EVE Online allows you to help out real science through Project Discovery

Its not often that you get to say you've done something of real world significance by lazing around on the couch and playing an MMO, but that's exactly what EVE Online's Project Discovery allows you to do.

Project Discovery, in coordination with the Human Protein Atlas organization, is attempting to crowdsource the simple, but overwhelmingly numerous task of locating and identifying protein patterns in human cells. Here's a short video that explains both the concept and how exactly the whole thing works in the EVE universe:


In simple terms, if you chose to participate in Project Discovery you will be expected to identify and categorize patterns in protein localisation within human cells. When you first start you will only work on known (solved) samples as a way to gauge your accuracy, but once you're done with the tutorial you will be unleashed in to the wild where your measurements will be weighed against those of the entire community until a consensus is reached, and accuracy ratings distributed depending on aforementioned consensus.

Do this successfully and the Sisters of EVE (SOE) will reward you with ISK, experience and special currency you can use to purchase exclusive Sisters of Eve goodies in the store. Do it extremely poorly, however, and you will find yourself unceremoniously discharged from the project as these are, after all, important matters we're discussing. Naturally, the more accurate and consistent you are the better the rewards, so if you decide to participate in Project Discovery make sure its with a clear head.

The whole idea behind the project is incredibly clever as people tend to be much better at pattern recognition than current PCs, so why not hire entire legions of gamers who would be more than willing to help in return for some cosmetic rewards and in-game currency.

I don't know if Project Discovery will catch on, or if the in-game rewards are worth it, but its a noble idea and one that's well worth supporting regardless.