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Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of science... the thrill of discovery... and the agony of failed experiments... the human drama of scientific advancement... This is the Blue Streak Science Podcast!

Jul 18, 2015

Citizen Science. Sounds good, but what is it?

Citizen science happens when a member of the general public, a person who is not a professional scientist, collects or analyzes data relating to the natural world, and most importantly shares it with the science community and the public. There are so many ways each of us can participate.

Citizen Scientists
Citizen Scientists

Possibly the largest and oldest example of a citizen science project is the Christmas Bird Count administered by the National Audubon Society in North America. It has been held since 1900 and now has over 50,000 citizen scientists making observations. The purpose of the bird count is to provide population data for use in conservation biology.

You amateur astronomers are amazing! New comets are being discovered all the time, stars even. Those mysterious plumes seen rising from Mars last February probably would have been missed completely if it weren't for amateur stargazers.

In episode nine of the podcast, that’s next week, Blue Streak Science is going to start its own citizen science project in which you, our dear listeners and blog readers, can participate. It’s going to be all about observation, participation, and sharing.

In the meantime...clean lenses and quick focusing. You won’t want to miss anything!

Blue Streak Science News

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  • Under the sea: from baby lobsters to ancient volcanoes
  • Forget The Matrix, now we're talking about The Mesh!
  • Mobile phones used by medical staff may spread infection
  • Sex divide seen in mechanism that produces persistent pain
  • Resistance to antibiotics found in isolated Amazonian tribe

Asshole of the Week

Marilyn Bodnar, A Sydney naturopath allegedly told a mother to stop medicating her eight-month-old baby

Naturopathy: a system of alternative medicine based on the theory that diseases can be successfully treated or prevented without the use of drugs, by techniques such as control of diet, exercise, and massage

Sounds benign enough. However, when naturopathy is put in place of science-based medicine the results are often harmful, even deadly. The baby boy lost more than a kilogram and was near death.

New South Wales police arrested Bodnar, a 59 year old registered nurse and midwife, and are investigating her Leppington practice over her treatment of children.

The mother was seeking alternative healthcare for her baby boy who was suffering from eczema. Bodnar advised the mother to cease all of the baby’s medical treatment. The child was admitted to hospital in May and was near death from malnutrition and now has developmental issues. The boy was released from hospital 8 July.

Child Abuse Squad detectives arrested Bodnar on 9July in Leppington and have charged her with reckless grievous bodily harm in the second degree, and aiding and abetting failing to provide for a child causing danger of death. The mother is also facing the same charges.

A statement from NSW Health stated that naturopaths are unregistered health practitioners and are subject to a code of conduct under the Public Health Act and Regulation. They are required to provide services in a safe and ethical manner, and not to attempt to dissuade clients from seeking or continuing with treatment by a registered medical practitioner.

This is another example of how an adult's scientific illiteracy can be deadly. In this example, it is a child..a baby...that has suffered so grievously.

Marilyn Bodnar, you are the Blue Streak Science Asshole of the Week


The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Sydney, Australia; Atlanta, Georgia, and Sonoma County, California!

See you again next week!