As Ben Goldacre wrote:

The Daily Mail, as you know, is engaged in a philosophical project of mythic proportions: for many years now it has diligently been sifting through all the inanimate objects in the world, soberly dividing them into the ones which either cause – or cure – cancer.

The Daily Mail frequently brings us news of which objects have been discovered to cause cancer, and which have been shown to prevent it. In some cases, they do both.

In order to make sense of this vast resource of clinical information, I’ve scraped the Daily Mail’s website for articles mentioning cancer. To distil this wisdom down into an easily comprehensible form, though, I need your help.

I’ve written a simple application to distribute (crowdsource, if you will/must) the process of classifying these objects. You simply need to look at an article summary and title, and decide what it’s about and whether it causes cancer or prevents it.

Head on over and help out with the effort!

Incidentally, I’ve deployed the application using Heroku. It’s my first time using the service, but I’m really impressed so far. It’s by far the easiest way of deploying a Rails app I’ve seen, and it’s ideal for this.

Well, that was quick! As of about 11:15 on Monday morning, each article has been classified at least three times. I’ve put up some interim stats, and I’ll present the data properly later.