Friday, November 03, 2006

Questions

As you get older fewer things are surprising. I look at my 90-year-old grandmother and she doesn't seem up to learning things anymore, she's comfortable with what she knows and what she's done in her life. She has no interest in hearing about the internet or computers or anything that's happened in the last 15 years or so.

I find it very exciting to discover something new, it makes me feel alive. Learning tidbits from history -- where the word "bushwhack" comes from, for instance, or what sort of hobbies people had in 1873 -- are good ways of getting that 'zing' of revelation.

Wikipedia is doing away with conundrums and office trivia contests, but here's something that still baffles me:

Sometimes a spider will go on "reconaissance" by dropping from the ceiling on a little self-spun thread. The spider hangs there at the end of the thread, looking around, then climbs back up the thread again, and takes the thread with it somehow.

My question is, what does the spider do with the thread? Does it wind it back up inside its "spinner?" Does it wrap it around its legs? Does it eat it? Does it bite off small pieces as it goes up?

I sent this into "The Straight Dope" a few years ago and they've never answered. Does anybody know? If you were a spider, what would YOU do?

6 comments:

VanillaJ said...

I was talking to my personal banker the other day, and out of nervousness, I felt under the table. There was dried up gum and snot. I think that's what spiders spiders do: roll it up and stick it under a table. What do you say, Anonymous?

Muffy St. Bernard said...

No Vanilla, that was probably MY dried-up gum and snot.

Anonymous said...

Vanilla scares me

Anonymous said...

Suck it up, Princess!

Spiderman said...

they eat the thread, which is actually a liquid that "hardens" when exposured to the air. In this case, "hard" is relative as we find webs to be quite soft

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Thanks Spiderman! But how do you KNOW they eat the thread? Is it just something you assume? Because I can equally imagine them chopping it up behind them...