Don F Moyer, PhD
Physicist, Historian of Science,
Patent Agent, Teacher, Retired.


Earth Needs Our Wisdom
A Citizen Science Blog

[about link][topical links] [comments link]

Friday, 06 May 2016 — Snow job

They do not look like this

Many researchers think that the iconic images of snow flakes are fake. Super fast imaging does show something quite different.

Super sensitive snow flake imaing [video link] [mp4 version]

Thursday, 05 May 2016 — Big data tracks our environment

In both the fMRI imaging and the microscopic imaging we saw the last two days a major achievement was making sense of big data and creating visualizations to show the meaning. Advances in imaging give us huge amounts of data to be mined for meaning. One approach is to create a new business putting big data into useful forms. Our videos today show this approach by a company tracking our environment and a company tracking illegal fishing.

Big data tracks our environment [video link] [mp4 version]

Big data tracks illegal fishing [video link] [mp4 version]

Often mining big data is just one step toward obtaining useful results. Here this step is a cost and not a business opportunity. For example, we have monster data sets of weather data which must be studied to find meaningful results to use in models which can predict environment changes. An approach here is for citizen scientists to study the data and find those meaningful results.

We are better at spotting meaning than computers. We are more plentiful. We are less expensive. And, we enjoy being helpful. We will do this.

We help sustain Earth [blog link]

Wednesday, 04 May 2016 — Microscopic brain imaging

The fMRI imaging we saw yesterday shows us extra blood in a brain where something is happening. But, what is happening there? We do not know. We do not have a complete view of brain parts and of connections among those parts. Our first video today shows a way to get a better microscopic picture. As we move through the 3D image it looks like the parts are moving. They are not. We are moving.

Brain imaging work in progress (early 2014). [video link] [mp4 version]

Our second video today shows the impressive result — a full 3D microscopic image of tiny portion of a mouse brain — published mid-2015.

Full 3D image [video link] [mp4 version]

This work was published 30 Jul 2015 in Cell, a top peer reviewed journal. The on-line publication includes a video abstract telling more about meanings of the result.

On-line publication [cell link]

On-line publication video abstract [mp4 version]

We saw trustworthy science give us trustworthy evidence. We saw reliable and sensitive imaging. We have less uncertainty about brain structure and new mysteries about brain connections. We saw persons with diverse skills sets and diverse points of view share the work.

Tuesday, 03 May 2016 — fMRI mapping ideas or words or something in brains

We start today watching a brain listening to "Adios Nonino," a Tango Nuevo by Astor Piazzolla. The research producing this video was published in Science a top peer reviewed journal.

Brain listening to tango [video link] [mp4 version]

Those brain on tango images were obtained by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In MRI magnetic moments of nuclei of atoms (Hydrogen for example) in the brain, aligned by a very strong magnetic field, are caused to resonate between energy states. Energy emitted when nuclei change energy state is detected. In fMRI parts of a brain engaged in the function get more blood (which is mainly water) so that energy signal from those parts is greater. After much computation an image is formed showing parts of the brain getting greater blood (red in our tango video).

In our tango video that function was listening to tango. In our next vdeos that function is thinking about words, or ideas, or something else. Our next video is by Nature Publishing Group, a for-profit publisher. Nature is a top peer reviewed journal.

Nature video [video link] [mp4 version].

Our last video is by our National Science Foundation which funded this research. The "Science Nation" series of NSF videos toots the NSF horn by showing how basic science gives us useful results. We also have a link to an NSF story about the research.

NSF video [video link] [mp4 version] [nsf story link]

These two videos give us great opportunities to ask questions relevant to making our recommendations about the videos and about the work.

Monday, 02 May 2016 — Imaging and data visualization

Earth Rise by Apollo 8, 24 Dec 1968

When — nearly 50 years ago now — we saw this view of Earthrise taken by the crew of Apollo 8 orbiting our Moon we saw our Earth a new way. Many of us were moved to recharge our commitment to good stewardship of our planet.

Another story which unfolded over those 50 years is the story of huge improvements in imaging and in data visualization. At every wavelength of light from the highest energy gamma rays through visible to long radio waves we have ever more sensitive imaging means. We have ever more sensitive means for imaging with sound and magnetic resonance. We just succeeded in detecting gravity waves.

Along with those great improvements in imaging we had great improvements in visualizing the data. This is thanks to our great increases in computing power and thanks to very clever software. Today we start with some iconic visual images, explore kinds of imaging from space, and are treated to NASA showing off data visualization.

Iconic photos from space [video link] [mp4 version]

ESA types of imaging of Earth [video link] [big version]

NASA show-off of data visualization [long video link] [mp4 version]

Tuesday and Wednesday we will see some amazing views of our brains. Thursday we find out what snowflakes actually look like. Friday we see how visualization of big data can be used for tracking.


Links to other posts: Apr 2016 [link]; Mar 2016 [link]; Feb 2016128 [link]; Jan 2016 [link]; Dec 2015 [link]; Nov 2015 [link];

Topical Links for
Earth Needs Our Wisdom
Citizen Science Group

Daily blog posts and these topical links, curated mainly from daily posts, at least support citizen science groups [link] making science policy recommendations. This list grows daily and sometimes reorganizes.

We Explore Beyond Us


Evolution of telescope mirrors [video link] [mp4 version]

European Southern Observatory [blog video link]

European Southern Observatory star wobble hunt [blog video link]

Citizen science asteroid hunt [blog video link]

Observing a protoplanetary disc around a distant star [blog 2 video link]

"Observing" a black hole [blog 2 video link]

Space telescopes

11 Hubble Space Telescope videos [blog 11 video link]

Webb space telescope [6 videos link]

Webb update [blog video link]

NASA's next WFIRST space telescope and citizen science [blog video link]

Searching for exoplanets [video link] [mp4 version]

Martin Rees on the cosmos [long video link] [mp4 version]

Martin Rees Q&A [video link] mp4 version]


Remembering Apollo [3 videos blog link]

Rosetta and lander Philae [5 videos link]

Building the International Space Station [video link] [mp4 version]

Dawn at Ceres [video link] [mp4 version]

Dawn ion propulsion [video link] [mp4 version]

Dawn mission web site [Dawn site via blog link]

New Horizions Pluto flyby and beyond [blog video link]

Driving a spacecraft [video link] [mp4 version]

Vacation in a Moon village? [blog video link]

Asteroid capture and redirect mission [blog 2 video link]


50 Years of Mars Exploration [video link] [mp4 version]

10 years of Mars photos [video link] [mp4 version]

3 Years of Mars Exploration by Curiosity Rover [video link] [mp4 version]

Mars gravity [blog video link]

Mars journey simulation [video link] [mp4 version]

Research on ISS for Mars journey [video link] [mp4 version]

Fine motor task research [video link] [mp4 version]

Autonomous Mars Lander for safe landing [video link] [mp4 version]

A habitable Mars rover waiting there [video link] [mp4 version]

Particle Accelerators

Exploring neutrinos, the most odd "elementary particles" [blog 4 video link]

Synchrotron light [blog video link]

Imaging and data visualization

Imaging and data visualization [blog 3 video link]

Snow job [blog video link]

Darwin gave us science so trustworthy it can be used to solve engineering problems [video link] [mp4 version]

Our origins, Richard Leakey [blog long video link]

Matthew Cobb on Cracking the Genetic Code [long video link] mp4 video link

Nick Lane on Why Is Life the Way It Is? [long video link] mp4 video link

Lane & Cobb Q&A [video link] mp4 video link

fMRI mapping ideas or words or something in brains [blog 3 video link]

Microscopic brain imaging [blog 3 video link]

BRAIN initiative [4 video link]

Prostheses [4 video link]

Our brains doing trustworthy science [blog video link]

Gravity waves detected [blog video link]


We Watch Over Earth

We changed our world — Whoops! [8 video link]

Big data tracking our environment [blog 2 video link]

Calibrationing Greenland satellite ice sheet data with ice core data [video link] [mp4 version]

Finding an air ice signal in normal aircraft radar [video link] [mp4 version]

Calibrating satellite precipitation data with ground precipitation data, gear up [video link] [mp4 version]

Calibrating satellite precipitation data with ground precipitation data, data up [video link] [mp4 version]

Calibrating satellite precipitation data with ground precipitation data, success [video link] [mp4 version]

Why measure raindrop size? [blog video link]

NASA's remotely flown Global Hawk helps NOAA's work [blog video link]

A clever way to measure electric fields in the atmosphere [blog video link]

NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer mission and satellite [blog video link]

NASA Earth expeditions 2016 preview and tour [blog 2 video link]

Hidden meltdown of Greenland ice [video link] [mp4 version]

Arctic sea ice going [video link] [mp4 version]

Sea level rising [video link] [mp4 version]

Land sinking [video link] [mp4 version]

Tracking weather [video link] [mp4 version]

Predicting floods [video link] mp4 video link

Carefully watching Earth's critical skin [video link] [mp4 version]

Giving trustworthy data for policy makers [video link] [mp4 version]

Disaster data is shared [link]

So that lives can be saved [video link] [mp4 version]

Our Best Hope Is Us

Kenneth tricked Alzheimer's [video link] [mp4 version]

Richard tricked lions [video link] [mp4 version]

Lily tricked Parkinsons [4 video link]

Community College students fail and succeed in a NASA robotics challenge [video link] [mp4 version]

Environmental Engineer Tamar Losleben [video link] [mp4 version]

Biomedical Engineer Michelle Khine [video link] [mp4 version]

Civil Engineer Ken Maschke [video link] [mp4 version]

Electrical Engineer Yael Mcguire [video link] [mp4 version]

Urban hydrofarmers [video link] [mp4 version]

Changing energy use habits [video blog link]

Growing and sustaining communities with bioenergy [video link] [mp4 version]

Sustainable water use [video link] [mp4 version]

Improving wind power conversion [video link] [mp4 version]

3D printing maybe [blog 4 video link]

Advanced materials [blog video link]

Machine learning — friend or foe [blog video link]

A lobster community adapts through participatory planning — Young engineers helping with clean water in Kenya [blog 2 video link]

We Do Best When We ALL share

We share [4 video link]

We learn from our recent detection of gravity waves [blog video link]

We ALL share the work [video link] [mp4 version] [book link]

For example

Computer scientist Scott Aaronson [questions blog link] [video link] [mp4 version]

Computer scientist Wanda Eugene [video link] [mp4 version]

Engineer Chris Mattson [video link] [mp4 version]

Geologist Richard Alley [video link] [mp4 version]

Archaeologist Curtis Marean [video link] [mp4 version]

Geneticist David Reich [video link] [mp4 version]

Marine Biologist Erica Staaterman [video link] [mp4 version]

Watson Co-creator David Ferrucci [video link] [mp4 version]

Sociologist Cliff Nass [video link] [mp4 version]

Diverse points of view and diverse skills sets helped find Richard III [long video link] [mp4 version]

A second version of that story from a different point of view [long video link] [mp4 version]

Sir Paul Nurse on trust in science [long video link] [mp4 version]


Earth Needs Our Wisdom
A Citizen Science Group

We help sustain Earth

We help science which can help sustain Earth

We view together short videos
drawn from the topical links above.

We meet at Chicago's Northeast (Levy)
Regional Senior Center
at 2019 W Lawrence Ave
(SW corner of Lawrence and Damen)
Friday mornings 9:00 to 10:30
in the Computer Room
starting the 6th of May!

Our videos are curated by
and our discussions are moderated by
Don Moyer PhD,
Physicist, Historian of Science,
Patent Agent, Teacher, Retired.
You can see a full bio and more via