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Questions in the Science & Nature category.
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July 4

Art of Science, Art of Nature
Looking for examples of unexpected, artistic representations of nature [more inside]
posted by Pantalaimon at 6:52 PM - 13 answers

July 3

Math Filter: What is Calculus?
My son would like to know: Is there more to calculus than functions, examples of functions, various formats for presenting functions, and so on? That is, does calculus have unique to it other tools that are not just variations on functions? [more inside]
posted by Michele in California at 12:49 PM - 31 answers

What am I seeing?
Holding a mug close to my face, there is an interesting effect. It's not like other things and I can't duplicate it with other objects. [more inside]
posted by rahnefan at 8:16 AM - 5 answers

July 1

Let's cure sexual dimorphism!
How would scientific folks go about making women biologically around the same size and strength as men? [more inside]
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:14 PM - 32 answers

June 30

Calling all osteologists.
Can you identify what animal this (1, 2, 3) bone is from? It was found washed up on a beach in Rhode Island. [more inside]
posted by geegollygosh at 8:27 AM - 7 answers

June 29

Duck Wars: Is there anything humans can do?
We have two families of ducks on our pond. The older family of six started killing the new babies of the young family of ten. [more inside]
posted by shipbreaker at 11:42 AM - 6 answers

June 27

Mystery mark stains seat! Blue butt print upon the tainted throne!
This morning, I was surprised to see the clear imprint of my wife's butt and thighs in a bluish tone on our white melamine toilet seat. Is the actual chemistry known here, and what should we do to avoid this in the future? [more inside]
posted by anonymous at 10:37 AM - 19 answers

June 26

Learning about artificial intelligence
I'm currently exploring artificial intelligence as a potential field to go into. What books (fiction or nonfiction), films, or resources would you recommend for learning about artificial intelligence, the possibilities of AI, and its future? What should I know? [more inside]
posted by markbao at 4:45 PM - 12 answers

Shiprock, New Mexico and climate change.
This past weekend, we drove through Shiprock, New Mexico and I started wondering how much humans have changed the landscape. Pre-Columbus - what was the landscape like? Was there more water and groundcover - or was it always arid and (almost) desolate?
posted by TorontoSandy at 3:24 PM - 6 answers

June 25

why did so much of Philadelphia smell like gas yesterday?
Yesterday morning it smelled like gas from South Philly though center city and up into Fishtown, but it wasn't actually natural gas. What was it? [more inside]
posted by sepviva at 6:12 PM - 11 answers

Spinach and wolves
In 'The Half-Life of Facts' there's this neat anecdote on the importance of checking data: a guy puts a decimal point in the wrong place and everyone thinks the wrong thing about spinach for decades. But this academic paper makes me wonder - has anyone ever checked the origin of that data? [more inside]
posted by robself at 10:13 AM - 1 answers

June 23

Because, not why
What's the word for when a website's malfunctioning makes you feel trapped and panic-achey in your hands and arms? For example, right now any Google Spreadsheet is stuck "Working..." and I can't get cells to update even though I can type in them. I'm using e-claustrophobia as a working word, but is there another name for this?
posted by michaelh at 8:29 AM - 6 answers

June 22

Where can go to I touch something that's been to the moon?
Where can I go to touch something that has been to the Moon and back? Is such a thing even possible? There must be artifacts spread around the U.S. Where's the nearest one to you (and where are you)?
posted by dws at 9:02 PM - 19 answers

June 21

Air Conditioning Efficiency (Coefficient of Performance) Questions
I have come to understand that a typical modern window or residential-central air conditioner (which I believe is referred to in the industry as a "Direct Expansion" or DX unit) has a coefficient of performance which typically ranges between 3.0 and 3.5. That is to say, for every unit of energy consumed, the air conditioner removes between 3 and 3.5 units of heat from the conditioned space. I have a few questions regarding this, inside. [more inside]
posted by Juffo-Wup at 7:37 PM - 3 answers

SciFiFilter FTL-ish Plausibility Check
In a discussion elsewhere on the internets a twist on a common science fictional transportation technology was proposed. A spaceship leaps from one point in space to another, but while it is instantaneous for the passengers, the transit actually takes some small amount of time longer than light would take to cover the distance (let's say the Planck time). Would the time delay prevent the violation of causality? It appears that everyone is staying in their light cones, what am I missing? [more inside]
posted by Octaviuz at 6:53 PM - 13 answers

June 18

Best college major for addressing climate change?
What kind of skill sets does one need to be of best help to addressing climate change? It would seem like the most obvious choice is to major in environmental science. Otherwise, maybe political science to deal with legislators and capital hill? Or "who cares what you study undergrad" and go to law school?
posted by defmute at 7:40 PM - 26 answers

June 17

What animals are making these vocalizations?
I live in Deerfield, MA, USA. These sounds are coming from a tree across the street. Both the whimpering-pup sounds and the louder squeals/screeches are coming from the same place. Any idea who is making these sounds?
posted by Camofrog at 9:15 PM - 9 answers

Where to get algebraic help?
I am working through the mooculus calculus one mooc as a refresher (which I clearly need), and there is one thing I have run across that I just don't see. Can you help me figure out what is going on, and what I can do to work out future problems? [more inside]
posted by carpographer at 8:01 PM - 5 answers

Can anyone identify this... Thing?
One of the kiddos in my Cousin's class found this: rando nature doodad Data points - she is located in Iowa. She describes it as being squishy and the white bit feels kind of like a hard boiled egg. Any ideas?
posted by sleepykitties at 2:08 PM - 12 answers

Resources to better understand Einstein's Theory of Relativity
I'm seeking recommendations for documentaries or books that offer more than a layman's explanation of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, but don't require advanced studies in astrophysics to comprehend. [more inside]
posted by bkpiano at 12:49 PM - 12 answers

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