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Honey: Sweetener or Medicinal Wonder?

Honey and tea. Honey butter. Honey in sauces, soups, and salad dressings. Peanut butter sandwich drizzled with honey (If you haven’t already tried this, try it! It is heavenly). Honey is used as a natural-for the most part- sweetener in a variety of things. Honey, however, is capable of more than you think! Certain types of honey have medicinal qualities that have been known to surpass that of certain antibiotics.

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Google Glass Sucks

How much longer must we wait until we can interact with virtual objects floating in mid air?  Apparently not much longer at all.

After years of designing and perfecting prototypes, Meta is gearing up to launch the most advanced wearable technology to date.  That’s right.  3D augmented reality glasses are finally here. Continue reading

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I’ll Read This Tomorrow

STOP scrolling your finger, come back, and read it now! Although you’re telling yourself that you will read it later – “Well, this article sounds interesting, but I just don’t feel like reading right now.” –, you then will end up never remembering to come back.

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Yes, this is procrastination, the most common underlying psychological disorder we see in modern society. Wait, procrastination is a disorder? Some people are going to mock me and say that it’s just because of your laziness. Well, I do agree if this is your first time procrastinating, but what about the people who have been procrastinating their whole lives? After going through multiple times of stressing out about the deadlines, feeling guilty about their own decisions to delay, and even losing some once-in-a-lifetime chances, they still keep procrastinating. Don’t they want to change? Are they really that lazy?

Obviously, procrastinators have a lack of self-control. To be more specific, it’s the lack of self-control in respect to time, most people may say. However, studies have shown that people feel the most guilty when they put the work off for more pleasant activities. This suggests that procrastination may more likely to be a result of lack of regulation of moods and emotions than simply lack of forethought. People recognize the harm of procrastination, but they cannot overcome their emotions to stop doing it. In their minds, improving their present mood is more important than finishing work on time. Another study has also shown that procrastinators have slight issues with all nine clinical subscales of executive functioning, including impulsivity, self-monitoring, activity shifting, etc., which suggests that procrastination may be an "expression of subtle executive dysfunction".

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Almost 20% of US population are chronic procrastinators, which is a higher percentage than people with depression or phobias. Researchers are seeking ways to reduce procrastination. Chopping a long-term project into smaller pieces may give you more management on time, but emotions are not that easy to regulate. Learning to forgive yourself from procrastinating can prevent you from delaying next time. A study at Carleton University shows that students forgave themselves about procrastinating after the first exam are less likely to delay studying for the second exam. I want to end with Dr. Pychyl’s words, who is a leading researcher on procrastination – “You only get a certain number of years. What are you doing?”

Citations:

[1] http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2013/april-13/why-wait-the-science-behind-procrastination.html

[2] http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200308/procrastination-ten-things-know

[3] http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2010/04/procrastination.aspx

[4] http://success.oregonstate.edu/six-reasons-people-procrastinate

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5 Reasons Why You’ll Never Ever Outrun a Cheetah.  Ever.

Have you seen that commercial where the cheetah and the car race?  And the car apparently accelerates faster than the cheetah?  Well, it’s a total lie.  While the Hyundai Accent is the world’s fastest car, it does not accelerate the fastest.  That honor goes to the 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder which goes from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.3 seconds.  However, the average cheetah accelerates at 10 meters per second and gets up to 40 mph in three strides.  They get to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds.  So just what makes a cheetah so fast?

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The Reality Is We Don't Know Reality

BO wall plato cave  Boothroyd The Reality Is We Dont Know Reality
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Have you ever read “Plato’s Allegory of the Cave”? If not, here’s a nutshell synopsis: In a cave, three prisoners are chained to the point where they cannot move any part of their bodies. They face a wall of the cave, and spend their entire lives looking at moving shadows projected on a wall by people passing in front of a fire behind them. To them, the shadows have become reality. One day, a prisoner finds a way to pick his lock and unchains himself. He leaves the cave, sees the sky, the sun, and his reflection in the lake, and realizes the shadows have been deceptions of reality the entire time.

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Polly is a Smart Bird

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Parroting has come to mean repeating something rather mechanically, a form of imitation as opposed to an expression of true intelligence. However, a new study conducted by scientists from Oxford University, the University of Vienna, and the Max Planck Institute at Seewiesen proves that we’ve judged them too harshly; there is much more to these birds than simple copy-catting. Continue reading

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That Morning Breath

Your alarm clock blares, jerking you awake from a dream about the Tenth Doctor inviting you to be his next companion. Still in a daze, you’re mumbling your acceptance to David Tennant when you taste a dry bitterness in your mouth that makes you pause. Be it from popular culture or as a result of your own admirable pursuit for scientific knowledge, you’ve likely heard of something called halitosis. If not, I bet you’ve smelled it: be it your best friend’s or even your own. A thorough brushing (especially of your tongue!) and flossing, as well as a tear-jerking swish of mouthwash, are usually enough to slay this feral beast, more commonly known as bad breath. But what exactly causes it, and--more importantly--why is it most prevalent in the morning?

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Why do we have two nostrils?

Parts of the human body tend to come in pairs. Two eyes, two ears, two lips, two legs, two arms… You get the point. Most of these pairings have specific functions. Having two eyes allows us to perceive depth. Two ears work in harmony to figure out the relative direction from which a sound wave travels. But why in the world do we have two nostrils? Why couldn’t we just have one gigantic nasal cavity, like the gaping abyss that is the mouth? Well, to find out we’ll have to acknowledge the fact that the process of smelling odors is a series of chemical reactions.

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Antioxidants increasing cancer?

Health freaks, such as I, have always clung to the fact that antioxidant rich foods help to prevent cancer. However, a recent study from The New England Journal of Medicine suggests that antioxidant supplements have no effect in reducing cancer onset, and may actually accelerate cancer. For health freaks abroad this is big, unsettling, news; was all that green tea, all that fruit, all those beans, etc. consumed in vein? Well, Dr. David Tuveson and Dr. Naveep S. Chandel’s study suggest so. Continue reading

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A 30 Minute Program that can Change Public Education?

Metal detectors, armed security, and homicide. . .It’s hard to imagine just how bad some of our schools are today. In addition, with our education scores far behind in the world ranking of developed countries (via the Program for International Student Assessment), it’s evident that something needs to be changed about the education system. It seems there might be one really easy solution; it’s unconventional –and in some places even taboo–but the statistics cannot lie! Continue reading

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The Science of Beautiful Skin

Clear, beautiful, ageless skin. I’ve always wondered how people do it. How can someone possibly be 50 when they look like they’re 30? Our skin is the outermost layer of our body that basically displays our full appearance. It is literally the first thing people may see when they meet you. Even though we are all mostly young adults here at The Wannabe Scientist, it’s time to start taking care of our skin before it is too late.

So here’s just a brief background on how important skin is to us: skin is actually the largest and heaviest organ of our body, covering up to 20 square feet and 15% of our body weight. It’s made up of about 25% protein, a small amount of fats, and 75% water! (That’s crazy!) Our skin is the primary barrier to the outside. It holds our body together and keeps everything nicely packed inside. There are 3 main layers of the skin: the epidermis, dermis, and the subcutaneous tissue. The epidermis, only a millimeter thick, is the main indicator to see whether our skin is hydrated or dry since it absorbs and retains moisture. The next layer is the dermis, the thickest layer, where it is composed of fibroblast cells that are responsible of making collagen and elastin. Together, these help the skin become elastic and durable. The last layer is the subcutaneous tissue, made of fat which provides heat insulation.

Alright, now we know a bit about the this organ, but what about the causes of damaged, irritated skin? Can we find the fountain of youth and beauty? (Yes, guys, you can be beautiful too.)

One of the biggest concerns for skin (as you may know) is the sun. Its rays are radiant on a beautiful day at the beach, but they are a killer to the skin. We all witness the desirability of tanned skin, but is sitting in the sun all day really worth it? So who gets sunburns? Sunburns are very common for many people who fail to protect their skin properly, and actually increase the risk of skin cancer and aging. UVB rays and UVA rays are the ones to blame! UVB rays are the ones that cause your skin to burn, but if we go deeper, UVA rays, can actually lead to wrinkles, age spots, leathery skin, and overall premature aged skin. Also, UVA rays, once they penetrate your skin, can actually change your DNA (They are THAT powerful!). The fibroblast in the dermis is very vulnerable to UVA radiation damage, and once it alters DNA sequencing, the skin fails to make less collagen and elastin, causing less elasticity and youth in the skin. Also, don’t even think about those tanning beds! We’ve probably all heard horror stories, but, just to remind you, those beds emit ultraviolet light, which cause our skin to turn against us. Under the light, our skin starts to create harmful free radicals, compounds that can cause damage to our DNA sequences and cell membranes, and even destroy our skin cells.

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What can we do to prevent such horror? Pack on that SPF. Whether you’re going out to hang with friends or just taking out the trash, sunscreen is your best friend. Sunscreen is the barrier and guard for our skin that will prevent any rays from penetrating through. It doesn’t matter if it is a sunny, 82 degree day or a slight 75 degree overcast; wear at least SPF 30 sunscreen. Protecting your skin is one of the most important and easiest ways to keep it healthy. Our skin will thank us in the long run!

Another popular cause of unhealthy skin is bad diet and lifestyle. Our skin reflects our overall health from what we eat to what we do to our sleep cycle (and the list could go on.) So when we’re stressing out about those mid-terms and exams, we’re probably chugging down those coffee expressos, running on 5-6 hours of sleep, and munching on “quick” snacks. If this sounds about right, your skin is probably suffering from it. Sleep is an important necessity to not only good skin, but also a healthy body.

When your body shuts down for the night to prepare you for the next day, your skin is doing the same! With lack of sleep, your skin doesn’t perform properly, causing dryness or oil build-up. It basically goes out of balance and function. As for coffee and junk cravings, one best stay clear; these are both dangerous triggers for unwanted acne and oily skin. Dairy products such as milk actually increase our hormones, a chemical that plays a major role in teenager acne. Simple sugars like carbs increase insulin levels which eventually cause sebum production that clog skin pores. In fact, according to Dr. David Gunn of Unilever, sugars can actually attach to collagen and cause it to become brittle, making it difficult for the skin to repair itself.

Tips? Eat healthy, simple as that. According to Dr. Halem of Columbia University, Vitamin C and E are the most critical in maintaining healthy skin. They are both antioxidants that help repair cell damage, especially from free radicals. These antioxidants are able to make free radicals less reactive in order to prevent any more damage. Vitamin C and E are abundant. They can be found in vitamin tablet forms as well as in the natural fruits of citrus, berries, nuts, and seeds. Another important key is to HYDRATE your skin. The easiest way is to drink plenty of water. Water keeps the skin plump and fresh, creating a healthy glow.

Additionally, our skin absorbs not only moisture to rejuvenate, but also harmful products such as toxins. Toxins get stored in the body, and the only ways to release them is either through urination/defecation or sweating! Sweating is generally associated with working out, or having an active lifestyle. When we sweat from working out, the skin detoxifies. Blood flow increases and carries more oxygen and nutrients to the skin. It carries away most of the waste mostly from the liver, and as a result, sweating flushes out all of the junk we don’t need in our body.

Clearly, our skin needs a lot of care, but certain habits can be altered a little bit at a time; we don’t need to change our lifestyle all at once. Slowly but surely, we can all achieve healthy skin. Follow these tips, and soon we will be the ones everyone’s jealous about in the coming decades.

Skin Care Tips The Science of Beautiful Skin
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Citations:

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-18924204

http://www.youbeauty.com/skin/healthy-beautiful-skin

http://www.thedoctorwillseeyounow.com/content/aging/art3314.html

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/diet-and-skin

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/exercise

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Corals - Animals or Plants?

Technically, corals are animals – they are classified under Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Cnidaria. But while fellow members of Cnidaria – jellyfish, sea wasps, and more – play the part of realistic animals that move around and interact with their environments, coral just… sits there. It’s no wonder that corals are often accidentally classified as plants.

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We're not just basic.