Righties More Likely to Outlive Lefties

Diane Halpern from California State University and Stanley Coren from the University of British Colombia were trying to understand why there were less left-handed people in the elderly population.

“The results are striking in their magnitude” said  Halpern.

By looking at the death certificates of almost 1000 people in the past year, the researchers concluded that right-handed people are more likely to outlive left-handed people.

They found the average age of death to be 75 for right-handed people, but 66 for left-handed people. They also found a six year age gap in women and an eleven year age gap in men.

This raises questions as to how and why these left-handed people are dying sooner than right-handed people. One reason may be car accidents. The study says that left-handed people are four times more likely to die from injuries from car accidents.

“There are many more car and other accidents among left-handers because of their environment” said Halpern.

Claudia Beshears is a freshman from El Paso, Texas. She is currently studying music performance at the University of North Florida, and is one of the few left-handed musicians. She mentions she has trouble driving with her right foot.

“Things I do are a little different, maybe backwards a little. I actually drive with two feet. One foot for gas, and for brakes. A lot of people say it is really dangerous though” she said.

David Fagre is a student from Characas, Venezuela. He is currently in the English Language Program at UNF, and is also left-handed. He doesn’t have any issues driving. However, there were many other issues when it came to writing due to the position and not being able to see what he previously wrote. His writing also smudges as he writes.

Adriana Vargas a freshman business student from Cochamba, Bolivia says, “There are many things that aren’t made for left-handed people like scissors, desks and can openers. It is the little tools that don’t fit to them.”

Other mentions of struggles for left-handed people included the inability to write in binders or notebooks due to the rings, nudging into people while eating, and even pouring something out of a one spout ladle.

Kaitlyn Powell, a freshman criminal justice student from Gainsville, says “We live in a world for right-handed people. Everything is made for right-handed people, so it makes things a lot harder for left-handed people.”

There have been many adaptations for left-handed people that make their day to day life easier. For example, desks for left-handed people can be found in some classrooms. Also, many tools like left-handed scissors and left-handed spiral notebooks can be found.

Claudia Beshears also mentioned that she often gets asked a lot of questions due to her being a left-handed cello player.

“People think it is cool. They ask me a lot about the technical matters and the technique, but it is pretty much the same thing. If anything, I am stronger and more flexible with my left hand” she said.

Talking about the study, Halpern says “it should not, of course, be used to predict the life span of any one individual” She even stresses the fact of there are still many left-handed elderly people.





Safety and Health Abroad

The study abroad program at the University of North Florida sends over 600 students abroad to several different countries including France, Japan, Peru and Egypt to name a few. With recent terrorist attacks and development of the Zika virus, some students may find study abroad to be unsafe, but UNF has taken active steps to keep students safe and healthy. Ruth Lopez talks about what steps students must take before studying abroad, and also talks about things to avoid when in a different country.

Students are required to attend a safety session that goes over health and crime alerts. It gives students tips to stay safe while abroad like practicing the buddy system or staying away from large crowds or political events.

When abroad, students need to know how to be able to reach their emergency contact. Telephone systems are different around the world, so you want to make sure you can be able to call someone in case of an emergency. This includes making sure you can stay in touch with the U.S. Embassy.

The Embassy is who you want to contact during an emergency abroad, but students should also know how to contact local police. Note that 911 is not a universal number to contact police. Several countries have different numbers. For example, in South Korea, France and many other countries you want to dial 112, but in Brazil you want to dial 192.

The safety session also lists a couple of things students should do prior to their trip. For example, students are encouraged to give family members a schedule of what they are planning to do while they are abroad.

Students will also receive a country information packet from the State Department that goes over specific tips on how to stay safe in a particular country. This packet also includes very helpful information about the country’s demographics and political information.

Students are encouraged to enroll their trip with the Department of State through their Smart Traveller Enrollment Program or STEP for short. By enrolling in the STEP program, it will help facilitate communication in case of emergency either in the United States or the country the student is visiting.

Kaitlyn Powell is a freshman from Gainsville studying Criminal Justice at the University of North Florida. She hopes to study abroad next semester in England, and is currently in the process of finding a program.

“My mom is worried because of the terrorism, but she just wants me to be safe. I honestly don’t care. I’ve been wanting to go, and I will go no matter what.” Kaitlyn said.

She also mentions that since she is in the beginning process of picking a program she hasn’t really talked about health or safety regulations, but she is aware of the information on the website.

Ruth Lopez, who is the director of the International Center at the University of Florida, speaks about how the university chooses to continue or discontinue a program abroad. 

The UNF Travel Clinic also helps identify what kind of diseases students will be exposed to at the country they are traveling abroad to. Once they identify these diseases, the clinic will help provide immunizations like pills or vaccines to help prevent students from catching these diseases.Students are recommended to meet with the Travel Clinic six weeks before leaving the country.

The country-specific information packet also provides valuable information diseases found in that country. Some of the information includes how one can get the disease and steps students should take to prevent getting sick.

“Your body adapts to where you are at. Once you are there for a while, your body learns.” said Shane Biery, a public relations student at UNF.

For more information about health and safety while participating in a study abroad program, visit the International Center’s website through the following link: https://www.unf.edu/intlctr/Health_and_Safety.aspx.

On this site, you can find several of the country specific packets with valuable safety and health information. It also provides several links to several sites giving students more information on how to stay safe.

Eco Adventures at the University of North Florida

Spring Break is next week for students at the University of North Florida. Students can finally take a break from class, and start visiting the beach rather than the library. Many students choose to go home or travel to a different city, but some students do stay on campus during the break.

Due to it being Spring Break, a lot of the facilities at the University of North Florida are closed like the Game Room and Field House. So, what can these students do for fun? Some fun options include camping and hiking the nature trails.

Katie Nickelson goes over the process of checking-out gear and answers some questions you may have about renting equipment. Some equipment that is available include tents, sleeping bags, canoes and kayaks to name a few. Though the Eco Adventure office will be closed over Spring Break, students can still rent some equipment before the break and return it after Spring Break is over.

Don’t know where to camp? Not a problem. There is a camping site at Native Heart Island in the middle of Lake Oneida, which is all conveniently located at the University of North Florida. The shortest route to the camp site is about five minutes, but students may choose to walk through the 2.85 miles of the Goldenrod Trail.

Another activity students can do over break is hike the different nature trails. There are four nature trails that students can walk through during the day whenever they want to. The longest trail is the Goldenrod Trail, which can be made longer by adding different shorter trails. For example, add the Gopher Tortoise Ridge to admire the population of tortoises and other animals, or to visit the hidden Lake Surprise. These trails allow students not only to get out and get some fresh air, but also allows them to admire the flora and fauna at the University of North Florida.


All photos were taken by Alexandra Torres-Perez. 

Do You Like Curly Fries? Then, You Must Be Smart.

Thunderstorms, Morgan Freeman’s voice and curly fries. Though very different from each other, each of these things have one thing in common. They are all indicators that someone has a high IQ according to a study for the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences (PNAS).

In the study, Michal Kosinsk, David Stillwell and Thore Graepel took a sample of around 58,000 Facebook users and examined each user’s Facebook Likes. From examining these Likes, they went on to predict what kind of personal characteristics the users had. There were a wide variety of characteristics that these examiners were able to determine like substance use (cigarettes, alcohol and drugs), party affiliation and emotional stability to name a few.

So, how does liking the curly fry page show intelligence? Even though both matters aren’t related, one theory suggests that these two can be linked through homophily.  Homophily is when people look for friends who are like them and have the same interests. The theory suggests that one intelligent individual started the curly fry page, which was then liked by his or her smart Facebook friends until there was a population of smart people on the page.

“I’ve been able to build models that can predict all sorts of hidden attributes for all of you that you don’t even know you’re sharing information about,” said Jennifer Golbeck in a TED Talk, “As scientists, we use that to help the way people interact online, but there’s less altruistic applications.”

For example, Golbeck mentions she could start a business selling reports about your attributes to businesses that want to hire you, and there is nothing you could do about it since it is posted for everyone to see. Some of the information predicted may be information you may not want to share. So, there is an invasion of privacy in that sense.

Due to this invasion of privacy, it is important to be aware of the risks you are taking when you post or even like something on Facebook or any other kind of social media site. By knowing what the risks are, you can choose whether or not to share something online.

“If users don’t want me to use that data, I think they should have the right to do that,” said Jennifer Golbeck, “ I want users to be informed and consenting users of the tools that we develop.”



Here is a link to the PNAS study:


Here is a link to Jennifer Golbeck’s TED Talk:


Featured image of loaded curly fries provided by Arby’s website: http://arbys.com/our-menu/limited-time-offers/loaded-curly-fries