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, 29 Apr 2016 — Diversity

We will also see, by viewing videos about exploring beyound us, that we get the most trustworthy evidence when persons with diverse points of view and persons with diverse skills sets all share the work. Which is one reason we say that we can sustain Earth only if we ALL share the work. Our gravity wave post also shows this diversity in trustworthy science.

Here again is the link to the post about detecting gravity waves [blog link].

Thursday, 28 Apr 2016 — Trustworthy science

Sciences which we need to help sustain Earth must be trustworthy. Trustworthy science gives us trustworthy evidence. If we do not base our actions on trustworthy evidence, then we likely will waste resources and might cause great harm. So, one reason we view and discuss videos about exploring beyond us is to learn how to recognize trustworthy science and trustworthy evidence. Also, viewing these videos is fun and much more uplifting than other news.

The hallmark of trustworthy science and trustworthy evidence is that uncertainity is reduced by replications with ever more reliable and ever more sensitive measurements and calculations. When replications do reduce uncertainities, then this bespeaks trustworthy. When replications are not possible we worry about trusting. When replications can be made, but are not, then this speaks against trust. When replications increase uncertainity, then this shouts against trust.

"More reliable" means lower error. A measurement of 1 foot plus or minus 1 inch is not very reliable. A measurement of 1 foot plus or minus 1/64th of an inch is more reliable. "More sensitive" means measuring smaller changes. A measurement of a 1 day plus or minus 1 hour change in the time of a full Moon is not very sensitive. A measurement of a 1 minute plus or minus 1 second change in the time of a full Moon is more sensitive.

The recent detection of gravity waves gives "reliable" and "sensitive" new meaning.

Here is a link to a post about detecting gravity waves [blog video link].

Wednesday, 27 Apr 2016 — About videos curated here

Videos curated here are from reliable sources including government agencies doing science, professional science organizations, and major peer-reviewed science journals. Our videos are short, with most between two and eight minutes long. Availability because of the budget of the source and because of visual appeal does play a role in our choice of videos

Our videos fit into two broad categories. One broad category — We Explore Beyond Us — is about our passion to explore what is beyond us, a passion manifest in our early monuments, Stonehenge for example. Exploring what is beyond us, especially above us, gave us basic sciences which we can now use to sustain Earth. We must also admit that our exploring and those sciences also gave us means to hurt Earth.

One broad category — We Watch Over Earth — includes videos about our means for seeing what changes we are causing here on Earth and includes examples of work we are doing to sustain Earth. In this broad category we also include videos reminding us that we can sustain Earth only if we ALL share the work.

Here is an example [video link] [mp4 version] [story link].

Tuesday, 26 Apr 2016 — We help science which can help sustain Earth

We keep up with advances in sciences via videos from reliable sources. Many are posted to Youtube and many are kept on the web sites of reliable sources. Most of the work of this blog is to find and curate relevant videos from these reliable sources and to talk about relations among those curated videos.

In our citizen science group we discuss many of these curated videos in order to make informed and wise science policy recommendations.

Link about our group [group link]

We discuss the videos themselves in order to make recommendations for improvements in the videos. For example, we discuss:

How well did the video inform us about the work?

How well did the video inform us about importance of the work?

What should be done to improve the video?


We discuss the science described in the videos in order to make recommendations about what should be the priority of this work:

To improve living conditions?

To learn something uplifting?

To advance human rights in other ways?


We at least add our recommendations to the comments forums included with postings of the videos. We will also find other means for making our recommendations known.

Here's an example for practice [eg link].

Monday, 25 Apr 2016 — We help sustain Earth

Our National Oceananic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operates three kinds of weather satellites. NOAA also shares data with other nations. This all adds up to many hundreds of thousands of storm images.

Here is a link to a video about those NOAA satellites [video link].

Here is an example of a storm image [video link].

Here is a link to NOAA's source for this type of storm image. While here we can browse a bit to orient ourselves to the context of images like this [NOAA site link].

Here is a link to NOAA's data center [NCEI link].

Next take the "Weather and Climate" link [weather link].

And then take the "Learn more" link [learn link].

Note the information about web site changes and take the "Story" link on the left [story link].

NOAA's stock of images of storms grows hourly, BIG data indeed. If each of those images could be studied, then our weather forecasting models could be improved, lowering uncertainity. But, how can each of these images be studied or at least classified?

Go back to the weather link [weather link].

Under "Newsroom" take the "Citizen Science link for an answer [citizen link].

Citizen scientists all over our planet are sharing the work of making sense of big data. In the last few months citizen scientists amazed professional scientists:

by solving problems in RNA folding [RNA link];

by solving problems in manipulating single atoms [atom link].

The "Cyclone Center" project is hosted by Zooniverse, the largest collections of ciizen science projects, hosted here at Chicago's Adler Planetarium.

First, we should make sure we understand "cyclone" [cyclone link].

In the grey box take the "learn more" link and browse [more link].

Here is the Zooniverse link [zooniverse link].

Take the "About" link at the top [about link].

There are expanded "About" links at the bottom here. Try the "Publications" link [pubs link].

At the top (or bottom) take the "Projects" link and browse. Now on this growing list there are 48 projects, 15 astronomy projects, 25 environment projects, and 9 history projects. [projects link].

Take the "Cyclone Center" link [cyclone link].

Browse and take the "Learn more" link [more link]

Browse and take the "Organizations" link [org link].

Browse and take the "Team" link [team link]

Browse and take the "Youtube" link [yotu link].

Watch a video [strong video link].

And, take the "How it works" link [how link].

Time to go back to the main Cyclone Center page and get started.

Link to the main Cyclone page [cyclone link].

Next we take the "Get started" link and go [getstarted link].

Link about us [us link]

Friday, 22 Apr 2016 — New Horizions Pluto flyby and beyond

Where is New Horizions?

NASA's spacecraft New Horizons launched 19 Jan 2006, flew by Pluto 14 Jul 2015, and flew on to explore the mysterious Kuiper Belt. The image above shows the path completed in green and the path ahead in red. When New Horizons passed Jupiter's orbit, Jupiter was there so New Horizons sent back many photos and got a speed boost.

Here is the NASA New Horizons site. While there we can view a super video of Pluto detail [nasa link] [video link].

Here is a link to the site of John Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory which has the contract for the New Horizons mission and spacecraft. While there we can look at the timeline of the mission and browse the many videos and data available there [jhuapl link].

Here is a link to a short history of the difficult origin of this mission with a link to a longer history at its end [hist link].

The short history too well shows differences between ever reducing uncertainties in science and ever increasing uncertainties elsewhere.

Thursday, 21 Apr 2016 — Organizing 11 Hubble Space Telescope videos

Hubble Space Telescope Parts

1) The task today is to organize 11 Hubble videos starting with the begining [the begining video link] [mp4 version].

2) Soon after Hubble was in orbit a problem arose followed by the tinkertoy drama [tinkertoy video link] [mp4 version].

3) Then, still in 1990, a huge problem arose: The main mirror was defective. This required a major fix Dec 1993, which was accompanied by an insturments upgrade [optics video link] [mp4 version].

4) Correction of the optics hardware worked super well. Hubble was ready to view a comet crashing into Jupiter. But, there was a software problem [This link has links to major Hubble web sites] [blog video link].

5) Hubble was upgraded again in 2002 [2002 video link] mp4 video link.

6) The last upgrade in 2009 nearly failed. First the astronauts view [2009a video link] [mp4 version].

7) Here is that upgrade drama on the ground [2009c video link] [mp4 version].

8) Hubble teaches us much. We see the incredible vastness of the cosmos [vast video link] [mp4 version].

9) We see our neighbor galaxy Andromeda in great detail, our best way to learn about galaxies including our own [galaxy video link] [mp4 version].

10) We see the debris of exploded stars, debris which is then the stuff from which new stars form and from which around those stars planets form and from which on one of those planets we form [debris video link] [mp4 version].

11) Hubble greatly expands our view of the cosmos showing what an infinitesimal part we are. On the other hand Hubble was imagined by us, built by us, and visited by us, leaving our handprints on Hubble just as we left our hand prints on cave walls long ago [handprints video link] [mp4 version].

Wednesday, 20 Apr 2016 — Solving another Hubble problem Quoting from the site dedicated to todays video:

Astronomers Carolyn Shoemaker, Eugene Shoemaker and David Levy discovered a comet in March 1993 that looked unusually stretched out. It was eventually determined that the comet had been ripped apart by Jupiter’s gravity into numerous fragments, and they were on a direct collision course with Jupiter over July 16 through 22, 1994. Having never directly observed two extraterrestrial solar system bodies collide before, no one knew exactly what they could expect to see when this happened. Astronomers and space enthusiasts across the world were determined to capture this unprecedented event.
This was a perfect opportunity for the Hubble Space Telescope. The observatory had its first servicing mission in December 1993. Astronauts installed corrective optics to solve the issue of its flawed primary mirror, upgraded the telescope’s computer, replaced several pieces of hardware, and boosted its orbit. Hubble was in prime condition and ready to show the world the full extent of its capabilities. . . .

But, problems arose and were resolved which we learn about in today's video [video link] [mp4 version].

Here are links: to the site dedicated to todays video [site link], to the Space Telescope Science Institute's Hubble Site [STsi link], and to NASA's Hubble site [NASA link]. It is not easy to find all of these sites. One trick is to delete parts of the URLs from end to front to find the structure.

Tuesday, 19 Apr 2016 — NASA's remotely flown Global Hawk helps NOAA's work NASA's Global Hawk can fly at 65,000 feet for up to 30 hours which helps get data directly to NOAA’s El Nino Rapid Response field campaign and helps improve NOAA's observational systems, models, and predictions. Today's video tells some of the story.

In the video we see some of the hard work of getting ever more reliable and sensitive measurements. And, we see persons, and organizations, with diverse points of view and persons, and organizations, with diverse skills sets sharing the work. [video link] [mp4 version]

Here is a link to more information about NASA's Global Hawk [NASA link] and here is a link to more information about NOAA's work with Global Hawk [NOAA link].

Monday, 18 Apr 2016 — NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer mission and satellite ICON is a NASA mission to build and use an ICON satellite to watch changes in Earth's ionosphere, with launch planed for 2017. Changes in Earth's ionosphere can cause problems for all sorts of essential communication here below. ICON will study connections between our ionosphere with both space weather above and atmosphere weather below.

This gives us a chance to follow the path of a mission and its satellite as they progress. One key feature we will see is that many diverse persons and organizations with diverse skills sets will share the work. Here is a link to the NASA ICON mission web site: [ICON site link]

Today's video (posted by NASA 15 Apr 2016) begins to tell the story starting with an odd observation from the International Space Station [video link] [mp4 version].

Sunday, 17 Apr 2016 — Machine learning — friend or foe "Machine learning" is an approach to artifical intellegence, which recently made major and dramatic progress. We should understand what is happening and what might happen. We should carefully clarify questions which we must address. If we all do not do all of this, then others will make the future. If we all are not part of making the future, then, in a future made by others, it is likely that some of us will be excluded.

In today's video — made Tuesday evening, 12 April 2016 at The Royal Society, London — Marcus du Sautoy chairs a panel with robotics researcher Dr Sabine Hauert, Professor Chris Bishop, Laboratory Director at Microsoft Research, and Professor Maja Pantic, researcher in machine vision. [blog long video link] [mp4 version].

Saturday, 16 Apr 2016 — Advanced materials How about we take the carbon dioxide which damages Earth and turn it into a new and superior material? Quoting from the description of this video posted 14 Apr 2016: "As a chemist, material scientist and entrepreneur, Dr Krzysztof Koziol is helping industry understand the benefits of using advanced materials such as graphene and carbon nanotubes." [video link] [mp4 version]

Friday, 15 Apr 2016 — A clever way to measure electric fields in the atmosphere Molecules absorb light at specific energies and these absorption energies can be precisely measured. An electric field changes these absorption energies a tiny bit. Measuring this tiny change is a way to remotely measure electric fields in the atmosphere. Those atmospheric electric fields cause weather effects, so making this means for remotely measuring the electric fields work well is good science which can help us watch over Earth. Thank you Elin McCormack. Thank you Dorothy Hodgkin. [video link] [mp4 version].

Thursday, 14 Apr 2016 — European Southern Observatory ESO is one of the most important science facilities on Earth, helping us explore way beyond Earth. This video tells some of the story [video link].

Wednesday, 13 Apr 2016 — New citizen science group Yesterday we took the first steps to start a citizen science group [link] at Chicago's Northeast (Levy) Regional Senior Center at 2019 W Lawrence Ave (SW corner of Lawrence and Damen). It is a bustling place. The room where we will meet to view and discuss videos and more is super. The start date and time will be set soon. Update: We meet Friday mornings 9:00 to 10:30 starting the 6th of May!

Tuesday, 12 Apr 2016 — Citizen science asteroid hunt We have two goals today. First, we learn more about citizen science, Second, we learn about a specific citizen science asteroid project.

Zooniverse — hosted at the Adler Planetarium here in Chicago — is a major collection of citizen science projects [link]. There we see 48 projects with 15 astronomy related including classifying galaxies, 25 environment related including classifying storms for NASA, and 8 history related including transcribing artists' and soldiers' diaries.

On the second projects page we find the Asteroid Zoo project [link]. Here is the Zooniverse page where they describe the science [link]. Let's watch their video [video link] [mp4 version].

What questions does this video leave unanswered?

Let's learn more about this. It is a project of the for-profit corporation Planetary Resources, Inc. These links describe the corporation [link] [wiki link]. Now what questions do we have?


Links to other posts: Apr 2016 [link]; Mar 2016 [link]; Feb 2016 [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]

Gravity waves detected [blog video link]

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]


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

Brain imaging [3 video link]

BRAIN initiative [4 video link]

Prostheses [4 video link]

Our brains doing trustworthy science [blog video link]

We Watch Over Earth

We help sustain Earth [blog 3 video link]

We help science which can help sustain Earth [blog link]

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

We help science which can help sustain Earth
[about link]

We view together short videos
drawn from the topical links above.
[about link 1] [about link 2] [about link 3]

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