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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Because I think that some of you on my f-list may be interested, the Zooniverse has a new project up: transcribing manuscripts created by Shakespeare's contemporaries.

edit: At the moment they're offering letters and recipes. I know that some of you should be interested in seeing 16th century recipes!

From the email:
Today we launch a new project called ‘Shakespeare’s World’. Our mission is to transcribe manuscripts created by Shakespeare’s contemporaries in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. All of these manuscripts live at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, home of the world’s largest collection of materials relating to Shakespeare and his works.

Reading handwriting from Shakespeare’s lifetime is not always easy, but I bet everyone reading this message can pick out a few words or phrases on any given page and develop their ability to read old handwriting over time. The interface allows you to transcribe as little as a word at a time—you don’t have to do a whole page—and you can go at your own pace. Everyone can take part and learn as they go along, and all contributions are welcome. You don’t need to be an expert, and there are plenty of experts and resources on the project to help you.

2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, so it’s an opportune time to explore the world in which he lived. The research team is comprised of Zooniverse, the Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) project at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, and the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) at Oxford University Press. We plan to make transcriptions available to researchers and anyone who is interested in this fascinating period, and to find new (unrecorded) words and variants for the OED, the most authoritative English dictionary.

In anticipation of the holiday season, when many of us are dreaming up holiday meals, fending off colds, and frantically writing letters to friends and family, we’re showcasing two kinds of manuscripts: recipes (both culinary and medicinal) and letters. Discover how people in the past cooked and kept their families healthy; delve into letters to read the gossip, politics, and news of the day, centuries ago.

We look forward to seeing you on Talk, Twitter and our blog.

Get involved today at

Victoria and the Shakespeare’s World team
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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.


Sep. 17th, 2014 01:44 pm
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Zooniverse debuted another citizen science project, this one marking penguins caught on camera in Antarctica, Penguin Watch. It's even simpler than Snapshot Serengeti: you just click on adults, chicks, and eggs.

Most of the shots I've seen have either nothing in them, or small flocks. But then there's this one...cut for screenshot )
telophase: (Bleach - dork squad)
Humanity has achieved the ability to search the universe far and wide, peering deeply into the abyss between the stars, casting our net across billions of years and billions upon billions of stars. What do I do with this technology?

Read more... )
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You guys should ALL be poking around Snapshot Serengeti. I've posted about it before, but the short version is that it's crowd-sourced SCIENCE! Camera traps (IR-motion-activated cameras) have been placed at a number (over 200) of spots around the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Every time they get a new season's worth of pics collected and prepped, they upload them and citizen scientists LIKE YOURSELF can go through them and count and ID animals to produce a survey of species and their behavior.

You may encounter such classics as:

BABOON LICKS LENS. (This, from the same sequence is how I know it's a baboon.)
Zebra confab.
Random tourist or researcher photographing camera
Cheetah muzzle scent-marking camera.
Gorgeous photo of wildebeest.
Baby elephant.
My favorite zebra picture.
And much, much more! Although mostly wildebeest!

You will also sort through a lot of pictures of wildebeest genitalia as they like to stand under the trees the cameras are mounted on and the camera is mounted at exactly the right height, but it's worth it.

It's a Zooniverse project. If African wildlife SCIENCE! doesn't do it for you, you can find something there that will. (SPACE WARPS! Undersea adventure! Weather! Music scores (really!))

EDIT: and if you've ever wondered what it's like to be on the business end of a lion scent-marking something, well, now you know... (Click "Play" to see the shots in sequence!)
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Zooniverse has a new crowd-sourced project going! (see tag for previous one I posted) This time it's ASTRONOMY. You look through photos of stars and galaxies to see if you can spot gravitational lensing--areas where galaxies or other astronomical objects are behind others, whose gravity is bending the light that's coming from behind them.

If astronomy doesn't float your boat, try any of their other live projects.
telophase: (VB - word to your mother // dr_ninjapant)
Zooniverse has another crowd-sourcing project going: they need people to help transcribe specimen labels from botanic and insect collections (looks like there's an ornithological one in the works, too).

I've done a couple of the botanic specimens: you get presented with a photo of a specimen with a label. You draw a box around the label, and it enlarges it for you, then leads you though transcribing it one step at a time.



(keep in mind they just announced it a few minutes ago, and I think are having a few bandwidth problems from the load. XD)

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