Sunday, January 25, 2009

Of Bats and Angels

I was struck this AM by this note on the recent plane crash in the Hudson river. As you will recall, the airliner (is this archaic?) took off from LaGuardia airport and ran into a flock of birds (migrating geese, I had assumed). After a spectacular landing in the river and rescue of all aboard, the NTSB (National Transportation and Safty Board) proceeded to spend large amounts of money recovering the engines from the bottom of the river.

Now they say:
"....they visually examined the left engine after it was finally pulled 65 feet from the river bottom but saw no evidence of organic material.

The safety board also said the left engine, which was recovered on Friday, had dents on its inlet lip and broken and missing guide vanes.

Earlier this week, the safety board said the right engine also revealed evidence of "soft body damage" and that "organic material" was found in that engine and on the wings and fuselage. A single feather also was found.

The board sent samples of the organic material to the Agriculture Department for a DNA analysis. (emphasis added)"
For crying out loud, do we need to spend taxpayers money on DNA analysis of dead birds? After all, they found a feather in the engine. Where is Sherlock Holmes when we need him.

What other "soft body" could have impacted the engines? Maybe a softball got loose from a presidential press conference. Scratching my brain I could only come up with one other alternative, an angel.

One has to be impressed with the extent of these wings. As many have commented, it takes one set of pecs to move them. On the other hand, given the current cosmology, I guess it could have been a devil.

Now I think we have Milton to thank for all of this angel and devil stuff. At least this example of the devil has a decent set of flappers. Not to be compared to the weenie ones seen on a more typical "devil."

I suspect that angels evolved from something like eagles and devils, of course, from bats. This is of course a corollary of a 6,000 year old creation since the fossil records say bats came along about 50 million years ago. Ergo, they predated angels and devils. Now this is unfair to bats who comprise 1/5 of the worlds vertebrate species (and someday we should talk about my favorite, the vampire bat). But bats are off the hook in taking down a jet engine; they don't have feathers.

To be continued.......


Julie Heyward said...

I've had multiple instances of mice getting into the heat-pump -- a single big fan. When I have looked, after the fact, all that I see is teeny-tiny bits of sushi.

I have heard that ladies such as the one shown with the extra large wings have hydro-electric power in those pecs. There's something going on in there.

Why is it that angels and devils get to have arms and wings? Shouldn't they have to turn in the arms when they get issued a pair of wings? You can't just go adding appendages, willy-nilly all over the body.

As you are an expert on bats, I have a question. I have a large population of little fruit bats that live in an out-building on my property. They make lovely heaps of dung. Here's my question: They hang on the walls, upside-down, often in bunches. Their pooper is pointed upward at the top. Does the dung pellet roll down over their body or do you think they tilt a little at the critical moment (onto the neighbor, presumably)? I know they don't jet propel the stuff, because it's directly below them. On the other hand, it must have some bit of propulsion to get it started off the launch pad. This question has been bothering me for a long time. Thanks.

Dr. C said...

Actually the arms, wings and legs are a fascinating subject in molecular biology. Has to do with the hox genes. When I finish reading "The Plausibility of Life; Resolving Darwin's Dilemma (Marc W. Kirschner, John C. Gerhart, John Norton: Book) I'll want to discuss it with you and Felix since such a discussion includes his picture "Today 090110,"

As for bat poop (why is someone who is crazy said to be "bat s..t?")I do have something to say. Bats are very much like humans. That is, they are monogamus, quite social (!) mammals who carry their young for 9 months and only have a few babies. These babies do have trouble pooping at night and they must wear pull-ups, excuse me, pull downs. However, as all good little human critters, once they grow up, they no longer need pull downs even they their up is down, if you get the jist.

Julie Heyward said...


Of course. Pull-ups. I surely should have known that since I've had to explain them to Felix (see comment #4).

I will look forward to your future post on hox genes. I find the connection between genetic instruction and embryology (especially as evidenced when it's disrupted or goes wrong) to be fascinating (in the abstract: recognizing that it is tragic to the individual. I'm thinking of insects not people).