Author Archives: Emily Fiacco Tuite

The Dangers of Sleeping with Our Phones

Like most of the population on Earth, I am guilty of sleeping with my phone. Everyone is guilty of sleeping with their phone because let’s face it, we all look at our phones before we go to bed. Whether we are on the internet, refreshing our social media feeds or answering some text messages we are on our phones unaware of the dangers it possesses.


According to this article, sleeping with our phones on our night stand causes us to experience things such as nightmares, the inability to sleep and even waking up several times in the night. The reason why is because cell phones are still connected the base connections with radio transmissions. Meaning that cell phone’s constantly radiate electromagnetic waves into the environment making us catch all of the waves. Experts on this subject believe that you should keep your cell phone at least three feet away from you when you sleep. They also offer alternatives to making sure that we have a restful sleep. One way is to turn your phone off at night, this means that you can still keep it on the nightstand, or another unpopular option is putting your phone somewhere in your house, like the kitchen or living room. The reason why this is unpopular is because people like to keep their phones near them in case of emergency. If this is still a problem you can keep your phone on and next  to you at night, just turn off the wifi or internet connection.


Recently the biggest problem with sleeping with your phone is actually sleeping with your phone under your bed. People across the world have slept with their phone charging under their pillow. You can set your pillow on fire from doing this. From different reports, people have stated that when they wake in the middle of the night to their phone burning they are most likely to find their sheets scorched and their phone melted. This is extremely dangerous to our health, and you can even get severe burns from sleeping on it. The boy in the article received a radiation burn from sleeping on his phone after returning home from work.


Finally the last reason to not sleep with your phone is because you have the chance of getting cancer. When we are sleeping the electromagnetic radiation pumps out of your phone causing you to get all of it. Too much of this can cause us to get cancer. The Huffington Post stated that the electromagnetic radiation coming your phone is possible carcinogenic. It also suggests that you keep your phone away from you when you sleep or have your disconnected from the Internet or on airplane mode. In short, the best way to make it so you do not have to buy a new phone, pillow or pay hospital bills is to keep your phone away from you and off.


Girl awake with phone picture is found here.

Girl with many electronic devices picture is found here.

Girl asleep with phone picture is found here.

Does Stress Cause Sickness?

Just like everyone on campus right now, not only am I stressed out, but also I am sick. I noticed that within the past week I have been more stressed out due to exams or quizzes and that my cold has been getting worse and worse as well. From this, I began to wonder if stress can cause you to get sick.


Stress can have many effects on the body, emotionally and physically. Emotionally stress can cause you to avoid others, have low self esteem and have difficulty relaxing. Physically stress can cause you to have headaches, upset stomach and experience colds or infections. From this article, it is easy to see that stress can cause you to get sick. When we are sick we go through most of these symptoms and we never seem to connect the two together because we blame it on everyone else by saying “my roommate is sick” or “everyone on campus is sick.” It is hard to deny it because everyone on campus has some type of illness right now.


According to Dr. Mercola, stress can deteriorate your immune system, thus making it easier for you to get sick. From a study at Carnegie Mellon University, researchers were able to determine that chronic stress makes your immune system less sensitive to a hormone called cortisol, making your body more susceptible to cold and flu viruses. Cortisol is a stress releasing hormone in your body that allows your body to fight or flee the stress you are feeling. Emotional stressors can lead to coughing, sneezing, and other cold like symptoms.


However that is not the only thing  that can lead you to get sick. A deficiency in Vitamin D, can make you get sick as well. You can catch colds from another person and by touching infected objects, such as towels, doorknobs and  phones. These things explain why we get colds at points in life when we are not stressed out. Sometimes it could just be our allergies that are making us sick.

From this video we can see how stress can affect our bodies. We can go into psychogenic fever. This is when your body temperature heats up your muscles in case you need to flee in a stressful situation. The video also talks about cortisol and what happens if it stops  working. When cortisol tops working, inflammation begins making us susceptible to heart disease, obesity, and it makes us experience things like anxiety or depression. Too much stress can also lead to the destruction of your DNA. Telomeres are on the tips of your DNA making your DNA stay together so when they replicate they get smaller and smaller until the point where they are no longer there. As the video continues it tell you how to combat stress effectively and the best way is to be socially connected. I agree with this video because I notice that if I express my stress with my family or friends they can help get through whatever I need help going through. In the long run, if you get stressed out talk to someone to make things a little better, you never know that could save you from getting a cold.


Home Alone Picture is from here.

The sick puppy picture I got from here.

The healthy life picture is from here.

I got the video from here.

Does Deodorant Cause Cancer?

Now a days we all know someone who has gone through and survived or lost their battle with cancer. Cancer is caused by an out of control cell growth, but unfortunately that is not the only thing that will cause cancer. Some other things that cause cancer are smoking, infections, and even lack of exercise. However, now there is concern that some deodorants cause breast cancer. The reason why is because the certain substances can be absorbed into the skin or through nicks in your skin from shaving. In fact most antiperspirants are linked to breast cancer because deodorant is applied there frequently. Surprisingly scientists have not found concrete evidence that deodorants cause cancer.


Some scientists believe that from the aluminum based compounds in deodorants that are left on the skin cause hormonal effects. Estrogen can promote the growth of cancer cells, which is why if an accelerated rate of estrogen develops, then you are more likely to get breast cancer. Another thing that researchers have focused on are parabens. According to the article parabens are found in deodorants and antiperspirants that act like estrogen in the body’s cells. Even though these things are found in food, the FDA has said that deodorants do not contain parabens as well. However, the author of the study of the parabens did not study healthy breast tissue or breast tissue that has cancer.



There are many other factors that contribute to the cause of cancer. Smoking, gene mutations, family histories, and sunburns can cause cancer as well. Something like family history, which could act like a third variable, could also play a factor in getting breast cancer besides deodorants. Age also is a big factor because it takes years for cancer to develop. Gene mutation can be something you are born with or something that you get later in life from what you are exposed to. There are cells in genes that recognize when a mistake had been made so they can repair that mistake. Nevertheless, a mistake can be missed that causes cancer. This means that it does not have to be deodorant that causes cancer, it can be due to many other factors.


According to the American Cancer Society, there is no connection between breast cancer and deodorants. When it comes to applying deodorant after shaving, the only thing that might happen is infection, but more likely irritation. When it comes to the parabens, the American Cancer Society says that deodorants and antiperspirants do not contain them and if they did, paraben would be clearly stated on the label. But this does not mean that cancer is not still a threat to society. Having awareness towards this issue is the best defense we have against cancer. Knowing the signs and symptoms are the best way to know so you can catch it early. Keeping that in mind, hopefully after reading this blog post, you do not have to worry about your deodorant giving you cancer.


Cancer picture found here.

Types of Cancer and Ribbons picture found here.

Pink Ribbon found here.

Do You Believe In Coincidences?

We all have had an experience with coincidences, whether we know how they happen or not, they still have an effect on us. Right now there is a controversy about whether or not a coincidence is due to chance and luck or if it is an act of God. Normally when we experience a coincidence we never really think that it is God trying to tell us something. We just believe that what we experienced is due to luck and nothing else.


Coincidence is defined as “a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mire chance”. Sometimes certain events are really easy to explain as to why they occurred but sometimes it is hard to say that no extraordinary measures occurred to make whatever happened happen. According to this article, Frederick Hosteler says that sometimes even when we think we know something to be true, it can be very hard to prove it. This means that we can believe in something so much, that we cannot prove it exists. Later in the article Dr. Bernard D. Beitman talks about how coincidence has to do with psychology as well. He talks about how coincidences have to do with our recognition and recall of certain events, and how we like to search for patterns in our every day lives. Looking for patterns is the way that we choose to explain what we cannot. It gives us the answers we are looking for whether they are write or not.


Because the matter is so subjective it is hard to get any type of science connected to it. With out scientific explanation, it is easier for us to blame a higher power for what we have experienced. My personal belief is that there are some things that are due to chance and luck but sometimes there are things that we cannot explain so we need to believe in a higher power. What is interesting is that, according to this article, the word coincidence comes from the greek work synkyrian, meaning what occurs when God intervenes in our lives. Just like many people have said before, God works in mysterious ways and sometimes he will purposely put something in front of your face to get you to notice it.


When it comes to the science and coincidences, this article talks about how chance and coincidence do not exist, and what occurs does not happen by God, it talks about how we are all connected through our unconscious selves. Meaning we are unknowingly connected through our thoughts and ideas. The article also talks about the law of bringing everything together, Synchronicity. Something else we have heard a lot in our lives is in this article as well, and that is it talks about how everything that we do has an effect on our universe, no matter how small. What we do has consequences both good and bad, and that if we believe in something hard enough, it will work out in your favor. As much as we do not want to believe it, many times what we want somehow gets to us. Keeping in mind that science and God are two separate things, coincidences happen and they will continue to influence us.


Coincidence? picture is from here.

Albert Einstein picture is from here.

Coincidence picture is from here.


Yawning and Psychopaths

What do you think of when you think about yawning? Normally when you think the reason why this person is yawning is because they are tired. However being thinking about yawning an being next to a person when they yawn are completely different things. Contagious yawning is when we see yawn and we immediately yawn as well. I think that most can agree that contagious yawning is the most annoying traits that humans have because it makes us look and appear tired when we are not, and it is considered rude.


A study was conducted by Brian Rundle, who used one hundred and thirty five people to see if seeing the people yawn, would make them yawn as well. They were able to conclude that not only if you were rated high on the test that you were less likely to yawn when watching other yawn, but also that just because you do not yawn means that you are a psychopath. From the article Rundle also says that because there has only been one study on this that it is hard to say that someone who yawns and does not yawn is actually crazy. I agree with him because you can never know if someone is crazy until they allow you to see that side of themselves.


However through a new study, scientists have determined where contagious yawning comes from. From the article Brian Rundle, said that the reason why we yawn is related to how much empathy we feel at that moment. But in this article, it does not go into detail about yawning and how it is connected to other human traits, but from this article we learn that yawning is something that is almost a privilege. It was determined from a recent that psychopath’s do not react to contagious yawning. The reason being is that they do not feel empathy. This makes sense because when we think of psychopath’s we do not think of them as being very emotional.


However it does not have to be just psychopath’s, anyone who is cold-hearted or lacks compassion are less likely to yawn after watching someone else yawn. Not to say that everyone who does not yawn is a psychopath or cold-hearted, but this article talks about how people with psychopathic emotional traits or people with autism are more likely to not yawn. Most of the time it is because they do not understand that is going on so when they act how they feel, they think they are doing the right thing when in reality they are not. Even babies do not learn how to yawn until they are around four or five years old because that is when they gain empathy. It is hard to say for sure that because you do not yawn at most of the things that other people do, that you are a psychopath. In reality that person could be completely normal, it is just that they are not as empathetic as others.

There could also be a third variable that are in play when it comes to people who do not yawn or to psychopath’s. For yawning they could not just not be focusing on the person yawning or they are good at not yawning in public. When it comes to psychopath’s, anything could cause the person to not feel empathy. An example could be a traumatic childhood experience. It is good to keep in mind that not everything is what it appears to be and sometimes judging people by yawning is not the best way to decide if they are crazy or not.


The Snoopy picture is found here.

The “Can you yawn for me?” picture is found here.

The dinosaur picture is found here.


What Brings Us Comfort?

Since I have been at college all I have wanted is a good home cooked meal. The food here is decent enough but there is nothing like some good chicken parmesan from home. The reason why this brings me comfort is because my grandma and my mom used to make this for me all of the time before I left for college. It reminds me of home and it brings me happiness.


I found this article that talks about the food that we eat and how it contributes to how we feel. According to Wansink, from the article, “eating a specific food that a loved one favored can produce happy thoughts by triggering fond memories or associations of that person”. Food is very often connected to certain people in our lives who have made an impact on us. Just like chicken parmesan and my family, it gives me happiness that I cannot explain. Smith, from the article, after a survey of both men and women, he concluded that women are more likely to seek comfort from ice cream than anything else. Ice cream is a comfort food to women because it makes us feel better after having a long and hard day. Food allows us to reconnect with feelings and emotions that we may or may not have known were there.


According to this article from the Daily Mail, we are soothed by fatty foods. Along with ice cream other fatty foods, such as chocolate, gives us enough comfort to get us through some bad times in our lives. Dr Lukas Van Oudenhove, from the article, conducted an experiment with MRI scans to see the emotional impact that having fat injected into our stomach has on us. First he showed the participants sad and neutral pictures along with sad and neutral music. After that, he injected them with fat or saline, however the participants did know which was which. He did this so he could get them to avoid childhood associations. From the experiment he was able to conclude that fat makes us more sad than saline does by about fifty percent. This means that even if we do not realize it, the fatty foods that we eat make us more susceptible to our emotion’s.

In contrast here is a video that counteracts whether or not it is food that makes us feel better or if it is time that makes us feel better. In the video, Tara Long talks about an experiment run by Heather Wagner that had the participants pick between food that they picked out and considered comfort food, food that they did not think was comfort food, a granola bar or nothing at all. They were asked to pick between these things after a twenty minute video that was supposed to bring up emotions and then after the video, participants had to rate their mood. After they would wait three minutes and during those three minutes they would choose what they wanted to eat or not eat. The study found that even people who ate nothing, felt better after the three minutes had passed.

What do you think makes us feel better? Comfort food or time?


Here is where the picture of the ice cream is from.

Here is where the fatty foods picture is from.

The Science Behind Music

Like everyone on Earth I love to listen to music. Everyone listens to different types of music but something that I have always wondered was what makes us like the music that we like.


Here is an article explaining how we grow to like music as we get older. It talks about how the music we listen to growing up stays with us. Another thing mentioned in the article is how the music we listen to affects how we take on differences. If we listen to the same unchanging music growing up, we are less likely to be open to different music. For example if we listen to pop for years, it would be hard to switch to rap. The article also talks about how when researchers studied music many of the melodies and sounds were the same, but the loudness and pitch differed. So we are not really listening to new music, we are listening to the same thing except it is louder. Another factor that can determine the music we like is how we are feeling when we hear the music. There are many examples of people, including myself, who at first hate the song at first because you are in a bad mood, but later when you are happy and the song comes on, you like it.

Here is another article/blog from Doctor’s and Professor’s who talk about music and how we come to like certain music. While the Professor’s in the blog do not argue that the music we like comes from when and where we grew up, Doctor Robert Zatorre proposes that if you have any musical experience you are more likely to like the music that you were taught to play. In the blog, Mariusz Kozak talks about the use of a mechanism in music, meaning that music brings all types of people together.


Because there is always music that matches our mood and feelings, music is extremely influential in our every day lives. If we are sad we listen to depressing music, if we are happy we listen to happy music, and if we are trying to get pumped up for a game you listen to rap or whatever music gets you excited to play. In a way music is a way for us to describe ourselves in ways people do not understand and we also associate music with certain stereotypes of people. For example someone who you think is very sweet and cute could actually listen to heavy metal music. An example of this is found here. In the video two siblings try out for America’s Got Talent and what the judges and audience hear is not what they expected.

In conclusion the type of music we listen to has nothing to do with a special chemical that makes us like one type of music over another. It has to do with the people we hang out with and what we have grown up with. Music shapes our minds and what we believe. Like Friedrich Nietzsche said “without music, life would be a mistake.”


Here is where I got the quote from.

Here is where the video is from.

Here is where I got the music picture from.

Here is where I got the different genre’s of music from.

Dogs Know

Have you ever heard the saying, “Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell”? The poet Emily Dickinson wrote this in her poem Hope Is the Thing with Feathers and even though I have never read the poem I think that this statement is true. Many times in my life my dog has been there during the best and worst of times and every time I would wonder, “how do they know that I how I am feeling right now?” Before I left for college, every day I hear someone in my family say “where’s Emily?” and my dog will find me. It never mattered what room I was in, she always found me. Since I have been in college my parents have told me that when they ask her where I am, she looks at them and does not move because she knows I am not there. Through this example, I have confidence in that dogs know what we are saying to them and respond to what they hear.


It seems unlikely that dogs would know what we are saying but with a new study, scientists are in the beginning steps of determining more about dogs and how they interpret what we say. We can train dogs to listen for certain commands or their name but we cannot teach them our language and speak it back to us. However, in a way they do respond back to us through their body language and facial expressions. This shows that interactions with other beings does not always have to speech, it can be little things as well.

Stephen Huneck Gallery

Stephen Huneck Gallery

Here is an article explaining how scientists are experimenting with dogs to see how they can understand what we say and how we say it. Even though they are only in the first stages of the experiment, they are learning so much about how our communication with animals affects not only us but also them as well. In the article, it talks about how they use their left hemisphere to process meaningful words and they use their right hemisphere to figure out whether or not they are receiving praise. But the researchers previously found that the right hemisphere also processes non-emotional noises from both humans and dogs, making it so that their way of understanding us may not necessarily be in our words but in our tone of voice.

Here is an example of a video of a man and his dogs, and how they interact with each other. In the video, when the man comes home, his voice is very high pitch and happy making his dogs happy. As the video goes on his tone of voice and language changes to become lower and  more serious. When this happens the dogs walk away knowing that their owner is not happy with them. By changing the tone of his voice the dogs change their attitude and body language as well. They go from wagging their tails and almost grinning to no wagging and no grin.

Our language says a lot about us and how we use that language is up to us. But we have to keep in mind that it can affect whoever or whatever is around us. Even if it is not through speech, our actions towards animals and other beings create a language and understanding of it’s own.


Here is where the picture of the black lab came from.

Here is where the brain came from.

Here is where the video is from.

Here is where the quote is from.



Hi everyone, my name is Emily Tuite and I am a freshman. I am from Brockton, MA, which is twenty miles south of Boston. In high school I played softball and I figure skated, which I am hoping to continue in college. I took this class because I like learning about topics that will make you think critically about certain interesting subject matters of science. Another reason as to why I am taking this class is because my advisor told me this was a great course for non-science majors and I needed to fill my Gen Ed requirement. I am not becoming a science major because in the past I have never been interested in science and the classes that I took in high school were very boring. When I read the course description for this class I was happy to see that it is was about controversy because it meant that you can be creative and express your opinion about some types of science that did not have a concrete answer.

Something that I am very interested in are parallel universes. The reason why is because I think it is so cool to think that with each decision that we make, it could have turned out differently if we had chosen the other option. For example, if you had chosen to play baseball instead of hockey. Would you have had the same friends and experiences as you would have if you played baseball? Here is a link to an interesting article about parallel universes.