I’m an undergraduate chemical engineering student about graduate next semester, trying to figure out what to do next. I’ve always been interested in global development issues, and I wanted to get ideas on how I could get involved in this area, possibly using my background in science/technology in a useful way. [more inside]
posted by strekker
on Dec 9, 2013 -
We have a spare room that we're turning into an Arts & Science room for the kids (13 year old girl and 8 year old boy). It's in a walk-out basement with a painted concrete floor and a window. We have some ideas but little knowledge in how to setup a room for them to create and explore. We have a cheap beginner's chemistry set, some art and craft supplies, and...that's about it. What ideas can we implement with the little expertise and money we have? [more inside]
posted by medarby
on Nov 21, 2013 -
You know how you can just remember a few details about some subject from your youth, and it's going to bother you until you can reveal the full scope of that memory? Yeah, I'm right there. I'm looking for a series of books. They were in the SF/F section in the 1980s. They were probably popular because their covers resembled Frazetta prints, and they tended to be really violent (i.e. jumping on the popularity of Conan). [more inside]
posted by thanotopsis
on Nov 19, 2013 -
My soon-to-be-17-year-old niece is interested in pursuing forensic science as a career. What are the best books on the subject that would both entertain and inform her? Fiction and non-fiction suggestions are welcome.
posted by Paris Elk
on Nov 16, 2013 -
Is there somewhere I can buy old episodes of Nature
, like from 1998? It seems like you can only find recent episodes online, from 2008 at the earliest. Any leads would be greatly appreciated! Even transcripts would be helpful. [more inside]
posted by lemoncakeisalie
on Nov 13, 2013 -
Scientist interested in transitioning from the lab into a legal advisory position. Advice? Cautionary tales? [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Nov 8, 2013 -
I have a large road case (2.5 / 2.5 / 3 feet) that I need to weigh. It is too big to fit on one scale. Would it work to place one scale under each of the 4 wheels and average the 4 weight readings? My physics-fu is not strong enough to figure this one out on my own. Help!
posted by TheCoug
on Nov 4, 2013 -
This Halloween I did some Halloween candy science experiments
with my nieces and nephew. One of the experiments we didn't get to do (but soon will) is: Pouring Pop Rocks into a bottle of pop will make all that pent-up carbon dioxide escape but not fizz over. If you put the rocks into a balloon, then fit the balloon over the bottle's mouth and let the rocks fall in, it inflates the balloon with carbon dioxide. But what can I do with a balloon full of carbon dioxide? ...Is it a stupid idea to inhale it to see if I get a funny voice? [more inside]
posted by Jacob Knitig
on Nov 3, 2013 -
Researching the human heart for an essay. The real heart. not the metaphorical one. I'm having trouble finding interesting articles online that go beyond 10 FACTS ABOUT THE HEART-type-things that get repetitive. I have already done a good bit of research into transplant history and fetal heart development, and I have a story about NASA growing cardiac cells in a bioreactor.
But I still need more! Can you either tell me interesting true stuff or link me to it?
posted by mermaidcafe
on Oct 29, 2013 -
What are some contributions that Canadians have made to meteorology as a science? I'm looking for technologies, theories, whatever you can come up with. Even Canadians that were involved in the development of something to do with a technology or meteorological finding. I've spent most of my evening on Google with little success, yet I'm required to teach this to my students.
posted by sarae
on Oct 16, 2013 -
Say someone broke into your house and dripped some blood on the carpet. What does the forensics guy do with it? How long would the tests take? And what information could be gleaned from it? [more inside]
posted by hishtafel
on Oct 11, 2013 -
What are some good, persuasive (and good natured) ways to respond to folk who have zero faith in the scientific method but who happily follow every scam and pseudo-scientific nonsense that cross their path? [more inside]
posted by newfers
on Oct 11, 2013 -
How do you describe the basic concepts of a difficult subject you know a lot about that makes it "click" for a beginner? [more inside]
posted by reenum
on Oct 11, 2013 -
There's a song Mike & the bots half-coherently sing a couple of times in Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode 519 "Outlaw of Gor." What is it? [more inside]
posted by prize bull octorok
on Oct 4, 2013 -
What is "electric potential"? I've dug through the internet, gone to tutoring, asked my teacher, and nothing has helped. [more inside]
posted by runcibleshaw
on Oct 3, 2013 -
Can you help my friend identify this scifi short story about aliens and a shield around the earth? [more inside]
posted by mediareport
on Oct 2, 2013 -
I'm slightly obsessed with well-put-together science-y treatments like those done by XKCD's "What If" and ASAPScience. Given this obsession, where are other places I might be able to get my fix? :)
(Note: Video is fun, but I'm not opposed to reading, either!) [more inside]
posted by rinogo
on Sep 26, 2013 -
I recently saw a great animated piece expressing exasperation (that I share) with the anti-vaccine, pro-feelgood-pseudoscience crowd. It was from Australia or New Zealand (maybe somewhere in the UK?), it rhymed, it was clever and stylized in a way I want to reference to an artist friend. Ringing any bells for anyone, or have the vaccines rotted your brains, too?
posted by windowbr8r
on Sep 19, 2013 -
My original proposed topic for a publication I'm writing in was about printing organs and bone marrow but it may be rejected because someone else proposed the same idea. I'm currently brainstorming ideas before tomorrow. Currently I'm thinking of writing of genetically engineered humans. Any other ideas?
posted by JYuanZ
on Sep 17, 2013 -
This seems like it ought to be a simple question but I'm not finding the answer myself. Someone here must already know. I would like to buy sheets of printable adhesive labels suitable for sticking on 1.5ml/2.0ml microcentrifuge tubes. Ideally I would like both dots for the caps and little rectangles for the sides. They don't need to be able to stand up to particularly tough conditions, except that they shouldn't run if they get wet. Also, they should be cheap as I am a grad student and would be buying them out of my own pocket. I am just sick of writing the same teeny tiny letters over and over and over again with an ultrafine Sharpie. Can somebody here point me to a product that I can buy that would suit my needs? [more inside]
posted by Scientist
on Sep 17, 2013 -
So my nephew is turning 7 in a few weeks. We live at quite a distance from each other, but have good contact via FaceTime, etc. im flying up to be at his birthday and want to get Hume THE BEST PRESENT EVER! He's very into science, and has said that he wants to win the Nobel prize when he gets older. So... I need advice on the best thing he could ever want. Steer me in the right direction!
posted by grimley
on Sep 15, 2013 -
How likely is it that fire (as in open flame) will exist on extra-solar planets? [more inside]
posted by quin
on Sep 13, 2013 -
I graduated with a biochem PhD a month or so ago. As is common practice at my institution - my thesis advisor offered me a few months of additional funding to finish up some papers while I hunt for industry jobs. Formally, I now have a post-doc appointment and salary, but I'm not actually taking on any new projects or doing any new science, nor do I have funding to stay her for more than another month or two. How should this look on my resume? I'm only applying to industry positions, not to academic positions or proper post-docs. [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Sep 9, 2013 -
Imagine you're allowed to give a nobel prize for five of the most seminal books of the past 50-60 years in whatever field you're interested and/or invested in. What would they be?
The Nobel is usually given out to applied research and application and theory is eschewed. In this case you can give it to theoretical works as well. [more inside]
posted by RapcityinBlue
on Sep 6, 2013 -
My friends and I are having a nearly friendly debate about the effects of superhydrophobic coatings on various items, and we've decided to look here for more input. [more inside]
posted by TomMelee
on Sep 5, 2013 -
What are some health tips you've recently heard that surprised you? I'm making a list, aiming to get one that corresponds to each body part. For example, for the eyes- wearing blue-tinted sunglasses when on the computer at night to have less exposure to light and therefore better sleep. Any ideas?
posted by three_red_balloons
on Aug 29, 2013 -
I'm a grad student in the sciences, going into my (mumble) year. I've been assigned an incoming grad student to show the ropes. Great! What the hell do I do? [more inside]
posted by kagredon
on Aug 20, 2013 -
What do scientists currently understand about depression? How, broadly, is this problem formulated as a subject of study? What are various scientists' opinions on the existing treatments, such as medical versus nonmedical approaches? What is the degree of consensus on these various issues, e.g. different schools of thought? What areas or aspects of it are still being poorly addressed? [more inside]
posted by polymodus
on Aug 20, 2013 -
What software/websites would you recommend to help a team of not more than a dozen individuals at different sites manage a collaborative project? [more inside]
posted by docgonzo
on Aug 19, 2013 -
There is a concept I remember reading about but can't remember the name of, and none of my flailing Google searches are coming up with anything. Basically it's the concept of... repeatability? Our assumption that the laws of physics remain constant? The notion that if something occurs once, that given the same circumstances it will happen again, eg every time you add vinegar to baking soda it will foam up and after repeating things enough times we can assume that it will always happen- it won't suddenly burst into flames or turn into a radio or whatever. I remember reading that this assumption is both what science is based on and something we can never know for sure, since all it takes is one instance of flammable baking soda and vinegar to disprove it and maybe that'll happen tomorrow. I'm also not 100% sure this is a real scientific concept and not something I read in science fiction. :[
posted by insufficient data
on Aug 17, 2013 -
Most machines are very predictable when in motion- their movement can be graphed in terms of speed, acceleration and jerk quite easily. Generally, the graph flattens out when you get to jerk. Can the same be done with humans? Or are our movements chaotic at a fundamental level? I know that ultimately we exert motion through force (=ma) but is it possible for us to increase the rate at which we increase the rate of force, and even increase the rate of that? Would we be able to register anything on the graph of m/s5? [more inside]
posted by Greener_pastures
on Aug 15, 2013 -
I'm looking for two books, one biology, one chemistry. They are related to GCSE, they say that on the front of the books, but I don't know if they're licensed. One has a green cover, one has a blue cover, but they both have pictures on the front. The good thing about these books is that they explain scientific concepts through diagrams in one-pagers, which are conveniently in both Chinese and English. Help me find these books? [more inside]
posted by sarae
on Aug 14, 2013 -
I'm working on a new book and I need to name a genome. I can't handwave it-- while the book is SF, I don't want people in the know to be able to look at it like people look at Law & Order address (ie, nobody from New York would ever think that's a real address. Nobody in science would ever think that's a real genome.) [more inside]
posted by headspace
on Aug 14, 2013 -
I work at a Museum and we are about to roll out a new staffing model for our part time staff. Essentially a "career ladder", the program will have four stages of progression starting with general skills (everyone in this stage can float around the Museum providing customer service, essentially). The three subsequent stages add increased specialization, training and skills (employees in stage 4 can lead teach programs like camp, for example). We have a pretty young staff, and are generally a hands-on STEAM (science technology engineering art and math) focused institution. We're looking for creative names for the stages that are descriptive without being too silly. Any thoughts? [more inside]
posted by leastlikelycowgirl
on Aug 13, 2013 -
We're honeymooning in New Zealand in mid-November this year. We have 11.5 days between our flight landing in Auckland on a Monday (early early in the morning), and our flight departing from Christchurch on a Friday (mid-afternoon). Help us plan an itinerary! [more inside]
posted by aabbbiee
on Aug 9, 2013 -
What are the pros/cons of using a 1.5 Tesla MRI machine vs. 3.0 Tesla MRI machine for imaging the brain, from both the patient's perspective and imaging perspective? [more inside]
posted by OTA
on Aug 8, 2013 -
I recently really enjoyed Max Brooks' World War Z
and Daniel H. Wilson's Robocalypse
. What other books might I also enjoy? [more inside]
posted by alby
on Aug 6, 2013 -
I'm a research scientist and I sometimes give presentations. Presentations are unique because, while they aren't the most important part of my work, there is a built-in deadline. I can only work on them until the presentation time, and then I won't get another chance to redo that particular presentation. Most other things I can work on until they are done in the order of what is most important. But giving a good presentation is still pretty important. So when I have a presentation coming up it is hard to decide what to work on first. If I work mainly on the presentation then I feel like I am postponing my important regular research, which isn't great. If I work mainly on the research, then I feel like I am resigning myself to giving a more mediocre presentation, which isn't great either—it makes it less likely that people will understand the work and isn't good for my reputation generally. If I try to switch back and forth I lose concentration and energy due to the difficulty of context switching. Do you have suggestions for how to set priorities in this scenario or what has worked for you?
posted by grouse
on Aug 4, 2013 -
I want to write an article explaining where to find scientific information and how to evaluate scientific research. Which quality sources and articles would you recommend that I recommend?
Please suggest material that has helped you become a better researcher. Which resources have helped you weed out the pseudoscience and poor quality information? How do you determine which journals have a high standard and which are either predatory or providers of disinformation? Which forums and communities do you use when working on problems above your knowledge paygrade?
If you were to design an ideal skeptic's handbook for finding and evaluating research, what would you add?
posted by Knigel
on Aug 2, 2013 -
I am looking for books where master scientists or engineers describe their philosophy of the field they are working in or/and treat semi-technical topics in a playful, essayistic manner. Examples inside. [more inside]
posted by jarekr
on Aug 1, 2013 -
I've just finished a few months of fieldwork and my thoughts are turning to how I might make the next expedition go more smoothly and comfortably than the last. I have realized that I really need a separate bag for field gear -- for camera equipment, dissection tools, chemicals, etc. I think I know what sort of thing I'm after, but I don't know how to find it. [more inside]
posted by Scientist
on Jul 17, 2013 -
K, so I've found out through researching this that the water can come out at 200mph, but does anyone know how much pressure the water comes out at?
(I've done a fair amount of research on it, but have only found the 200mph bit out. Was hoping I might get some help from the hive.)
posted by sockpim
on Jul 15, 2013 -
We've had PG&E SmartMeters installed at our building for awhile, and our landlord is very concerned about the health risks and surveillance risks he believes they pose. He's sent us a bunch of "literature" to read and it all reads like wackadoodle conspiracy theories with no basis in science, as does everything else I've found online. As easy as it is to just roll my eyes and dismiss his concerns, I feel like I should make a good faith attempt to discover if there's really anything to be concerned about. Are there any good, reality-based reasons to be anti-SmartMeter? Any science-based studies from reliable sources on their safety? Any well-thought-out articles on the subject that don't include the phrases "molecular earthquakes" or "like hundreds of cell phones being on at the same time"? Help a skeptic out!
posted by rhiannonstone
on Jul 14, 2013 -
This is one I likely encountered in the 80's so my memory is foggy here. Most likely in some anthology or maybe even a magazine like Omni. I think it was by a major writer. Salient memories inside: [more inside]
posted by sourwookie
on Jul 10, 2013 -
Somewhere in the last two to five years, I read about a study where a group of women (I believe the women were Asian, possibly Vietnamese or Thai) were given meals that were: (1) either beautifully and colorfully presented, or (2) pureed into a gray mush. The meals had exactly the same nutritional content, but the women receiving the colorful meal absorbed more nutrients.
But I can't find any articles or the study itself. I've been Googling up a storm and still nothin'. Anyone remember this, or articles about this? Help me please?
posted by amoeba
on Jul 10, 2013 -
I'm trying to remember the name and author fo a sci-fi novel that predicted the idea of Google glasses and their impact on society. I can clearly remember one of the characters, a youung person, complaining that all these old people had these glasses that recorded everything that happened around them and could send that data directly to the police. It was kind of an Orwellian Big Brother feel to society. You were always being watched, recorded, reported, etc. I was reminded again about this after reading an article on NPR about the first police arrest recorded on Google Glass
. Does anyone else remember this book or the author? Thanks in advance for the help.
posted by corwalch
on Jul 9, 2013 -