Bringing a Fly Back From the "DEAD"

(Or, "How To Win a Bar Bet and Make People MAD!")

This one'll get anyone at a bar, especially late at nght, believing you are a magician or, at least, an angel or harbinger of doom! You can do this at home or in the classroom, also, but it just doesn't have the same effect... This has worked 3 or the 4 times I've attampted it. (During the fly-topsy performed at the bar, it was discovered that I partially severed its head while drowning the little guy. Oh, Well!)

Here's what you do:
  1. CATCH a living fly. I need someone to help me with this part - I'm just too slow...
  2. Drown him/her/it in a glass of water. This can be done easily by submerging him with a drinking straw and holding him under for about 10 minutes! For all intents and purposes, after 10 minutes under water, he be dead! (Ignore the little voice yelling, "Help Me! Help MEEEeeeeee...."
  3. Sprinkle a bar napkin with salt. Just enugh to coat it.
  4. Remove said dead fly from his watery tomb, place on salt-covered dry napkin, and wrap him up gently.
  5. Wait a few minutes, keeping an eye on the wrapped-up napkin.

Generally, after 5-10 minutes, you and the absolutely astonished crowd gathered around will see the napkin start to "bustle" or vibrate at least a little. Give it another minute or two, have someone in the crowd do a drum roll, unwrap the napkin and watch in amazement as the "dead" fly flies away!

How can this be? Are you a magician bringing inanimate dead tissue back to life? Are you a modern-day Dr. Frankenstein performing morbid experiments on bugs?

Nah! You just possess a little knowledge of bugs and diffusion. A fly breathes thru "tubes" in the sides its body. Also, a fly, like most bugs, can exist for very long periods of time with little oxygen. It's a volume vs. surface area thing. So, the fly goes into a homeostatic state where it's sorta dead, but not really dead. It is just conserving what little oxygen it had before "drowning". The salt removes the water from its breathing tubes by a process of diffusion, more accurately "leaching", similar to cell diffusion, but without the membrane. With the water gone from the tubes, he can start breathing again and slowly comes back to normal! Cool, huh?

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