When I was in North Carolina last month for the meet-and-greet-and-learn-exhausto-freneti-thon of ScienceOnline 2012, I procured for myself a sampling kit for a citizen science project being conducted by the lab of Rob Dunn, Sci Am Guest Blogger and author of the wonderful book The Wild Life of our Bodies.
He's doing a new study called "The Wild Life of Our Homes", and for the low, low price of nothing*, I got a sampling kit with two neato dual-pronged sterile Q-tips, instructions, a questionnaire about the characteristics of my pad, and a mailing address to send it back to.
All I had to do is carefully swab down my upper door sills with the respective swabs, reseal them, and mail them back to North Carolina. Then they analyze what molds, mildews, yeasts, and other assorted fungi; pollen (aka plant sperm!), algae, bacteria, archaea, viruses, are in the dust on the top of my inner and outer front door sill and tell me about it FOR FREE! Bio nerd nirvana achieved. It'll be in the mail on Monday, boys!
It's my understanding they did a similar study of belly button microbiota at ScienceOnline last year, but for sheer non-yuck factor this beats that hands down. And this time, you too can participate. To find out more and sign up, click here. It looks like there may be a waiting list, but they're working to find the funding to help everyone sample their home who wants to. And who wouldn't want to!? If you're reading this blog, I know you do.
*OK, technically the of U.S. postage and return envelope for your samples. But still!