Daily Archives: July 7, 2018

Flight by electrostatic repulsion

The Atlantic: Spiders Can Fly Hundreds of Miles Using Electricity. “Scientists are finally starting to understand the centuries-old mystery of “ballooning.””

“The upper reaches of the atmosphere have a positive charge, and the planet’s surface has a negative one. Even on sunny days with cloudless skies, the air carries a voltage of around 100 volts for every meter above the ground. In foggy or stormy conditions, that gradient might increase to tens of thousands of volts per meter.

Ballooning spiders operate within this planetary electric field. When their silk leaves their bodies, it typically picks up a negative charge. This repels the similar negative charges on the surfaces on which the spiders sit, creating enough force to lift them into the air.”

Link via MetaFilter.

Otto Frank desperately sought to get his family to safety, seeking asylum

Deutsche Welle: Anne Frank’s family tried to escape to US but couldn’t overcome restrictions: study. “Bureaucracy, war and suspicion prevented Anne Frank’s family being able to emigrate to the US from their home in Holland during World War II. Similarities with the US attitude towards current immigrants have been drawn.”

“New research from the Amsterdam-based Anne Frank House has shown Anne’s father Otto Frank made numerous attempts for the family to emigrate to the United States, starting in 1938.

“I am forced to look out for emigration and as far as I can see the USA is the only country we could go to,” Otto Frank wrote in 1941 to his American friend Nathan Strauss in New York.

The only American consulate in the Netherlands issuing visas had been in Rotterdam but it was destroyed during the German bombing of May 1940. All applications for asylum then had to be resubmitted, and the Frank family’s request was never processed.

As the US closed all German consulates, the Nazi regime reciprocated and ordered all American consulates to close in occupied and collaborationist territory. Frank’s efforts to get a passage to Cuba failed and after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, all transatlantic shipping was suspended.

It was then, in July 1942, that the Frank family went into hiding in the annex of his business premises on the Prinsengracht canal in Amsterdam where they stayed for two years before being discovered and deported, first to a transit camp and then to Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps.”