back to article Life … moves … in … slow … motion … for … little … critters … like … flies

The smaller the creature and the faster its metabolic rate, the slower it perceives time, say a group of researchers from Ireland and the UK. "Animals smaller than us see the world in slo-mo," study leader Andrew Jackson from Trinity College Dublin told The Telegraph. "It seems to be almost a fact of life." Jackson and his …

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  1. SteveCarr
    Holmes

    Which explains why it's so darned hard to swat a fly

    Oh dear, here comes one of those annoying human handss .... hmm, let's see, if I lift off around about ...wait for it... now....he'll miss me! Hee hee!

    1. LaeMing Silver badge

      Re: Which explains why it's so darned hard to swat a fly

      Bit like dodging that falling spaceship in Prometheus. Except flies are smarter than humans (or at least Hollywood script writers).

    2. LarsG

      Re: Which explains why it's so darned hard to swat a fly

      Why swat when you can poison them and watch them die slowly?

      Mmmmmmm

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Which explains why it's so darned hard to swat a fly

        @LarsG

        Agreed, i have a variety of insecticides at my disposal, some acute, some VERY acute.

        There is a wasp destroyer i use like this.

        1.put on thick glove.

        2.Spray this stuff into the nest entrance.

        3.Plug hole with gloved thumb QUICKLY

        4.Count to 10.

        5.remove thumb and watch as dozens of dead and dying wasps fall out of the hole like a like a small arthropod waterfall.

        I love my job, it encompasses the two things i enjoy doing. Driving and killing things.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Which explains why it's so darned hard to swat a fly

        "Why swat when you can poison them and watch them die slowly?"

        Because it's now very difficult to poison the beggars. When I were a lad, fly spray worked, and worked well. Nowdays you can only buy rubbish based on permethrin, which only works if you get a direct hit, hose it out of the sky, and then drown the victim in it. Personally I blame all the tree huggers.

        Which leads me on to an interesting thought about bees, though: We've got all this doom and gloom about bees apparently due to residual pesticides, which we didn't have when farmers (supposedly) sprayed organophosphates all round with gay abandon. Could it be the permitted "less damaging" pesticides are worse than the things they replaced? I accept that organophosphates caused careless users to grow three buttocks and two heads, but that's a risk I'm willing to take if I can have fly spray that actually does what it says on the tin.

        1. Vociferous

          Re: Which explains why it's so darned hard to swat a fly

          @Ledswinger: Farmers are not bound by the same laws wrt what pesticides they may use as us ordinary mortals. DDT is gone, but they've got a huge arsenal of pesticides

        2. Daniel B.
          Happy

          Re: Which explains why it's so darned hard to swat a fly @Ledswinger

          I use the cockroach variants of insecticide. Point it at fly, send a small spray. Fly will go down in seconds! And no need to make the entire room biohazard :)

    3. Parax

      It's surprisingly easy to kill a fly.

      Oddly you can take as long as you like to kill a fly on a window, by pushing a curtain onto it. complete failure to detect threat of imminent death.

      Don't bother waving your hands around. just use a big white sheet of paper or a curtain and close in on the fly whilst it is sitting on the glass. easy as squashing bugs. Literally.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Which explains why it's so darned hard to swat a fly

      tea towel, flick so that the end whips round, gets 'em every time

      1. Martin Budden
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Which explains why it's so darned hard to swat a fly

        Fly sitting on table (or similar). Don't try to swat with your hand, it will fly away before your hand reaches it. Instead do this:

        Put your index finger and thumb into "flicking" position, then slowly slide your hand along the table surface. When just in range, FLICK! This is the fastest movement the human body can make, fast enough to get the fly. It won't be killed but it will be lying stunned on the floor just over there, and you have about 10 seconds to wander over and squash it before it recovers.

        Icon looks a bit like a squashed fly??

  2. Shugyosha
    IT Angle

    I have a very strong recollection of watching a BBC series, Supersense (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supersense) in 1988. I clearly recall a scene shot from the view of a fly, which showed someone in their living room attempting to swat the fly and knocking over a cup of tea - all of which happened in slow motion to the fly. So, not being a specialist in this field myself, I'm curious what's new about this research considering I recall having the same thing explained to me 25 years ago?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I sense another glorious Ig Nobel might be heading our way.

      Yey!

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Without being an expert, this new research attempts to get some quantitative evidence, whereas that documentary you saw was based on the valid observation "don't them buggers move quick".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Actually I don't think it was as flippant as that. Whilst hearing this Radio 4 interview, I had a distinct feeling of Deja vu. This also included talking about elephants having a slower metabolic rate and their perception of time.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "This also included talking about elephants having a slower metabolic rate and their perception of time."

          So if its down to metabolic rate, does Mo Farrah see the world around him in slow motion, whilst the FBs in McDonalds see the world as a speeded up video?

    3. quincunx

      yeah, I remember watching it although I didn't remember the name of the program. They also simulated the time perception of dogs and cats etc. It's hardly ground-breaking research.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        It's hardly ground-breaking research.

        It provides new evidence, using techniques that have only become available relatively recently, to confirm a longstanding hypothesis about the relationship between metabolic rate and temporal perception in vertebrates. Maybe that's not exciting to all the geniuses who spend their time criticizing scientific research on the Reg, but to those who actually care about how scientific knowledge is produced, it's quite important.

  3. Natalie Gritpants

    Kids are faster

    because they carry less baggage. Emotional, intellectual and flabby. Nice research but kids don't perceive time moving more slowly otherwise the world champion at wiff waff would be six.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Kids are faster

      I dunno, I've seen six year olds complete Sonic the Hedgehog in a time I could never hope to beat (I was twelve at the time) /anecdotal

    2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Kids are faster

      I always felt it was the opposite and that kids were a bit dull witted. They are smart arses for sure but a bit slow on the uptake. Then again, as I wane into past through the second half on middle age I do notice that a week goes by quite quickly whilst the youngsters about complain that it takes forever for the weekend to arrive and I can only explain that since a week is a tiny fraction of my total temporal experience it should seem quite a bit smaller than for one whom a week is a more substantial fraction of their existence. Certainly a difference in the perception of time would also account for it but I also find I haven't tripped, stumbled or fell for many years where the chitlin's are constantly getting back up with scrapes on their knee so that's a fat lot of good all that speedy perception does them unless I also fall more slowly and thereby have more time to catch myself1.

      Meh, I unscientifically maintain that bodily energy is constant and small critters have to use more energy per pound in a given amount of time and that some of that is put toward paying attention to the lesser details like "are we there yet?" and that is why little children and small dogs tend to be yappy and never settle down until the crash that results when their body simply can't keep up because the individual brain and muscle cells appreciate neither size nor time.

      1Being taller, I actually do have more time to catch myself but shouldn't that be compensated for in my slowed perception of time?

      1. monkeyfish

        Re: Kids are faster

        I would agree with most of your sentiment, but I would also postulate that being an adult you have built up muscle memory, so if you start to stumble you correct for it without actually thinking about it. That and I suspect the kids are charging about at full speed, so are more likely to stumble, whereas old gits tend to shuffle about the place as slowly as they can get away with, and would prefer not to get up off the sofa at this precise moment in time if it's all the same to you, thanks.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kids are faster

      Sadly I see that all the non believers are singletons without children....

      Your time will come and you will understand Grasshopper.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Size of brains?

    I believe signals transfer across neurons at ~200 MPH... meaning it takes a non-trivial amount of time for something to get from the front of a person's head to the back, and then to get to the muscles in question to provide a reaction... Make everything smaller but keep the 200 MPH constant and you have a much faster system, relatively speaking.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Size of brains?

      Graphene will solve it. It solves everything.

      1. Rukario
        Joke

        Re: Size of brains?

        > Graphene will solve it. It solves everything.

        Duct tape made of graphene...

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Duct tape made of graphene...

          Mind = blown

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Size of brains?

      Flies don't have brains, otherwise they would be ruling the world.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Maharg
        Alert

        Re: Size of brains?

        Flies don't have brains, otherwise they would be ruling the world.”

        I Disagree, Flies do have brains, they are just don’t care, just like Cows, have you ever met an ill-tempered cow? Can you imagine having a fight with a cow? Have you ever thought how one man and a dog can control a number of cows? If the cows wanted to they could crush them both easily.

        Cows are huge, strong and move in packs, not only do they have more stomachs then us and much larger penises (therefore more evolved), but they can communicate with the most basic of sounds and can even predict the weather without using any technology, they can be found in every place humans are (apart from Antarctica) and their skin is so tough we use it to protect our pathetic bodies, they have no fear of death and there are more than a billion of them.

        Don’t kid yourself Jimmy, if a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about.

        The day of reckoning is coming, they are just waiting for the right time, and one thing is for certain: there is no stopping them; the cows will soon be here. And I for one welcome our new bovine overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted admin and personal lawn owner, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their grass fields.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Size of brains?

          Relevant link:

          www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQMbXvn2RNI‎

  5. Don Jefe
    Pirate

    Darkness

    Beginning tomorrow I will begin to have all sources of light extinguished. Beginning in government offices. I will exercise my leverage within the aerospace industry to begin planing a program to eliminate Sol. Yay! Even the infernal Sun itself must be extinguished or we will certainly all die from exposure to its light.

    Beware those who will deceive with tales of warmth, safety and even life emanating from The Light. The Light is Darkness and must be extinguished.

  6. Herby Silver badge
    Boffin

    Humans...60Hz...

    Now I know why we have that as a power frequency.

    Maybe the French started when they were a little older, thus 50Hz.

    Then again, Americans are a little quicker on the draw?

    1. Beau
      Holmes

      Re: Humans...60Hz...

      Fail! Frequency is 60Hz, but it's AC. therefor two pulses of light per cycle!

      Even then, due to the glow persistence of most artificial lights being much longer than 0.01 second. This flicker generally only applies to florescent tube type of lighting.

      1. Don Jefe
        Happy

        Re: Humans...60Hz...

        Even then then the flickering of fluorescent lights is due to the design of the ballast and the cathodes more than the frequency of the mains supply. You can eliminate visible spectrum flicker, but nobody wants to pay for it :)

  7. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Life is logarithmic

    Life is logarithmic; it's half-over by age ten.

  8. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

    Pity the urban wildlife...

    To rats, cockroaches, owls and pigeons, every streetlight and TV must be pulsing at a headache-inducing rate.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Pity the urban wildlife...

      To rats, cockroaches, owls and pigeons, every streetlight and TV must be pulsing at a headache-inducing rate.

      Well, I feel sorry for the owls at least.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Humans...

    Not everyone has that 60Hz CFFF. Have you ever wondered why 120Hz monitors looks so smooth? No, then you have a lower CFFF. There was this study about gamers...

    1. Eric Olson

      Re: Humans...

      I hope you are are aware of the whole vsync thing, so the 60Hz screen limited to 60 fps, while the 120Hz screen can hit 120fps, assuming it has a video card beefy enough to drive it. And I believe those were first-person shooters, so games that have other things to account for, like perceived and real latency and lag between game action and user input.

      Human vision is more attuned to movement than static images. A flickering light is really just a static image, where as a video will likely have movement and keep the eyes and brain on high-alert. You should try staring at yourself in a mirror for a while with a single point of focus, and see what happens. Here's a hint: Your brain gets bored and plays games with itself....

      1. Don Jefe
        Happy

        Re: Humans...

        From the instant your brain realizes what you are looking at your visual acuity is automatically scaled back and a proportionate increase in peripheral vision with a bias towards motion takes place. Once your brain knows what something is it doesn't see any advantage in continuing to stare at it.

        You can observe this in action in extremely proficient marksmen, biathletes are a good example; they will fire instantly on sighting the target. It isn't just adrenaline and shaky arms, its that the longer you look at something the more your brain starts to screw with everything from depth perception to detail even to lateral position.

        Many believe this fact is responsible for the same person having trouble positively identifying details of something they see. They've in fact seen it many, many different times in just a few moments but their brain was gradually removing detail the longer they looked. None of their answers are wrong, what they saw actually appeared differently.

  10. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    There is a problem with that idea

    Because I have no memories at all of perceiving the world as moving slower when I was a kid.

    There should be if that idea was true. Unless they are Orwellistically rearranged, too.

    1. veti Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: There is a problem with that idea

      Memory is notoriously unreliable, particularly when it comes to trying to recall (a) colours and (b) timeframes.

      Quick - without looking, what colour socks do you have on right now? And how old are they?

      If you'd had, as I did, to work in a magazine publishing office where every freakin' day was punctuated by readers phoning up and asking "That article you ran about 3 months ago..." - and then having to trawl back through five years' worth of publications to find it - then you wouldn't cite your own memory as evidence of anything remotely time-related.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There is a problem with that idea

        I have white socks on. I always have white socks on

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: There is a problem with that idea

          "I have white socks on. I always have white socks on"

          That earned you a downvote. And I'll be they're polyester towelling as well.

      2. deadlockvictim Silver badge

        Re: There is a problem with that idea

        Veti» Quick - without looking, what colour socks do you have on right now?

        Easy. Black, or, at least, originally black und now washed out black [1], and they are the first two that were pulled out of the sock drawer this morning. They might even match. I haven't looked yet.

        [1] cue Father Ted quote about black socks.

    2. MacroRodent Silver badge

      Re: There is a problem with that idea

      Re-examine your memories, then. Or rather, don't look for slow motion, but for how you perceived time periods.

      I distinctly remember that when I was a kid, I could catch small quick critters like flies and lizards with my bare hands fairly easily. Now, at 51, I cannot.

      Also, a year felt like an eternity when I was 10, the distance between Christmases was immense. Now they almost flit by... :-(

      The research seems spot on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There is a problem with that idea

        @MacroRodent

        Looking back to primary school days, summer holidays seemed almost infinite.

        I now find it hard to beleieve they're only 6 weeks or so.

        When I first read the article, I thought it was stating the bleedin' obvious.

        Then there's the theory that mammals hearts all have a similar lifespan in number of beats.

        So a smaller animal than us with twice the heart rate lives half as long - do they perceive time half as slow too?

        1. TheOtherHobbes

          Re: There is a problem with that idea

          Kids on summer holidays have nothing to do for six weeks.

          Try taking six weeks off with nothing to do - no work, no demands, nothing in the schedule, no plans - and see how long it lasts.

          1. Don Jefe
            Headmaster

            Re: Problem? Ask Someone Who Knows.

            Why don't one of you email a monk in Tibet, or a man on a deserted island and ask them how they perceive time?

            Seriously, they likely will have experienced the hectic world at large before entering a life of contemplation and/or a castaway, so they would have a valid comparison.

            I guess a prisoner in long term solitary confinement might work too, but they tend to come unhinged and their input might not be useful. Plus the perception of time inside a prison is artificially manipulated, so that I guess that probably wouldn't be valid.

    3. redpawn Silver badge

      Re: There is a problem with that idea

      Did you go to school as a child. I remember endless days and waiting thousands of minutes for lunch break or recess. An eternity could pass if I did not make something happen. Adults misperceived me as bouncing off the walls.

  11. Charles 9 Silver badge

    I'd always figured the big reason small animals perceived faster was simply because their nervous systems have less distance to travel. Barring everything else, neural impulses still travel at some fraction of the speed of light, and inter-synapse chemical reactions should still propagate at the same speed regardless of species, so all speeds being equal, it's quicker to navigate a two-inch brain than a ten-inch one.

  12. leeCh
    Paris Hilton

    Found the IT angle.

    <quote>As another of Jackson's colleagues put it, "Flies might not be deep thinkers, but they can make good decisions very quickly." </quote>

    Maybe we've been looking at this quantum computer thing all wrong. We need networked fly brains instead.

    Paris - because it seems that flies can make better decisions, faster.

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    IT Angle

    Good question. Is the fly architecture "better" or is there just less of it?

    Because AFAIK most of the animal kingdom (ourselves included) uses pretty much the same chemicals to do the same jobs

    OTOH if the chemicals/cell membranes/whatever in the fly are faster that opens up some interesting ideas for human regeneration and anti aging treatment.

    But my bet is it's just because the critters are smaller.

  14. Novex
    Boffin

    While I'm not a scientist, I do think that visualizing the idea as 'slow motion' is wrong. I think it's more like a difference in frame or sample rates.

    At about 24fps, we humans see no flicker in a series of related images (aka a film ;) ) but a 12fps we can see the flicker. The slower the fps, the more we miss from the time between frames. Flies (and by extension most if not all creatures smaller than us) perceive and process 'images' so fast that they 'know' far more about what's going on in their immediate surroundings, such that they are able to get out of the way of that moving hand.

    This also might explain why as children we don't hear or see adults moving in slow motion but they do seem to take such a long time to get things done, while as adults children always seem to be rushing around and getting bored when there's not much happening.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      24fps *is* visibly jerky to humans; Cinema just covers it up

      "At about 24fps, we humans see no flicker in a series of related images (aka a film ;) ) but a 12fps we can see the flicker."

      Actually 24 to 30 fps *can* look jerky. This is partly covered up in cinema films by using a slower exposure time for each frame. The rule of thumb (AFAIK) is that recommended shutter speed per frame is half the frame rate. (*) Therefore, for 24 fps film, it would normally be around 1/48 second; enough to *blur* fast moving objects. This blurring is, ironically, intentional- it has the visual effect of smoothing the jerky motion. (**)

      I have a DSLR that does video, but in bright conditions produces unpleasantly jerky results. This is because it automatically sets a much faster shutter speed to get the correct exposure, but doesn't account for the above. (If you look at each frame, there is virtually no blurring). If you can con it into using a slower shutter speed, the footage looks better.

      Similarly, the reason why computer games apparently look bad at frame rates acceptable for film- 24 to 30 fps- is because they don't render motion blur. (Don't quote me on that though, I haven't personally been into games since the mid-90s).

      (*) See the following for more information:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotary_disc_shutter

      (**) Even so, you may still notice juddering on cinematic pans if you pay attention; you're probably just used to it. Cinema and film footage tends to use focus and depth-of-field to (e.g.) throw moving backgrounds out of focus on fast-moving pans. Traditional pre-digital video- AFAIK- generally has more depth of field and most cheap video productions can't afford to employ people to control focus, but they get away with it because video has a higher effective frame (or field) rate.

  15. AndrueC Silver badge

    "We humans, for example, have a CFFF of around 60Hz when young and healthy".

    Hmmm. After sharing a house with a budgerigar for nearly ten years I'm pretty sure he was somewhat smaller than me. He breathed faster than me when resting and being a bird suggests to me that his metabolism was bound to be faster. So how does that fit in with the study that found that the CFFF for a Budgerigar is 40 to 75Hz.?

    As for seeing the world in slow motion...hmm. I had several near misses when he chose to set off at the same time I did (he was flocking stupid sometimes :) ) so although his flying skills were good I don't think he was seeing me move in slow motion.

  16. king of foo

    that explains why my work xp boot time

    Feels like longer than my speccy took to load treasure island dizzy...

    No, wait, it DOES take longer!

  17. chiller

    So do small headed people have quicker reactions?

    "HEY PEA HEAD!!"

    **Smack**

    Didn't see that coming.

    1. breakfast

      It would be interesting to research that, actually.

      It certainly seems as though big horses react way slower than small ones to most rider cues, but they all react pretty fast if they perceive peril of some kind.

  18. Crisp Silver badge

    Small children are always in a hurry

    That's because when you're 5, everything is awesome! You'd be in a hurry too if the entire world was full of really cool stuff you'd never seen before.

  19. Solly

    It's always seemed obvious that animals with smaller bodies would have faster reaction times as the lengths of nerves connecting their muscles to their grey matter would be significantly shorter. It kinda follows that their perception of time would scale accordingly.

    As for kids, well I think some of it is relative to experience, if you're a day old newborn, then another 24 hours would seem like a long time. Whereas if your 40 years old - a day is ever shrinking sliver of your collective experience hence the old adage "The years just flash by when you get to my age"

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      As for kids, well I think some of it is relative to experience

      My theory is that we sense time passing according to the extent of changes within our brain. The higher the rate of new links forming the faster we think time is passing. That would explain why time appears to slow if you are sitting with nothing to do and why it appears to accelerate when you are busy.

      As regards age relate changes to the perception of time I think that children, being new to the world, experience more rapid and extensive mental changes. As an adult the number of truly new and unique experiences you have per day is a lot lower.

      Whatever the cause it is definitely true that time overall seems to pass quicker as you age. As another commentard wrote: Summer holidays used to last ages as did lunch times when I was a child. To me, now, at age 46 I barely notice days passing and even a week doesn't seem to register. A year is no big deal either.

  20. Parax

    Time Perception.

    It's obvious, time is relative to experience.

    When you are young time takes forever, because to a five year old a year is 20% of a lifetime.

    When you are old time flies by because to a 50 year old a year is 2% of a lifetime.

    Simply put, the 1%'s fly by the 10%'s take ages.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      There is something else nobody has mentioned yet : obligations.

      Children have none. Having nothing to do, they have all the time in the world (well, in the day) to think of something to do and act on it.

      Adults have things to do. Be it work, repairs, shopping or whatever, a vast majority of our day is spent dealing with stuff even if we'd rather be doing something else. All that occupation certainly counts for some of that "time flies by" feeling we have, because we can measure our day by the stuff we did (or failed to finish).

      That said, I do agree children always run to get places. Always.

      1. breakfast

        Also because we have fewer novel experiences- driving a new route or to a new destination always seems to take ages the first time we do it. I think this is why holidays have so much experiential value- being in a new place and doing new things lays down many more memories than being in the same place doing much the same thing most of the time.

        It seems plausible to me that people who seek out novelty most of their lives may well have experientially longer lives than those who have fitted largely into the same activities and the same rhythms.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Time Perception.

      Something has occurred to me: something related to the perception of time.

      Perhaps our perception of time can be affected by state of consciousness, too. I once recall a few mornings when I was groggy, having just gotten up, and happened to look at the wristwatch I had at the time. I could've sworn I was seeing the seconds tick by pretty quickly, but by the time I was fully awake, things seemed to be normal again. Now, I knew time hadn't sped up while I slept, so I wondered if grogginess caused us to perceive time differently as well. Have there been experiments into the perception of time in differing states of consciousness?

  21. kryptonaut

    Songbirds

    I've recorded songbirds and played them back at quarter-speed or slower - the amount of detail present in the song is incredible, far more than can be perceived (at least by me) listening at normal speed. I can't imagine the birds would bother with the detail if they couldn't hear it, so it seems clear to me that songbirds at least must experience the world at a different rate from humans.

    And this clip of fighting goldfinches from BBC Autumnwatch http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00v0v4l (skip to about 1:20) shows that they must have vastly faster reaction times than we do.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Animals with faster reaction times than us lumbering humans are rather common. Felines, from the lowly cat to the majestic lion, have reactions that are seven times faster than ours.

      You know about the laser trick for cats ? Shine a laser point on the ground and watch it go nuts trying to follow it (best results with young cats - older ones get bored quick). While you laugh, notice how the cat easily follows every jitter of the point with its head, even if it can't quite follow the movement of your hand as fast as you can wiggle it.

      Yeah, you might have guessed that I love cats.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Killing flies ...

    once heard from a colleague that flies take off backwards, so the best way to kill one is position yourself to clap your hands behind one ....

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Killing flies ...

      Experience tells me they do go forward but can react to the air from your hand. I've found better success with a cupped hand. The wind forces are different, so the fly can't detect it as easily, plus it can catch the fly in a trap if they think the cup is safe (it isn't; when you slam down, you make a shockwave in the air trapped by your hand; said shockwave can be surprisingly effective on the fly even if you don't directly smash it). I've had some success swatting houseflies bare-handed this way. Also, try tensioning your arm so that you slam down as quickly as possible when you release.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time flies like an arrow.

    Fruit flies like a banana.

    1. Rukario

      Looks like a fish, moves like a fish.

      Steers like a cow.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For killing flies.....

    nothing beats a cheapo "electric tennis racquet" from your local pound shop.

    The mesh means no "bow wave" of air for the fly to detect, and the high voltage across it ensures a satisfying *ZAP* to confirm the kill, usually followed by a barely-audible "dying Meschershmitt" sound as it goes down.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: For killing flies.....

      I've seen them. They're really popular in Southeast Asia. Clear your room of skeeters and get some exercise at the same time. They're actually available in America, too, though I disagree with the prices.

      1. kryptonaut

        Re: For killing flies.....

        They give you quite a zap if you stick your finger in them, and there's a singed smell in the air afterwards.

        I know... but you have to try these things.

    2. Jay 2
      Thumb Up

      Re: For killing flies.....

      I haven't seen them much over here (not that I've been looking), but when on holiday in South Africa a few years ago I became very proficient in smash-zapping flies. Also when they were at rest on a surface I learnt that if you v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y moved the racquet toward them and then as late as possible made the swipe then you'd usually get them as they attempted taking off.

      One thing to note is not everything in the air is a fly and some wasps down there don't die when swiped, they just get very angry (like HULK angry)...

  25. phil dude
    Happy

    some biology, physics and....

    To kill a fly, bring your hands from either side to a spot about 4-5 cm above the fly. Flies jump up when they take off, and into your mitts. This from some Horizon episode...

    Dara O'Briains Science Club S2E5 "Size Matters" deals with some of the physics of small things.

    P.

  26. heyrick Silver badge

    We move in slow motion for bugs?

    Anybody else reminded of the recent animated film "Epic"?

  27. cortland

    Similar to polticians then

    "Flies might not be deep thinkers, but they can make good decisions very quickly."

    Only . . . the politicians make BAD ones.

    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/leontrotsk154768.html

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