the emotion and then mark what they judged it upon. The study used a variety of experiments to attempt to gauge what the participants were actually judging. One of the experiments scrambled the faces of the photographs, in which case participants judged based off of body cues. Overall, the study revealed that body language can play quite a larger role than expected in the perception of emotion.

The science behind body language is a relatively new one, that seems to be quite powerful. The way in which we communicate is by far one of the most important aspects of our lives. I look forward to hearing more from researches of the subject.




Running V. Walking: Weight Loss

Source: Fotosearch

Source: Fotosearch

I hate running. As a curvaceous female, running is the enemy. However, thanks to my decent stamina and black lab, I’m used to going on four mile walks without any problems. Despite being in good health, I constantly hear that running is ultimately the better of the two exercises. Needless to say, this was an opportunity to find out. Note: before doing my research, I prayed there is no difference between walking and running.

In an article from the New York Times by Gretchen Reynolds, she discusses how many people typically walk or run for exercise. As well, that there are many studies that have conflicting views on which is better. However, it is revealed in her article that it truly depends on what your personal fitness goals are as to which is better. So, if your goal is to slim down, running will be better for you. Reynolds cites a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. They surveyed several thousand runners and walkers. Those who participated were asked about their weight, diet, distance they typically walked or ran, and so on both at the start of the study and several years later. Runners as a whole were thinner and maintained their figures better than walkers. The reason for this isn’t simply the amount of calories burned; because eventually you can burn as many calories walking as you can running. Reynolds cites another study, published in The Journal of Obesity, that took nine runners and ten walkers and decided to see how their exercises affected their appetites. The walkers ate around fifty calories more than they burned from exercise, while the runners ate around two hundred calories less than they burned from their exercise. The study shows that this was probably due to the runners having a much higher levels of the hormone peptide YY. This is a hormone that curbs hunger.

So long story short, if you’re trying to shed those extra pounds you’ve added on because of the creamery, or lack of self control, running is ultimately what is going to help you lose the weight.

Sources: Is It Better to Walk or Run?

I Don’t Have Time to Sleep

Everyone always tells me that I need to make sure I’m getting enough sleep. My parents always say it, my doctors tell me, and even my grandparents say it. My sleep schedule in high school was pretty normal, and I liked to stick to a consistent pattern. I would wake up at about 4:45 in the morning for swim practice, and go to bed at about 10:30 or 11:00 each night.  Now I know that this really isn’t enough sleep, but I’m not really the kind of person who requires a whole lot of sleep.

Now that I’m in college, my sleeping patterns have definitely had some adjusting to do. And now, when and if I go to sleep is completely up to me. I have to make sure I’m going to bed on time, and I have to make sure I’m getting out of bed in time to get to class. Club meetings, sports practices, socializing, and homework sometimes take priority over sleep. This, of course, is not ideal, but it’s the cold, hard truth for college students today.


An article found here gives some helpful advice for college students who have issues with sleeping. One thing the article suggests is that people should stop using electronics 30 minutes before they go to bed. Well this right here could be one of the main problems. I know for the majority of people, their cell phone is the last thing they look at before they fall asleep each night. And if it’s not their cell phone, it’s the television. People are aware that this habit could be affecting their sleep, but they still do it anyway.

Another tip the article gives is to stay away from caffeine after 3 in the afternoon. Now, I’m not a coffee drinker, but this just seems like a very unrealistic expectation. With everything college kids need to do in one day, many students often turn to coffee during all waking hours. Late night study session? Last minute cram for exams? Coffee is always the answer.

Yes, I agree that it’s very important for college students to be getting enough sleep. I know the effects that a lack of sleep can have on a student over the course of the day. I’ve experienced this first hand. For example, after a particularly rough night of studying, I started out the next day feeling tired and sluggish. I didn’t start to feel better at all until I was back in bed again the next night. Getting enough sleep each night seems to be vital to one’s success during college.

I believe that the weekends often have a strong impact on a student’s sleep schedule. On the weekends, students tend to go to bed much later than usual, and wake up sometime in the late afternoon. It can’t be healthy for someone’s sleep schedule to be disturbed this often. It is definitely a challenge for most college students to get enough sleep each night.

Clearly, students today are getting less sleep than they should be, or having a difficult time falling into a consistent pattern of sleep. Researchers and doctors can offer all the advice and tips they want, but in the end, it’s up to each student to take care of themselves. This is part of why college is such a big adjustment for most people. This is the first time that most of us are living alone, and it’s up to us to make sure we are living healthy lives.


Overeating and Over-walking: The Freshman Zero

Making the transition from high school to college has brought many changes to my life, along with the whole slew of freshman that find themselves nicely and neatly packed into East Halls with lots of room to spare.


For one, I sweat much more at Penn State than i ever have before. The oppressive State College humidity, matched by an appalling and blatant absence of dormitory air conditioning has brought my personal perspiration levels to an all time high. I’m easily over my beads of sweat per month quota. Nonetheless, when looking into how different aspects of college life could affect the fitness, health, and weight of a college student, I couldn’t find any justifiable evidence that profusely sweating is by any means a good way to lose weight.

One thing I’ve noted, though, is the calorie burning potential that comes as a result of the extensive walks to class from East Halls. According to www.verywell.com, the average male burns seventy to one hundred twenty calories for every mile walked. While at first this may not seem like much, consider this – the walk from East Halls to the Forum Building and back alone is a mile. Walk that route or one of similar distance twice a day, along with the necessary travel getting food or going downtown, and you’ve already walked about three miles.

The pre-downloaded ‘Health’ app on the iPhone has a built-in pedometer that keeps track of your steps, how many miles you’ve walked, how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed, etc., so long as your phone is in your pocket or in your hand during such traversal. Since I’ve moved in on August 19, I’ve walked between three miles and eight miles on any given day. So, if I walk an average of 5.5 miles per day, using the table that www.verywell.com supplies, I burn 400 to 500 calories strictly from making my way around campus.


Someone who weighs more will burn more calories from walking than those lighter than them, while moving at an accelerated pace expends more calories as well. Regardless, burning 500 calories from walking alone is considerable; 500 calories is nearly an entire meal. Wondering just how substantial an extra 500 calories burned per day is? www.health.com reports that trimming 3,500 a week, which works out to 500 per day, can shred two pounds a week.

For simply walking around campus, this is a tremendous turnaround.

However, a statistic such as this assumes consistent eating habits, perhaps even a confined diet. College, however, as many of us know, is the pathway to the infamous ‘Freshman Fifteen”. While the likelihood of gaining fifteen pounds may be low – in one study, about 10% of college freshman gained fifteen pounds over the course of the year, while a quarter actually lost weight – many freshman do gain 2-6 pounds their freshman year. In fact, the same study, per the Atlantic, found that there is no true distinction to be made between the change in weight of a college freshman and the change in weight of a peer who does not attend college.

Regardless, there is a particular demographic that is particularly affected by weight gain upon arriving at college (all you can eat dining halls may be to blame) and something as simple as walking can help combat it.



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Why is the Common Cold So Common?

For me these first few weeks of college have been crazy busy. With classes, homework, nightlife and rush events I have been extremely exhausted, and it seems that it has now all caught up to me. I have no doubt caught a terrible cold which is not fun to say the least. But as I sit and try to make myself healthy again by popping dayquil and drinking vitamin c drinks, I keep wondering how there is still no easy cure to the common cold. With all the advances in medicine, the world has vaccines for all sorts of diseases, but not for a simple cold! As I quickly found out through some research was that there is currently no cure, and there is likely to never be one, and here’s why:

According to this article, the common cold is not one disease or sickness, it actually can come from several different viruses that each have many of their own mutations. This makes it incredibly hard for scientists and doctors to develop a vaccine because they cannot simply target one of the specific viruses, unlike other diseases like influenza. It still seems to fascinate me that there is still no vaccine, considering that in the United States alone billions of dollars are lost annually because of employees missing work due to the cold. And not only can the cold be financially destructive, but it can also be quite dangerous to people too.  Similar to the flu, the cold can be deadly to people who are already suffering from medical problems, which makes a vaccine even more valuable. But even with all the reasons to find a cure to the common cold, the bottom line is it’s not going anywhere soon so for now I’m stuck using traditional remedies. 

Class is too big

As many of you have found out in the past two weeks, Penn State has some enormous classes that make you feel overwhelmed at some points. After a while going to a class with three hundred people feels normal and when your friends tell you their largest class at their school is fifty, you are in shock. I am completely used to going to the Forum building and seeing countless faces that I never saw before since I am a Sophomore but for others, this could be stressful and affect how they learn. There have been many studies to see how class size affects the learning capability of students, and the outcomes are very shocking.


A study was once done with third graders over a four-year period where they had two class sizes, one above average the other was not. These two classes would take the same standardized test and compare their grades with each other after. Over those four years, on average the smaller class size did five percent better than the bigger ones with both reading and math. Of course these are third graders so it is hard to compare them to college students, but there is still fact that those smaller classes do better on test than the larger classes.


There is also an abundance of reasons why studies like this show smaller classes doing better than large ones. In a small class you are able to get ample one on one time with the teacher if you do not understand something. You can also become closer with your class and get help from them with work and other topics you do not understand. As I said before, larger classes could be overwhelming for some students so a smaller class would make them feel more comfortable and they could concentrate better.

There is also the factor of social Anxiety, which forty million people suffer from and seventy fiver percent of them have their first attack by twenty-two according to Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Interacting with people is one of the causes of social anxiety and when you are in a class of 300 you are going to be surrounded by people asking you questions and talking. Another cause for anxiety is asking questions, which can be stressful enough to do in a small class let alone a lecture hall. Once a person gets an anxiety attack they will have symptoms such as nausea and light-headedness, which would make it almost impossible to concentrate on the class going on.

I feel that there should be a new plan implemented to have smaller classes, even if that means only cutting down a class by fifty students. Studied are showing us that smaller classes are getting better test grades than large classes, and isn’t school all about getting the best education you can. Well if studied are showing that small classes help you learn the best, shouldn’t we be having smaller classes then?





(Wo)man’s Best Friend

The hardest part of being away at school for me is not being able to come home to my dog everyday. I used to bring her everywhere with me and there was nothing better than being greeted every time we met with a smile and waging tail.She was always there for me when I was feeling down but I always wondered if she truly understood how I felt. You can always tell when a good friend is upset and I could always tell when something was wrong with her but could she do the same for me? The answer is yes.


Turns out many people have asked the same question as I did. Many owners have reported times when their dog has been sensitive towards family members in distress. Researchers at the University of Lincoln found that dogs can recognize emotion by facial expressions and change in tone. The study showed that dogs would spend a longer time looking at the people who showed emotion of sadness or anger than people who did not.


Dogs can also detect happiness within their owner. Dr. Corsin Muller of the University of veterinarian Medicine in Vienna has proven that dogs respond to the bearing of teeth in smiles. He then was able to train dogs to obey commands given through facial expressions such as the wrinkle between your eyes when you are angry.

Now I just can not wait to go home to my dog and for her to pick up the happiness I express due to our reunion!



Why eat things that are chemically infused and are harmful to your health?

People lean toward vegetarianism by all sorts of motives. Some people want to live longer, avoid the toxic chemicals that are infused in animals, or even to spare animals lives. A plethora of scientific research proves the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet. Grain products, vegetables, and fruits are the sources where we should be consuming most of our calories. Around 70% of all diseases are linked to the diet a person lives by . A vegetarian diet lessens the chance of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and colon, prostate, breast, stomach,lunch, and esophageal cancer. As a result, participating in a vegetarian diet will lead you to a healthier and happier life.



Vegetarian diets are more beneficial and healthful than the average American diet. Vegetarians are less prone to heart disease, cancer, and stops the progression of coronary artery disease. A vegetarian diet is naturally wholesome due to the lack of consumption of animal fat and cholesterol. Contrary to an average diet, vegetarians consume more antioxidant-rich produce and more fiber.

The stereotypical diet of an American consists of foods that are high in saturated fats, processed foods, and complex carbohydrates. Thus, many Americans suffer from obesity. Their dinner plates consist of three colors opposed to a vegetarians that consist of seven or more. The more color you add to your plate, the more nutrients like fiber, antioxidants, potassium, and vitamins you will receive in your diet. The seeds and skins of fruits and vegetables contain insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber advocates a healthy digestive system and  soluble fiber aids in lessening cholesterol and regulates blood sugar levels. Antioxidants counterbalance the unwelcome compounds in your body. Vegetarian diets do not include high concentration cholesterol, artery blockage animal products that gradually slow people down. To receive energizing fuel vegetarians consume foods high in complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.



The meat industry has been an up and coming big business in society, and we are convinced that the meat we consume is wholesome and nutritious. But only if people new that was far from the case. Many people are not aware that the delicious chicken tenders or the juicy burger they eat at baseball games are loaded with poisons and toxins. According to the EPA, in an average American diet about 95% of the pesticide debris comes from dairy products, fish, and meat. Fish consists of  substances that may potentially cause cancer (PCB’S, DDT) and heavy metals ( Mercury, Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium). Cooking or freezing will not chemically or physically remove these toxins from the fish. Hormones and steroids can be mixed in with dairy and meat products as well. So next time you buy dairy or meat products, read the label clearly.

As vegetarian, I ask myself why people eat these meat and dairy products if they know it is detrimental to their health. Is that juicy cheeseburger or the finger licking buffalo wings worth the harmful toxins you are putting into your body? Eat veggies, be healthy, and get rid of the toxins in your body. There is more evidence to back up the claim on why to be a vegetarian than not. Eating meat is bad for yourself, the environment, and for everyone. Convert to vegetarianism to live a natural, healthy, wholesome, and toxic/poison free life.





Coke. Chemicals. Cancer.

According to the CDC, obesity affects the lives of 35% of Americans today.  With such a large percentage, one may think that being conscious of what you eat, and opting for foods that advertise as being “fat-free” or “low-fat” may be the best way to remain fit and healthy. But in the case of processed foods and drinks, these “low-fat” foods sometimes can be more detrimental to their health than “regular” foods and drinks. One of the main perpetrators of these relatively unknown consequences is diet sodas.  With all that information, when opening the fridge at your local convenient store, buying a 0 calorie Coca-Cola may seem like a better idea than buying a 140 calorie Coca-Cola.  Not only are you saving the calories, but according to the Coca-Cola product sites, you’re skipping out on consuming 39 grams of sugar, and taking in 5 mg less of sodium. You’re also getting 12 more mg of caffeine, which is great if you need that extra energy boost (Coca-Cola Product Facts).  With all those bonuses, opting for the diet Coke seems like the better choice, right? Probably not.d6a89e8304efb94eb28c07b0e3e54908

With such vastly different nutritional values, how is Coca-Cola is able to create two products with identical tastes? The answer is by the use of artificial sweeteners and preservatives. By comparing the two product fact sites, I saw that the way diet Coke is able to claim 0 calories while tasting the same is by taking out high fructose corn syrup, and instead adding in the chemicals aspartame, potassium benzoate, and citric acid.  According to Mary Squillace, a health blogger, diet sodas actually slow weight loss and cause bloating.  But, the more serious issue at hand is that these added chemicals can be very harmful to your overall health. In a study conducted by US National Toxicology Program (NTP), researchers found the effects of one chemical in particular, aspartame, to be detrimental to ones health through an experiment on mice.

In summary of the experiment, starting 12 days after their conception (the chemical was given to pregnant female mice), and continuing until their death, these NTP researchers fed 240 mice food mixtures containing aspartame.  Once the mice were born, they were divided into groups based on their sex, and and after the multiple groups were decided, the NTP researchers assigned a dosage of 0, 2,000, 8,000, 16,000, or 32,000 ppm of aspartame in order to measure the effects of a higher or lower dose (NTP).  It was after their deaths, though, where the true effects of aspartame could finally be seen.

After each of the 240 mice had died or was euthanized, autopsies were performed on their tissues and organs.  After the thorough dissection, the researchers found that the consumption of APM did in fact cause an increase of cancerous tumors in the mice.  Researchers also found that in the mice who had higher doses of APM, there was a significant increase if neoplastic lesions in the liver and in the lungs. These lesions and tumors were also stated to be found more frequently in male mice than female mice. The studies conclusion mentioned the possibility that the cancer was not caused directly by the APM itself, but by the chemicals it metabolized into while in the gut. It also mentioned that this could be the reason the male mice were more negatively affected than the female mice.

As someone who has always been warned against the harmful effects of soda, the results found in this study did not shock me. Even though this evidence is based on one study conducted on mice, it is not new news that neither diet nor regular soda is not good for one’s appearance or health.  While it is also important to remember that drinking soda here and there will also not be completely detrimental, it can be concluded that over time, the consumption of soda could lead to an increased chance of cancer and other serious consequences.


CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

Reg. coke facts: http://www.coca-colaproductfacts.com/en/coca-cola-products/coca-cola/

Diet coke facts: http://www.coca-colaproductfacts.com/en/coca-cola-products/diet-coke/

Health Blog: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20739512,00.html

Study PDF: http://www.mpwhi.com/soffritti_2010_20896_fta.pdf

Picture Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/418131146623639603/

Give Cannabis a Fair Verdict

Cannabis also commonly known as marijuana is the poster boy for being a gateway drug. However, 25 states have decided legalized marijuana in some form whereas 4 states (Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska) have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Although the legalization of marijuana has long been a polictical platform, I believe cannabis use should be in the discretion of the individual rather than a legal issue.


Cannabis has long been an afterthought to those who strictly believe it to be a gateway drug to runining the lives. However, the medicinal properities of Cannabis are undeniable. An article from Business Insider lists 23 medicinal, health benefits of smoking marijuana with properties such as stoping the spread of cancer, decreasing anxiety, and spuring creativity in an individaul.

If I told you that a drug that is the world leading killer of people ages 17-25 and impairs you to the point of puking and at times memory loss is completly legal to purchase after the age of 21, how can lawmakers demand that marijuana stay illegal? The answer to that is MODERATION. Why not give people the option to take marijuana in moderation and at their own discretion when we have done so with agruably a more dangerous drug in alcohol for all of these years.

I know some will now assume that I am a Wiz Khalifa stoner that never goes to classes and will fail out of Penn State in 3 semesters. But these are simply the stigmas associated with smoking marijuana and I believe that the funcitonality of marijuana have been diluted due to the constant scrutinity and polictical focus of the plant.

Thanks for reading!

Sammy Lee






Talk Alien to me…

One of the biggest questions humans have is wether or not there are other life forms out in the universe. Since it would be shortsighted to assume that only earth can sustain life, it is probable that extra terrestrial beings exist. Isn’t that amazing news? Now all we have to do is fly to their homes, which are just like ours and probably have clear directions outlined on google maps, and talk to them. Wrong. There would be a language barrier beyond anything Donald Trump would wish to have.
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The inability to communicate with extra terrestrial beings, despite understanding that they exist, is called the Fermi paradox. The scientist Enrico Fermi had a number (too many to make a reasonable blog post) of theories on why we haven’t had proven communication with extra terrestrial life. The first theory is that extra terrestrial life is rare or nonexistent. As I said earlier, that would be a very shortsighted way to view it. Another theory is that humans have not existed long enough to be recognized by other intelligent beings. This theory could hold true since human existence is a drop of water in the ocean of time. However, if aliens were so adapted, they would have the means to recognize our existence. The most likely theory that can be derived from Fermi’s list is that humans are not advanced enough to understand, interpret, initiate, or receive alien communications.

The author and transhumanist Zoltan Istvan theorizes (quite confidently) that humans will never be able to talk with intelligent life because so many factors must be appropriate. First off, these aliens would have to be in a state recognizable to humans. Istvan went as far as to say that aliens can become advanced enough to shed their biological beings (should be noted, however, this man is the proclaimed president of the transhumanist movement, so outlandish theories are kind of his thing). Next, we would need to have a similar state of time as the intelligent being, and that is not likely. Finally, these other life forms would have to be looking for us too. And let’s admit it, we aren’t as sought after as “Transformers” would want us to believe.
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Does Vitamin C Actually Protect Against Common Cold?

It’s the middle of the third week of classes and I am sitting in my Econ102 lecture of 600 students. I usually make sure to get a front seat to avoid getting distracted. Although, this time there is a consistent and very violent noise that is unavoidably distracting and quite frankly disturbing. It’s the dreaded cough and all I can think is it’s a matter of time that washing my hands and taking a good helping of vitamin c won’t protect me from getting infected by the common cold.

I like to make sure to take vitamin c since it is one of the easiest ways to boost your immune system and protect against the contagions that literally surround college students all the time. Although, does vitamin c actually provide this reliability against the common cold?

According to Kris Gunnars at Authority Nutrition, vitamin c has been tested for this proof since 1970 when it became a very popular topic of interest in the science world. Gunnars also gives mention that vitamin c is found in immune cells. When these cells are attacked by infections, vitamin c is depleted.

There have been series of randomized controlled studies that have taken place over the past decade. They concluded with results that showed vitamin c does not reduce chances of getting infected by the common cold, according to Gunnars. Gunnars also says the average human will contract the common cold several times a year.

Although vitamin c may not prevent the common cold, it can shorten the amount of time you are actually sick, said Gunnars. I found this somewhat relieving especially since the studies mentioned in this article were disappointing and a little surprising.

According to  Dr. Mark Levine, from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases, he suggests against taking vitamin c supplements altogether and to just make sure you are getting enough fruits and vegetables.

Levine doesn’t support taking in extra amounts of vitamin c because according to trials that tested the long term affects of taking vitamin c, your body can only withhold a certain amount of it. If you take too much, your body will begin to absorb less and less. This is why getting vitamin c naturally may be the best way to go.


I agree with this statement because most of the time, our bodies respond best to the natural supplements we take in. Although, all of our bodies work differently, so it really depends on what your body best responds to.

Since I am new to college life where I have to really take care of myself, getting sick is something myself and everyone else dreads. I try to take advantage of the supplements and foods that keep me healthy, but when studying, doing laundry, and campus life in general become a full time job, it’s easy to let other responsibilities become not as much of a priority as they should.


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Does Coffee Hurt or Help?

Waking up for high school at 6 in the morning  was the hardest part of the day, but I always knew an Iced Coffee from Dunkin Donuts would surely get me in a better mood. Before school started, I’d often drive over to the Dunkin Donuts only about a mile away from my school. I’d see the same faces every morning and they knew I was always happy when I saw my medium mocha iced coffee in the hands of the barista. A few sips in and I tasted happiness, but it wasn’t until the whole coffee was gone and I was finally settled in at my first period class when the stomach cramps would finally begin. I’d often feel nauseous and my palms would began to sweat, but I had always sacrificed this feeling in order to feel more awake and enjoy the taste of it. Why does coffee continuously give me stomach cramps and is there any possible way of preventing it?

According to Shannon Campbell, it is common for people to have stomach pains after drinking coffee. However, there is not just one reason why people can suffer from this stomach pain. One reason could be because of coffee’s caffeine. The caffeine can have a negative affect on people because it produces acid, which can cause an upset stomach. Another possible reason could not be the coffee at all, but because of a confounding variable – the milk. Many humans suffer from being lactose intolerant and don’t even know it. So, when they order their coffee with milk, it could just be the milk causing their stomach stress and not the coffee. The simplest answer to this problem could just be consuming coffee on an empty stomach.coffee-2 Sometimes coffee just doesn’t settle with one’s stomach when they haven’t eaten anything.

Although those answers could be the reason why coffee upsets our stomach, how can we prevent it from happening? According to WebMD, a certain chemical produced when darker-roasted coffee is roasted could help relieve stomach pain.  According to coffee chemistry, the chemical is produced because of extreme temperature the coffee bean undergoes during the roasting. At high temperatures, the coffee bean begins to internally crack, which ultimately makes this chemical. The chemical is less acidic; however, it is only found in a dark-roast coffee. So, if your looking for a lighter-roasted coffee, this solution doesn’t seem to be much help! Another possible solution could be to just eat something and drink plenty of water before consuming your next cup of coffee.  For those who may fear that the milk is causing them an upset, try substituting the milk with either coconut milk or almond milk, it is much healthier an won’t give you those dreaded stomach cramps.

So, for all the coffee addicts who would do anything for their next cup of coffee, I hope this blog helped! For me, I know that eating before drinking my morning coffee could definitely help, since most mornings I often skip breakfast and substitute it with a cup of coffee – obviously not the smartest decision!

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Why do girls wear make-up?

Research done in 2013, found that the average American woman will spend $15,000 on make-up during her lifetime and at least 20 minutes a day applying it. As a girl I understand the struggle of spending way more time and money than I should at Sephora/Ulta, trying to find the perfect lipstick shade or foundation for my skin type; the struggle of accidentally waking up late and quickly trying to make that perfect eyeliner wing. But, why? Why do women put so much effort into making themselves look “good” – aren’t we all perfect the way we are?

A BuzzFeed survey asked women why they wear make-up and among the responses were “because it’s fun” and “because it makes me feel more confident”. I think these are in fact the two main reasons and so I’ll be looking at them specifically. In today’s world, confidence is considered the key to success, so it makes sense women spend that extra time doing whatever they need to, in order to feel better about themselves. On average, women look at themselves in a mirror 16 times a day and unlike men who look at themselves to admire their favorite features, they focus on their insecurities. A poll done in the UK, showed that 85% of women said wearing make-up helped them feel better on a bad day and 78% believed wearing make-up meant they would be treated better by other people. 

YouTube sensation, NikkieTutorials created the movement, “The Power of Make-up”, where she films herself applying make-up to only half her face. The point of the video was to show her viewers that make-up is supposed to be fun and it’s okay to experiment with different products and create super dramatic looks. Photographer, Steve Osemwankhae made a series featuring a hundred women with their bare faces and thoughts on wearing make-up. The most common comments made were about self-expression, having fun and actually being okay without any make-up.

This video by Em Ford went viral a few months ago so you might have already seen it but I think it perfectly captures what girls often feel. (You should definitely watch if you don’t understand why girls wear make-up.)


Regardless of whether you wear make-up or not, remember you are beautiful. (That sounded a lot less cheese-y in my head, haha).

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The Politics of Pneumonia


With the presidential election coming up in a few months, it is impossible to turn on the news and not see a headline relating to either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Whether they are talking about policies they plan on implementing upon their election, or even if they are just visiting a family member, these two are being discussed nonstop. It is no surprise then how much press Hillary Clinton has received this past weekend when she became sick during a 9/11 commemoration ceremony and was forced to leave early. In the past few months, Clinton’s health has been a major topic of discussion given her past health records, like her coughing fits on the campaign trail. Many fear that she is not in good health and will not be able to serve as Commander-in-chief (Howard).

After Clinton abruptly left the commemoration ceremony, she was able to recuperate at her daughter’s apartment in New York City and returned appearing normal to bystanders. Although, everything was not as it seemed. Later on, Clinton’s physician made a statement informing the public that the former Secretary had come down with a case of pneumonia. Pneumonia is a bacterial lung infection that can last for up to three weeks. The type of person who is likely to catch pneumonia is either a young child or elderly adult. For elderly adults, the healing process can take longer. While this infection is easily treatable with antibiotics, it should be treated seriously as many people die each year from pneumonia, predominantly older patients. One catches pneumonia through the typical ways in which an illness is spread: coughing and sneezing. In addition, one with a poor immune system and bad health habits is more likely to become infected (American Lung Association).


So what exactly does this mean for Hillary Clinton, does she have poor health habits? Is she physically unfit for such a prestigious position? Not necessarily. As we have covered in class, causation does not equal correlation. Even though Clinton has experienced poor health in the past and is considered elderly (over 65), these variables do not mean that those are the reasons that she became ill. For example, a staff member within close proximity of her could have infected her. In addition, being the public figure that she is, the general public with whom she greets every day could have infected her. In other words, a third confounding variable could have taken part in Clinton contracting pneumonia. Therefore, while it should be taken into account the health of each candidate running for president, this illness should not prove to be detrimental to Clinton’s campaign.



Hillary Clinton Rally


Baby Einstein might not be so smart after all

Growing up with 3 younger brothers, I’ve seen how they have grown up and matured into very cute and mature boys. I also saw how they were raised as babies. From the food they ate, to the clothes they wore, to the activities we all did together, I just about know it all.

One of the most popular activities my littlest brother, Sam, liked to do was watch Baby Einstein. If you don’t know what that is I’ll attach a short clip here. My brothers did enjoy these videos, I assume mostly for the entertainment purposes. However, there are some families that play videos like theses for their infants with the goal of improving language skills and IQ, essentially as an educational tool.

In a study conducted by Child-Psych, they found that children who watch the educational videos at a more developed age (closer to 2 years old) were not likely to be effected in any way (positive or negative). However, for children who are younger, they may actually learn less words by watching the videos. Pretty strange since the goal is to encourage educational growth. However, there are other key components that can be put into play here with the regard to the lesser amounts of learned language from the video. Once , is that while children watch videos, they are not interacting socially or verbally with their parents. So according to Child-Psych, they loose the body language association that goes with verbal communication.

In a New York Times article, there are similar findings after a similar experiment. The journalist writing the article may not see dramatic changes in her child’s language development, she does feel that videos like Baby Einstein are a good use of time for her child while she is completing necessary tasks around the house. It seems a practical solution for busy mothers who just need a break, or just a shower after a long day, since the video is not deteriorating from her child’s education.

On the Baby Einstein website, they feature categories that they specialize in for education such as, Language, Music, Art, and Nature. They are all described as rich experience in an interactive program for learning. They describe their company as an experience that will allow parents to fulfill the need of their curious children.

Mayo Clinic did research on this claim, finding that there is no significant improvement in a child’s language after watching there films. Children ages 1-2 who watch these videos are missing out on key life experiences such as playing outside, playing with other babies, and talking and singing with their families.  They are seeing images and hearing music from a screen, but they cannot absorb it as well as they could real life music or conversations.


Are college students letting technology take over their life?

As we know, technology is up and coming, and not going anywhere soon. The rapid increase of technology is something I have never witnessed before. People in the 21st century, especially college students, have access to way too much technology, that their lives could revolve solely on it, if they really wanted it to. Now, colleges and universities have online classes, food delivery services, and students can even have video game systems in their dorm room. Is it even worth spending so much money on going to a big university when you don’t even have to get out of bed to receive an education?

First of all, online classes are absolutely pointless. Im not even sure why they are available because students will not properly retain any of the information they are “learning”. They can take a test, or listen to a lecture while not even getting out of bed. Students will not be able to raise their hand and ask questions when they are confused, thus leading them to resort to asking Siri, or using Yahoo answers. Again using unnecessary technology! I value getting to know my peers in my class and receiving help from them. With an online class you only have yourself to rely on. Instead of talking to your teacher face to face, you speak through your computer via email. Personally, when I email teachers it is nothing like actually speaking to them in person. More information is given while talking and directions and questions are answered more clearly.  Online classes fries students brains and eyes due to their computer screen. Here  is an article I stumbled upon about the downsides of online classes! After having their online class students will reward themselves and order comfort food like pizza or cookies.



Ordering food to be delivered is always a pain. Restaurants always get the order wrong have no visual proof on what was actually said, they just write what they hear. Now, in order to eliminate the confusion and conflicts while ordering food, Penn State invested in OrderUp. OrderUp is an online food delivery service that delivers right to your building. Instead of getting out and walking to the dining  hall, students resort to their computer or cell phone and in a push of a few buttons there food will arrive. You don’t need to get out of bed to receive and education or nourish yourself with food due to technology!



Obesity is a common thing amongst teens due to technology. A sedentary life is put into place when teens revolve their life around video games, or the computer. Here is an article that analyzes technology linking to obesity. Physical activity is not a thought in their mind. Online delivery services basically supports teen obesity. Most of the options online are unhealthy and detrimental to ones health. What’s the point of that?

Video gaming systems are allowed in students dorm rooms, there is no motivation to go outside and get some exercise? Playing NBA 2k16 is basically the same thing as going to the gym and playing basketball, right? Wrong. Video games are toxic to the human brain and so is social media. Social Media consumes the average college students life and everyones biggest concern is, is this okay to Instagram? There average time a teen spends on their mobile device has skyrocketed since 1999.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the time teens spend on their mobile devices increased about an hour and 20 minutes a day. In conclusion, technology has taken over college students, therefore leading to a decrease in proper education and living a normal college life.