Daily Archives: October 21, 2016

Video Gains: What You Stand To Gain From Video Gaming

Video Gaming has been negatively stigmatized for so long due to a multitude of factors ranging from increased violence in children to social isolation from staying indoors too much. While these factors may show up in some cases the general trend has actually strayed away from these problems and research has found that video games can in fact actually improve cognitive functioning. In an article by Psychology Today they set out to prove that rather than having a multitude of negative affects on children video games can actually improve a multitude of cognitive functions, the article lists perception, attention, memory, and decision-making as a few examples.

According to both the article by Psychology Today and the American Psychological Association perception is increased because video games bombard the player with visual stimuli, especially action-games such as Call of Duty and other shooters which require quick decision-making and the ability to receive and process all that visual stimuli in a very short amount of time. Likewise what is so interesting about this theory(in my opinion) is that each genre of video gaming strengthens a new area of cognitive functioning. For example a role-playing game would increase the decision-making skills of the player as many role playing games give players a wide variety of options to choose from. This is especially the case with MMORPG’s(Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) where players can increase not only their decision-making skills but their social skills as well when they are required to join other players to win promoting teamwork and a group mentality. This is also the case with puzzle based games which would improve memory and information-processing skills. Even IOS games such as Flappy Bird would improve cognitive function since hand-eye coordination is a necessary requirement to be good at the game which can translate to increased motor skills outside the game. video-games

BBC News wrote an article about an observational study performed on children at the Max-Planck Institute of Human Development by Professor Simone Kuhn where she studied children for a two month period as they played Super Mario 64 DS and her results line up with the theory of this article, in the end of the two month period she used an (fMRI) functional MRI to note the effect on the patients brains. She found that in the brain the Prefrontal Cortex, Right Hippocampus, and Cerebellum all grew after the two month period each one involved in motor coordination. Now while the take away of this article is inherently about the benefits of video gaming there is of course such a thing as too much video gaming, I do not encourage people to play video games to the point where it becomes detrimental to productivity. I am merely trying to prove that the negative stigma around video gaming is incorrect and people playing video games aren’t going to grow up being violent social outcasts with a weight problem rather if video games are played in moderation there is a lot of evidence for an increase in basic human functioning meaning video games can in fact enhance learning not deter it.

Are naps helpful?

I take naps every day. I usually feel very tired around noon to one o’clock, so I let myself does off for a couple hours before finishing my day. This usually makes me feel refreshed. It also makes my contacts dry. I wanted to know if napping had any benefits, or any negative effects. I found a lot of studies.


Elderly British man for reference.

A lot of the studies I found concerned the elderly. It seems science has many questions about how napping will cause people around 65 years of age- specifically people from the United Kingdom- to develop unhealthy conditions. The first study I found examines a group of men aged 60-79, from 24 different British towns, using a population study, and self-reporting methods to determine if the amount of nighttime and daytime sleep had an association with heart failure. The results found that men who nap for an hour or longer during the day were likely to have pre-existing conditions like depression, poor health, and were physically inactive. They were also at greater risk for heart failure.

In looking closely at this study, it’s obvious that, in most cases, sleeping during the day is a symptom of poor health, not a cause. The older men in this study slept for longer during the day because they were unhealthy, it did not cause them to become healthy. All the conditions listed, lack of exercise, depression, would all likely cause any man or woman to sleep during the day. There were no similar studies among a younger demographic, but it appears that napping itself is not a cause of any of these problems. However, this does raise a question of why people who nap during the day, nap during the day? Is it because of conditions listed above, or because they are tired and need a few extra minutes of shut eye?


The average medical resident.

I found another study not involving elderly Brits. This study looked at medical residents to determine the effects of a mid-day nap on their performance. This study was a controlled intervention study in which residents were split into a nap groups and a non-napping group. Each group was hooked up to an ambulatory sleep monitor which researchers used to monitor their awareness and alertness during their shift. Those in the napping group were allowed to recline on a chair and nap for 20-minutes, those in control were sat in the same chair but were talked to to prevent them from napping. The study found that those in the control group had no improvement in cognitive functioning, nor did they suffer less attention failures. The experimental group did improve. The study concluded that a short nap, the mean nap of nappers was 8.4 minutes, will improve cognitive function in these medical residents.

Now looking at both studies, I believe napping may have positive effects. In the first study, elderly men napped because they were ill, depressed, and not physically active. They also napped for over an hour each day. The fact that they napped because of these symptoms is something I find interesting. The human body, when sick, wants to get better, so by napping during the day the body is trying to help itself and keep it functional. Really, I’d like to see a study wherein half these elderly men do not get to sleep to determine if it makes them even worse because I believe the napping is helping. To further this idea, I turn to the second study on medical residents. Here a brief nap was shown to improve cognitive function for the busy residents. A simple 8 minutes made the difference, so clearly some brief shut eye could do us some good. Overall, I think there is something to be said here for sleep in general. Both groups likely lacked adequate sleep and made up for it, in part, by napping. I think it is likely that napping is an acceptable substitute for missed late night sleep. I therefore conclude that napping is helpful.




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Is going on a Low Carb Diet Healthy?

As I was going through pictures on my computer, I came across an album from my senior prom this past May. Prom pictures gave me flashbacks of hearing girls talk about the crazy diets they were on for prom season. I remember my friend talking at the lunch table one afternoon about the diet she was on, which she referred to as the “military diet.” She was on a strict schedule of what she could eat and was hoping to drop three pounds in just one week. Her diet was definitely extreme, but one of the most common diets seemed to be the “low carb diet.” I decided to look into this specific diet to see if there were any health risks linked to it.

First, let’s look at what a low carb diet is. This website here defines a low carb diet as a diet that restricts carbohydrates. Most of these carbohydrates are found in sugary foods, breads, and pastas.

Of course, these are some of the most popular foods. It can be extremely hard to cut them all out of your diet at once. In fact, this website here states that cutting all of these foods out of your diet can make you feel sad and stressed. Cutting them out will also make you crave them more because they are such a huge part of our daily lives. The same website mentions a study that was done by Australian researchers. The study gathered people and gave half of them a rich carb diet and half of them a low carb diet for a full year. Here, the null hypothesis would be that taking away carbs does nothing to your health and happiness. The alternate hypothesis would be that taking away or lowering carbs does, in fact, affect your health and happiness. After the study was finished, the carb eaters felt happier and calmer while the low carb eaters were feeling stressed out. Of course, this is just one study. Perhaps these people simply always felt this way before the study. Another negative factor to going on a low carb diet is the fact that it might actually make you eat more, which is most likely the opposite of your goal. Studies have shown that low carb diets make you crave more, and make you binge eat other foods.


On the other hand, if you do not make your low carb diet extreme, it could be good, according to this same website listed above . It really depends on how long you are on the diet and how many carbs you cut out of your diet. This website lists a number of foods that are good to eat while on a low carb diet.

Perhaps a low carb diet is not so bad, after all. It really depends on how extreme you want to make it and for how long your diet is for. So, if you want to lower your carb intake, go ahead. Just know that studies have been done showing people who get a lot hungrier more often after cutting carbs out of their diet.

Picture Source: Here

Do Bilingual Kids Have an Advantage Over Monolingual Kids?

Recently I’ve heard that bilingual children have a learning advantage over monolingual kids. Also I’ve read in one article that many parents used to be afraid to speak to their infants in two languages because they thought it would be too confusing and harmful to their child’s development so I wanted to look into this hypothesis more.

Many studies were conducted in Singapore, since the country has a high number of bilingual families. The first study was done by Leher Singh (indep), who works in the Department of Psychology at the National University of Singapore. She used a method of testing called “visual habituation” on 114 six month olds. The infants were shown a picture of either a cuddly bear or wolf. Once the infant lost interest in one image they were shown the  baby-rf-v2other image. The results showed that the bilingual children became bored faster than the monolingual kids. This suggests that they already developed their cognitive abilities in ways that the monolingual infants didn’t.  The article did not explain how many trials were conducted or go into depth about why becoming bored faster correlates to increased cognitive ability, therefore the findings aren’t very reliable.

Another study in Singapore (news), also performed by Singh and her team, show an advantage for English-Mandarin bilingual infants to learn new words and develop their language skills. The studies were performed on 72 infants ranging from 12-13 months old. The first experiment showed that the bilingual babies responded to tonal changes when learning new Mandarin words, however, the monolingual infants didn’t show this ability until they were approximately 18 months old. Singh explained that the study shows that the bilinguals had an advantage because they were exposed to two languages, however, she acknowledges that the results don’t prove that being exposed to two languages is better for babies.

I read an article in the New Yorker that claims the advantages of bilingualism may be overstated. The article describes the results of studies that Angela de Bruin, a psychology graduate who is bilingual, conducted. Her first study used the Simon task (a computerized test where participants are shown arrows either pointing right or left on the screen). The participants were told to press the right key when they see a right pointing arrow, regardless of what side of the screen the arrow is on. She hypothesized that the bilinguals would show higher scores in processing the non-symmetrical arrows (when the right pointing arrow was on the left side of the screen). However, in three of the four trials the advantage was not present, therefore, the null hypothesis could be accepted because the experiment showed that nothing was going on. On the other hand, in order to be sure other studies would have to reveal the same results.

Bruin continued her research by reading through conference abstracts (conferences are where in-progress studies are reported on). She found something that could have resulted from the file drawer problem. If researchers found no effects of bilingualism then they would be less likely to publish their work. In the studies that were published, 68% showed a bilingual advantage and 29% found no advantage or an advantage for monolingual people. Therefore, Burin concluded that society perceives a positive outcome of bilingualism that may not be true. She doesn’t completely dismiss the hypothesis that bilinguals have an advantage as she proposes an idea that being bilingual can help decrease the chances of developing dementia later in life.

This idea really interested me because I would never have thought that being bilingualism could provide a shield against dementia. I decided to look into it further and found a study that was conducted in November 2013. The study was done by screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-12-16-17-amresearchers in the Nitzam Institute of Medical Studies in India. It included 648 participants with an average age of 66 years old. The researchers included participants that were illiterate, who spoke two or more languages, and those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, and mixed dementia. The results showed that the bilinguals delayed dementia by an average of 4.5 years. The confounding variables (participants who spoke more than two languages, different genders, or different education levels) did not show any effect. Therefore, this study can reject the null hypothesis. Moreover, the study can be considered pretty strong since confounding variables were evaluated in their research. However, the reason this correlation occurred is still unknown and the researchers describe the need to perform more studies that include other cultures.

The takeaway is that bilingual children have not shown a large enough advantage over monolingual children in order to provide a clear conclusion. Studies have been performed but many of them show differences that are only slightly greater than what could be due to chance, which shows that if there is a difference it is not a big one. However, the hypothesis that bilingualism can lead to a decrease in chance of developing dementia shows that learning two languages can be beneficial for your future.


If you ever see a magician on a boardwalk in the summer or doing a show, sometimes it’s fun to stop what you’re doing and watch for a minute. Most magicians who know what their doing have a way of surprising you with their long practiced talent. While all of their tricks have an explanation behind them, why can’t we pick it up right away or at all?

This magician above uses tactics that play with our mind. When she puts a main focus on something, we put all of our attention on it as well. This is a trick to make us distracted and with the hand she isn’t using, she can preform the “magic” with. In this video in particular, she puts ideas into the viewers minds to make it seem like she’s just being funny when really its her plot to strike with another move.

Why are people so inept to believe the whole card trick thing? If we “see it” we “believe it” most of the time. Vision is our most reliable sense according to this article. Based on what we see and the things the magicians say to us, we have a very good chance of being tricked.

This Cris Angel “levitation” trick fooled many. Cris explains in the article that he is stepping up out of the shell of his shoe and making it look like both feet are off the ground although one leg looks invisible. He also uses simple props. Audiences need to be kept behind him for the trick to look very real. Kind of hard to explain but long story short, it isn’t more than just a little illusion.


The graphic from this site shows horizontal levitation in which it appears she has no support. Everyones main fixation is on the woman floating so no one is really paying attention to the magician. Since the magician doesn’t move, you probably can’t tell that one of his “legs” is really a support pole for her to keep up.

While magic is so hard to explain and tricks us constantly, we can only hope that one day we’ll be able to catch a magician in the act.

Beware: Plastic

Many chemicals we encounter in everyday life are harmful for us. Within the past couple of years, I have began thinking more about how plastic can deteriorate human health. Especially with encouragement from my mother not to drink from water bottles that have sat in the sun because she heard that can make the water a carcinogen. I’m curious about the validity of her warning, and what other negative effects plastic may have.

If you look around wherever you are right now, I’m sure you’d see some plastic. A lot of plastic is made with a chemical called Bisphenol A or BPA according to the National Institute of Health. BPA is used in plastic and on metal cans because it is durable, and comes off clear according to the American Chemistry Council.



According to Dr. Mercola, many different symptoms have been found to be caused by BPA. First of all, the chemical acts like estrogen in the body. BPA can cause issues in the reproductive system, and pregnancy complications including birth defects. Acting as a hormone may also jump start puberty, and even lead to hyperactivity. Going back to what my mother initially told me about BPA being a carcinogen, she was partially correct. The National Center for Health Research says that fetus’ who have BPA have higher chances for certain cancer types later in life, and also that cancer cells with BPA are not as receptive to treatment.

Topics around public health and products we use scare me. For all we know, plastic could be the next cigarette: widely used in society and seen as safe for decades. Articles such as Why You Don’t Need to Fear BPA by Armi Legge which taunt this idea are insane. Andrew taught us in class that in the mid 1930s, most of society thought of cigarettes as safe, and by the 50s people were dying left and right because of the cigarettes. Looking at history, we could be in the oblivious stage when it comes to plastic and no one has found the mechanism for a disease or illness yet. Even though there have been many animal studies and even some human studies that prove the danger of BPA, we still do not take meaningful action.

One experiment by Barry Delclos gave rats 5 mg/kg of weight BPA through a pump for 7 days a week for 14 weeks and a link to a pdf of the experiment can be found here. The BPA had a bad effect on the girl rats, but not the boy rats. Although relating animal results to human isn’t always accurate, it should still be taken into serious consideration. According to Sabrina Tavernise, the FDA has banned BPA in baby bottles, so the fact that BPA isn’t seen as safe for infants also raises another red flag. Plastics made without BPA often use a different chemical called Bisphenol S, or BPS. Sandee LaMotte says that a UCLA study unfortunately showed that BPS and BPA have comparable effects. This may mean that even those consumers who go out of their way to make sure the plastics they use do not contain BPA may not even be doing any good.

Does height make you more attractive?

As the token short guy in most social settings, I seem to have a hard time getting women to notice me when I’m surrounded by guys that are at lest 6 feet tall. So the question remains, does height affect your attractiveness? The null hypothesis in this situation is that height has no effect on attractiveness. And the alternative hypothesis is that height, wither positive or negative, has an effect on how attractive you are.


In a team up between Rice University and the University of North Texas, researchers conducted a two part study on different genders preferences in relation to partners. The first section of the study was data taken from different dating profiles around the us, average male height was 5 feet 8 inches and female was 5 feet 4 inches. After compiling data from 455 males and 470 females, they found that only 13.5% of men wanted to date only women that were shorter than they are, but almost half of the women wanted to date only men that were taller than they were. The second part of the study was an online survey at the two universities where the study was taking place. In this portion of the study, 37% of men that participated wanted to date only women shorter than they are, a significant increase from the previous study. There was also an increase in women who wanted to date only men taller than they are, going from 48.9% in the first part to 55% in the second trial.


In another study, it was found that there is a point in which people view the opposite gender as too tall or too short. The findings show that on average, people look for the male to be no more than 17% taller than the female. They also found a correlation between the height of the person and their preference of height, with tall women and short men looking for less of a height difference with their partner than  either taller men and shorter women.

With these findings, as well as personal experience, we are able to reject the null hypothesis. this means that height actually does have an effect on a persons attractiveness no matter what their gender. And unfortunately that means for guys like me, we are goig to have to start buying platform shoes.




New Research Analyzes Height, Weight, Income and More In Regards to Sex and Dating



Five-Second Rule?

We all know that moment when you drop a piece of food on the floor and have to make the quick decision of whether you want to eat it or not. Is the five-second rule really safe? Are we putting ourselves at risk of getting sick? I’ll admit that I have eaten food that I’ve dropped on the floor, which is why I wanted to look into the effectiveness of the five-second rule.

I first looked into some basic statistics about bacteria. The Centers for Disease control found that food contamination, from being dropped on the ground, was the 6th most common factor for food poisoning out of 32 outbreaks. Further, a study done in 2015 stated that out of the 9,000 01-five-second-rule-food-adapt-590-1types of microscopic organisms in our homes, 7,000 are mostly harmless bacteria. Bacteria is everywhere, even if we don’t realize it; researchers found that we release 38 million bacteria cells into the atmosphere every hour. Although most bacteria in our homes are harmless and can help us develop a stronger immune system, is it still two risky to eat food that has fallen on the ground?

I found a couple studies that explored the question of the degree that different foods are contaminated across different confounding variables: the surface of the ground, the moisture of the food and time.

The first experiment was performed in 2007 by Paul Dawson, which studied the survival time and contamination of Salmonella Typhimurium to sausage and bread using wood, tile, and carpet. The study concluded that 99% of the bacteria contaminated the sausage after 5secs on the tile. When compared to the wood and tile the sausage was contaminated less than 0.5% when it was dropped on the carpet. It was also concluded that the survival time for Salmonella Typhimurium is up to 4 weeks on dry surfaces and is in high enough populations to immediately contaminate food when dropped.

A second two year experiment was conducted by Donald W. Schaffner, a food microbiologist at Rutgers University, and Robyn C. Miranda, master’s thesis student, that 00xp-fivesecondrule-master768evaluated different contact times using 4 different surfaces (stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood and carpet) and foods (watermelon, bread, buttered bread, strawberry gummy candy). The foods were dropped from 5in onto each surface which was pre contaminated with a bacteria like salmonella. The study used 4 different contact times(amount of time it took the food to hit the surface). The trials were replicated 20 times each, which gave 2,560 results. The experiment concluded that there was a direct relationship between the time food was left on the ground and the amount of bacteria that transferred. The carpet had the lowest transmission rate out of the 4 surfaces. Also foods that had more moisture collected more bacteria; the watermelon was contaminated the most and the gummy candy the least. Since the study was large and evaluated multiple confounding variables it can be concluded that bacteria contaminates food instantaneously.

Both studies agree that food is contaminated immediately when it is dropped on the floor. However, the longer the food remains on the surface and the moisture of the food are factors that can lead to more, or less transferred bacteria. Therefore, the five-second rule is up for you to decide. The evidence proves that your food will be contaminated, however, there have not been studies to prove if the amount of bacteria that transfers is enough to make you sick. In this article the scientists who performed these experiments discuss whether or not they follow the five second rule. They all have mixed opinions and it comes down to personal preference. I know that after reading about how quickly bacteria contaminates food I’m going to think twice before eating something I’ve dropped on the ground.

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Home is where the heart is

College is evidently a difficult transition period. Many incoming freshmen have never been away from home for long, especially not months long. Homesickness is brushed off by many because they might see it as people just being weak or emotional. However, there is a science behind it. In an article written by Angela Keele, the breakdown of homesickness and our brain begins to make sense. This feeling of homesickness comes from the nostalgia that hits us. The nostalgia can be felt when listening to certain songs, looking at certain pictures, or even smelling certain smells. Basically, our limbic systems can be held responsible for most of this as they are comprised of the olfactory bulb (sense of smell) and the amygdala (responsible for emotional memory). The smell of your laundry detergent can easily bring you back to memories of your home prior to leaving for college. This nostalgia often hits hard and even results in tears (and many tears to be exact).


The professor of psychology and neuroscience as well as the director of Duke’s social psychology program, Mark Leary, additionally gives us some insight on the devastation that is homesickness. Leary discusses the “purpose” homesickness serves in the world today. This purpose is “…to deter us from leaving supportive groups and environment.” (Leary in 2014) However, homesickness is obviously telling us to do the exact opposite. Our minds tell us to find our ways back home to familiar settings when we feel out of place. This mental pain can be as detrimental as physical pain but it demands that we stay strong and ultimately end up okay.

With that being said, there is no defined “cure” regarding homesickness. Of course making friends, adjusting within the new environment, and getting involved can help though. Staying positive and connecting with friends can additionally help an enormous amount as well.




Are You Sure You Want to Pull an All Nighter?

There’s a test coming up and you barely have any time to study, first instinct is to pull an all nighter. Well you’re not alone, at the University of Cincinnati a survey found that 60% of college students have pulled an all nighter. It’s common knowledge that without sleep it’s harder to concentrate and learn new things, yet pulling an all nighter or staying up really late to finish studying can seem like the best option. This made me question how the brain stores memory and if pulling an all nighter is really that bad.

I found that there are two main stages of sleep, slow wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM). There are also two main categories of memory; declarative (factual memories) and procedural (ability to remember how to perform certain actions or skills). Sleep is essential because it quiets mental and behavioral stimuli; therefore, the less sleep time you have (or sleep in a certain stage) can make it difficult for your brain to consolidate new memories. I was able to find a couple of studies that show a correlation between sleep deprivation and a decrease in accuracy and memory retention.screen-shot-2016-09-02-at-7-56-22-am-405x405-1

One study measured the correlation between amount of sleep time and performance accuracy. The first was a computerized finger tapping test. Researchers found that there wasn’t any improvement, in the participant’s accuracy of pressing key sequences, 12hrs after they woke up. However, there was a 19-21% improvement in performance when the participants slept right after they learned and for those who slept for up to 12hrs after they were taught the sequence. The results had a P value of 0.01, which means that the null hypothesis can be rejected and, therefore, something is going on.

Another 3 day study measured participants ability to remember two short stories after being given different amounts of sleep. In the experiment, 20 participants were given two short stories that they were tested on in the morning of the 3rd day. On the first night the participants were either interrupted during stage 4, interrupted during REM sleep or given a full night’s sleep. Both groups were given a full night’s sleep the second day. Then on the third day they were tested on the stories. The results show that those who were disrupted during REM sleep did worse. This is interesting because REM sleep is only 20-25% of your total sleep time, so it can be assumed that it’s an important part of sleep for absorbing memories. Since there aren’t many subsequent studies, this result can be due to chance, but it still provides an incentive for us to get a full night’s sleep.

Therefore, a full night’s sleep is important for the consolidation of memories, however, another component of an all nighter is your ability to function during the day.

An additional study tested participants ability to learn after being sleep deprived. One group was allowed to sleep normally (control group) and the other group was deprived of sleep for a night (experimental). The group that was sleep deprived had a 40% reduced ability to learn new information the next day than the control group. This shows that the results can be due to chance and if there is a difference, it is not a big one. However, the experimental group also showed less hippocampal activity (the hippocampus allows you to make new memories), which researchers describe can be linked to an inability to learn new information.

The studies have not been on a large scale as some have a group of 20 participants and others don’t say the amount of people they used in the study. This limits the degree the results can be used toward a valid conclusion since experiments performed on a larger scale allow for more concrete results. Also the age groups of the participants weren’t mentioned either, which makes me question whether the consolidation of memory can be differ with age.

Despite this, the results give us enough certainty to determine that staying up all night to study will not only make you perform worse in the morning, but it will also set you up for not being able to absorb what you are learning the next day. So pulling an all nighter should not be your go to solution for an upcoming test.

“Kills 99.9% of germs” Really?

Everyone’s seen the commercials, “Our product kills 99.9% of germs!” What does this really mean though? Are they actually wiping out the acclaimed number of bacteria?image

A scientist from the University of Ottawa put this to the test. He used several students as test subjects. Three household name cleaners were used and the results were disturbing. The cleaners only killed between 46% and 60% of the germs on the student’s hands. So if these numbers are so low, how can companies boast such a high kill percentage?169574-60-of-the-time-it-works-every-5qhy

report by the Wall Street Journal found that since there are no government regulations on what germs cleaners have to kill to report a 99.9%, companies set up ideal conditions in a lab and knock off the easiest germs to kill. These lab tests are nothing like what you would see in real life, the countertops and human hands used for testing are scrubbed completely clean, then reapplied with a weak bacterium that is easy to kill. An article posted by thenakedscientists.com out of the University of Cambridge looks specifically at hand sanitizer and soaps. The state that even if these products could kill as many germs as they say they do, a lot of a lot is still a lot. They credit this to the fact that human hands are very good at retaining bacteria.

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Is Marijuana Usage Detrimental?

I mention marijuana and what do you picture? The typical image of a stoner with heavy lids and a sly smile, unsure of whether the words coming out of your mouth are visual or auditory. Up until recently marijuana was illegal in many places, but with the recent surfacing of marijuana legalization  in different states, there must be some sort of scientific evidence to condone the use of this drug. It’s been told time and time again that used recreationally, it won’t have any negative consequences on the body. The only effect it has is a momentary state marijuanaof bliss. Given that the purpose of drugs is to alter the body in some sort of way, it doesn’t make sense that marijuana won’t have any long-term effects on the body. In a setting such as a college campus, where almost everyone partakes in this recreational activity, is marijuana detrimental to learning?

The main ingredient in a weed concoction is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which has been proven to impair a person’s physical abilities and their memory. THC can affect the creation of short-term memories and it alters the ability to recollect thoughts. Meaning, if you’re high, chances are you won’t remember what happened during that time. Also meaning, “I’m so high I can’t remember my name” is a lie. Marijuana DOES NOT induce memory loss. In an academic setting, this would mean that getting high after an intense night of studying won’t make you forget everything you studied. Studying while high, on the other hand, isn’t a very smart thing to do.

Because marijuana stimulates the release of dopamine, it can be easy to see why smoking can go from a once in a while thing to a heavy dependence. Scientists at Columbia University conducted a study with 11 cannabis-dependent adults aged 21-40 (experimental group) and 12 healthy participants (control group). These people were given an oral amphetamine to stimulate dopamine release, which scientists then tracked using a positron emission tomography (PET, tool that scans and tracks a molecule that binds to dopamine receptors) throughout different parts of the brain such as the thalamus and striatum.* After conducting the experiment and analyzing the results, scientists found that marijuana users had lower dopamine release in the striatum, which is important for learning. 

Furthermore, one of the consequences of partaking in the recreational usage of smoking marijuana is that marijuana can be considered a gateway drug to more harmful substances (just like alcohol and cigarettes). This is extremely dangerous in college, where people are in their experimental phase and are susceptible to making harmful choices that mrjna-memeaffect their future professional careers and personal lives. If you’re stressed out over a big assignment, don’t turn to marijuana to soothe your nerves. Chances are you’ll sabotage yourself and mess up that important group presentation that accounted for 30% of your grade. Furthermore, if you plan on learning things for the long-run, frequent usage of marijuana can eventually lead to long-term memory loss. In the end, frequent marijuana usage can lead to addiction and potentially be detrimental to your learning abilities.

*The striatum is a region of the brain associated with movements, behaviors, and learning abilities (memory and attention).

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Do People Take Longer if Someone is Waiting?

I’ve noticed multiple times that when I’m waiting for someone to leave their parking space, and they realize that I’m waiting for them, it always takes a really long time. This made me wonder if people subconsciously take longer if they realize someone is waiting for them.

I found a study that was conducted by R. Barry Ruback and Daniel Juieng, in 1997, which tested multiple hypotheses. They wanted to test whether people would take longer to leave their parking space if someone is waiting, if longer departure time correlates with a more aggressive intruder(someone waiting to take their space), and if people are conscious of how long they take to leave a space when there is someone else present.

The researchers discuss that humans are territorial. If someone has a claim over something they are not going to want to give it up, even if it’s something you don’t need anymore. This behavior was apparent in a study which showed that people took longer on a pay phone if someone was waiting than if they were alone. In a different article I read that humans are territorial from a biological and cognitive standpoint. For example, we will often defend stuff that belongs to us (house, car, office), things that we use often (favorite seat in class), and public areas.

The first study was randomized, observational and blind. The researchers picked a parking lot of a shopping mall and began timing how long it took a person to leave their spot. They recorded the genders, race, and type of car that each of the people had; in total there were 200 drivers involved in their data (103 females, 97 males, 105 White, 77 African American and 18 other). They also recorded when another driver was waiting to get into the spot and if the


person realized someone was waiting for them. Out of 200 people, 38% were intruded by someone wanting to take their spot. Their results showed that the race and type of car had no effect in the departure time. However, the departing drivers took longer when they were intruded. The researchers acknowledged that this increase in time could be due to the fact that the departing drivers wanted to make sure they weren’t going to get in an accident.

The second study followed a similar process, it was randomized and blind. This time they measured departure time depending on the level of aggression of the intruder (if someone was honking the horn or not), how expensive the intruder’s car was, and if there was a distraction (another car driving by where the parking space was). They also included a control group, drivers who departed without anyone waiting for their spot. They recorded the actions of 240 drivers (they also noted race and gender). They found that people departed slower when the intruding car was honking. But the departure times of those who were intruded (without honking) and distracted were very similar. An interesting finding was that when the intruding car was of low status the men departed slower than women. And, in contrast, when there was a high status car the men left faster. Ruback and Juieng suggest that this could mean that men are more territorial and more aware of status.

The third study was a questionnaire that asked participants ages 21-62 about how they would feel (on a 7-point scale from bad to calm) about leaving a space given certain conditions. They said that they would leave sooner if someone was waiting and would take longer if the person honked at them. In the second part of the questionnaire they were asked to rate how they think others would act. The results showed that they think others would behave similar to them, however, they claimed that other people would take a little longer to leave if someone was waiting and if the car honked.

Ruback and Juieng concluded that there is enough evidence for further studies to be conducted and that they think the results showed that people wait longer to leave due to the idea that if someone is trying to take your space, you may feel like you have less freedom. Remaining in the space, even if it’s for only slightly longer, would help regain your control over the situation.

Unfortunately I was unable to find any other studies that have looked into this hypothesis. This was disappointing since these results are from a really long time ago. However, I think this study was well executed because they took into account confounding variables and discussed some of the problems with their results. I think that after looking at their results I could conclude that people do take longer, but without realizing it. It’s part of our nature to be territorial. Maybe next time you are leaving a parking space try and think about how long you are taking.


Mobile Cancer Devices?

Ever since their introduction into society, cell phones have become a sensation. At first, they were seen as large bricks and people were sort of mocked for them, but in 2016, those without cellular devices are seen as outsiders or oddities. The societal changes brought about by the mobile changes in telecommunication technology has been greatly influential, but with the number of cellphones nearly tripling over the last decade alone, according to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, it should come as no surprise that the possible risks behind these devices are being thoroughly examined and studied meticulously. So, in this post, I propose the question of whether or not cell phones cause cancer, and whether or not I should change my mobile lifestyle as a result of my findings.

I would like to see this try and run Angry Birds. Source: https://wiki-land.wikispaces.com/file/view/brick_phone.jpg/37757184/518×629/brick_phone.jpg.

First, how exactly could cancer be even formed as a result of cellular devices? Well, cell phones rely on radio frequency electromagnetic waves (or radio waves) to communicate wirelessly with other satellites and devices. Think of a walkie-talkie, but instead of the signal stopping on one end, it gets passed along the respective towers or satellites necessary in order to spread the latest news about how great a dog looks in a video. Where the controversy comes in is the influence these radio waves could have being in such prolonged and close proximity to our body.

Just look at the excitement! It cannot be contained! Source: https://media.giphy.com/media/xT77XKxcPqxIZqUrwk/giphy.gif.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, they identify the radio waves emitted by cellular devices to be a possible carcinogen, or something that gives off cancer-causing radiation, based off of an increased risk of brain cancer noticed within the new age of the 21st century. Of course, the research does not stop there, and also includes a number of findings by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. In their meta-analysis, the department found that while there is not quite a clear link between cancer and the use of cell phones, they go on to list all the possibilities as to why the results may have turned up the way they have – such as any bias and even the technological capabilities of studies at the time they were conducted.

When the Snapchat is Lit. Source: http://www.welive2care.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/answering-services.jpg.

At this point in time, I can conclude that the current state of studies conducted on cellular devices has led to the conclusion of there being little risk of cancer, thus labeling my hypothesis as a null hypothesis… for now. Risks of obtaining cancer is obviously a subject to be worried about, and the alarming growth of cellular devices within our society could influence more than just how quick communication is held in the long run. Just like with the initial findings of cigarettes being linked to lung cancer, it may take decades before we witness the ultimate repercussions caused by cell phones. There could also be the influence of third variables such as the importance placed on urgency in our society, and the profits being raked in by the telecommunication companies as a direct result of the cellular industries rapid growth. The other option of chance being a factor cannot be directly ruled out as of yet either, and it may play a role in finding out whether or not some individuals in the future are or are not directly impacted by cellular use in the coming decades. Overall, if someone is still worried about the radio waves, the best advice to follow would be that of the Federal Communications Commission, such as using texting over phone calls, or even just not using the devices altogether. Either way, it will be dreadfully exciting to see what future research reveals about our current obsession with these mobile devices.

Hope you enjoyed this post! Have any comments or questions? Disagree with anything I said above? Want to show off your best dog video? Feel free to leave a reply, and have a great day!


Is water-repellent clothing the clothing of the future?

Single Image

(Citation for the picture is here)

There has been a lot of talk about nano tech clothing recently, and I wanted to learn more about it. Essentially, a Swiss chemist designed a shirt made of polyester fibers, but coated it in silicone filaments. So, when water hits the fabric, it will just stay in a bead-like form and roll off the shirt, keeping it dry. This could change the way a lot of clothing manufacturing make their clothes. For instance, nike and Adidas will most likely be furthering this research because they know a lot of their consumers want waterproof things. Another thought I had was that high end suit companies will start to look into this as well. This will keep the suit nice and dry whenever it starts to rain.

Now, I couldn’t find anything on the problem I’ve been thinking about and that is, how do you wash it?” No where does it say how to wash these new kinds of new clothes. They say they are “self- cleaning”, but I don’t believe that. If someone is going to wear this type of material then they are eventually going to sweat. All that odor isn’t going to just roll right off the material like water can. I still think that there need to be further research don’t on this potential product until they can find some way to wash the clothes.

BMW’s Self Balancing Bike

bmw next100 motorcycle angle

(Citation for picture is here)

BMW has currently been working on a safer motorcycle. Motorcycles are socially looked at as dangerous, unnecessary, and for rebels. BMW wants to change this stereotype and make motorcycles that are more resistant to falling over. The bike has self-balancing wheels, so when at a stop light or stop sign, the operator doesn’t need to put their feet down to keep the bike upright. The bike does still have a kickstand though for when the motorcycle is turned off. The bike is fully equipped with senors so that it can detect other cars, therefor, avoiding accidents.  BMW also claims that riders wouldn’t need to wear a helmet. BMW says that instead of a helmet, they will wear a visor with a head-up display with vital information. In my opinion, I don’t think that this will be coming out any time soon. Our world isn’t ready to make this drastic of a change. Also, the technology for this is extremely new, so that means it very temperamental and untrustworthy if given to the hand of the public. For this invention to work, the bike would essentially need to be made fool proof.

Even though this is just considered a concept vehicle, it means that they are thinking about more futuristic technology. This is something we do need to be skeptical of because new technology is typically very temperamental. I think that this would need to go through a lot more development and it would need to wait at least ten years before it was released to the public.


Sniffing out the world!


(No need for citation because this is my dog!)

As we all know, dogs love to sniff things. It’s one of their main senses and it how they discover the world. According to Dr. Horowitz, the canine’s nose has about 300 million olfactory receptors, while human only have 6 million. This is why our dogs are so fascinated when we take them on walks. They feel the need to sniff everything because the smells are overwhelming them and it makes them want to explore.

Dr. Horowitz also says that licking is related to smell as well, dogs have another smelling system called the vomeronasal organ. It is located above the roof of the mouth and right where the nose slits into two nostrils. This is really interesting to me because people think of dogs as really simple creatures typically, but their bodies are equipped with two different ways to smell, while human are only restricted to a inferior one.The vomeronasal organ gives dogs a sense of smell of objects it can’t see. An example of this is human emotions or even being able to detect if their owner has cancer before the owner even know! I thought this was weird how a dog can smell human emotions. I always thought it was through facial expressions, like how humans know someone is sad or happy.

Are you sure you want to live a long time?

Image result for old people

Citation for picture is here

Right now, according to researchers, the maximum life span is about 115 years old. Although the life expectancy tends to raise continuously, it seemed to be capped at approximately 115. I find this to be untrue. This is because there have been people to have lived past that. So you automatically have to raise the maximum life span above 115 since someone have lived past that point.

There is also the quality of living that is very important. Are these people who are able to live to be 100+ years have the same quality of living that they did when they were 80 or even 90? And if we have a maximum life span, than what is the point of continuing medical research and expanding the medical field to new vaccines, medications, and cures. I find this hard to believe because as long as we continue our medical research and exploring new cures, than people are going to live longer. In the video linked here, he claims that the someone has already been born, will live to be 150 years old. Personally, I think that its hard to judge the expected life span because there are so many different variables, and I do think that there is a maximum limit to a person’s life. Modern medicine can only get so far and our bodies can only withstand so much. Even though cars are getting safer, and people are smoking less it will reach a limit.

Do you really need a full 8 hours of sleep?

Sleep Clipart

(Citation for imagine is here)

It’s typically common knowledge that in order to get a full nights rest to “recharge you batteries” you need 6-8 hours of sleep. This might not be true. There are mutiple stages the body goes through when you are at rest, but the most important one is stage 4 which is where REM (Rapid Eye Movement) is occurring. There are different cycles of sleeping, like the Uberman cycle. The Uberman cycle is 20-30 minutes naps every 4 hours. At the end of 24 hours, you will have slept 6 times that day. This cycle is a very efficient way of sleeping, but very challenging thing to do. Your body needs to be able to go into the REM stage immediately, which is incredibly hard to do. If accomplished though, you have an increased chance of lucid dreaming. Then there is the Everyman cycle which is 3 twenty minute naps, and 1 three hour nap. This cycle is much easy to accomplish vs. the Uberman cycle. There are no negative effects of this cycle, but no benefits. It just seems like it is a good way to adjust to the Uberman cycle. The Dymaxion cycle is 30 minute naps, every 6 hours. Bucky Fuller invented this cycle and after using it for several years, doctors claimed that he was perfectly healthy. Bucky also claimed that from using this cycle, he has never felt more awake and alert.

These different sleep cycles has intrigued me because I feel like they just don’t work. I just feel like they don’t work because I was raised that I need 6-8 hours of sleep to get a full nights rest.

Can Human Memories Be Reliable?

Can Human Memories Be Reliable?

In casual conversations with friends, people are naturally nostalgic and often like to talk about memorable moments they’ve had. Everyone likes to remember the times they have enjoyed with friends and family while also remembering times of trouble and difficulty getting through day-to-day life during periods of grief. But for better or worse, could our memories be letting us down? Are we really remembering past events in our lives or are people merely remembering what they want to? Some recent research has pulled up some interesting figures that are different than what many would imagine.

According to Psychology Today, neuroscientists have been able to show that when humans remember something, they naturally will reconstruct the event in their heads. They also mentioned how people will suppress memories that are painful, and that memory may just be adaptive to the situation, and therefore has to be considered as unreliable. While it is not surprising that people suppress painful memories away, it is unsettling to me how the memories of normal people cannot necessarily be considered reliable.

The New Yorker also had an article just last year stemming from an experiment on how people remember tragedies. According to the article, back in the late 1980’s, Prof. Ulric Neisser of Emory University began to look at how people reacted to “flashbulb memories”. He put this in context by asking his students to write about what they remembered when they heard about the Challenger explosion in 1986. His students were asked to do this the day after the tragedy. Two and a half years later, he again asked the students who completed the first reflection to make a second one. It seems pretty surprising that when the psychologists rated the accuracy of the students on a 1-7 scale, the average was less than 3. But on a 1-5 scale for confidence, the students rated themselves on average at about a 4.17, showing their confidence/inaccuracy.

I thought this result was somewhat surprising. Granted, I don’t have any background knowledge on human memory, but given that so many people trust the memory of others fairly easily, this study would definitely show otherwise. One would think that people would have the same memories about their reaction to a national tragedy, be it the day after or 11 years later. With that being said, it also makes it comical that statistically, the students can be quite confident with how inaccurate they end up being. In my research, I could not find a more recent study than after 9/11, where the neurologists had pretty similar findings, generally speaking.

Human memory can also fog things up in our legal system. The Psychology Today article also reported that in the United States, false confessions can happen in just under 25% out of 289 criminal convictions in an average year that were eventually expunged due to DNA evidence. Why does this occur? Possibly out of fear or intimidation from others. But you can’t rule out that it relates back to memory, because even if a suspect were lying, they would still have to remember their story and have a motive for doing so.


Eisold, Ken. “Unreliable Memory.” Psychology Today. Psychology Today, 12 Mar. 2012. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.

Konnikova, Maria. “You Have No Idea What Happened.” The New Yorker. The New Yorker, 04 Feb. 2015. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.

What is the Danger of Mercury?

Have you ever gotten a tooth filled at the dentist? Have you ever wondered what the dentist is filling your tooth with? Well, I have and I decided to look into it. I did not think, however, that I would come across many problems linked to tooth fillings. Many problems seem to occur because of an ingredient known as mercury in tooth fillings.

What is mercury?

Mercury, defined here is a liquid element that can be extremely poisonous to humans. Mercury is an extremely toxic element and can enter the body through an open wound or by inhaling or ingesting it. After it is taken into the body, it can cause damage to many things including the nerves and the liver and kidney. Mercury can be found in air, water, and soil. Mercury that is highly toxic can build up in fish, shellfish, and animals that eat fish. Other sources of mercury include fluorescent light bulbs, and mercury fever thermometers made of glass and silver dental fillings. Exposure to mercury at high levels can negatively affect the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system, as stated here.

How does mercury affect health?

Does mercury affect your health? The null hypothesis would be that mercury does absolutely nothing to your health. The alternate hypothesis would be that yes, mercury does affect your health in some ways. This website here states that mercury can greatly affect thyroid health because it can bind to any molecule in the body that contains sulfur, along with other sites in the cell. This can prevent certain enzymes from doing their job. Because mercury can easily bind to any molecule in the body, it can easily bind to the cells of the thyroid gland, which can result in a hypothyroid condition. Mercury gets in the way of many of the minerals necessary for thyroid hormone production. Another way mercury poisoning can occur is by eating too much fish that are rich in mercury. Although fish might be a favorite, there is always the risk of eating too much. here is a prime example of someone taking in too much mercury and getting mercury poisoning from it. The story tells of an television star whose diet was strictly fish. He ended up having to leave the show because he was in such poor condition.

So next time you eat fish, don’t be alarmed but simply be careful of how much you eat! Smaller fish are said to have less mercury and are not nearly as rich in mercury. There is no use in being frightened by this but now I know I will not be having fish everyday of the week!mercury-fish-blog

picture source: here

Will Wet Hair Give You a Cold?

It’s a classic phrase as old as time: wet hair will give you a cold. Countless times over the course of my childhood, I can recall my mom or my grandma scolding me right after I hop out of a fresh shower before school, and rush to get changed and run out the door: “Don’t even think about leaving this house with wet hair, you’ll catch a cold!” Of course, this phrase stuck with me, as it has to many others over the course of time, and I’ve always been mindful to grab a blowdryer quickly before leaving the house with wet hair. However, I’ve often wondered, how accurate is this phrase? Is there truly a risk to leaving with wet hair and going outside of catching a common cold? I decided I needed to turn to research for the answer.

The Origin of a Cold

Traditionally, a “cold” is defined as a viral infection inherent in one’s nose and throat, otherwise known as the upper respiratory tract, that usually lasts over a period of about 10 days, and causes a number of symptoms including a weakened immune system, a runny or stuffy nose, a mucus-filled or inflamed throat, and heavy congestion (Mayoclinic.org). The beginnings of a cold are usually when a small invader known as a virus is transmitted through contact with the already ill, and is capable of latching onto the lining of your throat or nosecontact with the already ill, and is capable of latching onto the lining of your throat or Image result for a common coldnose (webmd.com). Eventually, as your white blood cells and immune system team up to destroy the virus, you are weakened, and your body’s defense takes a temporary hit. The cold is the cause of millions of sick days taken for school and work for adults and children alike as they take the time to rest, but especially children, who are at the highest risk of colds, and lose about 22 million school days a year due to this illness (webmd.com). In fact, webmd.com further states that Americans are estimated to have one billion colds annually, a shocking statistic.contact with the already ill, and is capable of latching onto the lining of your throat or nose (webmd.com). Eventually, as your white blood cells and immune system team up to destroy the virus, you are weakened, and your body’s defense takes a temporary hit. The cold is the cause of millions of sick days taken for school and work for adults and children alike as they take the time to rest, but especially children, who are at the highest risk of colds, and lose about 22 million school days a year due to this illness (webmd.com). In fact, webmd.com further states that Americans are estimated to have one billion colds annually, a shocking statistic.

So, now that we know what a cold is, let’s attempt to break down the causes of a common cold, and whether or not wet hair comes into play.


The Triggers: Does Wet Hair Come into Play?

According to Claudia Hammond, a contributing writer to BBC.com, cold or wet weather is in fact the most commoImage result for a common coldn cause of colds, due to studies in Germany and Argentina that have discovered a greater amount of colds in the winter, as well as in countries with traditionally hotter weather including Malaysia and Guinea, where colds are most common in the rainiest parts of the year. However, in addition to this, a common rebuttal is that winter is the most common time to catch a cold because most people choose to spend their time indoors, where they are in closer contact with other’s germs. In order to test this, a variety of experiments have taken place in lab settings in order to prove once and for all if cold and wet climates are to blame.

The Studies

The most frequent experiments, as Hammond discusses, have been under controlled laboratory conditions in which experimental volunteers are exposed to the a cold virus under lowered temperatures. In a number of studies, the group exposed to the colder conditions more frequently contracted a cold, however, for the most part, results remained inconclusive. One study, however, offered a bit more insight and success into this question. The director of the Common Cold Centre in Cardiff, a part of the UK, decided to investigate whether the virus is triggered by being cold and wet (Hammond). In order to accurately investigate this question, he subjected his volunteers to, similarly, damp and cold conditions in the lab. However, where this experiment differed was that he instead sent them out into the real world to go about their daily lives, socializing with others who may or may not have the cold virus.

Included in this experiment, Eccles randomly assigned half of his people to sit with their feet in cold water for around twenty minutes, while half sat with their feet in an empty bowl for twenty minutes (Hammond). According to Hammond, while there was no difference between frequency and nature of cold systems after the first few days, four to five days following the experiment, twice as many subjects from the group that stuck their feet in the cold water had contracted the cold virus.Image result for wet hair with a cold

However, in another experiment conducted at Baylor University, 44 people were exposed to a cold virus, and randomly allocated half to stand in a cold room (Shape.com). However,they found that those who were exposed to colder conditions in the room were no more likely to contract the virus than those who were not (Shape.com).

So what all does this mean?


Of course, these results are all conflicting, and nothing is clearcut. In order to have a viable conclusion, there has to be a realistic way in which wet hair or chilled feet can give someone a cold. According to Hammond, one common theory involves the thought that the blood vessels that are responsible for dispersing white blood cells in a person’s throat and nose are constricted when your body is cold. Supposedly, once one’s hair dries and your body is warmed, the white blood cells are restored as they dilate and return to normal (Hammond). However, none of these results are concrete.

The overall conclusion I have reached through my research is that although there is no concrete study that proves that wet hair causes the cold virus, it could very much help the process along, as it affects the white blood vessels and their reaction time. So maybe, although the science isn’t one hundred percent in unison, it might be the right idea to listen to your mother, and wait until your hair dries before leaving the house.

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Why Are Humans Religous?

Why are humans religious? Why do people have faith in a supreme being? A simple answer to that question would be that He exists, but in science, we try to delve deeper than that. In investigating this topic, the most fundamental question and starting point is the following: Are humans naturally predisposed towards religion or is it something we come to accept through societal influence?

The College View took a look at a study by two Oxford scientists, Justin Barrett and John Trigg. Its null hypothesis was that humans are not hard wired to have faith whereas the alternative hypothesis was that people were in some way inclined to believe in the supernatural. The study concluded that humans are naturally are wired to have some sort of religious belief in the world’s purpose. Those educated in the sciences were no exception. This study appears to be quite reliable, as the sample size is enormous. Barrett and Trigg’s paper is actually a conglomeration of forty studies in about two dozen countries.faith

So people are hard wired to have some sort of faith? But what purpose does that serve? Researchers at Queens University, in a study published by the Association for Psychological Science had a theory that this purpose could be to improve human self discipline. In four different experiments they tested the idea that putting religious ideas into people’s heads through word activities could help increase self control. In this case, their null hypothesis, where nothing is going on, was that thinking about religious words would not increase self control behaviors. The alternative hypothesis was that thinking about these religious topics would cause the subjects of the experiment to exhibit more self control than their peers in the control group. The first three tests were resoundingly rejecting the null hypothesis for the alternative, but there were some wishy-washy results in the fourth. There were three groups in the fourth experiment. One group, rather than normal words, received words related to mortality, a second received words that were related to virtue and not necessarily faith, while the last, as usual, were subjected to words that had to do explicitly with religion and faith. The subjects were then requested to complete the Stroop task, a test that measures an individual’s self control. The virtue group and the religion group preformed equally well whereas the group that was subjected to mortality words preformed poorly compared to their peers.

So what’s the conclusion here? While we can definitively say there is something wired into our psychology that wants to believe in a higher power or at the very least a higher purpose, we can’t say for sure what that purpose is. Evidence from the Queen’s University researchers does indicate that our faith could serve some purpose regarding self control, but in just one study, and one with slightly contradictory results at that, we will need more research before we can fully answer what exact purpose having a religious predisposition serves the human race.

Photo Reference:




The Science Behind…Faith

Why Do We Have Religion Anyway?


Global Warming, Denied.

I think its amazing that there are people out there that still deny climate change. GOP candidate for president, Donald Trump, has consistently denied global warming, claiming one time that the weather was fine! he also said it was a Chinese hoax! his rallies are packed with people who believe the same thing. denying what 99% of scientists confirm is not a historical precedent. We forget that people denied the earth was round. when someone challenged the concept of flat earth, they were persecuted by the church and by authorities at the time. it is completely normal to deny a phenomenon especially when people cant the effects of it right away.

almost every scientific discovery throughout history was denied, questioned, and scientists often risked their security (sometimes life) for what he or she believed in. Global warming is a inconvenience to say the least to many corporations who like the way it is at the moment.

by corporations I mean gas and oil sector, especially shale, manufacturing industry and coal. in fact, I would go beyond that, Global warming is a threat to the livelihood of these companies. so it is in their interest to promote people who deny it of heavily question it. but like every historical discovery, and especially one with this magnitude, everyone will come around eventually. the steps usually begin from flat out denying to persecution to accusation to partial belief and finally to accept it. notice that climate change deniers are usually over the age of 50 or 60. which is borderline selfish. global warming is an existential threat to the next generation, and older people must understand that if they want their grandchildren to inherit the same earth they did, they need to start making changes, and quickly.




NASA’s Future

International Space Station-

This is a place where astronauts can work off the earth for the earth. NASA is learning how to prepare future generations of astronauts to be able to stay for longer missions. In doing so the soon to be projects like round trip to Mars and asteroids will be possible. Most importantly the Space Station is used as a floating laboratory as its function is to give astronauts the resources for their scientific research. The way they keep this running is by sending rockets and other designed spacecrafts with supply to the space station enabling it to function. With the scientific research being done there this gives way to the United States being able to advance on shared goals for space exploration.


International Space Station ISS

International Space Station ISS


Mission to Mars-

One of the highest regarded and viral upcoming missions is being able to send someone to mars. On the journey to Mars they will have to build they most complex and advance rocket of all time. It is planned to carry four astronauts and will be launch from Florida. According to “What’s Next For NASA?” the rocket will be on the SLS or the Space Launch System which is one of a kind and is capable of taking humans ever farther than Earth’s orbit. But before any of this goes on NASA plans on developing the Asteroid Redirect Mission. This in simplistic terms will be the capturing and redirecting an asteroid to orbit the moon. We will then explore this for Data for around a decade.




New 2020 Mars Rover

The Mars 2020 Rover Mission. One of the key pieces of further exploration on Mars, NASA is seeking signs of habitable conditions there. A key difference on the new Rover is that it will have a drill on it which will enable it to collect core samples including rocks and soils. With this data it can look for past life forms. This mission also entails getting NASA the information to help send somewhere there if they can gather oxygen from the Martian atmosphere. This is planned to happen around July or August of 2020 when it is a good time between both planets. This will reduce costs and keep the risk low. Included on the NASA Website website is a full description of the updates and add ons to the new mars over.




The new Satellites 

The big clunky designs of satellites are being transformed into compact devices that could fit into your hands. In fact these satellites are so transportable and different from the other versions NASA is allowing students and schools to submit their own designs. They have already designed some satellites to be the size of a stamp and they have been launched. If everything goes well and they get the data NASA needs, the plan is to send them up in masses and allow them to float freely picking up all the data they can.




The Europa Drill

If you are interested in aliens then you should be interested in this project. Jupiter’s moon Europa is make astronomers go crazy because under its oceans there is a 30-kilometer-thick shell of ice. Basically NASA is trying to figure out how they are going to break through the ice, keep in mind it would be hard for them to do that here let alone all the way on Jupiter. The funding for this mission was given by President Obama and could begin as soon as 2022. NASA has already worked out a new technology that will hopefully punch through the ice (its a nuclear powered ice cannon). They are currently testing it on Alaska’s Matanuska Glacier, keep in mind they can’t maintain a giant drill bit so instead they are using a nuclear core to produce scorching jets of watch that will cut the ice.