Refuge Restrooms is a crowdsourced website that works to help trans, intersex, and gender nonconforming people find safe restrooms. They've recently launched an iPhone app, with an unofficial (and with-ads) android app already out. [more inside]
Joe Archibold, 12, is hunting for a specific polo shirt. He has a little less than a year to find it, and he needs your help. It has blue, white and gray stripes and a blue collar, and it's pretty much the best shirt ever. Joe has the same shirt in size small and medium. He needs a large, to be able to keep intact his now five-year tradition. Joe has worn the same shirt for every school picture since second grade. (Related previously.)
The British Museum has published on its frequently informative blog a call for citizen archaeologists to help digitize its Bronze Age Index via a crowd-sourcing site called MicroPasts, which uses the open source PyBossa crowd-sourcing framework that also powers Crowdcrafting. The results will eventually be integrated with the Portable Antiquities Scheme (previously), which features a gigantic image database of finds categorized by period (e.g. Bronze Age or Medieval) and object type (e.g. coins or brooches).
Equaldex: the collaborative LGBT knowledgebase! A crowd-sourced, verified, beautifully presented representation of equal rights (and how they are specifically denied) for LGBT folks. [via reddit]
Ever since Rob Thomas’s beloved TV show Veronica Mars got canceled, he’s wanted to make it into a movie. Turns out all he needed was the help of 91,585 of his biggest fans. [more inside]
For the past three days, the world of streaming gaming has been riveted by an unlikely phenomenon: Twitch Plays Pokemon. Consisting of a live Twitch.TV chatroom hooked up to a classic Game Boy emulation of Pokémon Red, the program is set to recognize a limited number of commands and execute them in real time, allowing an audience of tens of thousands to collectively control the action as they watch. An astonishing amount of progress has been made, including the dramatic last-second defeat of a third gym leader (GIF) and the solution of a notoriously tricky puzzle on the very first attempt. But all for naught, it seems, as Team Twitch finds itself hilariously stranded on the ledges of Route 19 where, as one viewer explained, "they basically have to walk a small path for about ten spaces without anyone pushing down and jumping Red off the ledge," a grim democratic reality the dedicated subreddit /r/twitchplayspokemon has had all kinds of fun with over the last dozen ludicrous hours.
Operation War Diary is the newest crowdsourced science effort from Zooniverse, cataloging WWI British soldiers' war diaries from the Western Front. Participants can help tag dates, locations, people, and events from 1.5 million pages of war diaries from the Western Front. Entries range from the uneventful (October 24 | PONT DU HEM | 5:30 am | Occupied same position. Did not fire all day) to the eventful (A & B cleared the village and the regiment eventually captured the convoy in the wood about a mile on after it had been headed back by a returning movement of 12th Lancers. In all 200 prisoners). [more inside]
Trashswag is a crowdsourced map for people to share and post reusable materials that they spot left outside. It is a resource for creative hobbyists, artists and people conducting renovation works to find unique, salvageable old wood, windows, doors, metal, glass and furniture. So far I think it's mostly Toronto and Montreal but is expanding to other areas.
John and Hank Green of the Vlogbrothers have launched a new subscription service called Subbable, that aims to crowdsource support for content creators through direct payments, rather than through the typical model that uses advertising. Subscribers can pay nothing and still view the content, but those who opt to pay earn Perks from the channels to which they subscribe. Right now, the vlogbrothers' educational channel Crash Course is the only content available, although applications are being taken for other content creators to join...assuming it works with Crash Course. [more inside]
My Fair Election crowd-sources pollwatching: "We hope that this information will be used by citizens, journalists, and election officials to identify the worst polling places and work to fix them. We hope that officials in charge of polling places with long lines or otherwise operate poorly will be embarrassed, held to account, and so motivated to do a better job." (via Hollie Russon-Gilman and Archon Fung)
The makers of Galaxy Zoo are not satisfied with classifying the cold depths of space. They also want to classify the slightly less cold depths of the ocean, with Seafloor Explorer, where anyone and everyone can help find and identify scallops, sea stars, crustaceans, and Other on various parts of the Atlantic ocean floor. Rarely there are fish. Often, there is sand. It seems to go on forever and often is full of starfish. [more inside]
David Leonard Weather Service: "These real-weather descriptions are, of course, tweets, and part of the David Leonard Weather Service, which its eponymous proprietor explains—and he finds himself explaining often—as “a network of correspondents posting the weather they see right now. Real-time, crowd-sourced [Toronto, Ontario Canada] weather." #DLWS @davidpleonard
Back in 09', Star Wars Uncut (previously) asked people to recreate 15 second chunks of Star Wars: A New Hope however they wanted, using live action, animation, text adventure screens, SCUMM interfaces, costumed pets, and more. Now they've been edited together to recreate the entire movie as a homemade, constantly shifting media experiment. (Vimeo link)
Lean Publishing is the act of self-publishing a book while you are writing it, evolving the book with feedback from your readers and finishing a first draft before using the traditional publishing workflow, with or without a publisher.
"Mother Jones [and, later, other media outlets] requested [Sarah] Palin's gubernatorial emails during the 2008 election. Almost three years later, the wait is over. ... Today, at [1:00 pm ET] in Juneau, the state of Alaska is scheduled to release 24,199 pages of emails Sarah Palin sent and received during her half-term as governor of the Last Frontier. State workers will distribute six-box sets and hand trucks (which must be returned) to representatives of a dozen or so media outfits" "Volunteers from the League of Women Voters and the Retired Public Employees of Alaska will be at Juneau's Centennial Hall convention center ... look[ing] for any significant or interesting emails, stick a post-it note on the page, and pass them to journalists, who also will be reading through the 24,000 pages. Exact copies of the best of those emails will be posted online immediately. ... In the same room ... a second set of the documents will be scanned for msnbc.com by Crivella West, an analytics and investigative-research company from Pittsburgh, returning the records to their original electronic form, allowing anyone anywhere to join in the crowdsourcing. That free, public, searchable archive will go online, sometime later on Friday, at http://palinemail.msnbc.msn.com." "The Washington Post is looking for '100 organized and diligent readers' to work with reporters to 'analyze, contextualize, and research the emails.' The New York Times is employing a similar system.'"* [more inside]
Wikipedia And The Death Of The Expert - "McLuhan prefigured the Internet era in a number of surprising ways. As he said in a March 1969 Playboy interview: 'The computer thus holds out the promise of a technologically engendered state of universal understanding and unity, a state of absorption in the Logos that could knit mankind into one family and create a perpetuity of harmony and peace' ... Wikipedia, along with other crowd-sourced resources, is wreaking a certain amount of McLuhanesque havoc on conventional notions of 'authority', 'authorship', and even 'knowledge' ... Knowledge is growing more broadly and immediately participatory and collaborative by the moment."
This is not an attempt to tweet mindlessly the entire contents of Ulysses, word-for-word, 140 characters at a time. That would be dull and impossible. What is proposed here is a recasting or a reimagining of the reading experience of this novel, start to finish, within the confines of a day-long series of tweets from a global volunteer army of Joyce-sodden tweeps. (previously!)
With kettling becoming a commonly deployed tactic by the London Met, students from the University College London are fighting back with Sukey, launched this morning. [more inside]
Wired magazine has a long and detailed article about the future of manufacturing. Short version: the same kind of democratization that technology has effected in publishing, music, video, etc., is opening up design and manufacturing to anyone who wants to participate. [more inside]
Is there something you wish would be reported comprehensively by mainstream news media, even though they won't likely touch the topic? Try open-source reporting. From the 2006 experiment NewAssignment, professional journalists, non-profits seeking crowdfunding, and the Internet public have collaborated to do in-depth investigation and reportage of whatever people were interested in. Jay Rosen, founder of ExplainThis, the newest site in crowdsourced journalism, wants a way to answer questions that are too complicated for a Google search. Will these things deliver well-researched thoughtful analysis, or will they be no match for the Green?
Crowd surf, crowd sourcing, crowd funding? Like being supported by an ocean of people, or collaboration from around the world, crowd funding gets projects financial backing from the people. It's not new, as it has been the method for funding charities and political campaigns for a very long time, but it is a novel attempt at getting funds for other projects. Some people have placed their hopes in crowdfunding as a way to save journalism, while other companies are looking to get micropayment-scale public investments in fashion by offering investors the potential for a cut of future profits. The more typical return is physical goods, like getting the t-shirt you help sponsor [via mefi projects], or a limited edition version of the album. There's another site long these lines, but more free-form in structure: Kickstarter, crowdfunding for people who make stuff. [via mefi projects] The fundees can set a fundraising goal, deadline, and a set of rewards for backers. If the goal's reached by the deadline, then everyone's charged and backers get their goodies. If not, nobody's charged. The previously discussed 8-bit tribute to Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, Kind of Bloop was funded this way.
Have you told the powers in Washington what kind of world you want? You're busy. You don't have time to be a professional "Congress watcher." So we'll be your eyes and ears. We'll track the debates and compromises and bills that will shape the world.