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How Pregnancy Will Change Your Body

Renee Yates

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Becoming pregnant and bringing a new child into the world will do a lot more than just create a temporary belly bump and related large waistline. It will also trigger a number of changes to a woman’s body, some remaining permanent. And they are not the predictable ones that women typically learn in high school or from science books. Instead, many of the changes are going to be things that only women know and pass on from person to person verbally. And when one woman talks about them, those in the know will smile and nod agreeing. But to outsiders, motherhood remains a “joy” to look forward too.

Let’s Talk about Those Tootsies

There are some parts of the body that get bigger with pregnancy, but don’t expect feet to be on the typical expectation list from the doctor or generic pregnancy preparation pamphlets. The fact is, women’s feet get slightly longer as their foot arch decreases. This change, often assumed caused by the baby weight and the body hormonally preparing muscles and ligaments to stretch, ends up triggering the need for new shoes.  So no, it’s not just about needing to shop for the sake of shopping alone.

Redefining the Term “Exhausted”

Because a woman’s body has now become the creation system for a whole new life, it consumes a lot of energy, including what that mother-to-be would normally need to get through the day. The result is a regular and ongoing feeling of being wiped out most of the day. This sensation happens off and on from trimester to trimester, skipping the second one and returning again on the tail end.

Getting a Healthy Glow

Hormones being the culprits they are, will trigger a significant production of facial oil. That in turn will give you a very Roman healthy look which also makes a pregnant woman look a bit younger too. You’re going to feel like your face is greasy more than not, but everyone is going admire how beautiful you look. Go with it; the facial changes are one of the up sides of the body changes.

Be a Lot More Careful

Pregnant women trip, stumble and fall a lot more than normal. The same hormone affecting the feet is affect all the other joints too, causing ligaments to stretch. Unfortunately, this benefit for allowing a woman to give birth will also affect all her other ligaments, making ankles and knees in particularly a lot more wobbly. No surprise, women tend to wear flats a lot during the second and third trimester for better traction and less falling risk.

Mommy Brain

Yep, you’re not suddenly going stupid after years of being a genius; you have mommy brain when pregnant. Pregnancy is often associated with mentally feeling cloudy or forgetting a lot of things. When you have a being inside of you taking up some of that oxygen in your circulatory system, it’s going to have an effect, and this one cuts down on the oxygen going to your brain. That will affect your ability to maintain concentration or use short-term memory in a normal fashion. Plan on writing things down a lot to remember what you need 30 minutes later.

Yes, having a child is a beautiful thing, and yes, you will get a bigger belly and breasts as part of the change to make a pregnancy happen. But there’s a lot of other changes in the package that can be a bit of a surprise. It’s up to you if you want to share them after your pregnancy, but it does make being pregnant a bit easier knowing more of what to expect than always being surprised.

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A Bank and Non-Profit Company Help Girls Enter Tech and Other STEM Fields

Shannon Jackson

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The technology field has undergone a lot of changes over the past few decades. One of the biggest changes has been the growing interest that women are taking. In secondary schools across the country, there has been an increased focus on STEM fields. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. Because of the increased focus, children of all backgrounds are beaming with a desire to learn more about these fields. This includes girls. Sadly, these are fields that have been historically dominated by men. This causes young women to be hesitant about joining these fields, knowing the societal pressure they might face. Fortunately, there is a nonprofit organization that exists to help women get into this field. This comes in the form of Girls, Inc.

The focus of this field is to help girls between the ages of six and 18 learn more about themselves and these fields as they strive to discover what it takes to build a successful career in these fields. This organization helps girls find mentoring relationships in a pro-girl environment and pushes them to conduct research that will help them build their resumes as they look to learn more about STEM fields. In this organization, girls learn about the various characteristics that are necessary to navigate social, gender, and economic barriers as they try to gain confidence and independence while also receiving a top-notch education. 

Thie program also gives girls the chance to partner with one of the largest banks in the world. This comes in the form of CApital One, a well-respected financial institution that has a program known as Capital One Program. This program places girls in a position to work with volunteer coders, who are professionals in the tech field. This gives girls the chance to learn more about coding and computer design. In some situations, the girls might even be able to build their own applications. This gives participants a unique experience with app-building tools. They learn about algorithms and get to ask questions of some of the most successful and generous professionals in the field. The mentors play a critical role in helping girls enter this field. The goal of this program is to help people acquire the skills and resources they are going to need in order to survive in an economy that is largely driven by the tech field.

There are numerous locations throughout the country that Capital One has set up programs like this, including Texas and the Bay Area out in California. Given the tremendous success that this program has already seen, the program is likely to expand to other parts of the country. Capital One desires to partner with other nonprofit organizations that work to break down barriers in the STEM fields of all types. This organization is always trying to find ways to increase the amount of diversity in this field, including encouraging women to get more involved. In the eyes of many, the STEM fields are the future. These fields are going to produce novel products and services in fields such as engineering, computers, healthcare, and more. 

It is incumbent on all of these organizations to push everyone, including girls and young women, to push people to think outside the box. Only when people start to step outside of their comfort zone will they discover what they are truly capable of accomplishing. This is true for young girls who would like to learn more about STEM fields and how they can turn a hobby into a long and rewarding career.

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Are There Any Different Characteristics Between Left And Right Handers?

Shannon Jackson

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The dominant handedness for the population is the right hand, with 10% of the population is left-handed.  This statistic has been consistent for at least five thousand years, which is in the early Paleolithic phase of the Stone Age.  

*  Left-handed people were considered evil or not lucky,  and the Latin word for left is “sinister.”
*   Because of the right-handed dominance, the typical spiral notebook opens right to left with the spiral on the left side.  Those who are left-handed writing is not convenient. Spiral notebooks are also available for left-handers, which opens left to right with the spiral on the right side. 
* Research published in Brain at the University of Oxford, which reviewed the DNA of 400,000 people in the U.K., found that right-handers’ verbal skills were inferior to that of left-handers.  A study of the brain images from 10,000 people supported by the fact that the left and right sides of the brain communicated with each other. 
* Further, genetic studies found that the genes between right and left-handers were different, which resulted in the difference in their brain structures. 

A genetic component in handedness is apparent, according to Dr. Gwenaëlle Douaud, associated with Oxford’s Welcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging as a Fellow.  However, more research is needed to study in more depth the difference in verbal tasks between left and right-handedness, according to Dr. Akira Wiberg, a fellow at the University of Oxford. The question must be thoroughly investigated relative to the coordination of the left and right hemispheres of the brain using more sophisticated verbal-ability testing.

Studies continue to look at factors other than genetics that contribute to determining the differences between left and right-handedness.  One line of research is to determine the general factor of nature/nurture.  Nature generally refers to genetic factors, while nurture refers to environmental factors. For instance, studies have found that your dominant hand is 25% determined by genetics, and 75% determined by environmental factors. However, handedness is far more complex based on genetic factors alone.  The scientist used a population that would be better predictive as to the main factor which determined handedness.   Twin studies were conducted based on the hypothesis that the main factor is genetics and not the environment (nongenetic). Australian and Dutch families were studied with twins (25,000 people).  But to the surprise of scientists, only 25% of the study participants, handedness was explained by genes.  The conclusion was that influential environmental factors determined the handedness of 75% of the population.  

A study performed by  Carolien G. F. de Kovel from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen based on 500,000 participants.   This study concluded that:
a. Left-handedness is determined in the first few years of life, 
b. Handedness can also be determined before birth using ultrasound.
c.  Left-handedness was suppressed later in life by such environmental factors as forcing left-handed children to relearn handedness because of the bias towards right-handed children that were taught writing in UK schools which practice was common in the UK.
d.  Because of the forced relearning of handedness, standardized handedness tests did not account for the environmental factor of bias against left-handedness because of social taboos.
e. Environmental factors that increase left-handedness were birth weight, whether the infant was breastfed (i.e., not being breastfed increased chance of being left-handed), and mothers who gave birth in the summer increased chance of having left-handed children. 

 Conclusion

There are multiple factors, both nature, and nurture, that are factors in determining handedness.  One can argue that the determination of handedness may depend upon the biased hypothesis of a scientist based on their non-scientific point of view.  However, it is easy to dismiss the principal reason as opposed to research results. The fault is probably not the design of the research studies, but the inherent complex question of the ultimate cause of handedness, which means that there are multiple causes of handedness and the research studies cannot control the various nature and nurture factors that are intertwined. 

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A Florida High School First: Dissecting Synthetic Frogs

Renee Yates

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Dissecting frogs has been part of the curriculum for high school students in the United States since the 1920’s. It’s an essential part of a Biology requirement because it offers a hands-on learning experience for students in animal anatomy. J.W. Mitchell High School in New Port Richey, Florida has just tapped into a new synthetic option that might just save students from the dubious and grossly controversial dissecting practice. 

Why Dissecting is Controversial?  

Dissecting animals in the classroom is controversial for a number of reasons, but the education validity of this practice is what is being called into question more than anything else. If it is really important for educational purposes, why have so many schools already chosen to rely on alternative methods to fulfill the requirements?  

Here’s an overview of the key points to consider.  

Unethical.  

Dissecting frogs and other animals is controversial because of animal welfare concerns. Students are uncomfortable with the requirement, but the process has caused concerns that it encourages callousness toward animals. An estimated 20 million animals are used for dissection every year in the United States. Those are animals that are used once in a classroom setting and then discarded as waste.  

Alternatives.  

Eighteen states now allow students to choose dissection alternatives without penalty. The earliest forms of alternative legislation date to 2000 with the Illinois’ Dissection Alternatives Act, but there are other laws on the books that allow alternatives. Dissecting alternatives now include computer programs, life-life models, and high-quality videos. So, it’s no longer strictly essential for students to dissect animals.  

Cost.  

The cost of dissecting “real” animal cadavers is much higher than alternative options. The cost for animal dissection has been estimated at $6,850 over five years, compared with the $900 for a site license for Digital Frog 2.5. For those schools and teachers who still prefer a more “real-life” experience for students, there’s now the SynFrog, a synthetic frog that was designed by SynDaver as an alternative to dissecting “real” animals.  

What About the SynFrog?  

The SynFrog is the latest synthetic alternative to frog dissection, spearheaded by PETA in partnership with SynDaver. These synthetic frogs are priced at $150 per frog, and they are reusable. The students at J.W. Mitchell High School in New Port Richey, Florida became the first students to use the synthetic frogs as a viable solution to the gross and controversial “real” frogs.  The high school students have been offered this opportunity through a partnership with SynDaver

Education is always important, but the SynFrog demonstrates that there are ways to accomplish the goals of education without unnecessary destruction and cruelty to animals. These synthetic frogs are designed to be as “life-like” as possible, with a synthetic skeleton, organs, skin, muscles, and even a reproductive system to mimic the real deal—minus the gore, guts, and discarded critters at the end of the lesson.  

Perhaps instead, teachers can reiterate the Hippocratic Oath: “First, do no harm,” as they offer alternatives for learning with synthetic learning options.   

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Stunning Snow Art Created By 60-Year-Old During Nature Walks.

Renee Yates

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Looking at the world from an aerial view can unveil some amazing scenery. Nowadays, thanks to the internet, it is possible to get a birds-eye view of just about everything in life. So when 60-year-old Simon Beck began performing as a snowshoe artist, the world began to take notice. Now, we know what you are probably thinking. What in the heck is a snowshoe artist? Who is Simon Beck? How can any of this actually be any cooler? Don’t worry, we’ve got the answers to all of your questions.

Simon Beck hadn’t dreamed of becoming a snowshoe artist when he was a child, it was just something that happened. Beck is actually a former cartographer, a profession dedicated to drawing and producing maps. Beck had earned his degree in the field while attending Oxford for engineering. Working as a cartographer would give Beck the training and attention to detail that he would need to shock the world as a snowshoe artist. 

For the better part of the past decade, Beck has been using his elaborate technical skills to create mind-blowing snowshoe art.  These images can be seen from the air, as well as all over the internet, and Beck’s results are simply staggering. To accomplish some of the more intricate patterns that he develops, Beck can spend up to 12 hours carefully walking through the snow. Beck will end up taking nearly 40,000 steps to create the perfect piece of snowshoe artwork.  The job is as intense as it sounds, and we have to imagine that Beck is physically exhausted by the time that he is done working on his art. While the output speaks for itself, we have to imagine that there is something bittersweet about watching the wind blow it away.

There are many challenges that Beck has to overcome while attending to his snowshoe art. For starters, the elements are always a factor for the duration of the project. As snow and sand can blow away at the slightest breeze, Beck spends much of his time re-working older segments of his art. Other obstacles include the grueling physical work, the massive time sink, and even destruction caused by visitors who don’t realize that Beck is working on something.

Even though Beck has been making a name for himself for years, his work is finally getting even more exposure. Beck as interviewed for a column on Artsy, and he was able to unveil some of his thoughts regarding the art form. Beck admitted during the interview that his work was fleeting, but he countered the idea by pointing to the longevity of a photograph. Beck made the insightful point that the vast majority of people will never see the Mona Lisa in person, but almost everyone has seen a photograph. Beck says, “Most people will only ever see (…) artwork as photographs.” For Beck, the fame is clearly not what he is after. Instead, it seems like Beck just wants to share his passion with the world.

Simon Beck has created more than 300 drawings across Europe. He has used his special shoes to craft artwork in the sand, in the snow, and in countries throughout the world. Each piece of artwork presents a unique challenge to Beck, thus always keeping his craft fresh.

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Photos are Used to Capture the Struggles and Rewards of Being a Caregiver

Kelly Taylor

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It is important for everyone to spend time with the members of their family because they may not know just how much time they have. A caregiver who, about ten years ago, realized that time with her ather was coming to an end, learned how to value every moment she has with her family. First, she noticed that something was strange about her father. She says that her face wasn’t as reactive as it used to be. Her father came from Egypt and moved from the United States in search of a better life. He got a job as a successful professor of mechanical engineering. This allowed him to provide for his family. His daughter realized that it was time for her to give something back to her dad who had given her such a great life in America.

At the same time, this young woman also appreciated his smile and laughter as well. She noticed that this was changing. His personality had changed. His vibrant laugh was gone. She was worried that her father had suffered a stroke. She took him to see a doctor and then, about two years after the first event, she finally got the answer. He had Parkinson’s Disease. Initially, the symptoms were relatively manageable. He was stiff from time to time. His emotions were flat. At the same time, he was still himself on the inside. Unfortunately, this was not meant to last. Things started to get worse about two years later.

She learned that she was going to have to take care of her father full-time. The roles of parent and child had been flipped. She would have to bathe him, calm him, and make sure that all of his daily needs were taken care of. This took a toll on her because she saw the person that she had known her entire life was starting to evaporate before her very eyes. At the same time, she still had to take care of herself as well. That is why she developed a few rules that can help her, and others, serve as caregivers for members of their family.

First, caregivers need to take breaks. This is a necessity. Just because she is the primary caregiver for her father doesn’t mean that she isn’t allowed to take breaks. Parents take breaks when raising their children and caregivers can take breaks as well. Research has shown that caregivers can get stressed. When this happens, they also tend to make bad decisions. Therefore, take breaks and time for self-care. This will make someone into a better caregiver because they are going to feel more rested.

Next, remember that there is an age difference. Try to bridge this difference using love. Take pictures. Bring up old memories. Try to find a way to help a parent who is aging. By reminiscing about the good times, those who are being taken care of are more likely to have positive moments and interactions that will make everything else worth it. Try to focus on the positives.

Finally, remember that the disease and the person are not the same thing. The two are different things. By remembering that the person and the disease are different, caregivers are going to avoid placing blame on the person or resenting them. In order to remember that the person and the disease are different, remember the good times that were shared. This is going to help the caregiver fight through the bad times by remembering that their loved one is still in there somewhere.

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