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@mycognosist

The Local Gossip: Episode 8

Fungi, Forests & Friends

gray oyster mushrooms growing from jar
Several gray oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) growing from myceliated coffee grounds in a glass jar. The glass jar is located on a windowsill and has a clamp-down glass lid which is open in the photo.

Alrighty folx, here ya go. Big thanks to @kieran for joining me on this episode! It was a lot of fun to share stories, knowledge and dreams for the future. Thanks as well to @dan hassan for applying his connector magic to great effect. The intro track is one of 52 (!) created by @cblgh during 2018 (I hope it's OK that I used your track @cblgh - it felt like a good fit).

The conversation ambles through a forest of fungal ideas, touching on topics as diverse as psychedelics and psilocybin mushrooms, peer-based knowledge transfer, the history of cities, remediation and cultivation. We hope you'll enjoy it as much as we did! Feel free to share far and wide.

dat://tlg-hyphal-fusion.hashbase.io
dat://08e991809de92c4b8e57c39589e37713765820a77e4cf248a6e87b459190855a/
https://tlg-hyphal-fusion.hashbase.io/

Corrections

I do my very best to share accurate information but I made several mistakes in this one. Most notably, I incorrectly conflate coal and oil (petroleum). This part of the conversation starts around 44:45. While lignin did indeed play a role in coal formation, and it seems likely that fungal degradation of lignin was responsible for dramatically slowing this process, the formation process for petroleum (oil) is different - and oil did not come from lignin. My sincerest apologies! Two relevant links: White Rot Fungi Slowed Coal Formation and The Petroleum Problem.

#myco #permaculture

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Re: %M6igs/cQA

21.1.19 - 25.1.19

  • Gitcoin funded Dark Crystal Secrets API
    • Created an express app
    • Test-drove development of API end-points
    • Extract secrets-wrapper into a new package called dark-crystal-secrets
    • Opened PR to scuttle-dark-crystal with updated package
    • Integrate with the relevant functions from dark-crystal-secrets and format JSON responses.
    • Ensure effective error handling and clear responses
  • Had a painful experience rebuilding my computer after it died on me
  • Met Michael from Briar for a first chat about possible integration

28.1.19 - 1.2.19

  • Wrote up feminist principle response
  • Coordinated a day for doing some user-testing of Dark Crystal at Agorama next Wednesday.
  • Emailed Polly about user-testing Dark Crystal with folk from Space4 and Outlandish. Will be visiting the office next Thursday.
  • Extrapolated challenges of inheritance from our past research and brainstorming for upcoming grant applications
  • Wrote up the painful experience of rebuilding my computer
  • Met @glyph for an inspiring #the-local-gossip episode chatting about fungi, remediation, reciprocity and human-fungal ecologies.
  • Organised call with Peg and Raphael from Whistler
  • Organised call with Peg and Michael from Briar
  • Nearly ompleted dark-crystal-secrets-api, a simple JSON API which accesses our secrets-wrapper (now dark-crystal-secrets) and exposes the crypto.
    • Dockerised the express application
    • Wrote swagger docs and gave them some custom DC styling
    • Finished the API tests
    • Published dark-crystal-secrets to NPM.
    • Researching reverse proxy for nginx configuration
  • Worked on nlnet application
@mycognosist

@noffle I think you might enjoy this one :green_apple:

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@kieran

I thoroughly enjoyed our talk and feel like we barely scratched the surface of such a range of fascinating topics @glyph so I can't wait until we do the next one.

The right moment never arose to open this can of worms, though in my head it was dancing around the edges of my consciousness like some cheeky dryad. I've been discussing with family members about the ethics of cultivation. So with my immediate family if focuses around keeping house-plants. We know that plants are intelligent - they engage in social behaviour (and produce a vast array of chemicals which enable them to do so), they clearly act with intention, they know how to solve problems and they arguably have all the sensory capacities of humans and then some. What is the ethical dimension to keeping and caring for houseplants?

I have a pretty magnificent cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa), which is a cutting from the parent plant (we call her the Mothership) who is over 30 years old and lives in the house I grew up in. This plant has been for so long estranged from its natural habitat. Its likely it was a cutting from another parent plant which had never known its homeland. So for several generations this genetic line of cheese plants has been living in houses, in captivity. But there's not really a fair choice as to what to do with them. I value their lives, they bring me joy, they're well cared for, and its beyond practicality to return them to their native habitat in Mexico. There's not much I can do about it, but I do think about whether its fair to propagate them any more than they already have been. I don't know if I have an answer to that. But there's a mutual dependence, in that they bring me joy, and I feed and drink them.

Thats a relatively straight forward ethical dilemma right. Take it to the instance of small-scale fungus cultivation, and I feel better. Fungi like to be propagated, they spread their spores far and wide, and the more you can encourage them to fruit, the better they will propagate. And I cultivate Oyster mushrooms, which are native, so there is a genuine possibility that the mushrooms I grow will enable dead wood in my area to be colonised by their spores. But when we begin extracting these creatures out of their native environment in order to fulfil a task that will better serve humans and might help prevent / at least slow down the speed of ecosystem collapse. For example growing Quorn. Or training fungi to eat cigarette butts. Its a bit more on the edge of 'whats okay' from an ethical perspective, if we recognise these creatures are sentient. Ultimately we still are dictating their opportunities in many senses when they're in closed systems as opposed to open, so we get to frame the choices they get to make and steer their evolution. I guess a part of me wants to minimise the impact I have on the world, but the reality is we cannot estrange ourselves or abstract ourselves, if I kick on a dandelion by accident, I'm spreading its seed, and actually doing exactly what it wants. Observation and science here are the tools we have at our disposal to be able to decide when its okay to intervene and when its not. I guess I'm making a case for ethical scientific practice.

The third case is where it gets really hairy. I'm building an aquaponics system (slowly mind) and want to keep and cultivate fish and plants as a closed-loop system. And I can see that as a democratised, commons-based community food solution, such systems could be leveraged to really alleviate suffering planet wide - allow river and sea fish-stocks to stabilise and restore balance to ecosystems, to feed humans who are going hungry as drought in certain parts of the world increases. And they can subvert the meat industry, allow people to eat healthy, locally and reliably produced with accountability. This in my mind can even form a cohesive component of building a post-capitalist economy / ecology. And yet part of me feels hesitant. I feel for the fish I want to keep in a 1000L tank. I worry about how I would feel if I grew up in a large white room with 50 other humans and never got the chance to leave. But then I'm anthropomorphising those. How can I know or understand what its like in the body it inhabits along with its ancestral behavioural conditioning?

Argh this stuff is so complex. I guess as long as we try to engage in this stuff with an awareness of suffering, ultimately we have to make decisions in order to balance the scales. It feels like we have too much power. My rational brain builds an answer to such ethical dilemmas / justifies my want to make things better with the 'greater good' argument. But my heart center, my emotional response, is to want to release the fish into the river, to take the cheese plant back to Mexico.

So I guess the question that comes here is, how can we as humans devise symbiotic / generative relationships, that we know to be mutually beneficial (rather than fooling ourselves they are for our own sake) with other species so as to build and maintain healthy and sustainable ecosystems? What does that mean for the future of [phyto/myco]remediation, sustainable food, sustainable building and land design, argiculture, 'rewilding'?

@kieran

oysters-in-a-jar-ohhh.jpg

1 day later...

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Thanks so much for listening @noffle! You're going to love Mycelium Running. Another book dealing with remediation - which I haven't read but which is recommended highly by folx I respect - is Earth Repair by Leila Darwish.

@kieran I have some thoughts in relation to your follow-up post; gonna let them ferment for a while longer before sharing.

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Note to cypher-archaeologists & future localhosts: This episode has been renumbered and is now better referenced as Episode 9 (further info).

@viktor

Looking forward to hearing the episode @glyph!

I have recently started really digging into this big read!
radical mycology

A very different read from mycelium running but at least as inspiring. A more poetic creation than Stamets but diligently referenced and it really engages my learning! Much recommend! :grinning:

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@Viktor Zaunders We are in-sync! I received the same book just after Christmas :smile_cat: I contributed to the Kickstarter campaign back in 2013 but was unable to afford the postage to South Africa (it was more than the price of the book itself). Being in the UK, and considering they now have a publisher / distrubutor here, I was finally able to buy a copy. It was totally worth the wait; just an incredible book! I'm only 25 pages into it and I've already learnt a great deal.

I am really enjoying the poetic writing style. I'll have to wait until I've read the whole thing to be certain but at this point I'd recommend this book over any other - nothing comes close to the depth and breadth of this work.

I recommend checking out Mycologos (if you haven't already). It's essentially an online university / set of courses for all things mycological, created and run by Peter McCoy. They also have a Community Supported Mycoculture (CSM) which I think you and others here might find really interesting and inspiring.

P.s. There is another Myco Hacklab Finland meetup scheduled for Friday, 15th of February 2018, 18:00.

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@glyph Ah fantastic! Perhaps we should open a thread here and we can have a sort of collective semi-public asynch selected reading of it :mag_right::mushroom:

Yeah I've seen some of Mycologos, not attended anything but I've been to the site a couple of times, cought some of the audio and video featuring Peter online, good stuff!

I actually got my copy of the book straight out of Peters hand almost 3 years ago now. I went to Open Source Ecology for a greenhouse build back in 2016 and Peter was there for a few days to do some demonstration of oyster in bucket cultivation. Was a treat to have some short conversation and I got to buy one of the books he had with him for $50 cash, a little bit of a struggle to fit that 2kg tome in my suitcase for the plane :grinning: It's just been patiently sitting on my bookshelf, waiting for me to take the proper time out to get into it.

That trip back in 2016 was an epic 2 week journey for me, landing in NYC the day before Trumps election and staying until the day after. Recording this episode at Douglas Rushkoffs tiny office outside of the city in the afternoon and then living through the traumatizing shock of that election night in NYC. Definitly an experience of intensity of change, turmoil and possibility that we were moving into right then and are now fully flailing about in.

(I hope I can make it to Helsinki one of these days to catch up with those awesome folks!)

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wow @kieran @mycognosist this is such a sweet conversation, thanks for narrating my house-packing work today, i learned a lot and really appreciated the less-anthropocentric framing you brought with you

I get a similar vibe from some of the For The Wild podcasts, most notably this one: http://forthewild.world/listen/john-seed-on-deep-ecological-identity98

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I finally updated the TLG Index! LOVED THIS EPISODE

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Thanks @Rich! That's really encouraging to hear and brings me lots of good feels. I feel strongly that decentering the humyn is vital work for the 21st Century - keen to keep sharing experimental results as I skip and trip my way through the labyrinth :smile_cat:

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