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review 2019-03-19 01:33
Ch6 and Conclusion
Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life - Liz Kalaugher,Matin Durrani

If the cuckoo egg hatches first, the early-bird chick pushes its rival eggs out of the nest. Now it can catch the worm – it’s won the undivided attention of its new foster-parents. And if the cuckoo emerges after the host bird’s chicks, it shoves its step-brothers and sisters over the edge to their death.


I had no idea the cuckoo was so hardcore, dang. 


the strike rate of one species is more than 94 per cent.


I thought the experiment of seeing if the fish is born with the ability or has to practice was interesting but then saying they only did it once and then ran out of funding kind of gives it a flat ending. 


And if your diving buddy is pale, you’ll have noticed their face turn green and their lips blacken as you sink deeper.


Yeah, this is creeeeeepy!


This is one of the disturbing things about doing underwater research, Johnsen says: something can be the size of a 747 Jumbo Jet and only 3m (10ft) away, yet it’s impossible to see. ‘That’s true underwater all the time,’ he adds. ‘Even if the water seems quite clear, you’re never going to see more than about 100m [330ft].


Reading about the depths that some of these creatures live in the ocean (up to 3,300ft for octopus) is a great reminder for how vast ocean life is and how much we do not know about it. I feel like I need to watch the movie Abyss again, lol. 


I don't know, I thought this last chapter was the least interesting of all. Maybe light refracting is just not as interesting to me but I felt like there was some whiffing on details and depth. The first half was vastly better to me than this latter half. I thought there was some fascinating information in here but I found myself furthering my research from other sources because this didn't provide enough. However, like I mentioned, I am a visual learner so, I'm naturally more inclined to get more out of YouTube and other videos. Definitely wasn't to technical and would worked great as a baseline informational read. I still can't help feeling the last two to three chapters lost the energy of the first. 


Updates with comments and quotes:


Intro & Ch 1


Ch 2 & 3


Ch 4 & 5


Thanks to Flat Book Society for letting me hop into another buddy read!


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text 2019-03-18 15:09
Ch 4 & 5
Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life - Liz Kalaugher,Matin Durrani

In 2003 the British composer Sarah Angliss held an experimental concert at London’s Purcell Room, playing music laced with infrasound at a frequency of 17Hz. More than a fifth of the audience claimed to have felt anxious, scared or sorrowful, or to have sensed chills down the spine. 


I find stuff like this so interesting, you know the military is experimenting with infrasound. I can't really remember but a couple years ago, was that in Cuba? where people in the embassy thought something like infrasound was used against them? I always wonder about things out there that humans can't organically detect and science isn't there yet. I wouldn't have liked to have been a human guinea pig in the experimental concert.


Others emit sound at a frequency they can’t hear – at least, not until the noise bounces back.


Planes always play havoc on my ears, they become very plugged. It is difficult to talk without hearing myself, I'm uncertain about how much to regulate my volume. Bats that are emitting sounds they can't hear, to use, is wacky to me. How do they trust they are really doing it and correctly??


Many moths have developed ears that hear ultrasound to warn of hunting bats. Fighting back works: moths that have ears tend to be preyed on less by bats than their non-eared mothy cousins.


Moths that have ears! I did not know about this and consequently, it was all I could think about the night I read this. Also, "Biologists call this skewing of the odds the life/dinner principle." Do psychologist apply/incorporate this in a way for human actions? 


raising one foot puts more weight on the others, helping them pick up vibrations from the ground. And having three feet in place rather than four could make it easier for the elephant to work out where the sound is coming from using triangulation.


Elephants and electric eels battled for my favorite in these two chapters. I did not know about elephants and their raising one leg triangulation. I'm again awed by evolution and how it, well, evolves. Using their feet and ears is brilliant. 


It’s a time-critical business as female elephants’ eggs are ripe for fertilising for only four to five days every four to six years.


What??? I did not know elephants cycles were like this. This is probably something I'll go read more about because I'm wondering how this plays into their herd numbers.


California spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus) is top of the strange-sounds charts.


If you have time, you should definitely go to the Discovery of Sound in the Sea  and listen to this. They also had a better Mantis Shrimp. I spent an hour listening to everything. Their Fact and Myths section was fun/enlightening, too.


electric eels are up to 2.5m (8ft) long


8 Feet. No.


they rise to the surface every 10 minutes to breathe air before sinking back to the river bed. They have strange reproductive habits too: the female lays her eggs in a nest the male makes from saliva.


Electric eels are wild, y'all! I do think, though, that every ten years I read about electric eels and gasp about strange or different they are, forget, and then become shocked(lol!) again about their wildness. I went to YouTube to see if they had any videos of the male eel making their saliva nests and couldn't find anything, if anyone has a link that would be much appreciated. I didn't look too long as I can across a video of the eel flying out of the water to attack and I had to bounce because I was going to bed and that was enough nightmare fuel for the night. 


 It’s a fact marketers don’t highlight on the packaging – honey is basically bee vomit.


I've known this for a while but it is one of my favorite knowledge bombs to drop. The look on people's faces warms the cold cockles of my heart. Knowledge, pass it on!


Only one in 4,000 hatchlings makes it to adulthood.


So tough out there in the wild kingdom. Bees have my warrior banner on land but sea turtles have it on water. 


During that time, many of the growing turtles circle the Atlantic in a 15,000km (9,000 mile) once-in-a-lifetime round trip. ‘They swim and drift around the Sargasso Sea, cross over to the coast of Spain and Portugal, move south along the northern coast of Africa, and then loop back to North America,’ explains Lohman.


This was something that I vaguely "knew" but I'm not sure the hard facts, distance and time, ever penetrated until I read it with actual numbers and in black and white. 5-10 years to complete this journey, I feel like the sea turtle world is full of Katharine Norburys and/or David Foster Wallaces.


but it turns out wasps (or at least some of them) are masters of electricity and expert at quantum mechanics.


Because of course they are. This has done wonders for my already very afraid of wasps attitude. 



This section had more animals that fascinated me, elephants, electric eels, sea turtles, and, god help me, quantum wasps but I feel like I didn't learn as much. Possibly, I just happen to know more about what they talked about this time but I felt like less technical knowledge (more surface feeling) was included in these two chapters. 



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text 2019-03-16 05:37
Reading progress update: I've read 114 out of 304 pages.
Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life - Liz Kalaugher,Matin Durrani

This has been a slow read for me, through no fault of the book's, and in spite of my tortoise speed, I'm enjoying it.  It's not edge-of-your-seat stuff, exactly, and the humor... well, I've liked some of the jokes, but I couldn't help thinking at the beginning, 'the jokes feel like a British person trying to make American jokes'.  After a few more jokes falling flat, and the section that contained the dead giveaway reference to a cat as a "moggy", I flipped to the back flap for the author bios, and both are citizens of the realm.  Doesn't mean I'm right about the humor, but it does illustrate the disconnect I felt; few Americans can pull off the brilliant dryness of British humor, and at least in this case, for me, the authors struggle with pulling off the sassier style of humor we Yanks are known for.


I've just finished up reading about the Pond Skaters, and I am forever going to hear Pull! in my head now every time I see one whizzing across the surface of the water, with their tiny middle legs acting like oars.


I loved the section on the geckos.  While I understood on a basic level how they walked on ceilings before, the authors did a thoroughly complete job of explaining the phenomenon to me on the molecular scale.  All those tee tiny hairs...  And I love the irony of their inability to walk on dry teflon, but wet teflon is fine.  I also now desperately need to hear a tokay gecko bark.  None of this YouTube stuff; I want to hear a gecko bark in the wild.  


The Harlequin Shrimp is a badass.  If you haven't seen the YouTube video called True Facts, and you like your science irreverent (and often not suitable for children or work environments), I highly, highly recommend looking it up.  It's not only hilarious, but offers a great slow motion / freeze frame shot of the cavitation bubble that Harlequin shrimp produce when they punch things.


Totally irrelevant aside:  if I ever had a 'pet' Harlequin shrimp, I would name it Spot.  Because I can only imagine that the percentage of "Rocky", "Ali", "George Foreman", etc. shrimp would be in the 90th percentile.  Why zig when you can zag?  

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text 2019-03-14 17:07
Reading Update for Furry Logic | Chapter 3
Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life - Liz Kalaugher,Matin Durrani

Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life

by Matin Durrani & Liz Kalaugher

Chapter 3: Fluids: When Things Get Stickier

Chapter 3 of Furry Logic started off pretty strong, but I think I lost my way around the aerodynamics section of the fluids topic.  Not that it all wasn't very interesting, but I found myself more drawn to talk of the pond skaters walking on water, and the dwarf seahorses hunting copepods.  The latter half of the chapter found the debate on the bumblebee's impossible flying capabilities to be amusing, as well.

While still kind of tacky in some aspects, I think the humor is starting to grow on me, as I chuckled a few times on two or three different occasions, even as I rolled my eyes.  I particularly found the study of how quickly certain animals emptied their bladder quite fun, as it truly does "make people laugh, and then make them think."  I surely would have never thought that calculating how quickly animals urinate could be so thought-provoking.  Though as the book states, an animal in the wild needs to do the deed quickly as it's a rather vulnerable position, and the last thing it wants is to get jumped while relieving itself.

The transition in this chapter from liquid to gas, and from one animal to another, was a bit easier to follow than the transitions in the previous chapters, though it didn't escape my notice that it somehow still felt like two different topics.  Nonetheless, this was quite an enjoyable chapter and I really learned a lot of new things.

Finally, I leave you all with two things I found that tickled me in this chapter.

This quote, because it made me snort:

Flap your hand about underwater at the swimming pool and you'll feel the water push back.  Flap your hand in the air in the changing room and all you'll feel is disapproval.

And these photos, because, well Bumbledore...



... another old term for bees and noisy insects, the dumbledore, gave its name to the music-loving headmaster in a series of books about a schoolboy wizard...

Is that right...?


Obviously my take away from this book may be a little juvenile different from everyone else...



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/03/reading-update-for-furry-logic-chapter-3.html
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text 2019-03-12 16:53
Reading progress update: I've read 81 out of 304 pages.
Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life - Liz Kalaugher,Matin Durrani


Anyone else wishing they could plan a trip to Komodo Island to see the dragons?


Our zoo in Calgary had Komodo Dragons for a while, but it's just not the same as seeing them in the wild.


I also have been given to understand that in captivity, they don't produce such toxic bites as the wild lizards.  However, the risks of catching Salmonella from them is high.


I just checked the Canadian government website, and non-essential travel to Indonesia (which includes Komodo Island) is not advised.  No Komodos in my future, at least for now.

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