Questions in the Science & Nature category.
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May 27

how does capacitance of finger/thumb work?

I sliced my thumb in half last year. It's fine now, but touchscreens don't recognize touches using thumb. Why not? [more inside]
posted by wutangclan at 3:32 PM - 2 answers

Is there a name for this shape?

What would you call the shape of the two-dimensional outline of the two stones (cabochons) circled in red in this picture? [more inside]
posted by sparklemotion at 6:48 AM - 7 answers

Was Galileo's Dad a Copernican?

I thought I read or heard somewhere that Vincenzo Galilei, the father of Galileo Galilei, was a Copernican and probably influenced his famous son (also a Copernican). I can't find any mention of the topic, however. If anyone is able to corroborate or disconfirm my memory on this I will be very grateful. Thanks in advance to anyone who gives it a whirl!
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 6:45 AM - 2 answers

May 25

What would happen if the moon broke up?

Neal Stephenson's new novel, Seveneves, starts with the moon breaking up into seven pieces (spoilers for the first 50 pages of the book inside). [more inside]
posted by pombe at 10:59 AM - 11 answers

what is this and what should i do

So... This is a tick, right? [more inside]
posted by kittensofthenight at 7:57 AM - 13 answers

May 23

What do these numbers mean, exactly?

Sometime, in front of chemical names, you will see three numbers, like this: 1,1,1 Triclorotriflouroethane. (to quote one example with which I am familiar.) What do they denote, and where can I find out more? (I realize that this may be simply a lack of Google-fu but I do have an underlying reason for needing to know.) Mefi chemists, help!
posted by pjern at 5:55 AM - 7 answers

May 22

(preferably print-outable) resources for a budding electrical technician

So I managed to get myself a job in a busy factory as an electrically biased maintanance man and need resources to help me become more up to scratch with what im dealing with. [more inside]
posted by aqueousdan at 9:16 AM - 2 answers

May 21

Talk to me about a future disaster world.

Ideas for what the world might look like in 50-200 years? Specifically looking for doom-and-gloom speculation, but based on some semblance of evidence or realistic projections. [more inside]
posted by Edward Liveing, M.D. at 6:17 PM - 21 answers

May 18

Why is this device shorting out my power?

Why would using an American electrical device on European voltage cause it to short out circuits at home when I plug it in again after coming home to the US? [more inside]
posted by anonymous at 7:47 PM - 8 answers

Short, emotionally-mixed poems/lyrics needed

A colleague and I are starting some new research in which we are interested in whether we can influence people's interpretation of emotionally-mixed music and language. We easily found music of mixed emotional tone (studied in the article linked here; paywalled, but I can share if anyone is interested), but it's been far harder to find mixed-emotion language that meets our constraints. More details follow. [more inside]
posted by anaphoric at 10:21 AM - 5 answers

May 17

Statistics on rocket launch postponements

I'm taking the nephew to Cape Canaveral for the scheduled June 19th Falcon launch and am trying to evaluate the chances of the launch actually happening that day. Obviously acts of god can't be predicted (although time of year could matter) but mechanical failures tend to follow some patterns. So, is there a canonical list somewhere of every rocket launch and a record of why it was postponed (and for how long) if so?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:23 AM - 4 answers

May 15

Botanical/poetic ways to classify/tag four-leaf clovers

I have a tumblr where I post pictures of four-leaf and other interesting clover that I find. I'm trying to come up with a (better) system for tagging the clover based on various features that make them unique including number of leaves, leaf configuration, leaf markings, leaf shape, symmetry and more. I need suggestions for tags to us as a flexible and comprehensive way to classify any interesting clover I find. Both botanical/scientific as well as more abstractly descriptive suggestions are welcome. Examples inside. [more inside]
posted by metaphorever at 10:47 PM - 1 answers

May 10

Are young spiders more venomous then a full grown adult?

I've spent the past week packing up all my belongings in preparation for moving to a new house tomorrow. A few days ago I discovered a large brown recluse spider under my staircase with numerous young or smaller spiders. I sprayed pesticide on them and continued packing upstairs... I never located any dead spiders and unfortunately I was dumb enough to sleep about 5feet away from where I originally found them. Up until this morning i didn't think much of the itchy bumps on my back...then my fiancée noticed them and clarified 3 bites on my lower back all matching the descriptions found online for the spider in question. Before I freak out and go to the ER could anyone enlighten on the venomousness of baby spiders compared to adults. Also how would multiple bites factor in? They've steadily have gotten worse and now appear red with a blister ... I'm assuming I was bitten 2-3 nights ago... Help!
posted by isopropyl at 7:27 AM - 10 answers

May 7

Maths question about building a funnel

I'm trying to work out the measurements to cut 4 pieces of metal and it's completely wrecking my head. [more inside]
posted by night_train at 11:33 AM - 9 answers

May 5

Water reclamation in CA

Orange County currently fills 20% of its groundwater basin with recycled wastewater. Is there any other water district in CA that tops this figure, in terms of treating wastewater for supplying a basin that provides direct, potable (drinkable)? If not, which water district takes 2nd place?
posted by invisible ink at 6:38 PM - 3 answers

"Life exists to modify carbon"?

I read an article several years ago in which the following argument was made: "life" exists to modify carbon. The assertion was that "life" arose as the most efficient method for creating certain forms of carbon utilizing all available resources, including sunlight, etc. Does anyone know of the article or of the broader theory?
posted by jefficator at 5:48 PM - 3 answers

As sound proof as a leaky sieve

Legal firms are based around privacy, but both Suits and The Good Wife quite prominently feature offices with walls made of glass panels with substantial air gaps between them. In Suits it looks like it's about an inch. In TGW it's nearer a foot. Is there something I'm missing about the design or the acoustics, or are these walls pretty much useless?
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 2:16 PM - 12 answers

May 4

A better weather balloon, safer for sea-snacking seaturtles?

How would we release a weather balloon and get it back without its exploding? [more inside]
posted by Mike Mongo at 10:13 AM - 4 answers

May 3

One fat bee patrols my deck

Ever since spring weather arrived in Brooklyn, there's been a single large bee patrolling my 3rd floor balcony. (1) What's the deal with this bee - where can I read more about its lifestyle? And (2) can I gently discourage it and its kind from hanging out and buzzing around my head when I want to sit out in the sun? It mostly ignores me when I'm out there, but I feel watched the whole time. [more inside]
posted by moonmilk at 10:21 AM - 16 answers

May 1

Science, technology and health news for the non-expert?

Hi mefites! I'm looking for blogs or websites that post interesting news or tidbits on science and anything science-related. I'm sure there's tons out there, but I want the metafilter-curated collection. [more inside]
posted by backwards compatible at 11:43 AM - 12 answers

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