How to become a ‘Muon Hunter’, ‘Carbon Detective’ or a ‘Gravity Spy’ (no experience necessary)

It seems that whenever we meet someone new, one of the first questions is: “What do you do?”

You may have a traditional title of doctor, lawyer, engineer, accountant, IT.

Or maybe a more adventurous career of fire fighter, law enforcement.

Or possibly something more independent such as entrepreneur, freelancer, writer.

What about something sexy like pilot, actor… uh, stripper? 🙂

You could even say you are an early retiree or financially independent, but that doesn’t really explain ‘what you do’.

And, what if you are just tired or bored with your chosen career, whether you still work in your field, or not?

While it would best to be able to do away with titles altogether, that isn’t too realistic in these modern times… mostly because people are just too darn curious to know what we do with our time.

SOOOO…. if you’re brave enough, how cool would it be when the next time you are at a party or meet someone new, you could respond by saying: “I’m a Muon Hunter”, or “I’m a Gravity Spy”? Just watch the looks on their faces.

But you ask, is this real? Yes.

How? Become a Citizen Scientist. For free. No experience necessary.

If you want more passive participation, then just lend your computer idle time to:

However, if you want something much more active, then check out Zooniverse.org. You will actually view captured footage and classify scientific data.

[Don’t worry, if you are wrong, they will assure you that you “won’t break science”. They have means to filter through the responses.]

Categories range from physics to history to art to nature & wildlife, so there is something for everyone’s interest.

You could participate in:

  • identifying and classifying galaxies, moons and planets (and hunt for muons)
  • watching penguins, whales, or chimps
  • viewing wildlife in the Amazon, Serengeti, or even in the urban ‘jungle’ of Chicago
  • interpreting letters from WW1 or making Shakespearian translations

And, some very non-scientists have actually made discoveries that have been named after them. Research papers will even list the names of the participants who helped with the research and discovery…

… just in case your nosey neighbor (or you mom) wants proof of “what you do”. 🙂


What do you think? Would this be something you would be interested in?

Why You Need a Balance Sheet for Your Soul

Many of us are prepared financially.

You most likely know your net worth, at least generally. You may have your assets and liabilities clearly defined. You may even have a hefty emergency fund, or at least a solid back up plan, to be prepared for the unexpected.

But, do you keep a balance sheet for your soul and know your self worth?

“Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.” – Mary McLeod Bethune

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You lucky bastard – you’re alive!

Have you ever watched the HBO series “Six Feet Under”?

It is a drama about a family who runs a funeral home after the father, Nathaniel Fisher, dies. Nathaniel, however, still ‘comes back’ regularly in the episodes, as a spirit, to talk to the family. Here is a great excerpt from Season 4, Episode 12, where Nathanial is talking to his son David:

Nathaniel Fisher: You hang on to your pain like it means something. Like it’s worth something. Well, let me tell you – it’s not worth shit. Let it go! Infinite possibilities, and all he can do is whine.
David Fisher: Well, what am I supposed to do?
Nathaniel Fisher: What do you think? You can do anything, you lucky bastard – you’re alive! What’s a little pain compared to that?
David Fisher: It can’t be that simple.
Nathaniel Fisher: What if it is?

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Living Outside the Box

“You never have to think outside the box, if you refuse to let anyone put you in a box.” – Sir Richard Branson

Many of us live our lives in a series of boxes:

We wake up in our home box, commute in our car/train/bus box, sit in our work box, go to the workout box, shop at the food box, then go back to the home box, to eat out of a box (due to a lack of time).

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