UK. Scientists revealed today that they are very surprised that Ash Dieback, a fatal fungal disease of ash trees, has maintained its relentless march through Europe, slaughtering millions of trees, despite their production of an online game designed to prevent the disease.
“It’s almost as if the fungus doesn’t have a Facebook account” lamented one of the authors.
“Gamification” is the process by which a complex problem may be solved by casting that problem as a game and allowing millions of online gamers to play for free, thus bringing huge crowd-sourced power to bear. It has been used to solve problems such as finding the optimum protein folding structure.
“The issue here ” said Mario ‘The Godfather’ Staccato “is that protein-folding is an abstract concept – it’s important, but knowing the answer doesn’t affect real life. Whereas ash dieback is a real fungus that attacks real trees in the real world and sticking a modified version of Tetris on Facebook realistically isn’t going to make any fucking difference” he finished.
The story of Fraxinus can be read at celebrity socialite scientist magazine eLife.