Questions in the Science & Nature category.
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October 28

Are master gardener courses realistic? What about 'realistic for me'?

I'm thinking of doing this either next year or the following. Can I get some experiences, thoughts, and feedback? [more inside]
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:45 AM - 11 answers

October 27

Identifying English-as-a-Second Language speakers' first language?

With a long-enough sample of written or spoken* English from someone whose first language is not English, can linguists identify what that person's first language is? If so, what are the tell-tale signs for various languages? [more inside]
posted by alby at 6:28 AM - 32 answers

October 22

Physicists, help me

Did Hanson et. al. just prove Bell's Theorem? [more inside]
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:01 PM - 6 answers

What Do I Do With All This Data?

I have a research project involving about ~90 subjects in two (self-selected) groups. I have collected a number of variables about these subjects (from public sources), and now I would like to do some statistical tests to say whether these variables are significantly correlated with membership in one group or the other. How do I do this? I have a basic knowledge of R and access to Stata 14. [more inside]
posted by jedicus at 8:21 AM - 10 answers

October 19

Awesome gift for a weather and meteorology fan.

My honey is discovering a new interest in weather, clouds, and general meteorology (having moved from a land of year-round sun to the more climatologically exciting upper midwest). What would be a good birthday gift to support and encourage his new hobby?
posted by airguitar2 at 12:51 PM - 10 answers

October 14

Can an exact measurement ever be statistically insignificant?

I am dubious of a colleague’s assertions about statistics. [more inside]
posted by lakeroon at 2:48 PM - 23 answers

October 11

Why no dew on car in the morning?

Why is it that in the morning that a car parked overnight in the garage has no condensation on it but a car parked outside in the driveway is covered with dew? The garage in question is completely open on one end since it's an old horse barn with no doors. I would think the atmosphere in the garage (relative humidity and temp) would be virtually identical to the outside.
posted by Kevin S at 10:07 AM - 8 answers

October 10

Can I use potable alcohol to sterizile a thermometer?

Can I use vodka and whiskey to sterilize stuff? [more inside]
posted by Hactar at 11:53 AM - 16 answers

October 6

Recommend a short science fiction story

I'm leading a session of a quirky academic discussion group. Each week is based on an eclectic set of readings. I'd like to assign: (1) the first chapter of The Sixth Extinction; (2) the third chapter of Elinor Ostrom's Governing the Commons; and (3) something lighter and more fun -- maybe an apocalyptic sci-fi short story about a tiny community trying to get along. What are good options for #3? [more inside]
posted by jhc at 5:35 PM - 10 answers

October 5

Statistics; correlations for a subset of a timeseries of points?

I have a time series of data - number of "detections" per hour, over time. Each of these points also has two attributes associated with it, x and y. I also have a second time series of data which I expect to correlate with that number of detections per hour, but only with detections within certain combinations of those x and y values. I want to find what range of x and y values has the best correlation. [more inside]
posted by Jimbob at 9:43 PM - 6 answers

October 4

Rules of thumb for understanding weather patterns in the US

I want to get a better understanding of how weather works in the northeastern US. With all the talk about Hurricane Joaquin and how "this is different to a regular nor'easter", I've realized that I don't have a good gut-level understanding of basic stuff like which way weather patterns move, what a northeasterly wind means, etc. Happy to get either your explanations, or links to things I can read/watch. [more inside]
posted by une_heure_pleine at 10:10 AM - 9 answers

In search of old growth forest

I'd like to do a short backpacking trip in old growth forest within driving distance of the DC area (4-5 hours or less, ideally). I looked up the locations of old growth stands in adjacent states, but many are quite small, and I'd like to get some recommendations on places I could hike and camp a couple nights. [more inside]
posted by itstheclamsname at 7:07 AM - 5 answers

October 2

Best beginner-level books about a) the universe and b) evolution?

My mother was asking me a bunch of questions about life and the universe the other day - how life got started, how organic molecules first developed, how the universe got started, how big the universe is, how stars form, where elements come from, how many solar systems there are, how planets form, etc. [more inside]
posted by clawsoon at 7:29 AM - 13 answers

September 30

Look into the multicolored light!

I'm looking for information on the psychological and physiological effects on humans of exposure to different colored light or an environment lit only by a single light color. There's a plethora of (poorly sourced) information about things like "color therapy" and (unsubstantiated) claims that "red light makes you angry" but virtually nothing that's backed up by any actual research or explanations of how it works.
posted by Socinus at 7:10 PM - 7 answers

Why did it feel like I was falling off the roof?

I was on a roof today, getting ready to sweep a chimney. I have been chimney sweeping for over a year and have never felt this sensation until today. I was walking normally up to the chimney and when my left foot came down, I had this feeling like my entire leg got heavy for a split second and then there was a falling sensation and I was definitely alarmed and frightened. [more inside]
posted by jkafka at 2:55 PM - 6 answers

Coffee Crashed The Plane?

I remember a plane crash that was caused by coffee spilling onto some cracked material inside a plane...was this real? [more inside]
posted by sillysally at 8:59 AM - 5 answers

September 29

Name that starfish

I went snorkeling near Cancun a few years ago. The instructor brought a starfish to the surface and let me hold it for a moment, and it was a really cool experience. Since then I've been trying to identify its species, but haven't had any luck. [more inside]
posted by possumbrie at 2:05 PM - 3 answers

September 28

My library just had bedbugs. Can I keep checking out books?

I like to check out books from my local library branch every week. This weekend, they were closed, with a sign on the door explaining that they were being treated for bedbugs. I'm not sure why kind of treatment they used. How likely is it that the books are now safe to check out? Should I go buy a book at the bookstore instead?
posted by three_red_balloons at 5:45 PM - 8 answers

Measure for convolutedness of landscape

Is there a measure for the convolutedness of landscape where a grassland would be a low number and someplace like Guilin would be a high number?
posted by strangeguitars at 6:08 AM - 10 answers

September 27

Clear skies somewhere near Baltimore for eclipse tonight?

I am in Baltimore, MD and I really want to watch the lunar eclipse tonight. Unfortunately the weather is supposed to be cloudy and I am really bummed about it. I have access to a car and would be willing to drive somewhere where my chance of seeing the eclipse would be better -- does anyone know of any reliable "cloud cover" maps or any forecasts that can tell me if it's possible to find clear skies within a reasonable driving distance?
posted by capnsue at 11:25 AM - 3 answers

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