Ninety-three percent of all marine plastics are smaller than a grain of rice (Eriksen et al 2014). This summer I made a research voyage through one of the world’s five gyres, huge slow-moving currents in the middle each of the world’s five oceans that tend to accumulate floating debris, including plastics. When our trawls pulled up…

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An article published in PLOS One tracking academic papers mentioning ‘citizen science’ caused a lot of discussion in the last month. My take is here, but Caren Cooper’s blog does a much better job of exploring the issues. –CJL Citizen science is skyrocketing in popularity. Not just among participants (of which there are millions), but…

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Today is an important day for participation and innovation in the federal government. The White House officially launched the Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Toolkit, a tool that provides information and resources to help federal agencies use the power of public participation to help solve scientific and societal problems. The launch of this toolkit solidifies the White…

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The arrival of ‘ash dieback’ in 2012, a fatal disease that aggressively infects trees, in the UK was big news, and generated a range of citizen science responses. This thoughtful article, from Judith Tsouvalis at the University of Nottingham, looks at the sometimes awkward relationship of such programs with language used by those concentrating on…

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Crowdsourcing. We talk about it. We educate people how to use it. But it is also an overused and underappreciated word, according to Forbes. Its influence is now spawning to government affairs thanks to the Internet. In 2013, President Obama called out to the federal agencies to use Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing to tap the wisdom of…

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If you’ve lived in a city, you’ve probably encountered something like New York City’s Tenth Avenue after a rainstorm: a place that was so windy, the ground is littered with broken umbrellas. Why don’t we use that impressive windpower? The answer lies partially in technology–the turbines able to take shifting, multidirectional urban winds were only…

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Thanks to technological advances in sensing technologies our urban environment is equipped with tiny but powerful sensors that generate a vast amount of data. This data is being used by companies, governments, and research institutions to monitor, analyze, and optimize our everyday life. Following the OpenData movement, this data is often available for the broader…

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