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vegetarian, vegan, health, healthy living, eating, food, reasons why
3 Reasons to Reduce Your Meat Consumption That Benefit Humans, Not Animals
3 Reasons to Reduce Your Meat Consumption That Benefit Humans, Not Animals 960 517 Emilie

In recent years more and more of the United States population have been adopting vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. However, according to Forbes the U.S. is also the second most eat-meating country in the world. Many who choose “veg” lifestyles do so to fight animal cruelty, or to maintain a healthier diet. In fact, a British study cited by Choose Veg shows that eating vegetarian can reduce your risk of heart disease by over 30%. However, although many people understand why animal-lovers adopt these lifestyles, few realize the impact that a meat-heavy diet has on mankind. Here are three crucial reasons why every human should be embarking on Meatless Mondays.

It Helps the Economy

A recent article from The Atlantic called attention to a study found in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that analyzed the economic effect of various dietary choices. You can read the article in its entirety here, but we will explain the gist. The study demonstrated the vast costs to our country for maintaining so many meat-heavy diets. The reason that meat-heavy diets cost the U.S. so much is three-fold. First, meat-heavy diets have extremely detrimental effects on our environment (explained in the next section), and thus it costs a lot of money to try to counteract these effects on the environment. Secondly, meat-heavy diets are correlated with diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and many other health issues which lead to increased health care costs. Finally, producing energy and protein from animal products vs. plant-based products is far more costly. In fact, the study estimates that it will cost the U.S. $1.6 trillion by 2050 if current meat-heavy diets continue in our country, whereas if everyone switched to more balanced reduced-meat diets, it would save the U.S. $191.7  billion (even more for those who become vegetarian and vegan). Even vaster economic savings would occur worldwide if other countries increased their plant-based eating, but the U.S. would benefit more than others due to its greater-than-average meat consumption. Other studies have also shown side benefits from less meat consumption in the U.S., like reduced costs for corn production.

It Helps the Environment

Ever wonder what meat production does to our environment? The Guardian has a great article that discusses these many impacts. In the U.S. most of our animals are bred simply to be killed and eaten. Having such a vast number of these animals on earth results in increased greenhouse gases and methane. In fact, emissions from meat-centered farming exceeds the amount of emissions resulting from all forms of transportation combined. Such methane and greenhouse gases come from animals farting, their manure, and the destruction of their carcasses (among other factors). Farming animals also uses a great amount of the planet’s oil, and factors such as fertilizer contribute to pollution. You may think that these issues will result from any type of farming (including that of plant production). However, the environmental impact is far greater for animal farming because farmers must produce grain which is fed to the animals, which we then eat. Thus, factors like fertilizer impact the environment for years as the animal is raised, and as grain is produced for the animals. Producing soy protein uses 8% as much fossil fuels and 7% as much water as producing the same amount of protein from animal products.  Meat production leads to increased deforestation (even much of the rainforest has been destroyed for pasture), use of water (that animals drink over their life), air and water pollution (from polluting gasses and animal waste), flooding (from overgrazing), and soil erosion. In fact, eating a vegan diet actually results in a reduction of carbon emissions twice as large as that from driving a Prius.

It Reduces the Extreme Amount of Resources Used by First World Countries

World poverty is always a critical issue to keep in consideration, especially with increased population growth on the planet. Meat production uses far more resources than plant-based food production. Why? Because in order to consume animals, we must first produce plants and grains to feed these animals, which we then eat. In fact, 70% of the grain produced in the United States is used to feed animals, not humans. Additionally, 30% of the world’s land is used for farming animals just for meat consumption. This does not include farmlands for grain or plants. Thus, the way in which we currently eat in most first world countries uses an imbalance of precious resources that far surpasses what we need to use. Another article from The Guardian explains the need to manage our resources better. Due to the massive increase in world population over the years, we have minimum resources that must be used wisely to feed everyone on planet Earth. We cannot simply increase food production to handle population growth, we must be aware of the way we are using the resources that we have, and the truth of the matter is we could feed far more people if we used some of that grain for feeding people directly instead of feeding cattle which are later eaten. You can read this entire article by following this link.

To learn more about how to incorporate vegetarian meals into your diet, check out

"Get Ready to Save the World." N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2016.
Lusk, Jayson L., and Bailey F. Norwood. "Some Economic Benefits and Costs of Vegetarianism." Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 38.2 (2009): 109-24. Web.
podcasts, listen, drive to work, new, the nerdist, limetown, stuff you should know, myths and legends, how stuff works, chris hardwick
What to Listen to on Your Way to Work: Top Podcasts Reviewed
What to Listen to on Your Way to Work: Top Podcasts Reviewed 960 640 Emilie

I have to admit that I’ve never been interested in the idea of podcasts. It always seemed like an odd form of entertainment to me. If I was home, I would watch TV. If I was on a run, I would listen to music. And if I was driving, I would turn on the radio. But recently I had been struggling to motivate myself to go for my regular runs, so my one friend convinced me to try podcasts.

Shockingly enough, I fell in love with them. I now listen to podcasts every time I run: most likely looking like a lunatic to onlookers as I laugh along to each episode. I have learned to love podcasts because they provide a great and fun way to learn something new. Why not learn a little something extra as you go for a run or a ride in the car? Here are some top podcasts that you may want to listen along to during your next drive to work.

Limetown. Limetown is a fictional sci-fi series about the sudden disappearance of 300 people in Limetown, Tennessee, 10 years ago. The series bears resemblance to War of the Worlds, in that the show appears as a radio broadcast, produced by an American Public Radio (APR) reporter named Lia Haddock. The broadcast aims to sound as real as possible, and includes supposed tape recorded interviews, leaked 911 calls, and donation requests from the radio station. The show has great attention to detail in this regard, with lots of background sound effects and recording techniques, causing the listener to become very engaged in the story. The best part about Limetown is that it’s far more addicting than many other podcasts, and the fast paced nature of the story keeps you looking towards the next episode. Early in the series you learn that Limetown was built for vague and suspicious business purposes. Under threats on her life, Haddock seeks to learn more and more about Limetown to uncover survivors and the truth about the disappearance of an entire town. The downside of Limetown is it becomes less intriguing as the series progresses, losing some of the momentum of earlier episodes. However it is definitely a highlight of the various fictional podcasts. Check out the Limetown podcast here.

The Nerdist. The Nerdist is a podcast hosted by Chris Hardwick who has a blog by the same name. Soon after the podcast aired, The Nerdist TV show was also started, which was hosted by Hardwick and his two other frequent podcast co-hosts, Matt Mira and Jonah Ray. The show airs each week, and interviews incredibly interesting people like Tatiana Maslany of BBC’s Orphan Black, Mayim Bialik of The Big Bang Theory, Sir Patrick Stewart and Gary Oldman. Take a look at The Nerdist’s recent podcasts and interviews here. The show talks about essentially everything nerdy: from the most recent superhero movies (like Suicide Squad), to Pokemon Go, to fantasy TV shows like Game of Thrones. Hardwick, Mira, and Ray are all exceptionally funny, and can talk forever about pretty much nothing. The show is great whether you’re looking for your nerdist news, interviews of your famous comedians and actors, or simply some funny back and forth between these amazing hosts. Definitely the funniest podcast on this list, The Nerdist is also great for long car trips with its many lengthy episodes.

Stuff You Should Know. Stuff You Should Know is a podcast that was created by, that talks about every random piece of information that you may want to learn more about. Podcasts include explanations of Chaos Theory, Underground Mining, Gene Editing, and more. The podcast takes these complicated ideas and simplifies them to make them easily understood for all listeners. However, the podcast deals with less scientific ideas as well: such as mermaid lore and even unsolved murders. The best part about this podcast is it provides information about so many things: so that you truly feel like you’re gaining more information about the world around you. Additionally, you do not need to watch episodes in order for them to make sense, so you can pick and choose which topics appear more interesting to you. The podcasts’ hosts- Josh Clark and Charles Bryant- are actually learning about each of these topics before episodes (they are not bringing in experts) which means that they are forced to learn and reteach the information in a way that even non-experts can understand. The only downside is that the episodes can become a little long and rambling, and Clark and Bryant tend to get off topic. However, the podcast is  amusing, and the hosts do their best to understand the various topics. If you are naturally curious and love to learn random and interesting facts and theories, this is definitely the podcast for you. Learn more about Stuff You Should Know here.

Myths and Legends. The title of this podcast summarizes exactly what the show is about. Myths and Legends is a weekly podcast which teaches you the truth behind common myths and legends that you thought you knew. Episodes include information about the Knights of the Round Table, Aladdin, Thor, Hercules, Greek mythology, West African folklore, and much more. Episodes tend to be around 20-40 minutes long, although many of the stories are split between multiple podcasts. This makes it easy to listen to episodes when you have the time, without trying to listen to an hour long podcast in each sitting. The host, Jason Weiser, is clearly genuinely interested in these stories, which makes the listening experience far more rewarding. It also means that he provides small pieces of information about each myth that you wouldn’t have thought about otherwise. Weiser reports each episode in a very laidback, narrative tone, making it all the more entertaining when he makes small jokes throughout the episodes. Myths and Legends is perfect for those looking to learn a little more about the common stories that are still prevalent in the world today. Check out more information about Myths and Legends here.

things to do, new jersey, long beach island, LBI, cape may, Atlantic City, AC, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island
4 Things to Do in Jersey Before You Die
4 Things to Do in Jersey Before You Die 960 639 Emilie

Why let tourists have all of the fun? Sometimes when we live in one place for a long time, we forget about all of the amazing things that our state has to offer. Start treating Jersey like a tourist, and don’t forget to visit these four destinations while you are living in the Garden State.

Cape May

Many know Cape May for its beautiful shorelines, but it’s also a cozy and colorful shore town. You can find a huge number of things to do in Cape May from Visit NJ and Trip Advisor, but we have picked out some of our favorites. Check out local wineries, like Cape May WineryTurdo Vineyards, and Willow Creek Winery. Visit Historic Spring Cold Village, where you can enjoy historic buildings with blacksmiths, pottery, basket weaving, farm animals, and more. You can also visit the Nature Center of Cape May or attend the Cape May Jazz Festival in November. Cape May is the epitome of a quaint beach town. Grab some ice cream, enjoy the shore, and walk down streets lined with Victorian homes: you won’t be sorry.

Cape May, New Jersey, Houses, Street, Town, Outside

Atlantic City

Although AC may seem like Las Vegas’s ignored younger sibling, it would be a shame to live in Jersey and never head over to the casinos, enormous boardwalk, and entertainment that Atlantic City has to offer. AC has some amazing concerts approaching, such as Lady Antebellum on 8/14, The Zac Brown Band on 9/1, and Blink 182 on 9/5. AC is also home to The Miss America Pageant in September, as well as many comedy shows from your famous comedians. In fact, the city hosts its own Comedy Festival in October. Check out all of AC’s upcoming events here. Apart from all of the city’s amazing events, you can always visit the AC Ballet, Aquarium, Symphony, Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum, spas, shopping, and much, much more. Learn about everything Atlantic City has to offer at their website here.

Atlantic, City, Ocean, Beach, Hotel, Casino, Vacation

Long Beach Island

LBI is another shore town that Jersey is famous for, and it only takes one visit to understand why. LBI is the perfect essence of beach paradise- surrounded by tons of shore towns and a long, beautiful beach. The island also has tons of vacation homes that you can rent for the week or weekend, giving you your own private space while you visit. In LBI you can find spas, golf courses, sailing, and much more. To learn even more about how to spend your vacation in LBI, check out

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Every Jersey resident knows that Ellis Island is located in New Jersey, not New York. Take pride of our monument, and take a day trip to climb the statue yourself. Between the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, you’re bound to learn something new. Basic tickets for the statue are $25, but you can head all the way up to the crown for only an additional $3.

Statue Of Liberty, New York, Ny, Nyc, New York City

Long Beach Island photo courtesy of at
happiness, improve, be happier, self kindness, self awareness, tips
5 Easy Life Changes for a Brighter and Happier Self
5 Easy Life Changes for a Brighter and Happier Self 960 640 Emilie

Naturally, human beings are intrigued by the idea of happiness. There seems few things in the world that could be as important as our happiness and the well being of those we love. Luckily, scientists and researchers have been just as preoccupied with the idea of happiness as we are. So we combed through the research to tell you the best habits and tweaks to edit into your life to optimize your sense of well being.

Eat food that satisfies you

A recent study showed that participants’ satisfaction with their food-lives was actually a strong predictor of participants’ happiness. Pause and think about what you ate yesterday. What have you eaten thus far today? How many of those meals and snacks made you happy that you were eating them? Work to plan out your meals and snacks, so that you are enjoying more and more of the food you eat each day, instead of grabbing food at the last minute, simply because you are busy rushing from one thing to the next. Work hard to be excited and happy about what you put into your body. The more satisfied you are with your daily meals and snacks, the more this will be reflected in your well being.

Spend time around other people, even strangers

We all know that human beings need social interaction, even those of us who highly value our alone time. A recent study analyzed various types of shopping methods: from online shopping, to phone shopping (in which you talk to a store attendant as they help you make your purchase), and in-store shopping. It showed that online shopping did not improve participants’ wellbeing, but that both interactive shopping options improved participants’ mood (whether on the phone, or in the store). So if you are feeling down but still want to spend some alone time, keep in mind that even minimal human contact will improve your mood. Try working in a cafe around other people, running to the corner store to pick up some food, browsing for novels at your local bookstore, or calling a friend for a quick phone call.

Spend time around nature and animals: or watch a video

 It’s not a secret that being around animals can improve our mood. Recently, scientists have become more and more aware of the positive effect of animals and nature in our lives. In fact, many hospitals have begun bringing in dogs to spend time with cancer patients, and some universities have even brought dogs to campus to help students de-stress during finals. A recent study has actually shown that even a video of a dog resulted in better wellbeing of participants during a high-stress situation. So the next time you’re stressed but aren’t close to your pooch, try watching a video of a dog, or even some other form of nature. Of course, spending time around animals and adding some plants to your workspace will help as well.

Hop on social media

This may surprise you, since many of us have heard that getting too wrapped up in social media can actually hinder happiness and self esteem. However, a recent study showed that scrolling through your Facebook feed elicits more positive than negative emotions, and can actually improve positivity if the user does not feel envy from various posts. The study demonstrated (as one might suspect) that this positivity is optimal when viewing posts from people you are tied most strongly with, yet do not make you feel envy. Try going through your Facebook newsfeed and “unfollowing” people on your timeline whose posts you do not actively enjoy. By unfollowing someone, you are not un-friending them, you will simply no longer see their posts in your newsfeed. They are not aware that you have unfollowed them, and you can still see all of their posts whenever you want. The only difference is that whenever you scroll through your newsfeed it is sure to put you in the best mood possible.

Practice observation, self-kindness, and common humanity

Ever wonder why so many people go on about the benefits of meditation? Well a recent study actually broke down the different benefits of frequent meditation, and isolated which three components contribute to a sense of well being. They concluded that the three important factors were observation, self kindness, and common humanity. Observation referred to the way in which participants were more aware of sensations and feelings within their body and environment. Self kindness referred to the idea of using positive language and thinking when self reflecting, without being critical or harsh. Common humanity involves taking this self-kindness and applying it to others and the rest of society. Remember that you have flaws, and that’s okay. But it is also important to remember that the same goes for other people. Remember that we are all in the same position, going through the same difficulties and struggles. Try embracing these three qualities (perhaps through journaling, meditation, or introspective thinking) and it will lead you to a healthier and happier sense of well being.

Lin, Ruoyun Lin, and Sonja Utz. "The Emotional Responses of Browsing Facebook: Happiness, Envy, and the Role of Tie Strength." Computers in Human Behavior 52 (2015): 29-38. Web.
Lobos, Germán, Marcos Mora, Maria Del Carmen Lapo, Constanza Caligari, and Berta Schnettler. "Happiness and Health and Food-related Variables: Evidence for Different Age Groups in Chile." Suma Psicológica 22.2 (2015): 120-28. Web.
Finkbeiner, Kristin M., Paul N. Russell, and William S. Helton. "Rest Improves Performance, Nature Improves Happiness: Assessment of Break Periods on the Abbreviated Vigilance Task." Consciousness and Cognition 42 (2016): 277-85. Web.
Campos, Daniel, Ausiàs Cebolla, Soledad Quero, Juana Bretón-López, Cristina Botella, Joaquim Soler, Javier García-Campayo, Marcelo Demarzo, and Rosa Maria Baños. "Meditation and Happiness: Mindfulness and Self-compassion May Mediate the Meditation–happiness Relationship." Personality and Individual Differences 93 (2016): 80-85. Web.
Wang, Xia, and Luqiong Tong. "International Journal of Research in Marketing." Hide the Light or Let It Shine? Examining the Factors Influencing the Effect of Publicizing Donations on Donors’ Happiness 32.4 (2015): 418-24. Web.
ted talk, julian baggini, real you, true self, reinvent yourself
Reinvent and Understand Yourself Better with This Ted Talk
Reinvent and Understand Yourself Better with This Ted Talk 960 640 Emilie

Many of us are very tied to the idea of a soul, or inner essence that makes us what we are. Attached to this are our memories, beliefs, desires and knowledge. We spend time with inner reflection and meditation, so that we can become more in touch with this “true self.” However, in Julian Baggini’s Ted Talk, he challenges this idea: asking “Is there a real you?”

Baggini is a philosopher, author, and editor in chief of Philosopher’s Magazine. You can learn more about him here. Baggini claims that their is no true center of yourself to which these components attach themselves. Instead, he argues that it is these components (your beliefs, knowledge, memories and desires) that are you. He says it is the way in which these factors interact in a unique way that make you you.

This seems like a minor distinction, but it actually has enormous implications. Think about it. You are constantly developing new memories, new knowledge, new beliefs and new desires. Parts of these stay constant, of course. For instance, your past memories stay constant, and many of your desires stay constant. This means that although parts of you will remain the same, much of you changes throughout your life. There is no constant, “true self.” Instead, you are forever changing.

The way Baggini sees it, this knowledge gives you the freedom to become what you want to. You are not wedded to a core essence within yourself that will dictate every one of your beliefs and desires with constancy. Instead, he says that we can “channel the direction of our development.” He says that the true self is “something you in part discover, and in part create.”

Watch Baggini’s Ted Talk below, or check out his and other talks at

netflix, tv, comedy, best, better of ted, dreamland, psych, don't trust the b in apartment 23, krysten ritter
The Best Netflix TV Comedies You Haven’t Watched
The Best Netflix TV Comedies You Haven’t Watched 700 465 Emilie

We all tend to get stuck re-watching the same TV shows over and over. It seems better to re-watch episodes of Parks and Recreation for the 8th time instead of trying some new show that you probably won’t even like. So we’re here to tell you about some of Netflix’s secret gems: the diamonds in the rough that few people have ever seen, but are sure to have you in stitches. Next time you’re relaxing with Netflix and wine, try one of these shows in between your clips of Aziz Ansari.


Dreamland is an Australian based version of your U.S. office comedies like Parks and Rec and The Office. It goes by the name Utopia in Australia, and it has won tons of awards including The Logie Awards Most Outstanding Comedy Program and Best Television Comedy Series from The Australian Film Institute. Celia Pacquola, who plays one of the main characters, also won The Australian Film Institute‘s award for Best Performance in a TV Comedy. The show looks at the workings of a new governmental agency called the “National Building Authority,” highlighting the ridiculous balance between out-of-touch high level executives, constant bureaucratic changes and incompetencies, and employees struggling to maintain sanity while actually completing their job. Dreamland does a better job at realistically and accurately highlighting bureaucratic frustrations than any U.S. office comedy that I have seen (despite my love for Parks and Rec and The Office). The show boasts a huge number of incredibly talented actors, and you will find yourself empathizing with their characters as they struggle with the pains, frustrations, and resigned exhaustion of office work. In fact, the only downside of Dreamland is that it is perhaps too accurate, and you may find yourself getting caught up in the frustrations felt by the show’s characters. Enough positives can’t be said about the talent within this show. It lasts 2 seasons (16 total episodes) all of which are located on Netflix.

Don’t Trust the B*** in Apartment 23

Don’t Trust the B*** in Apartment 23 features the incredibly talented Krysten Ritter, as well as Dreama Walker, and James Van Der Beek (who plays himself, as an actor struggling to regain fame since Dawson’s Creek). Ritter, who now stars in the Netflix original Jessica Jones is actually an impressively skilled comedy actress as well. The show focuses on Ritter’s character, Chloe, who makes money by taking the first and last month’s rent of potential housemates, and then acting as such a poor housemate that roommates leave despite the massive amount of funds they have left with party-girl Chloe. Walker plays an innocent country sweetheart named June, who moves to the city to find success in banking. June is startled upon learning Chloe’s true nature, but soon manages to enjoy living with such a fun and adventurous roommate. The show revolves around Chloe and June’s adventures: the jokes are quick, frequent, and often unexpected due to Chloe’s unpredictable nature and lack of a moral compass. If you’re looking for a comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, with fast paced jokes, frequent laughs, and blunt, odd humor, this is definitely the show for you. The show lasts 2 seasons, with 26 total episodes, all of which can be found on Netflix.

Better Off Ted

Better Off Ted is an offbeat comedy which was aired for 2 seasons (with a total of 26 episodes). It is honestly shocking that the show lasted as long as it did due to the incredibly odd nature of the show. However, if you enjoy such offbeat comedy, this show really hits the nail on the head. It follows the workings of an innovative science company which produces everything from explosive pumpkins to beef without cows to freezing their employees. The easy-going main character, Ted (played by Jay Harrington), is loved by all of his employees, including his secretary Linda (played be Andrea Anders). In fact, Ted and Linda act as love interests throughout the show, but Ted decides not to pursue Linda because he has used up his “one office affair” on his shrewd and callous boss, Veronica (Portia de Rossi). de Rossi plays a phenomenal boss: who pairs an uncaring demeanor with an extreme love and joy for bureaucratic manipulation. The show is absolutely ridiculous and not at all afraid to embrace the weird.

Grace and Frankie

Grace and Frankie is a Netflix original series that stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as their characters struggle with single life, after discovering that their husbands are in love with one another. They find out that their husbands have been hiding their homosexuality, along with their relationship with one another, for 20 years. I cannot say enough about the performances of Fonda and Tomlin in this Netflix series. Fonda plays an uptight socialite, and Tomlin plays a peace-loving, drug-using, vegetarian hippie. The two actresses have a beautiful back and forth- communicating facial expressions and exchanging lines with perfection and ease. Additionally, Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen give spectacular performances as Grace and Frankie’s husbands- Sol and Robert. The most impressive thing about this show is that it would be easy for the writers to maintain it solely as a comedy. However, while the show operates primarily as a comedy, it addresses the difficulties that these couples go through as they leave their life partners of 40 years, learn a new relationship late in life, and struggle to bring the children of two families together. The show is filled with intimate, sincere, and heart wrenching moments. Its astounding how one episode can bring you close to tears, but also have you laughing out loud over and over.


It still shocks me how few people have watched Psych. It bears a lot of similarities to common popular sitcoms, and is 8 seasons long, all of which can be found on Netflix. With quick wit, out of the box jokes, and clever main characters, Psych is the most underrated binge-able comedy on Netflix. The show focuses on main character Shawn Spencer (James Roday), who’s only talent is his hyper-observancy and ability to manipulate nearly anyone. Unable to ever hold down a job of interest, he partners up with his long-time buddy from childhood, Gus Guster (Dule Hill) and convinces the Santa Barbara Police Department that he is a psychic. He proceeds to act as a psychic detective consultant for the SBPD, solving the weirdest cases that one could imagine. Don’t be confused, this is certainly not your usual police detective show. It is first and foremost a comedy, and is incredibly offbeat. The psychic pair proceed to solve cases with fake werewolves, a serial killer who steals ideas from Hitchcock movies, shark attacks that are actually murders, rollerblading robberies, sorority ghost stories, and much more. Give the show a few episodes to hit its groove, and you won’t be sorry. Psych is filled with tons of actors and actresses that can deliver comedy with the perfect mannerisms, and there’s no way you can sit through an episode without laughing.

Main article photo courtesy of Series Mania at

Psych photo taken courtesy of at
Better of Ted photo taken courtesy of at
Don't Trust the B*** in Apartment 23 photo courtesy of at
Dreamland photo courtesy of at

Grace and Frankie photo courtesy of at
night, sky, stargaze, meteor shower, perseid, stars, perseus
Stargaze This Weekend with the Perseid Meteor Showers
Stargaze This Weekend with the Perseid Meteor Showers 960 639 Emilie

It’s not every day that we have the opportunity to watch a stunning meteor shower passing closely to the earth’s surface. But each year as summer comes, so do the Perseid meteor showers. The Perseid showers (which actually already started on July 17th) will be peaking this coming weekend on August 11th and 12th. This is supposed to be one of the most spectacular Perseid showers in years, with experts expecting about 200 meteors per hour (over 3 meteors per minute). It will be an incredible sight to watch, and if you haven’t stargazed before, this is definitely a good time to start.

What are the Perseid Showers?

It’s easy to think that a meteor shower occurs when meteors circulate closely to the Earth. However, the Perseid Shower is actually the exact opposite. The Perseids are meteors which appear to originate from the constellation Perseus (in reality, the meteors are actually far closer than the stars in the Perseus constellation). The meteors are broken off pieces from Comet Swift Tuttle, which leaves these meteors behind as a trail. The meteors trailing Swift Tuttle are influenced by a gravitational field, just as we are. During the time of the Perseid showers, the Earth is pulled into the stream of the Perseids. Thus, the meteors do not come closer to us during this time, we actually move into the stream of the Perseid meteors.

When the meteors enter the Earth’s atmosphere, this causes them to heat up. Thus, we see a burning meteor and have coined the term “shooting star.” This year, Jupiter’s orbit is forcing more of these meteors to enter Earth’s atmosphere. Therefore, more meteors burn and we see more “shooting stars” during the shower.

The Perseid Showers also have meaning to ancient Greek myth. According to Greek mythology, Zeus and a mortal Danae were the parents of Perseus. When Perseus was born, Zeus had to arrive in a shower of gold to win over Danae: and later, the Perseid showers were named after Perseus. Greek legend follows Perseus’s story as him and Danae are banished from the kingdom, and Perseus is later forced to fight Medusa to appease the king.

When and Where Should I Watch?

There are several factors that can make it easier to view the Perseid Showers. Of course, any time one is viewing meteor showers it is best to find a location that is away from unnatural light (like that found in a city or even busy town). You should also find a location where you can see as much of the sky as possible. This is why camping is such a good activity for meteor shower weekends. However, even going to a local park will be an improvement over watching from the middle of a busy town.

Additionally, another complication for viewing the showers is the brightness of the moon. During the Perseid Showers, the moon will luckily be setting before sunrise. The night of the 11th the moon will be in first quarter (and set a little after midnight), and the night of the 12th it will be in the waxing gibbous phase (setting a bit before 1 AM). That means that as long as the showers are active between midnight/1 AM and sunrise, this will be the easiest time to see as many meteors as possible. However, nature is finicky, so you should still keep an eye out the rest of the night, in case the showers aren’t very active during this ideal viewing window.

If you really want to start watching the showers as early as possible, the Perseus constellation appears in the night sky around 10 PM, and 2 hours later at midnight is when the shower becomes more active. Try taking a nap before it gets dark, and then camp outside for the night with some blankets and lawn chairs. If you can’t stay out for the whole night, try to watch for a minimum of 1-2 hours. Any shorter time span will make it difficult to see the showers well, since the meteors will come in waves.

So head outside, grab some snacks and blankets, and enjoy the beautiful night sky!

Davies, Claire. "August 2013 - Perseus and the Perseid Meteor Shower - Sci@StAnd." Sci @St And. The University of Saint Andrews Science Magazine, 01 Aug. 2013. Web. 03 Aug. 2016.
Lewin, Sarah. "Perseid Meteor Shower 2016: When, Where & How to See It." N.p., 1 Aug. 2016. Web. 03 Aug. 2016.
McClure, Bruce, and Deborah Byrd. "Perseid Outburst Expected in 2016 |" EarthSky. N.p., 31 July 2016. Web. 03 Aug. 2016.
sleep, app, white noise, iphone, healthy living, health, meditation, sleep, alarm clock
Go to Sleep Easier and Wake Up More Energized with This App
Go to Sleep Easier and Wake Up More Energized with This App 960 640 Emilie

If you’re anything like me, it’s not always easy to have a deep, restful sleep. So this past week I decided to try out the Alarm Clock Sleep Sounds App. The app claims to use brainwaves and aural entrainment to improve your sleep experience. For nighttime sleep, the app drifts you more easily to a resting state, allowing you to fall asleep more quickly and deeply. For the morning, the app aims to rise you gently, while keeping you energized. I have to admit, although I was originally skeptical, I ended up being quite impressed by the large number of features and personalization settings that the app allows for.


White Noise Soundscapes. If you’ve ever used a free white noise machine app, you know that you have pretty limited options and a lot of the soundscapes do not sound particularly real. The Alarm Clock Sleep Sounds App offers a huge variety of white noise sounds to choose from. Free sound choices include rain, birds, camp fire, thunderstorm, waves, and more. You design your sleep program to be different than your wake program, which means that you can choose to fall asleep to a completely different sound than the one you will wake up to. Additionally, you can actually combine as many of these soundscapes as you would like. So if you want to listen to the rain with birds, that’s a choice you can absolutely make. The sounds are also as natural sounding as one could hope for with a free app.

Customizable Programs. There are three different types of programs you can create: waking, sleeping, and meditation. Every program has a variety of components that you can customize. You can choose your soundscape(s), the type of wave (monoaural or isochronic without headphones), the balance between waves and soundscape, the duration of the program, and the type of program. For instance, for your morning program you may choose a progressive wake-up, or an “energized mind” wake-up program. You can then save each program (as many as you’d like!) for later use. Name each custom program, so that you can choose each night and morning how you want to sleep and rise, depending on your mood.

It actually works. It’s hard to explain what the “brain wave entrainment” sounds and feels like. It is almost like a soft light hum that radiates from your phone. Although many may not believe an iPhone app can meet these “aural entrainment” claims, it genuinely does feel like waves are being produced by your phone. Regardless of the reason why it works, this light hum combined with the quiet white noise soundscapes proved to wake me gently and smoothly. It’s a far nicer way to wake up than a shrieking alarm clock, and my body never sleeps through it.


Freemium Model. The app is not entirely free, and much of the app’s capabilities have to be unlocked for a price. Because of this, there are only two program types you can use for waking up, and only one for falling asleep. Additionally, there is only one free meditation option- which focuses on rest and relaxation. There are a large number of soundscapes available for free, but far more available if you are paying for an additional upgrade. However, the app does have a large number of options and customization for a free app.

Free Meditation Could be Improved. The meditation portion of the app is a really cool additional feature, and I do feel like the waves that the app emits during meditation. That being said, the free meditation options leave something to be desired. The guided meditation is short and the voice used is not optimal. However, you can choose for it to be guided or unguided, which is definitely a positive. And, if you choose unguided, you can set the meditation to last as long as you like, so you don’t have to worry about time getting away from you. The other major downside to the meditation portion is that the soundscapes are better suited for falling asleep or waking up than they are for meditation sessions. However, you can easily choose to only turn on the aural wave function and not the soundscapes.

brain teaser, puzzle, power of the brain, morning, riddle
Start Your Monday with These 3 Brainteasers
Start Your Monday with These 3 Brainteasers 960 678 Emilie

Last week we brought you 3 brainteasers to fight the Monday blues and get your brain moving. No matter how much coffee we have, sometimes it seems impossible to fully wake up at the beginning of a work week. But with these fun brainteasers, we know you’ll be able to tackle your Monday with ease!

Triangles. Here at United EVENTures, we love our geometric puzzles! This triangle puzzle from Brain Athlete challenges you to calculate the total number of triangles located in the image below. How many can you find?

Blood Donors. Now that we’ve tested your geometric analysis, let’s try a logic puzzle! This riddle, from Brain Bashers asks you to determine the position, age, height, blood type and weight of each blood donor. Brain Bashers has all kinds of riddles and puzzles that you can check out whenever you want!

Five patients, all potential blood donors, are waiting in the doctor’s surgery and are sitting on the bench from left to right. Can you determine the position of each patient along with their blood group, age, height and weight? Their ages are 5, 9, 30, 46 and 60. Their heights are 40, 48, 60, 65 and 74. Their weights are 40, 75, 96, 125 and 165.

  • The person on the far right is 37 years older than Jason, and is 60 inches tall.
  • Jason weighs 56 pounds more than his height.
  • Alan weighs 75 pounds and is 74 inches tall.
  • John is type AB and weighs 56 pounds less than Jason.
  • The person in the centre is 9 years old, is blood type AO and weighs 96 pounds.
  • Adam, who is the first, is 65 inches tall, and weighs 100 pounds more than his height.
  • The person who is blood type O, is 25 years older than the person to the left of them.
  • Kevin is 60 years old.
  • The person who is blood type A, is 55 years younger than Kevin and is not next to the person who is type AO.
  • The person who is next to the 9 year old but not next to the person who is 65 inches tall, is blood type B, and weighs 125 pounds.

Number Trouble. We got this number riddle from To find even more of their brainteasers, click here!

Find a number less than 100 that is increased by one-fifth of its value when its digits are reversed.


Triangles. 41 triangles. For a detailed explanation, check out the description at Jeremy Jones.

Blood Donors.

# Name  Type  Age  Height  Weight
1 Adam     A       5          65        165
2 Alan       O      30        74         75
3 Jason   AO      9         40         96
4 Kevin    B       60        48        125
5 John    AB      46        60        40

Number Trouble. 45, because 1/5 of 45 is 9, and 9 plus 45 is 54 (the reverse of 45).

android, explore, app, himalayas, mt. everest, verne, map, google maps
Explore the Himalayas with this New Android App
Explore the Himalayas with this New Android App 1024 576 Emilie

You may have heard about a new Android app by Google called Verne: The Himalayas. The app is using Google’s 3D technology in a new and inspiring way. They used their 3D imagery of the Himalayas to create an interactive 3D map which allows people to explore the Himalayas from their own home.

In order to make this interactive map more fun, they turned it into an app. Within the app, you get to control a 500 foot tall Yeti named Verne. Verne is friends with a yak, and you can use him to run, fly jetpacks, and hang-glide. Although you can do these fun activities with Verne, the app isn’t designed to be a game: instead, it’s created to be an interactive, educational, and exploratory experience. The app will even teach you some new facts about the Himalayas!

Google also has 3D imaging of other impressive and well known locales- like the Grand Canyon. So this may be the beginning of a new kind of exploration: one that allows people to see places they cannot actually travel to. However, the Himalayas is the perfect choice for launching this new idea, since few people will be able to travel to the mountain range in their lifetime. Furthermore, 3D imaging allows us to explore the range in ways that even visitors cannot easily do (like bounding up Mt. Everest in seconds).

Check out Google’s video about Verne: The Himalayas below-

Although not the same as actually traveling somewhere, this app may be the next best thing! Each bump and ridge that Verne explores is actually an accurate representation of the Himalayas. Go check out this new app and learn more about this vast and beautiful world!

Main article photo courtesy of Google Play at