From IO9: "With government spending for the sciences on the decline, entrepreneur Matt Salzberg saw an opportunity. He'd create a crowdfunding site for scientists, where researchers could get funding directly from the public. Last week, he and his team launched Petridish.org, and they've already got reputable researchers whose projects are almost funded after just a few days. Could this be the future of publicly funded science?
If you visit Petridish right now, you'll see a handful of projects — all from reputable scientists associated with institutions like NASA, the California Academy of Sciences, and Stanford University — that request fairly modest sums to do incredibly important work. It's all basic research, and ranges from searching for exomoons (moons in other solar systems), to tracking endangered sea turtles, recording the sounds of undersea ecosystems (how cool is that?), to discovering new species of ants in uncharted regions of Madagascar. The videos of the scientists requesting funds are geeky and lo-fi, but still incredibly exciting. Imagine helping somebody discover weird new life forms in the ocean!"