Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hand Dryers: The Unknown Danger in the Bathroom

All humans have several things in common. We all have human DNA, live on Earth (besides one or two astronauts), and are not monkeys. Also, we all go to the bathroom. Going to the bathroom is important because it is how we dispose of waste. In fact, if you did not go to the bathroom you would probably die.

One negative of going to the bathroom: Germs. Germs are everywhere and they have been the cause of lots of problems over the years, like the Black Death. Past generations did not know about germs though, so they cannot be blamed.

Pictured: Spreader of germs!
Now that we do know about germs (who are invisible to the naked eye), to combat them we have come up with things like “soap” and “showers”. After we go to the bathroom we (sometimes) wash our hands with soap and then dry them. Bathrooms used to be stocked with paper towels, but now they are being replaced by hand dryers. Hand dryers are more cost efficient and environmentally friendly, but there is one problem with hand dryers… they actually INCREASE THE NUMBER OF BACTERIA ON YOUR HANDS!

So how do they do it? The warm atmosphere inside the hand dryer provides the perfect environment for bacteria. When air then blows out of the dryer, bacteria (both from your hands and from inside the dryer itself) is being spread all throughout the room.

A study from the University of Westminster (that’s in London), found that washing and then drying hands with a warm hand dryer increased bacteria by an average of 194% on fingers and 254% on palms. In contrast, drying hands with a paper towel decreased bacteria by about 75%. Other studies have found similar results.

As humans, we are being placed in a very difficult situation because of hand dryers. We feel obligated to wash our hands after going to the bathroom, but when we use hand dryers, we are actually adding to the power of germs. I am not writing this to scare you, but to alert you to a problem that is very, very real. What you want to do with this new information is up to you. You could choose to just not wash your hands (disgusting), use a hand dryer (disgusting), or carry around a roll of paper towels at all times (inconvenient). You could also write a letter to your local congressman/woman about the hand dryer problem. Regardless, be careful, dear reader, because I think it's safe to say that we are at Threat Level Red.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dear New Jersey Transit

Dear NJ Transit Customer Service Team,

A commuter waits for his train to arrive early in the morning—he watches the minutes pass by on his cell phone. Looks like he won’t get that big promotion after all—not after being late for today’s important meeting.

Inside Penn Station: a college student. She’s supposed to head home for her grandmother’s 100th birthday party. Instead, she takes a bite of her second Auntie Anne’s pretzel. Sorry, grandma, I hope you make it to 101.

And on a train: a baby. The moving of the train rocks this particular baby to sleep. But the train isn’t moving so the baby cries. NJ Transit makes babies cry.

Ben Franklin once said that there are only two things certain in life: death and taxes. But Ben Franklin lived in Pennsylvania. If he had lived in New Jersey, he would’ve said, there are only three things certain in life: death, taxes, and that New Jersey Transit is a stinky turd.

We are not halfway through August, and already this month, travelers have been subjected to constant cancellations, massive delays, and trips on the PATH to Newark inside packed train cars with crowding similar to what our ancestors faced when they traveled through Ellis Island. You would think that after 227 years of existence the Garden State would be able to come up with an efficient commuter rail system. But, instead of getting people where they need to be on time, NJ Transit has adopted the persona of the always late and panicked White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.

Pictured: Me after another delay.
Note how stressed and drained I look.
Adding insult to injury, NJ Transit is far from cheap. I pay $361 for a monthly pass from Penn Station to Jersey Avenue. When I fork over my hard earned cash, I expect a certain level of service, and NJ Transit has not delivered. Planes offer full or partial refunds when they don’t meet certain standards; why should trains be different?

I formally request a full refund for my August monthly pass. I also suggest a major overhaul of NJ Transit and Penn Station. Because deep down, I still love you, NJ Transit. But I am tired of your cancellations and of playing second fiddle to those elitists over at Grand Central.

Thank you for your time.


Commuter Jeffrey Sperber

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Top 50 Workout Songs

I love my gym, but not only is the music they play there not loud enough (because they anticipate some people listening to their own music on headphones), they play some very un-energizing tunes. When “Total Eclipse of the Heart” came over the speakers a few months ago, I knew I would have to make my own workout playlists and buy some of those cool Jay-Z Aviator headphones. (Unfortunately, I do not have $150 to spend on headphones so I just had to settle for my old $10 ones.)

People listen to all kinds of music while they exercise. Rap. Rock. Jock Jams. The Space Jam soundtrack. Pretty much the only criteria is that the music helps you get pumped up. (And no, I don’t really listen to the Space Jam soundtrack… well, maybe just the Space Jam theme song!)

Without further ado, here’s a list of 50 songs I listen to when I work out. You can download them (legally, of course) and put them in a playlist called “Jeff’s Super Cool Workout Playlist”. Then you will become strong and fast like me.

50 Songs To Work Out To:

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Top 10 Fictional Characters You Love That You Would Actually Hate

It may come as a shock to most of you, but many of the characters from your favorite TV shows or movies are fictional. (That means not real.)

Unless you live in a cave and are a feral person (and how would you have Internet access if that were the case), you know these popular characters. Some of them, almost all of them actually, were originally found in works of literature, but let’s face it, none of you read books anymore. (Well, almost none of you; I’m looking at you, bookworm!)

So without further ado, here they are, ten characters you love on the big screen (or small screen) that would annoy the dickens out of you if they were real.

10. Tony Stark (Iron Man)

A super-intelligent jerk with a super suit that gets all of the girls and thinks he’s the best human who ever lived—yeah, that sounds like someone I’d want to be friends with. NOT!

Tony Stark is a self-centered, arrogant know-it-all. He never shuts up and loves to brag. Plus, he’s not reliable and he’s a drunk. Sure, he might save the world on occasion, but you definitely wouldn’t like the guy.

9. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (All four of them)

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might be “awesome” on TV, but think of how incredibly obnoxious they’d be in reality.

Michelangelo is basically a stoner. He’s the guy who comes to your house and eats all your food. (“Cowabunga, what’s the big deal?”) Raphael is a jerk—remember the song, he’s “cool, but crude”. Donatello is a big nerd and a showoff. Leonardo might be the only one of the four who’s alright, but as the leader of the group, he’s somewhat pompous. Plus, they’re giant turtles. Giant turtles would terrify you. (Also, why do they wear masks? Do they really think they’re concealing their identities?)