Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 and Goose Aerodynamics

Watched the first part of "United 93" last night with my wife. Then I carried my sleeping daughter to her bed (she'd crawled into ours) and prayed - hard - that if she ever faced murderous thugs shouting "Allahu Akbar" that she'd fight back with every fiber of her being, shouting, "Isa Akbar!"

Today is nearly a sacred day for me. Like July 4th, there's a lot of red, white, and blue out, and I'm glad to see it. But it's not a celebration. It's a solemn acknowledgement that freedom is never free, that there are those who wish to strip it from us, and that they will unless we resist with all we have.

But still, life goes on, and the view out my window prompts me to write this...

Ahh, fall. The trees across the parking lot outside my window are beginning to show their autumn colors. There's a nip in the air. And the young geese are practicing their formation flying skills.

You've probably seen that geese fly in V formations. This is so that each goose except the lead can surf on the vortex generated by the goose ahead, reducing the amount of energy needed to stay aloft. They maintain a precise relative position to take maximum aerodynamic advantage.

But did you ever notice that the V is almost always asymmetrical? One side is usually longer than the other. Turns out there's a precise mathematical reason for that, too.

There's more geese on that side.

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