Suns Out Guns Out: Carbohydrates Myth Buster

People often say that any type of bread, pasta, or any carbs for that matter, will add fat to your body. This is an untrue statement or myth, I would rather say. People should not fear carbs! They do not add fat to your body!

Chemical compound for carbohydrates

The Science Behind Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates break down into glucose, or sugar, which the body uses for energy. The body doesn’t store carbs well, so they are used first when the body is looking for a source of energy. So, carbs themselves don’t equal fat and weight gain. However, continuous consumption of carbs that aren’t being burned off will lead to excess sugars in the body that then are stored as fat, which leads to weight gain. 

How to Burn off Carbs: Don’t worry, you can make these extra sugars go away either by doing simple exercises or by reducing your overall carb intake, so that your body will will take the stored sugar and use it to make energy.

The key is balance.  Carbs are not evil!  If eaten in moderation and paired with light exercise, carbs will not be stored as fat in your body, and will serve to energize you as you go about your day!

Suns Out Guns Out: Intro to Weightlifting

The master, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Weightlifting or Bodybuilding is a term most people have heard of.  Weightlifters obviously lift weights to achieve a goal such as toned muscle or strength. Some people go light in workouts and others like to go heavy, depending on their goals.

Weightlifters like to balance their workouts.  For example, a weightlifter will work on his arms one day, his legs the next day, his back the day after that, and so on.  Weightlifters need rest days so the fibers in their muscles can regenerate and grow back healthier and bigger. Weightlifters also need a balanced diet. For example, if a weightlifter is doing intense workouts every day of the week, on different muscle groups, then he needs to consume a lot of calories and nutrients since his body is using all of them just to heal and gain muscle mass.

The average man consumes 2500 calories per day and the average woman needs to consume 2000 calories per day, unless he or she is trying to lose weight. Eating is the biggest part of the equation when it comes to weightlifting and bodybuilding. Also, when picking up or lifting heavy weights, a weightlifter needs proper form or she’s putting herself at risk for an injury. Weightlifters can suffer broken bones, torn muscles, strains, and cramps due to either overworking the muscle or having bad form. Some weightlifters often take substances such as steroids, growth hormones, and synthol, all which are illegal, unless taken with a prescription from a doctor.  These substances will cause an individual to grow a lot of muscle mass, but also may affect other body functions and organs in dangerous ways. These substances can cause heart failure, acne, difficulty sleeping, easy bruising, high blood pressure, increased appetite, increased growth in hair, and much more.

Many weightlifters rely on protein and vitamin supplements to aid their training. 

Weightlifters should only be taking the nutrients that suit their bodies. If a weightlifter isn’t getting enough protein in his or her body, then she can resort to protein powder or protein shakes. Protein powder is a supplement which you put in milk since it mainly comes in vanilla and chocolate flavors and you stir it well then you drink up. Some powders can be up to 60 grams of protein which technically a full meal, but other most powders are only 20 grams of protein per serving. Protein powder is mostly for helping regenerate muscle fibers and it can also be used for daily consumption in case you need extra protein intake. Protein shakes are drinks with protein already are basically ‘ready to go meals.’

Protein powder mainly contains protein but protein shakes can also contain vitamins and minerals. People always ask how they get that protein into the powder but it’s a simple answer: they use plant- based extract or water-soluble milk. Bodybuilders and weightlifters also take pre-workout supplements which help give them a boost in their workouts. Don’t forget that when trying to build muscle mass, it’s not about instant results– it takes a little while to show results– usually about maybe a year or so of consistent effort, and a clean, protein-packed diet will help speed up the results.  Usually bodybuilders and weightlifters might have bulging veins all throughout their arms and legs and maybe their chests too that’s due to a low percentage of body fat.

Low percentage of body fat and bulging veins

Some people are able to get their body fat down to as low as one percent, which means every muscle they have and their exact shapes and layout can be seen through their skin. Although one percent of body fat is hard to accomplish it is also very hard to maintain and can also be unhealthy, so it’s not necessarily a goal to work toward, except for competitions.

In a Situation That’s Stressing You Out?

Have you ever been in a stressful and anxiety- inducing situation? If the answer is ‘yes,’ you know what it’s like to have the sweats, the feeling that your heart almost beating out of your chest, and more. Some individuals cope by taking a prescribed medication such as valium, or use breathing techniques, but most times, people don’t know how to take control of their emotions and calm themselves down.

However, if you’re reading this, you’re in luck! In recent years, scientists at the University of Michigan have conducted research and made a remarkable discovery. What was found was that if a person talked to themselves in third person, their heart rates significantly lowered.

Recently a Youtube show, “Good Mythical Morning,” decided to test this theory out. The video showed one of the hosts, Link, as his head was put in a box with anxiety- inducing materials, while Rhett, the other host, tracked Link’s heart rate. One anxiety-provoking ‘material’  was a Boa Constrictor snake.  Link’s heart rate jumped higher than 140, but when Link started talking to himself, it dropped dramatically to the 90s. The two were shocked with the results, as were the viewers.

Other situations included dirty tissues being put in the box with him. Again, the third person talking worked and dropped his heart rate dramatically. This trick might not work for everyone, but it sure worked for Link. Try it out, see if it works, and if it does, you now have a coping skill to use the next time you find yourself in a stressful situation.

Rings of Saturn: The Best Deathcore Band

The members of Rings of Saturn

Rings of Saturn is a Deathcore band that formed in 2009 and didn’t gain too much popularity until the 2010 album, “Ultu Ulla.”  I enjoy Rings of Saturn, but in most Deathcore or Heavy Metal, I don’t like it when electronic music is added. I like straight forward drums, guitar, and vocals. But this band has managed to combine the two and make it sound great. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite bands and I highly recommend giving them a listen. 

Ultu Ullu album cover

Bald Eales Return to Long Island

A bald eagle (not on Long Island)

For a long time, bald eagles were a rare sight on Long Island. But recently, more and more of these majestic birds have been showing up here, mirroring an increased eagle populations all over the country.

Bald Eagles used to be common all over the country, but by the 1950s there were only 412 nesting pairs left in the lower 48 states. This was due to the pesticide DDT, which caused eagle’s eggs to become extremely brittle and make them break easily, making it almost impossible for eagles to reproduce. DDT was banned in 1972, which has led to a massive recovery of the bald eagle population. Now there are well over 10,000 nesting pairs of bald eagles in America’s lower 48!

In 1972, there was only one nesting pair of bald eagles left in NY state. In 1975, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation introduced nearly 200 bald eagles from Alaska and other states to New York, but all of these either nested upstate or left New York entirely.It was only in the last decade or so that bald eagles began to nest on Long Island again.

During last year’s breeding season, there were several bald eagle nests on Long Island, including on Gardiner’s Island, in Shirley, Centerport, and Hempstead Lake State Park. There was even one in Great Neck!

Next time you’re outside and find yourself near a river or lake, keep an eye out for an eagle, because you might just see one!

Honoring Third Generation Gaming

Nintendo Entertainment System

8-bit is a measure of computer information during the 1980s generally used to refer to hardware and software in an era where computers were only able to store and process a maximum of 8 bits per data block. This limitation was mainly due to the existing processor technology at the time, which with which software had to conform. This resulted in blocky graphics and slow compute times.

At present, when 8-bit is mentioned, it is generally associated with slow computers, low-resolution graphics, and simplistic sound.  I’m pretty sure most people who grew up in the 80s and 90s have heard of 8-bit video game which include classics like Mega Man, Super Mario Bros 3, Popeye, Pacman, Sonic, Ms. Pacman, Pokemon. The 8-bit gaming universe is my personal favorite because it is filled with fun puzzles and real challenges.

Mario from Super Mario Bros

People are way too spoiled with the games they have today and they forget about the old days of 8-bit gaming. But if it wasn’t for 8-bit, we wouldn’t have these realistic games today.  Everyone remembers the old 8-bit Mario tune- who hasn’t heard it? A lot of these games have been played on an old gaming system called the Nintendo Entertainment System and when you hear the name, “Sega,” – that’s old!  The Nintendo Entertainment System is pretty much one of the basic gaming system for 8-bit games back then.

Link from the Legend of Zelda

Today, it’s called a ‘third generation console.’ Even if it did just have a joystick, it was still entertaining with all the puzzles and activities in the games. I say we should still remember the old video games that kept us entertained as children and might still keep us entertained as adults.

American Lunches VS Other Countries’

All around the world, most kids attend school from ages 5 to 18. There are different schools with different protocols, syllabi, philosophies, and, of course, different cafeteria lunch food. Cafeteria lunch food is usually made up of some kind of vegetable and protein with a fruit or yogurt on the side.  As obesity levels are climbing in America, school lunches have been including healthier options. Lunches all around the world are different and often given choices rather than the same meal every day. In Brazil, school lunch is made up of pork, mixed vegetables, beans, bread, salad, and baked plantains.

Typical Brazil school lunch

Other places like Thailand have lunches made up of sauteed chicken over rice. In America, there are different options such as grilled cheese, pasta, and pizza, paired with fruit or vegetables and a side of milk. School lunches are generally small, or so they say in America. Many students report that they’re still hungry after lunch. However, even with healthier school lunches, in America, the obesity levels are still climbing because of chips and other snacks. In America school cafeterias and vending machines sell a variety of chips, juice, cookies, and ice cream.

Typical American school lunch

Many schools have tried making up for it by replacing juice with water in vending machines. The difference between American school lunches and other countries differ from nutrition and quantity, but America is trying to make school lunches healthier and more filling as children grow and obesity levels drop.

Cutest Stationmaster Of All Time

Tama the cat, wearing her stationmaster outfit.

In Japan in 2004, an electric railway station named Kishi Station was on the brink of dying out. But when a stray calico cat showed up by the station, it soon became adopted as a ‘mascot’ for the railway station because of how often she showed up there. Thanks to her status as a ‘stationmaster’, the railway station avoided being shut down because citizens and fans of the new mascot demanded to keep it open. Tama’s presence caused an increase of 17% in passenger attendance, and added 1.1 billion yen ($10,260,285) to the local economy.

Even though she is just a ordinary cat, Tama has had a lot of merchandise created in her name and image. Many fans buy plushies of her, and she was featured on Animal Planet in an episode of, “Must Love Cats.”  As her popularity grew, so did citizens’ respect and admiration for her.

Upon her death in 2015, she was elevated to a ‘Shinto Goddess’, and thousands of people attended her funeral. Not to worry though, next in line for the stationmaster status is Tama’s apprentice cat, Nitama.

Unfair Punishment for Disciplined Student In Anti-Bullying Video

A junior at Lebanon High School felt that she should make an anti-bullying video after her classmate committed suicide as a result of bullying. Emily Gipson, the creator of this video, posted it to YouTube and it went viral. The video was recorded in a classroom at the high school after school hours. Because she was not authorized to use this classroom after school hours and didn’t have permission, Gipson got into trouble. It was not the video’s content itself that got her into trouble. 

The content of this video was asking for people to be respectful of each other. In the video, Gipson says, “Welcome to Lebanon High School, where you come to be

Emily Gipson speaking in the aforementioned video in an attempt to help bullying victims and promote positivity.

analyzed from head-to-toe every day by people you don’t even know.”

Gipson had said in response to News 4, a local Lebanon news station, “I’ve seen problems with bullying, problem with bullying not being dealt with, and I feel like some things are just put aside.” Gipson also had said that the video is for anyone who feels like they are getting bullied and also spoke about how she recognizes that bullying occurs in every school. “Anywhere I can make a difference I’d love to,” said Gipson.

Gipson has indeed made a difference in people’s lives with this video – she says she’s received numerous messages from people who watched her video, and that these were all extremely supportive messages. One girl even said the video saved her life.

The punishment Gipson received for recording this video in a classroom at school was two days of in-school suspension.

I understand that the school had to take some sort of action as Gipson did not receive consent to use the classroom and anything that is filmed on campus can be interpreted as school district endorsement, which is why students’ need to get approval first.  And, most likely, the school district did not disagree with what Gipson’s message was at all.  However, I still do not feel that this punishment was fair. Although Gipson should have asked to use this classroom first, I feel like her video was such a good deed that she should have been given a lesser punishment and actually given some praise for what she did!

I think that they should have done a one period or week’s detention, but not in-school suspension. Gipson deserved to see the video her effects have had in her school and how good her deed was. At the same time, however, she does need a little bit of a gentle reminder that she cannot film videos in classrooms without permission. Therefore, I think detention is a better idea than two days of in-school suspension. The school administrators should also talk to her, and perhaps the entire school, about why students cannot film videos in classrooms.

The idea behind the video was to help her peers and teens in general think of themselves in an increasingly positive matter. Because she wasn’t screaming into the void like thousands of other anti-bullying videos and notably saved lives, I feel that they should have recognized her good deed in some way.  

As a student who has been bullied a lot in the past, I know that I would’ve heavily benefitted from a teen my age making this video. It’s people who witness bullying and other forms of hate but don’t do anything who seem, to me at least, the most harmful – these are the bystanders who could have helped, but did not. And when a bystander steps forward and stands up to a bully, through any means possible and in an effective way, it really makes a difference. This video made a huge difference in people’s lives and I feel that that matters more than whether or not Gipson had gotten prior consent to use a school classroom as a backdrop to her powerful and positive message.

Why Your Cat Should Be Kept Inside

Cats are America’s second most popular pet, behind only fish. There are estimated to be over 85 million pet cats in America, compared to only 78 million dogs. But, there are also an estimated 58 million feral cats in the United States.

A feral cat colony in Great Neck, with a few shelters visible and many more behind that tarp in the background.

These feral cats, as well as millions of pet cats that people let outdoors, have an enormous impact on the environment. Scientists estimate that cats kill 1.3–4.0 billion birds and 6.3–22.3 billion mammals every year in America alone! Most of the birds killed by cats are species native to America, and in suburban and rural areas, most of the mammals killed are also native.

The threat cats pose to animals isn’t limited to America, though. Cats are listed as one of the world’s top 100 worst invasive species, and for good reason: worldwide, cats have contributed to the extinction of 33 (14% of total) bird, mammal, and reptile species in modern times.

A Piping Plover chick, endangered in New York.

The problems caused by cats are made even worse by humans. People provide food and shelter to entire colonies of feral cats, regardless of the consequences for nearby wildlife. For example, at Jones Beach, there is a colony of around 30 feral cats that are fed by people, and they even have shelters people built for them. This colony happens to be very close to an area where Piping Plovers, a bird considered endangered in New York state, nest and raise their young.

Not only would keeping cats indoors save billions of birds and mammals, but it would also be beneficial for cats. Outdoor cats are exposed to dangers such as cars, predators, poison, abuse from people, and diseases. Because of these things, feral cats have an average lifespan of around 2 years, compared to about 15 years for pet cats, with indoor-only cats living on average 2-3 years more than cats that spend a lot of time outdoors.