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Here a conceptual framework is provided for analysing the role of the flight muscles in stability and control. Stability usually refers to the tendency of a system to return to a characteristic reference state, whether static, as in gliding, or oscillatory, as in flapping. Asymptotic Lyapunov stability and asymptotic orbital stability as formal definitions of gliding and flapping flight stability, respectively, are discussed and a limit cycle control analogy for flapping flight control proposed. Stability can arise inherently or through correctional control. Conceptually, inherent stability is that which would arise if all body parts were rigid and all articulation angles were constants (gliding) or periodic functions (flapping), both of which require muscular effort. Pose can be maintained during disturbances by neural feedback or isometric contraction of tonic muscles: cyclic pose changes can be buffered by neural feedback or viscous damping by phasic muscles. Correctional control serves to drive the system towards its reference state, which will usually involve a phasic response, if only because of the tendency of flying bodies to oscillate during disturbances. Muscles involved in correctional control must therefore be tuned to the characteristic frequencies of the system. Furthermore, in manoeuvre control, these frequencies set an upper limit on the timescales on which control inputs can be effective. Flight muscle physiology should therefore be evolutionarily co-tuned with the morphological parameters of the system that determine its frequency response. Understanding this fully will require us to integrate internal models of physiology with external models of flight dynamics.

In: Animal Biology


We live in an age dominated by money. As capitalism has intensified and expanded as a social form, money has increasingly colonised the production and reproduction of the human condition. We live in an age of monetarism: an age in which social and political regulation are increasingly subordinate to the dictates of ‘sound money'. We live in an age of national lotteries: an age where millions attempt each week to garner enough money to ‘free’ themselves from the grinding agony of wage labour. We live in an age in which people increasingly grasp the alienation inherent in the domination of society by money and attempt to reassert a sense of human community through the introduction of local currency and barter schemes. But we also live in an age where Marxism is supposedly dead; where we can only gaze in ironic postmodern wonder at the increasing domination of the human condition by money and its social forms. In this paper we go beyond this postmodern orthodoxy to suggest that it is not only possible to develop a historically materialist analysis of money and its social forms but also that this project is essential if we are to reclaim our humanity from the deadening alienation of money and its social forms. We explore the magical qualities of money, the qualities which have enthralled and transfixed bourgeois social science from the classical economy of Adam Smith to the present day postmodernists. We argue that the lasting legacy of Marx was to uncover the historical materiality underlying the magical appearance of money: a discovery of the alchemic properties of money capital through which money becomes more money and which involves the material subordination of living labour to the valorisation of money capital.

In: Historical Materialism

This article reports on the findings of a 2009 survey conducted under the auspices of the Childwatch International Research Network about how children’s participation rights, as set out in Articles 12 and 13 of the UNCRC, are respected in private family law proceedings internationally. Court-based and alternative dispute resolution processes and the roles of relevant professionals engaged in child-inclusive practices are considered, as well as religious, indigenous and customary law methods of engaging with children. The findings from the 13 participating countries confirm an increasing international commitment to enhancing children’s participation in family law decision-making, but depict a wide variety of approaches being used to achieve this. Case studies from Australia, India, Israel and New Zealand are included to illustrate differing models of children’s participation currently in use in decision-making processes following parental separation.

In: The International Journal of Children's Rights