Beaches near the Gulf, such as those on the Grand Isle, are now off limits because of the oil contamination. Tourists and residents alike watch their tropical paradise being turned into a toxic whirlpool.
The ecosystem maintains a very delicate balance. When the balance is interrupted, as in the case of the oil spill, fish, oysters, birds, and other wildlife suffer. For the residents of the Grand Isle, the spill has negatively affected their tourist, fishing, and oil industry.
Welcome to our new blog series, Spread Science, where we will detail a way for you to participate in and promote science. Hopefully, these organisations and projects will keep you entertained over the summer. We are going to look at Kaggle’s attempt to predict HIV progression.
Kaggle isn’t geared toward scientific activity, it is a site where people can post prediction and the best explained prediction will win a prize. For example, right now there is a project about the world cup…but there is some useful science going on.
There is a Kaggle project that is attempting to predict the spread of HIV. Quoting from the project’s description:
"This competition aims to do this by having contestants find markers in the HIV sequence which predict a change in the severity of the infection (as measured by viral load and CD4 counts).
Models can be trained using the records of 1,000 patients. To predict an improvement in a patient’s viral load, competitors will be provided with data on the nucleotide sequences of their Reverse Transcriptase (RT) their Protease (PR) and their viral load and CD4 count at the beginning of therapy. There is a brief discussion of the science of these variables in the Background section, but no knowledge of biology is necessary to succeed in this competition. Competitors’ predictions will be tested on a dataset containing 692 patients.
There is $500 [USD] up for grabs, and the winner(s) will also have the opportunity to co-author a paper with the competition host."
To break that down, The organisers are looking at the mechanism that the virus uses to make copies of it self in the zombie cells. They think there is a link between that mechanism and the patient’s health, as determine by CD4 (white blood cell) count and viral load.
So, if that made sense to you, check out this project. Who knows, maybe you could co-author a paper, help AIDS patients and win $500. But hurry, you only have about 50 days to do this work. Good luck!
New Feature: The Paper
While browsing the Internet I found an interesting article on Scott Burken’s blog about the recent study that claimed college students are becoming less empathetic. Scott showed a vast difference between what the news article said and the actual study. I was very surprised. The study was a survey a college student’s own perceptions of their empathy, which means nothing about their empathy. For example, I could easily conclude that college students are less confident that their actions are helpful then in the past.
This is where the new feature on this blog comes from, we want to look at how closely popular news story comes to the studies the report on. I just wanted to give credit where credit is due.
The Robot Scientists
This story broke in April of last year, but it is remarkable.
Robots are not new in labs, they have been used in the past to increase productivity and take away the boring parts of biology. Mainly, mixing sample after sample after sample. However there is a down side, tons and tons of data are now flying at overwhelmed scientists. This is where the AI comes in. With its logic circuits, the machine can make tons of hypotheses from data and then test those hypotheses. Slowly, the robot will eliminate hypothesis after hypothesis until it has a conclusion. Right now, there are two machines: Adam and Eve. Adam is studying yeast with various genes removes to try to find what each gene does. A year ago, it discovered 12 new gene functions. Eve is a project that is aimed at the pharmaceutical industry, however there isn’t a lot of information about it. This is a really amazing computer that you should check out.
Image Source: Aberystwyth University
Spread Science: Hohm
Welcome to our new blog series, Spread Science, where we will detail a way for you to participate in and promote science. Hopefully, these organisations and projects will keep you entertained over the summer. We are going to look at Microsoft Hohm.
If you are staying at home over the summer, check out Microsoft Hohm. It is a really cool way to see how much energy you are using and compare that energy use to your neighbours. There is a fairly cool forum for users, though it could be more active. The site’s blog, however, is filled with tons of tips to become the greenest in your neighbourhood and it is updated often.
Spread Science: The Zooiverse
Welcome to our new blog series, Spread Science, where we will detail a way for you to participate in and promote science. Hopefully, these organisations and projects will keep you entertained over the summer. This time, we are looking at the Zooniverse.
The Zooniverse is not one project, that wouldn’t be epic enough, it is five projects using the same platform and user accounts: Moon Zoo, Galaxy Zoo: Hubble, Solar Stormwatch, Galaxy Zoo: Understanding Cosmic Mergers and Galaxy Zoo: The Hunt for Supernovae. These projects allow you to catalogue and decipher the tons of data coming from telescopes around the world. All of these project would have been handled by undergrads in the past, but the Internet allows for free laborcommunity involvement. It is hard to explain everything, so I’m going to post a few videos…
Moon Zoo: Boulder Wars from The Zooniverse.
Moon Zoo: Crater Survey from The Zooniverse.
Basically, all the projects work like the ones above. They are all super simple to use and you can spend hours cataloguing stuff. Head over to the zoo of space, read the directions and start helping astronomers today!
Welcome to our new blog series Spread Science, where we will detail a way for you to participate in and promote science. Hopefully, these organisations and projects will keep you entertained over the summer. This time, we are looking at Science for Citizens.
Science for Citizens is a social site where members post science projects that can be preformed at home. You can choose a topic to explore or go to a random project. The best projects are the ones posted by real scientists; some will use your project in their work. The website is still in beta, so some of the features are still being worked on, but it is a great idea. These projects are a good for people who volunteer or work with children, especially if you want to get them excited about science. There are even project that can entertain tenured professors and college students. So, if you are doing nothing this summer, check out Science for Citizens.
Image via Science for Citizens.