Sep. 12th, 2014

practicalcat: A picture of a green-eyed black cat with the caption "My fandom takes orders from a cat" (Default)
One of our topics in Open Knowledge for next week is "citizen science". Because all of our readings and videos are openly available (because, well, open knowledge), please take about twenty minutes when you have the time to check out this video:



For those who don't have twenty minutes, or want to spend those twenty minutes doing something other than watching a video (I don't blame you, I've been known to become annoyed when people send me two-minute videos unprovoked), here's the basic gist:

You can do actual legit science from the comfort of your computer chair. Or, technically, from the comfort of your empty computer chair in some cases.

I'm sure you all know about crowd-funding. It's a cool way to donate money to neat stuff, and it does actually help scientific progress. Yay! But did you know that you can also lend out your computer's processing power so that the scientific project of your choice doesn't need to get as much time on the local supercomputer? Because you can!

Another citizen science thing you can do if you want a little more involvement is to sit your butt down and identify the stuff in pictures. Because computers aren't as good at that as people are. In this case, they give you tutorials (so you can identify, for example, stuff under water without actually having to go get a degree in marine biology) and they show the pictures to multiple people, so you don't need to worry about screwing up everything forever.

You can also help out when your brain is fried from a long day, because there are games! You can play brainless games and do science at the same time; I don't know about you, but doing actual science instead of losing 3 out of 4 games of intermediate minesweeper sounds like a better use of my time to me.

And and and, for those of you looking for a group bonding activity, you can actually sign up to get boxes of dirt shipped to you so you can dig through them and find fossils and other stuff. Or take pictures of the critters in your yard. Or raise butterflies.

THERE IS SO MUCH STUFF. SO MUCH SCIENCE. YOU GUYS. SCIENCE.

Wikipedia has a list of citizen science projects here if this is something you also think is cool.

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