Author Archives: Brett Alan Merritt

Alcohol Effects on the Brain

We all know what happens in college. Many students start to consume alcohol in higher amounts on more frequent occasions than ever before. Because of this transition from high school to college, I was interested in what effects alcohol could have onthe brain. I was curious to find out if occasional consumption would affect the brain the same way as binge drinking would. My hypothesis was that binge drinking would have many more negative effects than constant low consumption.

While researching this topic, I came across a study that tested this question through an experiment with rats. The experiment gave two groups of rats low alcohol dosages but condensed them into 2 or 4 dosages a day. They gave a third group higher alcohol dosages but spread out throughout the day. The first two groups with the lower dosage was intended to simulate binge drinking the alcohol. The third group was showing what spreading out the drinks does. The results of the study were as I hypothesized.

The rats that were “binge drinking” the alcohol produced very high BAC’s and suffered cell loss in the brain. The rats that spread their drinks out had lower BAC’s and no to minimum cell loss in the brain. These results show that alcohol spread out over time is not nearly as detrimental to your health as binge drinking alcohol. Too much alcohol in a short period of time leads to significant cell loss in the brain.

This article explains the adverse effects long term alcohol abuse can have on the brain. In the previous paragraph, we explained how binge drinking can affect cell loss in the brain. Well, long term alcohol abuse takes that to the next level. Brain damage is a common consequence of long term alcohol abuse. The years of cell loss to the brain adds up, and the alcohol consumption of many years affects different regions of the brain which can cause damage. The science is still unclear on how alcohol affects certain parts of the brain, but brain damage being a side effect is known.

I am not a huge drinker so I am not going to worry about cell loss in my brain. I believe a rational person should apply this research to his or her own personal situation. If you binge drink 4-5 times a week, maybe you should reconsider depending on how you view this data. If you drink small amounts of alcohol on ocassion, I don’t think cell loss from alcohol should be much of a concern for you.

Image result for alcohol consumption

Picture: https://www.google.com/search?q=alcohol+consumption&biw=1366&bih=662&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiHtPCTitXQAhUB4CYKHfUTCRgQ_AUIBygC#imgrc=q9ZZl-XjW1JN8M%3A

Sources: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1530-0277.1990.tb00455.x/abstract

http://jnen.oxfordjournals.org/content/57/2/101.abstract

Vaccines and Autism

There are many people in this country that do not vaccinate their children due to the fear of the vaccine giving their child autism. This is a belief based solely on anecdotes and caused by many people giving their personal horror stories about vaccines. This article lays out the many ideas behind parents not vaccinating their children. Many people do not look at scientific evidence before choosing to believe something. This has made me interested in the real evidence behind the belief that vaccines cause autism.

An experiment was conducted countrywide in Denmark to see how many autism cases there were after being vaccinated with the MMR vaccine. The scientists would record how many children received the vaccine and were then diagnosed with autism, and also how many children were not vaccinated and diagnosed with autism. In this experiment, the alternative hypothesis is that vaccines cause autism. The null hypothesis is that vaccines do not cause autism. The results of this study were quite definitive. This study failed to reject the null hypothesis meaning this study found no relationship between vaccines and autism. The main evidence behind these results is the fact that the rate of autism in vaccinated children and non-vaccinated children was very similar. Another hard piece of evidence is that there was never a spike of autism diagnoses after any vaccine was given out. This makes it very difficult to find a way to blame the vaccines for any autism diagnoses.

I find this experiment to be very credible. It had a huge sample size to test, follow up data, and recorded all data consistently. The results of this study fall in line with other scientific studies of vaccines and autism which increases the probability that the results aren’t flawed. Clearly, this study does not suffer from the file drawer problem, and I do not believe it suffers from the Texas Sharpshooter problem either.

I understand where the fear of vaccinations comes from, but I wish people would start to look at the facts before coming to a conclusion. Choosing not to vaccinate your children due to the fear of the vaccine causing autism opens your child up to so many more problems. The chances of getting the diseases your child would be subject to are higher than the chances of the child developing autism from a vaccine.

Image result for vaccine

Picture: https://www.google.com/search?q=vaccine&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=662&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjItoOo6tTQAhXHOCYKHXnUCLIQ_AUIBygC#imgrc=QdakbCi5QmKOYM%3A

Sources: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa021134#t=article

http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/48/4/456.short

Driver-less Cars

I am someone who likes a late night drive with the windows down blasting music. I am also someone who gets frustrated in traffic and annoyed by other drivers’ mistakes. When I first heard about the driver-less car, I was somewhat surprised to hear how advanced they really are. It’s also surprises me that so many people are backing this idea. I know a lot of people out there who love driving their cars. Its entertainment for many people so when I heard about cars that drive themselves, it was interesting to me that so many people supported them.

The idea of the driver-less car sounds superb to me. The potential benefits to society that an innovation like that could bring are incredible. If perfected, driver-less cars could be astronomically safer than human drivers. They could make people more efficient by using the time that they would be driving on something productive.They could also heavily cut down traffic violations.

Google is a major player in the driver-less car market. They have the most advanced car yet. Their car is current;y out on the roads driving itself and its passengers wherever they need to go. This car has proven to be extremely safe compared to human drivers. It has been in a few accidents since beginning its testing, but all the accidents have been caused by other human drivers. The accidents were from other drivers not paying attention and hitting the driver-less car while it was stopped. Of course, the car still has some bugs and is years away from being the mainstream car, but the technology is extremely advanced and only getting better. This paper explains more about Google’s car.Image result for driverless cars

There are people who still have doubts about the safety and reliability of the car. In order to persuade doubters, more studies must be done. I believe to test the safety of the car, you must compare it to the safety of a human driver. To do this, I think that they should have a human driver drive the same route every day for a year and record how many accidents/close calls the human driver encounters. Then you have the driver-less car drive the same route at the same times as the human driver did and record the accidents/close calls. By doing this, you’re holding all variables constant and only testing the driving ability of the car compared to the human.

The results of the hypothetical experiment could vary. The driver-less car could actually be safer, but the results could be a false positive. The human driver could be safer, but the results could be a false negative. The results could be due to third variables like other drivers, weather conditions, traffic, etc. or, as always, the results could be due to chance

I am a big believer in the driver-less car technology. I believe it will only get better as the years go on, and I think if the whole country goes driver-less, we could see amazing benefits in society. I am interested to see what ideas other people have for a good experiment to test the safety of driver-less cars.

Sources: http://www.eila.univ-paris-diderot.fr/_media/user/claire_dupuy/google_cars_text.pdf

http://www.umc.edu.dz/images/518020a.pdf

Picture: https://www.google.com/search?q=driverless+cars&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=613&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiqjYPy3NTQAhXFPCYKHZpBDE4Q_AUICCgD#imgrc=rMTRGrMREXHevM%3A

Caffeine Helps Athletes?

Being an athlete my whole life growing up, I was always looking for ways to legally enhance my performance. Before each game, I would eat a protein bar because in my head, that protein bar was exactly what I needed to be energized enough to play. There was no evidence behind that thought of mine, just an anecdote based on my personal experience. Other people would tell me to eat something different or drink something different, but I always stuck to my protein bar. One day, my friend’s Mom told me to drink coffee before every game because the caffeine in the coffee would energize me.

I didn’t believe this statement, but I am curious whether she was correct or not. My hypothesis in this experiment would be that caffeine has no impact on athletic performance. In this case, my hypothesis would be the null hypothesis. The alternative hypothesis would be that coffee enhances athletic performance.

The results of studies on this topic are very mixed. Many experts in the field advise athletes to stay away from caffeine completely, but many others say that caffeine in small doses will provide benefits to athletic performance. This study is one that believes caffeine provides athletic benefits, but even this study admits more specialized studies need to be executed. Right now, there is not enough evidence on either side to make a definitive decision on whether or not caffeine will enhance athletic performance. This particular article shows the mixed results of the studies so far and explains why there must be more studies done.

More studies must be done in order to come to a correct conclusion. There needs to be an experiment done that only tests one variable and holds all else constant to truly know the effects of caffeine. I think the experiment should be a double blind placebo trial and should be set up like this: gather a sample size of at least 500 randomly selected athletes from all sports and test their athletic capabilities by having them perform drills. You can do this by testing each athlete with caffeine and without caffeine in his or her diet. To do this, you test each athlete twice. Before one test, give the athlete a caffeine pill. Before the second test, give the athlete a fake pill. Neither the scientist nor the athlete can know whether he or she was given a real or fake pill. You then have the athlete perform many different drills and record his or her results. By comparing these results, you can tell if the caffeine really helped their performance in the drills.

In conclusion, the results of this hypothesis could still go either way. I tend to lean toward caffeine having no benefit to athletic performance, but until more definitive results come out, no one will know the true answer.

Image result for caffeine athletic performance

Does Class Size Affect Learning

The question of “would you prefer a big class or a small class?” was first proposed to me in my sophomore year of high school. My brother was visiting multiple colleges at the time, and I was tagging along to get some college experience for myself. First, we visited Penn State University Park, and we both loved it. As many of you know, however, the class sizes here are considered very large. Penn State ensured all the visitors that the instructors do a great job, and there are TA’s so class size is never an issue. My brother then visited a much smaller school with only about 1,500 students. On that visit, the tour guides preached about the small class size and the face to face interaction you get with the professor. Since that visit, I have been wondering if class size really makes a difference in your learning experience.

My personal opinion on this issue is that class size does affect how you learn. In this case, the null hypothesis is that class size has no affect on learning. The alternative hypothesis is that class size does affect learning.

This study was performed state wide in Tennessee. It randomly put students and teachers into either a large or small class and had them remain in that class for 2 years. It then tested the students at the end of the year to see which class size performed better. According to the study, it was a decisive win for the smaller class size. This study claims that class size has a very big effect on learning, and it would reject the null hypothesis.

I have a few concerns about this study, however. My first concern is that the results could be a false positive. The kids in the smaller class may just be smarter than those in the large class. The smaller class may have had a better teacher, as well, which allowed them to perform better on the test. The experiment has some inconsistencies that could make the results flawed. This article shows more possible inconsistencies within the study.

I would make a few changes to improve this study. First, I think you should have the same teacher teach both classes. By doing this, there is more consistency in the experiment and equal teaching to both classes. I also believe the experiment should be performed on different age groups as well, not just kindergarten. This would increase sample size and show whether or not the results are consistent throughout grades.

In the end, I do not believe the results of this particular study are credible. I believe more research and better experiments must be done before the true answer is known. If you are deciding between colleges with differing class sizes, no matter what people say, it comes down to what you prefer and are comfortable with. I do not believe a rational person should force themselves into smaller classes to improve their learning based on this study.

class-size-matters-1

Effects of Soda on TeetH

When I was little, my parents did not allow me to drink much soda. I could have a glass every once in a while, but they didn’t allow me to have it whenever I wanted. At the time, I would get angry when they said no, but looking back, I’m glad they did. Once I turned about 14, I started to be able to drink it more freely. I drank it a few times a week from the years 14-17, and I noticed that my teeth started to get less white. I stopped drinking pop often when I was 17 because I heard about the dietary effects it has, and I theorized that pop was also the reason for my yellowing teeth.

When I stopped drinking pop at age 17, although I didn’t exactly know it, I developed a hypothesis. My null hypothesis was that soda was not causing my teeth to be less white. The alternative hypothesis was that pop was causing the yellowing of my teeth. To find out the truth, I researched the topic.

In this study, the effects of diet soda are compared to those of hard drugs such as cocaine and meth. The soda wears away the enamel of the teeth causing the teeth to be easily worn down. Enamel protects your teeth from wear and tear. It also protects your teeth from getting cavities and other problems. Losing your enamel causes major problems in your teeth, and requires a lot of dental work to fix.

The acids in soda are compared to the acids from batteries in this study. This study discusses the pH levels of certain sodas and how they compare to other extremely acidic acids. In particular, the pH of RC Cola is 2.387. The minimum pH is 0 so to be that low is very scary for pop drinkers. RC Cola is extremely acidic when compared to water, which is a pH of 7. These extremely acidic drinks erode your teeth away, starting with the enamel. Then they proceed to do all the noticeable damage when the enamel is gone.

In conclusion, the effects of pop on your teeth is obvious. The acidic sodas are a direct cause of the yellowing and weakening of teeth. The nutritional problems of sodas are well known, but I’m hoping this spreads the awareness of the other harmful effects not many people consider when drinking soda. I believe a rational person should try to stay away from soda as much as possible. Also, everyone loves a beautiful white smile, so try to avoid ruining that with soda.

Image result for effects of pop on teeth

Sources: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/28/diet-soda-teeth-similar-to-meth-photos_n_3348158.html

http://www.livescience.com/7198-acids-popular-sodas-erode-tooth-enamel.html

Violent Video Games Cause Harm

Growing up, I loved playing video games. Before I had a car to go places, I would play outside when it was warm or play video games inside when it was cold. Playing video games was an easy, fun way to pass the time for my friends and I when we were younger. We would play all types of games ranging from sports games, to arcade games, to action games. Playing video games was the thing to do back then. Now that I’m older, I don’t play as much, but I know a lot of people who do. This caused me to think about the effects of all the time I spent playing these games. I started to think about the types of games I played, many of which were violent. I played violent video games for years, and I wonder how it may have affected me over time.

Image result for kids playing video games

There are two hypotheses in this situation: the null hypothesis and the alternative hypothesis. The null hypothesis is that violent video games have no effect on the player, and the alternative hypothesis is that the violent games do have an effect on the player. In my opinion, I do not think the games had much of an effect on me, but I could see how some say the violent games could affect them.

This article describes a study done to find the answer to the question if violent games affect the player. The results of this study surprised me a little bit. This particular study showed that playing violent video games has a short-term effect on the player. The effect shown was an increase in the aggression of the player. It also showed less emotion and attention from the player. The study did show that these effects were short term because after a week of not playing, the brain went back to the baseline levels before the gaming was done.

A separate study actually attempts to show long term effects of violent video games. The results of this study show increased aggression from the players of violent video games just like the previously mentioned study. However, this study shows that the aggression is increased after every session of playing a violent video game. The co-author of this study, Dr. Brad Bushman, believes that if the player continues to play the violent games daily, that the aggression levels would add on top of each other each day. He believes this could lead to a negative or hostile view of the world.

These studies show results that the brain undergoes changes after playing a violent video game. I was surprised to learn the effects of violent video games were so prevalent so quickly. My personal theory was that some young people’s view of a hostile world was derived from the media. I thought what they saw happening on the news and in the world would cause them to feel a certain way about the world. It turns out that violent video games can have this effect on people quite easily. These results make me think that a young person with a maturing brain could be negatively influenced by violent video games, and that the laws to get violent games at a young age should be much stricter.

Video games are very enjoyable, and the business is growing exponentially. People are not going to stop playing violent games so we need to make sure people understand the effects. I played them growing up, but I think I will monitor what games my future kids play starting at a young age.

Sources: http://healthland.time.com/2011/12/02/how-playing-violent-video-games-may-change-the-brain/

http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/12/11/negative-effects-of-violent-video-games-may-build-over-time/48918.html

http://webspace.ship.edu/jacamp/psyberpsych/videogames/Page2.html

Can You Get Too Much Sleep?

Everyday, after getting only about 5 hours of sleep, I wake up and tell myself “I’m going to bed early tonight.” Spoiler alert: I never end up going to bed early. So what usually happens is that I am so exhausted by the end of the week that I sleep for 10-11 hours on Friday and Saturday. I would wake up after getting 10 hours of sleep and still be tired. This made me question how I could get so much sleep and still wake up tired. Well there is a term for that, and the term for getting too much sleep is “oversleeping”.

Image result for oversleep meme

In my personal case, the question I thought to myself was “can oversleeping be causing unhealthy side effects?” From that question, I developed a null hypothesis and an alternative hypothesis. My null hypothesis is that oversleeping causes no adverse health effects. The alternative hypothesis is oversleeping does cause adverse health effects. After developing these hypotheses, I had to find the answer. I researched the topic and found that oversleeping can be detrimental to one’s health.

Oversleeping is a real problem, especially among college students. Many students, like myself, sleep in very late on weekends to try to catch up on the sleep they missed throughout the week. Oversleeping can actually have adverse effects on a person’s health.

During my research, I found that there are a multitude of side effects from over sleeping. This article from the Huffington Post describes a few of them. The main side effects are headaches, heart disease, and diabetes. The headaches are often caused from the internal clock of the body not matching the external environment. They can also be caused by the amount of dreaming and work your body is experiencing while you sleep. Heart disease has one of the scariest correlations with oversleeping. A study showed that the risk for heart disease increases by 38% in those who oversleep. Another frightening correlation is the one between oversleeping and diabetes. Its shown that those who oversleep have a 50% higher chance of having diabetes.

These correlations between over sleeping and side effects worry someone like me, but remember, they are just correlations. We know that correlation does not always equal causation. Oversleeping is not known to be a cause of heart disease and diabetes, it just has strong correlations to these side effects.These side effects are also based on people who oversleep daily. For someone who only oversleeps every so often, they probably will not be affected by the side effects. Even after doing this research, I will probably continue to oversleep at times. I will try to lower the amount of times I do it, but I like sleeping too much to stop oversleeping completely. In the end, just try to get the right amount of sleep every night, and you will most likely be much healthier and happier.

Sources: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/physical-side-effects-oversleeping#1

http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/15581/1/Oversleeping-Side-Effects.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/16/sleeping-too-much-health_n_6672274.html

http://www.headache-help.org/sleep-disorders-and-headache

Exercise and Depression

Can exercising really help those who are feeling depressed? This question is something I have taken personal interest in. My friend was feeling depressed, and he asked me what he could do to try to be happier. We agreed that starting to exercise could take his mind off of his problems for a while. So he tried it. He started exercising daily, and it actually helped him through his depression. This made me wonder if the exercise was the factor that got him through his tough time, or if it was just a case of correlation not equaling causation.

There were multiple studies done on this subject. One study done in 1999 showed the effects that exercise can have on depression. This experiment took 156 men and women, separated them into three groups, and gave one group antidepressants. They made another group exercise daily, and they gave the last group antidepressants and made them exercise. The results showed that exercise did help the patients reduce depression levels. The antidepressants worked faster and very slightly more, but the exercise-only group showed significant benefits as well. Months after the experiment, the patients who continued to exercise had a lower relapse rate than those who did not exercise.

There are some theories that go along with these results. Some scientists believe exercise helps with depression because exercising makes you release endorphins which coincide with a positive mood. Some people believe it is because exercising causes your body to heat up and increased temperatures in certain parts of the brain cause you to relax. Another theory is that exercising distracts you from the cause of your depression. This is the thought process my friend and I had when we decided he should work out. Lastly, one theory is that exercising makes you more fit, which can cause you to be happier with your body, making you a happier person. Any of these theories could be true. Much of the brain and how it works is undiscovered. This is why it is hard to just cure something like depression.

As of right now, we do not know exactly why exercise helps with depression. We don’t know if exercise directly causes lower depression levels. It could be that a third variable is causing lower depression levels, but we think it is exercise due to the strong correlation. It could also be the classic case of chance causing the lower depression levels. We can, however, rule out reverse causation. We know that lower depression levels in the future could not cause the person to go back in the past and work out.

We know that exercising is strongly correlated with lower depression levels, whether it equals causation or not. In my opinion, if you’re ever feeling depressed, try exercising pretty often for a while. The data shows that its worth a shot if you are a rational person.

Image result for exercise and depression

Sources: http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/exercise-and-depression-report-excerpt

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10547175

Black Holes

The idea of space fascinates me. The fact that Earth is just one minuscule part of a much bigger solar system, which is a small part of the galaxy,  blows my mind. The Earth seems so big to all its inhabitants, yet is miniature compared to the sun. And our sun is much smaller than some other stars. The point is; there are so many things in the universe that dwarf anything in our solar system. One of these things is a black hole. The potential power of a black hole is unlike anything else known to man.

A black hole is just a piece of space with gravitational pulls so strong that nothing can escape the force. The gravitational force in the black hole keeps everything inside, including light. Because light can not escape the gravitational force, the black hole is essentially invisible. This amount of gravitational pull is caused from a high amount of matter clustered in a small space. The black hole is caused from a star being unable to produce energy from its core, as explained in this article by Black Hole Encyclopedia.

Black holes come in many sizes. Most black holes are considered to be stellar black holes. There are black holes that are a million times bigger than stellar black holes, and those are referred to super massive black holes. There is not too much data known of super massive black holes, since it is estimated that only a dozen or so exist. The theory is, though, that super massive black holes are located in the center of galaxies. As I mentioned earlier, stellar black holes are formed when stars reach the end of their lives. However, the formation of super massive black holes is less certain.

There are a few theories about how super massive black holes are formed. The two main theories are: the theory that a massive star explodes and the black hole sucks in the surrounding matter and grows over time. The other theory is that a massive cloud of glass explodes and that forms a super massive black hole. Out of these two theories, I tend to believe that the black hole grows over time by sucking in the surrounding matter.

I would like to pose a different idea, though. After researching super massive black holes, I learned that they are often the center of galaxies, even the Milky Way. My theory is that the super massive black holes may be located in the center of galaxies because they are caused by an explosion much like the Big Bang, which some believe started our galaxy. My idea is that the explosion happens, the matter is trapped in a tight area causing the black hole, and the things that escape the initial explosion are what makes up the galaxy (stars, planets, etc.).

I am far from an expert on the topic of black holes, but they still peak my curiosity. The power and size of black holes is unlike anything we can imagine, and this is what interests me so much about them.

Image result for black holes

Sources: http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/nasa-knows/what-is-a-black-hole-k4.html

http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/cosmos/S/Supermassive+Black+Hole

http://blog.physicsworld.com/2011/01/13/how-do-supermassive-black-hole/

http://blackholes.stardate.org/resources/faqs/faq.php?p=black-hole-formation

Do Phones Cause Eye Damage?

Everybody these days has a smartphone that never leaves their side. We spend hours a day staring at the tiny screens looking at different social media, text messages, and games. Just walking around camps, you’ll see thousands of students walking with their head down staring at their phones. I know I am an offender of being on my phone too much. The fact that everyone spends that much time staring at a small screened made me ask the question: Is that stress on our eyes causing permanent eye damage?

I wanted to know the answer to this question for my own personal benefit. If it caused eye damage, I was going to try to change my habits and spend less time looking at my phone. The answer I found to this question was relieving for the most part. As of right now, we don’t know of any permanent damage to your eyes. Staring at your phone causes eye stress and possible short-term effects, but nothing permanent. The main symptoms caused by this action are headaches and blurriness. These symptoms are temporary, but there are some things you can do to avoid them. Experts recommend you take a break from your phone every 20 minutes. This lets your eyes get some rest and moisture back to them. I believe taking this recommended break could be extremely beneficial. It only takes about 30 seconds to look away and rest your eyes, so I don’t know why any rational person wouldn’t at least give it a try. For those interested in more information, this article talks about other symptoms and things you can do to avoid them. The answer to the question is very relieving to me, and probably to the millions of other people who spend too much time on their phone.

Image result for man staring at phone

 

 

 

Source: http://yoursightmatters.com/tiny-screens-can-cause-big-vision-problems/

Concussions in Soccer

Recently, I have been hearing a lot of talk about young soccer players getting a growing number of concussions. I have also heard about many concussions going unreported in this sport due to the player valuing playing more than their health. This topic is very near to my heart because I played soccer from age 4 to age 18. After hearing all these statements, I thought back to my many years of playing soccer. I wondered if I had some slight concussions as a child but didn’t do anything about it. I also thought back to my documented concussion. Thinking about these things made me wonder if the game of soccer was more dangerous than many people think.

Image result for heading soccer ball

Many people have suggested taking “heading” out of the sport when you are young. Some think that repeatedly heading the ball is detrimental to the brain and can cause concussions if it is not done properly. Knowing how to properly head the ball is very important, but even without knowing, the action does not cause concussions. The ball normally is not traveling fast enough to generate enough impact to cause the concussion. Young kids especially can not kick the ball hard enough for it to cause a concussion to another player. It is even difficult for a professional player to generate enough force to cause a concussion from kicking the ball (this study gives more information about the topic).

As I mentioned previously, the number of concussions in soccer is growing. Although I am not surprised by this fact, I was a little bit worried for the younger players growing up. Many people have opinions on how to reduce the number of concussions. I personally believe the easiest way to avoid a concussion is to protect yourself. Know when the situation is going to get physical. Know your surroundings so you don’t bump heads with another player. Little things like this will increase the players chances of avoiding a concussion. The first half of this study shows the statistics of the growing rate of concussions in soccer. The second half describes many people’s feeling of how to make the game safer. I love everything about the sport, but it would not be a bad idea to get ahead and start preventing concussions now before it gets out of control.

Sources:  https://www.nap.edu/read/10362/chapter/3

http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/14/health/youth-soccer-safety/

Interstellar is the Best Movie

I’ve watched many movies in my lifetime, but Interstellar is my favorite one. When watching a movie, I look for three main things: how much entertainment I get, the plot of the movie, and how the movie makes me feel. I typically like movies that make me laugh a lot or movies with a lot of action. Interstellar is very different. I like to describe Interstellar as a roller coaster of emotions. While watching it, I was laughing at some points and nearly crying at others. The movie really puts you through every emotion. The thing I liked most about Interstellar is the fact that it peaked my scientific curiosity. The movie really tests your imagination and your knowledge about the universe. A main concept of the movie is about wormholes. I did not know anything about wormholes before watching this movie, and honestly, I still know very little after watching it. The idea I gained about how wormholes work is that a wormhole basically takes you from one place to another without traveling the whole distance and time. It is like a space short cut. A typical wormhole is suspected to have an opening on each end and a passageway connecting the openings. Albert Einstein was one of the first to suggest wormholes exist, and his theory is proven to be possible(click here for more information on wormholes). The idea of wormholes is fascinating to me. The ability to travel across space in a fraction of the time would open up so many opportunities to explore and find out what else is out there. As of right now, we have not found any wormholes, but that certainly doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I believe there are wormholes out there, and I hope I am here to watch us discover the first one.

Image result for wormhole

Also here is a link to the trailer for Interstellar. You should check it out if you’ve never seen it.

 

Source:  http://www.space.com/20881-wormholes.html

Picture:  https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/context/new-einstein-equation-wormholes-quantum-gravity

Supply Chain Over Science

Hello everyone. My name is Brett Merritt. I am from Pittsburgh, PA, I love sports, but I don’t really like science. I have always had a slight interest in science, but that slight interest has always been wiped away by an annoying high school teacher. I chose to take this course because I heard good things about the professor and was hoping he could maximize that slight interest I mentioned before. I heard this class was interesting and much different than the normal science class where you remember the periodic table or do an experiment and get the “wrong” result. I wanted to take a course that was intriguing and taught the way science should be taught. So far, Andrew is doing an amazing job keeping my attention, and he has me genuinely interested in the material and the world of science. I know it’s still early, but my hopes for this class are being exceeded, and I hope that lasts through the semester.

Science is not my major for a number of reasons. The main reason is due to the previously mentioned annoying teachers growing up. They made me dislike science class by their teaching style. Instead of peaking interest in science, they would just teach what had to be taught for you to pass the test and get them the grades they need to look good among their peers. Another reason science is not my major is because I do not think like a scientist. I don’t have the patience to invest years into a project that most likely won’t yield the results you expect. I am interested in business. How to operate a business efficiently, how to cut costs, how to maximize profit. Those are the things I am interested in. And for that reason, I am in the Smeal College of Business majoring in Supply Chain and Information Systems. For those of you who may not know what Supply Chain is, you can click here for more information.

As I said before, I love sports. Being from Pittsburgh, I am very passionate about all Pittsburgh sports teams, especially the Steelers and Penguins. So I am going to leave this picture here because it makes me happy.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby raises the Stanley Cup after Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the San Jose Sharks Sunday, June 12, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 3-1 to win the series 4-2. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby raises the Stanley Cup after Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the San Jose Sharks Sunday, June 12, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 3-1 to win the series 4-2. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)