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11429.  Mon Nov 29, 2004 4:52 pm Reply with quote

Very good point, Beehive.

Excellent in fact.

I have emailed JM for his response...

11501.  Mon Nov 29, 2004 6:16 pm Reply with quote


Here's JM's answer:

Anyone who has approached a hive will know that bees buzz inside the hive; indeed, the queen 'pipes' while still inside her cell. The air pulses in
flying bees are synchronised with wing beats, so this probably explains the
amplification of sound in a flying bee. But what interests me (and might
pique the interest of young Beehive) is that bees do seem to use sound to

I refer you to the pioneering work of Eddie Woods, and a more recent piece
work on bee communication.

11515.  Tue Nov 30, 2004 6:08 am Reply with quote

forgive me if I've got this wrong, but doesnt the second article pretty much write off Eddie Banks' theories of how sound is produced?

The most interesting suggestion is that the bee makes its sounds by ejecting air through its spiracles: the breathing openings in the side of its body. On purely theoretical grounds it is quite plausible that the insect could produce the observed sounds by a whistling or a bagpipe effect. But recent experiments in our laboratory and also by other investigators generally negate this theory. For one thing, if helium is substituted for nitrogen in the air in which the bee produces its sounds, this does not change the frequency of the sound; if the spiracle theory is correct, it should, because the density of a gas affects the frequency of the sound produced by vibrating a column of the gas. For another thing, it has been found that the sounds of a piping queen do not always coincide with accordion-like movements of its abdomen, so that its abdominal spiracles cannot be producing the sound. Finally, James Simpson of the Rothamsted Experimental Station in England has shown by delicate spiracle-blocking experiments that the bee's thoracic spiracles play no part in sound production.

11522.  Tue Nov 30, 2004 7:07 am Reply with quote


Another one for the April Fools' Day Retractions Special.

11532.  Tue Nov 30, 2004 9:23 am Reply with quote

I've pondered over the question of why something especially good should be described as the 'bees knees', and the only conclusion I can come to is that it's a funny way of saying 'the business' - is that right or does somebody know differently?

11534.  Tue Nov 30, 2004 9:45 am Reply with quote

Sounds quite likely Jenny.

According to Cassell's Dictionary of slang, the phrase was created to Thomas Aloysius 'Tad' Dorgan (1877 -1929).

Despite losing the last three three fingers of his right hand in an accident at the age of 13, in 1902, he created his first ever weekly comic strip, 'Johnny Wise' for the San Francisco `Chronicle.

11535.  Tue Nov 30, 2004 9:47 am Reply with quote

According to The Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, the phrase "duck soup" first appeared in a newspaper cartoon drawn by T.A. Dorgan in 1902

11536.  Tue Nov 30, 2004 9:49 am Reply with quote

It's a weird phrase. Nobody has the slightest idea where it came from or what it refers to. The cartoon is no help, as it shows a man in a Police Court, juggling a bottle, pitcher, plate and salt shaker, with the caption "Duck Soup". Nobody has managed to make much sense of it. It's not even certain that TAD Dorgan actually meant by the phrase that it was something easy - it might just as well refer to something that looks easy, but is actually difficult.

Could the image be of a sitting duck, one that was on the water and easy for a hunter to shoot? Could it be that duck soup was especially easy to prepare? (I'm told that isn't so.) Might it even refer to a pond with ducks floating on it, which figuratively was already duck soup? All these have been tentatively put forward by various writers who were feverishly exercising their imaginations in the absence of solid fact."

11539.  Tue Nov 30, 2004 9:52 am Reply with quote

Hmm. Things are getting a mite spurious now, methinks.

Frankfurters were first sold in the united states in the 1860s, where people called them "dachshund sausages". One day in 1906 a newspaper cartoonist named Tad Dorgan went to a baseball game. When he saw the men with the dachshund sausages, he got an idea for a cartoon. The next day at the newspaper office he drew a bun with a dachshund inside--not a dachshund sausage, but a dachshund. he didn't know how to spell dachshund. Under the cartoon, he wrote "Get your hot dogs!" The cartoon was a sensation, and so was the new name.

11540.  Tue Nov 30, 2004 9:58 am Reply with quote

The last one is tosh for starters:

11541.  Tue Nov 30, 2004 10:03 am Reply with quote

On the other hand (referring to 'bee's knees):

The expression was coined in the 1920s by an American cartoonist named Tad Dorgan, who also graced the language with such corny superlatives as "the cat's pajamas" and less durable ones such as the "the flea's eyebrows" and - a real clunker - "the canary's tusks." Dorgan also came up with: "Yes, we have no bananas."

11542.  Tue Nov 30, 2004 10:05 am Reply with quote

God, I wish I hadn't started this...

The bee's knees is actually a development from something that was originally stated as "The be all and the end all of everything." this being rather long, was shortened to "the B's and E's" which eventually became "the bee's knees" (extract from the Guardian's Notes and Queries site, article by "Ogins"

11543.  Tue Nov 30, 2004 10:23 am Reply with quote

hmm, interesting, but i still think jenny was on the right track myself

11549.  Tue Nov 30, 2004 11:36 am Reply with quote

I like the B's and E's theory. Works for me!

11562.  Tue Nov 30, 2004 2:19 pm Reply with quote

What goes zzub, zzub?

A bee flying backwards


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