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Old 02-28-2013, 12:34 PM  
listopencil listopencil is offline
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A Break From The Alex Smith Drama: Urbanization Is Supersizing Spiders

City living brings with it a few shifts in lifestyle compared to rural habitation: shorter commutes, accessible shops and, often, an over-reliance on restaurant dining and fast food. Another side effect of the congested, cramped, cement-laded city life is that the temperature tends to be a little warmer year-round, a shift known as the “urban heat island” effect.

As it turns out, these changes aren’t only affecting cities’ human populations. In Australia, where spiders already have a propensity to be terrifyingly large, new research by University of Sydney PhD candidate Lizzy Lowe, says The Age, found that Sydney’s higher temperatures and easier access to food are driving the spiders to grow even bigger.

She studied the golden orb weaver in three types of environments in and around Sydney – urban parks, remnant bushland and continuous bushland. Twenty sites were studied and, for each spider web found, she assessed its proximity to man-made objects and vegetation.

Comparing the sizes of the spiders, she found that the city spiders outpaced the country spiders. And, though her research focused only on Golden orb weaver spiders, she suggests that the same effect can probably be seen in other species.

A female golden orb weaver spider. Photo: Arthur Chapman


http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smar...izing-spiders/
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:36 PM   #2
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:36 PM   #3
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Here's a pic of the "Clock Spider" linked to the text "terrifyingly large" in the original article:

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Old 02-28-2013, 12:36 PM   #4
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I like spiders as long as they
1. don't bite me
2. eat all the other little fugtard insects in and around the house
3. I don't see them
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:38 PM   #5
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:40 PM   #6
listopencil listopencil is offline
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I love spiders. Just something about them. They are fun to watch and have some complicated behavior patterns, and such a variety of forms. I really feel bad about it when they surprise me. Because I will, almost without fail, shriek like a little girl and stomp them into goo.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tooge View Post
I like spiders as long as they
1. don't bite me
2. eat all the other little fugtard insects in and around the house
3. I don't see them
Quote:
Originally Posted by listopencil View Post
I love spiders. Just something about them. They are fun to watch and have some complicated behavior patterns, and such a variety of forms. I really feel bad about it when they surprise me. Because I will, almost without fail, shriek like a little girl and stomp them into goo.
These two posts pretty much describe my feelings towards spiders. They're significantly less annoying than almost all other bugs (which they keep away from me by eating them). There's just something about them, though, that makes my skin crawl. That picture in the OP made me shiver.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:57 PM   #8
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Whenever there's a thread about spiders, I have to look behind me to be sure that one isn't about to climb up on my neck or shoulders. I can't help it.

And spiders are like offensive linemen. The best ones do their job and you never see them.
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:59 PM   #9
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Damn, I killed a few recluses last year, but I'm damn glad none were as big as the ones in listopencil post. uck.
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:00 PM   #10
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:02 PM   #11
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:02 PM   #12
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:02 PM   #13
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:46 PM   #14
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More spidery stuff:



Could Spider Silk Stop a Moving Train?

Spider-Man’s silk could have stopped a moving train—if his silk resembled the stuff produced by the Darwin’s bark spider, which lives in Madagascar and builds enormous 80-foot wide webs.

A team from the University of Leicester set out to test the reality of this hypothetical hero move from the second Spider-Man movie, Wired reports:

First, the team calculated how much four R160 New York City subway cars — packed with a total of 984 people — would weigh (about 200,000 kilograms, or roughly 10 Atlas V rockets). Then, they calculated how fast the train was going (24 meters per second, or about 53 miles per hour) and how much resistance the track would have offered as it charged forward (negligible). From there, they could work out how much force the webbing would have needed to exert upon the train to stop it: about 300,000 Newtons, or about 12 times the amount of force exerted by a large American alligator as its jaws snap shut.

Figures in hand, the team considered the way trains, webs and anchor buildings would interact geometrically and how much tensile strength a line of web would need in order to hold up a train without snapping.

After crunching the numbers, they found that Spider-Man could indeed have saved that train from plummeting off the track. Spiders such as the Darwin’s black spider produce silk with strength values of 1.5 to 12 gigapascals. Scale those values to a human-sized spindle of silk and web, and the calculations add up to amazing, train-stopping abilities.

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smar...-moving-train/
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:47 PM   #15
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