0357: "Flies"

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Nullius in Verba
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0357: "Flies"

Postby Nullius in Verba » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:15 am UTC

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I don't know about houseflies, but we definitely caught a lot of fruit flies with our vinegar bowl. Hooray science!

I'm not sure if it's not showing up for me or if the comic is just the word flies but....hmmm
EDIT: Because the comic isn't showing up here either- I'm going to guess it's acting funny (at least on my computer).
EDIT The Second: As usual, Randall seems to have read my mind- I actually had a conversation about water boiling while watching it earlier to-day.
Last edited by Nullius in Verba on Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:19 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Legrow
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby Legrow » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:17 am UTC

it's a 403 forbidden error which means the administrator of the web site didn't put the right permissions on the comic png file.

in short: NO COMIC FOR YOU

thethirdmoose
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby thethirdmoose » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:18 am UTC

The comic isn't showing up for me either :(
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Beyondthewall
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby Beyondthewall » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:18 am UTC

There we go.
Love this one. Especially since I've actually done it. Reminds me of an Ozy and Millie comic - "a youthful quest to dispel unnecessary truisms".
Last edited by Beyondthewall on Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:21 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Illemonati
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby Illemonati » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:19 am UTC

And yet, somehow, it's there at 05:19 GMT.

On-topic: Now I have to try this out..

Edit(Changed time to match post time)
Last edited by Illemonati on Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:19 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

cranberrytuna
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby cranberrytuna » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:19 am UTC

I can see the comic here, but I couldn't see it on the main page. Maybe... he changed it at the exact time that it took me to go from the main page to this page :shock:

ZzzzSleep
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby ZzzzSleep » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:20 am UTC

The comic is all working now...
What other parentisms can we test though?

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Vitamin_A
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby Vitamin_A » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:23 am UTC

Well, to ZzzzSleep, I'd recommend you visit the intro thread, before bad things happen.
And with respect to the comic, I've always secretly harboured a desire to disprove my parents, and, manyatimes, I have, but just couldn't tell them.
And with regards to other parentisms, as suggested by ZzzzSleep... I jsut forgot the one I had in my head.

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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby GodShapedBullet » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:24 am UTC

Using bowls ruins the generalizability of this experiment.

Treat your mother right.

top1214
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby top1214 » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:27 am UTC

Myths busted!

Next: Freezing face, or going blind?

Shale
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby Shale » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:32 am UTC

It doesn't matter whether I use honey or vinegar, there are always more of the buggers left.

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SimonSwift
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby SimonSwift » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:40 am UTC

One time, when I was something like eight years old or so, I attempted to prove my mother wrong by licking a metal pole when it was freezing cold out. Yeah, it turns out that urban myth actually works...Whoops.


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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby Steve the Pocket » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:53 am UTC

Obviously what we need now is someone to actually test it with houseflies. Who wants to volunteer (and risk turning your house into a permanent habitat for obnoxious insects)?
SimonSwift wrote:One time, when I was something like eight years old or so, I attempted to prove my mother wrong by licking a metal pole when it was freezing cold out. Yeah, it turns out that urban myth actually works...Whoops.

I have a theory... that if you just put your mouth over the frozen area and exhale deeply, the hot air will melt the ice enough to free your tongue. But I am, understandably, afraid to try it myself. Again, any volunteers?
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby selfopening_door » Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:59 am UTC

Apparently, if you get your tongue stuck to a frozen pole, you shouldn't struggle (no duh) or try and use your saliva as it will just freeze, but you should just apply your hands to the pole* near your tongue in an attempt to try and thaw out the pole. And if that fails, without some warm water, you're pretty much stuck.

*I hereby take no responsibility if your hands also become stuck fast to the pole

Steve the Pocket wrote:I have a theory... that if you just put your mouth over the frozen area and exhale deeply, the hot air will melt the ice enough to free your tongue. But I am, understandably, afraid to try it myself. Again, any volunteers?

Hmm. Murphy's Law; that will go horribly wrong, resulting in both your tongue and your lips becoming firmly fastened to the pole. Then again, it might work.
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danakin
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby danakin » Fri Dec 14, 2007 6:01 am UTC

"Hey mom! You were right about one thing! There IS more than one way to skin a cat!"

DSDM
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby DSDM » Fri Dec 14, 2007 6:14 am UTC

Whether honey catches more flies than vinegar or vice versa is irrelevant, because bullshit works better than both :D

Azzaman
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby Azzaman » Fri Dec 14, 2007 6:23 am UTC

Isn't the pot boiling one just an extension of Einstein's relativity? As he put it:
"When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it's longer than any hour. That's relativity."

If you sit just watching a pot waiting for it to boil, its going to seem like it takes a lot longer to boil than if you are off doing other things. Of course, it will actually boil, so the word 'never' is a bit of a gross exaggeration, but parents are good at that.

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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby Eleven » Fri Dec 14, 2007 6:25 am UTC

I bet I could test the honey vs. vinegar thing out. However, I have a gnat problem rather than a fly problem. They are probably even more invasive and annoying though.

~7AM~
"HOLY S***, GET THE F*** OFF MY EGGOS YOU LITTLE F***!" *swats, misses, rampages*

I will however set out the equivalent of a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of vinegar (no more!), for the sake of science. In case anyone cares about guh-nats.
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby setec_astronomy » Fri Dec 14, 2007 6:27 am UTC

Azzaman wrote:Isn't the pot boiling one just an extension of Einstein's relativity? As he put it:
"When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it's longer than any hour. That's relativity."

If you sit just watching a pot waiting for it to boil, its going to seem like it takes a lot longer to boil than if you are off doing other things. Of course, it will actually boil, so the word 'never' is a bit of a gross exaggeration, but parents are good at that.


Ah, now I finally get the punchline!

I'm not aware of that being a wide spread saying / household myth in my little corner of the world, though.

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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby phlip » Fri Dec 14, 2007 6:30 am UTC

According to my TV guide, last week MythBusters did "A rolling stone gathers no moss"... unfortunately I missed the episode, but it sounds like an interesting experiment...

Note: this is Australian TV... that episode probably aired, like, a year ago in the States... and that's if it's not a repeat...

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Azzaman
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby Azzaman » Fri Dec 14, 2007 6:36 am UTC

phlip wrote:According to my TV guide, last week MythBusters did "A rolling stone gathers no moss"... unfortunately I missed the episode, but it sounds like an interesting experiment...

Note: this is Australian TV... that episode probably aired, like, a year ago in the States... and that's if it's not a repeat...


Yeah, I remember watching that one. All they did was devise a machine that kept a stone rolling, rather slowly I might add, in a bed of moss and left it for several weeks/months/whatever to see if any moss would grow on it. Can't remember the outcome.

Nesto
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby Nesto » Fri Dec 14, 2007 6:51 am UTC

Funny, they probably aren't actually "fruit flies"... those flies that are attracted to fruit in your house are usually Drosophila - vinegar flies 8)

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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby Ghona » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:02 am UTC

The real question is "Who wants flies?"
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby keozen » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:08 am UTC

If I remember I may try this next summer when there are more flies around. I'd be lucky to get one at the moment.
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tessuraea
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby tessuraea » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:14 am UTC

I live in a cold place and have gotten my tongue stuck to metal before. Several times, as a kid, not because I don't learn but because the feeling is kind of neat if you're quick and it's not too cold... plus there's the flirting with danger part. My cousin and I used to have contests for who could hold onto the electric fence longer. Same concept.

If you close your lips around the thing and exhale, your lips will freeze too. Unless you're very careful and they're very dry, I guess. If you get as close as possible and put your hands up to cup around your mouth to make a seal, and breathe into the space, it'll usually thaw.

If someone else sees you and brings warm water, you're set.

If you pull away, you'll just leave a bit of tongue-skin on the metal, which is painful but not actually that big a deal, although it's hard to hide from your parents if you're trying not to let them figure out you got your tongue stuck to something again when you're definitely old enough to know better. They'll want to know why you're flinching when you eat.
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby UmbrageOfSnow » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:21 am UTC

My grandmother used to use vinegar to catch flies, so she was there way before this comic. (Although she couldn't even work her VCR, so I guess that is the only way she was xkcd-ish.

As for the metal pole in winter thing, since when was that an "urban myth". Kids at my elementary school used to do it all the time.

And I have actually skinned a cat, and am more adept than most at it. There may be more than one way to skin a cat, but mine is one of the best. /brag
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby floyd4one » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:38 am UTC

selfopening_door wrote:Apparently, if you get your tongue stuck to a frozen pole, you shouldn't struggle (no duh) or try and use your saliva as it will just freeze, but you should just apply your hands to the pole* near your tongue in an attempt to try and thaw out the pole. And if that fails, without some warm water, you're pretty much stuck.

*I hereby take no responsibility if your hands also become stuck fast to the pole

Steve the Pocket wrote:I have a theory... that if you just put your mouth over the frozen area and exhale deeply, the hot air will melt the ice enough to free your tongue. But I am, understandably, afraid to try it myself. Again, any volunteers?

Hmm. Murphy's Law; that will go horribly wrong, resulting in both your tongue and your lips becoming firmly fastened to the pole. Then again, it might work.



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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby EdgarJPublius » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:59 am UTC

phlip wrote:According to my TV guide, last week MythBusters did "A rolling stone gathers no moss"... unfortunately I missed the episode, but it sounds like an interesting experiment...

Note: this is Australian TV... that episode probably aired, like, a year ago in the States... and that's if it's not a repeat...


yep, it's pretty old here in the states, if anyones interested, they used a pair of identical (more or less) stone cores, coated both in a moss/nutrient sludge and rolled one (in a round wooden track) while the other one (also in a round wooden track) was not rolled.

Spoiler:
The rolling stone grew less moss
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby Coreygh » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:19 am UTC

The keyword is "catch". Will more flies get stuck in vinegar or honey?

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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby aerojad » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:26 am UTC

My world view is shattered.
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Madasi
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby Madasi » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:29 am UTC

Ok, so isn't using balsamic vinegar cheating? I mean, it's a dessert vinegar, known for being sweet.

I guess non-specificity in the original saying leaves it up to interpretation by the individual.

I'd think that something like white wine vinegar would be a good way to test the meaning of the saying, as opposed to the technical semantics.

Just saying.

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Quantum pot watching

Postby spacedman » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:34 am UTC

A watched pot never boils because the act of observation reduces the wavefunction to a single state, and if you watch the pot truly continuously (and do the math) there's no component of time in that state equation.

An unwatched pot never boils also, it remains in a quantum superposition of all possible states.

Which makes me wonder why my morning coffee is actually hot...

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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby HiEv » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:41 am UTC

Well, in the test at the following site, the bottle with vinegar caught 15 flies, while the bottle with honey didn't catch a single one:

http://www.chrisnull.com/2007/10/can-you-catch-more-flies-with-honey.html

If you think about it, it makes sense. Vinegar is a product of fermentation, which happens with rotting food, and flies love rotting food. Also, vinegar has a strong smell, while honey does not. (At least not to my recollection. I have a rather poor sense of smell.)

Anyone considering testing this should probably keep the honey and vinegar well separated, so it's not a test of which has the more overwhelming odor.
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madjo
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby madjo » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:54 am UTC

ZzzzSleep wrote:The comic is all working now...
What other parentisms can we test though?

Watching too much tv causes you to have square eyes?
:)

You are carrying:
- a slightly paranoid Android
- two left feet (not my own)
- a still unfed and very hungry hippo
- broadsword of +5 ridiculousness stained with the blood of the undead souls
- a stetson Resistol, cuz stetson Resistols are cool.

Domovoi
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby Domovoi » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:32 am UTC

selfopening_door wrote:you should just apply your hands to the pole* near your tongue


That's what she said.

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Patashu
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby Patashu » Fri Dec 14, 2007 10:41 am UTC

Hah. Last panel made it, of course.

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Prole
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby Prole » Fri Dec 14, 2007 10:55 am UTC

I read the title as "files".

I was confused.
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leto
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby leto » Fri Dec 14, 2007 10:55 am UTC

Domovoi wrote:
selfopening_door wrote:you should just apply your hands to the pole* near your tongue


That's what she said.

I have so been waiting for someone to make that connection.

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ohki
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby ohki » Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:12 am UTC

Well, it's "you catch more flies," right? I wonder if honey has a higher fly retention rate owing to it's adhesive properties?
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Justinlrb
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Re: "Flies" Discussion

Postby Justinlrb » Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:33 am UTC

Ha!
Fruit flies are total alcoholics. You should see them go for the bowl of wine... haven't tried beer.


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