Monday, July 18, 2011

Reflex Responses

In my youth, a friend of mine studied swatting flies.  He discovered that a fly sitting on a table is very good at evading a hand.  The fly’s reflex makes it turn away from the attack very quickly.  If, however, there are two attackers the fly is not nearly so successful.

Therefore, if you hold both hands about six inches apart, parallel to the direction the fly is facing and an inch or so above the table, and then clap above the fly, you will almost invariably hit and stun the fly.

The fly takes off when it senses movement, either visually or through air currents.  It will fly straight, turn left or right, or (interestingly) even backwards, but this attack defeats all those options.

The fly’s reflex is similar to the one that kills so many armadillos in the road.  The near-sighted armadillo would likely be safe if it just sat still.  But when it detects the car it jumps up into the passing undercarriage. 

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