Sunday, August 29, 2010

Perils of the Interwebs, perilous collecting

I do love the internet, obviously from my participation in it, but do find some faults in it occasionally. For one, as a mycologist, it is evident how much more there is to be explored and documented. Species list for Alabama mushrooms? Or anywhere else for that matter? This isn't solely the fault of the Internet, of course, as the direction of human curiosity and endeavor hasn't led to many attempts at species lists for macroscopic fungi such as it has for flora and fauna. And I am not up to the task myself, so I do accept some blame as well.

But I received a link to an article about a fungus that is expanding its range northward from Florida, to find that I can't tell what the thing is. It is described as "brown roy", which I do believe is a typo, and that the original intent was "brown rot". In looking up this fungus, I find that all the other news outlets picking up the story and posting it on their websites mirror this apparent error. The other name given, "Korean fungus", is also not helpful. The original article mention a photograph of the damage, but they don't SHOW the image.

What will this mean for Alabamians and their wood in service? Alas, I cannot say, for garbage in does equal garbage out, as the old computing axiom states.

In other mushroom news, fungi have been killing in an unexpected way in Italy. Not by nasty infection, not by inadvertent poisoning, not by taking advantage of the intoxicated, but by preying upon the cupidity of mushroom collectors. I would have been surprised to find Italians, with a long history of mycophagy, being killed by collecting and eating poisonous mushrooms, but this is not the case. Eighteen Italians have been killed by their secretive protection of fruiting sites, falling off trails down steep slopes or getting lost. I know many mycophiles have nearly gotten quite lost, staring at the ground instead of focusing on their position in the landscape, myself included.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Alabamians gone viral again

This was in Huntsville!

While I feel for the poor lady who was the victim of the attack, her brother is quite charismatic, especially under the influence of Auto-tune.