Saturday, 18 June 2011

Arrogant Angry Wasps ......and.... Kirk and Co. Made It Easy

It's a fairly safe bet to say that nobody like wasps. Lots of people like bees, but I'm yet to meet a person who says that they like wasps. And why? because wasps are nasty, arrogant creatures that sting you for fun. Bees on the other hand, only ever sting you as a last resort if peace talks have broken down and dialogue of agreement can't be reached. And after they sting you, the bee dies - so it really doesn't want to sting you if I can help it. But wasps - they  are just plain nasty. They don't like anybody, and nobody likes them.
I've only ever been stung by a wasp once. It was years ago when I was on holiday in Scotland, and was walking up Ben Nevis. A wasp landed on the top of my ear and the instant I felt it, I brushed it away with my hand. This action enraged the wasp who immediately stung me on the ear - and would have stung me again had I not instinctively hit my ear, killing the wasp.

I'm sure that there was no need for the wasp to sting me, but that it did so out of pure spite. It wasn't a defensive manoeuvre, or a last resort like a Bee would use, it was a premeditated attack. And I can prove it!!! (sort of):

Wasps (and Bees, and Flies etc.) see the world at about 300 frames per second. To get an idea of how fast that is, here is a video clip of a match being lit at 300 frames per second:

So now you know how slow things look to a wasp or fly, you know why it is so difficult to swat them. You think you are moving fast enough, but they see the movement in plenty of time. Also, because they have such large eyes in comparison to their body, they have virtually 360 degree vision and can see behind themselves and everything.
So the wasp that stung me wasn't angry because I had caught it a glancing blow - it moved out of harms way well before my hand got anywhere near it - it stung me because it was arrogant. It was flying around, and saw me and thought, "I'm landing on that guy's ear." It then landed - but saw my hand coming and thought "who does this guy think he is?". And when he had to take off to avoid getting swatted, that's when he got really narked. The phrase "oh no you didn't!" came to mind, and then he stung me - to teach me a lesson.
The trouble is, when a insect like a wasp takes an interest in you, there is no other option but to try and swat it away. They are to small, and don't sit still long enough for us to gently pick up between out thumb and forefinger and carry them away from us, placing them on the ground or a flower gently and then giving them a little stroke before leaving them. If we could do that, people would have them as pets - training groups of them to fly down to the shops and bring back the Sunday papers (each wasp carrying a coin, and then all of them holding on to the paper as they bring it back). You'd have to give them the right money, as there is now way they could carry the newspaper and change.

Wasps fly -  well swagger aerially, really - around with the attitude "I'm a wasp - what are you going to do about it?". And we encourage that attitude, because whenever a wasp comes near us, we don't try and swat it away - Instead we move out of its way. Even though we are about a hundred times bigger than the wasp, we back away like a Jewish Vampire from a Bacon Crucifix.

That might not be the best image to use - but you know what I mean.

Anyway, we've all done that dance, the "there's a wasp near you" dance; first you sway back, raising your arms in the air to get your pint or ice cream out of danger, then you turn to the left, then the right still with your arms raised. Then you do a complete circle and walk away a few steps twisting your head left and right to see if the wasp is following you. This is repeated until the wasp has gone. It is the humiliating dance of silence, choreographed by a tiny insect that doesn't care who it stings. Mind you, whilst we hate a wasp coming anywhere near us, we find it hilarious when our friends are bothered by one!

So, I don't like wasps.

But don't tell them I said that, okay.

I've just watched the most recent "Star Trek" Film - the one that shows basically how they all got together. At the end, after they defeat the bad guy there is a bit of peril where the Enterprise is caught in the pull of a singularity (a small black hole type thing), and can't escape - despite being at maximum warp. Scotty saves the day (as always) by ejecting the warp core and detonating it - the subsequent blast being enough to push the Enterprise away from the black hole, saving it and everybody on board. Hurrah.
What I want to know is, does anybody write that good idea down? Throughout the Star Trek TV Series and Films, Scotty regularly comes up trumps when the chips are down and allows the Enterprise to avoid capture or destruction. If he isn't re-generating Dilithium crystals to power the Warp Core, he's re-routing power from the hand driers in the gents toilets to give a bit more stability to the shields.
And at some point, surely someone said "That worked really well - better make a note of it for future reference"?. I imagine that the chapter fifteen of the Starfleet Captains Manual - "Possible life threatening situations, and how to get out of them" steadily became bigger and bigger over the years as more and more possible disasters were avoided.
Furthermore, I bet in later years that there were so many solutions written down, that nobody panicked in the face of peril. In fact I bet the captain stayed in his quarters and let the crew handle it. In Star Date 3759.4 (whenever that is - they were always made up) when the Starship "Indifference" was surrounded by warships from the Splorg intergalactic alliance, Kevin - the spotty 16 year old on board on work experience, saved the day by checking chapter fifteen of the Captain's manual and discovering that Cheese acted like powerful magnet on the Splorg ships engines Firing a small chunk of Double Gloucester caused the all the surrounding enemy ships to be pulled towards it, colliding with each other and destroying themselves.

Of course, the official report said that the Captain saved the day - well you don't get to be Captain by letting other people take the credit, do you?

Incidentally, to me the word "Singularity" sounds like the combination of the words "Single" and "Hilarity" - which just happen to be a great way of describing me! I might use that from now on - "Hi, I'm larry,and I'm a singularity. Yes that's right - I'm single, and I'm full of hilarity!"

"Wait, where are you going?"

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