Tuesday, November 13, 2007

All things fair and fowl

It seems that many of the birds in Norfolk and Suffolk have been forced to stay indoors for the next day or so. I imagine, therefore, that they will currently be sitting at home, flicking absent-mindedly through the channels on Freeview, or randomly surfing the net in the hope of finding something that plucks their interest.

In an attempt to satisfy my avian visitors, may I point them in the direction of this interesting research, which attempts to explain, by means of computer simulation, why flocks of birds fly in V-formations, or even W-formations. It seems that these formations offer the optimum combination of collective aerodynamic efficiency and visibility.

Our fine-feathered friends are, of course, notoriously fond of the odd worm-snack, and will therefore be most interested in the lastest proposal for wormholes in physics. This particular proposal appears to be an extension of the idea that invisibility cloaks can be designed using materials with a non-uniform refractive index. The tubular materials proposed here are, it seems, deemed wormholes on the basis that "light entering the tube at one end would emerge at the other with no visible tunnel in-between." I shall resist the judgement that such research is progressing on a wing and a prayer.

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