What exactly is expected from us

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What exactly is expected from us

Post by Franz »

Stardust@home is a unique distributed project. In contrast with other distributed projects it cannot make use of computational methods. Regular human-resources are also insufficient because the expected unknown requires some level of initiative, self-learning and intuition. Motivation to participate is stimulated by rewards in the form of naming found particles. This all makes it involving and very personal. It also gives a certain feeling of responsibility. The forum reflects this and you will find a growing group of dedicated enthusiastic people, all steamed up waiting at the front door. Examining the postings you will find that some are concerned about certain issues and that they ask questions based on this shared responsibility.

I am having this gut feeling that Stardust@home in all politeness is trying to say: "Thanks, but no thanks. We will do the thinking and only want you to examine some pictures, nothing else. Your effort will be used as a filter for our enormous amount of data. The outcome will be used as input for our researchers.".

The communication from Stardust@home isn't a revelation but more on a 'need to know' basis. The scientific excitement seems to be on a different level which makes things confusing. I guess that we are getting more excited than what it is worth. I am certainly not stating that participating is boring, only that our 'responsibility' is less than what is being suggested and rumored.

I am very positive towards this project and the impact any outcome will have. My basis for participating is clarity, not credits. However, I am noticing that this clarity is giving way for (unfounded) assumptions. From Stardust@home I would really like to know what *exactly* is expected from me/us, and what is *not*. Preferably in technical terms and not just in global gestures, for example like: "We are only interested in trails wider than 10 microns, and longer than 30 microns, otherwise the particle will be too small for our equipment to handle".

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Re: What exactly is expected from us

Post by Sharqua »


To use Spacewatch as an example...

What the Spacewatch astronomers were looking for was laypersons (we must be politically correct! LOL) to be their eyes and ears but not their brains.

I don't even qualify as an amateur astronomer. My father built a six-foot long telescope with a nine-inch mirror when I was a kid and we spent many hours looking at the rings of Saturn and the craters of the Moon. Planetariums, books and a telescope is the extent of my exposure to real space science.

I'm an adult now, and every time I walk out the door at 4 o'clock in the morning to go to work I look up at the stars and say to myself, "That's Orion" or "What a beautiful full moon tonight!" The beauty of it all is enhanced by the teensy bit that I know about Orion, and it whets my enthusiasm for projects related to our search for the stars. But an amateur? Nope. I don't even qualify as that.

I know nothing about the science of this all, but I can help! I can offer my eyes and the part of my brain that can distinguish between this track and that track and tell the REAL experts, "Look here! Something interesting for you to look at." I have the patience to go through thousands of images over time and pick out the tiny tracks for them. I know because I've done it before. Tedious? Unfortunately yes. It'll weed the non-serious out of this group right quick. Rewarding? That, too, if you have the patience for it. I'm hopping up and down mentally in excitement, saying to myself, "I getta help! Wheee!" if you'll excuse the vernacular. ;)

And that's just perfect for me. I'm no expert but I can satisfy my layman's desire to be even a little useful in our search for the stars by doing something that I know I'm good at.



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Post by Siegfried »

Likewise, I'm not doing this for finding a particle, but to say I looked for a particle. I want to help scientific research.

Unrelated, this trait often causes problems. I'm now debating whether to help SETI@Home or SZTAKI more.
And God said: E = +mv^2 - Ze^2/r ...and there *WAS* light!

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( ^ )
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Re: What exactly is expected from us

Post by Nikita »

Franz wrote:I am having this gut feeling that Stardust@home in all politeness is trying to say: "Thanks, but no thanks. We will do the thinking and only want you to examine some pictures, nothing else. Your effort will be used as a filter for our enormous amount of data. The outcome will be used as input for our researchers.".
I'm not sure there is any confusion at all! I believe Stardust@home is about training us to find things that might be the stardust for them to look at. We are looking for the needles in the haystacks for them and then letting them take it from there. As insignificant and non-thinking it may seem, they have worked very hard to set up the training. I believe the Alpha testers had a 90% accuracy rating. They are doing this because they need the help. I'm doing it because it is the closest I'll be getting to participating in anything so cool!
I believe that they want us just to find things that look like trails as well as to point out anything interesting. There have been so many posts in so few days, I can't recall where I read that, but I think I did.
I have been watching the posts since the 17th and I don't think I've gotten the feeling that anyone has overestimated their responsibility. Do you have examples of threads that led you to believe that our responsibility has ever been overstated? For that matter, perhaps I am one of them and I missed your point completely!
From dust we come

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Post by Aquila Hawk »

This past semester, I was in a sedimentology class taught by a very talented and dedicated geologist. He has been doing research for years on the Laurentide glaciation in the Champlain Valley. Namely in the post glacial deposits from Lake Vermont and the Champlain Sea (both of which were in the Champlain Valley at different times after the Ice Sheet retreated). Part of this was studies using vibro-cores. To those who may not know what that is, you basically vibrate an aluminum pipe into loose sediment. When you pull the pipe out, the sediment in the pipe goes with it with all the structures in tact. There, you can study the core in a lab. In this case, my class took samples and did size analysis on it (and looked for some fossils). Granted, we used the data for our lab projects, but still. Anyway, we gave the data to our professor for his research. Basically, our part was to gather the numbers. I know all to well that our job here is to be thousands of pairs of eyes for UC Berkeley's research. And I'm perfectly happy with being a set of eyes in this.
Everyone talks about SOH CAH TOA, but no one ever talks about CHO SHA CAO.

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Post by Lollia »

I agree with Siegfierd, I decided to participate to Stardust@home project for the love of research.
I love research so much that I am ready to start searching for almost everything in the world and outside of it.

Longum iter est per praecepta, breve et efficax per exempla.

(The way is long if one follows the precepts, but short and effective if one follows patterns)

Lucius Annaeus Seneca - Epistulae Morales - Liber I

:) :)
Last edited by Lollia on Wed May 24, 2006 11:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by sb126k »

I, for one believe that Stardust@Home is a great project, both for the volunteers and the organization running it. This provides a way for the organization to sift through the enormous amount of data for free, while allowing participants to say "I was part of that, I helped to advance the body of scientific knowledge." I belive that that is the main goal of Stardust@Home, and Franz, if you feel used, then you won't have fun, and if it's not fun for you, you won't do as well researching as those who are having fun. The main purpose of this project is to do scientific research and have fun doing it, so if you are looking for fame and glory, don't even bother starting, because there are way more searchers than particles, and chances are low you will find one. Again, just have fun.
You rang?

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Post by Franz »

I do not feel used or frustrated. On the contrary... I am jumping up and down in anticipation to start. I am also not in it for fame, and I prefer to stay low-profile [although my postings are having an opposite effect]. I see the importance of this project, not only for this particular goal, but on the long term as a distributed human effort, the required organizing and techniques used. The question I originally put forward was "how do we see ourselves?" The hidden question was: "what motivates our drive to participate and why?". I could have posted these questions directly but by doing so I would expect one-liners as responses. I was looking for responses where submitters would stand still by issues which would otherwise be taken for granted. I have put in many hours of thought, care and revising before submitting my posting. My deepest respect goes to Sharqua who picked this up and gave it the perfect wording and ambiance I was hoping for.

I am definitely no expert in the field of astronomy or space exploration. The closest I got was signing up for candidate participant for testing the ISS robot arm. However, I do expect to become an expert in the field of locating particle trails in aerogel [something I will feel proud of]. This requires basic training. Training will learn new things to complete a certain task, and sometimes questions arise. Questions are to clarify issues, or perhaps to figure out how well though certain areas are. If a training is quality level, then there should be no questions. Questions are then more to satisfy a personal interest or to understanding the rationale making a better job out of it.

After the Startdust training I had no questions. I did read in certain areas [although I cannot recall where] the emphasis of a new research area and that anything can be expected, and for us to be on the lookout. This does imply a request for feedback. With this in mind I posted some questions. So did others. The response to these questions was not what I had expected, so I needed to re-evaluate my expectations. I am not implying that re-evaluation is a good or bad thing, only that one needs to be conscious of things that might have (unfoundedly) been taken for granted. This clarity motivated my original posting.

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what's in it for me?

Post by silentpyjamas »

i got excited from the moment i heard about stardust@home because i love science, i love astronomy, and there aren't many chances in my every day life to become part of something like this. even if all they expect me to do is go through a bunch of slides looking for a piece of a star, that is enough for me. i will be happy just to have been able to see something like that with my own eyes, and maybe even be the first one to see it. if i'm not, then that's alright too. for me science is all about the thrill of the chase.

and who knows? this could really start a wave of new kinds of distributed projects. little bits of science for everyone! it's the best kind of education because if you take the time to do it, chances are you'll get curious about more!

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Post by MDG »

Hi All,

My reason for taking part in Stardust is because of my love for science. Like Sharqua, I wouldn't even qualify as an amateur either, I haven't even looked through a telescope!!! I've visited the planetarium, and my pictures' folder is crammed with photos from Hubble and other telescopes, but this project is probably the closest I'll ever come to being part of a scientific research project.
I was so excited about being part of this project, that I had a lens implant done in my left eye ( cataract surgery)- now my vision is excellent - I could spot a dust trail a mile off :lol: :lol:
As I've said before, even if I don't find a dust trail after searching through hundreds of "movies", just to be able to say that I was part of a global community of voluteers who helped search for stardust would be enough for me. I'm not concerned about naming rights either.(After reading that thread, I sincerely hope the suggestion of "Fluffy" was tongue-in -cheek). Like Sharqua says, the tediousness of the task will soon get rid of those who think that they'll find a dust particle in the first week, name it (fluffy), co- author a book and be a celebrity. Some of us are here for the long haul.
The communication from Stardust@home isn't a revelation but more on a 'need to know' basis

I think the guys (non gender specific)at Stardust are really busy trying to get this project up and running and I'm sure a lot of it is new to them too, I've found their input on the progress of the project sufficient. They've informed us of the setbacks and encouraged us with the pictures of the scanning process.

So I'm quite happy to be a set of eyes for the team (one really good eye :lol: ) and let them take the glory for my possible dust trail "finds". :wink:

Just don't name it "Fluffy"!


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Post by Hawkwings »

I think the draw for this kind of project is that you know that you are helping out with this scientific research. You know, advancing the body of knowledge on the universe, and all that great stuff. I doubt many people signed up for this to go "I want my name as a co-author of a research paper! I want a particle named after me/my cat/my fish/some obscure thing that I only know!"

A while back there was something similar to this, where a NASA mission had taken tons of pictures of Mars' surface, and they asked us to find and mark the craters. Forgot what it was for, but even after it "ended" people were still going to that site to help out. This project may have even more "pictures" (or less, who knows?) and I think people will be discovering this project a month, six months, a year from now, and signing up to join. It's this feeling of being part of this huge project, and being able to say "I helped to do that. That paper may not have my name on it, but that's only because they can't fit all the names on there!"

And besides, what better to do then sit in front of the computer all day looking at weird cracks and dings on your computer? :P

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Post by DustBuster »

Hawkwings wrote:And besides, what better to do then sit in front of the computer all day looking at weird cracks and dings on your computer? :P
Hmmmm... looking at what? Is that legal? I'd better get a ruling on this-
No dessert for you- ONE MONTH!

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Post by MDG »

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!, Dustbuster, :twisted:

"We are Stardust, we are golden........." Joni Mitchell

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Post by juco12 »

I am 55 now but as a teenager I built my own telescope from spectacle lenses and then progressed to a useless `bought`cheap telescope, regardless I enjoyed those days even if the constellations and the moon would not stand still for me (an equally useless tripod), and I dont recall ever managing to find a planet! I also enjoyed fossil collecting til my dad threw my `rocks` in the rubbish bin, I never spoke to him for weeks after that!
Anyhow I have always had a leaning towards science never particularly good at any of it but always had an interest so more than willing to get involved and be a "self appointed scientist" for the duration.
If I could find my long lost brother I would send him a blown up version of my `passing certificate` That brainy git got a 1st class honours in mathematical Physics many years ago at Edinbugh University.

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Post by josemiguel »

I love astronomy & science.

That's enought for me :D

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