Author Archives: Brooke Barrett

And You Thought Lullabies Were Just For Babies

Ever sine I can remember, I have always listened to music while I was trying to sleep. Last night as I picked a song to sleep to, I was really curious if there were benefits or if sleeping with music at night was an actual thing. I then got extremely curious about what types of songs matter when you sleep, especially since I ABSOLUTELY need to have the song I’m listening to on repeat for the whole night and that I almost always pick the same type of song. I also know, from a personal experience, that some people take medication to sleep but is that entirely necessary if music can provide the same benefits?  I did a little research and this is what I found.

sleep insomnia

I had a little trouble at first finding something that looked reliable, factual, and not like an add for some sleep therapy. I then turned to the scholarly articles on goog
le and found an amazing source that conducted a study and everything. They defined sleep as a rhythmic process that can be altered as one ages over the years.  They, unlike other sleep studies, have decided to focus on the idea of using music to help common sleeping disturbances. The types of music that  Hui-Ling Lai PhD RN and Marion Good PhD FAAN, the researchers, used in their study varied in instrument, form, genre, and artist. However, the one thing that the songs had in common were that they had a calming and soothing rhythm. The design of the study was a randomized control trial. This was used to try and eliminate some bias within the study. About 60 people who had sleep discomfort or disturbances were contacted and were willing to participate. The music that the participants could choose from was originally 30 minutes long but researchers asked to extend the tapes to 45 minutes and were able to do so by repeating the first 15 minutes of each song at the end of the song. To determine if music causes relaxation and therefore helps people sleep, the measurements of the study were heart rate a visible respiratory rate that were taken for 30 seconds before and after (at the first home visit and at the last home visit). Participants were also required to keep a sleep log to determine how many hours they’ve slept vs how many they were awake. This included sleep disturbances such as getting up in the middle of the night.

At the end of the study, the results are shown in the graph under the title “Component Scores”. These results show that music had efficiently helped reduce sleep disturbances and that the participants woke up feeling more awake and well rested. So, due to experimentation, it is safe to say that sleeping while listening to music is beneficial for a person’s help. One recommendation that I have if you try this for yourself, don’t sleep with headphones in. It is very uncomfortable and will probably the reason the music isn’t working for you. I found that the music that the researchers used were not the same type of music that I listen to but it did have the characteristics of being calming and soothing, allowing me to fall asleep faster and have great nights sleep!


Snowball Earth

While taking Earth 002 last fall semester, we began talking about the Carbon Cycle. For those of you how don’t know, the Carbon Cycle is the process of carbon being transformed and used throughout the Earth system. It’s pretty simple. Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is taken and absorbed by autotrophs in the ocean and on land through photosynthesis, then animals eat these primary producers, plants, and release CO2 through cellular respiration which goes back into the air and the cycle keeps repeating itself. I don’t want to be to technical because this class is for people who don’t like science, but that is the very basic version of a complex system. Below is a diagram just in case (or very likely) I didn’t explain it well enough. But one very important thing that you absolutely NEED to know is that CO2 helps regulate temperature. Why is this so important? Two words: Snowball Earth.Carbon Cycle           

What Is Snowball Earth?

Snowball Earth is a theory that at one point in time very long ago, everything on the Earth was almost or entirely frozen. If you were to use a time machine and go take a snapshot of this from outer space, it would look like a giant snowball. A scientist from Australia first brought the idea up but his findings were mistaken by the geographic position of Australia. The idea emerged again by W. Brian Harland who had better evidence to back it up. The idea kept emerging and finally, the idea was named Snowball Earth.

What Caused Snowball Earth?

Remember that one important fact I said you absolutely needed to know? Well, in case you forgot, CO2 helps regulate temperature. There are records of a decrease in CO2 in the atmosphere causing the temperatures of Earth’s surface to drop. Therefore, due to a decrease in CO2 and a decrease in temperature, ice and snow became more abundant. Ice and snow reflect solar radiation therefore causing less CO2 to be absorbed into the atmosphere. This loop continues and there is essentially a disturbance in the Carbon Cycle. This causes the Earth to stay in this frozen state.

How Did the Earth Thaw?

There are many theories on how Snowball Earth. One theory is that clouds helped thaw the Earth. It is said that the clouds did this be heat trapping. As the solar radiation was reflected off of the snow, it is thought that the clouds helped trap the greenhouse gases from the solar radiation slowly the carbon cycle started to function properly again causing the planet to defrost. Another theory is that although CO2 was not being absorbed int he atmosphere, the theory of plate tectonics was still taking place under all of the frozen tundra. Through plate tectonics, CO2 can be released through the eruption of volcanoes both on land an under water. So through eruptions, CO2 was able to be released into the water and on land warming the Earth and sending the system out of its frozen state.

There are many more ideas but the truth is, we will never truly know how the Earth got out of its frozen state. In order to determine an actual cause, we would have to conduct an experiment which is highly impossible. There would be no way to determine causation leaving only theories to explain this phenomenon. All we know is that  there was a disruption in the Carbon Cycle causing Earth’s surface to freeze over. What mechanism caused the disruption to occur or what caused the Earth’s surface to defrost are things that we will never truly never know.


Did clouds help Snowball Earth thaw out?

LifeStraw- Just For Developing Countries Or For the World?

While I was scrolling through my Facebook feed last night, I stumbled on a very unique product. LifeStaw. As I watched the video, I was informed that this product can take unfiltered and unsafe water and turn it into safe drinking water. Intrigued by this idea, I decided to do some further research on this captivating product.

LifeStraw is a company whose mission is basically to help create safe drinking water for those who do not have that access or luxury. This company sells products from straw-like designs to water bottles. The company started in 1994 when Carter Center wanted to develop a filtration system that could remove Guinea worm larvae that contaminated the water. Guinea worm disease is very common in under-developed or developing countries. Symptoms do not show up until about a year after being infected. After that, a blister forms and causing the infected to feel discomfort. According to the CDC website, many people put the blister into water to help with the pain and in most developing countries the available water comes from rivers and streams near by where they also get drinking water. It is said that the worm leaves the blister and release larvae into the water due to the change in temperature that they detect. This causes relief of the infected but it also contaminates the water. This creates an on-going loop for the infection to spread.

LifeStraw sought out to find a solution to help those in developing countries. After developing such a filter, and with must success, the company decided to expand their vision to filtering any contaminants in water. They created a straw-like filter that people in areas that did not have pipe-lined water to use to filter out the water and make it safe for drinking. Pretty cool right?

Image result for lifestraw

LifeStraw has created such an amazing product that could help change the way we obtain fresh, safe drinking water. According to Wikipedia, 2.5% to 2.75% of the total amount of water on the Earth is freshwater. It also claims that of all of the water available, 1.75% to 2% is freshwater that is found in ice caps and glaciers. That leaves somewhere between 0.5% to 1% of freshwater that the human race can have access to. That is not enough freshwater for an exponentially growing population. Clean water is a big problem not only for developing countries, but for environmental scientists as well. With the global population growing exponentially, there is a concern for running out of fresh water. LifeStraw could be the beginning of creating more fresh water not only for those who don’t have any available but for the entire world.

The idea of this could transform into one that helps us live a sustainable lifestyle. Many people forget that fresh water is a scarce resource and it could run out. LifeStraw would be the answer if we actually did run out. Using the water around us, clean or contaminated, we could turn it into drinking water by a simple filter. I look for this product to become more apparent in our lives and to expand its horizon as a company. Sustainability is being pushed by environmentalists and this product can help advocate that concept. It only takes one small spark to start a flame.





Hi, my name is Brooke. I am from Shippensburg, PA so shout out to my fellow Greyhounds! I am currently trying to get into the business college to major in risk management. I signed up for this course because I have heard great things about the professor. I was looking for a class where I could have fun and still learn something. When I think of science, I think Physics of Chemistry which are some of the hardest courses and majors on this campus and even though I like learning about them, I just don’t see myself in that profession. Science can be fascinating but let’s be honest, some science classes put you straight to sleep; especially if you have no idea what the professor is talking about. I am looking forward to this class because it seems very energetic and fun which every science class needs! That, and Bill Nye the Science Guy.