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Grinding along the Research Assistant career path

I'm a baby Australian scientist trying to earn experience and cash prior to embarking on a PhD, but landing a relevant job is turning out to be a bit of an ordeal. [more inside]
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot on Mar 19, 2013 - 13 answers

Recommended reading on religion and natural laws?

I am a scientifically-minded person who is trying to sort out my religious beliefs. I think it would be helpful to read some debates between deism, atheism, pantheism (Spinozism), and/or a scientifically-grounded theism. Can anyone recommend me books or essays that discuss these topics in ways that are engaging, well-thought-out, and thorough? [more inside]
posted by capricorn on Mar 19, 2013 - 16 answers

A race by any other slur

How do other languages (non-English) express the scientific term 'race?' vs the colloquial? In taxonomic terms, the word "race" is 90% used as a misnomer in US discourse. This is rooted in "Social Darwinism," or contemporary racist applications of seminal evolution concepts. This colors verbiage across the sciences, especially the social sciences. To wit, the term 'racism' is in fact based on a dehumanizing paradigm. So, um, how does this shake out elsewhere? [more inside]
posted by es_de_bah on Mar 11, 2013 - 9 answers

Attn science teachers! How to demonstrate how clinical trials work?

I am looking for people's experiences of demonstrating the basics of how a clinical trial works to the lay person. My audience will be pretty broad - from school children to adults - so I will need to keep it pretty sort and simple. I need something I can use when visiting schools to big events - I have heard of people using cake and chocolate to demonstrate randomisation/placebo etc - has anyone on here done that and have any pointers? TIA!
posted by ozgirlabroad on Mar 11, 2013 - 9 answers

Where is this political cartoon?!

I've looked high and low for a political cartoon that shows a boy asking his father "What is science?" The father replies "I don't know, son, we are Republicans." Can anybody steer me to a link to that cartoon? Thanks.
posted by wsg on Mar 7, 2013 - 2 answers

What is this animal organ/fetus/embryo my cat brought in?

What is this thing my cat brought to my porch? http://i.imgur.com/cejZcGe.jpg It appears to be something between an animal fetus and organ. When I turned it over it looked the same on the other side. There were no visible eyes/mouth/features. It was larger than a quarter and there was no blood present. A possum visits regularly, and the area has many moles, birds, and raccoons.
posted by Locative on Mar 1, 2013 - 18 answers

Sequential Eating, Metabolism, and Digestion

I was researching sequential eating and would like some advice, here are my thoughts and questions: It seems that it takes (on average) 2-4 hours for foods or beverages to leave the stomach. I was wanting to eat/drink something specific every two hours. I have 8 hours to sleep every night, and I like to eat right before sleep as well. This leaves me with 16 hours in a wakened state. Or, 9 segments of eating/drinking. (I drink water right when I wake up) On the basis of sequential eating, what are some useful tips/advice I could keep in consideration while putting together snacks of 1-3 things? It's looking like 4 meals a day, 5 drinks a day, alternating every two hours. OR, what I would rather prefer, is eating 9 meals a day (fruit in the morning with my water), and drinking 6oz of water every hour on the dot. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
posted by JamesBlakeAV on Feb 27, 2013 - 4 answers

Can you collect meteorite dust in your backyard? How?

I've been told recently that collecting micrometeorites is as easy, basically, as placing a clean surface outside and picking through the debris you collect because thousands of tons of space dust and debris fall to Earth every day. That can't be all there is to it, can it? How do you know whether you're looking at Earth dust or space dust? [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Feb 27, 2013 - 4 answers

Science Demonstrations for 5-12 Year Olds

Do you have any ideas or resources on creating exciting and interesting science demonstrations for kids 5-12 years old? [more inside]
posted by Jakey on Feb 19, 2013 - 22 answers

Getting outside DC wiring onto a constantly rotating surface

For a research project, I have several pieces of equipment mounted on top of a large metal rotating circular surface. At the moment, all equipment is battery powered. I would like to come up with an inexpensive way of getting DC power and signal wires to a computer off the surface to analyze data in real time. Besides that constraint, going down thru the center isn't really an option since the rotating shaft is solid metal. [more inside]
posted by gzimmer on Feb 18, 2013 - 8 answers

Do astronauts play just games in space or do they actually work?

What is the best book to introduce pre-teens to how science works in space? [more inside]
posted by Mike Mongo on Feb 17, 2013 - 10 answers

Need a good Science experiment for a Kindergarten class....

Tomorrow is our day as Mystery Scientist in my son's kindergarten class. My husband is going, he planned the experiment, bought the stuff and just informed me that it doesn't work.....Arrrrgh!!! [more inside]
posted by pearlybob on Feb 11, 2013 - 17 answers

New job selling laboratory equipment, but have no lab/science experience

I recently accepted a sales position within a company that sells laboratory equipment. (i.e. centrifuges, GC's, HPLC's, Thermal Cyclers, etc) I have no previous lab or science experience, so learning about a myriad of highly technical products/methods is a quite challenging. My main challenge comes from the fact that I need to engage in conversations with scientists, chemists, biologists on a daily basis. With no previous lab experience, I've been having a hard time talking to them on technical level. [more inside]
posted by AMWKE1984 on Feb 8, 2013 - 11 answers

Summer research grants / scholarships for science undergraduates?

What are some non-institution-specific scholarships or grants for someone who wants to do primate research this summer? [more inside]
posted by lemoncakeisalie on Feb 6, 2013 - 4 answers

Science is beautiful

Looking for beautiful books of microbiology for my 5 year old. [more inside]
posted by beccaj on Feb 1, 2013 - 8 answers

Tips for staying motivated in Grad School

Two years into a Ph.D. program in the biological science (in the US) and I am in a lab doing research. The lab I'm in takes a hand-off approach to our research, so much of the motivation to do projects must come from me. Unfortunately I'm the kind of person who needs deadlines and strong guidance, and without these two things I've begun to drift a little. Any tips for keeping my eyes on the prize and staying immersed in my field? [more inside]
posted by Archibald Edmund Binns on Feb 1, 2013 - 8 answers

Cooking with alcohol--how much alcohol is absorbed?

Can anyone point me to reliable sources that can tell me how much alcohol actually gets absorbed in your system when you eat food cooked with it? [more inside]
posted by dysh on Feb 1, 2013 - 24 answers

Fallacies and Errors in Inferential Statistics

I have recently been introduced to the concept of pseudoreplication as a mistake that people often make when using inferential statistics to evaluate treatment outcomes. My field (evolutionary and conservation biology) makes heavy use of inferential statistics, including techniques that are vulnerable to pseudoreplication, yet nowhere in my formal education have I been taught about how poor experimental design and lack of statistical rigor can lead to fallacies like this. My personal statistical proficiency is poor, but I am working to remedy that. To that end, could folks help me by identifying and ideally explaining whatever other potential pitfalls you can think of, and explaining how they can be avoided through careful experimental design and data-analysis?
posted by Scientist on Jan 26, 2013 - 5 answers

What does a mathematician do all day?

I'm wondering, after breakfast, and a shower, and a commute, and coffee - what is next? [more inside]
posted by Lownotes on Jan 24, 2013 - 23 answers

Best practices for scientific Python prototyping/debugging?

I'm using Python in my research now to build some models and analyze some data. I've done this with Matlab and R in the past and became fairly used to running individual lines or blocks of code at a time and doing a lot of interactive printing and plotting from the console. This behavior seems to be a bit more difficult in Python and I'm trying to find the best way to be productive. [more inside]
posted by PercussivePaul on Jan 15, 2013 - 11 answers

How should a partial PhD be presented on resume when looking for a job?

I’m looking for opinions on how to best represent coursework and research taken toward a PhD on my resume. [more inside]
posted by Lord Force Crater on Jan 7, 2013 - 8 answers

vintage science and engineering book series... by cover.

Years ago I saw a flickr set (I think) of the covers of a vintage series of books on science and engineering. Each cover (under the dust jacket) was a single color and featured a simple embossed diagram of the book's topic (e.g rockets, electricity & magnetism), with no text. They were gorgeous. Please help me find the series title!
posted by you're a kitty! on Jan 6, 2013 - 6 answers

How does a "layperson" grab the attention of research scientists?

How does my friend get his prostate cancer research into the hands of the relevant researchers? [more inside]
posted by unlaced on Jan 3, 2013 - 36 answers

Can a federal scientists become a lawyer?

Are there ways for a federal research scientist to attend law school and remain a government employee after graduating? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 2, 2013 - 9 answers

Help me stay sane while I try to plan lessons!

Teacher Filter: Increasing the efficiency of creating lesson plans [more inside]
posted by Peregrin5 on Jan 1, 2013 - 11 answers

Extracting/Disposing of Methyl Mercury (methylmercury) from Canned Tuna

How can I extract/rid of methylmercury out of canned Tuna? I bought a ton, and just realized I should have went with canned salmon. There HAS to be an easy way to at least cut down on the Hg content... right? [more inside]
posted by JamesBlakeAV on Dec 22, 2012 - 26 answers

Help me find an old Stephen Jay Gould article.

Help me find a Stephen Jay Gould (I think) essay. [more inside]
posted by ropeladder on Dec 20, 2012 - 2 answers

Do you know about any researchers studying human behavior with regard to motivation, habits, and goal-setting, or books/papers about those topics?

Do you know about any researchers studying human behavior with regard to motivation, habits, and goal-setting, or books/papers about those topics? [more inside]
posted by markbao on Dec 19, 2012 - 9 answers

What should I use this free elective on?

I have a free elective in my final undergrad semester. What should I take? [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Dec 16, 2012 - 40 answers

I want to be the next Professor X.

I know I want to study genetics but I don't know where to go from there. What kind of things in genetics did Professor X and the Drs. Suresh on Heroes study? I want to study that. [more inside]
posted by acthelight on Dec 14, 2012 - 10 answers

Best science magazines for 11-12 year old girls?

What do you think are the best educational (preferably scientific) magazines for middle-school aged girls (11-12)?
posted by andshewas on Dec 13, 2012 - 4 answers

Blind me with science.

Help me discover recent 'Best Seller' scientific journal articles to read in 2013. [more inside]
posted by deludingmyself on Dec 10, 2012 - 5 answers

Industry or academia for an aspiring scientist?

Very-early-career scientist at a fork in the road: choice between working in industry and in academia. Hive mind, please help me make an informed decision. [more inside]
posted by escapist53211 on Dec 8, 2012 - 4 answers

Why does my friend get violent static shocks way more often than I do?

Why is my business partner always on the receiving end of painful (but hilarious) static shocks in our office, yet I seem to be unaffected? [more inside]
posted by Detuned Radio on Dec 4, 2012 - 22 answers

Can the human body sympathetically develop scars?

My fiancée has a distinctive scar on her nose. We are (obviously) very close and emotionally-bonded, and spend a great deal of time looking at each other. My nose has recently developed a matching skin depression in mirror image. [more inside]
posted by quarantine on Dec 3, 2012 - 26 answers

Help Me Clone My Cat

I want to clone my cat. [more inside]
posted by BitterOldPunk on Dec 2, 2012 - 20 answers

how do you work science?!

Can someone explain with SCIENCE, how this glass jar just exploded in my bathroom while I was taking a shower, and ended up almost entirely on the other side of the shower curtain? [more inside]
posted by raztaj on Dec 1, 2012 - 28 answers

Am I doing the wrong thing here?

Science grad school application filter: I have informally (but explicitly) accepted a graduate assistant position (in conservation biology) at my current undergraduate institution. I am now having second thoughts and am wondering what, if anything, I should do about it. Help me, Hive Mind! I don't know what to do! [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Nov 28, 2012 - 8 answers

Alum block after shaving: Alzheimer's risk?

So I hear that aluminum is pretty bad for your body (and maybe is linked to Alzheimer's?). I also hear that alum (which is used to close nicks after shaving) is the name of an aluminum compound. The majority of info about alum crystals for personal hygiene tends to be on "natural living" web sites and the like, so my main question is: is there any actual scientific study either way as to the safety of such a thing being rubbed on your face on a regular basis?
posted by DoctorFedora on Nov 26, 2012 - 6 answers

How to properly cope with the discrimination and bullying in many of my classes?

Conflicted upon how to deal with bullying and discrimination (of various kinds) I am experiencing in my classes this semester. [more inside]
posted by pixienat on Nov 22, 2012 - 17 answers

What to get for a classical-music and science-loving mentor as a present?

What to get as a going-away present for my classical-music-and-science-loving mentor when I make a great deal less money than them and don't have as much knowledge as them in their interests? [more inside]
posted by schroedinger on Nov 21, 2012 - 10 answers

Is there a science of division?

Is there a science of division? (i.e. Models of the phenomenon that communities often split into two blocs with some degree of mutual antagonism. And/or empirical data that such models could be compared against.) [more inside]
posted by philipy on Nov 9, 2012 - 7 answers

Need help finding specific science documentary

Looking for the name of a science/cosmos documentary from the early/mid-90s that compared medieval cathedrals to super colliders. [more inside]
posted by l2p on Nov 3, 2012 - 3 answers

Proprietary R&D makes terrible resume-filler.

How does a scientist doing R&D work in industry maintain a Linked-in profile or have a great resume, when the work in question is company-confidential or proprietary? [more inside]
posted by aimedwander on Oct 31, 2012 - 8 answers

How do I relearn high school/early college math?

Former liberal arts nerd planning a return to university for Computer Science. How can I best catch up and prepare after years away from math and science curriculum? [more inside]
posted by f_panda on Oct 30, 2012 - 10 answers

What's some of the best, most illuminating, and most entertaining writing about conservation bio on the net?

What are some of the best technical blogs out there in conservation biology, biogeography, evolutionary biology, and ecology? [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Oct 29, 2012 - 4 answers

Explaining science to non-scientists

Scientists of Metafilter: How do you answer the question, "What practical purpose does your research serve?" [more inside]
posted by vortex genie 2 on Oct 23, 2012 - 28 answers

A scifi book about kids who traveled to an alternative universe?

I'm looking for a sci-fi book about young people who traveled to an alternative universe on multiple occasions. There was something about a power station and the story may also have mentioned a triangular symbol. It turns out that their switching between universes was limited for some reason. [more inside]
posted by who squared on Oct 20, 2012 - 13 answers

Where can I study bonobos in the United States?

What U.S. research labs conduct bonobo research, preferably at nearby research facilities? I'm looking into summer internships and graduate schools. [more inside]
posted by lemoncakeisalie on Oct 19, 2012 - 10 answers

How do you recognize a gifted chemist?

How would a graduate chemistry student distinguish themselves as more gifted than their classmates? [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Oct 19, 2012 - 16 answers

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