# We have martyrs too

#### walfin

##### Democrazy
*absolutely stunned*

#### Duxwing

##### I've Overcome Existential Despair

People die every day, and Swartz is just another body on the pile. So too will it come to pass for each of us as our remains are buried beneath the earth and our stories forgotten forever.

-Duxwing

##### Active Member
Aaron is not just another body. YOU are just another body.

Aaron Swartz changed the course of humanity. Even the act of ending his life, holds more meaning and contributes more to society than anything you will ever do.

It's fine to be a spectator, but respect the players. Your world is of their making.

#### Inappropriate Behavior

##### is peeing on the carpet
Aaron is not just another body. YOU are just another body.

It's fine to be a spectator, but respect the players. Your world is of their making.

#### Duxwing

##### I've Overcome Existential Despair
Aaron is not just another body. YOU are just another body.

Aaron Swartz changed the course of humanity. Even the act of ending his life, holds more meaning and contributes more to society than anything you will ever do.

It's fine to be a spectator, but respect the players. Your world is of their making.

And yet you would say the same of Aaron before he founded Reddit. As for his company, indeed, he very well may eclipse me, but such things are in the future: had he been run across the street as a small child, we would have never even heard of him. And as for his death, he killed himself because couldn't face the consequences of breaking the law. That's no contribution, there's no meaning in that. It's just sad-- even heartbreaking for those who knew him well.

Q.E.D. Now-- not before he died-- Aaron is just another body on the pile, even if you cared about him.

Yet each of us has heroes. For me, they are great thinkers like Godel, Galwa, and Einstein. Had any of the three been alive and productive in my time and died an untimely death, I would certainly be sad, even distraught, upon their passing. Whether they were just "another body on the pile" wouldn't have mattered to me; I would just want to be alone for a while. So, if sympathy for the loss of a hero is what you seek, I extend mine to you.

Hope you'll be alright,
-Duxwing

#### Nezaros

##### Highly Irregular
I wouldn't say his death was justified, but spending time debating over whether what he did was wrong, and should he have lived a longer life, is pointless. He's dead. There's nothing to be done about it. He wasn't on the verge of curing cancer, to my knowledge, or anything of a similar magnitude the absence of which is of great consequence. However inhumane it may seem to say, he doesn't matter anymore.

Additionally, you can't claim that just because one man's actions had great consequences, Duxwing will never surpass him. Yes, it's statistically unlikely, but that means jack shit in all practicality. We're all people. We're all capable of greatness. That doesn't mean we have to revere those who came before.

#### Ex-User (5841)

##### Banned
He committed wire fraud.

Q.E.D. Aaron is just another body on the pile.

-Duxwing
Out of pure curiosity, what do you have against free information, especially information of the scholarly type that an increasing number of people in academia and elsewhere believe should be freely available to, and easily accessible by, the public?

How else is science or journalism supposed to progress, given the nature of the sources of funding as well as the fact that said funding is declining and has been for decades? In other words, if research and data aren't freely available, how else is the public expected to be made aware of the results produced using their tax dollars, or to keep the system accountable for the type, scope, scale, goals, and efficacy of the work conducted?

*EDIT: Ha! Caught you before your edit! Paraphrased from memory.

He wasn't on the verge of curing cancer, to my knowledge, or anything of a similar magnitude the absence of which is of great consequence.

What if he made public research results that lead to the curing of cancer? Why pay the racketeering institution that is JSTOR for such important scientific information?

#### Nezaros

##### Highly Irregular
What if he made public research results that lead to the curing of cancer? Why pay the racketeering institution that is JSTOR for such important scientific information?

Technically that's possible, but again, doesn't matter. What's done is done. I'm not disregarding his contributions to society; in fact I support anything that pushes for freedom of knowledge. But he's dead, he can do no more, and there's no point in asking what might have been. I don't have a problem with others mourning his loss; I do have a problem with elevating him above the level of the common man, because whatever his accomplishments, he was still a common man.

#### Ex-User (5841)

##### Banned
Technically that's possible, but again, doesn't matter. What's done is done. I'm not disregarding his contributions to society; in fact I support anything that pushes for freedom of knowledge. But he's dead, he can do no more, and there's no point in asking what might have been. I don't have a problem with others mourning his loss; I do have a problem with elevating him above the level of the common man, because whatever his accomplishments, he was still a common man.

There's undeniably a certain level of intellectual dishonesty involved in claiming that all people have an equal opportunity of impact, or even equal intrinsic potential to do so. As much the notion of equality of either of the above may make us feel good, there's a big difference between the capacities of a still living Swartz and, say, a scavenger living in a makeshift shack in Soweto (or for that matter, the President of the United States or a hedge fund manager).

#### Nezaros

##### Highly Irregular
There's undeniably a certain level of intellectual dishonesty involved in claiming that all people have an equal opportunity of impact, or even equal intrinsic potential to do so. As much the notion of equality of either of the above may make us feel good, there's a big difference between the capacities of a still living Swartz and, say, a scavenger living in a makeshift shack in Soweto.

True enough, but a person can't be judged solely on their accomplishments. There is a certain amount of intelligence and will which is necessary for such actions, yes, but the factors of environment and dumb luck are just as important. Said scavenger in Soweto may have been born a genius, but would you call him below one such as Swartz due to the conditions he is forced to live in, and his resultant lack of opportunity?

I guess it's not that Swartz was "just like the rest of us", the Western world is full of opportunities that only a relative handful of people actually can and do grasp. But extraordinary? I wouldn't say so. He was somebody of sufficient aptitude who happened to exist in the right place at the right time. That's all it takes to seize greatness. No, it couldn't happen to just anybody, but it could have happened to plenty of other people not named Aaron Swartz. Maybe his actions could serve to inspire others like him, but to place him on a pedestal and proclaim, "He's better than you, so shut up," is idiotic.

#### Ex-User (5841)

##### Banned
True enough, but a person can't be judged solely on their accomplishments. There is a certain amount of intelligence and will which is necessary for such actions, yes, but the factors of environment and dumb luck are just as important. Said scavenger in Soweto may have been born a genius, but would you call him below one such as Swartz due to the conditions he is forced to live in, and his resultant lack of opportunity?

I guess it's not that Swartz was "just like the rest of us", the Western world is full of opportunities that only a relative handful of people actually can and do grasp. But extraordinary? I wouldn't say so. He was somebody of sufficient aptitude who happened to exist in the right place at the right time. That's all it takes to seize greatness. <-What, then, would a true meritocracy look like? (<-Meant in more of a rhetorical sense) No, it couldn't happen to just anybody, but it could have happened to plenty of other people not named Aaron Swartz. Maybe his actions could serve to inspire others like him, but to place him on a pedestal and proclaim, "He's better than you, so shut up," is idiotic. <-I disagree in the sense that he was likely aware of his following and the impact suicide it would have on them. That action was extraordinary. Otherwise RD's comment was in bad taste and in bad syntax, but hey, what can one do? The past is gone.

The difference is that accomplishments provide evidence of one's abilities being known and viable. It's far less risky to bet on an individual with a proven track record of actions investing in others regardless of their status (like releasing peer-reviewed articles), as well as a large amount of financial resources, than it is a complete unknown, or a genius without resources, no track record, and unknown motivations.

#### Nezaros

##### Highly Irregular
The difference is that accomplishments provide evidence of one's abilities being known and viable. It's far less risky to bet on an individual with a proven track record of actions investing in others regardless of their status (like releasing peer-reviewed articles), as well as a large amount of financial resources, than it is a complete unknown, or a genius without resources, no track record, and unknown motivations.

I'm not really trying to argue for the practical point of view, though. In that case, anybody who does something great, regardless of their intentions, intelligence, or moral character would be considered "better" than anybody else. Here I'm solely occupied with the quality of a person.

My initial issue was with RadicalDreamer's suggestion that Aaron Swartz was and is better than any one of us, based solely on his actions. What he did in life was noble, and his suicide will have impacts of its own, beyond mere emotion. I'm not disagreeing with that. I just think it's incredibly naive to dismiss any potential future action by Duxwing (or anybody else here) as ultimately falling short of what Swartz did. Yes, he did good things, and no, Duxwing has accomplished no great, world-affecting feats of which we are aware, but there's plenty of time. As I said, it's statistically unlikely, but again, so what?

Hero worship is one thing; berating others who refuse to elevate them as you do is quite another.

#### Duxwing

##### I've Overcome Existential Despair
Out of pure curiosity, what do you have against free information, especially information of the scholarly type that an increasing number of people in academia and elsewhere believe should be freely available to, and easily accessible by, the public?

How else is science or journalism supposed to progress, given the nature of the source of funding as well as the fact that said funding is declining and has been for decades? In other words, if research and data aren't freely available, how else is the public expected to be made aware of the results produced using their tax dollars, or to keep the system accountable for the type, scope, scale, goals, and efficacy of the work conducted?

Basic (as opposed to applied-- their world is one of trade secrets) researchers need to eat, too. Oftentimes, especially if you're not a tenured professor, you get little more than a lab and the bare necessities for the experiment. No health insurance, no room or board, nothing. So scientists, like artists, must find some way to scrounge together money in order to feed themselves and their loved ones. If that means that they charge for reading their research papers, then tough. I know a smart kid who lives just down the street from me and wants to be a marine biologist: he's no blue-blooded baron. He works landscaping just to get by.

So before we denounce scientists as greedy jerks who care more about money than the spread of information, let us consider their travails and sufferings, too.

-Duxwing

#### Ex-User (5841)

##### Banned
Basic (as opposed to applied-- their world is one of trade secrets) researchers need to eat, too. Oftentimes, especially if you're not a tenured professor, you get little more than a lab and the bare necessities for the experiment. No health insurance, no room or board, nothing. So scientists, like artists, must find some way to scrounge together money in order to feed themselves and their loved ones. You're... really comparing the subsistence of scientists to artists? I know of no professors in the sciences (or elsewhere), even at the lowest of institutions (I got my B.S. at one), that don't make a sufficient salary of at least 35k and receive a comfortable health insurance subsidy, not including any grants at the institutional, state, and/or federal level. If that means that they charge for reading their research papers, then tough. I know a smart kid who lives just down the street from me and wants to be a marine biologist: he's no blue-blooded baron. He works landscaping just to get by.

So before we denounce scientists as greedy jerks who care more about money than the spread of information, let us consider their travails and sufferings, too.

Um... I AM a scientist...

-Duxwing
You appear to be under the false impression that researchers make a profit from their publications. In fact I can count on one hand the number of journals I know of that don't charge publication fees, and that's only if you already pay for membership in the society that publishes that journal. JSTOR isn't a society let alone a publisher, and using it is akin to paying to use Google to access things that should be (and were) maintained in public libraries.

I actually have a short article in the pipeline for March publication. The fee was $60. We pay to publish them, and then we're frequently forced to pay to access them (albeit often through roundabout ways, e.g. universities charge fees that are used to purchase access through the library). #### Matt3737 ##### INFJ The failure to recognize the accomplishments of others is the mark of an insecure person. I find it grievous what has occurred. What he did was hardly worthy of a slap on the wrist, much less 30+ years in prison. Universities provide those databases to their students and are freely accessible to anyone who walks into their library to download, so to trump up charges against someone wanting to distribute information that is more or less already freely available and downloadable (technically, student fees pay for them) is truly egregious. #### Duxwing ##### I've Overcome Existential Despair You appear to be under the false impression that researchers make a profit from their publications. In fact I can count on one hand the number of journals I know of that don't charge publication fees, and that's only if you already pay for membership in the society that publishes that journal. JSTOR isn't a society let alone a publisher, and using it is akin to paying to use Google to access things that should be (and were) maintained in public libraries. I actually have a short article in the pipeline for March publication. The fee was$60. We pay to publish them, and then we're frequently forced to pay to access them (albeit often through roundabout ways, e.g. universities charge fees that are used to purchase access through the library).

Note my reference to "especially if you're not a professor".

-Duxwing

#### Ex-User (5841)

##### Banned
Note my reference to "especially if you're not a tenured professor".

-Duxwing

It's really not all that different or difficult, even doing research as a student. Tenured salary at a lower institution might be ~40-80k, depending on the field, ~60k-200k at a tier 1 institution. I actually get a 25k stipend as a grad student (more than my parent's household income) plus a full tuition waiver (admittedly not everyone gets that sweet a deal) and came out of my undergrad without a penny of debt and without scholarships or grants outside of the Pell, which nearly everyone gets (I worked retail... *shudders*).

The problem is society's access to the research and data, particularly the fact that it in essence, access doesn't exist. Sure any Joe Schmoe can walk into a uni library ane have JSTOR access (paid for by students and their own tax dollars), but they don't.

#### Duxwing

##### I've Overcome Existential Despair

The adjective only helps my case...

It's really not all that different or difficult, even doing research as a student. Tenured salary at a lower institution might be ~40-80k, depending on the field, ~60k-200k at a tier 1 institution. I actually get a 25k stipend as a grad student (more than my parent's household income) plus a full tuition waiver (admittedly not everyone gets that sweet a deal) and came out of my undergrad without a penny of debt and without scholarships or grants outside of the Pell, which nearly everyone gets (I worked retail... *shudders*).

The problem is society's access to the research and data, particularly the fact that it in essence, access doesn't exist. Sure any Joe Schmoe can walk into a uni library ane have JSTOR access (paid for by students and their own tax dollars), but they don't.

I agree with the principle of free information, but why on earth does Joe Schmoe need that kind of knowledge? He'd just end up bored and confused in trying to understand Ph.D. theses, or even misunderstand the text and think that the sky were falling. Comprehending the nuances of even the abstract of some of the New England Journal of Internal Medicine research theses that I've perused (my mom is a doctor) is beyond my knowledge. The effort doesn't seem worth the reward in that sense.

I like the theory, but the practice seems shaky.

-Duxwing

#### Matt3737

##### INFJ
@Duxwing

I think you make the case that the litigation against him was overblown and unjustified though. Even if he were to make such information more easily available, so few even bother to take advantage of it. Those that would have been able to use it could also walk into any publicly available university library and download it also, it would simply be easier to access if he had been able to do so.

I mean to say that he did nothing of any serious consequence.

#### Duxwing

##### I've Overcome Existential Despair
@Duxwing

I think you make the case that the litigation against him was overblown and unjustified though. Even if he were to make such information more easily available, so few even bother to take advantage of it. Those that would have been able to use it could also walk into any publicly available university library and download it also, it would simply be easier to access if he had been able to do so.

I mean to say that he did nothing of any serious consequence.

Ohhhh... OHHHHH, I see what you're saying. I'll have to get back to you on that. I'm too sleepy to think clearly.

*hugs, falls asleep standing up, wakes up in a moment, blinks in dawning realization of own error, sighs, and stumbles off to bed, banging into walls along the way*

-Duxwing

#### walfin

##### Democrazy
The failure to recognize the accomplishments of others is the mark of an insecure person.

I find it grievous what has occurred. What he did was hardly worthy of a slap on the wrist, much less 30+ years in prison. Universities provide those databases to their students and are freely accessible to anyone who walks into their library to download, so to trump up charges against someone wanting to distribute information that is more or less already freely available and downloadable (technically, student fees pay for them) is truly egregious.

Even if he hadn't founded Reddit or done very much else of value, he did not deserve this.

Universities are public institutions. There's no public interest in prosecuting someone for releasing essentially public information back to the public.

It mightn't be so bad if, say, there was a civil suit from the university. At least there's no possibility of jail from that.

#### Ex-User (5841)

##### Banned
Those that would have been able to use it could also walk into any publicly available university library and download it also, it would simply be easier to access if he had been able to do so.
See yellow

The failure to recognize the accomplishments of others is the mark of an insecure person.
*steals above quote*

The adjective only helps my case...

Every grad student in a program in the sciences generally gets a tuition waiver and most get a stipend, which isn't limited to the big fancy tier 1 institutions. My luck is the lack of debt; a direct result of attending a local university, never boozing et al, and saving 5k beforehand (back when minimum wage was $5.35). It's a combination of luck and capacity... and generally not being an idiot. Publish or perish simply isn't reality for any scientist (at least as far as selling publications goes. We are basically required to publish research to get paid, but that's along the lines of "produce x number of publications in x amount of time or we, the university, will fire you because we use publications as a measure to ensure you're doing relevant research, because publications are peer-reviewed", but that's very different.) Now, if you have an English degree, it's a different story. Burning their own books in winter for warmth in a final act of desperation before hypothermia sets in.... I agree with the principle of free information, but why on earth does Joe Schmoe need that kind of knowledge? Because it affects his everyday life in multitude ways. Research produces tangible results and provides guidelines for public policy, and his tax dollars pay for it. He doesn't need to know the intricacies of particle physics, just how it relates to the lives of himself and his family. Given the nature of funding, budgets, politics, and the pure & simple ignorance of what is sadly a majority of the population, if science and technological development are to continue and adequately address the problems of our times and our future, the public must have both a vested interest in the research and a legitimate system of checks and balances to ensure their interests are being met. This also comes with a significant caveat on the part of scientists (one very much currently in vogue), in that we must take on the responsibility of justifying ourselves to the masses and explaining what we do and why in layman's terms. There's also a growing citizen science movement, where individuals, community groups, nonprofits, schools, et al design their own experiments, collect their own data, and some even publish their own results. Perhaps the best known example is Cornell's ebird, a monitoring database based entirely on volunteer data collection for every bird species throughout the country throughout the year. A quick example using the painted bunting (it's AWESOME ): http://ebird.org/content/ebird/about/occurrence-maps/painted-bunting Freely accessible information also makes that potential genius scavenger in Soweto that would otherwise rot away in relative meaningless existence mentioned in post #10 a lot more capable and powerful. I like the theory, but the practice seems shaky. In practice, it looks strikingly similar to Google Scholar Why can't JSTOR simply make their database public and rake in the ad revenues? (<-Rhetorical. The answer is because they have a functional monopoly). -Duxwing I can't be too hard on you, given you're not a scientist dealing with this stuff on a daily basis. That and I have a certain level of respect for you, so... *Delivers Dux a bone crushing hug and power noogie as he shrieks and flails about* #### Solitaire U. ##### Last of the V-8 Interceptors *My view; Regardless of the circumstances, it's immature to blame groups of people so large that they are only identifiable as 'they' for one man's decision to self-terminate. The person in question was exceptionally intelligent; hence, we must assume that he was totally aware of the potential consequences of his actions. I actually assumed that Swartz intended to be caught; that he intended to make a statement, that he realized the reaction would probably be excessive, and he had some kind of plan to exploit that to the benefit of his (sic)cause. I mean, it was such a 'well-intentioned' little crime, and a perfect foundation to mount a future political campaign (kind of always assumed he was headed in that direction). But Swartz's decision to commit suicide now paints a totally different picture. Did he actually believe that a bike helmet over his face was all he needed to successfully pull off his caper? His MO was so risky and poorly executed (bordering on stupidity, actually) that it was very difficult to believe that his (now assumed) hefty intellect wasn't plotting something much more far-reaching and grandiose. But his suicide has crushed any such expectations. By taking such action, he essentially confessed to his actions as 'crimes'. Swartz is not a martyr. Martyrs selflessly endure pain and suffering to further their 'cause', but they don't commit suicide. Cowards commit suicide to escape the consequences of their actions. Why did he take this course? Doesn't make sense. By committing suicide, Swartz played right into the prosecutors' hands, saving them a ton of future headaches once he was incarcerated and the inevitable highly-publicized rallies for his release began to manifest. THAT could have culminated in change. Instead, the worst that will happen now is the prosecutors will incur a bit of momentary pressure for an overly harsh pursuit of justice and by next month it'll be old news. #### Solitaire U. ##### Last of the V-8 Interceptors Aaron is not just another body. YOU are just another body. Aaron Swartz changed the course of humanity. Even the act of ending his life, holds more meaning and contributes more to society than anything you will ever do. It's fine to be a spectator, but respect the players. Your world is of their making. YOUR world is of your own making. It's fine to be a Swartz fanboy and believe that he 'changed the course of humanity', but in doing so you should put some effort into curbing the tendency to ass-rape everyone else with your fanaticism. Your 'hero' is dead by his own hand. Where shall you place the blame, if not within the hands of your 'hero'? Universities are public institutions. There's no public interest in prosecuting someone for releasing essentially public information back to the public. Assuming those 'public institutions' aren't backed by private interests. #### Duxwing ##### I've Overcome Existential Despair See yellow *steals above quote* I can't be too hard on you, given you're not a scientist dealing with this stuff on a daily basis. That and I have a certain level of respect for you, so... *Delivers Dux a bone crushing hug and power noogie as he shrieks and flails about* *enjoys hug, hugs back* Awwww! *once released, clears throat* You've changed my mind, O physician of the environment, and for that, I am thankful. I now think that we could publish such papers for free without worry for the feeding, clothing, and housing of their authors and contributors. Citizen science, even if a tad rare (translate: I've never seen any where I'm from) certainly justifies rhe minor cost imposed on universities. As for my own argument, I think a more careful review of relevant information would have served me better. -Duxwing #### Ex-User (5841) ##### Banned *My view; Regardless of the circumstances, it's immature to blame groups of people so large that they are only identifiable as 'they' for one man's decision to self-terminate. The person in question was exceptionally intelligent; hence, we must assume that he was totally aware of the potential consequences of his actions. Including the firestorm ignited in his followers. But Swartz's decision to commit suicide now paints a totally different picture. Did he actually believe that a bike helmet over his face was all he needed to successfully pull off his caper? His MO was so risky and poorly executed (bordering on stupidity, actually) that it was very difficult to believe that his (now assumed) hefty intellect wasn't plotting something much more far-reaching and grandiose. <-Like martyrdom? But his suicide has crushed any such expectations. By taking such action, he essentially confessed to his actions as 'crimes'. By that logic, Thich Quang Duc supported the persecution of Buddhists. Swartz is not a martyr. Martyrs selflessly endure pain and suffering to further their 'cause', but they don't commit suicide. Cowards commit suicide to escape the consequences of their actions. The following view has already manifested on the forum multiple times, but suicide isn't cowardly, but instead potentially the most brave action a human can partake in. To knowingly face the unknown. The Mandela route isn't suitable to all circumstances. Why did he take this course? Doesn't make sense. By committing suicide, Swartz played right into the prosecutors' hands, saving them a ton of future headaches once he was incarcerated and the inevitable highly-publicized rallies for his release began to manifest. THAT could have culminated in change. Instead, the worst that will happen now is the prosecutors will incur a bit of momentary pressure for an overly harsh pursuit of justice and by next month it'll be old news. ^One could have said the same for Leonard Peltier, who is now very obviously old news. #### Ex-User (5841) ##### Banned Citizen science, even if a tad rare (translate: I've never seen any where I'm from) That's the problem. Let's fix it. CHEEEAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRGE!!!!! :icon_pferdehaufen: #### Duxwing ##### I've Overcome Existential Despair That's the problem. Let's fix it. CHEEEAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRGE!!!!! :icon_pferdehaufen: Hmm, I'll need an interesting subject to observe. Physics: Too expensive, mostly explained. Chemistry: Too expensive, too dangerous, almost completely explored; essentially physics at atomic scales. Biology: Aha! I could write down whatever birds I see out my bedroom window. Thanks for the idea! -Duxwing #### Jennywocky ##### guud languager Why did he take this course? Doesn't make sense. By committing suicide, Swartz played right into the prosecutors' hands, saving them a ton of future headaches once he was incarcerated and the inevitable highly-publicized rallies for his release began to manifest. THAT could have culminated in change. Instead, the worst that will happen now is the prosecutors will incur a bit of momentary pressure for an overly harsh pursuit of justice and by next month it'll be old news. I assumed his youth (he was still in his 20's coupled) with the fact he had already worked out things with JSTOR and returned the info, and it was simply the prosecution that seemed intent on pushing things forward, coupled with his already present depression issues, all combined to leave him feeling like his life was over. Case in point: I'm going through a divorce, and my ex lied to me about tuition for one of our kids and so I signed off papers for a treatment program we could not afford, and this issue was then taken up in court by my ex. Originally with my divorce, I expected to pay able to pay off some considerable debt with the assets I received at settlement and even have money left over; now I'm in a position where debt is continuing to accumulate, and for the very first time in my life I have to start examining bankruptcy proceedings, as my credit is almost over-extended... all despite my efforts to resolve the situation. That coupled with my past depressive episodes and feeling like I have no control over this has sometimes dumped the thought of "ending things" into my mind, it's not a great situation. I'm older and have more life experience than Swartz, and have kids to think about, and I've still had some difficulties in that situation. I don't see anything odd about Swartz, in a circumstance where he badly miscalculated the legal response and was potentially facing the best part of his years in jail, coupled with depression issues and his being relatively young (and thus things seeming even larger and not as much in perspective), ending up doing what he did. Asking him to accept a lengthy terms in hopes people would get him out seems to be a stretch to me. It's just a sad situation all around... so needless. #### Ex-User (5841) ##### Banned Hmm, I'll need an interesting subject to observe. Physics: Too expensive, mostly explained. Chemistry: Too expensive, too dangerous, almost completely explored; essentially physics at atomic scales. Biology: Aha! I could write down whatever birds I see out my bedroom window. Thanks for the idea! -Duxwing Birding's the easiest, but you could just do it for the fun factor. Think glowing yogurt: http://citizensciencequarterly.com/2012/01/07/how-to-make-glow-in-the-dark-or-flourescent-yoghurt/ #### Duxwing ##### I've Overcome Existential Despair #### joal0503 ##### Psychedelic INTP 10 bucks says hes laughing away in some hidden tropical paradise. he had the money, he had the brains, he had the connections. surely, it couldnt be that difficult to pull off?... #### Ex-User (5841) ##### Banned I don't have the resources to do gene-splicing just like I don't have the resources to run a particle accelerator. I like the idea, the principle, even the cool factor, but I'm lost regarding the implementation. -Duxwing Here's the link from the link (I should have just used this one initially ): http://www.indiebiotech.com/?p=152 It walks you through the process (for cool factor purposes you can just skip ahead to the directions. Just know that DNA splicing is occurring). The peptide and refrigerated shipping is estimated to cost ~$40-$50 with maybe another$10-$20 for other supplies (yogurt, yeast extract, powdered milk, etc), but once you have fluorescent bacteria you can maintain a culture indefinitely by just adding glowing yogurt to normal yogurt and leaving it at a certain temperature (or making yogurt from milk and adding glowing yogurt as a starter culture. The lack of fancy equipment can be addressed with creativity: Centrifuge = a small pop bottle + strong string and a lot of arm stamina Incubator & constant temperature = thermometer + water bath PCR = unnecessary DNA = You should be able to use generic linear DNA extracted from wheat germ (or oatmeal) http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/archive/wheatgerm/index.html Then again, perhaps it really is unrealistic for you to pull off and I'm stuck in ENTP pull-a-solution-out-of-thin-air-using-Ne-land Though the DNA extraction from wheat germ is cool in and of itself (Coincidentally, this is why a big issue in citizen science is coordination and establishing infrastructure to provide direction and share resources...) #### Duxwing ##### I've Overcome Existential Despair Here's the link from the link (I should have just used this one initially ): http://www.indiebiotech.com/?p=152 It walks you through the process (for cool factor purposes you can just skip ahead to the directions. Just know that DNA splicing is occurring). The peptide and refrigerated shipping is estimated to cost ~$40-$50 with maybe another$10-\$20 for other supplies (yogurt, yeast extract, powdered milk, etc), but once you have fluorescent bacteria you can maintain a culture indefinitely by just adding glowing yogurt to normal yogurt and leaving it at a certain temperature (or making yogurt from milk and adding glowing yogurt as a starter culture.

The lack of fancy equipment can be addressed with creativity:
Centrifuge = a small pop bottle + strong string and a lot of arm stamina
Incubator & constant temperature = thermometer + water bath
PCR = unnecessary
DNA = You should be able to use generic linear DNA extracted from wheat germ (or oatmeal) http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/archive/wheatgerm/index.html

Then again, perhaps it really is unrealistic for you to pull off and I'm stuck in ENTP pull-a-solution-out-of-thin-air-using-Ne-land

Though the DNA extraction from wheat germ is cool in and of itself

(Coincidentally, this is why a big issue in citizen science is coordination and establishing infrastructure to provide direction and share resources...)

Actually, you really inspire me, THD. Thanks for the idea.

-Duxwing