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Citizen Scientists


Citizen Scientists

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Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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Group: Administrators
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Citizen Scientists

Follow me on Twitter: @way0utwest
Forum Etiquette: How to post data/code on a forum to get the best help
My Blog: www.voiceofthedba.com
chrisn-585491
chrisn-585491
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Group: General Forum Members
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There's a ton of scientific, economic and demographic data sites aggregated at http://www.data.gov/

Basically the only requirements are some time and a curious mind.

There's also a lot of free data analysis tools available from the scientific and OSS community also. You can use various CLI tools or tools like pandas or IPython to help clean and analyze data. If you have a community oriented and OSS site you may also be able to find free hosting for your projects.

Some of the projects the group I work with are delving into are: rainfall trends, credit union historical analysis, metropolitan demographic shifts, vocabulary skills and possibly some NASA image analysis. I also help people use various tools to understand data before committing to write applications that incorporate the data.
Gary Varga
Gary Varga
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Group: General Forum Members
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I would like to see this an open era of collaboration and discussion. My biggest fear is that there are a good number of people who are not after a truth or an inherent value that can be applied for the sake of progress but who just want to push an opinion and will manipulate data for their own, possibly nefarious, purposes.

If, as suggested, these agendas are scrutinised and validated by an open community then all remains well i.e. if someone deliberately chooses to use a set of data to prove their point and they happen to be correct then all is well. There is too much manipulation of statistics and other data as it stands. There is a possibility, albeit slim in my opinion, that this opening up of data sources could improve matters.

Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
djackson 22568
djackson 22568
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Gary Varga (9/23/2013)
I would like to see this an open era of collaboration and discussion. My biggest fear is that there are a good number of people who are not after a truth or an inherent value that can be applied for the sake of progress but who just want to push an opinion and will manipulate data for their own, possibly nefarious, purposes.

If, as suggested, these agendas are scrutinised and validated by an open community then all remains well i.e. if someone deliberately chooses to use a set of data to prove their point and they happen to be correct then all is well. There is too much manipulation of statistics and other data as it stands. There is a possibility, albeit slim in my opinion, that this opening up of data sources could improve matters.


Gary, thank you for the thoughtful response! I was ready to jump in and criticize the abuse of the scientific process today, and still probably will to some degree, but you suggested an outstanding solution to the issue. :-D

Now for the negative view. While I appreciate the points Steve made, one jumped out that I won't agree with. Steve said to:
look to verify, or dispute, the conclusions of the project owners,
Maybe Steve wasn't thinking of some of the issues we have with that today. Quite possibly he has a different view than I do. I think a good number of us would agree that it doesn't matter where you stand, or even if you have a stand, on abortion, homosexuality, obama's health plan, global warming, supporting terrorists to undermine one of the most evil people on the planet, or any other hot button today. Stating an opinion on any of these is likely to incite numerous people out there who attack anyone who disagrees with them, on both sides of each argument! I believe most Americans are pretty much somewhere in the middle of these topics, but from what we see in the (extremely biased) media outlets, "90% of people agree with my theory and the rest are evil, hateful, prejudiced, corporate fat-cat baby killers!"

So, I don't think I will be joining in and disputing the facts, which I recognize is exactly what some of these people want. Until most of America is willing to wake up and stop eating the lies we are fed every day, it just ain't worth it.

If what Gary suggests actually comes to life, I think there would be hope for reality to drive the agenda of our species for once. I have never seen a good suggestion to resolve these issues before, but his suggestion just might work.

Good luck!

Dave
Gary Varga
Gary Varga
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djackson 22568 (9/23/2013)
...If what Gary suggests actually comes to life...


I don't think I can take any credit but I'll go with the community opinion ;-)

Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
djackson 22568
djackson 22568
Right there with Babe
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Group: General Forum Members
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Gary Varga (9/23/2013)
djackson 22568 (9/23/2013)
...If what Gary suggests actually comes to life...


I don't think I can take any credit but I'll go with the community opinion ;-)


At the very least, you pointed it out. Thank you for doing so.

Dave
chrisn-585491
chrisn-585491
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Group: General Forum Members
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If, as suggested, these agendas are scrutinised and validated by an open community then all remains well i.e. if someone deliberately chooses to use a set of data to prove their point and they happen to be correct then all is well.


There's a movement in parts of the science community to provide the data along with the analysis. You can incorporate these together and publish them through tools like IPython notebooks.

Instead of waxing philosophically about how people might twist data to suit their needs, it's probably better to be more proactive and teach people how to analyze data for themselves.
Miles Neale
Miles Neale
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Group: General Forum Members
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Steve wrote - "As data professionals, we can help people learn how they can analyze and manipulate data better with the tools we have available."

First comment People do not need any tools or help manipulating data. We find manipulation high on the list of National past times, along with Complaining, Claiming that they are victims, and filing law suits.

However, just because someone might manipulate data for their own purposes does not negate the over ridding benefits to getting data in the hands of those who will use it correctly. Keeping data out of the hands of the masses because some might use it incorrectly or intentionally wrong is like keeping all motorized vehicles off the road because some might use a vehicle as a get away car from a crime.

Sorry for longwinded here, but this reminds me of when I use to feed the song birds from a feeder in the back lawn. Some gain would fall to the ground and the mice and rats would eat it. I learned then that to feed the song birds you also have to feed some rats.

:-)

Not all gray hairs are Dinosaurs!
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