Questions in the Science & Nature category.
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January 9

Science discussion topics (with experiments?) for a 5 year old?

I've been having discussions with my 5 year old about science and he loves it. What are some basic topics I can discuss with him, with simple 'experiments' to go along with them? [more inside]
posted by evadery at 8:45 AM - 26 answers

January 6

How can a mixed race baby have blue eyes?

If a mixed race child has blue eyes in infancy, does that mean both parents must absolutely have the blue eye gene? (One parent is full Asian.) [more inside]
posted by branparsons at 3:35 PM - 11 answers

January 5

Is there any other geographic region like the Great Lakes region?

Is there any other geographic region like the Great Lakes area of western Michigan and eastern Wisconsin? [more inside]
posted by ragtimepiano at 2:48 PM - 10 answers

January 3

Plant a tree donation

I'd like to give a gift to someone in the form of a tree or trees planted in their name but I'm having trouble finding the best charity/service to use. Does anyone have direct experience with this? [more inside]
posted by gwint at 6:44 AM - 8 answers

Are there short-term volunteering opportunities for wildlife programs?

I am interested in short term, say 4-6 weeks, volunteering opportunities with wildlife scientists in locations such as Africa, South America. Are there any such options? [more inside]
posted by theobserver at 3:34 AM - 8 answers

December 30, 2017

It's Just So Warm In There.

As someone who struggles mightily with getting out of the (outdoor) hot tub on a cold winter night, please tell me what would happen if.. I didn't. Obviously, this question is hypothetical and I realize that I cannot actually live in the hot tub from now until spring (for many reasons). [more inside]
posted by VioletU at 12:09 PM - 9 answers

December 27, 2017

Why not fuel rockets externally during liftoff?

Given the tyranny of the rocket equation, why not save mass by pumping fuel and oxidizer into the engines from an external source during liftoff? [more inside]
posted by jedicus at 1:21 PM - 9 answers

December 26, 2017

Fermi paradox & Drake equation 101

Looking for accessible readings or videos about the Fermi paradox and/or the Drake equation, geared toward an adult layperson, especially someone unfamiliar with either concept. Thank you!
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:10 AM - 5 answers

December 16, 2017

Does a rainbow exist?

You'll often see/hear someone saying "Did you see the rainbow?" Or "Oh yeah I saw that same rainbow". But did they? [more inside]
posted by humboldt32 at 10:07 AM - 14 answers

December 11, 2017

ISS Solar Transit

It looks like ISS will transit the sun in Tuscaloosa, AL (33.206667, -87.534722) on Wednesday Dec. 13. The three tools that I've looked at show slightly different ideal locations and times for the transit. Who should I believe:
posted by gregr at 8:51 PM - 2 answers

December 10, 2017

Heat of fusion of high pressure water ice?

Is the specific enthalpy of fusion for each of the high density forms of water ice; ice III, ice V, and ice VI, lower than that of standard water ice Ih? [more inside]
posted by pjbw at 12:17 PM - 3 answers

December 9, 2017

Mixing potassium citrate and La Croix?

For a potassium source that's not too basic, I'm adding potassium citrate to La Croix sparkling water, which I'm assuming is acidic (carbonic acid?). What is happening when it starts fizzing? [more inside]
posted by zeek321 at 10:32 AM - 7 answers

December 8, 2017

Inspirational book for a future entomologist (with a spider focus) ?

A good and terribly brilliant friend is currently a college freshman with a life-long enthusiasm for the insect world, and an eye toward a career in entomology. Her passion: spiders. I'd like to find a book on spiders (or on the greater world of insects) for her as a Christmas gift, something special. [more inside]
posted by Auden at 2:10 PM - 14 answers

December 6, 2017

What did I see in the sky over the Monterey Bay last night?

Last night, I saw a bright light in the sky South of Santa Cruz, CA, which was predicted on the radio, but I missed what the object was. [more inside]
posted by subocoyne at 11:11 AM - 3 answers

December 3, 2017

Where are all the natural nature photographs?

Where are all the nature photographs at? I am looking for photos (or sites that reliably host them) of forests, deserts, tundras, what-have-you, which are NOT retouched or color saturated. This can be anything from an artist's portfolio to family vacations, it just has to be real. [more inside]
posted by karmachameleon at 10:42 PM - 7 answers

November 30, 2017

Serious treatment of alien civilisations?

Where can I find serious investigation into what alien civilisations could be like, assuming they exist? [more inside]
posted by StephenF at 6:54 AM - 7 answers

November 28, 2017

What statistical measure compares a subset and its larger group?

I'm looking to compare an employer's racial/ethnic representation to the population of the geographic region where it is located. I know nothing about statistics. Is there a statistical measure I should use to characterize the size / significance of the employer's deviation from the larger population? [more inside]
posted by kensington314 at 3:01 PM - 8 answers

More biological learning systems?

I've been building a list of ways that biological systems accumulate knowledge. Which ones am I missing? [more inside]
posted by clawsoon at 6:04 AM - 17 answers

November 27, 2017

The curious non-abilities of humankind

What kinds of non-abilities are some small percentage of humankind born with that don't affect their everyday life and, in fact, may not be discovered as a non-ability until later in life? [more inside]
posted by serelliya at 1:40 PM - 33 answers

November 23, 2017

What experiment can I do to show that the Earth is a spheriod?

Flat Earthers fascinate me. Mostly because it's such a pure conspiracy theory; it's good to see someone standing up to Big Sphere. What kind of experiment could I carry out for an open-minded Flat Earther that would demonstrate the Earth isn't a disk? There's the old "ship disappearing beyond the horizon" thing, but that's something you rarely (if ever) see with your naked eye. Presume that I'm willing to throw a little but of money into this. [more inside]
posted by Betelgeuse at 6:42 PM - 40 answers

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