ZooConPort

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I still owed you the pictures of the Zooniverse Conference in Portsmouth last month! So here they are. It was another great weekend, as expected. And before I left, I felt I very much could use one of those, to be honest. Besides the good science we discussed, it is also always nice to see everybody again, although this seemed a smaller group than we had in Oxford a few weeks ago.
 

Anyway, you can see some of the science discussion in this video below, which we livestreamed at the event too. The Zooniverse’ community manager, Grant Miller, tells us how the Zooniverse is expanding very much like the Universe itself. In fact, there are so many good ideas for new Zoo projects that they don’t have time to build them all. To deal with this demand, the next step will be to let people develop their own projects. This is of course very new and exciting! Other news included how we’re going to teach computers the difference between a penguin and a rock, we’re going to analyse data from the Kepler Mission phase 2 at the same time as the scientists at NASA and a new pure physics project is coming up, using data from the Large Hadron Collider.
 

Besides this official part, we were invited to participate in a Wikimedia session. After an excellent explanation from Michael Peel, the idea was to improve Wikipedia articles related to the Zoo. And while we were doing this, we ourselves were subjects of a study done by the people of the Volcrowe project. Apparently, our motives as volunteers to participate are very interesting to economists too. So we were also interviewed about why we still classify. Personally, even if I leave the Voorwerp out of it, I’m still here because I’m still helping scientific research. Which was the reason to sign up in the first place (that and the pictures looked amazing). But I also find that the social side of it is very important to me too.
 

And on that note we went to the pub. I gave Julianne a (late) birthday present, I learned something new from Chris (that there is such a thing as banana bread beer) and I enjoyed the view of Portsmouth. How wonderful it was to be back here after all those years. Portsmouth definitely still has a special place in my heart. I travelled back with Geoff to London though and the next day we had lunch in the Union. We took the DLR (zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-a, my oh my, what a wonderful day) and we went for a walk (under the Thames), before I had to take the train back. Besides all of this, you can see Grant trying to make a wineglass sing in the pictures on my flickr account. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of the huge beetle I found in the bedroom, which I thought gave a whole new meaning to ‘bedbugs’. It was an interesting weekend.
 

Thanks to everyone who has made this weekend possible, to everyone who has participated in the fun, and a special thanks to Zookeeper Karen Masters for hosting the event.
 

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