Game on for volunteer protein folders

The child you scold for spending so much time on World of Warcraft? That kid could turn out to be a biochemist’s dream. According to University of Washington researchers who run an online game—sorry—an online science project called Foldit, players can beat computer algorithms at solving one of science’s toughest problems: How to fold a … Read more “Game on for volunteer protein folders”

Categories: Biology, Chemistry, Citizen Science, Computers & Technology

Spot the jellyfish – here or in Malta

As this little guy peers through a jellyfish on Long Beach Island, New Jersey, hundreds of citizen scientists are recording their jelly observations on the Mediterranean island of Malta. Malta’s Spot the Jellyfish program is run by the International Ocean Institute and the University of Malta, inpartnership with the Malta Tourism Authority, among others. Why … Read more “Spot the jellyfish – here or in Malta”

Categories: Animals, Citizen Science, Nature & Outdoors, Ocean & Water

Two batty science projects

For those citizen scientists in the western states who like staying up late, here’s your chance to spy on some winged mammals for science. Two monitoring projects still need your help observing and listening for bats this summer. Citizen scientists in Seattle are needed to help researchers determine what types of bats are chirping in … Read more “Two batty science projects”

Categories: Animals, Bats, Biology, Citizen Science, Ecology & Environment, Insects, Nature & Outdoors

Is Rachel Maddow a citizen scientist?

On the list of reasons to watch The Rachel Maddow Show, one wouldn’t ordinarily expect to find “lessons in ornithology” near the top. Well, after Monday night’s show, that’s exactly what viewers got! In the video clip below, Maddow explains how she was recently walking her dog in a western Massachusetts forest when she heard … Read more “Is Rachel Maddow a citizen scientist?”

Categories: Animals, Birds, Computers & Technology, In the News, Nature & Outdoors

Night owls needed

Scientists all over the northeast want to know more about where native owls live and roam. By keeping mice and other small rodents in check, owls perform a critical function in suburban ecosystems. But researchers don’t yet understand why owls survive well in some suburban areas and not in others. So, all you citizen scientists … Read more “Night owls needed”

Categories: Animals, Birds, Nature & Outdoors

Map an important bird habitat: your own backyard

Is your yard for the birds? This fall, Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology will unveil YardMap, a citizen science project that asks participants to map their yards and green spaces to help researchers better understand where birds live. The project provides a Google satellite image of your yard (or another green space of your choice), … Read more “Map an important bird habitat: your own backyard”

Categories: Birds, Citizen Science, Ecology & Environment, Nature & Outdoors

What makes a good citizen science project–for you?

Can I pick your brain for a minute? Next week I’m going to be part of a panel discussion on the topic of citizen science. It’s part of a joint conference of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and the Geological Society of America titled “Earth and Space Science: Making Connections in Education and Public Outreach.” To … Read more “What makes a good citizen science project–for you?”

Categories: Astronomy & Space, Citizen Science, Geology & Earth Sciences

One firefly mystery solved, another needs your help

Recently, my pal at Live Science.com, Dave Brody, produced this video news piece about the results of a fascinating experiment involving fireflies. Scientists at the University of Connecticut have discovered that males in a common species of fireflies synchronize their flashing patterns to attract females. In dense fields or woods, the mass, synchronized flashing patterns … Read more “One firefly mystery solved, another needs your help”

Categories: Citizen Science, Insects, Nature & Outdoors

I love an old-fashioned sky show

While in New York last week, I dropped in at the Hayden Planetarium for a real treat: an old-fashioned sky show. This was not your typical overwrought, highly digitized, celebrity narrated, long-on-glitz and short-on-insights production number that planetariums feel they have to create these days in order to get the public’s attention. This was a … Read more “I love an old-fashioned sky show”

Categories: Astronomy & Space