Do you own a PS3? Make sure you sign up for Folding @ Home! This FREE software program turns your PS3 into a research station, helping scientists to build a massive world wide system that works on medical breakthroughs!
You download the software for free via the online PS3 connection. Then, any time you're not playing games on your PS3, put it into Folding @ Home mode. You'll see right on the screen the proteins it's folding! Run by Stanford University, this project uses thousands of PS3s around the world to connect together and form a vast super-computer. In addition to cancer, learning how proteins fold will help the researchers find solutions to Alzheimer's, ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many other issues. Heck, you could be saving your own life at some point!
Not only is your donation of time and PS3 power good for the world, it's also a lot of fun! The software shows you a map of the entire world, and yellow dots light up to show where people are currently folding. You'd be surprised where some of those dots are! You expect them in cities like Paris, London and San Francisco. But what are those dots doing in the wilderness of Canada, or in the wild reaches of Australia? Someone must have a PS3 there, and maybe a satellite connection!
You see a visual representation of the protein you're currently folding, and can play with how it's shown. You can rack up "points" on your own - or join a team to gather points jointly. You can have it play music while you fold, even sorting by mood.
In addition to just showing yellow dots on the world map, you can also activate other map-related features. "World Heritage" lets you look at beautiful photos from various locations. "United Village" lets you learn about the people in the world. "Live" brings you up to date news from around the world!
Highly recommended for every PS3 owner. It's completely free, it's fun, and it helps solve medical issues 24 hours a day, while you sleep, while you eat!
Is there any down side? I suppose you're paying for the power to run your PS3 - but it really is minimal. Consider it a tiny donation to help medical science solve the world's problems. Your donation is only pennies - but the power of your PS3 is huge.
UPDATE: As of November 2012, the Folding project has been ended.
Folding Homepage at Stanford University