A Photo for Friday

"In Formation"

In Formation

“In Formation”

April 25, 2023

Santa Barbara, CA

FILED UNDER: Photo for Friday, Photography
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. CSK says:

    This is perfect.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Heh. For some reason this pic puts me in mind of WWII PBYs.

    Nice shot.

  3. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    What CSK & Ozark said. Thanks for sharing!

  4. de stijl says:

    Not an aeronautical engineer. Is there an air pressure rebound effect from flying so close to a flat surface? Intuitively, it makes sense.

    If you don’t believe in evolution look at a pelican. That is some very specific adaptive beak / throat morphology going on there.

  5. de stijl says:

    Technically, they are gliding. Which brings up the question as to the definition of “flying”. Does flying require flappity-flap?

    Do flying squirrels fly or glide? I could argue they are parachuting or paragliding.

  6. just nutha says:

    @de stijl: My recollection is that flying squirrels only glide and cannot “take off” from ground level. As to why they’re called “flying” rather than “gliding” squirrels, I have no idea.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @just nutha: You are correct, they glide. There is a “flying” frog in the Amazon who’s name I forget, that glides by spreading out it’s toes and stretching the membranes between them to catch the air. Evolution is amazing.

  8. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    I think there is some sort of effect from gliding close to water. I’ve been trying to look up a Soviet era aircraft that flew only a few meters over water. It couldn’t climb higher than that, much like a hovercraft. I’ve found nothing.

    As to gliding vs flying, I equate flight with lift. Gliders do produce lift, ergo they are flying (squirrels included).

    Gliders don’t produce enough lift to stay up for long. See any airliner that loses all engines, like the Gimli Glider, or any design without active propulsion, like the space shuttle after reentry. They lose altitude steadily, but slowly. If they didn’t produce any lift, they’d plummet, as happens if a plane stalls.