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  1. #196
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    This page has several five-plus minute videos from The World After Coronavirus covering subjects from fine arts, to economic growth, to the European Union.

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  3. #197
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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    The Secret Lives of Fungi

    They shape the world—and offer lessons for how to live in it.

    By Hua Hsu

    May 11, 2020


    A seemingly brainless organism, the fungus is a model of coöperative resilience.Illustration by Anders Nilsen

    "In 1957, a man from New York named R. Gordon Wasson published an article in Life about two trips he had taken, three decades apart. The first was to the Catskills, in New York, where his wife, Valentina, took a rambling walk in the woods and became enamored of some wild mushrooms. “She caressed the toadstools,” Wasson recalled, “savored their earthy perfume.” She brought them home to cook, and soon he, too, was enchanted. They spent the next thirty years studying and cataloguing various species, searching out literary and artistic works about mushrooms.

    According to Wasson, the world is divided into mycophiles and mycophobes. Reverence might take a variety of forms—think of Eastern Europe or Russia, where foraging is a pastime. There’s a famous scene in “Anna Karenina,” in which a budding romance withers during a mushroom hunt. Wasson was particularly interested in societies that venerated the fungus for spiritual reasons. In Mexico, wild mushrooms were thought to possess “a supernatural aura.”

    There are any number of reasons that one might be mycophobic. Some people are put off by mushrooms’ taste or texture—supple, with a fleshy resistance—and the fact that they somehow resemble both plant and animal. Others are creeped out by the way they pop up overnight, hypersensitive to atmospheric changes. As fungi, they feed on organic matter, and can be seen as vehicles of decay. In Wasson’s view, Americans, and Anglo-Saxons as a whole, were mycophobic, and “ignorant of the fungal world.”

    In his forays against this ignorance, Wasson learned of a so-called “divine mushroom” consumed in remote corners of the world. In 1955, he finally found one of these communities, a small town in the mountains of southern Mexico. At the house of a local shaman, Wasson drank chocolate, then spent thirty minutes chewing “acrid” mushrooms. “I could not have been happier: this was the culmination of years of pursuit,” Wasson wrote. For the next few hours, he experienced visions—resplendent motifs and patterns, mythical beasts and grand vistas, streams of brilliant color, constantly morphing and oozing, whether his eyes were open or closed—and he felt connected to everything he saw. “It was as though the walls of our house had dissolved,” he wrote, and his spirit were soaring through the mountains.

    The fact that Wasson was an otherwise straitlaced, politically conservative bank executive at J. P. Morgan lent this adventure a serious and respectable air. He began to wonder if he had unlocked a mystery uniting all of humanity: “Was it not probable that, long ago, long before the beginnings of written history, our ancestors had worshipped a divine mushroom?” Wasson’s discovery turned, briefly, into a movement. Timothy Leary read about the Wassons and went to experience the mushroom himself, starting the Harvard Psilocybin Project. Spurred on by evangelists like Leary, young Americans turned to drugs (LSD, too, is derived from a fungus), along with alternative approaches to agriculture, diet, and sustainable living. Within a few years, the backlash against psychedelic drugs was in full swing, macrobiotic eating was relegated to the fringes, and it seemed that America had returned to its generally mycophobic ways.

    But our attitudes toward the fungal kingdom may be evolving, with respect both to pharmacology and to food. In November, the residents of Oregon are scheduled to vote on whether to legalize psilocybin, the psychoactive compound found in so-called magic mushrooms, for use in controlled settings. The effort has been backed by researchers and scientists, and passionately supported by David Bronner, the C.E.O.—in this case, cosmic engagement officer—of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. The ballot initiative follows clinical trials conducted at Johns Hopkins, New York University, and U.C.L.A. in the use of mushrooms to treat addiction and depression. Psilocybin has already been decriminalized in Santa Cruz, Oakland, and Denver.

    Meanwhile, the American diet includes more mushrooms than it used to—about four pounds per person a year, a gradual increase from just one in the sixties. The hefty portobello burger is ubiquitous, and, even before the current pandemic, there was a growing interest in the everyday role that fungi play in our lives on a microbial level: “home fermentation” (whether for sourdough, kombucha, kimchee, or harder stuff) has become a mainstream hobby. Amateur mycology has flourished on the Internet. There are videos about foraging, and how to induce any mushroom to release its spores onto a sheet of paper, leaving a beautiful print of its gills. I recently found a Web page devoted to pictures of mushrooms that convincingly resembled human butts.

    Fungus, as Merlin Sheldrake writes in “Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures” (Random House), is everywhere, yet easy to miss. Mushrooms are the most glamorous but possibly least interesting members of this kingdom. Most fungi take the form of tiny cylindrical threads, from which hyphal tips branch in all directions, creating a meandering, gossamer-like network known as mycelium. Fungus has been breaking down organic matter for millions of years, transforming it into soil. A handful of healthy soil might contain miles of mycelia, invisible to the human eye. It’s estimated that there are a million and a half species of fungus, though nearly ninety per cent of them remain undocumented. Before any plants were taller than three feet, and before any animal with a backbone had made it out of the water, the earth was dotted with two-story-tall, silo-like fungi called prototaxites. The largest living organism on earth today is a fungus in Oregon just beneath the ground, covering about 3.7 square miles and estimated to weigh as much as thirty-five thousand tons. If fungus can inspire awe, it can also be a nuisance or worse, from athlete’s foot to the stem rust that afflicts wheat and is considered a major threat to global food security. Last year, the C.D.C. identified the Candida auris as an emerging public-health concern; it’s a sometimes fatal, drug-resistant pathogen that has emerged in hospitals and nursing homes around the world. The more we learn about fungi, Sheldrake observes, the less the natural world makes sense without them.

    Sheldrake was drawn to fungi because they are humble yet astonishingly versatile organisms, “eating rock, making soil, digesting pollutants, nourishing and killing plants, surviving in space, inducing visions, producing food, making medicines, manipulating animal behavior, and influencing the composition of the earth’s atmosphere.” Plants make their own food, converting the world around them into nutrients. Animals must find their food. But fungi essentially acquire theirs by secreting digestive enzymes into their environment, and absorbing whatever is nearby: a rotten apple, an old tree trunk, an animal carcass. If you’ve ever looked closely at a moldy piece of bread—mold, like yeast, being a type of fungus—what appears to be a layer of fuzz is actually millions of minuscule hyphal tips, busily breaking down matter into nutrients.

    The fungus kingdom spreads by way of spores. This is where mushrooms, the part of fungus that makes it above ground, show their prowess. The shaggy inkcap mushroom—soft and tender when cooked—can break through asphalt and concrete pavement. Each year, fungi produce more than fifty megatons of spores. Some mushrooms are capable of onetime exertions in which spores are catapulted through the air at speeds of fifty-five miles an hour. But the contribution that fungi make to the larger ecology is fundamental: by turning biomass into soil, they recycle dead organic matter back into organic life.

    Sheldrake is in his early thirties, a biologist who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. But his evangelical zeal for the fungal world makes it plain that he’s drawn to the weirdness of it all. (His father, Rupert, is a former research biologist who became known for his belief in “morphic resonance,” which posits a kind of shared consciousness within nature.) His book recounts the requisite tales of champion truffle hunters, psychedelic adventurers, his own love of home-brewing beer. One of the heroes of “Entangled Life” is Paul Stamets, a logger turned mycologist and entrepreneur who lives in Washington State. (Stamets also steals the show in “Fantastic Fungi,” a 2019 documentary directed by Louie Schwartzberg and narrated, somewhat creepily, by the actress Brie Larson.) In 2005, Stamets published “Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Save the World,” an influential work that was taken up by fellow fungal enthusiasts as a kind of manifesto. A TED talk drawn from the book has been viewed millions of times.

    Stamets’s fascination with fungus began with a world-changing moment of his own: a psilocybin trip cured him of a lifelong stutter. Convinced of the mushroom’s special power—he could talk to girls now!—he began harvesting exotic varieties, building a profitable mail-order business that sells grow kits, extracts, cultivation gear, even fungal dog treats (Mutt-rooms). He briefly worked with the Department of Defense to study the antibacterial and antiviral compounds that fungus had developed to protect itself in the course of millions of years. Penicillin had famously been isolated by accident, in 1928, when Alexander Fleming noticed that his petri-dish colony of staphylococcus had been ravaged by an incidental growth of mold. Perhaps our old-growth forests, filled with mycelia that had adapted in order to ward off invasive bacteria, held the key to preventing future pandemics. Their preservation, Stamets believed, was a matter of national security.

    Stamets is an advocate of what he calls mycoremediation—the use of fungi to remove toxic substances from the environment. Fungi have helped clean up diesel-contaminated soil; they’ve broken down pesticide residues, crude oil, and plastics. Disposable diapers can linger in a landfill for hundreds of years, but in 2014 scientists reported that they had grown oyster mushrooms on a substance made from used diapers, reducing their weight and volume by eighty per cent. (And the mushrooms were safe to eat.) Mycelium is even capable of filtering E. coli or heavy metals from polluted water. Sheldrake describes a company in Finland that has adopted these mycofiltration techniques to reclaim gold from electronic waste. The firm Ecovative Designs has developed mycelium-based packaging that resembles Styrofoam but biodegrades within thirty days. It also helped devise a mycelium-based alternative to leather, which was used in a prototype of a Stella McCartney handbag.

    Stamets’s ardent advocacy inspired a man named Peter McCoy to help start an organization called Radical Mycology. McCoy, who is also an anarchist and a hip-hop artist, has devoted his life to a radically decentered, fungus-inspired method of sharing information. He founded an online mycology school and preaches “Liberation Mycology.” “Where one Radical Mycologist trains ten,” McCoy says, “those ten can train a hundred, and from them a thousand—so it is that mycelium spreads.”

    For Wasson, fungus was related to the transcendent, the realm of worship, of reverence; for Stamets, fungus was an instrument for environmental resilience and restoration. But can fungus, finally, provide a political vision? What might we learn, Sheldrake asks, from the “mutualism” and coöperation of a seemingly brainless organism?

    Sheldrake notes that the hyphal tips of mycelium seem to communicate with one another, making decisions without a real center. He describes an experiment conducted a couple of years ago by a British computer scientist, Andrew Adamatzky, who detected waves of electrical activity in oyster mushrooms, which spiked sharply when the mushrooms were exposed to a flame. Adamatzky posited that the mushroom might be a kind of “living circuit board.” The point isn’t that mushrooms would replace silicon chips. But if fungi already function as sensors, processing and transmitting information through their networks, then what could they potentially tell (or warn) us about the state of our ecosystem, were we able to interpret their signals?

    Sheldrake also tells us about Toby Kiers, an evolutionary biologist who was taken with Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” and its insights on inequality. She wondered how mycorrhizal networks, the symbiotic intertwining of plant systems and mycelium, deal with their own, natural encounters with inequity. Kiers exposed a single fungus to an unequally distributed supply of phosphorus. Somehow the fungus “coordinated its trading behavior across the network,” Sheldrake writes, essentially shuttling phosphorus to parts of the mycelial network for trade with the plant system according to a “buy low, sell high” logic.

    The anthropologist Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing has explored the story of global capitalism through mushrooms. In 2015, she published “The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins,” which followed the trade in the prized matsutake mushroom from a community of Southeast Asian refugees who are among the top foragers in the Pacific Northwest to the auction markets of Japan, where matsutake fetch a thousand dollars a kilogram, and on to chefs and discriminating diners in the world’s most cosmopolitan cities.

    There’s a double meaning to Tsing’s title. The mushroom is at the end of the known world because it’s hard to find, a secret tucked deep in the forest. But she’s also hinting at the end of the world as we know it, given our instinct for extracting as much from the earth as we can. Humanity has never seemed so finely calibrated and rationalized: the seamless journey of a very expensive mushroom from nature to a dinner plate tells this story. But things have never seemed so precarious, either. During the current pandemic, images have circulated which suggest that the earth is better off with many of us staying at home. There have been fantastical stories of dolphins in the canals of Venice, penguins sauntering through an empty aquarium. And, as industry idled and vehicles went undriven, there was the rare sight of clear skies in Beijing and Los Angeles. Following the nuclear blast at Chernobyl, the industrious, resilient fungi were among the earliest living things to appear. They seemed to grow on the reactor walls, attracted to radioactive “hot” particles. In fact, they appeared capable of harnessing radiation as a source of energy, as plants do with sunlight. The first thing to grow from the soil after the atomic bomb decimated Hiroshima was, reportedly, a matsutake mushroom.

    Scientists still don’t understand how fungi coördinate, control, and learn from such behaviors, just that they do. “How best to think about shared mycorrhizal networks?” Sheldrake wonders. “Are we dealing with a superorganism? A metropolis? A living Internet? Nursery school for trees? Socialism in the soil? Deregulated markets of late capitalism, with fungi jostling on the trading floor of a forest stock exchange? Or maybe it’s fungal feudalism, with mycorrhizal overlords presiding over the lives of their plant laborers for their own ultimate benefit.” None of these attempts to fit fungi into the logic of our world are entirely persuasive. Perhaps it’s the other way around, and we’re the ones who should try to fit into the fungus’s model. A truffle’s funky aroma evolved to attract insects and small rodents, which feast on the spores, then spread them throughout the forest via their fecal matter. For many, the pleasure of psilocybin is in giving oneself up to the weft of a connected world, and making peace with one’s smallness.

    Maybe the vision that unites our mycophiles, from Wasson to Stamets and Sheldrake, isn’t so freakish, after all. The divine secret is the magic of the mundane, and one needn’t fly too high to witness it. The composer John Cage was an avid forager who supplemented his income by selling prized mushrooms to upscale restaurants. He once persuaded administrators at the New School to allow him to teach a course on mycology alongside his music classes. “Often I go in the woods thinking after all these years I ought finally to be bored with fungi,” Cage confided in his diaries. But his sense of revelatory delight never faltered. “Supreme good fortune,” he wrote, as he held a fine specimen in his hand. “We’re both alive!”"♦

    Published in the print edition of the May 18, 2020, issue, with the headline “Fungus Among Us."

    Source reference/links: newyorker.com

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  5. #198
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    I didn't realize that 'mycelium' and 'fungi' were connected. I just finished reading a book where in the future mycelium is used to modify the structure of the human organism for healing, empowerment, diversity, etc. I've always viewed mushrooms as just another toadstool that I refuse to eat...
    "A large infusion of cash will cure most forms of fanatacism" - Thumbnail Biographies

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  7. #199
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    NAP, NAP, NAP. Did you not see the videos of Paul Stamets?

    His work saving the bees directly involves mycelium.

    If you upend mulch or break open a rotting log you can see the mycelium growing under the surface.

    Paul was on Joe Rogan's podcast. I posted a couple other vids.

    He has made it into popular culture:

    The character Lieutenant Commander Paul Stamets on the CBS series Star Trek: Discovery was named after the real Stamets. The fictional version is an astromycologist and the chief engineer of the USS Discovery, and is credited with discovering a mycelial network that powers an advanced spore drive.

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    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    That design is beautiful and a bit creepy. It looks like the human has been infested with cordyceps and is about to spread the spores to other humans. A la the ants in the jungles.
    Last edited by Dreamtimer, 14th May 2020 at 02:18. Reason: cordyceps, not polypores

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  11. #201
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    Wow, I missed a lot...why I never!

    I gotta get with the program...Star Trek Discovery...
    "A large infusion of cash will cure most forms of fanatacism" - Thumbnail Biographies

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  13. #202
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    I gotta catch up with the series. Something to look forward to.

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  15. #203
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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    Question

    American Horror Story !

    Spending and Deficit Set All-Time Records...
    FED: WE NEED MORE BAILOUTS!
    Accusations of socialism have lost bite...
    Wall St Heavyweights Sounding Alarm About Stock Prices...
    False Negatives Raise More Questions About Virus Test Accuracy...
    Trump deepens rift with Fauci...
    WIRE: What Happens If President Infected?
    BATTLE OVER BODY COUNT...
    TEXAS TURNS HOTSPOT...
    These States May Face ANOTHER Lockdown...
    White House 'buried' CDC plan warning against summer travel...
    LOST VEGAS: Masks, No Buffets, Glass Barriers...
    12 more miles of NYC street closed...
    Armed militia to protest Michigan stay-at-home orders...
    Male patients with low testosterone more likely to die...
    Hollywood Bowl cancels summer concerts; First time in 100 years...
    World leaders unlikely to meet at UN in September...
    U.S. DEATHS: 84,059...
    AMERICA SICK MAP...
    WORLD SICK MAP...



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    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    Is there a link to the above?

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  19. #205
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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    Question

    'What happens when you plop pigs on a subantartic island' ...




    The Livestock Living at the End of the World

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  21. #206
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    Pigs ravage natural environments.

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  23. #207
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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    Thinking

    This might not surprise anyone ...



    Study finds nearly half of accounts tweeting
    about coronavirus are bots


    "Nearly half of the Twitter accounts spreading messages on the social media platform about the coronavirus pandemic are likely bots, according to researchers.

    Carnegie Mellon University researchers said Wednesday that they had examined more than 200 million tweets discussing the virus since January and found that about 45 percent were sent by accounts that behave more like computerized robots than humans.

    “We’re seeing up to two times as much bot activity as we’d predicted based on previous natural disasters, crises and elections,” said Kathleen Carley, a professor in the School of Computer Science’s Institute for Software Research, in a statement.

    Carley and her colleagues used a bot-hunter tool, which was able to flag accounts that tweet more than is humanly possible or claim to be in multiple countries within a few hours’ period. In order to determine if an account is a bot, they also looked at a Twitter account’s followers, how often it tweets and how frequently the user is mentioned on the platform.

    Although it’s not known what individuals or groups are behind the bots, researchers said the tweets appeared aimed at sowing division in America.

    “We do know that it looks like it’s a propaganda machine and it definitely matches the Russian and Chinese playbooks, but it would take a tremendous amount of resources to substantiate that,” said Carley, who is conducting a study into bot-generated coronavirus activity on Twitter that has yet to be published.

    Among the more than 100 false narratives about COVID-19 that are proliferating on Twitter thanks to accounts controlled by bots: conspiracy theories about hospitals filled with mannequins and conspiracy theories about a connection to 5G wireless towers. Both of these are false.

    If users are unsure about an account’s authenticity, they should do their own research to the best of their ability, according to researchers.

    “Even if someone appears to be from your community if you don’t know them personally, take a closer look and always go to authoritative or trusted sources for information,” Carley said. “Just be very vigilant.”"

    Source:reference link: /nypost.com

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  25. #208
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    Lightbulb

    Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes ...

    The 3D printing revolution | DW Documentary


    Three-dimensional printing promises new opportunities for more sustainable and local production. But does 3D printing make everything better? This film shows how innovation can change the world of goods.

    Is the way we make things about to become the next revolution? Traditional manufacturing techniques like milling, casting and gluing could soon be replaced by 3D printing -saving enormous amounts of material and energy. Aircraft maker Airbus is already benefiting from the new manufacturing method. Beginning this year, the A350 airliner will fly with printed door locking shafts. Where previously ten parts had to be installed, today that’s down to just one. It saves a lot of manufacturing steps. And 3D printing can imitate nature's efficient construction processes, something barely possible in conventional manufacturing. Another benefit of the new technology is that components can become significantly lighter and more robust, and material can be saved during production. But the Airbus development team is not yet satisfied. The printed cabin partition in the A350 has become 45 percent lighter thanks to the new structure, but it is complex and expensive to manufacture. It takes 900 hours to print just one partition, a problem that print manufacturers have not yet been able to solve.

    The technology is already being used in Adidas shoes: The sportswear company says it is currently the world’s largest manufacturer of 3D-printed components. The next step is sustainable materials, such as biological synthetic resins that do not use petroleum and can be liquefied again without loss of quality and are therefore completely recyclable. This documentary sheds light on the diverse uses of 3D printing.

    May 23, 2020

    26:01 minutes



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  27. #209

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