JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools

pictures and stories from the water’s edge

JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools header image 2

Natural observations

May 5th, 2004 · 2 Comments

It’s fun to read the same observations made by people living thousands of miles apart, and I smiled to find two writers in opposite parts of the country each describing a woodpecker. Lisa Williams saw a downy woodpecker while Chip Gibbons thought he saw a pileated one (I liked his “punk rocker” description). Out of curiousity, to see who else was seeing woodpeckers, I did a Feedster.com search and found other posts about woodpeckers, including here and here…and even instructions on how to make easy suet feeders to attract more woodpeckers.

I haven’t seen a woodpecker in a while, although occasionally on a morning exercise excursion I might see a pileated one pecking at an infested tree (I live closer to Chip than to Lisa). But I have been seeing many spiders….

Spiders startled by my shower in the morning, leaping out from the shampoo bottle forest on the floor. A spider crawled across this desk one night as I was blogging. Yesterday one suspended itself from the ceiling over the stairs: Abigail – consistent with her compassion for caterpillars and other creatures – carried it outside.


She’s not too frightened of them, at least the small ones, and I’m not too bothered either, although the sight of a huge one above my bed might affect my ability to dream that night…

So I smiled again yesterday morning while looking over Ted’s shoulder and reading through his blogroll, to see Jeremy Zawodny’s post on his fear of Falling Spiders

That of course got me wondering (or maybe worrying?) if the spider would fall on my face during the night.

I wonder if he has read this article describing spider research and its possible applications (again found through a link via Feedster).

These tiny setules — more than 620,000 in all — give spiders their superior ability to climb up water spouts, along walls and across ceilings.

The scientists estimated spiders are able to grip surfaces with a force greater than 170 times their own weight.


The researchers speculate the force that allows spiders to climb glass and hang on ceilings is something known as the van der Waals force.”One possible application of our research would be to develop Post-it notes based on the van der Waals force, which would stick even if they got wet or greasy,” said Antonia Kesel, lead author of the study.

“You could also imagine astronauts using spacesuits that help them stick to the walls of a spacecraft — just like a spider on the ceiling,”

Next time I see a spider on the ceiling above my bed I’ll be thinking about (praying for?!) those van der Waals forces…and hoping to dream about funky spidery sticky notes and other innovations…(the astronaut application reminds me of David Letterman’s Velcro Wall..that’d make interesting late night dreaming too…or TV watching…)

P.S. As I”m posting I see that Jeremy Zadowny is sick today. (Ted likes that Tylenol Allergy Sinus stuff too.) I hope he gets better soon and that no spiders or other creatures keep him from getting needed res

Tags: blog

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Katherine // May 6, 2004 at 1:16 pm

    We cover spiders with a glass and slip paper underneath and then carry them outside. Unless they’re really tiny, them we squish them with a tissue. (??) I think I have been bitten by a spider right in the middle of my forehead, but since it was in the middle of the night (a couple years ago), how am I supposed to verify that? Anyway, it really itched and I still have a small scar (b/c I didn’t have the wisdom/self-control not to pick the scab off too early)! Ugh. I doubt it fell from the ceiling above my bed, though. I bet it just CRAWLED onto me. Ugh ugh ugh!!! (ugh)

  • 2 The Story of Feedster // May 8, 2004 at 8:30 pm

    Waterproof Feedster, with Swiss Army Knife extensions

    You might not think of Feedster as all-natural and outdoorsy…but Julie Leung just took us bird-watching! She reports: