Dear Stall Catchers,
First, please allow me to say THANK YOU for this opportunity to write this story for you and the other great catchers out there. It is a real honor and privilege.
[Egle: the honor is all ours, John! 💜 We're ever so grateful to learn more about our community!]
I will be answering several questions posed to me in a recent email from Stall Catchers['s admins].
I was born here in the "great dairy state" of Wisconsin, in 1961 (57 years old). I have a birth defect call Spina Bifida, where a portion of the spine didn't close all the way. It left me unable to walk, so I have to use a wheelchair.
Once the internet was invented, I found it to be the easiest way for me to "get out of the house", and keep my passion for research in science going.
A couple of years ago, I found a website called SciStarter. From there I found Stall Catchers. I went through the tutorial, and continually received "correct", so I knew I was doing something right. I became so engrossed in the game, I found (and still do) myself coming back whenever I would want something to do, without having to actually leave the house, (particularly in our winters). PLUS, I feel this is such an important area of research.
The first question I've been asked was if I have any "recipe" or tips to pass on to my fellow catchers on how I play the game. The short answer is a resounding NO! I've tried to understand what the tutorial has suggested, and the rest is having a good eye and the confidence built up over the time I've been playing. I guess one tip would be, go with your first instinct, after watching the whole movie. If you are not sure whether you see a stall, just click "stall" or "flowing".
Either way, you won't lose too many points if you get it "incorrect", may get a good number of points if "correct", and most important for me, don't get hung up whether that blue bar at the right of the movies is all that high or not. If you find you continually get "incorrect", do the tutorial again, or take a break from it and then come back a bit more refreshed later.
I've been asked if I have any links to Alzheimer's itself. In the email they sent me, they mentioned having turned a quote I sent some time ago into a graphic of me and a bit of my story on my association with this horrible disease. They say they've shared it on social media. So I urge you to look it up, for I won't go into it again here.
[Egle: here it is below..:]
"It was hard for me to watch, and frightening to wonder if I might develop something like that myself. So #StallCatchers is very much needed to get as many boots on the ground to fight #Alzheimers!" -- John (chairstar), our dedicated catcher 💜— EyesOnALZ || 𝓢𝓽𝓪𝓵𝓵 𝓒𝓪𝓽𝓬𝓱𝓮𝓻𝓼 (@eyesonalz) March 31, 2019
Join him 👉https://t.co/NbkScpfhPE pic.twitter.com/xrEHNHiSQZ
Another question asked of me is what my background is, and is it any way associated with Stall Catchers. Other than my having been born with this birth defect, and an extensive medical history because of it, I have been most interested in the medical field. After 57 years of in and out of hospitals, I've always said I can read my medical charts, and usually find the typos :[
I also love astronomy. So searching for web sites related there, I found Einstein@home as well as a site called Stardust@home. You just install Einstein@home on your computer, and it runs by itself In the background on your computer with various topics you can choose. The Stardust@home project does require a very good eye for detail, but there again, don't get hung up whether you are doing it right or not.
[Egle: Stall Catchers was actually built directly on the Virtual Microscope from Stardust@home! Even though the two are studying very different areas of science, the types of data are actually very similar. Read the entire story in Pietro's words here.]
Another question. What do I like the most, and least about Stall Catchers? The most is that I am able to participate in medical science, right here at my computer. Being able to "chat" with other users on the site is great as well. The least? It's more about the quality of the movies themselves. AND of course annotating "stall" when the experts determine "flowing". ;[
[Egle: Don't worry, as you know, it's OK to make mistakes AND you catchers have already helped uncover some expert mistakes in the "ground truth" data as well!! So never be afraid to "disagree" with the experts :) Read more about it here.]
Do I know any other catchers in person? I've never been able to meet any other catchers in person, but based on the chats on the site, I'd love to meet most of them.
My hopes for this site is that as many more citizens as possible participate, giving as much time as possible to the game. I DO BELIEVE we will be able to learn enough of Alzheimer's to at least manage it much better in time. If we find a way to prevent is all together, even more perfect.
As I said earlier, I have Spina Bifida. Back in the days I was born, all that was done was to take out the malformed part of the spine, and let it go from there. Now there is corrective surgery on babies before birth; So I do believe we will get a good handle on this disease.
Last question asked of me. Anything else I'd like to share? Yes. Thanks to the many other catchers out there for the great chats we've had, thanks to the great "Admins" of this site. (Especially Egle, who sent the email to me asking these questions for me to answer. I cannot say this enough. It's been an honor and a privilege.)
[Egle: it's our privilege entirely, thank you so much for sharing your story with us, John 💜]
Now I am getting back to do more catching. Hope you do as well.
John D. Krull (chairstar)
💜 💜 💜 Thank you so much, John, for telling your inspiring story, and hope many will hear your call and head straight to Stall Catchers, to join you and other wonderful catchers! 😊
P.S. if you ever need a break from catching, you can find more of our "Humans of Stall Catchers" stories here on the blog.