January 31, 2017

Crossing the Rubicon of 10^6 * 0.25

Synthetic Daisies will has achieved another milestone (250,000 reads) in just a few short days! When I started this blog in December of 2008 (roughly 8 years ago), I did not have any real expectations for readership. I was, however, drawn to analytics and the power of blogging as a platform to reach new audiences. And I kept updating milestones for the blog when the number of visitors hit 20000, 50000, 100000, 120000, 150000, and 200000.

Readership has increased exponentially since blog inception, despite the uneven sampling points in time.

Since the blog's inception, I have increasingly used social media for outreach activities (both at this blog and elsewhere). Part of this has been motivated by a deliberately radically open science strategy [1-4]. For a while, I was cross-posting from a Tumblr blog (Tumbld Thoughts), as well as a blog run by #SciFund (Fireside Science). I also have my entries cross-posted to the OpenWorm Foundation blog.

Visualizing radical open access. COURTESY: Open Reflections blog.

[1] Kriegeskorte, N. (2016). The selfish scientist’s guide to preprint posting. The Winnower, 4. doi:10.15200/winn.145838.88372.

[2] Chawla, D.S. (2017). When a preprint becomes the final paper. Nature Research Highlights, doi:10.1038/nature.2017.21333

[3] Lancaster, A. (2016). Open Science and its' Discontents. Ronin Institute blog, June 28.

[4] Faulkes, Z. (2012). Why I published a paper on my blog instead of a journal. NeuroDojo blog, September 7.

January 18, 2017

More Badges to Earn, Hackathoners!

Several months ago, I posted on the beginnings of the OpenWorm Foundation's badge system. Contributions have been made by several senior contributors, including myself (see the Literature Mining series). Another of my contributions is a series of three badges focused on planning and executing a successful Hackathon [1]. Hackathons are get-togethers of expertise for the purpose of facilitating social coding and solving big, multistep problems. These types of events can be held live or via Skype, and even involve non-coding problem domains [2].

An active in-person Hackathon. 

Check out the Hackathon badges today! For people unaccostomed to earning badges, badges are a quick credential earned by working through the evidence points and submitting an answer in the form of short pieces of computer code, images/graphs, or links acquired through wrking with a piece of technology. The points of evidence are meant to encourage problem-solving and learning on your own, so there is no time limit on completion. Let me know if working through this badge encourages you to host a Hackathon event of your own.

[1] Badges must be earned in sequence: Hackathon I, Hackathon II, and Hackathon III.

[2] Hackathons can also be used to collaboratively solve interdisciplinary problems in a short period of time. For more information, please see: Marshall, J. (2016). In first 72 Hours of Science, SFI postdocs test the limits of transdisciplinary science. Santa Fe Institute News, April 20.

January 10, 2017

How to Kick-Start a Crypto-Currency

Here is an infographic (see below) I received from interested reader Steve Rogen, which follows up on a critique of Bitcoin I published back in 2014). He pointed me to a blogpost by Dinar Durham (a Financial Tech startup) explaining the concept of an initial coin offering (ICO). 

An ICO is a way for a new crypto-currency to distribute its coinage across a broader number of users than the more standard Bitcoin approach, and eliminates severe favoritism towards early adopters. The infographic itself demonstrates the process of public offering for a new coin. 

According to Dinar Durham's blogpost, ICOs have a mixed track record of success; while some are successful, others are not. However, they are becoming more popular as the number of altcoin types increases