Rick Santorum

Ladies and gentlemen, Rick Santorum is coming to Cornell! Although I cannot claim myself a Santorum supporter, however this event, in which he and Howard Dean will debate, poses as quite an opportunity. An opportunity I will certainly not miss! 

What intrigues me so much about Santorum is that not only he a complete right-winged lunatic (in my very factual, unbiased opinion) but that an entire STATE elected him (a state, I might add, I consider to be reasonable and a neighbor of Maryland). Name jokes aside, his social conservatism blows my mind. I am shocked that in this day and age such resistance to birth control and same sex marriage exist. Now granted I grew up in a fairly liberal household, but to have 3 million people vote for this guy, that’s slightly north of concerning. 

This guy has written books on “family values”. He’s critical of privacy. He compares homosexuality and same sex marriage with pedophilia. And…drum roll please…my favorite of all of his beliefs. And I QUOTE:


“On the president’s efforts to boost college attendance, Santorum said, “I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because of their indoctrination mills, absolutely … The indoctrination that is going on at the university level is a harm to our country.”

He claimed that “62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it,” but declined to cite a source for the figure. And he floated the idea of requiring that universities that receive public funds have “intellectual diversity” on campus.”

And I’ll leave you with that. So, Thursday night. Granted we get out of practice on time and there are still seats available in Bailey Hall, I will be in that auditorium to listen to the man himself tell 1,000 Cornell students that we are harmful to our nation. 


Let’s see how this goes…


Technology and Physical Activity

This is what has taken over my life in the past couple of weeks. It is hard to believe we are already half way through the semester! Who let that happen?! The delay of posts comes as a result of several prelims and an away weekend at Penn and Princeton this past weekend.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am working on a number of long term research papers (which are turning out to be less long term now as the due dates roll closer and closer!). Most of my research, with the exception of nutrition, is surrounding technology and its’ ability to affect weight management. Ran across this article in the Washington Post the other day.


I guess here is where I get to go on a long nerdy communication rant, but I will refrain. The article talks about the exact interaction that researchers are finding crucial in Web-based weight management programs. (By weight management I am referring to the web programs that involve both nutritional tracking as well as activity tracking–they have found that changing behavior in clusters is most effective.) As humans, especially in the middle of an obesity epidemic, self-efficacy may or may not be enough to change behavior. Given all of the enticing advertisements that surround us as well as the conveniences of fast food, self-control can be difficult at times. A key component in online programs is a sense of interactiveness, either with a social support function or with a tracking program. Researchers have found that with feedback, individuals are more conscious and aware of the decisions they make as they have apparent consequences. In one study I recently read, they provided pedometers to all the participants yet only gave constant feedback to half of the group. By the end of the study, the group with feedback increased on average their activity levels by 2 hours 18 minutes per week.

We live in a world of instant gratification. Weight loss becomes a difficult task because it does not come off as easy as it goes on. You don’t lose 50 pounds over night. If we can’t shed those pounds overnight, we need programs that show some signs of progress, even if they are relatively small changes. Although the literature is relatively recent in terms of measuring Web-programs and their effectiveness, patterns show that the interactive quality of programs is linked with greater success.

I perhaps need to team up with my sister and get my own Web-based weight loss program going here soon. Maybe after college…

Concerning Russian science



I promise I will get more creative with where I get my articles from, but this one was screaming for some Sarah Okey commentary. In my research methods class a few weeks back we were discussing appropriate limitations and ethical research practices. Let’s just say this is not quite up to par with the set standards. The incentives (modern health care) significantly seem to be outweighing the risks involved with the studies. Thus, attracting a lower-income population and biasing the study. Unless they figure out a way to lower the incentive, whatever studies follow this method will not be reliable or successful. Sad that the high risks are minimized given the poor access to healthcare. 

I think I’ll be more careful reading any Russian medical studies that come out in the next five or ten years…


And a completely random note on stateside health care…how about Romney’s comment on hospital emergency rooms? Clearly someone has not spent time in an emergency room…or airplanes……


Up for next week (potentially).  Keep your fingers crossed! 

Founders of Medic Mobile are coming Monday night to campus to give a speech about technology and its’ involvement in global health. The lecture starts at 7:30 and if the stars align and we get out on time, I just may be there! Here’s to an efficient, potentially early-ending practice!

The thing about science

It’s going to be a relatively short post because someone has homework and reading and studying to be doing, but I wanted to share.


Found this while perusing nytimes.com before class today. All I have to say is…well, science did it again.

For both my research methods and writing about comm classes we have been turned loose to research any communication topic of our choice. So me, being me, has spent hours and hours scouring databases and journals and Google and any forum of information that comes to me, reading pages and pages about health communication. I have been specifically looking at health behavior change in the United States. As research shows, in the grand scheme of things, health campaigns have had limited effect on changing health behavior thus far (I won’t cite my source because a) this isn’t my research paper and b) multiple sources conclude this) I’m convinced this is not the be all, end all of health communication campaigns. One, because if Gangnam Style can go viral overnight, clearly the Internet is working…

Anyways, back to the article. So I was perusing the Health section of the NY Times and found this gem. And like I said before science did it again. I’m not saying that new findings should not be shared with the world, for time, effort, money and enormous amounts of brain power were put into this study. But people reading this are likely to miss the bottom line. We are a headline reading generation. We have turned into skimmers and scanners. I hate to say it but reading is a lost art. The problem with these lacking health campaigns is that health news comes in fads. It is waved in. Whether it be Atkins diet or the ridiculous melon diet, health is constantly changing. The reason why these health campaigns is simply because skimmers and scanners read the current news, completely missing the bottom line.

EXERCISE. Exercise for 10 minutes. Exercise for 30 minutes. Exercise for 2 hours. Exercise for 10 hours. If you are exercising, you are doing it right. Walking to your mailbox and back is farther than you will ever get sitting on your couch. As an athlete, it drives me insane to see people searching for anything but exercise as a means to be healthy or skinny. Yes, I read the article. Yes, I understand it still says to exercise. But don’t become such a conscious health fanatic that suddenly you cut back on exercise because of the latest article.

One day I will make a successful health campaign. I have a lot of to-do’s in my career plan. HIV/AIDS education and prevention as noted in my last post is one. But fixing America’s obesity issue is right up there as task number two. It’s really much less difficult than most studies and textbooks make it seem. God Bless Michelle Obama for her work. America, it’s time to move.

Why Africa?

Why Africa?

Go to Africa. It is number one on my bucket list, I smothered my summer reading list with it, Google it frequently; yet, my desire to go to Africa seems to boggle so many. So in my first blog post I thought I’d explain why I have such a desire to go and sort of how it has begun to shape my college years. The best way of explaining it actually requires some background reading.

This week in Comm 2310, we read a short story called “What Killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones?” To provide a brief synopsis, the story came from the 2011 edition of Best American Essays. This particular one, however, has stuck with me for much longer than any others. In short, the essay opens with the Detroit SWAT team murdering an innocent seven-year-old girl, consequence of a mix up of apartment floors. The author, Charlie LeDuff, then continues through a condensed version of the history of Detroit, essentially depicting a city on a downfall. In class, we discussed a variety of topics pulled from the essay but we kept returning to the overarching question: how did Detroit come to this and how do we fix it? LeDuff describes years of attempts, from police chief replacement, increased funding, welfare, yet nothing has seemed to work in the long term. There is always a fallout in another part of the system, if the police force was increased, there was ignorance in other facets of the city. Several students in our class said that it seemed like the citizens depicted in the story didn’t want the change. It wasn’t until the professor stated (what should have been more apparent) that this was not a failure of the people of Detroit, this was a failure of the system, of the institution. Hundreds of other cities in the United States have gained control of the crime rates, improved graduation and literacy rates and grown as cities. Detroit is the only American city that has surpassed a million people and dipped back down. This is not a failure of Detroit, it is a national failure, and it is the fact that the nation gave up on Detroit.

Flying forward to my personal connection, I linked Detroit with the struggles of sub-Saharan Africa. With caution, I’ll proceed in saying that not all of Africa struggles. But the same is true with Detroit. The same is true with any urban area; there are areas of struggle and areas of success. My issue lies with the fact that by in large we have left nearly an entire continent on this planet to struggle with famine, starvation, genocide, and massive widespread diseases that other countries have controlled and dealt with for years. My issue lies in the fact that NASA this year launched a multi-billion dollar exploration of Mars, yet there are millions in Africa who don’t know where the next meal is coming from. How can we as humans continue on in our lives knowing our institution has failed?

I want to go to Africa, not for vacation, not for enjoyment, but for action. I’m someone who cares that we have left someone behind. No one asks to live where they live; you are born where you are born. Future generations will be born into a world that we are breaking apart. I don’t believe that as Americans we are required to bail out all countries that struggle. I don’t believe that as Americans we should impose democracy on other nations because it “works for us”. However, I do believe that with awareness, more change can be delivered to areas in need. The lack of global awareness scares me. As a college student, on the verge of stepping out into the real world, the ignorance and lack of awareness of our place in the world scares me. I’m not Mother Theresa and am not ignorant of the fact that money and funding are crucial backers in the relieving of hunger and disease, but I also happen to be crazy enough to believe that I can do something about the problem. Even if it is a small contribution in the grand scheme of things, every contribution adds up.

And that’s why I have this blog. Because I have opinions. I’m opinionated and like to write. I see articles all the time that I don’t really have a forum to share through. I want to use this blog to do just that, share the world that I see. Sometimes I may throw in a personal anecdote if something really fantastic happens to me that week but mostly I just want to share parts of the world that hit me.

On a side note: I highly recommend the 2011 Best American Essays book. Although it is a requirement for my class, I have truly enjoyed reading it.