MIT began to offer virtually all of its course content over the web for free in 2002 through its OpenCourseWare (OCW; http://ocw.mit.edu) program. Many of the classes have been translated into eight languages, including Chinese, Spanish and Turkish. OCW has a separate program for independent learners called OCW Scholar (http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/ocw-scholar/). These courses are more complete than typical OCW offerings and feature supplemental multimedia materials. Subjects covered include biology, mathematics, and microeconomics.
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I live in California, where earthquakes are a fact of life. Other parts of the country can also be jolted by the occasional quake. The U.S. Geological Survey, a branch of the Department of the Interior, offers tips about what to do before, during, and after an earthquake. Hint: Don’t stand in the doorway, get under a table!
When proteins do not fold correctly (i.e. “misfold”), there can be serious consequences including many well known diseases such as Alzheimer’s and many cancers. Run Folding@Home on your home computer or on your Playstation 3 to help scientist figure out these diseases. To fold proteins on your PS3, download the “Life with PlayStation” application and then choose “Folding@home” channel. Stanford University runs this project.
It just seems like you are matching square colors in a pretty Flash game. But the colored squares represent the four nucleotides of DNA. You are actually comparing sections of genetic material across species, looking for the best alignment (and possibly mapping areas that cause disease.) The site is Canadian and so can be played in both French and English.
Take a close look at some of those gorgeous photos from the Hubble Telescope. Look at the stars and galaxies…and then classify them. Afron Smith, Technical Lead of Galaxy Zoo, recalls, “There was the user Hanny van Arkel, who did just that, went a little bit beyond just looking at the task that she was assigned. And she noticed something a little bit unusual in one of the photos, and she wrote to the project staff and asked them, what is this thing?”
Miss van Arkel had discovered a new astronomical phenomenon! “And it’s since been named after her. It’s called Hanny’s Voorwerp,” says Smith. (“Voorwerp” is Dutch for “object.”)
Will you be the next Hanny van Arkel?
Richard Kelly, professor of geography at the University of Waterloo in Canada, wants to track climate change and predict the spring runoff but he needs your help. He says, “We’re asking people to really look around them when they’re outside and perhaps make a measurement of how much snow there is in their backyard, or on their way as they drive along. They can perhaps make an estimate of snow depth.”
Use Twitter to send a message about the snow, marking your tweet with the hashtag #snowtweets. Send the hashtag and your guess of the snow depth in centimeters or inches followed by your GPS coordinates or zip code. Your tweet should look like this:
#snowtweets 15 in. at 14226
Android and iPhone users can visit http://snowtweets.org/m to download the app for their smartphones.
Do your part to help the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo figure out the SWE (snow water equivalent) at various spatial scales and with different accuracies…with your Snowtweets!