Author Archives: Hannah Margaret Mears

Rap About It

When I visited my brother in college I could not help but laugh at the fact that his friends would do things and then assure themselves it was “okay” because they heard a rapper sing it in a song. I kept wondering if I should be concerned that this is how people in this generation are assuring themselves of their behaviors. Just because Wiz Khalifa says its ok to smoke weed and get drunk does not mean we actually should partake in those activities. Also, many rap songs promote unethical ways to treat women and consistently call women “bitches” or “hoes.”

So, my question is, Do rap songs and rappers themselves influence our generation?

I would go about this by setting up a survey asking an age group from age 16-20 or somewhere in that range and see if they participated in any illegal substance use or degraded women in any way because a song made it seem “okay” to do so. This age group would be my choice because between these ages I think a lot of self discovery is done. I think these results could then be compared to see if these students were partaking in these activities because they had a source of assurance or if it was simply something like they did not care what people thought of them and wanted to rebel. Of course, you would have to keep in mind certain lurking variables like family life, background, age, and gender in this study because those can all play a large part in this analysis.

This rap music is not solely affecting males however, I found a study that was done on African American girls to see if their exposure to gangsta rap promoted bad behaviors. The results were shocking because a portion of these girls became more likely to engage in negative behaviors during school and outside of school as well. It is noted though that the doctors of this study were unaware if the girls were modeling women in the videos or rebelling just because that was what was being shown. Because of the environment of study, the lurking variables  I had mentioned earlier definitely play a part here, but it is still interesting to see these results on this particular group of African American females. I think it would be beneficial to go to a complete opposite group of women and see what their reaction to the same videos would be in order to eliminate some variables.

Other possibilities I found about how hip-hop and rap affects our younger generations is not so much the industry itself, but rather the problems in our society that are already existing are just being addressed. For example, a Stanford University article stated that the industry is more so an outcry rather than a direct affective method pressed upon the youth. However, if the youth responds in a way that brings recognition to the outcry then the artists will have been successful in the message they were trying to get across to the rest of the world. Perhaps this is where reverse causation could come in where rappers could say that the events happening in generations today are causing them to write songs in order to bring awareness to the world.

There may be problems with the youth already and they are just crying out for help, we really do not know for sure, but I think a lot of rap needs to be monitored by parents before allowing children or teens to listen to it because some teens are influenced by these lyrics. Artists are often idolized by younger generations so these generations will try to model them exactly in order to grow up like them. The hip-hop industry is also only growing, so we need to find a way to promote safe behavior and healthy choices to young generations and not allow them to be so influenced by lyrics in a song that merely are just words that rhyme.

I am not trying to get rid of the hip-hop industry in any way in this blog. I, myself, am a lover of rap and hip-hop but to the extent that I simply listen to it for the sound not necessarily the negative lyrics it possesses.

I hope this blog does bring awareness to the fact that some people take these lyrics to heart more so than others do. With young generations we really do need to start monitoring the media so that they do not grow up engaging in dangerous behaviors.


photo credit:


Gluten Free Me

I have always been someone that has suffered with asthma from a young age. I was also very active playing three sports my entire life so I’m sure you can see the issue. I struggled finding ways to control my asthma besides basic medications I was give to take daily. I also got to a point where I had to keep a machine at home to do breathing treatments when needed. All of these asthmatic problems in my life kept pushing me to find ways to prevent asthma attacks. One track season my coach told me that I should try eating gluten free meals. This sounded absolutely insane to me and until I did further research I did not completely understand what he was talking about.

Gluten contains contents that can cause inflammation in the lungs. Even though inflammation is good in some parts of the body when an injury occurs, it is not good when inflammation is happening in areas of the body like the lungs. This link shows some facts about gluten that could be beneficial in better understanding what I am discussing throughout the blog. (LINK)

I researched for myself to even see how to find out if the body was gluten sensitive and saw that a double-blind, randomized, controlled, placebo trial was necessary to find out if the body reacted to the gluten food compared to the non-gluten food in the first place.  If the body reacts to the gluten then someone is gluten sensitive. It is as simple as that.

After I researched some facts I decided that since I was not sold on the fact that my body was gluten sensitive, but gluten did indeed cause some inflammation, that I would give the gluten-free diet a try. To my amazement, during that track season, I ran better than I ever had. I was convinced that the gluten free diet was helping my asthma.

However, when I looked further into my season I realized that I needed to consider the third variable relations in my situation. For example: this was the only track season that I ran indoor track beforehand so I could have been more prepared and in better shape coming into the season than before. Also, along with eating gluten free, I was eating a lot healthier and drinking a lot more water than usual. Not only that, but the weather that year was warmer than usual which made me believe that running in cold weather was worse for my asthma than running in warm weather. All of these variables could have contributed to my asthma not flaring up as much that season. However, to a logical person trying to control their asthma, cutting out some gluten in the diet does not hurt.

I must warn though that going completely gluten free without actually having a gluten allergy can create some risks such as:

  1. Undermining the ability to detect celiac disease
  2. Potentially harming the immune functions
  3. Increased risk of some deadly diseases that gluten helps prevent (LINK)

I never found any thorough studies on whether or not a gluten-free diet helps asthmatics, but there is some research done showing that gluten and asthma do correlate sometimes depending on the severity of the disease. However, we did learn in this class that correlation does not always equal causation.

After thinking about this topic I also came up with some questions dealing with my asthma that maybe some of you were wondering too:

  1. Why do asthma attacks happen in the middle of the night sometimes?
  2. Does the seasons changing have an effect on asthmatics, because I have asthma flare ups in the fall?
  3. Should everyone be tested for a gluten allergy if it potentially could have such a positive or negative effect on our immune system?
  4. Do you have to be gluten free for a certain amount of time to truly see results?

Hopefully, some of you that read this find this interesting and correlating to gluten issues that you may have yourself. Maybe one of the questions previously listed strikes your mind as more fascinating instead.




Dress For The Part

I have never been one to over dress for school. I find it much better to feel comfortable in a learning environment. However, I always found myself paying better attention in class if I dressed to impress. I have no clue what actually made me feel better about the way I looked reflecting upon my cognitive abilities, however it did lead me to wonder, does dressing to fit the part of a certain test help  students learn better? For example, dressing up like a mathematician to perform better on a math test.  If I actually did that would I have received a better grade? It sounds like nonsense, but I am not the only one that has felt this way or pondered these questions.

An observational study done at Northwestern University revealed that students that they put in doctor lab coats performed better learning conflicting flashcards than students placed in lab coats that were told their lab coats were from artists. However this study did not state confounding variables like the IQ of the students, gender, or year of schooling. These confounders could have potentially conflicted the outcome of the study overall. If this study were too be done more properly they should have come up with a null and alternative hypothesis as well as potential confounders and then compared results at the end based on a p-value.

The null hypothesis would be: Lab coats do not help learning ability

The alternative hypothesis would be: Lab coats help learning ability.

After the hypotheses are formed, the students need to be a random sample divided evenly to eliminate confounders in the study. This study then needs to have a control group that does not use a lab coat at all to see if the lab coats indeed are effecting the ability to learn. After the experiment is set up all that would be left to do would be for science to reveal the answers itself.

Other interesting questions that this study poses are:

  1. Do students feel more confident on a test if they act like a professional of that study?
  2. What happens when the students take of the lab coats? Do they learn less proficiently or do they actually remember the information?
  3. Can this study be concluded for all academic fields or just science?

As I researched more I found similar studies done like the Northeastern University one, including one done at California State University. However, this study concluded that the facts that they have gained from these types of studies have merely told them anecdotes instead of definite conclusions.

Although this studies done in Northwestern University and California State University are not for sure proving that dressing the part will improve test scores, I think it is reasonable that people dress differently on testing days to make themselves more confident during the test. The mind is a powerful thing so we should push it beyond limits. It can be nice to boost up confidence by dressing better or dressing professional in order to help succeed on a test. Even if there is not definite evidence to prove this actually helps, getting a better grade is worth the risk.






Sex Helping Health?

Just by the title I am sure a lot of you are thinking that I must be crazy for writing about this topic in school. However, I think it is a legitimate question to consider, especially at a college level where sexual intercourse is a natural human thing to do. I am not promoting pre marital sex in any way, but the question that something immoral to do before marriage could actually be good for a human intrigues me.

So what is it about sexual intercourse that could possibly make someone healthier? Does it make you feel more confident therefore making you feel better in general? Does it make you want to believe you are not sick so that you can have sex again? Does it make you feel closer and more in love with your partner so you are not lovesick?

I read a scientific article that talked about reasons that sex could promote happiness. One of those reasons that stood out to me the most was that sex helps cure the common cold. With the amount of coughing and sneezing going on in the classrooms lately it was something that I wanted to take a look at for myself.

I came across an observational study done by Dr. Charles Charnetski of Wilkes University that said he observed 111 undergraduate students whom ranged from age 16-23. In this study he asked these students how often they were engaging in sexual activity. He also had the levels of immunoglobulin, IgA, measured in the saliva of the volunteers. This helped to measure the immune systems of the people partaking in the study. The study concluded that having sex once or twice a week caused an increase in IgA in the body by 30%. However, if students were frequently having sex with a partner, their levels of IgA decreased which could have been because of outside factors dealing with the quality of their relationship such as stress or anxiety about the relationship itself. These could have possibly been some confounding variables in the study (BBC News…Cure).

If you are thinking about it rationally the quality of the intercourse could also be a confounder. It would be interesting to ask if the length of the intercourse effected the rate of IgA in the body as well. Other factors of the study to consider whether or not it was accurate would be that the illness that was thought to have been cured by sex may have been a very minor cold, whereas a more severe cold may taken a bit more care than sexual activity to go away.

So, should a rational person engage in sexual intercourse once or twice in a week to try and stay healthy when the cold is on the move? I cannot see why it would necessarily be a terrible thing, but then again morally it could be an issue. Having sex that frequently perhaps with different people could eventually lower self esteem causing a reverse effect where the occasional sex actually makes you unhealthy by causing some depression in the brain due to the lack of self respect. However, if you can live with an occasional hookup there is some scientific evidence that shows you may escape the common cold from doing so.


“BBC News | Health | Sex: The Cold Cure.” BBC News. BBC, 14 Apr. 1999. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.

16 Reasons You Should Be Having More Sex, According to Science

Is it the Cause?


Recently, I have dealt with tragedy in my life with a close friend committing suicide. Now, this is not a blog about my friend’s story, but it is merely the topic that lead to my thought process. It is insane to think that a middle school student could have suicidal thoughts and go through with committing suicide without even giving a reason. This unexplained death left a lot of questions whirling through my mind. One major question I came up with was:

Is Bullying Really the Reason for Youth Suicide?

After my friend’s suicide, there was talk that she had been being bullied, but what kind of abuse was she taking from others? Was the bullying verbal or physical? Was the person making her feel bad all day everyday? How did she hide this pain behind a smile on a daily basis?

I think it would be interesting to examine people who have dealt with suicidal thoughts or with families and friends of loved ones that committed suicide to find out if any type of bullying lead their loved one to take his or her own life. This could be done as an observational study to really get a behind the scenes look at people with this bullying problem. I think it would be effective to do the study by keeping the people being observed blinded to the experiment. This would be beneficial because they would be less likely to make up reasons as to why issues were occurring for the sake of people not knowing what was actually going on in their personal lives. However, lying or getting people that are very good at hiding things could be confounders in the study as well as background information like someone’s home life. For example, someone may be getting bullied which seems to be the reason they are suicidal, but in reality they are also being affected by a negative atmosphere at home. Another example of a confounding variable is, if someone was bullied but also had a terminal illness, their cause of suicide could have more so been from the illness than the actual bullying itself.

Questioning people and finding correlation data could help come up with an answer as to whether bullying causes young adults to commit suicide more so than other factors. When doing a study like this though, it is essential to consider each subject as an individual to eliminate other common suicide factors to ensure that you are receiving consistent data. It may be hard to do this study because it could be difficult to get participants that would be open about private matters. However, it is a study to consider.

After some research, I found that according to a nationwide survey from the CDC, it was recorded that 4,400 deaths yearly by suicide had been because of bullying with groups ranging from age 10-24. So, if bullying is said to be causing suicide, why doesn’t everyone who is bullied commit suicide then? There are people who have been bullied that have been able to stand up for themselves and not turn to suicide. This made me wonder if some people are born with suicidal thoughts from a young age which also made me believe that it may not just be the bullying, but rather they are born with something in their head making them weaker than others. After all, it takes a lot of courage to take ones own life because a non suicidal person would most likely never actually be able to pull the trigger on themselves even on their worst days.

In general, suicide of any cause is a serious problem. The smallest thing said or done to someone could seriously alter their state of being. It is never okay to judge someone in a negative way because you truly never know what they could be facing on a day to day basis. Logically, even if bullying was not the major cause of suicide in youth, it still should be prevented and stopped by the average person because it could save one or two young lives. Statistics show overwhelming numbers when it comes to death by suicide.

Other questions that came to mind after viewing the statistics were:

  1. Why is bullying increasing or decreasing in certain areas?
  2. Is technology making bullying a bigger issue?
  3. Does the area someone lives in increase their chance of being bullied?
  4. Does the type of suicidal method someone uses tell something about why they committed suicide?


No matter what the cause may be everyone should be aware that people are suffering on the inside and may need help before it is too late. Reverse causality of suicide causing these other factors to happen is not likely. These factors are leading to suicide. People need to recognize these issues and help prevent them in order to save lives.


Suicide Statistics


Barbie or Bust

Self-Image is a popular phrase with young women in society today. Just about every girl is worried about how they look and what people think of them. I noticed recently, too that on social media girls can edit pictures and make themselves look like someone that they are not at all. Also, it seems as though young girls that are only of age 13 actually look like they are 25 on the internet because of the layers of make up on their faces. It is absurd that these young girls feel the need to grow up so fast and become someone else before they truly know who they are.

I know that most girls nowadays are all into looking like a Kardashian or other celebrity icon, but why is just being yourself not good enough? It is hard to look at someone or something and not want to become them. One perfect example of this would be a Barbie Doll. The perfect blonde hair, blue eyes, tiny waist, big bust, and large butt combination is what every girl dreamt of looking like for so long. However, these qualities are actually not realistic. Barbie has a direct impact on body image and upholds unrealistic standards.

Recent studies have anatomically broken down Barbie’s image to show people why it is impossible to look like her. Barbie, if she was human, would be 5 feet and 9 inches tall, weigh 110 pounds and have a 16 inch waist. This means that she could not menstruate or have room for some vital organs in the abdominal area. Most American women have an average waist size of 35 inches. Barbie also would have small feet that would measure out to be about a size three with small ankles. Her small 3.5 inch wrist does not do her any good either. With that being said, Barbie would have to walk like a dog using all four limbs instead of her two legs. Barbie’s head might also be dangling quite a bit because it would be hard for her abnormally thin neck to hold it upright in anatomical position (Goldstein).


Although Barbie seems like a beautiful and amazing image for young women just by looking at her, she is actually causing a lot of harm. Women try to lose weight to look like Barbie and have found themselves seriously risking their health. For example, anorexia nervosa is becoming more prominent in young women trying to be a look-alike-Barbie. In a study, young girls were shown images of Barbie and it was concluded that they felt worse about themselves after seeing the “perfect” doll LINK (Dying…Impossible). Anorexia is not a condition to mess with and causes so many deaths around the world. No girl should have to feel like every bone needs to be out of their body in order to feel beautiful.

Makers of Barbie need to send a message to young girls that you do not have to fit their image in order to be beautiful. Barbie is a doll and we should not have to worry about our youth dying because they are not meeting the standards of their favorite toy.


Works Cited

Goldstein, Sasha. “Barbie as a Real Woman Is Anatomically Impossible.” NY Daily News. N.p., 15

               Apr. 2013. Web. 08 Sept. 2016.

“Dying to Be Barbie: Eating Disorders in Pursuit of the Impossible.” N.p., n.d. Web.

08 Sept. 2016


Picture Credit:

It rings, it vibrates, it beeps, it lights up, and it is something you carry on you all of the time. If you guessed cell phone, you are right. With a constantly changing world of technology, a cell phone has become a daily necessity. It stores important dates, contacts, and all of your valuable pictures and music. However, have you ever thought about the amount of times that you have put your phone up to your face, near your mouth, or in the palm of your hand? The answer to that is, probably too many times to count. Although cell phones seem like harmless devices, they are actually loaded with germs that can harm your health. In fact, it is estimated that there are about 25,000 germs per square inch of your phone (Boshell). I mean think about it, germs breed in nice warm places and your hand constantly warming your phone makes it an ideal location to reproduce.


The germs found on a cell phone are not harmless either. Actually, the germs on your phone can cause skin infections and rashes like E Coli, Influenza, and MRSA. Those are some pretty nasty germs to be messing around with on a daily basis (Boshell). These germs also thrive on cellular devices because not many people ever take the time to disinfect their phone. It is usually just an item that we take everywhere with us and assume it is as clean as we are when in reality it is one of the dirtiest objects that we touch all day.

Interestingly enough, there is fascinating research that has been done to prove that things cleaner than a cell phone include: dog bowls, door knobs, and even toilet seats. Yes, that is right, toilet seats LINK. It is pretty nasty to think that something we sit on to get rid of waste is cleaner than something we use to take a picture or call a friend.

How many of you take your phone into the bathroom with you? The answer to that is probably a lot. I mean come on who doesn’t like to scroll through the daily twitter feed while sitting on their throne bright and early in the morning? Astonishingly enough, approximately 40% of people take their phone into the bathroom with them. According to a British Study, about 1 in 6 phones are contaminated with fecal matter (Schultz). DISGUSTING! Yet, we all continue to touch our phones like they are our most prized possession. It is pretty gruesome to think that the next time you touch your phone you could actually be touching poop!

Cell phones will still be constantly used despite all of the gross germs living on them, but we should try to disinfect our phones more in order to protect ourselves from the harmful diseases that these germs carry. We need to be aware of where we take our phones and what germs they might pick up from those places. Cell phones are very useful, but the contamination may not be worth it.



Works Cited

Boshell, Patrick. “Your Mobile Phone Is Dirtier Than You Think.” Your Mobile Phone Is Dirtier Than

                You Think. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Sept. 2016.

Schultz, Rachael. “4 Reasons Your Phone Is Teeming With Germs.” Shape Magazine. N.p., 19 Jan.

                2015. Web. 02 Sept. 2016.


A common controversy in the society today is between people who use tanning beds and those who do not. It is said that tanning beds are bad for the skin and can cause skin cancer, but others argue that the sun gives off just as much harmful rays. I found it fascinating to do some research and look deeper into this topic to see who was actually correct and if tanning beds are actually a major problem compared to being in the natural sunlight too long.

This link TANNING states that any exposure to ultraviolet radiation of any kind can be harmful to the skin cells. Any form of UV radiation also leads to premature skin aging as well as cancer. People who tan too much tend to be wrinkled, have brown spots, and much more. Some more interesting facts about cancer were found here Cancer. This site named two facts that stood out the most to me about skin cancer:

  1. The number of skin cancer cases due to tanning is higher than the number of lung cancer cases due to smoking.
  2. In the United States alone, 419,254 cases of skin cancer can be attributed to indoor tanning. Out of this number, 6,199 are melanoma cases.



The fascinating question is, if there are so many harmful risks involved with tanning, why do people still insist on tanning? It is possible that because our society values materialistic items and portrays beauty a certain way, that people feel it is necessary that they tan to remain “beautiful.” It is sad to see the world we live in forget about the important things like the environment, politics, life, and more because we are so consumed in how we look and what others think of us. In a world where the amount of followers you have and likes you get on a picture determine your popularity; it is easy to see why the important things in life get thrown to the back of the mind. The irony behind all of this is that as we think we are making ourselves look better and feel more accepted by society, but in actuality we are setting ourselves up to look worse in the future. If the tanning becomes extreme we will then be wrinkly and covered in spots that could potentially be cancerous. All of the sudden the beauty behind it all becomes the beast. It is important as a society to not forget that the small things in life truly matter the most because in the end it is about who you were on the inside and how you impacted the world.

The chemical make ups of our bodies are not there to be messed with. We are made the way we are for a reason and should realize that we are beautiful no matter what our skin color is. We were given certain levels of everything in order to survive, but in this world where bigger is better, we sometimes tend to take things to the extreme. If we are not careful, tanning will soon be one of those things that is taken just a bit too far.

With all of that being said so many more questions arise:

  1. Will humanity destroy itself?
  2. Will vanity cause eventual depression and mental health issues?
  3. Are we so consumed with technological advancements that the technology will soon control us completely?









Hello Class,

My name is Hannah Mears and I am a freshman aspiring to be a Broadcast Journalism major. I am from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and recently took a road trip to Denver Colorado (see image below). I titled this blog post Passion Over Pay because I originally wanted to be a Nurse Practitioner or Pediatrician my entire life. If any of you know about either of those careers you know that their incomes are significantly higher than an average job. However, I chose to take the journalism route because although I have always enjoyed science class, I loved writing and public speaking so much more. I chose this class because I took a liking to my classes in high school that challenged my brain by forcing me to think critically.

I have never really traveled anywhere out of the country in my life, so my recent trip to Denver, Colorado was the farthest I have ever been. Even though I have never traveled significant miles in my lifetime so far, I have a passion to want to see the world. I think majoring in broadcast journalism gives me incentive to branch out and travel to report world issues. I could even travel around the United States for sporting events if I choose to go into sports journalism. The world is so beautiful and should not be taken for granted. I want to take every chance that I can to see things before it is too late.




This class has me thinking of so many different areas of science that interest me. I am excited to hear about the topics we discussed the first day of class. I also thought of a new topic because as someone who enjoys to read and write I was always into mysteries. With mysteries there was usually a bad guy or criminal and the ones that grabbed my attention the most were the murderers. I know that sounds pretty gruesome, but I just cannot wrap my mind around how someone can kill another human being. This lead my brain to another question of Are Serial Killers Born or Created? There are several different theories about serial killers having something in their brain that makes them want to kill from the start, but there are also theories about life experiences that cause one to be so violent. I for one really do not know which side to choose because it could truly go either way if supported with the right evidence.  Here is a link to a story I found intriguing about serial killers to get your mind thinking about whether serial killers are born or created. SERIAL KILLERS I find it so fascinating that the human mind can work so many different ways.  I would love to hear feedback from the class about ideas on this question. I think it would be a cool discussion to have in class and hear more opinions about this topic. I do not want it to seem like I am a crazy chick, but come on we all enjoy a little mystery every once in awhile.