Bats & Books!

Bats are crazy weird. Just ask Mary Kay Carson, author of the new children’s non-fiction book The Bat Scientists.   She is one of the 100+ authors that will be at Books by the Banks: Cincinnati USA Book Festival in October. 

Scientists, who tend to be pretty unusual themselves, study bats for all sorts of interesting reasons. Here is a video, showing a bat flying in ultra slow motion, made by biologists at Brown University:

Through studying this and other videos of bats flying, it was found that hovering bats use 60% less energy than a hummingbird performing the same action. You can see more videos made by the researchers and read about the crazy weird stuff they learned in Discover Magazine’s article How To Be A Bat.

These scientists not only want to know how a bat lives they ask … what is it like to be a bat? Batman might know, if you can get a hold of him, or you can read Thomas Nagel’s famous head-spinning essay “What Is It Like To Be A Bat?“.

It will not help to try to imagine that one has webbing on one’s arms, which enables one to fly around at dusk and dawn catching insects in one’s mouth; that one has very poor vision, and perceives the surrounding world by a system of reflected high-frequency sound signals; and that one spends the day hanging upside down by one’s feet in an attic. In so far as I can imagine this (which is not very far), it tells me only what it would be like for me to behave as a bat behaves. But that is not the question. I want to know what it is like for a bat to be a bat.

If you’re intrigued, come down to Books by the Banks 2010 on Saturday, October 2 from 10-4 at Duke Energy Convention Center and ask Mary Kay Carson about the curious people who study these peculiar creatures.  While you’re there stop in the Kids’ Corner for crafts, costumed characters, storytelling and much more!  Admission is free.

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