British Science Week: Our partnership for 2019: Operation Weather Rescue. “This year, our Zooniverse citizen science partnership is with Operation Weather Rescue. They’re a team of researchers who are working tirelessly to digitize old weather records. Their project utilises the tried and tested method of people power; drawing on invaluable help from members of the public by asking them to enter pieces of historical weather information into their database. For British Science Week, we have identified two decades of important historical weather data that has never been digitised – and we need your help to rectify this.”
BBC News: Lancaster University’s hand database ‘could catch paedophiles’. “Researchers in Lancaster and Dundee want 5,000 ‘citizen scientists’ to help create a database of images to train machines to identify child abusers by analysing videos of their hands. They would analyse unique features such as vein patterns, scars and freckles. Prof Dame Sue Black, who is leading the project, said one day the database could be as valuable as fingerprinting.”
Cornell University: Freedom on the Move launches database of fugitives from American slavery. “Freedom on the Move (FOTM), an online project devoted to fugitives from slavery in North America, is enlisting the help of the public to create a database for tens of thousands of advertisements placed by enslavers who wanted to recapture self-liberating Africans and African-Americans…. The free, open-source site has been designed to be accessible to the public. Users can quickly set up an account and begin working with digitized versions of the advertisements. Users transcribe the text of an advertisement and then answer questions about the ad and the person it describes. They can choose to transcribe ads from a particular state or specific time period, depending on their areas of interest.” I’m sure you’ve heard of this project before – it looks like I mentioned it in RB back in 2016 – but now it has officially launched.
The Intercept: Google Hired Gig Economy Workers To Improve Artificial Intelligence In Controversial Drone-targeting Project. “MILLIONS OF GIG ECONOMY workers around the world now earn a living on so-called crowd worker websites — work that falls under the umbrella of crowdsourcing, or dividing up tasks into minuscule portions to spread over a large number of people. The sites pay as little as $1 an hour for individuals to perform short, repetitive tasks, such as identifying images seen in pictures and churning out product reviews. Some of these crowd workers were unknowingly helping to build out the Pentagon’s battlefield drone capability.”
Iowa State University: Crowdsourcing effort aims to unearth new discoveries in “lost” collection at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. “An Iowa State University scientist has launched a crowdsourcing effort to catalog thousands of organisms contained in a collection at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, a facility run by the Iowa Board of Regents near West Okoboji Lake in Milford. The newly cataloged data will be stored in an ISU database that could help scientists make new discoveries regarding biodiversity. Anyone with access to the internet can contribute to the project, said Lori Biederman, an adjunct assistant professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, and neither a scientific background nor degree is necessary. Just a little time and attention to detail.”
Nieman Lab: Individually, people aren’t great at judging news sources. En masse, they’re almost the same as professional fact-checkers. “Building on a draft paper from last year, psychologists Gordon Pennycook and David Rand have a new study showing that people across the political spectrum rate mainstream news sources as more trustworthy than hyperpartisan and fake news sites — and that ‘politically balanced layperson ratings were strongly correlated with ratings provided by professional fact-checkers.'”
MIT Technology Review: Crowdsourced maps should help driverless cars navigate our cities more safely. “Our current street maps aren’t much good for helping driverless cars get around. Although we’ve mapped most roads, they get updated only every couple of years. And these maps don’t log any roadside infrastructure such as road signs, driveways, and lane markings. Without this extra layer of information, it will be much harder to get autonomous cars to navigate our cities safely. Robotic deliveries, too, will eventually require precise details of road surfaces, sidewalks, and obstacles.”