Monthly, 7:30 – 9:00 PM at Rosedale Community Hall, 901-11 Avenue NW
Come for an evening of discovery and discussion in an informal and intimate setting! Each month we will have an interactive presentation from a different presenter.
We are looking for more CALL scientists and environmentalists –CALL members and others– to come forward to stimulate and inspire us with accounts of research pertinent in today’s world! If you are interested and would like to know more, please contact Joe Boivin or Tom Kerwin via e-mail at email@example.com
Wednesday, November 1
HUNTING FOR MICROBIAL DARK MATTER IN CANADA
The Remarkable Biodiversity of Our Most Extreme Natural Environments
Dr. Peter Dunfield
Most of us are familiar with the Tree of Life, a metaphorical giant with its roots in the primordial muck and its leaves representing the incredible biodiversity we see today: butterflies and beetles, polar bears and buffalo, orchids and ferns. That image is beautiful but wrong, for the real Tree of Life is a seething mass of bacteria. Bacteria appeared on Earth 3 billion years before the first multicellular organisms, and during those 3 billion years were evolving ever newer and more inventive ways of survival. They adapted to grow in habitats of extreme heat, cold, salt, acidity, and toxicity. Unfortunately, less than 0.1% of all bacterial species can be grown in a laboratory, and so are very difficult to study. In the same way that most matter and energy in our Universe is called Dark Matter (we know it must be there, but we don’t know its true form), most of the Tree of Life has therefore now been dubbed “Microbial Dark Matter”. Uncovering this microbial dark matter is a new frontier of biodiversity research. In this talk I will describe some of the bacteria that live in extreme habitats such as hot springs, and describe how we use DNA-based techniques to understand what they do.
Peter Dunfield is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary. He previously worked in the Max Planck Society in Germany studying how bacteria affect global climate change processes, and later at the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences in New Zealand, studying how bacteria have adapted to live in volcanic environments. For the past 10 years his laboratory has been cataloguing the microbial biodiversity of some of the most extreme habitats in Canada, including thermal springs in BC (with temperatures up to 85oC), brine springs in Wood Buffalo National Park, and iron springs in the Northwest Territories. He collaborates with the Joint Genome Institute in California to use single-cell genomics and metagenomics to understand what these odd microorganisms do, and learn how to culture them.
Wednesday, December 6
DRAINING THE HEADWATERS
Kevin Van Tighem
Several previous speakers at CALL (including Kevin) have stressed the importance of our foothills in providing a clean and reliable water supply for Calgary and other cities in Alberta. Kevin will discuss how too many roads and off-highway vehicle trails are eroding Alberta's water future — and what we can do about it.
Kevin Van Tighem was born and raised in Calgary. His family roots in what is now Alberta go back to 1875. He graduated with a degree in plant ecology from the University of Calgary in 1977 and went on to work as a biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service. In 1985 Kevin joined Parks Canada and subsequently worked in Jasper, Yoho and Waterton Lakes National Parks. He went on to be superintendent of Prince Albert, Elk Island and then Banff before retiring in 2011.
Kevin is the author of fourteen books on wildlife and conservation and writes a regular column (“This Land”) in Alberta Views magazine.
His most recent book is Our Place/Changing the Nature of Alberta.
Advances in medical science are allowing Albertans to live longer, healthier lives, but the growing presence of drugs and related matabolites in waste water is challenging current wastewater treatment technologies. This Talk will present a brief history of water treatment, global and national water challenges and water treatment technologies that may allow water reuse options to provide more benefit from our current water supply.
Speaker: Lee Jackson, Biological Sciences, University of Calgary (http://people.ucalgary.ca/~ljackson/ ) is Scientific Director for ACWA (Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets, http://www.ucalgary.ca/acwa), a partnership between the City of Calgary and the university that seeks to develop and evaluate new engineering technologies to remove emerging contaminants from our municipal wastewater and the associated environmental benefits that may result.
There will be significant changes to Alberta’s electricity market over the next decade. Susan Wright will discuss how the Alberta government’s decision to terminate the Power Purchase Arrangements, shut down coal plants and move to a capacity market will impact Albertans in the years to come.
Speaker: Susan Wright obtained her LLB from the University of Calgary in 1984 and was called to the Bar in 1985. She worked as a litigator at a downtown law firm before moving in-house with a major energy company. She spent 26 years in the petrochemicals, pipelines, oil and natural gas industry, practicing in Canada and the US. She was the VP Legal, General Counsel at Alliance Pipelines before she retired to run in the 2014 provincial by-election.Susan writes a political blog Susan on the Soapbox which won a Clawbie in 2013 for the best legal blog for a non-legal audience. Posts have been reprinted in Huffington Post, Rabble and Alberta Views. Susan is a regular panelist on CTV’s Alberta Primetime and has appeared on CBC Radio and Danielle Smith’s Newstalk 770. She received the PIA Public Interest Award for Southern Alberta in 2016.
In McKinsey & Company’s Disruptive Technology, technologies containing artificial intelligence (AI) are expected to create tens of trillions of dollars in economic impact by the year 2025. Similarly, Gartner, Inc. lists machine learning (a subset of AI) as one of the top 10 strategic technology trends for 2017. Yet another technology fad? Perhaps, but it is hard to imagine any industry that won’t be affected by software applications with “smart” capabilities.
Jonathan Schaeffer is a Distinguished University Professor of Computing Science at the University of Alberta and is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Science. His research are is artificial intelligence. He is best known for applying his research to computer games. He is the creator of the checkers program Chinook, the first program to win a human world championship in any game. In 2007 he announced that checkers was solved: perfect plays leads to a draw. He is a founder of Onlea (onlea.org), the world’s first MOOC production company.
Click here for a recent Globe and Mail article by Jonathan Schaeffer on the critical importance of AI.
The “Historic” Paris Climate Agreement: What It Means for Canada and Alberta –
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