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We took an overground route. The fungi took the route of producing these underground networks that are highly resilient and extremely adaptive: if you disturb a mycelial network, it just regrows. It might even benefit from the disturbance. They focused on the nodes of crossing, which are the branchings that allow the mycelium, when there is a breakage or an infection, to choose an alternate route and regrow.

These nodes of crossing, those scientists found, conform to the same mathematical optimization curves that computer scientists have developed to optimize the Internet. Or, rather, I should say that the Internet conforms to the same optimization curves as the mycelium, since the mycelium came first. Stamets: A group of Japanese researchers put a slime mold in a maze with five exits. Two of the exits had rewards: oats the slime mold could eat.

The slime mold first navigated the maze by growing equally in all directions until it found the oats. When the same slime mold was later reintroduced to the same maze, rather than exploring every possible route, it navigated directly to the two end points that had the oats — showing, according to the scientists conducting the experiment, cellular intelligence.


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That much he conceded. I think our descendants will look back on us as people who had the power to devastate ecosystems but not the wisdom to avoid doing so. We are unraveling the very networks that gave rise to life. These same bonds also hold oil together, because oil comes from plant matter that decomposed millions of years ago.

Most petroleum products — including petroleum-based pesticides and many other toxic compounds that are destroying the natural world — contain hydrogen-carbon bonds. If we can break those bonds, we can reduce those substances to their nontoxic elemental components. The soil at the site was contaminated with diesel fuel and oil at levels approaching twenty thousand parts per million — about the same concentration as the beaches of Prince William Sound after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

In I helped conduct an experiment: The Department of Transportation set aside four large piles of contaminated soil. One pile was left untreated; one pile was inoculated with bacteria; one was treated with chemical enzymes; and the fourth was planted with oyster-mushroom spawn.

The piles were covered, and four weeks later we removed the covers. The first three were black, lifeless, and stank like diesel fuel and oil. The fourth, the one inoculated with mushroom spawn, had hundreds of mushrooms growing from it, some up to a foot across. The pile no longer stank. Five weeks later, plants began to grow on the mushroom-inoculated pile: The mushrooms had attracted insects, who had laid their eggs in the fruits. When those eggs had hatched, the larvae had attracted birds, whose feces had brought plant seeds.

Our mushroom-treated pile was the only one to flourish and rebound as an oasis of life. In less than eight weeks the total petroleum hydrocarbons had dropped from twenty thousand parts per million down to two hundred parts per million.

Among the pollutants that remained, the mushrooms had converted the larger, more-toxic molecules into smaller, less-toxic molecules. A state employee who loved mushrooms wanted to take the oysters home and eat them. The primary byproducts were carbon dioxide and water. The fungi connect different parts of the forest to each other like a natural Internet, transferring nutrients from a species that has enough to spare to another species that needs more to survive.

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Life was flowering on what had been a dead landscape. In another experiment, I provided Battelle Laboratories with twenty-six strains of my fungi for testing. One day I received a confidential, classified report on the destruction of chemical-warfare components. I was named as a coauthor. I called up my associates, and they said they had tested my strain library against some potent neurotoxins, including sarin, soman, and VX , which Saddam Hussein had used against the Kurds in Iraq. Two of my strains did a good job of breaking down VX. The interesting part is how adaptive these fungi proved to be.

The researchers transferred these two strains from one culture plate to another, and every time they transferred them, they increased the amount of dimethyl methylphosphonate, or DMMP — which is the core toxin of VX nerve gas — and decreased the amount of other nutrients in the culture, such as malt sugar, yeast, peptone, and the like. At the end of the experiment, the sole nutrient source was this nerve-gas agent, DMMP ; there were no other nutrients in the dish.

And the fungi cultures grew luxuriantly. So the fungi were able to adapt to live on the available nutrition. Stamets: Some researchers have been able to train fungi to break down plastics. My understanding is that bacteria do a better job. Perhaps one of them can adapt and break down plastic. I would never underestimate the power of fungi; they are the grand molecular disassemblers in nature. This is what they do: unravel complex, sometimes toxic compounds into smaller, edible compounds.

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So if we have enough mycodiversity in the ecosphere, the right candidate will eventually come forward and break down a wide array of most, if not all, pollutants. It may not happen in our lifetimes, but it will happen. In geologic time, I think these fungi will make quick work of returning nutrients to the carbon bank. Stamets: One obstacle is blocking patents. A patent holder has a seventeen-year exclusive license to commercially produce products based on his or her patent.

The subterranean battlefield: Warfare is going underground, into dark, tight spaces

Battelle and I were working on industrializing a nerve-gas decontamination technology when Battelle received a nasty letter from a lawyer representing a patent holder who had such a blocking patent on the technology. In Mason County, Washington, where I live, a lot of estuary shellfish habitats are threatened by contamination from upland development, so we are involved in several projects to ameliorate the impact of pollutants on saltwater estuary environments.

Jensen: Is this largely a new area of scientific exploration? Stamets: Not exactly. Science has known the benefits of fungi for decades. In a housewife in Peoria, Illinois, found a moldy cantaloupe at a market and sent it in to a government lab in response to an official request for moldy fruit. From her moldy cantaloupe came a strain of Penicillium chrysogenum that allowed for the industrialization of penicillin. Even though Alexander Fleming had received the Nobel Prize in for the discovery of penicillin, there had been no strains that would allow the antibiotic to be mass-produced.

The strain from that moldy cantaloupe produced two hundred times more penicillin than any previous strain. The fungus strain from that cantaloupe saved millions of lives and played a major role in winning the war. About five years ago I signed a contract with the BioShield program of the U. Defense Department, which is searching for fungi that will help in the fight against bioterrorism.

I sent the BioShield program a few hundred fungal extracts, and they began testing them. We now have extremely credible evidence that the agarikon mushroom produces anti-smallpox compounds. A smallpox epidemic today would cause mass devastation. We have no antidotes to smallpox, and if it did run rampant, 30 percent of us would be dead within two weeks; many more would be horribly scarred, maimed, or blinded.

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Only around 10 percent of us would survive with no physical scars. Some people might say my life is in a rut But I'm quite happy with what I got People might say that I should strive for more But I'm so happy I can't see the point Something's happening here today A show of strength with your boy's brigade and, I'm so happy and you're so kind You want more money, of course I don't mind To buy nuclear textbooks for atomic crimes And the public gets what the public wants But I want nothing this society's got I'm going underground, Going underground Well, let the brass bands play and feet start to pound Going underground, Going underground Well, let the boys all sing and the boys all shout for tomorrow Some people might get some pleasure out of hate Me, I've enough already on my plate People might need some tension to relax Me?

Fehlerhaften Songtext melden. Songtext kommentieren. E-Mail Adresse. In Copenhagen, the potential is almost 42, homes. By taking a global perspective, engineers are able to draw on best practices from all over the world as they look to tailor solutions for specific circumstances such as growing populations. Future-ready is at the leading edge of intelligent engineering and will have a positive impact as this century unfolds. The transition to electricity will be one of the defining features of the cities of the future.

We are designing schemes in anticipation of an electric lifestyle. In Bermondsey, London, a Grosvenor Estates proposal for 1, residential units and 14, square metres of flexible commercial space is designed with the idea that cars, heating and day-to-day life will be powered by electricity. We looked at how vehicle patterns mean that residents will move away from car ownership toward pool vehicles, with car club vehicles to be provided on site and facilities put in place in anticipation that many of these will be electric vehicles. To cope with rising demand for energy, cities are developing innovative strategies to generate, distribute and consume energy as cleanly and efficiently as possible while addressing issues of reliability and security.

One such strategy involves the use of microgrids and distributed energy systems. These represent the next stage in the push toward electrification—a way to reach into the far corners where the big grids cannot go and to make electric service more reliable, clean and less costly. Most will be located close to a point of consumption, generally in an area with a defined boundary such as a residential district, a university or corporate campus. As an example, in Quebec, Canada, Hydro-Quebec is developing a microgrid in Lac-Megantic as a way of testing new technology with the goal of rolling it out elsewhere.

Being planned with our assistance, the project calls for the installation of solar panels on 30 residential and commercial buildings with a total of kW installed capacity, kWh of battery storage and electric vehicle charging stations. Around the world, engineers have signed up to the UN sustainability goals and are developing ways to meet the ambitions. What is clear to us, and should be for everyone involved in infrastructure, is that for future goals to be achieved, the hard work starts now.

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A version of this article was originally published by Impakter. B the Change gathers and shares the voices from within the movement of people using business as a force for good and the community of Certified B Corporations. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the nonprofit B Lab.