fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

Simile Gone Wrong

This afternoon in a meeting, I was trying to explain why it is difficult to determine which of several organizations should have the responsibility for our work. I wanted to convey the idea that the relationships between different programs are complex and confusing and somewhat disordered. So I described the interactions as being "like the web of a spider on LSD." After people laughed, I said that there really had been such experiments on the effect of drugs on spider's web building.

After the meeting, one of the other participants asked me exactly how the researchers got the spiders to take LSD. I turned to google and didn't quite find that information. Instead, I found out that spiders on LSD build perfectly good webs. The picture in this article has some lighting deficiencies which don't show it well, but their webs were actually more regular than those of the undrugged orb spiders.

By the way, the researcher who first looked at drugging spiders was trying to find a way to get them to build their webs at more convenient hours. It's hard to make movies of spiders building webs if they build them from 2 to 5 a.m.

This parody video is more like what I was expecting.

I'll also note that in the real experiment it was caffeine that made the spiders incapable of building coherent webs. This is quite surprising to me as I am a major caffeine user and ordered thoughts my are perfectly
Tags: humor, nature, work

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