The Quantum Biologist

It is one thing to take flight from the ground. A push-off, a grab of air with your wings, and you’re up. It is another thing entirely to take off from the water. You can get a good running start, but once your body’s airborne you immediately feel the awful gravity of what we land-dwellers call “the real world.” You feel how heavy the sky.

The flying fish takes such a running start at almost 40 mph. It shoots from the water like a bullet and sails like a brief kite. Some of them have pectoral fins shaped like dragonfly wings, some like butterfly wings, but all have curved front edges like those of birds and airplanes. Merely gliding, it can stay airborne for 45 seconds. When it comes down after its initial flight, which may have reached 200 yards in length, it can skate on the surface of the…

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