07 March 2012
FROM SAWFISH TO LIGHTNING
The sawfish is a marine creature I hadn't thought of in a long time, until I came across the article (with embedded video) How the Sawfish Wields Its Saw ... Like a Swordsman. Yeah, there are certain animals, birds and fish whose physiology is such that you have to wonder "how do they eat?", or "what's that thing for?" At long last, one answer ~ though not for the faint of heart.
The short animated video Nature in Numbers is mind-numbingly elegant. I've never seen a clearer, more sublime explanation of the Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio ~ it is quite simply the most natural form through which any number of natural structures are organized. No need for a deity or a prime mover to answer the worried question "But it's so complex and beautiful, surely there had to be an intelligence behind it's design." Nope. Just spontaneous math.
For many years, I've been interested in architectural design, on scales ranging from grand to humble. I cull ideas (wraparound porch, roof overhang corresponding to latitude, rooftop observatory, circular windows, curvilinear design, hidden passageways, et al.) for my someday self-designed home. Here's an example of source ideas ~ A Low Impact Woodland Home. I like the long list of features that are friendly to the environment, and the simplicity of construction. Something like a yurt for a hobbit. The fewer right angles, the better.
Turning our thoughts spaceward, most of us are familiar with the 400-year-old mega-storm on Jupiter, known as the Great Red Spot. More than twice the size of planet Earth, the cyclone's 260 mph winds would make it impossible to appreciated the subtleties of suffocating in a mixture of hydrogen, helium, methane, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide. Not to be outdone, Saturn sports its own monumental weather ~ an Epic Lightning Storm Electrocuting Saturn for Eight Months. Saturnian storms can be 1800 miles across, and discharge 10,000 times the energy of Earthly storms. If only we could tap that, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. In the meantime, how wonderful it is to contemplate the grandeur of nature and the cosmos.