Recovery Zone on 04/27/11
When last month's 9.0 earthquake and tsunami breached six Japanese nuclear reactors in Fukushima, releasing radiation into the atmosphere, Marcelino Alvarez of Uncorked Studios was not soothed by the official reports that there was "nothing to worry about." He hit upon the idea of using "citizen scientists" to crowd-source radiation data. Within 72 hours he and David Ewald had Rdtn.org, now known as Safecast, up and running, and within the first week there were over 150,000 visitors from 130 countries. Much of the data comes from official sources; but more importantly, people from all over the world, especially Japan (and even here in Portland), submit radiation readings from their own sensors to share with the public. According to Sean Bonner, a member of the Safecast team in Tokyo: "It takes power (data) out of the hands of a small set of privileged gate keepers and gives it to the people who actually need it. It does this free of charge which very directly has the potential to make the world a better place." There are still kinks to be worked out, but the site is growing daily, and has garnered recognition from the international press. Safecast is also accepting pledges for a Kickstarter project to purchase 600 Geiger counters to expand the radiation sensor project in Japan. The data captured from these devices will feed into their website and will also be made available for others to use via Pachube, an open-source platform for monitoring sensor data globally. Hosted by Stephanie Potter.