Science

Productive time-wasting

Are you one of those people who gets way into puzzle games? Do you stay up into the wee hours of the morning killing “bugs” with Dr. Mario or jamming out to the trippy music while you flip triads in Hexic? Have you spent nights lying awake in bed with little Tetris pieces floating through your mind?

Well, I’ve got news for you. There’s a new puzzle game that you can play for hours on end and know that while you were spending hours not doing your homework/running errands/spending quality time with your s.o./writing a blog entry, you maybe did contribute to scientific knowledge.

It’s called FoldIt. The basic idea is that you get real protein structures and try to find ways of folding them up. This has, up until now, been done mostly by computers, but I think it is brilliant to try and tap into people’s problem solving abilities for this. Also, while you play, your computer is networked with the site, and the computers learn from your techniques.

I’ve set up a Skepchick team for anyone interested. Come on, you know you want to. Who knows, we could win a Nobel prize or something.

Happy folding!

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6 Comments

  1. Haven’t checked out Foldit yet, but have spent many hours *in the zone* playing various puzzle games. Personal faves include Devil Dice (PS1) and it’s sequel Bombastic (PS2), Tetris Attack (SNES), Twinkle Star Sprites (Neo-Geo), and the Puyo-Puyo series.

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