Questions in the Science & Nature category.
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February 19

Safe treatment of oxidized die-cast aluminum?

My SO has a turntable platter that’s made of die-cast aluminum. It has a greyish film in spots that I gather is oxidization (?). What are the best products (or ingredients) to treat it (clean it without damaging the finish, prevent further oxidization, make it look good)? What should be avoided? [more inside]
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:32 AM - 4 answers

February 17

Suggestions for books on what it's like to work in a biology lab?

Hi there, I'm interested in learning what it's like to work in a biology lab as a scientist (researcher/postdoc/PI - whatever). I steered away from the sciences as an undergrad so I don't really know much about the process and what scientists DO. I'd like to find some books/narratives that would help me learn what actually happens in a biology lab. For instance, I think I know what pipetting is. [more inside]
posted by mulkey at 11:29 AM - 11 answers

February 16

Where does this music come from? Not an earworm!

Asking for a family member, a healthy musician and stonemason in his forties who does not drink or smoke. He and his family live in a rural area with minimal traffic. "I often wake up with an original piece of music in my head, most commonly in the form of a looping bassline. This happens both in mornings and after naps. Sometimes the music comes with a melody or even lyrics layered over the rhythm. Does this happen to anyone else out there? Any insights into possible biological explanations of the phenomenon?" [more inside]
posted by mareli at 8:38 AM - 18 answers

February 13

Where is the "logical" in ecological and other subject areas?

Where do you go for well-researched/cited recommendations in your areas of (in)expertise? I desire more evidence-based recommendations in any specific subject, similar to these in conservation efforts, charity, medicine, child-rearing. What about education? Underwater basket weaving? Llama farming? Gardening? Etc, etc, etc.
posted by flicken at 2:18 AM - 12 answers

February 11

New climate model sounds promising. Is it?

Scientists, researchers, professionals in the field: I just heard about the One Earth Climate Model, which was funded by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Does the framework and claims for this model appear to be bogus, potentially reasonable, or is it simply too early to tell? (Please do not respond if you consider my question stupid or offensive. Thank you!) [more inside]
posted by Bella Donna at 12:29 PM - 5 answers

February 10

Is there a way of keeping sperm alive long enough post them to a friend?

So... I'm not trying to be nasty, but please don't tell me about how using a friend as a sperm donor is a bad idea or the complications with it... Google has already tried to do that several times (more inside/in extended explanation). [more inside]
posted by sockpim at 11:29 AM - 14 answers

February 8

Can you make gelatin from burned bones?

I understand that "fresh" ones might be better or at least yield more, but would any usable amount of material be available after bones are burned, baked, incinerated, or whatever? [more inside]
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:53 PM - 5 answers

February 3

Card deck probability distribution with reshuffles?

What is the probability distribution (??) of card deals in a deck if the deck is reshuffled before the end is reached? [more inside]
posted by muddgirl at 1:23 PM - 10 answers

February 1

Do rockets have the most fire?

My 3-year-old asked me this question and I didn't have a good answer for her. Do rockets create more fire than anything else, and if not what is capable of creating more? I figured the sun isn't exactly fire and I hoped the answer wasn't a nuclear bomb, as I'd rather not introduce her to the idea of warfare quite yet.
posted by thetruthisjustalie at 3:21 PM - 21 answers

An Evolving Creationist

A friend of mine, who describes herself (accurately, I believe) as an open-minded creationist, reached out to me, asking me to recommend a book to her about Evolution. [more inside]
posted by grumblebee at 6:58 AM - 22 answers

January 30

animal videos!

Lookin for some strong animal video/doc content to beef up my lazy day list of stuff to watch [more inside]
posted by emirenic at 3:53 PM - 10 answers

January 29

Reputable pet turtle info

I have an empty ten-gallon aquarium and I am considering filling it with a rescued turtle, tortoise, or terrapin. My first google searches on turtle care bring me to care pages written by major pet stores, which I don't trust. Can you direct me to some reputable sources on ethical shelled-creature care? [more inside]
posted by bq at 12:50 PM - 7 answers

January 28

The First Law of Thermodynamics and Residual Oven Heat

I've often left my oven slightly ajar after using it in the winter thinking that I'm taking advantage of the residual heat to help warm the air in my house. But given that my house is a (relatively) closed system, the law of conservation of energy holds that the total energy in the house is constant: if I close the oven door, its heat will eventually radiate into the house anyway. So is there any reason to leave the oven door ajar while its heat dissipates?
posted by stopgap at 9:03 PM - 9 answers

The gulls know, but they're not telling

What are these things? The outsides are like thick leather; the insides are viscous red liquid. Gulls bring them in from the ocean, drop them on the beach, poke them until they deflate, and eat them. [more inside]
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 5:21 PM - 6 answers

January 26

XY Wall Plotter Problem - Y axis is angled

So for my daughters science fair project she built an XY wall plotter but having a bit of a problem with the software side in that the Y axis isn't plotting a straight line, it's a line that points towards the center of the machine. Any ideas? [more inside]
posted by zeoslap at 2:55 PM - 21 answers

January 22

Can I figure out how to handle this unpleasant dissection lab?

I'm about to start taking Anatomy & Physiology as a nursing school prereq. I knew going into it that this class would probably involve dissection(s). I just found out that we're dissecting a cat, though, and I'm freaking out about it. Please help me figure out how to cope with this! [more inside]
posted by mandanza at 12:48 PM - 25 answers

January 21

US high & low temperatures on a given date (including Alaska & Hawaii)

Just like the title says -- I'm looking for the highest and lowest recorded temperatures for the entire US on a couple of dates in the recent past -- specifically the 19th and the 20th of January, 2019. The data on the NOAA website excludes Alaska and Hawaii, but I want those states included.
posted by theory at 9:49 PM - 5 answers

What's the relationship between the ferromagnetic metals and atomic no.?

The three ferromagnetic metals iron, cobalt and nickel also happen to have consecutive atomic numbers. Why is that?
posted by storybored at 11:13 AM - 2 answers

January 16

What are the markings on this rock?

What are the black drip markings on this rock? (Sorry no scale, 3-4 ft or so across) Rock is in Southern California, a few miles from the ocean in the hills north of San Diego.
posted by lemonade at 10:09 PM - 4 answers

January 15

Raising this tower, how much does it weigh?

I'm raising a 20 foot, homebrew ABS pipe tower with 10 feet of antenna mast, antenna and rotor at the end. Together, that part weighs about 6 pounds. The four, approximately five foot sections weight about 22 pounds each. The tower pipe is 3" in diameter. [more inside]
posted by CollectiveMind at 4:45 PM - 7 answers

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