Jun. 1st, 2016 10:07 am
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Zooniverse, the citizen science (history, musicology, etc.) portal that hosts crowd-sourced research projects, sends its members beta notifications of upcoming projects. Because researchers can build projects themselves using the portal, they need to be tested to see how they hold up when people are let loose on them, to see if the instructions and process make sense. I tend to get these notifications every week or two, and if a project seems interesting, go poke at it for a while.

I got notified of one today that fills my need to read other people's mail. It's a ton of postcards from the Edwardian era, and you get an image of both sides of the card. I've only done a couple, and there seem to be two parts to the project, one focusing on the cards themselves and how far people send them (within the town? across the country?), and another one focusing on the people writing and sending, but I haven't tried that part yet so I don't know what they're looking for.

All this to say that the second card I read charmed me by being addressed to a Mr Albert Newell, Violinist. However, the writer was sidestepping an apology for creating some sort of uncomfortable situation between the recipient and another person, who'd evidently had a falling-out.

edit: In this one (click the "2" underneath or go to the Imgur version I uploaded), "P.C." seems to be "Post Card," but I have no idea what "O. B." is, especially given that "Shrimps" are offered as a substitute.
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If you've got a few minutes to kill, Zooniverse has another camera-trap project, this one focusing on chimpanzees (and other animals) in West Africa. It's simple: you watch a 15-second video from a camera trap somewhere in the bush, and mark any animals in in and what they're doing. (If it's chimps, they have a couple more questions.) Answer to the best of your ability: if you get it wrong, it's OK because they show each video to many volunteers and the wisdom of the crowd has been shown, statistically from the Snapshot Serengeti project, to work quite well in IDing what's there.

Anyway, sometimes you're rewarded with awesome videos like these two juvenile male elephants play-fighting!

EDIT: There's also this (human) guy dancing with a machete. Unknown at the moment if he's a researcher there to deal with the cameras, a poacher, or a local of another sort. Either way, he's got some moves.
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Theoretically one can measure the speed of light in one's kitchen using a Hershey bar* and a microwave.

* I know it's not Hershey at the link, and he ended up using egg whites. My coworker, who told this to me, used a Hershey bar. I Googled and found this. Try this one.

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