Matin Durrani - Science Journalist

Spotify playlist - Furry Logic: Fluids

Posted by Matin Durrani on 3 October 2016

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Over the weekend, while enjoying Birmingham City satisfyingly beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0 to go sixth in the Championship, I created the next Spotify playlist featuring animals covered in my and Liz Kalaugher's new popular-science book Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life, published by Bloomsbury.

This chapter's all about fluids and, as with the previous chapter on forces, finding songs that were a) appropriate to the animals featured and b) to my liking was hard.

I got there in the end, even if a couple of the songs are a bit dirgey. But, hey, if you're going to write about pre-historic pterosaurs, what can you expect. My favourite in the list is Zee Avi's Honey Bee. An instant classic.

For the record, here are the songs I've picked.

* Pond skater (Gerris Lacustris) by the US band Filligar off their 2007 album The City Tree. In Furry Logic, Liz and I look at how this animal manages to not only stay afloat on the surface of water, but can scoot across at top speed. It's all surface tension you see.

* The Lovecats by the Cure - this song might be well known but turns out that we knew hardly anything about how cats drink, until Roman Stocker from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology filmed his cat Cutta Cutta with a high-speed camera. Cutta Cutta not only graced the cover of the journal Science as a results of his study - the moggie's also immortalized in Furry Logic.

* Just Beyond the Hill by Seahorse - never heard of 'em and the song's not really about seahorses but pleasant enough. I did try to look for something from The Seahorses - a band formed by one of the blokes off the Stone Roses - but it was all frankly painful garbage. Furry Logic features the mysterious dwarf seahorse, which sneaks up on its prey by keeping turbulence in the seawater to a minimum. Clever thing.

* Honey Bee by Zee Avi - a beautiful song from the 2009 eponymous debut album from this Malaysian "singer-songwriter, guitarist and ukulele player". Some scientists once said bees couldn't fly. Of course they can, but turns out how they fly is a lot more mysterious than anyone could have imagined.

* Pterosaurs from Melody Makes Me from their 2010 album In the Bottomless Sea. This animal has one helluva funny bone.