My name is Joe Lapp, but kids call me Spider Joe. I'm an arachno-naturalist and nature educator in Austin, Texas, where I specialize in teaching children about spiders. Tarantulas are already popular, so I teach about the everyday spiders we see, like jumping spiders, crab spiders, and orbweavers. This web site is my microblog, where I share my spidering in tweets and images and wax poetic about nature.
Spiders used to be the only animal I didn't like—I would squish them on sight. A series of incidences over several years gradually turned my phobia into fascination. A biologist friend made me hold a jumping spider, a naturalist friend told me cool facts about the spiders we saw as we searched for butterflies, and I had an accidental spider immersion in the woods and came out unscathed. When I finally saw a beautiful Giant Lichen Orbweaver hanging in her web, I was hooked.
It's been spiders ever since. Now I primarily study color pattern variation in crab spiders, hoping to learn how to ID them in the field. I also manage the spider collection for the University of Texas in Austin.
I'm also a software developer. I'm co-author of or co-contributor to several Internet standards. I invent technologies that reduce the friction between people and computers and hope to be releasing some new technologies soon. I also design collaborative technologies that enable people to serve as information processing nodes in semantic networks, initially addressing the needs of biological data.
I hope you'll hang around and enjoy the spiders!