Questions in the Science & Nature category.
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November 10

Has animal behavior study led to direct understanding of human behavior?

What examples of studying the behaviors of animals led to breakthroughs in understanding the behavior of humans in a direct or correlative way? As in, has a Jane Goodall of some species study (like meerkats) been like "Eureka! Meerkat behavior for how they don't want to take out their trash is exactly like teen males!" Or is there some discipline in behavioral studies that is dedicated to finding these common links?
posted by rileyray3000 at 10:24 PM - 7 answers

Boys vs Girls

A question just came to me as I was looking over legal papers. Is there any research that says that men who father mostly girls do or don't get along with men who mostly father boys? [more inside]
posted by CollectiveMind at 7:22 PM - 8 answers

November 6

Help me get footage of mosquitos

I need to get video of mosquitos in flight. I'm particularly interested in ones around 250 cm (8 ft) from the camera so I was going to set the focus there, but even if they're blurred I need to record all of them within the field of vision. I know between little and nothing about cameras or video in general. [more inside]
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:54 PM - 1 answers

November 5

What are these tiny flying, sort of floaty bugs in my living room?

What can they be? In the last couple of months I've been noticing tiny flying bugs in my living room. They're a little floaty rather than flying more directly, like flies or something. They don't bite, but they seem attracted to me. I don't see groups of them sitting on furniture or other surfaces. [more inside]
posted by primate moon at 3:47 PM - 7 answers

Batshit & Crazy Trap

Is there a way to trap a bat without actually seeing a bat? [more inside]
posted by The_imp_inimpossible at 2:28 AM - 8 answers

November 4

A seedy query

Does anyone know what these seeds are called? [more inside]
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 11:44 AM - 9 answers

November 3

How much energy was expended when my stove blew up?

One of the burners on our electric stove blew up (will explain further). I am curious to know certain estimates, like: how hot it may have been, the amount of TNT it was equivalent to, and the amount of UV and IR radiation that might have been emitted. [more inside]
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 9:54 AM - 10 answers

October 31

What the heck is biting me?

I am getting bug (?) bites at home. No one else is getting them. And they're weird. Help? [more inside]
posted by my left sock at 1:52 PM - 16 answers

October 29

Help us understand unexpected DNA results

A friend took an DNA test and there was an unexpected result. According to the test, their ethnicity is just under 30% “European Jewish”. This was surprising since, as far as they know, they have no Jewish ancestors. [more inside]
posted by Sabby at 1:01 PM - 13 answers

October 25

Time Dilation. At what distance travelled does it become a thing?

I'm writing science fiction. I've been trying to avoid faster than light speed travel, but it's become impossible to get the story to work without it. How do I calculate how time dilation affects my characters? I suspect I am drastically misunderstanding some basic aspect of time dilation so apologies in advance. [more inside]
posted by Zumbador at 1:01 AM - 21 answers

October 23

Orca-moose predation

I saw recently a factoid about how orcas eat moose when they are swimming. How common is this as a way for moose to die? I am looking ideally for a number backed up by a citation.
posted by jeather at 7:57 AM - 5 answers

October 22

Give it another two weeks and we'll serve it at the bar.

Is there a time/temp that would kill most of the lactobacillus in kimchi without freezing or really cooking, some process akin to pasteurization or flash pasteurization? I'd rather not put it in the freezer or bring it all up to 145* (when most lactobacillus dies), because that would ruin my crunch! I have access to cryovac bags and restaurant equipment that can hold a precise temperature, hot or cold, for any amount of time, including a blast chiller that can cool things very quickly.
posted by Grandysaur at 3:10 PM - 10 answers

styrofoam plant

When I was a kid, we would chew on a certain plant. It was either a grass or a forb. The stalks were maybe 1 or 2 feet high. The interior of the stalk was like styrofoam and we would chew on this. This was in the rural midwestern US. Any guess as to the genus/species of this plant?
posted by falsedmitri at 7:56 AM - 7 answers

October 21

Discourage starlings from nesting without bothering other birds

There used to be a family of mossies (Cape Sparrows, indigenous to where I live here in Cape Town) nesting under the eaves of my house. Recently some European starlings moved in, kicked out the mossies' nest, and started building their own. [more inside]
posted by Zumbador at 5:50 AM - 1 answers

October 20

Help me understand how archaeologists estimate dates of finds

I've been doing research for my historical novel and I am confounded by the way estimated dates are presented. Please help pin down when something happened! [more inside]
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 8:58 PM - 4 answers

October 19

Are vertebrates upside-down insects?

What's the current consensus on the dorsoventral axis inversion hypothesis? I can see in preview that it is a long-debated idea in biology. Is it still debated, or has evidence from genetics and microbiology decided it conclusively one way or the other?
posted by clawsoon at 6:10 AM - 2 answers

October 18

Loghorn Leghorn

Calling mycologists and naturalists. What the heck are those horned things on this log ? [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan at 9:19 AM - 8 answers

October 14

Energy use in buildings: explain like I'm 5

Why do we focus on reducing the energy demands produced by buildings (like heating and ventilation) if the energy still comes from nonrenewable sources with a high CO2 footprint? More below the fold: [more inside]
posted by luminary at 2:58 AM - 14 answers

October 12

Interesting documentary biology films for university students

My department has a Biology Film Series that showcases documentary films on biological topics; we then have a discussion on the ideas presented in the film. We would like some more ideas of different films to screen. Please give me recommendations for films! Caveats inside. [more inside]
posted by Peter Petridish at 2:31 PM - 6 answers

October 7

But I got this shot last year!

Why are some vaccinations good for life and others need to be given every year or require periodic boosters? [more inside]
posted by Dansaman at 3:38 PM - 5 answers

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