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Citizen Geology: Earthquake-spotting @ home October 29, 2008

Posted by Sarah in science.
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Earthquake in Reno, Nevada in April this year, as detected by traditional earthquake sensors (black) and by laptops participating in QCN (blue).

Earthquake in Reno, Nevada in April this year, as detected by traditional earthquake sensors (black) and by laptops participating in QCN (blue).

Citizen science is a term loosely used to describe scientific research projects that use resources offered by the general public, without specific training, often enabled by the internet. The SETI@home initiative was one of the first high profile projects in astronomy to use computing power in the homes of non-scientists to process large volumes of data; more recently the Galaxy Zoo project enlisted volunteers to help with the identification of galaxy shapes.

Now geology has also joined the fray of citizen science with the Quake-Catcher Network, led by scientists from Stanford University and UC Riverside. Using the same BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Networked Computing) infrastructure that enabled SETI@home, it links thousands of laptop and desktop computers around the world to help gather data from earthquakes, as they occur.

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What’s up on the Internets? Ask Spacebuzz. October 15, 2008

Posted by Sarah in science.
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Inspired by the recent .Astronomy meeting in Cardiff, Stuart over on Astronomy Blog is working on a great little project called Spacebuzz. Spacebuzz trawls through 50+ astronomy- and space-related blogs, looks at the tags and ranks them in order of occurrences.

Read more about it here or give it a go!

Galaxy Zoo: Research = Outreach = Education September 26, 2008

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I already talked quite a bit about .Astronomy in Cardiff this week, and some of the great ways that scientists have come up with to use the web to facilitate research, our communicate with the public. But Chris Lintott‘s talk on Galaxy Zoo showed us how we can take this one step further still: in the web-based Galaxy Zoo project, the research equals outreach and education.

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Networked Astronomy September 24, 2008

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I haven’t posted for the last few days while I’ve been at the .Astronomy conference in Cardiff, UK, which was organised by a group of astronomers who are really passionate about the web as a means for carrying our astronomical research, and involving everyone around the world in the process. There have been some really great talks and my head is kind of buzzing with new ideas and the coolness of it all. Also, I feel very very technologically inept and have a lot to learn when it comes to Web 2.0.

There will definitely be more on the conference here later, when I’ve had the chance to digest! Back soon.

In the mean time you can check out the site and the organiser’s blog.

My favourite online tools September 2, 2008

Posted by Sarah in me, random.
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Over the last few months I’ve been experimenting with online tools with mainly two goals: (i) social networking, as I was fed up with the format of the traditional social networking platforms like Facebook and MySpace, and (ii) productivity, to help me manage and plan my workload. I have just one laptop and some disk space on our work servers and am constantly travelling, so back ups are *very* important. Working on several projects also makes good diary keeping, notes and to do lists are essential for keeping on top of things. I also recently got an iPhone so am still exploring the best ways of syncing between my phone and laptop. Oh yeah, and some things are just fun!

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