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A small oil spill can quickly contaminate a much larger body of water, highlighting one of the most vulnerable aspects of our water resources and their close relationship to energy. Improvements in sensing technology help us detect and monitor accidents, but what can we do after a spill to minimize the damage?

Big corporations mine our online activity for profit. NASA sends probes to distant planets, and delivers astonishing images of both deep space and planet Earth. But even in this age of Big Data and Big Science, there is still a need for what’s called “citizen science.”

THE CROWD & THE CLOUD (C&C) is a four-hour public television series showcasing some of the people at the frontlines of this revolution in how science is done and their contributions to public health, environmental protection, wildlife conservation and mitigating the impacts of climate change. This new approach to science takes advantage of the almost universal availability of mobile technology, low cost sensors and other tools for collecting and sharing data. C&C travels around the U.S. and internationally to document inspiring stories of people taking charge of their health, their rivers and lakes, the air they breathe, the water they drink, and the communities in which they live.

Its inspiring vision will offer viewers who want to become doers online resources (CrowdAndCloud.org) to find out more.

The series is distributed by American Public Television (APT, APTonline.org) and is slated for release nationally on April 1, 2017 (check local listings).

The four episodes will debut on public television's WORLD Channel on April 6, 13, 20 and 27.

“Public television has been sharing breakthrough science for decades through such classics as Carl Sagan’s COSMOS, the first home-grown American science series, and NOVA,” says writer/producer Geoff Haines-Stiles. “I’m proud to have contributed to both, and am impressed by how audiences have responded with curiosity and passion. As I learned more about today’s increasingly varied and valuable citizen science projects, I became certain PBS viewers would love to know more, and perhaps be motivated to start participating. The result is our CROWD & CLOUD project, combining broadcast television and online resources.”

CROWD & CLOUD’s four programs include long-standing citizen science projects such as the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, which started in 1900, and recent start-ups such as Smartfin and Propeller Health, which—respectively—use innovative sensors to capture ocean data, and help those suffering from asthma and as their doctors track where attacks are triggered. Program 1, “Even Big Data Starts Small,” shows how armchair mappers worldwide go online to transform satellite images into maps that help speed first responders where they need to be after disasters block roads. “EyesOnALZ” uses crowdsourcing and gamification in “Stall Catchers” to enlist online volunteers to help analyze blocked blood vessels in living brains, and speed up research into Alzheimer’s disease, cutting a year of expert work down to two weeks without sacrificing data quality. Each program offers multiple intriguing examples, and engaging profiles of enthusiastic participants in the disruptive and increasingly global phenomenon of “Citizen Science in the Digital Age.” (Descriptions of the four programs follow.)

The series is hosted by Waleed Abdalati, former NASA Chief Scientist and now Director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

As Waleed comments, “My background as a scientist, working for NASA and at universities, has shown me the value of the Big Picture perspective you get from looking at Earth from space. Now that I’ve been able to dive into the projects we’ve covered in THE CROWD & THE CLOUD, I’ve learned that the up close and personal perspective, people collaborating and sharing data via the cloud, is an excellent way to gather the information we need to help solve the challenges we all face. From earthquakes to epidemics, from air quality to Alzheimer’s research, from the health of our oceans to the safety of our drinking water, citizen science and crowdsourcing canmake a difference. And citizen science is science. The better the data, the bigger the impact, for scientists, policy-makers and the public. And it's clear that we can use more help, which is where the viewers come in.”

Executive Producer Erna Akuginow adds, “Now more than ever the hundreds of thousands of Americans engaged in citizen science can help fill gaps where government agencies lack will or resources to address issues of local concern. Whether it’s community members in West Oakland counting trucks to route pollution away from homes, or retirees counting horseshoe crabs on the Delaware Bay and contributing data that shapes conservation strategies, this growing movement is a new way of doing science. It’s as American as apple pie, counting Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson as early weather watchers. And it’s fun and rewarding for those participating, and the data is often priceless, and unobtainable in any other way.”

Injecting large amounts of offshore wind power into the U.S. electrical grid is manageable, will cut electricity costs, and will reduce pollution compared to current fossil fuel sources, according to researchers from the University of Delaware and Princeton University who have completed a first-of-its-kind simulation with the electric power industry.

Dynamic management for dynamic oceans

Marine scientists have always known the ocean environment is different to the terrestrial domain.

According to a report in the Washington Post, the Trump administration will propose slashing the 2018 budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) by 17 percent, including steep cuts to research funding and satellite programs.

A little more than a year ago, Mano Barkovics didn’t know much about virtual reality. He thought it was interesting, sure, but didn’t believe in its ability to truly immerse a person in a virtual world.

I am not a scientist. It's a phrase used by American politicians when asked about global warming, ocean acidification, and other topics whenever proposed solutions or regulations seem to conflict with the financial interests of their political donors.

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) – the recognized and unified voice of America’s seaports – is concerned over the potential of significant declines for most federally funded, port-related programs in President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget.

Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) is proposing a draft law amendment to increase the maximum fine for marine pollution from NT$1.5 million (US$48,523) to NT$300 million, an EPA official told Focus Taiwan.

The United Arab Emirates Environmental Group's and the Department of Economic Development in Umm Al-Quwain organized a 'Clean Up UAE' campaign in the fishing village of Umm Al-Quwain where 6,000 tons of waste were collected over a period of 5 days. This year's drive was aligned according to the UAE Government's move declaring 2017 as the 'Year of Giving.'

The Sustainable Shipping Initiative (“SSI”), a pioneering coalition of companies from across the global shipping industry, held its 3rd annual Roundtable on Sustainable Ship Recycling in Singapore on 1 March 2017.

BOEM has received unsolicited lease requests from two companies seeking to develop offshore wind energy on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). These requests are for areas located offshore New York and Massachusetts and are not in response to a formal call for interest.

A space-based sensor that can "see" through fog, clouds and darkness has given scientists their first continuous look at the boom-bust cycles that drive polar plankton communities.

Columbus thought he'd sailed the ocean blue but according to satellite imagery from NASA and the FlowCam® particle imaging and analysis system, it's closer to 50 shades of green.

There’s no question that technology has changed every facet of modern life. The corporate world and the health care industry are examples of fields that were quick to capitalize on the power of technology, becoming more efficient. However, until relatively recently the conservation movement lagged far behind in harnessing the power of technology and innovation.

AquaHarmonics of Portland, Oregon has won the Wave Energy Prize, which comes with a $1.5 million grand prize presented by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) has developed the first ever global wind speed products based on reflected GPS signals, using data from the UK TechDemoSat-1 satellite. This demonstrates the potential of this technique to improve sampling of ocean surface winds, as well as improve weather monitoring and forecasting by complementing existing satellite measurements from scatterometers and radiometers.

Scheduled for launch in 2021, the NASA Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission will make the first-ever global survey of Earth’s surface water.

Another Greensea system is entering the market – this time with the versatile, long duration, Exocetus Coastal Glider. Greensea is providing their commercially available navigation, control, and automation product based on their patent-pending OPENSEATM operating platform – the first operating platform for the marine industry – for the command and control of the Exocetus vehicle and sensors.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), a private, non-profit center for ocean research and technology development, is working with 3D at Depth, a global leader in subsea optical systems and solutions, on a next generation subsea LiDAR system optimized for autonomous seafloor mapping.

Cohort company SEA and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) showcased SEA’s Drymate Connector at Renewable UK’s 13th Annual Wave & Tidal Conference in London on 23 February 2017.

The Fusion is a breakthrough in hybrid underwater vehicles. In a unique way, it combines AUV and ROV capabilities with diver navigation and propulsion- into just one system. Why was Nortek’s DVL essential to make this leap forward possible?

Evoqua Water Technologies’ SeaCure® ballast water management system (BWMS) continues to build momentum in the marine market. Today, the company expanded its global partnership network by joining forces with Hai Cheung, a leading marine equipment supplier to the Chinese market.

A new consortium is developing eco-friendly batteries that can store and produce electricity using seawater. Seawater batteries use sodium, the sixth-most abundant element on earth, to generate electricity. This makes this system an attractive supplement to existing battery technologies.

Registration for All-Energy, the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference, opens online with the news that Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, will speak in the opening plenary conference session on 10 May.

On Thursday, March 16, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI/Interior) under Secretary Ryan Zinke, alongside Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank, announced a massive renewable energy lease: a 122,000-acre wind energy development lease, offshore Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, won provisionally by Avangrid Renewables, LLC, for $9,066,650.

The RNLI has signed a contract with SC Innovation to build a further seven Shannon Class Launch and Recovery Vehicles (SL&RV), the high-mobility tractor and tracked carriage system used for beach launching the Shannon All-Weather Lifeboat.

March 2017 marks the installation of the first of 116 wind turbines at the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, with the installations set to continue throughout the year.

Today, offshore wind is a recognized and proven renewable energy technology, and offshore wind turbines harvest the energy from the wind, transforming it into green power for millions of households. But it was only 25 years ago that the world’s first offshore wind farm was constructed close to shore in the low waters off Vindeby near Lolland in the south east of Denmark.

CSA Ocean Sciences recently provided, mobilized, and operated a deep water towed video system and all the ancillary equipment to conduct a video survey down to 2650m (8,700 feet) off the coast of Colombia.

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