Week 2 Blog

It really resonated with me when professor Vensa spoke about her experience being in the salt exhibition of one of her students and how it alleviated one of her headaches. As someone with chronic migraines, I have had a similar experience. Just eating a hint of a salty food can often help to alleviate symptoms for me. Recently, in my behavioral neuroscience course, we talked about how our brain is actually in an environment that mimics the atmosphere of the ocean. The cerebrospinal fluid that our nervous system exists within actually has a very similar ionic composition of that of saltwater from the oceans, as the earliest nervous systems emerged in organisms in the ocean. I wonder if too low of sodium can cause headaches and if the intake of the sodium changes that environment or allows for diffusion of concentrations inside the brain that alleviate the pain. More information about the connection between our CSF and the ocean can be found here: https://www.waterislife.love/post/cerebrospinal-bathing-how-you-actually-get-brainwashed-every-12-hours . This also relates to the reading on The Salt-Craving Neurons and how to alleviate my headaches. I eat the salt, but just using senses to perceive the salt (as professor Vensa did in the exhibit) can make a difference in the brain performance and feeling. (https://www.caltech.edu/about/news/salt-craving-neurons


 

Another particular topic that really stood out to me was that of Mycelium and their network. One of my interests is animals and understanding the value of all species of life as well as erasing the notion of speciesism and the self-proclaimed “superiority” of the human species. Often, humans categorize ourselves as different from and better than other animals and living species, deeming ourselves as the blueprint and those species furthest away from us to be the least valuable. Fungi is neither an animal or a plant, but something of their own category. In general, people are grossed out by fungi or do not pay attention to them. Nevertheless, fungi is not an organism most people would look up to. Part of my perspective in the health and wellness field is learning from other organisms that historically humans have ignored learning from because they were seen as lesser than us. Learning about all of the skills of mycelium was incredibly impressive. I wonder how we can learn from them. Further, I found it fascinating that they work together to support the weak — “tree communism” as professor Vensa said. I think that there is definitely a lot to learn about our behavior from the ways this organism lives and behaves.

 

I also really enjoyed the art gallery that was hosted by previous students in a biotechnology and art DESMA course. I thought that the artwork was incredibly inventive and ingenuitive. I would have had no idea that undergraduate students rather than professional artists or graduate students created these pieces. I thought that the piece using SCOBY was incredibly beautiful. I thought it was such a unique idea to use SCOBY and I wonder how they came up with the idea of doing that. It almost looks like leaves to me, which I thought was really pretty. I also found the metal part of the design to allude to what we talked about last week in terms of hexagons versus squares and rectangles. We discussed the fact that hexagons are very common and often preferred shapes in nature (as we saw with beehives and carbon rings) as well as how humans still tend to build squares and rectangles to function in the world instead. One thing that I noticed looking at this piece was the fact that the overlapping hexagons make up square cubes depending on how you look at them as well. I thought that this shows the overlap between the natural world and the way that we have constructed our environment within the natural world. Additionally, I found the other group’s pieces of Human Print to be fascinating. I had never even questioned the idea of animal print and why humans, also as animals, cannot be included in that. Further, I found the projection aspect to be really interesting. One aspect of fashion that inspires me is versatility and sustainability. With this, I wonder if there would be a way to make a clothing piece that projects different prints from itself so that the same item can be worn many more times in many more ways, reducing waste.

As a side note, I was one of the students who decided to attempt to make SCOBY with the SCOBY starter pack because I found it super fascinating and my roommate loves Kombucha. I will post updates as it comes along for anyone who is interested!


 

I found the collage of the different bread drawings from different cultures and backgrounds (through the Amazon thing) to be so fascinating. It really is one of those symbols that unites the world but also shows the beauty in uniqueness. 

 

As a Jewish woman, bread is very important in my culture as well. One of these ways is through Challah. Challah not only tastes amazing to me, but brings about so many beautiful memories. I never paid much attention to the story behind the braiding technique, but was curious about it because I realized that it is a collaboration between the arts and sciences. If you would like to learn more about this, I have attached this link: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/the-nosher/a-short-history-of-challah-bread-and-how-it-got-so-sweet-in-america/

Another fundamental part of the Jewish culture is matzo, which is an unleavened flatbread. If you want to learn about why we eat matzah on certain holidays and the story behind it, here is a link: https://www.history.com/news/matzo-matzo-matzo-a-passover-tradition . Although I do not personally think it tastes the greatest, I have a lot of fond memories with it. It is also very fun to make creations with it such as matzo brei where you cook the matzah with eggs and you can make it sweet with sugar and cinnamon or savory!

I decided to meet up with a few classmates (Anna and Nabila) to make bread! We decided on foccacia and this was our recipe: 

It was super fun to watch it come together, even though the yeast smelled a little funny. Here are some photos!

 

Excited to see everyone's bread!