New methods are being deployed to fund science. Crowdfunding is nothing new, anymore; and it is now being used to fund research that would otherwise be too risky for conservative institutions. One example is evident just in the name of the subject: Tabby’s Star to the crowdfunding public is also called KIC 8462852 within official institutional communications. The star is the one that has attracted a lot of interest because of two things: 1) its weird behavior where the light is decreasing dramatically and in odd patterns, and 2) the fact that no known natural phenomenon can explain it which raises the possibility that we may be watching an alien civilization at work building an enormous structure (a Dyson Sphere). Because the possibility of aliens is involved, it can be harder to convince traditional funding sources to study the phenomenon appropriately. A Kickstarter campaign, however, has managed to raise $107,000 to buy time on appropriate equipment. Discovering the source of Tabby’s secret will be a breakthrough in any case. It is only one example, however, of how advances in science are returning to private control after centuries of institutional constraints. Aliens. Very cool.
(Click on the image for the link.)