At the Movies: Citizen Science



Science Nation – Citizen Science: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rlcl85_gLR8

This video from the National Science Foundation focuses on the citizen science project, NestWatch, which coincidentally gives you another way to spend time. They have what is probably the world’s largest collection of web cams focused on bird’s nests. They also have a large collection of videos of nesting birds from the Macaulay Library. In nesting season, you could easily spend an enormous amount of time watching baby birds. The citizen scientists, however, do the daily checks, and keep data allowing the scientists to compare these nesting families to the behavior of their great-great-great grandparents. The most important line from the video:

“We need to be looking at these problems at very large geographic scales, and the only way to do that is with citizen science.”


Annotating the Deep Sea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMrTXA2cXno

Census of Marine Life … concluded that the deep ocean is vastly underrepresented in their marine species database, the largest in the world. Undiscovered species are estimated to be 70%-80% of all marine species…. It’s likely that 700,000-800,000 species remain unknown.”


Panamath: Keeping Track of Football: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtF4zg7HjGA

And now for something a little different. Panamath, a citizen science math understanding project, has a lot of videos showing some of the things they’ve learned about how people think mathematically. This one talks about how our brains juggle all the information needed to understand what’s happening in a football game.


University Rink Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3IxAfgpa-o

Or maybe what you really want to be watching is hockey! Or even better, playing it! Well, there is a citizen science project for hockey, too. Scientists are concerned about the potential impact of global warming on outdoor hockey rinks, and have set up a citizen science project called RinkWatch to gather data on backyard rinks in northern climes.


iSeeChange: The Almanac: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTjqtlWTFmk

“Whoa! Suddenly we have dust on snow, and well, that was a freaky Spring, and then the next Spring, and then the next Spring…. So something has changed. we’ve flipped some trigger, and now we’ve got this new paradigm.”

“We’re coming out of an ice age. We OUGHT to be warming up!” “Why now? Why do they all of a sudden think man is causing this?”

“Every year is different. Are you curious to know HOW different? We can find answers. Together.”


NYSL: Alexandra Horowitz on “Inside of a Dog”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGFJRzI3O3A

I couldn’t find a video promoting this citizen science project, but I did find this video explaining the sorts of information they hope the project will generate and help them understand. This is a lecture by Alexandra Horowitz about her popular book on how dog’s think. How they want to study dog cognition is by having people videotape themselves playing with their dog, and then upload it to the site for “Project: Play With Your Dog.” What a cool name is that for a science project?

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