Published February 3, 2022 by Nan Mykel


The fineness of the details in this colored scanning electron micrograph showing nerve cells in a fruit fly’s antenna which enable it to sense odors up to four miles away really impressed me, relative to the seeming magic of evolution.  Flies have a brain of 100,000 neurons, no nose, and can taste with their wings, according to Google. › 


A Yale psychologist reports that compared to what you’d expect by chance alone, there are more people named Ken who moved to live in Kentucky, Florences who moved to Florida, and more named Louis who moved to St. Louis; there are more Denises and Dennises who became dentists and Laura and Lawrences who became lawyers, compared to people with names that do not share letters with these occupations.  If your first or last name begins with “H” you are more likely than chance to own a hardware store, and if one of your names begns with “R”, you are more likely to own a roofing company, with “C” a computer company and with “T” a travel business.  From the essay “The Letters in Your Name Are Hidden Persuaders” by John A. Bargh in Are We Free?  Oxford U. Press, 2008.    (Shuckies, his name isn’t “Paul!”)

 In a blog post for Psychology Today, University of Miami neuroscientist Berit Brogard writes about an incident where an orthopaedic surgeon who was struck by lightning developed an urge to learn to play the piano. He began to compose music he had mysteriously started hearing in his head since the strike. After a few months he abandoned his career as a surgeon and became a classical musician. This type of phenomenon baffles scientists. From <>

The vast migrations of Bronze Age Eurasian pastorialists were enabled by the drinking of horse milk.  –Harper’s Findings 

A New York Review of Books contained Our Silent Partners by Zoe Schlanger, which led me to the book Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures by  Merlin Sheldrake. (I gave several copies as Christmas presents this year).  Fungi are a kingdom unto itself (as opposed to the Animal and Plant kingdom). There are believed to be between 2.2 and 3.8 million fungal species.    Some species can recognize color,  thanks to receptors sensitive to blue and red light, though it is not entirely clear what they do with that information. One can detect light, apparently to see where to grow, and are also able to sense the presence of nearby objects and will bend away from them before ever making contact.  I had read earlier that “we” trace back to fungi ourselves.

The shaggy ink cap mushroom is a species capable of erupting through asphalt and lifting heavy paving stones overnight, “although they are not themselves a tough material” (No one knows how they do it).  Ibid

Mushrooms are the fruiting device of fungi, and reproduce by spores instead of seeds, ejecting them by means of tiny, specialized catapults so they accelerate ten thousand times faster than a space shuttle during launch. See Aliya Whitely  The secret Life of Fungi: Discoveries from a Hidden World, 2021.

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