Sunday, November 14, 2010

This Is Actually Interesting

So some (I'm looking at you Tea Baggers & assorted moronic ReThuglican office holders, yes, I'm doubly looking at that Senator Imhoff who must be some sort of alien or else a genetic way-way throwback), this might seem a waste of time, but to me it's fascinating. Figuring out how things work is the most important thing that science does, & not every figuring out needs to produce money.
It has taken four highly qualified engineers and a bunch of integral equations to figure it out, but we now know how cats drink. The answer is: very elegantly, and not at all the way you might suppose.
What happens is that the cat darts its tongue, curving the upper side downward so that the tip lightly touches the surface of the water.

The tongue is then pulled upward at high speed, drawing a column of water behind it.

Just at the moment that gravity finally overcomes the rush of the water and starts to pull the column down — snap! The cat’s jaws have closed over the jet of water and swallowed it.

The cat laps four times a second — too fast for the human eye to see anything but a blur — and its tongue moves at a speed of one meter per second.

How cool is that?

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