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Archive of Past Messages

(Most recent messagess appear first.)

7/9/2006

I would like to begin by thanking all of you for your continuing support of Craig Research Labs!

2005 was a turbulent year for the Lab and for myself. As many of you know, I was scheduled to leave in the last week of July 2005 to walk across the USA to raise money for cancer research at The Sloan-Kettering Institute. Unfortunately, the "Cancer Walk USA" project was put on hold due to unforeseen differences between Craig Research Labs and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. I had spent the previous three years fundraising for Sloan-Kettering, and I had also spent two years training for the project, walking up to 12 miles a day. I was definitely ready to go and I did not abort the project willingly...however, complex endeavors involving multiple partners require a great deal of planning and mutual trust, and in the end I was forced to accept the fact that Sloan-Kettering simply did not believe in the project's goals as much as I did and that they were unwilling to provide the support that I felt the project deserved. Therefore I could not in good conscience commit myself and all of my personal resources (as well as put my friends and family through unnecessary worry and hardship) to undertake this highly demanding two year long project on Sloan-Kettering's behalf. However, our disagreements were entirely organizational in nature; I still believe that Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is a first rate cancer hospital and scientific research organization and that it is very deserving of your donation dollars, should you choose to give them. If I were to be diagnosed with cancer it would be the first place I would go to seek treatment. You can donate to MSKCC by clicking here.

Is the Cancer Walk USA story over? Not quite. The loss of the project was a great disappointment to me, and the walk still feels very much like unfinished business -- so in the future I will seek to revive the idea with a new charity partner. In the meantime, the Craig Research Labs "Click to Cure Cancer" webpage continues to raise money to fund cancer research. Please stop by daily and click. :)

Now on to other business. Over the past year or two, the core research activity of Craig Research Labs (distributed computing on the web) has changed and evolved. Distributed computing is at the heart of this organization; it's what I founded the company to do. Here's our latest news:

Stanford University's Folding@home project is up to version 5, and UC Berkeley's SETI@home has migrated to the BOINC platform (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing). BOINC allows users to participate in many other valuable science projects besides SETI, and I am currently looking into what this means for the Lab and our future research activities (there may be new opportunities for us here). In the meantime, I am VERY PLEASED to announce that as of this writing, our SETI@home team has crunched 20,700.43 work units, and our Folding@home team has achieved a whopping score of 171,328! (I never even thought we would make it past 50,000 LOL!) Our team of volunteers now numbers more than thirty individuals around the globe who are working diligently to help push these projects forward. A big congratulation and round of applause to everyone!!! If you are not yet a member of one of our teams, please click here.

Hopefully I will have more good news for you soon.

Douglas Craig
Director
Craig Research Labs


3/4/2005

[Update, 8/1/2006 -- Someone else now owns the "cancerwalkusa.org" URL, so I have deactivated all of the Cancer Walk USA links below and elsewhere on this website.]

[Update, 3/29/2005 -- Please note that there has been a change in the departure date and the beneficiary institution for the following project. Please visit the Cancer Walk USA webpage for further information.]

I am pleased to announce today that Craig Research Labs is embarking on its most exciting venture to date. In midsummer of this year I will leave from the front steps of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City to walk across the United States in a sustained media campaign to raise cancer awareness and to solicit money for cancer research at The Sloan-Kettering Institute. As I cross the USA I will be making stops at every newspaper, radio station, and TV station en route and asking every person in the country to make a suggested five dollar donation to fight cancer. Five dollars may seem like a very modest sum -- most of us can easily afford to part with it (we generally think nothing of spending this much for a burger and fries at a fast food restaurant) -- but if everyone does their small part and donates five dollars to this project then collectively we will raise $1.5 billion dollars to fight cancer (according to the latest US Census Bureau statistics, there are approximately 300 million people living in the USA -- you do the math). The project will be called "Cancer Walk USA" and it will be the main focus of Craig Research Labs through 2007. I will be putting my heart and soul into this project.

Won't you all please join me in this effort by making a donation? Even if you have never given to a charitable cause before, I want to encourage you today to think of yourself as a philanthropist. Write out a check and send it in (see www.cancerwalkusa.org for details on how to donate) and help prove that America is still the greatest and most caring nation on earth -- that when we pull together with a common goal, we can accomplish what others would deem impossible.

As with the "Click to Cure Cancer" program, I have chosen the Sloan-Kettering Institute to be the recipient of the money raised by this project because of their long history of ground breaking research and innovative treatments for cancer. In addition, the close relationship between the Sloan-Kettering Institute and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Hospital means that new cancer treatments developed at the Institute can be rapidly put into clinical practice saving lives. I am immensely proud to be continuing my company's three year partnership with Memorial Sloan-Kettering and I have every confidence that they will be able to put the money we raise over the next two years to the best possible use.

While funding cancer research is high on the Craig Research Labs agenda, I also want you to know that the lab has many other ongoing projects. Our distributed computing teams made up of volunteers from around the globe are entering their fifth year of operation and our Folding@home team is rapidly approaching the milestone 100,000 mark. Go team! Lately I have greatly expanded our Science Image Archive which provides free science graphics to educators (I will be continuing this work in my spare time during my walk and hopefully one of these days I will be able to find time to place the entire archive online for convenient browsing). I also spent a large part of last summer prototyping several novel solar energy inventions for the lab; I would love to tell you all about them but unfortunately I am not presently at liberty to do so because of pending patent issues. (Shhhh...it's a secret...don't tell anyone).

One final footnote -- I am also excited to announce that in the next few months this website will contain our very first store. I have been working with NASA to develop a line of consumer products for the lab containing images from the Hubble Space Telescope. As the Hubble is nearing the end of its operational life, I thought it would be nice to choose a few of the most beautiful and educational Hubble images and place them on a variety of common items ranging from the practical (coffee mugs, calendars, etc.) to the whimsical (frisbees, t-shirts). I am constantly amazed that most people have never even seen a Hubble image. Let's change that. Tell all your friends and co-workers to visit our new store so they can enjoy the marvelous beauty of the universe and support the lab financially at the same time. And by the way, sales of these products will likely be the only income I will receive during the two years I will be walking for Sloan-Kettering...so if you happen to feel the urge to purchase a coffee mug with an image of NGC 6543 on it, please don't hold back. [Shameless plug]

Douglas Craig
Director
Craig Research Labs


9/19/2004

I have always intended for Craig Research Labs to be a "participatory" institution. The lab exists for everyone -- no matter their race, creed, religion, or location around the globe. When people come together and combine their efforts towards a common goal, the result is always far more successful than if the same individuals had acted alone. When we speak with a common voice, we are heard more loudly. When we unite, we achieve.

I would like to call upon all of you now to unite with us. If you love science (and I know that you do or else you would not be reading this) then you probably support the same goals as we do here at the lab: the advancement of human knowledge, the development of cheap and clean energy sources, the discovery of cures to diseases, the exploration of the solar system and beyond, and the general improvement of the living conditions of all people around the world. These are goals that most people do not often have a chance to think about in the course of their day to day lives -- most of us get up in the morning, go to work or school, take a half hour for lunch, and later come home in the evening to spend time with our families and maybe catch the big game on TV or watch a sitcom or two. We do not generally have the opportunity to think about larger things because we are under so much pressure just to earn a living. We know that the world would be a better place if these larger goals could be reached, but we do not know where to begin to do our small part.

Science can serve as a beacon in these instances; it is the lighthouse that leads us across the water to distant and exciting new lands. Science has been responsible for every major improvement in the human condition since the dawn of history, and it continues to be so today. That is why this company was founded, and why we continue to work tirelessly to fulfill our mission, and why we would like to inspire you to help us to do more.

Craig Research Labs is an organization that is still in its infancy. We are not even four years old. We have many ambitious goals, but in order to reach them we must first work through our growing pains. You have been very generous with your support of our efforts thus far; I thank all of the volunteers around the world who have joined our wildly successful distributed computing teams; I also thank the many website owners across the Internet who have linked to us and sent new visitors our way, and the many individuals who have written kind letters to me in support of the lab.

We need your help now more than ever to fulfill our mission. We have several important new projects we are working on for 2005, but we have also had to discontinue a few past initiatives because they are no longer relevant to the continued development of this company. These include last year's membership initiative, the CRL Science Blog, and our participation in the Amazon.com Honor System. We will continue to develop our core activities -- acceleration of our work in Distributed Computing, and enhancement of our cancer research fundraising efforts. We humbly request your support and participation in the efforts of the lab to achieve these goals. If you have not already done so, please click here to become a volunteer, or email me if you would like to provide financial support for the lab or our cancer research partners.

I look forward to sharing an exciting 2005 with all of you!

Douglas Craig
Director
Craig Research Labs


7/3/2002

It's been ten months since the founding of this company and my last formal message to you. I thank all of you for your words of encouragement and your support of my vision -- that science can make the world a better place and is therefore worthy of being pursued for its own sake, as an end in itself. At this company we have made it our mission to do whatever we can to push forward new ideas and innovations -- to bring about an acceleration in the acquisition of knowledge and the advance of the sciences.

We have already reached our first significant milestone -- we recently completed our work for Stanford University's computational biochemistry program Folding@home Version 1.0 with over 7,000 work unit credits and a team ranking that was within the top 100 teams worldwide. I am personally very proud of this accomplishment. Our ongoing work for the new Folding@home program (Version 2.0) and UC Berkeley's SETI@home radio astronomy project continues. We are always looking for new volunteers to help us with these projects (no experience necessary), so if you would like to join one of our volunteer teams please click here.

I originally had the idea in the back of my mind that the "Message from the Director" would be an annual tradition to update my audience about the main themes and noteworthy achievements of this company, but as we approach the anniversary of our first year in business, I am finding compelling reasons to write to you sooner than expected. As this organization has grown and the public has begun to discover what we are all about, we have begun to gather significant grass roots support. I would now like to draw upon that support, as Craig Research Labs has reached a critical juncture in its development.

As some of you probably know, all of the research efforts that we currently participate in are non profit projects. Yet we are a for profit company. Reconciling these two issues has been a challenge and a balancing act. Up until the present moment I have without hesitation taken on the responsibility of funding the company out of my own pocket (and I am not a wealthy individual), but the time has come when Craig Research Labs must move beyond its modest beginnings if it is to grow and flourish as a science advocacy and research organization.

Therefore, I have decided that the time is right to begin to search for new sources of revenue. After several false starts I have been able to acquire a number of high quality advertisers for our website; these companies sell a wide variety of science and technology related products which should be of interest to all members of the Craig Research Labs family. The addition of these advertisers adds variety and value to our web offerings, creates needed revenue, and does not interfere with our research activities.

I would now like to ask that you support our advertisers by visiting them through the links on our web pages and purchasing their products. If you vote with your pocket book, you can help us raise the money to do more science and at the same time you get to buy yourself something nice! (What could be better?) If you share our vision for a better world, then please take the simple step of remembering us when it comes time for your next telescope, software, or science curio purchase. The dollars you spend shopping on our site will go a long way towards helping us reach our financial objectives so we can get on with what we do best -- science.

Here's a final thought. In a world that often seems chaotic and unpredictable, isn't it nice to have something you can count on? I can already tell by the enthusiastic feedback I have received during the formative period of this company that many people believe strongly in what we are trying to do. Together we have started a very small snowball rolling down a very large hill, and it is already beginning to increase in size. I am confident that with your continued support Craig Research Labs will be around for a very long time, and that we will be able to do great things. I know I can count on you. You can count on us as well to work as hard as we possibly can to make sure that your enthusiasm is warranted and that we will live up to all of your expectations. Together we can cure diseases, develop renewable energy sources, and maybe one day even take mankind to the stars. Thank you for believing in us during these exciting first ten months.

Douglas Craig
Director
Craig Research Lab


(Original "Message from the Director" - 9/1/2001)

The story of the 20th Century and beyond is the story of the triumph of technology over human misery. At no other point in human history have we innovated with such fervor or progressed so rapidly. We have evolved and awakened. The pace of discovery has been dizzying: the automobile, the airplane, television, personal computers, the Internet...and also more mundane things -- less glamorous perhaps but no less important -- advances in medicine, cheap and abundant energy sources, crops with yields our ancestors could only have dreamed of. We have all been uplifted by these discoveries. Make no mistake: the future depends on the continuation of this unprecedented burst of inspiration. If we grow complacent or lose our sense of priorities we may falter and lose forever much of what we have gained.

To be sure, there have been obstacles to overcome, many caused by the irresponsible misuse of technologies that could have prevented suffering. We have experienced disastrous wars, environmental catastrophes, an increasing disparity between wealthy and poor nations, and the continuing threat of sudden and total annihilation of the human race. Ironically, it is technology itself which holds the key to overcoming all of these tragedies, if only we have the courage to use it wisely. Human nature may be firmly rooted within each of us, but humans can be creative and curious as well as cruel, and surely we can do better than we have done in the past.

Perhaps I have a unique perspective on these matters. I was born on the day that astronauts first walked on the moon. I have witnessed firsthand the power of science to inspire and bring potent, positive change. Science and technology have certainly changed my life; I wonder how many of my peers that were born on that day have also been led to follow paths that intertwine with events larger than themselves. It is a great adventure that we all must embark upon, every one of us, whether we are aware of it or not.

It is my hope that one day this company will play a small part in taking us to the stars, or at the very least help to make a few things better here on Earth. I invite you to join me on a journey towards an exciting, prosperous, and more sustainable future.

Douglas Craig
Director
Craig Research Labs