If you are anything like me you’ve probably squashed a few dozen spiders in your life. Or vacuumed them up. Or sprayed them with something horrible until they died. Spiders mostly come off second best when they encounter a human at close range.
I like reading scientific stuff and my eye was drawn to an article by Andrew Masterson in the latest Green Guide of The Age (P.9). Under the heading of Nanotech, Andrew says that “Super spider webs are here”. That’s all an arachnophobic person needs isn’t it? Not just an ordinary spider web but a super spider web.
Spiders can spin silky cobweb which is super strong. It’s both light and very springy and flexible, able to catch and stash an unwary insect to be used as a snack later in the day. Despite its struggles the insect is unable to escape.
Scientists in Italy have apparently been able to put together a concoction of spider web, graphene, the strongest material ever tested, and carbon nanotubes. A carbon nanotube is a tubular molecule made up of a large number of carbon atoms.
They combined this with the spider’s silky web to make an extremely strong and tough fibre which could be used for things like parachutes. Of course none of this is new to a spider who has been parachuting on people’s heads and abseiling off walls for aeons.
The procedure involves the spiders drinking water containing the nanotubes, and as spiders don’t actually drink much water this must be an enormously tedious process that only a scientist could conjure up.
Anyway, when the spider makes the silk it already has the nanomaterial in its protein structure. Naturally trillions of spiders would be needed to make this work. They would be in specially built spider houses (an arachnophobe’s nightmare), fed on nano-tube “cordial”, hopefully low-sugar for those watching their weight. After imbibing the cordial (probably raspberry) all their nano-silk web is harvested by very brave scientists to make something very strong.
I can see a film coming up. “The Escape of the NanoSpiders,” with trillions of NanoSpiders escaping from their specially built houses and overtaking the world with their nano-webs. Scientists running in all directions to escape their Frankenstinian creations.
I don’t know why they would go to all that bother. They just need to come to Australia where they would find the most ubiquitous and toughest spider web already conveniently made, and to be found in my garden. I speak of the noble red back spider.
If you have ever handled a red-back’s web you would know what I mean, they are almost indestructible. I saw on You Tube where a snake had been caught in one. A very tasty snack for the spider.
So don’t squash those spiders, they contribute lots of useful things to the world in addition to catching insects, small birds and snakes. And they have had the biggest ever world-wide phenomenon named after them. The Web, which has caught almost all of us.
NB If you get goose bumps after reading this article you could investigate my book “Fix Your Fear of Spiders with Emotional Freedom Techniques” which is on my website https://www.coachingpsychologyonline.com
It’s a regular bargain, because I’m offering a 30 minute free telephone consultation if you live in Australia, and after reading and trying the technique, you still need some clarification or help.
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) works on the meridian system of the body like acupuncture and acupressure, but uses the tips of the fingers to tap on the meridian points, rather than using needles. .It is safe and gentle, but like all therapies it may not work for everyone.
© Kathleen Crawford 2017
And – something for the small Arachnophobe
THERE WAS A LITTLE HUNTSMAN
There was a little huntsman
And Hunter was his name,
He ran around the family home
As though it were a game.
He frightened poor old Tammy
And she began to run
away from little Hunter,
Who was only having fun.
He danced around the family dog
And jumped upon the cat.
And crawled on Tammy’s mother
Who screamed and squashed him – sperlat!
The moral of the story is
For every Huntsman here,
Just keep away from humans
For they’re the ones to fear.
© Kathleen Crawford May 2008