Monthly Archives: October 2016

Can You Train Your Body to Sleep Less?

In high school I consistently went to bed around 3am and woke up for school at 7am. None of my friends understood how I could get so little sleep and yet still function normally in the day. After a summer of changing up my sleep patterns, I can no longer keep my eyes open after getting the amount of sleep that I used to get just a few months ago. What did I do to require so little sleep before? Can we train ourselves to need less sleep?

This image came from

This image came from

According to Karen Weintraub of The New York Times, I’m completely wrong about my own ability to function with minimal sleep. Dr. Sigrid Veasy, a professor at the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, claims that teenagers don’t function normally with less than the 8 to 10 hour sleep recommendation. She explains that one effect of being deprived of sleep is misjudgment of the amount of sleep we need at the time. Because many students don’t understand how a lack of sleep really affects the mind and body, they are convinced that running on minimal sleep is acceptable. Some benefits of sleep and the drawbacks of sleep deprivation are explained in blogs like The TRUTH Behind Sleep and How much do we really need sleep?, which explain that the closer someone gets to reaching the recommended amount of sleep, the healthier they will be.

However, I couldn’t help but wonder if it is possible to alter your own natural rhythm of sleep, without experiencing the downfalls of sleep deprivation that are discussed in these blog posts. Personally, in the short time that I used to sleep, I slept very well. According to Christie Nicholson from Scientific American, we sleep with greater intensity when we are sleep deprived. Therefore, my sleep deprivation may have caused me to sleep better than if I had consistently slept longer, but it still does not compensate for the lack of sleep. There is no evidence that proves that altering the amount of time that is necessary to sleep for is possible, but evidence does show that it is possible to alter the time of day or night that you feel tired. The National Sleep Foundation explains that our internal circadian biological clocks are responsible for controlling the signals in our brain that determine when we should be awake, and when we should be asleep. In addition, it is also responsible for making us feel more alert during the day even when we are sleep deprived. This effect could factor in to why people feel like they need less sleep than they actually need.

This image came from

This image came from

There are no published studies that specifically examine what happens when people try to beneficially alter the amount of sleep they get. This could mean that if studies were conducted, the researches probably accepted the null hypothesis, which in this case is that it is not possible to train yourself to function normally with less sleep. Therefore, the study might not have escaped the file drawer since these results are not exciting. The lack of specific studies for this topic could also be due to the fact that people accept that knowledge about sleep is enough to determine that the closer to 8 to 10 hours of sleep a teenager gets the better, because there is no way to dodge sleep deprivation. Based on these results, I’m glad that I no longer get such an insufficient amount of sleep. Even though I was not aware of it, I was less productive, as my body was not as charged up as necessary. Although I trained myself to learn to stay awake longer and cope with sleep deprivation, I did not alter the amount of sleep that is necessary for myself to get.

The TRUTH Behind Sleep

How much do we really need sleep?

Fluoride Sucks

This may sound weird, but I have many skepticisms when it comes to the government and public health. After all, more sick people means more money. The healthier everyone is, the less medications need to be bought, and the longer people live, the more social security that has to be given out. A big controversy that I have seen a lot is on our water supply. A lot of people I know turn to distilled water for a lot of reasons and I want to know if chemicals like fluoride that are put into our water have so many benefits that the good outweigh the bad.



Our teeth are the main reason for fluoride. According to Mike Stobe, in 1945 the first city starting adding flouride and had positive results in children. My issue begins here because children and adults are very different. The bones in kids are still developing and growing in a much different way than the bones of adults. A generalization was made because fluoride had such a positive impact in children, it would do the same for adults. Also there have been recent studies that make me question how much science really know about our teeth. For instance, my whole life I’ve been told to floss my teeth and I have just blindly believed because I believe professionals such as my dentist. Christine Birak explains how the government has no real basis for the encouragement of teeth flossing. So is this all a ploy in favor of floss companies? I have learned that science is largely about questioning the work and validity of the work of other people. At least i this case, fluoride does have little positive effect, at least is seems as though it does, on children.

Many factors lead to my questioning the necessity of fluoride in our water. Back to my doubts about the government and our health, I do not really trust the FDA either because the healthier we as a country are, the more money they lose. Even the, in my eyes, corrupt FDA has not backed fluoride supplements according to Dr. Mercola. My mother is a teacher and always brings up the high levels of kids with mental disorders. Sarah Landers says conditions such as ADHD are a side effect of too much flouride. Fluoride is supposed to help our bones, but the American Cancer Society speaks of a study that shows evidence of fluoride being so dangerous cancer in bones can come from it. Most people I know also know someone who has been affected by cancer. We have to start really examining what we are putting into our bodies.

All in all, I believe there is too much evidence against the health of fluoride for it to continue to be pumped into our water. Unfortunately, I would have to take drastic and expensive measures to avoid fluoridated water, but I am aware. I will not have to wonder anymore, but I do not know if that is necessary a good thing because of how scary the truth is.

Does Exercise Make You Happy

A lot of times I struggle to find the energy to get myself up and to the gym.  Either I’m having a bad day, it’s muggy outside, or I’m just a little bit too tired.  What I’ve noticed, is that on those days, if I do manage to exercise, I feel a little bit better after.  Once I looked at some information online, I understood that going to the gym is very beneficial in changing your mood and making you feel energized.20140115-171431

The main factor here is your endorphins.  They come from the pituitary gland and central nervous system, and tell us either when we are in pain, or when we are happy.  The endorphins are what are known to give someone a runner’s high when they get into your bloodstream.  Along with endorphins, another chemical released is dopamine.  Studies have shown that with age, the levels of dopamine in the body begin to decrease.  Exercise is the best way to stimulate this neurotransmitter, and get your body feeling good and energized.

Exercise not only releases these chemicals which make you feel good, but it also will help you decrease your stress levels.  It is interesting how this works: When you exercise, you are stressing your body, but at a low rate.  The more you do this, the better your body becomes at handling this low level stress, and the better it will be at handling other stressors in your life.  As a person who stresses about everything, this is very good to

Here at Penn State, a study was conducted with 190 students.  They were asked to keep a journal for eight days, and report on their physical activity and daily experiences.  When noting their physical activity, they rated it based on how intense it was.  The results were published and showed what they had expected.  Those who engaged in more physical activity were reporting more pleasant experiences than those who were not exercising as much.

To simply summarize the information, yes, exercise will make you sore, but it will also make you feel better overall.  By releasing certain chemicals during a workout, we are able to feel energized and more positive.


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Crack is not so bad.

Forcefully pushing valuable bones in your body until you hear and feel a ‘pop’ sound does not sound too healthy. Unfortunately, I am a knuckle cracker. Honestly, before I began to type I had to crack my knuckles just from the thought of it. I recently made a knew friend who cracks his knuckles even more than I do, which led me to this topic. Advice and common sense tells me that this is probably a terrible habit to continue, but I still do it every day, several times a day.



Scientific processes within the body lead to the cracking. Tina Saey refers to the process as cavitation, where as Every Day Health call it tribonucleatioin, but the name is not too important for the sake of this argument. According to Saey and Every Day Health, when you make your bones separate, it makes a space and then you hear the crack. I achieve this by sticking my finger out and pushing it towards my wrist until it cracks. I’ve seen people pull their finger straight out, or curl their finger and push down on the joint.

There are many different claims of the long term side effects cracking your knuckles can have. Perhaps the most trivial supposed side effect is enlarging your knuckles leading to an unpleasant appearance of your hands. Allie Firestone references a study that proves this to be true. She says that over time, people who crack their knuckles have a higher chance of having bigger hands. A minor impact cracking knuckles has been proven to have by Jorge Castellanos and David Axelrod is reducing grip strength. A link to the pdf of their full study can be found here . Arthritis is the other claim that is a lot more scary. One study by Kevin DeWeber  surveyed people 50-89 years old and did not find a causal link between cracking knuckles and causing arthritis. Unless this result is a false positive, this is great new for me because I can continue to crack my knuckles without fear of it catching up with me later in life in the form of a painful disease. Cracking my knuckles is not as bad as it seems.

For some people, cracking knuckles may need to be a habit worth kicking. Cracking my knuckles is mentally satisfying, so it is worth the minor risks. Over time, I probably will not even notice if my hands get bigger, and it is not 100% that they will increase in size. I do not think my grip strength needs to be extremely high in everyday life, but of course I would not want to lose it all together. I imagine I will still be able to function perfectly fine with a slightly lower grip strength that I once again, may not even notice. Knuckle cracking is an overall okay habit.

Does Playing an Instrument Improve Brain Function?

Through elementary and middle school I used to play three instruments. The idea that people who play musical instruments have better cognitive function compared to those who don’t interested me. I read an article that explains that playing an instrument involves both your central and peripheral nervous systems and makes brain precisely process auditory, sensory, visual, and emotional information. The ability for the brain to process this information depends on neurons which communicate to each other by firing electrical impulses, also known as brainwaves. Nina Kraus, a neurobiologist, describes how these brainwaves can be used to evaluate how the brain processes pitch, timing and timbre(components of music).

In two studies MRI’s were able to show how the structure of people’s brains who play an instrument change. In the first study an MRI was taken of people who practice piano on a regular basis in comparison to those who don’t. The MRI showed that the musicians had a greater structure of white matter; this is interesting because people who have amusia (tone deaf) lack a consistent structure of white matter. In anotherstudy conducted in 2003 by Gottfried Schlaug and Christian Gaser it was found that the amount of gray matter in auditory, motor, and visual regions of the brain was different between high- practicing musicians, low-practicing musicians, and people who have never played an instrument. The differences had a p value of less than 0.05, therefore, the results show that something is going on. The researchers also found that there was a greater volume of grey matter in the cerebellar cortex of high-practicing musicians, which is important in cognitive learning and music processing. This difference also had a p value of less than 0.05, so the null hypothesis can rejected. The researchers discuss that since they were able to find multiple structural changes it is not likely that they occurred naturally and that more studies are needed.

In 2012, a study performed by Hanna Pladdy evaluated how practicing a musical instrument, for more than 10 years, could improve cognitive function later in life. Pladdy describes that since it was impossible to control the participant’s daily activities it was hard to differentiate if the cognitive changes were due entirely to musical training. There were 70 participants (59-80 years old) divided into musicians who had 10+ years of musical training and non-musicians. She found the musicians scored higher in tests that involve verbal harmony-project-36_custom-063b0022540e87e864cd6aa450e379e1766a762e-s700-c85and motor skills. Additionally, Pladdy found that those who started practicing before the age of 9 had increased verbal <a href=””>working memory</a>in adulthood. She also suggests that beginning training at a young age and practicing for at least 10 years could make up for less education; the participants who showed the greatest differences had received less education. The study had a low number of participants so the results are not that reliable, however, they provide evidence that something is going on.

A subsequent experiment, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, conducted by Nina Kraus in Los angeles evaluated the effect of the Harmony Project (a non-profit organization that provides music lessons in low-income areas). Kraus explained that, in general, children in low-income areas have a harder time discriminating consonants because statistically by the age of five they are exposed to fewer words than other children. Kraus conducted a randomized unblinded controlled trial by randomly dividing the kids on the waitlist for the program into two groups. The first group would be tested after taking 1 year of lessons and the second group would be tested after two years of lessons. The results showed that the brain processing for children in the second group became more precise and the brain was able to process consonants faster and more efficiently;therefore school and daily life would become easier. Kraus acknowledges the problems with this study since only children ages 6-9 were used and it was not performed in a control lab setting(no way to know if outside activities the kids were engaged in were the reason for their improved cognition).

Although the studies some flaws whether it be small participant groups or an inability to evaluate confounding variables, I think that the results show evidence that this question should be evaluated further. None of the studies were able to reach a clear conclusion, however they were all published which shows that the researchers believe that the findings are big enough to be studied further. So do people who play instruments have a better cognitive ability? I can’t say yes or no, but it can’t hurt to start up a new hobby.

Cell Phones & Cancer

In today’s world I would say almost every college student has some sort of cell phone. We all use them, and with the advancements in smartphone technology, phones are becoming more a part of our daily lives. But there are many speculations about the possible dangers cell phones may have on the human body.

There have been many studies that try and determine if there are any effects of radio waves coming from cell phones, one of which being a recent study carried out by the National Toxicology Program. They preformed an experimental trial in which rats were exposed to different amounts of radio waves. Over the course of the two year study, groups of rats were given doses of radio wave radiation, in addition to a control group which did receive any doses. What the scientists hypothesized was that the more radio waves the rats were exposed to , the higher their chance of developing cancerous cells. The typical rate of brain tumors in rats is about 2%, and the group given the most exposure had a rate of about 2.2%, which is very close to the control rate. In the heart however, the outcome was much more clear. The control rate of tumors in the hearts of rats is 1.3%, and throughout the groups that received radiation doses, the rate ranged from 5.5% to 6.6%, a significant increase in the rate of heart tumor.

Even with clear results from this study, it is still hard to understand what the effects are like on humans. Obviously we are very different from rats, so our bodies may react differently. Also, it is difficult to replicate the amount of radiation we are in contact with because of our phones, and where it is mostly concentrated. For now I wouldn’t be too concerned until a more specific study is published, but it certainly wouldn’t be bad to separate yourself from your phone when you are able to.

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 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:×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:

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:

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?

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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

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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?

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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?

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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.