Category Archives: Vancouver

Tune in, turn on, and drop out—LSD and psychedelic talk at Vancouver’s (Canada) Café Scientifique on March 31, 2015

There seems to be a lot of interest in psychedelics these days and not least here in Vancouver. Next Tuesday, March 31, 2015 Cafe Scientifique, held in the back room of The Railway Club (2nd floor of 579 Dunsmuir St. [at Seymour St.], will be hosting a talk on LSD (from the March 16, 2015 announcement,

Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Michael Hughesa Research Associate in the Department of Medical Genetics at UBC (University of British Columbia) …

Psychedelic Medicine: The History & Science of LSD in the Clinic

Ergot is a fungus that grows on rye and other grains that has been blamed (rightly or wrongly) for episodes of mass hysteria throughout history. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was first synthesized from ergot in 1938 by a Swiss chemist named Albert Hoffman, who, at the height of World War II, also discovered (somewhat mysteriously) its psychedelic properties. LSD soon came to the attention of the U.S. Army who quickly proceeds to buy up all the supply – primarily to keep it out of the hands of its enemies. Throughout the Cold War, elements in U.S. defense and security agencies engage in experiments by secretly slipping LSD to citizens with dangerous (and sometimes comical) consequences with the goal of perfecting brainwashing and mind control. Canadian scientists at McGill participated in some of these studies, thinking they could use LSD to cure psychoses. These unethical and largely unscientific experiments were akin to psychological torture. Meanwhile, the public discovered the recreational benefits of LSD and the hippie movement adopted the drug as a symbol and vehicle to enlightenment. Largely for this reason, in the early ‘70s LSD was classified as a Schedule-1 drug in the U.S. restricted legal access stopped most research and hopes of the clinical benefits of LSD was abandoned and all but forgotten. Recently, scientists, mostly working outside of the U.S. and Canada, have rediscovered LSD’s efficacy for the treatment of psychiatric disorders including post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) and existential fear in terminally ill patients. Are we ready for a new wave of ethical human research to (re)-discover the clinical benefits of LSD? Take a journey through the strange history of LSD research and learn about its potential applications in medicine. What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Hughes works as a team member in the Hematopoietic Cell Development laboratory at the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Biomedical Research Centre.

Last week on March 18, 2015, The UBC Neuroscience Graduate Student Association hosted a screening of Neurons to Nirvana: Understanding Psychedelic Medicines at the Pacific Cinematheque theatre in Vancouver (Note: Links have been removed),

A thought-provoking and visually-stunning documentary that explores the potential of five powerful psychedelic substances (LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, ayahuasca, and cannabis) as psychotherapeutic medicines. Despite the potential promise shown by such drugs in research conducted in the 1950s, the increasingly restrictive anti-drug policies of successive governments effectively shut down further enquiry. As one of the many world-renowned researchers, writers, psychologists, and scientists interviewed in the film says: “The government does not allow this research to take place, and then says there’s no research to support it. It’s beyond hypocrisy.” The film is a cogent call to put irrational, fear-based beliefs aside in order to allow clinical, evidence-based research into psychedelics in areas such as addictions, PTSD, anxiety, depression, and end-of-life care.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Post-screening discussion with co-director Oliver Hockenhull and Mark Haden.

A teacher and essayist as well as a filmmaker, Oliver Hockenhull has presented at numerous universities in Canada, the US, and Europe. He has blended the documentary, essay, and experimental genres in such previous works as Aldous Huxley: The Gravity of Light (1996), Building Heaven, Remembering Earth (1999), and Evo (2002).

Mark Haden worked for Vancouver Coastal Health Addiction Services for 28 years and is now an Adjunct Professor at the UBC School of Population and Public Health. He is a pivotal voice in the drug policy reform movement, providing viable models for reforming drug education and regulating markets for currently illegal substances. Mark is also the Chair of the Board of MAPS Canada (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies).

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.

Perhaps popular demand will lead to another showing. In the meantime, there’s Hughes’ talk and if his description is indicative it should be fascinating.

For anyone who did not recognize it,  ‘tune in, turn on, and drop out’, is a phrase that Timothy Leary, the high priest of psychedelics, psychologist, and former lecturer at Harvard University popularized during the 1960s and 70s. According to the ‘tune in, turn on, and drop out‘ entry in Wikipedia, the phrase was given to Leary by Canadian media theorist, Marshall McLuhan.

ETA March 27, 2015 at 1610 PDT: I just received a newsletter from Canada’s National Film Board where the feature item is this,

All About Acid: Hofmann’s Potion

Open your mind with this powerful feature documentary that retraces the history of LSD, a substance first used to treat addiction and mental illness that became the self-understanding tool of a generation.

For more on Hofmann’s Potion, read Meet the Lab Coat-Clad Granddaddies of LSD on the NFB/ blog.

Watch Now

* ‘tun’ changed to ‘turn’ (sigh) March 27, 2015 at 1615 PDT

Poetry in Vancouver (Canada), Barcelona, and elsewhere; The Analysis of Beauty video documentation

Vancouver

Wednesday, March 18: Lunch Poems at SFU | Erín Moure and Andrew McEwan

Time: 12pm
Place: Teck Gallery, Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings St.

Cost: Free. No registration required.

Erín Moure writes in English and Galician and translates poetry from French, Galician, Spanish and Portuguese into English by, among others, Nicole Brossard, Chus Pato and Fernando Pessoa. Her work also appears in short films, theatre, and musical compositions.

Andrew McEwan is the author of the book, Repeater, shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award, which employs the ASCII binary code for letters to create poetry that has been described as “mesmerizingly lyrical and theoretically rigorous.”

You can find the webpage for this particular event here; it includes some additional biographical information.

Barcelona and more

I received poetry news from Zlata Kitowski of PoetryFilm back in February 2015. While some of the events have occurred there are still these to come,

March 2015

  • Two PoetryFilm presentations at CCCB Barcelona, 18-19 March 2015
  • Zata will present an academic talk, The PoetryFilm Archive 2002-2015, at the AHRC-funded Pararchive conference at Leeds University, 27-28 March 2015
  • Zata to judge the Read Our Lips poetry film competition organised by Apples and Snakes, 28 March 2015

April 2015

  • PoetryFilm at the Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival, Hawick, Scotland, 16-19 April 2015
  • PoetryFilm event at the sound acts festival in Athens, Greece, 24-26 April 2015
  • PoetryFilm event at the Wenlock Poetry Festival, UK, 24-26 April 2015

May 2015

  • PoetryFilm at Cannes Film Festival 2015, Cannes, France

June 2015

August 2015

  • Exhibition of artworks in Denmark, 9-21 August 2015

For anyone unfamiliar with Zlata Kitowski (from the PoetryFilm’s About page),

Zata Kitowski is the founder and director of PoetryFilm, an international research art project launched in 2002. The PoetryFilm project explores semiotics and meaning-making within the poetry film artform, celebrating experimental poetry films and other avant-garde text/image/sound screening and performance material. PoetryFilm was founded through Zata’s personal practice as a writer and as an artist, and through an interest in the creation and perception of emotion and meaning.

Since 2002, PoetryFilm has produced over 60 events at cinemas, galleries, literary festivals and academic institutions – including Tate Britain, The ICA, Southbank Centre, Cannes Film Festival, CCCB Barcelona, O Miami, and Curzon Cinemas (see Past Events page for more). Talks about PoetryFilm include sessions for MA Creative Writing at Warwick University, MA Filmmaking at The National Film & Television School, and MA Visual Communication at The Royal College of Art. Zata has also judged poetry film prizes at the Southbank Centre and Zebra Festival in Berlin.

PoetryFilm is supported by Arts Council England, who recently funded the cataloguing of the entire PoetryFilm Archive, which at present contains over 500 international artworks. In March 2015 Zata will contribute an academic  presentation about this archive to an AHRC-funded conference at Leeds University. PoetryFilm is an accredited member of Film Hub London, part of the BFI Audience Network, and holds a trademark awarded by the Intellectual Property Office.

There is more about the CCCB appearance in Barcelona on this webpage,

PoetryFilm will present two programmes at the Kosmopolis Amplified Literature Festival at CCCB Barcelona on 19 and 20 March 2015. 

Both programmes are listed below.

Programme 1:

Reversed Mirror Eduardo Kac / 1997, 7’, V.O.
Lunar Tides Susan Trangmar / Regne Unit, 2014, 9’, V.O.
Sandpiper John Scott / Canadà, 2014, 3’30’’, V.O.
Full Stop Zata Kitowski / Regne Unit, 2014, 4’30’’, V.O.
Turbines in January Kate Sweeney i Colette Bryce / Regne Unit, 2013, 2’, V.O.
Self-Evident Things Piotr Bosacki / Polònia, 2013, 10’, V.O.S.Anglès
Dream Poem Dann Casswell / Regne Unit, 2006, 1’30’’, V.O.
Afterlight Timothy David Orme / Estats Units, 2013, 3’, V.O.
The Portrait of Jean Genet Disinformation / Regne Unit, 2014, 3’, V.O.
Solstice Samuel Levack i Jennifer Lewandowski / Regne Unit, 2013, 3’, S.D.

Programme 2:

The Man With Wheels Poeta: Billy Childish; director: Eugene Doyen / Regne Unit, 1990, 7’, V.O.
Proem Poeta: Hart Crane; directora: Suzie Hanna / Regne Unit, 2013, 4’, V.O.
You Be Mother Sarah Pucill / Regne Unit, 1990, 7’, S.D.
About Owls Poeta: Geoffrey Grigson / Regne Unit, 1968-2014, 1’, V.O.
Cut-Up Experiment VIII: Timers Run On Poeta i directora: Zata Kitowski / Regne Unit, 2007, 7’, V.O.
The Analysis of Beauty Produït per Disinformation / Regne Unit, 2000, 4’, S.D.
Just Midnight Poeta: Robert Lax; animadora: Susanne Wiegner / Alemanya, 2013, 4’, V.O.

The latest Analysis of Beauty video documentation, as opposed to what’s being included in PoetryFilm’s programme 2 in Barcelona, is from 2014.  I mentioned the 2014 installation of the Analysis of Beauty at the festival of sonic art being held in Edinburgh at some length in my Nov. 13, 2014 posting. Accordingly, this excerpt from the event page on the rorsharchaudio.com website includes only information about the latest documentation,

Art in Scotland and Summerhall TV made this video about the “The Analysis of Beauty” sound and video installation (see earlier post) which ran for 2 weeks, up to 29 Nov 2014, in the Georgian Gallery at Talbot Rice in Edinburgh. The actual sound featured in “The Analysis of Beauty” exhibit focussed on sine-waves with a core frequency of 40Hz, with the effect that (inevitably) the in-situ audio proved almost impossible to record for this video. For the most accurate representation of the gallery sound, please play the MP3 file below, listening through good quality external hi-fi loudspeakers or headphones (not laptop speakers).

As for the influence of William Hogarth’s ideas about “The Analysis of Beauty” and “Serpentine Line” etc, the evolution of this exhibit, which premiered at Kettle’s Yard gallery in 2000, is described in the Summerhall TV video. …

Enjoy!

Lomiko Metals, Graphene ESD, and supercapacitors

My hats off to Lomiko Metals for its publicity efforts. The company cranks out at least three news releases per month and that’s a lot of work for a small company. The Feb. 23, 2015 news release (also a Feb. 24, 2015 news item on Azonano) announces a newish research relationship and a new position for Lomiko Metal’s Chief Esecutive Officer (CEO), A. Paul Gill,

Lomiko Metals Inc. is pleased to announce Graphene Energy Storage Devices Corp. has signed a research agreement with the Research Foundation of Stony Brook University (SBU). Graphene ESD Corp. will partner with the SBU Center for Advanced Sensor Technologies (Sensor CAT) to develop new supercapacitors designs for energy storage. Lomiko Metals Inc. currently owns a 40% stake in Graphene ESD and Mr. A. Paul Gill, CEO of Lomiko, is now appointed a Director of Graphene ESD.

“This agreement is a significant step in expanding collaboration between industry and academia in the furtherance of our Center’s mission to create high-tech jobs in New York,” stated Peter Shkolnikov, Deputy Director of the Sensor CAT. “Energy storage is a rapidly growing field, with SBU is on the forefront of electrochemical energy storage research”.
Initially, Graphene ESD Corp. will provide $50,000 in cash funding to the SUNY Research Foundation which will host research at its Sensor CAT facilities on SBU campus in Stony Brook, NY.

I last mentioned Graphene ESD (Graphene Energy Storage Devices) in a Dec. 5, 2014 posting  when Lomiko announced it was investing in the venture.

As for Lomiko’s publicity efforts, there’s this intriguing Feb. 1, 2015 news release (Note: Links have been removed),

European Union 5 Billion Euro Graphene Research Fund Goliath Moves to Commercialization Efforts While Lomiko Efforts Start to Bear Fruit

Lomiko (“Lomiko”) (TSX-V:LMR, OTC:LMRMF, FSE:DH8B) is raising the alarm regarding Canada’s lacklustre efforts to capitalize on new manufacturing and nanotechnology opportunities while concentrating on the oil industry.

“In twenty years the effect of graphene and 3D printing on society will be amazing, very much like the impact of plastics in the sixties and computers in the eighties. I hope that Canadian finance and government institutions recognize the opportunity for Canada to establish a competitive advantage,” stated A. Paul Gill, CEO. “The EU has put 5 Billion euros into graphene research while most Canadians don’t even know about this Nobel-prize winning material.”

Mr. Gill was recently interview by Business Television regarding Lomiko’s efforts in the field. View the 90 second video clip by clicking here.

Lomiko has been working for two years on graphene commercialization efforts. Partnered with Graphene Labs, Lomiko has launched two ventures in the graphene field. On January 5, 2015 Lomiko announced a summary of its activity in 2014 and 2015 plans to spin-off two new technology companies after the successful launch of Graphene 3D Lab, a company foc used on developing 3D Printing hardware and materials. Lomiko continues to hold 4,396,916 shares or 10.43% of Graphene 3D Lab, 40% of newly formed Graphene Energy Storage Devices (Graphene ESD) and 100% of Lomiko Technologies Inc.

While mention of the European Union’s Graphene Flagship (funding of 1B Euros over 10 years) in contrast with the Canadian scene’s lack of major initiatives in this area seems unexceptionable, it’s a bit unusual to make so much fuss of a funding entity with which you have no relationship (from the Feb. 1, 2015 news release; Note: Links have been removed),

EU FUND – Graphene Flagship

The Graphene Flagship’s overriding goal is to take graphene, related layered materials and hybrid systems from a state of raw potential to a point where they can revolutionize multiple industries. This may bring a new dimension to future technology and put Europe at the heart of the process, with a manifold return on the investment as technological innovation, economic exploitation and societal benefits.

This requires the focus of the Flagship to evolve over the years, placing more resources in areas where this transition is more likely. To accomplish this the Graphene Flagship is looking for new industrial partners that bring in specific industrial and technology transfer competences or capabilities that complement the present consortium. Regarding what nations are eligible to apply, the European Commission (EC) rules are found here.

The selected new partners will be incorporated in the scientific and technological work packages of the core project under the Horizon 2020 phase of the Flagship that is presently being planned and that will run during 1 April 2016 – 31 March 2018.

While Gill’s point is well taken, lately there seems to be more action than usual on the Canadian graphene scene.

Investment in graphene (Grafoid), the Canadian government, and a 2015 federal election (Feb. 23, 2015)

NanoXplore: graphene and graphite in Québec (Canada) (Feb. 20, 2015)

For anyone who’d like to peruse Lomiko Metals’ news releases, go here.

Oilsands, pipelines, and coastlines at Vancouver’s (Canada) Café Scientifique on Feb. 24, 2015

Vancouver’s next Café Scientifique is being held in the back room of the The Railway Club (2nd floor of 579 Dunsmuir St. [at Seymour St.], Vancouver, Canada), on Feb. 24,  2015. Here’s the meeting description (from the Feb. 9, 2015 announcement),

Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Kyle Demes, a Hakai Postdoctoral Fellow in the Coastal Marine Ecology and Conservation lab at SFU.  The title of his talk is:

Inland Oil Sands and Coastal Ecology

Rising overseas oil demand has contributed to a series of proposed pipeline expansion and construction projects to move bitumen from areas of extraction in the interior of Canada to the coast, where it can be loaded onto tankers for shipment. These proposals represent a focal point of controversy in discussions around energy development, climate change and policy across North America and are one of the largest environmental concerns facing British Columbians. I will discuss the ways in which bitumen extraction, transport and shipment influence coastal marine ecosystems, identifying both potential and certain environmental impacts linked with the acceleration of oil sands operations to our coast. I will also review how well we understand each of these environmental impacts, emphasizing key uncertainties in our knowledge and how these gaps affect our ability to make informed decisions on these controversial proposals.

You can find out more about Kyle Demes here.

More investment money for Canada’s D-Wave Systems (quantum computing)

A Feb. 2, 2015 news item on Nanotechnology Now features D-Wave Systems (located in the Vancouver region, Canada) and its recent funding bonanza of $28M dollars,

Harris & Harris Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:TINY), an investor in transformative companies enabled by disruptive science, notes the announcement by portfolio company, D-Wave Systems, Inc., that it has closed $29 million (CAD) in funding from a large institutional investor, among others. This funding will be used to accelerate development of D-Wave’s quantum hardware and software and expand the software application ecosystem. This investment brings total funding in D-Wave to $174 million (CAD), with approximately $62 million (CAD) raised in 2014. Harris & Harris Group’s total investment in D-Wave is approximately $5.8 million (USD). D-Wave’s announcement also includes highlights of 2014, a year of strong growth and advancement for D-Wave.

A Jan. 29, 2015 D-Wave news release provides more details about the new investment and D-Wave’s 2014 triumphs,

D-Wave Systems Inc., the world’s first quantum computing company, today announced that it has closed $29 million in funding from a large institutional investor, among others. This funding will be used to accelerate development of D-Wave’s quantum hardware and software and expand the software application ecosystem. This investment brings total funding in D-Wave to $174 million (CAD), with approximately $62 million raised in 2014.

“The investment is a testament to the progress D-Wave continues to make as the leader in quantum computing systems,” said Vern Brownell, CEO of D-Wave. “The funding we received in 2014 will advance our quantum hardware and software development, as well as our work on leading edge applications of our systems. By making quantum computing available to more organizations, we’re driving our goal of finding solutions to the most complex optimization and machine learning applications in national defense, computing, research and finance.”

The funding follows a year of strong growth and advancement for D-Wave. Highlights include:

•    Significant progress made towards the release of the next D-Wave quantum system featuring a 1000 qubit processor, which is currently undergoing testing in D-Wave’s labs.
•    The company’s patent portfolio grew to over 150 issued patents worldwide, with 11 new U.S. patents being granted in 2014, covering aspects of D-Wave’s processor technology, systems and techniques for solving computational problems using D-Wave’s technology.
•    D-Wave Professional Services launched, providing quantum computing experts to collaborate directly with customers, and deliver training classes on the usage and programming of the D-Wave system to a number of national laboratories, businesses and universities.
•    Partnerships were established with DNA-SEQ and 1QBit, companies that are developing quantum software applications in the spheres of medicine and finance, respectively.
•    Research throughout the year continued to validate D-Wave’s work, including a study showing further evidence of quantum entanglement by D-Wave and USC  [University of Southern California] scientists, published in Physical Review X this past May.

Since 2011, some of the most prestigious organizations in the world, including Lockheed Martin, NASA, Google, USC and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), have partnered with D-Wave to use their quantum computing systems. In 2015, these partners will continue to work with the D-Wave computer, conducting pioneering research in machine learning, optimization, and space exploration.

D-Wave, which already employs over 120 people, plans to expand hiring with the additional funding. Key areas of growth include research, processor and systems development and software engineering.

Harris & Harris Group offers a description of D-Wave which mentions nanotechnology and hosts a couple of explanatory videos,

D-Wave Systems develops an adiabatic quantum computer (QC).

Status
Privately Held

The Market
Electronics – High Performance Computing

The Problem
Traditional or “classical computers” are constrained by the sequential character of data processing that makes the solving of non-polynomial (NP)-hard problems difficult or potentially impossible in reasonable timeframes. These types of computationally intense problems are commonly observed in software verifications, scheduling and logistics planning, integer programming, bioinformatics and financial portfolio optimization.

D-Wave’s Solution
D-Wave develops quantum computers that are capable of processing data quantum mechanical properties of matter. This leverage of quantum mechanics enables the identification of solutions to some non-polynomial (NP)-hard problems in a reasonable timeframe, instead of the exponential time needed for any classical digital computer. D-Wave sold and installed its first quantum computing system to a commercial customer in 2011.

Nanotechnology Factor
To function properly, D-wave processor requires tight control and manipulation of quantum mechanical phenomena. This control and manipulation is achieved by creating integrated circuits based on Josephson Junctions and other superconducting circuitry. By picking superconductors, D-wave managed to combine quantum mechanical behavior with macroscopic dimensions needed for hi-yield design and manufacturing.

It seems D-Wave has made some research and funding strides since I last wrote about the company in a Jan. 19, 2012 posting, although there is no mention of quantum computer sales.

Dark Matter at Vancouver’s (Canada) PUSH Festival, Jan. 28 – 30, 2015

With a title like Dark Matter, my expectation is for an art/science theatrical piece but the performance description makes a murky mess of my expectation (from the 2015 PuSH Festival’s Dark Matter webpage on the Simon Fraser University website; Note: A link has been removed),

Like so much good art, Dark Matter defies categorization. Creator Kate McIntosh takes the weightiest issues—time, space and existence—and turns them into wild, anarchic play. You might call this a musical about the universe—the one we know and others that may exist. Or you might say it’s an exploration of the mind/body problem—with the emphasis on bodies. It has billowing smoke, propulsive percussion, powerful symbolism and crazy dance. A woman stands before you with a mic and asks questions, some of which have no answer. You can think about them while you’re watching the universe being poured into a glass, darkness coming out of a paper bag, dancers being dragged across the stage with lassoes. What does it all add up to? The answer will be different for everyone, but one thing’s for sure: no one will emerge unshaken. With her two performance partners, McIntosh has produced a triumph of physical performance, of theatrical conjecture, and, most of all, of imagination.

Here’s a Dark Matter trailer McIntosh has made available,

The show seems to have had its start in 2009 when the science aspect was more explicitly part of the performance, from McIntosh’s Spin website (Performances webpage),

Dark Matter a performance from Kate McIntosh hosted by a woman in a spotlight, dressed in a sparkling dress and a long grey beard. With the help of two assistants, some small strange dances and a few materials you might or might not have at home, Dark Matter approaches the big scientific-philosophical questions in a full-on show-biz late-night theatre style, illustrating these knotty conundrums – time and gravity, being and not being, thought and the body – through what look suspiciously like a series of improvised home-science experiments.

There’s also a Nov. 22, 2009 review of that Dark Matter version on the Utopia Parkway blog (Note: A link has been removed),

A parallel universe. It’s always nice when a performer succeeds in taking you there. Some silly jokes delivered with a straight face, a couple of scientific experiments going wrong in the best Tommy Cooper-tradition, a leading lady pretending to be in control of everything, and a story taking a few absurd turns. That’s how Kate McIntosh won me over. And of course it always helps to throw in some balloons and twinkling stars too.

Intriguing, non? Although the show has likely undergone some changes over the years. In any case, here are the logistical details for the event in Vancouver, From the 2015 PuSH Festival Dark Matter webpage,

Venue
Fei & Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver (Level B2)


When
January 28–30 (2015)
80 Minutes (No intermission)

Tickets
$36

Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, there will be a post-performance artist’s talk at the Scotiabank Dance Centre (the talk is included free with the performance on Jan. 29). You can get more details about the talk at PuSH Conversations webpage. The moderator for the session, Maiko Bae Yamamoto is the Artistic Director of Vancouver-based Theatre/Replacement.

The secret life of leaves at Vancouver’s (Canada) Café Scientifique on Jan. 27, 2015

Vancouver’s next Café Scientifique is being held in the back room of the The Railway Club (2nd floor of 579 Dunsmuir St. [at Seymour St.], Vancouver, Canada), on Jan. 27,  2015*. Here’s the meeting description (from the Jan. 19, 2015 announcement),

Happy New Year!  We hope you all had an enjoyable and relaxing holiday season.  We’d like to send out a big thank you for your generosity in our crowdfunding campaign and your help in its promotion.  Your donations and support will help to keep us running for another year and more!

Speaking of which, our next café will happen on Tuesday, January 27th, at 7:30pm at The Railway Club. Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Chris Muir, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Biodiversity Research Centre at the University of British Columbia.  The title of his talk is:

More than salad: the inner lives of leaves

To most of us, leaves are the green things in a salad or the emblem on our flag. To a biologist, leaves are the critical interface between a plant and its environment. I will talk about some of the remarkable ways that leaves adapt plants to their environment. First, I will cover some basic functions that leaves perform for a plant: How do plants eat? How do plants avoid being eaten? What goes on inside a leaf? Next, I will talk about some of the unorthodox ways that leaves help plants make a living: How do plants without roots get water? Why do leaves track the sun? How did the Swiss Cheese Plant get its holes? The close connection between a leaf’s form and its function to the plant attests to the relentless action of natural selection in adapting organisms to their environment.

Muir has an eponymous website where you can find out more about his work and about him.

* Jan. 27, 2014 corrected to Jan. 27, 2015 on Feb. 12, 2015.