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OK, this is what I call silly science.
Jet designers may learn from gluing feathers to birds

Note that although the story calls the process "imping", imping in falconry usually means mending or replacing broken feathers, not adding new ones that were never there before...



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
22nd Jul, 2002 04:26 (UTC)
Eh? If these new feathers are so great, why don't housemartins have them already? Do they cost too much to grow, or something? Or attract too much attention of the unwanted kind?
22nd Jul, 2002 07:08 (UTC)
Quick, let me through, I'm an etymologist! :)

In OE, "ymp" meant a bud, shoot or sapling, and then, somewhat later, such material used as a graft, whether of a plant or of feathers to a bird's wing. It also had the metaphorical usage of "offspring" or "child", thus a little demon might be described as an "ymp" of the Devil, and thus our modern "imp". Even more metaphorically, also, to enlarge or eke out.

It comes originally, I think, from the Greek emphytos, meaning "implanted".
22nd Jul, 2002 09:05 (UTC)
I bet they were pleased
I bet the birds were pleased with their enhanced feathers. To some extent this experiment might inform aircraft designers (gee, look at what the bird does with this control surface) but mostly it sounds like a, errr..., pet project of someone.

The main limitation on the manouverability of aircraft is the pilot, who can only take sharp turns if the centre of rotation is above their head (so they experience a downward force). This causes the aircraft to bank before they turn, Elite-style. To do poweful sideways turns they would need a gimball-mounted seat in a spherical cockpit. You can tell I'm too bored to work.

Of course, the whole exercise is irrelevant because nobody shoots at NATO aircraft anyhow, so gluing feathers to birds is as good a way of spending government money as any.

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )