"The Last of Us" irresponsibly promotes a fear of mushrooms

Esteemed mycologist Paul Stamets claims that science fiction TV series The Last of Us is "exploiting mycophobia: the fear of fungi" when mushrooms could actually "save the world," as he explains in the TED Talk below. From the Daily Grail:

The use of a zombifying fungus in the storyline was reportedly inspired by a segment on [the mushroom genus] Cordyceps and how they control insects' minds, that was first broadcast in 2006 in the David Attenborough hosted BBC series Planet Earth

On his Facebook page, [Stamets writes]:

All organisms must eat.

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Zombie fungus and other magnificent images of evolution and ecology from science journal's photo contest

The science journal BMC Ecology and Evolution published the winners of its annual photography competition featuring images captured by researchers in the field. "The competition attracted entries from ecologists and evolutionary biologists from around the world eager to use their creativity to highlight the wonder of nature, the challenges facing our planet and their research," the editors explain. — Read the rest

Meet Murph, Nerf's first and only mascot

Meet Murph! You know the type of zombie which is a human completely taken over by a cordyceps-like fungus? Murph is like that, but the pathology is Morgellons. Murph could star in one of those unsettling animated videos that attaches the latest advances in computer graphics and material science to human models as an exercise in goreless yet skin-raking body horror. — Read the rest

In defense of the mushroom: here's why all your fungi fears are actually wrong

Mushrooms may be among the most misunderstood living organisms on planet Earth. That's partially due to their exotic, almost alien-like look. It's also partially due to their age-old connection to mysticism and folklore from centuries past. Yet another reason is much more firmly grounded in today, as some mushrooms can be poisonous, while others have pharmacological and hallucinogenic properties that could freak a lot of people out. — Read the rest

The weird beauty of fungi: time-lapse videos

National Geographic's Hostile Planet series focuses on the "world's most extreme environments to reveal the animal kingdom's most glorious stories of survival on this fast and continuously shifting planet." This Boing Boing exclusive excerpts beautiful and creepy time-lapse videos of day-glo colored slimes and glistening tentacled mushrooms as they erupt, spread, and decay. — Read the rest

Video of fungus that grows out of insects

I first read about the cordyceps fungus in Lawrence Weschler's terrific book, Mr. Wilson's Cabinet Of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology. Here's how Weschler describes the creepy fungus:

Picture 1-40Deep in the Cameroonian rain forests of west-central Africa there lives a floor-dwelling ant known as Megaloponera foetens, or more commonly, the stink ant.

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