Questions in the Grab Bag category.
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February 25

Early violin (REBEC)

Help me understand some of the clues in a 75-year-old crossword puzzle. [more inside]
posted by theodolite at 11:38 AM - 8 answers

February 24

how to best help First Nations kids/families?

I'm looking for the most bang-for-buck way to help people in Canada. I'm looking for ways to channel my feelings of fear and rage into positive action. [more inside]
posted by lizifer at 6:50 PM - 6 answers

Neurosurgeons required to have proficiency in outside interest?

In When Breath Becomes Air, the author mentions that the field of neurosurgery is unique in that it requires students to become proficient at something other than neurosurgery. He said people often choose writing or research since they complement the field. But is this really a thing? Are students actually required to do this to become a neurosurgeon? I am having a hard time Googling this.
posted by LKWorking at 1:56 PM - 8 answers

February 23

Charity auctions near Boston

I have been volunteered to be the auctioneer at a charity event. The auction part of the event is low-key enough that I think it will be ok that I am not a professional. But I also think it might be a good idea to scope out some other charity fundraisers and auctions to get some tips. [more inside]
posted by yet.another.boston.question at 5:53 PM - 0 answers

What have graduate students created?

What wouldn't exist now, if not for grad students? I would like to compile a massive list of high-profile or notable creations -- from inventions, to ideas, to works of art -- that were conceptualized or created by Masters/JD/MD/Ph.D seekers during their graduate education. [more inside]
posted by nicodine at 10:09 AM - 25 answers

February 22

Cheap Los Angeles (or California-y) food to welcome guests

We have an cheap- uh, affordable, airbnb in LA. We'd like to have a cheap Los Angeles/California preserved food to welcome guests with. Given that fish tacos don't keep well, we're struggling for good options that aren't $$$. Any advice? [more inside]
posted by stewiethegreat at 7:47 PM - 34 answers

Would you like franchise with that?

Please tell me everything there is to know about franchise ownership. [more inside]
posted by phunniemee at 6:51 PM - 11 answers

How thick is light bulb glass?

I'm modeling a standard, incandescent light bulb (the A60, here). Assume 60 watts, if that makes a difference. I'm pleased with the general result, but would like the glass thickness to mirror reality. I've visually estimated it, but oddly can't find any reference online to how thick it is by standard. I'm currently using 0.2 mm. What should it be?
posted by gilrain at 5:27 AM - 7 answers

February 21

Can you identify this action figure toy?

I would like to know more about this toy and bonus points where I could possibly get one? Two Headed Action Figure. I have limited background, but basically a toy collector friend spotted (and took this photo) at a toy convention. He wants one. The owner had no details on the figure. Thanks.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:37 AM - 5 answers

Large Breaks During Work

I've started a new job as a teacher in a primary school in China. I only work 20 hours a week, but every day has large gaps where I don't have a class (1.5 hour lunches, 1 hour exercise, etc). What are some tasks I can accomplish during these breaks? Any great habits I should develop? I have access to a breakroom and a computer and will be working in a built-up area.
posted by Trifling at 1:58 AM - 6 answers

February 20

What is this little piece of swag's function?

We found this thing while cleaning out the storeroom at work. It appears to be a keychain version of some functional thing, but no one knows what it's supposed to do. [more inside]
posted by Shohn at 10:51 AM - 2 answers

How to stay in a specific, particular, comfy position while relaxed?

In certain situations where I'd like to relax (with the option to take a nap even), the most comfortable position might be partially reclined with my fingers interlaced on my chest in front of me. Often I'll end up having to settle with a less comfy position after starting to doze and having my interlaced fingers come apart, startling myself awake. Is there any sort of mechanical solution or other trick that might alleviate this first world napping problem? [more inside]
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:15 AM - 12 answers

Life begins at 30

I'm coming up on 30 and my life is... not what I'd like it to be. I need real life motivation to keep going through shitty times with no obvious reasons to believe things will get better, please share examples of how things can turn around after 30. [more inside]
posted by bizarrenacle at 3:59 AM - 12 answers

February 19

What to do about standing water on building across the street?

There's a building near us in Brooklyn that a bunch of people were forcibly evicted from some months ago. As of today, the developers have no plans for it and it's deteriorating quickly. The roof houses a generator and a bunch of cellular / electronic equipment, all suspended just above a huge pool of standing water. We're worried about electrical fires and other problems, but contacting 311 and the company selling the building haven't helped. What should we do? [more inside]
posted by argentum at 10:10 AM - 11 answers

February 17

Ain't no party like a whirlpool party

My son is turning five and wishes to have a whirlpool-themed birthday party. [more inside]
posted by kitschfrau at 9:11 PM - 14 answers

Help me wash dishes more comfortably

We just moved into a new house, and in addition to a dishwasher (which we hadn't had for 9 years), it has a lovely undermount stainless steel sink. It's beautiful! Deep! Great for filling pots! ...and at the exact right angle to hurt our backs while washing dishes. Help! [more inside]
posted by linettasky at 8:59 PM - 12 answers

How many children live in each state by urbanicity?

Census.gov is overwhelming me. What is the fastest way to figure out how many school-aged children live in each state broken down by whether they live in the city, suburb, or rural location?
posted by turtlefu at 10:32 AM - 5 answers

February 16

SFW, humorous quotes and memes about walls.

The neighboring lab has put up a barrier between my lab bench and theirs. My coworkers and I have started decorating this barrier with wall-related text and images. ("Build bridges not walls" went up immediately.) Give me some more ideas to keep us going and hopefully bring a smile or a knowing nod to passersby, including the large number of Muslim and Hispanic staff who help keep our building operating. Searching "wall memes" right now was kind of depressing.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:24 AM - 34 answers

February 14

How do I find the specifics about weather in my city?

I'm about to buy mini-splits for my house (Mitsubishi HyperHeat). The output and efficiency of mini-splits is highly dependent on outdoor temperature. I'm working with an engineer and HVAC installer person, but for my own peace of mind I'd like to see as much data as possible about weather (ideally including humidity) in my city. Is there any website that can tell me how many days historically per year Philadelphia dipped below n number - freezing, 25F, 17F, etc.? And the same with high temperatures in the summer (how many days above 85F, 90F, 100F, etc.)?
posted by ClaireBear at 5:11 PM - 4 answers

February 13

Where can I buy a plexiglass sheet for photographing archival documents?

I recently spent a week at the National Archives photographing thousands of pages of documents. They had these nice plexiglass sheets with rounded corners that you could place over the documents to flatten them. Is this a known thing, and can I buy one of these for myself? [more inside]
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 3:51 PM - 21 answers

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