I'm presently reading a (post?)cyberpunk novel, Richard K Morgan's Broken Angels. Like William Gibson's Count Zero and others in the genre, voodoo, its practitioners, and its beliefs are an element of the plot and setting. I haven't got the faintest idea about the religion, not even what its proper name is. What should I read / watch to remedy this? [more inside]
I have an abiding interest in obscure and small-press feminist and queer science fiction. I also have a collection of such material and some knowledge about it. How best to share this with the world? [more inside]
I'm trying to get a list of things (equations, theories, etc) we know about poker or gambling in general in terms of scientific or mathematic principles. It can't just be game theory. it's got to be specific aspects of it. And I mean ANY aspects of it. Hot hands. Beginner's luck. Inside straights.
Multiple times in the past few years I’ve baked cakes from scratch that haven’t risen, and two dutch babies that probably reached a cumulative total height of 6 millimeters. Baking powder doesn't seem to be the issue. Box mixes do fine. I’m at sea level. Controls and variables within… [more inside]
I have been told to lead a nature walk & workshop for a Girl Scout event that has a "magic" theme. This will be in the Pacific Northwest in a coniferous-riparian setting, and these are 7-17 year old girls. Yeah, I know. that's a broad range of ages. That's why I need your help. I'm a botanist. EVERYTHING sciency and outside is magical to me, so I'm hoping to make a list of very quick (<5 minute) demos with things found outside that have a big impact or are somehow surprising to a non-science audience. I'd like to avoid the pointing-and-telling kind of nature activity - I want these concepts to show themselves off somehow. Apparently I'll be doing this multiple times throughout the year so seasonality doesn't matter. [more inside]
Should I go for a degree in Industrial Design or Mechanical Engineering? [more inside]
Can you help me come up with some bird-related experiments or projects for six-year-olds that teach a simple version of the scientific method? [more inside]
Do you have a degree in food science or are you a non-degree professional in that field? I'd like to hear about your experience in the industry. [more inside]
I am looking for nonfiction books that deal with stories of people who have lost (or gained) their sight/hearing/sense of smell, etc. Also books about people who have dealt with memory loss or other neurological problems. [more inside]
My nephew has a birthday coming up. This year he's really in to outer space (from the horse's mouth; really includes most space related things). Please help me find this year's birthday present. [more inside]
Can you recommend either a good homeschooling science curriculum for K-1st grade, and/or an experiments that work well for 6 year olds, and/or advice on devising an ongoing science course for kids that age? [more inside]
How can a person not affiliated with a higher learning institution publish ideas of a more abstract nature, but also rooted in reality and science ? Are there any reputable journals that straddle the line between speculative fiction, futurism, philosophy and science that would publish an article from someone yet unpublished in the academic world? I'm not sure what I should google for, that's why I'm asking here. I have some ideas and would like to write an essay.
Open to fiction and nonfiction; books, documentaries, podcast episodes, news articles, etc. Nothing that puts me to sleep, please. Would prefer newer works informed by the latest science and works that are more personal, emotional, and detailed, rather than removed, dry, and general. Also, while I realize anterograde amnesia is much more common, I'm really only interested in retrograde amnesia. What caused the RA does not matter.
Today I had to have the uncomfortable discussion with my 5th grade daughter about "why there aren't more girls on the Science Bowl team." Apparently, there are 5 girls out of 16 competitively awarded spots. A couple of years ago, we had the exact same discussion about TAG math-- she wanted to drop out because she was the only girl in her group. [more inside]
My PhD supervisor is getting a new job. I want to move with him, but the new university doesn’t seem as good as my current one. It is decidedly weaker in my field and much less well-known overall. I am not sure whether I should go to the new university, stay at the current one, or try to graduate from my current university while also working with my current supervisor. [more inside]
Who are some people you guys read who think about the issues in an intelligent way and are unafraid to make a contrarian argument when it makes sense to do so? [more inside]
I'm looking to diversify the Twitter feeds that I follow (out with sports, in with other subjects), so I'm looking for good Twitter feeds by people/publications in the humanities fields, popular science and/or the media. If you can add a bit about why a particular feed is worth following, so much the better. Thanks!
(asking for a friend) I'm writing a novel - a thriller - set principally in the Antarctic in WWII which takes the idea of the development of a biological weapon as its premise. What I need is an insight into a suitably nasty bacteria or virus that could have been developed into a weaponisable form; something that the British might have been working on towards the end of WWI; and something that could have been resurrected again in 1943 as a back-stop to deal with two possible scenarios. [more inside]
(asking for an author pal!) This scifi writer wonders: If electromagnetic waves were linked to cancer, what systems (electronic/political/social) would be impacted, and how? [more inside]
I'm a grad student and lucky to have people I work with who are often thinking about my future and putting me in touch with people who might be able to offer me good advice. I'm never sure how to respectfully handle these introductions. [more inside]
I love the book Expecting Better by Emily Oster, and I want to find more nonfiction in that style (doesn't need to be the same subject). Basically research based/centered while giving the reader room to make their own decisions. [more inside]
Dear The Internets: I have had this shiny odd-shaped thing on my desk for over a decade now. People often ask me what it is. I have no answer. No one else has been able to figure it out either. Can you help me? Sincerely, frogs. [more inside]
I've flip flopped on what I want to go to school for and/or what kind of career track I want to aim for. Can you help? [more inside]
I've got the chance to run a fun, whimsical sort of D&D adventure for a friend of mine. Yay! She's a bit of a science/math geek, and very fond of The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. So I was trying to think of fun, whimsical science and math jokes and references I could slip in to a sort of 'journey with sights along the way' in the style of TPT. [more inside]
I've enjoyed Tim Ferriss, Bulletproof Radio, Extreme Health Podcast and ReWild Yourself with Daniel Vitalis. What are some other good podcasts that address innovative/cutting edge health & science stuff? A little woo is OK.
I had an entry-level science communications role in quasi-academia. Due to funding cuts I was let go, and fell into a job as a tech writer. But I strongly prefer my previous role and would like to advance in that career path. How do I do this? Career details inside. [more inside]
So we just got a surprise shipment that contained about ten pounds of dry ice. I know there's all sorts of fun that can be had, but I'm unclear on the extents of said fun. Something science-y, or just cool looking, or...? [more inside]
I am an anthropologist-in-training who spends time in living with a community with a strong medicine-man institution. The medicine-men claim to see various sorts of spirits, and often in very casual settings, like during walks in the forest or while sitting in the house. They'll say stuff like, "there's one sitting right there. It's red with hair on top." I want to know - is there a scientifically compelling way to investigate whether they actually "see" spirits? [more inside]
I am travelling to meet my favorite science fiction author at a convention, but I haven't done this before. What do? [more inside]
I applied to intern/assist at a number of research labs under the same university, and unexpectedly received multiple positive replies asking to meet in person. I don't think each professor knows I applied to other professors at the same university at this point, but they probably all know each other. How do I handle this properly and politely? (I don't want to offend anyone...) Help! (Longer explanation inside.) [more inside]
I have a small black eyepiece from my dad's old chemistry set. Its purpose was to teach about isotopes by showing a visual example of radioactive decay. Any clues or knowledge of what the element inside is? Links to original documentation or similar sets? (Bonus question: This set is from the "our friend the atom" era, so, is it actually safe? I hope putting it up to my eye isn't like licking a radium covered paintbrush.) [more inside]
I'm looking for examples of well-designed scientific figures. As a materials scientist I've encountered many horrendous figures that are difficult to understand and read. I've read about collaborations between graphic design and physical science departments, which yield much more attractive and informative figures, but these examples are few and far between. I'm hoping to apply principles from good graphic design and data visualization to my own work. Are there any resources or websites where I can learn more about this?
I am thinking that I might want to learn German as a language of beer and cheese for career advancement. Good choice? Should I take a class or set out on my own? [more inside]
I'm looking to redesign my personal research site and I'm thinking to use a blogging platform such as WordPress; however, I can't seem to find any good, clean and modern templates. In particular, I would like to add sections for my publications, recent news, scripts I have written, and my upcoming talks / presentations. Does anyone have suggestions for a robust platform and any themes that I could use for the site? Thanks!
My son has mostly outgrown Lego but still loves building things from instructions. Challenging things. What are some building kits I could get for him? [more inside]
How would you test whether the affinity of a tetramer for a particular ligand proceeds stepwise, i.e. assuming that the tetramer can bind one ligand per subunit, how would you test whether an initial binding event made subsequent binding events on the same tetramer more likely? I can't think of a good way to isolate a single molecule in solution, so any experiments would have to be on a aggregate population which would make stepwise cascades in affinity impossible to measure. Maybe if the measurement was really really time sensitive? Thoughts?
I've really enjoyed watching some of JPL's von Karman lecture series on YouTube. I'd really like to have more good quality stuff to watch online about solar system exploration - "good quality" meaning probably lectures and even rather technical ones, but not the slick, graphics-heavy, ominous voiceover discovery-channel sort of stuff (and definitely not the endless PROOF OF ALIEN LIFE ON TITAN stuff that makes searching for the good stuff so difficult). Any recommendations?
I am trying to think of the title/author of a science fiction story I read and loved from a couple of decades ago... [more inside]
How do I co-author a book? How do I make a contract with the other author? [more inside]
I'm a young professor working in an interesting but crowded field. The main reason I got into academia is that I love communicating ideas. I also tend to have a stream of side projects, some of which are too small or vague to merit a research paper. And I like writing. So I was thinking of starting a blog of sorts... [more inside]
My fiancee is considering a career change and is looking at options in the vet tech field. It seems like there are plenty of job opportunities where we live (Toronto) but not a lot of reliable information about salary, working conditions, etc. compared to info from the US. [more inside]
Dear hivemind: I'm going to bring a 300X video microscope to my daughter's preschool. What easily obtainable substances will be super cool to view? Bacteria are too small, red blood cells are a biohazard. Toddlers could care less about onion skins, cork, and plant vasculature in my experience, and I am not doing anything that requires fixing/staining. [more inside]
I'm looking for a giant book of life on earth for a kid. A book with real pictures (not drawings) that highlights the biodiversity of the earth. A book with 400+ pages that would have pictures of things like the dragon blood tree, the jewel caterpillar, the banyan tree, the cashew tree, the iridescent sky blue Hoplia coerulea. Not just pigs, zebras, and lions. And not anything framed as "weird!" If there was an updated version of the Illustrated Wildlife Treasury Cards, that would be fantastic and ideal. But I don't see such a thing, so a book will have to do. Any suggestions?
Good sources for science trivia? [more inside]
What can I do to turn a play room into an awesome laboratory for a six-year-old? [more inside]
I am trying to find a science fiction story which I read in the late 50s to early 60s. It featured a group of boys in a far future who attend an educational event in an auditorium where they witness a ceremonial ritual involving a group of Viking or Viking warriors and a religious specialist or shaman or priest in a sort of transtemporal portal enclosed by a bubble forcefield. [more inside]
My friends and I are having a disagreement. One friend says that if he hypothetically accumulated a "vial" full of black widow venom and injected it into himself that he would die instantly. I think that it would be horribly painful and not instant. Can anyone science me a real answer? No people or spiders will be harmed by this question.
I'm trying to remember a books series I read when I was a kid. It was a post-apocalyptic sci-fi YA series (at least four or five books I think) aimed at a Christian audience. [more inside]
I'm looking for more science fiction to read, along the lines of The Martian or Seveneves, where solving engineering challenges is a major part of the story. Lots of technical detail is good.
If I greatly enjoyed Ted Chiang's "Understand", Lucy, Flowers for Algernon and Limitless, what other works along the same "superintelligence", "hyperbrain" or "gifted with superhuman intelligence amongst a world of normal people" theme would I enjoy? [more inside]