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. :[
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
I recently really enjoyed Max Brooks' World War Z and Daniel H. Wilson's Robocalypse. What other books might I also enjoy? [more inside]
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?
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?
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]
I want to learn science. [more inside]
Is there actual scientific research behind this oft-cited UI response time => human perception table? Or is it just "conventional wisdom." If not, I'd love to see the original research and know how it was conducted.
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]
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.)
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!
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]
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?
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.
So I take it that the OkTrends blog was killed off after Match bought OkCupid. Where can I now get my regular fix of really interesting statistics presented at a level that the lay person can understand? (I already know about Nate Silver and xkcd's What If.)
I want to write a science fiction story where somebody spends a few weeks or so living off a food that was intended for people colonising another planet, with odd effects. I'm not that scientifically knowledgeable and I want this to be grounded in facts. More details below. [more inside]
Why do we not launch rockets out of tubes? If the most expensive bits of launching a rocket are the first few feet off the ground, why don't we put the rockets into a tube to make launching more efficient? [more inside]
I do quite a lot of building small music devices using DIY kits and recycled cases and parts. What are the best sites for for weird, bulk supplies? What are the other sites like American Science and Surplus (http://www.sciplus.com)? [more inside]
Getting married in a few months, which means I want to start any facial/beauty regimens now. I don't usually do this stuff, so am entranced by the field of options. However, I know that this field contains the biggest BS factor of any out there. Please give me your best ideas of things that are scientifically proven to work, or that there is at least some data about why it works or would or wouldn't work. Please also tell me which of the things I'm considering looking at are drecht or dangerous crazytown. Help me not waste my money or wind up maimed. [more inside]
I've mostly done generic office work but I would like to expand my job search to include more specific things. What fields (with jobs available) would be a good fit? [more inside]
Can you answer a few questions related to hormonal birth control? Science questions, I mean! [more inside]
My google-fu fails me - all I can find are references that talk about research on endogenous and exogenous food, but none of them explain what on earth the terms mean. [more inside]
Please suggest some funny stuff to write on (fake) hazardous waste labels to decorate the office of the hazmat safety guy who's coming back from sabbatical. The labels look similar to this. [more inside]
When I was a kid, I was totally enamored of dinosaurs. I seem to have lost my affinity for them in the years since. I quit paying attention to developments in paleontology. Apparently there's been a lot that I missed, like that the dominant theory now is that modern birds are descended from a dinosaur species (I think?). And I hear velociraptors had feathers. So I need not just updates, but a good primer for adults because I've forgotten everything I used to know about them. Can anyone recommend some good modern books or documentaries on dinosaurs to rekindle the flame of dino-love?
Dear MetaFilter, I am new to this forum and this is my first post, hi! I am in a bit of a pickle about a work project, and hope that I may be able to get some help by some fellow sciencey people. The science forums are rarely read and badly out of date, or I would have posted at one of those. I have a deadline for a miRNA PCR experiment, and I have already run the cDNA and PCR for the miRNA. All I have to do is run the miRNA on a gel. The problem: We don't have acrylamide! And neither does our neighboring lab. We only have Agarose with which to make gels, which is only for large fragments, not small miRNA fragments of 20-40 bp. The question: As the percentage of agarose in the gel goes higher, the smaller the size of the base pairs are that can be measured. Could I increase this percentage enough to work for miRNA? Out of respect for the community that doesn't like line returns, I have entered the specifics of this post in the Extended Explanation box, because to me, this post reads like a jumble of nonsense without some kind of organization. [more inside]
My company will pay for my graduate management degree, so it seems wise to take them up on the offer. Can you give me advice from your MBA or MBA-like program experience? [more inside]
I've noticed that most of what I read about science and technology is universally optimistic about the pace of knowledge (if not necessary its use). From tech journalists to science fiction writers everyone seems to believe that the possibilities of technology are boundless and the pace of scientific discovery is, if anything, accelerating and always will be. My question is: Is anyone credibly arguing the opposite? [more inside]
So I have been working in an entirely different field for the last years and was never entirely sure about what I wanted to do with my life. I am certain at this point that I want to work in a field which involves, you know, nervous systems. Unsurprisingly, I am thinking of academia. [more inside]
Can you please suggest a blog or resource that will tell me what under-the-radar science fiction movies I should go see? [more inside]
Never in my life has this happened before, but I keep finding myself in tears of grief over the looming death of Scottish writer Iain M Banks, who is far and away my favourite writer and has terminal cancer. I'm looking for ways of helping to resolve this emotion, by using it as energy to fuel a meaningful response. [more inside]
So I've spent the past year and a half burning through my severance package as slowly as I could, accomplishing some things, learning some stuff and generally getting my soul back. Now I'm feeling the urge to find a job and do science again, but I'm serious about the do science part. Help me rebuild my resume to get something I can live with. [more inside]
I was convinced to start a blog under my real name, for the purposes of being visible on the internet in a positive light while applying for jobs. Unfortunately, now it's up, I hate it and never want to write anything there. Since my partner is sick of me wailing about it, I thought I'd ask you guys for tips on low-effort ways to post on a blog with a general theme of 'interesting science news'. [more inside]
Surely when people try to be more "green", some efforts are significant and some are mere rounding error. What are some examples I could use, with an emphasis on the quantifiable and counterintuitive? [more inside]
Where can I find safety goggles or glasses for a Beanie Baby mouse? This is for Science. [more inside]
I want to relearn algebra, chemistry, basic mechanics, and basic physics this summer. For free? [more inside]
In my beef stock/soy sauce marinade, where did all this nasty congealed fat come from? [more inside]
I'm looking for movies and TV shows that have futuristic depictions of education. Can you help me find them? [more inside]
A friend of mine is designing a clinical trial to determine the comparative effectiveness of different methods of pain control during IUD insertion. The problem is, there isn’t a lot of existing literature on what women are actually being offered out in the real world, and what does exist is pretty low quality. If you have an IUD, and if you were offered pain control measures during insertion, what were they? How effective those measures were isn't really relevant here, because that's what the trial is designed to figure out; I’m just trying to help her get a sense of what the current state of practice is so that the design of the study can be as robust and relevant as possible. For Science!
What are some good resources to help explain the Big Bang, evolution and, the meaning of life to my delightful 5 year-old nephew? Fairly equal emphasis for each, but I am stumped most by "but why are all the things and people here, mayurasana?" than the rest. [more inside]
I'm trying to brush up on my geology, a science that pretty much passed me by, which is frustrating when people I work with casually start talking about Cambrian this, and Triassic that. Where can I find a large poster / chart detailing all the geological epochs and periods? The chart produced by the Geological Society of America is a good start, but it would be more useful if it was, say, annotated with important events ("Angiosperms evolved here! Gondwana separated here!"), and it it had maps of the positions of continents on it at various times. Has anyone seen anything like this? My searches for geology posters have mostly turned up pictures of mountains, or "Geology Rocks!" logos...
We have a Cuckoo "pressure rice cooker" (model HD1054F) that my husband and I got for our wedding. It makes great rice! Now, I want to explore its actual "pressure cooking" side. But it doesn't seem to cook at as high a pressure as a standard pressure cooker. How do I determine the pressure (in psi) that it uses? [more inside]
Looking for videos to create a youtube playlist to entertain a group of science-minded teenagers for about 30 min that are largely visual. Sound is fine but the bulk shouldn't be someone talking to the class like an instructor - visualizations are best - ideally they should look really, really cool. Class is engineering focused, but chemistry, robotics, wobbly bridges, comp-sci, biology, are all welcome. [more inside]
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]
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]
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]