Bugging in the bed

A colluege of mine (we're in the same research group) had her latest result on bed bug chemical ecology posted on Science News today. Go read it! It has everything: gender conflicts, homosexual relationships, wild sex and violence. She doesn't know it but during my year here, she has actually becomed something of a role model for me even though we're not working with the same organism, or with the same methods. As I said, go and read it!


Glowing in the forest

Image taken from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/10/photogalleries/glowing-fungi/images/primary/RB_24-03-06_36-big.jpg

I was in Amsterdam a few days this summer, enjoying a stay in one of Europe's most non-pretentious old cities where politically correct culture (Rembrandt, art museums, antique shops, Anne Frank's house, all old canals and houses, tulips...) goes hand in hand with tourist traps, naked women behind glass doors and "soft drug" propaganda. I had somewhat prepared myself for the latter, but I would never expect it to be e v e r y w h e r e . On almost every street, there was a coffee shop and/or a souvenir store where you could get "natural" things to mess up your CNS, i.e. cannabis and mushrooms. I've always been fascinated by subcultures, and in Amsterdam it became more obvious than ever how these hallucinogen-loving people all have a few characteristics in their appearance in common. Such as strange little fungi that's glowing. Maybe it comes with the territory. But to my surprise (which may be obvious to others), today I read this in Scientific American - that glowing fungi really do exist and you can see them without first displacing your perceptive equilibrium.

Image taken from http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2009/10/mushroomsglow1.jpg

In the genus Mycena, the ability to bioluminescence exist in at least 65 species (perhaps more....you just have to find them). Some glow only in the caps, or the gills, others in the stem and others only in the mycelium. No one really knows why they glow; it may be to attract flies and insects for pollination, or it may be to attract predators on the fungi's predators, or it may be something completely different. And when a human gets fascinated, there's always room for business: here you can buy a batch of a glowing fungi culture to add a psychedelic touch to your home. Awsome.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/10/photogalleries/glowing-fungi/photo2.html http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/080808-bts-bioluminescent-fungi.html

Cool pics: