Friday, July 21, 2017

Panama Canal

I was just now reading Weird Dave's evening post at Ace that includes a link to an interesting site of GIF files that explain ordinary but rather complex and mysterious things. The site is named "These 30 GIFs PERFECTLY Explain Life's Little Mysteries."

They're all very good, how a key and lock work together, how Eskimo pies are produced, chains, zippers, pasta, a slinky falling is interesting, how a dog laps water, but one item I noticed on the third page is a GIF file but not animated and does convey the idea but not so perfectly shown.

They did say "perfectly."

They show a few things in nature, sunrise to sunset, flower blooming, insects doing things and the like, but they don't show a hummingbird's drinking. The bird actually shoves two tongues into flowers and uses the edges of the inside of flower's structure, whatever that might be (shown with a glass tube) to grab a portion of a droplet of nectar. I saw video clip on Reddit tonight. The closeup portion shows the two tongues ragged at their tips like split end hair. I showed this before but that video isn't so clear, not quite as good photography as this. 

Ah, found it here linked on Reddit to Imgur. I think it's a good video.

It's a very strange tongue, a strange construction. And a strange way to sip. And the action is unbelievably fast. Fifteen sips per second. Wikipedia says they flap their wings 50 times a second. The videos show the wings too and in a few it looks to me like the sips go faster than the wings. There are a bunch of videos now. They all take a slightly different approach in showing it. So it's not just me fascinated by this bird. 

[hummingbird's tongue] I think the video on Imgur is best. 


Eric the Fruit Bat said...

It was just the other day that I found out that there's such a thing as artificial insemination for dogs. It's not that I disbelieved in the possibility or anything like that. It's just that the thought never occurred to me.

And I just found out several minutes ago that there are videos on YouTube that show you how to do it.

No GIFs, though. Not that I found, anyway.

rhhardin said...

The Panama canal works like a salmon ladder.

rhhardin said...

The siphon plan was rejected.

Rabel said...

The display on the Pythagorean Theorem is worthy of a Nobel prize.

Rabel said...

And since I spelled Pythagorean right on the first try, so am I.

Chip Ahoy said...

Yeah, Rabel, that is a good one. I saw another static one that did a similar thing by drawing a grid of squares along each side of a right triangle. But although geometry class and the GIFs and the static picture with grids make understanding why squaring those sides proves the theorem none of them explain to students why it's important and what can be done with it.

It wasn't until much later solving word puzzles in a Mensa challenge book that it became clear. Then later television shows and even later YouTube videos that showed figuring the height of a flag pole and how ancients figured the height of a pyramid and the size and shape of the earth using shadows.

I also like the PI measurement one. So simple but I never saw it before. It is a good way to visualize it. Even though I used a similar idea to draw a paper towel tube unrolled.

And we should see one of a cat lapping milk. I think their tongues are different. Textured with tiny barbs, I think, to lap liquid and clean themselves.

They don't have a camera shutter either. I'm still a bit mystified about that. I watched videos but they're too fast. I don't get the top flick bottom flick thing and the ways photographers can use that.

Also the jewelry chain thing is too fast and too unclear. I still don't get what the machine is doing

And the heavy chain one doesn't show the ends being spot welded. But it must be doing that underneath. And why doesn't it shove both sides at the same time. Why first one side then the other? Maybe the opposite side must be held in place solidly for a good shove.

The slinky one blew me away. The leading edge is suspended in space while the top end compresses before the front end can fall. Is that weird or what?