Questions in the Science & Nature category.
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April 18

Vinegar and brown paper
My son added a clothes peg (plastic with a steel spring) to a bucket of cider vinegar. Is the vinegar still safe? [more inside]
posted by popcassady at 2:11 PM - 18 answers
What can you see?
My boyfriend is legally blind. He was born with cataracts in both eyes and has moderate to severe astigmatism in one of them. I'm struggling to get some idea of what he sees. [more inside]
posted by heavenstobetsy at 3:44 AM - 15 answers

April 17

Loud music and reptiles
Our science museum throws weekly DJ dance parties in a building full of reptiles, amphibians and sea life. I think thick plastic may protect most of them from the noise. But this Yelp review made me wonder if the vibrations of the loud beats could be stressing them out or worse. Is it harmful for an alligator to have to listen to Skrillex at high volume or are they OK with it?
posted by johngoren at 11:28 AM - 5 answers

Why is the center of a circle often given as (h, k)?
Why are the letters 'h' and 'k' often used to represent the center of a circle in the standard equation of a circle: (x - h)2 + (y - k)2 = r2 are 'h' and 'k' short for something? I might guess 'h' is short for 'horizontal', but I can't imagine what 'k' is for. [more inside]
posted by Reverend John at 10:21 AM - 16 answers

April 16

Binocular Vision in Pterosaurs
I am trying to find any information about binocular vision in pterosaurs. [more inside]
posted by Hactar at 5:32 PM - 8 answers

How do I find out more about being a doctor for the CDC?
I want to work for the CDC after med school and residency, but I don't know how to show people (particularly med school adcoms) just how serious I am about this. I'm applying to med schools this cycle and want to mention my CDC aspirations, but am afraid that doing so might inadvertently hurt my application because I have no experience with the CDC. [more inside]
posted by acthelight at 5:25 PM - 13 answers

Can you quantify the energy of spring?
It's spring and the plants and trees which have been bare for months are bursting into life. I've been thinking it must take a lot of energy for a tree to go from having no leaves at all to being covered in too many to count in a relatively short period of time. But how much energy exactly? [more inside]
posted by neilb449 at 12:04 PM - 4 answers

April 14

I'm a bird! I'm a bird! I'm a bird!... but what kind?
The birdsong in question! This is a bird in southeast Portland, OR. We've never caught a definite glimpse of it, so I cannot give any details on size/color/et cetera. This is its main song (although it was singing kind of short this day); it cycles this for an hour or more. It varies slightly at some point, but then comes back.
posted by curious nu at 6:11 PM - 8 answers

Hello Moon. What do I call you?
What's this illusion called? The full moon is rising, but has not yet cleared the horizon. The bottom of the moon, however, appears concave, its outer edges bending up from the horizon. (Image link inside illustrating this concept). [more inside]
posted by jrchaplin at 5:00 PM - 11 answers

How can I add straight "limit" lines to simple Excel X/Y graphs?
I'm using Excel 2010 and I'm making several x/y scatter graphs to plot QA results. I want to show on the graphs an upper and lower allowed limit for the data. [more inside]
posted by Rad_Boy at 9:02 AM - 6 answers

April 11

Birding in Bonn? (with special emphasis on Corvids)
I will be in Germany, primarily Bonn and surrounding areas, from April 13 - 27. I am more of a bird enthusiast than a REAL birder, and particularly love Corvids. I remember from visits years ago that the local crows in the Rhine region seemed a lot gruffer than the ones we have in Seattle - they seemed to be saying "Ach! Ach!" Wondering what varieties of crows are most prevalent in the Bonn / Cologne region. I also would love to see "Nebelkraehe," which my sister said she has seen in Berlin. Are they seen in Bonn as well? If weather permits, we'll be doing a lot of woodland walking, so if anyone has any particular spots to recommend, as well as particular birds I should be on the lookout for, I would greatly appreciate it. One wonderful thing about travel is that even the most common yard birds are hopelessly exotic to me, so I just can't lose. ;)
posted by dorgla at 2:00 PM - 4 answers

Thames Oysters
Oysters were a common food stuff for the poor in victorian london. They grew in the thames and were so cheap that there were riots amongst the poor demanding to be fed something other than oyster or salmon. My question is, how far up the Thames will Oysters grow? I've heard anecdotes of oysters at Hampton Court palace? Can this be true? [more inside]
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:47 AM - 5 answers

How do sea levels impact air pressure on Mount Everest?
As the sea level rises and falls, how does that impact air pressure on Mount Everest? [more inside]
posted by burnfirewalls at 7:42 AM - 13 answers

Please tell me this is a Viennese ladybug in my bed...
Found a little critter in the bedlinens at the Airbnb place where I'm staying. Entomologists of Mefi, tell me whether to freak out or not. (Please excuse any typos resulting from being on German keyboard.) [more inside]
posted by scody at 7:40 AM - 12 answers

April 10

Poo, fly... Do any invertebrates avoid their own poo?
A number of mammals (including us!) instinctually move away from their own feces, or try not to soil their living spaces. Does anybody know of an example of an invertebrate, insect or otherwise, which displays the behavior of avoiding their own waste? [more inside]
posted by wyzewoman at 5:32 PM - 7 answers

Knuth mixing bits
Which page of The Art of Computer Programming is the problem mentioned here? Does that problem ("find all ways to mix 3 zeroes with 3 ones") have a name?
posted by phrontist at 3:51 PM - 7 answers

Lost time is never found again. - Franklin
If time (as measured on Earth) were speeding up or slowing down (relative to what it had been in the past) would there be any way for us to notice or measure it? [more inside]
posted by anastasiav at 10:00 AM - 18 answers

April 9

Common wildflower identification, Europe
Hello, can anyone please tell me what this flower is called? [more inside]
posted by runincircles at 4:26 AM - 5 answers

April 8

The Term is "Layman Theoretical Physicist" not "Kook"
Where do you go to learn about theoretical physics, other than a university? [more inside]
posted by Deodand at 9:36 PM - 22 answers

60% chance of rain
What does it mean when the weather forecast says that there is a 60% chance of rain? [more inside]
posted by devnull at 7:04 AM - 11 answers

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