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The Dartmouth
April 15, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Internet Meme of the Week

When most people see mold on a piece of bread or leftover fruit, the first inclination is to throw it away unless you're Cornell University's Department of Plant Pathology. The lab decided to turn the dreaded fungi into works of art by photographing their growth as they enveloped the food that they were feeding on. The time-lapse slideshows display a wide range of processes, from nature's most beautiful such as a caterpillar constructing a silk tent to its most disturbing including one of a potato (complete with a fork and knife for effect) rotting as bacteria feed on the soft skin and insides. Some are amusing, like one of Homer Simpson donning a fungus toupee in the style of a Chia Pet. Others are simply mesmerizing, including a fungus that develops as clear reflective crystals. Most of the photos were taken in short intervals, usually three to 10 minutes, in a span of a few days by Kent Loeffler, who runs the scientific photo lab at Cornell. Kudos to him for braving the smell and sight of rotting food.