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.
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
Read the rest of this entry »
Which citizen science projects in our Project Finder were the most visited in 2010? Check out the top 10! Is your favorite on this list? If not, tell us about your favorite citizen science project(s) on your very own (free) member blog!
|Foldit is a revolutionary new computer game enabling you to contribute to important scientific research. Researchers are collecting data to find out if humans’ pattern-recognition and puzzle-solving abilities make them more efficient than existing computer programs at pattern-folding tasks. If this turns out to be true, researchers can then teach human strategies to computers and fold proteins faster than ever!|
|Keep track of the fish you see while scuba diving or snorkeling, and submit those observations to an online database. You can start anytime, with or without a training class, as long as you can POSITIVELY identify the fish you see. This is a worldwide program for Pacific Coast, Tropical Eastern Pacific, Tropical Western Atlantic, Hawaii, and northeast U.S. and Canada.|
|Project Squirrel is calling all citizen scientists to count the number of squirrels in their neighborhoods and report their findings. The goal is to understand urban squirrel biology, including everything from squirrels to migratory birds, nocturnal mammals, and secretive reptiles and amphibians. To gain data on squirrel populations across the United States, citizen scientists will also be asked, when possible, to distinguish between two different types of tree squirrels – gray and fox. Anyone can participate in Project Squirrel!|
|Moon Zoo invites you to help astronomers count and analyze craters and boulders on the surface of the moon. You will examine images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which show the lunar surface in remarkable detail, including features as small as about one and a half feet across. While exploring the lunar surface, who knows what else you might find.|
|Texas Bee Watchers aims to increase awareness and knowledge of native bees in Texas. In 2010, the Bee Watchers are challenging Texans to plant 52 Bee Gardens in 52 Weeks. To watch native bees, you only need to find some blooming plants. Once you see these hard-working insects, you may want to try catching a few native bees with a net, cooling them down in an ice chest, and looking at them close-up. Or maybe you’ll want to practice your photo skills and photograph them? Sounds fun? It is!|
|The Acoustics Research Centre at the University of Salford is building a sound map of the world as part of a new study into how sounds in our everyday environment make us feel. They’re asking people across the world to use their mobile phones (or another audio recording device if their phone is not compatible) to record 10 to 15 second clips from different sound environments, or “soundscapes”–anything from the inside of a family car to a busy shopping center. Then, volunteers upload the clips to a virtual map, along with their opinions of the sounds and why they chose to record those particular sounds.|
|Join Stardust@Home in the search for interstellar dust! On January 15, 2006, the Stardust spacecraft’s sample return capsule parachuted gently onto the Utah desert. Nestled within the capsule were precious particles collected during Stardust’s dramatic encounter with comet Wild 2 in January of 2004; and something else, even rarer and no less precious: tiny particles of interstellar dust that originated in distant stars, light-years away. Together, you and thousands of other Stardust@home participants will find the first pristine interstellar dust particles ever brought to Earth!|
|Help researchers map the location of graveyards around the globe and then use marble gravestones in those graveyards to measure the weathering rate of marble at that location. The weathering rates of gravestones are an indication of changes in the acidity of rainfall between locations and over time. The acidity is affected by air pollution and other factors, and could be used as a measure of changes in climate and pollution levels.|
|Firefly Watch combines an annual summer evening ritual with scientific research. Boston’s Museum of Science has teamed up with researchers from Tufts University and Fitchburg State College to track the fate of these amazing insects. With your help, the project aims to learn about the geographic distribution of fireflies and their activity during the summer season. Fireflies also may be affected by human-made light and pesticides in lawns, so researchers hope to also learn more about those effects.|
|Tech musician Stephen Hobley’s laser harp was the most popular project in our Project Finder. After building your laser harp, you’ll coax out the computer-generated sounds by waving your hands to break the light beams and change their lengths. We first found out about Stephone’s harp in recent issue of Make magazine that was devoted to build-them-yourself, high-tech musical instruments. Sounds awesome, huh?|