5 Minute of Science

                      Sarcasm is Good for You. Seriously

The Science in Sarcasm

A joint study carried out from Harvard, Columbia and the European Business school, INSEAD, recently in 2015 published their work on how sarcasm expands the creative mind. The highlighted statement of their research basically says that by using sarcasm, creativity is promoted through abstract thinking for both the speaker and the listener. And although sarcasm might cause conflict, especially when there is not a stable relationship between the two, the content of the sarcasm does not affect the increase of creativity. Constructing and understanding sarcasm involves an intricate and complex connections between different parts of the brain. But in general, the left hemisphere of the brain understands the literal meaning while the right take in the implied meaning of a sarcastic comment. Then the right ventromedial prefrontal cortex connects the two understandings and figures which meaning is meant.     


Sarcasm is often used in conversations. It's a way people can entwine humor into something more serious but often, it can cause conflict and hurt feelings. Workplaces discourage it’s use due to certain consequences it could led to. Communication experts and marriage counselors find this form of language destructive and disapprove it’s use while some others believe it’s pure meanness concealed. However, recent research allowing society to perceive sarcasm in a new light by presenting how it stimulates creativity has created news and talk. Now as we’re move forward into a modern time, the use of sarcasm is also becoming more widespread, but there are still those who adhere to its old beliefs.     


This topic stuck out to me because it’s interesting and it’s true. I’ve always seen sarcastic people to be very creative communicating their messages. So it makes perfect sense that using sarcasm exercises distinct parts of the brain and helps people be more creative. Concurrently, I also agree with people who find the language destructive, I can see and understand why sarcasm should not be used. There just needs to be more caution when using it. People should exercise communicating through creative remarks and make each other laugh.  

Sarcasm Is Good For You. Seriously. (2015, September 9). Retrieved March 15, 2016, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/31aa1030bef9e3c53eae36998850e1a8.htm 

Pazzanese, C. (2015, July 24). Go ahead, be sarcastic. Retrieved March 16, 2016, from http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2015/07/go-ahead-be-sarcastic/ 

 Huang, Li, Gino Francesca, and Adam D. Galinsky. The Highest Form of Intelligence: Sarcasm Increases Creativity for Both Expressers and Recipients. Hbs.edu. Elsevier, 2015. Web. 16 Mar. 2016. <http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication Files/Huang Gino Galinsky OBHDP 2015_f4efb1e9-b842-4764-a292-ac4836c29cb2.pdf>.  


Mycorrhiza and the Wood Wide Web

    Mycelia is the body of a fungus that connects to roots of plants. Mushrooms are just the reproductive part of the fungus as flowers are to plants. There are many different subcategories of mycelia and for this post I will be focussing more or less exclusively on mycorrhiza. The mycorrhizal connection forms what is referred to as the “wood wide web” and allows trees, shrubs, and plants of all types to share information and nutrients with their neighboring plants. Experiments have shown that carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus can be passed along underground between plants which would account for the survival of small plants on the forest floor which are too deeply shaded to make enough food through photosynthesis.

Experiments have also shown that mycorrhizae are efficient transport systems for chemical messages between plants. One plant can signal others in the vicinity when there is a pest and natural repellents are needed so that others can start producing the needed chemicals before there is a full blown infestation. These are just two of the functions of mycorrhizae that we have discovered. There may be even more. We do know however that plants with a strong underground system of mycorrhizae are healthier than their counterparts.

Plants and mycorrhizae have a symbiotic relationship, meaning that they both support each other. While the plants provide the mycorrhizae with carbohydrates, the mycorrhizae help supply the plants with water, nitrogen, and phosphorous. The mycorrhizae also helps boost the plant’s immune system by triggering  chemicals that help defend it from harmful bacteria or diseases. The health of plants is essential especially when it comes to cleaning the air of carbon dioxide and repurposing pollution into oxygen.

Mycorrhizae also help to reform soil. Mycelium are what can break down rocks and mineral and turn them into nutrient rich soil. Regenerative agriculture is better than simply sustainable agriculture in that it depends on nature’s tendency to revert to a closed nutrient loop, greater biological diversity and a reliance on internal rather than external resources. The mycorrhizae are part of the healthy soil that makes regenerative agriculture possible, because in a healthy soil, plants can handle drought, insect attacks and nutrient absorption without chemicals from external sources. This kind of farming results in no nutrient runoff or pollution of waterways because regenerative soil retains its nutrients.

    The “wood wide web” works similarly to the human brain. The mycorrhizal connections are similar to the neurons in how they transfer signals and chemicals. Another way I can relate to mycorrhizae is through horticulture. I have always been intrigued by plants and this information has completely altered my perspective of my surroundings.



Fleming, N. (2014, November 11). Plants Talk to Each Other Using an Internet of Fungus. Retrieved March 16, 2016, from http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20141111-plants-have-a-hidden-internet

Giovannetti, M., Avio, L., Fortuna, P., Pellegrino, E., Sbrana, C., & Strani, P. (2006, January). At the Root of the Wood Wide Web: Self Recognition and Non-Self Incompatibility in Mycorrhizal Networks. Retrieved March 16, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2633692/

Stamets, P. (2016, March 16). Mushrooms as Medicine. Lecture presented at Exponential Medicine. Retrieved March 16, 2016, from Fleming, N. (2014, November 11). Plants Talk to Each Other Using an Internet of Fungus. Retrieved March 16, 2016, from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/03/14/mushroom-healing-power.aspx?e_cid=20160314Z1_DNL_art_3&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art3&utm_campaign=20160314Z1&et_cid=DM100397&et_rid=1398413319

Boys Ultimate Beats Masterman to Start Season

The Science Leadership Academy Boys Varsity Ultimate team kicked off their season with a 15-13 win over Masterman in cold, rainy conditions on Tuesday. The game was a windy affair with upwind goals at a premium. SLA jumped out to a 4-1 lead before a series of turnovers allowed Masterman to come back into the game, eventually taking the half with an 8-7 lead. 

The second half saw stellar play from the senior tri-captains, Jonas Bromley, Miles Cruice-Barnett and Andrew Roberts, as the senior leaders made play after play in the windy conditions. Sophomore Jorin Gerveni turned in one of his best games as a Rocket, making key defensive plays and consistently gaining big yards on offense. 

The game went right down to the wire, with SLA losing late in the game 13-12. But the Rockets rallied and scored the final three goals to clinch a 15-13 win to start the season with a bang!