Archive for the ‘article’ Category

article 7 – Top five tips for killing flies – 6:15PM BST 28 Aug 2008

November 8, 2009

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor

The top five tips on how to kill flies have been unveiled by a professor who has spent decades studying the pests.

* Scientists work out best way to swat a fly

Prof Michael Dickinson of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena took high-speed digital video of fruit flies to find out how they dodge swatters.

In the journal Current Biology he and graduate student Gwyneth Card describe how the creature’s pinpoint sized brain is hard wired to turn the looming shadow of a swatter into an appropriate pattern of leg and body motion for a getaway within 100 thousandths of a second.

He says that he has studied other fly species and believes this escape behaviour is shared by them too, being ancient. “Insects have been worried about things like spiders and birds for quite some time.”

In the light of his investigations, he shares his top tips on how to swat them with Telegraph readers:

1) Resist in-flight swatting. The housefly is the Ferrari of the insect world and can change course in as little as 30 thousandths of a second.

2) Sneak up. “You want to position the swatter slowly, before the final flick.”

3) Approach from behind: although the fly can see behind itself it is not quite a 360-degree field of view, so you are at an advantage with a rearguard action. “When you have the choice, it is a little better to come at the flies from behind.”

4) Use a stealth swatter, one that does not contrast much with the background. “The swatter should be as colour neutral as possible,” says Prof Dickinson. “Not a dark swatter or a bright one, because the fly can see them more easily. ”

5) In the new study, he has found that, long before the fly leaps, its tiny brain calculates the location of the impending threat, comes up with an escape plan, and plonks its legs in an optimal position for takeoff in the opposite direction.

Assuming the fly will to travel away from you, aim beyond the insect. “The fly is going to be flying away from your swatter, so you want to anticipate that and swat beyond the fly.”

Prof Dickinson has been studying fly aerodynamics for two decades and says he is now fed up being asked how to kill them. ”

credit: Telegraph.co.uk
extracted date: 08 November 2009

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3350506/Top-five-tips-for-killing-flies.html

article 6 – Scientists work out best way to swat a fly – 6:20PM BST 28 Aug 2008

November 8, 2009

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor

Thanks to remarkable flying skills that make the housefly the Ferrari of the insect world, it is unlikely you will achieve a direct hit as they buzz about.

While fleeing a rolled-up newspaper, the insect can change course in as little as 30 thousandths of a second.

Now Prof Michael Dickinson of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, who has spent two decades studying flies, announces their ability to escape is all down to quick thinking.

He took high-speed digital video of fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) when faced with a swatter, revealing how the creature’s pinpoint sized brain is hard wired to turn the looming shadow into an appropriate pattern of leg and body motion to prime it for a speedy getaway.

Long before the fly leaps, its tiny brain calculates the location of the impending threat, comes up with an escape plan, and plonks its legs in an optimal position to hop out of the way in the opposite direction.

All of this is executed within about 100 thousandths of a second after the fly first spots the swatter, says the study in the journal Current Biology with graduate student Gwyneth Card.

Prof Dickinson suggests the scientific way to swat a fly. “It is best not to swat at the fly’s starting position, but rather to aim a bit forward of that to anticipate where the fly is going to jump when it first sees your swatter.”.

The videos showed that if the descending swatter – a six inch black disk, dropping at a 50-degree angle toward a fly standing on a platform- comes from in front of the fly, the fly moves its middle legs forward and leans back, then raises and extends its legs to push backward.

“We were surprised to find that ‘long’-in fly time-before a fly takes off in response to a predator or swatter it plans the direction of the jump by making a rather complex series of postural movements,” says Prof Dickinson.

When the threat comes from the back, however, the fly (which has a nearly 360-degree field of view and can see behind itself) moves its middle legs a tiny bit backwards. With a threat from the side, the fly keeps its middle legs stationary, but leans its whole body in the opposite direction before it jumps.

“We also found that when the fly makes planning movements prior to take-off, it takes into account its body position at the time it first sees the threat,” Prof Dickinson says.

“When it first notices an approaching threat, a fly’s body might be in any sort of posture depending on what it was doing at the time, like grooming, feeding, walking, or courting.

“Our experiments showed that the fly somehow ‘knows’ whether it needs to make large or small postural changes to reach the correct preflight posture.

This means that the fly must integrate visual information from its eyes, which tell it where the threat is approaching from, with mechanosensory information from its legs, which tells it how to move to reach the proper preflight pose.”

This and other flying insects have plagued the worlds of science and engineering ever since the first calculation of bumble-bee flight was attempted at Göttingen University in the 1930s and proved that they should never get off the ground. It is only in recent years that aerodynamics has caught up with bees and other accomplished fliers.

credit: Telegraph.co.uk
extracted date: 09 Novemeber 2009

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3350498/Scientists-work-out-best-way-to-swat-a-fly.html

article 5- Why You Can’t Swat a Fly – Thursday, August 28, 2008 1:49 PM

November 8, 2009

Sharon Begley

The reason you can’t swat a fly is that, for a creature with a brain hardly deserving of the name, the fly is a marvel of calculating ability. But before I explain what scientists led by Michael Dickinson of the California Institute of Technology (that would be the Dickinson whose e-mail is “flyman”) have learned about how the fly brain calculates the location of the looming swatter, formulates an escape plan and plants its legs in an optimal position to hop out of the way (all within about 100 milliseconds of spotting the swatter), let’s cut to the chase: the best way to swat a fly, Dickinson says, is “not to swat at the fly’s starting position, but rather to aim a bit forward of that to anticipate where the fly is going to jump when it first sees your swatter.”

Where will it jump? Using high-resolution, high-speed imaging of flies in action, the scientists are reporting today online in Current Biology, they found that if the descending swatter (they used a 6-inch-diameter black disk, dropping at a 50-degree angle toward a fly) comes from in front of the fly, the fly moves its middle legs forward and leans back, then raises and extends its legs to push off backward, away from the swatter. Are you approaching your quarry from behind? The fly has a nearly 360-degree field of view and can see behind itself, so when it spies the swatter behind it it moves its middle legs a tiny bit backward and flies forward. With a swatter from the side, the fly keeps its middle legs still and leans in the opposite direction before jumping. The idea is to position its center of mass so that when the legs push off the fly will evade the swatter.

“When the fly makes planning movements prior to takeoff, it takes into account its body position at the time it first sees the threat,” Dickinson says. “The fly somehow ‘knows’ whether it needs to make large or small postural changes to reach the correct preflight posture.” It does all this “long” (in fly time) before it takes off. “These movements are made very rapidly, within about 200 milliseconds” of seeing the swatter, says Dickinson, “but within that time the animal determines where the threat is coming from and activates an appropriate set of movements to position its legs and wings.”

credit : Newsweek
extracted date: 08 November 2009

http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/labnotes/archive/2008/08/28/why-you-can-t-swat-a-fly.aspx

article 4 – 10 ways to swat a fly – Thursday, 18 June 2009 11:03 UK

November 8, 2009

By Tom Geoghegan

They buzz irritably and contaminate food. So when Barack Obama slapped dead a fly during a news interview, some people would have been looking for tips. What’s the most effective method?

Attempts to swat flies usually end in fluster, breathlessness and frustration.

But for the man described as the most powerful in the world – yes, he can kill a fly with a single blow.

Halting his television interview momentarily as a fly landed on his left hand, President Obama hit it with his right. “I got the sucker,” he declared, as the corpse fell to the White House carpet.

So what is the best way to swat a fly? Here are 10 suggestions.

1. Do it early in the day, says Max Barclay, an insect expert at the Natural History Museum. “Because they are cold-blooded, the reactions of insects depend on the temperature of the air. Early in the morning or in the evening they will be a bit dopey, but in the heat of the day they will be very quick.” But expect failure. Barack Obama was probably quite lucky, unless he’s been practising. “Nine times out of 10, a human will come off second best. Flies have a phenomenal barrage of senses, half of which we don’t have.”

2. Approach from behind, goes one theory, because flies take off backwards. Anecdotal evidence suggests some people find this a successful method. But the fact that flies have 360-degree vision and can jump in any direction makes it improbable.
Fly
Flies usually outwit humans

3. Aim ahead, rather than at, the fly say researchers in the US, who found that within milliseconds of sensing a threat, flies get their body ready to take off forward, backwards or sideways. “Given that they are going to be jumping away from the swat, it’s best to aim slightly ahead of it,” says Michael Dickinson, of the California Institute of Technology. Although how far ahead depends on the speed of the fly. He’s been studying take-offs for five years, using video that provides 5,400 frames a second of a fly’s precise motion when threatened with a swatting.

4. The old-fashioned slap, now known as The Barack. Stay still, keep focused, take aim and attack. Ideal for a fast hand and if the fly is stationary. And if the world’s media is in attendance, YouTube fame beckons.

5. Implements with holes are more effective, says Dr Peter Barnard, director of science at the Royal Entomological Society. “It’s the air pressure they detect and fly away from. It’s not so much that they see something coming, but they feel the pressure wave in front of the object.” This is due to their coating of microscopic hairs, highly sensitive to air movement. Practising what he preaches, Dr Barnard uses a plastic pistol that fires a holed circular device. A fly swat gun, if you will.

6. Use chopsticks, like the Karate Kid. Under guidance from his instructor Mr Miyagi, teenager Daniel LaRusso demonstrates his speed and hand-eye coordination, and learns an important life lesson at the same time. Mr Miyagi’s advice – “Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything” – features on T-shirts in homage to the 1984 film.

7. Put hands either side of the fly, facing each other, so it doesn’t know where the threat comes from, then clap the air a few inches above it. Wash hands immediately to remove the contents of the fly’s stomach (don’t ask).

8. Get a gadget. At the hi-tech end of the market there’s an electric-powered mesh, a dome complete with pheromone and an insecticide aerosol. For those on a budget, there are decorative window stickers or pens to coat windows with transparent insecticide, and fly-swats cost as little as £2. Animal rights organisation PETA, which advocates compassion for flies, says there are humane bug-catching devices available too.

9. Improvise with a rolled-up newspaper (bear in mind point five, above), or a spray window-cleaner.

10. The humane approach – to capture but not kill. “I like to grab them in my hands,” says Mr Barclay, who’s had plenty of practice. “When you want them for a collection you don’t want them damaged. Hit them with the palm of your hand and close your fingers over it.” And if you’re not an entomologist, release the fly outside. It will make you feel better.

credit: BBC News Magazine
extracted 08 November 2009

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8105232.stm

article 3 – PETA Says No More Fly-Killing, Sends Obama a Humane Fly Catcher June 17, 2009 10:55 PM

November 8, 2009

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports:

PETA has a few words for President Obama: Brush, don’t kill.

After the President very publically swatted and then killed a fly during an interview with CNBC yesterday, the outspoken animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) said they wished Obama had served a better example.

“We support compassion for the even the smallest animals,” says Bruce Friedrich, VP for Policy at PETA. “We support giving insects the benefit of the doubt.”

Friedrich says PETA supports “brushing flies away rather than killing them” and was disappointed that the President had gone ahead and squashed the pesky fly.

This afternoon PETA sent a Katcha Bug, a device which traps bugs and allows their safe release back into nature to the White House.

PETA hopes the President will use the catcher but has no far not received communication back from the White House, although they did not ask for specific correspondence.

Friedrich admits that despite his fly-swatting ways, the President has been a champion for animal rights in the past. PETA claims to be pleased by Obama’s denouncement of factory farming, Canadian seal hunting andMichelle Obama’s stance against wearing fur.

credit: ABC NEWS
extracted date: 08 November 2009

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/06/peta-says-no-more-flykilling-sends-obama-a-humane-fly-catcher-.html

article 2- Barack Obama swats fly mid-interview

November 8, 2009

Wednesday, 17 June 2009 08:23 UK

US President Barack Obama swatted a fly during an interview at the White House with television channel CNBC.

After killing the fly, the president said: “That was pretty impressive, wasn’t it? I got the sucker.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8104495.stm

credit : BBC NEWS
extracted date: 08 November 2009

Breaking news: Obama kills fly

November 8, 2009

Wed Jun 17, 9:43 pm ET

Alert the media: President Obama killed a fly. Oh wait, it’s obvious that the media already knows this.

In case you haven’t been forwarded the viral video, or haven’t seen any of the dozens of headlines splashed across worldwide news sites (AP: “Barack Obama: The human flyswatter,” Canadian Press: “Obama kills annoying fly, then keeps going on in TV interview,” NY Daily News: “No presidential pardon for this pest”), here’s the video of our president killing a fly whilst doing an interview with CNBC.

Considering America’s obsession with all things celebrity, it’s not surprising that our photo-friendly president would become paparazzi fodder. But is it getting to be too much? When a story about Barack Obama killing a fly makes it into the same story as Kate Gosselin allegedly spanking one of her eight children, should we be re-evaluating our priorities?

The always-controversial Bill Maher put it this way in his “Real Time” monologue last Friday:

“This is not what I voted for. I don’t want my president to be a TV star…[Obama’s] getting a puppy! He’s eating a cheeseburger with Joe Biden! He’s taking the wife to Broadway and Paris —- this is the best season of ‘The Bachelor’ yet!”

The self-described Libertarian pundit went on to say that he’s glad Obama got elected, but that it’s disappointing that Obama hasn’t been “putting it on the line against the banks, the insurance companies, the energy companies who run the country and in many ways, have ruined this country.”

Though Maher went out on a limb with his rant, he noticed something interesting at the Friday taping. He told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“Up until last Friday, whenever I said anything critical about him, I was getting booed by my audience because they’re liberal Southern Californians…But on Friday, they were cheering.”

Is it true? Are more Americans agreeing that Obama is focusing too much on winning the world over with his charm and not enough on bringing about the change he had promised?

Anne Dunev concurs with Maher. The Huffington Post’s health writer, annoyed by Obama’s ubiquitous TV appearances (“Who does Obama think he is – Lindsay Lohan? Every time I look at the news, there is Obama – having another Kodak moment.”) implores Obama to, instead, concentrate on fixing our failing healthcare system.

She wrote:

“Our PR is not going to matter much if the Ship of State is rudderless and we crash on the shore of our own greed and stupidity.”

Exposure in it of itself isn’t a bad thing. There’s nothing inherently wrong with having a president who is as comfortable making a cameo on the “Daily Show” as he is meeting with foreign ministers, as long as he uses the political and popular capital he’s sowing to get things done.

With the troubles of the world demanding attention (two wars, Iran and North Korea, to name a few) and the tribulations of our own country ringing in our ears (unemployment, foreclosures, healthcare, etc.), forget the flies, we want a president who will swat Congress into action.

-Allison Louie-Garcia

extracted date: 8 Novemeber 2009

Credit: Yahoo! news

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/ynews_en398

Obama Swats A Fly (video) — CNBC

November 8, 2009

credit youtube and CNBC