21 October 2017 - Amazing Facts About the Tarantula


Amazing Facts

 About the Tarantula

 

G'day folks,

Most people dislike spiders. Do you? Well, here is a hairy one. 

 

 
Tarantulas comprise a group of large and often hairy arachnids belonging to the Theraphosidae family of spiders, of which approximately 900 species have been identified.


   There are approximately 900 species of tarantula in the family Theraphosidae.
  The tarantula’s reputation is based more on legend than reality as there are only a few species which have a powerful bite. The venom of most is not highly toxic to humans. Tarantulas are actually placid and harmless and will only attack if goaded and, in many cases, the bite is no more harmful to humans than a bee sting. 



  Tarantula’s jaws move up and down, instead of the more common side-to-side motion in other spiders.  They also have 8 tiny eyes, which are able to distinguish the slightest movement, and hairs which cover its body and are extremely sensitive to vibrations. 



  Some species have adhesive ‘hair-brushes’ on the tip of their legs which allows them to climb vertically up even the smoothest leaves.
  Tree-dwelling species locate a mate by their scent, and then follow the silken trail that the female leaves as she moves.
  While mating takes place at various times of the year, rainstorms in the desert areas of south-western Mexico causes vast number of male spiders to wander around in search of a potential mate. In some species, the male performs a jerky courtship dance to encourage the female to become receptive. 



  After mating, the female carries her eggs in a silken cocoon attached to her body. The growth of a newly hatched spider into a mature spider is a long process and can take up to ten years.
  • The tarantula does not spin a web, but bites its prey with long, curved fangs, injecting it with a poison which slowly renders the victim helpless. It will then crush its food between its powerful jaws, at the same time injecting a fluid which breaks down the victim’s tissues. This turns the prey into a soft pulp, which can then be eaten.
  • Tarantulas have a wide range of defences. Some species simply lean back on their haunches, raising their head and legs and exposing their curved fangs in an intimidating display. South American species of tarantula use their legs to scrape off the fine hairs from the top of their abdomen. Each hair is covered with tiny points which, when propelled at an enemy, are both painful and dangerous, especially if they come into contact with the eyes or skin. These tactics are used against a variety of predators, such as racoons and skunks which try to dig the tarantula out of its burrow, or birds, lizards and frogs which may attack it when it is exposed in the open.
   The ‘spider-hunting wasp’ is the most deadly enemy of the tarantula. Known as the ‘tarantula hawk’, it is usually much smaller than the tarantula, yet ventures into the spider’s burrow and manages to paralyze it with its sting. It then drags the spider back to its own burrow and keeps it to provide a fresh supply of food for its larvae.
  The purse-web spider, Atypus affinis, is a British species once thought to be a tarantula; however it has now been classified separately.
  Some of the more popular and colourful species are now threatened due to collecting for the exotic pet trade.  The Mexican red-kneed tarantula is a protected species and international trade in this spider is restricted under law.
  The name tarantula was originally given to a spider living in Southern Italy from the town of Taranto where legend claims that a small species of spider living there had a fatal bite.  The only cure was for the victim to dance until exhausted, by which time the poison would have been sweated from the system (the frenzied folk dance based on the Italian legend is called the tarantella).

 


Clancy's comment: Mm ... Interesting, but very ugly.
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20 October 2017 - SWEDEN’S COLLECTION OF AMERICAN CARS


SWEDEN’S COLLECTION
 OF AMERICAN CARS

G'day folks,

This post relates to more cars that have been collected and deserted. The “Raggare” movement, which emerged from a post-war youth counterculture mainly in Sweden and parts of Norway, is known for its undying love of vintage American hot rod cars and 1950s pop culture.

Deep in the Swedish woods, there lies an army of more than a thousand abandoned cars, decaying since the 1950s. The land was once owned by two brothers who opened a scrapyard business for cars left behind by U.S servicemen in Sweden and around Europe after WW2. Disassembling the cars and selling them off to Norway for parts was big business in Sweden at the time. Norway had been left a poor country after the war and car parts were near impossible to get. Junkyards popped up all along the Swedish border and Norwegians were their best customers.



The brothers who owned Båstnäs lived on the land and continued selling abandoned American cars up until the 1980s. Today you can still the see the forgotten cars strewn around the land, filling the fields surrounding the brothers’ two dilapidated homes.

While many Swedes are demanding the country’s junkyards be removed and the forests cleaned up, ironically, environmentalists are pleading for them to stay, arguing that wildlife have made nests in the automobile remains. And if they get their way, the cars will remain until they’re dust.



“Ragga” roughly means “to pick up girls” in Swedish and they were known to do just that; pick up impressionable young women in one town and find new ones in the next, having their “bad boy” way with them in the back seat of the car along the way.



Today, the Raggare have quite a different reputation, met with amusement or only mild disapproval by modern mainstream society. There’s been some controversy about the raggare seen waving the Confederate flags while driving their old muscle cars, but to quote an article published last year by Jalopnik about the car culture, “like most cultural icons, the Confederate flag doesn’t translate fully when its taken overseas … and in Sweden, it’s both a symbol of America and rebellion, and not of anything with scary undertones.”

Now,  check out these pearlers.
















Clancy's comment: Amazing, eh? So much steel, and so many spare parts for some keen enthusiast who is restoring one of these icons.

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19 October 2017 - FAMOUS LAST WORDS


FAMOUS 
LAST WORDS

G'day folks,

Welcome to some more famous last words from the rich and infamous.

34. Thomas Hobbes – Writer
“I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.”

 35. George Washington – US President

“It is well, I die hard, but I am not afraid to go.”

 36. Noel Coward – Writer

“Goodnight my darlings, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

37. Walter De La Mare – Writer
“Too late for fruit, too soon for flowers.”

38. George Gordon Noel Byron, 6th Baron Byron – Writer
“Now I shall go to sleep. Good night.”

39. Grover Cleveland –  US President
“I have tried so hard to do the right.”

40. Dylan Thomas – Poet
“I’ve had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that’s the record…”

41. Dominique Bouhours – French grammarian
“I am about to — or I am going to — die: either expression is correct.”

 42. Ernesto Che Guevara

“I know you have come to kill me. Shoot coward, you are only going to kill a man.”

43. John Barrymore Actor
“Die? I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him.”

44. Harry Lillis “Bing” Crosby – Singer/Actor
“That was a great game of golf, fellers.”

45. Charles Darwin – English naturalist & Geologist
“I am not the least afraid to die.”

 46. H. G. Wells – Novelist

“Go away, I’m all right!”

47. Lady Mary Wortley Mantagu
“It’s all been very interesting.”

48. Frederic Chopin – Composer
“The earth is suffocating . . . Swear to make them cut me open, so that I won’t be buried alive.”



Clancy's comment: So, what would your last words be?

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