Author Archives: Margaret Marchok

Cars And Risk

For the past few weeks of class, all we have talked about is risk. It has been very interesting for me to listen to. As a Supply Chain Management major, I love working with statistics. It seems as though we have focused a lot on the risk of car crashes and using that statistic as a baseline for comparing other risks. While it is great to look at facts, I decided that I wanted to learn more about the risk of car crashes. Therefore, I did some research

In my last post, I researched the safety of planes and the risk of air travel. I found it ironic that I then stumbled across this article which compared the two forms of travel. According to the article, for every 100 million miles driven, about one fatal car crash occurs. This statistic is alarming compared to the almost non-existent deaths that occur over the millions of miles that airplanes fly. Over-all, the number of people who die in cars is astronomically bigger than the amount of people who die in planes. This striking statistic is only a brief outlook into the dangers of driving.

It seems as though cars being dangerous is not a new idea. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, death by car crashes have long been a problem. Back in 1925 when cars were a new technology, about 1 out of every three people who died in a car crash was a child. However, the article brings up an interesting point. Car crashes are not the only dangerous thing about cars. Cars are technology, and as well all know, technology has the tendency to fail every once and a while. Cars had a habit of causing fires when they were first being made, which was a threat to users. Cars also had an adverse effect on people’s health, making users less in-shape and leading to some bone and joint problems.

There are many reason as to why people get into car crashes. One of the most obvious reasons is age. It is no secret that teen drivers pose some of the worst threats to other drivers. Science Direct article states that new drivers account for over 120 crashes per every 10,000 miles crashes within the first month of their driving experience.  This number does tapper off as they get more and more experienced, but it really is shocking to see just how much havoc young drivers wreck on the roadways. Drivers also faces many other dangerous factors. Situations involving drunk driving, driving while exhausted, and many other things make driving a dangerous game.

why safe driving is important for your teenPhoto Credits

Over-all, driving is a pretty risky business. It not only is yourself that you have to worry about, but it is also other people you must worry about. When you chose to drive a car, you put yourself at risk for a multitude of bad things to happen to you. However, I don’t think this should stop people. Life is full of risks when you really think about it. However, we can only control what we can control. As long as people are smart and heads-up when they drive, they can eliminate a lot of risks. Stay safe, drivers!

Are Airplanes Risky?

I am terrified of planes. Yes, you heard me. I hate flying. I’m not really too sure why but the whole idea just freaks me out. Whenever my family and I fly somewhere, my dad always comforts me by telling me that “flying is safer than driving a car.” That is why I have found it ironic that recently in class we have been comparing different risk factors to the risk factor of driving a car. All this talk of risk has recently gotten me interested in finding out just how safe airplanes are, so I decided to do some research.

A major part of my fear of flying comes from the fact that I simply just don’t understand how they work. I don’t like how I am not on the ground. Also, being so high up freaks me out. The first thing I did was research how planes work. I happened to stumble across this NASA article. According to the article, lift is a major factor in the initial step of getting the airplane off of the ground. Airplane wings are specifically designed to create a greater force of air under their wings than on top. Engineers achieve this by designing the wings to move air on top of the wings more quickly than air under the wings. This allows the air on the bottom of the plan to act as an upward force on the machine. Once the plane has been lifted, it turns to its engines to propel it through the sky.

Photo credits

Next, I decided to delve into the safety factor of airplanes. According to this website, one major concern in the world of aviation today is the computer software that is used to fly planes. The article notes that the first question that comes to mind when dealing with the issue of technology in planes is whether the technology can be fully trusted or not. Sure, technology is great when it works, but what happens when it doesn’t? Without a backup plan to the technology, that situation could become detrimental. That also brings me to the next point the article made about airplane technology. Another issue that comes up is airplane pilot’s understanding of and relationship with the technology. The article mentions that this issue is the cause behind a lot of airplane incidents. If pilots don’t understand the technology fully it is too complicated, it hinders his ability to perform his job to the fullest.

Another great point about airplane safety is how safe you actually are on the inside. According to this article, clinics are beginning to see a rise in the number of patients who report cold symptoms and nausea after flying. This had lead some people to believe that air inside of an airplane cabin has the ability to make people sick and is not conducive to people’s health. However, because of these claims, some companies have taken it upon themselves to do research on whether the air is safe or not, and their results have turned up clean. It turns out airplanes are actually very clean places, which leads me to believe that confounding variable are at play. People could perhaps be experiencing some underlying anxiety about flying which then in turn causes them to feel sick. Also, there is always the possibility that they contracted their illness before they flew, and their flight just happened to be at the same time that they began to see symptoms.

Over-all, I actually believe that the risk of taking an airplane is quite small. Sure, there are always possibilities for things to go wrong, but that is life. Airplanes rarely crash, and when they do, they create a shock throughout the world because it is something we are not used to seeing. Even though I still am scared to fly, I feel better knowing how planes work and that people are continuously trying to make them safe.


Black Holes-What Are They?

Yesterday in class, we had a very interesting lecture. Planet hunter Jason Wright came in to speak to us about his work and our universe. The topic of outer space has always interested me greatly, but because I am not much of a science person, I have never dug deeper into my interest. That is why I was very excited when I walked into class and heard about what we would be learning.

Jason gave some very fascinating information about the planet and our galaxy. For example, I never knew that the Milky Way has about 200 billion stars in it- that was shocking to me. I also loved learning that space is actually about 90% made up of dark matter. This is a topic that has always peaked my interest. It is a very mysterious subject and it raises a lot of questions for me. I posted a question to the comment wall black holes, and it never got answered, so I decided to take to upon myself to do some research. So, what are black holes?

According to National Geographic, the creation of black holes all start with a star. Eventually, the star burns out and dies. When that occurs, the outer layers of the star will continue on into space while the core of the star will remain. Eventually, the core gets sucked into a neutron star by gravity. The gravitational pull of these stars are incredible- they suck the core of the star in and crush every part of it. When this happens, a black hole is created.

Illustration of Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy

Many scientists have disputed over the existence of black holes. Even Albert Einstein could not fathom the concept that gravity could be so powerful. However, back in Einstein’s time, they did not have the luxury of having the technology we have now. Since the invention of X-rays, scientists have used them to study space as they give a better picture of light. After studying space using X-Rays, scientists discovered that in the center of most galaxies, black holes did indeed exists. They found clusters of stars and dusts, which fit right in with the definition of black holes being areas that suck in stars and other space debris.  Although the article notes that nobody has actually seen a real black hole, there is enough statistical evidence out there to have scientists confidently say that black holes more than likely exist. As we have learned in this class, scientists can never 100% prove or disprove things, but extensive studies on this subject matter leave scientists confident of black hole’s existence.

Still curious about black holes, I decided to find out what would happen to an object if it happened to get sucked into a black hole. Unfortunately for me, this question cannot be answered. According to this article, it is hard to even tell the scope of a black hole. Simple determining the inside of one from the outside leaves scientists scratching their heads. However, we can deduct a few things about the inside of black holes from what we know. For starters, objects must move incredibly fast in order to escape black holes. One the inside, objects would have to move at impossible speeds to escape the pull of gravity. This is why it is so hard to gather data about the insides of these holes. Any sort of transmission to gather information just gets lost inside of the hole.  For now, we just have to wait for new technology to be developed before we can go exploring the insides of black holes.

Over-all, black holes are extremely interesting and I am so happy that Jason came in to talk to us about black holes among many other things!

Photo Credits

So, What Really Causes Autism?

Many scientists, doctors, and even parents have tries to come up with theories on the causes of autism. From genetic mutations, to vaccines, to other diseases, there are a wide variety of things believed to contribute to autism. Last blog period, I actually wrote a post on the belief that vaccines cause autism. I used to have some belief in this theory, however I no longer believe this theory. I now see this theory as dangerous because by not giving children their vaccines, parents put their children at risk for other deadly diseases. In my opinion, it is silly to blame vaccines for causing autism. Millions of children are vaccinated every year, and if they did cause autism, I fully believe we would see exponentially larger cases of it. After personally discrediting the vaccination theory I decided to do my own research into the other two major theories surrounding the causes of autism.

According to this article, scientists have yet to find the exact cause of autism. Autism is believed by many to be caused by abnormalities in genes. A lot of research has been conducted on sets of twins and triplets to try and study the different genetic mutations. The study results were consistent with the alternative hypothesis stating that autism is indeed caused by both genetic and environmental factors. The study found that if one member of a family has autism, there is a good chance that somewhere else down the line of genetics, another occurrence of autism will be seen. Interestingly enough, your chances of seeing another case of autism rise down the line increase even more if the family member who has autism is a female. Personally, I think this study is quite valid. For starters, it observed twins and triplets, people who share the exact same genes. I feel as though this was a great way to start. By looking at one twins genes and comparing it to the other twins who had autism, researchers could clearly see the large role genetics plays in autism.

Image result for autism

Another popular belief in society is that autism can be caused by various diseases a mother or a child may get early on in life. According to this article, in the 1970s, doctors began to see a rise in the number of pregnant mothers who were contracting Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS). While the issue was eventually taken care of and a vaccination was found, many people believe that the lingering effects of those who had this disease is causing autism. According to the article, many children with autism often exhibit the same symptoms as those with CRS.

One researcher named Stella Chess did multiple studies in attempt to prove the link between CRS and autism. In her first study, she look at a large group of children with CRS. Out of those children, the amount of children with autism was 200 times higher than the normal amount of children who have autism among the regular population.  A few years later, she restudied the majority of her original group and was able to diagnose four more cases of autism.

While I am not a supporter of theories that point to diseases and vaccinations as the cause of autism, I must admit that this study does provide some pretty significant evidence for CRS playing a role in the occurrence of autism. However, the article has no mention of the genetic history of those who were diagnosed. Also, a bit of meta-analysis would have greatly benefitted the authenticity of Chess’ findings. If she had also analyzed other studies done on patients with CSR and autism, it could have backed up the point she was trying to make. If their findings were consistent with hers, that would have been even more convincing evidence for me.

Over-all, I think the two theories I presented here are pretty valid. However, the one I put the most faith and trust in is the theory that genetic mutation is what causes autism. It is the most widely accepted theory and seems to be the most practical. Truthfully, I think the theory is the most easily proven one. The vaccination theory and the disease there rely heavily on anecdotal evidence and correlation, which we have learned to be not-so-solid evidence. I truly hope that someday, a true cause for autism is found so scientists can come up with the proper way to treat it.  

Photo Credits

Climate Change- It’s Happening

For years, all I have heard about is “climate change” this and “climate change” that. I used to ignore scientists when they would harp on this issue. Truthfully, I never really believed in it. However, my mind has recently been opened and I am starting to realize the scary truth about climate change. Last year I took Meteorology 005 for a GN requirement. My professor was actually really cool and explained climate change in a way I had never heard it explained before. He didn’t approach it from a pessimistic stance. Instead, he simply noted that climate is going up and that we must do something about it. Something clicked in me after that lecture and I began to realize the severity of our climate situation. As much as I want to pretend our climate is where it should be, it most definitely is not.

World-wide, there are copious amounts of evidence for our rising climate level. According this this article written by NASA, for over 400,000 years, CO2 emissions have had their ups and downs, but they have never reached over 300 ppm. In the past 60 or so years, CO2 emissions have skyrocketed from that level to reach 400 ppm. As we have learned in class, many scientists believe it is the rising CO2 levels that are causing global warming. And, since no natural causes can be found to explain why the sea levels are rising, many scientists believe it is the actions of humans that are causing these harmful effects. However, CO2 emissions are not where the evidence stops for climate change. The NASA article also notes that many pieces of evidence can be found by looking at our oceans. In the last century alone, the level of the sea has risen almost 7 inches. The water is also beginning to slowly get warmer and warmer. Also, though you may think it a stereotypical example of climate change, it is true that our ice caps are shrinking at an alarming rate. Some ice caps in Greenland have even shrunk to half of the cubic mileage that they started out with.

Hockey stick graph

A lot of research has been done on the topic of climate change. Many scientists continually looks for more and more evidence of its occurrence. This article describes some work done by scientists Joel Guiot and Wolfgang Kramer. The two scientists took pollen cores from the Mediterranean and ran some tests on them. Since pollen cores offer a good look into climate change over the years, they used their findings as a baseline for which to compare further studies to. They studied different vegetation’s and determined how they would react in different climate-change scenarios. The men found that even the slightest temperature variation could drastically change our ecosystem. This experiment just goes to show you how imperative it is that we step up and take action for our planet.

So, after all of this talk of climate change, I admit that I finally caved and had to accept the harsh reality. There would be absolutely no point in scientists making up this data, so I myself have chosen to believe in it. If you are like me and didn’t believe in climate change at first, I hope you now at least got a taste for the severity of it. If you feel inclined to take action, this website lists some great ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint and help reduce climate change.

(Photo Credits)

Scientific Fraud

Often times it seems as though people have this immense need to be right. This can be both good and bad. It can be good because it fuels a desire to do more research and make sure you have all of your facts straight. On the other hand it can cause an extreme sense of competition and make people do unethical things. This is exactly what drives people to commit scientific fraud.

I found yesterday’s lecture to be incredibly eye opening. It was very interesting to learn about all of the scientists who have committed fraud in their work. It also made me a bit sad to learn about. Each of those scientists skewed their work and instilled false hope into the population.  This got me interested in other scientific fraud that has been committed. After much research, I came across the story Anil Potti. According to an article written by the Office of Research Integrity, Potti was a researcher at Duke University when he claimed to have found a miracle cure for cancer. He published many documents boasting about his findings. Cancer patients everywhere caught wind of Potti’s “findings” and began to feel some hope that they could be cured. Unfortunately for them, all of Potti’s “findings” were fabricated. The article goes on to describe all of Potti’s wrong-doings. For example, Potti claimed to have done a trail with a large amount of patients using his cancer treatment. He reported that a good portion of the patients were helped. In reality, Potti only tested a few people with his cancer-treating method, and none of the participants in the study responded.

Photo Credits

According to an article on CBS’s website, a multitude of people bought in Potti’s scheme and believed this would be a miracle treatment for them. They enrolled for Potti’s trail, believing it was their chance to be cured. I simply can’t imagine the heartbreak they felt when they heard the news that Potti was a fraud. This made me very sad and angry. As I have mentioned before in previous posts, my grandfather had a long battle with cancer that he eventually lost. I simply can’t imagine what it would have been like if he had invested in this trial and been given a sense of false hope. It would have made me mad beyond belief.

It truly blows my mind that someone could willingly give sick people such a false sense of hope. The CBS article writes that Potti was a trusted and respected scholar. It makes me wonder- what went wrong? Scientists are incredibly smart human beings who have lots of knowledge. With that knowledge comes a great responsibility to humanity. My hope is that people will learn from the mistakes of people like Potti and realize that being honest and ethical in their work are of the utmost importance.


Science- Stay Out of My Prayers

Let me start off by saying that I have grew up in a very Catholic family. My childhood weekends were spent in CCD classes (for those of you who don’t know that that is, it is basically religious education) and going to church. I also attended Catholic high school for all four years of my high school education. As you can imagine, my catholic faith is a large part of who I am.

Our discussions about the healing power of prayer very much peaked my interest last week. I am a big believer in a higher power as it is what I have been taught about for all of my life. I was very interested to hear about it from a scientific perspective. I decided to do some further investigation into studies done about prayer and healing. Now, I went into this with the mentality that the existence of a high power cannot be proved or disproved through science, and what I found coincided with that. I found some very contradicting studies dealing with the effects of prayer.

In an article written by the New York Times, it showcased a study with patients at different hospitals around the country who were all receiving the same type of surgery. The researchers divided the patients into three different groups- however, they decided that only two of those groups would be prayed for. To eliminate a psychosomatic response, the researches only told some of the members of the groups that where being prayed for that they would be receiving prayers. The researchers then went to different churches and asked them to intercede for the two groups. They gave the congregations specific things to ask for in their prayers and then monitored the patient’s recoveries. It was found that the 2/3rds of people who were prayed for had no different recovery than the 1/3rd who were not prayed for.


Much different results are portrayed in an article written on the National Library of Medicine’s website. One peculiar thing I saw noted on the website was the nation that prayer may be used as a healing tool via meditation. To be more precise, instead of studying the effects of people praying for patients, the study had patients pray for themselves. When this happened, improvements such as a reduction in heart rate and a better immune system where seen. I found this interesting because it can be deduced that the act of praying was calming for the patients and helped to put them at ease. The article goes on to describe other studies in which the over-all consensus was that patients who were prayed for showed tremendously bigger success rates as opposed to those who weren’t prayed for.

Now, just to reiterate what I mentioned at the start of this post, I have a strong catholic faith. Therefore, in my personal opinion, I do not believe the actions of God or the existence of God can be determined through scientific experiments. In both studies done, there are many possible confounding variables. For one, Catholics are always taught about how important it is to keep up a relationship with God. If someone prays every day, then under this line of thinking, they would be more apt to have their prayers answered in their time of need than someone is estranged from God and having others pray for them. Also, because of my faith I believe God has a plan for everyone. In this first study I wrote about, suppose God had a plan for each of the patients studied and it was time for some of them to leave this Earth. Furthermore, suppose those who perished where in immense pain and God saw it fit that they enter Heaven and be freed of their pain? It isn’t so much that praying didn’t work for those people- maybe the prayers were just answered in a way that we don’t understand.

Over-all, I don’t think that science can prove or disprove the power of prayer. My personal view is that I have a great respect for science and think it is essential to well-being of humanity. Science proves answers to things on the surface, such as what causes cancer or what makes tress grow. However, each and every faith goes beyond the surface. It goes deeper than that and reaches levels that I don’t personally believe science can reach.

Are Vaccinations Safe?

Recently, we have been discussing some very interesting topics in class. Learning about the dangers that the lack of science causes has been very eye opening. For one, it really is instilling a great appreciation for science in me. It is also very intriguing to learn about instances in the past where science (or a lack thereof) has actually killed people.

In particular, I found the thalidomide example to be particularly interesting. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see what the drug was doing to people’s genes. I found it shocking how a drug that was believed to be so useful was actually so harmful. Therefore, it got me thinking- are there any drugs out there now that we believe are good but will actually hurt us later?

During my research, I actually was reminded of the theory that some people have about vaccinations causing autism. According to an article done by the Oxford Journal, a few hypothesis exist about the connection between vaccines and autism. All the hypothesis center around the belief that the vaccines are poisonous to the body and do things such as damage organs and the central nervous system as well as effect the immune system.

The article goes on to describe a study done with eight children. After receiving a vaccination, they were monitored. Soon after the vaccination, all of the children showed signs of autism development. Further studies showed that the children’s bodies had taken proteins and moved them to the brain and bloodstream, where they did not allow normal growth and development to occur. This led to defects which then led to the development of autism. Now, many other things could have caused this effect on the children’s bodies other than the vaccination. In my opinion, genetics are a big part of health and people’s susceptibility to illness. If the children have a history of Austin runs in the child’s family, then perhaps the proteins would have made their way into the bloodstream anyway. Chance could also be largely at play; however, this study certainly gives credit to the theory that vaccinations may be dangerous.

Image result for vaccination

Another article done by the Center for Disease Control mentions that some speculate about the inclusion of thimerosal in vaccinations and the occurrence of autism. Thimerosal is a mercury compound put into vaccinations to curb the growth of different types of bacteria. Many people believe that thimerosal is the chemical in vaccines that does the most damage to the body and leads to autism. Due to recent complaints and outbursts from the public due to its possible connection, thimerosal has not been included in vaccinations for the past 15 years. Again, while many websites claim thimerosal is safe, speculation that it may cause autism still continues.

The issue about the link between vaccination and autism is still a growing issue. In this day and age of modern medicine, research still continues for prevention of autism. However, it is important to take into consideration the helpful effects that vaccinations have. They aide in the prevention of diseases that can be potentially fatal to infants and grown-ups alike. It is very important to look at both the benefits and costs of getting them.

As for the direct causation between vaccinations and autism, none has been found. Right now, the link is heavily based on speculation. There is a very good chance that chance itself is what is the confounding variable between the vaccination and autism. For now, we will just have to wait and see for harder evidence to come out before we make any further decision.

Photo Credits:


Cell Phone Addiction

“If you turn your phone in at the beginning of class, you will get 1% extra credit.” I couldn’t believe it. All I would have to do to get one whole percent of extra credit was separate myself from my phone for an hour and fifteen minutes? What a piece of cake. Would this really be a challenge for some people? I was rather taken aback (but grateful nonetheless) by this proposition. Unlike most of my professors assume, I am not addicted to my cell phone. Sure, I am susceptible to the occasional distraction of it, but I am fine taking a break from it. In fact, I even like it- I felt laser-focused without my cell phone by my side. However, it got me thinking- is my generation really that addicted to technology?

Just as we have learned in class about the dangers of cigarettes addiction, I was curious about the dangers and reality of cell phone addiction. Recently I had to go on a nature walk for my BiSci class. In order to do this, we had to leave our cell phones behind with our TA. Again, as someone who is not emotionally attached to my cell phone, this was no issue for me. However, I can’t say the same for my other classmates. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they missed their phone or where anxious without it, I would have been able to buy my way out of going on that walk. It was absolutely mind blowing how much they genuinely missed their phones. This experience made me even more curious about the reality of cell phone addiction.

According to a study done by Science News for Students, many college students find themselves addicted to their cell phones. Out of the 24 hours in the day, the average college students finds themselves spending a whopping 9 of those on cellphone use alone. When students tried to distance themselves from their phones, they experienced similar symptoms that a drug addict may experience when going through withdraw. This study helps explain why so many of my classmates were agitated and upset when they were not by their phones.

Another study done by Psychology Today showed that cell phone addiction is more serious it may sound. While many adults love to joke about teens being addicted to their devices, it can actually be quite a serious thing. In a study conducted in England, almost half of the people surveyed admitted to having separation anxiety from their cell phones when they lose it or are away from it. People who are so consumed in their cell phones may even experience symptoms such as having the impulse to constantly check their phone, slipping grades due to cell phone consumption, and they even may experience the sensation of getting a cell phone notification when there really was no notification at all. Many of these potential symptoms are very similar to the symptoms addicts of drugs experience, further perpetuating the notion that cell phones can be highly addictive.

Granted, some of these “symptoms” of addiction could be due to numerous confounding variables. For example, I do not consider myself someone who constantly needs to be on their phone, yet even sometimes I find myself thinking my phone buzzed even when it didn’t. I feel as though we all think we hear one sound when in reality it is another from time to time. Also, the bit about cell phone addiction causing grades to slip is a bit of a shaky point. Grades can slip for a multitude of reasons such as stress, busy schedules, etc. Again, correlation does not mean causation, so just because someone may use their phone a lot and also have bad grades does not mean their phone usage is the reason for their grades. However, there is no denying that high cell phone usage can be very detrimental to some people and it can have negative effects.

It is crazy that cell phones have become a rather dangerous piece of technology. Some people have actually been impacted so badly by cell phone addiction that they have had to seek help from therapy groups . I am to have evaded this crippling addiction, and I hope that those who were not as lucky as me can soon kick their addiction and focus on the important things in life. If you do believe you are addicted and simply don’t know where to start in order to overcome it, this article will give you a good idea of where to start. Now, get off your phone and start living life!

Works Cited



Oreos or Cocaine?

This past week in class we have been discussing the use of cigarettes. Cigarettes are highly addictive things that a large portion of the population uses. Addiction has always interested me in a way. I have always wondered how our bodies can become so dependent on one thing. I guess one reason for this is that addiction runs in my genes. Past family members of mine have succumbed to alcohol addiction, so I know when the time comes and I am legal, I will have to be careful of that. I also know both of my grandparents used to smoke, but luckily they beat their addiction.

I have fortunate to avoid addiction so far in my life. However, there is one exception to that statement. If I had to pick one things that I may be addicted to, it would definitely be…OREOS! Now, I know, many people out there love the classic crème filled cookie. I feel like my love of Oreos goes beyond that. When I eat one cookie, I simply can’t stop. Just having one turn into having three, and before I know it half of the box is gone. Ok, maybe that is an exaggeration, but you get the point. I just can’t stop.

The other day I was sitting in my apartment doing some schoolwork when I remembered that my one roommate had bought birthday cake Oreos. I was stressed out from studying for an exam and I really just needed something sweet. Therefore, I went into the cabinet in search of those Oreos (don’t worry, I asked permission first). I had a few, and then a few more. I started to get up and reach for a third round of Oreos but stopped myself for fear of making myself sick. “Oreos are so addicting,” I remarked to my other roommate, “I really can’t stop eating them.” Much to my surprise, she remarked that studies have found that Oreos may be as addicting as cocaine.

This really peaked my interest. Oreos are as addicting as cocaine? It couldn’t be. I know I love to joke about this Oreo addiction, but I had no idea there were studies done on the matter. Therefore, I sat down and did some research and what I found amazed me. According to this article, Oreos do in fact have the capability to be as addicting as cocaine.

At Connecticut College researches conducted a study with rats. In one experiment, they were placed in a maze with a rice cake and Oreo. During the study the rats gravitated towards the Oreos. The same study was done with small cocaine injections and saline injections. The rats behaved the same way towards the cocaine as they did towards the Oreos. According to another article done by Forbes, the reason for this is that Oreos trigger the the portion of the brain that gives us the feeling of pleasure.

Now if we look at this experiment, we can see many flaws in it. First of all, the rats tendency to gravitate towards Oreos does not necessarily mean they were addicted to them- it just means they preferred the Oreos to the alternative option. And let’s face it- who wouldn’t? I feel as though a better test as to whether the rats were addicted or not would to be to feed them a large amount of Oreos for an extended period of time and then cut the rats off. By monitoring their reaction to being cut off, I feel as though researches could get a better grasp on just how addictive Oreos are.

Although an Oreo addiction would be better than a cocaine addiction any day of the week, it still can be rather detrimental to your health. As Forbes magazine put it, the addicting qualities of sugary sweets create negative eating habits that worry many health professionals. It is pretty safe to say Oreos aren’t exactly the healthiest option for a snack. Knowing what I know now, I definitely will be laying off the Oreos. While they certainly are a joy to eat, the harmful effects of the cookies will not be so fun later on in life. Bye-bye Oreos- no more addiction for me.

Image result for oreo addictWorks Cited:


You’re Fired

Today’s class (9/8/2016) opened up with a very interesting survey that was conducted by Michigan State University. I know, I know, I don’t like Michigan State either, but I’m willing to keep what happens on the football field out of this. Anyway, the survey went through a list of reasons why recent Michigan State graduates were getting fired from their jobs.

Image result for youre fired

Unable to demonstrate proper written and verbal skills, unethical workplace behavior, late assignments, and being late for work were some pretty common reasons as to why recent graduates are losing their jobs. This article also describes similar reasons as to why college students are not getting and keeping jobs. You would think it would be common knowledge by the time you graduated how to properly act while at work or how to arrive to work on time, but I guess some people will never learn. This really got me thinking about some of my past classmates and their actions while in school.

In high school, students have a tendency to feel very entitled. If they receive a grade they do not like, they feel as though they can argue with the teacher until their grade is brought up. Or, even worse, they have their parents do their dirty work for them. I have seen students who put off doing assignments time and time again, boasting to their friends how late their work will be turned in but how they know they can sweet talk their teacher into accepting it.

Now, that is not just a problem with my classmates, but I feel as though this problem goes deeper into my generation as a whole. People feel as though they can push limits without consequence, which in the real world just isn’t the case. Once you make the transition into college, deadlines start getting more and more strict. Parents almost never get involved with educational maters, although I would not be surprised if some students still tried to pull that stunt. Now, maybe I am jaded because my parents taught me at a very early age about accountability, but there is no excuse for bringing your parents into a situation in college when it comes to arguing a grade and whatnot.

I guess what I am trying to say is people need to start to realize that in the real world, a deadline is a deadline. You are expected to be professional in everything you do, including the work you must get done. A boss will not extend deadlines for you- if he or she expects something at a certain time, you need to get it to him or her at that time. It simply blew my mind to see the mistakes some recent college graduates are making, resulting in termination. Things like verbal and written skills often get lost today because we are so caught up in technology. We went from calling people on the phone or writing them a letter to simply sending them a text. This severely limits our ability to practice and sharpen those skills, making those skills almost a lost art.

Over-all, this talk of this survey has made me realize that I truly need to start working on my professionalism. If I simply work on basic human skills, then it looks like I will be one step ahead of my peers when it comes to finding a job. I encourage everyone to do this as it will only give you an advantage when it comes time to start a career.

Photo credits:


Two Evil Words

Cancer. Isn’t it amazing how one word can have such an impact and evoke such strong emotions? That one little word can flip someone’s world upside down and change their life forever. Cancer not only affects its victims, but the victim’s families as well.

            My grandfather was my absolute best friend. He taught me how to love the sport of baseball, as well as how to love a family member with all of your heart. A few years before I was born my grandfather received his first cancer diagnosis. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and had surgery to remove a portion of his lung, significantly reducing his lung capacity but eliminating the tumor. This surgery was a huge success- when my grandfather was first diagnosed, he was only given a few years to live. However, my grandfather was a fighter and went on to live for 15 years after he was first diagnosed!

            The cancer came back time and time again, but my grandfather would not give up. He was a stubborn old man, and although some saw this as a character flaw, I saw it as something that kept him going. He fought the good fight up until his last breath. I saw cancer take a very active man and slowly take away the things he enjoyed doing. I would never wish seeing that on anyone, and I hope a cure is in the future.

            Another word, or date, that has the same effect as the word cancer is the date of 9/11. Images and scenes of that horrid day flood into my mind when I hear talk of that date. With the 15th anniversary coming up in just a few days, I have been thinking a lot about that fateful day in 2001. Although I was only 4 years old, I still remember the fear I saw in my parent’s eyes and the sorrow they expressed as they tried their best to explain to me what was going on in terms I could understand.

            I have learned a lot more now about that day now that I am almost twenty years old. I have seen the impact that it has had on the victim’s families, as well as the first responders and their families. I have learned stories from close friends about how some of their parents ran late to a meeting in the towers on that day, which ended up saving their life. I get chills just writing about it- I hope we never experience such a dark time ever again.

            Cancer and 9/11 seem like very topics to be bringing up, but according to a new study, there could be a connection between the two. In this article here, researchers have found that first responders are at risk for various types of cancer, including thyroid and prostate cancer. Researchers believe they are at a higher risk than others due to the debris they encountered while bravely entering the towers after the attacks (

            I find this article to be very intriguing given our recent talks in class about correlations and causation. Sure, the studies did find the first responders where at a slightly increased risk of getting cancer than the average population ( However, there is no real way of telling whether or not it is exclusively because of their involvement with the recovery efforts of 9/11. When you take a look at who the first responders were, you see they were people such as firefighters, police officers, and EMS workers. People in those professions face dancers every day that the normal person doesn’t that could cause cancer. Fire fighters are constantly dealing with spoke-filled buildings and dangerous substances entering their system. EMS personnel are constantly surrounded by sickness and germs. Although cancer is not something you can “catch” per se from someone, constantly being sick truly does take a toll on the immune system.

            Over-all, I sincerely hope that in the near future, nobody will ever have to deal with cancer. Cancer is an awful disease that must be stopped. As for the victims of 9/11, I have nothing but the utmost respect for the bravery and selflessness that they demonstrated on 9/11. I truly hope that given what they have been through, a battle with cancer is not in their future.

Image result for 9/11 memorial

Photo credit:


Slow Walker and Proud of It

If I had three wishes from a genie, I would ask him to make me taller. Then I would ask him for millions of dollars, and then a cure for cancer. And yes, you did read that correctly- I would use my first wish from this magical creature to ask him for a couple more inches of verticality.

The wish seems so simple, yet here I am standing just barely at 5 feet 3 inches while the rest of the world towers over me. Just the other day I ran into a friend of a friend that goes here. I recognized him from some of my friend’s Instagram posts and stopped him to say hi. Now, just so you can get a visual of this boy, he is a linebacker on the football team. He is probably the tallest human I have ever talked to. So there I stood introducing myself, neck craned, and it finally hit me- I am really, really, REALLY short.

My dad is a rather tall guy. He is about 6’3”. My mom on the other hand is a shrimp, standing at just 5’1”. You would think when their genes came together I would fall somewhere in the middle, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. My genes decided to give me two inches on my mom and leave it at that.

I am very much a sports person and I have been playing sports for as long as I can remember. Soccer, basketball, and softball were the three sports I played growing up. As much as I loved those sports, my height always hindered my ability to be better than the rest. I only played basketball for a few years, but it was plain to see that the other girls were outgrowing me and soon my shot would stand no chance against their tall arms trying to stop it. Soccer was always a dud for me because I could never run as fast as the other girls. Their long legs carried them at speeds faster than I could ever hope to achieve. My illustrious soccer career ended the year before I hit high school.

My softball career lasted much longer than my soccer or basketball careers did. I continued to play softball until a few months into my freshman year of college when I decided I needed to focus on school. I was a pretty good first baseman, but I knew in college I would never see the likes of first base because I was too short. I could track down fly balls better than most people, but yet again my little legs couldn’t propel me after fly balls like other people’s legs could.

As you can gather from reading this, I am not a fast person. I will never be an Olympic sprinter or even an Olympic speed walker for that matter. Here on campus, I always find myself trying to run to catch up with my tall friends when we walk together. I’ve often found this to be very annoying. However, I never knew this was a sign that I could be dying soon.

I’m dying soon?

Well, I don’t believe so, but all this talk in class about correlation not necessarily equaling causation got me thinking about this study I heard about. Last year in my SCM 200 class, we were studying this exact topic when my professor told me that researchers found a connection with people’s walking speed and their life expectancy. You can learn more about this experiment here. However, just like worms not making kids stupid, I don’t believe life expectancy can be predicted from walking speed.

You see, the reason I walk slow is due to my height. I do not walk slowly because I am sick or anything else. The children who aren’t as smart as others may not have access to good school or to books, which explains why they are on the academic level that they are. Sometimes in our society, people will make connections between anything as long as it will grab the attention of the public eye. However, just like in our justice system you are innocent until proven guilty, I will not jump to any conclusions about correlations until I have hard evidence. So, sorry friends- I’m going to be around for a long time to walk slowly behind you and make you wait up for me!

Image result for slow walker

Phot curtesy of



Science is Not for Me

Hi everyone! My name is Maggie Marchok and I am a sophomore here at Penn State. I am from a small town about 45 minutes north of Philadelphia called Washington Crossing, PA. I am currently in DUS, but hopefully by the end of this year I will be in the Smeal School of Business as a Supply Chain Management major. Like many of my fellow business majors, I am not a science person at all.

This article pretty much sums up why I do not like science and why I am not planning on majoring in it. Aside from the first reason listed, the last four hit the nail right on the head. Science is a dark and complicated subject. As someone who always looks on the bright side of things, I often find science to be pessimistic and therefore I do not like it. I also find it to be extremely hard to understand. Complex math equations and high-level reasoning really aren’t my thing. Therefore, pursuing a degree in such a field really isn’t up my ally. I want to major in something that I know I can excel at and something that I know I will enjoy. Unfortunately, science is not that something that I am talking about.

Even though I am not the biggest fan of science, I still have an appreciation for it. I recognize the fact that without science, we wouldn’t have things like electricity, knowledge of outer space, modern medicine, or a multitude of other important things. Therefore, I see great value in taking some sort of class where I can learn the basics of science without delving too deep into the matter. That is exactly why Science 200 is the class for me. I will be able to learn the basics of science through some very cool topics, such as “Does prayer heal?” or “Where does evil come from?”

Most science classes cover topics about biology, physics, and a plethora of other complex topics. However, this course  provides me with an opportunity to gain a better understanding of science through some very interesting topics. For once in my life, I am actually excited to take a science course! I am really looking forward to this semester.

Image result for science memes