Sunday, October 24, 2004

A Wonder of the World

"Insect Flight
How do insects fly and hover? Initially it might seem that the aerodynamics involved would work against flight. For instance, how is it possible for a bumblebee to fly given that its wings are too small to support the lift required by its weight? Moreover, insects, unlike airplanes, continually flap their wings—and this is hard to square with theoretical calculations. Michael Dickinson points out that fruit flies, which know nothing of aerodynamics, nevertheless utilize vortex production, delayed stall, rotational circulation and wake capture as they effortlessly stay aloft while flapping their wings about 200 times a second."
(The Wonder of the World: A Journey from Modern Science to the Mind of God, by Roy Abraham Varghese :103-106)

So there is wonder, about gnats and things. The author is a Hindu guy. At least he's not a spiritual monist though! In fact, with his geek to guru dialogues he's doing what I've done for a long time. I wonder if he read some forums sometime. Anyhow, I will post a wonder of the world sometimes because he has collected a whole list.

Hmmm, how about a parable about this wonder too....

Once upon a time there were some Alien scientists. These secretive beings that lived underground sent down a probe to earth to see what was there. These Aliens were intelligent yet lived underground in rocks and things. So these adventuring scientists poked their heads out from their planet and sent out their probe.

So it flies down to earth and the first thing the probe recorded was just this little gnat flying by. They zoomed in on it. Then one communicated to the other, "That is technology unlike anything I've seen before! Look, it must be some secret nanotechnology of an advanced civilization far beyond our own. I wonder how it cools its motors that spin so fast and maintains its aerodynamic stability. What sensors must it use? What? If... How? Zoom closer...."

For suddenly the little gnat had just landed upon a piece of fruit. Then suddenly, "Swat...." Something had just killed it! Then something came down upon the probe and squashed it too. Perhaps it was a full moon. The Aliens turned to each other and communicated, "Well, looks like we'll need another probe. "

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