Daily Archives: November 6, 2016

Is your music making you late to class?

I wouldn’t be able to put a number on how many Penn State students listen to music while walking to class without taking conducting some type of poll. However, I would bet it is at least 40% of students who listen to music while on their way to class. It seems everywhere I go I see Apple Earpods or Beats by Dre inside or on top of the ears of students. I don’t know about you, but when I walk to class I always have my headphones on. Kanye West has been instrumental in helping me get to class so far this semester.


On Monday I was late to my 11:00 AM class. This class is in the Sackett building, on the other side of campus from my residence. I left my dorm with plenty of time left, about 30 minutes, yet I was still late. I did not get lost on my way to the building, nor did I stop to talk with any of my peers. All I did was plug in my Earpods and walked to class. One thing I did differently than previous ventures to class was listen to artists like the Beatles and Stevie Wonder when walking to class rather than listen to Kanye West. This is certainly a drastic change of music.

After this experience I wondered, was it the type of music that made me late? Did the music cause me to walk slower? I decided to look into this, and found a study by Marek Franěk, Leon van Noorden, and Lukáš Režný.

In this study the scientists had people walk a route in a neighborhood that was 1.8 km (Franěk 2014). They made two experiments, with one experiment listening to pop music (Franěk 2014). They had them listen to pop music because it has a clear beat (Franěk 2014). The other experiment had people listened to motivational music and also non motivational music (Franěk 2014). The motivational  music has a faster tempo as well as a strong rhythm (Franěk 2014).  The non motivational music was slow music, and sounded much nicer (Franěk 2014).texting-crossing-street-ben-pipe-photography-cultura-gettyimages-530021695-56a9d7bb3df78cf772ab09ba

The scientists found that beat does indeed make you walk faster. Those who walked to the pop music and motivational music walked faster than those who listened to the non motivational music. While the subjects did not walk to the beat of the music (only a few instances), they did walk faster with more up tempo music.

Height is of course a huge variable in this study. So could height be a confounding variable? Well, to account for the differences in height of the 121 students, the students were randomly put into the different music genre groups. Randomization helps to limit any confounding variables because there are many types of people. This is because randomization spreads characteristics around. People are inherently different. They come in all different shapes and sizes. By randomizing the selections, confounding variables are limited.

Bias could be a problem in this experiment, however. Because people know they are walking, this could easily effect their strides. If I were doing the experiment, I would set it up the same way. However, I would not tell those participating in it that their speed was being tested. I would tell them that I was testing something that would not effect their normal movement. By telling the participants I was measuring, say, if their phone battery is effected by travel and music, they would have no idea that I was actually measuring how fast they walked and their bias would be extremely limited.

Nonetheless, every study, no matter how well conducted, could be a fluke or due to chance. This is a rather small study. It certainly isn’t minuscule or anecdotal, but it is still only over 100 people. This could easily be a fluke, even if it was well conducted. There needs to be more studies done on this. Many, many more studies. The prayer study we looked at in class is a perfect example. The science was done correctly and extremely well, yet after more studies were done other scientists found different conclusions. I am not saying this study is wrong, as it certainly helps explain why I was late to class, but one can not simply take the word of one study. I look forward to finding more studies on this topic that help substantiate the three scientists’s conclusion. Until then, keep enjoying your tunes.


Can phone screens impact vision?



Cell phones are by far the most important object to carry EVERYWHERE for a large majority of people. It is the only way we can quickly contact people, take photos, check emails, use the internet, and of course post on social media. Over time, as technology became more and more relevant and useful, people rely more on their cell phones to the point where we can’t live without them. But can this be healthy to the human body? Staring at a glass screen with electrical conductors for minutes to even hours (depending on the person) does not seem like something that can be beneficial to the eye. Once in a while everyone has that fuzzy feeling in their eyes after scrolling through their phone for a while, similar to the feeling of quickly going from a dark room to a really bright one but is that just a temporary feeling that creates no problems? or does it slowly create long term damage to the eyes?

After researching about what this can exactly do to your eyes, Jeff Taylor, M.D., states that one in four eye patients have complained about their eye strain after reading the small font on their cellular device. He also explains how our blinking rate decreases while looking at a phone screen after a period of time and as we squint to look at the screen not only does it affect our eyes, but our neck, shoulders, and facial muscles all tighten. This is called Computer Vision syndrome according to this website. Although the computer vision syndrome does not seem healthy, it is a temporary cause from using your phone. It has yet to be 100% proven that cell phone screens cause visual impairment, but in this experiment  a team of researchers from Technion conducted an experiment with microwave radiation, which is extremely similar to the radiation cell phones give off.  They took eye lenses from one year old males calves and exposed it to the microwave radiation with one lens from each pair used for control. They exposed the lens to the radiation for a two week period and found two results: one being macroscopic damage affecting the optical quality of the lens, but with time would heal when the radiation stopped. The other result was tiny bubbles forming on the lens, this microscopic damage did not recover even after the radiation ended.


Smart phones give off this bright blue light that is visible at anytime of day, which can bother your eyes at night (especially when tired). This light can keep you awake at night because the screen mimics the light of the sun. This doesn’t necessarily damage our eyes, but it can have a negative impact on our sleep patterns negatively affecting our health. Because of this, the new I phone update allows us to shift our phone screen to “Night Shift”, which gives off a warmer tint rather that the bluish color. This may help us struggle less with falling asleep directly after using our phones, but could this new light option perhaps effect our vision in a negative or positive way? It may be too soon to notice differences in peoples eyes after using it every night since it just came out but it seems it will give a beneficial impact to our eyes.

Home Field Advantage in Sports


After the second consecutive whiteout game at Penn State, many things pondered in my mind. Penn State has not lost a football game at home this season to this point. I know that they have been riding a wave of momentum since upsetting the Buckeyes, but I am wondering if home field advantage in sports is real and affects the opposing team.



Penn State

As I am watching the game last night between Iowa and Penn State, It is third down. The crowd is pumping extreme levels of volume into Iowa’s offense. In fact, James Franklin, Head coach of the Nittany lions wanted this whiteout to take place. To start this blog post off, I am going to define exactly what home field advantage is. In sports, the home team hosts the opposing team. There is a “rumor” that the home team has an advantage because they are playing where they are comfortable. Many aspects go into Home field advantage, testosterone is probably the biggest.

The facts
Home field advantage is present in all sports, whether the sport is played indoors out outdoors. For the purpose of this blog post, I looked at America’s three most popular professional sports and examined their home field advantage statistics. The first is the NBA. In the NBA it is actually the highest supporter of the home field advantage belief. I found that in the NBA, teams are 60.5 % more likely to win at home than on the road. Currently in the NBA, the Warriors have the best chance to win at home. The next is the MLB. In the MLB you are more likely to win 53.9% of the time, for example the Pirates. They have created a term called “Buctober” when the Pirates play at home, they are an entirely different team. In college football home field advantage matters, and we all know this from Penn State. The whiteout is everything.




Here at Penn State, we know what it means to host a football game. The tailgating, the student section, the blue band, and of course the greatest atmosphere in college football.
The referees are also skewed to the home team during a game. A study that I examined for this issue, looked at soccer in England and showed the relationship with home field calls and refs. The results were as I expected, it showed that teams were more likely to get a call go in their favor while playing at home.This is because of pressure form the fans and as well as pressure to the home teams coach. In the NBA one season, it was found that 8 teams actually got less calls at home, this is against the belief but they are 30 teams total.


To wrap up my blog post , I made this in the intention of finals figuring how sentimental home field advantage is to teams in sports, it is everything. Over the years of playing sports it even has affected me in more than one way. There is nothing like a high school student section supporting me.



Is it safe to put your phone near your head when you are sleeping?

Asaad — these posts are good; I’d rank them somewhere in a B/B+.

For a higher grade, take a look at examples of good practice — I have links to lots here. Also take a look at this work — among the best I’ve ever had. Have a really thorough read of the rubric (end syllabus) with those pieces of work in mind. The issue is that you are choosing great topics but only getting into them in my view to a good/very good standard. See especially the Content Contribution part of the rubric if you want an A. Don’t just tell the story, think critically about it. For example, in the predators post, what did you think of the meta-analysis? Convincing? What would make it better?



Mobiles phones have been a big problem for many of us. They take a lot of our time and could affect our vision ability. In addition, many believe that the radiation that mobile phones emit can cause serious health issues to people who always keep their phone in their pockets or even close to them when they sleep. However, phones emitting dangerous radiations is still debatable, as Andrew mentioned in class. So, I wanted to do a researcher about it to know if this radiation can really affect me, as I always carry my phone in my pocket and put it near my head when I sleep to wake me up in the morning.

The Null Hypothesis is that a mobile phone radiation does not cause health issues.

Alternative Hypothesis: a phone radiation does cause health issues

X variable: phone radiation

Y variable: cancer or diseases

soft points and hard points measured

According to an article in Mercola.com, a natural health website, there was a case revealed in the May issue of the Environmental Health Trust’s newsletter for a woman who got breast cancer and thinks that her phone caused that. The results of the study of the case suggested that putting a phone in your pocket or closer than 6 inches to your body can cause serious damage to your body such as cancer. The case was for an Asian woman who is living in the United States. cancer. She and her doctor suggested that her cell phone caused the breast cancer because she used to put her cell phone in her bra. However, her doctor could not prove that the reason for her cancer was the cell phone even though the doctor could not find any other possible causes for her cancer. In addition, two specialists in cancer Robert Nagourney and John West, conducted a research on the case and suggested that the phone’s radiation was most likely the cause for her breast cancer because they noticed that the cancerous cells distribution was similar to the shape of her phone. However, we still cannot conclude that phone’s radiations can cause either cancer or any other diseases from this case. This is because it is just an anecdote and the study has neither studied many subjects nor stated all the results. Furthermore, the researchers did not provide any mechanism for why cell phone radiation can cause breast cancer. However, I think that this anecdote could really serve as an additional evidence for other studies results that show that there is correlation between breast cancer and exposure to phone radiation, as we learned in class, anecdotes can be powerful.


Image found here

I found Another study in the same article, which was done in 2008 and observed nearly 13,000 children. The researchers studied phones’ radiation effect on children whose mothers used mobile phones before they gave birth to them. The hypothesis tested in this study was that phones radiation cause behavioral difficulties. The independent variable in the study is exposure to phones radiation, which is also a hard point. The response variable is behavioral difficulties (hard point). The study has also measured soft points such as school performance, but did not include the statisticsThe study revealed that women who used cell phones during pregnancy and during childhood, had children who were linked to behavioral difficulties viii.  They suggested that these women were 54 percent more likely to have children with behavioral issues. The researchers continued studying the children they observed and noticed that children who were given cell phones were:

  • “80 percent more likely to suffer from behavioral difficulties”
  • “25 percent more at risk from emotional problems”
  • “34 percent more likely to suffer from difficulties relating to their peers”
  • “35 percent more likely to be hyperactive”
  • “49 percent more prone to problems with conduct”

. I think that this study was well-done in many aspects such as the number of samples studied. However, the study was observational and in my view did not eliminate third variables such as the brand of the phones children or their mothers used, time spent using phones, and living conditions, as some of them may have lived in areas where the chance of getting exposed to dangerous radiations by factories is high. In addition, behavioral difficulties can happen because of wide range of factors such as the way children were raised or the school environment, which is the most frequent cause for behavioral difficulties. Also, there is high possibility that the study suffers from the Texas Shooter Problem because it is observational and because of the many factors measured in the study that may cause the researchers to conclude false causation relationships due to the big number of correlations found in the study.

Finally, the results of the study show strong evidence, despite the fact that the study is observational, that putting a phone near you can result in negative outcomes to either you or your children, as the study has studies a huge number of mothers and children and has also ruled out reverse causation because it measured the effects over a long period of time.

In addition, while it is better to do experimental studies instead of observational studies, this concept cannot be applied here because putting a phone near a child’s head or even giving a child a phone is unethical and cannot be applied as a way of testing this hypothesis.

What I would have done differently in the study is to ask all the participants in the study about their living conditions, the county where they live in to know if there were any factories near them that could have cause any radiation emissions, which will help me reduce any variations or correlations with other third variables that could occur in the study.


The image is found here

This picture clearly shows that the effects of putting your cell-phone near your head can very among different age ranges, which also supports my claim that the results of the study on children could have different results when studying adults.

So, again, is it safe to put your phone in your pocket or near your head?

According to Apple website, the Specific Absorption Rate, the rate at which the body absorbs Radiofrequency energy, can be reduced by trying not to hold your phone when you are making a call, i.e. put the call on speaker or using a headphone. It also says that you should carry your iPhone at least 5mm away from your body to reduce the effect of the Radiofrequency energy on your body. However, Apple did not indicate or suggest that the Radiofrequency energy either is safe or harmful.

Bottom line: studies on the danger of cell phones radiation show that putting the cell phone close to one’s body can be dangerous and could cause cancer; however, the evidence is not strong. Also, most studies had only observed children, which, as a result, could produce different results than if these studies were measuring adults, as it is known that adults’ bones and skin are different than those of children Even though the evidence is not strong enough, one should consider putting his/her phone away when not using it. As for myself, I decided to but an electronic alarm to wake me up in the morning as a better substitute for phones, which will reduce the chances of getting exposed to my phone’s radiation and will also work as a more effective way of waking my up for classes.