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Author Topic: Drugged Spider Webs?
Joe Bentley
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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CaffeineWeb

quote:
In 1995, NASA scientists seeking to measure toxicity relationships examined the webs of spiders dosed with various chemicals. (Source: Noever, R., J. Cronise, and R. A. Relwani. 1995. Using spider-web patterns to determine toxicity. NASA Tech Briefs 19(4):82. Published in Britain's New Scientist magazine, 27 April 1995.)
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"Existence has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long." - Rorschach, The Watchmen

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I wonder what relationship this would have to the drugs' effect on humans. Probably very little, no?
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NeeCD
Happy Holly Days


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It's interesting, but (as Ganzfeld asked) is it relevant to human behavior? Even reading the link, I can't tell. There are a lot of quotes from people, but I can't tell if they're in context or not. I'm skeptical because they've thrown so many names and titles out there.

To me, the most interesting part was at the bottom:
quote:
Important: The information on this web site is not a substitute for an informed discussion with a health care professional. In certain cases caffeine is the primary cause of symptoms that mimic mental illness, which vanish when caffeine is eliminated from the system. But caffeine is also known to exacerbate preexisting mental disorders, in which case withdrawing from caffeine is only one ingredient to improving your health. Whichever category you fall into, be sure to consult your doctor before acting on the information at CaffeineWeb.com.
(emphasis mine)

They only give two choices, it seems. Either your caffiene use is causing you to appear mentally ill, or it is exacerbating an actual illness.

Am I missing something?

Also, from the link, I'd worry more about the effects of the chloral hydrate. On the spider, that is. [Wink]

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I wondered why the Frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
What does "Bookachow", "YOMANK!" and other lingo mean?

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TB Tabby
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I heard about the caffiene on the unjustly cancelled "Hey! Spring of Trivia." It seems caffiene has the same effect on spider that alcohol does on humans.

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I like to go down to the playground and watch the kids run and jump and scream, because they don't know I'm only using blanks.

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Elwood
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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I seem to recall a study in the news a couple of years back where administrative assistants were given typing tests over several days after consuming cups of coffee that could be either regular or decaf (double blind.) The people on regular coffee performed considerably better in both accuracy and speed. Anyone else remember?

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"If I didn't see it and didn't know it was a real news report, I wouldn't believe it. I mean, how nutty can you get?"-Pat Robertson Oct 26, 2006.

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NeeCD
Happy Holly Days


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I'm just wondering if this is like saying "chocolate can kill a dog, therefore, people shouldn't eat chocolate".

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I wondered why the Frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
What does "Bookachow", "YOMANK!" and other lingo mean?

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kjbrasda
Happy Holly Days


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How do you 'dose' a spider?

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"Long ago, when we all lived in the forest..."
Who are you? Who? Who?

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Wizard of Yendor
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Get the flys to drink coffee first?
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LadyLockeout
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Spider web chow:

http://msgboard.snopes.com/message/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/24/t/001351.html#000000

The LSD one is still my favorite though

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Glisp42: Of course not. I know where I'm going, I just don't know where I am right now

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:

"Whichever category you fall into, be sure to consult your doctor before acting on the information at CaffeineWeb.com."

This advice is probably for arachnids. So you can safely ignore it if you don't have eight legs.
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Anarchy
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Not sure how they dosed the spiders, probably liquid injections of some kind.
As for the photos, they're real. I remember seeing them in a lecture on psychotropic drugs.

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Anarchy
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I'm not sure how they dosed the spiders, probably some kind of liquid injections.
As for the photos, they're real I remember seeing them in a lecture on psychotropic drugs.
I'll try to find more information.

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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As this site suggests, one lesson to be learned is that caffeine and other drugs, such as nicotine, which occur in a large number of plants, may have a strong effect on small animals and therefore may have a purpose in the plants, for example, protecting the plant from predators. (I suppose the only reason they used spiders is that their webs show the effect visually.) This seems to be the only valid use of the study's images in lectures.

I don't know what was in the New Scientist article but the original tech brief does not say anything about these four drugs [ETA - I mean it says nothing about LSD and mescaline]. The substances listed are: marijuana, benzedrine, caffeine, and chloral hydrate.

The authors mention that using spiders is cheaper and less regulated than "higher" animals, such as mammals. The method they use to estimate toxicity involves much more than simply looking at the webs. They analyzed the completed webs for number of cells and the completeness of sides using sophisticated algorithms. I don't think you can gain much by just looking at the webs and guessing which shows higher toxicity (or whatever these images are used for in classes and textbooks). I have the feeling that teachers, writers and caffeine temperance advocates are using these images because they are dramatic examples. I consider this a common form of the misuse of research results.

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Just a couple more points on this.

I have now read the original tech brief, the blurb that appeared in the April 29 (not 27) 1995 issue of New Scientist, as well as a letter that appeared in the following issue of NS. The work was started much earlier (in the 1940's) by a different group. The contribution of the NASA scientists was the use of computer algorithms to analyze the webs. None of the three items I read contained the images shown in the OP, nor do any of them mention the drugs mescaline or LSD.

(Incidentally, NS is running an article about the drug caffeine in the current issue, which I have not read.)

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Captain Spaulding
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Lesson: Peter Parker should switch to decaf.

For those of us whose lives don't involve creating a temporary home/food-trap out of the sticky stuff that comes out of our bottoms, (and I'm not saying mine doesn't) I don't see how this proves I should give up my red bull.

Man, I should be a scientist. I'd give ecstacy to beavers and examine how it affects their dam-building skills. My hypothesis: They'll install hella cool lights and lazers and stuff, and a big sound system with plenty of bass. Or give up dam building completely and lay around stroking each other's tails.

Captain "You can take my red bull... from my cold, dead hands." Spaulding

Edited to correct typo caused by caffeine shakes.

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"I only ever made one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it." -Voltaire

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Captain Spaulding:
....I'd give ecstacy to beavers and examine how it affects their dam-building skills. My hypothesis: They'll install hella cool lights and lazers and stuff, and a big sound system with plenty of bass. Or give up dam building completely and lay around stroking each other's tails...

[lol] [lol]
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have yourself a Merry Little Galaxy
The First USA Noel


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This makes me remember a Far Side cartoon with a completely mangled web and a spider exclaiming "Whoa! That can't be right!"

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I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains - that's why I live in Melbourne, where it always bloody rains.

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