Sunday, January 1, 2012

Throw out all those new games you got as gifts for the holidays and try spending your spare time saving the world. Yes, you can have a part in contributing to scientific research . The type of research that can help to find cures for serious illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Aids. Unfortunately, most people don’t even know that this free downloadable game even exists.
The most popular games sold this year were all about killing people in some type of war setting. With these kind of influences no wonder there is so much violence being reported among young people. Games like Gears of War 3, Call of Duty Modern Warfare, Battlefield and Assassins Creed Brotherhood bring out shouts of profanity at the screen from even the cutest child playing .
Go to Facebook and adults are playing nonsense like Farmville and expecting you to join them all the time. It makes fools out of rational adults. A very good friend of mine brought to my attention that I do not blog enough about science even though I seem to have an opinion on every other non related subject. I thank her for suggesting the free downloadable game called Foldit.
Foldit is a unique computer game that actually enables you to contribute to scientific research into the way proteins are formed according to a game reviewer, Nick Mead. He said that this in turn can help in research to find cures for the serious illnesses. In Foldit, players from around the world compete to design proteins. In the next step, real scientists actually test the proteins designed by the game’s players to see if they make viable candidate compounds for new drugs.
This is a great idea that more people should be doing and more people should even know about it! Heck I’ll throw out my cards, Monopoly and even my Chess set if I could play a game and be part of finding the cure for Cancer or something else bad for you. School educators should make this game available as an elective or even part of a curriculum for students to learn while having fun. After all, many school systems have kids participating in virtual stock market trading games; Why not our ever so needed research into finding cures for our ailments?
Foldit is an online puzzle video game about protein folding according to the encyclopedia. The game is part of an experimental research project, and is developed by the University of Washington’s Center for Game Science in collaboration with the UW Department of Biochemistry. The objective of the game is to fold the structure of selected proteins to the best of the player’s ability using various tools provided within the game. The highest scoring solutions are analyzed by researchers, who determine whether or not there is a native structural configuration (or native state) that can be applied to the relevant proteins, in the “real world”. Scientists can then use such solutions to solve “real-world” problems, by targeting and eradicating diseases, and creating biological innovations.
The game is a success! The gamers already solved the riddle of the HIV or AIDS enzyme. According to an article published in the Scientific American magazine, the gamers of Foldit provided the crucial insights to solve the structure of a protein-sniping enzyme critical for reproduction of the AIDS virus. With the help from game-players’ strategies, researchers revealed the enzymes’ structure within three weeks and identified targets for drugs to neutralize it.
Just yesterday I spoke of resolutions that could help us all. Well, here is a way we can all participate for free our thoughts and perceptions to actually help humanity in a fun way. No computer can judge and make common sense decisions like a human can. This is the area where we all are still necessary in this world. Resolve to do things that are good for society not just the most publicized awful game out there.

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