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I should use my Swiffer Duster more often


I was sitting in the dining room yesterday morning drinking coffee and I glanced up at the ceiling in contemplative thought. My eyes came to rest on our light fixture. I was admiring it because I really like it. I don't like light fixtures that show the bare light bulbs; bare bulbs are too harsh, in my opinion, and they accost my eyes. I prefer the bulbs to be diffused through a shade or glass bowl of some sort. Just a personal preference.

So I was staring at the bowl of the fixture, enjoying the flower pattern and my eyes wandered up the bowl to the chains that suspend the bowl from the ceiling. In the glow of the light I saw a cobweb that extended from one chain to the next, however the web seems to defy gravity. I have included a picture to better illustrate my point. Because I wanted to show the fixture in its entirety, you cannot see the cobweb, so I added a yellow line to identify where the web starts (point A) and where it ends (point B).

When I saw that I had quite a few random, but related, thoughts that went something like this: "I wish I had an anal retentive maid who came to the house every week and cleaned this stuff up. I think I have a Swiffer Duster under the kitchen sink, I should clean that up right now. It's really early in the morning, I'll get to that later."

But then I started to think about the spider that created the web. I find it odd how the web defies gravity. I assume the spider was sitting on the chain to the right (at point A in my illustration) when it started spinning the web. I think it would use gravity in its favor and spin the web as it slid down toward the bowl. But when it was sliding down the web creating it, wouldn't gravity work against the spider and make the web hang vertically toward the bowl?

How did the spider get the web over to point B? Let's imagine the spider's web is sort of like a rope a rock climber would use. So he's (the spider) unraveling his rope (the web) as he's kind of smoothly rappelling down the chain. Eventually he has to stop rappelling as he is going to hit the edge of the bowl.

Then he walks across the bowl and climbs up the second chain to point B. The length of rope (or web, in this case) is going to be longer than what he needs when he gets to point B. (See the red line in the picture to illustrate that point.)

If it wasn't long enough and the spider was attached to it, the spider wouldn't be able to get across the bowl and over to point B. Can the spider retract the web so it is somewhat taught from point A to point B?

How does this work? The spider did not jump from point A to point B, Matrix-style like Keanu Reeves, defying gravity in the process. I just thought that was weird that it was able to stretch the web across the chain while keeping it taught.

I also got side tracked and never got rid of the web, it's still hanging there as I type this. I should really get up and go get that Swiffer Duster right now.

Eh, I think I'll have another cup of coffee instead.

My reminder which will go away on September 1, 2007:

Don't forget my goal of getting enough votes so I can donate money to Gilda's Club. You don't have to leave your name or your e-mail address, just anonymously click the the thumbs up icon at this website. That's all it takes!


2007-08-21 at 6:24 a.m.

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