“Aerodynamics of the flying snake Chrysopelea paradisi: how a bluff body cross-sectional shape contributes to gliding performance.”

This research was partially supported by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) grant W911NF1010040 to J.J.S. and P.P.V.

I guess it turns out it wasn’t a secret.

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Holden, Daniel, John J. Socha, Nicholas D. Cardwell, and Pavlos P. Vlachos. “Aerodynamics of the flying snake Chrysopelea paradisi: how a bluff body cross-sectional shape contributes to gliding performance.” Journal of Experimental Biology. (217):382-394. (available February 1, 2014)

In honor of Charles Darwin’s birthday, here’s an adaptation of something I originally posted on facebook while recovering from bronchitis or it’s ilk.

On the evolution of trees:
One of the most interesting, yet least known, examples of co-evolution involves the relationship between trees & reptiles. The earth started out covered in nothing but shrublike vegetation. Over time, some of those shrubs grew taller & developed sturdier branches. They did this because snakes, their natural partners in evolution, needed taller & taller perches from which to drop down upon unsuspecting humans. The snakes thought dropping on humans was hilarious.

This was an activity that the trees also found hilarious, so the trees grew taller & differentiated into the vast diversity of species we enjoy today – the ones that aren’t filled with practical-joke loving snakes, that is.

Very few of us enjoy the trees full of sneaky snickering snakes.

Once taller trees established themselves, it was but a hop skip & jump, evolutionarily speaking, to the evolution of flying snakes, which led to the evolution of flying monkeys to combat the increasing scourge of flying snakes. These are all true facts. You can look them up, as long as you only look here on my blog or on my fb page.

The flying snakes actually exist in S and SE Asia. I would suggest not looking them up on the google. It’s sorta cool, but that’s just not right & once you see it you can’t unsee it, if you know what I mean.

It should be noted that snakes and grandfathers share a genetic mutation which leads them to believe that they are much funnier than they actually are. Snakes find it difficult to comprehend why we will laugh at our grandfather’s jokes but rarely find snake humor, well, humorous.

Far Side cartoons notwithstanding.

[As I’ve mentioned recently, I’m trying to move all of the content I wish to keep here onto my blog, so facebook friends will have to put up with a few reruns now and again. I apparently first blogged about flying snakes in 2002. I haven’t been the same since.]

now…some geekiness.

First up: flying snakes. “Flying snakes slither through the air: Fancy moves propel Singapore serpent’s acrobatics.” Ick. I find the idea of flying snakes too upsetting for words.

The sneaky bastards even have their own homepage, flyingsnake.org.

I bet there’s secret flying snake research happening at the Pentagon even as we speak.

Here’s where flying snakes live in the wild, in case you want to get them something nice for Christmas.

Next, a couple of really geeky sites that always amuse me:

Math in the movies is a guide to, well, math in the movies. It’s more fun than it sounds. I do have to say, however, that I tried to watch a bit of Bedazzled on HBO once and it hurt pretty badly. Consequently, I have my doubts about whether it contains mathematical in-jokes, as this letter to the editor suggests.

Insultingly stupid movie physics is also quite amusing. To those of us who don’t get out enough, anyway.