Fiona Romeo, who has worked with Greenwich Observatory on some successful "citizen science" initiatives, gave a presentation called "The near future of citizen science," explaining what she's learned and what she thinks the future will hold:
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It’s my contention that the near future of science is all about honing the division of labour between professionals, amateurs and bots...
Selecting Flickr as our platform for the competition immediately got us to ask, what would be the space equivalent of geotagging? Astrotagging, obviously. If astrophotographers were to accurately describe what their photo depicts, and where in space that is, we could create a user-generated map of the night sky. But – as you might have already been thinking – working out where you are in space is much trickier than putting a pin on a map because there are the added dimensions of depth and movement. In addition to the space equivalents of longitude and latitude (RA and Dec), we required pixel scale and orientation.
Would anyone really go to the trouble of figuring out and tagging all of that information? Probably not. We were going to need a bot.
Fortunately Flickr isn’t just ‘a great place to be a photo’, the API also allows you to develop bots that act autonomously for a user or a group. Early bots in use on Flickr include Hipbot and HAL. Hipbot, for example, automates some of the moderation tasks in the well-defined squared circle Group, automatically removing photos that are not square, or are too small.
Scott Lynch was kind enough to place this photo of Ben "Ben and Jerry's" Cohen scooping up free ice-cream for the Occupy Wall Street protesters in the Boing Boing Flickr pool.
Carl Jara writes, "Calavera del Toro: Gold Medal sand sculpture by Carl Jara, depicts Occupy Wall Street in a Day of the Dead satire. Created last weekend at Sand Castle Days in South Padre Island, Texas. A banker and a politician sit comfortably toasting their overflowing champagne flutes to the skull of their recently slain Wall Street bull, draped in a Golden Parachute."
Niagara Falls, Ontario's Nightmares Fear Factory has a Flickr feed full of visitors being terrorized in its environs. I grew up with the spookhouses of Niagara Falls, and they can be incredibly scary, even the basic Lundy's Lane spookhouse, which is often just a dark maze populated by bored locals with night-vision scopes who whisper menacingly in your ear or touch you unexpectedly. I've never tried Nightmares, but it has a reputation for being seriously terrifying.
Nicholas Rougeux made this fabulous Menger sponge fractal out of mini Post-its, which he swears by for erecting fractals:
Each Post-It was torn into 16 equal squares, then folded into units and assembled into the sponge.
Post-its offer surprisingly structural durability and are easy to get in large quantities making them ideal for assembling structures like these.
A broken-hearted person in Heather's neighbourhood is building a boat. He wants your help, your garage, and your company. Read the rest
Sam Gellman's tourist photos from North Korea's Mass Games are wonderful and weird studies in repetition at scale, where all sorts of pomp and spectacle are performed with thousands of identically dressed performers in close-order drill, which echoes the enormous housing blocks and all the other mass-scale motifs of Stalinist bureaucracy.
From the Netherlands' National Archive, a 1938 photo taken in New York City of a Colt revolver that has been modified to shoot a picture with every trigger pull. Presumably most of those photos are of people looking horrified and about to say something like, "Oh Christ, you turned your gun into a camera? No, don't point it at me! Ahh!"