Birds are too awesome !!!
Photo: (A tagged Bar-tailed Godwit, #4BBRW, in Australia in October—after flying 239 hours nonstop from Alaska and breaking a flight record. Since landing in New South Wales, 4BBRW’s tracker has intermittently gone offline, which is common as birds rest because their feathers can cover the solar charging panel. It is likely to continue on to New Zealand soon. Credits: Geoff White Photography)
Inspired from HN article posted recently, where the author writes about this bird that travelled from Alaska to Australia in 239 hours nonstop. I too want to write about the awesomeness of birds. These tiny creatures able to fly vast distances without much break and able to survive in the wild and fly nonstop, getting energy from nature and able to also manage the time to court a member of the opposite sex to make replicas of themselves, that can also do these wonderful things.
TL DR Birds that can fly , they are too awesome ! (sorry chickens and turkeys)
Not sure what's the human obsession on flight, when we have perfectly capable motor skills to navigate the planet on our feet (being bipedal) but its an old one. 67 million years of evolution or so and the state of the art in nature are these tiny little creatures that can self heal their damage, feed on the little tiny bugs found in the remotest corners of mountains and amongst the dirt, they survive on the energy of the sun which indirectly feeds the grains that grow on the soil on which these birds nourish themselves. Well some birds are ultra marathoners, that can fly non stop without nourishment, without any rest, just glide when tired, flap when not and fly fly fly, a long long long time. Its insane they are able to even do this. While humans recently evolved in the last 100k years have devised technology that can spend fuel that they carry in large metal cylinders can use flight to travel vast distances, but the tiny robotic drones we have developed hardly manage an hour of flight time before needing new batteries. We are sure to bet to wait a few millennia to see the first energy efficient drones take flight that can rival the birds in nature.
Its scary to imagine the pace of human technological evolution compete with natures survival of the fittest evolution of the species, that has resulted and sculpted such beautiful amazing creatures that can do such feats. Its remarkable, the constraints of the resources and competition can lead to such cool adaptations that almost feels like intelligent design. A blind watchmaker can't have made such an intricate watch they naysayers will argue, saying only a god can design such a marvelous creature, but its a terrible argument to equate natures beauty to gods mind. Evolution takes eons, like millions of years to have any significant upgrades from species to species, but the adaptations that are chosen or the ones that survive are suitable to the changing ecosystem and evolved to survive the current conditions, after the dinosaurs were wiped off , only the flying variety survived. Yes all birds are the direct living descendants of the dinosaurs. Its beautiful and magnificent to believe we are also the products of evolution, evolved from our quadrupedal ape ancestors to leave the trees and the African Savanah to become a bipedal species that learnt to tame the fire. We learnt how to cure meat, cook our food and make it last longer, eventually how to grow our own food which ultimately let us to give up our nomadic lifestyle and take up agrarian lifestyle.
In Conclusion I want to say we will continue to make lighter faster cooler robots, but to get to the self powered robotic flight to match these birds, its going to take some serious engineering and some serious advances in our power consumption and storage mechanisms.