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Audrey AmaraRSS Feed of this column.

I'm a Journalism graduate from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and I recently spent two years in Bulgaria as a volunteer in the United States Peace Corps where I worked as a high school English/Literature

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Hypochondriacs beware. The Rocky Mountain spotted fever and lyme disease caused by ticks is nothing to take lightly—especially in the dry season when ticks are most prominent, even more so due to global warming.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which was first identified in the Rocky Mountains, is caused by the bacteria Rickettsia rickettsii, when an infected tick comes in contact with humans. The ticks affected by the bacteria include the American dog tick, the lone-star tick, and the wood tick, all of which like to live in wooded areas and tall, grassy fields.

Similarly, Lyme disease is named after the place it was discovered in Lyme, Connecticut in 1975. It is caused by a cork-screw like bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. The black-legged ticks are usually the ones that spread the disease. Like its progressive corkscrew shaped bacterium, ticks are affected by feeding off small animals with the disease. These animals usually include mice, chipmunks, and other wild rodents. When the infected tick attaches to a person or animal and stays attached long enough (usually more than 36 hours) to take a “blood meal” it has further passed on the infection.

Reaching a finish line is an obstacle that does not begin or end with procrastination. A college dissertation, however, can be built on the foundations of such a behavior. Studies have proven that a small amount of pressure can actually stimulate comprehension and motivation, something that can be achieved through procrastination.

In a 2002 study by Jeffrey J. Walczyk, Kathryn E. Kelly, Scott D. Meche and Hillary Braud at Louisiana Tech University College called “Time Limitations Enhance Reading Comprehension,” students read passages under no time constraints, mild pressure, or under high-demand time limits. Results showed that the best reading comprehension was observed under mild time pressure. The idea can be further addressed by taking a closer look at procrastination.

With the idea encapsulated in the Parkinson’s Law stating that “Work Expands so as to fill the time available for its completion,” procrastination may be a realistic endeavor. Robert A. Harris, author of "Writing with Clarity and Style: A Guide to Rhetorical Devices for Contemporary Writers," associates the law with two factors. He addresses both in an article called “Human Factor Phenomena in Problem Solving.”

“If you want to be happy for the rest of your life you need to make an ugly woman your wife,” or “if your rent is late and you might have to litigate, don’t worry, be happy,” are a few of the ways some popular singers verbalize ways to stay happy. The role that genes and environment play on happiness and the choices a person makes in life have been regularly investigated in studies involving criminals and twins.

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanosconiosis is a type of lung disease. Pneumoconiosis, also called black lung or coal-miners disease, is different, but is estimated to be the cause of death for 1,500 U.S. coal miners. Besides being bizarre, words like these can be largely informative. The top scientific and mathematical words and laws judging off of complexity can transpire into a largely personal-opinion-oriented endeavor. Astute denizens of cyberspace expounded on a list of some semi-rare and contentious terms and classified them into an “organized mess.”

Of course the flip side, meaning the benefits of the sunk-cost fallacy, need to be addressed. One example can be found in a January 12, 2007 article in the “Freakonomics” section of the New York Times titled “What does Barack Obama Know about Behavioral Economics?”

In the article, Obama is quoted as having said about sending more troops to Iraq as having used the notion of the fallacy. “And essentially the administration repeatedly has said: ‘We’re doubling down; we’re going to keep on going … because now we’ve got a lot in the pot and we can’t afford to lose what we put in the pot.”

Dr. Hal Arkes in the department of psychology at Ohio State University has done extensive studies on the sunk-cost fallacy after he became interested for his personal involvement in politics twenty years ago. His most recent studies look at finding new ways to minimize the fallacy through interventions.

With the help of undergrads and some others at OSU Arkes gives volunteers a scenario having to do with an airplane company and the construction of a $10 million Radar Blank Plane. If the plane has been 90 percent completed, meaning millions of dollars already having been spent, but another company came up with a better version making the almost finished product “grossly inferior,” should the last 10 percent of the budget be spent anyways? Most of the testers said “yes.”