Author Archives: Daniel William Snyder

Why Do We Fall In Love?

It seems to be everyones goal in life to find that special someone, but what makes someone more special than someone else? Why as humans do we fall in love? There actually has been quite a bit of research on this to help explain why


According to a study done by Rutgers University, falling in love has different stages. The researches concluded that falling in love is actually a three step process. They called the first stage lust, the second stage attraction, and the third stage attachment.

Lust: The first stage of falling in love. Basically lust is when you first start talking to someone and you begin to find your self liking them more and more. This lust period is fueled by the gender hormones testosterone and oestrogen.

Attraction: The second phase in falling in love. According to the researchers, the stage of attraction is where people start to feel love. In this stage, you find yourself getting excited thinking about the other person and only thinking about them. The hormones adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin also play a key role in this phase as they begin to change the persons personality.

Attachment: The final stage of love. In this stage, you could say people are “head over heals in love” for each other. They have dreams of getting married or having kids and are taking their relationship to different advanced levels. At this point, they’re fully in love. The hormones oxytocin and vasopressin play a large role in this stage as they make the individual retain their love for their partner.

So, love is a science. Falling in love requires a number of chemical reactions in the brain that spark these three stages. Science has still not figured out why we fall in love with certain people however. However, for some reason different people cause the chemical reactions to occur for each individual person so you never know when you might catch yourself falling in love.


Why We Fall in Love: The Science of Love

Is Yawning Really Contagious?

For years people have been under the impression that yawning is contagious. How could this possibly be true? Yawning is not caused by a virus or bacteria so how could it possibly be contagious? There are many theories whether it is empathy, age, or energy levels one thing is for sure, and thats that people tend to yawn when other people do too.

Researched from the University of Duke wanted to take a look into this. In their study, the researches examined 328 healthy volunteers. They did a number of tests that measured levels of empathy and energy levels. To test whether yawning is contagious or not the researches made the participants watch a three minute video of people yawning. They then recorded the number of times each participant yawned. After the tests, the researches found that 222 of the 328 participants yawned at least once and even yawned a consistent number of times each time they were tested. However, the researchers were not able to find a link between yawning and empathy, intelligence, or energy levels. unknown-6

There have been many different studies trying to link contagious yawning to many different things, but researches just haven’t been able to find any correlations. Many people suggest empathy of being a possibility, but no one is positive. However, different studies have shown other things may have an effect on yawning. For example studies have shown that psychopaths don’t yawn contagiously. Also, studies have shown that kids under the age of four and people with autism also do not yawn contagiously.

So, it is a fact that people do yawn contagiously, however why we do is still a mystery.


Crisis in NFL

Currently in the NFL, there is a crisis going on that is scaring many players, discouraging parents from letting their kids play, and causing problems later in life to some players. The epidemic that has been sweeping the NFL for decades now, but is now recently getting attention is concussions. The problem: it’s not getting any better.

In 2012 and 2013, teams reported that 306 players suffered 323 concussions. However though, this number is most likely higher than the reported value as players often try to hide symptoms and “tough it out” so they can stay in the game and avoid the NFL’s concussion protocol. This is a huge problem because former players have been experiencing problems doctors are now relating to football.concussion_anatomy-1

For those who don’t know, a concussion is a very serious brain injury caused by a forceful blow to the head; and on some occasions, to the body of an individual that causes the person’s head causing it to move rapidly. This then results in the brain possibly twisting or banging off the         skull, leading to swelling and causing chemical changes in the brain.

As you can see, concussions are very serious and can cause many complications later in life. Ex football players have been linked to a lot of these problems. Many ex football players have been  diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Basically, CTE is a build of this strange protein called Tau. Tau has been linked to disturbing many brain cells in areas that control memories, emotions, and even other functions. Scientists have found alarming concentrations of tau in many autopsies of former NFL players. Tony Dorsett, one of the best running backs of all time has recently been suffering from symptoms like memory loss and depression due to this concussion epidemic. For his story, click here.

It is very evident that concussions are a huge problem in the NFL and that something needs to be done about it. Should the NFL implement stricter concussion policies, implement new rules, and/or conduct research on how to make helmets safer? Probably, but most likely they will do little about it as they have for decades now.


Breslow, Jason M. “FRONTLINE.” PBS. PBS, 19 Sept. 2014. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.


Weinbaum, William. “OTL: Ex-NFL Stars Show CTE Signs.” ESPN, 5 Apr. 2014. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.


“What Is a Concussion?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for     Disease Control and Prevention, 16 Feb. 2015. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.


Does Marijuana Affect Sperm?

Marijuana, pot, weed, dro, pac, bud, or whatever you may call it is increasingly becoming more popular in the United States. Whether for medicinal or recreational purposes, more Americans, specifically  younger adults have taken up using marijuana. However, many people are unsure of the effects it has on your body. One of the more famous rumors is that smoking marijuana lowers your sperm count. Could this possibly be true?635961444810294824-marijuana

In a study done by the University of Buffalo, researchers examined the affect smoking marijuana had on sperm. To measure this, researchers examined two separate groups. The sperm of a control group of 59, and the sperm of an experimental group of 22. The volunteers of the control group were fertile men who produced at least one pregnancy in the past and who were not sexually active in the past two days. The volunteers of the experimental group admitted to smoking marijuana at least 14 times a week for at least 5 years. The results were pretty alarming. The tests revealed that the people who smoked marijuana had significantly less sperm in their seamen. In addition, there was also a decrease in the sperm’s hyperactiviation (HA), which is a specific type of swimming sperm does that is required before fertilizing an egg. The results were also the same once the dead sperm were removed.

unknown-5 There are other studies that share similar conclusions as well. In a study done by the American Journal of Epidemiology, 1,215 young men between the ages 18-28 were recruited to test the affects of marijuana on sperm. According to the study, 45% of the young men reported smoking marijuana within the last three months. The tests returned some shocking numbers. The people who smoked more than once a week had a 28% lower sperm concentration and a 29% lower sperm count than the non smokers. Both of those numbers are almost a third!

With every conclusion there is always a possibility of it just happening by chance, but this is not likely. Over a thousand people were tested between the two studies, so the numbers are there. However, more testing should be performed to know for sure, but for the time being, it is probably a good idea to not smoke marijuana if you plan on having a kid.


Does Cold Weather Make You Sick?

For years many people have believed that being out in colder weather increases your chances of becoming sick. It does appear to be true that more people are “sniffling” and coughing in the cold winter season. Also, flu season falls in colder months and peaks in January and February, which are the coldest months of the year. For many people, this certainly raises questions as to why many people get sick in the cold months of the year. Could the cold air itself be the result of this?

Woman using tissue

NO! It is a common fact that germs and bacteria get you sick, not the air. However, there are multiple explanations that can explain more people getting sick in the colder months.

First, scientists have discovered that cold air does help the flu virus flourish, but is not the cold air itself that gets you sick. In a study done by the National Institutes of Health, they found that in colder temperatures, the outside most layer of the virus hardens and becomes more of a gel or rubber like surface. This allows it to travel from person to person much easier in cooler temperatures because it can brace the elements. Adding onto this, they also discovered that in hotter temperatures that same outer layer turns into more of a liquid substance, which simply cannot survive in the elements of nature. Further, this explains why flu season exists in the colder months of the year.


More recently, another study could also explain why more people get sick with the flu in the colder months. In this new study, NIH researches compared data over the last 31 years. They were searching for some type of correlation between the number of deaths from the influenza virus (flu) and the levels of humidity. They actually found something. The researchers discovered that before a flu outbreak, the absolute humidity levels in the air fell. This suggests that in dryer air, the virus is transmitted much easier allowing it to infect more people. Further, this also helps explain why there are more flu outbreaks in the winter because typically in more colder regions, the air is dryer in the winter.

There are also more obvious reasons as to why more people get sick when it’s cold out. When it gets cold outside, most people stay inside. This is a problem because we often are around more people inside where air is being recirculated so it is easier to become in contact with germs and bacteria. It is also easier for the bacteria to be transmitted indoors because it does not have to withstand the elements of nature. So, even though it may seem like colder air causes people to get sick, science has been able to prove otherwise. Another classic example of correlation does not equal causation.


Science Is Not My Thing

Hi SC200, my name is Daniel Snyder and I am from just outside of Pittsburgh, PA (#SteelerNation). I am currently a Freshman here at Penn State in the Division of Undergraduate Studies and I plan on staying away from all the science and engineering majors. Instead, I hope to get into the Smeal College of Business and study either accounting or finance.

I am taking this course for the same reason the majority of everyone else is, and that is because I need a general science class. I chose this class specifically because it seemed interesting. I actually think I love science as a whole, but can’t find a specific topic that fully interests me. For example, I think its fascinating how aspirin and other medicines are created from simple chemical formulas. However, I could really care less how many moles of sodium are in a grain of salt. For those of you who don’t know what a mole is, click HERE. Basically, I am taking this class because it spans multiple subjects of science without getting super in depth into a specific one, which interested me. I enjoy the fascinating and mind-blowing parts of science, but have no interest in some of the more in depth parts of it.


I do not plan to be a science major because like I said before, I can’t find my niche in science that I love and enjoy. Instead, I feel as if I have more of a business mindset and enjoy business as a whole more than science. It seems almost fun to me thinking about ways to sell and market certain things and unfortunately, I don’t have that same feeling with science. So, I feel as if business is more of a strong suit of mine especially coming from more of a business household.