Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Scientists use all sorts of graphs, drawings, and images when they want to show the relationship between gravity and a black hole. This image, taken from Wikimedia's Commons , is a pretty typical one.

I wonder why scientists don't just use a photograph of a funnel-web spider.
 The funnel-web spinners found around here aren't the legendary spiders of Australia, where everything is venomous, including butterflies, cows, and small children. The Agelenidae family, my local funnel-web builders, are deadly only to insects that are unfortunate enough to step on the shimmering silken platform. The spider lurks inside the tube, waiting for vibrations from a wandering insect to sound the dinner bell. Then she rushes out, snags her blue-plate special, and dashes back inside, chortling all the way.

If you look for an answer to the question "What's inside a black hole," you get....well, you get a lot of results, but none of them seem to suggest that there's a giant Agelenidae in there. But really, how would you know?


  1. Spiders are the best engineers and architects of nature, aren't they? So cool.

  2. For sure, Meredith. One of my students once mentioned something like that, adding "...and they do it all with their butts!"

  3. Ha! You're cracking me up today, as I make my way through the posts I've missed.

    I love funnel-webs and their landlords. I've photographed quite a few myself...just love the ingenuity.