April 29th 2020! Spiders, Birds, Poetry, and...Quantum Mechanics!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

tHe Daily Excitement Worldwide #


["Gwen, there's a crab spider right there!" Laughter]

G: I'm here with Carol and we are going to talk about spiders today. I have some questions, some about Carol's relationship with spiders and some about spiders in general [those will be in the Spider Q&A section]. So let's start [...] How did you get interested in spiders?

C: By going outside.

G: And seeing them?

C: And seeing them. And I got curious.

G: Can you tell us about your work with Rod Crawford?

C: Rod Crawford was teaching a class on spiders and he's done that for years and years and years and I first met him a long time ago when he was at the University of Washington and he oversees the arachnology department at the Burke Museum. And I got intersted and so I went to his class and I went out on field trips with him and other classmates and we learned about spiders.

G: Have you ever had a spider as a pet?

C: I did. A six or seven year old boy who lived in the apartment complex that we did when we lived in Corvallis. We would go out and look at spiders together. He had lived originally in Florida, so he knew about black widow spiders. And when he found one he put it in a jar very carefully and brought it and gave it to me. It was in an Aunt Sue honey jar so it was "Aunt Sue" and I had it for a very long time. The other spider pet I had was a tarantula.

G: Oooooh!

C: Oooh is right. The tarantula lived in a terrarium and I would feed it crickets and other kinds of insects like that and it lived for quite a long time. It was a Mexican red-legged tarantula and my kids got it for me as a Mother's Day present [hint, hint] and I also used it in a class I taught about spiders.

G: Can you tell us more about the spider class you taught?

C: It was an enrichment class for elementary school kids and we went out on field trips and looked at things and talked about the different kinds of spiders and built models of spiders with marshmallows and toothpicks [keep reading for instructions on how to do this at home!]

G: Do you have a favorite spider?

C: I probably like jumping spiders the best.

G: Oh, they're so fun! It's so funny watching them zhooooom boing!

C: And because they dance. They wave when they're courting and do all kinds of fancy things and they also come in some pretty fascinating colors. Lots of metallics!

G: As you heard when we were starting the interview, we saw a crab spider. Crab spiders are really funny because they're like crabs, they scurry sideways.

C: And they don't use silk to hunt. What they do is sit in a flower and wait with their arms outspread. Spiders can use silk to fly. The have been found up as high as Mount Everest because they know how to balloon on certain kinds of days when the weather is right.

G: And something about trap door spiders. How do trap door spiders make the trap doors that they trap bugs in?

C: They excavate a tunnel, they line it with silk and they take bits of soil and dry weeds or grass or bark and use the silk to put it together and that allows them to camouflage the opening. They attach the trap door to the edge of their burrow with more silk and then they wait inside hoping that some tasty morsel will come by.

G: Yes, but how does the trap door open?

C: They push it open, they feel vibration of something coming and they pop up and grab it.

G: That's interesting! Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about spiders?

C: Some spiders live in colonies like ants or bees, which is pretty rare, since most spiders will eat other spiders. They use webs in all kinds of different ways to catch things, including putting a big glob of sticky spider goo on the end of a long piece of silk and throwing at moths that they attract with a special fragrance that brings the male moths and the reason that works is because moths have scales on their wings and a regular orb web wouldn't work because they would get stuck and just fly away because the scales would stay on the web and it wouldn't be sticky anymore so being able to wind up and pitch is helpful.

G: Well, thanks for joining me for this interview about spiders. That was really pretty interesting! [...] So, don't hurt spiders, that's what we're trying to tell you.

SPiDER Q & A #

Q: Do all spiders spin webs?
A: As I remember, all spiders have silk but not all of them spin webs. Some use their silk to hunt with. Others of them use silk simply to make eggs sacs and as a rescue.

Q: Should you put a spider outside if one is in your house?
A: If it's a house spider it would really prefer to live in your house and will not do well outside. Lots of garden spiders don't usually come into your house unless they come in on something. House spiders would do better in your garage or your garden shed or in a corner of your basement. You have to be sure and look it up but you should move them out from where people could step on them.

Q: Do spiders bite or want to bite people a lot?
A: No. They are not interested in you at all and they would much rather have something they could eat. You're more like a piece of cement or a big leaf as far as they're concerned.

Q: Should you squash spiders?
A: No, you should not!

Q: What's good about spiders?
A: Spiders do a lot of insect control. They eat mosquitoes, they eat moths of various kinds, all kinds of bugs that you don't really want hanging around.

Q: Do they eat aphids?
A: If aphids fly around they might, but if not then I think it would be hard for them to eat an aphid.


We may call them all bugs, but spiders and insects are not the same! Try this fun and tasty craft to learn the difference!

Materials you need #

  1. Marshmallows
  2. Toothpicks
  3. Sharpie

What to do--for a spider #

  1. Put 2 marshmallows onto a toothpick [like on a skewer; for the abdomen and cephalothorax]
  2. Bend 8 toothpicks [to make bent legs] and put them on either side [4 on each side of the body]
  3. Put 8 "eyes" on the top marshmellow with the Sharpie and ta-da!

Bonus--here's howto make petipalps! #

  1. break a thoothick [in two] and put [the pieces] into the top of the marshmallow [if your skewer toothpick sticks out, you may only need one more petipalp]--ta da!

Gwendolyn was using pink peppermint marshmallows so we took one marshmallow and cut it into 8 pieces that she put on the ends of the toes to make a pink-toed tarantula. Sweet!

What do to--for an insect #

  1. Put 3 marshmallows onto a toothpick [like on a skewer; for the head, thorax and abdomen]
  2. Bend 6 toothpicks [to make bent legs] and put them on either side [3 on each side of the body]
  3. break a thoothick [in two] and put [the pieces] into the top of the marshmallow for antennae [if your skewer toothpick sticks out, you may only need one more]--ta da!

Now spot the differences between the spider and the insect!

(Sponsored Content) #


We Deliver!
It's spring, and you know that means! A new seasonal menu is avaiable at the recently opened ice cream place, Take a Spoon!
We have free refills and free scoop coupons you get every time you go there!
[See PDF illustration]
note: this is not a real ice cream shop. --G


What it is about: Feeding & playing with ADORABLE CATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also, the cats give you fish( Game money) & presents( Bent fork,old feather,etc)! DEFINITELY Rank 5.

What I like about it: There's not really a goal, the cats are EXTREMELY cute, and the cats are also HILARIOUS!!!!!!!

Rating: 6/5

How likely to recommend to a friend: 11/10

How many cozy game trophies: 6/5

A review of Sneaky Sasquatch from Apple Arcade #

Written by the Head Reporter #

When I found this game on Apple Arcade, I thought it sounded great. It also seemed easy enough. All you had to do, as a sasquatch, was steal some food from campsites. As soon as I started playing, I learned it was not that easy. The world in which the sasquatch lives is bigger than I thought. There is a racetrack, a golf course, and with the new update, a town, along with many other places to go. At the start of the game, you are told that unless you find all the pieces of a treasure map, the camp hround will close down. Again, I thought that finding all the pieces would be easy enough. It was not. I really like this game, but one part I don't like is getting a driver's liscense. You have to drag your finger around a narrow track in front of your car, and this means you cannot see the track in front of the car. However, apart from this, I really like the game, and the new update.


from our co-reporters #

Jokes to laugh by! #

How much money does a pirate pay corn?
Ans. A buccaneer.

What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches?
Ans. A nervous wreck.

What did one blade of grass say to another blade about the lack of rain?
Ans. Let's make dew.

What do you all an animal in your car?
Ans. A carpet

What did the birdwatcher say when she mistook a hawk for and eagle?
Ans. Well this is hawkward.

Reporters Grandpa Fred and Grandma Geri from very hot southern Arizona

What do you get when you cross a centipede with a parrot?
A walkie-talkie
From Grandma Carol

The Daily Birder aka Carol's Commentary #

There are new birds in the 'hood. Black-capped Chickadees are feeding 2 begging, young fledglings.

Birds that used to arrive in male-female pairs are now visiting the feeder one at a time. House Finch males show up frequently, but the females only come once or twice a day. I suspect they are keeping eggs warm.

Bushtits form big feeding flocks of 25 to 30 birds during the winter, and fill every niche and cranny of the feeder when they visit. In February and March the flocks get smaller and smaller as the birds disperse to their breeding territories. In late March or early April, they come to the feeder in pairs, but now they visit as single birds. Somewhere close by there is a hanging bag-shaped nest with a Bushtit tending 4 to 6 eggs.

The unusual birds this week were a Nashville Warbler and a soaring Turkey Vulture. That was a day of excitement!

New Feature--Poetry #

Apples Apples
Juicy and sweet
Big green leaves and a tasty treat
Apples put kids in a better mood
They really are a delicious food!
--By Hadley

New Co-Reporter, Grandpa Tom #

Rubies are red, sapphires are blue, the reason for this is 10Dq #

Several weeks ago, Gwen told us that rubies and sapphires were made of corundum. I asked her if she knew what corundum is chemically. She did not. It is aluminum oxide, Al2O3. I asked her if she knew what caused corundum to be red for rubies and blue for sapphires. She said it was impurities, which is true, but what is the quantum-mechanical explanation for the creation of the colors caused by impurities?

The presence of the trace impurities in the aluminum oxide crystal structure of corundum causes there to be some electron orbitals that have different energy levels than those in pure corundum. When light impinges on the crystal structure, it causes electrons to change from one energy level to another. When the electrons do this, they absorb a specific wave length of light corresponding to the amount of energy between the two energy levels. The difference between these energy levels is referred to as 10Dq in quantum mechanics. The energy difference represented by 10Dq is different, depending on which impurities are present in the crystal structure.

The main impurity in ruby is chromium. In this case, the energy of light absorbed by the 10Dq transition has magenta color. If white light is focused on the crystal, its magenta component is absorbed, and the color complement, red, is reflected.

The main impurities in sapphire are iron or titanium. These impurities create a 10Dq electron energy that absorbs yellow light. When that color is absorbed from incident white light, its color complement, blue, is reflected.

Rather than corundum, emeralds are the mineral beryl, which is beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate, Be3Al2Si6O18. The beryl crystal structure can also be influenced by impurities that create a 10Dq electron orbital energy transition in the range of visible light. The main impurities in emerald are chromium or vanadium, which cause an absorption of magenta light. Its complement from the white light is reflected, which you see as the green of the emerald.

When I took Inorganic Chemistry in graduate school, the lecture on crystal structure and 10 Dq was illustrated by the following rhyme (may not be an exact quote, but close):

"Rubies are red, sapphires are blue. The reason for this is 10Dq.
Sapphires are blue, emeralds are green. The change in Dq is easily seen."

-- Tom

Meet the Co-Reporter #

Name: Grandma Geri
Age: 39 +++
Motto: Life is short so don’t plant it from seed when you can buy it fully grown
Favorite Food: Anything with chocolate
Favorite Book: Whatever I happen to be reading at the moment
Favorite Movie: Chocolat, Sister Act
Something about you: I love gardening since you can create real beauty and it gives me so much peace

Keep up the excitement!

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