Top 11 SciStarter Blog Posts of 2011

By December 31st, 2011 at 11:40 am | Comment

Drumroll, please! Here are the top 11 SciStarter blog posts from the past year (according to the number of visits). Thanks for joining our journey. Wait until you hear what we’ve got cooking for 2012!

Happy New Year from the SciStarter team!

PS Stay tuned — we’ll post the top 11 citizen science projects of 2011 tomorrow morning.

11. Citizen Paleontologists Are Making History

Several research projects are combining the skills and interests of citizen paleontologists with those of scientists in order to help us understand more about earth’s history and evolution. Here are a few examples of projects that are getting citizens and researchers working together and leading to scientific discoveries. Citizen Paleontologists Are Making History

10. Book Review: The Intersection by Tom Cole

The Intersection is the story of a man’s passion told through his data. Cole starts with a short essay on his data journey, presents summary statistics (life list for that location, most numerous birds), then launches into a bird-by-bird summary, much like a field guide. Blogger Kate Atkins provides her full review. Book Review: The Intersection by Tom Cole

9. What’s in your water heater? NASA wants to know!

Researchers at Penn State University need your help to study the distribution of microorganisms in household hot water heaters. John had a chance to chat with Dr. Chris House, Associate Professor of Geosciences & Director of the Penn State Astrobiology Research Center, to get the inside scoop on microbes, why they’re important, and how the study will help NASA understand extreme environments around the Solar System. What’s in your water heater? NASA wants to know!

8. Measure and record earliest signs of hurricane Irene

Before Hurricane Irene, we provided a few examples of how you could help scientists record and share on-the-ground observations to help pinpoint hurricane Irene’s actions, determine her next steps, and better predict and react to future storms. We also provided a list of opportunities to get involved in local watershed monitoring efforts. Measure and record earliest signs of hurricane Irene

7. 10 back-to-school projects for young citizen scientists

As summer comes to a close, a young person’s fancy may turn to fretting at the thought of being cooped up in a classroom. But for fans of science and nature—and by that we mean kids who like to watch clouds, hunt mushrooms, prowl around graveyards, and check out what gets squashed on the side of the road—fall need not signal the end of fun. To keep young minds entertained as well as enlightened, we recommended the following 10 back-to-school projects for student citizen scientists. Teachers and parents, please note: Many of these programs provide materials around which you can build lessons. And there are lots more where these came from. 10 back-to-school projects for young citizen scientists

6. Conversations about conservation: public participation in scientific research

On April 7th and 8th, 2011, 60 practitioners from a diversity of academic, government and non-profit sector backgrounds came together to answer the following question: How can public participation in scientific research (PPSR) help to bridge the divide between science research and conservation practice?” Anne Toomey provides a first-person recap on everything that took place. Conversations about conservation: public participation in scientific research

5. Snowed In? Contribute to Science!

This winter, help researchers track climate change by grabbing a ruler and measuring the depth of snow wherever you happen to be. That’s all there is to it! Your data will advance climate science, and you’ll get to see your depth report appear on our world map of snow tweets.To help you get started, we put together this “How To” video complete with some empirical evidence from your fellow citizen scientists Snowed In? Contribute to Science!

4. EteRNA: Biology plus videogames equals cutting-edge science

EteRNA, a collaborative online game, allows ordinary citizens to help biologists take a crack at solving a challenging RNA mystery, namely: what are the rules governing its folding? Players who assemble the best RNA designs online will see their creations synthesized in a Stanford biochemistry lab! EteRNA: Biology plus videogames equals cutting-edge science

3. 12 Days of Christmasy Citizen Science Projects

Make sure you’re on Santa’s “nice list” this year. Consider helping researchers help the planet this holiday season. Here are a dozen opportunities to get involved in real research during the 12 days of Christmas! 12 Days of Christmasy Citizen Science Projects

2. The importance of thinking scientifically

What does it mean to discover new ways of thinking? Anne Toomey takes a look at her own adventures in citizen science and explains why she thinks engagement — learning through doing, questioning and direct experience — is the most important factor. The importance of thinking scientifically

1. Studying Dragonfly Swarms with Citizen Science

The Dragonfly Swarm Project uses the power of the internet to allow everyone to participate in a large-scale study of dragonfly swarming behavior. Participants observe dragonfly swarms wherever they occur, make observations of the composition and behavior of the swarm, then submit a report online. Studying Dragonfly Swarms with Citizen Science

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