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What thought-provoking things can I give my Dad for Christmas?

For Christmas, I want to give my Dad a collection of thought-provoking, idea-filled things to read or listen to - things that inspire discussion, reflection, imagination, and curiosity. His specific preferences and a few ideas I've had already are inside. [more inside]
posted by Cygnet on Dec 4, 2011 - 18 answers

Forensic Hydrology?

How can you tell where water came from? Lets say I give you a bucket of water taken from a local water source (river, lake, etc). There's some plants and maybe a fish in it as well. What could you tell me about where this water came from, could you pinpoint which body it came from, and how would you come to this conclusion? [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Dec 1, 2011 - 21 answers

What now, BS in Computer Science?

What now, BS in Computer Science? [more inside]
posted by Arashi on Nov 30, 2011 - 19 answers

Better living through audio

I am interested in hearing some historical and educational audiobooks/audiocasts. Anyone have any suggestions? [more inside]
posted by cloeburner on Nov 23, 2011 - 13 answers

Just Stubborn?

Looking for online scientific studies relating to the intelligence level of mules. [more inside]
posted by Paris Elk on Nov 21, 2011 - 3 answers

Framed by Science.

What are the most reasonable, well-informed, and totally incorrect scientific papers? [more inside]
posted by Knigel on Nov 19, 2011 - 26 answers

You have to do that thing with the thumb over the top and the little butt wiggle at the end.

The Secret Order of Employed Physicists: How did you get there? [more inside]
posted by Jilder on Nov 13, 2011 - 10 answers

Spacing Out

What nonfiction book or paper must I read to write a convincing story about an interstellar journey on a generation ship? [more inside]
posted by Forbidden Equine Dentistry on Nov 12, 2011 - 6 answers

Bird Houses Aren't Real Houses

How can my kid best test an experiment regarding roofing materials and their ability to block heat? [more inside]
posted by Fairchild on Nov 8, 2011 - 10 answers

Straight talk on Sciences Po?

Can anyone give me some straight talk on Sciences Po, otherwise known as l'Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris? It's quite expensive and I don't know that I could get in, but on the other hand, it could be an awesome opportunity. [more inside]
posted by peakes on Nov 7, 2011 - 8 answers

McGurk effect, how does it work?

Please explain the McGurk effect as if you're talking to a 5th grader. [more inside]
posted by fuse theorem on Nov 5, 2011 - 14 answers

I don't want to be a professor, I just want to be a lab tech who reads a lot.

Help me quit grad school. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Nov 3, 2011 - 21 answers

Visually Striking Scientific Illustrations for Poetry Book Cover

Help, scientists! I'm looking for a cover image for my forthcoming book of poetry. I would like to use a visually striking image (photo, diagram, etc.) from a scientific publication. [more inside]
posted by sleevener on Nov 3, 2011 - 14 answers

Looking for travel or scientist blogs

Looking for travel or hands on scientist blogs [more inside]
posted by Cloud King on Nov 1, 2011 - 2 answers

Help me find elegance in science and experimental design.

What are the most elegant experiments in all of science? [more inside]
posted by ghostpony on Oct 31, 2011 - 34 answers

Standing on the corner of the road to no regret.

After a few months of looking, I've found another research-related job at my university. Tell me what doors it will open to me that weren't open already. [more inside]
posted by Nomyte on Oct 30, 2011 - 1 answer

Giving up on research. What next?

Recent bioscience graduate is unsure what to do with his life. Science writing a possibility. Suggestions? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Oct 29, 2011 - 4 answers

Weird Science

So has Andrea Rossi achieved cold fusion?
posted by jayCampbell on Oct 28, 2011 - 34 answers

So I want to be a tree hugging scientist...

What skills should I be developing while in university as to work as an ecologist, environmental scientist, something similar in the future? [more inside]
posted by snowysoul on Oct 27, 2011 - 18 answers

Snow long, farewell ...

Why do snowstorms last so long? We live in the Denver area and it snowed for 18 hours, from 9 PM last night to 3 PM this afternoon. My wife asked me why it never rains for that length of time. I muttered something about convection in the summer, then stopped when I realized I didn't know what I was talking about.
posted by lukemeister on Oct 26, 2011 - 11 answers

No BS

How do I find a masters degree program in the environmental/biological sciences that doesn't require a BS and will match my interests? [more inside]
posted by abirdinthehand on Oct 25, 2011 - 6 answers

University Departmental Website Content?

What do you think should be on a university science department's website? If you were a student researching/applying for an UG or Masters program, or someone generally interested in the dept, what would you like to see and where? Alternatively, what are good examples of science dept. websites that you have seen? [more inside]
posted by lalochezia on Oct 18, 2011 - 22 answers

Come To Me, Red Cookbook!

Help forgetful me locate this red, science-heavy cookbook! [more inside]
posted by lonefrontranger on Oct 4, 2011 - 7 answers

correct order of Ursula k.Le Guin's Hainish cycle?

In what order should i read Ursula K. Le Guin's Hainish cycle? [more inside]
posted by paperscissorsrock on Oct 3, 2011 - 4 answers

My first poster!

How do I print a scientific/clinical research poster? [more inside]
posted by abirae on Sep 30, 2011 - 12 answers

Art/Science Double Threats?

Are there any Great Scientists who are also Great Artists? If not right now, who was the last person who comfortably fit in both categories? For the purpose of this discussion, a Great Artist has produced museum quality work (or a great novel, or similar), and a Great Scientist has made at least one 'important' discovery or invention, however you want to define that. [more inside]
posted by empath on Sep 29, 2011 - 49 answers

What can I add to my math degree to improve my job prospects?

I have a B.S. in Math, but I haven't been able to find a job in my field. What can I add to my undergrad degree to be more competitive in the job market? [more inside]
posted by ZeroDivides on Sep 21, 2011 - 12 answers

Scientific spinoffs

What are your best examples of scientific spinoffs? [more inside]
posted by pemberkins on Sep 19, 2011 - 34 answers

How to I become the person who designs fun science exhibits and demo?

How to I become the person who designs fun science exhibits and demo? [more inside]
posted by lacedcoffee on Sep 17, 2011 - 6 answers

Oh new shower curtains, glossy book pages, and auto-body shops: why do I love your aromas so?

Oh new shower curtains, glossy book pages, and auto-body shops: why do I love your aromas so? [more inside]
posted by tamagogirl on Sep 14, 2011 - 14 answers

Grad studies. Music and.........

I am looking for suggestions for highly-integrative graduate studies program in music/technology/culture. Suggestions? Also, looking for a way in after being out of school for 3 years with a performance-only background. More after the break..... [more inside]
posted by wakuwaku on Sep 14, 2011 - 9 answers

Professional Science Master's Degree?

I am looking for a way to advance my career in science without a doctoral degree and am wondering if the Professional Science Master's degree is a good option. [more inside]
posted by RedMapleWhiteOak on Sep 9, 2011 - 12 answers

Help with defenition of "human condition"?

I am researching term "human condition". Can the members suggest any good books or research on the subject? [more inside]
posted by avtodorov on Sep 9, 2011 - 18 answers

Is intelligent design actually an actual philosophically true scientific theory? The question is not asking if ID is “true”, but how well does it pass the scientific theory tests?

Let's see if this can be done without causing any ideological controversy. The simplest yet most descriptive explanation of a true scientific theory is below. "A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena." An actual theory must be falsifiable as well. My understanding is that Intelligent design does not fit the bill as a set of empirically proven facts or pass the falsifiability test. Also, I understand that Darwin's theory may have the most facts supporting his theory (therefore it is the best explanation for the evolution of life we currently have), but that it may not be falsifiable as well. The basic question is what is intelligent design if not a theory? I don't think it qualifies as a hypothesis either. Please explain to this scientific layman. Bonus points if you can explain how The Theory of Natural Selection is falsifiable.
posted by 4Lnqvv on Sep 8, 2011 - 46 answers

Are probabilistic theories scientific?

I'm struggling to understand the empirical content of probability theory. I understand the mathematical theory, and I understand how we get from empirical observations to a mathematical model. I do not understand how we get from the mathematical model back to the real world, e.g., what is the "empirical content" of a statement like "event x will occur with probability p"? [more inside]
posted by ochlophonic on Sep 8, 2011 - 23 answers

Juvenile Science Fiction Title

I am looking for a juvenile science fiction series I read as a child in the 70s. The books were written in either the 1960s or 70s. I vaguely remember a book that may have been called "Rebel Planet" or "Rebel Prince" and it featured talking battle horses. I remember one passage where a horse turned back to its rider and asked "Kill?" when confronted with an unfriendly.
posted by zzazazz on Sep 6, 2011 - 5 answers

Help me ID this SF story?

Can the hive mind help me remember a science fiction short story where people grow roots and become...plant-like? [more inside]
posted by blurker on Sep 6, 2011 - 20 answers

How close could a satellite get to the sun, and how much energy could it harvest?

If some future civilization decided that they should tap solar energy at the source for industrial purposes, how close to the Sun could they site their energy collection facilities without having them burst into flames/die from radiation degradation, and how much energy could they harvest? Just to keep things simple, say they use photovoltaics or some other technology we have access to. [more inside]
posted by AdamCSnider on Sep 4, 2011 - 8 answers

Creating Methods of Analysis for Dummies

When developing a method of analysis in scientific research, which rules and guidelines can you follow to make sure that the qualities by which you analyze things are valid, sound, relevant and related?
posted by Foci for Analysis on Sep 3, 2011 - 15 answers

I can haz owtsidez?

Please help me win my FaceBook debate (or, at least, learn something new): MUST dogs be walked? Is it truly better for cats to be only indoors? Are cats less domesticated than dogs? I'd like fact-based support, not ASPCA party line. Gimme Science! [more inside]
posted by _paegan_ on Sep 1, 2011 - 30 answers

Funding for a Ph.D. in Belgium

I'm looking for scholarships or fellowships that could fund, or help fund, a molecular/microbiology Ph.D. in Belgium for an American. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Aug 30, 2011 - 4 answers

Earthquakes and hurricanes, oh my!

Anyone have good post-disaster projects to do with kids at camp tomorrow? [more inside]
posted by puckish on Aug 28, 2011 - 6 answers

Popcap Science Game

There used to be a game, I think made by Popcap. It was all sciencey and you matched colored elements together to get a high score. It was Bookworm era. Anyone know the name of that game?
posted by Catarax on Aug 25, 2011 - 4 answers

Whither a space opera wilt not wither?

What's the best venue to submit a politically tinged left-leaning science-fiction short story? [more inside]
posted by Slap*Happy on Aug 24, 2011 - 14 answers

Atom Annoying

Is the number of atoms in the universe static (or as near dammit)? [more inside]
posted by liquidindian on Aug 24, 2011 - 10 answers

What color was the sky millions or billions of years ago?

What color was the sky millions or billions of years ago? [more inside]
posted by waldo on Aug 22, 2011 - 7 answers

Music for the voracious infovore?

I really like music that inspires me to jump up and...go read Wikipedia (or a dictionary, for that matter)! Bands that have produced the sort of thing I'm talking about here include Rasputina, Phideaux, and (to some extent) They Might Be Giants. Help me find more of this particular brand of awesome in the musical realm! Special bonus points if they can actually play their instruments well. [more inside]
posted by aecorwin on Aug 22, 2011 - 32 answers

Beyond Bradbury.

SciFi for middle schoolers. [more inside]
posted by brynna on Aug 20, 2011 - 42 answers

Daylight moon.

Is it possible for a moon to have an orbit such that it is only ever visible from its planet during daylight hours? If so, what are the necessary requirements for this to happen?
posted by curious nu on Aug 20, 2011 - 14 answers

Questions about biology from the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Questions about biology, genes, humans and apes, courtesy of the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes. SPOILERS WITHIN. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 19, 2011 - 8 answers

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