The end of a stressalicious semester

Today is officially the last day of instruction, but there won’t be much instruction going on — it’s all administrative stuff for me, acquainting students with the record of their past performance, pointing at the specter of the imminent final exam like a ghost of Christmases yet to be, polishing up that final exam and posting it for them to procrastinate and worry over, the usual bad time at the end of a difficult school year.

Next year will be better, right?

It could be worse. Look at these spider photoreceptors!

It turns out that if spiders aren’t properly fed, their photoreceptors start to die off.

Researchers looked at the bold jumping spider (Phidippus audax), a common species that relies very much on light-sensitive photoreceptors in its large eyes to spot prey. When the spiders don’t get enough nutrients, these photoreceptors can be lost.

“Photoreceptors are energetically costly,” says biologist Elke Buschbeck from the University of Cincinnati. “It’s hard to keep up with their energy needs.”

“If you deprive them of nutrition, the system fails. It’s the functional equivalent of the macula in our eyes.”

See, if I don’t have enough research time to take care of my spider colony, they might go blind. I’ll run that by the administration and see if I can get a reduction in teaching load.*

*Note: it will not work.


  1. birgerjohansson says

    Meh. If you had been under a little more stress you would have been able to turn graphite into diamond, thus being able to afford spider grooms. Typical librul academics, not making the extra effort.
    As for feeding the administrators to the spiders you need to process them first. There is a Swedish guy in Fargo that might help you.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    If the ground around PZs house is full of spiders, does it make it arachneferous?

  3. IX-103, the ■■■■ing idiot says

    *Note: it will not work.

    As the pandemic showed, it wouldn’t matter to the administration if it was the student’s eyes instead of the spiders’.

  4. azpaul3 says

    And with your complaints, Dr. M, I see the flow of pure enjoyment. You really are living large.

    As for your spiders? Starving them into blindness seems way less effective than napalm. Yeah, I’m one of those.

  5. magistramarla says

    My husband is six months older than you (I’m six months younger than you!).
    I’ve finally gotten him to agree to retiring in 2024, when he is 68.
    I know that you both have your identities all wrapped up in your jobs, but there comes a time when it is time to kick back and enjoy life while you can.
    I’m looking forward to traveling more (we have a lot of grandkids to visit), and to see him actually relearn how to relax and have a good time.
    Is it time for you to start thinking about it?

  6. birgerjohansson says

    wzrd1 @ 5
    I think their relatives “daddy longlegs” are detritivores. But they may need a lot of ketchup.

  7. wzrd1 says

    birgerjohansson @ 9, dammit! Why didn’t you tell me that earlier! It’d have saved me a lot of trouble trying to find my bottle of ketchup.
    The sneaky bastards!