Author Archives: Grace Ellen Leibow

Does it really take 7 years to digest swallowed gum?

We’ve all heard the myth: Gum takes 7 years to pass through your body. Growing up, I’ve always been petrified of swallowing gum, having heard horror stories of kids who need to Image result for gumhave huge wads of swallowed gum surgically removed because it never digested. However, how accurate is this myth? I decided to investigate.

What is Gum, exactly?

According to the Food and Drug Administration, gum is a base that is a nonnutritive, masticatory substance made up of either synthetic or natural rubberlike materials, including plasticizing softeners, preservative antioxidizing agents, and resins. The components are often tree-derived, and gum can be traced to somewhere around 2,000 years ago in America, or a primitive form of it (FDA). Although this sounds complicated and worried, it ends up being a simple formula that is consistently delicious. However, is it dangerous for your digestive tract? Let’s investigate.

Source One

According to, this myth is false. Gum passes right through one’s digestive system just as any other food would, as your body has every capability to break down gum’s components over the course of a few days, including oil derivatives, sweeteners, and the Image result for chewed gum stuck in digestive systemrubber or latex base, which can take slightly longer. However, the author of this study, Joseph Castro, does not recommend swallowing gum, as in some cases, children have in fact needed gum surgically removed if enough is swallowed in a short enough amount of time, causing constipation. Scary stuff… let’s take a look at another study.

Source Two

In the next case, we look at John Matson’s research in his article for the Scientific American. According to Matson, this myth is still false, as it is impossible for anything to stay in the digestive system for so long unless it was too large to physically be removed, such as something larger than a quarter. He agrees that the majority of gum’s components are easily Image result for chewed gum stuck in digestive systembroken down. However, a few are a bit more difficult than others (Matson). Although gum most likely passes through the system slower than many other foods, it will usually pass through with ease. However, Matson agrees that this doesn’t mean it is a good idea to regularly swallow gum, for the same reasons, as it has historically needed the rare but possible surgical removal if too large of an amount is present.


In conclusion, it seems as though this old tale is rather innaccurate, and gum digests relatively easily, but perhaps slower. However, it remains in one’s best interest not to frequently swallow gum, as difficulties can occasionally arise, and why not just spit it out? It’s cleaner, quicker, and easier, anyways. Just don’t stick it underneath Andrew’s desk trays!

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Do seasonal changes affect students academic success?

Going to a school like Penn State, we suffer through a lot of winter. Gross, rainy, snowy, freezing days are the norm here for 80% of the year, and yet, it seems to be a fairly fun, loving place. However, one common myth is that seasonal changes affect students academic success. I decided to investigate this, because I’m already feeling less motivated and more inclined to stay in bed rather than get up for my daily 9 am. So, do seasonal changes affect students academic success?Image result for seasonal changes affect student performance

Study One

In one study, a group of 2479 college students were analyzed to investigate how their GPAs were affected across various seasons. In this study, the GPAs of the students were collected from the fall semester and the spring semester to investigate if there was any significant changes. According to the authors, sophomore, junior, and senior students retained higher GPAs in the spring when the weather is looking up and typically nicer. In addition, most students had higher scores on tests and assignments in the spring season, leading to one potential link between seasonal changes and academic success (Besoluk and Onder). However, let’s take a look at another study to find any other evidence.

Study Two

This study won a Special Achievement Award at this year’s Environmental Protection Agency symposium held in the nation’s capital. Three Oregon high school students, sophomore Josean Perez, junior Julio Montano, and senior Jose Perez, chose to investigate whether temperature, specifically room temperature, affects student performance. Their hypothesis stted that students would be more attentive at a neutral room temperature, and the test would be conducted among ninth graders. They begun by administering a standard test to six ninth grade classes in a controlled manner (Perez, Montano, and Perez). They kept each class for 10 minutes in the room to get them used to the temperature, and then had them take the initial test. They varied the temperatures by either placing hot plates around the room or Image result for seasonal changes affect student performanceopening windows and placing ice in the sinks (Perez, Montano, and Perez). The differences between scores were insignificant in their initial results. They decided to change methods, conducting some tests in portable classrooms with AC, to more significantly vary the temperatures. Following these changes, they found the average test scores were slightly more distinct, however, overall too similar to conclude that temperature has any effect on student performance (Perez, Montano, and Perez).

Seasonal Affective Disorder

As the studies were too varied to conclude anything for sure, one possible cause here is something called Seasonal Affective Disorder. This disorder Image result for seasonal changes affect moodis apparent in the fall and winter as exposure to sunlight is minimized, and it affects between five and 13 percent of the population ( Apparently, this is a result of a variety of causes, including an affect on serotonin and melanon levels as well as circadian rhythm.  The symptoms include increased stress and anxiety, lower moods, irratibility, feelings of guilt, decreased energy, increased sleep, and changes in school performance, according to the University of Dallas. This could very well be an additional contributor to this trend of worsened school performance in the cold months. However, it affects only a small portion of the population.


In conclusion, the results from the few studies that have been conducted on this are not consistent enough to point strongly enough to a link between seasonal changes and student academic performance. One possibility could definitely be Seasonal Affective Disorder, but again, this is too small of an affect to be the root cause. Perhaps with more studies, we will find a stronger link.

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Does Cracking Your Knuckles Cause Arthritis?

You know it’s happened to you. You’re sitting in class, with a few minutes to go before dismissal, and you start getting antsy. You’re shaking your foot a bit, playing with your hair or your pencil, when suddenly, “crack!”. You start cracking knuckles. Of course, time and time again, you have been warned against this action. At least for me, I am constantly told never to crack my knuckles because cracking your knuckles causes arthritis. However, this is a common myth that is constantly debated. I decided to try and get to the bottom of it. So, through some research and investigating, my goal is to find out once and for all whether there is any truth to this myth.

What is Arthritis?

The first step in this process is to define arthritis, and how it is commonly caused. According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is defined as not one disease, but a common way to diagnose overall joint pain or disease. In fact, there are, as the Arthritis Foundation points Image result for arthritisout, over 100 different types of arthritis that are commonly seen across all different people. Arthritis affects over 300,000 children and 50 million adults, most notably women, and is more common in older people as the leading cause of disability in the United States (

The symptoms of arthritis are many and varied in severity. Most commonly, arthritic people suffer from pain, swelling, stiffness, and a decreased range of motion; a few of the most severe cases include chronic pain and a loss of capability to walk or do average activities ( According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is most often invisible except to a viewer of an x-ray, as the damage can also affect the eyes, kidneys, heart, skin, and lungs in addition to one’s joints. So, where does cracking knuckles come into play?

What Happens When a Knuckle Cracks?

According to one Harvard Health Publication, the cracking sound of a knuckle is the result of bubbles bursting in synovial fluid, the substance that is responsible for lubricating the area between bones in order to ease movement and joints. As Sean Hutchinson, contributing writer to, describes, stretching or bending your fingers backwards expands Image result for cracking knucklesthe joint, causing a decreased pressure between the joints and ligaments that connect two bones. As pressure drops, gasses such as oxygen, CO2 and nitrogen are dissolved in the synovial fluid to create the small airbubbles that fill this area (Hutchinson). However, once the joints return to normal, the fluid replaces itself and pops the bubbles that temporarily replaced it, created the popping sound that comes with a cracked knuckle (Hutchinson). So, does this action cause arthritis? We have to turn to studies to find out.

The Studies

As I continued my research, I found one particular article that indicated a few key studies in this field that researched this question. In an article by writer Steve Mirsky for the Scientific American, he discussed one particular study by one scientist and author, Donald Unger. Unger won the Ig Prize for his work with this question. According to Mirsky, for 50 years, Unger cracked only the knuckles of his left hand for a minimum of two times a time, therefore keeping his right hand as the control, his left as the experimental. This totaled to a minimum of 36,500 knuckle cracks of his left hand over the course of five decades, with an occasional rare cracking of his right knuckle (Mirsky). After this 50 year period, Unger decided to check his results, and he found that there were no clear differences between his left and right hand, and he had not developed arthritis in either hand (Mirsky). Therefore, as Mirsky stated, he Image result for cracking knucklesconcluded that there was no clear relationship between the cracking of knuckles and the development of arthritis. However, one flaw in this study is that it was not blind, as he knew his left from his right and consciously decided his left would be the consistently cracke hand.

One additional study was conducted by David Kingsley, a Stanford University bone development expert, who decided to travel to an nursing home and ask each person their history of knuckle cracking, and then assess whether or not they had developed arthritis (Mirsky). As Mirsky summarized, after traveling to 28 nursing home and examining over 300 people, Kingsley also found no link between knuckle cracking and arthritis.


In conclusion, knuckle-cracking may not be the cause of arthritis, as no studies have yet found a link between the two. However, it is definitely annoying, and can even lead to swollen hands and struggling grip strength, as the Harvard publication indicated. Although there is no link, I am still going to try my best to avoid it.

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Will Wet Hair Give You a Cold?

It’s a classic phrase as old as time: wet hair will give you a cold. Countless times over the course of my childhood, I can recall my mom or my grandma scolding me right after I hop out of a fresh shower before school, and rush to get changed and run out the door: “Don’t even think about leaving this house with wet hair, you’ll catch a cold!” Of course, this phrase stuck with me, as it has to many others over the course of time, and I’ve always been mindful to grab a blowdryer quickly before leaving the house with wet hair. However, I’ve often wondered, how accurate is this phrase? Is there truly a risk to leaving with wet hair and going outside of catching a common cold? I decided I needed to turn to research for the answer.

The Origin of a Cold

Traditionally, a “cold” is defined as a viral infection inherent in one’s nose and throat, otherwise known as the upper respiratory tract, that usually lasts over a period of about 10 days, and causes a number of symptoms including a weakened immune system, a runny or stuffy nose, a mucus-filled or inflamed throat, and heavy congestion ( The beginnings of a cold are usually when a small invader known as a virus is transmitted through contact with the already ill, and is capable of latching onto the lining of your throat or nosecontact with the already ill, and is capable of latching onto the lining of your throat or Image result for a common coldnose ( Eventually, as your white blood cells and immune system team up to destroy the virus, you are weakened, and your body’s defense takes a temporary hit. The cold is the cause of millions of sick days taken for school and work for adults and children alike as they take the time to rest, but especially children, who are at the highest risk of colds, and lose about 22 million school days a year due to this illness ( In fact, further states that Americans are estimated to have one billion colds annually, a shocking with the already ill, and is capable of latching onto the lining of your throat or nose ( Eventually, as your white blood cells and immune system team up to destroy the virus, you are weakened, and your body’s defense takes a temporary hit. The cold is the cause of millions of sick days taken for school and work for adults and children alike as they take the time to rest, but especially children, who are at the highest risk of colds, and lose about 22 million school days a year due to this illness ( In fact, further states that Americans are estimated to have one billion colds annually, a shocking statistic.

So, now that we know what a cold is, let’s attempt to break down the causes of a common cold, and whether or not wet hair comes into play.


The Triggers: Does Wet Hair Come into Play?

According to Claudia Hammond, a contributing writer to, cold or wet weather is in fact the most commoImage result for a common coldn cause of colds, due to studies in Germany and Argentina that have discovered a greater amount of colds in the winter, as well as in countries with traditionally hotter weather including Malaysia and Guinea, where colds are most common in the rainiest parts of the year. However, in addition to this, a common rebuttal is that winter is the most common time to catch a cold because most people choose to spend their time indoors, where they are in closer contact with other’s germs. In order to test this, a variety of experiments have taken place in lab settings in order to prove once and for all if cold and wet climates are to blame.

The Studies

The most frequent experiments, as Hammond discusses, have been under controlled laboratory conditions in which experimental volunteers are exposed to the a cold virus under lowered temperatures. In a number of studies, the group exposed to the colder conditions more frequently contracted a cold, however, for the most part, results remained inconclusive. One study, however, offered a bit more insight and success into this question. The director of the Common Cold Centre in Cardiff, a part of the UK, decided to investigate whether the virus is triggered by being cold and wet (Hammond). In order to accurately investigate this question, he subjected his volunteers to, similarly, damp and cold conditions in the lab. However, where this experiment differed was that he instead sent them out into the real world to go about their daily lives, socializing with others who may or may not have the cold virus.

Included in this experiment, Eccles randomly assigned half of his people to sit with their feet in cold water for around twenty minutes, while half sat with their feet in an empty bowl for twenty minutes (Hammond). According to Hammond, while there was no difference between frequency and nature of cold systems after the first few days, four to five days following the experiment, twice as many subjects from the group that stuck their feet in the cold water had contracted the cold virus.Image result for wet hair with a cold

However, in another experiment conducted at Baylor University, 44 people were exposed to a cold virus, and randomly allocated half to stand in a cold room ( However,they found that those who were exposed to colder conditions in the room were no more likely to contract the virus than those who were not (

So what all does this mean?


Of course, these results are all conflicting, and nothing is clearcut. In order to have a viable conclusion, there has to be a realistic way in which wet hair or chilled feet can give someone a cold. According to Hammond, one common theory involves the thought that the blood vessels that are responsible for dispersing white blood cells in a person’s throat and nose are constricted when your body is cold. Supposedly, once one’s hair dries and your body is warmed, the white blood cells are restored as they dilate and return to normal (Hammond). However, none of these results are concrete.

The overall conclusion I have reached through my research is that although there is no concrete study that proves that wet hair causes the cold virus, it could very much help the process along, as it affects the white blood vessels and their reaction time. So maybe, although the science isn’t one hundred percent in unison, it might be the right idea to listen to your mother, and wait until your hair dries before leaving the house.

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Are Bagels Bad for You?

Nearly every morning, my regular routine consists of waking up at 8:30, and leaving around 8:50 for my 9:05 class. Following the 50-minute class, I will walk right over to the HUB, and immediately hop in line at the cafe to grab my daily toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese. At this rate, my weekly consumption rate of bagels is 4-5 per week. In fact, I look forward to my daily bagel, as breakfast boosts your metabolism, and often sets me up for a great, productive day. Little did I know, however, is that bagels are often debated as being highly unhealthy for you. I decided to investigate this topic, and see if I really do need to switch up my morning routine.

The Ingredients

My first step was to research what exactly a bagel consists of, and which ingredients can be considered unhealthy. According to one professional writer, Carly Schuna, who specializes in food, cooking, nutrition, and fitness writing, one plain bagel contains around 360 calories, 14 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, and 70 grams of carbohydrates, if the bagel is 4 1/2 inches in diameter (Schuna). A whole wheat, oat bran, or whole grImage result for bagelain bagel doesn’t make these statistics much better, still retaining significant calories. In fact, Schuna even discusses how a plain bagel actually ranks at 69 on the glycemic index, on which anything ranking 70 or higher is considered to have a “high glycemic index score”, a rather disturbing statistic (Schuna). Oftentimes, as food expert Joy Bauer points out, classic white bagels are often extremely starchy, and made with refined wheat flour, a type of flour that lacks all of its original, healthy nutrients and fiber (Bauer). Additionally, they have some of the worst sodium contents of all foods. A traditional plain bagel can sometimes contain 443 miligrams of sodium, a significant chunk of one’s daily value, according to one editor of To worsen the situation, this refined wheat flour is condensed into a high-calorie bagel, equal to about five slices of caloric white bread, as she discusses in her article (Bauer). Especially when paired with a high-calorie extras such as cream cheese, they are a recipe for disaster, as they can often induce constant weight gain, as Schuna points out. It’s clear that bagels don’t have the greatest track record, and have a dark side to them that may be taken into consideration before I buy my next one tomorrow morning. However, even scarier than their caloric content is the potential dangers these dense breads pose to your body.

The Dangers of a Bagel

As NBC News reporter Maggie Fox discussed, it has been found that consuming food and drink that contain a high glycemic index rating can increase one’s risk of lung cancer, on account of the cell-stimulating components of high-glycemic foods (Fox). As I previously stated, bagels contain a significantly high glycemic index rating, giving it suspicion in the cause of a number of cancers. A number of studies have attempted to reveal a link between a food’s glycemic rating and a range of different types of cancer, ranging everywhere from pancreas to colorectal to ovarian, however, according to Fox, these studies have often resulted in inconclusive findings (Fox).

A Comparison: Are Donuts Healthier?

According to a few sources, even donuts can be considered slightly healthier in the long run, despite the initial widespread belief that they would far outweigh bagels in cons as a healthy breakfast option. Donuts, which also contain a rather high caloric and carbohydrate count, are of course unhealthy. A classic glazedImage result for bagel vs doughnut doughnut contains 229 calories and 25 grams of carbs alone (FitDay). However, studies have actually found that bagels, although possessions fewer calorie counts, actually are considered more unhealthy as they contain a greater sodium content, as well as carbs (FitDay). I found this absolutely shocking, as, if given the choice between a donut and a bagel for breakfast, I would nine times out of ten choose the bagel, being under the impression that it has a greater health value. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a bagel is always the worse choice. There are a variety of options to help make the bagel just a little bit healthier, if you choose it as a morning snack.

Alternatives and Solutions

Of course, the easiest solution is to simply not choose a bagel as your choice of breakfast. A number of different, similar options can provide a world of good to your body in comparison. These include English muffins, sandwich thins, or even just a slice of toast. However, if you must have your morning bagel, it is always better to choose a variety that is not pure white Image result for bagelsbread. Some alternatives include oat bran, whole wheat, or whole grain, as Bauer points out. Another great option is to instead ask for a mini bagel, which will right away cut down on the unhealthy parts of the bagel as the serving size is smaller. According to Tanya Zuckerbrot of Fox News, switching to mini-bagels can save around 200 calories daily, or nearly 24 pounds of extra weight you would avoid over the course of one year (Zuckerbrot). One final common alternative is to scoop out some of the filling inside the bagel, and add a thin layer of a healthier topping, whether it be a light or non-fat cream cheese, a low-fat cottage cheese or peanut butter, hummus, or nut butter, as both Bauer and Zuckerbrot suggest.

Final Thoughts

Overall, it is apparently clear that bagels are not the healthiest breakfast option due to their high counts of non-nutritional ingredients, and the condensed amount of pure bread contained. Often, even donuts can be considered a healthier option, something both shocking and alarming. However, there are lots of healthy alternatives and solutions to make your morning just a little bit more nutritional, whether it be scooping out a little bit of filling, switching to a healthier topping, or scrapping the bagel altogether for a healthier food. All I know is that, next time, I’ll definitely think twice before reaching for that bagel in line after class.

Sources:   Source 1   Source 2   Source 3   Source 4   Source 5

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Pokemon Go: The addiction is real

It’s a gorgeous day outside, and you’re riding your bike through the neighborhood. You see an abnormally large number of people out, and you think to yourself, “How nice! Americans are getting outside finally and staying active, enjoying the weather.” However, it’s then that you notice that nearly every single person has their face buried in their phone, nervously pacing around. You also realize they’re all standing in the same general areas, clumped in similar spots. Finally, the eerie realization dawns on you: they’re simply playing the notorious Pokémon Go.

Image result for pokemon goPersonally, I never succumbed to downloading the game, and participating in the craze that surrounds collecting virtual figures that exist in real areas of the world for points. However, I have friends, and I have siblings, and I know the addiction is real. But what is the science behind this addiction? Why, all of a sudden, are video game connoisseurs and everyday kids alike leaving their houses simply to have a higher number of Pokeballs than their friend to brag about?

Image result for pokemonAccording to an article by US News, the game’s popularity stems from it’s addicting, user-friendly interface, new locations value, and more than that, it’s competitive nature. Who wouldn’t want to compare with friends their collections, and continuously compete in a game that’s neverendingly fun? Personally, I wouldn’t, nor will I ever be a fan of this type of game. However, for many, it’s an addiction.

(n.d.). Retrieved September 16, 2016, from

Picky eating 101: The psychology of trying new foods

I grew up in a family of six, with three younger siblings. One of the most stressful, and yet memorable parts of my childhood is family meals. Absolutely none of us liked the same types of food. Of course, there were a few things I didn’t particularly enjoy the taste of at a young age, most of which I still dislike, save a few tastes I now crave on a daily basis. I still can’t stand salad, cold lunch meat, peppers, or cantaloupe… however, I have gone through the natural progression of begrudgingly learning to love vegetables, a few types of sauces and spices, and even certain obscure cultural foods of other areas of the world. However, absolutely nothing I experienced compared to that of my younger brother. My brother Jack is just two years younger than I am, and his childhood was completely transformed by his extreme picky eating. From the age of three to about 14, he essentially lived off of chicken nuggets, peanut butter, apples, cereal, and sweets. We tried everything in the book, with nothing prevailing. Image result for food aversionI even vividly remember trying to sneak a pear slice into his plate of apple slices, just so that he would try it, and he immediately noticed before it even touched his tongue and I was honestly so frustrated. How could a growing boy evolve into a man without having a slice of pizza, or a hamburger? He managed to do it.

It wasn’t just that he disliked a lot of different foods because he either refused to try them, or hated the taste. It was that he truly did not like the act of eating. He felt as though it was a chore, and we had to do all but force him to sit still at the table and put down a full meal, even if it was the exact same thing he’s eaten every night. Unsurprisingly, he went through his childhood the size of a twig. However, in the past three years, he has gone through an amazing transformation. Today, he will eat close to ten times the types of foods he was willing to try before, and in bulk. He looks forward to meals, and gets all of his vitamins in that he needs. He’s probably grown close to a foot just having finally expanded his food horizons. He even is willing to try new things; he constantly asks to order something different at a restaurant, or take a bite of someone else’s meal. Having firsthand witnessed this experience, I’ve often wondered, what makes a person evolve to love the food that they would refuse to even be in the same room with as a child?

Through some research, it essentially comes down to science, shown through a handful of factors. The first major player in our food preferences is innate, and it all starts with genetics. According to an article by author Joseph Bennington-Castro on the psychology of food tastes, as humans, we all are predisposed to Image result for meme picky eaterenjoy a few particular tastes for evolutionary reasons. Fatty food attracts us for its high calorie count, providing us with the energy to get through the day. Sweet food often attracts us for its energy as well, along with nutrients and vitamins. On the other hand, tastes that are bitter are historically prevalent in toxic plants, so we are genetically predisposed to despise them (Bennington-Castro). However, genetics don’t play an overbearing role in our psychological predisposition to enjoy and dislike particular foods.

In fact, the majority of our preferences are actually learned, sometimes before an infant is actually born. Apparently, within the womb, infants are often influenced by the mother’s daily eating habits, so that whatever tastes they are often predisposed to, they have been shown to have greater positive reactions to after birth. In one study, as detailed by Bennington-Castro, mothers regularly drank carrot juice late in the stages of their pregnancy. After birth, psychologists found that these babies tended to enjoy carrot-flavored milk and cereal more than their non-carrot-drinking counterparts (Bennington-Castro). Following birth, an infant will essentially eat anything for a period of around two years (Bennington-Castro). Directly following this, children often develop neophobia, developing a dislike for any new food.

Often, parents take this period of time and give up altogether on trying to force their children to eat the food they will throw a tantrum at the sight of (Bennington-Castro). However, this is often the solution to avoiding a picky eater. Children must habitually eat the things that they may dislike, because later, this neophobia will subside, and they will learn to love it. Additionally, I believe that sometimes, cultural influences affect your willingness to try food. I genuinely think that my brother eventually got so sick of having to be the one who needed a special order at a restaurant or who couldn’t eat the slice of pizza at the pool party that he forced himself to try and like those things that he was afraid of. It simply takes time, people will learn to adapt after passing this initial neophobic age,  and realize their true tastes. Expanded horizons are a positive thing, and most will develop an ever-expanding palate as they age. If you want to check out a video that teaches you to overcome a taste aversion, you can find it here.
Bennington-Castro, J. (2013, April 22). The psychology of hating food (and how we learn to love it). Retrieved September 16, 2016, from

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Jacking the headphone jack: Are Bluetooth earphones safe?

It’s that time of year again: the two week build-up to the release of the next generation of iPhones. Of course, this is exciting news for the more than one in four Americans who own iPhones (Elmer-DeWitt). Mid-september every year marks a revolutionary time, a time in which the entire world comes to a halt in order to speculate and observe exactly what the innovative Apple will do next. The newest release for mid-September of 2016 is, as promised, the notorious iPhone 7. The whole world has been on the edge of its seat, awImage result for iphone 7aiting to see if the rumors are true. Of course, we now know that everyone’s worst fear has surfaced: the headphone jack has disappeared. It’s obvious that this isn’t the only difference between this new model and previous smartphone generations; the camera is an entirely different story, the interface and processing speed have changed, and even the home button has gone through its own transformation. However, it seems that all people can think about is how they’re going to be able to plug into the aux and charge their phone at the same time anymore.

And yet, Apple’s real goal is to move into a wireless earphones stage, a revolutionary new step that not a lot of people are prepared for. The innovative minds behind Apple have created a wireless earphone named “AirPods” to accompany the new iPhone in order to propel this futuristic change in what’s familiar. Although the majority of Apple devotees are concerned about how Image result for airpods memeridiculous they look hanging out of your ears with no wire, has anyone taken a minute to concern the safety concerns purely Bluetooth earphones present to users? A wireless technological advancement that utilizes electromagnetic waves in order to exchange device data over short distances, Bluetooth inherited its recognizable name from a famed Danish King responsible for uniting Danish tribes within Scandinavia in the 10th century, King Harald Bluetooth (Ghose).

As an advancement that works very similarly to an extremely low frequency Wi-Fi light, Bluetooth has certainly raised fears about the safety of having radiation waves so close to your head, and now, directly in your ears (Ghose). Luckily, according to an accredited LiveScience article, the radiation emitted electromagnetically through Bluetooth device pairing is remarkably low and essentially harmless, especially when the waves come so irregularly. Of course, smartphones themselves have been associated with a number of safety concerns due to the constant radiation emitted as people carry them on them 24/7. A few studies have been conducted, one of which being an experiment that exposes rats to high levels of phone radiation. The results of this study includImage result for bluetoothe the concerning outcome of a handful of tumors developing in the rats linked to the nervous system and brain; however, the ratio correlates heavily with the number of rats expected to develop tumors by chance, which at least brings some appeasement to smartphone users (Ghose).

Certainly, there will always be a few risks associated with smartphone use, such as driver safety while utilizing Bluetooth earphones, or eardrum damage as a result of overly loud music, as author Tia Ghose points out in her LiveScience article. However, at least for now, we don’t have much to be worried about when it comes to the new jack-less iPhone, besides losing aux cord duty for a while.


Elmer-DeWitt, P. (2014, January 16). NPD: Better than 1 in 4 adult Americans now own an iPhone. Retrieved September 16, 2016, from

Ghose, T. (2016, September 8). New iPhone Lacks Headphone Jack: Are Bluetooth Headphones Safe? Retrieved September 16, 2016, from


iPhone 7





What even is black nothingness?

Hey guys!

My name’s Grace Leibow and I’m from right outside of Pittsburgh, Pa. Since I’m the most indecisive person I know, right now I’m undecided. I have a lot of different interests, including business, public relations, journalism, and french, but basically the only thing I know for certain is that I want to study anything that doesn’t relate to science. I may sound like I’m overreacting, but I swear I just can’t stand it.

Image result for science joke

It’s honestly nothing personal, I’ve just always always always hated it. I feel like it has to do with the fact that my science teachers have consistently been pretty awful. I know there are a few good ones in there, but for the most part, they’ve never quite convinced me that rocks, atoms, and black nothingness that I will never fully understand is interesting enough to form a career around. Also, I tend to overthink things, and so when I need to consider stuff that I can’t possibly wrap my head around, like the universe for example, I get pretty overwhelmed and confused. However, I still think that learning about space and our world is interesting, I just couldn’t see myself studying it.

I chose this class because I really needed a science Gen Ed, but like everyone else, I needed the least science-y class I could find. My temporary advisor told me this was one of the most interesting classes ever and had such an awesome professor who genuinely cares about science, and just wants to instill in students an appreciation of it. So, I immediately signed up. When I first looked over the schedule handed out, I got so excited to learn about all of those questions. A flexible class like this, with no real textbook, but simply fascinating, student-assisted discussion is honestly the best type of environment for me. I can’t wait to spend my Tuesdays and Thursdays with everyone in the best class of the week!