You’ve heard that science has discovered a new kind of flight?
Scientists knew something was wrong when they computer modeled dandelion seeds in flight and found they were flying four times farther than the normal rules of aeronautics could allow for. So the scientists looked closer, and in doing so they learned about a whole new kind of flying.
Think of it this way: You are the dandelion seed stem. You jump out of an airplane holding a giant loofah, or kitchen scrubber over your head. As you fall, the air flowing past you runs into more resistance as it moves more slowly through the giant maze of fibers above you. And because the filaments are so close together –and in just the right pattern– they create interference in the air flow that leads to the ring of an upside-down tornado forming *above* the scrubber. That reduces the weight of the air piled up above you –making that low pressure feel like suction, or buoyancy, to you– who is hanging there as the dandelion’s stem. Because your rate of descent slows, you get the sense of being drawn up rather than down, and just that tiny difference in air pressure permits you the dandelion seed to travel four times farther than science had previously thought possible.
Why is this meaningful? Imagine if drones or planes used one quarter of the power for flight they currently use simply because they incorporated this idea when they flew? That would be yet another massive human advance, once again brought to us through the courtesy of nature. This is how progress happens.
Now. You. Know.