Aaah, now to tell you about the ‘mushroom man’, seen here posed by the most massive conk alive of Bridgeoporus nobilissimus, growing from a old-growth stump in central Oregon. It is possible that only at TED would a man describing his lifelong fascination with, and study of, mushrooms draw a full standing ovation, and be the subject of countless hallway discussions about how he was their favourite speaker.
The bottom line for Paul Stamets is that mushrooms can help save the world. In fact, he has written a book Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World.
His talk was hard to follow because he spoke quickly, quietly and monotonically, throwing in lots of Latin species names – a real challenge for taking notes. Some of the ways he thinks mushrooms are valuable include:
- Medicines, including flu vaccine
- Disruptive technology in insecticides – he’s used mycelium to eradicate termites from his home
- Mopping up toxic spills where mycelium beat all other approaches at absorbing oil
Oh heck, this is really one presentation where maybe you had to be there. You can read more by looking on his web site at http://www.fungi.com/ .