Missy Franklin: the New Face of the Games

Missy Franklin Wins the Gold

Missy Franklin’s name has swept across the 2012 Olympics like a storm. The seventeen year old teen won the 100-meter backstroke on Monday, less than 15 minutes after barely qualifying in a 200 freestyle semifinal. This gold medal marks Missy’s first individual final in London, and the first first-place win of her Olympic career.

With a sunny disposition and inspiring youthful enthusiasm, Franklin has become the face of the Games for both Americans and international Olympic fans.

“They’re fun for me,” Franklin exclaimed after her 200-meter semifinal. “I love getting out there and swimming and getting those nerves out of the way and then coming right back and swimming again. It’s so exciting for me. I have so much fun with it. It makes the experience easier to take in, I guess. I know I’m not going to have these many opportunities. I love it!”

What people love so much about Franklin is her fresh take on the whole affair. Though expected to win, Franklin managed to maintain a simple image without all of the flair, prepackaging, brand names and corporate sponsors. Franklin talks excitedly about her upcoming senior year in high school, and about her dreams to swim in college, but keeps up both the title and demeanor of a passionate, but innocent, amateur.

“I was trying to sing,” Franklin explained after standing at the podium during the national anthem. “But I was, like, crying at the same time and I forgot the words because I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just a huge mess. But seeing that flag being raised was so incredibly unbelievable. I could have never dreamed it would feel like that.

“It’s definitely going to be hard with everything that’s coming up. But I’m not thinking about that right now. I’m waiting for the end of the meet, but we’ll see what happens. Swimming collegiately is something I’ve always wanted to do. I have a passion for it.”

4 Tips for a DIY Pedicure

Fake tans and waxes are some of the most popular beauty treatments during the summer months. Polls have revealed, however, that pedicures also top the list in many cities.

Interestingly, pedicures are one of the simplest treatments to do at home. If done correctly, they can last up to three weeks, and of course don’t have any risks or side effects like other treatments, such as hair removal.

Margaret Dabbs, a foot health expert, explains why women love the treatment.

“Spending just thirty minutes on a proper do-it-yourself pedicure is one of the most transformative beauty treatments you can do. Not only does a good pedi make your feet look groomed, it’s an instant confidence booster,” she says

Dabbs provides 4 tips for DIY pedicures:

  • File the toenails straight across; not rounded like you might fingernails. This is the most flattering shape, as well as the healthiest- a rounded shape can result in ingrown nails.

Always invest in a good nail file. According to Dabbs, “Emery boards can tear and split your nails, resulting in an uneven look. Whereas, a glass file will give you a perfectly straight line as it allows you to file back and forth without damaging your nails.”

  • Use a square block buffer around the nail bed to eliminate discoloration. A glossing buffer can then be used to provide a glassy effect.

“The action is a bit like shining a shoe,” Dabbs explains.

  • Do not file hard skin in water. Dabbs explains that this is a common mistake.

“When feet are wet, it’s harder to see what areas need filing. Plus, cracked feet can split in water, which can be painful and lead to infection. So always file on dry skin,” Dabbs says. “Leave cutting or grating devices to the pros, as it’s easy to go overboard which can leave you with sore and aching heels. Always file hard areas, such as big toes and heels, in soft strokes towards the underneath of your foot. If you file upwards, you will be left with a ridge,” she says.

  • Exfoliate your skin once the nails and hard areas have been treated. To do so, soak feet in warm water.

“When you don’t have an exfoliating product to hand, mix together body wash with a handful of coarse sea salt and massage into damp feet. This instantly revives tired looking feet, leaving cuticles clean and skin bright and gleaming.”

Consult a Real Doctor with Your Ailments – Not Google

Many doctors must curse the day that the internet was invented. It must be a rare thing for patients to appear in their offices without having already Googled their symptoms and offering their uneducated advice.

Scientists have actually studied this phenomena and have concluded that the internet isn’t only ineffective in offering you medical advice – but that it might be downright dangerous.

When people try to diagnose their ailment with Google, they misdiagnose their problem in two main ways, say the researchers from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. They either overestimate the risk of being someone who will get an illness, or we under-estimate this risk.

Together, Marketing PhD candidate Dengfeng Yan, and his department chairman, Jaideep Sengupta, showed through experiments how the brain is subject to bias that affects your actual disease risk.

As reported by MSNBC, the experiment showed

“that social distance mattered. The less familiar the person in the scenario was, the more heavily the test subjects relied on base-rate information. The closer to the subjects, including themselves, the more they relied on individual case information.”

The findings will be published this month in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Forget Tweets- Meet ‘Chirp’!

A new app called ‘Chirp’, developed by Animal Systems, enables iPhones and iPads to share images through a short burst of sound. Animal Systems is a spin off of the computer science department of University College London, and the lead developer on the app was Daniel Jones.

Jones explains that the biggest challenge was “making sure that we had a system that would work equally well in environments that are particularly noisy. So, in  a pub, or on a bus… to be able to work in all sorts of different real-world places.”

Jones adds that the capability is similar to Bluetooth- one advantage though is that once the app is installed, devices do not need to be paired in order for the transfer to work. Though the technology is only available for iPhones and iPads today, Jones and Animal Systems hope to expand the program to radios, tvs and PA systems. Any device capable of sound should be able to ‘read’ a Chirp.

Learn more with Matt Cowan of Reuters:

Saying Goodbye to a Legend : Sally Ride

The national mourns today as California native Sally Ride passed away yesterday at the age of 61. Passing away from pancreatic cancer, Ride will long be remembered as the first American woman to make it into space.

But she wasn’t always shooting for the moon. Studying physics and English at Stanford University, Ride was actually also a nationally ranked tennis player. She chose to stick with academia rather than to pursue a tennis career. She applied for NASA’s training program on an impulse in 1978, and soon became one of six women who were chosen for the 35 training spots.

During the space shuttle’s second mission she was a capsule communicator at mission control. During the space shuttle’s seventh mission in 1983, she was given the privilege of becoming the first American woman astronaut.  The Challenger took off on June 18, 1983.  She was also on the thirteenth space shuttle flight of the Challenger.

Sally Ride was the only astronaut appointed to the Presidential Commission that investigated the tragic explosion of the Challenger in January of 1986.  After this experience, she worked for NASA and created the Office of Exploration.  Leaving NASA in 1987, she taught physics at Stanford and then at the University of California at San Diego.

Ride’s organization Sally Ride Science said, “”Sally’s historic flight into space captured the nation’s imagination and made her a household name.”

As NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said,

“Sally Ride broke barriers with grace and professionalism — and literally changed the face of America’s space program. The nation has lost one of its finest leaders, teachers and explorers. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sally’s family and the many she inspired. She will be missed, but her star will always shine brightly.”

Hearing about her passing, President Barack Obama said,

“Sally’s life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve, and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come.”

Remembering Amelia Earhart

Today’s Google Doodle sets out to honor Amelia Earhart on her 115th birthday. Born on July 24th, 1897, Earhart was an author and aviation pioneer, widely known for being the first aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

Earhart was awarded the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross as a result of her feat, and set several other records in the field as well. Some of Earhart’s bestselling books included retellings of her flight experiences, and her stories and passion for aviation inspired many women throughout the United States, including Eleanor Roosevelt.

Amelia Mary Earhart, or ‘Meeley’, grew up in Kansas with her younger sister Grace Muriel Earhart- ‘Pidge.’ Having been raised in an unconventional manner, Amelia was always encouraged to pursue her interests and spent most of her childhood climbing trees, hunting rats with a rifle, collecting insects and toads, and ‘belly slamming’ her sled downhill.

Amelia and her sister were homeschooled until she was 12 years old; only then were they sent to public school. Despite the numerous moves and relocations throughout her family life, Amelia learned that she was “exceedingly fond of reading” and pursued her education passionately, taking particular interest in fields that were mainly male-oriented, including law, advertising, mechanical engineering and film direction and production.

Earhart trained as a nurse’s aide and helped care for soldiers and other World War I casualties after visiting her sister in Toronto and witnessing the wounded in 1917. She continued her service when the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic hit Canada, and later became afflicted with the illness herself.

During the time spent recovering, Earhart attended an air fair in Toronto and witnessed a flying exhibition put on by a World War I ‘ace.’  Later she recalled:

“I believe that little red airplane said something to me as it swished by.”

She planned to study medicine at Colombia University, but after a visit to an airfield and an impromptu ride, Earhart’s life had changed.

“By the time I had got two or three hundred feet off the ground, I knew I had to fly,” she said.