What did you see in the sky tonight?

The cosmos at our fingertips.
User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 16215
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:53 am

geckzilla wrote:I should have confined that to fear of insects. There is virtually no rational fear of any insect.
I think there are more insects that justify rational fear than there are arachnids. I'd be fearful if I came anywhere near a nest of Asian giant hornets, for example. Aggressive, extremely painful, and not uncommonly fatal.

While there are probably more dangerously toxic arachnids than insects, the latter are much more likely to be aggressive, much more likely to exist in colonies, much more likely to be encountered.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

User avatar
geckzilla
Ocular Digitator
Posts: 9158
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:42 pm
Location: Modesto, CA

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by geckzilla » Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:03 am

Spiders are in a whole different category. The fear to actual danger ratio is off the charts. All of these tiny things with more than four legs are so wrongfully reviled it's depressing. Sure, it's not hard to think of times when the fear is justified but it's almost all completely unfounded. Ask owlice about her camel crickets.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

User avatar
owlice
Guardian of the Codes
Posts: 8389
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 4:18 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by owlice » Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:29 am

I HATE CAMEL CRICKETS!

(They look very much like spiders. Jumping spiders. Ick!!)
A closed mouth gathers no foot.

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 16215
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:36 am

owlice wrote:I HATE CAMEL CRICKETS!

(They look very much like spiders. Jumping spiders. Ick!!)
I love jumping spiders. I worked with them in a research lab, putting electrodes in their brains to study their visual system. Way cool animals!
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

User avatar
Ann
4725 Å
Posts: 11650
Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 5:33 am

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Ann » Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:49 am

I'm late to the party again, but I must thank you for the great pictures here. Very interesting Moon pictures, Nitpicker, thanks. Chris, those cloud formation pictures are awesome, and BMAONE, thanks for pointing out how well they would have blended in in a sci-fi movie. And Chris, those insect and arachnid portraits are superb. But once you posted a closeup you had taken of a dragonfly, and the little critter seemed to "smile" at us. It was utterly amazing.

Ann
Color Commentator

User avatar
Nitpicker
Inverse Square
Posts: 2692
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:39 am
Location: S27 E153

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Nitpicker » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:31 am

geckzilla wrote:All of these tiny things with more than four legs are so wrongfully reviled it's depressing. Sure, it's not hard to think of times when the fear is justified but it's almost all completely unfounded.
I'm not so worried about the legs. It's the fangs/teeth/toxins that scare me. Snakes, sharks, crocodiles, stonefish, blue ringed octopus, box jellyfish, fruitbats, dingos, feral koalas, etc, are all on the spectrum, but I've come so close to being bitten by a funnel web so many times, that I have a special kind of fear reserved for big, black, hairy, aggressive, menacing ground spiders, that can take a whole can of insecticide without even changing their stride.

User avatar
Ann
4725 Å
Posts: 11650
Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 5:33 am

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Ann » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:10 am

Nitpicker wrote:
geckzilla wrote:All of these tiny things with more than four legs are so wrongfully reviled it's depressing. Sure, it's not hard to think of times when the fear is justified but it's almost all completely unfounded.
I'm not so worried about the legs. It's the fangs/teeth/toxins that scare me. Snakes, sharks, crocodiles, stonefish, blue ringed octopus, box jellyfish, fruitbats, dingos, feral koalas, etc, are all on the spectrum, but I've come so close to being bitten by a funnel web so many times, that I have a special kind of fear reserved for big, black, hairy, aggressive, menacing ground spiders, that can take a whole can of insecticide without even changing their stride.
Looking out at the depressing winter weather outside, I'm glad I live in cold Sweden after I've read your post, Nitpicker. What animals do we have to fear? The only large wild animals that ever attack people in Sweden are bears, and those attacks are extremely rare. We have a few wolves around, but come on... they don't attack people, certainly not when they have the option of running away. Okay, yes, there are moose, too. There actually was a case a couple of years ago when a man was arrested for having killed his wife, until the police were finally able to prove that she had been attacked and killed by a large moose in heat.

When it comes to arachnids, we don't have any really dangerous ones as far as I know. As for reptiles we only have one species that is poisonous, and it isn't tremendously dangerous, either. I guess we are lucky. Or rather, we live in a cold country, and the really nasty spiders and snakes don't want to share the snow and ice with us!

Ann
Last edited by Ann on Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Color Commentator

User avatar
rstevenson
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Posts: 2651
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:24 pm
Location: Dartmouth, NS, Canada

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by rstevenson » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:32 pm

From Bill Bryson's book Down Under, “No one knows, incidentally, why Australia’s spiders are so extravagantly toxic; capturing small insects and injecting them with enough poison to drop a horse would appear to be the most literal case of overkill. Still, it does mean that everyone gives them lots of space.”

Rob

User avatar
owlice
Guardian of the Codes
Posts: 8389
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 4:18 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by owlice » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:02 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
owlice wrote:I HATE CAMEL CRICKETS!

(They look very much like spiders. Jumping spiders. Ick!!)
I love jumping spiders. I worked with them in a research lab, putting electrodes in their brains to study their visual system. Way cool animals!
Ick! Ick! Ick! Ick! Ick! Ick! Ick! Ick! Ick! Ick! Ick! Ick! Ick! Ick! Ick!
A closed mouth gathers no foot.

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 16215
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:40 pm

Nitpicker wrote:
geckzilla wrote:All of these tiny things with more than four legs are so wrongfully reviled it's depressing. Sure, it's not hard to think of times when the fear is justified but it's almost all completely unfounded.
I'm not so worried about the legs. It's the fangs/teeth/toxins that scare me. Snakes, sharks, crocodiles, stonefish, blue ringed octopus, box jellyfish, fruitbats, dingos, feral koalas, etc, are all on the spectrum, but I've come so close to being bitten by a funnel web so many times, that I have a special kind of fear reserved for big, black, hairy, aggressive, menacing ground spiders, that can take a whole can of insecticide without even changing their stride.
Yes, a degree of fear is justified. But Geckzilla is right, the actual fear that many people experience just thinking about arthropods is way out of proportion with the real threat they are likely to pose.

I'm happy to live in a place now that has nothing even close to dangerous- no spiders poisonous enough to do more than raise a tiny bump, no poisonous snakes, no insect more dangerous than the occasional yellow jacket, practically no critters that spread disease, no large animals that are aggressive towards humans. But I grew up in a place with some dangerous spiders and snakes (nothing like Australia, though!) without developing any real fear of them.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

BDanielMayfield
Don't bring me down
Posts: 2524
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:24 am
AKA: Bruce
Location: East Idaho

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by BDanielMayfield » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:51 pm

rstevenson wrote:From Bill Bryson's book Down Under, “No one knows, incidentally, why Australia’s spiders are so extravagantly toxic; capturing small insects and injecting them with enough poison to drop a horse would appear to be the most literal case of overkill. Still, it does mean that everyone gives them lots of space.”

Rob
Maybe the insect prey of Australian spiders have horse-like constitutions? Joking aside, spider venom isn’t just for killing the prey, it’s also for helping the spider digest it’s prey too. (I think this is true for many venomous species, and not just spiders.)

Fear of insects and spiders can be quite rational, even wise. People with certain allergies can die from a wasp or bee sting. Here in Texas (and other southern US states) we are now dealing with Africanized “killer” bees. They attack in such great numbers that they can and do kill people, and not just the allergic.

Some snake fear (or maybe “respect” is the better word) is warranted, but I hate it when people kill any snake they come across. Here we have several venomous snakes, but most by far are harmless. Many large non-venomous species actually prey upon the venomous ones, as a snake’s favorite food is often another snake. But even the dangerous rattlers and such have their place, keeping the rodents in check.

Bruce
Just as zero is not equal to infinity, everything coming from nothing is illogical.

User avatar
owlice
Guardian of the Codes
Posts: 8389
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 4:18 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by owlice » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:54 pm

Nitpicker wrote:I'm not so worried about the legs. It's the fangs/teeth/toxins that scare me. Snakes, sharks, crocodiles, stonefish, blue ringed octopus, box jellyfish, fruitbats, dingos, feral koalas, etc, are all on the spectrum, but I've come so close to being bitten by a funnel web so many times, that I have a special kind of fear reserved for big, black, hairy, aggressive, menacing ground spiders, that can take a whole can of insecticide without even changing their stride.
How many cans of insecticide does it take to make one of these things change its stride, please? I'm planning to go to Australia next year and want to make sure I'm suitably armed.
A closed mouth gathers no foot.

User avatar
geckzilla
Ocular Digitator
Posts: 9158
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:42 pm
Location: Modesto, CA

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by geckzilla » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:00 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:
rstevenson wrote:From Bill Bryson's book Down Under, “No one knows, incidentally, why Australia’s spiders are so extravagantly toxic; capturing small insects and injecting them with enough poison to drop a horse would appear to be the most literal case of overkill. Still, it does mean that everyone gives them lots of space.”

Rob
Maybe the insect prey of Australian spiders have horse-like constitutions? Joking aside, spider venom isn’t just for killing the prey, it’s also for helping the spider digest it’s prey too. (I think this is true for many venomous species, and not just spiders.)
I think that's a misnomer. Spider venom and digestive enzymes are different.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

User avatar
neufer
Vacationer at Tralfamadore
Posts: 18561
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:57 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by neufer » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:04 pm

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
The dark skies of Camp Pocomoonshine on Lake Champlain that made it so easy to see Comet Mrkos in 1957 also made it so difficult to see all those "daddy longlegs" that infested the Camp's outhouses but you knew that they were there waiting for you.
Art Neuendorffer

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 16215
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:07 pm

owlice wrote:How many cans of insecticide does it take to make one of these things change its stride, please? I'm planning to go to Australia next year and want to make sure I'm suitably armed.
Image
The Australian visitors bureau doesn't recommend the use of insecticides (and really, why would you expect an insecticide to work on a spider?) Instead, they recommend the proper garb for protection from dangerous critters you might encounter. Suitable clothing like this is widely available, and can be purchased at airport kiosks before you ever walk out into the open air.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

User avatar
Beyond
500 Gigaderps
Posts: 6889
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:09 am
Location: BEYONDER LAND

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Beyond » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:16 pm

The cure for Arachnophobia :!: :yes:

Image
To find the Truth, you must go Beyond.

BDanielMayfield
Don't bring me down
Posts: 2524
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:24 am
AKA: Bruce
Location: East Idaho

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by BDanielMayfield » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:20 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
owlice wrote:How many cans of insecticide does it take to make one of these things change its stride, please? I'm planning to go to Australia next year and want to make sure I'm suitably armed.
Image
The Australian visitors bureau doesn't recommend the use of insecticides (and really, why would you expect an insecticide to work on a spider?) Instead, they recommend the proper garb for protection from dangerous critters you might encounter. Suitable clothing like this is widely available, and can be purchased at airport kiosks before you ever walk out into the open air.
:lol2: Those in the Australian tourism industry must be fuming. Look what you caused Nitpicker. They may want to kick you out. :lol2:
Just as zero is not equal to infinity, everything coming from nothing is illogical.

User avatar
neufer
Vacationer at Tralfamadore
Posts: 18561
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:57 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by neufer » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:23 pm

Image
Beyond wrote:
:arrow: The cure for Arachnophobia :!: :yes:
If I had that at Camp Pocomoonshine when I was eleven
I would have liberally sprayed it on my butt before using the facilities.
Art Neuendorffer

User avatar
geckzilla
Ocular Digitator
Posts: 9158
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:42 pm
Location: Modesto, CA

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by geckzilla » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:29 pm

Ahaha, I think the Raid poison is worse than spiders. Especially if it's opiliones you are dealing with. Have you ever tried picking up an opilione? They literally fall apart of you grab a leg or two in a desperate attempt to flee.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

User avatar
owlice
Guardian of the Codes
Posts: 8389
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 4:18 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by owlice » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:34 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
owlice wrote:How many cans of insecticide does it take to make one of these things change its stride, please? I'm planning to go to Australia next year and want to make sure I'm suitably armed.
Image
The Australian visitors bureau doesn't recommend the use of insecticides (and really, why would you expect an insecticide to work on a spider?) Instead, they recommend the proper garb for protection from dangerous critters you might encounter. Suitable clothing like this is widely available, and can be purchased at airport kiosks before you ever walk out into the open air.
You need to come with a warning label, Chris!

Now to mop coffee from my keyboard...
A closed mouth gathers no foot.

User avatar
Nitpicker
Inverse Square
Posts: 2692
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:39 am
Location: S27 E153

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Nitpicker » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:03 pm

owlice wrote:
Nitpicker wrote:I'm not so worried about the legs. It's the fangs/teeth/toxins that scare me. Snakes, sharks, crocodiles, stonefish, blue ringed octopus, box jellyfish, fruitbats, dingos, feral koalas, etc, are all on the spectrum, but I've come so close to being bitten by a funnel web so many times, that I have a special kind of fear reserved for big, black, hairy, aggressive, menacing ground spiders, that can take a whole can of insecticide without even changing their stride.
How many cans of insecticide does it take to make one of these things change its stride, please? I'm planning to go to Australia next year and want to make sure I'm suitably armed.
Nobody picked me up on the feral koalas?

As for the insecticide claim, this story comes from my early childhood in the late 1970s, before the antivenom was developed. One morning, I was innocently munching away at my breakfast cereal, when I saw a funnel web approaching me from across the other side of the room, slowly, but steadily and with purpose. I put down my bowl. By pure chance, there happened to be a can of insecticide (of some sort, details have been lost) on the table next to me. I started spraying the stuff at the spider, but it continued to walk towards me, backing me into a corner, with no change in its gait. By the time my back was up against the wall, the spider was white with spray, and the can gave out. At this point, the spider began to rear up in classic strike pose, and I took the empty can and squashed it dead. This is just one of the funnel web stories that has so obviously traumatised me. The rational reality is that very few people get bitten by funnel webs and none have died since the antivenom was developed.

Chris, a funnel web's fangs can penetrate fingernails and could easily penetrate parts of that hazmat suit. At best, it might serve as a convenient body bag, in which to sweat away one's last few moments.

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 16215
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:10 pm

Nitpicker wrote:Chris, a funnel web's fangs can penetrate fingernails and could easily penetrate parts of that hazmat suit. At best, it might serve as a convenient body bag, in which to sweat away one's last few moments.
That isn't a hazmat suit. It's an Aussie tourist suit, made of Kevlar. That's a requirement to make it crocodile proof.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

User avatar
Beyond
500 Gigaderps
Posts: 6889
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:09 am
Location: BEYONDER LAND

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Beyond » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:23 pm

I don't care what the thread title says, this is fun stuff :!: :lol2:
To find the Truth, you must go Beyond.

User avatar
neufer
Vacationer at Tralfamadore
Posts: 18561
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:57 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by neufer » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:51 am

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
geckzilla wrote:
Ahaha, I think the Raid poison is worse than spiders. Especially if it's opiliones you are dealing with. Have you ever tried picking up an opilione? They literally fall apart of you grab a leg or two in a desperate attempt to flee.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opiliones wrote:
<<Despite their long history, few harvestman fossils are known due to their delicate body structure and dry terrestrial habitat. As a consequence, most known fossils have been preserved as amber. The oldest known harvestman, from the 400 million years old Devonian Rhynie chert, already has almost all the characteristics of modern species, placing the origin of harvestmen in the Silurian or earlier.
Art Neuendorffer

User avatar
Beyond
500 Gigaderps
Posts: 6889
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:09 am
Location: BEYONDER LAND

Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Beyond » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:41 am

Until now, I've never seen more than a few 'Daddy Long Legs' in the same area. That's a lotta spiders :!:
To find the Truth, you must go Beyond.