Nothing’s Wasted

Eat the Mushrooms That
Ate Your Baby’s Diapers

For years, Pleurotus ostreatus (better known as oyster mushrooms) have been enjoyed as a delicacy, a relatively nutritious addition to your salad, and an attractive food staple. Some varieties are also known for helping breaking down oil spills and, some scientists argue, should be used in Japan to help cleaning up the radioactive contamination around the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant.
They’ve also been known for helping controlling a specific type of ant in gardens, and for breaking down some of the unwanted coliforms from chicken poop and other animal waste. This ability for breaking down biological waste into top soil make mushrooms and other fungi very popular with gardeners and agricultural researchers.
So it should be no wonder that the next frontier would be baby diapers. These slow-degrading poop-containers are one of the major causes for the ever increasing space occupied by landfills all over the world. Thanks to research conducted by Mexico City’s Metropolitan University Alethia Vázquez-Morillas, though, this all may change and soon.
In a recently published article, she says that “cultivating the right type of mushroom on soiled nappies can break down 90% of the material they are made of within two months. Within four, they are degraded completely.” And (have you had your lunch today?) “despite their unsavory diet, (…) oyster mushrooms are safe to eat.”
We let you digest this promising, albeit a bit bitter, piece of environmental news, while we tell you very quickly about Landon Meier, a latex mask-sculptor (What? would you rather read about a hermaphrodite goat that can be milked? Go ahead). You see, Meier was also thinking about babies, in his own, artiste kind of way. So he created Hyperflesh, a sculpted giant baby head to be used by grown-ups. And invited a friend of his for a test drive.
Now, why he’d go to such an extent to develop a life-like, slightly scary, no, make that, very scary giant baby head, is something you may want to take it to the man himself. But for the record, the mask is exquisitely detailed and, as you watch it on the video, can really stun passers-by, in a spooky, kind of frightening way.
It’s all for a good clean fun, of course, as this “baby” is certainly potty-trained. Still, watching “him” expressing distress and a slightly deranged brand of fun, makes you go back in a hurry to what we were talking about before, how mushrooms can be great for nature, for your baby diapers and even for you, if you’re not a “meatarian,” which is someone who only eats meat (don’t even start…).
Otherwise, you may do as Señorita Vázquez-Morillas reportedly did, after being interviewed for the story above: go ahead and eat your mushrooms, if you know what’s good for you.

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