Tagged: Hunger Games

Science Tuesday: The science of sleep

By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
@sanahfaroke

If only we could learn in our sleep.../  PHOTO VIA Flickr user Mrehan

If only we could learn in our sleep…/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Mrehan

Behold! We have entered the ‘week of death,’ i.e. the week before finals week. We’ve entered the dome of late night strategy sessions, unhealthy food choices, and nocturnal raccoon eyes covered over with concealer. Wait, is that just me?

Well, Katniss and I might be BFFs because I feel like I’ve been chosen to participate in the ‘Hunger Games.’ It’s a battle to the death, but really, we’re all just creating this battle with our internal biological clock.

I’ve always been a night owl. I think better and produce higher-quality work at night. However, I’m a miserable troll in the morning when I have to wake up at 8 a.m. for class. I’m such a rebel, defying this clock, but by disrupting these neurons that tell me what to do and when to do it, it puts everything else out of wack.

The neurons in the brain are no bigger than the size of a mustard seed, according to The Atlantic. The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) tells me when I should have breakfast or go to sleep, as well as determining functions like social and sexual behaviors. It’s what makes me a night owl and what makes normal people, well, normal.

According to Seth Blackshaw, an associate professor of neuroscience at John Hopkins University, these characteristics can be genetic, and in a sense, predetermined. In a new study conducted by Blackshaw, SCN deteriorates as you age.

When I was a kid, I hated naps. I’d tell my mom that “day is for play and night is for sleep.” Clearly as a college student, that has changed drastically, but one thing is the same: I fight sleep. Back then, I wouldn’t take naps, and now, I drink coffee instead of giving in. Nevertheless, according to Blackshaw, being awake when our body is obviously tired is bad for you.

For those who pull all-nighters — you deserve a medal. I don’t know how you guys do it, but you do. You better save that medal though because some studies show that you have a higher chance of getting cancer or having a heart attack. So is the medal and a crappy paper worth your health? Probably not, but you’re setting yourself up for it if you stray from the SCN master clock.

In Blackshaw’s study, researchers removed a key gene in mice that helps the SCN communicate with other cells, because SCN communicates with cells in the entire body. He found that instead of the mice operating as if their Monday was a normal 24-hour schedule, they worked as if they have two or three body clocks controlling them at the same time (which kind of feels like my average Monday anyway).

Blackshaw concluded that the clock was still running, but it wasn’t synchronized. It’s why some people are like the living dead during the day, but at night are little miss peppy. I actually live in constant pep, but that’s just because I drink too much coffee, not because I sleep enough. I should probably attempt to do better. I’ll pencil it in … after graduation.

Sorry Amazon, Not Every Book Lasts a Lifetime

By Jacob Carter, Staff Writer
@jacobca1995

books

Keep your favorite books close, they may be out of print in a few decades. / PHOTO BY Heather Goldin

Amazon recently released a list compiled by the website’s book editors entitled 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime. According to the editor, they wanted it to encompass “all stages of a life” and provide a guide to a reader’s most essential literary endeavors. Their effort is admirable — I just have one question: Whose lifetime are they referring to?

The list is meant to cover the most vital books to read from childhood to maturity, and it is true that the editors are successful in balancing the list with everything from children’s classics such as “Charlotte’s Web” to indelible masterworks such as “Pride and Prejudice.” But what strikes me most as I peruse the selections is the sheer amount of recent bestsellers that are on display.

If I am meant to take this list to my grave, should there be so many titles that solely represent today’s cultural climate?

My specific issue is directed at the books meant to represent the category of young adult fiction. Such inclusions compromise both Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” and J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” and the “Sorcerer’s Stone.” While it is true that these books ignited an immense cultural phenomenon, it is not unfounded to think that their popularity will decrease in a matter of a few years.

Youth culture is always driven by a desire for the new and innovative. With each new generation, adolescents strive for their own cultural identity. While the adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione may have enraptured their parents, it is safe to assume that children of the future will take hold of a new literary outlet.

To a lesser degree, I am also skeptical toward the presence of such selections as Rebecca Skloot’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” and Erik Larson’s “The Devil in the White City.”

I will fully admit that I have never read either of these books. However, I single them out because their existence on the list is due to the fact that they are recent bestsellers. Before decade’s end, they will most likely fade from the public consciousness, replaced by another slew of acclaimed prose.

Popular culture is in a constant state of fluctuation. Attempting to bring any sort of definitive representation is impossible. Perhaps “100 Books to Read At This Moment” would be a more accurate description of the list they’ve compiled.

Of course, you can’t count out the real reason they assembled the list: to spread the love of reading to all generations. I admire them for that.

And who knows? Perhaps 60 years from now children will still hold Katniss and Harry dear to their hearts.

LOL Thursday: More NFL Bad Lip Reading

By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
@katreenz

What better way to get ready for Super Bowl Sunday than by watching Bad Lip Reading’s latest viral video?

Yep, you heard right – they’ve done it again and they’re back with a sequel to the original, entitled “More NFL – A Bad Lip Reading”.

I know nothing about football, but anyone with a remote sense of humor will find this hilarious. My own personal favorite Bad Lip Reading videos are its spoofs of “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games,” but the channel has also been known to do videos of the political variety, like highlights from the 2012 Presidential Debates, if that suits your fancy.

If you’ve never seen any of the ‘Bad Lip Reading’ videos, you may be asking, what the hell is it? The channel features different muted clips of scenes from movies, celebrities, and politicians and provides voice overs with a lip reading that totally fits their mouth movements but doesn’t always make sense. The result is completely ridiculous, yet totally hysterical at the same time.

Featuring numerous players and coaches with a handful of great lines such as “I will sing for you when you beg me. And you will beg me!” and Peyton Manning’s response to the question that scares you: “Just having somebody yucky like you, denim jeans, uh… Voldemort. Yes, I said Voldemort,” More of NFL Bad Lip Reading is sure to brighten your day.

A Look At BU’s Amazing Race: What to Expect

By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
@katreenz

The Filipino Association of BU participates in last year's amazing race./PHOTO VIA Katrina Uy

The Filipino Association of BU participates in last year’s amazing race./PHOTO VIA Katrina Uy

If you think you know Boston, think again.

Last year, I participated in Boston University’s annual Amazing Race, which is based off of the CBS reality television show of the same name. The event was exactly what it sounds like: one massive scavenger hunt and a race against time to find clues leading to a certain destination, and sometimes even completing tasks at those destinations to receive the next clue. The last team to arrive gets eliminated.

I was one of eight people that made up a team representing my favorite club, the Boston University Filipino Student Association. I was excited beyond belief to run around this amazing city we call home and (hopefully) earn a monetary prize for my club. But, there were some things I wish I had known beforehand – and that’s where I extend my knowledge onto you.

This year’s race will be held on Nov. 16. Here are some helpful tips and tricks on what to expect:

  1. Brush up on knowledge about Boston and the neighborhoods within it; bring maps and guidebooks if you can. These are vital, since all cellphones and electronic devices will be taken away the morning of the race. Having some sort of prior knowledge beforehand or a few resources you can turn to during the race will save you precious time! Be prepared to approach total strangers for help as well.
  2. Get a day pass for the T. You’ll be running all over the city, so you might as well save some money while you’re at it. A 1-Day Pass costs $11.00 and gives you unlimited travel on the MBTA. I highly recommend purchasing one before the day of the race.
  3. Bundle up – wear layers! Boston weather is highly unpredictable and you’re bound to get hot and sweaty at some point. Be comfortable but practical.
  4. Bring a small, light drawstring bag or backpack with you. Bring a small supply of snacks to keep you energized throughout the day (granola bars, fruit, etc.) and maybe a water bottle or two. You can also stash your guidebooks and maps in here! A couple of Band-Aids or a small first-aid kit never hurts, either.
  5. Get a decent amount of sleep the night before. Pretty self-explanatory. You’ll need all the energy you can get, so rest up!

And last but not least, expect to have fun and make a handful of memories!

Some of the most memorable tasks we had to do last year in order to receive the next clue included acting out a scene from a Shakespearean play, walking into an antique store and asking someone to draw a portrait of one of our team members, and making a cheer for one of Boston’s many sports teams at the TD Garden.

Last year, I only got four hours of sleep the night before, wore horrible shoes and sprained my ankle while my team sprinted to get to the next clue. Talk about a major fail on my part. But with the help of my teammates and at least a dozen piggyback rides later, we were able to finish at a decent time before getting eliminated.

To those of you participating in this year’s Amazing Race, I wish you the best of luck.

May the odds be ever in your favor.