Thursday, July 31, 2014

99, I think I love you.

Fun post. What's that mean? No thought, all fun, just stupid shit.
Muscle shoals is awesome. And swamp rock. It's not country, it's not blues, or soul really. It's got a great sound that is unique and isn't some dumb polished by a bunch of tiny-brained fools in over- sized hats. In fact, these will be the sound track to my movie.
The scene opens in black and white. A shot of a raven in a white room, on a black chair. It leaves it perch and flies towards the camera. As it draws closer, fractals emerge in its feathers. Fractals become cities, and the scene becomes a street. In black and white, a man leaves a building with a bulldog. It's silent, and there no sounds of the city, there is no foot steps. As the man and the dog walk down the street in one continuous shot as the credits roll, slowly color comes into the world. First the dog, then the man, then the scenery. And sounds come, muffled at first, becoming louder and louder. He walks out of the alleyway and onto the sidewalk, where we are hit with a wall of sound and acid-toned colors. Like, super bright oranges and greens and blues. Bordering on neon. And now the man is in an entrance, in a super-stylized art deco decor. People fade in on one end of the hallway, walk past, then fade out of existence. A woman he vaguely recognizes stops and chats with him about the price of food.
"I got a pound of bacon for only $1.50 the other day. Usually, those bastards downtown try to steal from me." Her eyes are vacant as she speaks. "No more. It's a scam. Then everyone tries to guilt you for shopping at the box stores."
"Shopping local does help the community." Our hero replies.
"You fall for that load? Oh, John, I thought you were smarter than that. Those people, they don't give anything back. I know their kids, you know them, and I've seen them smoking behind the old factories. That's what your money is going to, not helping the community."
She keeps talking, but he's lost interest. He doesn't walk off, as much as floats while the scene changes around him. Soon he's looking at a park from behind a fence. A couple men, one with a large top hat and the other with rabbit ears made from glowsticks, are hitting a ball, and the man with the hat looks over and sees him. He motions to him to come over. John reaches down and ties up his dog, then makes his way over. "What's the game, fellas?"
"To score a run, you need to hit 5 out 7 pitches. When you run, you need to touch second, then first, then third, then from the short stop to the first base coach, then home. The run only counts if you've run 640o. Unless, of course, the diamond isn't flat, then the degrees needed is determined by the curvature of the earth. One with the most points win, or the person who has hit 71% of all pitches made."
"Don't worry, you learn while you play." Interjects the man with the glowstick rabbit ears.
"Right. For an out, the passing pattern is based on irregular polyhedron. The direction of the pass is based on the runner's position with regard to the direction of the base, and which person you pass to is determined by who through to you and the speed of the runner. The runner's speed is determined by the log of the likelihood they'll be drunk later."
"First," chimes in the glowing hare, "It's time for warm ups! To the dugout and back!"
John starts to run. He reaches the half way point, and we see that dugout is the same distance as when he started. He runs a little farther, and the dugout shrinks into the scenery. After hours of running, familiar landmarks move past him. The white house, the statue of liberty, the windmills of Denmark. He stops, when he realizes he's too far away and he has forgotten his dog. He looks to his right and sees a train station. There's a lone teller, and a sign.
<Пришло время>, морж сказал, <чтобы говорить о многих вещах>.
John turns to the teller, played by Wilford Brimley.
"How much to go home?"
As Brimley speaks, a subway train comes rushing by.  John reaches into his pocket and hands Brimley $1.44. After John boards the train, he sees the car is full. There's an empty seat next to a small woman with black hair with yellow highlights and a black coat with green spots. As he sits down, she starts to speak. John falls into a dream.
What started as a fun post and my chance to talk about music turned into some weird tribute to Lewis Carol. Can you spot the references? It took my mind off of some structural updates I'm doing to the site.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mushroom Bonsai, and how to grow them.

Mushroom bonsai. I tried to make a joke about it at my job studying agaricus mushrooms, and my Chinese boss just shrugged and said "It would work better with ganoderma." Mushroom bonsai is a thing, and I have so much to learn about mushrooms. I've always been interested in bonsai, never done it, but I like gardening and enjoy reading about bonsai techniques. This strikes me as a cool project that would be a future dream of mine. It would be growing mushrooms at home, which I have yet to do, and practicing bonsai. Here is a collection list of some websites and their summaries for making mushroom bonsai.

Cultivation Of Ganoderma Bonsai - Alice G. Chen and Philip Miles; PDF

This first one is a scientific paper written on the matter. It's hard and dry for the general reader, but it's where I prefer to start when I'm looking for any information relating to mushrooms. For anyone outside of the mushroom industry without training and tools necessary to
do the techniques listed here, then quite a bit will be useless. For example, growing tissue cultures obtained from the hyphae on Potato dextrose agar is not something I expect someone to know how to do. I didn't know how to do it or what all that meant until I started doing it as a job. But the average mushroom nut can buy Reishi kits online. Really, just google Reishi or Ganoderma kits and you can probably find a better kit for a better price than I did.
This paper shows pictures of the initial antler stages of reishi, and the think to focus on here is the technique given for the spawning, cold-shock, and casing stages. The paper is technical, but the substrate mix is very good (80% oak sawdust, 18% coarse unprocessed wheat bran, 1% sucrose supplement, 1% calcium, 67% moisture content), and it comments on how it can and should be mixed in the discussion section. The discussion section is by far the most interesting part, as it talks about how antler reishi is formed by CO2, and other studies on the affect of CO2 on reishi mushrooms. The bonsai can be kept refrigerated and alive for long periods of time as long as it's kept hydrated as well.
Simply put, the key to creating bonsai is to control the CO2 in the growing body. With experience, a grower can create interesting shapes from a combination of antlers and pileate (flat, plate like structures). This cobination comes from proper control of the growing environment. Alice Chen also has another paper online, Growing Ganoderma Mushrooms, which is written for the general reader, and has a ton of pictures. She mentions you need to autoclave materials, but if your supplement logs are the right sizes you can do it in a big pressure cooker.

Growing Reishi Mushrooms - North Coast Mushrooms Farming Cooperative; Website

Less of a how, more of a why. In case you're not sure what reishi is or why you should care, it's become the god-king of medicinal mushrooms. It's not eaten, but ground into a powder and made into tea. It's medicinal affects range from lung cancer prevention, raising or lowering blood pressure (which makes it a natural Viagra), stimulating liver action, and almost any other aliment you can think of. This site has plenty of videos and links to other sites for more information.

How to Grow Reishi Mushrooms - Garden; Website

Finally, a simple step-by-step guide to growing mushrooms. Using wood from a hardwood tree, the log is inoculated after three weeks. Dig a trench in your garden that is half the height of your log and 4 feet long. You drill about 50 - 60 5/16" holes about 2" deep and spaced 4" apart. Wedge the log into the trench and hammer your spawn plugs into the holes. Melt beeswax and brush it over the plugs to help seal in the mositure. Water every day and cover with plastic to keep the humidity high. In 6 months to a year you will develop mushrooms.
This is good basic step by step guide, but it assumes that you have the correct climate for growing reishi and have access to hardwood logs. If you go to the bottom of the page, they have more articles on growing other types of mushrooms. Honestly, this stuff needs to get out more because I'm sick of every person asking me how to grow psilocybin. There is so many other mushrooms, America! And they are beyond healthy! It's more than just proper nutrition, but they have wonderful medicinal effects as well. Well, enjoy your day.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Goal update #2

I keep thinking my goal update is supposed to be the last Saturday of the month. I would be wrong though. Well, nothing to update with yet. I'm two months into this again and the same thing that kept me back last time wants to hold me back again. Namely, I want to start this as a charity to help Moscow shelters, but good god, the news makes me feel bad about the decision.
Why do I want to do it? I don't trust the government to deal with international relations. Not the government really, I just don't trust small groups of people making decisions for large groups of people. It seems like people will gravitate towards others with their same quirks and biases. I want to do something that finds common ground with a group of people that others see as enemies, and help build an international community. That's a huge, lofty, long term dream instead of a goal. So, I see a chance to learn more about a culture that was always called "the enemy". I like dogs and animals, and I see a chance to do something about it. Maybe I should start with someplace less controversial, like China, or Europe.
The news. Goddamn, the news. None of it seems to be 'the whole truth' to me. Everybody is putting their own spin on events, and it seems to be that the only way to figure out what's going on is to read and listen to everyone's opinions. When I start to do that, then I start to see people who really know what they're talking about. They understand what is happening historically, politically, and can make analytical connections between these events. And then there are others who seem to just trust their instinct, even though they have no knowledge of what's going on. It's nice when it's obvious, but most of the time the people who know nothing actually know how to make themselves seem really knowledgeable. You know what, though? If other people want to judge me for wanting to support animals in Russia, then fuck 'em. I just need to use all my skills and knowledge to convince myself I'm right, and work hard for years. I need to work not only to meet my goal, but improve my skills as well. Eye of the tiger.
What are the advantages to this? Personally, I build experience by learning how to advertise myself, manage money, and it builds my interest in international politics. The news about what is going on the world isn't just stuff happening to other people, it's stuff affecting my hopes, dreams, and goals. It goes beyond making me a better person by showing that I'm 'caring' and 'deep' and 'ethical'. It actually makes me a well rounded person. And my failures that are affected by things outside my control, I can see those things. I can't stop a war. I can't change how an entire culture feels about anything. I can see myself as small speck in the grand scheme of things, and in turn I can focus on the small things that I can control. I can recognize what mistakes I make and what successes I have and I can focus on improving them. But enough about me, how does this help the things I want to help?
Why should animals be the victims of the affairs of men? They cannot influence our decision making, they cannot participate in our government. They can just live, and rely on the kindness of strangers. A nice thought, perhaps. In order for them to get the medical care they need, it depends on us. They can't go out and get medicine and blankets. The same argument can be made about children and special needs people. And that's a tough question. Why focus on animals, and not on my own kind? Aye, there's the rub. Animals are innocents? Strays are a problem we created, breeding animals to be dependent on us, throwing animals away when they're no longer cute and allowing them to go out destroy ecosystems and other animals. Again, it's something I can work on. Why not focus on animals in my own country, or county? Because this is the international work I want to start. I want to buy things from local shops and support friends I have by buying their stuff, and I want to help animals over the world. The way to do that may be to volunteer time with an animal shelter, then I can meet real people in the real world who want to help, when I bring the stray cat in for shots, I'll ask. I volunteer my time to much already though, I need to find something I can help with that also gives me money.
Goals for the next month, keep convincing myself this is a good idea, try to figure out how to advertise this. That's the trouble. If you've made it this far, then you can follow me on twitter (@aristotlemstk), or circle me google+, or I'm on VK. I'm on facebook, but that's for people I know. I need to start a facebook page for this group. There's stuff I need to do and need to work on. Don't worry guys, I got this, but I can use all the help I can get.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday morning and feeling mellow.

I've been listening  to a lot of CAKE recently, and eventually that lead me to Frank Sinatra. They have the song:
and they covered at least one song of his. When it comes to Sinatra, I don't know, I just haven't listen to much of him. Love Sammy Davis Jr, and I grew up on a lot of songs from that era because my dad and my grandparents were both fans of the big band sound. I'm sitting here listening to the album, "Watertown" right now, and a funny thing happened. Old memories of my grandmother came flooding back. Suddenly, I could smell her car, the car that we sat in while listening to radio stations that played this music, radio stations I am still wondering how they existed in the 90's. I can taste the sandwiches she used to make, which always tasted so strange and so unique. Don't know why, to this day.
Memories are strange. We give visual portion of our brain too much credit sometimes. As I've studied ADHD and alternatives to stimulants, many suggestions involve using taste, smell, and sounds to help focus and memories. Things like chewing gum while you study, then chewing the same types when you take a test. My dad and I used to talk about the role of smells and memories a lot. He smokes a pipe, and a woman he worked with would always talk about memories of her father when he smoked around her. Those are simple little brain hacks that can be used to make your self smarter, something simple to keep your brain young and energetic.
Before I die, I want to make my own language that uses hand gestures and tries to engage other senses besides the auditory tracks. I hypothesis that people growing up with such a language would be more perceptive and creative than other languages. Just a dream. We'll see if it pans out.
Here's the album that put me into this mood:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lucid Dream Sex
Art work by Dan Rohrmann. His artwork is bright, colorful and surreal.
That's the type of headline that just jumps at you, doesn't it? Lucid "dream sex" sounds like something out of Cosmo. Or you could ignore the middle word and get "Lucid Sex" for something that you could can buy legally in Montreal. For better or for worse though, this is a link article about "Lucid Dream" sex. Not even real sex, just the sex that flashes past your eyes in pictures as you sleep.
I don't think I've had a discussion about dreams and sex since sex education and wet dreams. Before we start with that, I need to make sure everyone knows what lucid dreaming is. The short answer is, they are the dreams that you have the ability to control!
This is a bit more, professional let's say, than some of the other websites out there. Also, it turned out to be more informative than the typical websites. It's not a how to guide, but rather an answer to the question "what is lucid dreaming?" from an expert. A real expert, someone who has been doing it for years, has studied it, written papers on it and attends the conferences and everything.
The word "Lucid" means clear, but a lucid dream is more than a clear dream. To lucid dream, the dreamer must be aware of the fact that they are dreaming. That's it. No control of the dream, but that's what attracts people to the concept. By that definition, I've had lucid dreams since I was a kid. I frequently had dreams when I was a teenager that I knew were dreams, and that was most of the fun of them. Telling each other dreams in my family was encouraged by my dad though, so that probably had a lot to do with it. Back to the article.
The article does touch on a lot of the basics you'll find if you run your own search for the subject. What are the experiences of the expert? What can you expect from lucid dreaming? What's the best technique? Why I like this article is because the personal experiences of the expert is cool and it mentions a few other types of dreams that I've never heard of, mutal dreaming and psychic contents, as well as the experts experiences with both. The idea of eating fire is just so cool  and creative and just, just, so fucking awesome. (Fuck it. Writing an article on dream sex means I'm giving up on "Family friendly". I don't think I'm cut out for it anyways.
How to Have Lucid Dream Sex by Rebecca Turner
This article is the inspiration for the post. I was lucid dreaming, was looking for some more information, and came across this, and it got me thinking about dream sex in general.
The first thing I want to say is, lucid dreaming is like a canvas in your mind where you become a literal god. You not only create a world and bring whatever people you want into it while choosing the topography, you can change the rules of the world on a whim. So when given that omnipotence, people use it to have sex. Just. . . I don't. . . but . . . really? I'm not surprised, just exasperated.
One more thing. Ethical? Philosophers have been arguing about hunting, free will, and war since classical Greek times, but I'm sure the real question that was on their minds was "is it right to have made up sex while I sleep?" It is a good personal question that may need an answer, just ethical may not be the right word for it. The thing that jumped out to me about this was the fact that initiating dream sex seems just as hard as initiating real sex. That sucks, really, because I was hoping to have an outlet for the celebrity furry/puppet fantasies I've been having recently. TMI, yes, but that sentence about giving up on family friendly should have turned you away.
Halting on the article mocking, it does bring up some interesting things. The ethical ad progressive part to me is the idea of treating the object of your dream desire as more than just a sex object. In fact, the idea of using dreams to practice social interactions in general is pretty interesting. I'm just not sure about dream figures taking revenge on you by turning your "sexy dream into a lucid nightmare".
Rereading this article, this whole thing serves as a decent example of what I don't like when I start reading about dreams. But, it did get me thinking about sex in dreams in general. Mostly, people I want to have sex with don't "transform into an ugly, withered being". They turn into fish, or a family member I don't want to have sex with, or it becomes a dream I really don't feel comfortable talking about, like sex with a family member who turns into Sasquatch when we cuddle.
10 Common Sex Dreams And What They Mean
This falls under dream analysis, so this is not meant as a definitive answer on what weird sex dreams might mean.
This article is presented as a starting point for why you might be having trouble initiating dream sex. It's not that dream people have a will of their own, but it might be your own hang ups that are stopping you. Things like self esteem, desires for power, and balance of animus/anima (fancy!) all come into the factor. It will all come down to the dreamer in the end, though, and the experience of lucid dreaming requires more than being conscious. As the first article pointed out, it requires a degree of awareness and it gives the dreamer the chance to point that awareness inwards.
Enjoy your dreams, folks.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Effective thinking through Mathematics - A Philadelphia meetup.

On the 4th Saturday of the month the Philadelphia Math Counts meetup meets at the greatest coffee shop in Philly, Capriccio Cafe & Espresso Bar, to spread Math culture in the city of Philly by discussing videos and books. This month, the meeting is on July 26th and the discussion is on Michael Starbird's Effective Thinking through Mathematics videos. As per the usual order of the group, you don't need to see the video to join in the discussion, just come with an interest in the material and two dollars to help make sure we get to continue doing this. Everybody from novices with questions to experts with answers are welcomed, because the regulars fall under both categories. It's fun, informative, and there is a ton of coffee involved. Or tea or bagels, if that's your thing.
Some thoughts and a brief overview of Starbird's videos. In his 1st video, he explains it as a self help sort of thing, a way to train your mind for success. Fine, okay. But as the videos go on, it's more heuristics and effective ways to solve problems better. This is a fascinating field to me, and our group has already covered the book "How to Solve it" by George Polya, so I was interested to see if he added anything new to the discussion.
His five steps towards effective thinking can be applied to anything besides math. It's part of the point of the series. Their good tips.
  1. Understand deeply. Mediate and observe you life, or the problem, and work to understand  "with nuance, precision, and depth."
  2. Follow the flow of ideas. Ideas rarely come from air. They change and evolve over time and continue to do so as new knowledge and experience is applied to the idea.
  3. Raise Questions. His suggestion is to get into the habit of asking questions about the problem. Is there more to the problem that I'm not seeing? Can this be ex tented? The most important one is, have I've seen a similar problem, and can I adapt an old answer to a new problem?
  4. Make mistakes. It has been said time after time again that making mistakes is the best way to learn. BUT there is more to this than just make mistakes. By combining this one with the first one, you do learn. Otherwise, you are doomed to repeat the same mistake and never going forward. Make mistakes, and reflect on them.
  5. Change. Strive to change. Become better than you are. Grow your personality.
I'm not going to lie, self help anything is something that makes me uneasy. A strange statement, but it's something that bugs me like salesmen or policemen acting like their best friends in the world. I've only watched the videos so far, and haven't taken the course, so I can't comment on how you use this in a daily life. As a way to solve problems though, the information is invaluable. Starbird does offer practice problems, too, with the goal being to practice the steps laid out in the videos. The problems are not tough at all, and really just require the person to sit down and focus on them. I've worked on one so far.
The admirals and pirate puzzle is 3 pirates and 3 admirals both make it to a river at the same time. There is one boat that can hold 2 people and, since it's a boat, it needs at least 1 person in it to row it. If the pirates outnumber the admirals on either side of the river, they will kill the admirals. How do you get everyone across the river with no bloodshed?
It's a variation on the goat, cabbage, and wolf problem. An old problem. I've come up with an answer, but I'm not so sure when to share it. Maybe later this week, maybe you'll just have to come the meetup if you want to hear my answer. Don't know.
I don't want to sound too hard on these videos. His stories on two of techniques are good and illustrate his point. But, I guess I just don't know what level this aimed at. These seem easy, but he's acting like he's addressing this to people who've already graduated. Well, I have the link to the full course, so I'll watch more of it and try to come back with a more in depth thought on it. Stay tuned later this week when I talk about the netlogo videos that the group will also be discussing.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I refuse to stop talking about music

So that bloghop went well. Didn't see ANY version of "Summertime Blues", so here's the fuzzed out, acid rock version by the love-it-or-hate-it band, Blue Cheer:
If you're still stopping by, you should check out the "Dog Lovers, Unite" tab up there. And share that on Facebook, or twitter or reddit, or print out a copy and hand it to your neighbor. It's a small project that I'm trying to get started, and I could use all the help I could get.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Songs of Summer
My top 5 songs of summer, brought to you by The Armchair Squid, Cygnus, and Suze. If there's one thing I love talking about, it's music, I just don't spend a lot of time talking about it here. My real world friends get enough of that.

1. Summertime - Big Brother and the Holding Company
The George Gershwin classic made amazing by Janice Joplin. The beginning has such a lazy hazy summer sound to it. And the guitar solo is great! As a former farm hand who listen to this song every summer on repeat, it really just brings back memories of kneeling in a field in the middle of July. Also, when I had no job I would stay at home playing Fallout 3 on XBox and listen to this album. This song goes surprisingly well with shooting radiation zombies in the face in slo-mo.

2. Clint Eastwood - Gorillaz
The summer I lived in a tent, fought cows, raced storms, and rode 50 miles over mountains  after I punched my boss in the face, I memorized all the words to this song so I could sing along. It was my greatest accomplishment that summer

3. Where the Devil Don't Stay - Drive By Truckers
A few summers back, some friends and I went to a festival. This festival was our recreation of Fear and Loathing, minus the destruction of several muscle cars and it was in Maine. Other than that, there was drugs. Still, the Drive By Truckers played, and it was one of the great memories I have of the event. You see, on the first day, no one cared where we brought our beer, so we got used to loading in our backpacks and bringing it to the main stage. On the second day, security was more strict, so we couldn't bring it into that area. No matter, it was an open air concert, so we sat outside the entrance drinking beer and listening to the Truckers. People then walked over and kept giving us confiscated beer. I can't remember if they played this song, but I certainly listened to it a lot that summer.

4. Stormy Weather - Lena Horne
During hurricane season, you can be assured I will post this on Facebook. If not me, than one of my friends will. It's a nice jazzy song to mix up all this rock and roll.

5. En Fuego - Los Festingos
Is this a shameless plug for a friends band? Yes, it is. Did they let me sing group vocals on their new album and let me be the cover of it? Right again! This was inspired by the hot streak we got back in the summer of 2011, and it's just fun. Silly, goofy fun. It chronicles the sadness and despair felt by a man who suddenly finds themselves on fire.

I have so many other songs with other memories attached to them. Here are the runner-ups:
Ventilator Blues - Rolling Stones. Same Festival as above. This just described how I felt the Monday following.
Jack on Fire - Blanche. Cover of an old Gun Club song. This one rocks. There is one F-bomb that everyone I play this to comments on.
Kyle's Song - moe. I am sad I haven't been to a moedown in a few years. I'm poor and have no car. I just grabbed this because Kyle is the friend who introduced me to MOE.
Feel Good Hit of the Summer - Queens of the Stone Age. If I was in a trolling mood, this would have made it. "Nicotine, valium, vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol. K-K-K-K-Cocaine!"
I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's summer songs. Hope you enjoyed these or heard new songs or whatever. Happy Friday.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Primal goo

When a bat is trapped in your room, you learn some things about yourself. Like the difference between 3:30 am Sam who has been rudely awaken by a goddamn bat, and 12:00 pm Sam who has a full night of sleep behind him and is at work. 12:00 pm Sam is cool, calm, collected. His facebook posts attempt to be semi-philosophical, drawing on his VAST experience from 26 years of life. Sometimes, people complement him on his humor and his patience. 3:30 am Sam draws on the fact he comes from a line of coal miners, sailors, and mechanics, and posts f-bombs while calling animals retarded. The first night he sees the bat, he curls up in a little ball near his door while a bat flies around above his head. On the second encounter, the cave man center of his brain takes over while he opens all the windows and whips a towel at the animal to scare it out. 12:00 am Sam thinks about Sun-Tzu and researches bats, but makes the foolish assumption "If I can't see it, then it must have left!" Man is nothing but a primal center wrapped up in layers of insecurities and technology.
3:30 am Sam may arm himself with an electrified tennis racket to get rid of the little bastard. It's only 7:00 am, so I have no idea what sophisticated man about town 12:00 pm Sam wants to do. Probably call a doctor to make sure he has rabies shots. More research on bats, and this time I'm going to check to make sure it left. I guess animal control?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

На палубе!

Есть только один флат и он такой же черный как черны наши сердца!!! Зстань у нас на пути и умри!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Growing mushrooms

Do you know how to grow mushrooms? Has the thought ever crossed your mind? If you're American, which is most of the readers, the thought "I could grow pot! Or Shrooms!" may have crossed your mind at one point in your adolescence. Quite a few people are in the dark about where mushrooms come from and I'm out of things to talk about this week. So here's a crash course in mushrooms.
  • Hyphae - The long filamentous structure of fungi.
  • Mycelium - Grouping of hyphae. This is the mold that people are used to seeing.
  • Substrate - The food. It's the compost or bread or whatever that gives the fungus nutrition. I've worked with plants and fungus, and this is the part where I think mushrooms get picky or temperamental. Plants need soil, or water if prepared right, to grow. What substrate you use for mushroom depends on the mushroom. Shiitake grows on logs, but doesn't grow on the compost mix used for Agaricus. Some mushrooms grow on specific logs. Some grow best only after forest fires. The common portabella mushrooms found in almost any American grocery store grow in a compost substrate of straw mixed with other nutrients needed.
Standard practice for large corporations or small home growers is to mix portabella mycelium with a cooked millet substrate. Millet is combined with gypsum and cooked for approximately 30 minutes. When that's finished, the mixture needs to be sterilized. A large industry would use an autoclave, but the smaller home version is a pressure cooker. This process kills any contaminants, notably any other molds that have gotten in that are unwanted. Stuff like trichoderma, mucor, or aspergillus which is either more "aggressive" than our portabellas or are potentially dangerous.
The culture starts out as a spore print. The mushroom is left to open and is placed on paper. It drops its spores onto the paper, and then is collected and grow on a petri dish. When the dish is fully colonized, chunks are taken out of it and placed into a 1-liter jar with the millet substrate, where the mycelium grows over and colonizes the millet.
When the millet is fully colonized, it's time to grow mushrooms. This is a two step process lasting a month. The millet is well mixed with compost and placed in an air controlled room. The CO2, humility, and temperature must be carefully monitored. Fungus breathes in oxygen and breathes out CO2, so if the level is too high it could kill it. When the compost is fully colonized, the second stage is placing a layer of peat moss on top. During this stage, fresh air is brought in along with a drop in temperature which triggers the fruting mechanism of the fungi. It thinks its going to die, so it makes the mushrooms in order drop its spores and continue its genes.
Done. Enjoy, and ask questions so I can clarify parts of it.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Post for post's sake

Hey, there internet. Lovely Monday afternoon here on the east coast. Don't have anything of value to say, really. Was on vacation, now I'm not. Was sick, but now I'm not. Hmm, maybe it's time to lay out goals for myself?
Just for the week, nothing special. I'll post some brief thoughts on the next video that Philly Math Counts Meetup is doing, write something in Russian, maybe french. Brief thoughts being what the videos are about and some thoughts on the puzzles. Then, I don't know, something next. I may still be in laid back vacation mode, a sort of "what-ev" mindset. I'm really just happy to be back in front of a keyboard to type with.