Some Sunny Days

I finally got to put all the image of the Sun that I took through June and July into a short animated sequence that I showed for the first time at the Manitoba Museum’s Planetarium. I thought I would share the images here as well, because I know a number of friends and family didn’t get the chance to make it to the planetarium.

Unfortunately I can only show the flat images I took and not some of the cooler modifications that I could do using the Planetariums digital system. Using some software I managed to wrap these images onto half a sphere that we could put up on the dome, and I even a full map of the sunspots in July. I used the map as a surface texture for the digital systems model of the Sun. All really cool and nerdy!

I hope you enjoy this short little sequence, it was a fun and time consuming project. I can’t wait to get out again and do some solar imaging, but for now my studies are taking priority.

This sequence of images was capture using my 80mm Orion GoScope and a white light solar filter. I used my Canon T3i attached to a 10mm eyepiece.

This sequence of images was capture using my 80mm Orion GoScope and a white light solar filter. I used my Canon T3i attached to a 10mm eyepiece.

Because Today is Tomorrow

This letter addressing Canada’s approach to climate change was brought to my attention today through my courses in Science Communication at Laurentian University. It is definitely worth a read and it would also be worth checking out 97 Hours of Consensus.

A copy of the word document is here; tomorrow is today -SCD open letter 16-09-014.

On September 21st more than a thousand events are planned around the world to demand stronger action on climate change, echoing New York’s People Climate March. As Canadian researchers who study Climate Change and Sustainability, we strongly support this global mobilization.

Canada is running a sustainability deficit. Unlike budgetary deficits, it does not seem to preoccupy our politicians. Canada has repeatedly missed its own climate change emission reduction targets. Last January, Environment Canada acknowledged that Canada won’t meet its least ambitious target to date, proposed in 2009 as part of international climate negotiations coined the Copenhagen Accord.

Meanwhile, President Obama presented a Climate Action Plan indicating that, unlike Canada, the United States will meet their Copenhagen commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The US plan identifies carbon dioxide as a toxic substance akin to mercury. It highlights the health threats that “carbon pollution” poses and explains how the cost of adapting to climate change will soar unless we take rapid action now. Obama’s plan also emphasizes the positive legacies of confronting climate change including future job security, economic competitiveness, and overall well-being.

Tomorrow is today; we can no longer wait to take up the opportunity to change course and begin to act. Countries must phase out fossil fuels to transition towards cleaner energy sources thereby guaranteeing both human and environmental well being. To help Canada face this challenge, we have joined forces as a multi-disciplinary group of environmental and sustainability scholars to bring to public attention evidence-based research useful for developing constructive, forward-looking proposals. Our initiative, the Sustainable Canada Dialogues, brings together 55+ researchers from a wide range of disciplines including: agriculture, ecology, economics, energy, forestry, mining, philosophy, physics, political science, resource management, sociology and transport.

Our hope is that bringing together the best solutions-based research in the country will highlight what is possible and encourage public engagement and ultimately political action. In the upcoming 2015 election, Canadians will have an opportunity to demand that politicians and parties protect Canada’s social well-being, economic competitiveness and extraordinary environmental assets by addressing climate change. Moving quickly and effectively on climate change will require a national conversation from all corners of society, a conversation we hope will benefit from evidence-based research on pathways forward.

Canada’s current inaction on sustainability hinders our ability to play a positive role in the negotiations leading to the Paris-Climate Conference where more than 190 countries will meet in December 2015 with the aim of producing a more ambitious global climate change agreement. World leaders will revisit existing emissions reduction targets, which even if met will lead to a warming 2oC higher than the critical temperature identified by scientists. We believe Canada should act as a leader rather than a laggard in this process.

Opportunities for leadership begin with the preparatory activities for the 2015 Paris-Climate Conference. On September 23rd the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, invites all Heads of State to a Climate Summit designed to generate momentum for acting on climate change. In response to this invitation, NGOs and environmental advocacy groups are mobilizing to participate in the People’s Climate March ( http://peoplesclimate.org/global/ ) next Sunday. In Canada, over 100 events are planned from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island.

The time has come to accelerate the transition towards a low carbon society ensuring that the next generation of Canadians can inherit a productive economy with high social well-being standards, live in sustainable cities and enjoy Canada’s unique wildlife, pristine lakes and ice capped mountains. For that world to be ours tomorrow, we must act today.
On behalf of the Sustainability Canada Dialogues,

Dr. Catherine Potvin, Professor, Department of Biology, McGill University and Canada Research Chair in Climate Change Mitigation and Tropical Forests; 1205 Dr Penfield, Montreal, H3R-2B7, Quebec; 514-398-3730 or 514-731-5125.

 

Dr. Chantelle Richmond, Western University

Dr. Fikret Berkes, University of Manitoba

Dr. Mark Stoddart, Memorial University

Dr. Sally Aitken, University of British Columbia

Dr. Aerin Jacob, University of Victoria

Dr. Alison Kemper, Ryerson University

Dr. André Potvin, Université Laval

Dr. Andreas Heyland, University of Guelph

Dr. Ann Dale, Royal Roads University

Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo Willox, Cape Breton University

Dr. Brent Sinclair, Western University

Dr. Bruno Dyck, University of Manitoba

Dr. Bryson Brown, University of Lethbridge

Dr. Catherine Morency, Polytechnique Montréal

Dr. Christian Messier, Université de Québec en Outaouais

Dr. Ciara Raudsepp-Hearne

Dr. Claude Villeneuve, Université de Québec à Chicoutimi

Dr. Deborah De Lange, Ryerson University

M.Sc. Dominique Paquin, Ouranos

Dr. Elena Bennett, McGill University

Dr. George Hoberg, University of British Columbia

Dr. Howard Ramos, Dalhousie University

Dr. Ian Mauro, University of Winnipeg

Dr. Irene Henriques, York University

Dr. James Byrne, University of Lethbridge

Dr. John Robinson, University of British Columbia

Dr. Ken Oakes, Cape Breton University

Dr. Lauchlan Fraser, Thompson Rivers University

Ms. Liat Margolis, University of Toronto

Dr. Louis Fortier, Université Laval

Dr. Magda Fusaro, Université de Québec à Montréal

Dr. Marc-André Villard, Université de Moncton

Dr. Marc Lucotte, Université de Québec à Montréal

Dr. Martin Mkandawire, Cape Breton University

Dr. Martin Entz, University of Manitoba

Dr. Matthew J. Hoffmann, University of Toronto

Dr. Meg Holden, Simon Fraser University

M.Sc. Nathalie Bleau, Ouranos

Dr. Nik Luka, McGill University

Dr. Normand Mousseau, Université de Montréal

Dr. Roxane Maranger, Université de Montréal

Dr. Sally Otto, University of British Columbia

Mr. Sébastien Jodoin, McGill University

Dr. Stéphane Godbout, Université Laval

Dr. Stephen Sheppard, University of British Columbia

Dr. Steven Bernstein, University of Toronto

Dr. Suzanne Simard, University of British Columbia

Dr. Tarah Wright, Dalhousie University

Two Weeks in Sudbury

I fear I may have to give up my inflated ego, if only to make room for all the new things I am learning. That is perhaps the best summary of the last two weeks.

I have learnt a lot. How to find my way around some of the alleys and byways of Sudbury (much to the thanks of my classmates and roommates who seam to have a better grasp of the transit system here), details about my cohort of classmates (and I know that there are many surprising discoveries yet to come – the number of us that have dabbled in the fibre arts is rather astonishing), I have started to get a handle on the inundation of readings and assignments, most of which are amazing, if not slow reads, and I feel I should add that I have learnt to be social here as well (from swing lessons to two am bar visits, it is definitely a different side of the leaf for me).

Extolling all the wondering things that I have undertaken this last two weeks sounds tempting, but, my dear friends and family, I just don’t think I have time. As I write this I am remembering a small detail here left undone and yet another over there that needs my attention. From social media’s double edge value, to the rhetorical changes from forensic to epideictic and its consequences, to balancing on the upside-down pyramids that assure you stand on the pinnacle of performance in front of your audience – a wide stage from which to pull them in and, from common ground, build on their foundations towards things they haven’t discovered … sorry I think I got carried away with all the new things running around in my head, criss-crossing in front of each other like Shriners in their mini-cars during a parade.

How about I leave you with a few photos from the last two weeks? You really don’t need to hear all the details of exploring Science North, petting a porcupine, going to a party and getting jumped, spending a 100 $ in a week on restaurants and dining … no, these things are much better left out. Enjoy the photos, some are mine, others stolen from classmates.

Yes, I got to pet him. Surprisingly fuzzy.

A porcupine at Science North. Yes, I got to pet him. Surprisingly fuzzy.

A beaver. No I did not get to pet him. I imagine also surprisingly fuzzy.

A beaver at Science North. No I did not get to pet him. I imagine also surprisingly fuzzy.

Butterflies! So many butterflies.

Butterflies! So many butterflies.

The Giant Nickel in Sudbury, just outside Dynamic Earth.

The Giant Nickel in Sudbury, just outside Dynamic Earth.

Safety hat? Check. Strange purple glow? Check. So what do they mine here?

Safety hat? Check. Strange purple glow? Check. So what do they mine here?

Relative humidity 99%

Relative humidity 99%

Mail from the depths of ... Sudbury!

Mail from the depths of … Sudbury!

IMG_5415

A few of us Science Communication Students. We were the only group on the tour that took the tour guide up on her offer of taking a group photo. Silly tourists.

Panning for gold.

Panning for gold.

In the end I found three flakes of gold, but they cut you off at two ... gave the third to my classmate. I'm thinking I should take up gold panning to pay for tuition.

In the end I found three flakes of gold, but they cut you off at two … I gave the third to my classmate. I’m thinking I should take up gold panning to pay for tuition.

Got my name tag for Science North. Strange not to have The Manitoba Museum on my vest.

Got my name tag for Science North. Strange not to have The Manitoba Museum on my vest.

Moustache. Bow tie. Science.

Moustache. Bow tie. Science.

Heading down to the lake. Photo credit E. Knowles.

Heading down to the lake. Photo credit E. Knowles.

My first selfie!

My first selfie!

We even discovered our own island. Regrettably, we ate all our supplies and had to return to shore.

We even discovered our own island. Regrettably, we ate all our supplies and had to return to shore. Photo credit E. Knowles.

 

Late Train

The train rolled into the junction three hours late. It was now four in the morning and the rain had only intensified since I had last looked out the train window. This was my greeting to my new home for the next year: Sudbury.

Once off the train, the porter, who usually worked out of Toronto, called me a cab. We chatted and I got the impression that he was a little sad to be leaving this run of the train and returning to the big city. It was a nice insight into Sudbury.

My cab showed up and the driver took me to my new place. The usual talk of what brings you to Sudbury quickly gave way to places to see, good teashops and what areas of town to avoid. Through the window and rain I could see a lot of greenery, a stark difference from what I was expecting from the nickel capitol of the world and home of the supper stack.

Sudbury was greener than I expected, but the scars of this mining town are still there if you know where to look. Such a rich history and still so much more to learn.

Sudbury was greener than I expected, but the scars of this mining town are still there if you know where to look.

At my new place, my knocking was mistaken for thunder and no one came to the door. The cabbie was kind enough to take me to the nearest hotel. With my bags in tow, I went to the reception and asked, “Would it be possible to get a room?”

“Now?”

“Yes.”

“I’m sorry we’re booked. I can give you the number of the place up the way and see if they have a room.”

I called the number only to go through the same routine. A room? Now? Sorry, we’re booked.

One by one, the desk clerk and I went down the complete list of hotels in Sudbury. Each one fully booked. Apparently the whole city fills up for what is known as Rib Fest. Yes, Rib Fest. Bands come to play and local pork producers in the area vie for the title of the best ribs. Apparently they are quite good, but I never got out to get any.

The clerk offered me tea from the morning breakfast table that had just been set out and we chatted for a few hours as guests slowly filed out. When it was time for the shift change, the clerk was kind enough to let me store my bags in the luggage room and I took off to their little restaurant that had just opened to have some breakfast.

After eating I walked around town, killing time. I located a tea store, the bank, and a few other odds and sods. Eventually my new roommates frantically got a hold of me, profusely apologizing that they didn’t hear my knocking above the storm. They came and picked me up and I was soon getting settled. As we chatted, it came to light that some of the areas I had been aimlessly walking around were a little more rough and tumble. That might explain why the cop cars slowly rolled by me that morning. A moustached man in bowtie must have looked terribly out of place at seven in the morning.