At least today, means sitting on the couch while the boys watch SpongeBob Squarepants and Claudia takes a nap.
April's first week has been rain and shine, sun and... snow. Yah, it snowed a little this morning. We're in northern Bavaria. In Armenia, the cherry trees were blossoming a week ago; here, they haven't opened yet. I'm still trying to figure out how a country with a climate like this can be a wine producer.
Anyway. I started to write something about German history, Bavaria, Protestants vs. Catholics, blah blah blah. But there should be time for that, and I'm not really in the mood right now.
Meanwhile: you know what's really good? The Tarzan cartoon that came from the Disney movie. It's clever and the animation is surprisingly good. This is a pleasant comparison to most Disney movie spinoff cartoons. They tend to suck. Lilo and Stitch was an awesome movie; the Lilo and Stitch cartoon was a rather dull Pokemon ripoff. But the Tarzan cartoon is probably better than the movie, which had some cool action sequences but was otherwise pretty lame.
Obviously I got this from watching TV today with the boys. Couple of things. One, they've been watching much much less TV here than in Armenia. That's entirely because they're in school much longer: from 8:30 to 4. We can keep them amused from 4 to 6 or so, and then we're into the dinnertime-bath-book-story-bed chute. So it looks like TV will be mostly for the weekends.
Two, German kids' TV? Has about as many commercials as American, but they're organized into fewer and bigger pods. So, it's like six or eight minutes of commercials, then an entire complete 22-minute TV show, then another six or eight minutes. This is hugely preferable, since it lets you take the kids away and do something else. (On the minus side, we've discovered that a six year old will not only sit through eight straight minutes of commercials, he'll come and ask you for stuff afterwards.)
What else... okay, this is really a Random Friday sort of thing, but what the hell. Pterosaur wings: they weren't just flaps of leather.
The pterosaur wing [is] an incredibly complex organ which in many ways is actually quite superior to the equivalent structure in bats... and would have allowed them superb control over their wings during flight. The pterosaur wing is made up of at least 5 layers and probably more... Some of these might be duplicated (i.e. there could be two muscle layers) and so 5 is a conservative figure as there could be more, or other layers might interact and be less clear-cut than we think...
The muscle layer is not like what you might immediately imagine, it is not a thick block of traditional skeletal muscle, but a delicate network of muscle fibres that spread like an misshapen net across the whole wing. Their function might not immediately be obvious – but it should be. By contracting or relaxing the muscle fibres, the pterosaurs can change the shape of the wing! Yes, they can actively wing-warp, altering the camber and thus aerodynamic properties of the wing – high lift and low steering to high steering and low lift! Flatten out one wing, the lift will drop with a low camber and the pterosaur will roll to that side. Flatten them both and it will fall into a soft glide as the amount of lift is lowered. These guys were no slouches in the air and had tricks in their wings birds and bats could only dream of!
Okay, back to SpongeBob. Who is, if anything, even sillier in German. But Kim Possible is coming up next, and... there was a TinTin cartoon? Who knew?