Crowdsourcing Key to Better Water in Rural India

With more than 10 million service points, India’s rural drinking water system provides a real monitoring headache for public health officials. To help address the challenge, a three-continent research consortium is evaluating a novel environmental crowdsourcing technique that relies on 53-cent test kits and the nation’s ubiquitous mobile phone service.

Studied in eight villages this summer and scheduled for more widespread evaluation in 2015, the technique could empower residents to check their own water quality and address the problems they find. If successful, this environmental crowdsourcing could be expanded to other nations and other large-scale environmental monitoring needs.

Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/crowdsourcing-key-better-water-rural-india

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This Time, Humans Out-Perform Computers

Computers are terrible at mapping the brain.  Given a cross-section of a retina for example, computers have trouble distinguishing neurons from other cells and empty space.  Humans, on the other hand, can perform this task with ease.

Still, mapping the brain would be a monumental task for one human.  So MIT neuroscientist Sebastien Seung recruited more than 120,000 online gamers to help him - via a game called EyeWire.

Players help color in neurons, and a computer later compiles their data into a complex map. Already, their work is helping scientists understand how the brain sees movement.

You can hear all about it in this story from Joe Palca.

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Iceland’s citizens were given a chance to help forge a new constitution for their country through Facebook and Twitter, so it’s not surprising that they backed the resulting draft. Now it’s over to the politicians.

Here’s a quick run-down of the background to all this. Iceland’s banking system collapsed right at the start of the financial crisis, taking the country’s government with it. The new leadership decided to go the open route, not least because secretive dealings were largely to blame for the banking fiasco.

There were two technologically interesting spinoffs of this situation. One was the creation of the Modern Media Initiative (now the International Modern Media Institute), a Wikileaks-inspired free speech drive – the idea here is to turn Iceland into an haven for free speech by inviting media organizations from around the world to host their sites in Iceland’s green data centers and enjoy the country’s strong new protections for whistleblowers and the like.

The other was the constitutional crowdsourcing. Iceland’s old constitution was based on that of former master Denmark and was seen as out-of-date, so 25 citizens were brought into into a Constitutional Council to help create a new one. The council took the ideas raised online by their fellow citizens and delivered the resulting draft in July last year. It took a while to ask the voting public at large what it thought of the result, but Iceland now has its answer to that question.

http://gigaom.com/2012/10/22/icelanders-approve-their-crowdsourced-constitution/
Who would you want to see on a panel discussing women superheroes?

We’re putting together a panel for San Diego ComicCon 2014!   Right now we’re envisioning a panel focused on women superheroes and aiming for an all-women panel!    What we definitely want is a lot of intersectionality on the panel— particularly women of color and women who hold multiple intersectional identities!  Women who write novels or comics or webcomics about superheroines!  Women who study transmedia and the depiction of superheroes!  Women who provide cultural commentary on comics and media representation!

This is where we’d love your help!  What would your dream panel on this topic look like?   Who should we invite and who would you like to see?

Great things have come from Quirky and its community of inventors. but their biggest project, Aros, strained everyone.

Garthen Leslie is an IT consultant and looks the part. He’s geeky, quiet, and middle-aged, sporting a long, untucked white polo, khakis, and wire-framed glasses. But today, very suddenly, he is also the face of a new ideal—a symbol of how invention itself is being reinvented.

Read More>

Please Visit Our Brand New Site: Health-pond.org
  • Health-pond.org is a crowdsourcing site that allows individuals to create campaigns for charitable causes.
  • Health Pond is a personal fund raising websites individuals can use to pay their medical expenses, or raise funds for any non-profit cause.
  • Create a campaign, or support an existing one today!

Health-pond.org

These Smart Umbrellas Measure Rainfall Data For Meteorologists (And Send It Back To The Cloud) | FastCompany

A team of Dutch scientists wants to use the crowd instead, by turning umbrellas into mini weather-monitoring stations. Every time it rains, smart umbrellas would use sensors to detect falling drops, and then use Bluetooth to send a report to a smartphone app. As people walk around with umbrellas throughout a city during a storm, each app would send in data to a central system where meteorologists could use it to come up with better predictions.

Watch on blog.tedx.com

Can we really trust the crowd? Jens Krause at TEDxGhent

Crowd-sourcing, crowd-funding, is all really that great? Well, Jens Krause has made a life of studying how crowds, or swarms, make decisions, and it turns out that crowds make terrible ones sometimes, depending on the type of problems they’re facing.

Whether you’re about to launch a big crowd-sourced project at work or are simply trying to find the best place to eat tonight, Jens’s results are worth knowing. Check it out above.

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State Park Using Hashtags & Social Media to Create a Time-Lapse of Wildfire Recovery

Hashtags are nothing more than a novelty byproduct of the 21st century, right? Wrong. At least that’s the case in the minds of the scientists behind a new project that takes advantage of photography, hashtags and social media to help crowdsource a time-lapse documentation of fire damage recovery.

The initiative, known as #MorganFire02, uses signs with included brackets along the trails of Mount Diablo State Park. Said signs politely ask travelers to place their phone in the bracket, snap a photo and share the regrowth process of the land via Instagram and/or Twitter.

(Continue Reading)

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What do you think - is Mary Cassatt’s handwriting as fancy as her hat? We hope you’ll evaluate this important question and admire the penmanship of many other artists while participating in our BRAND NEW TRANSCRIPTION PROJECT, The Art of Handwriting. In a first for the smithsoniantranscriptioncenter, your transcriptions will be featured in a forthcoming book on handwriting to be published in 2015 by Princeton Architectural Press. If you’ve transcribed before, this is your chance for the limelight! And if you haven’t, there’s no better time to start than today!

Mary Cassatt, 1914 / unidentified photographer. Frederick A. Sweet research material on Mary Cassatt and James A. McNeill Whistler, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Mary Cassatt letter to John Wesley Beatty, 1905 Sept. 5. Carnegie Institute, Museum of Art records, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Transcribe this letter here!

HOW YOU CAN HELP FIND MISSING MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT MH370 

Satellite company DigitalGlobe started a crowdsourcing campaign on its platform Tomnod.

Anyone can sift through more than 3,200 square kilometres of satellite images and flag any signs of debris or other clues.

DigitalGlobe is asking web users to tag any clues that may help locate the missing plane. Tomnod is not making the tagged results public.

If users start tagging some regions in large numbers, DigitalGlobe plans to use a computer algorithm to detect that.

To start searching, go to:

http://www.tomnod.com/nod/challenge/malaysiaairsar2014

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This is my Ada-cat! She is a six-year old black-and-white, a foundling in Brooklyn adopted off the street as an infant, and as you can see, she’s got fats, she’s got wits, she’s got boom personality. She also, horrifically, has cancer and so this:

http://www.gofundme.com/7zgfhk

is the GoFundMe page about that.

If you can, please signal-boost! We thank you so much from the bottom of our chinny-chin-chins :D

Join us on Thursday, April 3,  from 9:30 to 4 pm at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC for an all-day Archives Fair! Enter through the Special Events Entrance on 7th St. and Constitution Ave. The DC Caucus of MARAC and the National Archives Assembly are co-hosting this all-day Archives Fair. Archives-related groups and will be using the area outside the McGowan Theater as an exhibit hall.

You can watch our panel discussion online.

8:30-9:30 a.m. Coffee Hour and Exhibit Hall

9:30-10 a.m. Welcome and  Introduction by the Archivist of the United States

10:00-11:30  a.m. Panel Discussion: Crowdsourcing for Enhanced Archival Access

  • Elissa Frankle, moderator (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)
  • Helena Zinkham (Library of Congress)
  • Ching-Hsien Wang (Smithsonian)
  • Meredith Stewart (National Archives)

11:30-1 p.m. Lunch & Exhibit Hall

1-2:30 p.m. Panel Discussion: Monuments Men Archives

  • Barbara Aikens (Smithsonian)
  • Dr. Greg Bradsher (National Archives)
  • Maygene Daniels (National Gallery of Art Archives)

2:30-2:45  p.m.  Break and Exhibit Hall

2:45-3:15 p.m. National Archival Authorities Cooperative (NAAC)

  • John Martinez (National Archives)
  • Jerry Simmons (National Archives)

3:15-3:45 p.m. Donations Partnership Database

  • Dawn Sherman (National Archives)
  • Meg Ryan (National Archives)

3:45-4 p.m.   Closing Remarks and Exhibit Hall

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