Radiation and Human Health

Friday, 25 January 2019

Speaker: Don Wiles

Lecture title: Radiation and Human Health

Lecture Summary

nuclear-wasteHumans have been exposed to nuclear radiation for millions of years and seem to have survived. Illustrations will be given to show how radiation can interact with human flesh and how the effects can often be counteracted.  Some examples of extreme cases will be given.  Current evidence indicates that there is a lower limit, below which radiation is not harmful.  In fact, small animal research indicates that below the safe limit radiation is actually beneficial to human and animal health.  Finally, a summary will be given of my own exposure to radiation, including my own gamma-ray spectrum

Slides: Radiation and Human Health

Bio: Don Wiles

Don Wiles
Don Wiles

Starting in Port Hope Ontario, I became exposed to large doses of radiation, and ingested considerable quantities of radium-226.  I also got a ‘radium burn’ on two fingers.  At MIT, I was useful in helping to calibrate a device for measuring radon in human breath.  Somehow I have survived.


Digitally Challenged!

Friday, 30 November 2018

Speaker: Mel Turner

Lecture title: Digitally Challenged!

Lecture Summary

Mel Turner

Mel Turner has been using, programming and dealing with computers for more than 50 years; almost as long as the mainstream use of computers in general. This lecture will describe the advances over the history of his career in both the private and public sectors. From mainframes in the 60s to iPhones and iPads today, Mel has had both a career and a hobby exploring this field that changes constantly and continues to challenge us all in our everyday lives.


Slides: Digitally Challenged


Bio: Mel Turner

Mel Turner
Mel Turner

Mel Turner graduated in Physics at the University of London (England) in 1966 and has been involved in Information Technology throughout his career. Starting with IBM as a programmer, Mel came to Canada in 1968 and worked in the public service and in the private sector before cofounding a software company in the 80s. He returned to Statistics Canada in the 90s and completed his career in 2006 managing the Informatics Branch. He continues to program as a hobby and busies himself in retirement with maintaining websites and volunteering technical support to local groups.


My Puppet Passion

Friday, 28 September 2018

Speaker: Noreen Young

Lecture title: My Puppet Passion

Lecture Summary

puppeteer-noreen-young-with-only-a-fraction-of-her-creationsTo have a professional career doing the things that you love to do is truly a gift in life. I count myself so fortunate that I was given that opportunity.

A career in television puppetry is admittedly unusual.  People are curious because the don’t know a lot about puppetry and I’m often asked, ‘How did you get started?’

Come and find out   Let me tell you about the different types of puppets there are and the type of puppet that I like to make and perform with.

There are tales to tell about the television shows I worked on like Hi Diddle Day,  Sesame Park, Readalong, Today’s Special, The Noddy Shop, Under the Umbrella Tree and others.  What goes on behind the scenes?  How do you prepare and produce a TV show with puppets?

And let me tell you about my latest project – a puppet opera!

Bio: Noreen Young

Noreen Young
Noreen Young

As award-winning puppeteer and puppet builder, Noreen Young has been involved in numerous television productions during her long career, most notably, “Under the Umbrella Tree”, a children’s series that ran on CBC, The Disney Channel and Canal Famille, and which is now streaming on YouTube at CBC’s Encore.

Noreen was Artistic Director for Puppets Up! International Puppet Festival which ran in Almonte for 12 years from  2005 to 2016.  She was instrumental in bringing many professional puppet troupes from around the world to perform in our town.

In 1995, Noreen was awarded The Order of Canada for her contribution to puppetry and children’s television.

Born and raised in Ottawa, Noreen now resides in Almonte.

Slides: Noreen Young Gallery

Women’s Health in Africa

Friday, 22 February 2019

Speaker: David Caloia

Lecture title: Women’s Health in Africa

Lecture Summary

RobertOmandiBefore starting my practice in Almonte, I spent several years serving as an obstetrician-gynaecologist in Kenya in a partnership programme with the University of Toronto. My talk will recount some of my most memorable experiences there and discuss some of the challenges facing women’s health in Africa.

Slides: Women’s Health in Africa


Bio: David Caloia

David Caloia

Dr. Caloia is an Almonte physician specializing in obstetrics and gynaecology. He has been practicing in Almonte since 2015.

Hazardous Conditions: Histories of the Urban Horse

Friday, 26 October 2018

Speaker: Joanna Dean

Lecture title: Hazardous Conditions: Histories of the Urban Horse

Lecture Summary

horse-and-buggy-drawing-11What was it really like to share city streets with animals that weighed half a ton and did not always do as they were told? The number of horses in Canadian cities skyrocketed in the late 1800s, when they pulled buggies, hauled carts and streetcars, and powered treadmills, lifts, and brick machines. In 1891, Ottawa had one horse for every 18 people. In this lecture, I will tell stories from the archives about the mishaps, cruelty and muck of a multispecies city. I will explain what horse manure had to do with the spread of tetanus, or lockjaw, and how an ungainly little horse called Brick Top helped Canadians overcome this dread disease during the First World War.

Bio: Joanna Dean

Joanna Dean
Joanna Dean

Joanna Dean was inspired as a child by Dr. Dolittle, and has never entirely given up trying to talk to the animals. She shares her farm in rural Quebec with Wyatt, a draft horse, Paddy, a paint, and a multitude of other animals. She teaches animal history and environmental history at Carleton University, and recently co-edited Animal Metropolis: Histories of Human-Animal Relations in Urban Canada (2017).


Looking for Trouble: Natural Disasters in the Middle Ages

Friday, 27 April 2018

Speaker: Kirsty Schut

Lecture title: Looking for Trouble: Natural Disasters in the Middle Ages

Lecture Summary

What kinds of natural disasters occurred in Europe during the Middle Ages? How did people understand and react to them? And how does a modern historian go about answering those kinds of questions anyway? As we are reminded regularly at home and in the news, human beings are never in complete control of their environment. Medieval communities too were regularly afflicted by floods, earthquakes, droughts, storms, disease, and other trials and tribulations. To study how people in the past dealt with catastrophic natural events, historians need to look at a broad range of sources, using tools from the natural and medical sciences as well as social, economic, and intellectual history. After surveying the kinds of sources that are available for studying medieval natural disasters, we’ll take a look at a particularly bad year: 1348.

Bio: Kirsty Schut

Kirsty Schut

A native of Lanark Highlands, Kirsty Schut holds a Bachelor of Humanities from Carleton University and is currently finishing up a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. She is interested in the history of ideas and institutions, especially the ways that ideas discussed in medieval universities were transmitted to the broader public. Her favourite part of her research is working with medieval Latin manuscripts, which she does whenever she has the chance, be it online, in European libraries, or right here in Canada. When not researching or writing, she likes to dance and call for contra dancing.

Easing the Pain:  What we know about chronic pain management

Friday, 23 March 2018

Speaker: Marjorie Corisine

Lecture title: Easing the Pain:  What we know about chronic pain management

Lecture Summary


Throughout the course of our lives, many of us develop some sort of chronic pain. Sometimes we are able to resolve the pain.  Sometimes we must endure the pain knowing  that the condition may persist or worsen, for example, hip or knee pain that is not bad enough for surgery… yet. Many factors influence how we react and respond to pain conditions; pain that is manageable for one person can be intolerable for another. Sometimes, for instance, pain can be a constant reminder of an accident that caused it, or can remind us of a relative who had the same condition and did not manage it well. Pain also limits our activities and independence, making us feel much older than our chronological age.


Bio: Marjorie Coristine.

Marjorie Coristine

Marjorie Coristine is a licensed Psychological Associate who has been working with people who have pain conditions for nearly 20 years.  She conceptualizes the road to recovery as “a thousand little cures”.  She completed the Canadian Pain Management Certification Program in 2013.  She is in a private practice (Ottawa West Health Group) and consults on multi-disciplinary teams to help facilitate the recovery and lifestyle adjustments of people who are suffering from an illness, health condition, or injury.

Lecture Notes: Easing the Pain