Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Charming with chop-sticks....

Some people will try anything.....

Via Flickr:
Richard is taking on these Championships very seriously. Here he is trying a method using chop-sticks. (It didn't work.)


Alistair Coleman said...

Just checking: Are those regulation worm charming trainers he's wearing?

Guyana-Gyal said...

Tell him to try fingers...they were made before chopsticks.

Anonymous said...

If he were an early bird, he'd starve to death!

Get Todd to recommend some CDs or MP3s that would scare anything and everything out of the ground.

Richard said...

AC, they are such. Even when worn with non-regulation old chinos.

I fear I wasn't successful because I was staying on the fallow ground out of sight of my neighbour who is profoundly deaf but would have wanted me to describe to him what I was doing, no doubt using a mixture of made up sign language and interpretive dance.

Judy said...

They might be scared of being exploited as pole dancers.

Sharon J said...

If it's not raining, we'll be there. I just hope I can take the excitement.

Ricardipus said...

Obviously I missed the memo on this blog... good to "see" you again Zoe. :)

And I'm still confused by this worm business.

Cassie said...

Here's the biological basis, which may help Richard fine tune his technique. In short, impersonate a mole.


Worm Grunting Mystery Solved
Jessica Marshall, Discovery News

Did Someone Say 'Mole'? | Video: Discovery Animals
Oct. 20, 2008 -- It sounds a little like snake charming. You drive a wooden stake into the ground and draw a flat metal rod across the top, creating an bullfrog-like grunting sound. Within minutes, hundreds of earthworms come to the surface, where they meet their doom in the buckets of fishing bait collectors.
Now, researcher Ken Catania of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. has an explanation for the worms' hightailing it to the surface: Worm grunting mimics the vibrations made by burrowing moles, a voracious worm predator.
Catania, who studies moles, had read Charles Darwin's statement in a book he wrote on worms: "It has often been said that if the ground is beaten or otherwise made to tremble, worms believe that they are pursued by a mole and leave their burrows."
Others have observed certain turtles and birds tapping the ground to bring worms to the surface to eat.
"Then I heard about this 'worm grunting'," Catania said.

Worm grunting has been going on in Florida's Apalachicola National Forest for decades. In the 1960s and 70s, hundreds of people earned a living by grunting for worms to sell as fishing bait. Today, there are only a handful of professional grunters, but an annual worm grunting festival happens each year in Sopchoppy, Fla.
"Basically, the question was, 'Why do earthworms come up?' They should go the other direction." Catania said. "Lots of things would eat an earthworm, so why would they come to the surface?"
In addition to the idea that mole-mimicry sends the worms scooting upward, another idea was that grunting mimics the vibrations of rain. It's known that worms appear on sidewalks during a rainstorm, presumably to keep from drowning in the soil, so some suspected this triggered the same response.
But nobody had done the tests.
So Catania contacted Gary and Audrey Revell, two of the remaining professional grunters in Apalachicola. They worked with Catania on his experiments.
At one point, Catania was having iced tea with the Revells, who had a bucket full of worm-laden dirt. Catania had a mole he had caught. "I said, 'Should I put him in the bucket?'" He did. "Up bolted the worms. When the worms came up, they looked like they were doing the equivalent of a worm run, if there is such a thing."

(Follow the link to get the second page of the article).

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