Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The dumber you are the better a fighter pilot you will be


Really?

Indeed! Partially.. Well let me explain: This morning i watched an episode of Mad Labs, a fun science program. Their theory is that if you take a bug like the grasshopper and compare it to a top gun, the response time of the grasshopper is much faster, this is needed for the grasshopper to fly in their huge formations (The largest grasshopper swarm (Locust) covered hundreds of square miles and contained billions of grasshoppers) 


Funny enough the reason for this amazing response time is lack of intelligence: Say, we take a fighter pilot, and put him in a plane. As he is in the sky, we make a giant ball appear right in front of him, his brain is instantly going to process a whole lot of data: naturally it's going to send signals to avoid the ball, but also the pilot is going to think: "what the hell was that?, is that a ball?, where did it come from?" and so on. He's also gonna try to remember the special breathing technique that he's learned, to prevent blacking out due the the high amount of G-force he's going to experience when the plane turns, all of these things are happening simultaneously in his brain, just like if you try launching your web browser, it's gonna start up pretty fast, but if you launch your web browser simultaneously with all your other programs its gonna take a while.

The Grasshopper on the other hand, doesn't think at all, all that happens in it's head if we make a giant ball appear in front of it is: avoid.
To test this scientists put the grasshopper in a special holder, in front it they put a small TV screen, that showed images of a 3D world, when the grasshopper started flying the computer would read it's movements, and the 3D world would react accordingly.