Questions in the Science & Nature category.
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September 22

Laundry soap vs detergent: hygiene, and the environment.

I read a site that claims that soap doesn't get laundry properly clean, that detergents found in most commercial laundry powders are more effective. Is that true? And are laundry detergents still ecologically damaging? [more inside]
posted by tangerine_poppies at 4:19 PM - 1 answers

How do you do archaeology without the gun and the whip?

I'm looking for good sources on the practice and process of conducting archaeological digs. My Google-fu is coming up short on good sources because I probably don't know the right questions to ask, and university textbooks are expensive. Can anyone point me to good sources (video, books, websites) showing the process of surveying, extraction, etc? [more inside]
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:29 AM - 10 answers

September 20

When would it be possible to completely lose a sense of rhythm?

In wondering whether my dog enjoys having his paws moved to the beat of a song, I wondered whether one can have a sense of rhythm without a sense of math? Or, can one lack a sense of rhythm completely? I guess another way of saying this is: is there an equivalent of colorblindness for rhythm? Not just a tone-deafness, but a complete inability to perceive it? If so, what causes it? It seems to me like it should be related to the ability to understand math, but maybe it is something else? [more inside]
posted by stillmoving at 12:15 PM - 21 answers

September 19

Why did it have to be snakes?

This is on behalf of a friend who keeps finding these guys in her apartment. Can anyone identify them and safe ways of removing this unwanted houseguest? [more inside]
posted by ultranos at 9:00 PM - 9 answers

Weather phenomena, delusional edition...

I woke up in intensive care on January 13, quite delusional. I "remember" quite a few things which, I am told, didn't really happen. The most vivid memory was of watching the weather Channel from my hospital bed and hearing of weather phenomena (severe storms and even forest fires) on earth caused by a conjuction of the planets including Pluto and Jupiter. I can find no reference to this now that I am in my right mind. Did my subconscious make this up, too?
posted by brownrd at 10:52 AM - 15 answers

September 18

Relationship between Michelson & Morley (1887) table and figure

I'm trying to understand Michelson & Morley (1887), and as part of this I'm trying to reproduce their figure 6 from the data in the table. I do not understand how they relate. [more inside]
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 11:56 AM - 2 answers

September 9

Need a crash course on the enviromental justice movement, your recs plz

I'd like referrals to the latest podcasts, blogs, book titles and twitter accounts to follow on thought leaders in the enviromental movements and enviromental justice arenas. I would love general stuff but issue specific is fine. Looking to consume this in a relatively short period of time (the next 3-5 days) to get up to speed on the basics of the movement, what issues are at hand, where it's coming from and where it's headed, policy wise. What am I missing out on? [more inside]
posted by timpanogos at 3:38 PM - 9 answers

What are the final concentrations after mixing these two solutions?

If I mix 15 mL of solution A consisting of 5 mg/mL of compound A, with 15 mL of solution B consisting of 5 mg/mL of compound B, what will be my final concentrations of compounds A and B in the resulting 30 mL volume? Similarly, what if I mix 15 mL of solution A with 15 mL of solution C consisting of 2.1 mg/mL of compound A and 5 mg/mL of compound B. [more inside]
posted by pwb503 at 2:25 PM - 4 answers

September 8

Hunkering down for a hurricane in the ER in Miami?

My dear friend is a trauma surgeon in Miami and has been assigned to work this weekend. He was hoping for Ryder, the rock-solid hospital proofed for Cat 5 storms with carefully organized plans & procedures...instead, he's stuck at The Other Hospital, the one that's demonstrated poor organization/staffing/prepping, the one that most certainly does not have their shit together, the one that can't even get their own AC properly regulated. He's bracing for power going out and medicine running out and doing the best he can with what he has. He's showing up with water & food & headlamps and...what else? I should perhaps feel less worried than I am (he's a med team mgr for FEMA search & rescue, so I'm sure will also bust out all his disaster skills as needed!) but I feel helpless and far away. I'm wondering if the hive mind has any words of wisdom to offer or lists of things to pack!
posted by red_rabbit at 3:18 PM - 7 answers

September 4

Can you ID this bug?

I found this bug in my home. Can you tell me what it is? [more inside]
posted by Cogito at 8:44 AM - 14 answers

September 2

Will Bridge City, TX be flooded due to dam B release at Steinhagen Lake?

My parents have evacuated their neighborhood (Bevil Oaks outside of Beaumont) and are staying with family in Bridge City. How will dam releases affect the water level where they are? Should I ask them to evacuate? [more inside]
posted by bleary at 10:20 AM - 1 answers

September 1

Medical-grade wrist accelerometer that measures in 3 planes of movement

I’m looking for a medical-grade wrist accelerometer to be used in a study in Canada. So far, I have tried: Actigraph, Actiware (Philipps Respironics), and Garmin, but none are suitable (Actigraph cannot ship across the border due to Canadian restrictions; Actiware has discontinued their Actical model; Garmin doesn’t have the accuracy needed in the 3 axes) We need a wearable accelerometer that measures in three planes of movement. Any suggestions?
posted by kirsti at 11:06 AM - 2 answers

Sodium Acetate-Based Reusable Heating Pad No Longer Working

I own one of those sodium acetate-based reusable heating pads that are activated by clicking a metal disc. It worked well when new but now it gives off little heat. Could it be restored? [more inside]
posted by whitelotus at 2:53 AM - 13 answers

August 31

Are smoothies actually healthy?

What's the scientific consensus? - I'm assuming smoothies made of just whole fruit, no added juice. [more inside]
posted by tangerine_poppies at 1:12 AM - 11 answers

August 30

Simple astronomical observations to make in a dark, clear sky

This weekend, my spouse and I will be traveling to the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. The stars are stunning there. What sorts of simple astronomical observations can we make with just binoculars and an iPhone? [more inside]
posted by akk2014 at 8:53 AM - 10 answers

August 29

white communities that fit the low-tech subsistence farmer stereotype?

You've seen this movie opening: a jeep full of white explorers, missionaries, etc. bounces along a dirt road, heralded by a pack of kids running alongside. As the jeep pulls into the village, the inhabitants put aside their work to greet our heroes. They were engaged in handicrafts, food preparation, herding, or subsistence farming. Maybe even hunting and gathering. Electricity and fossil fuels are not unknown, but draft animals and human muscle are a major part of the energy supply. They are a simple, hard-working, joyful people. Possibly with a problem only our heroes can solve. They are invariably people of color. Are there any remaining communities where this scene could plausibly be filmed with white people? [more inside]
posted by d. z. wang at 2:43 AM - 9 answers

August 28

Which one: DNA analysis edition

So, I'm super curious about the recreational DNA testing as noted in this FPP. However, I'm not sure which one to try and what fun I can have with aftermarket apps. Any thoughts? [more inside]
posted by Sophie1 at 12:35 PM - 5 answers

Did the Challenger disaster affect Reagan's Star Wars at all?

Did the 1986 Challenger shuttle disaster in any way hasten the downfall of the Strategic Defense Initiative? [more inside]
posted by egeanin at 1:32 AM - 6 answers

August 27

Weed identification: southern Quebec

The culprit. [more inside]
posted by zadcat at 8:47 AM - 1 answers

Hacking Baby Strollers. Yeah.

So, I really want to get into hacking a baby stroller and make it into something else - either a shopping trolly or a bike trolly with a few adjustment here and there. [more inside]
posted by watercarrier at 1:43 AM - 3 answers

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