Thursday, October 22, 2009

Spider Silk Rug and more ...

Approaching him softly though without apparent furtiveness were five figures, two of which were the sinister old woman and the fanged, furry little animal. The other three were what sent him unconscious; for they were living entities about eight feet high, shaped precisely like the spiky images on the balustrade, and propelling themselves by a spider-like wriggling of their lower set of starfish-arms. ... Dreams in the Witch House

Chrispy is on a spider kick this week. Get ready to get freaked, becuase the image above is of a rug done in 100% spider web silk. Ia!!


During the rainy seasons of the past four years, scores of workers in Madagascar spent their days collecting more than a million female GOLDEN ORB SPIDERS (Nephila madagascariensis) from telephone and electrical wires. The collectors passed the arachnids to handlers, who placed them into harnesses and then drew out their silk on hand-cranked devices—all while trying not to get bitten by the maple-leaf-sized web weavers.

At this point, humans took over the weaving, making individual threads by twining together somewhere between 96 and 960 spider-silk filaments. From these emerged a beautifully patterned hand-woven 11- by 4-foot cloth that now stands as the world’s largest single textile made of spider silk.


And what makes spider silk sticky? From the 14 September 2009 Chemical and Engineering News (p.28)

Adhesiver proteins ... the University of Wyoming ... discovered a pair of spider genes that code for adhesive glycoproteins ... the scientists went to great length ... catching spiders in barns and collecting 100 webs ... the researchers sequenced the sticky substnace by mass spectrometry ...


What would Lovecraft say?

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