Feb. 29, 2008 — Nectar-sipping bats use the same aerodynamic trick that bugs use to hover in place, a study in the journal Science has found.
Swedish researchers set up honey water feeding stations in a massive wind tunnel and used fog, lasers and high speed cameras to track exactly how the bats flew.
They found that when the bats flapped their wings downward they created tiny air cyclones above the wings called a leading vortex which pulls the animal upward and allows them to hover in place without expending nearly as much energy as simply flapping their wings.
Without this trick they would not have the strength to hover in place in order to feed as the vortex provides as much as 40 percent of the lift force which keeps the bats in the air.
The bats used the thumbs and fingers embedded in the skin membrane of their flexible wings much like flaps on an airplane to alter the curve of the wing and create the lift force necessary to hover.
“To be able to generate these vortexes they need this exquisite control of their wing surface and it’s a really delicate thing to control the stability of this vortex,” said lead author Anders Hedenstrom of Lund University.
I hate when my offline life gets in the way of horror blogging. On the personal side, my oldest daughter is responding well to the IV antibiotics. The blood work showed no liver damage, which is a possible side effect of the treatment, and the doctor said her feeling better right away is a positive sign that the treatment might be working. It’s a 28 day treatment, a significant number for horror fans.
Meanwhile, Lucy, the guard dog extraordinaire, killed yet another groundhog. The groundhog was large and put up a heroic struggle, yet Lucy prevailed. She’s quite proud of herself.
A Pottsville, Pa., man convinced a 15-year-old girl he was part werewolf and part vampire before sexually assaulting her, police say. Kristian Allen Carl, 19, also believed he was supernatural, police say. “He convinced himself he was a hybrid – a combination werewolf and vampire,” Pottsville police Sgt. James Joos said. “He had convinced the girl he was, too.” To prove to police he was indeed a vampire/werewolf, Carl “showed me his canine teeth,” Joos said. “I let him know that all mammals, including humans, have canine teeth.” Joos said Carl also told police he had a “guardian dragon that protected him from evildoers.” Carl was charged with statutory sexual assault after admitting he had intercourse with the girl, who told police he was her boyfriend, on Nov. 14, according to an affidavit Joos filed with District Judge Charles Moran of Pottsville. Carl knew the girl’s age and was aware he could “get in trouble” for having sex with her, Joos wrote.