Saturday, 1 February 2014

Fungal Stools Anyone?

Photo: Phil Ross
I reckon that I must go to the most high-brow, and minimalist, dental surgery in the universe.  A visit was necessary yesterday as a filling had unhelpfully fallen out. Are they supposed to do that? Anyway, instead of the usual stack of Hello! magazines or the like in the waiting room, all that I could find was a solitary copy of the New Scientist. With my science days long behind me, I'd forgotten what an interesting read this is and I'm pleased to say it's available online free so you can all go and have a look if you fancy.

This was the thing that most caught my attention. To most people a fungal stool conjures up ideas of a rather nasty gastro-intestinal disease that they keep their fingers crossed will never afflict them or a member of their family.  But there's a bloke in American who thought otherwise.  Phil Ross must have had a lightbulb moment along the lines of 'Toad...stool....stool....toad....Hmm!  I wonder if I can make a  stool for toads out of mushrooms! After all it's a sustainable source of building material'.  Off he popped and here's the result, made from mycellium, the bit that grows underground.  It's been cooked, varnished and is as hard as nails like those weird and wonderful polypores that grow on the side of trees in woods.  They're so tough that people sharpen knives with them. Fact!  Back to the stool though. I'm not sure that I would give it house room myself but it's interesting and innovative and deserves a mention for thoroughly whetting my curiosity.

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