In the fall of last year I was on my way to Tawas Point, one of the premiere birding sites along Lake Huron about an hour from my home on the Pine River. As often happens, the best action was on the way to where I was going. I spotted an immature Red tailed hawk kiting near the road side and pulled off to practice our high tech game of bird photography. The maneuvers this young hawk was performing were a wonder; diving, soaring, and hovering. For a daydreamer like myself, it was poetry in motion. I wondered: Will human ingenuity ever be able to fashion a machine capable of imitating the sky dance of a Hawk?
As busy as our skies are these days with human inventions, from the air in my living room (Josh bought one of those tiny remote control helicopters for Christmas) all the way to to the edge of our solar system where Voyager treks, we awkward humans remain tied to the relatively simplistic fixed wing set up used by the Wright brothers to achieve flight in 1903. Indeed, building a machine replicating the dexterity of a bird's wing remains a lofty goal for the ambitious avionics thinkers and tinkerers of today. As technological discoveries have snowballed, man now travels the heavens at thousands of miles per hour in jet driven craft. Still, raw speed aside, have we even scratched the surface of what a humble bird achieves?
Consider these factoids gleaned from my reading this week:
As beasts of the air we humans are poorly designed and it has been all our big brains can handle to invent machines to assist our rise into the wild blue yonder. We'd do better if we could let our machines work without our cumbersome fat bottomed bodies attached to them. The U.S. military flies unmanned drone aircraft over the Mid-East from a control center in the Rocky Mountains half way around the world. That expensive flight technology like this, is driven by the needs of the military to baffle and destroy it's enemies is a crying shame. It seems useless to hope for something better, like spending a few of those hard earned bucks on the decaying infrastructure of our dilapidated twentieth century cities. Excuse me for drifting away from my theme. My question: Has the miniaturisation of our artificial intelligence and mechanical systems risen to the point where, however awkwardly, we can mimic the dream like avionics of a three month old Red-tailed hawk? Could science create a life like mechanical bird? And if the day has arrived that such a miraculous robot does fly our skies, what are the practical implications of this dream realised? I put on my investigative reporter hat and got on the case!
After a quick look at this U-tube video your pride in the inventiveness of your fellow humans will be hard to contain. Micro Air Vehicle's (MAV's) are here, brought to you by, who else, the thoughtful folks at your local Military/ Industrial think tanks. Not since Homing pigeons ferried messages across the English channel in times of war has there been such a treacherous bird in the sky. Insects, too, are being mimicked in a high tech display of ingenuity to track and destroy dastardly evil doers where they live and breathe. Think of it, a thousand lethal mechanical insects falling from a computer guided gull like drone each capable of recharging themselves endlessly off our domestic power lines and making the world safe for... yeah, safe for who and what? Click on this text for an additional science based horror show!
The remnants of purity, and innocents of vision seems to be vanishing. Things are not what they are anymore. A is not A, just opposite of what Aristotle's Law of Idenity supposed.
The day has arrived when some of us on this planet can not trust the fanciful sight of a bird in flight to be a benign comfort. Apparently warrior birds are at this moment being field tested in combat. Click on this text for the brutal proof. As domestic law enforcement finds uses for these lethal "toys" will any of us ever look at the silhouette of our beloved birds with the same trust and benevolence as we do today?
The truth is out there!
This is the home of World Bird Wednesday. A place for bird photographers from around the world to gather and share their photographs and experiences as they pursue Natures most beautiful treasurers, the birds.
You don't have to be a Bird Watcher or expert photographer to join in, just enjoy sharing what you bring back from your explorations and adventures into nature!
World Bird Wednesday will be open for posting at 12 noon Tuesday EST North America through midnight on Wednesday.
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