Agriculture
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Middle school science adventures
Where Have All the Bees Gone?
Amphibians
Newts
Bullfrogs
Frogs and Toads
Animals
Elephant Mimics
A Whale's Amazing Tooth
Moss Echoes of Hunting
Behavior
A Recipe for Happiness
Fighting fat with fat
World’s largest lizard is venomous too
Birds
Storks
Finches
Waterfowl
Chemistry and Materials
Undercover Detectives
Silk’s superpowers
Boosting Fuel Cells
Computers
The Earth-bound asteroid scientists saw coming
Hubble trouble doubled
The Shape of the Internet
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Hall of Dinos
Did Dinosaurs Do Handstands?
A Dino King's Ancestor
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
Petrified Lightning
Greener Diet
Distant Quake Changes Geyser Eruptions
Environment
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
Easy Ways to Conserve Water
The Wolf and the Cow
Finding the Past
Preserving Ancient Warrior Paint
A Long Haul
A Volcano's Deadly Ash
Fish
Piranha
Trout
Tiger Sharks
Food and Nutrition
Yummy bugs
The Color of Health
Building a Food Pyramid
GSAT English Rules
Order of Adjectives
Whoever vs. Whomever
Pronouns
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
GSAT Scholarship
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Mastering The GSAT Exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Mathematics
Losing with Heads or Tails
Secrets of an Ancient Computer
Math is a real brain bender
Human Body
From Stem Cell to Any Cell
Opening a Channel for Tasting Salt
Hey batter, wake up!
Invertebrates
Mussels
Crustaceans
Horseshoe Crabs
Mammals
Pitbulls
Raccoons
Little Brown Bats
Parents
How children learn
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Physics
Powering Ball Lightning
Einstein's Skateboard
Thinner Air, Less Splatter
Plants
Making the most of a meal
A Change in Leaf Color
Farms sprout in cities
Reptiles
Asp
Pythons
Turtles
Space and Astronomy
Super Star Cluster in the Neighborhood
Planets on the Edge
Killers from Outer Space
Technology and Engineering
Searching for Alien Life
Sugar Power for Cell Phones
Machine Copy
The Parts of Speech
What is a Verb?
Problems with Prepositions
What is a Preposition?
Transportation
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Where rivers run uphill
Robots on a Rocky Road
Weather
A Dire Shortage of Water
A Change in Climate
In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
Add your Article

Gaining a Swift Lift

Watch a bird soar above the trees or swoop in for a graceful landing. It turns out that the same air movements that allow a mosquito to buzz around your ear or a ladybug to land on your shoulder may also help a bird fly. When insects flap their wings, the air above the wings swirls around. Scientists describe these little whirlpools as leading-edge vortices. The result is a pocket of moving air above the wing that has less pressure than the air below the wing. The low-pressure swirls create suction that pulls the bug upward, giving it lift. Now, scientists in the Netherlands have shown that bird wings can also create such swirls. Because it's hard to trace the air moving around a live bird, the scientists made a bird wing of their own. They modeled their wing on that of a common swift, which flies fast and can make tight turns or simply glide. Birds have two parts to their wings, an arm-wing and a hand-wing. In swifts, the arm-wing is short but the hand-wing is long and cuts into the air with a sharp edge of feathers. Because air and water flow in similar ways, the researchers put their wing in a water tank. They watched as particles in the water swept over, under, and around the wing. The scientists observed leading-edge vortices above the hand-wing—just like those seen trailing away from insect wings. Currently, most scientists believe that air flows straight above and below bird wings to lift up the birds, without whirlpools. The new findings should change how people picture bird flight, the Dutch researchers say. The whirlpools could be what allow swifts and other birds to gain altitude, to stop in mid-flight to catch an insect, or to slow down as they land. The scientists even suggest that the swift's hand-wing might have developed its special shape just so that it could create these swirls. However, just because something may be true for swifts doesn't mean that it's true for eagles or hummingbirds or pelicans. And the investigators looked only at gliding. They also need to look for swirls above models of flapping wings. Nonetheless, if bugs do it, birds may very well do it, too.—K. Ramsayer

Gaining a Swift Lift
Gaining a Swift Lift








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™