Sunday, January 31, 2010


I think I have already written a blog post similar to this but I’m going to write another one because this topic is so big right now. And no, I am not talking about the War in Iraq or the economy; I am talking about the debate on whether vaccines cause autism. I have a very strong view point on this debate: vaccines DO NOT cause autism. It puzzles me where people even get this idea to begin with. As they always say, “Correlation does not imply causation.” And yet so many American parents assume just because the symptoms of autism occurred around the same time their baby got most of their vaccinations, one must be caused by the other. There is no scientific evidence to prove this though. All valid scientific evidence has shown no correlation whatsoever. The parents go even further as to blame the vaccine creators as greedy men who just want to make money.

Why then, do so many parents cling to vaccinations as the cause of their child’s autism? It is for one simple reason, parents love their children more than anything in the world and they want to come up with a reason as to why something is wrong with their child. It’s like this; every parent wants to brag about their children. Jane and Joe down the street want their little Bobby to be the best at everything. When their child is not meeting all the milestones they should be making they have to point the finger at somebody. “Well my little Bobby can’t have been born with any problems,” Jane might say, someone must have done this to my little baby. This might not be the case with all parents but this is what I think is likely.

I think parents need to stop blaming the pharmaceutical companies for their children’s problems. Parents who decide to not get their children vaccinated not only risk the lives of their children but also everyone who comes in contact with their child. And for the parents, who claim that these vaccines could give their children autism, let me ask you, would you rather take the risk of your child getting autism or risk your child getting Hib meningitis? Hib meningitis causes death or severe brain damage if you’re lucky. The list could go on and on of course because vaccines protect against so many different deadly diseases including polio and measles. The only reason these 2% of kids that don’t get vaccinated are healthy is because the rest of us take the “risk” and get the shots so outbreaks don’t occur. Paul Offit, vaccine creator who is constantly under scrutiny is quoted as saying, “I used to say that the tide would turn when children started to die [from not being vaccinated]. Well, children have started to die. So now I’ve changed it to ‘when enough children start to die.’ Because obviously, we’re not there yet.”

Here is the article that led me to write this blog post titled, "An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endagers Us All."

Super Size Me

So on Friday I heard from my fellow zero hour peers that we were going to get to watch part of the documentary about the man who ate McDonald’s everyday for a month in class that day. I was all excited to watch it but then we didn’t get too because our discussion lasted too long. So, that afternoon when I got home I went online to read AOL news like I do every day. I realized that there was a link to the video on Hulu so I decided to go watch it. I found out that the video was titled, “Super Size Me.” It was almost a two hour video and I watched the whole thing. I couldn’t believe how interesting it was.

Morgan Spurlock, the author of the video, eats McDonald’s every day for an entire month. During the course of this time, he must super size every time he is asked to. He also must eat everything on the menu at least once. Over the course of this month, he saw his health plummet. In the beginning, he went to numerous doctors and athletic trainers to get a clean bill of health. This let us know that he was going into this experiment with above average health as well as no serious health threats in his immediate family that he might have inherited. His first few days started out okay, but on about the 3rd day (I can’t remember exactly) he was asked to super size and he did. As he was eating in his car he began to not feel well and threw up. This was definitely one of the most disgusting parts of the film, next to the time that he found the curly black hair in his parfait cup. Nevertheless, he kept trucking along each day. Eating this food seemed to slow him down and make him a lot more tired. He went in for his checkups regularly to check how his heath was doing. He went from 185 pounds in the beginning to over 200 pounds at the end, in just that one month. Tests also showed that damage was being done inside his body, especially to his liver. He even has a scare one night when he woke up and he couldn’t breathe. The doctors tell him all along that he needs to stop doing this diet because he could be doing permanent damage. He keeps going though and successfully only eats McDonald’s everyday for one month.

Obviously this video was to the extreme because nobody in their right minds would live off three square meals at McDonald’s everyday for a too long of a period. It did show just how bad McDonald’s was for you though. In just one short month his heath took a turn for the worst. His doctors even told him that if his skin or eyes began to turn yellow he needed to call an ambulance immediately. I don’t know about you but if a doctor told me that I would be pretty scared. He was determined to make this experiment work though and I guess it paid off since his film is so popular now.

The video really left an impact on me. I mean, I know fast food is really bad and that is should be limited but I didn’t know that it could damage the liver that severely. The documentary also talks about how McDonald’s needs to take some responsibility for the obesity epidemic in the United States. Through commercials, advertisements, and giving children toys in their happy meals they do everything to lure young kids in. Once those kids have had a bite of their delicious greasy and salty French fries they’re customers for life. In other words, grab them while they’re young. Sound like any other company under scrutiny? Yep, that’s right, tobacco industries. While I see that the people that support this viewpoint are right about what McDonald’s is doing I don’t think its McDonald’s fault. They are a company with one goal: make money. It is the goal of just about every company in the United States.

Whose do I blame obesity on then, if I don’t blame it on the companies? I blame it on the people. You have to be smarter and know better than that. Everybody knows that McDonald’s is unhealthy so if you eat there and get fat, you have no one to blame but yourself. Are you really going to say, “I didn’t know that those French fries were so unhealthy?!” So stop complaining that McDonald’s doesn’t make their customers aware of the health risks and use your common sense. I have known since I was in kindergarten that anything from fast food restaurants, especially a burger and fries, could not be trusted. I don’t know call me a genius but I thought this was common knowledge. McDonald’s should not have to change their menus and ruin it for the rest of us who know how to eat in moderation, control ourselves, and use common sense. That may sound harsh, but it’s the truth.

Here is the Super Size Video:)

Technology Today

Upon reading the two articles about Cornucopia I was impressed. Cornucopias are 3D printing machines that can print your food, hence the name, and combine all of your favorite ingredients into it. I thought it was interesting because I have never heard of anything like it before. It seems to be very convenient; put in all of your favorite flavors of food and out comes a plateful of dinner. Isn’t that what we’re all about these days? The object of the 21st century seems to be to make an object bigger (in some cases smaller), better, faster, and more efficient. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the advances of the 21st century are wonderful, especially the medical advancements. Sometimes though, I think we need to stop and smell the roses and slow down a little bit in life. Yea, the new stuff being created and invented all the time is cool, but is it needed?

Inventors spend millions and millions of dollars testing and building more advanced products all the time. The truth is, as much as we want all this stuff, we don’t need it. I admit I am just as guilty as most people out there. Whenever something new comes out I always want to be the first one to have it. I don’t necessarily get it right away but I usually beg my parents for every new piece of technology that comes out. When Dell created the new Inspiron notebooks, I jumped right on the band wagon and got myself a bright pink one. When the touch screen phones became popular, I ditched my 2 year phone agreement (for a price of course), switched to Verizon, and bought the coolest touch screen they sold at the time. I could go on forever with lists of new technology I have always had to have. But if I think about it, I only wanted those things because they were the cool new thing. I never needed any of them. The Inspiron notebook wasn’t needed; I already had an Apple computer that worked just fine. The new touch screen phone wasn’t needed; I already had a pink razor less than a year old. It was that I WANTED all of these things. People put all their money into these technological advancements and then they complain about the price or gas or the price of their education. Okay so I have kind of gotten a little off topic here but I think that the technological advancements have become a little too extreme. Nobody needs them; they want them because they make our lives easier for the moment. In the end though, looking at the big picture they only make our lives more complicated. So next time the newest version of iPod comes out, before you rush to the store, ask yourself if you really need it. Instead, put your money towards your college savings account and stop complaining about how expensive college is these days.

Here is a link to the Cornucopia: Digital Gastronomy 3D printer I was talking about.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Ever since I watched the movie ET in about 3rd grade, I’ve always wondered if life outside our planet existed. Whenever I think about it, I realize that it must exist since the universe is so huge. The most recent article I read out of Discover magazine covered this topic. Research done by NASA shows that life could not only exist in the Habitable Zone as it is called but also in areas once deemed the uninhabitable due to their size, distance from the sun, or other factors. The Habitable Zone, according to Discover magazine, is an area of space that is most hospitable for life. It must contain liquid water, organic molecules, and a source of energy.

Scientists are realizing that it is possible there is life outside the Habitable Zone. Several possibilities of this lie on Saturn’s moons. Two of these moons, Enceladus and Titan have been studied closely by NASA for a while now. While studying this, they discovered that cryovolcanoes were emitting water vapor and ice. This shows evidence that there could possibly be liquid under the surface of these moons. It was also discovered that methane circles Titan much like water circles the Earth. By studying this process on Saturn, scientists might be able to better understand how similar processes on Earth work. This studying has been done through Cassini, a spacecraft that landed on Saturn and brought with it a landing probe which then when to the moon Titan. The article I read is pretty long and goes into further details which explain much more evidence they found to support life on this distant planet or even its moons. Click here to read the article online.

Running During the Offseason

Since the beginning of January I have been running outside after school again. I stopped after cross country ended to take a break from running and well, let’s just say that the break lasted longer than it should have. So like everybody else in America, my New Year’s resolution was to get back on the sidewalk and start running. I usually run on the trail that isn’t too far from our school with my friend. It is a very good place to run in the winter because for some reason it is usually cleared off really well. The only problem is getting down to the trail because the sidewalks in the neighborhood are very snowy and icy.

This previous week we did not get to run much because of the ice storm that came. Ice storms are the worst scenarios for runners because it is almost impossible to run on a thick sheet of ice. Snow and most other seasonal commodities we can handle. For that reason, we took Wednesday through Friday off last week so we would not have to worry about breaking any bones. Monday though, we are going to start up again and hopefully we will not have any distractions this week since there are only 3 shorts weeks until the beginning of track season.

On the weekends I usually work out at the YMCA or I go to Aegon where my dad works. I only do this during the winter though, when I have no other options, because I hate running inside on treadmills. They have a way of boring me to death and I usually only make it 3 miles before I have to get off. I like to run outside better for a number of reasons: there is better scenery and I can breathe fresh air, not humid air all full of sweat. Unfortunately, I have to deal with it because the sidewalks in my neighborhood are solid sheets of ice or piled high with snow most of the time. Anyway, I hope that in the next two weeks I have before track I can really step up my game. The past few weeks we have been taking nice and slow, short runs. It is good to do this during the off season but with the track season coming up so quickly I think it would be better to increase my mileage a bit.

Here is a link to the track website:)


So as of recently, maybe a few months ago, I have become addicted to Zynga Games on Facebook. My interest in these games started out seemingly innocent; I would play them on the weekends for maybe an hour tops. Now it seems I am playing them for at least an hour every night. Granted, I am over exaggerating a bit when I use the word addiction. It all started out one day when I got a request to be someone’s neighbor on Farmville. Although I had heard about this game and thought it looked stupid, I decided to try it since it was one of my really good friends who sent me the request. I played the game for like a day and the next thing I knew I was bored to death so I stopped playing. A week later I look at my requests and I had another neighbor request. I decided I would give the game another shot so I accepted it. This time I was sold on the game and continued to play it more and more every day. I try to put limits for myself on how long I can stay on these games but it seems that I always just dismiss them when it actually comes time to get off of them.

I have managed to limit the number of Zynga Games I play to four: Farmville, CafĂ© World, Petville, and Fishville. Even though I only play four, I still think it’s a bit excessive. The problem is these games aren’t the type of games you can just play once a week. For instance, if you only play Farmville once a week your crops will continuously wither and you won’t make a profit. I occasionally think about quitting the games but they provide me so much entertainment I don’t think I could bare to do it. Plus, the competition side of it is pretty fun too. My friend, who goes by Tulula on the blog, is in constant competition with me because we are around the same level and I’m pretty sure she has the same addiction I do to Farmville.

You might be wondering, what is so fun about these games? What do you even do? Well on Farmville you plow, seed, and harvest your crops, all for a profit. With the profits you make you can by an estate for your farm, animals, trees, machinery and more. It is almost as if it is a real farm and as you go you become a better and better farmer, thus resulting in you being able to harvest more advanced crops. It is hard to explain in words how fun the game is, but if you go on Facebook and try it you will probably understand. If you don’t play Farmville you probably can’t relate well to this post but if you do have a Facebook you might be able to. It’s like this Facebook users: every time you get on the computer (unless you are at school and haven’t been able to crack the code yet) where is the first place you go? For me, even before I played Zynga games, it was Facebook. There is even a group on Facebook that makes me laugh every time I see it called, “I was doing my homework and I ended up on Facebook,” because it’s like the story of my life. So basically I extend this post to not only addressing my Zynga Games addiction but also my Facebook addiction which I haven’t been able to cure ever since the summer after 8th grade. In fact, I have been counting and since I started writing this blog entry I have checked my Facebook page 5 times. Sad, I know.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Evolution and Religion

I grew up in the Catholic Church and since kindergarten they have been teaching me everything from the basis of Catholicism to what it is today. Every Wednesday night I would go to CCD class (religious ed) and they would teach me what most kids around here hear, “And on the 6th day God created man.” I never challenged this theory because it seemed that it was the only option, I had never heard anything different than this. I had heard of the word evolution but I thought it was just a bunch of crazy scientists talking; scientists who didn’t believe in God, which seemed very taboo to me. It wasn’t until I got to high school, when I learned about evolution in depth and I realized that somehow this had to be true. I learned more about it in my biology courses at school and through at home researching mostly on the internet. I realized that these people I thought were once just crazy scientists actually did have really good facts and information that was supported.

After studying Darwin’s Theory and the basis of evolution I realize that I can’t just ignore it any longer because it makes sense and to forget about it would be ignorance. This is where I am at today. I want to believe it because it makes sense but I feel like me believing it sacrifices what my parents worked so hard to instill in my brain. I feel that by believing in evolution I will let down my parents, the Father of my church, and everyone who has helped me become a member of the Catholic Church through conformation.

This brings me to what I personally believe: Religion and evolution can coexist. Albert Einstein once said, “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” But how is this possible? Can you really believe that God created humans and at the same time believe that evolution has occurred. I think that in a way you can. What I am coming to believe is that God created the world and that evolution was also started by God. This theory would challenge everything I have been taught but I feel that it is one of the only ways that religion and evolution can coexist.

So this is one of my blog posts for this week, but I kind of like it and I think I’m finding this topic a lot more interesting than I am finding my global warming topic. I might end up using this as my essay topic and ditching my original global warming topic. If I did this I would go into further details with evolution or maybe talk about how society is becoming more acceptable of evolution in many cases.

Here is a link to a video that I feel represents the point I am trying to get across. I think what Dr. Collins says is a good interpretation of how these two things can coexist. Unfortunately, I had to create a link because the emedding feature was disabled for this video.

Neanderthal's and Early Modern Humans

The one of the left is a picture of what a human skull looks like, the one on the right is what a Neandertal skull would have looked like.

This weekend I wrote an essay on evolution and religion and how they can coexist. I was thinking about using this as my big essay for this term although I have already turned my rough draft essay on global warming in. Due to this, I decided to read a little bit further into evolution and modern humans. One of the most fascinating things about evolution is that it supports the belief of Neanderthal people. Neanderthal’s are basically known as the cousin of early humans. At some point thousands of years ago we had a common ancestor with them. They looked very similar to early modern humans and are today extinct.

How did these Neanderthal’s come to extinction? This is a question that puzzles many scientists to this day. One possibility is that early modern humans killed them off. Possible evidence of this is found on the Neanderthal named Shanidar 3. Through very much testing, Shanidar 3 appears to have been killed when a spear punctured his rib cage. At this time period, spears were only being used by early modern humans. Now of course if this is how the Neanderthal died, it is just one scenario of this type of encounter. The main motive for this killing would have most likely been to eat the Neanderthal. According to Discover magazine early modern humans began to migrate from Africa to Europe, where the Neanderthal’s were living, 50,000 years ago. Then around 30,000 years ago the Neanderthal’s became extinct. The possibility that early modern humans killed the Neanderthal’s isn’t the only possibility though.

Some scientists believe there was a much more peaceful ending to the population of the Neanderthal’s though. Some evidence shows that Neanderthal’s and early modern human’s mated. It could be that because the Neanderthal population was so small compared to the humans they were eventually absorbed into the human population through this mating. This made me think, is it possible that some of us still have Neanderthal blood running through our veins? The studying of human and Neanderthal DNA has shown that there was very minimal interbreeding between the two closely related species.

Another possibility that to me seems the most likely is that over time the Neanderthal population died out from simply not being able to adjust to their climate. The fact was that there were far fewer Neanderthal’s than there were early modern humans. When there are far fewer of a species to begin with it often times makes it difficult for them to survive when a major climate change occurs. In fact, evidence shows that around the time of the end of the Paleolithic area extreme climate changes occurred. This would have been around the time the Neanderthal’s became extinct. A major weakness of the Neanderthal’s was that they relied heavily on the hunting big game while the early modern humans relied on hunting and gathering. If the big game became scarce for long periods at a time, the humans would be able to live off the gathering they did but the Neanderthal’s would most likely die off.

Here is a link of the article I wrote about in Discover Magazine.

Is Math Wired Into the Brain From Birth?

Recently I read an article in Discover Magazine about math and the human brain. The article suggested that math is wired into the neurons of your brain from the day you are born. This would mean that math is a natural instinct for humans; it is an interest we are born with. I could see how this would be easily disputed because many people will say that they hate math. The truth is, you may hate math now, but when you were an infant math was interesting and the very basics made some sense to you. By this, I don’t mean that babies are born knowing that 6 multiplied by 9 is 54 but rather that they can connect numbers in other ways.

In one of the studies listed in this article, scientists studied the brains of newborns. They did this by playing cooing sounds to the babies with different numbers of sounds in each trial. Following this, the babies were shown a set of shapes on the computer screen. The scientists measured the amount of time each baby looked at the shapes. Previous studies have shown that the length of a time a baby spends looking at something reflects how interested the baby is in that object or picture in this case. To make this easier to understand, a baby would hear, “tuu, tuu, tuu, tuu, tuu.” Following this, the baby would look longest at the five shapes. They would look somewhat less at the 10 and very little at the 15. This shows that babies do understand the basic meaning of numbers and that they can also connect pictures to sounds.

Interestingly enough, a similar study was conducted on rhesus monkeys that show they too have math on the brain. The studies showed that when moneys do math, they rely on the section of the brain called the intraparietal sulcus. This is the same part of the brain that humans rely on to do math. It also found that the rhesus monkeys had the same basic understanding of math that human babies do. Since humans and monkeys went on a different evolutionary path about 30 million years ago, this proves that this math intuition in our brains is at least that old.

The question that this leaves us then is why aren’t monkeys as intelligent as humans? The author of the article, Carl Zimmer, explains that our ability as humans to understand symbols is what sets us apart. Long ago, humans probably thought of numbers the same way as babies and monkeys do today. Once humans discovered symbols and began to use them the world became a different place.

Here is a link to the article, "The Brain," by Carl Zimmer

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I read an article in Discover Magazine that was titled, “Vital Signs.” This article explained that people should be more cautious when they develop a skin condition and go to the doctor immediately, instead of writing the condition off as eczema. Dermatomyositis is a skin condition that causes rashes and is sometimes found in people who have cancer. This skin disease is relatively rare in patients with ovarian cancer but found more often in people who have colon, pancreas, lung, or breast cancer. Patients with these types of cancers are found to have this skin condition 10-15% of the time.

The specific case listed in this article was that of Martha Dodd who would later be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She originally noticed a weird rash on her body which she just dismissed as eczema as she was an older woman and had just gone through menopause and her body was changing a lot. Not only did she have a bad skin rash but her muscles began to ache a lot too. As the skin rash began to spread and other symptoms became evident she mentioned it to her family doctor. Originally, he thought it was a less dangerous rash and put her on steroids. The steroids only worked for a short while though and then the rash returned. She went back to the doctor and after numerous tests he diagnosed her with ovarian cancer. Most women know that ovarian cancer is extremely dangerous. The survival rates of this disease are not good unless it is found almost immediately. Luckily, Martha survived after having extensive surgery and going through chemotherapy. Much of this could have been prevented though if she would have been diagnosed sooner. This leads me to conclude that no matter how small the rash or symptom may be it is always good to have a doctor check it out. This article also brought me to realize that rashes can mean there is something much more serious going on inside of your body.

This video explains Dermatomytosis in more depth and explains many of the symtoms that Martha Dodd experienced including the muscle problems and the rash.

Airport Security

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about how good the security is in airports due to the failed terrorist attack on Christmas Day. The man was Nigerian and his father, a Nigerian Banker, had previously alerted United States officials that his son had become radical and might be a threat to the nation. Due to this, the Nigerian man was listed as a suspected terrorist and yet somehow he was still allowed to fly on airplanes. I think this shows there is a serious security problem in the United States because if someone is listed as a suspected terrorist it shouldn’t matter if they have never caused threat to aviation before there is a first for everything.

The newest technology that is being put to use in some airports already is known as whole body imaging machines. These machines are very advanced and are able to see very detailed outlines of the human body as a person walks through them. Some people are strongly against these machines because they feel they are “digital strip searches.” While I can see where these people are coming from, I strongly disagree with their opinions. The fact is these machines are essential to creating more secure airports. Terrorists are becoming smarter and more innovative with hiding bombs and getting other explosives onto planes each year. The question I would like to ask the people that oppose these machines is, “Would you rather airport security personal see the image of your naked body or would you rather be blown up in a plane?” I myself think the answer is obvious. Another interesting fact I have learned about these machines is that they create two separate images as you go under them. One image is less detailed and shows the security personal all they need to see. The second image is more detailed and is only pursued by the security personal if there is anything suspicious in the first image. So, chances are the airport security would never even see the more detailed image.

I have also learned that a person would only have to go under one of these machines if the buzzer went off upon going underneath a metal detector. This would be the substitute to getting a pat down. I personally think that pat downs are extremely ineffective. I have been through airports many times and flown on several international flights. For some reason, I tend to always set the metal detector off when I go under it thus resulting in a pat down. Of the pat downs I have received, none of them have lasted for more than 5 seconds. The security personal will barely even touch me, leaving me to wonder why they even did the pat down in the first place. This has lead me to believe that pat downs are inefficient and in my opinion more awkward then simply walking through a scanner.

This website gives information about whole body imaging technology and it is where I got some of my facts.

Is Santa Claus Real?

Last week we read several discussions on different debatable topics. The one I found the most interesting was the one that discussed whether parents should tell their children that Santa Claus isn’t real. If parents did want to tell their children, the next question was when they should tell their children. The first essay entitled, “The Importance of Imagination,” by Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology, stated that Santa is good for children because it helps them expand their imaginations. It allows them to see the world in different ways, which will help them become more innovative and creative as they grow. Gopnik believes that Santa helps the children exercise their imagination, which helps them envision different ways the world could be. She says that when the time comes, you can tell your children that Santa is an invention of the human mind but until then it is good to play along with your child. This essay had the most effect on me because I think it gave good advice and pointed out some of the very positive effects Santa has on children that are rarely thought about by most adults.

The second essay was entitled, “Yes, Fiona, There isn’t a Santa Claus,” and was written by Karen Karbo, a novelist and memoirist. She explained that when her daughter was eight, she came across a present she really wanted for Christmas but the problem was it was too close to Christmas to put on her official Christmas list so she made a last minute request to Santa. Her father secretly bought her the present she had wanted and she was ecstatic. This only reinforced her belief that Santa was real, but the Easter after that Christmas, she began to ponder whether the Easter bunny was real and her mother finally told her the truth about not only the Easter bunny but also the Tooth Fairy and Santa. She decided that even though she knew the truth she wanted to believe for a few more years anyway. The girl, Fiona, was eight years old. I think that her mother did the right thing about telling her daughter the truth when she asked. I also think she did the right thing but not telling her daughter the truth too soon, even though many children her age already knew that Santa was imaginary. I think that a parent should not tell their children that Santa isn’t real until the child begins to ask questions and even then they should give their children time to form their own opinions about whether they think what Santa does is possible or not.

I searched this topic further on the internet and found tons of other websites that had many other debates about the same topic. This article seemed to be saying that it is good to tell your children the truth about Santa Claus. According to this article, a study was done in 2005 that concluded that most children aren’t saddened when they find out the truth about Santa Claus; most children find out the truth around age seven. The kids said that finding out the truth about Santa Claus made them feel much older. Another interesting point is that some parents may be prolonging to tell their children the truth for their own benefit because they feel that if their children don’t believe anymore their innocence has been taken away. I would agree with most of the issues brought up in this article because I remember that upon finding out about Santa Claus I was not saddened but rather happy that I knew because it made me feel older and more knowledgeable. The fact was that even though I knew that Santa wasn’t real, I also knew that on Christmas morning I would still be able to wake up to a pile of presents under the Christmas tree, which is what every child looks forward to.