Astrophysicists = Parasitized Killifish

I can only assume that the authors of the every silly Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal have taken invertebrate zoology and were fascinated by the bizarre life history cycles of trematodes and/or spent some time hanging around with Armand Kuris and Kevin Lafferty at UC Santa Barbara. Why? Because of today’s brilliant comic (see below).

Update: apparently the author’s wife is IN the Kuris lab. Ha!

A Grand Experiment: Can Crowdfunding Work for Science?

There have been a steady stream of articles over the years stating that now is the time for Science to embrace Crowdfunding. It is the wave of the future, they state. It will link people to science directly. Abandon the shackles of the NSF and NIH, ye meek and mild mannered scientists. The internet is your salvation.

And along with this hoopla comes a small handfull of science crowdfunding sites, but few success stories. There has been no large-scale well-advertised attempt at seeing whether crowdfunding really is a viable model for science.

Well, it’s time we change that.

Announcing the SciFund Challenge!

My co-conspirator, Jai Ranganathan of Curiouser and Curiouser, and I have decided to spearhead a large effort to recruit scientists to try and crowd-fund a piece of their science. We want to see, just how is crowdfunding for science different from normal funding? Can we harness the power of our social networks, the online science blogosphere, and maybe the larger public to fund science?

Crowdfunding hedgehog wants crowds to fund him.

Honestly, we have no idea. But it’s worth trying, and, hopefully, we can do some interesting post-mortem analyses once the project wraps up. So go check out our project blog including a call to arms, how this will work, and our sign-up form.