Questions in the Science & Nature category.
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August 3

Obsessed with Fireflies

So I am a bit obsessed with fireflies and other bioluminescent creatures. Help me find some experts and gain expertise! [more inside]
posted by cinemafiend at 11:56 AM - 8 answers

July 28

Name That Bug!

What kind of bug is this? [more inside]
posted by anderjen at 2:29 PM - 8 answers

Biographies of Place

I'm looking for suggestions for non-fiction books of an ilk I can only describe as biographies of place; works that strongly evoke a sense of landscape. [more inside]
posted by mingo_clambake at 1:56 PM - 35 answers

July 27

How realistic is The Peripheral?

Specifically, how likely is something like the "jackpot" in Gibson's new book to happen? Spoilers below the fold. [more inside]
posted by Omnomnom at 2:58 PM - 12 answers

July 26

My Milkshake Brings All The Barf To The Yard

What is this (famous?) psychological experiment/demonstration/phenomenon? [more inside]
posted by mattdidthat at 12:06 PM - 8 answers

Awesome minor solar/wind-energy diy projects?

We'll be on holiday with our two just-teen kids in a house on a Spanish island that's off both the water and the electricity grid, but with plenty of sun and wind. What are some cool little projects we could do - without having to ship out complicated gear/components - to own and appreciate the situation, and its potential? Self-built solar cooker? Makeshift wind turbine? Would love suggestions plus pointers to how-to's. [more inside]
posted by progosk at 1:46 AM - 7 answers

July 24

Where on earth do you get pregnant human pee?

I was looking for a good place to buy equine chorionic gonadotropic (eCG) hormone for science reasons today and stumbled across this listing for the more commonly used hCG. It's listed as being sourced from "Human Pregnancy Urine." Where on earth do biomedical companies get enough human pregnancy urine to distill a compound like this? Is there some sort of secret cottage industry of pregnant ladies selling their pee to biotech companies? Where does the pee come from?
posted by sciatrix at 11:18 AM - 4 answers

July 23

NASA just identified an Earth-like planet. What's next?

NASA has identified that Kepler-452b is Earthlike. How do we find out more about Kepler-452b and similar planets? [more inside]
posted by lewedswiver at 11:05 AM - 9 answers

Help me get INTO hot water.

Does running the hot water on full help the hot water reach the faucet more quickly than running a hot/cold water mix? [more inside]
posted by Tehhund at 6:39 AM - 6 answers

July 21

Coastal property purchase in light of recent sea level predictions?

How seriously should I take James Hanson's sea level predictions as I decide where to buy our vacation/retirement home? [more inside]
posted by BigLankyBastard at 12:31 PM - 14 answers

Engineering 101

What is the load on each of these suspension points? [more inside]
posted by Mr.Me at 9:45 AM - 13 answers

July 17

Another Plant ID Post

What the heck is this bush that is popping up ALL OVER my yard? [more inside]
posted by magnetsphere at 1:37 PM - 5 answers

How to shut off the sun?

Hi. When I'm walking around, the sun is unpleasantly bright and hot, which makes me wonder: How much stuff, and what type of stuff, would we have to dump into the sun in order to stop fusion from happening? Or is there no such amount of anything? [more inside]
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 11:16 AM - 18 answers

July 16

What is this thing?

Asking for a tattoo artist. [more inside]
posted by dchrssyr at 1:26 PM - 6 answers

July 15

What portion of the surface of Pluto and Charon will New Horizons map?

For reasons perhaps best understood by wasting way too much time in Kerbal Space Program, the difference in fuel and cost between a flyby and an orbiter can be considerable. As such, NASA's New Horizons craft zipped through the Pluto system at considerable speed, before continuing out into the Edgeworth–Kuiper belt. Will the craft produce high-resolution maps of the complete surfaces of both Pluto and Charon, or will the flyby approach only allow for a portion of the surface of each body to be surveyed?
posted by sindark at 7:32 PM - 5 answers

Faster rate of mutation in bacteria problem in isolated ecosystems?

Spoilers for Kim Stanley Robinson's "Aurora" ahead. So, the story is like this: A multigenerational arkship is on it's way to Tau Ceti, they find their primary target for colonization hostile and discuss whether to move to another planet in the same system, live there in domes while terraforming it. One reason for not doing this is stated thusly: [more inside]
posted by SweetLiesOfBokonon at 6:12 AM - 6 answers

July 14

Where is the secret list of potential US natural disasters?

Inspired by this New Yorker piece, it seems like there ought to be a list of natural disasters that will possibly, probably happen and that we're really not preparing for (like the Yellowstone supervolcano). [more inside]
posted by quadrilaterals at 8:37 AM - 10 answers

July 13

Where does the potential energy go?

So, imagine we have a 100 meter tall tower, a 100 kg weight, and a rocket. Consider the following two, very similar scenarios... [more inside]
posted by CustooFintel at 1:54 PM - 22 answers

July 11

Help me ID a whale skull

Found a good-sized skull off the NC coast and I'd love to know the species. Possible odotoceti/toothed whale? [more inside]
posted by Drosera at 6:04 PM - 2 answers

July 8

Why do tomato plants "give up" branches?

I've grown tomatoes three times now, and have noticed that my tomato plants seem to "give up" certain branches/stems. The affected stems turn yellow and do not flower; if I don't prune them off right away, they eventually turn brittle and snap off the plant easily. [more inside]
posted by aws17576 at 5:51 PM - 3 answers

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