It was a big deal when Google opened an office in Phoenix in 2006. I remember a lot of competition between the various cities in the Phoenix metro area to get Google to open an office and it eventually went into the Phoenix downtown area. I thought there was some attempt to get Google to open it in Albuquerque but I can’t find any links to that.
Today, Google announced that they can’t get their engineering act together so they are closing the office down altogether.
We opened our Phoenix office in 2006 and hoped that it would develop to support many of our internal engineering projects, the systems that make Google, well, Google. But we’ve found that despite everyone’s best efforts, the projects our engineers have been working on in Arizona have been, and remain, highly fragmented. So after a lot of soul searching we have decided to incorporate work on these projects into teams elsewhere at Google. We will therefore be closing our Arizona office on November 21, 2008.
A few weeks ago I walked through my friends porch and destroyed this large round spider web. Later that night the creator of the web came out and we found it was a beautiful large orange spider that we have never seen before.
I have since discovered that it’s a Araneus Gemmoides also called a Monkey-face, Cat-face or Jewel Spider. The Royal Albert Museum has the best description of them:
As previously mentioned, this spider has adapted to building its webs on or near houses. It is therefore most often found in urban centres, although farm houses will often have a population. These spiders thrive when the web is built near a light. When the light is turned on at night, it attracts a large number of insects that become potential food for the spider. In this situation the spider may have an abundance of food and may get all it needs in the early part of the night. As a result the web is often in tatters by morning. The spider will rest during the day in a retreat, often under the eaves, and only come out to repair or replace the web in the evening.
This is exactly where this spider sits, under a porch near the porch light. It comes out at night and sits in the middle of it’s web. Some might see this large creature and want to destroy it but we will be very careful not to disturb it.
I arrived in Phoenix on Friday night and just missed the huge dust storm that came through the city. It looks like something from a movie, the movie Stargate had a similar scene. We don’t get walls of dust like this in Albuquerque instead we get days of blowing dust.
Unfortunately I cannot find a way to embed their videos nor can I find a version on youtube so you will have to click through to their site to see the video.