With Great Traffic Comes Great Responsibility

At the suggestion of our resident ethicist, we've decided to try to use the power of ScienceBlogs to do some good. Thus, we present the first-ever ScienceBlogs Charity Fundraiser.

Here's the deal: An organization called Donors Choose solicits proposals from school teachers who want equipment that their districts can't provide. They then accept donations toward the purchase of those items, and give the money to the districts and teachers who need it. The proposals range from requests for money to buy computers and other tech gadgets (LCD projectors are a popular request) to books for use in class, to things like pens and pencils and chairs.

Donors Choose offers a "Blogger's Challenge" feature, where webloggers can register and select proposals that they support, and solicit donations from their readers. So, a number of us in the ScienceBlogs family have created "challenges," and we're asking our readership to contribute. As an enticement, we've gotten our Corporate Masters to offer up some science-themed swag to people who donate-- instructions on how to enter to win valuable prizes are below the fold, with a list of participating bloggers.

Here is the Offical Uncertain Principles challenge entry. (You'll notice that the funding goal is a probably unrealistic $10,000-- I followed Janet's lead in this, figuring that since Google tells me I get slightly more hits than she does, I could hardly set a lower goal for the charity). I can't say that the selection of proposals was incredibly scientific-- I just poked around and added anything that looked interesting-- but there's some good stuff there. Please think about donating something-- $10 pledges add up, given enough blog readers.

(For myself, I'm going to throw them a couple hundred dollars. I'd offer to match some fraction of the donations via the challenge, but I have no idea what to expect in that vein, so we'll just stick with $200...)

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Further information below the fold:

The ScienceBlogs/DonorsChoose raise-money-to-help-science-classrooms-a-thon!

Those of us who blog here at ScienceBlogs think science is cool, important, and worth understanding. If you're reading the blogs here, chances are you feel the same way.

A lot of us fell in love with science because of early experiences in school -- teachers who made science intriguing, exciting, maybe a little bit dangerous. But tightening budgets are making it harder and harder for public school teachers to provide the books, equipment, and field trips to make science come alive for kids.

DonorsChoose.org gives us a way to help teachers get the job done. A bunch of us at ScienceBlogs have set up Bloggers Challenges which will let us (and that includes you) contribute to worthy school projects in need of financial assistance. We'll be able to track our progress right on the DonorsChoose site. And -- because we like a little friendly competition -- we'll be updating you periodically as to which blogger's readers are getting his or her challenge closest to its goal.

You don't need to give a barrel of money to help the kids -- as little as $10 can help. You're joining forces with a bunch of other people, and all together, your small contributions can make a big difference.

Who's In:

Here are the ScienceBlogs bloggers who are participating with Bloggers Challenges:

A Blog Around the Clock (challenge here)

Adventures in Ethics and Science (challenge here)

Aetiology (challenge here)

Afarensis (challenge here)

Cognitive Daily (challenge here)

Evolgen (challenge here)

Gene Expression (challenge here)

Good Math, Bad Math (challenge here)

Island of Doubt (challenge here)

Mike the Mad Biologist (challenge here)

Neurotopia, version 2.0 (challenge here)

Pharyngula (challenge here)

Pure Pedantry (challenge here)

The Questionable Authority (challenge here)

The Scientific Activist (challenge here)

Stranger Fruit (challenge here)

Terra Sigillata (challenge here)

Uncertain Principles (challenge here)

The World's Fair (challenge here)

How It Works

Follow the links above to the DonorsChoose website.

Pick a project from the slate the blogger has selected (or more than one).

Donate.

(If you're the loyal reader of multiple participating blogs and you don't want to play favorites, you can donate to multiple challenges!)

When Donors Choose sends you a confirmation email, forward it to: sb.donorschoose.bonanza@gmail.com This is your contest entry.

Sit back and watch the little donation thermometers inch towards 100 percent. Once the Challenge ends, we'll select winners at random.

Contest you say? What's that about?

Just in case you're on the fence about helping the kids, we thought we'd provide some incentives to randomly drawn donors. They are:

Subscriptions to Seed magazine

ScienceBlogs mugs

What We Believe But Cannot Prove, edited by John Brockman

The Republican War on Science, by Chris Mooney

Rebuilt: My Journey Back to the Hearing World, by Michael Chorost

Subscriptions to TIME magazine

Blogging in a Snap, by Julie Meloni

Galileo's Daughter, by Dava Sobel

The Scientific Renaissance: 1450-1630, by Marie Boas Hall

Causality: Models, Reasoning, and Inference, by Judea Pearl

Paleoanthropology (1st ed) by Milford Wolpoff (gently used)

Administrative Details

The contest will run from June 15 to July 1. Email your entries by July 1! Prize notification will start by July 5.

And, credit where credit is due: This drive was inspired by Sarah D. Bunting's wildly successful Tomato Nation DonorsChoose fund raiser this past March. Sars, you're an inspiration to us all.

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