Blog Week 2

The Week 2 topics were very interesting! The first thing that stuck out the most to me during the lecture was the Ted Talk on Mushroom Burial by JaeRhim Lee. There was a lot I did not know about how burial impacts the environment in the way that the toxins from our body release and can lead to pollution. This stuck out to me because my major, Human Biology and Society, has a large focus on environmental toxins. Some of the chemicals I saw her mention like phthalate and PCB were mentioned a lot in my major classes, so seeing how this connected to cremation was a new side of learning about these chemicals for me. We spent a lot of time discussing how products we use expose us to various different chemicals that also are known as “endocrine disrupting chemicals.” These chemicals can have significant impacts on our endocrine system by altering our hormone pathways. Seeing how it not only can have negative health effects during our lifetime, but the impact of these chemicals after we die was very fascinating to me, and something I did not think about. It’s easy to think about how these chemicals affect us while we’re alive and easy to ignore the impacts on the environment and post death, so I thought this was a very important talk. I did some further research to take a look at some of the specific chemicals that are released into the environment from our bodies, and this includes iron, zinc, calcium, sulfur, and phosphorus. These chemicals can come from anywhere, even dental fillings as the article I read mentioned.


This connected back to the main topics of the lecture on fungi, yeast, and SCOBY. These are terms I am so used to seeing in my science courses so it was great to hear it from a class that is so focused on art. I was just learning this week about yeast based vaccines and how yeast used to be used to produce vaccinations for viruses like Hepatitis B. Recombinant DNA technology is used and the yeast is fermented and HB antigens are produced as the yeast cells multiply. Then, the vaccine is formed using these antigens that are produced. Yeast is used in so many different aspects of our life like these vaccines and kombucha like we learned about.

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I also loved the art exhibit we got to see. I thought the dress with the different types of skin and audio of skin scratching was really cool because I liked the deeper meaning in appreciation for different skin tones, as well as how much thought they put into it (with the audio and taking microscopic images). I also thought the figure that looked like stained glass was very beautiful, and it was great to see the application of SCOBY in art. 

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Lastly, I will be bringing store bought bread I use to class. I do not have a picture but it is the bread I usually use to make sandwiches and I get it from trader joe’s!