Cosmo’s Pizza: Not for the Sober-Hearted

Authors: C. R. Roberts, A. F. Price, R. D. Moghe, J. B. Arkin, B. D. Pereksta, J. A. McDaniel

Abstract:

We set out to confirm why Cosmo’s is so highly rated on some websites [4] and to refute the negative Yelp reviews [1][2][3]. By conducting a controlled chimpanzee study, we determined that there is a positive correlation between the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and the value of Cosmo’s Pizza. From this study we moved to human trials in which we determined the satisfaction that young women (ages 18-22) received from the consumption of Cosmo’s Pizza when drunk, which also resulted in a positive correlation of satisfaction and BAC. To reinforce our data, we took a random sampling of students from the University of Colorado whose BAC was determined via a breathalyzer and asked them to verbally state their levels of satisfaction with Cosmo’s Pizza.

Introduction:

Previous reviews have stated that Cosmo’s pizza was a disappointment [1], not hot nor fresh [2], and insanely expensive [3]. We are studying the effects of alcohol on the satisfaction of the consumption of Cosmo’s pizza. We hypothesize that the above-stated downsides of Cosmo’s pizza are negligible when a subject’s blood alcohol concentration is above a .15, or 15%.

Methods:

Chimpanzee-based studies were first conducted to see the determined value of Cosmo’s pizza when sober compared to inebriated. This study involved the dosing of chimpanzees with intravenous ethanol (5 ml of 95% to achieve). Each chimpanzee was given a slice of Cosmo’s pizza and their normal diet of vegetables when sober, and after the introduction of alcohol. Their reaction was recorded.

Next, human-based studies consisting of college women (ages 18-22) who stated they were on a diet, were conducted. A similar study was conducted as on the chimpanzees. 100 women were given the choice between salad and pizza when sober and intoxicated (4 drink level over a period of 1 hour and 30 minutes). Their choices were recorded.

Finally, we took a random sampling of University of Colorado undergraduate students from the times of 12-2 am on wednesday through saturday nights and correlated their enjoyment with their level of sobriety (inverse of blood alcohol level). Students were given several slices of Cosmo’s pizza and a survey. They were given a breathalyzer to determine their BAC. Their enjoyment of the pizza was recorded based on answers to the survey questions.

Results:

With the chimpanzee study, we determined that the presence of ethanol in the system, rewires the neurocircuitry of the brain in a way that causes the value of Cosmo’s Pizza to increase from nil to immeasurable amounts.  We found that as the level of alcohol in the subject’s blood increased, their consumption and enjoyment of said consumption of Cosmo’s pizza increased. The chimpanzees refused to eat the pizza before the introduction of alcohol, while after their intoxication they consistently chose the pizza over their more standard foods.

In the study of college women on diets, the results were similar. Only 24 of the women chose Cosmo’s over the salad while sober. When they were intoxicated, the results were flipped with 75 of 100 women choosing Cosmo’s over salad.

In the final test, we saw that the level that students enjoyed Cosmo’s pizza peaked at a BAC of 0.15. However, we found that once the subject reached a blood alcohol level greater than .15, the subject’s enjoyment began to greatly diminish until the point of having a blood alcohol level of .4, which usually results in death. It is interesting to note, that students who ate the pizza with spicy ranch, consistently rated the pizza higher than those who did not.

Alcohol Dieting alcoholLimitations:

Limitations to this study should be considered when evaluating the data and results presented. During many trials, both the subjects and researchers had been exposed to copious amounts of ethanol which may have inhibited the researchers’ abilities to conduct experiments and the subjects abilities to denote value and ratings of satisfaction to our researchers.

Discussion: Subjects consistently chose the pizza over other options and showed a higher enjoyment of the pizza when intoxicated. This leads us to come to the conclusion that Cosmo’s pizza is in fact more desirable after the consumption of alcohol. Wiser food choices were foregone by subjects for the possibility of eating the pizza. Future testing needs to be done on the application of spicy ranch to the desirability of the pizza. We saw that some subjects chose to add it to their pizza and were consistently happier with their meal.

After conducting this study, the researchers decided to conduct on-field auto-ethnographic research. From what the researchers can remember, and it isn’t very much, our conclusions from both the subject-based and auto-ethnographic research supported our hypothesis. We must note that during this auto-ethnographic trial, 4 out of 6 of the researchers did not remember anything.

References:

[1] Jen A. Boston, MA

[2] Mike S. Boulder, Co

[3] Allison S. Boulder, Co

[4] http://www.thrillist.com/eat/nation/best-college-drunk-food

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Decline in Physical Science Education

In recent decades, American schoolchildren have been falling further and further behind other countries in terms of math and science.  In an article published in Advances in Geosciences in 2005, R. A. Pertzborn details various possible reasons for this trend, as well as proposes some possible solutions.  In his study, Pertzborn notes the impending workforce crisis stemming from the fact that there is “increased demand for scientific and technically literate workers, while fewer of the nation’s students are pursuing degrees in these academic areas” (Pertzborn, pg 1).  The rest of the article briefly summarizes some of the past solutions (and their unintended consequences) that have been put into place in an attempt to close the math and science achievement gap between the United States and other nations. 

One issue that Pertzborn examines is the fact that each year there is a steady decline of foreign students coming to study math and science at universities in the United States.   Possible reasons for this include the increasingly strict immigration laws that have been implemented post 9/11 as well as the fact that many countries are catching up to America and becoming able to provide their youth with the same opportunities that they would have access to in the United States (Pertzborn, pg 2)  This is a problem, because many foreign students who attend college in America end up staying in America to work instead of returning to their homelands, and now that students are becoming more and more likely to stay in their native countries for school the workforces of other countries will become stringer while America may begin to fall behind.

Another topic discussed by the author is the problem of teachers not being able to successfully foster an interest in math and science within their students.  Pertzborn explains that some reasons for this are teachers not being adequately equipped to teach certain subjects (especially physical sciences) and also the common misperception among students that “science is hard.”  Pertzborn also brings up the gender gap in math and sciences, citing a deficiency in female role models as a possible reason for this. 

By examining the possible causes of the decline of students graduating with degrees in math and science, Pertzborn is able to use his study to call the attention to the possible avenues of change that need to be affected in the United States if we wish to rectify this problem.  Overall this seems to be a good source to use for the examination of the lag in math and science education recently observed in the United States.  A limitation of this article is that its main focus is on the observed insufficiency of physical science education, but this trend is one that carries over into other fields of science and mathematics, so this limitation is not a debilitating one and this article can still be used to further the overall point of the final paper.

Three Dimensional Platforms for Cell Culture

This article, titled “A Versatile Synthetic Extracellular Matrix Mimic via Thiol-Norbornene Photopolymerization,” is about the basic structure and chemistry typical of a hydrogel system, similar to the system I will be using, and about why hydrogels are important. It also explains that because hydrogels can emulate the environment a cell experiences when inside the body, hydrogels can be used as a three dimensional platform for cell culture and for the studying of cells. Additionally, this hydrogel platform functions as a cell scaffold that the researchers explain could be used for transplanting cells. The researchers explain, “thiol-norbornene polyermizes via photoinitiation to form a matrix in which cells can be encapsulated within” [1]. Due to the “pore” size of the matrix, or the gaps in between the network, proteins and other small molecules necessary for cell viability can be swelled within the gel. This thiol-norbornene system is a good start for hydrogels, but the researchers explain potential problems of photopolyermization. Photopolymerization can create harmful radicals that can damage cells so a hydrogel system that doesn’t need photopolyermization would be more ideal. This article also demonstrates the dynamic capabilities of the matrix to change its density to those more similar to living tissue. This hydrogel system was used to keep stem cells that are pretty strong and durable alive. I am using this article because it was the first article I read when I entered my lab and it provided me with information about the basis of the research I was about to engage in. I currently use a different hydrogel polymer system that can have more delicate cells encapsulated within it and survive, but providing the background of why hydrogels are even created, for culturing cells, studying development of cells, and potentially transplanting cells, is important to convince the UROP grant committee that my research is beneficial and important.

[1]         B. D. Fairbanks, M. P. Schwartz, A. E. Halevi, C. R. Nuttelman, C. N. Bowman, K. S. Anseth, Adv. Mater. 2009, 21, 5005–5010.

Improving One Nano at a Time

Reference: Ganesh, V Kartik. “Nanotechnology in Civil Engineering.” Nanotechnology in Civil Engineering. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2013.

The research paper, Nanotechnology in Civil Engineering, just as the title implies, touches down on nanotechnology, which Ganesh defines as “the understanding and manipulation of matter on the nanoscale”, and how it is used/or will be used in Civil engineering. [He] goes on to explain that nanotechnology, very much like construction, has undergone and will continue to undergo great changes over the course of history despite either of [them] not being anywhere close to a new science or technology (Ganesh, V Kartik).

This paper goes into great depths to introduce what exactly nanotechnology is in the field of civil engineering and, for a beginner with no knowledge about nanotechnology, is very informative. The paper goes into great detail, beyond background information and what [it] is, about the various methods and uses of the technology in construction today. Some such methods would be concrete strengthening and healing, increased corrosion resistance in steel, the addition of fire-protection to glass, and material/structure performance monitoring nanosensors among many other uses (Ganesh, V Kartik).

Last but not least, just like mostly everything in this world, the paper highlights many different advantages and disadvantages of using nanotechnology in construction and civil engineering.

This source will prove to be very useful when it comes to writing my paper on civil engineering related nanotechnology due to its extensiveness on the subject and my desire to give a complete overview on nanotechnology’s development and usage in the world of civil engineering today.

Highly Beneficial

Recruiting high quality candidates into the military is not always an easy thing. During war time, these people almost fall on the laps of recruiters making their jobs a walk in the park. People liked the idea of being able to go to war. During peace time though, the civilian market is much more desirable to the potential recruit leading to a difficult time for recruiters.

One way that our government has tried to fix this problem in the past is through better education benefits. College is often expensive, and entering into a lucrative career in the civilian world can be impossible without a college degree. This is where the military has tried to step in in the past. The National Defense Research Initiative describes some of these plans in its publication Attracting College-Bound Youth Into the Military: Toward the Development of New Recruiting Policy Options.

For the purposes of my project, I will focus only on chapter 5 of the publication, “Designing Policy Options to Attract College-Bound Youth: Issues and Examples.” The NDRI begins by detailing a number of challenges that recruiters currently face including an increasingly competitive civilian job market for college graduates, a decline in interest in the military, and a relatively small return from military college-benefit programs. The biggest issue the military faces is in redesigning these programs so that the military is on par with the civilian world in terms of allure. One option the NDRI deems possible is not only the expansion of existing educational programs, but the adoption of entirely new programs.

The Montgomery GI Bill is one such educational program currently in use. While it gives incentives for people to enlist, it fails to raise the educational benefit for the military. In other words, it gets people to enlist, but it doesn’t help to keep those that it educates in the military leaving a lack of higher educated individuals among the military’s ranks. A new program the NDRI suggests will “Offer[] educational benefits concurrently with service prior to enlistment [and] would have the potential to have this [productivity gain] return to the military” (35). The publication then goes on to describe the many different methods they could use to entice recruits. The basic guideline they use consists of paying for recruits to receive an education in return for military service.

The basic idea that the NDRI is suggesting is that those who are on the fence about joining the military need greater incentive to join the military. Higher education benefits seem to be the focus of many potential recruits and this is an area where the government should increase funding.

One limitation my source has is when it was published. It was originally published in 1999 when our nation’s attitude towards the military was likely different than it is now. It had been about 8 years since our last major conflict. Even then, Operation Desert Storm was not even a year long. I would like to focus more on recruiting directly after a long drawn out and controversial war like what we have seen recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would like to find evidence from a source published sometime after the Vietnam war reflecting the political climate of that era.

Overall, I feel that Attracting College-Bound Youth Into the Military: Toward the Development of New Recruiting Policy Options will be a useful source and lead me in the direction that other sources will as well.

uncle sam

The Views of the Depressed

Work Cited: Nieuwsma, J. A., & Pepper, C. M. (2010). How etiological explanations for depression impact perceptions of stigma, treatment effectiveness, and controllability of depression. Journal Of Mental Health, 19(1), 52-61. 

This study explored how the biological explanations for causation of depression “influences perceptions of stigma, perceived controllability of depression and perceived effectiveness of depression treatments”. (52)

The participants for the study were college students in an introductory psychology course who “were screened using The Depression History Screen and the BDI-II”. From the results of the screening test, two groups were created: Those who have been depressed in the past (n:36) and those who have not (n:33). These two groups went on to participate in interviews and further questionnaires in order to produce statistical data results. (55)

Relevant results of the study showed that “participants who reported having suffered from depression…believed that persons with depression are perceived as [] dangerous”. (58) Another interesting result of the study reported that the depressed participants believed that self-initiated treatments were more effective than psychotherapy or medical intervention. (59)

‘Stronger’ participants in this study, such as diagnosed clinically depressed participants rather than reportedly depressed participants may have created stronger results; but the reoccurring problem in our society today is that most unstable or dangerous people are the ones that are undiagnosed which brings relevancy to this source.

Quality Communication

Communication (both written and verbal) is vital to any business or industry, but it is especially important when in science and engineering fields.  Errors in communication in a lab or industrial setting can be catastrophic from both monetary and human safety perspectives, so it is absolutely necessary that miscommunication between employees is minimized

Ideally, my future career path will lead me to a management position, so to try and find out what sort of communication is necessary for leaders at scientific companies I decided to talk to a longtime family friend, Doreen McHugh.  Doreen oversees quality control operations at Lab Corp, which runs a variety of biological testing, and she is responsible for ensuring that tests are run correctly and that her employees are properly reporting accurate results.  Although she works with biological field rather than the energy field (which is what I want to go into), many of her tasks are similar to what I would like to do someday.  She ensures that everything within her company is running smoothly and is meeting certain standards, which is something that I would like to do someday.

I started off our conversation by telling her of my desire to work my way up to a managerial position within my chosen field and she had some great advice for me.  She said that she had been promoted to her position not only because of her extensive knowledge of all of the various aspects of the lab testing, but also because her assertiveness and confidence in that knowledge.  She knows enough about the lab testing to realize when someone is doing something wrong and is firm in her reinforcement of the testing procedures, which makes her an ideal supervisor of quality control.

As the head of quality control for her lab, Doreen must interact on a daily basis both with upper management and technical level employees.   When I asked her about her biggest challenges with communication, she said that the most common trial was determining which mode of communication is best suited to what she’s trying to accomplish.  If she has concerns about an employee’s lab results, an email inquiry or a quick in person conversation is usually sufficient to resolve or to get a retest of the unexpected results. However, if something is determined to be fundamentally wrong with a certain procedure, or is an employee is not engaging in best practices with his or her work, then a formal written document must be composed and submitted to upper management in order to notify the appropriate people that the problem is occurring.

Speaking with Doreen about the various aspects of her job and the necessity of proper communication in order for her company to function was very enlightening for me.  It gave me some insight on the sort of attitude that is required to be given power within a company, and it also helped me to realize the importance of communication between all facets of a laboratory operation.