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Questions in the Science & Nature category.
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August 29

Bug Report
Entomology request about pint sized long lived termites - images inside [more inside]
posted by ptm at 7:28 PM - 2 answers
Can anyone identify this heavily bearded fish species?
Can anyone identify this heavily bearded fish species?
posted by Blackwatch at 7:05 AM - 3 answers

August 24

What is your favorite definition of science?
I've heard some great quotations from famous scientists that succinctly embody the nuances and beauty of the practice of science. I'm teaching high school science for the first time (starting tomorrow! eek!) and I'm looking for some good examples to share with my students. What are your favorite quotations on the subject? How do you personally define the practice of science? Thanks!
posted by garuda at 2:58 PM - 12 answers

August 20

What is this bug? Should I be afraid (very very afraid?)
I hate bugs, and I have one that is in my space. Can the generous and awesome amateur (or professional) entomologists of MetaFilter help me identify it, and perhaps give me a general sense of how dangerous it might or might not be? [more inside]
posted by SMPA at 3:14 PM - 15 answers

State of French scientific knowledge about the moon in 1878
need some pointers as to research strategies/leads to find out about the state of the art knowledge about the moon in 1878, with particular reference to things arising in or popular in the French scientific community. First thoughts are Times digital archive and to look for an encyclopaedia of similar date. Any leads appreciated.
posted by aesop at 2:22 PM - 9 answers

How to coat a bone in stainless steel
Let's say you wanted to coat bones, on an industrial, mass production scale, in stainless steel, without damaging the bones underneath too much. [more inside]
posted by bswinburn at 12:26 PM - 15 answers

Images of crops/livestock before selective breeding
I'm giving a talk soon that will include a few slides about the dramatic changes wrought by selective breeding, mostly on food crops and livestock. I'm looking for examples and images (ideally public domain) that I can use to say e.g. "here's what it looked like in the wild, and here's what it looks like after 2,000 years of domestication". [more inside]
posted by metaBugs at 12:06 PM - 19 answers

August 19

Who, if anyone, can smell salt water and sugar water?
Can anyone smell the difference between a cup of normal water, a cup of salt water (not ocean water, just salt dissolved in water), and a cup of sugar water? And if so, who/what level of smeller, precisely? Does your answer change if the water is warm but not steaming? What about steaming? [more inside]
posted by vegartanipla at 8:13 PM - 26 answers

Given an average rate how do I calculate how often to do something?
I get seed packets that (usually) give a germination rate. How do I calculate how many seeds to plant to give me a 'y' probability of getting 'z' seeds to germinate? [more inside]
posted by sevenless at 11:10 AM - 8 answers

Light powered by falling sand
How does (or how might) Danielle Trofe's falling-sand-powered lights work? [more inside]
posted by theyexpectresults at 5:50 AM - 15 answers

August 15

Statistics Book for an interested teen
My teen aged niece has suddenly found a strong interest in statistics. What book would you recommend for a 14 year old who has good, but not advanced, math skills?
posted by honestcoyote at 10:57 AM - 18 answers

Calling all virologists - important events in virology needed!
I'm preparing a timeline of important virology-related events for work. We have some HIV-related and some bacteriophage-related material as well as some cancer-related stuff and some "greatest hits" (x-ray diffraction patterns, transduction, discovery of interferon). I'd like to expand our timeline to cover more diverse kinds of virology-related stuff. [more inside]
posted by Frowner at 7:16 AM - 8 answers

August 14

Static Shocks
I was wondering if the static shocks that a person normally gets in the winter are caused by an excess of electrons, a deficiency of electrons, or if it happens both ways but just depends on the circumstance.
posted by 517 at 8:34 PM - 8 answers

August 13

Help! Can I normalize statistical coefficients?
With deadline looming, stats consultant has bailed. Simple queries need resolution. Help? I am working on a data graphic that involves statistical calculations about survival rates for startup businesses, correlated with certain tangible and intangible factors. The raw data (about survival/closure/merger outcomes) has already been investigated, and the original researchers (who are awesome) have generated some interesting correlations using univariate regressions and Cox regressions. For my output I am relying on their statistically significant findings, wanting to create comparisons among the univariate coefficients. Not sure my methods are kosher and would appreciate consultation. Avalanche inside. [more inside]
posted by GrammarMoses at 8:13 AM - 2 answers

August 11

Let's all be scientists!
Throwing away all the political and financial pressure that dilutes and warps science, if one wants to engage in scientific inquiry and be productive and contribute in some small way to humanity's scientific understanding of the cosmos, how does one go about things? Can we boil things down to simple generalized steps -- brief enough to put on a wall plaque -- starting with the evaluation of an experimental idea (is it a "good" experiment?) all the way through to publishing one's reproducible results? [more inside]
posted by strangeguitars at 1:17 PM - 18 answers

August 10

Nature-filter: What is this (bird?) call?
At my mother's house in central Indiana and she's been hearing this sound from the woods, all night, for several weeks. Who can identify this? (@ 0:01 and 0:014)
posted by FreelanceBureaucrat at 8:07 PM - 3 answers

Which algorithms changed the world?
A recent post to the blue proposed a set of equations that changed the word. As a computer professional, I'm curious, which algorithms transformed the world? [more inside]
posted by pwnguin at 2:50 PM - 22 answers

August 4

Ten years on... what are these gross squishy things?
About ten years ago this gross picture (NSFDinner) of whatever they are made the rounds online. I think they were described as "shark eggs" but they're obviously not. I FINALLY found the picture again today and tried to reverse-google-image-search it in the hope there was now more info... nothing. So, Mefites, do YOU know what they are?
posted by ClarissaWAM at 4:42 PM - 13 answers

July 27

What are some examples of cities that were founded in illogical places?
I know that most cities have a reason for being where they are(near a river, natural harbor etc) but I'm curious about cities that are actually in poorly chosen locations or make no sense at all. I'm sure several of the southwest cities may meet this bill but also curious about global cities too.
posted by aleatorictelevision at 7:27 PM - 30 answers

July 26

Lobster Anatomists Wanted
What is this part of a lobster claw called (the white fan-like projection that is normally inside the musculature)?
posted by plinth at 5:03 PM - 3 answers

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