Questions in the Science & Nature category.
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May 30

How far will a house finch fly for a regular meal?

Our backyard feeders attract nearly a dozen house finches. I'm curious about how far away they might be nesting. Assuming that we are the most convenient go-to meal stop, how far away might that be?
posted by John Borrowman at 3:23 PM - 0 answers

May 28

Best pedigree chart maker?

I have to make a couple of pedigrees (not regular family trees) for a genetics talk I'm giving. They are destined to appear on PowerPoint slides. I see a couple of options online--does anyone have one to recommend? Thank you.
posted by 8603 at 6:55 AM - 3 answers

May 25

Two-way ANOVA and Type lll SoS analysis

[Explain like I'm five filter] I'm currently doing a sensory evaluation assignment for uni with imaginary data (because COVID-19) but I am struggling with the data analysis. We had to download the trial version of XLSTAT, and follow minimal instructions including what outputs to report. Got through all that but now I'm left with results that I have to discuss that I do not understand. I Googled the issue and it all goes well above my head. I emailed the lecturer and got told to look at the course material. I can tell you, it didn't help. I would love it if someone could explain the difference between two-way ANOVA and Type lll analysis, or could point me to a resource that explains it. More detail within! [more inside]
posted by BeeJiddy at 10:38 PM - 8 answers

Tracking back the COVID cat as a research problem

Since many of our fearless leaders worldwide don't want to bother ensuring widespread COVID testing and would rather understate the impact: how will researchers of the future estimate the rates of infections / death toll? [more inside]
posted by Sheydem-tants at 12:35 PM - 5 answers

May 21

How do I sneak up on a frog?

How do I sneak up on a frog? [more inside]
posted by gwint at 9:23 AM - 18 answers

May 19

Tracking virus mutations

Microbiologists: Given the host's role in virus reproduction could we theoretically track (with some statistical accuracy) individuals that a particular virus variant has passed through? For example, if 20 infected people visited the old folks' home, could we pick out the one that passed the virus to the residents?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:23 AM - 6 answers

May 18

What is this powdery mineral on my glazed ceramics?

Last week I repotted some plants and put one into a red glazed flower pot. Today I noticed that the pot had a spiderweb of white lines all over one side. It looked exactly like the glaze had crazed due to heat from the sun or something. But in fact the "cracks" were made of a powdery mineral. It rubbed off easily, leaving the glazed surface perfectly smooth. [more inside]
posted by henuani at 12:45 AM - 5 answers

May 16

How might biohacking actually work?

Let's say hypothetically that we develop technology to "plug in" our brains to computer implants that enhance (or hinder) our cognition. How might that actually work? [more inside]
posted by deathpanels at 7:57 AM - 5 answers

May 13

Why the jump in deaths on Tuesdays?

The number of Covid-19-related deaths in Illinois jumps up by ~ 100-200% every Tuesday. Any idea why? It's extremely pronounced for the past three weeks. Before that, there are days with fewer deaths spaced several days apart, but it's not as clear a pattern. [more inside]
posted by amtho at 7:38 AM - 8 answers

May 5

Help me nurse this peace lily back to health

I have come to be the guardian of this sickly peace lily. A lot of its leaves, both the newer and older ones, are substantially browned. I don't know much about plants, how would you recommend nursing this plant back to health and keeping it happy?
posted by ITheCosmos at 5:20 PM - 7 answers

May 4

1G, 2G, 3G, 5

Can you suggest an easy, digestible, reputable source, explaining what 5G is and what its effects could be? [more inside]
posted by nouvelle-personne at 12:35 PM - 6 answers

May 1

Article about metaphors in science journalism being "too good"

Trying to find an article which explored how many crackpots came up with theories that extended the metaphors used in science journalism in ways that made sense with the metaphor, but not with the underlying science. [more inside]
posted by nímwunnan at 5:33 PM - 5 answers

April 30

Recs for hiking trail in/near PDX with best space for social distancing

Hi, that's the whole question! Any ideas on which trails might be best for having a good longer hike and are either more remote or have the best chance to appropriately socially distance oneself? Bonus if it's one of the ones that is still allowing parking. This is for one human to go on a solo hike. Thanks!
posted by fairlynearlyready at 8:19 PM - 6 answers

April 26

Is it time to go home to Massachusetts? Covid 19 edition

Hi, ask mefi. My husband, baby and I traveled to Va on March 9th. Extended house work planned to take 2 weeks. We’re staying at my in-laws. Pandemic! It’s been 7 weeks. I am scared to make the 12 hour trip with a 5 month old to Massachusetts, the third biggest outbreak site in the country. We are welcome to stay here and have all been getting along fairly well. But, it’s been weeks since we’ve been home! Should we stay or should we go now? [more inside]
posted by natasha_k at 8:40 AM - 11 answers

April 15

Fun in the sun

What is the most realistic fictional portrayal of a manned mission to Mercury’s surface? Unlikely bad things can happen in the story so long as the actual mission details and landing are plausible. Any medium is fine.
posted by michaelh at 2:04 PM - 7 answers

April 14

What are the epidemiological side effects of mass social distancing?

I’m curious since people in a lot of places all over are keeping far enough apart to slow the spread of a really contagious disease if it is possible anything will happen to other diseases as “collateral damage.” Might we accidentally wipe out a few strains of rhinovirus, for example? Is there any documentation of this happening in previous periods of quarantine during epidemics?
posted by Gymnopedist at 5:16 PM - 11 answers

April 13

Plant ID - Obscure very short grass at Santa Monica SMURFF

In 2011 I managed to get a tour of the Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility SMURFF (which I can't recommend enough for when we have normal again) and while there saw a bed of what I was told was a true grass (but I think may be a sedge) growing as a monoculture and acting as backup for an osmosis system. [more inside]
posted by unearthed at 12:56 AM - 5 answers

April 12

Could someone explain the variables of this equation to me?

Modelling an exponential curve to fit a time history of tree sway data: a*exp(x*(t-t0))*cos(w*(t-t0)*pi/180)+b+c*(t-t0) [more inside]
posted by Alex Haist at 9:39 AM - 6 answers

April 10

could I make a wikipedia page stick?

My mother is a highly accomplished nurse in an executive position at a major hospital, and she has been deeply involved in the coronavirus response since it came to the US. We're working hard to help her feel supported and appreciated. My wife suggested that we be able to make a Wikipedia entry for her! I think it's a great idea, but I know that Wikipedia's editing community has a poor track record with deleting pages of women in STEM. How could we make a page stick?
posted by skookumsaurus rex at 1:35 PM - 10 answers

April 7

How to do better on the marshmallow test?

How can I improve my impulse control? How can I instill the values of non-instant gratification/teach my toddler to have good impulse control? [more inside]
posted by robertthebruce at 2:37 PM - 22 answers

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