Author Archives: Melanie Noemi Campos

California Cloud-Seeding

It is not a secret that a state like California, which rarely gets a drop of rain, is in a major drought. California has been slowly digging its own grave into the dry dirt year after year by continuing to senselessly use their water supply. The intensity of this drought has been record setting and although people did not believe the intensity of it before, they are certainly seeing the consequences of it now.

Being a Californian myself I have seen these effects first hand. California has begun to limit the amount of water per household. Watering the front yard is allowed every other day and your day is assigned to you depending on your house number. If you go over the allowed amount of water for the month or if you water on a day, which is not assigned to your household you risk getting fined. I imagined this was the end of the drought talk and that we would soon figure out a way to transport more water into our sunny and hot state. Then I heard of something called “cloud-seeding”.

“Cloud-seeding” has according to the LA Times , been used in California since the 1950’s. It is an incredible phenomenon that many of us, myself included, did not even know was possible. Basically, the LA Times explain that clouds are injected with silver iodide, which in turn forms ice particles in the clouds. These ice particles then weigh clouds down and help produce rain. The LA Times as well states that a process like this costs approximately $550,000 yearly, therefore this is clearly not a cheap and easy to do process.



Not only is “cloud-seeding” expensive and difficult to do but it is also affecting our environment. Rain is not being produced in a natural manner. The rain falling from the skies in the middle of summer was a rare situation, which people were not used to seeing. As stated by Reynard Loki, this phenomenon of “cloud seeding” is a very scientific process. It involves the manipulation of chemicals to produce an otherwise natural reaction of rain. This consequently leading us to think of what side effects this process could have, both negative and positive. Positively it brings us much needed water that we need, that’s an obvious statement. Negatively however, people have become very skeptical about what else could be injected into our clouds or our environment as a whole without providing knowledge of it happening to the general public. Much skepticism has been going around about whether the attempt to bring water in a more natural manner rather than through the physical transportation of water could have future negative side effects on the population that is exposed to it. Research of course must be done in a longitudinal and experimental manner. Years from now, researchers can take people who were in the exposed areas of “cloud-seeding” and compare their psychical and mental health to those who were not exposed to such environments. Only then will we be certain of the presence or absence of these effects. We will better be able to understand whether it is a positive thing to invest in or if it, like most things, has negative side effects as well.

Animal Testing

Throughout my lifetime I have heard activists protest against animal testing and I have heard others advocate for it. Today, I decided that I wanted to get some facts and based on the science aspect of it see if animal testing is necessary or if it in fact is a form of socially accepted animal cruelty.

According to the Humane Society International; a campaigning website against animal testing; defined animal testing as being a process in which live animals are tested upon in order to determine the effects that certain products will have on humans or for scientific purposes. They also stated that animals are tested upon for a variety of different research studies. These studies range from cosmetic testing to pharmaceutical product testing. These animals are tested upon and once the experiment is over they can either be transferred onto another study or they can be killed. I am assuming that the route scientist choose to take for the animals at this point is relevant to the effects each animal has been exposed to and whether or not those will interfere with the new study.



As I tried to find research as to how animal testing would be justified, I could not seem to find any articles, studies, or websites advocating for it. Perhaps this is because in the more recent years, organizations like PETA , have made it their goal to bring awareness to how cruelly we treat animals as a society, under the excuse that it is justified through science.

According once again to Humane Society International, they stated that we do not benefit much from research experiments done on animals therefore there is really no excuse as to why it should continue. Which in part, does make sense to me. We live in a world that is so advanced. We have been able to develop working mobile prosthetics and have sent men to the moon yet we still test what effects things will have on humans on animals. Animal testing has been a helping factor in a multitude of studies, however as stated in this video by the Humane Society International, there are alternatives for animal testing. We should be looking more into alternatives to testing out our pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and household objects. We already have so many regulations as to what can and can not be used in products therefore I feel as though any further testing can be done alternatively. There are laws protecting animals against abuse yet none protecting them against abuse in the field of science. When animals are used as experiments they are put through distress and physical pain in order to gain information on a product. As we relevantly discussed in class about cancer research patient and treatments, if it is not morally acceptable to withhold a product that will knowingly cure someone then why is it morally acceptable to harm an animal in hopes of discovering a cure or effect of something else?

Paid Maternity Leave

Women joined the work force in the United States roughly forty-six years ago. From that day on it has been a controversial topic. The reason it has been controversial is because of the assumption that women are nurturers. Many people saw women as creatures that were brought on this earth to keep a household running, nurture and nurse the children, and to be the left hand of their husband. In today’s day and age however, women are branching out of that stereotype that they fed into for so long. We, as women are beginning to become heads of households and are beginning to provide for our children not only emotionally but also financially. The question being raised now is: If mothers are now actively participating in the work force and having to return to work shortly after bringing a child into this world, how is the child in turn affected?



In contrast to many other countries, the United States does not guarantee a woman paid maternity leave. According to Wikipedia, countries like Mexico, the United Kingdom, Canada, and China all offer a range between 12 and 40 weeks of paid maternity leave. In the United States however, it is up to a woman’s employer to decide if they want to give a woman the privilege of bonding with her child and still making an income once he/she is born. Many women who are not offered this privilege are forced to return to work shortly after giving birth in order to continue providing for their family adequately.

Infants have some basic needs when they are brought into this world. According to Avery Aiken’s article in The Daily Toreador, one of these needs is having a primary caregiver whom they can form a bond with and attach to. She also states that at a young age infants do not understand object permanence. When a parent is gone for work, a child who is not cognitively developed is not capable of the complex thought that someone who is out of sight is not gone forever. Therefore, infants do not feel the security of having a primary caregiver. If while the parents are at work a babysitter is serving as the caregiver, a child will not know who to attach him or herself to. Aiken states that because of this, in the long run, a child suffers in terms of their social development. They cannot resolve conflicts as easily nor can they function under stressful environments as well as those infants who had positive attachment relationships. These children end up developing problems that stemmed from their initial attachment issues. This being said, other ways in which children may be affected as a consequence of the lack of parent attachment have not yet been studied. So in turn is it more worthwhile for the United States to mandate a paid maternity leave or is it more worthwhile to have to deal with children who will grow up with developmental issues? I personally believe that a paid maternity leave, for however long will be more beneficial to society as a whole than having none at all.

Is Climate Change Manmade?

Earlier this month I wrote a blog about cloud seeding in California. Climate change is a topic that is truly intriguing. Just like with many scientific topics, this one is very controversial. There are people who believe climate change is manmade and others who believe it is just the Earth continuing on in its course. In an article by Real Clear Science  they spoke of a poll that was taken in 2010. This poll that they referred to stated that out of the entire population that they sampled, 50% stated that in their opinion, climate change was manmade. 46% on the other hand stated that the climate change we see today is happening through natural causes. Therefore proving that through this survey, results are nearly split half ways on the topic. It is a controversial topic that even our presidential candidate’s have spoken about.



What is baffling, however is how nearly half of those people who part took in the pole did not seem to think climate change is manmade. Research has been done to analyze why we have seen such drastic changes and it all proves that we are affecting our climate.

The Real Clear Science article went as far as to state that the rise in temperatures that we have seen over the past few years is proof enough to show that the climate change is due to human activity on this planet. This however is not proof enough in and of itself. Human activity may be a correlating factor between two other variables but not a leading causing factor.

According to NASA  ,97% of climate scientists who have published peer reviewed journals truly believe that human activity is to blame for the drastic change in climate that we have seen in the past century. If scientists, being people who base their lives around studies and findings like this about our world believe that we as humans are causing this change, then why does it continue to worsen? By altering some aspects of our climate, like cloud-seeding, in order to provide rain in California, we must be harming another part of our self sustaining world.

We as humans affect the world around us just as the world around us affects each and every one of us. Climate change can be in part due to human activity but it can also be due to other correlating factors. We are very influential on the world around us. It is all linked in some way or another. For example according to the National Geographic article the ozone layer depletion is causing the earth to heat up more but the ozone layer is depleting because of the human activity and the harmful chemicals we are putting into our atmosphere.

All in all I would say that despite this being a controversial topic that some people choose not to believe in, the science speaks for itself and it seems very probable that we as a society are partly responsible for climate change.

Life Span of Humans and Immunization

The average human lifespan has varied within the past centuries. According to the NIH (National Institute on Aging) , the life expectancy increase that we see today is viewed as being an enormous achievement. Not many years ago, people were living on average up until the 50th year, where as now the average lifespan in some places has reached 83 years. They state that one of the reasons why we have seen this increase in average lifespan is due to the different death reasons and the shift in illnesses.

With time we have not only advanced as a society evolutionarily but we have also advanced scientifically. Over the years we have developed vaccinations and have imposed immunization for children entering the school system and even for some jobs. Overall it seems as though health is becoming a trending topic, this being something that should have happened years ago. Now a day, there has been an increase in the media to be more conscious of what you put into your body and how you care for it. Not only has there been an obvious peek in the media in the interest of eating healthy, exercising, and leading a certain type of lifestyle but there has also been a peek in life spans.

If crazes like healthy eating, exercising, and leading a certain lifestyle have only recently become a large part of our society then how has the lifespan range increased so much but it also seems as though families are still choosing not to vaccinate their children. Vaccination’s are, according to Medicinenet, when you are injected with a very small amount of a certain virus or disease in order to help your body fight it off and build immunity to it. The immunity we have developed as a society to diseases is possibly to blame; or at least partially, for the increase on average lifespan. On the aspect of scientific improvement, it is stated by the NY Times that drugs and antibiotics have been very helpful in survival when it comes to health and lifespan. Drugs and antibiotics have  fought against disorders and illnesses that would have been deadly if it was not for our advancing scientific knowledge. Dr. Vijg from the NY Times article states that drugs and antibiotics repair damage momentarily but in life each moment counts. Seeing this information, a question that comes to mind is if parents and society know that vaccinations and drugs are helpful not only for their child but also for society and its survival as a whole then why is it allowed for some children to willingly opt out of getting them based on religion. We monitor and mandate so many things to be done in order to be able to go to school yet this is something that is respected out of religious values for certain people. Children who are not vaccinated should not be allowed to be in school with other children because they risk bringing in something that one child may react negatively to. Surely the pros outweigh the cons in all aspects. It makes a child stronger and more immune to disease and it makes our society evolutionarily stronger as well.



“Skinny” and “Fat” is it all the same?

From a young age we learn that calling someone “fat” is not appropriate. We are taught not to address someone’s weight, especially not when it has a negative connotation to it. We are taught this because mentioning someone’s weight with a negative connotation could trigger insecurities. What often times goes unnoticed is that when we are taught not to address someone’s weight, we are basically taught not to call someone “fat”. Calling someone “fat” is looked at as an insult yet calling someone “skinny” is seen as a compliment.



As a society we seemingly have developed an admiration for being skinny. We never stopped to think that calling someone “skinny” could trigger the same types of insecurities that calling someone “fat” would. In today’s day and age, it is not uncommon for someone to be shamed based on their looks. We judge others on the daily yet are so offended when others judge us. The way we judge others has a way of reflecting back on how we feel about ourselves. In an article by Aleanbh Ni Chearnaigh, she speaks about how being skinny is even looked to as a privilege by some, some being the key word. To others like Chearnaigh herself, being called “skinny” is equally as hurtful as calling someone “fat”. Being a “skinny” person herself, she endured the hardships and struggles of people poking fun at her for her weight. As much as she tried to change the way she looked, it just was not physically possible. It was her insecurity yet people felt that it was not wrong to point it out because it was something that others so greatly desired. It was almost as if she had no right to complain about her own insecurities. She was stripped of a right that others had.

Chearnaigh goes on to explain that comments regarding anyone’s weight can be like a double-edged sword. Often times we feel it is okay to comment on someone’s weight if they are skinny yet we hold ourselves back if it is about someone who we feel might be more sensitive to the topic. So, why is it okay to make comments about one person and not the others? In the society in which we live in, we idolize a certain body image, one that may be physically unattainable to some and may be completely undesired by others. skinny-shaming

In a study done by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, they studied body image in ten-year-old children. At the young age of ten most of these kids already had body image issues. They thought of themselves as being too fat, too skinny, and some had even gone as far as dieting to change the way they looked physically. The way a child felt about their body image had to do with the preadolescent stage they were in,


culture, and societies views. Therefore, these all factors correlate together and play a part in the way they felt about their body image. They found that most children at this age in turn had negative feelings about their weight. The correlating factors obviously are not the causation for the issues faced, however, they do support the belief that societies views are shaping the way we perceive not only ourselves but also others. With a topic as sensitive and personal as weight it is impossible to fit a population into one category and expect them all to be on the same boat. No type of shaming is okay, whether it is “fat” or “skinny” shaming. Correlation does not always equal causation and the way a person looks and feels about him or herself can be due to many different factors. Health and mental issues can play a role or even just having insecurities.

Here is a video of a Youtuber Zoe Sugg, speaking about the insecurities she has faced with being shamed for being “too skinny”.

Depressed or Vitamin D Deficient?

Coming from sunny southern California and moving to Pennsylvania for college was like stepping into a parallel universe. It was nothing like the pamphlets I had seen where it was beautifully sunny in the fall time and perfectly clean and crisp in the snowy winters. For the first time I knew what it was like to feel fooled at what I was getting. I finally understood what people felt when they expected Los Angeles to be a red carpet runway full of Hollywood movie star sightings. Instead of the glamour all they got rush hour traffic and scammed into a buying a picture with a man in a cheap looking character costume.

img_2541   With time, I have learned to love and appreciate the beauty that Pennsylvania has to offer, for example the beautifully crisp mornings spent alongside a lake. However, the one thing I will never love or appreciate will be the lack of sunny days. Throughout the years here at Penn State, I have met friends who so happen to be from sunny states like California as well, and although this is something I have not experience personally, it is something that I know many of them have. That being depression. Now, what their diagnosed depression had in common was that their Dr.’s all suggested theirs was due to their lack of vitamin D intake. According to Holick and Chen, vitamin D deficiency can be combatted with pills that are much like your everyday vitamin. Vitamin D is not something that is easily attained through eating your daily dose of fruits and vegetables, it is something that you get from a healthy dose of sunlight. Not too much and not too little. They were according to their Dr.’s having too little exposure to the sun. What I find interesting is that most people that I have met who suffer from this are people who come from naturally sunny areas where a gray day is strange. During winters in Pennsylvania what is strange is a sunny day. The days might be bright and light may blindly reflect off the snow covered ground but to us it is not the same as if the suns bright rays were lighting up our face.


In the winter we tend to want to stay indoors as much as possible and knowingly blame the sadness we feel to the fact that we can no longer go outside and enjoy the weather like we once did in the hot summer days that seem so long gone. However, it is essential to our well being to go out, even if it seems like the days are gray, the suns rays are still shining through the clouds and providing us with vitamin d.

This sadness we feel is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). In the article by Dale Archer M.D, he states that a persons amount of sunlight intake definitely affects their mood. The more sun the more pep in their step a person will have. This type of depression, known as SAD can be combatted by soaking in direct natural sunlight, or through a prescribed vitamin D pill. Vitamin D is actually very essential not only to combat depression like SAD but it also allows ones body to absorb calcium. Everything in our body has a function, even if we do not think about it. As the winter days approach lets remember that something that seems as minuscule as taking in a few minutes of sunlight a day can actually affect our abilities to function tremendously.img_2458

Children and I-Pads

Every summer my family and I take a vacation to Mexico; we always arrive bearing gifts for the many relatives that we sadly only see once a year. Two summers ago, we just so happened to have a new family member, a one year old baby girl named Alyssa. In our confusion of what to gift her, my mom went out on a limb and bought her an I-Pad. Now, I know that to many of you it may leave you raising and eyebrow and questioning why a one year old would possibly need such an intricate piece of technology, trust me I was left in the same state of shock when I opened the door to the delivery man and opened the package only to find the newest released gold I-Pad with the name “Alyssa” engraved on the back of it. To us “Millennials” it might seem almost unfair that these young children are getting something that we saw evolve before our very eyes. It is hard to imagine that these children will never know what it is like to grow up without the world at their fingertips; to not have an endless amount of app’s to play on road-trips but to instead have to play games of “Eye- Spy” and “Punch Buggy”.

img_6381            As I went back to Mexico this past summer I was once again left in shock as I watched Alyssa, now two years old, scroll up and down through her I-Pad knowing exactly how to maneuver through all of it’s features. I must admit, I don’t even know how to work my phone as well as she knows how to work all the features on her I-Pad. Her fingers are so tiny yet she scrolls up and down the screens with her thumb looking so focused, much like many of our grandparents reading a newspaper yet, she is a two year old on an I-Pad. A two year old who I must say has even begun to learn words and phrases in English simply by playing around with apps and games on her own.

All I could help but wonder at this point was how in the world is her accessibility to this immense amount of technology affecting her learning ability?  There is so much that can go on these apps that you practically do not need any other form of entertainment. From educational apps that teach you different languages and ABC’s to apps made for coloring and music, it is all a touch away for them. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under the age of two should be steered away as much as possible from having any screen time at all, meanwhile children over the age of two should be restricted to 2 hours maximum of screen time. We all know this is rarely the case. When a parent or caregiver hears a screaming child and needs a quick distraction the first thing that will land in the child’s lap will be an electronic device rather than a book to read.

I-Pads and similar technology offer an endless amount of activities. E-books for instance are something that has been popularized in recent years. There are story time books for children of all ages. Instead of parents reading books to their children they can simply sit them down with an I-Pad and it will be read aloud to them with animations and all sorts of gimmicks, all with the push of a button. Research done by Krcmar and Cingel, states that the reason why there is not a definitive line drawn between whether e-books and educational applications are actually helping children or just serving as a distraction is because of the lack of longitudinal research on the topic. They have split information, some researchers say it is helpful to instill technology use with children and others say it causes more room for distraction and reduces focusing ability. This being because the research is being done very generally, they are not digging deep and evaluating each aspect individually, all apps are different and state different purposes, even if to us as the user they all seem similar. Not only apps, the technological device as a whole needs to be studied in relation to children, along with its pros and cons.

In relation to class where we spoke of children with worms being stupid; could I-Pads and technology be the equivalent of worms in our young children, today? It seems to be just as controversial, some seem to believe that it will help them learn and others believe it is a gateway to an inability to focus. Much like the worms and the children, the use of I-Pads and technology is a topic that needs to be further studied before conclusions can be made.  With something that is so up and coming and being presented into our everyday lives, it is very worthwhile to provide more time and funding into researching the benefits and ways In which we can adequately use these instruments to improve our children’s educations.


Hey fellow SC200 takers,

My name is Melanie Campos, i am a senior studying here at Penn State but originating from Los Angeles, California. I transferred to main campus my junior year of college after attending the Behrend branch; which is located in Erie, for the first two years. Although i grew to love Erie’s beautiful sunsets and the amazing sense of community, i much prefer the learning environment here in Happy Valley. The reason i have ended up in a SC200 course my senior year of college is simply because the sciences, such as biology and chemistry have never been my forte. Behrend was a much smaller campus with a limited amount of courses, therefore i decided to wait until i transferred to University Park to take my remaining science course. This course seemed like a decent fit for someone like me, who does not particularly excel in science classes like chemistry or biology. This course offered more of an exploratory outlook on the topic of science which is something that in fact does interest me quite a bit.

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I am a criminology major, therefore science is imbedded in my field, but not as much as people would assume it is. It in fact depends on the type of career you are looking for. The following TED Talk helps explain where the field of criminology is headed and where it stands today. I do not plan on becoming a science major simply because the type of science that is included in my field is not one that goes much past data analysis. I plan on doing something with law enforcement once i graduate or continuing on to graduate school. Once this class is over, I plan to leave the intricate parts of science out of my life  and focus only on the intriguing parts of it, like the ones we have discussed so far in SC200.