scientist believed that a frogs’ legs were related
to the ability of the frog to hear. He put a frog on the table and smacked his
hands together. The frog jumped. He removed one of the frog’s
legs. Smacked his hands and the frog jumped. He cut off another leg and the frog
still jumped with the sudden noise, he cut off the third leg and the frog when
startled tried to jump. The amputation of the last leg resulted in no jump of
the frog with noise of sudden clapping. Therefore a frog with no legs cannot hear.
The scientist was right!
Which makes about as much sense as this story..
California Institute of Technology has just completed a study to determine why
it is so difficult to swat flies. I am certain there is a government grant in
this somewhere….there has to be, no sane person would pay good money for this
information. Government money or tax credits….not a for profit assignment.
this institution was interested in knowing why flies were able to avoid being
hit by a fly swatter. They had always thought the flies flew away from the impending
danger, but after a long period of research they found that the flies used their
legs to jump away from any approaching danger.
Fascinating isn’t it?
neurochemistry of the fly’s brain has been studied for a long period of time.
I bet this makes for clever repartee at cocktail parties.
“So, what do
“I’m a scientist….”
“How interesting, what do you study?”
“The brains of dead flies.”
“Oh…” and they walk away…..
science has once again proven that nothing is too far fetched to turn into a research
The scientists in this report stated that the flies were able
to detect an object approaching them about 200 milliseconds before the object
struck. Then they were able to push off with their legs and then fly away safely.
Here’s where it gets crazy.
If the fly is being threatened from
the front the fly moves its middle legs forward and jumps backward. If the threat
is from the back, then the legs are moved backward and the fly jumps forwards.
I don’t think you will surprised to learn that if approached from one side or
another, the fly will jump to the opposite side in order to escape.
happy enough over this information, the scientists went further and cut off the
fly’s legs. When threatened, the fly still leaned in that direction and used its
wings to escape being swatted.
When its wings were cut off, the fly used
what ever legs were left to jump clear.
didn’t say this, but I imagine if both the fly’s wings and legs were cut of, the
fly was squashed. At least I would think so, but then again I’m not a scientist,
so what do I know? Does PETA care about cruelty to insects?
ended by saying that this study was intended to develop research to aid in the
building of robotic insects.
Anyone want to bet this is related to some
defense program? I think we can see this.
So, if building a robotic insect
is the ultimate goal, do you think these researchers really believe that someone
might want to use a fly swatter on a robot? I mean, come on, are they planning
on building eavesdropping mosquitoes or camera carrying bumblebees?
I wrote this, I got a sudden chill and realized there was a stray fly in this
room. Not that I’m paranoid, but he/she seems to be buzzing my computer screen
more than usual. I think I’ll cut this one short and quit just to be on the safe
George Orwell would be proud…..I suppose it is true…big brother
Be careful….the wasp you think is innocently building his
nest may have a hidden microphone and is listening to every word you say.
© Peary Perry
Letters From North America
September 3, 2008 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
go to firstname.lastname@example.org