Author Archives: Nicole B Sherman

Cold or Hot: Which One is Right and Which One is Not

For years we have been instructed that, in order to properly kill bacteria, we should wash our hands for around thirty seconds with warm to hot water, and soap. As children we were told that this was the only way to avoid getting sick and spreading bacteria. As we grew older and discovered hand-sanitizer, we were once again told that washing our hands with warm water and soap was the best way to truly kill germs. But what’s the deal with warm water? Do we always have to wash with warm water, or will cold suffice? This is a question that I have always wondered, and it has in turn prompted me to research the subject.

After doing some research, I have found studies that back the theory of using hot water, as well as studies that back up the theory of using cold water. However, there is more overwhelming research that suggests that water temperature does not matter altogether. For example, research professor, Amanda Carrico, who works for Vanderbilt University, conducted a study in which she attempted to prove that the temperature of water does not matter when washing your hands. What she found, according to a post written by Brian Howard, for, was that the hot water we are accustomed to using to wash our hands is actually not hot enough to kill the germs that we think we are killing. For instance, Carrico suggested that the ideal water temperature to kill certain types of germs would need to be upwards of two-hundred degrees Fahrenheit.

Another tidbit of information that helps to back up the theory that water temperature doesn’t matter is the fact that, on their website,, the Center for Disease Control doesn’t even mention that there is an ideal water temperature to wash your hands with. On the page in which the CDC describes the appropriate procedure for washing hands, which you can find here, there is no mention of a specific temperature that is suggested to help rid your hands of bacteria and germs. Instead, the CDC simply relays the message that we have all heard for years: make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap and water.

In the end, it is your choice whether or not you choose to wash with warm or cold water, but next time you’re at the sink, don’t fret if you can’t get the warm water nozzle to work, because ultimately, it seems like washing with hotter water doesn’t matter after all.




Sources: Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives. (2016). Retrieved September 15, 2016, from

Howard, B. C. (n.d.). Washing Hands in Hot Water Wastes Energy, Study Says. Retrieved September 15, 2016, from

Picture: Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives. (2016). Retrieved September 15, 2016, from

The Fear of Fearing Public Speaking

In this day and age, it seems like almost everyone is afraid of speaking in public. Whether this means a presentation, speech, or just asking a question in a relatively large group, many people dread stepping outside of their comfort zone and putting themselves in a position where they can potentially feel exposed.

There are dozens of tips and videos that claim to help you become a better, more confident public speaker, but do they really help, or are you just born with or without the anxiety of public speaking? One theory, according to, and Noah Zandan, is that we, as a human species have learned to fear speaking out in public. Some of the main reasons that can attribute to this fear come from our ancestors who lived during the ice age and dinosaur era. For instance, Zandan claims that, back in prehistoric times, if say, a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex were to come invade a group of our ancestors, we, as humans would be more comfortable, and feel as if we could take on the predator if we were able to stick together in a group. Therefore, the general theory is that, by speaking out in public, we are alienating ourselves and essentially making ourselves more vulnerable and susceptible to things such as abandonment and dissapproval.

Another theory, according to Zandan, from his blog on, tells us that, when we put ourselves in an instance where we are speaking in front of large audiences, or really anything that involves stepping outside of our comfort zones and speaking in public, that we become increasingly sensitive to certain emotions. One emotion that Zandan claims we are particularly responsive to is anger. One example backing up this theory is a study psychologist Matthias Wiesner did in 2009, where he gathered a group of participants, showed the participants certain images, and then recorded what type of response the images elicited from the participants. To conduct his study, Wiesner divided his participants into two groups; the first group was told they would have to give a speech, and then they were shown the images, and the second group was simply shown the images, with no mention of any type of public speaking. The response Wiesner found, was that, after being told they would have to give a speech, the first group became increasingly nervous when shown the images that contained anger in them, whereas the second group simply viewed the angry images as no different than the ones that were happy or sad. This study has helped to develop the theory that when we speak in public we are more apt to notice and become sensitive to individuals who are angry, simply because we are feeling very judged and as if we are not good enough.

But fear not, my fellow students, because these theories are only that, theories. Aside from that, they are only two of hundreds of theories out there which claim to have the answer as to why we feel nervous and anxious when faced with public speaking. Overall though, I wouldn’t worry too much about public speaking, after all, it’s not as if your speech will end the world if you don’t present it correctly.



Sources: Zandan, N. (2016). Why Do We Fear Public Speaking? Retrieved September 14, 2016, from

Picture: H. (2016). 27 Useful Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking | Brian Tracy. Retrieved September 15, 2016, from

The Weight of Skipping Breakfast

How many times have you heard someone tell you that skipping breakfast in the morning will only cause you to gain weight, not lose it? In the opposite sense, how many times have you heard that not eating breakfast won’t cause you to gain weight and that anyone who claims that it does is crazy? With so many theories going around, how do you know what’s true and what’s not?

Multiple studies have been published claiming that skipping breakfast is associated with weight gain. For example, in 2003 the American Journal of Epidemiology published a study that involved 500 participants, and that showed that, out of those 500 individuals, the ones who did not eat breakfast regularly were found to have an increased risk of becoming obese. However, this study doesn’t necessarily mean that the individuals in the study gained weight because they didn’t eat breakfast; correlation, not causation people.

In another sense though, there have been multiple studies performed that show that skipping breakfast does not cause weight gain. In 2014, a study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, followed 300 people as they were split up between three groups: group one, which was instructed to follow a regular-type diet, group two which was instructed to follow a diet intended to lose weight, and was not allowed to eat breakfast, and group three, which was instructed to follow a diet to lose weight, but was allowed to eat breakfast. The study showed that, between groups two and three, there was no contrast in the amount of weight lost in regards to eating breakfast or not.

Ultimately, there are so many theories and studies out there that it is hard to pick up on a general consensus, and as we learned about in class, science is all about curiosity and attempting to find the answers, or help to develop answers from other scientific works. So who knows if we will ever know the real truth about whether or not eating breakfast is correlated with weight gain. All I can say for sure, is that it is your choice whether or not you choose to eat breakfast, but do keep in mind that, if you do decide to eat breakfast, there are some very healthy choices out there that will not only give you brain power, but fill you up with enough energy to keep you going all day.


Sources: Hammond, C. (n.d.). Does skipping breakfast make you put on weight? Retrieved September 15, 2016, from

Tremblay, S. (2016). Can Skipping Breakfast Cause You to Gain Weight? Retrieved September 15, 2016, from

Picture: To Breakfast or not to Breakfast? (n.d.). Retrieved September 15, 2016, from

You’re Interesting, but Incomprehensible

Hi everyone,

My name is Nicole Sherman, and I am a freshman who is extremely undecided when it comes to my major. I am currently in the Division of Undergraduate Studies, and pursuing numerous options and majors. I come from a very small town in Pennsylvania, named Susquehanna. Fun fact: I graduated with only forty-eight kids, a super small amount. And no, I did not attend a private school, there were simply not that many individuals in my town.

For me, it’s not necessarily that I don’t like science, it’s more of the fact that I don’t understand it. I find certain aspects of science to be interesting, for instance, I have a great love of archeology. I have always been extremely interested in ancient Egypt, especially news such as this. However, I have never really understood science. I have done fairly well in most of my science courses up to this point, but, for the life of me, I cannot understand Chemistry of Physics. They baffle me and put me in a horrible mood. Sophomore year I took a Chemistry class, and, no matter how hard I studied, or how much I tried, I could not grasp the concepts.  Especially balancing equations, I could do simple ones, but as soon as they got complicated, the answers eluded me. It is because of my lack of understanding towards science that I have ultimately chosen not to become a science major, and the reason why I have chosen this class as well; a science based class, for individuals who don’t necessarily like science, how could I go wrong? However, as perplexed as I am by the world of science, I am also in awe of those who can understand it, and also slightly jealous as well, because science opens one up to a whole new world and endless possibilities.

Instead, I have chosen to pursue interests in law, communications, and journalism. Those subjects I can begin to understand, and do not end up feeling confused like I am with science. For an accurate representation of how I feel when it comes to science, please reference the image below.


I am really looking forward to the rest of the semester, and am pretty confident that, based on what I have seen so far, this course will be very interesting!

Picture Link: Please click HERE to reference where I have taken the image from.