Category Archives: News
The world is amazing, people. The way it works, the stuff that inhabits it–it’s mind blowing. Here is a short list of awesome science facts that people should know.
1. Researchers have confirmed that occasionally asexual reproduction has been seen in captivity among snakes, Komodo dragons and sharks. Now they’re even scarier.
2. A thimbleful of a neutron star would weigh over 100 million tons.
3. There are 62,000 miles of blood vessels in the human body – laid end to end they would circle the earth 2.5 times.
4. Lightning strikes produce O3, which is ozone. It strengthens the ozone layer of the atmosphere, which protects the planet from the sun’s rays. So lightning is ecofriendly.
5. Myotonia is the condition that causes fainting goats to stiffen or fall over when startled. This condition is a combination of recessive genes. The goat will stiffen or stiffen and fall lasting 10 to 20 seconds, at which time they are fully awake and aware of what is going on around them. Which makes them about a thousand times more entertaining now.
6. Jellyfish have been around for more than 650 million years, which means that they outdate both dinosaurs and sharks.
7. There are 10 times more bacterial cells in your body than human cells, so you’ve been invaded. Good luck sleeping tonight, germaphobes.
8. NASA has projected that the Andromeda galaxy and our galaxy, the Milky Way, will collide and merge together in 4 billion years. So if we survive the Mayan’s prediction (which is coming up!) then we’re still going to die in a firey blaze.
9. The current world record for the fastest solved Rubik’s Cube is 5.66 seconds which was set by Feliks Zemdegs (Australia) at the Melbourne Winter Open in 2011. Why is everyone good at this game but me?
10. The common frilled shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus), an extremely primitive species native to all oceans of the world, has the longest recorded gestation period of any animal species, namely 3.5 years. It’s no wonder they’re so cranky and attacking people.
It’s a parent’s responsibility to teach kids right from wrong. Of course, that includes informing them about the evils of using foul language and what “foul language” entails. Children are told that “Hell” and “damn” are only to be used in religious contexts to illustrate the anger of a chosen deity, while uttering the likes of “ass” and “bitch” would garner an instant soap-to-the-mouth experience. But sometimes, parents lie to their children! They lie to them about foul language!
Growing up in the 1990’s, many students were taught that the likes of “butt”, “zit”, “sex”, “foxy”, “swear”, “fart”, etc. were all bad words. Hearing someone utter one of these words caused the entire classroom to gasp in horror like someone had just dropped the f-bomb. If a cartoon character said any of these terms, a sense of adrenaline began rushing through you, as you quickly looked around the room to make sure your mother had not heard the utterance, lest she turn off your television for “watching filth”.
These teachings were to the extent that one time my kindergarten teacher used the phrase “No ifs, ands, or buts”, and several members of my class became upset at this tragic homonym mix-up. A little boy tried arguing with her about it, and when she said, “I said ‘buts’ not ‘butts’!” he argued that now she had said it multiple times and he would be telling his mother. One little girl actually cried that her teacher could be such a bad person.
All over the word “butt”.
Similar events occurred in third grade, when one little girl decided to read the opening flap of her textbook–the part that lists the author information, copyright, and publisher–saw the word “sex” (referencing not discriminating based on sex) in the disclaimer, and was instantly upset that her arithmetic book had a bad word in it. Did she know what “sex” meant, whether in regards to biology or to intimate acts? Not in the slightest. She had just been taught that “sex was bad!” That same little girl, months later, accidentally said to her friends “I promise! I swear!” and instantly looked horrified and began praying to God, as she had been told never to swear.
She grew up and became a nun. Not even kidding.
Two decades later–I know, right?!–, many of these “nineties’ kids” are wondering why our parents lied to us. Why did they tell us that these were bad words, when by the fifth grade everyone know what the real bad words were. As my generation begins to have children of our own, many of us are reluctant to pass along these symbolic mistruths to them. We would rather teach them not to say what really constitutes as foul language, rather than nit-picking over other words that are completely fine to say in a PG-rated movie. At the same time, we don’t want our children to be known as “those foul-mouthed kids” for nonchalantly saying “My big sister has a bit zit” on the school bus one morning.
Does anyone even continue this trend, or is this just a baby-boomer faux-pas?
“We still teach the preschoolers in the school I work at that those words are ‘bad’,” admits Jillian Meinze of Louisville, Kentucky. “My reasoning behind it is that when they learn those words and what they mean, they think its funny. So they repeat it and make it into things inappropriate. For example: a little boy the other day was running around my classroom singing, ‘Booty butts, booty butts’ and slapping his butt as he did so.”
“Kids are always going to do and say inappropriate things,” counters Linda White, also of Louisville, Kentucky. “It’s part of being a kid. Take away their ability to be silly and say ‘fart’ at random times, and they’re going to find something else to take its place. That’s no reason to unfairly impact their vocabulary.”
It’s the debate between pee and urine all over again.
But is it fair to eliminate certain connotations from our children’s minds just to “protect them” or to save our own faces? What happens when they grow up and realize that those words really aren’t bad words after all? What will they think about the other values we have taught them? Won’t they question those, too?
This is one of those tricky issues that has no concrete answer. No one likes being told how to parent their children, but odd parenting styles can negatively impact a child later on in life.
Weigh in below. Should we eschew telling our children that “butt” and “zit” are bad words?
These days, it is almost a shock to see someone pull a mobile phone out of their pocket that is not one of the popular smartphones we all know and love—iPhones, Androids, and Blackberries are a common sight. Issues arise when it comes down to young children possessing these smartphones and their equivalents (i.e. iPod Touches, iPads, and Android Tablets). While some adults have no problem handing over the latest in modern technology to the next generation, others are crying foul at the sight of elementary school students owning more than the standard Nokia.
The main purpose for having any sort of mobile phone is for communication. Pay phones have become as scarce as a snowflake during a Louisville winter, meaning that one must have their own means of communication while out of the home. This holds true for both adults and children, and studies have shown that two out of three parents agree their child needs to own a cell phone by the age of thirteen—or when that child begins going on outings without their parents present.
That being said, any mobile phone has the basic talk and text capabilities needed to adequately provide this sort of communication. Why so many smartphones for the youths then? According to a recent survey, 70% of parents who purchased a smartphone for a child under twelve over a standard cell phone admitted to doing so solely to prevent their child from being teased by classmates, similarly to how kids will often make fun of those not wearing name brand clothing items. They are being used more as a fashion accessory for popularity than as a communications tool for safety.
“It’s crazy,” agrees Spencer Byrnes, a 22-year-old Louisville resident who only got his first smartphone last year. “I work with kids, and for this one little girl’s 7th birthday, her parents got her an iPhone. Another kid asked me why my phone had buttons on it.”
“It angers me to see kindergarteners texting on a Blackberry,” admits Emilia Rodriguez, who did not get a smartphone until she could afford her own bill and contract until age 19. “When I was their age, I had to use Styrofoam cups strung together on a string and pretend it was a landline connection. They have absolutely no use for a smartphone.”
The abundance of smartphones amongst young children may actually be exacerbating the bullying problem found in many schools. With the rise of “cyberbulling” on popular social media websites and web forums, smartphones increase the ease of access to these sites. Theoretically, cyberbulling could become a day-or-night affair if all of those involved have access to smartphones or similar variants.
Some parents argue that smartphones are an acceptable device for elementary and middle school students because they provide children with fun games to play, such as Angry Birds and The Oregon Trail. There are also many educational games to help students with math and science concerns. This, too, has met with opposition.
“The Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP exist for a reason,” argues Mike Nicholson, father of 2 elementary-age sons who do not own smartphones. “It’s true that there are child-friendly games on smartphone networks, but there are sturdier and cheaper devices that provide plenty of both fun and educational games for all ages without the need for contracts and data plans.”
Many parents have gotten around mobile phones all-together with simpler variations like the LG Migo. The LG Migo features four buttons, each of which is pre-programmed with a phone number. This allows a child to be able to contact four pre-specified people to give parents and guardians a peace-of-mind, while also limiting texting and web use to family and emergency calls only.
In the past five years, smartphones have become commonplace, rather than just a tool for the elite. This shift in the mainstream is only naturally causing a shift in what is acceptable for our youths as well. As such, we are entering an era where parents need to understand the best need for each of their children before handing out iPhones and Androids like they are chocolate chip cookies.
Businesses have come up with a few interesting products over the years in order to strike it big. There are always those doozies–like blankets with sleeves–that leave consumers thinking that there is not a single person on earth who would buy that. Any yet so many of us do. Here are a couple more that fall into the What-Were-They-Thinking category.
Edible Deodorant: A Belgium-based company recently released its perfume candy line called Deo. This candy claims to take away body odor from the inside out. The website claims that “science and nature have come together to make a functional food that leaves your skin with a beautiful rose fragrance.
Scientists, however, aren’t sure if this is a true statement. It is believed that if one eats a large amount of food with overpowering scents, such as curry or garlic, it could work its way into sweat gland and be released through the skin. The problem is no one has tested this before, because why would they?
As of now, these deodorizing candies can be found in the United States only online. If it seems like too much of a hassle, perhaps we should all stick to regular deodorant.
The Baby Mop: The Baby Mop is a way to have babies help with the housework. Here’s how the product markets: it’s hard to keep the house clean, and you can’t stop babies from crawling, so kill two birds with one stone. The Baby Mop is full-length onesie with mop-like tassels on the arms and legs. As the kids crawl around on the floor, they clean it.
The price of pawning chores onto your newborn is only $40, so it isn’t surprising that the creators, BetterThanPants.com, have seen a steady sale of 60 a day. They expect to see an increase over the holidays.
Stoplights are a daily nuisance.
You’re running late for wherever you had to be three minutes ago, only to see the light you’re rapidly approaching turn to yellow. Pressing down on the gas pedal, the light suddenly turns to red, and you screech your tires to a stop right before entering the intersection.
At this point, some people grumble and wait impatiently for the light to turn green once again, glaring at the light box like it’s suddenly going to become scared and change colors just for you. However, many people see stoplights—no matter how inconvenient—as an opportunity to relax or accomplish things that they did not have time to do previously. Oftentimes, people begin to bank on getting stopped at a stoplight in order to accomplish morning activities, and they become frustrated on days where every light remains green on their journey.
I put on my socks at stoplights. Every morning, I grab a clean pair of socks and stuff them into my pocket before heading out the door. At the first stoplight I come to, I slip my foot out of my shoe, pull on one sock, and wiggle my foot back into my shoe. At the next stoplight, I put on the other sock. It is very frustrating when I arrive at either school or work with only one sock on, although doing so generally means that I am finally on time for something. Luckily, I am not the only one who has learned to take advantage of these mandatory pauses in my daily commute.
Many people like to daydream at stoplights, especially writers and musicians. What better a time to work on a new plot twist or new lyrics for your hit single than while stuck at a stoplight? You’re all alone with nothing else to do. That time might as well be spent for creative purposes.
Other people enjoy making their fellow drivers feel uncomfortable. “I like to stare at the people in the cars next to me!” reports Andy Brill. People-watching is a favorite pastime of many, especially since drivers seem to think they are invisible while in the confines of their car. How many people have you seen doing socially inappropriate behaviors—like picking their nose—while seated in their car? Most statisticians would bet that a high number of people have been caught in the act.
Still, there are some people who aren’t bothered by other drivers staring at them while engaged in any action other than staring straight ahead at the road. “I like to blast songs like ‘I Will Survive’ and sing along to them dramatically with all of the windows down!” admits Bryan Trujillo. “True story. There is a video of it on Facebook!”
Some are more concerned about mechanical issues while waiting for the light to change. “I try not to stall or burn out when the light turns green,” says Stefan Spaeth. “I drive a stick shift.” Similarly, Nathan Stholer’s manual vehicle plays a crucial role in waiting at stoplights, only he uses his as a boredom-killer rather than as a worry.
“I use the clutch to rock myself back and forth because I am impatient,” Stholer confesses.
The vast majority of people polled enjoy fiddling with their phones at stoplights. Sending text messages, creeping on Facebook and Twitter, checking e-mails, and playing Words With Friends are all fair game to help pass the time. “Why not send texts at stoplights?” laughs Miles Hockman. “The vehicle is stopped, so it’s not illegal. You’re just sitting there anyway.” Most people share Hockman’s sentiment, and I admit that I enjoy Tweeting at stoplights once my socks are firmly on my feet.
Interestingly enough, no one reported simply waiting for the light to change when asked on their individual stoplight behavior, perhaps lending credibility to the belief that adolescents and young adults have the inability to remain bored. Applying make-up, eating, meditating, and taking medication are all common ways to occupy one’s time when waiting at stoplight after stoplight.
The average American spends approximately one year waiting at stoplights over the course of their lifetime. It might as well be spent productively. So long as you are not harming anyone in the vehicles surrounding you—such as by exposing private areas of one’s body, drinking alcoholic beverages, or participating in any other criminal behavior that would get you arrested any other time—make stoplight time your time!
Food has innumerable benefits. Some contain vitamins, antioxidants. They keep your heart pumping, your eyes seeing. Some even turn you on. But not everything you hear about what groceries have to offer is true. Take these five common food myths for example:
1. Caffeine Cures Headaches: FALSE. Caffeine is not necessarily a headache cure, although it may be known to help certain people. It is a hit and miss type of drug, and because its affects cannot be predicted and lack consistency, it is not a cure. Caffeine can be found in certain types of relief medications, but that is to spread the medicine more quickly throughout the bloodstream. In many instances, caffeine actually makes headaches worse because it increases the speed at which blood pumps in the brain.
2. Cranberry Juice and UTIs: OVERHYPED. Cranberries contain natural preventatives to help protect against, and treat bladder infections. This enzyme called flavanol is supposed to work by clinging to cells in the urinary tract. Comprehensive reviews, however, indicate that cranberry companies are overhyping the effects. In a few studies, flavanol was shown to work in only certain women. Regular women would need to drink at least two glasses of cranberry juice a day over a long period of time to receive the same effects. Do not bother popping a cranberry pill to cut out the effort; they were found to be significantly less effective than regular juice.
3. Warm Milk Treats Insomnia: SKEWED. The fact that it is milk is less important than the fact that it’s warm and filling. Many attributed milk’s drowsy effects to its containing tryptophan, an amino acid that makes the hormone serotonin. In milk, though, one digests many amino acids that compete, and often counteract, tryptophan. Unlike most warm products, like tea, it contains no caffeine, which helps sedate its drinker. Other than that, a warm glass of orange juice (as disgusting as that is) would have the same effect.
4. Echinacea Wards Off Colds: FALSE. To date, there is nothing known to prevent colds. Echinacea, when taken properly over an extended period of time, has been shown to reduce the length of a cold and its severity. However, these effects are similar to those of taking vitamin C at the onset of a cold, and this last one requires less effort.
5. Dark Chocolate is Good for the Heart: FALSE. Cocoa contains antioxidants that can help reduce blood pressure, and in certain tests, chocolate has been found to improve blood flow without raising cholesterol. But this is chocolate is different than the dark bars found on the grocery shelves. Those bars do not have high enough cocoa content to provide adequate protection from heart related problems. The type of dark chocolate recommended is not typically considered tasty; it contains 70 percent cocoa or higher.
A study recently conducted by the Mahatma Ghandi Memorial Medical College concluded that young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 who routinely engage in the use of Short Messaging Services (SMS) frequently develop uneasiness, anger, and sleeplessness as a result.
“The youths in the habit of texting SMS were falling prey to depression and fear,” says Dr. Sanjay Dixit, the Head of the Department at MGMMC Community Medicine. “Nearly 47 percent of females and 39 percent of males accepted that their text messaging habit hit their daily routine in some way. Around 60 percent of youths even feel that that habit is affecting their studies.”
MGMMC’s study showed that 40 percent of females and 45 percent of males do not enjoy sound sleep due to their SMS habits. Approximately 41 percent of those surveyed admit to compulsively checking their mobile phones for a reply after sending off a text message. This OCD-like anxiety has been labeled as “Textaphrenia” by psychiatrists and is becoming a growing concern in our society of increasing communication speeds and accessibility.
“I have this weird fear when people don’t message or text me back,” says 19-year-old Tim Armstrong of Louisville. “I worry that I accidentally said something really stupid or weird on accident while I wasn’t even thinking about it.” Armstrong would not go as far as to say that he was a Textaphrenic, but increasing numbers of youths report similar phenomena when it comes to not only texting but also to receiving comments, messages, and replies on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The study shows that 55 percent of youths become upset if there is no response to their text messages, and 32 percent feel dejected and presume that no one wished to communicate with them. Approximately 93 percent of SMS users become anxious if they do not receive a response within a reasonable period of time, the appropriate period of time depending on both the receiver and the sender’s normal response speed.
Related to Textaphrenia is Textiety, which is an anxious feeling caused by not sending or receiving text messages. Textiety is observed by most on a daily basis when youths are not allowed to use their mobile phones for 30 minutes or more and will try to sneak out a quick text message, becoming noticeably antsy when unable to do so.
Psychologists stress that Textaphrenia are both serious mental and physical disorders with symptoms that include anxiety, insecurity, depression, low self-esteem, and “repetitive thumb syndrome”.
Australian researcher Jennie Carroll of Melbourne’s RMIT University has also commented on the situation. “With Textaphrenia and Textiety, there’s the feeling that ‘No one loves me; no one’s contacted me. Binge texting can either reflect the delusion that you have more friends than you actually do or can be a cry for help.” One teenager surveyed in Carroll’s own survey was averaging 444 SMS messages per day.
Data released by Boost Mobile revealed that SMS use has increased by 89% since 2009. Mobile phone use has been such a large presence in the presence of today’s youths that many now feel anxious when their phones are not physically in their hands. An increasing number of youths and even adults find texting easier and more economical than making phone calls, leading to the rise in SMS.
The immediate physical effect of Textaphrenia is a condition known as “repetitive thumb syndrome”. Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in those who frequently type on a computer or play video games, repetitive thumb syndrome occurs to those who frequently send SMS, especially on phones without a touch screen. The repetitive motion needed to strike the buttons causes the lubricating fluid between the tendons, shoulders, and wrists to dry out.
Some people believe that Textaphrenia is a made-up condition. “Did anyone know that cocaine or marijuana were addictive until people started getting addicted to them?” Carroll counters. “Similarly, Textaphrenia is in the initial stages now. The sooner we start quitting this addiction, the better.”
Last Thursday morning was like any other at the Bumble Bee Foods factory in Santa Fe Springs, California. That is, until a worker was found cooked to death in the industrial oven.
Jose Malena, 62, worked at the factory for more than six years. According to his co-workers, Malena was a pro around the heavy machinery and was well versed in safety at the factory. Still, a fellow worker found Malena trapped inside a “steamer machine” and immediately called 911.
An official investigation has begun to determine why Malena was in the oven. So far, the findings are that Malena “was fatally injured when he was cooked in an oven.”
Clearly, there is a team of geniuses on this one.
As of now, the goal of the investigation is to determine whether any safety regulations were violated, and if Bumble Bee owes any sort of compensation to the Malena family.
Bumble Bee mainly produces cans of tuna fish. Tuna production in previous years has been wracked with scandal over what is in the can. There was a discovery that several canning companies were using dolphins instead. With the discovery of Malena in the ovens, one wonders what Bumble Bee has been cramming in their cans.
Mention either Tupac Shakur or Biggie Smalls, and many Americans can talk for days about whom they believe murdered these two artists. Some people will even argue that Shakur and Smalls faked their own deaths and are hiding out somewhere secretly. With both investigations now cold cases and autopsy reports still standing, we may never know for sure who took the lives of the talented rappers, only that they are in fact deceased and have been for a very long time.
However, former Los Angeles Police Detective Greg Kading has a very strong opinion on who the murderers are. And his beliefs are shocking a nation.
In his newly released book, Murder Rap, Kading reveals that Duane “Keffe D” Keith Davis—a former member of the Southside Crips—testified in a taped 2008 confession to witnessing the shootings of both Death Row Records rapper Tupac Shakur and CEO Suge Knight during 1996. How?
Because the CEO of Bad Boy Entertainment, Sean “Puffy” Combs, paid Keffe D’s cousin, Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, $1 million to kill them both. Did I mention that Bad Boy Entertainment and Death Row Records are fierce rivals?
Kading then goes on to claim that a wounded Knight paid Piru Blood member Wardell “Poochie” Fouse to kill Biggie Smalls in retaliation for Shakur’s demise. It is a story so outlandish that it is actually believable.
Kading, one of the leading investigators on the Biggie Smalls murder case, claims the department was on the verge of a breakthrough when he was thrown off the case. A few months later, the entire investigation was shut down. After handing in his badge during 2010, Kading sat down to write Murder Rap, the book becoming a nationwide bestseller after its release only a few weeks ago.
Keffe D’s confessions come as part of a deal struck with him by the FBI. The kingpin of a nationwide PCP ring, Keffe D was looking at 25-years-to-life if he did not reveal his secrets. He insists that no portion of his interview is inaccurate, so as not to jeopardize his plea bargain. “Everything in this report has to be right on, because if down the road it’s determined that some of these details are incorrect, then everything’s off the table,” Keffe D says.
Sean Combs claims that the accusations are just plain crazy. “This story is pure fiction and completely ridiculous!” he insists.
Suge Knight has declined to comment, which is helping to fuel the firestorm.
Although both Baby Lane and Poochie—the alleged hitmen in the murders of Shakur and Smalls—were both shot and killed years ago in Bloods vs. Crips battles set off by the celebrities’ slayings, the entertainers accused of hiring them are still very much alive.
“I hope,” Kading says, “that despite any lawsuits I face from the book, the case I so desperately wanted to finish will finally get its day in court.”