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Thread: Emperor penguins - where biology meets physics

  1. #1 Emperor penguins - where biology meets physics 
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    I presume everyone's seen those docos where clumsy looking emperor penguins launch themselves out of the water metres up ice ledges. If you've seen any underwater shots of them doing this, you might have seen those trails of bubbles following them.

    Now we know how they do it. They deliberately create those air bubbles to reduce drag. Very impressive.

    The mesh-like network of feathers causes tiny bubbles to be formed, and these tiny bubbles coat the entire surface of the penguins, creating a turbulent boundary layer that lubricates the penguin against any drag it may otherwise experience.
    It’s pretty much the perfect ‘torpedo-like’ scenario – penguins are utilizing the principles of physics more efficiently than the most capable marine engineers of the human race!
    (My bold.)

    Biology, meet physics: Torpedo-like Emperor Penguins can show us a thing or two about air lubrication... | Dr. Carin Bondar


    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    On a simular note: I read something about the lapstrake/clinker built boats the vikings used. When they got up to speed, air would be pulled in under the boat along the edges of the overlapping planks, creating bubbles that lessened the drag, allowing the boat to reach higher speeds.

    Rodin once said, "Genious? What genious, I just copy nature".


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    we learnt flying from birds, swimming from fish. we always copy nature.
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    I thought this was going to be a thread on recent physics revelations discovered by Emperor penguins.
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  6. #5  
    Genius Duck Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Precious part II View Post
    we learnt flying from birds, swimming from fish. we always copy nature.
    Except that we don't fly the way birds do, nor do we swim the way fish do.
    So much for learning from nature.
    By the way, which parts of nature did we copy, for example, the gas turbine, the automatic rifle and nuclear bomb from?
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    ... By the way, which parts of nature did we copy, ... ?
    basic shelter and fire come to mind
    \%/
    and, more recently pharmaceuticals
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    ... By the way, which parts of nature did we copy, ... ?
    basic shelter and fire come to mind
    \%/
    and, more recently pharmaceuticals
    It would help if you'd read the rest of the sentence.
    AFAIK neither shelter nor pharmaceuticals are used in the gas turbine, the automatic rifle or nuclear weapons.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Precious part II View Post
    we learnt flying from birds, swimming from fish. we always copy nature.
    Except that we don't fly the way birds do, nor do we swim the way fish do.
    So much for learning from nature.
    By the way, which parts of nature did we copy, for example, the gas turbine, the automatic rifle and nuclear bomb from?
    The only examples I can think of that humans have ever really copied nature are... Flying machine drawing by Da Vinci, flippers for divers, and a few other odds and ends.
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  10. #9  
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    I appreciate that dywyddyr, but before gas turbines came fire-all the rest you mentioned derived from humble beginnings. First, we mastered fire for light and heat and hunting(and cooking?), or keeping that which hunted us away. About a million years ago, someone discovered that flint, cooked in a fire was more workable. Which was part of the beginnings of using fire beyond heat and light---fast forward to more uses of fire making medals, and plaster, and containing it and water and making steam and using that power for machinery---Your: the gas turbine, the automatic rifle or nuclear weapons are all derivitive of mastery of fire.
    As a species, we are ever more distanced from nature, and recently from farming. So too our technology, based on nature, but several steps removed.
    But we still learn from (read copy) nature: What works for a penguin works for a boat, etc...

    We ain't divorced from nature, though you might consider the urban dwellers as having a "trial seperation".
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    I appreciate that dywyddyr, etc
    We ain't divorced from nature, though you might consider the urban dwellers as having a "trial seperation".
    No.
    Far too glib, and too much pasting over the cracks.
    We have invented things that don't occur in nature.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    cracks?
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    cracks?
    Yes.
    The cracks in the argument (or more accurately, the gross generalisation) that "we always copy nature".
    It's simply not true.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  14. #13  
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    cool
    You realize that the "always" part wasn't mine?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    cool
    You realize that the "always" part wasn't mine?
    i own that statement.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    I appreciate that dywyddyr, etc
    We ain't divorced from nature, though you might consider the urban dwellers as having a "trial seperation".
    We have invented things that don't occur in nature.
    Which brings up an interesting point. (though more to do with psychology and anthropology--but, we are all human?)
    You've heard/seen the phrase: "If your only tool is a hammer, pretty soon all problems look like a nail"
    Because we are from and part of nature and have learned by copying nature, are we not then limiting our mindsets to function within the perceived bounds of nature? If so, then it would seem that the further we divorce the bulk of our population from direct contact with survival within nature, and then with farming; we should be able to create/invent exponentially more
    things that don't occur in nature
    ?

    your thoughts.................?
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Then please take it away and have it shot. As the duck has pointed out, it's not true.
    no , i cant take it back
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Precious part II View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Then please take it away and have it shot. As the duck has pointed out, it's not true.
    no , i cant take it back
    rephrased:
    I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us.
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