Questions in the Science & Nature category.
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November 18

Species which went extinct because of super-specific sex?

I'm sure that I've read about species (animal or plant) which went extinct because they had some specific sexual habit or preference or requirement which turned out to not be very robust in the face of change. However, I'm having trouble thinking of any examples now. Is this a thing that actually happens? Can you think of examples?
posted by clawsoon at 3:51 PM - 16 answers

November 17

Dr. weight loss advice not following laws of physics e.g., prison camps

Thought experiment: two conflicting concepts regarding weight loss where the math doesn't add up and is completely contrary to real life conditions. [more inside]
posted by Arachnophile at 2:38 PM - 21 answers

November 15

165 eathquakes in 12 hours.....?

I visit this site a few times a week and have never seen this many recorded before. No where close. Is this unusual? If so what's up?
posted by haikuku at 1:11 PM - 5 answers

November 12

Ancient Iodine

I have this extremely vintage-iconic iodine bottle in my bathroom. As far as I can tell my mother gave it to me after her mother gave it to her. How old is it? [more inside]
posted by tehloki at 10:02 PM - 6 answers

November 9

Neurological/Health Benefits In Tying Unseen Knots?

I have a designed a pair of sarong-like pants where when you complete "putting them on" you finish the process by tying a shoelace/bow knot behind you just below your lower back. Because of this you cannot see the knot being tied. Is there neurological/Health benefits tying this unseen knot?
posted by goalyeehah at 11:02 AM - 9 answers

November 8

Fucking magnets, how do they work, etc.

OK so I used the concept of "when you were in 3rd grade and you laid a non-magnetic metal next to a known magnet next to each other and you looked in your desk the next day and they were both magnets" in a facebook comment recently and then realized: [more inside]
posted by tivalasvegas at 2:41 PM - 12 answers

Can mirror-finish, outdoor stonework be 100 years old?

Can mirror-finish, outdoor stonework be 100 years old? [more inside]
posted by XMLicious at 2:08 PM - 8 answers

November 7

How to calculate the temp of falling water?

I'm curious how much the temperature of hot water (say, 37ÂșC) drops as it falls through the air, like in a shower. I don't know enough physics or fluid dynamics to even know where to start googling the problem, but if you had a shower 2m off the ground, and assumed ideal large drops, how much would the water temp drop after falling say, a meter in height? [more inside]
posted by mathowie at 1:34 PM - 21 answers

November 3

First author boogie

I'm writing my first manuscript for a scientific journal article, as first author. I got a first draft together, it looked pretty OK to me -- and it was ripped to shreds by my co-authors. So now I have 5 million comments to address by five different people... this weekend. Second draft due Monday. Hope me please. [more inside]
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 11:46 PM - 8 answers

November 2

Name that bug!

A box of supermarket recycled tissues came with this beetle(?) wrapped in one of the tissues. It's still alive, and currently in my kitchen bin. I'm in the UK, and the box says that the tissues were made here. What might it be? (Pictures inside) [more inside]
posted by Urtylug at 11:44 AM - 11 answers

October 30

Usefulness of chelating shampoos?

Chelating shampoos are supposed to help hair that's washed in hard water, by removing an excess of minerals. But how can they be effective when the shampoo is then rinsed off the hair with the same hard water?
posted by tangerine_poppies at 6:53 PM - 8 answers

What is this thing? Microbiology edition

I recently got a Foldscope and I'm a little obsessed with it. Last night I caught this critter on film. I would like to know what it is, and I'd also like information on where I can go on the web in the future to try and identify similar creatures. [more inside]
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:11 AM - 4 answers

Help me identify a few Native American tools

My great-uncle recently passed, and I was given a few "Indian Rocks", and purchased a few more at the estate auction. Can you help me figure a few things out? [more inside]
posted by DigDoug at 9:57 AM - 6 answers

October 28

Best way to create a digital pushpin map with paths

I need to create a map of about 50 people's movements around the US. I'm inclined to buy a corkboard, map, pushpins, and string, but this seems like something where software would have some advantages. Is there a (free or very cheap) option for me? Bonus points if I can overlay a custom or historic map. [more inside]
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 3:20 PM - 4 answers

A misremembered Feynman video perhaps?

I seem to remember a video where (perhaps!) physicist Richard Feynman described what was in a box by rolling, hefting, and otherwise manipulating it until he was able to describe the object inside. My memory says it was Feynman, but I have never been able to find the video evidence since. Perhaps one of you remembers this video and who the subject was and can link me to it. I found it a particularly great example of deductive reasoning and am keen to refer to it once again.
posted by qwip at 4:44 AM - 3 answers

October 23

Is there a way to boycott the Koch Brothers?

Is there a way to boycott the Koch Brothers if you drive a gas powered and participate in modern economy to any extent? Air travel? Shipping?
posted by specialk420 at 10:41 PM - 8 answers

October 21

Gardening: preparing now for next Spring

I bought a house this summer and this was included. It is a 15' by 30' garden with sprinklers on each end. I'm looking for advice about preparing for next year AND suggestions about what to plant. [more inside]
posted by beccaj at 4:39 PM - 15 answers

Aching to pupate

What should I do with this swallowtail chrysalis to increase the chances of the butterfly surviving? [more inside]
posted by lollymccatburglar at 6:50 AM - 3 answers

October 19

Questions on the theory of constructed emotions

I recently listened to an audiobook of Lisa Barrett's book, How Emotions Are Made. The writing was compelling and the position well argued, but as a lay person, I find myself concerned as I am unable to really follow the research in depth. [more inside]
posted by Hactar at 7:51 AM - 3 answers

October 17

Do gravitational-wave observatories measure distance

Do gravitational-wave observatories give us a new way to measure distance? [more inside]
posted by rdr at 5:33 AM - 9 answers

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