The Wit and Wisdom of Cornellians

The right of Big Red Bears to babble shall not be infringed

The Wit and Wisdom of Cornellians

The right of Big Red Bears to babble shall not be infringed



The start codon is the first codon of a messenger RNA transcript translated by a ribosome into a protein. The most common start codon is AUG. Is it a coincidence that this codon in the centerpiece of the word LAUGH?

To me, this correlation suggests that laughter and the comedy that sparks it may be fundamental to life. Animals laugh. Yes, experiments have shown that infant orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees laugh when they are tickled! (Tickling an adult gorilla may be no laughing matter).

Unfortunately, the biological view of life no longer has the meaning it once had now that political ideology trumps biology as Cornell alumna Luana Maroja has described.

As published in Scientific American, laughter may serve a social function by signaling to another person that we wish to connect with them. Laughter may also serve as a substitute for grooming, which is a generous, one-sided act  that requires trust and time.

There seems to be a relationship between the death of biological truth and the death of laughter. In an article entitled, No Laughing Matter  Juliana Geran Pilon wrote

Indeed, at this point Hiram Johnson’s famous adage might well use some updating: in the culture wars at hand, truth may be the first casualty, but its sidekick, humor, blindfolded and smoking its last cigarette, is just a split second behind.

The culture war is killing our ability to connect as individuals.

Remember what The Monkees sang:

Laugh (Oh, ha-ha-ha)
At the things that are wrong (Oh, ha-ha-ha)
If you thinks it’s this song (Yeah, ha-ha-ha. Woo)
Then laugh (Oh, ha-ha-ha)
Then laugh (Oh, ha-ha-ha)
Then laugh (Oh, ha-ha-ha)

and laugh!


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