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Mosquitos Have Little Trouble Flying in the Rain

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the all-the-better-to-give-you-malaria dept.

Science 186

sciencehabit writes with an interesting article about the (surprisingly not well studied) effects of rain on flying insects. From the article: "When a raindrop hits a mosquito, it's the equivalent of one of us being slammed into by a bus. And yet the bug will survive and keep flying. That's the conclusion of a team of engineers and biologists, which used a combination of real-time video and sophisticated math to demonstrate that the light insect's rugged construction allows the mosquito to shrug off the onslaught of even the largest raindrop. The findings offer little aid in controlling the pest but could help engineers improve the design of tiny flying robots." Bats, unfortunately, aren't so lucky: "...these furry fliers need about twice as much energy to power through the rain compared with dry conditions."

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186 comments

lol (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216441)

We're sciencing as fast as we can!

Impact energy not the same for small objects (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216449)

A mouse could fall off a building and walk away. People, not so much. The smaller you are, the more resistant you are to long falls. It's why many dwarves become steelworkers.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (5, Interesting)

Drishmung (458368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216463)

You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft; and, on arriving at the bottom, it gets a slight shock and walks away, provided that the ground is fairly soft. A rat is killed, a man is broken, a horse splashes

On Being the Right Size J. B. S. Haldane in 1928

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (4, Informative)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216595)

Force = dP / dt P = mass * velocity A mouse weights around ~20g , a horse around ~450kg. If we assume that both of them have the same velocity when touching the floor, the horse will experience a force that is ~22000 times higher. Easily explains the splashing... ( I could go more and calculate an approximation of the value force itself, but I think this is enough )

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (1, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216639)

If we assume that both of them have the same velocity when touching the floor

AIUI, you assume wrong. The horse's terminal velocity is considerably higer (and considerably more terminal) than that of the mouse. It's one of the many consequences of the cube/square law: proportionally, the mouse has more surface area than the horse, giving it more air resistance, so it ends up with a softer landing.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (5, Insightful)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216653)

AIUI, you assume wrong.

I am aware of that, but I didn't want to complicate things, in case the reader was not a physicist. Sometimes simple assumptions can still give you a clear indication of what is going on.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (0, Troll)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216695)

I am aware of that, but I didn't want to complicate things, in case the reader was not a physicist.

I'm not a physicist; I don't even play one on TV. And yet, I spotted your error. I wouldn't have commented if you had, as an example, assumed a spherical horse (and mouse) of uniform density because that would just have emiminated some messy complications. Instead, you made an asumption that you knew was wrong and that led you directly to a wrong explanation.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (5, Insightful)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216777)

Give me a break, I wanted to write that comment that was as short, as quick, and as simple as possible. My conclusion isn't wrong ( in the literal sense ), I just made a "very" conservative estimation ( we do that in physics ). The whole point was to show, that the difference between a mouse and horse isn't small, but rather gigantic. I was not going into assumptions of density and its uniformity, or whether we can assume animals as spherical or not, or of buoyancy and drag factors. Now I agree with http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2894703&cid=40216663 [slashdot.org] , I should have mentioned that I was doing a very conservative estimation and the number is actually much higher.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40217067)

Give you a break? No. You're totally wrong.

Firstly, the critical equation is the kinetic energy of the object, because that is the energy which is dissipated to bring it to a stop. Kinetic energy is 1/2 m * v^2. Velocity squared.

So the terminal velocity is as significant if not more than the mass of the object at the point of impact.

If the mouse hit the ground at the same speed as the horse, it would probably die too.

Terminal velocity of a mouse is about 13m/s. A horse about 110m/s.

Kinetic energy of mouse at terminal velocity is ~150 joules. At the terminal velocity of a horse, it would have an energy of 12,100 joules, 85x more energy. A mouse traveling at 110m/s (400km/h) could kill a person!

A horse traveling at mouse-terminal-velocity would still be splattered, though.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (1)

Rainbowdash (2645097) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217213)

I don't get all this physics formulas it's waaay to early - but at 13m/s a horse would still say splat ye?

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40217279)

I wish this was reddit so I could upvote all of zero.kalvin's posts. He deserves a lot more credit in this thread than techno-vampire's minor-nitpick sniping, and I think that would play out in a democratic voting scheme, but here on slashdot the best we can hope for is that the ones with mod points are smart enough to read the entire thread and make sure zero.kalvin gets more karma than techno-vampire.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (5, Informative)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217527)

The simplified answer was actually the next two sentences in the essay:

'You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft; and, on arriving at the bottom, it gets a slight shock and walks away, provided that the ground is fairly soft. A rat is killed, a man is broken, a horse splashes. For the resistance presented to movement by the air is proportional to the surface of the moving object. Divide an animal’s length, breadth, and height each by ten; its weight is reduced to a thousandth, but its surface only to a hundredth. So the resistance to falling in the case of the small animal is relatively ten times greater than the driving force."

You are debating a single sentence of an essay that is an amazing read to say the least. I highly recommend reading it: http://irl.cs.ucla.edu/papers/right-size.html [ucla.edu]

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (5, Funny)

BagOCrap (980854) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217551)

The whole point was to show, that the difference between a mouse and horse isn't small, but rather gigantic.

Thank you, sir! This would never have occurred to me if you hadn't brought it up. Now I better understand why my parents would never give me a horse as a child; it wouldn't fit in the cage with the mice, and it would splash if I accidentally dropped it.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216833)

But you are the one that's wrong. They are roughly the same shape and density, so they should have roughly the same terminal velocity, and certainly not sufficiently different to make a difference for the example. and you asserted his wrongness of conclusion because of an oversimplification of a premise, but didn't give any other reasons that would lead to the conclusion that he's wrong.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (2, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216907)

I take it, then, that you don't understand the cube/square law. [wikipedia.org] If you did, you'd understand why a mouse offers more wind resistance and has a lower terminal velocity than a horse. It's not really about physics, it has to do with the way the ratio of volume to area changes as an object scales up.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (1)

rst123 (2440064) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216663)

AIUI, you assume wrong. The horse's terminal velocity is considerably higer (and considerably more terminal) than that of the mouse.

and thus you strengthen his point. The mouse wins with conservative estimates. The mouse wins by more when you take into account more detailed explanations.
Maybe he should have said "even if you assume..."

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (5, Funny)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216691)

AIUI, you assume wrong. The horse's terminal velocity is considerably higer (and considerably more terminal) than that of the mouse.

and thus you strengthen his point. The mouse wins with conservative estimates. The mouse wins by more when you take into account more detailed explanations.
Maybe he should have said "even if you assume..."

This is called the principle of conservation of mice.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (1)

Kyusaku Natsume (1098) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216945)

You owe me a new keyboard.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (4, Funny)

Ragzouken (943900) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216997)

But your mouse remains safe, as predicted.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (-1, Redundant)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216711)

Maybe he should have said "even if you assume..."

Yes, that would be better, although as I replied to him in a different comment, I'd rather that he'd gotten the explanation straight in the first place.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216863)

You seem like a jerk. Do I know you from high school?

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40217131)

You seem like a know-nothing charlatan. Do I know you from high school?

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40217503)

Seeming is believing

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216877)

the mouse has more surface area than the horse, giving it more air resistance, so it ends up with a softer landing.

It's also fluffy! And adorable! [youtu.be]

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (4, Funny)

Strider- (39683) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217045)

What about a spherical horse in a vacuum?

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216737)

If we assume that both of them have the same velocity when touching the floor, the horse will experience a force that is ~22000 times higher.

The total force, yes, but unless I'm thinking about the problem wrong, that force is spread out across a surface area that is somewhere on the order of 3 square inches versus about 12.5-15 square feet (by my very crude estimates), so operating under your assumptions, any given part of the horse's anatomy would experience a force that is only about 30-36 times the force that the mouse experiences, give or take, and maybe even less if you assume that the horse's body itself has greater ability to compress and absorb the impact than the mouse's (because of its thickness). It's still a significant difference, of course.

And as others have mentioned, the horse's higher mass-to-surface-area ratio causes a higher terminal velocity, which means that it might be quite a bit more than a 30x difference, but I'm not about to try to calculate that.... I have a feeling that it would be difficult to calculate the actual PSI of such an event without a horse, a mouse, some appropriate measurement hardware, and a very deep cave.... :-)

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (2)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216815)

If you know the Horse's density and assume he is spherical ( I don't know why this assumption makes me laugh ) you can estimate his terminal velocity, same for the mouse. Now I might be wrong on this one but I would think that roughly both have the same density. If you do a simple calculation this would give you about ~3.5 factor more in favor of the horse ( the horse's terminal velocity following these assumptions would be 3.5 times higher than the one for the mouse). Now the relative surface of two animals is around 800 (again assuming same density and both as spherical)? So if I assume I didn't mess up doing all of this on the go, the relative Force/Area would be around 96 times higher for the horse.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216861)

Ah, physicists and their vacuum mining shafts! ;D

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (2)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216993)

Ah, so *that's* where all that vacuum comes from - they mine it!

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (5, Informative)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216895)

No, your two main assumptions are badly wrong.

(1) The terminal velocities of larger objects is larger, and the effect is significant [wikipedia.org] . The mouse hits the ground at a much lower speed than the horse.
(2) The mouse and horse are not even remotely point particles so you should be considering pressure instead of force. You'd have to divide your 22000 number by the ratio of whatever bits land on the horse at once to the same for the mouse; this would be a fairly large number.

To illustrate very approximately why larger objects have larger terminal velocities, consider two falling spheres of equal density, one of small radius and one of large radius. An object reaches terminal velocity when the energy it gains from gravity is perfectly canceled by the energy it has to give up to move air molecules out of the way. Let's compute each.

Basic physics gives the first line of the following. Constant density and the definition of velocity gives the second, and the formula for the volume of a sphere gives the third.
(energy gained from gravity)
= (gravity constant) * (mass of object) * (distance it fell in a given time)
= (different constants) * (volume of sphere) * (velocity of sphere)
= (different constants) * (cube of radius) * (velocity of sphere)

The other half is more approximate. The first line is pretty much trivial from the setup. The second line is from the formula for the surface area of a sphere and from the basic physics fact that the energy of an object is proportional to the square of its velocity. The rest is algebra.
(energy lost to moving air out of the way)
= (constants) * (amount of air moved per unit time) * (energy imparted to each molecule of air)
= (constants) * [(surface area exposed) * (distance it fell in a given time)] * (velocity of sphere squared)
= (constants) * [(radius squared) * (velocity)] * (velocity squared)
= (constants) * (radius squared) * (velocity cubed)

At terminal velocity, these two are equal. Simple algebra gives the answer from here.
(constants) * (cube of radius) * (terminal velocity) = (constants) * (square of radius) * (cube of terminal velocity)
(constants) * (radius) = (square of terminal velocity)
(terminal velocity) = (constants) * sqrt(radius)

The large sphere has large radius, so large terminal velocity. Incidentally this is the formula from the Wikipedia page I linked, though my assumptions were very, very approximate and are probably different from the ones used to derive it.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216955)

That was entirely way too much.
How about we just fire the horse and mouse from air cannons like the Mythbusters and just say they're going the same speed.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (5, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217203)

Okay, there's only one way to settle this once and for all. BRB

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (5, Funny)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217413)

Force = dP / dt
P = mass * velocity
A mouse weights around ~20g , a horse around ~450kg. If we assume that both of them have the same velocity when touching the floor, the horse will experience a force that is ~22000 times higher. Easily explains the splashing... ( I could go more and calculate an approximation of the value force itself, but I think this is enough )

Yes. But the real question is: What would happen to a bag filled with 22,500 mice (weighing a total of 450kg)?
Would the mouse-bag make a splash like the horse? Or would each individual mouse walk away with a slight shock?

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (4, Interesting)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217451)

That's way more complicated. You are talking about an n-body ( n= 22500 ) dynamics, if I am not mistaken this can be best handled by fluid dynamics. But even that is based on a lot of assumptions, for example will the bag hold ? if yes then it will behave like the horse. If not, then it depends on how fast will it tear, and how will it tear! Try this, take a melon and throw it out of a 10 story building, then another melon in ten plastic bags, and another in 100 plastic bags, and throw them. The result will show you what I mean.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (4, Insightful)

Zorpheus (857617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217447)

Yeah but if you assume that they touch the floor at the same speed, the amount of energy to be absorbed per body weight is the same for mouse and horse. The force per body weight is even lower for the horse since it has longer legs and therefore more time to slow down. But also the ratio of the cross section of the legs to the body weight is worse, which makhttp://science.slashdot.org/story/12/06/05/0112252/mosquitos-have-little-trouble-flying-in-the-rain#es it worse for the horse again.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (1)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217545)

When asked about it, the horse replied, "No sir, I didn't like it."

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (5, Funny)

linatux (63153) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216599)

Dropping a bus on a horse, a human or mouse at the bottom of a thousand-yard mine shaft will still wreck the bus. Wouldn't be good for the creatures either (probably kill the mosquito too).

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (1)

taj (32429) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216713)

You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft; and, on arriving at the bottom, it gets a slight shock and walks away, provided that the ground is fairly soft. A rat is killed, a man is broken, a horse splashes

On Being the Right Size J. B. S. Haldane in 1928

Sextus Empiricus could have told us that 1750 years sooner if he had a mouse, a rat, a spare horse and a thousand-yard mine shaft.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (2)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216855)

I know a guy who as a child "saved" his guinea pig from an incoming dog by throwing it out the balcony.

It didn't survived.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40217001)

Very similar to the first thing that came to my mind, except I thought in terms of the physics and engineering of (successful) flight.

When you change the scale of something, the forces involved and material strength scale in vastly different proportions. This is why most birds don't fly using the same mechanisms as most insects(*) and airplanes can't fly using the same mechanisms as birds. It's also why large airplanes are a vastly more complicated engineering problem than small ones; you're need to work close to the structural strength limitations of the materials to keep the weight at a level to get it off the ground at all.

(*) While both methods involve "flappable" wings, the aerodynamics are vastly different. Smaller animals are incapable of gliding and have to flap constantly and rapidly, larger animals mostly glide and the occasionally flapping motions can be very slow.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (4, Interesting)

quarkscat (697644) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217139)

Aside: This is only tangentially relevant to TFA, but I hope it gets a pass from the moderators and not modded down as OffTopic:

Preface: Bats are kind of like mice with flappable wings. One would expect that they would have that knack of flying, pretty much instinctively. One would not expect them to thwart Darwin's Law, survival of the fittest, by doing 'stupid' things while flying, but ...

True Story: I was driving home from work one night and was only a block away from home in a residential neighborhood, when something fell out of the sky and loudly hit the hood of my car. I stopped, engine still running and headlights on, to get out and see what had happened. A bat, with it's wings wrapped around something or other, had fallen out of the sky. As I was contemplating retrieving the combo windshield squeegee / ice scraper from the trunk to brush this poor dead creature off my hood, it separated from what it fell from the sky with and flew away. Almost immediately, a second bat roused itself and flew from the hood in presumed pursuit of the first bat. The only thing that I could figure is that those 2 bats were copulating in mid-air, lost control, and plummeted down to earth and landed on my car's hood.

I'm not a biologist, nor have I ever played one on TV, but it would seem that the act of 2 small mammals copulating in mid-air would violate the base instinct of survival that falling out of the sky might negate. Unless ... unless they routinely know that such a fall is non-lethal, and other base instincts kick into play. Kids. You let them out to run around without supervision in the evening after a big supper (of bugs), and the next thing you know, they're getting into trouble. And yes, there was a full moon that night.

Question: (Directed to anyone who might actually know): Was I fortunate to see a common occurrence, something that very few people have an opportunity to see, or were those bats engaged in very risky behavior that they managed to survive?

Inquiring minds want to know, and Bing has so few good answers.

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217315)

Were there any overhead power lines nearby? I've seen pairs of birds fall onto the road then get up again a short time later (or a single bird... although normally they don't get up again) after they touch wings when on different wires.

The fact that your bats were wrapped around each other probably means it wasn't an electric shock though... and maybe they were too small to spread across a pair of power line?

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (1)

quarkscat (697644) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217437)

There were power lines at the edge of the road in the easement, but I don't believe that the power lines were a factor.

The coupled bats fell straight down onto the hood of my car. It may have been my imagination, but I could have sworn that I saw them just before they hit the car, seen as a dark blob, which then bounced slightly and remained motionless until they 'revived' as I previously narrated. My headlights were on, I was driving slowly (~20 mph), and there was a full moon & clear night sky.

Of course, bats use echo-location when flying during their normal nocturnal existence, which is quite good enough for them to feed copiously on insects, but AFAIK they still have eyesight & vision. No telling what they thought of the large bipedal just feet away from their landing spot, except perhaps "Danger".

Re:Impact energy not the same for small objects (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216547)

A mouse could fall off a building and walk away. People, not so much. The smaller you are, the more resistant you are to long falls. It's why many dwarves become steelworkers.

I always thought that was because of their +2 racial bonus to Craft (metalwork) checks.

Figures. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216453)

You have to work your ass off to keep the things you like alive/going (plants, cars, house, etc), yet pests like mosquitoes, bankers, and politicians you just can't get rid of no matter how hard you try.

Re:Figures. (0)

InspectorGadget1964 (2439148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216489)

Don't you forget the mother in law

Re:Figures. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40217143)

You forgot one of the most resilient pests... lawyers.

Re:Figures. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40217217)

Use scorpion spray. It is good enough to kill mosquitoes and spiders, but it is perfectly formulated to scare off lawyers.

Re:Figures. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40217517)

Mosquitoes and bankers, I cannot offer a solution. But for politicians, lemme introduce to you a French friend of old [wikipedia.org] .

This is new? (1)

JimCanuck (2474366) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216455)


I thought anyone who has ever been fishing already knew that?

Fishing in light to medium rain still ends up getting you rather bitten at dusk and dawn during mosquito season.

/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216457)

"When a raindrop hits a mosquito, it's the equivalent of one of us being slammed into by a bus."

You know that's not true. A bus is solid, a raindrop is liquid.

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (2)

JimCanuck (2474366) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216469)


Surface tension is a rather interesting study of fluids.

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (4, Interesting)

maugle (1369813) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216519)

But the bus analogy is still wrong, because the entire point of the article is that the mosquito is not smashed by the raindrop. Instead the mosquito simply merges into and falls with the drop, then escapes before the raindrop hits the ground.

So, it's more like phasing through the front of an oncoming bus, landing comfortably in one of the seats, then escaping out the rear before the bus plows into a concrete wall.

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (5, Funny)

rgbrenner (317308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216571)

*sigh* I don't understand these bus analogies. Can someone please give me a car analogy instead?

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (2)

DeBaas (470886) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216807)

Just substitute bus by Ford F150 or Hummer, that's all

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (4, Funny)

rvw (755107) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217133)

But the bus analogy is still wrong, because the entire point of the article is that the mosquito is not smashed by the raindrop. Instead the mosquito simply merges into and falls with the drop, then escapes before the raindrop hits the ground.

So, it's more like phasing through the front of an oncoming bus, landing comfortably in one of the seats, then escaping out the rear before the bus plows into a concrete wall.

*sigh* I don't understand these bus analogies. Can someone please give me a car analogy instead?

It's like a raindrop that hits a Yugo. The raindrop merges into the Yugo. The Yugo stops because the electricity fails. You get out, a little wet because of the leaking roof, but still OK.

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40217435)

Have you seen the matrix?

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (2)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217011)

Well, the mosquito would probably survive (the impact, not the drowning) when the drop it is in hits the ground, too. I often hit when I swat at flies (which are bigger and heavier than mosquitos), and they simply butt into the wall (with, relatively, quite some force), shake their head, curse at me and simply continue buzzing about.

These little things are built like tanks, I tell you.

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217243)

Depends on what they hit I guess. I'd have thought they'd be pretty screwed if they landed in a puddle, or pretty much anywhere which did not fling them free of the water at the point of impact.

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40217047)

Since you're nitpicking already.. Your analogy is also wrong, the drops bounce off. So, knowing the results of the research already, the correct analogy involving a bus would be:
"When a raindrop hits a mosquito, it's the equivalent of one of us being slammed into by a bus shaped gym ball."

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216479)

my bus is a cat

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (1)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216517)

Is your neighbor a Totoro?

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216483)

Yes, but a mosquito is solid and a human, in this scenario, is liquid.

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216487)

You know that's not true. A bus is solid, a raindrop is liquid.

ORLY? water dropped on a car [youtube.com]

(WARNING: mute before you click the link, unless you're into lame techno)

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40217173)

Yes, really. Liquid has mass, what a crazy result that a moving mass can impart energy to something it hits.

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40217257)

The "ORLY?" applies to the statement "You know that's not true", but you'd have to read the GGP post to know that "that" refers to: "When a raindrop hits a mosquito, it's the equivalent of one of us being slammed into by a bus."

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (2)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216499)

Physics doesn't scale by size either. Strength is related in different ways to length and to cross section, which is length (or breadth) squared. Mass is proportional to length (or breadth) cubed. That's not even remotely the same. Dropping a bug a meter is not like dropping an elephant a hundred meters.

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (1)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216591)

True, the analogy is wrong.
They should calculate how much water that would be , and what the effect would be on human beings.

One thing to take into account is the position of the body and area of impact : I have a feeling that if you put the amount of water on someone head while standing up, it would be harder to withstand than if you were crouched down , and the water is put on your back.

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (1)

Xhris (97992) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216745)

More than just this. A bus is approx 160x the mass of a person. A rain drop is approx 30x the mass of a mosquito. (source google!)

Obviously depends on the size of the bus and person.....

Re:/. editors: Too many games, not enough reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40217375)

A short bus hits a knight in full plate mail at 30 km/hr (roughly terminal velocity of the rain drop). The short bus has a very large rubber bumper and the knight is Andre the Giant. Both the bus and Andre are wearing rocketpacks and are hovering about 50 m above ground (directly above a WWE match of Hulk Hogan vs. The Undertaker). Andre is angry that the bus is blocking his path. The bus is ambivalent. Who wins the match?

Why don't they? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216461)

Well that leads to the obvious question then, why don't they? They seem to disappear quite quickly when it starts raining.

Re:Why don't they? (5, Funny)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216583)

Not where I live. When it rains, it only makes them more vicious. And the hotter/wetter it gets, the worse they are. It is unbelievable, they fly in packs of five, four lift the blanket by the edges, one sucks. Then they change.

Re:Why don't they? (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217027)

Because when it's raining, they're off to the puddles to make sweet, sweet love and deposit thousands upon thousands of eggs, I suspect.

Also, I may well be able to survive a good batting with a foam LART, but that doesn't mean I like it.

I for one... (1)

Drishmung (458368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216471)

From the article:

The findings offer little aid in controlling the pest but could help engineers improve the design of tiny flying robots.

I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.

Re:I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216881)

The findings offer little aid in controlling the pest but could help engineers improve the design of tiny flying robots.

*sigh*
Another in the (long, long long, LONG) list of of reasons why the world has totally gone to shit.

http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/06/05/0112252/mosquitos-have-little-trouble-flying-in-the-rain#

The Wooden Wonder (4, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216485)

Yes, Mosquitos could fly in the rain. However they would have trouble dropping their bombs accurately and obviously the recon version wouldn't get good photos.
The night fighter version would fare better with its radar, if there were any German bombers up there to intercept.

But of course sometimes they had to fly in bad weather, such as just before D-Day.

Re:The Wooden Wonder (1)

Bujang Lapok (1368641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216539)

Camels were quite good at flying in the rain too, and it was much better at dog fighting.

Re:The Wooden Wonder (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216553)

That can't be right. This is what the government [google.com] says about Camels!

Re:The Wooden Wonder (1)

N!k0N (883435) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217623)

ah, if I only had mod points...

Ants... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216493)

can carry a hundred times their body weight and I can carry thousands of ants.

Re:Ants... (2)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216609)

can carry a hundred times their body weight and I can carry thousands of ants.

I wouldn't recommend it. They have a mean bite.

Mosquito's secret weapon (2)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216537)

It's all the Scotchguard they spray themselves with.

Re:Mosquito's secret weapon (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216587)

Just after reading the headline i half expected that they were going to say the erratic way they fly provided a bonus against ever hitting a raindrop.

Oh well, sustaining the impact is cool, too.

I have already studied this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216565)

Last week there was a mosquito flying around in my bathroom. I grabbed a spray bottle, twisted it to the "jet" setting, and blasted the mosquito several times. The first 5 or 6 times the mosquito got hit, it kept flying around. Finally I got it to fall on the bathtub floor, and I wasn't convinced it was dead, so I smashed it.

Matter of chance (3, Insightful)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216803)

If mosquitos weren't able to deal with rain, there wouldn't be a lot of mosquito's. They need water to reproduce in so they live in predominantly wet areas. Evolution made the rain resistant mosquito's breed and the non resistant ones extinct. Horses don't often fall down steep cliffs, nor do humans, so there isn't a lot of reason for them to develop a resistance against that. Mice reach their terminal velocity rather quick, so if they survive a 2m drop, they are much more likely to survive a 200m drop, since the difference in velocity isn't that much.

Re:Matter of chance (1)

qu33ksilver (2567983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40216923)

If you bring evolution to this, a lot of this can be contradicted.

They need water to reproduce in so they live in predominantly wet areas. Evolution made the rain resistant mosquito's breed and the non resistant ones extinct.

First question- Why would they need water to reproduce in the first place? Why didn't evolution happen to occur in some other way. Even if by someway, we accept that they need water for reproduction, they don't need to be resistant to rain for this. Water and rain are entirely two different things. Even we need water to live, but that doesn't mean we are resistant to floods. Even the word "resistant" is ambiguous. So what I am trying to say is that the falling raindrop doesn't affect the flight of a mosquito, simple as that. Why ? because of their body structure. Now why their body structure is like that is a question that somebody else have to answer.

Re:Matter of chance (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217083)

Now why their body structure is like that is a question that somebody else have to answer.

Because if it weren't like that, the mosquito wouldn't be able to live where it does.

Re:Matter of chance (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40216995)

You're confusing me - I thought the velocity was not terminal for mice?

Re:Matter of chance (1)

jouassou (1854178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217117)

With terminal velocity, he is not referring to the velocity that would kill the mouse, but the largest velocity the mouse can acquire during free-fall. In other words, the term refers to the velocity where air drag and gravitational pull are equal in magnitude, leading to no net acceleration according to Newtons 2nd law.

Re:Matter of chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40217163)

woooosh.

that's the sound of a joke going over your head at terminal velocity.

Re:Matter of chance (4, Funny)

a_hanso (1891616) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217169)

Stiiiinging in the raiiiin, I'm Stiiiinnning in the raiiiin...

Re:Matter of chance (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217209)

Explain the Pegasus then.

Has someone notified ... (1)

XrayJunkie (2437814) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217005)

... Batman about this problem?

Tiny Flying Robots? (3, Insightful)

guttentag (313541) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217055)

The findings offer little aid in controlling the pest but could help engineers improve the design of tiny flying robots.

Great! Because I was just thinking to myself, "we really need more tiny flying robots. If I have to wait 20 years for the CIA to solve the raindrop problem and weaponize these things, I'll die of boredom before videos of them assassinating people with them show up on YouTube."

Too heavy on the sarcasm? Fortunately I don't say stuff like this out loud.

Re:Tiny Flying Robots? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217333)

The findings offer little aid in controlling the pest but could help engineers improve the design of tiny flying robots.

Great! Because I was just thinking to myself, "we really need more tiny flying robots. If I have to wait 20 years for the CIA to solve the raindrop problem and weaponize these things, I'll die of boredom before videos of them assassinating people with them show up on YouTube."

Too heavy on the sarcasm? Fortunately I don't say stuff like this out loud.

FWIW (not much), it would probably be easy to weaponise actual mosquito's than to try and reproduce them as robots. Make a few billion sterile females, load them up with some form or malaria or plague that can't possibly be transmitted by regular mosquito's, and drop them on the enemy. What could possibly go wrong?[1]

[1] For the humour impaired, that's a rhetorical question. I'm well aware of what could go wrong

Water Spritzer (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217181)

So I guess my water spritzer isn't a good bug fighting weapon after all. Back to the wash cloth I guess :(

Re:Water Spritzer (2)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217349)

Add a bit of soap to the water. That tends to work a lot better in my experience, the insects get wet instead of having the water slide off.

Effect of Rain on Mosquito Behaviour (4, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217365)

In Winnipeg, it isn't that mosquitoes can't fly in the rain, they just don't like it very much. Usually, your basic Winnipeg mosquitoes just jack a car and drive to their next victim. If the driver's lucky, the mosquitoes will let him go instead of keeping him for an en route snack. If there's a dog or cat in the car...don't ask. It won't be seen again.

speed of an ant (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40217377)

If a human could cover the same number of the lengths of his body as an ant per the same amount of time, he would run at the speed about 1500 km/h (about 1000 miles/h).

There are a lot of such phenomena in the wild life world. It is one more reason to protect biodiversity, so that these species do not disappear and could be studied by engineers in the future.
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