Computer-driven vessel completes 10,000-mile journey in 12 months
by Mullet Over by Dr. James White
Jul 28, 2013 | 667 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Earlier this year, an unusual computer-navigated sailing vessel (the Papa Mau) completed a 10,000-mile journey that began near San Francisco and ended just off the coast of Australia. The entire 12-month outing was accomplished with no humans aboard as the data-collecting Papa Mau was powered entirely by sea waves and sunlight.

Some species of the seabird Albatross have the largest wingspans (12 feet) of any animals extant. However, it was only recently that scientists confirmed the extraordinary odor detecting capabilities of the flying hunter. Albatrosses can detect the aroma of fish far beyond visual ranges and fly directly to teeming schools that provide life-sustaining sustenance for the Diomedeidaes.

In the 1920’s, a statistician (Lotka) and a mathematician (Volterra) analyzed territorial data pertaining to a wide range of zoological species. These included varied creatures such as honeybees, hyenas, lions and predatory insects. The combined efforts led to the Lotka-Volterra equations which have become an ecological staple in the studies of animal behavior. The “home bases” of the surveyed species were predictably located with accuracies ranging from 58% to 98% by applying animal activity density plots. Enter Professor Brantingham from UCLA. He and university colleagues joined forces with the Los Angeles Police Department to study the sites where felonies were committed by 13 different criminal gangs. Bingo! The Lotka-Volterra equations were successfully applied to locate several gang home bases.

In earlier days of boxing, a fighter (or his “corner men”) could indicate the forfeit of a contest by throwing a towel or a sponge into the center of the ring. On occasion, one still hears the phrases “throw in the towel” or “throw in the sponge” to indicate the abandonment of an enterprise.

Actress Sarah Bern-hardt (1844-1923) was at one time acclaimed to be the most famous woman in the world. She was frequently featured on stages in France, but it was after Miss Bernhardt starred in American movies that she became known worldwide. Sarah was one tough woman. When gangrene was detected to be developing in her right leg (1915), she had surgeons remove the entire limb. Less than one year later, Sarah was back acting in movies and performing live on stage – sometimes donning a wooden leg and sometimes not.

He likely had his lines memorized: Actor James O’Neill played the title role in The Count of Monte Cristo 5,352 times. Well, try to avoid being part of any Lotka-Volterra equations - and have a pleasant week.

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