Citizens can participate in science by joining the Zooniverse web site and looking for patterns in things like galaxies. The human brain is still good at this. I heard several radio interviews about this web site which now has over 600,000 participants. Even deciphering handwriting, I guess, reading old ship logs to fill in weather records. I thought about participating myself, but not sure if I would devote much time to it. One can devote as much, or as little, time as one wants. Maybe looking at thousands of galaxy images to see if any look unusual isn't too tedious a way to spend an afternoon?
I just think this is a cool idea. Participatory science. Sort of like a WIKI. A WIKI allowing you to put in your two bits for research.
Image from Zooniverse web site.