If you’re hungover as hell, you may have more in common with the average fruit fly than you think. According to a recent New York Times piece, the fruit flies species Drosophila melanogaster consumes yeast-produced alcohol and, well, gets drunk as a defense against parasites. “Drosophila melanogaster thrives on rotting fruit [because] it has evolved special enzymes that quickly detoxify alcohol,” demonstrated a recent Emory University study.
What the hell does this have to do with Wes?
Err, for one thing, Emory’s esteemed 18th president, one William M. Chace (not to be confused with this epic-stached gentleman), also served as Wesleyan’s own fourteenth president, where he reduced faculty size, taught a whole lot of James Joyce, and presided over the Mummy Incident of 1990.
For another, the Times’ coverage gives quite the shout-out to Wesleyan’s own Biology department, specifically Professor Michael Singer, known for his studies on caterpillars and, less prominently, deep appreciation for soul and funk music. Apparently Emory’s study on fruit flies bears significant comparison to Wesleyan studies self-medicating wooly bear caterpillars, which make significant use of toxic plant leaves:
In light of some apparent confusion in the Shoutbox, it’s worth noting that Usdan’s fall break hours are up. For those staying on campus, looks like it’s going to be sandwiches from Neon: the Marketplace is closed from Saturday until dinner Tuesday, and the Cafe closes at 6:00.
On a similar note, I don’t know what WesWings’ fall break hours are–if anyone knows, please comment–but its website now lists its lunch hours as 11:30-2:00, rather than 11:30-1:30.
Lastly, Usdan will again be closing at 9:00 tomorrow for fumigation, part II.
EDIT (Ben, 9:21): Forgot to mention that the Usdan fall break hours list every BA-operated dining establishment. Also, the fall break hours for the libraries and Freeman–which closes at 7:00 Friday–are up.
Looks like the university may not have made a $47 million mistake on Wyllys Avenue after all. Apparently last month’s “required maintenance” was fruit fly-mandated fumigation. From today’s Argus:
Fumigation efforts to control the fruit fly population in the Usdan University Center will continue this month. The measures, intended to ensure health and sanitation within Usdan, shut down Late Night dining on Tuesday, Sept. 30, and will take place again on Tuesday, Oct. 21.
“While we do have fruit flies, the rumors of an ‘infestation’ are incorrect,” [BA Resident District Manager Michael] Strumpf wrote in an e-mail to The Argus. “We are simply controlling, with the assistance of the Middletown Department of Health, what all food service providers must deal with when fresh produce is delivered to location from outside vendors.”
[Strumpf] added that both the Sept. 30 fumigation and the follow-up fumigation scheduled for Oct. 21 comprise the first two steps of a professional extermination plan.
But wait, there’s more!
In addition to the fruit flies, other maintenance issues have recently occurred in Usdan.
“Prior to air flow adjustment in Usdan’s basement kitchen, the Health Department determined that there was mildew…growing on tiles that were very damp due to humid conditions,” Strumpf wrote.
The conditions leading to this mildew have since been corrected. However, some staff workers have expressed concerns about the health hazards the presence of mildew poses.
It was cold, energy-inefficient, and had an inadequate kitchen, but I don’t seem to remember any fruit fly infestations in Mocon. Yay nostalgia!
Argus: “Usdan Halts“