Informing NASA’s Asteroid Initiative: Your Chance to Participate!

By Arvind Suresh August 28th, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Comment

Asteroid Sample Retrieval

Asteroid Sample Retrieval

August 28, 2014


In its history, the Earth has been repeatedly struck by asteroids, large chunks of rock from space that can cause considerable damage in a collision. Can we—or should we—try to protect Earth from potentially hazardous impacts?

How about harvesting asteroids for potential economic benefits? What do we do if we find an asteroid that threatens Earth? How should we balance costs, risks, and benefits of human exploration in space?

Sounds like stuff just for rocket scientists. But how would you like to be part of this discussion?

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Wanted: You and Your Dog! For Science! – It’s National Dog Day! [GUEST POST]

By Rae Moore - Editor August 26th, 2014 at 9:07 am | Comment

Editor’s Note: In honor of National Dog Day, we are featuring an article by Julie Hecht, the Dog Spies blogger for Scientific American.


She's ready for science. Photo by Rebecca Moore-Ghilarducci

This dog is ready for science.
Photo: Rebecca Moore-Ghilarducci

A few years back, John Homans, former executive editor of New York magazine, published What’s a Dog For? — an intimate reflection on his beloved family dog, Stella, as well as a snapshot into the flourishing field of canine science. Looking down at the wagging tail by your side, you could easily answer the above question. What’s a dog for? Simple. Dogs are our family members and friends, our assistants and fellow-workers, and in some cases, our unexpected mentors. But would you also add ‘enthusiastic science partner’ to the list?

Since the late 1990s, companion dogs and their owners have played a crucial role in the growing field of canine science — a field investigating a wide range of questions about who dogs are and how they came to live their lives so intertwined with ours. To borrow from Dr. Alexandra Horowitz’s New York Times bestseller Inside of a Dog, researchers are tackling the nuances of “what dogs see, smell, and know,” and all those burning questions you have about dogs. In recent years, we’ve learned why dogs so easily move in sync with us (they readily attend to not only our gestures, but also our gaze and even our facial expressions), why dogs eat food off the table when you are out of, but not in, the room (they learn to note your attentional states), and how our assessments of dogs are not always spot-on (studies to date suggest the beloved “guilty look” in dogs is not what we think it means).

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Categories: Citizen Science

The Citizen Science Funding Resource Guide

By Ian Vorster August 25th, 2014 at 7:08 pm | Comment

Looking for ways to fund citizen science research? Check out the Citizen Science Funding Resource Guide!

242px-Environmental_Protection_Agency_logo.svgJessica Clemente, an environmental science graduate thought she would be doing work outside of her community once she got her degree. But she is an asthmatic, and when she found out there was an asthma study taking place in the area of her home in South Bronx she became involved and eventually took the lead. “Living day-to-day in an area where all I saw was high traffic volumes, poor air quality and adding more waste to our community got me enraged,” she says in an EPA video interview. Her anger prompted action, and she looked at the tools to empower herself and her community—education and advocacy.

In many cases, there is a connection between socioeconomic status and air quality. Some call it environmental justice—why should a factory spew tons of filth into the same air that a poor, young family across the road breathes? Amanda Kaufman, the Environmental Health Fellow in the Air Climate and Energy Program Office at the EPA says, “We are currently working with a community in Newark, New Jersey that has faced environmental justice issues in the past and still faces many to this day.  We hope to collaborate with the community action group to establish a community-led air monitoring project.”

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Exploring a Culture of Health: Repurposing Medicine to Help More People

By Carolyn Graybeal August 22nd, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Comment


How can we use medication efficiently to help more people? (Image Credit: Pixabay / CC0 1.0)

This post is part of Exploring a Culture of Health, a citizen science series brought to you by Discover Magazine, SciStarter and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, serving as an ally to help Americans work together to build a national Culture of Health that enables everyone to lead healthier lives now and for generations to come.  

Each year in the U.S. millions of dollars’ worth of useable medication is destroyed. While at the same time one in four working adults cannot afford their medication. It is a confusing and unnecessary contradiction.

Fortunately innovative organizations recognize that by recycling or repurposing medication it is possible to limit waste and conserve resources while helping individuals live healthier lives. Read the rest of this entry »

MuseHack Interview with Darlene Cavalier, Founder of SciStarter

By Arvind Suresh August 20th, 2014 at 8:19 am | Comment

Editor’s Note: Earlier this month MuseHack, the site “dedicated to getting your creativity active” interviewed Darlene Cavalier, the founder of SciStarter about citizen science, SciStarter and making a difference. Here are some excerpts from that interview.

I spoke about the mission of SciStarter – but how would you describe your mission?

Darlene Cavalier, Founder, SciStarter

Darlene Cavalier, Founder, SciStarter

First and foremost, we want to help people recognize that they are as entitled as anyone else to play active roles in science and technology. In the process, we’ve been able to help a lot of researchers and other people organizing participatory research and civic engagement projects, recruit skilled participants. A win/win!

It seems that more and more people are getting interested in citizen science. Do you think this is true – and if so, why?

I think that’s true and I think more types of people are becoming increasingly interested: hackers, makers, educators, people from local, state and federal government agencies, foundations, corporations, and the media to name a few. Why? It’s likely a combination of factors: there are more opportunities, it’s never been easier to get involved or to share success stories and best practices, participants are forming their own communities and networks and so are the researchers and practitioners. Plus the media has helped lend visibility and credibility. Shout out to Discover Magazine, Public Library of Science and WHYY, in particular (our media partners).

 You’ve had an amazing career yourself.  What would you tell people that want to really make a difference like you have?

Just. DO. It. Become well informed on the issue you care about. That’s 100% on you. Information is accessible and usually free. I went to graduate school to explore a question nagging at me: where do I fit in science, if at all? I really didn’t care about the degree. I was on a personal quest. Once I found out about citizen science and related participatory public policy opportunities, I got involved then created SciStarter to help others learn about and get involved.


Click here to read the full interview on MuseHack!


Categories: Citizen Science