Author Archives: Matthew Hogan

Is that what I really sound like?

I am sure that all of us at some time or another have made a video or a recording for a project or some other reason. And I would say that probably everyone hates the sound of their own voice. Maybe there are a few exceptions like James Earl Jones or the guy from the Dos Equis commercials. This made me very curious as to why this is. It seems very unlikely that every person on earth just has an annoying voice, and with that explanation then everyone would hate everyone else’s voice as well as their own. I decided to try and find out the answer because it just seemed odd to me that something like this occurs.

According to Kate Goldbaum when we hear something, the icicles in our ear vibrate against the ear drum which allows us to hear. However the ossicles also vibrate even more when we talk, so this causes the sound that we hear to be interfered with a little bit, and will make our voice sound lower and a little bit different. Also because our ear drum is very close to our mouths, we will hear the sound very loudly which can also affect how we perceive the sound. When we hear our voice on a recording we do not have any of this interference happening, which allows us to hear what we truly sound like. Now this gives an explanation for why our voice sounds different when we hear a recording, but it doesn’t give a good answer as to why the sound is unappealing to us. Kate Goldbaum believes it is most likely because it is unfamiliar. We are used to hearing ourselves not on a recording, so we have an idea of what our voice sounds like. However when we hear a recording of ourselves it is not what we think we sound like, so this could cause us to dislike it.

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Unfortunately I was unable to find any experiments pertaining to this topic. If I was to do an experiment on this, I would want to try and find out how different our recorded voice is compared to what we think our voice sounds like. In order to do this I would get a large sample of people so the results will be more definitive. Then one by on I would have people listen to recordings of various people and they would tell me who’s voice it is. I would have recordings from family members, famous people, and of course of themselves. It would be interesting to see if people are able to still identify their voice, or if their perception of their voice is too different then the recording to identify themselves. If I had to guess I would say that most people would not be able to identify their own voice.

It seems pretty apparent that our voice sounds different in recordings because their is no interference. Our voice gets muttered by vibrations when we are speaking, but this does not happen with a recording, so the two sound different. And we can not know for sure why we don’t like the sound of our voice, but a good possible explanation seems to be that we are unfamiliar with the sound. It is not the sound we are expecting, and therefore do not like it because it catches us off guard. All in all this is a peculiar topic, but it seems like we have a decent understanding of what is occurring.



An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. I am sure that all of us have heard our mom say this about a million time growing up. Obviously they want us to eat fruits to be healthy, however can there be truth to this saying. Apples are no doubt good for us, they are full of nutrients that help our bodies. However, can eating an apple everyday really prevent me from getting sick and having to go to the doctor? It may seem a little far-fetched, but there could be truth to this old saying.

It is no big secret that apples are good for us, in fact they have a lot of different health benefits, some of which people may not be aware of. According to Best Health apples have many benefits including healthier teeth and heart, reducing the risk of cancer and diabetes, lowering cholesterol, and strengthening your immune system. This shows that apples are certainly beneficial for us to eat, however the real question is if they will “keep the doctor away”. Amy Hunter believes that despite an apple’s benefits, it is still not enough to keep us healthy and not need the doctor. She says that our diet alone can not prevent us from getting sick. Also other fruits can provide just as many health benefits as apples. Our best chance to stay healthy is too have a diet that consists of many healthy foods including many different types of foods, and not just apples, that way we will get all the different nutrients to help keep our body healthy. Even with all this, we could still get sick and need to go to the doctor, so we should do what we can to be healthy, but still be prepared to see a doctor if we get sick.

A study was done by Dr. Arjmandi to determine the health benefits of apples. He split 160 women into two groups, one received dried apples everyday and the other received dried prunes everyday for a year. The results at the end showed a large decrease in bad cholesterol in the women that ate the apples and even a little bit of an increase in good cholesterol. Also the women that ate the apples lost an average of 3.3 pounds. Once again this proves that apples an have a significant impact on increasing our health. Dr. Arjmandi believes that the saying is true and that an apple a day can keep the doctor away.

While it is clearly evident that apples are very good for us, I still would have to say that the saying is false and that eating an apple a day will not keep the doctor away. However, it is certainly a good place to start. With all the nutrients apples give us, they can make us much healthier and less likely to get sick, but will not keep us out of the doctors office for sure. It seems that the saying we all heard as a kid is false, but I think that moms should continue to say it to their kids because apples are no doubt a very good thing for kids to have.

Smelling Salts, Good or Bad?

I recently heard of an odd practice that people have begun doing. People are now using smelling salts for non-medical purposes. This seems to be most common among athletes and people who are working out, usually with heavy weights. Most notably was the Dallas Cowboys’ star running back Ezekiel Elliot, who was using smelling salts before his football game on Thanksgiving (I guess it worked). I am not sure if this is a new thing people are doing or if it has been around for a while but just caught my attention. Either way I found this to be a little strange, I couldn’t really think of a reason why people would be doing this. According to Jeff Kingston smelling salts give people a big quick burst of energy after they are inhaled. Also they can help to keep you focused and prevent you from getting too tired. Many athletes use these in a variety of sports, especially powerlifters who need a short boost of energy. However, are smelling salts safe to use?

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Most would say that there is no real harm, they just shouldn’t be used on people who are knocked unconscious anymore because it can cause involuntary movements that may cause more damage. Also with so many people using them, it seems like there couldn’t really be any health effects, at least not ones that are too bad. Abhijit Naik would disagree and say that smelling salts are dangerous. When they are inhaled, the ammonia irritates the mucous membrane of the lungs and nose. This causes the persons breathing to increase and the person will be more energized. Taking in too much ammonia gas can cause bad reactions in the body, so one has to be careful to not inhale a large amount. Aside from this, the main dangers of smelling salts are the involuntary reflexes that occur. This can cause an injury to worsen, especially a spine injury because the victim may move his neck and cause more damage to the spinal cord. This would obviously be a serious issue, so smelling salts can be harmful in some ways.

Overall smelling salts have potential to be harmful, like most things, but I believe if they are used in the right way then they are fin to use. They can cause serious harm if used on a person that has been seriously injured, however if someone is just using them to get some energy before a sporting event, then they appear to be just fine. As of right now we don’t have any reason to believe people shouldn’t be using smelling salts, so it may be a good thing to do before a big competition. However, as with most things, if smelling salts are used in great quantities then they can become harmful because of the excess ammonia. I would say in general smelling salts are safe and can even be very beneficial as long as they are used in the right way.

Is Cupping the Key to a Gold Medal?

If you watched the Rio Olympics this past summer you may have heard or noticed that athletes have been using a practice called cupping before their competitions. This was mainly used by swimmers, many of whom you may have seen with dark discolored circles on their body, especially their back. Michael Phelps seemed to get the most attention for this, and he says that it is very helpful. However, apart from him and other swimmers, there were still many athletes that used cupping as well. Cupping is an ancient healing process from China in which cups are placed on a persons back. Then the cups suction the skin up and bring more fluid to the area and increase blood flow. It seems like a weird thing to do, and I can’t imagine that it helps that much, but these athletes stand by it, and with all the medals they have accumulated, Especially Michael Phelps, I guess there must me something to it.

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According to Josh Peter, the athletes say that cupping helps to loosen them up and perform better. Cupping helps to increase their motion and movement of their muscles. This allows them to do better when they are competing. Also cupping is used after competitions to heal their body and help them recover more quickly. All of this sounds great, however there is still no real evidence that cupping actually helps athletes to perform better. It is still just based on what the athletes themselves say about the treatment. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because if the athletes think that it helps them then they should definitely continue to do it regardless of true evidence. My only question is if it is a safe thing to do. According to Web MD cupping is for the most part safe as long as it is done correctly. There are only mild downfalls to it such as irritation or skin infections.

Cupping is used by many people, including athletes to help them perform better and normal people to treat certain injuries. There is not much evidence to prove that it actually works, especially with athletic performance, but people that use it seem to say that it helps them so it seems like it is a good treatment to use. Also it is very safe to do, so I think that more research should be done on this and more people should begin using this for sports or to treat pain.

Addicted to your phone

I’m sure everyone is aware that phones have become a bit of an epidemic in our society. Everyone has a smart phone and everyone is constantly doing something on their phone. Don’t get me wrong, cell phones are great, and the new technology we have now is very helpful. However, it seems like we are getting to invested in our phones. Between texting people, checking Instagram and all the other apps that people are constantly using, we are spending a very large amount of time on our phones. Personally, I am on my phone a lot too. I am always either responding to a text or checking twitter (I’ve probably checked my phone about three times already while writing this). It doesn’t seem to matter what I am doing, I will always have to take frequent breaks to check something on my phone. This started to get me wondering if I was addicted to my phone, or if that is even possible. I find that I check my phone almost out of habit, even if I didn’t get a message I will often unlock my phone just to look at something. It’s almost out of habit. I decided to research to see if people can be addicted to their phones.

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Ira Hyman says that we can be addicted to our phones. Most people have a very hard time being without their phones and not using them when they do have it. A study was done by Atchley and Warden to test this theory. Students were given an option to receive a small amount if they responded to a text right away, or a larger amount of money if they waited a while. Most of the students decided to text right away and take less money. This showed that texting was more important than getting more money. Studies have also found that students will interrupt an activity they are doing, even if it is really important, just to check their phone. I think this shows that people are addicted to their phones, at least a little bit. People weren’t even willing to part with their phone for a short time even though a reward was offered to them.

People are definitely becoming addicted to their phones, and it seems to be getting worse rather than better. With all the new apps and social media that we have today, it is hard to not be constantly on our phones. There is just too much going on. I feel myself constantly wanting to check my phone, even in bad situations. If I feel my phone vibrate during a test I have the urge to check it even though I know I would get in trouble. Luckily I am not at the level yet where I do check my phone during tests. I think that all the ne social media and technology is great and beneficial to us, but we should all try to stop using our phones so much, especially when we are doing something important.

Effect of alcohol on GPA

Obviously alcohol is very prevalent in college, and a majority of students consume alcohol. However, students are still very concerned with their, so I wanted to see how alcohol affects student’s grades. I don’t think there is anything wrong with going out a few times a week and having a few drinks. As long as you are still studying and getting your work done it should be no problem. However, I still wanted to know if there was a correlation between grades and alcohol consumption.

An article written by Kristina Dell talked about an experiment don’t by Todd Wyatt on this topic. He surveyed 13,900 freshman and his results concluded that students who consume alcohol on average have lower gpa’s than students who do not consume alcohol. Also he states that alcohol consumption is the second biggest factor in predicting a student’s gpa, the first is time studying. This is a little bit alarming because there are a lot of other factors that I would assume to be higher such as time spent in class. This is a big shock, because I assumed there would be some sort of correlation that grades are lower, but I didn’t think it would be as big. Although student’s can drink alcohol and do very well, they may not be reaching their full potential, and this is intriguing based on the amount of students that do consume alcohol. Despite this study, I still think that consuming alcohol is fine as long as you are not getting blackout drunk, and as long as you still study a lot.


Running vs Walking in the rain

I’m sure that everyone has heard this question at some point or another in their lives. It is instinct to run when it is pouring outside because you want to get out of the rain as quick as possible so you don’t get too wet. However is it possible that this is causing you to get more wet?

According to Andrew Liszewski you would get more wet if you walked in the rain. He says the better option is to run because ultimately you spend less time in the rain so you would not get as wet. There could be some concerns about this, because as you run, you run into rain drops, so you are getting wet from above and from running into it. However, despite this you still get less wet because the amount of time you would be in the rain while walking would cause you to get more wet than from running.

I think that this makes a lot of sense. It seems pretty obvious that the less time you are in the rain, the less wet you will get. Despite arguments that could be made against this, I still believe that the best option is to follow your instincts and to run to get out of the rain as quickly as you can.


Do we really eat spider while we sleep?

I have heard people say this many times, and at first I thought it was ridiculous, but after a while it seemed like their was a fair amount to truth to it so I decided to check it out. To be honest, I was hoping that I would find out that it was false because it is a scary though to think that spiders are crawling into my mouth while I sleep and I eat them.

According to an article written by Annie Snead she seems to believe that this theory is false. She has quotes from scientists that show that based on common sense alone, this idea must be false. From a spiders point of view they are much smarter than that. There is no reason for them to go into a humans bed, and if they did crawl into our bed they would not head into a humans mouth which would be giving off vibrations that scare them away. From a human perspective, most people would be awoken if they feel a spider on them, especially if it is going down their throat. Based on these thoughts it seems unlikely that humans eat spiders in their sleep.

Although these are just opinions and not facts, these still do make a lot of sense, and I think it provides strong evidence against this theory. Just based on this common sense, it doesn’t seem likely that a spider would be crawling into somebody’s mouth. This was definitely a relief to me because I know I do not want to go to sleep knowing that a spider may end up crawling down my throat.


The 5 Second Rule

I’m sure we have all heard the five second rule at some point in our lives, and it states that if you drop food on the ground, you’ll have five seconds to pick it up and still be able to eat it. Obviously if you drop something outside or on a very dirty floor, you should not eat it because the food will definitely be dirty, however I was curious to see if there was some truth to this myth. If food was dropped on a normal floor, I wondered if it would actually take five seconds for germs to accumulate on it.

A study was done by Jillian Clarke to determine if this myth is true. She covered floor tiles with E.coli and then dropped gummy bears and cookies onto the contaminated floor. She removed the food from the floor after five seconds and observed that a lot of bacteria had gotten onto the food despite the fact that it was only on the floor for five seconds. This experiment shows that the five second rule is not true because bacteria still managed to get on the food within five seconds.

A concern about this experiment may be that floors will not be as dirty as the one Clarke used, and that for the most part floors are kept relatively clean, especially in houses which is where the five second rule is most commonly used. A study done by the Hygiene Council showed that common kitchen floors have a lot of bacteria on them. They have 830 per square inch, which is double that of inside a trashcan. This shows that floors are usually dirty and that bacteria would contaminate the food.

These two studies provide pretty solid evidence that the five second rule is not true. Bacteria clearly got onto foo within five seconds, and floors contain enough bacteria for this to happen. Based on this I would not trust the five second rule and I recommend that nobody else does too despite who says its okay or how good the food looks.

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Does cracking your knuckles cause arthritis?

I have heard this all my life. Every single time I crack my knuckles my mom yells at me saying that I am going to get arthritis if I continue to do this. I have been cracking my knuckles pretty much all of my life, and it has become sort of a habit. So it made me wonder if there was actually truth to what she was saying. She is a nurse, so I figured she maybe has some sort of medical facts that support it, however I have also heard many people say that this is only a myth. This intrigued me, so I decided to investigate and find out if cracking your knuckles truly causes arthritis.

A study was done by Dr. Donald Unger to determine if cracking knuckles caused arthritis. He decided to use himself for the experiment. For 50 years he would crack his knuckles on his left hand, but not on his right hand. Dr. Unger reported that he cracked the knuckles on his left hand at least 36,500 times. The result of this study was that despite him cracking the knuckles on his left hand, he did not have any arthritis or differences in either of his hands.

That study was only done of one person, so I still wanted to see more evidence from a larger study of people. A study was done by the Uniformed services University of the Health Sciences. The study looked at 215 people, 20% of them cracked their knuckles regularly. The result of the study was that 18.1% of the people that cracked their knuckles had arthritis while 21.5% of the people who didn’t crack their knuckles had arthritis. The conclusion of this study is that people who crack their knuckles do not have a better chance of getting arthritis than people who don’t.

After looking at both of these studies, I think that it is safe to say that cracking your knuckles will not cause you to get arthritis. There could still be evidence that we have not yet found that proves otherwise, but for now we can say that this is true. Although I think it would be good to do a larger study of this to be more certain. Cracking knuckles may not be beneficial, but it does not seem to be harmful, so now when my mom tells me to stop, I can provide her with some factual evidence of why it is okay.



Science is sometimes cool

Hi, my name is Matt Hogan and I am currently a freshman here at Penn State. I am from Long Island, NY and am currently in the Division of Undergraduate Studies but plan to eventually transfer into Smeal where I will most likely major in accounting.

I am mainly taking this class because it fulfills one of my general education science requirements. However, it was also recommended to me by my advisor who said it was a great class. I was not the biggest fan of science in high school, but there were some things that I found interesting. Chemistry and physics were two classes that I didn’t do very well in and I did not find fun at all, however I took an environmental science class which I thought was very interesting for the most part. In chemistry and physics I did not like the equations and memorization, I wasn’t good at it and thought it was extremely boring. In my environmental class we were learning about things that were more pertinent in my life because it focused a lot on current problems that we need solutions to now. For example, we discussed resource depletion which I always find to be an interesting topic because soon we will run out of things like fossil fuels and will need a new way to sustain our energy usage. Renewable seems to be a way that we can do this, but we just need to be able to produce enough of it to keep up with the large demand which grows everyday with the growing population.

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I am looking forward to this class because it is not formulas and memorizing, but instead questioning things in the universe and trying to find out why things are the way they are. I love this kind of science because there are so many questions I wonder about such as is there life on other planets? Or how was the universe first created? Many of the questions don’t have answers right now and some may never have one, but that is what makes them interesting. Ultimately, I am excited for SC200 because we will get to discuss questions that I want the answers to and that I am interested in.