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Comment Doing "real" science is well within reach! (Score 1) 398

A lot of the comments make the point that doing "real" science at home is pretty much impossible now due to the need for expensive equipment, and decades of experience. As a professional scientist I think that's nonsense. I think what people are missing is the shifting paradigm of how things are measured. I'm really excited by the possibilities suggested by (for instance) the next generation of smart phones, that hopefully might have many more sensors embedded (RFID, gas sensors, temperature/pressure)... and for the large scale distributed sensor networks that might result. The web of things, ubiquitous computing and widespread availability of cheap hardware that makes good enough (not excellent, but good enough) measurements over a wide scale are going to give professional (and amateur) scientists a whole new lever on the world. Additionally some scientific disciplines (like astronomy oddly enough) have become data rich in the last few years, I literally have tapes and discs containing data I'll likely never get round to analysing because I don't have time. Likewise for all my colleagues, who have similar piles in their offices. The arrival of the new generation of all-sky telescopes (like the LSST) which will give us access to the sky in the time-domain isn't really going to change that, it's only going to get worse in fact. All of which puts doing "real" science at home well in the reach of most (educated) amateurs.

Comment The LSST? (Score 4, Informative) 98

Students are beginning to work with data sets like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, the largest public data set in the world. The telescope takes detailed images of large chunks of the sky and produces about 30 terabytes of data each night.

Err no it doesn't, and no they aren't. The telescope hasn't been built yet? First light isn't scheduled until late in 2015.


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I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.