Long Now Boston has started a podcast series, created from our conversation series. We’ve started with the conversations from our 02019-02020 series. Now you can listen to Long Now Boston conversations wherever you are! See below, or search for “Long Now Boston” wherever you get your podcasts.

Recent Events with Podcasts

For a deep dive into our world of ideas, you can also watch all the videos from our recent conversations.

Long Now Boston City Nature Celebration 02020: Observing the Urban Environment

April was Global Citizen Science month. To celebrate, people around the world took part in various citizen projects, from observing the night sky to measuring rainfall. Long Now Boston joined in by participating in the City Nature Challenge. The City Nature Challenge was founded and is organized by the California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. It is an international celebration of biodiversity observed and documented in and around urban areas. 

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City Nature Celebration 02020

City Nature Celebration 02020: Observing the Urban Environment

April is Global Citizen Science
month. People around the world are participating in various citizen projects,
from making sourdough bread to observing the night sky. Please join Long Now
Boston in celebrating citizen science, from home, by taking part in the City
Nature Celebration 2020 for the Greater Boston

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City Nature Celebration 02020 Frequently Asked Questions

City Nature Celebration 02020: Frequently Asked Questions

Tell me more about City Nature Celebration!

This is a global
citizen science event, formerly called ‘City Nature Challenge’,
that involves the observation and documentation of biological organisms in the
city, stressing the importance of biodiversity in urban environments. In
light of the Covid-19 pandemic, City Nature Challenge
chose to be called ‘City Nature Celebration’ and focus on using nature
for relief from a difficult time. CNC encourages  people to go
outside and make observations of the wildlife they see in their backyards
and neighborhoods, while practicing safe social
distancing. Participants upload their observations, as photographic
documentation, during the specified time frame (April 24-27) and all
observations, if identifiable, are included for the region in which they were
taken. Our region is the Greater Boston Area. You learn even more at their
website: https://citynaturechallenge.org/

Can I participate and still practice social

Participating from home in a citizen science project is a welcome respite from
the isolation we may be feeling as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Keeping
track of things, specifically things in nature, may help mitigate any negative
feelings. We can join together as a
community to document biodiversity, even as we stay apart.

CNC offers the following statement: “In Boston, we encourage
documentation of nature in our homes, backyards, and neighborhoods,
individually and with our families; and participation online by helping to
identify or annotate observations. Together we’ll be making and sharing
observations as a global community, celebrating the healing power of nature,
documenting our local nature as best we can. Together, we will work with people
in cities around the world to celebrate the biodiversity around us – wherever
we might be! The CNC is something in which everyone can still participate, even
while following all federal & local regulations to keep our communities
safe. You can read more CNC Covid-19 FAQs at https://citynaturechallenge.org.”

What is iNaturalist?

iNaturalist is a
joint initiative by the California Academy of Sciences and the National
Geographic Society. This social network community consists over 400,000
scientists and naturalists who can help us learn more about the natural world.
This is done through photo documentation and subsequent identification of all
types of living, wild species. Built on the concept of mapping, sharing
observations, and sharing data of biodiversity around the world, it is one of
the most popular nature apps. By recording and sharing your observations, you
will create research quality data for scientists working to better understand
and protect nature. You can learn more at https://www.inaturalist.org/.

Download the iNaturalist app from the App Store or
Google Play onto your smartphone. You can also use the online version on your

What is citizen science?

Citizen science
is a working effort between scientists and people in a community who are
curious and motivated to contribute to a specific scientific endeavor. This
public involvement is typically to aid in data collection, but can also be
analysis or reporting. Citizen science projects involve one or more people who
have shared interests and work toward a common goal.

Do I need a specific level of education to be a
citizen scientist?

The short answer
is ‘No!’ The great thing about citizen science is that, with the proper
training, anyone can participate. Everyone who contributes to a project follows
the same procedure. Results gathered through this type of “crowd-sourcing”
helps researchers draw conclusions and share the data so that an even broader
community has access. These large collaborations allow advancements toward
discovery that individual research groups may not be able to achieve on their

How can I get more involved in citizen
science throughout the year?

There are lots of
organizations that provide opportunities to do citizen science, including those
that can be done remotely. A great place to start is to visit SciStarter (https://scistarter.org). They offer a variety of projects and
you are sure to find one that suits your interests. If you are looking for
something local and inclined toward participating in biodiversity studies, a
good resource is Earthwise Aware (EwA). Learn about their activities at https://www.earthwiseaware.org.

Snow Cancellation Policy

Snow Cancellation Policy

  • Long Now Boston events follow MIT’s snow cancellation policy. Their snow cancellations are listed at https://emergency.mit.edu, and MIT keeps a “SNOW line” at 617-253-7669.
  • We may also need to cancel if the presenter can’t make it to the venue.
  • We strive to announce event cancellations by 3 hours before the event.
  • In the event of sudden storms we will announce cancellations as soon as possible.
  • In the event of a cancellation, all paid tickets will be refunded.
  • Cancellations will be shown on the Long Now Boston website in a banner on the home page, and an email will be sent to all attendees via Meetup and Eventbrite as well as social media channels.

Long-term Loonshots: The Science of Phase Transitions and the Course of World History

Sept. 9, 02019: Long-term Loonshots: The Science of Phase Transitions and the Course of World History

A Long Now Boston Conversation with Safi Bahcall, Author of Loonshots (02019).

See the post-event Summary here.

Monday, September 9, 02019: 7PM at the CIC Venture Café — Doors open @ 6pm — Come early and meet other Long Now thinkers

Why did modern science ignite in 17th -century Western Europe when China, Islam, and India had been so much more advanced for 1,000 years? How does understanding the behavior we see in a glass of water help us understand the fate of companies and empires? How can we use these insights to help our institutions shape the next 1,000 or 10,000 years? 

Safi Bahcall is the author of the 2019 NYT Bestseller — Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries


Cambridge Innovation Center is an in-kind sponsor of this Long Now Boston conversation. We are very grateful for their support.

Innovations to Eradicate Global Poverty

Long Now Boston Conversation

June 3, 02019, at the Cambridge Innovation Center.

Featuring Eleanor Murphy (Acumen) and Katherine Collins (Putnam, Honeybee Capital)

Synopsis:  Some 12,000 years ago, people began
cultivating their own food, providing a far more reliable source than nature
alone, leading to settled communities and, ultimately, a global civilization.
The technologies and capacities for feeding human communities have improved
through the millennia, bringing huge benefits to growing populations.  Yet poverty and hunger still afflicts much of
the world — a tragedy that we can eliminate within decades if we empower
communities, through enlightened investment, technology and market solutions,
to achieve their own aspirations.

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