Normally associated with rot and decay, fungi may be a great overlooked resource that could help humanity deal with some of its greatest problems. Beneath Jim Anderson’s feet lies a monster. It has been alive since the Persian king Xerxes waged war against the Ancient Greeks and weighs more than three blue whales put together. It has a voracious appetite, eating its way through huge swathes of forest. But this is no long-forgotten beast borne of Greek mythology. It is a mushroom…
Gary Lincoff, a self-taught mycologist whose contagious enthusiasm turned him into a pied piper of mushrooms, died on March 16 in Manhattan. He was 75.
Credit: Alan Zale for The New York Times
His family said he died after a stroke.
Mr. Lincoff, a philosophy major and law-school dropout, wrote a field guide to North American mushrooms that sold more than a half-million copies. He led mushroom hunts as far afield as Siberia, India and the Amazon and as near to his home as Central Park, two blocks away, where over the course of decades he counted more than 400 species.
Mr. Lincoff taught for more than 40 years at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx and instructed Martha Stewart on dredging puffballs in panko bread crumbs to bring out their flavor. He wrote peer-reviewed journal articles and poems and songs about mushrooms, and helped found the countercultural science and fun fair in Colorado known as the Telluride Mushroom Festival.
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The evidence supporting the use of psychedelic drugs to treat treatment-resistant depression continues to build. In the latest volley, a study finds that psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms, may open an entirely new door to treating depression – by allowing deeply entrenched beliefs to become changeable.