Sigma Xi Speaks: October 2016

by User Not Found | Oct 18, 2016

John NemethFrom the time our ancestors peered out from the cave until now, our fondest wish while watching birds has been achieving flight. Sadly, humans require significant evolutionary change before we achieve that without some mechanical help. Think of the hovering Red-tailed Hawk or Osprey…what they see. Watching drone video provides a freedom of view unlike any form of observation so far developed and implemented.

In my career as an environmental scientist, much of it toiling in the field, I see that the research applications for drones, formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are legion. This capability is not just about easing workload. From monitoring remote regions to watching miraculous nature, it offers an unprecedented ability to observe and remarkably enhance our ability to develop solutions or ease minds.

If you are using small UAVs for your research, make sure you know the new rules from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Also, just for fun, watch University of Pennsylvania’s drones perform the James Bond theme song.

Kids Science Reading Corner

Bats_A World of Science and MysteryAround Halloween, kids are enthusiastic about all sorts of creatures that go bump in the night—and some creatures that don’t, thanks to echolocation. Yes, bats! There are plenty of great books to help satisfy a young reader’s curiosity about these flying mammals. Kids in kindergarten through second grade may enjoy Gail Gibbons’s classic, Bats, which describes how they live, what they eat, and why they’re vital to the ecosystem. Its striking watercolors include diagrams with anatomical labels. Bats: Shadows in the Night, for readers age 9 and up, is filled with terrific photos of the night flyers and was written by renowned author and essayist Diane Ackerman. Finally, those in their teens and above have Bats: A World of Science and Mystery, by biologist M. Brock Fenton and American Museum of Natural History mammalogy curator Nancy B. Simmons. Its trove of photographs is matched by its wealth of information: how bats evolved, their diet and habits, the mechanics of their flight, and much more. Happy Halloween!


John Nemeth Signature

John C. Nemeth, PhD
Executive Director and CEO of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
Publisher of American Scientist

Sigma Xi Speaks  is a monthly series of information that we hope you share with others.

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