Some scientists are sounding the alarm about the wastefulness of using helium -- a rare, non-renewable gas -- to fill party balloons. Why? As an essential resource in technologies such as medical imaging, rocket engines, and surveillance devices, it turns out that helium does a lot more than give our balloons a lift. And despite being the second most abundant element in the universe, most of our supply in the Earth’s atmosphere simply floats off into space and is lost.
Chalk it up to one of the many contradictions of modern life in developed nations: we cajole our kids into eating all the food on their plates "because children in poorer countries are starving" at the same time as we face a growing obesity epidemic worldwide. Is there really not enough food on the planet, or are we just wasting the food we have? Bryan McDonald, a Penn State assistant professor of history and author of the book Food Security, offers his perspective.
Can being overweight really be so bad? According to Gordon Jensen, head of Penn State’s Department of Nutritional Sciences, the answer may be "no" -- at least for those of us who are lucky enough to live to the grand old age of 75 and beyond.
You're the type of person who stands back in a crowd, taking it all in. When out with a group of friends, you linger on the edges, contributing to the conversation only when you feel you have something worthwhile to share. You avoid being the center of attention.
For some reason, though, you're drawn to the stage. You don't want to be a star; you want to act. But can a shy person succeed as an actor? Susan Russell, Penn State assistant professor of theatre, shares her perspectives.
In the wake of every school shooting, the nation struggles to make sense of senselessness, asking how and why such tragic violence could occur in places tasked with nurturing and protecting our children. Is it possible to reduce the risk of deadly violence in our schools?
Experts say it takes an estimated 13 trillion watts of energy to power our economies, and by 2050 expect that number to increase to 30 terawatts of power. Jeffrey Brownson, assistant professor of energy and mineral engineering at Penn State, notes that less than one-tenth of one percent of today’s electricity comes from solar photovoltaics. But the path to 30 terawatts, he adds, almost certainly goes through the Sun. Brownson, an expert in photovoltaics and sustainability, is one of a number of Penn State researchers pursuing solar-powered technologies.
By June 2012, Arctic sea ice had already melted to its lowest extent for the month since satellite record keeping began in 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. How does this affect our weather in the short term and climate in the long term? In several ways, says Andrew Carleton, a Penn State professor of physical geography who specializes in studying sea ice and climate change.
Remember backyard games of Red Rover, Mother May I, and Red Light Green Light? How about playing Monopoly or Chutes and Ladders? Games like these figure into the pleasant childhood memories of many, but can games serve a larger purpose? Are games more than “child’s play”?
The Johnson & Johnson company made news recently with the announcement that it plans to remove "a host of potentially harmful chemicals" from its U.S. product line by the end of 2015, becoming the first major manufacturer of consumer products to make a commitment of this kind to the public. It's likely that many consumers were not even aware that "ingredients of concern" were in personal care products to begin with. What are these chemicals and are they safe for use in cosmetics?
Everyone who can speak can learn to use a singing voice, says Joanne Rutkowski, professor of music education. The quality of the voice is dependent on many factors; however, barring a physical vocal disability, everyone can learn to sing.
Most people misunderstand what corporate culture is and how to change it if it's not working well, said William Rothwell, professor of workforce education and development at Penn State. The culture of an organization is not just something that can be announced with a slogan, but rather the end result of actions taken, he explains. To change corporate culture, then, requires giving an organization a new experience.
Most people misunderstand what corporate culture is and how to change it if it's not working well, says William Rothwell, professor of workforce education and development at Penn State. The culture of an organization is not just something that can be announced with a slogan, but rather the end result of actions taken, he explains. To change corporate culture, then, requires giving an organization a new experience.
Ancient wisdom tells us to stop and smell the roses and to live for the moment. Given our busy lives, it's no surprise that this advice is often easier said than done. Many of us multitask not only our physical chores, but our mental ones as well. But being mindful--which simply means bringing your attention to what's happening in the present moment--can have a profound, positive impact on interpersonal relationships, says Douglas Coatsworth, associate professor of human development and family studies.
It's a river of wind, usually about 200 miles wide and about two miles deep, that flows about five to seven miles above the earth's surface, says climatologist Paul Knight. What most people don't realize is that the jet stream is the major player in how our weather changes.
The number of first-generation immigrants in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1970. According to Suresh Canagarajah, this suggests that more Americans than ever speak multiple languages, and that "as diverse communities take over English and use it according to their values, English itself is also getting diversified.