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Citizen Science Day 2018 is just around the corner!

San Diego Citizen Science Day Expo

Citizen Science Day is on April 14th, this year and many citizen science organizations (including yours truly) are hosting citizen science events. Here in San Diego, we've teamed up with the San Diego Public Library and the Wet Lab group to put on the 3rd annual San Diego Citizen Science Day Expo. There are a lot of exciting new entrants into the San Diego citizen science scene, and we hope you will join us in learning about them at the expo. If you're in San Diego, please join us! The details are as follows:

Who: Anyone who wants to do science
What: San Diego Citizen Science Day Expo
When: Saturday, April 14, 2018. 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Where: North University Community Library (8820 Judicial Dr, San Diego, CA 92122)

Please note that the location has changed from the previous ones due to the limited availability of parking spots at the La Jolla Library. The North University Community Library has plentiful free parking, so please visit come if you're in the area! For the most up-to-date information about this event, visit SDCitSci.net.

If you're not in San Diego, there is probably an exciting Citizen Science Day event happening near you! To find a Citizen Science Day Event near you, visit Scistarter.com.

San Diego March for Science

The March for Science is also happening on April 14th in San Diego. It starts at the Waterfront park at 10:00am and ends at 1:00pm (right before our event!). If you want to show your love for science consider joining the march! If you want to DO science, be sure to join a Citizen Science Day event near you (or contribute to Mark2Cure, of course!).

Current Status of Mark2Cure

Development status and workarounds

Unfortunately, Mark2Cure no longer has a full time developer working on the project, so a lot of the issues and bugs that have been reported probably will not be fixed for a long, long time. We are very sorry for the frustration our system has caused our users and extremely grateful for the patience, graciousness, and encouragement our users have returned to us. Mark2Cure is really made up of a wonderful bunch of individuals, and we are thankful that this project has introduced us to you. Fortunately, many of you really put the science in the term citizen science and have systematically found ways to contribute productively in spite of all the issues in our system. You are all too amazing!

NER module issues: The most frustrating one has been the inability to highlight certain words, and the random highlighting/un-highlighting of words when users try to mark something. This has been reported by many users (many, many thanks to those of you who took the time to report this issue). Fortunately, one of your fellow volunpeers has found a workaround that appears to be quite robust. To get around a lot of these highlighting issues, AJ_Eckhart highlights the entire paragraph to remove the preannotations. These preannotations seem to be an important factor in this problem, and he has tested this workaround for the 'cannot-highlight-a-specific-term' bug, the 'highlighting-a-term-un-highlights-something-else', and the 'highlighting-a-term-highlights' something else' bugs.

RE module issues: A number of you have kindly taken the time to report issues with the RE module--the most common issue is the seemingly random inability to throw out an annotation. For this issue, two workarounds have been reported by our users. LadySteph has found that returning to the dashboard and then returning to the task will enable you to submit the response you wish (eg- throw out an annotation) and TAdams has reported that many of you have gravitated towards submitting 'Cannot be determined' in lieu of throwing out an annotation. We will take both workarounds into consideration when we analyze the data, so thank you all very much for contributing in spite of all these issues!

Data analysis and research status

Speaking of analyzing the data--we might not yet have enough abstracts annotated in order to generate ground-breaking, new hypotheses on NGLY1 deficiency, but we have enough for some initial analyses on the application of citizen science towards information extraction. We are working towards more scientific publications and look forward to sharing the results of your work and crediting you for your help. Note that many journal submission systems are not made to account for group names or a huge volume of names in the authorship; hence, we will continue to have our Mark2Cure contributors listed on a dedicated page which will be linked in the paper. As with our first paper, this will be an opt-in process because we respect your right to privacy. More details on opting-in will be sent via our mailing list.

April 2nd at 6:30pm: “Mushrooms and Fungi of Southern California and Northern Baja”

For the Monday April 2nd meeting our speaker will be Bonni Thoresen, speaking on “Mushrooms and Fungi of Southern California and Northern Baja”.

The meeting will start at 6:30 PM in Room 101, Casa Del Prado in Balboa Park. We will take Bonni to dinner before the meeting around 5:00 at the Blue Water Seafood Grill. Come along to meet Bonni over dinner.

Further details to follow.

CitSciMedBlitz Recap and Results

Hopefully, you'll all forgive us for the delay in announcing the results of #CitSciMedBlitz. Our partners at EyesOnAlz, Cochrane crowd, and ourselves were a little tired after the blitz and we gave ourselves a short break. Since the blitz, the EyesOnAlz team has generated the #CitSciMedBlitz digital badge for participants of all three challenges and has been working on creating the trophies; meanwhile, the Cochrane crowd team has contacted the overall #CitSciMedBlitz event winners.

look alive now! We're all up and active now and looking forward to sharing a recap and the results of #CitSciMedBlitz with you.

First, a Recap

On February 21st, CitSciMedBlitz was kicked off with a webinar to introduce the three platforms that would be participating in CitSciMedBlitz
You can watch the webinar here

The first challenge, the StallCatchers challenge, was launched on February 26th at 7am PST. Within minutes of the launch, StallCatchers were hammering away at StallCatchers, including Cochrane Crowd's Anna.
first 10 min

Anna managed to get on the leaderboard but wasn't able to stay on there for very long because the competition was just too tough. At least she placed, though-- I never even made it!

By the end of the challenge, StallCatchers analyzed a whopping 18,348 real videos--the equivalent of two weeks worth of laboratory analysis!
first 10 min

While the EyesOnAlz team was still cooling off from their intense challenge, we were gearing up for the Mark2Cure arm--and NOT without a huge set of worries.
i am worried

You can read more about the hiccups and snafu's that happened during the Mark2Cure 24hr challenge here. By the end of the challenge, CitSciMedBlitzers managed to submit ~300 doc annotations, and ~3000 relationship annotations--an impressive feat considering the increase in task difficulty, and the bugs and other technical issues that made the challenge--well, even more challenging!

While we were busy analyzing the results of our challenge, Cochrane crowd was preparing the last challenge of CitSciMedBlitz. This challenge started off right with 50 assessments within the first 2 minutes, and over 5000 in just the first 4 hours! This arm of the challenge would determine which of the top contenders from the previous challenges would win the trophy so the competition was intense! By the end of this challenge, over 46,000 classifications would be made--allowing our teams to determine the overall winner of #CitSciMedBlitz.

And now...the results of CitSciMedBlitz...

Of course, the biggest winner of the challenge goes to...

...biomedical and health evidence research! Everyone who has contributed (in the past) and continues to contributes to these efforts deserve a round of applause for being generous enough to donate their time towards helping with disease and health research.

Thank you for being amazing

The winner of the CitSciMedBlitz trophy is Michael Landau! Note, it was previously stated that Michael was also the top contributor to the EyesOnAlz challenge of CitSciMedBlitz. This is wrong.

Mike Capraro was the top contributor across all three measures of the EyesOnAlz challenge and the overall top contributor of that challenge for CitSciMedBlitz.

Editor's note #2: If you'd like to read more about CitSciMedBlitz from the EyesOnAlz team, check out their latest recap post here!

The top contributor to the Mark2Cure arm of CitSciMedBlitz was Kien Pong Yap, while the top contributor to the Cochrane Crowd arm of CitSciMedBlitz was Nikolaos. The top contributors to each platform will be receiving a platform-specific trophy.

Each platform will be awarding additional prizes to some of their top contributors and the notifications should be arriving via email (if they haven't already).

Editor's note #3, the recap from the Cochrane Crowd side of things is now available

Now that all the excitement of CitSciMedBlitz is over, I'd like to thank ALL the citizen scientists who contribute to projects like ours and make these platforms great. In citizen science, the people make the platform. And, as you can see--the people contributing to these platforms, do so with:

a collaborative spirit,
sharing is caring

humor,
guilt to the rescue

humility,
struggled and won

good spirit,
positive attitude for the win

and grace,
positive attitude for the win

Thank you all! Much respect for the work that you've done and the character you've shown!

mad respects

Note this post was updated on 2018.03.12 to correct an error and on 2018.03.19 to add a link

CitSciMed Blitz has started!

It's on! The CitSciMedblitz week of challenges have started!

If you missed the webinar detailing the three biomedical/health citizen science research projects, it is available for viewing on youtube.
CitSciMedblitz webinar

You are welcome to participate in as many or as few of the challenges as you'd like, but a trophy will be awarded to the highest ranking participant across all THREE challenges. Read more about CitSciMedblitz from this post at citscibio.org

With regards to the challenges, up first (and going on now!) is the EyesOnAlz 24hr Catchathon. EyesOnAlz is an Alzheimer disease-focused citizen science project investigating stalled blood in brain images. It has a lot of cool images/videos in need of review by citizen scientists and a lot of fun features. The challenge has only just started and will run to 7am PST (3pm GMT) tomorrow (Feb. 28th) so get in on it ASAP!

The Mark2Cure challenge will start at 7am PST (3pm GMT) on Wednesday, February 28th. It is a doubly-special day because the 28th is Rare Disease Day and we have had an incredibly inspirational weekend at the Sanford Burnham Presby Rare Disease Day Symposium. We look forward to sharing rare disease stories from Mark2Curators and bringing awareness about these diseases as we tackle the literature around NGLY1 during this 24hr challenge.

Speaking of literature, our old friends at Cochrane Crowd are back with a lot of new features which you can explore during the Cochrane Screening Challenge. This challenge starts at 7am PST (3pm GMT) on Friday, March 2nd and runs for 24hrs.

March 5th at 6:30pm: Fungal Conservation

For the Monday March 5th, 2018 meeting, our speaker will be Else Vellinga, a mycologist who is interested in naming and classifying mushroom species in California and beyond, speaking on “Fungal conservation” discussing reasons to include fungi in conservation and management plans.

The meeting will start at 6:30 PM in Room 101, Casa Del Prado in Balboa Park. We will take Else to dinner before the meeting around 5:00 at the Blue Water Seafood Grill. Come along to meet Else over dinner.

Bio:
Else Vellinga is a mycologist who is interested in naming and classifying mushroom species in California and beyond, especially Parasol mushrooms. She has described 22 species as new for California, and most recently worked at the herbaria at UC Berkeley and SFSU for the Macrofungi and Microfungi Collections Digitization projects. She got her training at the national herbarium in the Netherlands, and her PhD at the university of Leiden. Her main goal is to contribute to the conservation of mushroom species, and for that reason she has proposed several species for the IUCN global database of endangered species. She tries to keep current with the mushroom literature. Else is also an avid knitter and likes to use mushroom dyed yarn for her creations.
Else Vellinga

Talk:
The talk “Fungal conservation” will discuss reasons to include fungi in conservation and management plans. The focus will be on California, and the central question will be: How can we bring fungi into the mainstream of conservation efforts? Many issues concerning the gathering of data and information will be covered, and especially how citizen-scientists can contribute.

Rethink Recycling That Same Old Date

Valentine’s Day…it’s almost here! For some of you, that could mean absolutely nothing (shout out to all of my sustainable singles – I’m happy to be in good company). But for those of you who find yourself coupled up this February, it can be a struggle to celebrate your sweetheart with a holiday that often seems to focus on consumerism and neglect conservation. As an organization that has love in our title, we’re here to help you with some ideas on how to show love to your special someone and San Diego’s environment without the added waste!

Let’s be real, dates can be a little monotonous. As a single, 20-something, I have personally been on a countless amount of dates that, aside from the person I was with, were completely interchangeable. For me, it was the dates where we did something just a little creative and normally pretty simple that I always recall. Here are a few of my personal favorites that might inspire you to change up the usual dinner and a movie with a box of chocolate and flowers.

Hammock Hangouts 

Once, a date surprised me with a sweet little hang session…and I do mean hang. After setting up a hammock at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, we talked, relaxed, and enjoyed the sunset at one of my favorite spots in San Diego. With all of the scenic spots around San Diego, you have a vast amount of options to explore and enjoy with your date.

Share a sunset view with someone special.

Blanket, Basket, and your Babe

If you’re not into the hammock and hangout idea, grab a blanket and a basket instead. When my date filled up a basket with delicious snacks and all the necessary reusable items for a picnic, I was amazed. Is it just me or does throwing down a blanket at Kate Sessions Park beat any table you could be sat at in a restaurant?

Prep your picnic with reusable items for a sustainable outing with your significant other.

Cook as a Couple

While dining out is the popular go-to for dates, I still prefer the night my date and I stayed in to cook a homemade meal together. Whether you prefer to prepare a meal for your partner or cook as a couple, the experience is one you won’t forget. Don’t forget to plan your menu in advance so you can buy any ingredients in bulk and avoid excess packaging.

Cleanup with your Cutie

Want to drastically change up your idea of a perfect date? Show your date you care by creating a cleaner community to enjoy together. Sign up to volunteer with your sweetheart for a Saturday filled with sunshine and sustainability. Head into Valentine’s Day with full hearts from eco-friendly experiences, and join us for the Cupid’s Cleanup on Saturday, February 10th at 10:00 AM in Ocean Beach at Robb Field. Celebrate after the cleanup at Mike Hess Tasting Room. As a thank you to those who participate in the cleanup, Mike Hess will be running a special for all volunteers offering beers for only $5 each!

Volunteer with your Valentine at ILACSD’s Cupid’s Cleanup on February 10th.

No matter how you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, just remember, we only have one planet to love. Let’s make sure we treat it right. ♥

CitSciMed Blitz, Rare Disease Day, and more

It's finally February which means it's time to prepare for Rare Disease Day 2018 and CitSciMedBlitz! This year's theme for Rare Disease Day continues off of last year's theme--research. According to RareDiseaseDay.org, patients are not only subjects but also proactive actors in research--and we couldn't agree more! Mark2Cure would not be where it is now without the inspiration, contributions, and drive from our partners and contributors in the rare disease community. Mark2Curators have inspired us with their generosity, perseverance, curiosity, and overall intellectual voraciousness--and for us, Rare Disease Day is an opportunity to share about the diseases that the Mark2Cure community cares about--and not just NGLY1-deficiency. If there is a disease that you care about that you'd like us to highlight for Rare Disease Day, please get in touch.

Patients are not only subjects but also proactive actors in research.
Patients kick start research
Patients drive research
Patients organize research
Patients proactively provide data

The increasing role of patients in research is not limited to Rare Disease
As citizen science becomes increasingly popular in biomedical research, patients and care providers are becoming increasingly important partners for disease research in general. And, as many of you have pointed out--we will all be patients at some point in our lives so it's nice to be able to actively contribute to disease research.

In addition to helping to organize the knowledge surrounding NGLY1-deficiency, patients and citizen scientists have been making important contributions to Alzheimer's disease research and contributing to health evidence--all of which brings us back to CitSciMed Blitz!

CitSciMed Blitz is coming

Similar to last year's MedLitBlitz, there will be prizes for the top contributors to all THREE platforms. Only participation during the 24hr challenges will count towards the prize, however, you are welcome to register and complete the training for the other platforms prior to the event if you'd like. Learn more about the event and the other platforms here.

February 5 at 6:30pm: The Many Mushrooms of Arizona and Their Habitats

For the Monday February 5th, 2018 meeting, our speaker will be Dr. Christopher May, President of the Arizona Mushroom Society, speaking on the many mushrooms that grow in Arizona and the habitats where they are found

The meeting will start at 6:30 PM in Room 101, Casa Del Prado in Balboa Park. We will take Dr. May to dinner before the meeting around 5:00 at the Blue Water Seafood Grill. Come along to meet Dr. May over dinner.

LECTURE OUTLINE:

Residents of San Diego are no doubt familiar with the influx of “Zonies” who invade the beaches and amusement parks of their fair city to escape the Arizona summers. Few of them, even many members of the San Diego Mycological Society, are aware that there is a similar but much smaller migration of knowledgeable mushroom hunters in the other direction at the same time. The hot weather of mid-July to mid-September is the season when near-daily monsoon thunderstorms dump copious moisture on the heavily-forested mountains that rise from the deserts to almost 13,000 feet elevation in the northern and eastern part of the state. During this short but usually productive season, the forests respond with a riot of fungi of all descriptions, including many of the most desirable edible species like porcini, chanterelles, oyster mushrooms, and lobster mushrooms.

The climatological and geographic features that give life to our forests will be discussed, as well as the vast public lands where mushroom hunting is allowed (and a few places where it is not.) He will also talk about printed and on-line resources that are helpful to Arizona mushroom hunters, and speak briefly about the Arizona Mushroom Society and its events.

BIO:

Christopher May, M.D., is a radiologist in Scottsdale, Arizona. Until a few years ago, his only non-culinary involvement with fungi was limited to occasionally diagnosing fungal diseases on medical imaging studies. In the summer of 2010, he took his father to visit an old friend who is a mushroom farmer in England, and became fascinated by the complex and unfamiliar biological processes that characterize the Kingdom of Fungi. Shortly after his return, he went on a foray with the Arizona Mushroom Club and its founder, Dr. Chet Leathers, who instantly got him hooked on exploring the Arizona forests for wild mushrooms. Learning more and more each year about the topic, he started the Arizona Mushroom Forum website and Facebook page in 2014, providing a central meeting place for our local mushroom enthusiasts to share notes and photos. In 2016, when Dr. Leathers retired, the old Arizona Mushroom Club was reorganized into the Arizona Mushroom Society, an incorporated 501(c)(3) non-profit, and Chris became its first elected president. Under his supervision, the Society has grown to over 400 members who take part in 5-10 forays per year, depending on conditions, as well as lectures, workshops, and culinary events. He is a member of the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) and a volunteer identifier for its Toxicology Committee. He organized the NAMA Regional Foray last year in the White Mountains of Arizona, and was recently presented with the NAMA Harry and Elsie Knighton Service Award.