Tag: civic science

by Shannon Dosemagen

This post was co-written by Public Lab organizer Chris Fastie. During the BP oil spill in 2010, as aerial mappers walked coastlines and boated waterways to document environmental impacts, we encountered tarry clumps in the sand or reddish clayey masses floating around the boat. We often weren’t sure whether these objects were crude oil from [...] more »

by Shannon Dosemagen

Over the weekend of November 2-4, Public Lab held the second annual barn raising in Cocodrie, La., at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium facility. The concept of an organization focused on science and technology holding a barn raising sounds strange. But we borrow the term to signify the collaborative spirit that’s at the core of [...] more »

by Sara Wylie

In December, Public Laboratory members made themselves a “public lavatory.” Six members of the online DIY science community gathered in the well-appointed, but small bathroom of staff member Liz Barry with the lights off — for citizen science. Two staff members (Leif Percifield and Jeff Warren) stood in the bathtub lofting a laptop so the [...] more »

by Liz Barry

The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, N.Y., has inspired urban legends from the forensic to the ecotopian. In the year and a half since the Environmental Protection Agency bestowed its Superfund designation, the canal has become a site of even more intense re-imagination by several groups, some of whom are customizing Public Laboratory tools for deepening [...] more »

by Jeffrey Warren

Several Public Laboratory groups have emerged around the development of new tools for measuring contamination and quantifying ecologic issues. Among them is an informal spectrometry working group, which is attempting to create an inexpensive spectrometer. Such an instrument offers the possibility of detecting and even quantifying contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs — [...] more »

by Shannon Dosemagen

Recently, a resident of Plaquemines Parish, La., made a striking comment to me about the importance of local involvement and knowledge in post-disaster projects: Listen to the people that have been down here, lived here, fished here, and camped here their whole entire lives and even their parents’ lives, for generations. Because they know how [...] more »