I took this photo a few days ago, and it reminded me of a story I’d heard years ago about the bee and how it is not aerodynamically engineered to fly.
I mean really. Look at the fat body, and the disproportionately tiny wings. It just looks impossible. And yet it does.
As it turns out, the idea that a bee is not really engineered to fly is folklore. A myth. A rumor. And it began at a dinner table–as a lot of untruths do–in 1930’s Germany as a conversation between a biologist and an aerodynamics expert.
The aerodynamics expert, when queried by the biologist as to the ability of a bee to fly with such disproportionately small wings promptly launched into mathematical equations about why the bee shouldn’t be able to fly.
In his theory, he proposed that a bee’s wings would not generate enough lift to fly likening them to a fixed wing aircraft. But a bee’s wings do not create lift that way, but are more like a helicopter. They vibrate their wings up to 200 beats per minute which creates enough lift to not only fly, but hover and zig zag from flower to flower on their pollen collecting journey.
And thus, when we make observations in life, we don’t always see everything we need to to draw correct conclusions. We are often mislead by what we see because we do not consider all the possibilities. And like the bee’s wings, often what seems impossible can be solved by using a different approach if only we open our minds to all possibilities.