Our Times: August 2007


bat wings

Researchers have pinpointed the forces generated by the flapping of bat wings, including an odd upside-down wing stroke that seems to help the furry fliers hover. The results not only highlight differences between bat and bird flight but may help designers of small flying robots.

warm asteroids

Asteroid surfaces that have absorbed warming sunlight can re-emit the heat when they move into the shade, thereby creating recoil and affecting an asteroid’s rotation.

dolphin chat

Castaway, a deaf dolphin at the Marine Mammal Conservancy in Key Largo, Florida, has become the proud recipient of a “chat line” that will broadcast the sounds of nearby dolphins and help the unborn calf in her uterus learn vital sonar and social skills.

wealth underfoot

Over most of the Earth’s land and under some shallow waters lies a thin layer of soil. This “skin” is a complex and variable mixture of minerals, air, water, decaying remains of life, and countless living organisms.

Sources: Nature, Scientific American, Smithsonian

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