Questions in the Science & Nature category.
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August 26

How does one sonic attack?

After revelations that there has been some sort of sonic attack on embassy workers in Cuba causing brain damage and hearing loss - I have to say, what? Is this possible and how? [more inside]
posted by Toddles at 10:21 PM - 9 answers

I Feel So Exposed

Does it matter which direction I park to minimize heat to car? [more inside]
posted by loveandhappiness at 11:54 AM - 3 answers

August 24

Why Does The Mind Do Such Shoddy Detail Work Re: Dream Imagery?

In dreams, any sort of writing appears blurry/squiggly/unreadable. It seems apparent that we lack the cognitive bandwidth to fully populate such data-rich imagery on the fly, so we fudge (and our dream narration finds excuses for it). Other detail fudging occurs in dreams, as well. Might there be anything interesting to discover about cognitive power by testing the parameters of this shortfall, e.g. via lucid dreamers who can consciously evoke given imagery? Also: any speculation as to why the mind does such lousy CGI?
posted by Quisp Lover at 10:31 AM - 20 answers

August 22

What's the best way to magnify an eclipse? With two viewers?

So the eclipse was amazing, and an acquaintance watched it with binoculars and managed to see a solar flare rise up and curve back into the sun at the last second of totality. That sounds amazing and so I want to see awesome(r) things in 2024. What good options do I have for looking at a magnified image of the corona during the totality? [more inside]
posted by sirion at 2:43 PM - 8 answers

August 20

Eclipse: I want to see the sky?

At this moment, I'm sitting in the path of totality in Kansas City. But...clouds! Should I stay or should I go? [more inside]
posted by zachlipton at 10:21 AM - 6 answers

Safe eclipse viewing with 1 year old?

We are traveling to the path of totality as I type! We also have a one year old toddler with us and a debate between his parents: can he safely be outside? [more inside]
posted by aoleary at 8:00 AM - 11 answers

August 19

Is this a bed bug?

Is this a bed bug? Link to flickr album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm38PYM8 It seems to match a lot of descriptions I've found online. Unfortunately I did squish it due to freaking out which apparently doesn't help with ID'ing.
posted by scribbler at 9:03 PM - 12 answers

What are these spherical nest looking things on power lines in Mexico?

I just came back from San Miguel de Allende, where I saw a lot of these round things on power/phone lines. Here is a picture in context. Are they bird nests? Which birds? [more inside]
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:36 PM - 8 answers

August 18

Physical Experiments for Proving/Disproving Simulation Hypothesis

In the novel After On, there's the following phrase: "[a]lthough some people have proposed actual physical experiments to test the Simulation Hypothesis ... ", going on to say we don't have the technology to do it yet (to which the author muses 'by design?'). My Google searches aren't honed enough, and I'm getting too much chaff and not a clear answer. Assuming the proposal of the physical experiments was itself not fictional, can you point me towards a description of the proposed physical experiments?
posted by WCityMike at 7:09 AM - 2 answers

August 17

How real are described experiences to others?

Point me to some research about how well people can understand things that haven't happened to them directly. e.g. If you haven't experienced PMS, how well can you understand and empathize with someone going through PMS? "How well" is pretty hard to quantify, and I don't know what to Google for, so this may be fruitless, but I thought I'd take a shot.
posted by ignignokt at 2:24 PM - 5 answers

Photographing people during the eclipse?

I won't be spending the eclipse snapping away instead of enjoying it, but I'd like to get a quick picture of our family. The eclipse photography guides seem to focus on the sun itself. I have an SLR and a couple of lenses to choose from. [more inside]
posted by wnissen at 12:37 PM - 5 answers

August 16

Chemistry Filter: How did this happen?

I bought my daughter a cheap rubber (?) ball at Michael's a while ago. Last night it ended up wedged up against our cabinets all night. This morning the lacquer seems to have become liquid where it was in contact with the ball. [more inside]
posted by jeffamaphone at 5:50 PM - 3 answers

August 14

Where to find eclipse glasses in Seattle?

I have come to terms with the fact that the eclipse glasses I ordered online are never going to arrive. I am struggling to find them locally (Seattle, WA). Is there anywhere that definitely has some in stock? [more inside]
posted by Behemoth, in no. 302-bis, with the Browning at 7:23 PM - 12 answers

August 12

Can you help identify this large bug?

What is this bug? We are in Newfoundland. It doesn't seem to have antennas (antenni?). Hand for scale. My seven-year-old really wants to know...
posted by Brodiggitty at 1:37 PM - 3 answers

Where to donate to fight climate change?

I'd like to make a donation to some international organization whose main focus is combating climate change. It's ok if they work on other environmental issues as well, but the thing I'm most concerned about is climate change and would like to see the majority of my money spent there. It also should be international, as opposed to US-centric. Does anybody know of some good ones?
posted by destrius at 1:44 AM - 5 answers

August 10

Eclipse Safety

Help me feel safe about looking at the Sun, even though I understand my hardware has been deemed safe. [more inside]
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 3:40 PM - 7 answers

August 9

Help me see the eclipse in and/or near Columbia, South Carolina!

Driving down Monday morning from Charlotte into the PATH OF TOTALITY, and don't have a real plan. Want to avoid as much traffic as possible, and make sure we have a clear viewing site. Could be a field or a parking lot. Send me your suggestions! [more inside]
posted by knownassociate at 7:13 AM - 12 answers

August 8

A buttercup plant: Japanese library edition. Tell me more, please.

Record 1,000,000,000 (one billion) in OCLC's WorldCat is a plant in the buttercup family. The original entry in Chiba University repository is (both Japanese and English versions) mostly in Japanese, which unfortunately I don't speak. Struggling with Google Translate. Can you provide more information in English on this particular plant and/or catalog entry?
posted by Wordshore at 9:12 AM - 6 answers

August 7

The (false) belief that climate change causes weather

Weather is local, climate change is global. The former cannot be attributed to the latter. This is what I've always believed because it's what I remember hearing climatologists say. Meanwhile, newspapers and news channels again and again attribute extreme weather to climate change. Either I'm wrong or they're wrong. [more inside]
posted by BadgerDoctor at 5:06 PM - 22 answers

August 6

Recommendations for books about 40 year old space probes

After the recent wonderful NYT article on the ageing scientists and engineers of the two Voyagers, still silently transmitting from outside the heliosphere ( the Voyagers, not the engineers), I wonder whether I could get some recommendations on literature about the probes' journey and discoveries.
posted by fordiebianco at 11:19 PM - 5 answers

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