It is the weekend and I find myself scrambling to find something, other than the political circus, to write about……and then after a couple of coffees….BAM! Like a flash it comes on the wings of curiosity…..there are little questions in life that are seldom asked and even more seldom answered when asked by opinionated SOBs such as myself…….
I thought I would take this opportunity to ask and then answer those pesky little questions that are seldom asked………
1–Why do geese and ducks fly in a V formation?
OK, this is just cool: We all know birds fly in V-formations, but an in-depth study into the pattern using high-tech GPS sensors has found just how precise a science the flight model is. After tracking and monitoring a flock of northern bald ibises—rare birds raised in captivity that are taught to migrate—a research team found each bird stationed itself an average four feet behind the one in front of it, at an angle of about 45 degrees. Why? That’s the precise position needed to catch the rising air from the bird’s wings flapping up ahead. But researchers were “completely surprised” to find their timing is also incredibly precise, too: As USA Today explains, “a bird regulates its stroke so its own wingtips trace the same path in the sky as the bird in front,” and adjusts that stroke instantly, as needed. “What these birds are able to do is amazing,” lead researcher Steven Portugal tells the BBC. “They’re able to sense what’s going on from the bird in front, where this good air is coming from and how to position themselves perfectly in it.” And while USA Today notes the study doesn’t directly show that the birds save energy by doing these things, an aerospace engineer not tied to the study says it’s a fair assumption to make, and Portugal notes that the formation lets birds give “a bit of a free ride” to the bird behind it. And humans are taking note. Plenty of unmanned aerial vehicles are looking to copy the bird’s natural pattern to save fuel, he added.
2–If the earth was in eminent danger of destruction, where would we go?
Good news: A mathematical model has been created that could help save your life in the event that your city is hit by a nuclear bomb. Scientist Michael Dillon’s model, published Tuesday, is about reducing radiation risk from the bomb’s fallout, and calculates “optimal shelter exit time.” The longstanding advice has been to immediately seek shelter, ideally underground, if a bomb hits. But there is better and worse shelter—the latter being “lightweight” buildings (such as ones made of wood) or ones without basements; the AFP reports more than 20% of US homes fall into the worse category. Here is Dillon’s determination for people living within 20 miles of a low-yield nuclear blast, meaning one a bit smaller than Hiroshima:
- If it would take five minutes or less to reach better shelter (that concrete basement, or the center of a large building, like a big office, reports LiveScience), bypass the more immediate shelter and go there straight away.
- If better shelter is 15 minutes away, stay in the worse shelter for up to 30 minutes, then head out.
- As for the transit period, don’t waste time worrying about protecting your body from the radiation, he says, which can mostly be rinsed off once you get to your shelter.
The findings are actually intended for emergency planning officials, who can make use of the findings when designing “an optimal low-yield nuclear detonation response strategy,” writes Dillon, who works at California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
3–For years now, scientist have theorized that there is a substance in the universe, dark matter….but is it just a theory?
Scientists have seen a tendril of dark matter for the first time, and all it took was a “cosmic flashlight.” Using the Keck telescope in Hawaii, a scientific team spotted the dark matter in a gas cloud illuminated by the radiation of a distant quasar, the BBC reports. “The light from the quasar is like a flashlight beam,” said Sebastiano Cantalupo, lead author of the report. Lit by that beam, the glowing hydrogen of the gas cloud traced out the dark matter lying behind it. This all supports a theory that galaxies are wrapped up in filaments of gas that stretch across space like a web, National Geographic reports. About 85% of the web is said to be dark matter, Nature World News explains, and galaxies sit like spiders on intersections of the web. Gravity is what keeps us, and all matter, sitting on these filaments, and now one has actually been observed. It’s “giving us the first picture of extended gas between galaxies,” co-author J. Xavier Prochaska tells The Space Reporter. “It provides a terrific insight into the overall structure of our universe.”
4–Okay this one is for all the religious types…..for years people have been saying that they have found the ark of Noah…unfortunately the physical evidence is a bit….how shall I term it? Lacking. There is a possibility that there is something to celebrate for those that believe……
Seeking confirmation of the Noah’s Ark story? Look no further than Babylonian cuneiform tablets. One was discovered as far back as 1872 that pre-dated the Bible with its own version of the Ark story. Now a tablet has arrived at the British Museum that actually describes how to build the ark, according to Irving Finkel, who works at the museum’s Middle East department. The palm-sized tablet dates back to 1900-1700BC, is written in Semitic Babylonian, and has exactly 60 lines of text, writes Finkel in the Telegraph. It also explains that the ark built by Artra-hasis—the Noah-like figure who took instructions from the god Enki—was completely round. “Draw out the boat that you will make,” Artra-hasis is told, “on a circular plan.” That contradicts our usual Ark image but does makes sense, because ancient Mesopotamian round boats—called coracles—were hard to sink and hard to steer, and who needs steering during a world-wide flood? The boat was made of coiled, waterproofed rope with a base area of 38,750 square feet, about an acre in all, according to the tablet—which then reads, “and the wild animal[s of the st]ep[pe], two each, two by two.” While this supports the Ark story……..
Okay that is NOT physical evidence….more like a confirmation…..take it and believe!
And now you have some answers to those little questions that have bugged you for decades……enjoy!