Questions in the Science & Nature category.
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Smaller, lighter animals can fall from further up without being harmed (I believe). Is there a mammal that is so small it could fall from any height and not be hurt? Is my basic premise wrong? Does terminal velocity figure into the explanation?
Is it safe to say that there is always a rainbow visible in the sky somewhere on Planet Earth? Relatedly, is it possible to estimate the average number of rainbows visible across the planet at a given moment?
I've crossed a bunch of plants with one another, and now have a bunch of berries on those plants. Each berry can contain way more seeds than I have room to pot up and grow out individually, so I'm trying to find the point of diminishing returns, where potting up additional seedlings stops giving me new and interesting results, but my math background is inadequate. [more inside]
We're growing (yay!) but we need a more regular way for about twenty people to access (mostly hard science) academic peer-reviewed journals. Do you and your org have subscriptions you're really satisfied with? [more inside]
What are the weird, pebbled round things washing up in their hundreds on Devon and Cornwall beaches, as reported here? (Daily Mail link, sorry.)
When you think of numbers, do they have some specific, reliable spatial organization in your mind? [more inside]
She doesn't need any more Star Wars trivia books. She's gifted, reads at an adult level, is super-knowledgeable about science- especially natural sciences-, but hey, she's just turning 11 and is a bit immature. She doesn't need any graphic sex scenes or horrendous gore. I'd love to find her some books that are really well-written and that will challenge her to think.
I just read this article that says July 2016 was Earth's hottest month in recorded history. And the same article notes that: "NASA's five hottest months on record are July 2016, July 2011, July 2015, July 2009 and August 2014. Only July 2015 was during an El Nino. Records go back to 1880." The data relate to the global average temperature, not just the parts that are having summer in July. So why are the global averages being pulled up especially during the northern hemisphere's summer? [more inside]
What are the direct effects of elevated levels of carbon dioxide on human health in the long term? [more inside]
How close could you get to the speed of light due to acceleration by falling into or being in a decaying orbit around a large gravity well (black hole?) [more inside]
A colleague mentioned a college course he took on rigorously proving commonly handwaved aspects of math. Help me find books or a syllabus relating to this! [more inside]
I'd like to follow around a trained naturalist or scientist and listen to them hold forth on flora, fauna, geology, weather, (and some history) you name it. I have an Absolute Lack of Patience for general tours that lack a suitable density of information. (This is also true of nature documentaries.) I'm less picky about exact topic and more interested in interesting and knowledgeable speakers. Museums are cool, but I far prefer wandering around outside. Any ideas to share?
Recent articles featured on MF learned me that not everyone gets goosebumps, and that not everyone has a mind's eye. What are some other things that not everyone can do, either mental or physical? [more inside]
Hoping for an ID for a low-growing, herbaceous perennial plant. [more inside]
My cousin's friend recently discovered a small, petrified animal embedded in a tree. He chopped down this tree near Marquette, Michigan, and was cutting firewood when he made this discovery. He describes the animal as about three inches long, and rock hard. Though maybe not visible in the photo, he believes that it may have hind legs. What might this animal have been, and how might it have gotten embedded in a tree? [more inside]
I lived in Bermuda for a few years as a little kid. I remember swimming in shallow water and encountering this tubular/ intestine shaped, orangey translucent mass of...stuff...that seemed to ooze up from the sand. [more inside]
I've been playing Kerbal Space Program and now I'm like a kid about space again. How come commercial ventures are opting for Mercury style capsules and the military is wanting a space plane? I don't understand the advantage, I assume you can drop a capsule anywhere with the same precision as a glider.
When diving into a new field, how can you keep 'thinking outside the box' as you learn the traditional knowledge in a field? As you learn the patterns of thinking that a field promotes, I think it's hard to think outside of those patterns in the future. How do you maintain originality in thinking and avoid paradigm blindness? Some ideas inside. [more inside]
What is the best way to get into cloud identification as a hobby? I'm mainly interested in learning the vocabulary and how to talk about and describe clouds—not the satellite imaging / meteorology / weather predicting side. [more inside]
Methyl cellulose solution has the handy property of being liquid up to about 50deg C, and becomes solid(ish) above that temperature. I'm looking for a substance that does the same, but with a transition temperature somewhere around 0-20deg C. [more inside]