Monday, August 08, 2005

Analogies Again!

One of the most exciting and sensible things for man to do is to learn from his environment; from nature; from the general laws of life. Analogizing, that is.

I heard this on FM radio – Gyanvani – a few days ago. Bats, as we know, emit ultrasonic waves which they use to assess the distance between themselves and obstacles in their way. The concept of echoes is what is used here - the ultrasonic waves hit the obstacle and return to the bats based on which the bats figure out the distance between them and the obstacle, thus avoiding hitting the latter. If it’s a moving obstacle, even the speed of the obstacle could be calculated. This is related to the Doppler Effect which is about the changing pitch of the sound as the object producing the sound moves away/toward us. (The frequency/wavelength of the waves changes with the distance.)

Coming to the area of application of the Doppler Effect – and of learning from the bats - traffic cops carry radar guns that emit waves that are used to track escaping speedsters! These radar guns are used to produce waves that hit the speeding vehicle and calculate both the speed and the distance of vehicle moving away from the cops!

Even without complete knowledge of all such potential analogies that can teach man, I can bet that man hasn’t perhaps learned from even 10% of such laws of nature!

What are the interesting analogies that you’ve come across? Bridge-building from beavers, carpentry from woodpeckers, leadership from geese, serenity from donkeys, power from horses…. ? :-). Tell your story!


srini said...

probably we should get them animals on board to tell the story of how man imitated them :)

srini said...

just found something on the lines of your post: check this post.