Artificial Intelligence meets Citizen Science

By lshell | May 21, 2019 12:14 pm

The potential for AI to propel citizen science efforts forward is incredible; from rapidly analyzing your data or identifying insects, to helping you find and join the best project for your research goals. Here are some ongoing citizen science projects and research efforts that involve AI and citizen science to maximize the efforts of participants and scientists. 


The SciStarter Team

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Newsletter, Technology

#CitSciDay2019: Global Community

By cnickerson | May 7, 2019 4:46 pm

Citizen Science Day LogoCitizen Science Day is an annual celebration presented by SciStarter and the Citizen Science Association in an effort to connect people to real research in need of their help.  It taps the curiosity and observations of people to contribute to significant scientific research efforts.

This year, the featured event of #CitSciDay2019 was the StallCatchers #Megathon, a gamified method of identifying stalls in blood flow in the brain, which is believed to contribute to Alzheimer’s. Because of the participation of citizens around the world, over the course of a single weekend, citizen scientists had accomplished 2,566 research hours, or 3.5 months of lab-equivalent research time. The StallCatchers team reported that preliminary research results indicate “high blood pressure is associated with an increased rate of stalls in mice, and much more so in mice that have been engineered to get Alzheimer’s disease.” They will continue to explore and verify this finding, which is just an early glimpse of the ultimate research result.

In the months leading up to the Megathon, SciStarter and partners, including the Human Computation Institute, Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Pacific Southwest Region, and the Citizen Science Association, hosted weekly calls to engage librarians and event organizers and activate libraries as hubs for citizen science. SciStarter and ASU provided Citizen Science Day resources, including the Librarian’s Guide to Citizen Sciencebookmarksposters, press releases, a social media tool-kit, and more.

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Sound Justice: Citizen Science, Noise, and the Quest for Equity

By Bradley Allf | May 6, 2019 6:02 pm

At the start of World War I, thousands of soldiers were coming down with a baffling condition: they became blind, deaf, lost their memory, or developed uncontrollable shaking despite no obvious physical injury. Even stranger, this malady could be triggered by memories of the war even after the fighting had ended. At the time, doctors called what they were seeing “shell-shock,” though today we would call it by a different name: post-traumatic stress disorder. Anything that brought back memories of the trenches could precipitate this condition, but one of the most common triggers was loud noise. An engine backfiring, a firecracker on Independence Day or, in at least one case, simply speaking the word “bomb,” could cause afflicted soldiers to become catatonic or act out memories from the war. All this, the result of a sound.

Clearly, sound can have a dramatic effect on our bodies and our minds. But it doesn’t have to be linked to memories of trauma to affect us. Indeed, studies have shown that even exposure to seemingly innocuous sound can impact our health. Low volume, low-frequency traffic noise, for instance, is linked to all sorts of health consequences including poor sleep quality, difficulty concentrating, and even cardiovascular problems.

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Citizen scientists set new record for accelerating Alzheimer’s research

By Guest | May 6, 2019 3:26 pm

A team of researchers at the Human Computation Institute and Cornell University seek to understand what causes a 30% reduction of blood flow to the brain in Alzheimer’s patients.

Preliminary findings from the Schaffer-Nishimura Biomedical Engineering Lab suggest that restoring blood flow to the brain could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and restore cognitive functioning. But there is too much data to sift through, and the blood flow imagery is too subtle for most algorithms to classify into capillaries that are either flowing or stalled. So instead, citizen scientists are helping analyze the videos in a gamified effort called “Stall Catchers” — and, through this crowdsourcing effort, are doing so at a much faster rate than the lab.

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May the 4th Be With You!

By cnickerson | May 4, 2019 3:56 pm

Really, any day is a good day to engage in citizen science. Need some inspiration? “American Spring LIVE,” aired last week on PBS NATURE and it featured lots of citizen science projects in need of your help. Catch the recorded series on Facebook!


The SciStarter Team

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Crowd the Tap: Empowering Communities to Examine Their Lead Exposure

By Bradley Allf | May 3, 2019 9:37 am

Lead water pipes have been a fixture of modern civilization for more than two thousand years.  Ancient Romans channeled water into homes and bathhouses through lead piping. In fact, the Latin word for lead, plumbum, is where we get the English word “plumbing.” Yet we have also long recognized that lead can have a serious impact on our health. Vitrivius, who lived during the first century BCE, wrote at length about the physical harm caused by lead exposure, concluding that “water should therefore on no account be conducted in leaden pipes if we are desirous that it should be wholesome.”

Two millennia later, we are still working to to follow that advice. Despite an initiative in the 1950s to replace lead pipes with copper, a 1986 ban on installing new lead pipes, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations that there is no safe level of exposure to lead, many homes in the US still get their water from lead pipes. How many, exactly? We don’t know the answer. But thanks to a new EPA-funded citizen science project called “Crowd the Tap,” people all over the US are being empowered to understand what kinds of pipes provide their drinking water. Findings from the project might one day lead to new data about disparities in environmental risk.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Water

Book Review: The Unraveling of Ocean Life and a World Without Fish

By Guest | April 30, 2019 8:07 pm

Kurlansky, Mark and Stockton, Frank (Illustrator). World Without Fish.  Workman Publishing Company, 2014. 208 pages. Paperback $US10.46

Day-to-day encounters of fish—at the grocery store, through an aquarium—passively reinforce a notion of triviality about aquatic life until we are prompted to take a pause and spare a thought for a breathtaking world beyond the shore. This month’s selection in our ongoing book review series, World Without Fish, prompts such reflection; however, as the pages turn, we witness the marine world’s vulnerability alongside its majesty.  Through Mark Kurlansky’s words and Frank Stockton’s art, we are challenged by the crisis of disappearing biodiversity in our oceans.  This graphic novel reveals how inter-dependencies of aquatic systems, both within themselves and between the human world, are snowballing into an unwelcome reality.

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MORE ABOUT: Graphic Novel, ocean

Survivors in the Forest: Help Scientists by Identifying Resilient Trees

By Julia Travers | April 26, 2019 3:10 pm

Calling all tree lovers! This Arbor Day, help scientists study trees near you with TreeSnap, an easy-to-use app.

You can use a smartphone to document trees with the TreeSnap app.Image Credit: Sid Verma on Unsplash

You can use a smartphone to document trees with the TreeSnap app.Image Credit: Sid Verma on Unsplash

Are you a tree lover with a smartphone? If so, you can help out scientists who are trying to breed stronger trees. Like all living beings, trees face a variety of challenges and illnesses. In addition to threats like climate change, pollution, and loss of habitat, they also can be attacked by bugs or fall ill. Luckily, many scientists and community members are working together to better understand trees’ survival and help trees flourish — and you are invited to join them!

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Conservation, Environment
MORE ABOUT: arbor day, trees, TreeSnap

Inventions that show why accessible tools matter for scientific discovery

By Guest | April 22, 2019 11:11 am

What if everyone had access to powerful tools for scientific learning and problem solving? Scientific discovery tools — from telescopes to magnetometers — help us answer questions and generate knowledge. But many powerful tools are too expensive or too difficult for non-experts to use.

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Celebrate Earth Day with Citizen Science

By lshell | April 20, 2019 11:15 am
56488063-9ea6-4165-b01c-3e0dd934b344Earth Day is April 22, 2019 so take a moment to celebrate our environment and learn more about the biodiversity around us. The first Earth Day was in 1970, and was started to bring attention to environmental protection and preservation.
We’ve selected a few projects related to environmental protection and a global event to participate in, the City Nature Challenge, to encourage focusing on the details and appreciating local biodiversity by taking pictures with the iNaturalist app!
Have a wonderful Earth Day!
The SciStarter Team

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Citizen Science Salon

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Citizen Science Salon, brought to you by SciStarter, is where science enthusiasts can join forces with top researchers. We'll feature weekly collaborative, crowdsourced, and DIY research projects that relate to what you're reading about in Discover, so you can take science into your own hands. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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