Dilatant Compound 3179 (previously), better known to kids young and old as Silly Putty, may finally have a proper scientific use (besides the other semi-proper uses). Add graphene to the polymer, you get a very sensitive electro-mechanical sensor that can measure breathing, pulse and even blood pressure when placed on a person's neck or chest, and even detect the footsteps of small spiders (via NPR; abstract, paywalled article on Science Mag: Sensitive electromechanical sensors using viscoelastic graphene-polymer nanocomposites).
"In around 1963, curators became aware of the presence of some kind of exotic spider in the museum. Following a sudden explosion of sightings in the winter of 1970, they decided to carry out a systematic search, which revealed an infestation on the whole ground floor of the building. There were spiders everywhere; in cupboards and drawers, on desks and shelves and behind pictures on the walls."
Say hello to the newly discovered Australian spider named Brian*, that can - obviously - surf, swim and eat toads up to three times its size. But it's not harmful to humans (unlike these fellas). Plus the recent warm weather down under has been a bit of a boom to our eight legged friends there. Warning: Spiders. [more inside]
“The point that she opens the egg sac is the point that she stops feeding,” says Mor Salomon, a biologist at the Israel Cohen Institute for Biological Control. “We have tried giving them food in the lab, but it just doesn’t work—they just don’t feed.” -- Absurd Creature of the Week: The Spider Mother That Barfs Up Her Guts to Feed Her Kids, by Matt Simon for Wired.
Peacock Spiders don't hurt humans (they're tiny and 'insignificant'). Here's one on a human fingernail in Western Australia where they live. Peacock Spiders (Flickr image search results) are quite something. (Previously). The still images don't capture the mating performances properly. [more inside]
Jackson Landers tells a brief story about getting bit by a black widow
Public Service Announcement About Spiders. Just so you know.
Excellent footage of the stunningly beautiful yet bizarre courtship and mating behavior of the Peacock Spider.This is quite possibly the first footage of this quality that shows this behavior. Many jumping spiders have elaborate courtship dances. More Previously.
A new and previously unknown species of spider, Cerbalus Aravensis, (photo) has been discovered in the dune of the Sands of Samar (map) in Israel's southern Arava region along the Israel-Jordan border by a team of scientists from the University of Haifa-Oranim. Cerbalus is the largest arachnid of its type in the Middle East, with a leg-span that can reach up to 5.5" (14 cm). Unfortunately, its habitat is endangered thanks for rezoning for agriculture and sand quarries. [more inside]
Spiders weave huge natural wonder in B.C. It was bound to happen sooner or later.