Crowdsourcing Scientific Research
As research budgets tighten at universities and federal financing agencies, a new crop of Web-savvy scientists is hoping the wisdom—and generosity—of the crowds will come to the rescue.
What's the Latest Development?
While nonprofit science organizations and medical research centers commonly seek donations from the public, Dr. Calkins, an adjunct professor of biology at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and Dr. Gee may have been the first professional scientists to use a generic "crowd funding" website to underwrite basic research. "Websites like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and RocketHub are an increasingly popular way to bankroll creative projects—usually in film, music and visual arts."
What's the Big Idea?
It is not very likely that anyone imagined crowd funding websites would be used to finance scientific research. And it is unclear what problems this odd pairing might beget. "Most crowd funding platforms thrive on transparency and a healthy dose of self-promotion but lack the safeguards and expert assessment of a traditional review process. Instead, money talks: The public decides which projects are worth pursuing by fully financing them. ... The money can come from anywhere — the biggest backers of the quail project were ranchers and hunters."
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Two massive clouds of dust in orbit around the Earth have been discussed for years and finally proven to exist.
- Hungarian astronomers have proven the existence of two "pseudo-satellites" in orbit around the earth.
- These dust clouds were first discovered in the sixties, but are so difficult to spot that scientists have debated their existence since then.
- The findings may be used to decide where to put satellites in the future and will have to be considered when interplanetary space missions are undertaken.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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