The Pulse – August 22, 2014

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    You know the feeling…you’re trying to come up with a witty line, a clever metaphor, a song, a poem…and nothing. The harder you try, the more your brain refuses. Then, hours later, inspiration strikes. Pulse contributor Avir Mitra explores what would happen if we could unblock our brains and let the ideas flow.

    Bill Gates has done it. Oprah, Conan O’Brian, LeBron James and Mark Zuckerberg have all done it. Everywhere, people famous and not so famous are dumping ice water on their heads. It’s a campaign turned viral sensation to raise money for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that slowly and cruelly robs people of their bodily functions. So, ice buckets aside, where does research stand? Pulse host Maiken Scott spoke with Leo McCluskey, Medical Director of Penn’s ALS center to get an update.

    The focus on so-called “p-hacking” and problems with research methodology in science, psychology and medicine has grown significantly in recent years, jump-started, in part, by an outrageous University of Pennsylvania study published three years ago. Carolyn Beeler brings the story of how more journals are adopting data disclosure requirements in an attempt to discourage cherry-picking of “significant” findings.

    Summer is coming to an end and kids are going back to school. For some that means access to school breakfast and lunches—and that they won’t have to go hungry any more. Thousands of schools, community centers and libraries are trying to bridge the food gap by serving free meals to kids during the summer. But nationwide, they only reach about 1 in 6 children who qualify for free or reduced price lunch during the school year. Aaron Mendelson reports on these programs, starting in Oakland, California.

    Fear is not a positive emotion – yet we seek it out in our daily lives. There’s a certain thrill to watching a terrifying movie, reading a Stephen King novel, or climbing up a steep mountain. Joe Hernandez took a look at the science behind being scared, and how, ironically, it sometimes brings us joy.

    There’s a new start-up business on the rise and its turning women’s hygiene products into a force for good. That’s right. The lowly tampon. The name of the company is Cora, and it just won the prestigious Philly Geek Award for Start up of the Year. Cora’s founder, Molly Hayward, joined Pulse host Maiken Scott to discuss how her tampons are changing lives around the globe.

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