Although it may not be much, I tried to make myself available as sort of a tutor for my grade 11 friends who are taking chemistry right now. This includes mainly church friends and some enhanced students who did not take it last semester. In spite of being terrible at grade 11 chemistry at the time, something clicked at the end and everything suddenly made sense (except for intermolecular forces). As a result, that is the one unit I could not help anyone with unfortunately. For everyone I
tutored helped, I mainly helped out with stoichiometry, balancing chemical equations, and gas laws. Those were the three units I liked most personally. Teaching these people helped me too in a way; it prevented me from forgetting everything I learned last semester!
BAD SCIENCE IN MASS MEDIA #2 : MIRACLE IN A BOTTLE
“LOSE TEN POUNDS IN TWO DAYS!!”
“LOOK LIKE THIS SWIMSUIT MODEL IN JUST A WEEK!”
Thousands of people everyday desperately throw their money away on “magical” weight loss pills that are said to help you lose mass amounts of fat. This sadly is far from the truth. Many scientists and studies have proven that these diet pills are not magical at all; they are completely useless. For the most part, unless one eats right and exercises, no supplement will have a big impact at all (Harshman).
Diet pills generally are grouped into three different categories:
1. laxatives - Ads and labels claim that these “flush/melt away fat”. This basically is a substance that once consumed, causes the user to basically have diarrhea. If this is overused, the user could develop a dependence on these pills in order to move his or her bowels.
2. stimulants - these labels claim to “burn fat/calories and increase metabolism”. With the amount of caffeine equal to 2-3 cups per pill, it generally just makes the user feel hyper and jittery, as the name suggests.
3. appetite suppressants - these claim to kill hunger and make the user feel satiated. The main problem with this pill is that it has high insoluble fibre levels. This then creates gastrointestinal issues for the user like flatulence, bloating, and diarrhea (Mullens)
Most medical experts and pharmacists collectively say that none of these pills work. The worst part about them is that they are dangerous. Since 2007, Health Canada issued more than 45 risk communications involving more than 150 products (Mueller).
Although these products have been proven to be ineffective and even hazardous, people continually buy and use them. The truth about these products must be publicized more effectively in order to reduce the sales of these pills of lies.
Big Bang Theory without the laugh track
BAD SCIENCE IN MASS MEDIA - TV SITCOM SERIES, “THE BIG BANG THEORY”
Big Bang Theory is an extremely popular sitcom series created by CBS back in September 2007. The show revolves around the day-to-day lives of Sheldon and Leonard, two socially inept and “nerdy” physicists, and three of their friends: Rajesh Koothrappali, an astrophysicist who is also socially dysfunctional, Howard Wolowitz, yet another socially inept aerospace engineer, and Penny, a not-so-smart-at-all-in-any-way-shape-or-form waitress/aspiring actress.
Despite the fact that Big Bang Theory reels in more than 10 million viewers week after week (even with re-runs), there is nothing innovative or appealing about the show at all. It is a tired, formulaic sitcom that relies heavily on the use of a laugh track to delude its audience into thinking that its weak punchlines and cheap humour are actually funny. This, however, is not too surprising as the creators of this show were the ones capable of giving birth to the atrocity that is Two and a Half Men.
Every single episode is basically a showcase of how nerdy and socially incapable these smart characters are and how stupid (in comparison) the only female main character is. That is it. The four main guys engage in many “non-mainstream” nerd culture and science-related dialogues; the show even hired a physicist to confirm that the science in the show (even little things in the background; ie. a whiteboard with a bunch of equations on it) is accurate.
It is not the science in the show that is bad, per se, but it is the representation of this science THROUGH these characters that is bad. The ‘humour’ of this show is basically laughing at how overly smart and geeky these characters are. More specifically, the way this show milks out laughter from its audience is by having these characters say complicated science-related jargon that, although accurate, the general population of America would not understand for crap (example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_wkCUxOuiM ). People do not laugh because they understand the science of these dialogues; they laugh because they don’t. For anyone to think that these characters are an accurate representation of how real life scientists are is just insulting. The sad thing is that people do as “research has posited that these [inaccurate] portrayals [of scientists being social misfits] potentially discourage kids from pursuing science past junior high” (Lowry).
With the writers of this show being in such a powerful/influential position, I feel as though they should do a better job at representing scientists; they currently portray them in quite a negative light where the audience is basically laughing at them. Even if they cannot do that, they should at least try thisto help improve the current state of the show: be funny.
ARTICLE ANALYSIS #4+5 - QUICK STUDIES: ‘VITAMIN D & DIABETES’ AND ‘TRIGLYCERIDES & STROKE’ and “TRIGLYCERIDES & STROKE”
summary - In this magazine, a page was reserved to four different “quick studies” (small experiments+their results). Two of these four mini articles relate to the body and biochemistry. In the first article (“vitamin D & diabetes”), a study clued to an interesting find; vitamin D helps prevent diabetes. 2000 people with prediabetes (blood sugar levels higher than 5.3 mmol/L but not as high as 6.9 mmol/L) were subjected to two different diets: one high intensity program to lose at least 7% body fat, and another more standard weight loss plan. The results showed that the people in both groups who had the highest levels of vitamin D in their bodies had the lowest risks of getting diabetes.
The second article (“Triglycerides & Stroke), a study showed that high blood levels of triglycerides signal an increased risk of stroke in women. Out of 1500 participants, the women with the highest triglyceride levels (2.2 mmol/L or higher) were much more likely to experience ischemic stroke over an eight-year period than those with the lowest levels (1.2 mmol/L and lower). Other factors were accounted for, such as blood pressure, weight, exercise, and smoking. Against popular belief, neither LDL (bad) or HDL (good) cholesterol affected stroke risk.
Reviews - Both these articles’ topics were great in that they apply to everyone’s lives. It explains the science behind some commonly occurring health problems in North America. On top of that, the articles explain the science in very simple terms, so the information is accessible to anyone. Although short, both expressed their results and significance quickly and to the point.
and everyone is like:
but what about studying? Or writing your lab report? Or studying?