1. Menyambal says

    Those are amazing. Those streams of water are not just random drops falling off — they are squirting water in mid-air, which means they took it up with them. And the flow is a neat, tight stream, which means they have laminar nozzles, something humans just figured out. And their lifting surfaces are in what is called a canard arrangement, which is very efficient, and which no other critter is doing.

  2. Trebuchet says

    Mine! Mine! Mine!

    And their lifting surfaces are in what is called a canard arrangement, which is very efficient, and which no other critter is doing.

    I noticed that as well. However, if you watch one of those slo-mo videos of geese (for instance) in flight, they effectively use their heads as canards.

  3. Trebuchet says

    And yet another blockquote failure for me. Could we PLEASE have the ability to edit, even if just for a few minutes? Like Popehate, for instance?

  4. says

    they effectively use their heads as canards.

    That is so. Any bird bigger than a robin does so (more or less). I lately watched a large flock of white pelicans doing just that.

    The water jets are very cool.

  5. Menyambal says

    Um, no. I was writing of the front horizontal lifting surface, which is called a canard. See, it holds up the front, and that helps the main lifting surface in the back. (Most airplanes have a horizontal tail in the back that actually pushes down, to keep the main wing from nosing under.) It requires that the front horizontal surface be of some substantial crosswise size compared to the main flying surface, and even a pelican’s bill isn’t that large, horizontally.

    No bird has a wide-enough head to get any lift in the front. It would take some span that was at least a quarter of their wing span. Pelicans have big bills, yes, but it’s mostly depth, not width. And every bird has a horizontal tail out behind the main wing.

    Now, there were some pterodactyls with vertical fins on their heads, and there are birds like pelicans with deep beaks, who could use their heads as forward-mounted rudders. Or maybe they just have to be careful turning their heads when flying. But as you can see in the picture above, that gull can turn his head, so not all birds depend on rudder effect from their heads — they still have tails.

    I was speaking of lifting surfaces, and efficency, and the uniqueness of the squids. They are using a forward wing in a way that nothing else does, and to dismiss that is to sell ducks by halves.

  6. Matthew Sonza says

    Canards are not actually as great as they sound. They sound good on paper, but in practice the airflow disturbance they cause reduces the efficiency of the main wing so you gain nothing. The also cause stability problems and have undesirable stall characteristics

    Though given the size of the “canards” these have it looks to me they actually have 2 wings :D

  7. Sili says

    Dear PZed,

    I’m not going to send you ‘tentacle’ porn unbidden, but you might like this annotation (login required):

    Woah, seems like Freddy has scored the holy grail among monster costume fetishists – an animatronic giant octopus costume. Too bad Shaggy seems to have problems with controlling it effectively. Hardly surprising, given how complicated those things are…or were, before the were replaced by CGI…and how Shaggy seems occasionally challenged beyond his limits just with having to coordinate his own two legs. But don’t worry, I’m sure Freddy will make him train and train and train until he reaches perfection. No matter how long it takes. ._.

    Speaking of legs, I don’t really know why people keep referring to tentacle porn as tentacle porn. It usually doesn’t involve any tentacles at all. For the “tentacles” are usually patterned after the extremities of an octopus – but octopuses (or more pedantically, octopodes) don’t have tentacles. They have arms – eight, to be precise. Squid have tentacles, but only two, in addition to eight arms. The tentacles are longer and thinner than the arms, and have a spade-like end – quite unlike anything you’d see in tentacle porn. So actually it should be “arm porn” instead of “tentacle porn”. ._.

    That was my pedantic rant. Now comes my super-pedantic rant. While the extremities of octopuses are correctly referred to as arms in English, they are actually feet. That’s established not only by their location and function, but also by the fact that “octopus” means “eight feet” in Greek. Soooo, tentacle porn should actually be considered a subgenre of foot fetishism.

    Or food fetishism, if you serve the octopus feet, arms, or whatever you want to call them, in garlic sauce.