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#ObserveEverything, Citizen Science

September 29, 2014 , ,

shrimp plant

shrimp plant

fairy duster

fairy duster

desert rose

desert rose

Science Friday is a show on PBS radio that I enjoy. This week I heard a story that has fascinated me. They are sponsoring a nationwide program to encourage people to enter into science experiments. The scientific methods are shared with anyone who cares to discover literally anything.  Citizen science is a booming area of interest.  Anyone can participate and if the results are shared on line with the hashtag #observeeverything  there is a chance of encouragement and coaching from other scientists.  The idea is to observe anything with a question in mind. Random observation can be the place to start.  If you start today to closely watch what happens around you something may catch your fancy that can be the basis of your experiment.  It should truly interest you and make you curious.  There may be something you have been wondering about for a while, or you may stumble upon a phenomena you can’t explain or interpret.  After you narrow down a question or theory to prove you need to take detailed notes and maybe some photos or videos to support your experiment.

I did a lot of science at home with my father when I was a child. I was struck by the way my dad was relatively careless with chemicals.  He brought chemicals home from his job at Gulf Oil research.  I like the dry ice the best. He liked to blow things up and make bombs.  That was okay, but there were some fairly dangerous accidents as a result of my dad’s science lab in the garage, the backyard, and the front sidewalk.  One time we spilled an explosive mix designed to be dropped in small quantities on the sidewalk to pop when it was touched. My father set of the toxic explosive spill with a broom and it flared up and looked like it might set the front porch on fire for a few minutes.    I preferred to put dry ice in the bathtub and blow bubbles that would rest on the top of the CO2.  I was also allowed to play with a large bottle of mercury..that’s right, mercury.  My friends and I rolled it around in our hands…OY!  I had access to a Teslacoil that we used to make our hair stand on end and to zap each other. I guess my childhood was a kind of mad experiment.

I have been making bitters lately and have been  thinking maybe there is an experiment I could do that relates to different kinds of bitters and their effects on the body.  Since it is subtle I don’t know how one might go about such a test, but I am considering that as a possible subject.  I think the thing to do is go start that observation and see if something jumps up at me and wants to be studied.  Is there a question you are itching to answer?  Take a look at the twitter stream or the #observeeverything  streams on any social media to follow the latest and see where the citizen science movement will lead us.

What do you think?

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such gorgeous photos. I love the colors you have captured. I love what dry ice does.. Chemistry is so important in cleaning house. you don’t know what you are doing with these chemicals and cleansers….. you can cause a lot of damage.


Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

October 1, 2014

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