Sunday, January 9, 2011

10 Most Bizarre Mushrooms

The Brain mushroom (Gyromitra esculenta)
Gyromitra esculenta, one of several species of fungi known as false morels, is an ascomycete fungus from the genus Gyromitra, widely distributed across Europe and North America. It normally sprouts in sandy soils under coniferous trees in spring and early summer. The fruiting body, or mushroom, is an irregular brain-shaped cap dark brown in colour which can reach 10 cm high and 15 cm wide, perched on a stout white stipe up to 6 cm (2.4 in) high. Although potentially fatal if eaten raw,Gyromitra esculenta is a popular delicacy in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and the upper Great Lakes region of North America . Although popular in some districts of the eastern Pyrenees, it is prohibited from sale to the public in Spain. It may be sold fresh in Finland, but it must be accompanied by warnings and instructions on correct preparation. It is eaten in omelettes, soups, or sautéed in Finnish cuisine. Although it is still commonly parboiled before preparation, recent evidence suggests that even this procedure may not make the fungus entirely safe, thus raising concerns of risk even when prepared properly. (Link)

The Bleeding Tooth fungus (Hydnellum pecki)
Allow me to introduce to you one of the more unusual members of Kingdom Fungi, the Bleeding Tooth Fungus, or Hydnellum peckii which goes by various names often referring to juice or blood. This fungus can be found inNorth America where it is more common in the Pacific Northwest and resides mostly in coniferous forests. The Bleeding Tooth also makes appearances in Europe and has recently been discovered in both Iran and Korea. Upon a first glimpse of the bleeding tooth fungus, one may dismiss the ruby-red liquid as the blood of some poor forest creature splattered across the white mushroom cap. When inspected more closely, it becomes obvious that the fungus is oozing liquid through its own small pores. (Link)

The Giant puffball (Calvatia Gigantea)
The giant puffball, Calvatia gigantea, is easily recognized by its size and shape. Typical specimens are about the size of a soccer ball, and more or less round. However, it can be much larger (a 5-foot, 50-pound specimen is on record!), and its shape can be more "blob-ish" than round, especially when it attains enormous sizes. But it is never shaped like an inverted pear, since it lacks the sterile base portion common to many other puffballs. (Link)

The Devil's Cigar (Chorioactis) – world's rarest fungi
A star-shaped mushroom, called the Devil's Cigar (Chorioactis geaster) is one of the world's rarest fungi. It's also known as the Texas star. These fungi had been detected only in central Texas, two remote locations in Japan, and most recently in the mountains of Nara. The Devil's Cigar is a dark brown cigar-shaped capsule that transforms into a tan-coloured star when it splits open to release its spores. It is also one of only a few known fungi that produce a distinct whistle sound when releasing its spores.

Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)
Trametes versicolor, often called the "turkey tail," has the dubious distinction of being the only member of the forest fungal fowl community not named for the full bird, but a feathery fraction. However, the chicken of the woods and the hen of the woods look nothing at all like chickens or hens, while theturkey tail does look (vaguely) like a turkey's tail. Who started this clucking menagerie of mushroom monikers, anyway? (Link | Photo)

Sky Blue mushroom (Entoloma hochstetteri)
Entoloma hochstetteri is a species of mushroom found in New Zealand and India. The small mushroom is a distinctive all-blue colour, while the gills have a slight reddish tint from the spores. The blue colouring of the fruit body is due to three azulene pigments. Entoloma hochstetteri is not edible, but whether or not it is poisonous is unknown. This species was one of six native fungi featured in a set of fungal stamps issued inNew Zealand in 2002. It is also seen on the reverse side of the $50 bank note, issued by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in 1990. (Link | Photo)

Bearded Tooth mushroom (Hericium erinaceus)
This mushroom that looks like noodles or pom-pom are known to a variety of name like Lion's Mane Mushroom, Bearded Tooth Mushroom, Hedgehog Mushroom, Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom, or Bearded Tooth Fungus. It is an edible mushroom in the tooth fungus group. In the wild, these mushrooms are common during late summer and fall on dead hardwoods, particularly American Beech. (Link)

Dog Stinkhorn (Mutinus caninus)
Mutinus caninus, commonly known as the Dog Stinkhorn, is a small thin, phallus-shaped woodland fungus, with a dark tip. It is often found growing in small groups on wood debris, or in leaf litter, during summer and autumn in Europe and easternNorth America. It is not generally considered edible, although there are reports of the immature 'eggs' being consumed. (Link)

Bioluminescent fungi (Mycena chlorophos)
No, you're not hallucinating; you really are seeing bright green mushrooms, but if you are partial to the odd magic mushie, these images won't faze you in the slightest. These neon green mushrooms, or Mycena chlorophos, to use the technical term, emerge during the rainy season in Japanese and Brazilian forests, scattering the floor with glowing spores. The bases of tree trunks, fallen branches, leaf litter and moist soil provide perfect breeding grounds for the mushrooms. Found mostly on Mesameyama island in Ugui, Japan and Ribeira Valley Tourist State Park, Brazil, the appearance of these garish looking fungi is due to bioluminescence, one of the weird but wonderful reactions that happen naturally in many plants and animals. (Link)

Fly Amanita (Amanita muscaria) – world's most famous mushroom

Also known as the fly Agaric or the fly Amanita, the Amanita muscaria is a poisonous and psychoactive basidiomycete fungi, which is one of many in the genus Amanita. There are several subspecies, and each of them has a different cap color. These include the yellow-range flavivolata guessowii, formosa, the pink persicina, and the brown regalis (although it is now considered a separate species).

Fly Agaric's are one of the most recognizable and widely encountered in popular culture. They have been featured in children's books, films, garden ornaments, greeting cards, and computer games. This toadstool is associated with the famous book turned movie, Alice in Wonderland; the mushroom in Super Mario Bros., and more. It is also known as the mushroom of flies from due to Albertus Magnus' work in De vegetabilibus where he stated, “It is called the mushroom of flies, because crushed in milk it kills flies”.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wonderful escape after lorry flips over on bridge and is held upside down over 200ft drop by a single punctured tyre

The driver of this lorry had a miraculous escape after his vehicle was left suspended over a 200ft drop... by a single punctured tyre.

The man lost control of his vehicle along a major road, clipped the concrete wall of a bridge and the heavy lorry rolled over as it slid perilously close to the edge.

A passerby caught the moment on camera as the momentum of the lorry carried it into the barrier and flipped it over the top.

But thanks to the punctured tyre and pieces of torn sheet metal on the ground near the diesel tank, the lorry was somehow pinned in place suspended upside down over the deep gorge below.

Rescuers tentatively approached the vehicle and managed to pull the driver to safety, despite the fact the tyre could have given way at any time.

The barriers on the bridge are clearly too low to be an effective safety measure for lorries and it is unknown if the vehicle was recovered, or allowed to fall into the gorge.

The pictures, which circulated over a year ago on the internet, have just emerged within China which has strict bans on internet use.

Last year, another lorry driver had a lucky escape when the container on his vehicle hit the underside of a bridge and catapulted the cab nose first into the bridge in Changchun city.


Monday, January 3, 2011

10 Cool Images of Mars

Staring into the clear night sky, you see a bright light low in the west and realize that from at least 35 million to 250 million miles away depending on orbit, Mars awaits. Was it ever inhabited by life? What secrets does it hold that we hope it will give up? Some of this will be answered by the images and data collected by HiRISE.
Possible Active Dune Gullies

HiRISE stands for High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, a coordinated project between NASA and the University of Arizona. It has produced
spectacular images of Mars for our enjoyment and helps researchers to explore the history of water on the planet.

In the top picture, Richardson Crater Dunes are partially defrosted and covered in seasonal carbon dioxide
frost. Dust devils have left their footprints and researchers think larger channels were caused by blocks of dry ice sliding down the dunes and going directly from a solid to a gas (sublimating). However they are caused, it is a stunning photograph
worthy of being at a museum of modern art.
Potential Future Mars Landing Site: Mounds in Acidalia Planitia

These mounds are "mud" volcanoes that occur when a mix of gas, ground rock and liquids deep under the earth's crust (from several meters to kilometers deeo) are forced up to the top. Scientists are looking at it as a potential future landing site because the sediments brought up might contain signs of microbiological past, or even better, present life.
Dark Rimless Pits in the Tharsis Region

These two pits in the Tharsis region align with two depressions of a dark wispy-like deposit. The larger one is 310 m wide while the smaller one is 180 m wide. The deposit itself has a large boomerang shape and scientists believe it consists of darker material blown out of the pits and scattered by the wind.
Frost-Covered Gullies

Gullies in a large crater in Terra Sirenum of the southern hemisphere of Mars are covered in winter frost. In the image, the frost is shown as bright spots and because it is facing south, it's believed to be water frost rather than frost caused by carbon dioxide (CO2). One of the big questions is whether or not the gullies are formed by water and if so, surface or substrate water, or are they formed by dry debris and CO2?
This stunning photo looks like a road alongside an ocean and in actuality may not be so far from that description, albeit Mars style. "Holden crater has some of the best-exposed lake deposits and ancient megabreccia known on Mars," said HiRISE’s principal investigator, professor Alfred McEwen of the UA’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. "Both contain minerals that formed in the presence of water and mark potentially habitable environments. This would be an excellent place to send a rover or sample-return mission to make major advances in understanding if Mars supported life."

Rocky Mesas of Nilosyrtis Mensae Region

Clay minerals
have been found in this area and scientists are excited at the idea of exploring it further. It may be difficult because an exploration vehicle like the Mars Rover would have to land further away and then make its way across the rocky mesas but it is hoped that it is possible.

Layers in Columbus Crater

The different levels of brightness in this image are most likely different sediments in the basin of the crater. This is an old impact crater and researchers believe that erosion from the rim of the crater (which is now much flatter than it was originally) deposited the sediments.


Strange pup who put his nose where it wasn't wanted

Dogs may be inquisitive by nature, but this eight-month-old German Shepherd was heading for trouble when he decided to check out this hole in the wall.

Rebel somehow squeezed his head into a tight spot in the 18in wall in his garden at home in Los Angeles, California, and got well and truly stuck.
It was only when a friend of the owner, who was out at the time, heard Rebel whimpering that he found the pup was in a bit of a tight spot and called the authorities.

County Animal Services officers arrived and decided the dog was not in serious danger. They also concluded that if Rebel could get his head into the hole, they would be able to pull him out, but their main concern was doing so without hurting him.

With officers on either side of the wall, they tucked in the pup’s ears and nudged him back and forth for about 30 minutes before freeing him none the worse for wear.


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