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The Bee Can't Fly - 06th May 2007

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In my garden this weekend I saw a bumblebee buzzing around some flowers and even though I had seen this a thousand times before I was amazed at how big and un-aerodynamic the bee is.

This reminded me of the old story of the bee can't fly, but no one told the bee.

It's difficult to pin down exactly where the story came from as it could be from a dinner party with Ludvic Prendal an aerodynamics professor or it could be from a 1934 book by entomologist Antoine Magnan, who discussed a mathematical equation by Andre Sainte-Lague, an engineer. However the myth originated, the failure is that no allowance was made for the fact that the wings aren't static. They move in a figure of eight rotation and create little vortices that combine with a very fast wing beat (200 beats per second) to help the bumblebee achieve flight.

The myth that the bee couldn't fly first spread as a joke in German universities. But later it became a "fact" among the public and even today lots of notes on the internet still say that the bee can't fly, which frankly I think is incredible.

So I wondered.

Have I been told that things aren't possible and unlike the bee I've believed them.

Believed them, even when there was evidence all around, which suggests it is possible.

YES, was my resounding answer


So I'm going to start asking myself the following questions

Who said I can't or it can't be done,

How do they, or I, know that it can't be done!

Is it my FEAR, False Evidence Appearing Real, which wants me to think it can't be done.

Then maybe if I can answer these questions, I'll become more like the bee, proving to myself and others it really can be done over and over and over again.

Believe in yourself, till next week

Regards David G