2016 Darwin Day Celebration

Posted in Skeptic on January 31, 2016 by saskskeptic

Saskatoon’s Darwin Day Celebration will be held Saturday, February 13, 2016 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM at the Frances Morrison Public Library 311 – 23rd St. E., Saskatoon, SK

See the meetup for the most up to date details.

February 12th is the birthday of Charles Darwin, and “Darwin Day” is a global celebration of science and reason. This will be the 8th celebration in Saskatoon and the 6th year that the Saskatchewan Minister of Education has recognised February 12 as Darwin Day in Saskatchewan!

The Saskatoon Skeptics and Centre for Inquiry Saskatoon are proud to host the annual Darwin Day celebration in Saskatoon on February 13 at 1pm. Come and celebrate Darwin’s 207th birthday with 2 presentations followed by discussions, cake and coffee.

Our first speaker this year is Dr. Jeffrey Lane (pictured below), Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Lane’s lab combines theory and techniques from ecology, evolutionary biology, quantitative genetics and physiology to better understand adaptation of populations to their natural environments. They primarily work with wild mammal systems that have been studied for multiple decades. Dr. Lane will be speaking about evolutionary responses to climate change.

Our second speaker this year is Dr. Ryan McKellar (pictured below), Research Scientist, Curator of Palaeontology, Royal Saskatchewan Museum. Dr. McKellar’s current research is focused primarily on amber inclusions and composition. His presentation is entitled Evolution through the eyes of a palaeontologist, in which we will explore the deep-time component of evolution, using case studies drawn from trilobites, as well as fossil insects preserved in amber. The fossil records of these groups provide excellent examples of diversification and extinction on a global scale. They also provide an opportunity to observe evolutionary patterns across millions of years. Darwin’s work has had a lasting impact on how palaeontologists view fossils as a source of data. Ultimately, this has made palaeontology a valuable addition to studies of the phylogeny (evolutionary relationships) and biogeography of modern organisms, even with our increasing reliance on molecular or genetic studies.

Below is a photo from Dr. McKellar’s work of Chrysomelid beetle phylogeny.

Schedule of Events (subject to change):

1:00 pm Introduction & 1st Presentation (Dr. Jeffrey Lane)

2:30 pm 2nd Presentation (Dr. Ryan McKellar)

3:30 pm Birthday Cake & Coffee (in the foyer – no food or drink is allowed in the theatre)

5:00 pm Pub Discussion – anyone interested can join us for further discussion & cheer – at a nearby pub (TBD)

You are welcome to attend all or any part of the event. There will be some short activities for children.

Donations are welcome and appreciated. Suggested donation: $10 (not required). Charitable donations of $20 or more to the Centre for Inquiry are eligible for a tax receipt if contact information is provided.

Come out for an afternoon celebrating science!

 

 

History is on Steroids: S.O.B.s Beware

Posted in Skeptic on January 11, 2016 by Rick

https://pandesite.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/history-is-on-steroids-s-o-b-s-beware/

An article discussing the growing importance of social media on shaping events. The site also provides visitors with an option to listen to a science and history-related podcast.

Episode 8: The Paris Agreement on Climate

Posted in Skeptic on December 19, 2015 by Rick

Peasants & Emperors is a podcast presenting topics related to democracy, science, culture, women’s issues, current events and critical thinking. A new podcast is produced and available for listening/download approximately every two weeks.

In episode eight, the Hooligans discuss some noteworthy things related to the Paris Agreement generally and talk specifically how the agreement might impact Canada.

Episode 8: The Paris Agreement on Climate

Click on the hyperlink above to download and listen to the podcast. Feel free to leave a comment or question in the comments section below. One of the cast members will respond.

Thanks in advance for listening and check back regularly for updates to the site and podcast.

Notes & Clarifications
1). In the podcast Rick mentioned a website called http://www.topten.info that provides information to consumers about how eco-friendly certain products are, etc. Regrettably this site’s members appear to only be European countries. Nonetheless, if you click here you can learn something about this initiative. Canadians interested in learning about eco-label initiatives in Canada can click here for more information.

2). The six island nations threatened by rising oceans if warming is not kept at the 1.5 Celsius mark are: Kiribati, Maldives, Fiji, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Cape Verde.

3). For members of the audience interested in learning more about non-market approaches to tackling climate change please click here. This document was produced by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

4). For people interested in learning more about Forest Bonds (as it relates to being part of the non-market solution) click here.

5). Rick observed that we would need more than one earth in order to support a Western lifestyle for every person on the planet. Below is an infographic taken from the Popular Science website illustrating how many earths one would need to live a certain type of lifestyle. Additional information on this concept is available on the Global Footprint Network.

6). Rick could not recall the name of the legal body overseeing and enforcing the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The technical term for such a body is a Free Trade Tribunal.

The Role of Perception in Science: Part 5 “Logical Conjecture”

Posted in Skeptic on December 15, 2015 by Rick

This is part five of a six part series exploring the role of perception in science from the Peasants & Emperors blog/podcast.

Click here to open the article. You can find links to the other four parts of this series (or links to podcasts) on the Saskatchewan Skeptics site as well as at Peasants & Emperors.

The Role of Perception in Science: Part 4 “Concepts & Ideas”

Posted in Skeptic on December 9, 2015 by Rick

Part 4 of a six part series on perception in science developed by Rick Delainey, BA, B.Ed. Rick and several friends host a podcast and blog site called Peasants & Emperors popularizing science, critical thinking, while also discussing politics and cultural issues.

The article The Role of Science: Part 4 “Concepts & Ideas” is accessible by clicking here.

The Role of Perception in Science: Part 3 “Model Dependent Realism”

Posted in Skeptic on December 6, 2015 by Rick

R. J. Delainey (BA, B.Ed) presents some thoughts on science as it relates to the role of “model dependent realism.” This is the part three of a six part series dedicated to discussing different aspects of the role of perception in science. In this article, Rick presents a historical and philosophical basis for understanding model dependent realism, i.e. models are useful because they help us make predictions and understand the world; however, models are not reality itself but representative of that reality.

The following link will take you to the site of his blog and podcast Peasants & EmperorsClick here to open the Role of Perception in Science: Part 3 “Model Dependent Realism.”

Episode 7: Talking Tolkien & Hope

Posted in Skeptic on November 29, 2015 by Rick

Peasants & Emperors is a podcast presenting topics related to democracy, science, culture, women’s issues, current events and critical thinking. A new podcast is produced and available for listening/download approximately every two weeks.

In episode seven, the Hooligans discuss whether or not fantasy as a literary genre is still relevant to the 21st century: can we learn anything about our own world by dwelling in imaginary ones?

Episode 7: Talking Tolkien & Hope

Click on the hyperlink above to download and listen to the podcast. Feel free to leave a comment or question in the comments section below. One of the cast members will respond.

Thanks in advance for listening and check back regularly for updates to the site and podcast.

Notes & Clarifications
1). Eucatastrophe in fantasy is a literary term coined by J. R. R. Tolkien referring to a sudden turn of events at the end of a story ensuring the protagonist does not meet some untimely end.

2). We just wanted to point out Jessica’s pronunciation of the word “damned” as “damn-ed” was awesome.

3). Thank you to WingNut Films and New Line Cinema for graciously allowing us to use two audio clips from Peter’s Jackson’s film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.

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