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.


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).


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

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

E = MC2: Explanations and applications of Einstein’s relativity theory

Friday, 23 February 2018

Speaker: Carson Mok

Lecture title: E = MC2: Explanations and applications of Einstein’s relativity theory

Lecture Summary

E-mc2Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is one of the two pillars of modern physics. Rigid ideas about time, space and mass were bent in his famous equation, E = MC2. The theory has influenced physics research for over 100 years, predicting many phenomena that have been experimentally verified. It has also guided the design of everyday devices such as your GPS and keeps the International Space Station in the sky.  My lecture will explain Einstein’s famous equation in plain English, and discuss some of its uses in today’s world.

Bio: Carson Mok, Ph.D.

Carson Mok

Carson Mok is originally from the Toronto area, graduating from York University with PhD in Applied Physics in 2013.  He is currently employed in the high-tech sector providing business development and leading technical research projects.  With a diverse background in opto-electronics, he is a passionate advocate for science outreach, especially in physics.  He is now putting down roots in Almonte with his wife and two boys.

Slides: Einstein explained

Tales from the Woods

Friday, 26 January 2018

Speaker: Ron Ayling

Lecture title: Tales from the Woods: the Wonderful World of Trees

Lecture Summary


With the use of slides and ‘pass around samples’ we’ll look at the often fascinating, and sometimes weird and unusual, world of trees. We’ll start off with the broad ecosystems of Ontario, and why they are where they are. But the main focus will be on our local trees and shrubs, native and introduced. There will be some oddballs from near and far, some that are important and others that should be avoided. And along the way, key features will be shown and explained to help in identification.

Slides: Tales from the Woods

Bio: Ron Ayling, Ph.D.

Ron Ayling

Dr. Ron Ayling is a graduate of the Faculty of Forestry of the University of Toronto – where he later taught dendrology (the study of trees). He received a PhD in plant physiology from the Australian National University but spent most of his professional life in international development, especially with IDRC (International Development Research Centre) and as a consultant to CIDA. In his retirement years, he is the editor of The Forestry Chronicle, the journal of the Canadian Institute of Forestry, and locally, he is the chair of the Tree Committee for Mississippi Mills.