Archive for June 15th, 2005

Lightning Bugs

I had a whole interesting post about lightning bugs and all the fun things I learned about lightning bugs tonight and all the lightning bugs I saw tonight, but I deleted it by accident and can’t get it back.  It was much more intelligent that this post.  But I guess it is summer time, and who wants intelligent?

The only intelligent quote I want to use is this one from the MSU entomology website

Lightning bugs are true wonders of nature. The light they emit is a cold light.
  Put your hand close to an incandescent light bulb and feel the large amount
  of heat it emits. Light bulbs convert electrical energy into light and heat.
  Only about 10% of the electrical energy is converted to light energy. The rest
  is heat energy. By contrast, the lightning bug combines a chemical called luciferin
  with oxygen and an enzyme to produce light in specially adapted cells in the
  tail section of their abdomen. Over 95% of the chemical energy is converted
  to light.

(95%!!!!  That is crazy!  Can you imagine if we could get 25% of electrical energy converted to light energy?  Wouldn’t that be awesome!!  Lightning bugs are so resourceful!  I think I am about 15% efficient with about 85% of my energy being released as heat – and this is on a good day.  But then again, I’m so hot.  I can’t turn it off.  Maybe efficiency isn’t everything – otherwise I’m in trouble). 

Okay, back to the unintelligent stuff that is actually interesting, most of which I picked up in childhood and didn’t read on the internet –

Lightning bugs are easy to catch; they aren’t too quick and they light up in the darkness so you can find them. 

Once you catch them – if you smash them on your arm, or your shirt, or whatever, where ever you smash them will glow for a short period of time (this is really fun).   

Don’t start feeling bad for the lightning bug, lightning bugs feed on earthworms , snails and slugs, and sometimes a group of them will attack a prey together.  ALSO – some lightning bug females will lure lightning bug males of other species, and eat them.  According to the MSU website

Females of some species mimic the codes of other
  lightning bugs to lure a hormone-primed male to his death.      
(men are so stupid!)

But I guess you could feel kind of bad, because apparently the female lightning bugs don’t fly around really, they hang out on plants and on the ground, and the ones that you catch are probably all male.  But think about it this way – they were probably going to be eaten anyway. 

So, go outside, catch a lightning bug, and smash him on your friend and watch your friend glow. 

We really used to do this as children, which I guess is kind of gross.

Other Fun Gross, Stupid, Mean Things we used to do to  Bugs as children in the summertime:

1.    We also used to catch bumble bees and flies in plastic bags and put them in the freezer – after about 15 minutes the bug would be half way dead – and you could tie a piece of dental floss to the bug’s leg, and then the bug would come back to life, and you would have a bumble bee  or fly on a leash.

Or, if you were really hateful and mean, you could also snip part of one of the wings of the bee or fly, and then you would have a bee or fly on a string that flew around in circles.  This was always good for a laugh. 

You have to be patient enough to catch the little suckers in the first place, but after that it is hilarious.   Susan says this is really hateful – that too much thought and preparation go into this mean practice for it to be acceptable – that it sounds like something you would do in middle school when everyone is really mean.  I pretty sure middle school was about the time we did this sort of thing. 

2.  You all know what happens when you put salt on a slug.  I was never very into the whole slug thing.  It always kind of grossed me out.  This doesn’t mean I was above it, I always participated, but I never really liked it.   I mean, who wants an exploding slug on the driveway?

3.  But  I did kind of like to try to catch ants and things on fire with a  magnifying glass.  This is harder than it sounds, but also a lot more fun than it sounds.   

Yawn.  I’ll update this tomorrow if I can think of any more fun bug activities.  I really hate moths  – so I refuse to talk about caterpillars and stuff like that, but I’ll think.  I really don’t like bugs in general, but I do like lightning bugs and carpenter bees.

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Bad habits

I have picked up a new bad habit.  I have been very good about not sitting on my feet, although I am sitting on them right now, and I have been very good about flossing my teeth and my toes and my fingers are both painted, and other than the fact that I desperately need to have some clothes dry cleaned, I am learning how to be an adult. 

But I have suffered a serious setback this week.

You know how all court houses have metal detectors and stuff?  And because of this, law firms use plastic paper clips?  They look kind of like triangles, and they come in an assortment of colors and sizes- here is what they look like this –
ClipsWell.  I like to chew on these little paper clips.  They are much more fun to chew on than metal paper clips.  And somehow I believe this is probably comes in somewhere along the lines of highly unprofessional and vaguely unsanitary.  I have a neon yellow one in my mouth right now. 


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