Foldit is an online game where you engage in protein-folding simulations. It is believed that humans’ intuitive puzzle-solving capabilities might be able to solve exceedingly complex biology problems of this sort faster and cheaper than, say, a supercomputer crunching through the possibilities brute-force style could.
The game is free to play and easy enough to learn—drag with your mouse to pull the protein segments around, click the middle button to lock a piece in place, use the Shake and Wiggle tools to automate certain basic functions. There are a lot of other bells and whistles that I haven’t had time to mess with yet.
It’s an interesting idea—turn a problem that defies modern science into a video game some twelve-year-old in Burkina Faso can play.
The Internet: it’s not just for porn anymore.