FTOTW ending Dec 2 (#9) – Bird Endurance, Whale Grammar & more

Sorry if FTOTW had you flummoxed. It stands for Fine Tastings of the Week and was suggested by a friend Kesava Mallela.

1. Did you  know which bird migrates the longest distance? It is the Arctic Tern which migrates approx. 12,000 miles from the Arctic to Antartic and back every year. In what is undoubtedly an amazing feat of endurance, the Arctic Tern does not land during that entire journey unless absolutely essential. Wow! [Note: I couldn’t find any authoritative source on the net to corroborate this particular fact].

2. What separates the great from the nearly-great? Marshall Goldsmith answers in an insightful post drawn from observing the brilliant lawyer David Bowies. <Via Jeremy Zawodny>

3. Antikythera mechanism from Greece is considered to be one of the world’s oldest known geared machines. The exact purpose and functioning of this machine has been a puzzle so far. Few days back, scientists have published their research findings in  the Nature magazine, which shows that it was an extremely accurate astronomical device. [Note: regardless of what some people say about the Wikipedia, it is amazing to note that this news item only a few days old is already featured in the Antikythera mechanism’s page].

4. Animal watching 1 – A recently published study shows that female chimps in the wild form coalitions to fight back against aggressive males. Goes to show unionizing is a primitive instinct!

5. Animal watching 2 – I had come across a report a while ago that mentioned that Humpback whales used complex grammatical rules in their songs. I found that intriguing, of course. Couple of days back scientists reported that Humpback whales have some types of brain cells seen only in humans and the great apes like the Spindle Neuron and the cerebral cortex. That could explain how Humpback whales “get” grammar.

6. Roger Federer, Marat Safin and some other Tennis stars are blogging on the ATP site.
<Via Ebenezer Grace>


  1. Anonymous said December 1, 2006, 5:43 pm:

    Sukumar – Its true about Arctic Tern, I saw the same fact in St. Paul science museum and its the only creature that sees more sun light than anyone in earth. It travels mostly over the see and sometimes over land, these can be seen in northern states of USA and Canada.

    I was also watching a special series on Animal planet about ‘Blue Planet’, its pretty interesting to see the animals deep under water

    – different in shape

    – hunting techniques

    – doesnt see any light than the ones emitted by themselves (bioluminescence)

    – there are areas in pacific where there are active volconos and animals live in a temp very hot

    You can read more in http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/programmes/tv/blueplanet/programme2.shtml


  2. Anonymous said December 1, 2006, 9:26 pm:

    Very interesting Bharathi. Thanks for sharing.