Author Archives: Thomas Tatem Moore

How much more effective are aluminum baseball bats compared to wooden ones

Growing up playing youth baseball I, and everyone I competed against used aluminum bats. In fact every baseball player from every level up until college is permitted to use an aluminum bat. However, when you get to professional baseball at both the MLB and minor leagues, aluminum bats are not permitted anymore; only wooden bats are allowed for professional players. Why is that many may ask? The answer to that is the widespread baseball thought that aluminum bats (or metal) are more effective for hitters, and would make the game extremely hard for the pitchers and fielders at the games highest level. I decided to look further into this interesting sports topic to see if this thought is true, and if it is true how much more effective are aluminum bats.

picture from

The null hypothesis for this question would be that aluminum bats are in fact more effective for hitters. The alternative hypothesis would be that wooden bats are actually more effective for hitters in baseball. A confounding variable could be the overall ability of the player using the bat.

A comprehensive study I came across conducted by Crisco and Greenwald dove deeply into this question and came up with a clear answer. The study involved nineteen active baseball players, nine players playing in the minor leagues, six playing in college, and four players still in high school. The study took place in a batting cage where the subjects took six swings with a wooden bat model, and five separate metal bat models. A 3-D map was used to track the trajectory of the ball prior to, during, and after making contact with each bat. They then used the video data to obtain and analyze the speed of the ball throughout the three main phases of the swinging process. The results of the test clearly show that metal bats outperformed wooden bats when it came to the speed of the ball after the swing. The ball speed coming off of the metal bats was up to eight miles per hour (MPH) faster than the ball speed when coming off of a wooden bat from the same player. The data also found that not all metal bats performed the same. This graphic below shows the findings of the study.

photo from

The findings of this study may cause one to ask why this is the case. An article I found on clearly spells out some key reasons for why this is the case. According to the article aluminum bats are lighter than wooden bats, therefore the player is able to swing the bat at a faster speed which will in turn give the ball coming off the bat a higher velocity. Also the article talks about how aluminum bats are more flexible at the point of contact which allows for further distance traveled at a higher velocity.

Overall, after the findings of the study it is clear that aluminum bats perform better than wooden ones for a baseball batter. There are many factors that factor into why this is the case. Therefore, the null hypothesis would be accepted in this case. It is doubtful that this subject suffers from either a file drawer problem or the Texas sharpshooter problem due to the amount of studies that have been done on it, and the lack of proof of any other answers.


Does the time of class affect your performance?

This past week was the main week for scheduling classes for the spring semester. Most college students want to avoid one big thing when they are making their schedule, 8 AM’s. To many college students, that phrase is synonymous with exhaustion, absences and fear. As a current freshman, I picked my classes on one of the last days possible. Because of this, I now have an 8 AM Wednesday and Friday next semester. This scared me mainly because in high school some of my lowest grades came in the classes I took currently in the morning. Currently I don’t have a class before 10 AM, and I love it. On the same hand I don’t end classes till 4:30 on four out of five days a week, and I see myself losing focus later in the day. This conundrum makes sense to me, but I wanted to see if there is actual scientific proof to back up my hypothesis. That hypothesis is that the time of your class affects your performance.

picture from

The null hypothesis would be that class time does affect a students performance. The alternative hypothesis would then be that the time of the class does not affect the performance of students. A confounding variable could be an unbalance in the intelligence of the students during the respective times of classes. This subject could suffer from the file drawer problem due to a lack of research done on the problem.

A study conducted by Nolan G. Pope of the University of Chicago looked into the performance of middle school and high school students grades 6-11 in relation to the times of the classes they took. The two subjects he specifically looked at were english and math. He observed the results of these students for six years from 2003-2009, in total 1.8 million students grades were taken into account. The average math score on the CST (California State Test) for students who took the subject in first or second period was 309.8. He compared these numbers to the group of students who took math in periods five and six. Their average math score on the same test was 304.5, a full five points lower than the average of those taking it in first and second periods. Additionally, on average the same students who took the subject in the first two periods of the day got an average of .11 higher of a math GPA. The results were similar for english students, according to the same study. For those who took english in periods on and two their average english score on the CST was 334.32, this is a full three points higher than the average score of a 331.04 for those who took the class in periods five and six. Similarly the average english GPA of students taking the class early in the day was .10 higher than those taking it in the afternoon (U Chicago).

A separate article from the New York times backs up the evidence found by Pope in his study. According to the article, earlier start times may in fact help college students raise their grade point average. The article includes findings from a study conducted by two psychology professors from St. Lawrence University in New York. The study came to the conclusion that students who enrolled in classes with earlier start times were rewarded with better grades as a result. According to the study for every hour earlier the class start time was, a .02 increase in grades was observed. So over a three hour period that number would be .06. The reasoning behind this according to the co-authors could be attributed to better habits that come with an earlier start to your day. Habits such as going to bed earlier, completing your work more efficiently, and refraining from drinking on school nights came along with students who started class early in the morning. This article could suffer from the Texas sharpshooter problem due to only positive effects of earlier class times, with little mention of some possible negative effects.

Overall, just because the findings of these studies state that earlier start times can improve your grades does not necessarily mean that you should rush to schedule an 8 AM next semester. Neither does starting earlier mean you will develop some of the good habits that are mentioned in the second article. You have to find what works for you in all aspects of your college life.


How effective is the flu shot?

Growing up as a kid I got the flu shot every fall, except for one. That one fall when I was six, my mom took me and my younger brother to the doctor to get the shot. I started screaming saying I didn’t want the shot. My mom pleaded with me, trying to convince me to allow the doctor to administer the shot. After about five minutes of being unsuccessful she finally gave up and said “Fine, but you’re going to get the flu and learn a lesson”. As mother’s usually are, she was spot on. The first week of February I started to come down with a little cold. Within 24 hours I was the sickest I’ve ever been, still to this day; I had the flu. For a week I could barely move, I was in bed all week with a raging fever and an unbearable headache. I learned my lesson, I have gotten the flu shot every year since and have not gotten the flu since. The discussion of immunizations possibly causing autism in class recently caused me to remember this topic, and come up with this question. How effective are flu shots in preventing the flu?

Photo from

The popularity of getting the flu shot has diminished significantly over the past ten years. According to an article written on only forty percent of Americans received a flu shot in 2009. This was the year in which the “Swine flu” broke out nation wide. Last year still less than half of American adults received a flu shot, only forty seven percent. Additionally only three-quarters of children under the age of two received a shot to supposedly prevent the flu. These numbers shocked me, and forced me to question is getting the shot really beneficial (Health Impact).

According to the Centers for disease and health control (CDC) the flu vaccine reduces the risk of contracting the illness by between 50 and 60 percent. There are some factors that factor into this number like the age and general health of the patient, and the proximity between the type of flu virus and the type of flu vaccine. The benefits of the vaccine are most noticeable in young adults, and children over the age of two (CDC).

The null hypothesis is that flu shots are very effective in preventing the flu. So much so that every American should get one at least once annually, and that over half of American adults are doing themselves a disservice by not getting one no matter your age. The alternative hypothesis is that flu shots are not nearly as effective as many people seem to think, and consequently getting a flu shot . And, getting one is not a necessity and may vary depending on age. Reverse causation could be that people could get the flu due to receiving the shot. A confounding variable could be the patients overall health or age prior to receiving a shot. A file drawer problem is unlikely because the influenza virus is one of the most prominent viruses in the world, and statistics are recorded and analyzed on a annual basis. This is shown by the experiment I found that was run throughout the 2012-2013 flu season.

U.S public health officials ran an experiment throughout the 2012-2013 flu season to text the effectiveness of the flu shot for Americans. For the test, people with acute respiratory illness (ARI) over the age of six months were recruited. Of these people they were only eligible to take part in the test if the duration of their illness was less than or equal to seven days, and they had not received any form of anti-viral medication prior to enrollment in the experiment. 6,766 patients were enrolled in the case, although 314 were excluded from analysis due to unclear test results. Of the 6,452 who were tested, 2,877 patients or 45 percent of the patients had a flu shot more than two weeks before ARI symptoms appeared. Of the 2,877 vaccinated 795 or 28 percent were influenza virus positive. This is compared to 42 percent of the 3,575 who were not vaccinated becoming flu positive.  The effectiveness was seen least in adolescents aged 9-17, and patients over the age of 65. In both age groups, over 30 percent of patients vaccinated were still flu positive, 32 percent in those aged over 65, and 35 percent in those aged 9-17. Compared to the overall vaccine effectiveness of 49 percent the VE in those two age groups were 39 and 26 percent respectively. While the analysis of this study does not represent the views of the CDC, the experiment was supported by the CDC (NCBI) (Graph).

Overall, after seeing the results of this experiment I would reject the null hypothesis and therefore accept the alternative hypothesis. Flu shots are not as effective as I originally thought, and age does play a factor, even prior to the “elderly”. This topic could suffer from the Texas sharpshooter problem due to some data provided by the CDC that is partially ignored in the study.


Running on a treadmill vs outside

Almost always when I go to the gym whether it is here at Penn State or at home I start with the same thing. I warm up with at least ten minutes on the treadmill before I work out. However while I have been here at Penn State I have yet to run outside. I feel this is due to one of two reasons. The density of the population here, and the troubles that amount of people would have on going for a run. When I am at home, and it is a nice day out there is nothing better than going for a run around my block. It clears my head of anything that may be going on and just allows me to be free. The question of running on a treadmill as opposed to running outside is one that I have thought about sometimes but never investigated. That is why I decided to look into the two different ways of running, and the differences between the two.

picture from

First off, it is important to acknowledge the distinct differences between running on a treadmill vs running outside. These differences span throughout all different areas of the running spectrum, and can show a runner the explicit benefits and possible drawbacks of using either of these methods of cardio-exercise.


One difference between the two different styles of running is the amount of energy exerted while doing the two respectively. According to a study done by the University of Exter runners who run outside as opposed to running on a treadmill spend extra effort running due to wind resistance and other environmental and weather factors that you do not get while running inside on a treadmill (NCBI). To account for that discrepancy, runners who use a treadmill can increase the incline of the treadmill by a one percent gradient to exert the amount of energy they would running the same speed outdoors (BBC).

Another difference between the two would be the speed at which the runners are running while exercising. According to a study done in Singapore runners have an unmatched perception of speech while running on a treadmill and overground. The study involved twenty-one participants who ran for three minutes at a preferred speed on an overground track, immediately after they completed a three minute run on a treadmill before finishing up with another three minute run outdoors overground. During their run on the treadmill the speed on the treadmill screen was blocked from the runners vision. The objective was for the runner to run at the same speed or relatively the same as the speed they chose for the outdoor run, and the speed they would run for their final outdoor run. The study found that the runners had a different perception of speed when running outdoors and on treadmills respectively. According to the article the average speed of the first outdoor run was .78 meters per second, the average speed of the treadmill run was .62 meters per second, the average speed on the third and final run was .74 meters per second. This unmatched perception is due in part to an absence of normal visual inputs that you usually get from running outdoors that are not available to a runner on a treadmill, this causes a difference between observed and expected optic flow (NCBI). Optic flow is defined as the motion of all the surface elements in the visual world (PC). This could present difficulties for runners if they are trying to train at a certain speed or intensity.

According to an article on, running on a treadmill may be in someways a little easier than running in the elements outdoors. This is because the treadmill belt assists in leg turnover which allows the runner to run at a faster clip with less resistance. This is also a reasonable explanation for why runners often find trouble correlating their running speed on the ground to their running speed on a treadmill. On the other hand according to the same article, running on a treadmill may be beneficial in that it provides less wear and tear on your body. The article states that some soft tissue “hardening” that occurs normally while running outside on pavement in a street or on a sidewalk does not occur as often while running on a treadmill. This is because the treadmill belt is a lot more forgiving than an outdoor surface (Runners World).


Overall the two types of running are different in many ways, but also similar in some too. Each have their own pros and cons. It is really a personal preference based on how heavy you want to train, run or exercise as a runner. Additionally, your decision may come down to how your body is made up and how one form suits you best. Personally I enjoy running outdoors a little better because of the added scenery, and the elements.

Low top vs high top basketball shoes

For years it was thought that only high top shoes were appropriate for playing basketball in. It wasn’t the look or the style that was the reason. Rather it was the added protection a high top shoe gave for the players ankles, as opposed to a lower top shoe where the ankle is more exposed and possible susceptible to injury. This all changed when basketball legend Kobe Bryant went against the grain and bucked the trend in 2008 with the releasing of the fourth edition of his signature shoe, the Kobe 4. This ESPN article describes the so called unwritten rule in making basketball shoes, and how Kobe started a revolution. From here people started to see it “acceptable” to wear low top basketball shoes, and many other companies start to develop their own low top basketball shoes. My love for basketball shoes, and overall interest in the sport caused me to look into this topic and explore the differences between the two styles of shoes. Decide which if any is a better fit for use on the court. And answer the question, do high top basketball shoes really give you better ankle support?

Kobe 5 basketball sneaker, photo from

The null hypothesis for this question would be that high top shoes are more effective for protecting your ankles while playing basketball. The alternative hypothesis in this equation would then be that low top shoes actually protect your ankles at a better rate than their high top counter-part. A confounding variable could be that previous ankle injuries causes by sports or not that could cause the ankle injury rather than simply the type of shoe you are wearing.


A study done at Brigham Young University in March of 2000 dove deeply into this discussion of which type of shoe protected your ankles better. This is approximately eight years before the release of the Kobe 4, and the extreme spike in popularity and production of low top basketball shoes. This observational study involved twenty college aged physical education students at the university who has not had history of a lower leg injury within six months prior to the test. The test was conducted to see which type of shoe caused the most amount of ankle inversion. The subjects stood on an inversion platform with a foot support base that rotated at a thirty-five degree angle. This was immediately after sudden ankle inversion was caused by a trap door was pulled out with a string. The results were then recorded after the subjects stood on the platform with both low top and high top shoes on. The data showed that the high top shoes reduced the amount of ankle inversion for the subjects at an of 4.5 degrees, the maximum rate of inversion of 100.1 degrees per second, an the average rate of inversion by 73 degrees per second when put up against low top shoes. Drawing the conclusion that high top shoes may reduce the risk of ankle sprains in athletes, specifically basketball players (WWEB).

photo from

Pro’s and Cons of both

An article on lays out some pro’s and cons of wearing both types of sneakers. Despite offering less ankle support than high top sneakers, low top sneakers offer some really enticing benefits to players which is why they are quite popular on the court today. According to the article, because the shoes are low top in nature, they are then lighter weight. Sometimes up to twenty percent lighter than a standard high top shoe. Because, of this a players stamina may be enhanced due to less energy being exerted in order to pick up your feet because of the light weight. The one glaring issue with low tops is the lack of ankle support which is emphasized in this article as well. Basically completely reversing the statements made about the low tops. The added ankle support is a huge plus, the added support can also help prevent other foot and ankle injuries such as plantar fasciitis. On the flip side the extra material can not only make it more heavy and cause you to become fatigued, but also cause the shoes price to rise (Livestrong) (Breaking muscle).


Overall, the null hypothesis was accepted from the study, the higher topped shoes gave better support for the ankles of the subject. However, this is not to say that you cannot play basketball in low top sneakers. It is all about what you the consumer, and you the player value in the sneaker. If you value support for your foot and ankle, then a high top shoe is the right one for you. If you value light weight, and a lower price, then a low top shoe is the best bet for your style.



The negative effects of social media

Today, almost everybody is on social media. From snapchat, to twitter, to instagram, and everything in between social media is taking over parts of our lives. I personally spend countless hours a week on various social media sites, and frankly I feel my life would be a lot better without them. How deeply does social media effect our lives, and how much of it is in a negative way?

One negative effect of social media is a raging addiction to the sites. A study run by the University of Maryland dug deep into the social media addiction that is sweeping across the country, and killing productivity in the process. According to the survey eighteen percent of people can’t go more than a “few hours” without checking Facebook, this number raises to sixty-one percent of people who can’t go through a twenty four hour day without checking the site. I for one am one that has trouble staying off social media for hours at a time, and it impedes my focus and productivity significantly. Twenty eight percent of people reportedly can’t even get their head off the pillow in the morning before their thumb is scrolling down their twitter feed. A big problem with social media is that a lot of time people go on it just to “kill time”, in fact anywhere between sixty to eighty percent of Americans confess that their main purpose of going online to social media sites is to do just that, kill time (INC). The addiction is most prevalent in millennials, one in every five millennials spends at least six hours a day on social media (Link). Think of that, one fourth of your day is spent on social media, at least another half of your day usually would comprise of sleeping. In that scenario, how much are you really getting done in a twenty four hour period? The time you spend each day on social media, is time you could be spending doing something productive. This is a problem many businesses are finding is a lack of productivity in the work place due to social media.

For businesses, even the slightest bit of time an employee uses on social media could be tons of money lost.  A certain statistic I found really jumped out at me. Social media sites collectively cost employers 650 Billion dollars a year (Huffington). According to an approximate U.S census there are approximately 321 million adults in the U.S (Census). That is over $2,000 per adult in social media caused lost money. The time spent in the work place, and the classroom should be spent entirely focused on the task at hand. Companies and employers everywhere are looking for solutions to squander the problem, and get productivity up again in the work place. This however, is a problem that has spiraled out of control and needs answers quickly.

Another negative effect behind social media use is the sometimes twisted psychology behind it. A lot of times people will make a big deal about how many likes their tweet got or how many likes their Instagram picture got. There are many examples of why this is a bad way of thinking psychologically. In some cases even, it is more important than people lives in reality. In a survey of 1,600 participants 58 percent responded than the attempt to take the “perfect picture” to post on social media took away from the actual experience of the event or situation they were in (Entrepreneur). This is the sad reality with what social media is becoming. It is more important to garner people’s approval in many people’s minds rather than enjoying your life. Social media is turning the world into a more materialistic place by the day.

The best solution to decrease the negative effects of social media sites is to simply stop using them. This will get productivity up both in the work place, and your life overall.

Music while studying, is it detrimental?

Many things I do throughout my day, I do with music. I listen to music when I’m just laying around my room, walking to class, or working out at the gym. One thing I sometimes do without music however is school work. I find it hard for me to concentrate on my school work with loud music on in the background. I will sometimes however listen to softer music, or sometimes even sports talk radio while I work. Conversely, my roommate can do homework while listening to louder music, even rap and faster music. Because of this contrast in styles I wanted to look into listening to music while studying, and if it is detrimental, or beneficial, or if it just depends on the person.

There are many conflicting reports out there in many articles that I browsed through. Many articles state how listening to music while studying or learning can be beneficial to the student. One article that I found described the benefits of classical music on students test scores. The University of research in France found that students who took a math quiz after sitting in a lecture with classical music in the background scored higher than those who sat in the lecture without music. Their hypothesis behind their findings is that the classical music causes the students to be at a more emotional state where they retain information at a better rate (USC).

On the other hand there are articles and studies that claim that listening to music decreases your performance in school. A 1977 study conducted by Smith and Morris compared the cognitive skills of students while either listening to their favorite genre of music, or not listening to music at all. The individuals were asked to repeat a set of numbers backwards. The results showed that those who were not listening to music at all performed far better than those who were listening to their favorite genre of music (Inquires). Another study I found was conducted by the University of Wales. In the study there were five different test groups that ranged from complete silence while completing a test to heavy metal music to completing a test with no music at all. Total there were four groups that had music or some sound during the test, and one with complete silence. “Steady state speech” in which a single number was repeated for the entirety of the test. “Changing state speech” in which different numbers were played throughout the test. “Liked music” in which a song of the subjects favorite genre choice was played throughout the test. And “Disliked music” in which a song of the students distaste ex. heavy metal was played throughout the test. The test was a series recall test in which the students were asked to repeat a series of number in the same sequence that they were first introduced to them. The study concluded that there was no difference in performance between the two music and changing state groups, however the group that completed the test in complete silence, and steady state groups performed better (Mind). These two test results show that there could possibly be a link to decreased test performance due to music.

Overall the conflicting test results, and articles lead to the conclusion that it just depends. It depends on the situation, what you are completing, and the mental make up of the person doing the work.

What is sleep paralysis, and why does it happen?

A couple of times in my life, I have suffered what is referred to as “sleep paralysis”. It almost felt as if my hips and shoulders were pinned to the bed, I couldn’t talk or move and I was completely conscious.  One time in particular I can remember feeling the pressure as if someone was pressing their hands and sitting on my chest. The first time it happened I was in total shock, and had no idea what had just happen. So naturally I reached to my bed side table, grabbed my phone, and frantically typed what had just happened into google. When I found sleep paralysis pop up on my screen I was confused and had many questions. What was it? Why does it happen? Will this happen often? etc. Google quickly answered many of my questions, some vaguely, and some more specifically. I still didn’t understand or know the topic fully. Since it has happened multiple times since, and was reminded of it when it happened during a nap this past week. I decided to write this blog post on the subject, what it is, and why it happens.

Sleep paralysis is defined as a period during the sleep or waking up process in which the individual is unable to move or speak for a period of time. During this time, the person is awake, and conscious but loses the prior mentioned motor skills. From my experience I can attest to this description as accurate. Scientists say that sleep paralysis is a sign that the body is not moving through the stages of the sleep process smoothly, this could be partially due to the fact that it typically occurs close to when a person has fallen asleep, or is close to waking up (Web MD). Sleep paralysis is not thought of to be harmful in any way (Alphr). Here is a video I found that states twenty-five facts about the sleeping disorder.

During the sleep cycle our body shifts between stages of rapid eye movement (REM) and non rapid eye movement (NREM). The periods of REM are when most dreaming occurs due to the fact that the brain is most active during those stages of sleep. Additionally an individual’s voluntary muscles are unable to move and become paralyzed, this is called atonia. Sleep paralysis occurs during the REM stages of sleep, when a person wakes up before the stage is complete. Because of the characteristics of REM stages, this is why people seem alert and awake during sleep paralysis. The same reasons are why individuals may experience hallucinations, and see things, but cannot move (Alaska).

There are many possible causes of sleep paralysis. Many articles and studies state that sleep paralysis is more likely to occur for those who sleep on their back rather than other positions. Additionally, a lack of sleep, certain medications and irregular sleeping patterns could cause the disorder (Alaska). People with mental disorders are also more likely to experience sleep paralysis. According to a 2011 study conducted by Penn State University, 31.9 percent of people with mental disorders such as depression and anxiety have reportedly experienced an episode of sleep paralysis. This is compared to 7.6 percent of people total who have experienced episodes of the sleeping disorder (Life).

There is no specific treatment for sleep paralysis. However, many scientists suggest start by getting a good nights sleep every night. Start developing a routine where you go to bed at approximately the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning. Additionally, it is suggested that you look into your family’s health, and mental health history. This way, you can see if you could possibly be suffering from a mental disorder that so often causes the disorder (Web MD).


Does Gatorade hydrate you better than water?

Primarily when you turn on any type of sporting event, you will see the participants drinking one of two things. More times than not, the participant will either be drinking water or gatorade. Gatorade is a popular sports drink that was first introduced over fifty years ago. It was created for the University of Florida football team in an effort to help the players combat from the sweltering heat of the “Sunshine state” (Gatorade). Gatorade offers some upsides and downsides of consumption due to the many ingredients it adds. As a person who has played sports his whole life, and has consumed both hundreds of times during games and practices. I wanted to explore which drink is actually more beneficial for an athlete during competition, Gatorade or water?

The case for water: When participating in sports, or any physical activity you can never go wrong with drinking water. Water is essential for us to live, so obviously it helps the body during physical activity. One con of drinking gatorade is because of the sugars, flavors and ingredients that are added into the drink there are many excess calories included in the drink. According to my fitness pal, a twenty ounce cool blue flavored gatorade contains 150 calories (Fitness). This increased amount of calories can cause some weight gain over time. Drinking water before exercise is beneficial to be able to maintain solid hydration throughout the duration of the activity. Water is also best used in situations where you are exercising at a light or moderate rate (Fit Day). This is because you do not have to replenish what you are losing at a rapid pace, and can still be hydrated without the sodium and potassium that Gatorade contains.

The case for gatorade: As stated earlier gatorade does have a good amount of calories which is a downside. However, what is contained in those calories are ingredients and benefits that cannot be seen while hydrating with water. Gatorade reaches the bloodstream of an athlete quicker due to the use of dissolved minerals and carbohydrates in the making of the drink (Active). Because of this, gatorade is most effective in high pressure, hyperactive athletic situations. This way an athlete who needs a quick rush of hydration and replenishment can get it quicker through Gatorade, and continue on with the activity. Some examples of this type of activity would be a football or basketball game, where the athlete needs to continue on with the game which is going on at a rapid pace. Gatorade also replenishes what our body loses during physical activity. Your body loses electrolytes from sweating during physical activity; this could lead to dehydration and fatigue. To combat this, the drink contains electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, these ingredients help your body with basic functions of muscles and nerves, as well as regulating body temperature (News).

Overall, both drinks give athletes different benefits. For water, long term it is healthier due to the fact that there are no calories in water. If you are working out at a light to moderate rate, your best bet is to drink water. This is also true before and after physical activity, as it will give you a base hydration you can carry with you into the activity. As stated earlier however, Gatorade is necessary in high pressure, hyperactive activity. This way you can quickly replenish all that you lose, and continue on without missing a beat.


How much can fans impact the game?

Penn State football’s annual white out game is coming this weekend against Ohio State. Typically this is one of if not the loudest, most looked forward to games on the schedule. This year is no different with Ohio State coming in undefeated and ranked second in the country. Penn State is known for having one of the best crowds in the country, ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstriet went as far to say that we own “The best student section in the country” (Land). Beaver stadium will without a doubt be loud on Saturday night. It has always been thought of that home fans can impact the game, to what extent is this true if at all?

Football: There are two ways to look at this question, take football for example. You have to separate how the home crowd may affect a team before and after the play. For example, how many false starts and pre snap penalties a team suffers could have a direct link to the amount of noise the opposing crowd may be making. In addition to penalties, a loud crowd may cause the opposing team to call a time out, which could haunt them later in the game when they may need one. This video here shows how the crowd can effect a game pre snap in a football game. During the play, the home team has a distinct advantage as well. According to an article, and graphic produced by, throughout a five year period in inter-conference college football games these stats were complied. The home team outscored their opponent by 3.3 points per game, committed .4 less penalties per game, and averaged .22 more yards per play than the opposing team. This is a lot if you factor in how many games were surveyed, and how many plays are in each game. Even home teams field goal kickers made their kicks at a two percent higher rate than they would on the road (SBnation). Since 1990, thirty one of thirty two NFL teams have a higher winning percentage at home as opposed to on the road (Sporting charts). Crowd noise is a key component of a teams home field advantage, and it’s no coincidence that these stats show staggering numbers that favor home teams.

Basketball: The effects of crowd noise, and home field advantage extend beyond just football. In basketball the effects of crowd noise are seen most in free throw shooting. In Penn State’s conference the Big Ten, 13 of the 14 teams see their opponents make free throws at a lower rate than they do at home. Similar results are seen in other conferences such as the Pac 12, and the Big 12 where only one team has their opponents make their free throws at a higher rate than they do at home (NY Times). These numbers can be attributed to loud crowd noise at away arenas, and sometimes obscure tactics such as this example at Duke. Another alarming stat is that out of 351 college basketball teams, only thirteen have a losing record in their current home arena (RPI). Both of these stats show the effects of crowds in basketball as well.

Overall, crowds play a role in sporting events, small or big you can’t deny the stats. Any little advantage you can give your home team may swing the game one way or the other. This is why I will be cheering loud as I can Saturday night for the Nittany Lions against Ohio State.

Why do people sleepwalk?

Sleepwalking sounds like a funny subject at first glance. It’s certainly an ironic and interesting subject, how does one sleepwalk? I wanted to figure this out for myself since I have sleepwalked multiple times in my life. The worst instance is when I walked outside the hotel room my family was staying in while sleeping. When I awoke I realized I had locked myself outside the room at four in the morning. Since I have done it multiple times I was curious to see if there are any direct causes that make a person sleepwalk.

To start off here is one of my favorite movie scenes, that just so happens to involve sleep walking.  Now, surely not everyone who sleepwalks puts their moms purse in the freezer, or couch pillows in the oven. However, sleepwalking is a real thing that happens. Sleepwalking is formally know as somnambulism, and it is described as a behavior disorder that results in the individual performing tasks such as walking, talking, and sometimes other complex activities while being asleep. Early stages of sleep walking could involve just talking in your sleep, or sitting up in bed, as it progresses it could involve standing up, walking, and eventually performing tasks (Sleep Foundation). Over 8.4 millions, or 3.6 percent of adult americans sleepwalk each year. Sleepwalking usually occurs when the individual is in a deep sleep, in the middle of the night when their eye movement is not rapid or the non-REM part of a person’s sleep cycle. Sleepwalking creates great injury risk to both the sleepwalker and anyone around the sleepwalker. As the sleepwalker is not aware of what they are doing during the moment, and probably will not remember what they did when they wake up the next morning (Jaslow, 2012). Overall, sleepwalking is a dangerous act for all involved, but what causes it to happen?


There are many possible causes that would cause someone to sleepwalk. For example, according to the Mayo Clinic there are many causes of sleepwalking that align with a prolonged period of a lack of sleep such as fatigue. In addition some psychological problems such as anxiety and depression can cause sleepwalking (Mayo Clinic). In fact, this article from CBS states that people with depression are 3.5 times more likely to sleepwalk than someone who is not depressed (Jaslow, 2012). There are some ways you can help someone who is sleepwalking to either prevent it, or prevent the damage they do if they happen to do it.

Because of the dangers of sleepwalking it is recommended to lock all windows and doors if it is thought a family member is in danger of sleepwalking. The best way to prevent sleepwalking is to get a substantial amount of sleep every night, and keep a consistent sleeping schedule. The Mayo Clinic has an entire list of possible things to do if you feel like someone you live with, our yourself is in danger of sleepwalking (Mayo Clinic). The thing I’ve always heard is that you aren’t supposed to wake up a sleepwalker as it can be dangerous to both parties involved. This is in fact not true, it is indeed harmless to both you and the sleepwalker in most occasions; the sleepwalker just may be non-responsive or disoriented as a result of it (Soniak, 2013). As a person who has had multiple episodes of sleepwalking I can attest to the fact that my episodes have happened when I have been on an abnormal sleeping schedule, or when I have been extremely fatigued. It is on the person who has a sleepwalking problem to get their proper sleep to decrease the chance of it happening. However, the people around them can set up and environment so that if they happen to sleepwalk; they can minimize the damage.


Works Cited
Abate16. “Step Brothers Sleepwalking Scene (HD).” YouTube. YouTube, 18 Feb. 2009. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
FAAP, John Mersch MD. “Sleepwalking Symptoms, Treatment, Causes – What Other Conditions Will My Doctor Consider before Diagnosing Sleepwalking? – MedicineNet.” MedicineNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
Jaslow, Ryan. “More than 8.4 Million Americans Sleepwalk Each Year, Study Finds.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 15 May 2012. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
“Sleepwalking – Overview & Facts.” Sleepwalking. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
“Why Aren’t You Supposed to Wake a Sleepwalker?” Mental Floss. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
“Why Aren’t You Supposed to Wake a Sleepwalker?” Mental Floss. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.

Could this Football Helmet help prevent concussions?

For years one of the most talked about topics in sports is the dangers of football. Specifically the head trauma involved for players, and concussions. In just five years from 2010 to 2015, the number of youth football players in America dropped from 3 million to 2.16 million (Moore, 2016). This 28 percent drop shows how much the new data and information about concussions is affecting the sport, and its perception around the country. The issue of concussions was widely overlooked by the football community for decades. In the past decade, leaps and bounds have been made to prevent concussions. From rule changes, to new technology in equipment everything has been tried, and still there were 271 concussions in the NFL last season (Seifert, 2016). Concussions seem inevitable in the sport, but how much can a new helmet made help dwindle the issue?

Picture from

Head trauma, and concussions are a natural part of the sport due to the violent nature and consistent contact that the culture of the game emulates. The problem is, the issue of concussions was scoffed at for many many years. Given the nature of the game, the players are looked upon to be tough, and fight through injuries. This thought process proved detrimental to many players health prior to concussions really being looked upon as a serious problem in the sport. The NFL ignored the issue of concussions entirely until 1994 when they formed the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee. Even then, concussions were looked at as part of the game, and it came with the territory of being a football player. A 2000 survey of former NFL players concluded that 61 percent of them had suffered a concussion at one point in their career. Of these players 79 percent said they were encouraged or forced to stay in the game despite their concussion symptoms. Finally, in 2009 the league acknowledged the dangers of head trauma and concussions (Petchesky, 2013). From then on, many changes have been made in attempt to make the game safer.

One of the newest changes that have attempted to help with the concussion epidemic in football is a new helmet that has been introduced this year. A company called Vicis has made a football helmet unlike any before. The company has been working on a helmet called “Zero1” for over two years now with countless amounts of research, design, testing etc. and it is set to unveil throughout the 2016 football season (Vicis, 2016). With a price of $1,500 it may seem like a price that is not worth it, but the numerous benefits it could bring to each individual player that wears it makes it worth every penny (Soper, 2016). All football helmets to this point have been similar in the fact that they have had a hard outer shell, the Zero1 is the first to have a deformable outer shell. To create this multi-layered outer shell Vicis used the same technology used by automotive safety engineers (Artefact, 2016). There are four layers of the helmets shell material, the deformable outer shell is made up of two parts the Lode Shell, and the Vicis RFLX. These allow the helmet to absorb and deflect the impact of a high speed collision, that happens numerous times in a game. The core layer has the same function of reducing impact with the use of vertical struts.  The helmet has twelve different sizing combinations, all aided by the Vicis Axis fit system in which the individuals head length and breadth are both measured to find the perfect sized helmet. The distinguished team that helped create this product has all types of people from neurosurgeons, to engineers, to physicians, and a whole lot more. (Vicis, 2016). This video goes into detail about the helmet as described by the inventors themselves

Picture from:×488.png

The helmet is a very good concept, it is something that could pioneer a very beneficial change for the game of football. Overall, there may never be a helmet that can completely prevent concussions from occurring on the gridiron. But, the goal should be to create the best technology so that the risk of concussions is minimal compared to what it currently is. I think this helmet is a step in that direction.


Works Cited
@artefactgroup. “VICIS ZERO1: Protect the Athlete, Elevate the Game – Artefact.” Artefact. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web.
Ezell, Lauren. “Timeline: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis.” PBS. PBS, 8 Oct. 2013. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
Https:// “Vicis Reveals Price, More Details about High-tech Football Helmet That Reduces Brain Trauma.” GeekWire. N.p., 11 Jan. 2016. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
Https:// “Vicis Reveals Price, More Details about High-tech Football Helmet That Reduces Brain Trauma.” GeekWire. N.p., 11 Jan. 2016. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
Http:// “VICIS ZERO1 UNVEIL.” YouTube. YouTube, 11 Jan. 2016. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
Moore, Jack. “Youth Football Participation Is Plummeting.” Vocativ Raquo. Vocativ, 16 Mar. 2016. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
Petchesky, Barry. “A Timeline Of Concussion Science And NFL Denial.” Deadspin. N.p., 30 Aug. 2013. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
Seifert, Kevin. “NFL Data: Diagnosed Concussions Way up in ’15.” ESPN, 29 Jan. 2016. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
Stinson, Liz. “The Zero1 Flexible Football Helmet May Save Players’ Brains.” Conde Nast Digital, 13 Jan. 2016. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
“ZERO1.” VICIS. N.p., 14 July 2016. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.

Is Microwavable Popcorn bad for you?

Whenever someone asks me what my favorite food is, I don’t hesitate at all. Ever since I was a little kid the answer has been the same, popcorn. My favorite kind is the movie theatre kind, all buttered up and salty. So much so that when I finish I have to wash my hands. Outside of the movie theatre the most convenient place to find “movie theatre” type popcorn is by buying microwavable bags at a grocery store. Whether it’s Orville Redenbacher or Pop Secret I’ll devour the bag in less than five minutes. My Mom is a very healthy person, and is always looking out for her kids health wise. So years ago when she glossed over an article pointing out the health concerns of microwavable popcorn, she relayed this information to me. I immediately disregarded this information as my Mom just being “crazy” and trying to deviate me from enjoying my favorite snack. This blog assignment helped me recall this, and look further into it. In doing so I realized there are real health concerns in consuming microwavable popcorn, backed by science.

Much of the problems found with microwavable popcorn involves the chemicals that are added into the bag. The artificial flavoring products including butter added to the bags contained diacetyl. Despite the fact that this chemical is FDA-approved it reportedly caused workers at the manufacturing factory of a microwavable popcorn brand to develop a lung disease named bronchiolitis obliterans. Hundreds of factory workers have sued the flavor makers in recent years claiming that they developed lung damage caused by the added in flavor ingredients (CBS, 2007) the flavor addThis was found following a study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Shukla, 2015). On top of this, another toxic chemical is found in the bags and is linked to causing numerous types of cancer. Perfluorooctanoic acid is an acid that can remain in the human body for prolonged periods of time, and has been linked to cause numerous types of cancer such as prostate and liver, as well as fertility problems (Hendrickson, 2015) (Orecchio) . Some of the top microwavable popcorn brands like PopSecret still use trans fats which can give your arteries and your liver problems. According to the Center for Disease control on an annual basis, trans fats are related to 20,000 heart attacks, and 7,000 deaths (Orecchio). In an extreme case, a man developed a rare lung disease called “popcorn lung”. The man, Wayne Watson claims he ate two bags of microwave popcorn every night for approximately ten years. Not only eating the popcorn, but also inhaling the steam from the just opened package when it was freshly out of the microwave. Now, surely these effects don’t happen to everyone who eats microwavable popcorn. In fact, Watson’s case is the only known case of popcorn lung outside of a factory in which the popcorn is made (CBS, 2007) However, it is concerning to those who eat the product often such as myself. This video details the dangers of microwavable popcorn.

Found at

For people who enjoy popcorn as much as I do, they might still want to enjoy the tasty treat without the adverse health effects. Fortunately there are many other ways you can enjoy popcorn, and not have to worry about your health. This is because the problems involved with microwave popcorn aren’t problems with the popcorn itself, but rather problems with the bag, and the chemicals added to that. Other ways you can consume popcorn are by buying bagged popcorn at the store, such as Herr’s popcorn. In this case you are able to see exactly what you are consuming on the nutrition label, without the worry of toxic chemicals lining the bag. Another alternative is to microwave popcorn is to make it yourself on the stove. There are some very good recipes for stove popped popcorn like this one I found (Trantham).

Overall, this should at least raise the awareness of frequent popcorn eaters. For the past month, being a lazy college student I probably have consumed at least on bag of PopSecret microwave popcorn a day. This is due to the fact that there has been a box of sixty bags sitting under my bed since the start of the semester, I am probably halfway through. I without a doubt will cut down my consumption of these due to these facts. I don’t however feel it is totally necessary to completely cut it out of my diet, but rather monitor the amount of times I consume it. Every once in a while is okay, but not at a once a day rate. I certainly however will never pick up a job at a microwave popcorn factory.


Works Cited
Picture: Digital image. Finders Free. N.p., n.d. Web.
Https:// “Microwave Popcorn Dangers & A Popcorn On The Stove Recipe.” DIY Natural. N.p., 16 Oct. 2015. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
News, CBS. “”Popcorn Lung” Patient Ate Two Bags A Day.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 6 Sept. 2007. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
Orecchio, Christa. “3 Dangers of Microwave Popcorn & How to Make Your Own!” 3 Dangers of Microwave Popcorn & How to Make Your Own! The Whole Journey, n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.
Video: Thewholejourney. “TWJ Dangers Of Microwave Popcorn.” YouTube. YouTube, 26 Jan. 2015. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.

Science was never my thing

Hi everyone, my name is Tommy Moore and I am a freshman from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I am currently in DUS, but I hope to eventually end up in Smeal majoring in something business related. My mom went to Penn State, and since I was little there was really no question of where I wanted to attend school. I am very passionate about sports, especially basketball, and football. I am also an avid watcher of The Office, hence this next picture. Michael scott

Science was never my thing, from elementary school, to middle school, to high school my least favorite subject was always science. Part of it might be the way it was taught to me, and part of it may be how I’m wired. It was always one of my hardest classes, especially in high school with chemistry and anatomy. This may have also contributed to my general dis-interest in the subject. Despite this, I understand the profound impact science plays in our society, and that it is present everywhere. One facet of science that has always fascinated me is how science relates to sports, given my extreme interest in sports. I learned of the many ways sports and science can be related by watching sports science on ESPN. Here is a sports science video describing my favorite NBA player, Kyrie Irving’s quickness.

I chose this class because my NSO advisor was describing it as a great science gen-ed for me to take, once I expressed my distaste for science. She described it as a science course that many kids who go in disliking science end up liking the subject by the end of the semester. I am hoping to get the same result from this class, and so far all signs point to that becoming a reality hopefully.