Author Archives: Trae Vann Morgan-White

Do Earbuds Damage Your Ears More Than Headphones?


Do you ever ignore the ‘Listening to high volume can damage your ears’ warning before you turn up your music? I do, and believe me, it’s the worst thing to do. With maximum volume, I experienced two ear infections in one week, and temporary hearing loss was the cherry on top. However, I’ve often used earbuds to listen to music, and they easily make my ears ache! But listeningwhich is more damaging to your ear? Headphones that cover your ears, or earbuds that go inside of your ear? Also, do they both have negative effects on your ears when used with maximum volume?

The way we use our earbuds and headphones matter, especially since we are in control of how loud or soft our volume should be. Listening to music is great, but the louder your listening device is, the more likely people will face hearing damage, mild or severe. According to Dr. David Schessel, the higher the volume level, measured in decibels (dB), the stronger likelihood for hearing damage. Data from Schessel explained that a typical volume for earbud usage is 85 db. However, listening to music for more than eight hours with a higher volume is dangerous.

Headphones vs. Earbuds

So, which gadget leads to higher exposure of hearing loss? Let’s just say headphones and earbuds both have advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a juxtaposition between the two.



Headphones are over the ear, like earmuffs. Meanwhile, earbuds go inside the ear. According to doctors, headphones are the better option compared to earbuds. Unlike headphones, earbuds easily travel through the ear canal and has a higher volume compared to regular headphones. According to HowStuffWorks, headphones and earphones have different sound qualities. While headphones have better sound quality, earbuds do not, which urges people to increase the volume of their devices. Therefore, people may be predisposed to hearing loss. Based on these facts, it can be concluded that earbuds are more likely to cause hearing damage than headphones. However, headphones still has the risk.

Null hypothesis: Earbuds & headphones have no impact on the ears when used with maximum volume.

Alternative hypothesis: Earbuds & headphones can damage your ears when used with maximum volume.

x-variable: Maximum volume of headphones/earbuds; y-variable: hearing damage of the ear

Reverse causation: Ruled out

Third confounding variables: Volume levels controlled by listener, type of electronic device

Chance? None

Maximum volume is dangerous to the ear, simple as that. Headphones and earbuds with different sound qualities forces the listener to increase the decibel levels for satisfaction. However, the higher the decibel level, the higher risk and exposure to hearing impairments. Reverse causation can be ruled out, but we can also consider what type of electronic device is used during headphone and earbud usage. Different types of devices have different volume levels. For instance, according to James E. Foy, MP3 players have more than 120 db.

So, what’s the best alternative? Headphones and earbuds are okay, but the best suggestion is to lower your volume down to prevent hearing loss. In other words, take the warning on your phone a little seriously.





Does Thumb Sucking Shift Your Teeth?


My mother showed me a sonogram of me sucking my thumb! So, before I was born, I had caught the habit of thumb sucking. When I was a child, I always sucked my thumb, even when others told me not to because it was ‘gross.’ Once my baby teeth fell out and my new teeth started to grow in, my thumb sucking habits got worse and my teeth shifted. Is there a correlation between sucking your thumb and shifting teeth?

According to HowStuffWorks, if thumb sucking becomes habitual for a child, the position of the mouth can be heavily affected. This shift of the teeth is labeled as malocclusion, which affects the growth of the top teeth. In addition, thumb sucking can also develop speech impairments in a child. The habit will therefore affect the speech and structure of the teeth. J.H. Sillman conducted a study, involving sixty children ranging from infants to adolescents. In this study, Sillman found that thumb-sucking is a physiological and psychological habit that children has the control to stop. He also found that thumb-sucking impacted children with poor biting.

When I continued to suck my thumb, the top of my teeth were crowded together and my two front teeth were crooked. I also developed an overbite and years after, I had to get braces to improve the placement of my teeth. Based on this anecdote and Stillman’s study, it can be greatly confirmed that thumb-sucking in children is more likely to shift teeth.

Null hypothesis: Thumb-sucking has no effect on the teeth

Alternative hypothesis: Sucking your thumb shifts teeth

x-variable: thumb sucking; y-variable: shifting of teeth

Reverse causation: Ruled out

Third Confounding Variables: Poor teeth care (eating candy, other sweets; hygiene)

Chance? Possibly


My before and after! Credit to me!

So, what’s the deal with thumb-sucking? We can accept the alternative hypothesis because thumb-sucking does indeed shift your teeth. We can rule out reverse causation because thumb-sucking is not the result of teeth impairments, but we can also consider that poor teeth care is another confounding variable correlated with teeth impairments. Children are more likely to eat sweets or use other objects to soothe mouths during teeth growth.

Thumb-sucking was a habit for me, and I can honestly say I’ve learned my lesson!





Death Has a Deathly Odor


Credit to Forensic Outreach

The putrid odor of a dead organism, animal or human, is definitely one of the worst things to encounter. If you’ve ever taken a whiff of a dead mouse or other animal, the smell augments and slowly goes away. I’ve encountered so many moments where a dead mouse remained hidden in the walls of my house, reeking of an unsatisfying smell that lingered around my house. Why do dead bodies smell so bad? What exactly happens to the dead body for it to spread this odor?

The reason for this smell is due to the process of decomposition. When an organism dies, for instance, there is a large process for how a dead human body or dead animal decomposes.

article-0-1c8e3d2100000578-771_634x348According to Erika Engelhaupt of Science News, there are two chemical compounds that are involved: cadaverine and putrescine. These compounds contribute to the breakdown of amino acids in the dead body. Both of these compounds also have very stringent odors. After the compounds break down other elements of the body, the body starts to change colors, and the bacteria in the body creates an odor.

Based on a six-month study, as described by Andrew Griffin of Independent, scientists observed 32 corpses, with 18.75% being human bodies, and 81% being animal bodies. This study involved the determination of the chemicals in the bodies, comparing pig and human bodies. While this study has helped with understanding why dead bodies harbor the odors from the chemicals, the observations were not successful because the scientists did not study the entire corpses.

Null hypothesis: Cadaverine and putrescine does not cause an odor for the dead organism

Alternative hypothesis: Cadaverine and putrescine causes the odor for the dead organism

x-variable: Cadaverine and putrescine involved in body decomposition; y-variable: stringent odor of organism

Reverse causation: Ruled out

Third confounding variables: none

Chance: No

The reason why dead bodies have bad odors during decomposition is due to the two chemical compounds. There aren’t enough studies because all dead bodies produce cadaverine and putrescine, thus creating the foul-smelling odor during the process of decomposition. The alternative hypothesis is acceptable, meaning that we can reject the null hypothesis and accept the alternative hypothesis. There is no reverse causation or third confounding variables involved, nor is it due by chance.

Overall, the smell of a dead organism is the worst, but it’s interesting to know and understand why death smells so deadly. There should definitely be more studies on why these chemical compounds smell so bad and why are they such an important part of the decomposition process for the body.





Ginger Ale: Remedy for Sickness?

make-ginger-ale-step-26Honestly, ginger ale has always been one of my favorite carbonated drinks, and it has been deemed one of the greatest cures for certain illnesses. In my family, ginger ale has always been the first thing to drink when sick, aside from water and orange juice. Does ginger ale actually improve health? Is it a good remedy for various illnesses, or is it just a myth?

Ginger ale can be made with natural ginger or artificial ginger-flavoring, carbonated water, and other ingredients. However, ginger ale’s health benefits can depend on the brand of the drink. While most researchers side with ginger ale as a remedy for health, but others oppose this argument. Specifically, according to Samantha Olson of Medical Daily, ginger ale is similar to other carbonated drinks, like cola. In a study, it concluded that ginger ale is not a great cure for sicknesses because it lacks electrolytes needed to improve health. However, other studies have shown that ginger ale is a great remedy for stomach aches and nausea. The belief that ginger ale improves health has a history. Ginger, according to Whfoods, relieves gastrointestinal issues, It contributes to ending illnesses, such as motion sickness and nausea as well. 

Null hypothesis: Ginger ale makes no improvement on health.

Alternate hypothesis: Ginger ale improves health and cures illnesses.

x-variable: Consuming ginger ale; y-variable: Health improved

Reverse Causation: Ruled out

Third variables: Medicine, other recommended fluids for sickness, etc.

Chance? Possibly

Here’s the thing about ginger ale. There isn’t enough evidence, or studies to prove that ginger ale is an effective remedy for sicknesses. It is likely that ginger ale’s effects could be due to chance alone. However, because of the lack of evidence, it does not conclude that ginger ale does not improve health and cures illnesses.  Therefore, we can’t reject the null hypothesis, nor can we accept the alternate hypothesis unless evidence proves that ginger ale is as beneficial as people claim. Because there are many different brands of ginger ale, most of the drinks may not have a great effect on the body, unless the carbonated drink is made of real ginger, according to LIVESTRONG.

We should also take other confounding variables in consideration. Ginger ale can’t exactly have a magic touch on people. So, variables such as medicine consumption and drinking other fluids (like water and sports drinks) are possible causes to relief from sicknesses.

Overall, I believe more observational or experimental studies should be composed to determine if ginger ale’s effect on health is valid. However, this shouldn’t stop people from drinking ginger ale when sick, especially if it actually helps you!






Does Reality Television Have A Bad Influence on Society?

A scene from VH1’s Flavor of Love

I have a guilty pleasure for reality television—the home of the Kardashians, ‘real’ housewives, celebrities, and catfights. When I was eight years old, the first reality television series I’ve ever watched was VH1’s Flavor of Love (2006), a similar, but satirical take on ABC’s The Bachelor. One of the infamous moments on Flavor of Love involved a woman spitting on another woman after being eliminated from the show. Not only that, but the show was a great way of showcasing sex, physical violence and profanity. My parents never warned me about watching reality
television shows, but eventually, I grew up realizing that reality TV shows has a major involvement in the behaviors of our society. It’s evident that the reality television universe is emerging and not in the best way. So, here’s my question: Is reality TV show detrimental to society? The behaviors we see on television, like verbal and physical altercations, and shameless partying, is what occurs in society as well. When it comes to reality television, people may think that it’s entertaining, but others take it seriously, and here’s why.

Reality television, according to Brad Gorham of Syracuse University, has an effect on the behaviors of people in society. He claims that people are easily influenced by reality television because they eventually copy the behaviors portrayed on television and use them in real life. 

According to Philip Ross of International Science Times, reality television has a detrimental impact on our perceptions of the world based on an observational study from University of Winsconsin. In this study, 145 students from the university were surveyed based on reality television consumption. This study concluded that reality television viewers believe that the argumentative and conniving behaviors portrayed on television shows is considered normal in today’s society. 

Based on another study from Lisa K. Lundy in 2008, researchers gathered 34 participants, conducted four groups to discuss the social effects of reality television. As a result, there were mixed comments on the term ‘reality TV’. In fact, most participants considered reality television as an escape from reality, an irresistible phenomenon, or immoral. Similar to Lundy, Jaime Riccio, a student at Syracuse University developed focus groups. In this study, Riccio concluded that reality TV causes problematic behaviors in people, especially towards the younger generation. By juxtaposing three of these studies from Ross, Lundy, and Ciccio, it would further demonstrate that reality TV viewers have varied opinions on what is moral or not for society when it comes to reality television.


Keeping Up With the Kardashians, a popular reality TV series on E!

Reality television is an addicting phenomenon, and researchers have claimed that society is so addicted to shows, such as Keeping Up With the Kardashians, The Real World, even American Idol, because it’s entertaining, relatable, and interactive with its audiences. What makes reality TV so addictive is what occurs on the show. Producers intentionally edit the shows for the viewers’ pleasure. According to Michelle Crouch of Reader’s Digest, producers alter scenes for their show to showcase conflicts between different cast members. In addition, cast members’ behaviors are portrayed differently, allowing the audience to choose who’s likable and who’s not.

Null hypothesis: Reality TV shows has no effect on the behaviors of people in society.

Alternative hypothesis: Reality TV shows influence bad behaviors in people.

x-variable: Reality TV consumption; y-variable: People’s behavior

Based on the variety of studies, observations, and views from researchers, the correlation between reality television and societal behaviors is vague. It’s difficult to determine whether reality television has a good or bad influence on people in society because not all reality television series are bad. What I learned from these observational studies is that people have different perceptions of what is real and what is not in reality television, compared to real life. After all, we can’t change viewers’ opinions. What can be changed, though? With this phenomenon, it seems like the emergence of reality television shows is unstoppable. Why? Because reality TV is popular, and also very profitable, and that factor has to be considered.

In addition, reverse causation can be ruled out, but third confounding variables can’t be based on the hypothesis. For instance, there are many other causes or influences of societal behavior. For instance, the community or environment that people are surrounded by is a great cause of how people act or behave in real life. This could also be due to chance.

Overall, there is no clarity of whether reality television is a negative influence on society,


Oxygen’s reality television series, Bad Girls Club. Photo courtesy of Oxygen.

but it doesn’t mean it does not have an influence at all. Reality TV is just a continuously progressing phenomenon in society, and people have mixed opinions on these shows. But, one thing I know, it is definitely entertaining. That’s why I tune in to Bad Girls Club every Tuesday!

Which reality TV show is your guilty pleasure? Comment below!







Mountain Dew, Dubbed “The Sperm Killer”?

I stopped drinking Mountain Dew for years after being ‘informed’ that the light-green soft drink lowers sperm count in men. To this day, I still believe that Mountain Dew is indeed ‘The Sperm Killer,’ but is this claim scientifically true? This issue derived from a 1999 report from Wall Street Journal that discussed the effects of Mountain Dew on various states in the U.S. There have not been consistent studies or actual confirmations to bolster the belief that Mountain Demountaindew_can-470x470w has effects on sperm count. In fact, there have been a various amount of misconceptions.

The main reason why people believe Mountain Dew reduces sperm is based on the ingredients of the soft drink. A bottle of Mountain Dew, typically, has 290 calories, with 91 milligrams of caffeine. Like other soft drinks, this one has a lot of sugar and calories. However, the particular ingredient that has concerned people is tartrazine, also known as the mighty ‘Yellow Dye No. 5,’ which contributes the neon color of the soft drink. In the mid-1990s, there were many claims that drinking Yellow Dye No. 5 in Mountain Dew affected masculinity, specifically shrinking testicles.


Cap of Mountain Dew, showing ingredient Yellow Dye No. 5

Cap of Mountain Dew, showing ingredient Yellow Dye No. 5

While this claim was devoid of scientific proof, a study involving mice from different countries connected consumption of tartrazine with a lack of sperm. However, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have implied that there is evidence proving that Yellow Dye No. 5 has opposite side effects, like increasing sperm cells. Also, the soft-drink’s corporation, PepsiCo, have also dismissed these claims and revealed no complaints of sperm reduction.


Conclusion? Mountain Dew is not a SPERM KILLER! It’s just a claim with a lack of evidence and history. While these claims have caused havoc, it’s obvious people will still drink Mountain Dew because of its popularity. Mountain Dew is one of best-selling drinks. Grant, it is best to be aware of what ingredients are in certain soft-drinks. Yes, soft drinks are definitely not as healthy as a bottle of water. There have been no specific claims to prove that Mountain Dew is dangerous for men.




Are Green Eyes Really An Attractive Trait?


These are my green eyes.

I was born with green eyes, a trait that I took from my mother. At first, I never understood the constant compliments I received for my eye color. I’ve heard a lot of sayings from friends, family members, and even strangers: “Trae, you have really pretty eyes” or “You could kill someone with eyes like that.”  People would even ask me to take off my glasses just to get a glimpse of what color my eyes were. I knew that my eye color was pretty unusual compared to my peers. Before I researched the origins of green eyes, I asked myself—are green eyes really attractive as people make it? Why are green eyes so rare?

One of the most common eye colors in the population is brown eyes. About 55% of people in the world have brown eyes. Brown eyes have dominant traits, and they are usually darker in color. The second common eye color is blue. However, green eyes are considered the rarest eye color. So, what makes green eyes rare? First of all, green eyes, in contrast to the common eye color, lack melanin (dark pigmentation that occurs in specific parts of the human body). Approximately 2% of people in the world have green eyes, and that’s a very small percentage.

Green eye color. Created by Catsastrific.

Green eye color. Created by Catsastrific.

The most interesting thing about green eyes is that they are not naturally shown until a baby is at least 6 months old. Babies who eventually have green eyes are typically born with lighter eye colors, like gray or blue.

Because of these factors, green eyes prove to be an attractive trait. In fact, based on a study from All About Vision, a survey was created to determine which eye color is considered the most appealing to the person. The results demonstrated that 20.3% of the responses chose ‘green’ as their preference, while ‘light blue’ and ‘hazel’ eye colors have 3.4% less responses. The survey concluded that the majority appeal is due to the unusualness of the eye color.

The conclusion: Green eyes are considered attractive because it’s a rare color. Common eye colors like brown, blue, even black, are typically seen all around because of its pigmentation. Green eyes, however, are rarely seen and that’s what makes them appealing.

I’m pretty satisfied with my eye color. Not just because of the compliments, but my eye color makes me different. Perhaps that’s why people adore Channing Tatum so much?

Channing Tatum's green eyes. From

Channing Tatum’s green eyes. From


1. Eye Color Guide – The Most Common Eye Colors, AC Lens:

2. The Genetics of Eye Color,

3. Green Eyes,

4. Hellem, Amy, “Green Eyes: The Most Attractive Eye Color?”, All About Vision:

Too Much / NOT Too Much Water: What Are the Consequences?

People often underestimate the importance of water consumption; sometimes, people overdrink water. During my time in college, I’ve realized that I rarely drink water, and prefer beverages with higher calories, but beforehand, I consumed a lot of water to lose weight. Specifically, I drank at least 8 bottles of spring water a day. My mother, however, warned me that too much water, especially when drinking fast, can be dangerous. While water has healthy advantages, for instances such as weight and hydration, we should be aware of how much water we consume. Drinking less water and drinking too much water both have detrimental outcomes. But what exactly happens when we do these things?

The Advantages of Water Consumption

Glass of table-water.

Glass of table-water. From

Water, of course, is essential to everyday life. If you’re familiar with the term, “Drinking water is good for you,” here’s why. Water has zero calories, and a fair consumption of it helps with our health. Because our body has a great amount of water, it helps maintain our body fluids. The more water we drink, the more our digestive systems improves. The best thing about consuming water is that it controls our calorie intake. Many people, of course, may use water as a way to lose weight. While water does not have a miraculous effect on our body mass, it contributes to calorie intake reduction. According to Penn State researcher Barbara Rolls, with water, you can reduce your calories instead of increasing calories with a soft drink. Water’s effects on the body, overall, are very necessary to have a healthy lifestyle.

The Effects of Drinking Less Water

What happens when we have less water to consume? One word—dehydration. When we do not drink as much water as we should, it can effect our bodies in various ways. Our bodies can retain water, especially if we consume high-calorie beverages more than we drink water. This is a result of what we call water retention.

Since water retention is due to lack of exercise and poor dietary habits, the best way to prevent this is to, obviously, drink more water. As stated before, drinking water helps with maintaining our body fluids, but less water consumption can retain water in our bodies instead of using water to release fluids from our excretory systems. We have to drink water to maintain the functions in our systems. Without water, we can become dehydrated, especially if you lose body fluids more than you consume it. Drinking less water can also increase the likelihood of high-calorie drink consumptions. Sodas, juices, and flavored drinks are more unhealthy compared to water.

Drinking Water TOO Much?

While drinking less water is dangerous to the body, overdrinking is also detrimental. Typically, a person is expected to drink at least 8 cups of water a day, but many studies have pushed this statement aside. When we consume too much water in our bodies, this results in water intoxication (Note: this only occurs when you drink water fast). In addition to this, too much water can affect your blood volume and you can also damage your kidneys due to excess water in your excretory system.

How Much Water Should We Actually Drink?

Instead of drinking less and overdrinking water, there should be a balance of how much you consume in our diets. The amount of water we consume will contribute to reducing calories, and keeping our internal systems clean and functional. So, drinking water consistently and not too much, as well as keeping a balanced diet is the most effective way of staying healthy, and the best way to prevent water retention and intoxication.

There’s nothing wrong with water! It’s just how you drink it!




I’m not ashamed to admit that I couldn’t be a scientist, not even a mathematician. However, I could be the president of the United States of America in 2033. I could make history.

But, today, I’m Trae Morgan-White. I’m a freshman, I’m 18 years old, and I’m from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. No, I’m not a science major—I’m 99.9% sure those four hour chemistry and biology labs are mentally draining (like Purell is 99.9% guaranteed to kill germs on your hands). Instead, I’m majoring in digital and print journalism!

163667-L-LOI chose this class because I love controversy, and that’s the point of SC 200. Am I right? You don’t have to memorize Newton’s Laws or all parts of a cell. There’s no formulas. No experiments. Nothing. It’s anti-science in a science course, and ANTI is my favorite prefix (word to Rihanna).

Of course, science is everywhere, and it won’t go away. This course is for non-science majors; therefore, it was made for me. In addition, I’m very interested in sociology and other social sciences. I have some sort of addiction with observing the minds of humans. I’m just so deep.

I look forward to this class and the controversial topics we plan to explore. No matter how much science makes me want to itch, SC 200 will be interesting. Yup.