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Questions in the Science & Nature category.
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September 20

Calculating interior angles of an irregular hexagon?
I'm trying to create a 3D model of a six-sided area of my garden. I know the lengths of each side. Is it possible to work out the exact angle of each corner? Here's a link to a rough picture - note that the labels are correct but the sides and angles aren't to scale. [more inside]
posted by UltraFleece at 11:26 PM - 8 answers

September 19

Narratives - Neuroscience and psychology
What are good layman-level books and articles on how the brain interprets narratives (books, television, or any other form of story)? [more inside]
posted by rebooter at 12:52 PM - 5 answers

Value of 1878-9 "Scientific American" magazine?
I ran into some issues of "Scientific American, dated February 23rd, November 30th 1878 and a third February 1st, 1879, all in good shape. I also have one copy of "The Contemporary Review" dated November of 1879, in OK shape. I am curious as to whether they have any collector's value at this point. I have no idea how I came to own them, as these were dated before my father was born.
posted by psc1860 at 9:57 AM - 4 answers

September 17

Texas earth quake statistics
I'm looking for graphs and charts that show how many earth quakes of various intensities have happened in Texas over the last ten or more years. [more inside]
posted by xarnop at 9:07 AM - 10 answers

September 16

Motionless waves
Recently, when flying over islands, I've noticed that the waves on the seashore appear to be motionless from cruising altitude. That is, you can see the white foam on the beach but it seems to be frozen in place and not ebbing/returning. Is there a name for this visual effect?
posted by orrnyereg at 8:06 PM - 2 answers

September 15

Naked Limes in the City?
While I was visiting NYC with a friend, we found this weird naked-lime-looking plant outside of a bodega. [more inside]
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 2:47 PM - 2 answers

September 13

Safe to bring California bay laurel/pepperwood to Arizona?
Can I bring California bay laurel branches to Arizona without potentially causing an ecological problem? [more inside]
posted by pony707 at 3:01 PM - 4 answers

Will soldering heat ruin an 18650 cell?
Will soldering heat ruin an 18650 cell? [more inside]
posted by pompomtom at 7:44 AM - 6 answers

September 12

Best place to see the Northern Lights: Seattle area/Western Washington?
I'd really really REALLY love to see the lights tonight and I'm willing to drive a couple hours to get there. I live in Magnolia in Seattle. Where do I go? [more inside]
posted by Tevin at 11:03 AM - 12 answers

What are some of the best scientific graphing programs for Mac?
I'm working on some graphics for an upcoming presentation, and need a way to display some scientific data(scatter plots and bar graphs mostly). What is the next step beyond excel? [more inside]
posted by aleatorictelevision at 10:46 AM - 16 answers

Aurora Borealis in Minneapolis tonight?
Is it going to be possible to see the northern lights in Minneapolis tonight? Will it be similar to a meteor shower, where one needs to get pretty far from the glow of the city lights to enjoy the show? Any tips/suggestions for how to make the best of it, or suggestions of particularly good spots from which to see it?
posted by :-) at 8:50 AM - 7 answers

September 10

Mysterious Beach "Rock" Find
I expect this will turn out to be something akin to a lump of interesting concrete, but please take a gander at this object from a beach near Port Townsend, Washington, and tell me what you think it might be. [more inside]
posted by maxwelton at 10:22 PM - 9 answers

September 9

Help me model some curves that have a certain time profile.
I've got a bunch of curves that (I hope) show some common profile over time, although they maybe scaled versions of each other: at any index along in the curve >1, the next point is conditional on all (or some) of the previous. See this greatly simplified example. [more inside]
posted by ed\26h at 7:39 AM - 8 answers

September 8

Spider-Man, Spider-Man... WOAH Dude! Not Cool!
Do not read this question if you do not like spiders. However, if you do like spiders, perhaps you can help me manager a guest in our garden. [more inside]
posted by DarlingBri at 7:22 AM - 8 answers

September 7

Dams hurt rivers, but are rivers more important than children?
How do dams hurt rivers, exactly? Is that damage built in – that is, are there ways to mitigate it? On the other hand, do a few million people deserve electricity? Looking for reasoned arguments. Caveat: solar power is reasonable, but I don't see it replacing the Aswan dam in the next few generations.
posted by LonnieK at 8:00 PM - 18 answers

Please identify this blurry picture of a desert plant.
Taken in Joshua Tree National Park in October. The seed pod is about 3/4" in diameter.
posted by Specklet at 11:09 AM - 10 answers

How do you tell the difference between poison ivy and kudzu?
So, I'm vacationing in the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee, and my plant identification skills are useless around all this kudzu, apparently. I know poison ivy has a few distinguishing characteristics, but they all seem to overlap with this annoyingly omnipresent vine. [more inside]
posted by ayerarcturus at 9:00 AM - 6 answers

Psychic surgery - is it real or fake?
So I've been a spiritual healer for a couple of years now and I wonder what direction to steer it in. Whilst talking to a senior, she mentioned 'psychic surgery', but didn't go into it at all. And as soon as I type 'psychic surgery' into Google, I have a Wikipedia page saying it has been disproved. I know you shouldn't believe every word on Wikipedia, especially with subjects that are going to be relying on information from people with heavily biased views; in the same way that when you mention spiritual healing to some people they call it black magic and do not want to talk about it ever again with you. [more inside]
posted by sockpim at 3:48 AM - 21 answers

September 6

Can you help me set my friend's mind at ease about ebola?
My friend, who lives in a very safe place in the United States, is unusually scared about ebola. More than really makes any sense. Ebola has appeared sporadically every several years since it was discovered in the 70s. Most years, there are zero cases worldwide. Is it right to say that the current outbreak is likely to be another case of ebola flaring up and then disappearing? [more inside]
posted by Sleeper at 11:06 PM - 14 answers

September 2

Help identify this plant
What type of plant is this (pic 1, pic 2)? It looks a little like bamboo, but the stalk is much thinner.
posted by roaring beast at 8:19 PM - 10 answers

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