The tripping balls coyotes of Marin county are a real thing. As I drive my daughter to school in the early mornings, this year, we have seen some odd, and entertaining coyote behavior!
Theory has been that local coyotes have been eating some mushrooms that make them trip out. Single coyotes have been running into traffic, inspecting cars that stop, and staring down drivers!
I guess there was some confusion, or concern, as to what kind of mushrooms could cause this?
Via the NBC Bay Area:
The Pacific Sun reported that coyotes in West Marin who have recently starred in bizarre confrontations with humans in cars may have eaten fly agaric mushrooms, which contain a psychoactive substance called muscimol.
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The story went around the world, fueling tabloid headlines like "Coyotes are allegedly getting high on magic mushrooms" and "Coyotes tripping on magic mushrooms?"
While the fly agaric mushrooms have hallucinogenic properties, they aren't part of the group of fungi that commonly referred to as "magic mushrooms," which is slang for a popular recreational drug for humans. Magic mushrooms typically refer to mushrooms that contain a hallucinogenic substance called psylocybin.
Both can reportedly be found growing wild in the North Bay through the spring.
All of us who've held mushrooms and microphones at the same time have done this. And it's funny every time we do it.
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A few readers have expressed doubt about the orgasm-inducing mushroom I mentioned yesterday. It was in reference to an article titled, "Spontaneous Female Orgasms Triggered by the Smell of a Newly Found Tropical Dictyophora Desv. Species," which appeared in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms (Vol 3. p. 162, 2001)
Here's a link to the PDF of the article. The article, written by John C. Holliday and Noah Soule of Next Laboratories and Aloha Medicinals in Hawaii says:
...there are significant sexual arousal characteristics present in the fetid odor of this unique mushroom. Indeed, nearly half of the female test subjects experienced spontaneous orgasms while smelling this mushroom.
None of our readers have, as far as I know, sniffed the mushroom, but they do know their way around Snopes, and they have kindly provided a link to the site's page, which says the mushroom's orgasmic power is UNPROVEN:
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Our research did not turn up any other scientific studies about this orgasm-inducing and unnamed Dictyophora species, and the one extant study is itself a bit flimsy. Halliday and Soule conducted a “smell test” in 2001 involving 16 women and 20 men. Six women reportedly experienced spontaneous (but not “earth-shattering”) orgasms while smelling the fungus, and the other 10 (who received smaller doses) experienced an increase in heart rate. What caused the spontaneous orgasms? Halliday speculated that the fetid odor of the mushrooms may have had “hormonelike compounds present” that had some “similarity to human neurotransmitters released during sexual encounters.”
While Halliday’s study is certainly intriguing, it’s somewhat short of representing a rigorous scientific standard: it’s a single, decade-old study that was conducted with a very small sample group and published in a minor journal, one which has not since been replicated or vetted by other researchers in the scientific community.
A study from the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms reports that Dictyophora, a mushroom that grows on lava flows, induces spontaneous orgasms in about 1/3 of the woman who sniff it.
According to a 2001 publication in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, the smell of the fresh fungus can trigger spontaneous orgasms in human females. In the trial involving 16 women, 6 had orgasms while smelling the fruit body, and the other ten, who received smaller doses, experienced physiological changes such as increased heart rate. All of the 20 men tested considered the smell disgusting. According to the authors, the results suggest that the hormone-like compounds present in the volatile portion of the gleba may have some similarity to human neurotransmitters released in females during sexual activity. The study used the species found in Hawaii, not the edible variety cultivated in China.
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A classic example of global news lulz from 2012. Read the rest
Yartsa gunbu (summer grass-winter worm) is a fungus that parasitizes moth larvae by devouring them from the inside-out and sprouting from their exoskeleton. It has been used for centuries by Tibetan and Chinese doctors to "improve breathing, metabolism, sexual function, mental clarity, and more."
Demand for the mushroom has skyrocketed, according to Epoch Times:
Tibet has enjoyed a vigorous caterpillar fungus trade with China for centuries, but in recent decades prices have skyrocketed. A pound of yartsa gunbu was less than two dollars in the 1970s, and close to $100 in the 1990s. Today, a pound of high quality specimens could sell for as much as $40,000 or more. Total revenue from yartsa gunbu comes to about a $1 billion a year.
Ecologist and mushroom specialist Daniel Winkler says, “I know Chinese people whose friends are willing to spend half of their income on this, because they feel like, ‘Well, I’m getting old. I’m falling apart. This buys me life.’ That’s why people are willing to pay this incredible amount." Read the rest
In this week’s episode of the Cool Tools Show, Gary Wolf, Co-founder of Quantified Self, shows us how his favorite Quantified Self inspired apps help him stay consistent, motivated and aware about his most important daily routines. If you’re struggling to keep your healthy habits in check, this week’s episode may help you diagnose where those dips in motivation are coming from.
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Firebox sells four varieties of rubber mushrooms designed to reduce symptoms of stress. They are described as being "slightly phallic" in appearance. Read the rest
We need fungal solutions to pollution, pandemics, and starvation, says Tradd Cotter, a microbiologist and professional mycologist
The Daily Grail delves into Frank Herbert's passion for mycology and how psilocybin mushrooms helped inspire Dune. Read the rest
Photo: mushrooms, by Damon Lapas, shared in BB Flickr Pool
Snip from the NYT
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the New York Mycological Society and the 100th birthday of the composer John Cage, its founder, there will be an exhibition on mushrooms and Mr. Cage’s passion for them on Sept. 7 and 8 at the Cooper Union, 7 East Seventh Street (Third Avenue). Admission is free. On Sept. 8 from 8 to 11 p.m. there will be a performance of some of Mr. Cage’s works with film and photographic backdrops about mushrooms. Tickets benefit the society: $20 to $100, $5 for students, for the show. A pre-performance dinner at the home of the author Eugenia Bone is $200 a person, including the show, or $350 for two, from newyorkmyc.org.
The late composer's love for 'shrooms was famously documented in the book "For the Birds," which was reviewed by the Times here in 1981.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012 would have been the 100th birthday of John Cage. Events around the country commemorating his life are gathered in this LA Times item.
(Thanks, Jerome Mercier!) Read the rest
] When I was at TED earlier this year, I happened to sit down next to film maker Louie Schwartzberg. He makes gorgeous nature films. I recently watched the videos on his YouTube channel
. They are all stunning.
This video was shown at the TED conference in 2011, with scenes from "Wings of Life," a film about the threat to essential pollinators that produce over a third of the food we eat. The seductive love dance between flowers and pollinators sustains the fabric of life and is the mystical keystone event where the animal and plant worlds intersect that make the world go round. Read the rest