What's plaguing Britain now? Yes, yes, knives. It is an island awash in blades where even a quick run to the corner shop is an obstacle course of drink-sozzled louts in hooded sweatshirts whose twisted desire for the feeling of power brought about by inflicting misery can only be sated by thrusting their sharpened steel into the pliant human flesh of random passersby etc. We already know this is what Britain is all about. But now: With her ear glued to her mobile phone, my 11-year-old daughter, Millie, was deep in conversation, her brow furrowed as she discussed [...]
"Next, Sen hopes to develop versions of these tiny aquatic spiders that run on chemicals readily available in the body, such as glucose. In the future, more sophisticated microspiders attached to nanobots that detect chemicals secreted by damaged tissue could swim through the bloodstream, weaving a medical glue to help heal tears in vessel walls. Decorated with other micromachines and enzymes, they could swim through the circulatory system scouting out tumours, scouring plaque from vessel walls and helping the immune system battle infections." —I can't wait til the future, when little metal spiders scurrying around under my skin will make me feel better.
Behold Phoneutria nigriventer, a Brazilian spider whose sting contains within it a special substance that makes men stand to attention. Tell us about it, Medical College of Georgia physiologist Dr. Kenia Nunes! The venom of the P. nigriventer spider is a very rich mixture of several molecules. These molecules are called toxins, and then we have various toxins in this venom with different activity. Because of this, when a human is bitten by this spider, we can observe many different symptoms including priapism, a condition in which the penis is continually erect.
Yes, much like the penis pills that have been so profitable for our pharmaceutical concerns, [...]
"[A] 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 grow even bigger."
"He achieves continuous sperm transfer after having been removed by the aggressive female, or has moved away himself. At the same time, his palp (sexual organ) plugs the female, thereby monopolizing her." —Arachnologist Matjaz Kuntner describes the findings of a study wherein 90 percent of male spiders were observed cutting off their penises during sex, which increases the chances of successful impregnation and also of the males escaping from their mates, who generally try to eat them after copulation.
“So the female wants to say no but he puts it in big bright letters 'new and improved.’ He’s basically finding loopholes in her sensory system.” —University of British Columbia zoologist Wayne Madison explains the increasingly complex mating dance of the male jumping spider to The Last Word On Nothing's Anne Casselman. Madison discovered a whole new species of jumping spider in Ecuador, and you can help name it!
"It later emerged the spider had probably been living in the woman’s ear canal for up to five days, that it may have crawled in while she slept in her home during renovations." —Unsettlingly, there is a photo.
"There probably aren’t any tiny ants feeling their way over your limbs and across the back of your neck right now. But wouldn’t you feel better scratching anyway? Why is it that seeing, discussing, or even just thinking about creepy crawlers makes us feel itchy all over?" NOBODY KNOWS!
"If this were a bird then queues would be stretching around the car park. But it's not, it's a spider with a slightly amusing abdomen." —Mark Singleton of Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds discusses a recently discovered lichen crab spider that, when looked at from a certain angle, appears to have a frowny face on its back.