2016-02-18 (Thursday)

Today, I learned that:

Researchers at the Australian National University, with headquarters in the nation’s capital Canberra, are reporting about the results they have obtained from ten years of study of ground-nesting wasps, in order to find out how they manage to find their way home to the nest.

According to professor Jochen Zell, he and his rearch colleagues found that the wasps perform learning flights every days to ensure that they can always come home. He says about the wasps that “…their abilities make them smarter than anything humans know how to build.” This inspired the researchers to create equipment to mimic the wasps behaviour, and they now want to apply the acquired knowledge in the development of autonomous flying robots. More information can be found in reference # 1, below.

And speaking about flying animals, did you know that today, exactly 86 years ago, 1930-02-18, for the first time a cow performed a trip with an airplane? It happened in the state of Missouri, from Bismarck to Saint Louis. And the pioneering cow, named Elm Farm Ollie, was also the first one which was milked in-flight. The milk produced was sealed into paper cartons and dropped in parachutes to the public below. Maybe the Rausing brothers got their idea for Tetrapak from there? (This interesting piece of information was revealed today by the German software company SoftMaker Software GmbH, which offers a discount on the sale of their products as a tribute to Ollie.)

cowplane

A modern-day relative to Ollie? Illustration by SoftMaker Software GmbH

… That’s what I learned in school!

Refs.:

1: Researchers recreate wasp eye view

2: A tribute to flying Ollie

+: What did you learn in school today ?

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