Agriculture
Where Have All the Bees Gone?
Growing Healthier Tomato Plants
New Gene Fights Potato Blight
Amphibians
Poison Dart Frogs
Tree Frogs
Salamanders
Animals
Chicken Talk
New Monkey Business
Awake at Night
Behavior
Math Naturals
Monkeys in the Mirror
Swedish Rhapsody
Birds
Swifts
Seagulls
Cassowaries
Chemistry and Materials
The memory of a material
Boosting Fuel Cells
Makeup Science
Computers
Earth from the inside out
Nonstop Robot
Play for Science
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Did Dinosaurs Do Handstands?
A Rainforest Trapped in Amber
Fossil Forests
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
Earth from the inside out
Ice Age Melting and Rising Seas
Drilling Deep for Fuel
Environment
Little Bits of Trouble
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
Shrimpy Invaders
Finding the Past
Meet your mysterious relative
Fakes in the museum
Stone Tablet May Solve Maya Mystery
Fish
Codfish
Bass
Tilapia
Food and Nutrition
The mercury in that tuna
Turning to Sweets, Fats to Calm the Brain
Food for Life
GSAT English Rules
Subject and Verb Agreement
Whoever vs. Whomever
Order of Adjectives
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
GSAT Exam Preparation
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Mastering The GSAT Exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Exam Preparation
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT Mathematics
Math is a real brain bender
Detecting True Art
Math of the World
Human Body
Electricity's Spark of Life
Attacking Asthma
Foul Play?
Invertebrates
Grasshoppers
Starfish
Walking Sticks
Mammals
Gray Whale
Tasmanian Devil
Quolls
Parents
How children learn
Children and Media
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Physics
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
Powering Ball Lightning
Invisibility Ring
Plants
Springing forward
A Change in Leaf Color
Tracking the Sun Improves Plant Pollen
Reptiles
Snakes
Anacondas
Caimans
Space and Astronomy
World of Three Suns
A Dead Star's Dusty Ring
Roving the Red Planet
Technology and Engineering
Roll-Up Computer Monitors to Go
Algae Motors
Musclebots Take Some Steps
The Parts of Speech
Pronouns
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Problems with Prepositions
Transportation
Robots on the Road, Again
Ready, unplug, drive
How to Fly Like a Bat
Weather
Science loses out when ice caps melt
In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
Arctic Melt
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™