This computer simulation of a hummingbird in flight, surrounded by turbulent vortices of air. Haoxiang Luo, a professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt, built this incredibly detailed simulation based on videos of the real thing (captured by Ty Hedrick at UNC):
When most birds fly, they produce lift as their wings flap downwards, but when their wings flap back up, they do the opposite - they produce a little negative lift. But hummingbirds tilt their wings so they produce positive lift on both upstroke and downstroke.
Luo’s research could be used to help perfect a hummingbird drone. One company in California has already given it a try. Here’s an early prototype, in slow mo, followed by a newer version with a camera attached:
The focus, or emphasis, of innovation moves up through five stages, propelled by shifts in the needs we seek to fulfill. In the beginning come Technologies of Survival (think fire), then Technologies of Social Organization (think cathedral), then Technologies of Prosperity (think steam engine), then technologies of leisure (think TV), and finally Technologies of the Self (think Facebook, or Prozac). (via Roughtype: The hierarchy of innovation)
Anthony Michael Simon doesn’t produce his own art, instead he lets spiders do the work for him.
About the work:
Chicago native Anthony Michael Simon first discovered the artistry of the silk-producing arachnids while trekking through a forest in Korea, where he is currently based, looking for a location for his next sculptural art installation. He came across a huge spiderweb and it somehow clicked in his mind that he could catch spiders and have them naturally spin their webs in his studio.
Looking at a bird [my father] says, “do you know what that bird is? It’s a brown throated thrush; but in Portuguese it’s a … in Italian a…,” he says “in Chinese it’s a…, in Japanese a…,” etcetera. “Now,” he says, “you know in all the languages what the name of that bird is and when you’ve finished with all that,” he says “you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird. You only know about humans in different places and what they call the bird. Now,” he says,“let’s look at the bird.” “
Richard P. Feynman on his father and how he taught Richard to look at the world and see the importance of knowing about things rather than simply knowing their name.
The Cartoon Laws of Physics
Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation.
Daffy Duck steps off a cliff, expecting further pastureland. He loiters in midair, soliloquizing flippantly, until he chances to look down. At this point, the familiar principle of 32 feet per second per second takes over.
Any body in motion will tend to remain in motion until solid matter intervenes suddenly.
Whether shot from a cannon or in hot pursuit on foot, cartoon characters are so absolute in their momentum that only a telephone pole or an outsize boulder retards their forward motion absolutely. Sir Isaac Newton called this sudden termination of motion the stooge’s surcease.
Any body passing through solid matter will leave a perforation conforming to its perimeter.
Also called the silhouette of passage, this phenomenon is the speciality of victims of directed-pressure explosions and of reckless cowards who are so eager to escape that they exit directly through the wall of a house, leaving a cookie-cutout-perfect hole. The threat of skunks or matrimony often catalyzes this reaction.
The time required for an object to fall twenty stories is greater than or equal to the time it takes for whoever knocked it off the ledge to spiral down twenty flights to attempt to capture it unbroken.
Such an object is inevitably priceless, the attempt to capture it inevitably unsuccessful.
All principles of gravity are negated by fear.
Psychic forces are sufficient in most bodies for a shock to propel them directly away from the earth’s surface. A spooky noise or an adversary’s signature sound will induce motion upward, usually to the cradle of a chandelier, a treetop, or the crest of a flagpole. The feet of a character who is running or the wheels of a speeding auto need never touch the ground, especially when in flight.
As speed increases, objects can be in several places at once.
This is particularly true of tooth-and-claw fights, in which a character’s head may be glimpsed emerging from the cloud of altercation at several places simultaneously. This effect is common as well among bodies that are spinning or being throttled.
A wacky character has the option of self-replication only at manic high speeds and may ricochet off walls to achieve the velocity required.
Certain bodies can pass through solid walls painted to resemble tunnel entrances; others cannot.
This trompe l’oeil inconsistency has baffled generations, but at least it is known that whoever paints an entrance on a wall’s surface to trick an opponent will be unable to pursue him into this theoretical space.
The painter is flattened against the wall when he attempts to follow into the painting. This is ultimately a problem of art, not of science.
Any violent rearrangement of feline matter is impermanent.
Cartoon cats possess even more deaths than the traditional nine lives might comfortably afford. They can be decimated, spliced, splayed, accordion-pleated, spindled, or disassembled, but they cannot be destroyed. After a few moments of blinking self pity, they reinflate, elongate, snap back, or solidify.
A cat will assume the shape of its container.
Everything falls faster than an anvil.
For every vengeance there is an equal and opposite revengeance.
This is the one law of animated cartoon motion that also applies to the physical world at large. For that reason, we need the relief of watching it happen to a duck instead.
Law Amendment A
A sharp object will always propel a character upward.
When poked (usually in the buttocks) with a sharp object (usually a pin), a character will defy gravity by shooting straight up, with great velocity.
Law Amendment B
The laws of object permanence are nullified for “cool” characters.
Characters who are intended to be “cool” can make previously nonexistent objects appear from behind their backs at will. For instance, the Road Runner can materialize signs to express himself without speaking.
Law Amendment C
Explosive weapons cannot cause fatal injuries.
They merely turn characters temporarily black and smokey.
Law Amendment D
Gravity is transmitted by slow-moving waves of large wavelengths.
Their operation can be wittnessed by observing the behavior of a canine suspended over a large vertical drop. Its feet will begin to fall first, causing its legs to stretch. As the wave reaches its torso, that part will begin to fall, causing the neck to strech. As the head begins to fall, tension is released and the canine will resume its regular proportions until such time as it strikes the ground.
Law Amendment E
Dynamite is spontaneously generated in “C-spaces” (spaces in which cartoon laws hold).
The process is analogous to steady-state theories of the universe which postulated that the tensions involved in maintaining a space would cause the creation of hydrogen from nothing. Dynamite quanta are quite large (stick sized) and unstable (lit). Such quanta are attracted to psychic forces generated by feelings of distress in “cool” characters (see Amendment B, which may be a special case of this law), who are able to use said quanta to their advantage. One may imagine C-spaces where all matter and energy result from primal masses of dynamite exploding. A big bang indeed.
It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere… Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.