Livin Studio // © Paris Tsitsos 2014
Livin Studio // © Paris Tsitsos 2014

Designers Grow Edible Fungus Out of Plastic Garbage

Livin Studio // © Paris Tsitsos 2014
Livin Studio // © Paris Tsitsos 2014

We’ve got a plastic problem. In 2012 alone, Americans produced 32 million tons of it and recycled only about 9 percent. Each year we create more and more, and it’s piling up fast. One Austrian design firm has come up with a way to chip away at the mountains of plastic, one meal at a time: the Fungi Mutarium, a product that helps garbage spark food growth.

Designers Katharina Unger and Julia Kaisinger of Livin Studio collaborated with microbiologist Han Wösten, whose work has focused on fungi’s plastic-digesting abilities.

“We wanted to work with material that has not or only little been considered as food so far,” the designers said. While fungus is a common food source all over the world, most cultures eat only the fruiting body (that’s the mushroom, truffle, or other fleshy part). But fungi also have root-like filaments called mycelia that absorb nutrients. Unger and Kaisinger wondered if they could make the mycelia into a food source.

The result of their experiments was the Fungi Mutarium, a device that converts garbage into edible mycelia. The mycelia are grown inside edible agar cups, which the designers named FUs. A Mutarium user will place a piece of sterilized plastic inside the FU, then add a few drops of fungal spores with a pipette. After a week or two, the FU will be completely covered in mycelia.

You can watch the process in the video below:

Fungi Mutarium: Prototype from LIVIN Studio on Vimeo.

The Mutarium produces two commonly eaten species of fungus: Pleurotus ostreatus, or the oyster mushroom, can be found on American supermarket shelves, and Schizophyllum commune, the split gill mushroom, is more popular in China, India, Mexico, and parts of Africa. “We found the taste to be neutral,” the designers noted.

They’ve since invented special utensils and recipes for preparing and eating the resulting FU growths.

Agar FU with mycelia, caviar, and seaweed.

The Mutarium is still in its prototype stage. While the plastic does degrade in the FU, the process is very slow, lasting months—a timeline the designers hope to shorten in future versions.

Images and video courtesy of Livin Studio // © Paris Tsitsos 2014

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Tom Etherington, Penguin Press
The Covers of Jack Kerouac's Classic Titles Are Getting a Makeover
Tom Etherington, Penguin Press
Tom Etherington, Penguin Press

Readers have been enjoying classic Jack Kerouac books like The Dharma Bums and On the Road for decades, but starting this August the novels will have a new look. Several abstract covers have been unveiled as part of Penguin’s "Great Kerouac" series, according to design website It’s Nice That.

The vibrant covers, designed by Tom Etherington of Penguin Press, feature the works of abstract expressionist painter Franz Kline. The artwork is intended to capture “the experience of reading Kerouac” rather than illustrating a particular scene or character, Etherington told It’s Nice That. Indeed, abstract styles of artwork seem a fitting match for Kerouac’s “spontaneous prose”—a writing style that was influenced by improvisational jazz music.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of The Dharma Bums, which was published just one year after On the Road. The Great Kerouac series will be available for purchase on August 2.

[h/t It's Nice That]

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Apple
Here's a Preview of the 70 New Emojis Coming to Your iPhone
Apple
Apple

Get ready to add a whole new set of symbols to your emoji vocabulary. As CNN reports, Apple has released a sneak peak of some of the 70 new emojis coming to iOS in late 2018.

In February 2018, the Unicode Consortium announced the latest additions to their official emoji database. Software makers have since been working on customizing the designs for their own operating systems, and now iPhone and iPad users are getting a preview of what the new emojis will look like on their devices.

One of the most highly anticipated new symbols is the redhead emoji, something people have been demanding for a while. A curly haired option, another popular request, will be added to the line-up, as will gray-hair and bald emoji choices. Each of the new hair types can be added to the classic face emoji regardless of gender, but when it comes to specific characters like the bride or the jogger emojis, users will be limited to the same hair options they had before.

If Apple users ever want to express their inner superhero, two new super characters, a man and woman, will let them do so. They will also have new "smiley" symbols to choose from, like a party emoji, a sad eyes emoji, and a frozen emoji.

In the food category you have a head of lettuce and a mango, and for dessert, a cupcake and a mooncake—a festive Chinese pastry. New animals include a peacock, a kangaroo, and a lobster. The lobster emoji stirred some controversy in February when Mainers noticed the Unicode version was missing a set of legs. The design was quickly revised, and Apple's version is also anatomically correct.

These images just show a small sample of the emojis that will be included in an iOS update planned for later in 2018. Users will have to wait to see the final designs for other the symbols on the list.

New Apple emojis.
Apple

New Apple emojis.
Apple

New Apple emojis.
Apple

New Apple emojis.
Apple

[h/t CNN]

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