Questions in the Science & Nature category.
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I'm interested in performing a survey to get people to rank 10–15 items. I would like them to be presented these items in randomized pairs, choosing the one they think has a greater value of the variable I'm interested in. This would be repeated over and over until a stable ranking is achieved. What is this kind of survey called? [more inside]
I went scuba diving at Clear Lake, Oregon today. I saw a ton of tiny, medium-brown unidentified biological-looking... *things* attached to some of the rocks. What were they? [more inside]
Is it possible to dissolve more salt into water, by weight, than the weight of the water? [more inside]
Ok, so this is the first Metafilter question coming from my daughter, who is six. According to DK's My Book of Rocks and Minerals, "Diamond can be scratched by two known rare minerals". The book does not elaborate. What are these two minerals? Google is confusing me today.
I've been watching the PBS Space Time series on black holes and quantum mechanics. They're now talking about how black holes violate the principle of conservation of (quantum) information. I'm really having a difficult time wrapping my brain around what is meant by information, why it needs to be conserved, and what it means to not be conserved. [more inside]
Someone in our new-to-us condo had put down tape in the kitchen to block some buggies. I pulled the tape out during renovations and saw they caught some victims in the glue. What are these guys? Looks like some some wormy guys and some kinda ants. Specifically what was infesting this place and how should we protect against future incursion? (Note there is no sign of living bugs right now.)
I'm just curious if anyone or if any group has proposed a way to breed a non-human species for sentient behavior? Sure, some dogs and parrots come close to being as intelligent as a "five year old" -- but I assume no one has really pushed the boundaries. Or am I wrong? Is this a mad-scientist ethical nightmare? Or could it be done in an ethical way?
Please help me find some preschool appropriate books to read with kids during a program about how a big tree is a home to many living creatures from eagles to raccoons to birds to salamanders to bugs. [more inside]
I was at an estate sale and to bring my total up to the necessary amount to use a debit card, I grabbed these rocks. I'm dying to know what they are. [more inside]
(Or other?) Friend saw this on their run today and wants to know what it is, location S. Korea. Another shot. I've tried Google but I don't have much previous knowledge to go on. Thanks! [more inside]
Need advice as a non-astronomer parent who's about to unbox a telescope for kids birthday? [more inside]
Say you have a really long escalator, like inside many subway stations. If you run up the steps, are you stepping on fewer steps than you do if you walk up at a fast pace? At a normal pace? Or is it the same number of steps because you're still traveling the same distance, which requires a certain number of steps to reach? Or fewer steps because you're going faster than the rate of speed of the escalator itself? Assume you're not skipping any steps on your way up.
I recall hearing about a "golden number" when playing a number guessing game, such as "guess the selected number between 1 and 100 when after guessing you are told your guess is high or low". Most online references recommend successively dividing the remaining range in half, but i recall reading that a strategy of dividing the remaining range roughly 1/3 and 2/3 allows you to eliminate 2/3 of the range often enough that it results in less guesses on average. Anybody ever heard of this?
Do tree branches hang lower when it rains? [more inside]
This spider built a web inside a ceramic mug in my garage. I'm not arachnophobic in general, but I'm converting the garage into a pottery studio and would love to know if anything living out here is bad news. Thoughts on what kind of spider this is?
So I read about this (Dr.?) or lab guy who purposely put ear mites into his own ear to gauge wth a cat would feel like and wrote to report on it. I remember that he described the sensation like insane whooshing screeching sounds. [more inside]
Hi, Found a baby raccoon at the bottom of a tree. About a week old, eyes still shut. I left him out over-night on the chance mom would come pick him up. Its been about 36 hours, he has been chattering/yelling out the entire time but no sign of mom. I fear this guy is running out of time. He is strong and stands a chance but no clue what to do now. I am in Maryland. Everywhere I call doesn't take raccoons. I really want to give this critter this chance - any ideas?
well, this is proving to be a bit of an elusive unicorn - yes, many schools offer hybrid online/in person CHEM but how to find the ones that offer a **very condensed in person lab option** - ie one you could travel for if you had to, and do all at once, efficiently. If you've never tried to look for this particular magical beast you probably think it's something a quick google can solve. Alas, this has not been my experience.. details inside [more inside]
This previous genetics question led to this answer, with links to some fascinating papers about genetic diversity. These papers have led me to a random smattering of questions, below the cut. I'd be happy for answers to (or informed speculation about) any or all of them. Thanks! [more inside]
What kinds of birds might I hear on the Nile in Luxor late at night? [more inside]