I have a secret friend!

We walked into the lab today, and discovered someone has been helping. There was a gigantic lacy cobweb stretching from the sink across the lab bench to the microscope — we use that scope every day, so we know it wasn’t there yesterday afternoon, but had appeared magically overnight. I tried to photograph it with my phone, holding up a black heating pad behind it to provide contrast, but it was just too wispy and gauzy to capture. If you squint real hard you might see the grayish lines extending from the lower left upwards to the right. And if you can’t, well, you had to be there.

We looked around and couldn’t find the spider. It probably has a cozy cranny it’s cuddled up in when those clumsy humans come bumbling around.

We had to tear the web down because, like I said, we use the scope everyday. I’m hoping our little friend will web up everything else in the lab, though, because my dream would be to come to work in a huge spider web, the walls all cobbed up, and little spiders scurrying everywhere.


  1. jrkrideau says

    It could be evidence of of the SOE (Spider Operations Executive) mounting a desperate rescue attempt to free the Morris Prisoners.

  2. inflection says

    Some day soon we’re going to arrive to Pharyngula to find that PZ has converted to the worship of Lolth the Spider Goddess and is inviting us all to spend a glorious eternity in the Demonweb Pits.

  3. blf says

    You use a microscope everyday. The “microscope” that is there now is not the one there yesterday; today’s “scope” is the spider you’re looking for, in her laboratory camouflage. Yesterday’s microscope, either a real one or else a male, was presumably dinner.

  4. Artor says

    “Some day soon we’re going to arrive to Pharyngula to find that PZ has converted to the worship of Lolth the Spider Goddess and is inviting us all to spend a glorious eternity in the Demonweb Pits.”

    Fortunately, the Social Justice Warrior prestige class gets the dual-wielding feat free.

  5. robro says

    …my dream would be to come to work in a huge spider web…

    Man, have I got a basement workspace for you!

  6. blf says

    Could this be the villain spider?:

    […] The [50-tonne fire-breathing] Spider bewitched [Glastonbury] festival-goers for the best part of a decade. […]

    […] Anatomically, it was very incorrect,” says [Pip] Rush. “Real spiders don’t have built-in fire cannons.” Nor do they have abdomens made from jet engines, legs from Customs scanning machines, claws from log-grabbers, and bodies from helicopter tails. “We wanted to change the festival experience,” says Rush. “Instead of looking at the backs of people’s heads while a band plays, you’re part of the action.”

    By 2015, the Spider had evolved into a multimedia spectacular called Metamorphosis, firing flames and laser beams up into the sky. The DJ stood in the abdomen/control booth, which hung above the dancefloor, while acrobats, dancers, performers and puppeteers shimmied up, over and across the creature on tightropes, as Tesla coils generated four-million-volt lightning arcs.

    Although it takes four days to set up and four articulated lorries to transport, the Spider has toured to Miami, Bangkok, Seoul, Taipei and Perth. “The Australian trip blew my mind,” says Rush. “The indigenous Australians we met told us their ancestors performed an ancient song about the spider spirit, how its web symbolised community connectedness. They hadn’t performed it since 1901, after a member of the British royal family was rude about it.”

    They brought members of the Noongar tribe over to perform this song when the Spider visited London’s Olympic Park last year. “It was a wonderful moment,” says Rush.

    From Inside Glastonbury’s hottest attraction: a 140-tonne, fire-breathing crane: “Powered by chip fat, this enormous crane — rescued from Bristol [sic†] docks — is about to become the festival’s dance hotspot. ‘We have no idea if it will work,’ say the duo behind it”.

      † Actually, from Avonmouth. Which is not Bristol. Avonmouth’s about as not-Bristol as it’s possible to be without mutual annihilation.

  7. wzrd1 says

    To catch the web properly with a camera, without having stained the web, I’d go with backlighting
    One can, at times, luck out with front lighting, but far too often, it turns into dumb luck with polarization and angles of flash.

    Of course, that introduces a problem, when one is using a cell phone, rather than a real camera.

    Note to self, two years without an external flash is a lot much, order a damned flash!

  8. madtom1999 says

    Get a humidifier and turn the aircon up cold. Nothing like an autumn morning to make your cobwebs photogenic!

    Having said that in the UK we seem to have had a very mild winter and global warming is making global spiders. I was amazed to see an Araneus Quadratus that was already at the size we normally see them in October (with dew on their webs). I only noticed it because it caught a massive daddy longlegs in its web and dispatched it with ease!
    If its its normal full size now I wonder if it will continue to grow until the normal end of life in four months or so!

  9. ridana says

    I don’t get why everyone is assuming evil intentions here. Note where she put the web. She didn’t drape it in front of a door, like my evil spiders insist on doing to trap my face off in the middle of the night. She obviously was just curious about what y’all keep looking at in that contraption.

    In other words, you have scientist spiders on your hands, and they’re learning