Author Archives: Summer A Carson

Running vs. Swimming

I was an athlete all of my high school career, and I am trying to carry the fitness aspect into college as mush as I can. I participate in fitness clubs, like Penn State CHAARG, and try to go to the gym as often as I can. Running is always viewed as such a respected technique of working out, but I hate it! I started to brainstorm of some ideas that I could do for working out instead of running that would be equivalent or better. This is the reason I decided to research two totally different types of workouts, running and swimming. My goal is to figure out if swimming would be a satisfactory substitution to running.


The New York Times posted an article titled “Run vs. Swim? Statistician Says The Score Is In” that evaluated which type of the two workout methods is more effective. The distance and time traveled was far less important than how hard the actual activity was itself. Based off the studies and observations, it was a consensus decision that swimming was the harder activity out of the two types of workouts. If the same person ran for twenty minutes and then swam for twenty minutes, that person would have the potential to burn up to 25% more calories swimming than running. Swimming is an activity that is more vigorous and demanding of the body, which is why this type of exercise burns more calories.

Within the article posted by The New York Times titled “Run vs. Swim? Statistician Says The Score Is In” the researches made sure to stress other variables that could be affecting the end result. It is important to review all possibilities and ideas in a study to ensure the best possible outcome in the end results. For example, they tested running vs. swimming on different genders. Gender is just one of the many types of factors that can play a huge role in determining the outcome of the study. They found reasons like women being able to retain fat better allows them to swim more easily due to the fact they can remain parallel to the top of the water. Also, the fact that men are built more muscular sets themselves up for more success when it comes to running.


I found a very interesting article that was posted shortly after the 2016 summer Olympic games in Rio De Janeiro. The Article posted by the Wall Street Journal titled “Rio Games: Why Olympians Shatter Records in Swimming but Not Track” I felt directly related to the topic of this blog. After reading the article by the Wall Street Journal, it seems that within the sport of swimming it is easier to break records than within track in field because of training methods. Also the drag that water presents to a swimmer while swimming is something that an athlete has to learn to overcome to find success, and that is exactly what happened.


After researching running vs. swimming, I was excited to find out that swimming had overall more positive results than running. Being a person who hates running, I should definitely try swimming as an alternative workout based off of what I have learned. It also seems as if there is more room to grow towards success with swimming, and not as much with running. In conclusion, if you are anything like me and have a hateful relationship with running but love fitness, try swimming for an alternative!



Stressed? Try Yoga!

I am person that values fitness and working out. I value fitness and working out very highly because I strongly believe that they are essential components to a happy and healthy lifestyle. With that being said, I am always looking for new and exciting workouts to try because falling into a boring routine can be lethal to success. Recently, I have stumbled upon yoga because they offer classes at the White building, which is one of the fitness facilities on campus for those of you who many not know. I found the yoga classes to be not only a workout but very calming, so this had me thinking if yoga has the ability to relax people can it help treat diseases like depression as well? I decided to research that specific topic and luckily there were many studies done on how yoga affects people with depression.


Science unrelated, my major is Recreation Park Tourism Management so I love hearing of therapeutic recreation activities that can beneficial to a person’s health, like help lowering depression rates. Depression can be caused by various reasons, but the main factor is stress. Every person experiences a wide variety of stressors throughout their life. For example, losing a family member, failing a test, spilling you coffee and many more. Stress to the point of causing depression can drastically affect the normality of a person’s life. It is more than likely that every person at least in their lifetime will unfortunately experience stress to a certain level that they are considered depressed.

An article by PubMed Central titled “How Might Yoga Help Depression? A Neurobiological Perspective” examined yoga in conjunction with depression. PubMed Central acknowledged through their findings that yoga can help a person through depression in many different aspects. For example, while engaging in yoga the participant reaches a point of relaxation where they only focus on the present and forget about the issues that may be going on in their daily lives. The ability to release is important and this is a technique that is heavily taught within any type of yoga class. Also, the article by PubMed Central suggests that yoga assists in depression by improving a person’s mood because it recognized that everyone has the power over how they feel.

Man doing Yoga in New York

A randomized control trial(s) study was done by the Official Journal of ADAA that also examined yoga in conjunction to depression levels. This study took a total of 619 participants with various levels of depression and had them participate in yoga exercises. During the yoga that the participants participated in, their depression levels would sink. Depression levels would sink because yoga was providing a momentary escape. The study conducted by the Official Journal of ADAA concluded in their results that yoga does indeed help with depression, even if it is only for a short period of time.

There are many more studies that examine yoga in conjunction to depression, so if this blog post interested you I suggest you check them out. Overall, I am very pleased to see a simple activity, that anyone can participate in, being able to affect a life in such a positive way. Even if you are not depressed, you should try yoga! As mentioned above, yoga can have many beneficial aspects and most importantly it can help out with the daily stressors we experience on a day to day basis.



Wine Wednesday Everyday

As we all know and have been taught throughout our lives, alcohol can have negative affects and can be quite addictive. With that being said, does that mean that “wine Wednesday” is frowned upon? Wine Wednesday is an activity that many college students, including Penn State students, partake in as an excuse to drink on “humpday”. Don’t panic if you are a wine Wednesday regular, like myself, becuase you’re in luck! Wine is type of alcohol that has been found to have positive effects on a person’s health, if it is drank in moderation on a daily basis.


Wine has been used for its positive health effects on people for thousands of years. Some cultures and countries that were the first to experiment with health effects from wine were the Egyptians, Ancient Greece and the Romans. The Greeks were a culture that relied heavily on wine as a tool to help improve health. For example, the Greeks would use wine as a treatment to help control a person’s digestive system because it was thought to clear everything up. The Greeks main use for wine to benefit a person’s health was for the idea that it can be used as a disinfectant, for any types of medical or cleaning purposes. The Romans also used wine as a disinfectant and found that red versus white wines had different effects when it came to disinfecting.

There was a review done by the Postgraduate Medical Journal that examined the many different ways that wine could affect health positively or negatively. They reviewed many various case control studies, which examined little everyday wine intake and final health results at the end. These case studies not only studied the health effects from wine on humans, but animals as well which creates more room for the results to be correct. An example would be how they examined France, country wide because drinking wine is common, and concluded that drinking wine in moderation has helped improve health. Also they reviewed animals by testing how different types of wines would impact rabbits.

After the Postgraduate Medical Journal reviewed many studies and conducted the trials themselves their results were luckily very good in regards to health. The final results concluded that due to certain ingredients in wine, like flavonoids, is the main reason why wine can have positive health benefits to a person when drank in moderation. Flavonoids are an antioxidant that are commonly found within a grape or other plants, which are used to make wine. Red wines over white wines were found to have more health beneficial ingredients. While the study concluded that wine can have positive health effects on a person when drank in moderation, the Postgraduate Medical Journal made it clear that they did not account for any third confounding Z variables, like binge drinking.


Another study done by Europe PubMed Central and these results very similar to results to the studies reviewed at the Postgraduate Medical Journal. Europe PubMed Central conducted a randomized control trial that involved eleven male volunteers, that were all healthy. The duration of the study lasted three weeks and each participant was either given real wine or fruit juice that was portrayed as wine. At the end of the study the participants health was examined, but more specifically their fatty acid levels. Europe PubMed Central concluded that the evidence in health results they discovered would support the hypothesis of wine being beneficial to a person’s health.

After doing research on wine affecting health and reading both of the studies conducted by the Postgraduate Medical Journal and Europe PubMed, I realized that the overall results were very positive. Even though all the results could always be due to chance, the majority would agree that drinking wine every day in moderation has a greater possibility of having positive effects rather than negative. With that being said… why not? In conclusion, I suggest that we have WINE WEDNESDAY EVERYDAY if there are any even slight potential health benefits.



Busy Bee

No more bees? What’s the big issue? I recently have been hearing a lot of rumors about bees being added to the endangered species list. This is the first time in U.S. history that bees have been placed on the endangered species list. My initial thought when I heard this news was that bees are a pest and half of my family is deathly allergic, so this is good news, not bad news! After research on this specific topic, I sadly realized I had been mistaken. Bees being placed onto the endangered species list is far from good news.


Just like I questioned, you may be wondering what the actual purpose of bees is. Have you ever heard the phrase “busy bee”? This phrase is not inaccurate and is commonly said because bees are indeed really busy and work very hard. The main task of a bee is to help the relocation of pollen or seeds, which occurs when bees travel from flower to flower. When a bee partakes in the pollination process, it is allowing fertilization to occur so plants can grow. More importantly, they are catalysts to producing food that humans can eat. Essential fruits and vegetables that we consume on a daily basis, such as apples, blueberries, oranges, cherries and cucumbers, as well as nuts, would not be able to thrive. Locations all over the United States that grow produce will start to experience issues with their farming and overall production with the decline in bees.


The decline of bees was first realized at the turn of the new decade, between late 2009 and early 2010. Many types of bees have been observed and studied from 2009 until now, 2016. Since the observations and findings were projected over many years, this could be considered an observational longitudinal study. Karl Magnacca, a professor at the University of Hawaii, is a man who devoted nearly twenty years of his life to studying bees and their decline. Karl Magnacca is also the co author of the book Insects of Hawaii: Hawaiian Hylaeus (Nesoprosopis) Bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea), which talks about his findings. An example of Karl Magnacca’s findings would include that bees usually favor powerful plants, but also are crucial to the whole forest and ecosystem as a whole.

Bees being added to the endangered species list is huge problem, but this actually the first step in their revival. Because bees have been added to the endangered species list, their decline is at least being acknowledged as an issue. More importantly, bees are now protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which conserves these species to the greatest ability possible.


Bees are crucial for a stable eco system, which is why their decline is urgent to our society. Without bees, we will lose some of our favorite foods that we eat every single day. If you were like me, I hope you gained knowledge on bees that you did not know before. Through all this research I realized how important bees are. Even though my family is allergic to bees, I now understand their importance to the global ecosystem. In conclusion, next time you see a bee, don’t swat it or view it as a pest, because we need them!



Dark Chocolate Isn’t So Dark

I love chocolate… who doesn’t, right? I crave chocolate constantly, and I could not make it through a single day without consuming some type of chocolate. Even though I prefer milk chocolate and white chocolate over dark chocolate, I have always heard that dark chocolate is better for you. Dark chocolate contains healthier ingredients and has greater nutritional value. I decided that it was time to finally research whether this rumor is true or not, so that if I am eating chocolate everyday I can at least choose the healthier option.


There was a study done by The American Society for Clinical Nutrition testing if dark chocolate is better for a person over white chocolate. The study was conducted on only fifteen participants in good health that included eight men and seven women. The study conducted was a randomized control trial. The fifteen participants were randomly distributed either the dark chocolate or the white chocolate to consume. This would have not been considered a randomized control trial if the participants had options regarding which type of chocolate they preferred to eat. The study was designed to observe whether the two different types of chocolate would affect the fifteen participants’ blood pressure at the end of the observational study.

The results of the study were not very shocking because they matched the rumors that I had been hearing. The participants that were given white chocolate within the duration of the study had a spike in their blood pressure levels. The participants that were given dark chocolate within the duration of the study found a drop in their blood pressure levels. Certain ingredients and nutrients that are necessary to make white chocolate, such as cocoa butter, is the main reason that the participants experienced a spike in blood pressure levels and the dark chocolate participants did not.


The study conducted at the The American Society for Clinical Nutrition was handled very smoothly, but it was small and simple. The fact that this study only tested fifteen people makes the results hard to construe as completely credible. The same study should be repeated many more times, but with considerably more people in each experiment to actually confirm the results. If this is not redone in the future, The American Society for Clinical Nutrition could never rule out the possibility of chance being the reason that the people who ate the dark chocolate experienced a drop in blood pressure levels. Also, the study did not consider any third confounding Z variables that may have been the reason for the lower blood pressures associated with dark chocolate. For example, the participants that were randomly assigned to eat dark chocolate may have more active lifestyles and thus lower blood pressure than the white chocolate group. Something as random as having a more physically demanding job or taking the stairs more often could affect the outcome of the study.

In addition to the study conducted at The American Society for Clinical Nutrition, CNN wrote an article titled “Is Dark Chocolate Good or Bad For Our Health?” that discussed similar topics. This article agrees with The American Society for Clinical Nutrition because they also mentioned that dark chocolate lowers blood pressure levels. Based off what I read in this article, dark chocolate is a very helpful antioxidant that has been known to have beneficial effects on the body.

In conclusion, the rumors are true! Dark chocolate is better for you over other types of chocolates. Dark chocolate may lower your blood pressure. Based off how much I eat chocolate, I should probably start incorporating dark chocolate into my lifestyle more often. The transition to dark chocolate over other types of chocolate won’t be easy, but by the sounds of it, it’s worth it!



Addicted to Your Phone?


My major is RPTM, recreation parks tourism management, and in one of my classes the other day my professor shared a video with us. The main purpose of sharing this video to my class was to demonstrate how different chemicals in our body can make you a better leader. As I was watching the video the speaker was explaining how someone can literally be addicted to physical objects, specifically their cell phone. He mentioned points like if you have to hold your phone as you walk from room to room in your own apartment, you are probably addicted. As he was mentioning examples explaining how a person could be addicted to their phone I sadly realized qualified for a few.

So is it true? Can a person be addicted to their phone? The answer is yes, and more of us are than we even realize! Addiction can be classified as disease that takes over your brain along with a person’s ability to make rational decisions regarding what ever they may be addicted to. Here is a study done by CNN that showed people can truly be addicted to their phone and not even know it. The article explained many scenarios where a person shows traits of addiction, and reading them they sound ridiculous, but most of them I am embarrassingly guilty of. I encourage you to check out the article and see if you fall under any of the categories as well, it can be very eye opening! The main way to scope out if someone is actually addicted to the their phone is to see if they go through any type of withdrawal when they do not have the device in their presence.

Most people would deny the fact they are addicted to their cell phone because in a way it sounds pathetic, but I’ll admit that I am. I even find that being able to to do simple activities is very hard because of my cell phone. For example, as I am writing this blog post I even feel the need to check my phone for no actual important reason. Even if I have not received a text or phone call there is always something else to check, like social media. Every time I open my phone I feel the need to scroll through twitter, just so I don’t miss out on anything. I found a Life Hack website that also acknowledges that people can be addicted to their cell phone and proposed techniques through five simple steps to beat the addiction. 

Cell phone addicts are also known to act very reckless and partake in situations such as texting while driving. As we all know texting and driving is VERY bad, yet we still continue to do it. I try my best to not use my phone while driving, even though sometimes I do, but here is video to help persuade you even more to never use your phone while behind the wheel of a vehicle. Saying you are addicted to your phone will never be a valid argument or excuse to get away with serious matters like texting and driving or many other scenarios!


After reading up on being addicted to cellphones, I think it is easy to say that we all need a digital detox. It is nothing to be ashamed of if you are addicted to your cell phones since most young people are now a days. Time away from cell phones and technology will only help us in the long run. As mentioned above it will be easier to do simple everyday tasks like studying and more serious tasks like driving. Take the first step today and start attempting to control how much you use your phone for a more focused and productive life!


  • Wallace, Kelly. “10 Signs You Might Be Addicted to Your Smartphone.” CNN. Cable News Network, 25 Nov. 2014. Web. 11 Sept. 2016.
  • 99Uvideos. “Simon Sinek: Why Leaders Eat Last.” YouTube. YouTube, 04 Dec. 2013. Web. 11 Sept. 2016.
  • “SoFlo – Timeline | Facebook.” SoFlo – Timeline | Facebook. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2016.
  • “Addiction.” Brainfacts. N.p., n.d. Web <>.
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Science in Finding Dory?


When I was younger I absolutely adored the Pixar movie Finding Nemo, and I know I am not alone in that statement. Almost all 90’s kids can find a place for Finding Nemo in their heart, so naturally when they announced that they are making a sequel  “Finding Dory” I was beyond ecstatic! Even though I was twenty years old when the movie came out this past summer, I went to see it immediately and LOVED it. It turns out that this animated aquatic sea life movie has   real facts and ideas placed all throughout the film. During the movie one of the sea life characters, a beluga whale (Bailey) voiced by Ty Burell, had the ability to see using just his head and screeches. This idea blew my mind and I had no idea what was going on, so I decided to research this tool the beluga whale apparently has.

The ability to see by using their head and screeching that the beluga whale possessed is called   echolocation. Echolocation is a tool that whales use by sending high frequency noises, such as moans or screeching, far distances causing vibrations to ricochet off other objects and echo back to the whale. Echolocation is more commonly known as “whale songs”, which is when whales sound like they are singing but it is just the high frequency sounds. Apparently not just beluga whales have this handy tool, but other animals and creatures as well. For example, bats rely solely on echolocation as their vision tool because they do not have any sight. With this being said, if bats did not possess echolocation continuing life would be very heard for their species.

In the movie, Bailey the beluga whale, used echolocation as tool to help Dory find her way around the Marine Life Institute. The echolocation allowed her to visualize any predators that may be near Dory to warn her. In real life, a whale or other creatures, would use echolocation primarily for hunting. This handy tool allows whales to locate a food source and head in that direction, just by using their forehead! Also whales use echolocation to help them maneuver with ease around the vast big ocean. This tool allows a creature to see very far or very close depending on their current situations.


As humans it is hard for us to completely understand echolocation because we do not posses the tool ourselves. Echolocation has been said to be other worldly and allow a different view of the world (ocean) for any creature that has this tool. The term other worldy is meant to be thought of being able to see a three dimensional world. I found this to be very interesting because we are all on the same earth but each creature can have a very different view of the world around us thanks to things like echolocation. You can read more about this topic on sites just like this!

I encourage everyone who has not yet seen Finding Dory to do so. This movie is not only entertaining but educational as well. Hopefully when you watch this film you question some of the ideas just like I did. Overall, I am thrilled that they made a sequel to one of my favorite childhood movies, Finding Nemo, and most importantly the fact that I was able to learn something from it too!


  • Altman, By Bridget. “5 Scientifically Accurate Things About Finding Dory.”Marine Science Today. N.p., 22 Aug. 2016. Web. 11 Sept. 2016.
  • “Whales, Dolphins and Sound.” Department of the Environment and Energy. Australian Government, n.d. Web.
  • Family, By. “National Marine Mammal Laboratory.” National Marine Mammal Laboratory. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2016.
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Chipotle is Fine!



My favorite place to grab a bite to eat is at a popular chain Mexican restaurant, Chipotle. Just the other day I was planning on heading to Chipotle for lunch, so I asked my dad if if would like to join me. My dad’s response was very hesitant and then finally he stated “Nah I’m good, I don’t want E-coli”. I was very thrown off by his response because I have eaten there many times and I do not have E-coli. I know that Chipotle has been in the news for some type of food related illness, but I did not look that much into because I loved eating there that much. After what my dad said, how much I eat there and based off what I have heard in the news I decided it’s time to put a little research into what exactly E-coli is.

E-coli is an abbreviation for the term Escherichia coli, and despite what the majority of people may think (including myself) this is a bacteria not a disease. This bacteria lives and forms within the intestines of not just people but animals as well. The most common way to be infected by E-coli is eating or drinking food and water that has been in contact with the bacteria. For example, some of these contaminated foods may be, unpasteurized milk, foods stored at the wrong temperature, produce that was not washed thoroughly, not fully cooked meats and overall incorrect handling of food. E-coli can unfortunately cause many unwanted symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach pains, fever and sometimes mild or major dehydration.

According to the FDA, numerous people had been infected by E-coli by November 2015 that had all eaten at a Chipotle Mexican Grill. Chipotle decided to act swiftly and shut down 43 of their restaurants in many different locations within the United States. The chain only closed the restaurants that seemed as if they could have somehow been linked to E-coli breakout because it seemed unnecessary to do so to any other restaurants. Luckily, there were no major effects from the outbreak such as death, and all of the employees of the restaurants escaped untouched and healthy. Since the E-coli breakout, Chipotle now takes more initiatives and precautions such as expanding the testing of all produce before sold, working more closely with government agencies to set in place health standards and most importantly replacing the ingredients in all the closed restaurants (FDA). Here is the exact and more in depth list of regulations now set in place.

As mentioned above E-coli has many different symptoms, but luckily it has a cure and is Treatable. Treating E-coli is quite simple with steps like drinking a lot of water and resting. For some more severe cases regarding diarrhea and dehydration you may need to see a doctor. These treatments are very mild compared to what could be required to treat other bacteria or viruses. The fact that doctors rarely actually give out some type of medicine for E-coli says a lot but mild the bacteria usually is.

The E-coli breakout in Chipotle Mexican restaurants was very unfortunate, but I personally do not think that you should let that be a reason to stop eating there. There are so many ways to contract this bacteria in everyday life and in our own cooking. With that being said I have come to the conclusion that my dad should get over his fear of eating at Chipotle, because anywhere he eats he is assuming the same risk!



  • “General Information.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 06 Nov. 2015. Web. 04 Sept. 2016.
  • @healthline. “E. Coli Infection.” Healthline. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2016.
  • “FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of E. Coli O26 Infections Linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill Restaurants.” FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of E. Coli O26 Infections Linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill Restaurants. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2016.
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Science Blows My Mind

Hi Everyone! My name is Summer Carson and I am currently a junior here at Penn State. I was born and raised right here in State College, Happy Valley. While attending State High, the local high school, I realized science was not for me. It also did not help that I am terrible at math and unfortunately science and math go hand in hand.

I am majoring in Recreation Park Tourism Management, with a community and commercial focus. With whatever job I land in the future science will most likely not be required. I enrolled in this course because everyone at Penn State has to take at least 6 credits of science, and this class was highly recommended. I never planned on being a science major because science and math have never been my strong suit, and why would I major in something I am not good at? Even though I am not good at science I do find it very interesting and intriguing!

Science truly does blow my mind. For example, I was doing something so simple as scrolling through Facebook and science still managed to amaze me. An interesting video about the ocean and its depths came up posted by the Riphah International University, check it out!