Interestingly, one of my first exposures to fungi and their relationship to science is when I studied 5th-grade biology. In learning how to categorize living organisms, fungi were termed as organisms that were not living but also not quite dead. This definition used to describe them was because of their roles as decomposers that break down nonliving organic matter and release them as nutrients into the soil, their home. Interestingly, fungi are known to "live on forever" since they can remain dormant for decades until they are placed in the correct conditions for growth.
When I think of fungi I think of forests and fairy circles. So, when this nature walk was assigned, I was concerned as I do not live be any forests. But I decided to see where the audio would take me, and I found myself walking down to the beach. Logically I thought the beach was the last place I would find any fungi, but I followed the path I felt laid before me. Another organism I typically associate with the forest is a squirrel, but right before I hit the sand, I saw one in the cliff, completely out of place.
After having experienced the mycomythology workshop, there were two particular thoughts that lingered about in my mind: storytelling, and the depictions of fungi in stories.
I found the topic of weeds very interesting because to begin with, how do we even categorize weeds? What is the difference between how we classify weeds in the US in comparison to how others classify them? I wanted to share this link I found that talks about the various use of plants found in the Amazon rainforest. In fact, 25% of the plants in the Amazon rainforest have medicinal purposes including Lapacho which has been proven to have anti-cancer properties and is useful for treating cancer, alleviating pain, chemotherapy and shrinking cancer cells.
In yesterday’s lecture, many students presented on their midterm proposal blogs, Alvaro discussed some of his work, and Professor Vesna discussed her project on dust. This blog does not serve as a comprehensive summary of everything that was discussed in class. Rather, this class discusses some thoughts I had during some of the presentations. Hopefully some of the material written below will be useful additional ideas for people with relevant blogs.
I’ve been reading up on Monsanto recently out of interest and have come across some links that would be helpful for anyone interested in reading a bit more about them.
Avian Flu being cross-species
Brings up idea of how cats and tigers have now been diagnosed with coronavirus but not dogs
Kamila’s blog of biophilia
So, since I presented today, I thought I'd just add some of the notes I took from class.
I want to look further into hair as an object of both disgust and desire. As Professor Vesna mentioned, it's disgusting in the sense that we often throw it away and have this uncomfortable feeling when it's in or near our food.
With regard to biophilia:
If my memory serves correctly, Ngoc was planning to take the midterm project in a direction tangential to the conspiracy theories, but while listening to the presentation, I recalled a friend linking me to some conspiracy articles about COVID-19 originating in the United States. Also, in the face of the article Harrison linked in the chat about how unlikely it was for the virus to have originated in a lab, these articles are just a bit outdated.
In class today, Cydney discussed her extra credit blogs, the second one being based on a talk by Val Curtis in February at the London School of Hygiene. Cydney writes that "The problem is that Africa and Asia are especially bad, where 24% don’t have basic sanitation or a decent toilet, and 12% of people still defecate in the open. Handwashing is even worse - 19% of people wash their hands with soap when they need to, and only 3% wash hands after toilet in Ghana and Madagascar.
Washing Hands during COVID-19
Disgust and Desire: Changing Hygiene and Sanitation Behaviour - GHLS