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It all started with a joke about Sodium, but I said Na.

So I posted one simple chemistry joke to Facebook for my friends, and they loved it - but now they want more. Give me some science jokes! [more inside]
posted by matty on Apr 21, 2014 - 56 answers

To read aloud, that is what I need.

I have an odd job interview coming up. I need advise on a children's book to read to a grown up audience and a two minute poem or "fun" monologue to recite. I think it'd be best if these related to the joy of learning or science. For the book, I might just read part of "Corduroy" because its beautiful and sweet, but what about the other requirement? [more inside]
posted by stormygrey on Apr 21, 2014 - 21 answers

How do I find out more about being a doctor for the CDC?

I want to work for the CDC after med school and residency, but I don't know how to show people (particularly med school adcoms) just how serious I am about this. I'm applying to med schools this cycle and want to mention my CDC aspirations, but am afraid that doing so might inadvertently hurt my application because I have no experience with the CDC. [more inside]
posted by acthelight on Apr 16, 2014 - 13 answers

Knock knock, what was that book?

Please help me find a mystery book from my childhood. I am stumped. It would have been in the mid 70s, probably between 1974-77. I think it was science/nature-related book that may have been one of a series. What I remember is a hard-cover book, and on the back inside cover there was mounted a round plastic disk with an arrow inside, sort of like a compass. It was visible though holes in the pages and front cover. There were questions with multiple choices on each page, and you would close the book and knock on the cover a certain number of times to make the needle point to the correct answer on a corresponding page. That sounds crazy even as I type it, but if someone could find this book (or even corroborate my memory) I would be eternally grateful.
posted by mefireader on Apr 14, 2014 - 2 answers

To patent or not to patent, and if so when?

I am a research student who may have inadvertently invented something commercializable. What do I do now? [more inside]
posted by cestlavie on Apr 7, 2014 - 13 answers

Calling all chem- physics- and math-philes!

For the grad-level education I want, I need an understanding of chemistry, physics, and calculus at a minimum. I have a BA in a tangentially related field (or will in a couple months). What are the best resources for learning these subjects without spending even more time/money on tuition? [more inside]
posted by Urban Winter on Apr 4, 2014 - 10 answers

Seeking info about theories on extraterrestrial evolution and life forms

I'm looking for academic papers (but also stories, movies, news articles, or anything else!) that talk about this: most of the ideas we come up with about alien life involves those aliens being carbon-based lifeforms with eyes of some sort and internal organs and appendages. But where are the other, more wild (and probably likely) ideas? [more inside]
posted by reductiondesign on Apr 2, 2014 - 12 answers

Retro educational short about bees made by a Christian college.

On late night tv earlier this month I saw a 50s or 60s educational documentary about bees that was made in affiliation with a christian college in America. And it was hilarious. The first half was sort of straight-forward science about how bees work, and then toward the end it takes this turn about how we should all follow the old testament which would make us happy and productive like bees. And now I can't remember the name of the film company (which was named after the college) which apparently did many such educational shorts in that time (either 50s or 60s I don't remember which). Does this ring any bells with anyone?
posted by supercrayon on Mar 30, 2014 - 3 answers

*shakes fist at Elsevier*

I'm heading into the Army for OCS in August, but I'm still very interested in keeping current on science and the current research papers. I've devised a contrivance to keep myself plugged in and reading - a personal blog where I summarize the papers that interest me, more simply to give me a place and a reason to do it. [more inside]
posted by Punkey on Mar 23, 2014 - 10 answers

PhD-level conservation careers for maximum real-world impact

I'm in a PhD program pursuing a degree in conservation biology. When I finish (and possibly after completing a postdoc or two) I'd like to end up in a job where I can maximize my real-world conservation impact. I'd like to hear some suggestions on how I can do that; lots more detail to be found inside, as well as my reasoning on the subject so far. [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Mar 18, 2014 - 5 answers

Fun experiments with an electronics kit for a 7 year old

I would love some suggestions for science experiments with the Cambridge BrainBox electronics kit. [more inside]
posted by snarfois on Mar 7, 2014 - 7 answers

Is this science or a sort of engineering? How do I learn more about it?

My ignorance of science and engineering concepts, procedures, and methods of calculation is holding me back from tackling a whole mess of fun stuff. But what fields am I even interested in, and how can I learn more? Where do I begin? [more inside]
posted by rue72 on Mar 4, 2014 - 11 answers

Your Theoretical Minimum

Inspired by this post on the blue, I'm interested in the most condensed and most up-to-date overview of everything in your field. [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Feb 28, 2014 - 3 answers

Help me better describe dynamic scientific processes in general terms

I'm looking for scientific or mathematical examples, ideas, which could rightly refer to the imagined class of dynamic systems I'm trying to describe. [more inside]
posted by xtian on Feb 25, 2014 - 8 answers

More podcasts like "Rationally Speaking"

I enjoy the Rationally Speaking podcast. Are there any similar podcasts, not necessarily featuring "special guests," which feature discussions on philosophy, science, and ethics?
posted by Triumphant Muzak on Feb 24, 2014 - 6 answers

Help me find some new books to love.

I am looking for something in the area of science biography. Particularly, I enjoy reading about the inner lives of great minds. I'm not really interested in gossipy type info, but more about the personal growth and development of the scientist him/herself that paralleled their work. [more inside]
posted by JanewayJunior on Feb 22, 2014 - 18 answers

What is a good introduction to evolutionary psychology?

I'm looking for a book or other resource to serve as an introduction to evolutionary psychology out of personal interest. I know that there is a lot of pseudo-science out there under this banner - so I'm only interested in resources that are well referenced. Does anyone have any suggestions?
posted by casebash on Feb 19, 2014 - 9 answers

Help me amaze first graders with a story & demo about states of matter!

My daughter is in first grade, and her class is studying solids, liquids, and gases. I want to come in and do some related fun science demo to engage and amuse them. Bonus points if I can somehow tie it into a short children's book, so I can read the book first and then conduct a themed experiment based on the story. They have likely seen some of the basic common science demonstrations, but I am open to anything if it works with a story. It also needs to be educational, safe and relatively inexpensive (Under $50 or so, so dry ice is fine, gallium spoons not so much). I work at a research university, but on the social science side, but can probably hit up medical researchers for equipment, if it would help. Any ideas are appreciated, especially with suggestions for books as well!
posted by blahblahblah on Feb 16, 2014 - 15 answers

How to know your qual research pre-test interview was a success?

Hello, qualitative researchers! I'm doing a qualitative research project. i have a series of interview questions i wanted to ask some people. to make sure the questions were good, i asked them to my pre-test subject. the questions seemed clear and their responses seemed interesting. but is there some more scientific way of saying (or deciding) "Yup, seems good."? I need to write in my thesis how i came to the conclusion that the pre-test was successful. I can see how this would be easy(or more precise) in quantitative research, but i don't have any numbers. How do you do this? And how do you word it? Thank you!
posted by andreapandrea on Feb 9, 2014 - 5 answers

Name this recent literary science fiction book!

Name this Science Fiction book! Recently translated to english from a european language (german?) out in hardcover. Protagonist is an italian woman living in a post catastrophe europe. Primary plot mover is time-travel/many worlds machine. She travels back to the middle ages and engages with a philosopher/academic/monastic (after getting burned at the stake on at least one attempt) [more inside]
posted by leotrotsky on Feb 7, 2014 - 5 answers

Making a Rube Goldberg Setup in the Classroom

I want to create a Rube Goldberg machine (or something like it) with my students. I am not the best at teaching hands-on stuff/doing experiments and things that involve design, so I am looking for help and suggestions. [more inside]
posted by gursky on Feb 6, 2014 - 10 answers

Fighting anti-science scaremongering, Upworthy-style

I'm looking for links to pithy and readily engaging videos and/or infographics that present positive, optimistic, even inspiring, pro-science perspectives on any topic or area of controversy in which otherwise intelligent, well-meaning people might find themselves unwittingly supporting unscientific, pseudo-scientific, anti-scientific or technophobic viewpoints -- e.g. defenses of GMOs, vaccines, and "conventional" medicine, and educating against the naturalism fallacy and scare-mongering against "artificial chemicals," and psychiatric medication, etc. [more inside]
posted by patnasty on Feb 5, 2014 - 9 answers

Question for Forensic Anthropologists!

I'm curious to learn about human decomposition rates and wanted know: how long would it take for a human child's skeleton vs. a human adult's skeleton to dissolve in acid peaty soil? What about in soil us humans interact with everyday? (i.e. public park soil, garden soil) Thank you! Also, if anyone knows the answer, if you could please explain to me where/how you got the information :)
posted by jujube123 on Feb 5, 2014 - 11 answers

How to get a 5 year old disney princess excited about science?

Any ideas on making discovery fun for a princess obsessed 5 year old girl? [more inside]
posted by savitarka on Jan 28, 2014 - 44 answers

Book recomnedation: worldbuilding and self-aware, active characters

I again have time to consume books like a cookie-monster. I've avoided lists of classics-by-genera because I tend to like only 5% of what's on them. It's not that I specifically like reading dystopias or sci-fi - I liked the Poisonwood Bible for instance, as much if not more than Lord of the Rings. In addition to book recommendations, it would also be useful if, given the books listed below, you have any ideas for other trends that could help me search out books myself. Your advice is much appreciated! :) [more inside]
posted by ch3cooh on Jan 25, 2014 - 24 answers

Need Witty Questions

I'm looking for witty endings for the question "Welcome to Computer Science, where questions like XXX are not YYY", similar to this sign. But I'm drawing complete blanks. Any ideas?
posted by gadha on Jan 22, 2014 - 9 answers

How do I compare energy usage between building in different locations?

How do I compare energy usage between building in different locations? [more inside]
posted by btkuhn on Jan 6, 2014 - 7 answers

Moving beyond Sokal?

I am interested in articles that try to analyze and explain the conflict between the hard and soft sciences. In my casual web surfing I have come across e.g. highly-trained scientists who yet express a deep disdain for fields as open-ended and far-ranging as sociology, feminism, queer theory, postmodernism, and so on, sometimes even economics, psychology. I find such attitudes hard to comprehend, and even disturbing since my educational background is in the applied sciences. Which are the important works that have been done to better understand this ongoing social/intellectual gap, and that are presented in a readable manner for a non-expert?
posted by polymodus on Jan 4, 2014 - 10 answers

Evidence-based productivity systems

Following on from the recent question on scientific personal development books, are there any scientific writings on productivity systems? I am aware of systems like GTD, and find parts of these useful, but they also seem to be "this worked for me" rather than based on significant empirical research.
posted by Grinder on Jan 2, 2014 - 1 answer

Why don't we have HD video of Earth rotating in space?

Why don't we have HD video of Earth rotating in space? You know, relatively close-up, as if the Enterprise had just dropped out of warp and the planet was being majestically introduced to the cinema audience. An extended, multiple pass/rotation exposure, so that it could be watched by appreciative viewers wanting to get a bit of perspective/peace. I imagine I would sit and gaze at this for extended periods. What are the technical limitations which have prevented this?
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jan 1, 2014 - 23 answers

High income options for life science PhDs

I am graduating within the next year. I will have my PhD in Pharmacology - 4 first author publications, 1 patent. Several presentations at national conferences in my field. I also have an MS in Biochemistry and a BS in Math. 1 year of experience working as a research specialist in academia. Various extra curricular activities that demonstrate leadership. I want to make 100k a year or more. I want to do this reasonably quickly (within the next 4 years). I do not want to go back to any schooling of any type. What options are available for me?
posted by sickinthehead on Dec 31, 2013 - 11 answers

science + art = ?

Please help a generalist brainstorm on what to do for a living. I'm finishing up a PhD in the physical sciences, and I love art and design. I'm happiest if I can constantly learn new subjects and if I can make things every day. How do I bring the parts of science and the parts of art that I love into the working world? [more inside]
posted by you're a kitty! on Dec 27, 2013 - 20 answers

Help me understand fragrance: Hermes edition.

Do you use Hermes perfumes? Do you like them? Can you explain them to me? I'm not a typical perfume wearer. I recently tried the Hermes fragrance Un Jardin Sur Le Toit at a friend's house and I really liked it. Then I started googling and found myself in a world of top notes, drydowns, accords, and other things where I don't even know what the words mean, much less how to understand them. Can you help me? [more inside]
posted by aaanastasia on Dec 24, 2013 - 13 answers

Best Practices for Database Interfaces on the Web?

I'm in the earliest possible stages of building a web interface that will make it easy to display, graph, download, summarize, and interact with a wide variety of data. If you use scientific data from the internet, what are some of the websites you've encountered that make using data the easiest, most intuitive, and give you the best control? Also, what are some must-have features for you, and some of the best and worst design decisions the site builders have made? [more inside]
posted by ropeladder on Dec 21, 2013 - 4 answers

Help with gift for Dad

I need help finding a Christmas gift for my dad. I'm looking for: - Something that requires occasional hands on -- a project, but not a full-time project - Something a little science-projecty and geeky, but that does not involve a computer (he's 72 and not terribly computer literate; he does have an iPad, though) - Something that has a definable end result - Something he can attend to while my folks spend three months in their RV this winter - Most likely something plant-related More... [more inside]
posted by mudpuppie on Dec 17, 2013 - 8 answers

Gift ideas for science-minded 11-year-old boy

Another gift-question, but I didn't find anything in the archives that's exactly applicable, so here goes: I'm looking for a Christmas gift for my 11-year-old cousin. He's pretty into science and math, and according to my aunt, already has tons of toys/games/kits. So it seems like she would prefer for him not to get another one of those, but her only other suggestion was to give him "coupons" to play card/board games with me. I'd be happy to do that except frankly I'm not sure he'd actually appreciate it - fwiw we rarely see each other, and I'm ten years older and female. I'm thinking a good book might be nice, but I don't know exactly what he's already read and liked, other than the typical series like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Diary of a Wimpy Kid etc. Any suggestions - either lesser-known books or other options I might not have thought of? My max price range is probably $25-30 but I can be a little flexible.
posted by st elmo's fire on Dec 15, 2013 - 20 answers

I just got my masters in Biophysics and want to leave. Should I?

I'm in a Ph. D. program in Biophysics. I'm getting paid to be here. I've joined a lab and finished the classes, but I still have at least 2 and a half long years of research to go. I don't care for my project, I don't care for the town I'm in, and I don't even know if I care about science anymore. Finally someone noticed and I've been told I need to step up my game. [more inside]
posted by Archibald Edmund Binns on Dec 12, 2013 - 22 answers

How can a science/tech graduate get work to help developing countries

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 - 9 answers

Kids Arts & Science Room

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 - 15 answers

Seeking a series of fantasy/war books from the 1980s

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 - 4 answers

A is for Autopsy

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 - 14 answers

Buy or watch old episodes of Nature?

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 - 3 answers

Science + law = profit?

Scientist interested in transitioning from the lab into a legal advisory position. Advice? Cautionary tales? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Nov 8, 2013 - 3 answers

Jobs that require reading scientific journal articles?

I love reading scientific journal articles for hours on end. What careers require this? [more inside]
posted by SouthCNorthNY on Nov 7, 2013 - 11 answers

How do I weigh this giant box?

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 - 13 answers

What science experiments can I do with a balloon full of carbon dioxide?

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 - 12 answers

Interesting Stuff About the (Literal) Human Heart

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 - 13 answers

Canadian contributions to meteorology?

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 - 11 answers

If there's a bloodstain on the carpet, what can you learn from it?

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 - 9 answers

How best to respond to anti-science, nonsense-loving folk.

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 - 43 answers

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