Citizen Scientists Wanted! In the Fight Against the Coronavirus

“I asked myself how I, as a computer scientist, could contribute in a meaningful way to research on the pandemic. […] I have little time, but some unused computing capacity. In light of the severity of the situation, I am willing to bear the temporary significant increase in electricity costs if it means that researchers can work on a drug faster.”[1] While precautionary measures are taken worldwide and solidarity networks are emerging locally, scientists are working day and night to develop medication and especially a vaccine against COVID-19, the new coronavirus that is spreading globally. But this needs time. In order to accelerate the processes some projects reach out to the public for help. By participating in citizen science projects volunteers can now contribute to the research on the virus, both with their resources and with their creativity. Increasing numbers of participants in such projects show that this meets the desire of many people to do more – besides staying at home and washing their hands – to stop the rapid spreading of the virus. Online citizen science describes the practice of involving the general public (a.k.a. “the crowd”) into scientific projects. The aim is to solve a specific scientific problem that scientists and their computers alone are unable to solve at all or in foreseeable time. Oftentimes, the tasks to be solved are time consuming and include a large amount of data to be collected and/or analyzed. One of the unsolved questions scientists around the world currently need the help of the crowd with concerns the protein structure of the coronavirus. The coronavirus detects and infects human cells with the spike proteins on its surface (more information on this). Knowing more about these structures and creating proteins that can bind to the spike protein of the coronavirus to blog it is essential. One general problem in protein structure prediction is that there are numerous ways that a protein may fold. This is where the crowd comes in. Three citizen science projects that try to tackle this problem with the help of the crowd and that have gained increased attention over the last weeks are Folding@home, Rosetta@Home and Foldit ­– and each does it in their own way. Folding@home is a distributed computing project for simulating protein dynamics based at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.[2] After downloading the software, users help advance research on cures for diseases simply by running the software while they’re not working at their computer, using idle CPU-cycles of their computer. With the announcement of Folding@home in late February to specifically focus on coronavirus, the project has received huge response...

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How stigmatization, feminist critique and a crisis of masculinity push male players towards the alt-right.

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Another Internet phenomenon is born: the “Dronie”. People are taking short videos of themselves with drones. Is this new media practice already the evolution of the “Selfie”? And how does it relate to the “Otherie”: the controversial use of drones for military or surveillance purposes? A short sketch of the Dronie’s aesthetics and politics.

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Another Internet phenomenon is born: the “Dronie”. People are taking short videos of themselves with drones. Is this new media practice already the evolution of the “Selfie”? And how does it relate to the “Otherie”: the controversial use of drones for military or surveillance purposes? A short sketch of the Dronie’s aesthetics and politics.

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Who cares about Selfies? It's the #Otherie, stupid!

A fieldnote from Tel Aviv, Israel (July 2014):
People take Selfies, but armies and states in war rely on #Otheries: the one-dimensional focus on the Other, as a target, as an object of war. A note on Othering in the current Israeli military operation against Hamas in Gaza.

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Who cares about Selfies? It’s the #Otherie, stupid!
Jun30

Who cares about Selfies? It’s the #Otherie, stupid!

A fieldnote from Tel Aviv, Israel (July 2014):
People take Selfies, but armies and states in war rely on #Otheries: the one-dimensional focus on the Other, as a target, as an object of war. A note on Othering in the current Israeli military operation against Hamas in Gaza.

Read More
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