Sep 3, 2008

San Francisco

Traveling West has always been an endeavor, even in our modern, fast flying times. Unfortunately things are not as romantic as they were in the times of Jedediah Smith, and a commercial commute from Chicago to the beautiful city of San Francisco is more of a pain.
Flights (via Las Vegas) went well and I got to SFO just before midnight, got a very fast (flying) taxi ride to downtown and checked in the Opal.
Wednesday morning. After a quick coffee, I'll be off to the D-Store on South Van Ness. Meetings all day and once in a while, some of that delicious Italian espresso that they have.

Talking about odd news. Check this very important research report:

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Fri Aug 29, 12:50 PM ET - The brains of flies are wired to avoid the swatter, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

"These movements are made very rapidly, within about 200 milliseconds, but within that time the animal determines where the threat is coming from and activates an appropriate set of movements to position its legs and wings," Michael Dickinson of the California Institute of Technology said in a statement.

"This illustrates how rapidly the fly's brain can process sensory information into an appropriate motor response," said Dickinson, whose research appears in the journal Current Biology.

Dickinson's team studied this process in fruit flies using high-speed digital imaging equipment and a fancy fly swatter.

In response to a threat from the front, the fly moves its middle legs forward, leans back and raises its back legs for a backward takeoff. If the threat is from the side, the fly leans the other way before takeoff.

The findings offer new insight into the fly nervous system, and lends a few clues on how to outsmart a fly.

"It is best not to swat at the fly's starting position," Dickinson said. Instead, aim for the escape route.

Dickinson, a bioengineer, has devoted his life's work to the study of insect flight. He has built a tiny robotic fly called Robofly and a 3-D visual flight simulator called Fly-O-Vision.

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen, editing by Will Dunham and Xavier Briand)

Wow!! Now you know something more...