Questions in the Science & Nature category.
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June 4

Recipes for (historical) medicinal mead / liqueurs?

I've recently taken an interest in the intersection between brewing/fermenting and historical medicinals (such as Bald's Leechbook or traditional bitters). Are there English-language texts or academic papers that review and compile some of these old recipes?
posted by Silvery Fish at 11:39 AM - 9 answers

June 3

like a web of branches maybe?

What is this rock my friend found in the woods? A fossil? [more inside]
posted by komara at 12:58 PM - 4 answers

June 2

Looking for an ant-swer: will these ants bite or sting?

How can I test an ant to see whether it and it's family will bite or sting? Other than to get it to bite or sting me, I mean. [more inside]
posted by amtho at 5:49 PM - 5 answers

May 26

Neanderthal DNA admixture: SNPs, or more significant differences?

When researchers talk about the overlap between Neanderthal DNA and the DNA of some modern humans, are they talking about whole sections of DNA which are completely different? Or are they talking about stretches of DNA which are identical to other humans with the exception of a SNP or three every couple of hundred base pairs?
posted by clawsoon at 9:26 PM - 3 answers

May 22

Why is a chickadee pooping on my car’s side mirror every day?

Help me, ornithologists of MetaFilter! A black-capped chickadee has decided my car’s passenger side mirror is a great place to poop. Then it spreads the poop, rendering the mirror useless and the car door revolting! Why, and how can I get it to go do something else instead? [more inside]
posted by centrifugal at 11:39 PM - 8 answers

May 19

What was that smell in the air from my sunlamp?

When I was a teenager back in the 70s I was almost albino white. So I'd try to self-tan with my dad's old sunlamp. Oy. [more inside]
posted by zenpop at 12:14 PM - 7 answers

May 12

Is there a known reason why some people require more sleep to function?

I'm wondering if there's a protein or something that is less abundant in such people. [more inside]
posted by fantasticness at 3:23 PM - 5 answers

Pardon me while I burst into flames

Has anyone experienced short-term depression as a vaccine side effect? [more inside]
posted by anonymous at 12:37 PM - 19 answers

Why do I find old buildings so soothing to look at?

Why do I find old buildings soothing to look at? Looking at a cathedral built over 500 years ago in real life brings out an inner peace. Looking at a modern skyscraper does nothing for me. [more inside]
posted by jacobean at 5:59 AM - 22 answers

May 10

Speak now or forever hold your launch?

During a space launch, the flight director has all the different people check in on the net and say "go flight" clearly so that no objection can be missed. But if there were an objection, hopefully it would have been raised offline before that process, and you'd never actually get as far as the person objecting at that point. Has that process ever failed? Has anyone ever, during that "go flight" roll call, called for an abort because their objection didn't get registered before?
posted by dmd at 2:34 PM - 7 answers

May 9

Gifts for 5-year-old girl keen on math, science, astronomy

Looking to buy a present for a child turning 5 years of age who can't stop talking about stars, planets, the solar system, meteors, different species of animal, different species of plants, etc. [more inside]
posted by braemar at 12:06 PM - 17 answers

Identify this insect pupa?

Nobody on iNaturalist has identified this 1-1/4", pearl-gray pupa found in Durham County, NC. Can you help? I want to make sure it has food and appropriate moisture when it emerges. Also I'm curious. [more inside]
posted by amtho at 6:07 AM - 3 answers

May 6

If No COVID19 Herd Immunity, What's the Future Per Science/Epidemiology?

For a long while, we were told that achieving herd immunity would be when the future returned to normality. Now, we are being told that we likely won't achieve herd immunity; many have vaccinated, but we won't get there. Speaking from science and epidemiology (not people's opinions), what's next? (See inside.) [more inside]
posted by metabaroque at 2:23 PM - 9 answers

Humans Using Tools

I am trying to recall some research on humans, and maybe apes, using tools. I read this few years ago, and I'm not sure if I came across this in an academic paper, or just read a few sentences about it on some science website. I think the information had a scientific basis. The gist was that when humans use tools the tool becomes incorporated into our minds image of our body, which is why we can use tools so dang well. [more inside]
posted by TurnKey at 11:56 AM - 10 answers

April 26

How to avoid "wasting" the COVID-19 crisis?

SARS, MERS, COVID-19... The next viral outbreak is inevitable. What should nations be doing to prepare? What should individuals be doing to encourage these preparations? [more inside]
posted by commander_fancypants at 12:52 PM - 9 answers

April 25

What's the Name of this Therapeutic Model, and What Alternatives Exist?

Asking for a name of a mental health philosophy/method from any Mefite therapists, LCSWs, psychiatrists or psychologists – and what alternatives exist to it. [more inside]
posted by anonymous at 9:47 AM - 9 answers

April 24

What's the name of this book? Very vague chemistry edition

I read a popular science book sometime between 1998 and 2005 that was an intellectual history of chemistry. I am trying to find it again but don't remember the title. Do you have any idea what book I am remembering? [more inside]
posted by congen at 11:42 AM - 6 answers

April 23

Why does some gas make you feel sick to your stomach?

AskMe, it's come to this on a Friday night in late-stage pandemic parenting. My family and I are wondering why some gas (read: flatulence, farts) makes you feel sick to your stomach. Sick like nauseous, queasy, like you ate something bad. [more inside]
posted by cocoagirl at 3:24 PM - 9 answers

April 22

Science textbook/encyclopedias for kids?

I was talking to a kiddo in my life about tree pollen, and she said she wanted another "science story". Through more conversation, and me wracking my brain for random science facts I felt I could explain well enough, I realized she wanted to just.. know everything. :) She loves learning stuff, on all subjects. I'm thinking that some kind of encyclopedia, compendium, or the like might be a great gift. She's 8 but is definitely reading at a higher grade level. [more inside]
posted by curious nu at 8:31 AM - 20 answers

April 21

What mathematical techniques came after calculus?

I was reading this article about Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, and I came upon an interesting quote. I hope that the quote can be explained to me by someone with a background in math and/or physics. [more inside]
posted by alex1965 at 12:10 PM - 8 answers

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