View Thread

Atheists Today » Easy Reading » The Lounge
Who is here? 1 guest(s)
 Print Thread
Odd thoughts in the fog
I was taking the Larkspur ferry to San Francisco today and just past San Quentin the fog closed in and sight was limited to maybe 100 meters. I realized that even though I have taken this ferry some 2000 times I was lost and would have been, without GPS or radar, in some danger. There were birds floating on the Bay in the fog and I thought how do these birds navigate in the fog. Turns out there are a lot of questions and theories on how birds navigate.

As a child I woke up in the morning to one of the most dense fogs I can ever (even now) remember. I walked over the hill past my elementary school to the local park and out into the middle. Visibility was maybe 5 meters. Getting back home became something of an adventure which was only aided by my walking in one direction and turning around (as close as I could determine) in the opposite direction and knowing the terrain intimately. Bird brains are maybe 1/100th the size of human brains and yet they are capable of things we are not. We have much to learn about non human creatures.

Fortunately for me the fog was gone just before the end of the Tiburon peninsula, even if the Golden Gate bridge was to a certain extent obscured in fog.
Edited by JohnH on 11/27/2012 14:05
That is one thing I don't miss about living in that area. That dense fog was always good for at least one bad freeway pileup a year. The most harrowing experience on my life was driving from Sacramento to the Bay Area in a dense fog.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
Seeker, I was chasing a woman in Davis, without success if anyone cares. We went to a movie in Sacramento and coming back over the Yolo causeway the fog was so thick 35 mph seemed a reasonable speed. So many cars had to swerve around passing me that I realized that I was in more danger at a reasonable speed than I was at an unreasonable one. I found a semi to follow figuring it would clear out the trash in front of me if necessary.

I have lived most of my life in an area prone to fog. The stupidity of people driving in the fog is something that troubles me.
Migratory birds can detect magnetic fields. I expect they still rely to a high degree on visual cues for flight in general, but that's not how they understand where they are while migrating. This isn't all very well understood mechanistically, but it has been verified that this is what they are, in fact, doing.

A very basic and not overly fulfilling overview:


It's fascinating to think that even some bacteria can sense this, but on the other hand it seems sometimes that bacteria are so versatile that if none of them demonstrate a given capacity it might not be useful. Smile

As far as I'm concerned, having and, more to the point, relying on such an ability is a problem, long term. Earth's magnetic fields are not unchanging. They may be stable for many years, but they will turn on you and when they do, you'll be fucked if you need them to find a good wintering location and your idea of where that is comes from a genetically programmed memory of how things used to be.
Jump to Forum:

Similar Threads

Thread Forum Replies Last Post
anyone have thoughts on Brazil? World Politics 10 07/01/2013 21:44
Odd thoughts when waking The Lounge 5 04/24/2012 19:58
Thoughts to Ponder Funny Zone 14 09/07/2008 13:47
Thoughts on Biden? Election 2008 (US) 11 08/30/2008 18:06