Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Effect of Ethanol on Fruit Flies

This is not my normal lab work, but it's still interesting science anyway. We had been having a major fruit fly infestation in the lab. It was really annoying. Even if you weren't eating anything, these stupid insects were flying around your head all the time, swarms of them. We had tried all kinds of things, from swatting them to putting our garbage out every day. Nothing seemed to help. Finally, one of the lab people stumbled onto the answer. She poured 95% ethanol into a large beaker, and set it on the countertop. Holy cow, those flies were dive-bombing it! Of course, once they hit the ethanol, they'd fall in and drown. As an added bonus, these fruit flies were very nicely preserved, too. I don't know if fruit flies can get drunk, but they sure do seem to like ethanol a lot. And here's a little physics for you too: evidently fruit flies are denser than ethanol, because they sink to the bottom instead of floating on the surface like they do in water.

Other than that, nothing too exciting is going on in lab. I'm still working on my proposal draft. And I screwed up the experiment I did last week, so I'm going to have to redo it next week. I could get away with not redoing it, but eventually someone is going to have to redo it. Since I'm the one who screwed it up, I guess it's only fair that I be the one. Otherwise the grad student I work with will probably have to do it, and that would make me feel guilty.

No comments: