8 Mesmerizing Timelapse GIFs Showing How Mushrooms Grow

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Mushrooms are known as fast-growing organisms, especially quickly popping up after the rain.

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Given the pace of their growth, which is difficult to capture with a human eye, it‘s incredibly interesting to witness the changes of fungi in these mesmerizing time-lapse gifs.

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These timelapses show the surprising power of mushroom buds, as they burst through the soil and elegantly expand their caps.

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What we see on the surface, though, is only a part of organism, called mushroom fruit.

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The fruit is a short-lived reproductive structure, consisting 92% of water (hence the speed of growth).

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Meanwhile, mycelium of the mushroom sits and sprouts from the soil.

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This part, in contrast to the fruit, can live for years.

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If you are curious about the fungi kingdom or simply like finding out more about the processes of nature, these time-lapse shots are the way to go.

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Underwater Spiral City Project

L’entreprise de construction japonaise Shimizu a récemment introduit son nouveau projet d’architecture « Ocean Spiral » réalisable pour 2030.

Il s’agit d’une ville construite sous l’eau autonome en énergie grâce à des grandes spirales connectant chaque maison au fond de l’océan où de l’énergie sera générée par la production de methane (un constituant du gaz naturel).

Paprika: A primer on Hungary’s spicy obsession

Hungarian paprika's so sweet it can even be used in desserts. In fact, Hungarians spoon it into pretty much any dish you can think of.

It’s as red as blood and, for the traditional Hungarian chef, no less essential for a healthy life.

But humble paprika — national spice and integral to all the most treasured Hungarian dishes — has been having a rough time.

Hungarian paprika production has slumped as buyers across the world have turned to cheaper supplies from Spain, China and Latin America.

Christopher Columbus discovered the paprika pepper on his journeys around central America. Hungarians regard this as his most important achievement.

And two years of unpredictable weather in Hungary may mean this year’s crop of capsicum annuum peppers — the raw ingredient of paprika — is the poorest in 50 years.

Horror of horrors, Hungary may even resort to importing the crop.

But despite these trials, and past upsets such as the communists nationalizing paprika production, the spice remains as crucial as ever to the Hungarian soul.

Speaking of discoveries, Albert Szent-Györgyi won a Nobel Prize for Hungary for his work on Vitamin C. He also found out that paprika was bursting with it.

To understand Hungarians, you need to know a little bit about their favorite ingredient.

And if all else fails, this paprika primer will make for good talking points if you’re stuck in a Budapest goulash restaurant on a rainy afternoon.

1. It’s Mexican

Well, from around those parts, anyway.

Paprika peppers aren’t indigenous to Europe — the spice was among the treasures collected by Christopher Columbus on his expeditions around southern Mexico, Central America and the Antillies in the 15th century.

Paprika: Seven months from pepper seed to powder.

Paprika: Seven months from pepper seed to powder.

It made its way to Hungary via the Balkans a little later, where it was grown in the gardens of the aristocracy.

Its name is the diminutive of a Slavic word for pepper: “Papar.”

“We believe Columbus’s mission was a success because he came back to Europe with a marvelous spice,” says Gyula Vegh, of the Szeged Paprika Museum, in southern Hungary.

“He discovered America on the way.”

2. There are two — yes, two — paprika museums

And two paprika festivals — one in the town of Kalocsa (Hungarian site only) and another in Szeged, which has been the center of the Hungarian paprika industry for more than a century.

And, no, Szeged doesn’t have a huge fiberglass paprika pepper on a pole just outside town.

After World War II, the communist state nationalized paprika production. Private traders faced jail if caught.

The two museums are also both working production plants.

The Szeged Paprika Museum (Felső Tisza-Part 10, Szeged 6721, Hungary; +36 20 980 8000) shares a building with the Pick Salami factory — visitors get three varieties of salami to taste and a 10 gram sampling of paprika.

Visitors to the Paprika Molnar (Hungarian site only) factory, in the village of Roszke, get a guided tour from the company’s CEO, Anita Molnar, as well as a spice sample.

“When people see how much work paprika-growing takes, they appreciate what they get in their little takeaway bag,” Molnar says.

Dried paprika peppers resemble red potato chips and can be eaten like that — they’re a big hit among kids visiting the Molnar factory.

But both are also working spice factories. And, yes, you do get a paprika souvenir on the tour -- a takeaway 10-gram bag.

3. Hungarian paprika is super sweet

It takes seven months, from seed to ground powder, to produce paprika.

Hungarian paprika peppers are sweeter than others because of the country’s cool growing season, which retains sugar in the spice.

The weather also affects the color of the paprika.

“In hotter regions such as Peru or western China, the sun makes the paprika dark red,” Molnar says.

Old and childless women picked the fiery crop.

Old and childless women picked the fiery crop.

“As the sugar content decreases, the red color is enhanced.”

But Hungarian paprika wasn’t always so sweet.

In the 1920s, the peppers were of such a hot variety they could only be used after the pith had been removed, typically by women workers.

“However, women with little babies couldn’t do the job because they’d have to touch the children afterward,” Molnar explains.

“So unmarried women, or those with older children, picked the peppers instead.”

Paprika takes about seven months to produce from seed to powder -- when it's ready to dispense in everything from spicy sausage (kolbász), to fish soup and cake.

4. It’s not just for goulash — try cake

Early last century, 830 workshops in Szeged alone processed peppers for paprika.

But after a Hungarian botanist cultivated a new — naturally sweet — variety, large-scale farming became possible and the artisans were replaced.

Hearty and cheap, the classic paprika-rich dish goulash was originally considered peasants’ food.

But paprika’s good for more than goulash: It’s liberally dispensed in the dishes served at Sotarto Halaszcsarda (Roosevelt tér 14, Szeged, Hungary; +36 62 555 980) fish restaurant in paprika central, Szeged.

In Budapest, the upmarket Zeller bistro (Izabella utca 36-38, Budapest 1077, Hungary; +36 30 651 0880) gets rave reviews for its wide range of paprika-rich offerings.

It sounds strange but Hungarian paprika’s also sweet enough to use in desserts.

“Even I didn’t know that paprika could be used for sweets and not only savory dishes,” says Lajos Kossar, a Hungarian food writer and chef.

“Then I tasted my grandmother’s paprika cake.”

5. The communists traded it for hard currency

After World War II, paprika production in Hungary was nationalized by the communist government.

Local growers were prohibited from milling their own paprika powder and had to hand over all their peppers to state-owned mills.

“The old lady who looked after me when I was a child was sent to prison for four months for being caught selling two kilos of paprika,” Molnar says.

“Paprika was strategic. Each year several thousand tonnes were exported for Deutschmarks or dollars.

“The communists needed the foreign currency.”

6. Paprika’s bursting with vitamin C

Big pile of paprika -- and a lot of Vitamin C.

Big pile of paprika — and a lot of Vitamin C.

The Hungarian scientist Albert Szent-Györgyi won the Nobel Prize in 1937 partly for the discovery of vitamin C. He also found a high vitamin C content in paprika peppers and learned to extract it.

Szent-Györgyi sent vitamin C crystals from paprika peppers to parts of the world where people were suffering from scurvy.

Transformed Landscape in Portugal

Avec son projet « Open Space Office », le photographe portugais Tito Mouraz a consacré 3 ans de sa vie pour capturer les paysages de son pays transformés par la main de l’Homme qui déconstruit, construit, reconstruit et contemple.

 

Un beau témoignage personnel où un silence retentissant fait écho à travers chaque roche et chaque fissure.

Five reasons why we should all learn how to do nothing

A sloth takes it easy.

The idea that “doing nothing” is a skill to be learned might seem bewildering at first. Surely it’s just a question of stopping doing anything else? Yet that’s far easier said than done. It’s long been recognised – by everyone from the Buddha to John Keats – that “doing” can be a kind of compulsion, an addiction we only fail to acknowledge as such because society praises us for it. Indeed, learning how to do nothing might be the most vital skill for thriving in our frenetic, overwhelmed, always-connected culture. Here are five key reasons why:

1. “Doing nothing” isn’t really doing nothing

Assuming you’re not dead, you’re always doing something – even if you’re just savouring the pleasures of idleness. (To psychologists, such savouring is far from passive: it’s a learnable set of skills for relishing the moment, for example, by focusing on each of your senses in turn.) But what’s usually meant by “doing nothing” is doing nothing useful.

The problem is that “useful” gets defined in ways that don’t always serve our interests. Working harder to earn more to buy more stuff is useful for the people selling the stuff – but not necessarily for you. And usefulness is intrinsically future-oriented: it yanks you from the present, making savouring impossible. So perhaps “doing nothing” is synonymous with feeling alive.

2. Aimlessness, rest and even boredom can boost creativity

There’s good reason why so many celebrated authors and artists incorporate long walks in their daily routines. One is the well-studied “incubation effect”: ceasing to focus on a project seems to give your unconscious permission to get to work.

(In one study, people who knew they’d be returning to a creative-thinking task after a break did much better at it when they resumed, unlike those who weren’t expecting to return to the task – suggesting that it was unconscious processing, not simply taking a rest, that made the difference.)

Other studies looking at boredom (in one, participants were made to copy numbers from a phone book) suggest it motivates people to find interesting ways to alleviate it – thereby triggering creative ideas. Meanwhile, aimless thinking combats the tunnel vision that can result from fixating on goals. When you’ve no end in mind, you’re less likely to exclude new ideas as irrelevant.

3. Too much busyness is counterproductive

We chronically confuse effort with effectiveness: a day spent on trifling tasks feels exhausting and virtuous, so we assume – often wrongly – it must have been useful. Worse, writes the Dutch work expert Manfred Kets de Vries, busyness “can be a very effective defence mechanism for warding off disturbing thoughts and feelings”. It’s when doing nothing that we finally confront what matters.

4. The brain depends on downtime

Ever since the industrial revolution, we’ve treated humans like machines, assuming that the way to get more done is to push ourselves, or others, to keep going for longer. But neuroscientists are increasingly finding that our brains depend on downtime – not just for recharging batteries, but to process that data we’re deluged with, to consolidate memory and reinforce learning, by strengthening the neural pathways that make such feats possible.

In one 2009 study, brain imaging suggested that people faced with a strange task – controlling a computer joystick that didn’t obey the usual rules – were actively coming to grips with learning this new skill during seemingly passive rest periods.

5. You’ll regain control of your attention

Don’t expect doing nothing to feel easy at first: resisting the urge to do things takes willpower. In Buddhism, according to the meditation instructor Susan Piver, “busyness is seen as a form of laziness” – it’s a failure to withhold your attention from whatever random email, task or webpage lays claim to it.

The challenge has never been harder: the modern economy, especially online, is a battle for your attention. But the good news is that learning to do nothing will help you retake control of your attention at other times, too. One trick: schedule “do nothing” time, like you’d schedule tasks. Just don’t expect others to understand when you decline some social event on the grounds that you’re busy not being busy

The 11 Friendliest Cities In The World, According To Travelers

11. Salzburg, Austria

11. Salzburg, Austria

Score: 82.5 (tie)

It’s not difficult to see why Salzburg made the list. The beautiful city boasts “mountain vistas, mind-blowing architecture, and so much history,” and the people are “warm and friendly,” our readers gush.

It’s also very family friendly: “It’s like a living theme park, the perfect destination for young kids on their first trip to Europe,” one reader added. Plus, it’s home to the gorgeous Hotel Goldener Hirschone of Europe’s best hotels with the most helpful staff around.

11. Budapest, Hungary

11. Budapest, Hungary

Score: 82.5 (tie)

Budapest is “majestic, regal, and breathtaking,” with its “rich history and elegant buildings,” according to our readers. But it’s the “lovely, friendly people,” “courteous drivers,” and “youthfulness” that make the city special.

Our readers suggest heading to the Fisherman’s Bastion to get “a real feeling of local life.” In the summer, don’t miss the chance to mingle with the locals at one of Budapest’s now-famous “sparties,” which are held at the landmark Széchenyi Baths.

9. Seville, Spain

9. Seville, Spain

Score: 82.8 (tie)

“Quaint and amazing”—plus “charming, beautiful, and welcoming”—is how our readers describe the historic capital of Andalusia.

“The locals are warm, kind, and full of life,” one reader adds, while another raves that the city “dances to the rhythm of flamenco like no other Spanish city!” See for yourself—and while you’re there, have a meal at the classic and elegant Egaña Oriza, an editor favorite.

9. Savannah, Georgia, USA

9. Savannah, Georgia, USA

Score: 82.8 (tie)

Charm abounds in Georgia’s oldest city, as evidenced by the number of readers who raved about the “animated guides in seersucker suits” and “Spanish moss dripping from the trees.”

Visitors both new and returning also enthused that the “rich tapestry of our country’s history” here made them feel like they’d “stepped back in time.” For delicious Southern fare, “don’t miss The Pirate’s House Sunday Brunch.”

7. Siem Reap, Cambodia

7. Siem Reap, Cambodia

Score: 83.6

Though Siem Reap is full of “awe-inspiring beauty” and “incredible food and sights,” our readers say that its “people were the best.” One reader added: “It is the resiliency and kindness of the Cambodian people that I will remember.”

While you’re there, stay at the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor (pictured), five miles from Angkor Wat, orAmansara Resort, famous for its wonderful staff, beautiful chalets, and location—just minutes from Angkor Archaeological Park.

5. Sydney, Australia

5. Sydney, Australia

Score: 83.8 (tie)

Not only is Sydney “the most beautiful large city in the world” with a “breathtaking” harbor and beaches, it’s also home to the “friendliest people,” our readers say.

“They’re always so helpful, and they love Americans!” another adds. As if you needed another reason to visit, Sydney is also home to the best food in the world. Don’t visit without stopping by at the spectacular Quay for Chef Peter Gilmore’s nature-inspired cuisine.

5. Dublin, Ireland

5. Dublin, Ireland

Score: 83.8 (tie)

According to our readers, Dublin is a “vibrant city” that’s a “bibliophile’s dream.”

Apart from being “green, lush, and very walkable,” it’s also “the kind of place you stop in for a drink in a local pub, only to end up chatting with the locals for the next five hours.” Even First Lady Michelle Obama is a fan.

4. Charleston, South Carolina, USA

4. Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Several visitors praised this “quaint and special little gem” for embodying Southern hospitality at every turn—so much so that they “would consider living there full time.”

The historic town earned accolades for its blend of “undervalued local culture,” history, and natural beauty, as well as the “incredible food” and Charleston City Market, with its boutiques and art galleries.

3. Victoria, BC, Canada

3. Victoria, BC, Canada

Score: 85.7

There’s just so much to do in Victoria, you need at least a week to see it. “Bike on the Galloping Goose, people-watch at Moka House Coffee, sip wine at Beacon Hill Park, go whale watching, and on and on,” one of our readers advises.

“The inner harbor is worth a day wandering around,” another adds. While you’re there, look for the stunning Fairmont Empress Hotel, which is well worth “a walk through, even if you don’t go for high tea.”

1. Melbourne, Australia (TIE)

1. Melbourne, Australia (TIE)

Score: 86.0 (tie)

It’s no surprise that our readers adore Melbourne: It’s “one of the classiest cities in the world” and boasts an “abundance of parks and fabulous public art.”

Plus, Melbournians are a “friendly bunch,” famous for their “wonderful sense of humor.” And don’t even start with Melbourne’s amazing nightlife, food, and hotels—we told you long ago it was Australia’s capital of cool.

1. Auckland, New Zealand (TIE)

1. Auckland, New Zealand (TIE)

Score: 86.0 (tie)

We must admit, we saw this one coming—and so did you. “The people are friendly, and their humor and view on life is something to aspire to attain,” said one reader. “Such a gorgeous city on the water” with “clear air,” “fresh food,” and “amazing culture,” others raved.

A trip to the Auckland Museum for its Maori collections and “terrific” cultural performances is highly recommended. If you’ve never been to New Zealand, this “clean, youthful, adventurous, beautiful” city is the “ideal starting place” for seeing the country.

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