Early Halloween in this Greek town: 1,000-foot spiderweb

It happens every few years. Not just in Greece, but also parts of the United States.

  • Aitoliko, in Western Greece is the town these images are from.
  • Tetragnatha is the genus — known as "stretch spiders" because of their elongated bodies.
  • They can run faster on water than on land. Don't panic, though: they will be gone in days.

From video by Giannis Giannakopoulos

In a phenomenon that can should only be in nightmares and Halloween horror films, stretch spiders have covered the beach of a Western Grecian island lagoon; it's a phenomenon that happens every so often — the last time it was here was in 2003. It's because the spiders are having a bit of a feast right now on swarms of mosquitos. After their gorging, the spiders will follow up with mating.

Lest you think the end of the world is nigh, though, rest assured that they will only be doing this for a few days.

"When an animal finds abundant food, high temperatures and sufficient humidity, it has the ideal conditions to be able to make large populations," explained molecular biologist Maria Chatzaki from Democritus University of Thrace in Greece. "This phenomenon has arisen from a population explosion of this spider."

Still, those of us with arachnophobia will probably sleep a little less well this evening knowing that these little buggers are out there... somewhere.

It's not permanent, and doesn't harm anything. Aside from... you know, your subconscious mind.

From video by Giannis Giannakopoulos

Not to worry about the other living things beneath this all-encompassing web, however.

"These spiders are not dangerous for humans and will not cause any damage to the area's flora," Chatzaki told the Newsit.gr website. "The spiders will have their party and will soon die."

But just because they're halfway across the world, doesn't mean it can't happen in the United States. Spiders turned a quiet roadside in Dallas, Texas, into a web-laden scene.

But seriously, though... is there an upside?

From video by Giannis Giannakopoulos

There is an upside to this. These spiders are feasting on mosquitos as they create these vast, 1,000-foot webs.

Anything that does that is A-OK in my book.

Here's the full video:

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Keep reading Show less

Adam Gopnik on the rhinoceros of liberalism vs. the unicorns of everything else

Torn between absolutism on the left and the right, classical liberalism—with its core values of compassion and incremental progress whereby the once-radical becomes the mainstream—is in need of a good defense. And Adam Gopnik is its lawyer.

Think Again Podcasts
  • Liberalism as "radical pragmatism"
  • Intersectionality and civic discourse
  • How "a thousand small sanities" tackled drunk driving, normalized gay marriage, and could control gun violence
Keep reading Show less

Why the south of Westeros is the north of Ireland

As Game of Thrones ends, a revealing resolution to its perplexing geography.

Image: YouTube / Doosh
Strange Maps
  • The fantasy world of Game of Thrones was inspired by real places and events.
  • But the map of Westeros is a good example of the perplexing relation between fantasy and reality.
  • Like Britain, it has a Wall in the North, but the map only really clicks into place if you add Ireland.
Keep reading Show less

Fascism and conspiracy theories: The symptoms of broken communication

The lost practice of face-to-face communication has made the world a more extreme place.

  • The world was saner when we spoke face-to-face, argues John Cameron Mitchell. Not looking someone in the eye when you talk to them raises the potential for miscommunication and conflict.
  • Social media has been an incredible force for activism and human rights, but it's also negatively affected our relationship with the media. We are now bombarded 24/7 with news that either drives us to anger or apathy.
  • Sitting behind a screen makes polarization worse, and polarization is fertile ground for conspiracy theories and fascism, which Cameron describes as irrationally blaming someone else for your problems.
Keep reading Show less