5 eye-opening documentaries

by Lindsay M, School of Public Health

First and foremost, I think it’s only appropriate to thank my ex-boyfriend for not changing his Netflix password. If it weren’t for his generosity forgetfulness, I would not have had the incredible opportunity to watch so many documentaries “for free” over the past few years.

Image used under Creative Commons courtesy of flowercat/flickr.com

Image used under Creative Commons courtesy of flowercat/flickr.com

The thing that I love about documentaries is that they show it “how it really is”—or at least how it is for a particular person or group of people. Documentaries can be extreme, are often one-sided, and tend to leave you with a powerful urge to go and change something, or at the very least post about it on Facebook. And some documentaries are just down-right fascinating.

1. Crips and Bloods: Made in America This documentary brings to light many of the factors that contributed to the evolution of two of the most notorious gangs in America–the Crips and the Bloods. Through insightful commentaries by scholars and historians, and fascinating interviews with current and former gang members, this documentary reveals a story of gang violence that doesn’t often get told.

2. (A)sexual. It has been estimated that about 1% of people consider themselves asexual, or not sexually attracted to people. (A)sexual chronicles one “asexy” man and his experiences being asexual and finding his place in a seemingly sex-obsessed culture. Continue reading


TED Talk by Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life

By Lauren Baker, PULSE

“When game designer Jane McGonigal found herself bedridden and suicidal following a severe concussion, she had a fascinating idea for how to get better. She dove into the scientific research and created the healing game, SuperBetter. In this moving talk, McGonigal explains how a game can boost resilience — and promises to add 7.5 minutes to your life.”

Unique Ways to Boost Your Mood…

By Emma Reaves, PULSE

Try adding some VITAMIN D*there are shocking amounts of this delectable vitamin in sardines. (So much so that your happy mood will overshadow that fact that you’re eating sardines… 😉

Meditate. Take four minutes out of your day to lie down, clear your head and just  b r e a t h e. Continue reading

7 ways to kill 2 birds with 1 stone

by Lindsay, School of Public Health

Disclaimer: If you read the blog’s title and were hoping to read about strategies for killing birds, you will be disappointed. But if you are looking for some creative ways to multitask and make more of your time, then I’ve got some ideas for you!

Image adapted from Microsoft Image Galleries

Image adapted from Microsoft Image Galleries

1. Call your mom (or other family member to which you are obligated to call every now and then) while boiling water or heating up your dinner. For me, the average time it takes for water to boil (5-10 minutes) is conveniently the perfect length of time to talk to my mother. But it gets better. You have a great–and honest–excuse to cut the call short: sorry, mom, the water’s boiling, gotta put in the pasta!

2. Learn a second language while you walk, run, bike, or “elipt” at the gym. I always get super bored while doing cardio. I’ll be listening to music, reading a magazine, occasionally watching tv, texting, and it still won’t be enough to distract me from the fact that my legs hurt. But when you are focusing all your brain power on learning a new language, it’s really easy to forget you are working out, not to mention knowing a second language is a very marketable skill. There are plenty of free language Podcasts and other engaging lectures on iTunes, so check them out!

Continue reading

Looking at pictures of puppies can improve task performance?


Image courtesy of Microsoft Image Gallery

That’s what a recent study seems to suggest! Study participants who viewed “cute” images—specifically puppies and kittens—before  completing a certain task performed better on that task than those who viewed “not-as-cute” images of dogs and cats. This improvement was found for both a motor dexterity and a visual search task! Why does this happen? Researchers believe that perceiving cuteness instinctually causes people to be more tender in their movements as well as more perceptually careful, thus enhancing their performance or concentration on the task-at-hand!

So before you take a test or go for a drive, it might not hurt to view one of those kitten videos you just can’t get enough of…

What’s your favorite “cute” picture or video? Leave a comment with a link!