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The ‘Kingfisher’ Principle

Added by Holger Bergner on June 11, 2013. · No Comments · Share this Post

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Image credit - Tirol28 via Photopin CC

By David Bolik:

When Japan’s Sanyo Shinkansen “bullet train” was first put in service, residents along the train line complained about the noise level. About half the line was made up of tunnel sections, and the train would produce a tunnel boom on exiting due to the sudden change in air resistance.

The engineers pondered the problem until one of them remembered having read about a bird with a unique design feature, the kingfisher. To catch its prey, the kingfisher dives from the air, which has low resistance, into high-resistance water—and it only creates the smallest splash upon entry. The engineer surmised that this was due to the shape of the kingfisher’s beak being perfectly suited to deal with such changes in resistance.

He and his colleagues conducted simulations by shooting various shapes into a pipe and measuring the pressure waves on exit. The data showed that the ideal shape for the nose of the bullet train was almost identical to a kingfisher’s beak—problem solved! The engineers probably would have had a much more difficult time finding the solution if they had relied solely on their training and experience as mechanical engineers. The solution was found only when one of them looked elsewhere.

One of the problems with problems is that we tend to rely too much on our own abilities and experience to solve them, when God often has a better idea. It takes faith to stop trying so hard on our own and turn to God for help, but that’s usually what it takes for Him to get through to us. Faith is to problems what the kingfisher’s beak is to water. When obstacles present themselves, the sudden added resistance to our plans or routine can give us quite a jolt, but faith helps us find solutions quicker and with less wear and tear on our nerves. Faith doesn’t eliminate all our problems, but it lessens their impact.

Photo, ‘bullet train’: Tirol28 via Photopin CC

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