It is snowing. It is dreamy out there! I am procrastinating looking at a report on scientific data. I am disenchanted about university. Not good since i am doing a PhD. I just feel shortchanged. I love my lab, i love my colleagues and i have the smartest and most engaged advisor ever. it is not them.
it is the environment. It is not teaching me to learn, to think, to reflect, to kick around ideas, to imagine. I am taught to, i have to listen to, and i am to be polite and not debate. I am to ask polite questions in a non confrontational way, i am to sit, i am to be in a neon lit room on plastic chairs, i am to eat really bad food, and i am to follow the method, i have to be an expert, i have to know! But i don’t know and do not believe anyone who claims to know. I belive in figuring it out, and getting close to understanding something, but that thing is only a small part of the whole picture. I hope i do not get expelled, but then again maybe i will get a spanking! Whoops! Digressing once again! No misbehaving allowed!
being organized in cafés and other public spaces in and around Montreal. The Café initiative creates gathering places for community members to pursue lifelong learning and engagement in the form of collective discussions. These are crossroads of practical experience and intellectual currents on critical themes framed by inspired guests and skilled moderators.
As me imitating my kids imitating Borat - I like. I have been going to lots of open source gatherings in Cafés & bars, but i do not code so it is difficult to be engaged in the dialogue. It is also technology centric, which is one part of my life but certainly not the whole. It is also not dialogue on the socio-technical aspects of technology, or technology as art and craft, infrastructure as a factor in society, nor citizen engagement, freeing data, etc. It is pieces of that but not how they fit into the whole. I like these, i like the smart people that gather, but i need more.
This morning i found Science Cafés in Wired.
Tired of inane bar debates? You’re drinkin’ in the wrong place. Inspired by Britain’s Café Scientifique movement, a slew of US watering holes now host science nights, gatherings where brainiacs from universities and labs give talks and booze it up with the locals. Check one out for, say, an up-close explanation of string theory — and maybe a game of pool with a Nobel Prize winner.
Now were talkin’!
These cafés seem to have hit a sweet spot in adult science education, offering access to cutting-edge discoveries and the scientists who make them, minus the notes and tests required in school (plus wine, coffee or beer flowing freely from the bar).
Then there is Café Scientifique in the UK!
is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Meetings take place in cafes, bars, restaurants and even theatres, but always outside a traditional academic context.
Cafe Scientifique is a forum for debating science issues, not a shop window for science. We are committed to promoting public engagement with science and to making science accountable.
When i looked at their global map i found Science pour tous, in Québec of course where all the cool stuff happens! Then oh lala! There are some in Ottawa too! And also a bunch of other cities as part of caféscientificque.ca!
Imagine attending these:
The topics are as diverse as science itself. An upcoming café in Portland, Oregon, will advise how to survive a pandemic, while a past event in St. Louis explored the secret life of lichens, and another in Pittsburgh explained patterns in computational biology.
I have a neighbour who wants to start a salon. I am going to go and knock on his door, as that would be an awesome start. Right around the corner too! Very nice!
I would love to discuss the secret life of infrastructure, nanotechnology and society, deconstruct the climate part of climate change, know more about air quality, the magic of snow crystals, wireless spectrum and how information moves in fibre optic cables, how the brain moves electronic prosthetics, meme theory and genetics, fractals, molecular biology and what the hell is string theory anyway! I also want to know about the history of science, socio-technology, and how circuits and computer chips work. And so on!
I want to be engaged in society, technology and science and i want to be a part of that dialogue. I want to learn, and be an informed citizen, i do not want technology and science to lead me i want to be a part of where it goes. So much counts on this and i/we just follow along! Then oops! Climate change! Oops computer waste? Ooops Nuclear fallout? Oops monsanto in the fields! and so on! And this might be the way to get some public dialogue going!