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Mushroom Magic: How 'Shrooms Are Being Used To Make Furniture, Insulation, Packaging and Most Importantly...Canoes.

On today's Hard Factor News, Hard Factor Pat took us down a dark, dirty and stinky trail for a story on alternative uses for mushrooms.  Recently, our hosts covered a story out of NASA's R&D dept., where research is being done to make homes out of mushrooms...on Mars.  Yes, Mars.  The science of it is pretty neat, the NASA nerds say.  Mushrooms, which are otherwise known as earth's shit, are always growing and have the ability to repair themselves, so they are the ideal choice for alternative building materials.  Not to mention the smell and taste, wow.  Sign me up.  Researchers say that they could create a system that would constantly water the top of the mushroom house, keeping it alive and helping it grow.  

While seemingly magical, these are not the psychedelic mushrooms that we all know and love.  Though they, of course, have the same properties that help these mushrooms continuously grow, they are too good to waste.  The mushrooms in today's story, used by Nebraska native and Central Community College student Katy Ayers, are the everyday kind that we eat when NOT trying to trip the fuck out and that we see outside.  Ayers says that she first became fascinated with mushrooms after watching the documentary 'Super Fungi' and that led her to study alternative uses for vegetables.  She took on an internship with fellow fungus freak and owner of Nebraska Mushroom, Ash Gordon, where she was able to study mushrooms up close and personal.  Studying things like their growing environment, density, and buoyancy, Ayers came up with the idea to create a canoe out of fungi and use it for fishing.  

Ayers and Gordon built the canoe from a wooden skeleton filled with fungi and placed into a climate-controlled environment where it then took 14 days for it to "grow" and then a few hours in the sun to solidify.  Ayers and her poo-canoe are an unstoppable force as well; the fungi continue to grow as she row-row-rows her stank gently down the stream

Ayers is now leading the development of other uses for mushrooms and right now is in charge of a project developing "Bee Hotels" out of the same fungi.  Talk about fancy living.  Companies like Dell and Ikea are some of the notable participants in this stinky fad, as they currently use mushroom-based packaging to ship their products.  

Get the full story covered on today's episode below and hear more like it Monday - Friday, on Hard Factor News. Your daily dose of News Cocaine. 

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