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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

How do you help people have an epiphany about difficult concepts?

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 - 18 answers

What are Mike & the bots singing in Outlaw of Gor?

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 - 4 answers

A Potentially Electric Question

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 - 26 answers

Help ID a scifi story about aliens and a quarantined Earth

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 - 3 answers

Concise, fun science treatments like XKCD's "What If" and ASAPScience?

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 - 7 answers

Pro-science Anti-anti-vaccine Animated Web Video from Australia or NZ?

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 - 4 answers

Specfic writing workshops in the Midwest

Are there any speculative fiction writing workshops in the Midwest? [more inside]
posted by deathpanels on Sep 19, 2013 - 7 answers

In your opinion what are the most interesting topics in medicine today?

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 - 16 answers

I am tired of labeling my microcentrifuge tubes by hand.

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 - 15 answers

Awesome gift for science loving nephew.

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 - 21 answers

Fire On Exoplanets?

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 - 7 answers

My PhD lab is still paying me post-graduation-Should my CV say postdoc?

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 - 11 answers

What are the five most seminal books in whatever field you're interested

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 - 9 answers

Solve a physics debate among friends?

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 - 12 answers

What are some surprising suggestions for better health?

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 - 27 answers

How do I grad school: management skills edition

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 - 9 answers

Science on depression?

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 - 10 answers

Software/websites to help manage a scientific project

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 - 6 answers

what is the name of this scientific (I think) concept?

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 - 17 answers

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