Sensors on asthma inhalers generate real-time maps of environmental dangers to help patients in Louisville, Ky. Street knowledge was crucial in a historic medical breakthrough: John Snow's mapping of cholera in 1800s London. In West Oakland, Calif., citizens confront air pollution and rising asthma rates by collecting traffic data.
Citizen scientists and the Bucket Brigade track pollution at fracking sites in Wyoming and other states. On East Coast trout streams, fishermen and volunteers monitor water quality with TroutUnlimited. Philadelphia residents join with scientists to test their drinking water for lead.
This series, hosted by former NASA Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalati, takes viewers on a global tour of the projects and people on the front lines of citizen science and crowdsourcing. Volunteers across the U.S. measure precipitation, yielding data used for life-saving alerts in flash floods. EyesOnALZ enlists the crowd to speed up research on Alzheimer’s disease. DIY enthusiasts map and document the BP oil spill with kites, balloons and cameras.
For centuries, owls have captured our imaginations. With their haunting calls and charismatic faces, these birds remain popular but mysterious because it’s rare to catch more than a glimpse of one in the wild. Unlike their cousins, the hawks, eagles and falcons, owls are the only bird of prey to hunt effectively at night and they have evolved a range of special abilities that allow them to do so.