Due to popular demand we are BACK at the Royal Albert Hall with a brand new event. Our biggest and most spectacular show EVER!
Following the success of 2018’s hugely popular Space Shambles, The Cosmic Shambles Network are excited to announce their return to The Royal Albert Hall in 2020 with a brand new sea themed spectacular which is destined to be their biggest show ever.
On May 17th 2020 The Cosmic Shambles Network and the Royal Albert Hall will take you on a celebratory voyage of discovery into the depths of our blue planet and how we can protect it, with a spectacular new show, Sea Shambles. Anchored by co-host of The Infinite Monkey Cage, Robin Ince with physicist and oceanographer Dr Helen Czerski, naturalist and wildlife presenter Steve Backshall and many very special guests, we’ll be turning the entire main auditorium of the Royal Albert Hall into a virtual underwater playground with everything you’ve come to expect from The Cosmic Shambles Network’s signature variety shows, including special effects, puppetry and so very many lasers.
Join Robin, Helen and Steve as they set sail with an all-star cast of scientists, comedians, performers and musical guests (we’ll reveal some, not all – don’t be greedy – very soon…) for a one night only event you’ll never forget.
Tickets on sale NOW!
As always we want to make these unique events as accessible to as many people as possible and so we’ve made sure there are 100’s of tickets starting at just £10!
As part of the event we will also be once again collecting for The Trussell Trust Food Banks and raising money for selected ocean charities.
Usually I’d include the link to the page where you can purchase tickets in the text about the event but this time, I’m directing you here. From there you’ll be directed to a seating chart where you can see which seats are available to you based on whet you are willing to pay for the seat. There’s more but it’s probably best you investigate for yourself.
The Cosmic Shambles Network creates and curates podcasts, digital content and live events for people with curious minds. People who want to find out more about our universe through science, art, history, philosophy, music, literature. People who believe ignorance is not bliss. People who want to keep on discovering and learning about our wondrous universe and who want to have a laugh while doing it. People who believe that it is indeed our curiosity that makes us human. We believe we can never stop learning – science will never be finished and that’s exciting. The Cosmic Shambles Network brings together the world’s leading scientists, comedians, writers and performers to create entertaining content fuelled by curiosity. The approach is fun, real, accessible. Amongst the shambles there’s something for everyone.
Enjoy! One more thing, I notice that the Space Shambles event of 2018 featured Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut.
I was going to include event poster but I cannot figure out how to embed it here. For some reason the folks of the Vancouver Branch of Engineers and Geoscientists BC have made it difficult to do for someone as nontechnical as I am.
APGEBC stands for Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia and they are sometimes referred to as Engineers and Geoscientists BC (see Wikipedia entry). They (APGEBC) too have an event page listing the event and giving a little more information about why they’re hosting it and what you might find should you attend,
EG-Fest is a 1-day trade show style event organized by engineering and geoscience professionals and companies, and takes place during National Engineering and Geoscience Month. This is a great opportunity for people in our community to see first-hand how the many facets of engineering and geoscience affect our everyday lives.
The main goal of EG-Fest is to extend public knowledge and appreciation of engineering and geoscience. Each year, several thousand people pass through the Vancouver Public Library promenade to visit the many booths, demonstrations, and exhibits, as well as to speak with the representatives to learn about our profession.
This event is part of National Engineering and Geoscience Month (NEGM); an annual celebration of engineering and geoscience across Canada. The goal of this event is to promote the awareness of the engineering and geoscience professions, showcase career choices, and the many ways in which engineering and geoscience relate to our everyday life.
Everyone is welcome to attend and we encourage you to bring your friends and family. We hope to see you there.
From a February 22, 2020 Café Scientifque announcement (received via email),
Our next café will happen on Tuesday, February 25th, 2020 at 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be marine biologist Dr. Nick Wong who is associated with the conservation of invasive species [sic].
TITLE OF PRESENTATION: Invasive Species of the Lower Mainland 101
BRIEF ABSTRACT OF WORK: The Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC) is a collaborative-based organization committed to reducing the spread and impacts of non-native species within BC.
My role focuses on educating and informing a diverse range of audiences on current and “watchlist” invasive species in British Columbia.
Nick will give details about the key invasives species in the lower mainland, describe some of the ISCBC programs and share things you can do to preserve BC’s amazing biodiversity.
BIO: Nick is the Research and Projects Coordinator with the Invasive Species Council of BC. He received his BSc from Western University [Ontario] and an MSc and PhD in Marine Ecology from the University of Auckland. Nick is passionate about teaching and creating engaging opportunities for people to learn and understand the role they can play in the prevention and mitigation of invasive species.
If the annual reports page is to be believed, the ISCBC has been around since 2006. Nope, I just looked at the 2006 report and the introduction states they were just starting their fourth year of existence at that time. Here’s the ISCBC website.
One final comment, it seems like there might have been a lost opportunity. The ISCBC would have been an interesting addition as a sponsor or partner to the Invasive Systems Festival organized by the Curiosity Collider folks. The festival was mentioned in my October 14, 2019 posting (scroll down about 60% of the way).
A February 12, 2020 announcement (received via email) from ARPICO (Society of Italian Researchers and Professionals in Western Canada) features an upcoming March 2020 meeting,
ARPICO’s activity in 2020 will begin on Wednesday March 4th at the Italian Cultural Centre, Room 5, near the Museum & Art Gallery.
We’re sure many of us have often heard the words “artificial intelligence” also known by its acronym “AI”, a concept that appears to be infiltrating many aspects of our lives. It is probably a good guess to say that many of us wonder what AI really is and about the pros and cons of AI technology’s ubiquitous presence.
While it would take far longer than the typical ARPICO speaking event duration to even define AI, we will be able to delve into some of its workings and their effect on our lives at our next event when we are very pleased to host Dr. Cristina Conati, who will be presenting “The Eyes Are the Windows to the Mind: Implications for Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven Personalized Interaction“
Ahead of the speaking event, ARPICO will be holding its 2020 Annual General Meeting in the same location. We encourage everyone to participate in the AGM and have their say on all aspects of ARPICO’s matters. ARPICO is made by all of its members, not just the Board, and it is therefore paramount that you all make an effort to attend, let us know what your wishes are for the Society and tell us how we can do better together as we go forward.
If you are driving to the venue, there is plenty of free parking space.
We look forward to seeing everyone there.
The evening agenda is as follows:
5:45PM to 6:30PM – Annual General Meeting
[ Doors Open for Registration at 5:30PM ]
7:00pm – Start of the evening Event with introductions & lecture by Dr. Cristina Conati
[ Doors Open for Registration at 6:30PM ]
8:00 pm – Q & A Period
to follow – Mingling & Refreshments until about 9:30 pm
Here’s a description of the talk and Dr. Conati,
Eye-tracking has been extensively used both in psychology for understanding various aspects of human cognition, as well as in human computer interaction (HCI) for evaluation of interface design or as a form of direct input. In recent years, eye-tracking has also been investigated as a source of information for machine learning models that predict relevant user states and traits (e.g., attention, confusion, learning, perceptual abilities). These predictions can then be leveraged by AI agents to personalize the interaction with their users. In this talk, Dr. Conati will provide an overview of the research her lab has done in this area, including predicting user cognitive skills, and affective states, with applications to User-Adaptive Visualizations and Intelligent Tutoring Systems.
Dr. Conati is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. She received an M.Sc. in Computer Science at the University of Milan, as well as an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Intelligent Systems at the University of Pittsburgh. Conati’s research is at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Cognitive Science, with the goal to create intelligent interactive systems that can capture relevant user’s properties (states, skills, needs) and personalize the interaction accordingly. Conati has over 100 peer-reviewed publications in this field and her research has received awards from a variety of venues, including UMUAI, the Journal of User Modeling and User Adapted Interaction (2002), the ACM International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI 2007), the International Conference of User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization (UMAP 2013, 2014), TiiS, ACM Transactions on Intelligent Interactive Systems (2014), and the International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA 2016).
I have more registration information from the announcement,
WHEN (AGM): Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 at 5:45PM (doors open at 5:30PM)
WHEN (EVENT): Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 at 7:00PM (doors open at 6:30PM)
WHERE: Italian Cultural Centre – Museum & Art Gallery – Room 5 – 3075 Slocan St, Vancouver, BC, V5M 3E4
are FREE, but all individuals are requested to obtain “free-admission”
tickets on EventBrite site due to limited seating at the venue.
Organizers need accurate registration numbers to manage wait lists and
prepare name tags.
ARPICO events are 100% staffed by volunteer organizers and helpers,
however, room rental, stationery, and guest refreshments are costs
incurred and underwritten by members of ARPICO. Therefore to be fair,
all audience participants are asked to donate to the best of their
ability at the door or via EventBrite to “help” defray costs of the
No brain but it learns, it has about 720 sexes, and it travels at a rate of approximately 4 cm (1.6 inches) per hour, it is known as ‘le blob’. Fascinated when I first stumbled across the news, I had to post this piece but wish I hadn’t waited so long.
Here’s the 101: the 900-odd species of slime mould, of which P. polycephalum is just one, are a taxonomic headache. They’re currently boxed into the Protista kingdom, because where else are you going to put something that isn’t a fungus, plant, bacteria, or animal?
When life is good, they tend to live solitary lives as single cells like amoeba.
On occasion they squish together, forming a wide, branching structure called a plasmodium that can cover several square metres as they search cities to conquer. Well, bacteria to digest at least.
If you thought your experience on Tinder was hard, dating for slime moulds is a nightmare. Cells can only mix-and-match their genetic material if each has a compatible set of genes called matA, mat B, and mat C, each with up to 16 variations.
But the truly fascinating part is their ability to sense and rapidly adapt to their environment – a behaviour we might, for lack of a better word, call learning.
It isn’t an animal, a plant, or a fungus. The slime mold (Physarum polycephalum) is a strange, creeping, bloblike organism made up of one giant cell. Though it has no brain, it can learn from experience, as biologists at the Research Centre on Animal Cognition (CNRS, Université Toulouse III — Paul Sabatier) previously demonstrated. Now the same team of scientists has gone a step further, proving that a slime mold can transmit what it has learned to a fellow slime mold when the two combine. These new findings are published in the December 21, 2016, issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Imagine you could temporarily fuse with someone, acquire that person’s knowledge, and then split off to become your separate self again. With slime molds, that really happens! The slime mold — Physarum polycephalum for scientists — is a unicellular organism whose natural habitat is forest litter. But it can also be cultured in a laboratory petri dish. Audrey Dussutour and David Vogel had already trained slime molds to move past repellent but harmless substances (e.g. coffee, quinine, or salt) to reach their food. They now reveal that a slime mold that has learned to ignore salt can transmit this acquired behavior to another simply by fusing with it.
To achieve this, the researchers taught more than 2,000 slime molds that salt posed no threat. In order to reach their food, these slime molds had to cross a bridge covered with salt. This experience made them habituated slime molds. Meanwhile, another 2,000 slime molds had to cross a bridge bare of any substance. They made up the group of naive slime molds. After this training period, the scientists grouped slime molds into habituated, naive, and mixed pairs. Paired slime molds fused together where they came into contact. The new, fused slime molds then had to cross salt-covered bridges. To the researchers’ surprise, the mixed slime molds moved just as fast as habituated pairs, and much faster than naive ones, suggesting that knowledge of the harmless nature of salt had been shared. This held true for slime molds formed from 3 or 4 individuals. No matter how many fused, only 1 habituated slime mold was needed to transfer the information.
To check that transfer had indeed taken place, the scientists separated the slime molds 1 hour and 3 hours after fusion and repeated the bridge experiment. Only naive slime molds that had been fused with habituated slime molds for 3 hours ignored the salt; all others were repulsed by it. This was proof of learning. When viewing the slime molds through a microscope, the scientists noticed that, after 3 hours, a vein formed at the point of fusion. This vein is undoubtedly the channel through which information is shared. The next challenges facing the researchers are to elucidate the form this information takes, and to test whether more than one behavior can be transmitted simultaneously. If Slime Mold A learns how to ignore quinine and Slime Mold B to ignore salt, the biologists wonder whether both behaviors can be transmitted and retained through fusion.
Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper published in 2016,
Le blob est un organisme unicellulaire complexe mais dépourvu de système nerveux. Celui-ci est capable d’emmagasiner une connaissance et de la transmettre à ses congénères mais la manière dont il procède demeurait un mystère. Des chercheuses et chercheurs du Centre de recherches sur la cognition animale (CNRS/UT3 Paul Sabatier)* viennent de montrer que le blob apprend à tolérer une substance en l’absorbant.
Cette découverte découle d’une observation : les blobs s’échangent de l’information seulement lorsque leurs réseaux veineux fusionnent. Dans ce cas-là, la connaissance circule-t-elle au travers de ces veines ? Dès lors, la substance à laquelle le blob s’habitue constitue-t-elle le support de sa « mémoire » ?
Dans un premier temps l’équipe de scientifiques a entrainé des blobs à traverser des environnements salés pendant six jours dans le but de les habituer au sel. Par la suite, elle a évalué la concentration en sel au sein de ces blobs : ceux-ci en contenaient dix fois plus que les blobs « naïfs ». Les chercheurs les ont alors placés dans un environnement neutre et ont observé qu’ils excrétaient le sel qu’ils contenaient au bout de deux jours, perdant de fait « la mémoire ». Cette expérience semblait donc indiquer un lien entre la concentration de sel au sein de l’organisme et la « mémoire » de l’apprentissage.
Pour aller plus loin et confirmer cette hypothèse, les scientifiques ont introduit dans des blobs naïfs la « mémoire » de l’habituation au sel en en injectant directement dans leurs organismes. Deux heures après, les blobs ne se comportaient plus comme des naïfs mais comme des blobs ayant subi un entrainement de six jours.
Lorsque les conditions environnementales se détériorent, les blobs sont capables d’entrer dans un état de dormance. Les chercheurs ont démontré qu’un mois après être entrés dans cet état, les blobs conservaient leur habituation au sel. Les blobs stockent en effet le sel absorbé pendant la phase de dormance et conservent ainsi la connaissance sur le long terme.
Les résultats de cette étude prouvent que la substance aversive pourrait constituer le support de la « mémoire » du blob. Les chercheurs essayent maintenant de comprendre si le blob peut mémoriser plusieurs substances aversives en même temps et dans quelle mesure il est capable de s’y habituer.
* Le Centre de recherche sur la cognition animale fait partie du Centre de biologie intégrative (CNRS/UT3 Paul Sabatier)
Here’s the abstract for the paper (the link and citation follow afterward),
Learning and memory are indisputably key features of animal success. Using information about past experiences is critical for optimal decision-making in a fluctuating environment. Those abilities are usually believed to be limited to organisms with a nervous system, precluding their existence in non-neural organisms. However, recent studies showed that the slime mould Physarum polycephalum, despite being unicellular, displays habituation, a simple form of learning. In this paper, we studied the possible substrate of both short- and long-term habituation in slime moulds. We habituated slime moulds to sodium, a known repellent, using a 6 day training and turned them into a dormant state named sclerotia. Those slime moulds were then revived and tested for habituation. We showed that information acquired during the training was preserved through the dormant stage as slime moulds still showed habituation after a one-month dormancy period. Chemical analyses indicated a continuous uptake of sodium during the process of habituation and showed that sodium was retained throughout the dormant stage. Lastly, we showed that memory inception via constrained absorption of sodium for 2 h elicited habituation. Our results suggest that slime moulds absorbed the repellent and used it as a ‘circulating memory’.
This article is part of the theme issue ‘Liquid brains, solid brains: How distributed cognitive architectures process information’.
Here’s the link and the citation for the 2019 paper,
Should you ever wish to find ‘le blob’, the Paris Zoological Park, known as the parc zoologique de Paris, is one of four establishments which comprise the totality of the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle in Paris. There are others outside Paris. (You can find more in the Muséum’s Wikipedia entry but it is in French.)
Dr. Spencer Wade and Veronica Li, RCC: Is Love an Emotion?
Dr. Rebecca Cobb is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Simon Fraser University. Dr. Cobb directs the Close Relationships Lab at SFU. Her research examines developmental trajectories of and transitions in close relationships; factors that predict sexual functioning and relationship success; and prevention of relationship distress. See more about Dr. Cobb’s research here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKJgHmTGZyQ
Dr. Spencer Wade is a Clinical Psychologist working primarily in the field of rehabilitation psychology. He routinely assists clients to navigate the challenges following a traumatic injury, including issues related to sexuality and barriers to engaging in a fulfilling, intimate relationship. Dr. Wade’s curiosity about human intimacy led him to study the nature of love, sex and relationships over the life span.
Veronica Li is a Registered Clinical Counselor and a PsyD Candidate at Adler University. Ms. Li’s research interests are focused on the influence of social norms on human sexuality. She is currently training in the area of traumatic brain injuries and is specifically interested in the intersection between brain injury and intimate relationships.
Panel discussion and catered networking to follow!
A January 23, 2020 news item on Nanowerk features a number of new books. Here are summaries of a couple of them from the news item (Note: Links have been removed),
The main goal of “Nanotechnology in Skin, Soft Tissue, and Bone Infections” is to deal with the role of nanobiotechnology in skin, soft tissue and bone infections since it is difficult to treat the infections due to the development of resistance in them against existing antibiotics.
The present interdisciplinary book is very useful for a diverse group of readers including nanotechnologists, medical microbiologists, dermatologists, osteologists, biotechnologists, bioengineers.
“Nanotechnology in Skin, Soft-Tissue, and Bone Infections” is divided into four sections: Section I- includes role of nanotechnology in skin infections such as atopic dermatitis, and nanomaterials for combating infections caused by bacteria and fungi. Section II- incorporates how nanotechnology can be used for soft-tissue infections such as diabetic foot ulcer and other wound infections; Section III- discusses about the nanomaterials in artificial scaffolds bone engineering and bone infections caused by bacteria and fungi; and also about the toxicity issues generated by the nanomaterials in general and nanoparticles in particular.
“Advanced Materials for Defense: Development, Analysis and Applications” is a collection of high quality research and review papers submitted to the 1st World Conference on Advanced Materials for Defense (AUXDEFENSE 2018).
A wide range of topics related to the defense area such as ballistic protection, impact and energy absorption, composite materials, smart materials and structures, nanomaterials and nano structures, CBRN protection, thermoregulation, camouflage, auxetic materials, and monitoring systems is covered.
Written by the leading experts in these subjects, this work discusses both technological advances in terms of materials as well as product designing, analysis as well as case studies.
This volume will prove to be a valuable resource for researchers and scientists from different engineering disciplines such as materials science, chemical engineering, biological sciences, textile engineering, mechanical engineering, environmental science, and nanotechnology.
Nanoengineering is a branch of engineering that exploits the unique properties of nanomaterials—their size and quantum effects—and the interaction between these materials, in order to design and manufacture novel structures and devices that possess entirely new functionality and capabilities, which are not obtainable by macroscale engineering.
While the term nanoengineering is often used synonymously with the general term nanotechnology, the former technically focuses more closely on the engineering aspects of the field, as opposed to the broader science and general technology aspects that are encompassed by the latter.
“Nanoengineering: The Skills and Tools Making Technology Invisible” puts a spotlight on some of the scientists who are pushing the boundaries of technology and it gives examples of their work and how they are advancing knowledge one little step at a time.
This book is a collection of essays about researchers involved in nanoengineering and many other facets of nanotechnologies. This research involves truly multidisciplinary and international efforts, covering a wide range of scientific disciplines such as medicine, materials sciences, chemistry, toxicology, biology and biotechnology, physics and electronics.
The book showcases 176 very specific research projects and you will meet the scientists who develop the theories, conduct the experiments, and build the new materials and devices that will make nanoengineering a core technology platform for many future products and applications.
On January 28, 2020, Azonano featured a book review for “Nano Comes to Life: How Nanotechnology is Transforming Medicine and the Future of Biology.” The review by Rebecca Megson-Smith, marketing lead, was originally published on the NuNano company blog
Covering sciences ‘greatest hits’ since we have been able to look at the world on the nanoscale, as well as where it is taking our understanding of life, Nano Comes to Life: How Nanotechnology is Transforming Medicine and the Future of Biology is an inspiring and joyful read.
As author Sonia Contera writes, biology is an area of intense interest and study. With the advent of nanotechnology, a more diverse range of scientists from across the disciplines are now coming together to solve some of the biggest issues of our time.
The ability to visualise, interact with, manipulate and create matter at the nanometer scale – the level of molecules, proteins and DNA – combined with the physicists quantitative and mathematical approach is revolutionising our understanding of the complexity which underpins life.
I particularly enjoyed the section that discussed the history of scanning tools. Here Contera highlights how profoundly the development of the STM [scanning tunneling microscope] transformed human interaction with matter.
Not only did it image at the atomic level with ‘unprecedented accuracy using a relatively simple, cheap tool’, but the STM was able to pick up and move the atoms around one by one. And what it couldn’t do effectively – work within the biological environments – was and is achievable through the introduction of the AFM [atomic force microscope].
She [Contera] writes:
“Physics urges us to consider life as a whole emergent from the greater whole – emanating from the same rules that govern the entire cosmos.”
I leave you with another bold declaration from Sonia about the good that the merging of the sciences has offered and, on behalf of everyone at NuNano, would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – see you in 2020!
“As physics, engineering, computer science and materials science merge with biology, they are actually helping to reconnect science and technology with the deep questions that humans have asked themselves from the beginning of civilization: What is life? What does it mean to be human when we can manipulate and even exploit our own biology?”
Sonia Contera is professor of biological physics in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford. She is a leading pioneer in the field of nanotechnology.
Megson-Smith certainly seems enthused about the book and she reminded me of how interested I was in STMs and AFMs when I first started investigating and writing about nanotechnology. Given the review but not having seen the book myself, it seems this might be a good introduction.
My introductory book was the 2009 Soft Machines: Nanotechnology and Life by Richard Jones, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Sheffield. I have great affection for the book and, if memory serves, it hasn’t really aged. One more thing, Jones can be very funny. It’s not many people who can successfully combine humour and nanotechnology.
Should you be in Ottawa, Canada on January 30, 2020 you might want to check out the Curiosity on Stage event: ‘When your city is smarter than you’ at the Canada Science and Technology Museum (from the Ingenium event page),
Curiosity on Stage: Evening Edition – When your city is smarter than you
Location Event Hall
When January 30, 2020
Times 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (a reception will be held before the event, from 6:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.)
Fee Description $10 for non-members, $7 for museum members and students.
Language Comments Please note that this presentation will be in English, with simultaneous translation into French, and a bilingual Q & A.
Please note that the topics under discussion are intended for mature audiences. Recommended for participants ages 15 and up.
In June 2019, Google’s Sidewalk Labs released a long-awaited development proposal for a Toronto waterfront community, and in doing so created the largest ever smart city experiment in the world. For some, Sidewalk Labs’ proposal promises the key elements of a sustainable and inclusive city. For others, the proposal illustrates the dangers of letting a private corporation invade further into our private lives.
As part of our “Living in the Machine Age” theme, join a lively discussion exploring the future of cities in an increasingly algorithmic world. The session will end with a panel discussion and question-and-answer period.
6:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.: Light refreshments and networking opportunities
7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.: Presentations and panel discussion
8:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.: Light refreshments and networking opportunities
Dr Tracey P. Lauriault – Assistant Professor, Carleton University
Marc René de Cotret – Director, Service Transformation of City of Ottawa
Dr Tracey P. Lauriault – Assistant Professor, Carleton University
Dr Tracey P. Lauriault, Assistant Professor, Critical Media and Big Data, School of Journalism and Communication, and Cross Appointed to the MA in Digital Humanities and Faculty of the Institute for Data Science, Carleton University.
Lauriault’s work on open data, big data, open smart cities, is international, transdisciplinary and multi-sectoral. She is one of the founders of critical data studies and of open data in Canada and founded Open Smart Cities with OpenNorth a data and technology governance approach shaping how Canadian cities roll out their ‘smart’ programs. Her scholarship is critical and engaged, and as a data and technological citizen, she works with the makers, governors and stakeholders of these data, processes and infrastructures, not only to better understand them but also to ensure that these do not cause harm and more so that they are governed in an ethical, accountable and transparent way so as to balance economic development, social progress and environmental responsibility.
Marc René de Cotret – Director, Service Transformation of City of Ottawa
Marc René de Cotret joined the City of Ottawa’s Innovative Client Services Department as the Director of Service Transformation in April 2017.
He leads the Service Transformation team, which is responsible for delivering the City’s strategic planning process, smart city strategy, digital and innovation initiatives, open data program, and organizational effectiveness efforts to cultivate a culture of innovation and client-centric service delivery.
Prior to joining the City, Marc was an Associate Partner with the Digital Operations practice of IBM’s Global Business Services. He has extensive consulting experience in strategy, business operations, and transformation. He has worked for large-scale clients in numerous sectors including all levels of government, public safety, health care, construction and engineering, defense, pulp & paper, industrial shipbuilding, nuclear regulatory, and taxation.
Marc has a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Ottawa.
There is a lot happening in the next day or two. I have two Vancouver (Canada) science events and an online event, which can be attended from anywhere.
Space debris on January 23, 2020 in Vancouver
I was surprised to learn about space debris (it was described as a floating junkyard in space) in 1992. It seems things have not gotten better. Here’s more from the Cosmic Nights: Space Debris event page on the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre website,
Cosmic Nights: Space Debris
There are tens of thousands of pieces of man-made debris, or “space junk,” orbiting the Earth that threaten satellites and other spacecraft. With the increase of space exploration and no debris removal processes in place that number is sure to increase.
Learn more about the impact space debris will have on current and future missions, space law, and the impact human activity, both scientific, and commercial are having on space as we discuss what it will take to make space exploration more sustainable. Physics professors Dr. Aaron Rosengren, and Dr. Aaron Boley will be joining us to share their expertise on the subject.
Tickets available for 7:30pm or 9:00pm planetarium star theatre shows. ________________
7:30 ticket holder schedule: 6:30 – check-in 7:00 – “Pooping in Space” (GroundStation Canada Theatre) 7:30 – 8:30 “Go Boldly and Sustainably” show (Planetarium Star Theatre) 9:00 – 9:30 “Space Debris” lecture
9:00 ticket holder schedule: 6:30 – check-in 7:00 – 9:00 (runs every 30 mins) “Pooping in Space” show (GroundStation Canada Theatre) 8:00 – 8:30 “Space Debris” lecture 9:00 – 10:00 “Go Boldly and Sustainably” show (Planetarium Star Theatre) The bar will be open from 6:30 – 10:00pm in the Cosmic Courtyard.
Only planetarium shows are ticketed, all other activities are optional.
7:00pm, 7:30pm, 8:00pm, 8:30pm – “Pooping in Space” – GroundStation Canada Theatre The ultimate waste! What happens when you have to “GO” in space? In this live show you’ll see how astronauts handle this on the ISS, look at some new innovations space suit design for future missions, and we’ll have some fun astronaut trivia.
7:30pm and 9:00pm – “Go Boldly and Sustainably” – Planetarium Star Theatre As humans venture into a solar system, where no one can own anything, it is becoming increasingly important to create policies to control for waste and promote sustainability. But who will enact these policies? Will it be our governments or private companies? Our astronomer Rachel Wang, and special guest Dr. Aaron Boley will explore these concepts under the dome in the Planetarium Star Theatre. For the 7:30 show SFU’s Paul Meyer will be making an appearance to talk about the key aspects of space security diplomacy and how it relates to the space debris challenge.
Dr. Aaron Boley is an Assistant Professor in the Physics and Astronomy department at UBC whose research program uses theory and observations to explore a wide range of processes in the formation of planets, from the birth of planet-forming discs to the long-term evolution of planetary systems.
Paul Meyer is Fellow in International Security and Adjunct Professor of International Studies at Simon Fraser University and a founding member of the Outer Space Institute. Prior to his assuming his current positions in 2011, Mr. Meyer had a 35-year career with the Canadian Foreign Service, including serving as Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations and to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva (2003-2007). He teaches a course on diplomacy at SFU’s School for International Studies and writes on issues of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, outer space security and international cyber security.
8:00pm and 9:00pm – “Space Junk: Our Quest to Conquer the Space Environment Problem” lecture by Dr. Aaron Rosengren
At the end of 2019, after nearly two decades, the U.S. government issued updated orbital debris mitigation guidelines, but the revision fell short of the sweeping changes many in the space debris research community expected. The updated guidelines sets new quantitative limits on events that can create debris and updates the classes of orbits to be used for the retirement of satellites, even allowing for the new exotic idea of passive disposal through gravitational resonances (similar phenomena have left their mark on the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter). The revised guidelines, however, do not make major changes, and leave intact the 25-year time frame for end-of-life disposal of low-Earth orbit satellites, a period many now believe to be far too long with the ever increasing orbital traffic in near-Earth space. In this talk, I will discuss various approaches to cleaning up or containing space junk, such as a recent exciting activity in Australia to use laser photo pressure to nudge inactive debris to safe orbits.
Dr. Aaron J. Rosengren is an Assistant Professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Arizona and Member of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Applied Mathematics. Prior to joining UA in 2017, he spent one year at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece working in the Department of Physics, as part of the European Union H2020 Project ReDSHIFT. He has also served as a member of the EU Asteroid and Space Debris Network, Stardust, working for two years at the Institute of Applied Physics Nello Carrara of the Italian National Research Council. His research interests include space situational awareness, orbital debris, celestial mechanics, and planetary science. Aaron is currently part of the Space Situational Awareness (SSA)-Arizona initiative at the University of Arizona, a member of the Outer Space Institute (OSI) for the sustainable development of Space at the University of British Columbia, and a research affiliate of the Center for Orbital Debris Education and Research (CODER) at the University of Maryland.
*Choose between either the 7:30pm or 9:00pm planetarium show when purchasing your ticket.*
This is a 19+ event. All attendees will be required to provide photo ID upon entry.
Date and Time
Thu, 23 January 2020 6:30 PM – 10:00 PM PST
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre 1100 Chestnut Street Vancouver, BC V6J 3J9
Cosmic Nights is the name for a series of talks about space and astronomy and an opportunity to socialize with your choice of beer or wine for purchase.
Canada-wide 2nd Canadian DIY Biology Summit (live audio and webcast)
This is a January 22, 2020 event accessible Canada-wide. For anyone on Pacific Time, it does mean being ready to check-in at 5 am. The first DIY Biology (‘do-it-yourself’ biology) Summit was held in 2016.
Organizers of Community Biolabs across Canada are converging on Ottawa this Wednesday for the second Canadian DIY Biology Summit organized by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). OSN [Open Science Network] President & Co-Founder, Scott Pownall, has been invited to talk about the Future of DIY/Community Biology in Canada.
A few points of clarification: DIYbio YVR has been renamed Open Science Network on Meetup and, should you wish to attend the summit virtually, there is information about passwords and codes on the agenda, which presumably will help you to get access.
Nerd Nite v. 49: Waterslides, Oil Tankers, and Predator-Prey Relationships on January 22, 2020 in Vancouver
When you were young, did you spend your summers zooming down waterslides? We remember days where our calves ached from climbing stairs, and sore bums from well… you know. And, if you were like us, you also stared at those slides and thought “How are these things made? And, is it going to disassemble while I’m on it?”. Today, we spend more of our summer days staring out at the oil tankers lining the shore, or watching seagulls dive down to retrieve waste left behind by tourists on Granville Island, but we maintain that curiousity about the things around us! So, splash into a New Year with us to learn about all three: waterslides, oil tankers, and predator-prey relationships.
Zachary is completing an MSc at UBC investigating freshwater and estuarine predation on juvenile salmon during their out-migration from natal rivers and works as a part-time contract biologist in the lower mainland. Prior to coming out west, Zach completed an interdisciplinary BSc in Aquatic Resources and Biology at St. F.X. University in Antigonish, N.S. During his undergraduate degree, Zach ran field and lab experiments to explore predator-induced phenotypic plasticity in intertidal blue mussels exposed to the waterborne cues of a drilling predator snail. He also conducted biological surveys on lobster fishing boats and worked as a fisheries observer for the offshore commercial snow crab fleet.
Shane is a professional mechanical engineer whose career transitioned from submarine designer to waterslide tester. He is currently a product manager for waterslides at WhiteWater West.
3. Oil Tankers 101
Kayla is an ocean enthusiast. She earned her Masters in Marine Management at Dalhousie University, studying compensation for environmental damage caused by ship-source oil spills. Passionate about sharing her knowledge of the ocean with others, Kayla’s shifted her focus to the realm of science communication to help more people foster a deeper relationship with science and the ocean. Kayla now works as a producer at The Story Collider, a non-profit dedicated to sharing true, personal stories about science, where she hosts live storytelling events and leads workshops on behalf of the organization. Follow her at @kaylamayglynn and catch her live on the Story Collider stage on February 11th, 2020!
Tickets for the last lecture in this series sold out in less five minutes! Here’s more from the Perimeter Institute’s January 17, 2020 event notice (received via email),
Warp Drive and Aliens: The Scientific Perspective WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 5 at 7 PM ET Bryan Gaensler, Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics
Science fiction and science both inspire wonder and awe, albeit in very different ways. At its best, science fiction asks profound questions about the human condition. In contrast, science asks – and often answers – even more profound questions about the very nature of matter, space, and time. Both science fiction and science fact explore the concept of journeying to other stars and finding life on other worlds. When it comes to interstellar travel, the truth may soon become stranger (and more amazing) than fiction.
In his upcoming lecture at Perimeter Institute, Gaensler will provide an overview of the latest thinking on interstellar travel and on the search for alien life. Read more.
We are pleased to offer benefits to our supporters at giving levels of $250+ to acknowledge your support and say ‘thank you.’
Advance tickets (one week prior to public offer) to Public Lectures, subject to availability
Access to advance tickets and communications for public events such as Doors Open, tours, etc.
Special communications, including The Donor Equation newsletter, Highlights (web version) and important announcements
Digital version of Inside Perimeter magazine
Recognition on donor lists (web and hard copy)
Nicely done! Although, I do have one question. If I’m giving you $250, why is there a “subject to availability” limitation? In principle, I understand why but ti seems to me they might want to reframe the benefit so there is one guaranteed advance ticket per year for a Public Lecture and any other advance tickets are “subject … .”