Thursday, October 13, 2005

a "bugging" question

yesterday, on the jeepney as i was on my way home i observed an event which in this case (and for the umpteenth time) stimulated my curiosity.

really... i don't know how to explain this and i really want to know if someone knows how to.

i saw these fruitflies hovering near the trashcan in the jeepney. and curiously they remain hovering over the same spot in the jeepney even though the jeep accelerates, deccelerates, stops suddenly or whatever. you may not understand but try to recall some of your physics ^_^ isn't it that an object on the jeepney (let's take me as an example) will be subjected to newton's law of inertia which means that if the jeep suddenly stops i continue moving forward, hence, i might have to hold on to avoid me being thrown out of my seat. and this if i may remind you is because "i am ON to the jeep." another example would be on the elevator, you feel the inertia when it stops right!? now, my point here is: i move with the jeep because i am attached to it. ok.

now these fruitflies in the jeep and mosquitoes i saw in the train in the past are NOT ATTACHED to the vehicles but rather are flying, hovering, floating over them and not in any way attached to the jeep, how is it that they maintain their position when it is very obvious that they should be left behind as the moving vehicle moves forward. we can conduct a simple experiment: bounce a jackstone ball on table, now as the jackstone leaves the surface, push the table and what happens? the jackstone bounces back on a spot considerably far from its point of origin.

you can say that the fruitflies and the jackstone have rather different characteristics, one is living and the other is inanimate, but still both are subject to the laws of physics right!?


if they are, i'd be rather surprised because it gives them a rather high level of sophistication.

i've recieved insult from this question from my college physics professor, perhaps because he just doesn't know how to answer it, and still my questions remains unanswered... i will not rest until it is.

lz ^_^


the high priestess said...

one clever classmate asked the same question to my physics teacher when i was in high school. he explained that the bug moves with the same speed/acceleration as the automobile. the bug stayed on its place (unattached to any surface)even though the car is moving because it also move at the same pace. i've observed that this is true when i have seen a mosquito inside the fx one morning. the bug was floating inside as the car was moving but when the fx came to a sudden hault, the bug, since it wasn't able to anticipate the sudden change in speed came crashing to the front glass.

in that case, bugs are also able to aniticipate a change in speed (maybe they can sense the movement of air inside the car) only if the change is gradual as the way many automobiles were run by experienced drivers.


Lord Zagato said...

im surprised insects can process these kind of information hehehe it may not be the air because in the jeep they can still move like this, but im really intrigued because i've observed them at breakneck speed and sudden halts, the ones that i saw for that matter didn't crash like the one you saw, or maybe the one you saw was already old ^_^ considering what you said, i admire these bugs for their talent