Friday, April 25, 2014

Doing a Little to Help the World



Almost every day I see, read, or talk to someone fighting cancer.  A number of people who are dear to me have either gone through chemotherapy, or are at the present time.  The number of folks around us with this disease is staggering and I know all of us see it.
Just this past Sunday, I hugged a dear lady I’ve known for over 30 years who has lost all of her hair to this terrible disease and the devastating treatment.  It’s scary in the extreme and I feel compelled to try to do my part to help in the research needed to stop cancer in its tracks. 
So, what should I do?  Do I get a pink t-shirt and wear it everywhere I go to show I support breast cancer awareness or do I send money someplace to someone I don’t know and hope it will get funneled into some mysterious coffer that will help research a cure for HIV/AIDS?
Should I search the Internet for a solution, or volunteer somewhere to help the environment?  Geeze, we are all so busy most of the time that it’s hard to figure out what to do and what if I simply do not have spare money to offer.  I mean, I want to help and all, so what can I really do to make a difference?
Here is something you can do right now with your Internet connected computer and it won’t cost you an extra dime.
Join the World Community Grid as part of our Houston GeoCaching Society team. 
The World Community Grid?  Seriously?  That sounds like something evil, Mr. Bert!
It’s not, I promise you and it’s secure and safe and won’t infect your computer with a virus, or let the NSA in, break the bank on your bandwidth, or disrupt your surfing or game-playing in any way. 
In fact, it might just be the most unselfish thing you’ve ever done.
Back about ten years ago, I was supporting a world wide effort like this one doing SETI research.  The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.  As far as I know, we never found little green men, but it was a noble effort and didn’t affect my bandwidth or mess up my machine.
What about this effort?  What exactly is it?

The World Community Grid is a platform for distributed computing. If you aren’t familiar with distributed computing, it’s a system that makes use of the idle time of home computers everywhere. Some projects require more computing power than the most powerful computers can provide. Such projects are made possible by using a collection of computers worldwide.

World Community Grid supports projects attempting to solve problems in biology, medicine and the environment. To be accepted for the World Community Grid, a project must make any discoveries and data public domain – that is, available to all researchers.
Follow this link to register:  http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org
It will make you a member of both the World Community Grid and then select the Houston Geocaching Society as your team of choice.  You can track the team’s statistics and your own contribution to research.
After joining you will need to need to download and install the World Community Grid software.  This is the software that enables the distributed processing.  It is safe and secure and won’t allow anyone to “look” at your secrets, documents, or photographs.

Here are their currently ongoing projects:
 

Computing for Clean Water
The Clean Energy Project

You can see a list of all the research projects by going to the main page. Hover over the Research tab and click on any of them to learn more. The active projects are the ones above. Each person chooses which projects they want to support. To add or change the projects you are supporting/running hover over the My Grid tab and click on My Projects.

Our  team is in a friendly competition with other teams for the amount of computing time contributed.  Make a 2014 resolution to help others and the world, and then check it off your list today as one resolution kept.
Now, pat yourself on the back.  You just did something that will make a difference.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, I think it is a neat idea. CB

Anonymous said...

Just knowing you wan't to help people like me with cancer means the world to me I'm sure it does the rest of the people to. Thank you. MP

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