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By Anjana Ahuja   August 2012

Anyone can count birds. And so, in 1900, the Audubon Society inaugurated the Christmas Bird Count, which now asks people to record the number and species of birds they spied over the holiday period. The annual American twitcher tally is now the oldest known citizen science project; more recent projects include SETI@home, which allows you to download a screensaver that uses a computer’s idle time to search for alien signals. Such is the blossoming of amateur enthusiasm that Cornell University has organised a conference on Public Participation in Scientific Research on 4th and 5th August in Oregon to advance citizen…

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