I’ve got another chaos theory roundup for you because the future keeps futuring faster than I can blog about it. Not every new little robot gets its own post, but some deserve our attention anyway.
The Robotic Bat
I’m in the bat fan club. They hoover up insects, fly like fighter pilots despite being visually blind, and couldn’t be cuter.
But as will eventually happen with every form of living species, scientists have created the robot equivalent. Caltech has a new robotic bat that can mimic bat flight, and it’s pretty impressive.
This Wired article offers some fun details. The robot bat is only 3 ounces and is designed, like the real thing, to be ok with a bit of impact.
My biggest takeaway from the article, however, was about real mammal bats: they are the only mammals capable of powered flight. News to me. If I thought I liked them before, now I’m building a shrine.
Mouse House of Pain
There’s nothing futuristic about this mouse—it’s not a robot, it’s not coming to take your job, and you can’t interface your brain with it. It’s just pure natural biology. But I had to include it.
This mouse has evolved to turn venom—scorpion, centipede, whatever—into a painkiller. That’s quite a reversal. Definitely check out the video in the article; the slow-mo of mouse vs. scorpion is mesmerizing.
Are Scientists Wasting Time Studying Zombies?
I’ve wondered this often, and apparently so has Kate Baggaley over at Popular Science. From time to time, I will see an article pop up that details the results of some scientific study about zombies and their theorized effect on the world population.
You see that and can’t help but wonder “did you get a research grant to look at that?” or “Is this netting you a Ph.D.?”
Apparently studying zombies can be a useful way to game out infectious disease outbreaks, particularly superviruses with fast transmission rates. The flesh-chomping part might not be relevant, but for studying mass immunization efforts and predicting the reaction of a panicked population? Definitely.
The article has a bit of fun, too—it is about zombies, after all. It offers two important pieces of advice about how to survive a zombie apocalypse:
1) Run instead of fight.
2) go to the Rockies.
I’ll leave you with some good news: Some bat populations are showing new resistance to white-nose syndrome, a fungal infection that has been decimating North American bats for years. This is great! If I could hug a bat, I would, but they are fragile and hard to catch.