Tag Archives: discussion

Toronto area science, philosophy, art and curiosity related groups and events

Despite being a Toronto resident, I am trying to avoid focusing too much on local things for this site. However, since this site is meant to be a curated source – a singular location people can come to find lots of useful information, links and resources – that it wouldn’t hurt to throw up a post about local events for local readers.

Recently I’ve been turned onto several groups that run events in the city that I have attended and very much enjoyed.

The Center for Inquiry (Toronto Chapter) is one. They run a monthly event called “Cafe Skeptique” (I reviewed it last month after attending for the first time), which is a discussion about a particular topic or idea.

They also do a monthly pub crawl, where anyone can come and talk about anything. I’ve attended two of these, the first one I ended up in a discussion about libertarian ideals and “true freedom”. The more recent one we talked about religion and education.

Additionally, they run a Science and Philosophy Book Club, which I just discovered and am hoping to attend the next occurrence.

The other group I’ve recently started attending events of, is CASA (The Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence Students Association), a University of Toronto based group.

Like Cafe Skeptique, CASA hosts a monthly event called “Cognitive Séance”. If you got to www.cogsci.ca, you can join the group’s mailing list and get regular updates about upcoming events, and also student projects. According to their event page, they also have a book club, and several other events. You can also sync their calendar to your google account, which I find very helpful.

Some other groups or venues I have found related to these topics and ideas:

DIY Bio group on meetup.com. Their bio:

Do-it-yourself biological innovation! We’re inspired by the California group “biocurious”, like them, we believe in the power of open source, open access, and learning in community. We believe this philosophy should be applied to biology! Wouldn’t it be great to have a biology-based maker space here in Toronto? Join us and help make that a reality!

They organized the DNA sequencing talk that I went to earlier this week. I also attended another event organized by them the week before that. The event was called “Art Sci Salon”, which – like Action Potential Labs, mixes art and science together. The last Art Sci Salon was about something called the “OncoMap”.

Action Potential Labs:

Action Potential Lab is Toronto’s first laboratory dedicated to merging science and art. It is here where the teachings of both fields interact and exchange by way of classes, workshops, birthday parties, lecture series and various community outreach programs.

Also, Site 3 Laboratory (I have not been yet). Self described: “We are an awesome, eclectic and diverse group of artists, makers, engineers, creators, techies; people who collaborate to make cool things.”

Nerd Nite Toronto: Monthly mini-TED Talk-esque presentations by smart and humble folk, plus a casual social component, and trivia!

And lastly, on a slightly more casual, fun, geeky note, there is “Geekalicious”, a social group for geeks to hang out, talk, play board of video games, do karaoke and other fun activities. The organizer, Mike, is a very friendly, nice guy and is all about running fun events for geeky folks.

Added Feb 11, 2014University of Toronto’s monthly Public Astronomy Tour.

On the first Thursday of most months, free tours are offered by the graduate students in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto.

And of course, there is always the Ontario Science Center, where I personally made a visit to last year, but I would say that they are largely aimed at educating children about science and so if you are an adult without children, you might not find you get as much out of a visit there.

If you know of any more groups or spaces that fit in with this bunch, please do send them in to me (adam@curiositycrossroads.com), I’d be happy to include them!

For the good of the whole?

Recently a friend of mine posted this article online and I read it.

PopSci.com “Why We’re Shutting Off Our Comments”

The crux of the story is that it cited a study showing that even if only a small portion of a userbase is vocally negative, they can effectively skew everyone else to their negative way of thinking:

“Even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story.”

I have heard before that it is much harder to get and stay positive than it is to wallow in a bad mood. This would seem to support that notion.

It’s worth thinking about and being aware of, that even in our own daily lives, if something unpleasant happens to you, it can put you in a bad mood for the rest of the day, which could also ripple out and affect everyone you interact with. Put a clamp on those bad vibes, folks! Continue reading