[Daily article] January 25: Lycoperdon perlatum

Lycoperdon perlatum, the common puffball, is a widespread species of
fungus in the family Agaricaceae. It forms an off-white medium-sized
puffball tapering to a wide stalk, 1.5 to 6 cm (0.6 to 2.4 in) wide by
3 to 10 cm (1.2 to 3.9 in) tall. Its top is covered in short spiny
bumps that are easily rubbed off to leave a net-like pattern on the
surface. When mature it becomes brown, and a hole in the top opens to
release spores in a burst when the body is compressed by touch or
falling raindrops. It is edible when the young internal flesh is
completely white, but can be mistaken for an immature fruit body of
several poisonous Amanita species. L. perlatum can usually be
distinguished from similar puffballs by differences in surface texture.
Its chemical compounds include the unusual amino acid lycoperdic acid
and volatile sterol derivatives that give the puffball its flavor and
odor. Laboratory tests indicate that extracts of the puffball have
antimicrobial and antifungal activities.

Read more:

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Today’s selected anniversaries:

1533:

Anne Boleyn, already pregnant with future queen Elizabeth,
secretly married Henry VIII of England, the second of his six
marriages.

1890:

American journalist Nellie Bly completed a circumnavigation of
the globe, inspired by Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, in
a then-record 72 days.

1971:

Idi Amin seized power in a military coup d’état from President
Milton Obote, beginning eight years of military rule in Uganda.

1993:

Five people were shot outside the Central Intelligence Agency
headquarters in Langley, Virginia, resulting in two deaths.

2004:

Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity (artist’s impression
pictured) landed on Mars and rolled into Eagle crater, a small crater on
the Meridiani Planum.

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Wiktionary’s word of the day:

haggis:
A traditional Scottish dish made from minced sheep offal with oatmeal
and spices, etc., originally boiled in the stomach of a sheep but now
often in an artificial casing, and usually served with neeps and tatties
(mashed swede and potatoes) and accompanied with whisky.

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Wikiquote quote of the day:

  It is notorious that illusions are shattered by conflict with
reality, so no real happiness, no real wit, no real profundity are
tolerated where the illusion prevails.  
–Orlando: A Biography

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