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December 10, 2011

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Q: How did the kingfisher bird help Japanese train engineers?

A: Japan operates some of the world’s fastest electric trains, which travel in excess of 200 miles per hour. The trains have an excellent safety record, but one problem has nagged engineers for years.

When a train passes through such a tunnel at high speed, it compresses the air in front of the engine. Upon leaving the tunnel, this air rushes outward, creating a loud thunderclap, or sonic boom. Nearby windows rattle, and people are awakened by the noise. Japan has strict laws on sound pollution, and design engineers sought a solution to the “tunnel boom” problem. They found the surprising answer in nature—the kingfisher.

What interested engineers? Wind tunnel experiments verify that the kingfisher’s bill is ideally shaped for a smooth, streamlined transition from air into water. This drastic change in pressure is similar to the change a bullet train experiences when emerging from a tunnel into the open air.

Continue reading to learn more about this fascinating bird and God’s amazing design.

News to Note Quick Look

Thinking on its feet: The octopus is a very intelligent invertebrate. Evolutionists assert intelligent apes are our near relations, but how do they explain octopus intelligence? Read more.

Atheist Christmas: If Jesus is the reason for the season, why do some atheists include church in their celebration of the “winter holiday”? Rice University sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund surveyed science faculty from “elite U.S. research universities,” and found half of the 2,198 surveyed considered themselves religious. Read more.


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