Thursday, 30 August 2018

In the race of life, the tortoise beats the hare every time



Research shows that, when speed is averaged throughout a lifetime, the fastest animals and machines are actually the slowest
Date:  August 27, 2018
Source:  Duke University
Over the long-run, the race will indeed go to the slower, steadier animal.
"The fable of 'The Tortoise and the Hare' is a metaphor about life, not a story about a race," said Adrian Bejan, the J.A. Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke University. "We see in animal life two starkly different lifestyles -- one with nearly steady feeding and daily sleep and another with short bursts of intermittent feeding interspersed with day-long siestas. Both of these patterns are the rhythms of living that Aesop taught."
In the iconic parable, Aesop tells of a race between a fast but often-distracted hare and a slow but relentless tortoise. Readers are supposed to be surprised when the tortoise manages to defeat the hare, coining the phrase "slow and steady wins the race." But according to Bejan's new analysis, they shouldn't be.
Published on August 27 in the journal Scientific Reports, Bejan analyzes the reported speeds of animals based on land, air and water. The results show that some of the world's fastest animals are actually some of the slowest when their movements are averaged throughout their lifetimes.
Bejan then goes on to demonstrate that this counterintuitive result is also true of the modern aviation industry. With data from hundreds of historical airplane models in hand, Bejan shows that the general trend in their design is for size and speed to increase hand-in-hand.

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