physics

Crime, Bugs and the Physics of Fire Ants

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We all know bugs are important in the function of ecosystems but did you know about their importance in the world of forensics, or in the study of physics? This week on Terra Informa, we go to Chris Chang-Yen Phillips to discuss a murder investigation with a forensic entomologist. And after we hear about the physics of fire ants from our partners over at Science Faction.

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Investigating with Bugs

Piecing together a crime can be a messy business. Police can run up against unreliable witnesses, or destroyed evidence. But what if the animals around a body could tell you a story about what happened? Chris Chang-Yen Phillips has this story from forensic entomologist and Simon Fraser University professor Gail Anderson in Vancouver.

Science Faction

Here is a link to Science Faction’s website. This was the first episode in an 8-part miniseries.
http://sciencefaction.ca/

Download Program Log Here

Photo by: AV Design
https://www.flickr.com/photos/avdezign/

Cold and Warmth

This week, Terra Informa presents a show live from the 2013 Cold & Warmth Winter Salon, hosted by the Latitude 53 art gallery. We’ve got crowds buzzing around like hot molecules, an interview about Edmonton’s Winter City Strategy, and a rap about the most magical temperature of all.

Cold and Warmth

Warm up with Terra Informa’s live show at the Latitude 53 Winter Salon, themed around Cold and Warmth.

Download this week’s episode.

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Cold and Warmth

This week, Terra Informa presented our show live at the Cold & Warmth Winter Salon, hosted by the Latitude 53 art gallery. We’ve got crowds buzzing around like hot molecules, an interview about Edmonton’s Winter City Strategy, and a rap about the most magical temperature of all.

Cold and Warmth

Warm up with Terra Informa’s live show at the Latitude 53 Winter Salon, themed around Cold and Warmth.

Download this week’s episode.

Winter Salon Photo Gallery

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The Most Magical Temperature of All

A year ago, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips was driving down an icy freeway with his mom when a dashboard light flashed on. That little light led him down a rabbit hole towards discovering the most important temperature for life on Earth: 4 Degrees Celsius. That’s because we rely on water to do something almost no other chemical can do at 4 degrees. Instead of getting gradually denser as it cools like most other molecules, it gets densest at that temperature, then starts expanding again. Girl Gone Wild wildlife documentary creator Jamie Pratt joins Chris on stage to explain why it does this, and why you’d better not mess with the benthic zone.

Molecular Movement

Understanding temperature means understanding the movement of molecules. Terra Informer Jessica Kozlowski enlisted Kathryn, Chris, and the crowd to demonstrate what it might sound like when hot fast moving molecules and the cold slow moving molecules in air collide. This formation of average temperature is some seriously above average fun!

Winter City Strategy

The subject of hot and cold is very polarizing. Especially in Edmonton. We call our selves a winter city, and like to boast about how cold it gets here.  But are we a winter city, or a whimp-er city?  Now that it’s warming up, these pothole streets are a good reminder that we can’t seem to adapt our physical infrastructure to cold. And remember that giant snow storm a few week ago? Could traffic snarls, and damage to people, roads, cars been avoided if people didn’t still feel they have to go out? Maybe our economy is not well adapted to cold either.  So what can history teach us about how to adapt to our surroundings? City of Edmonton archivist Elizabeth Walker joined Kathryn Lennon on stage to give us a historical perspective on how people lived with winter in Edmonton.

What’s Happening

Cold Frames Workshop in Toronto
In Toronto, learn how to keep your plants warmer longer using the paradoxically named Cold Frames. Evergreen Brick Works presents the first edition of its Urban Agriculture Workshop series. Learn to design and build cold frames and raised beds for your garden. Keep food growing longer into the fall and even through the winter! This takes place Tuesday, April 2nd at Evergreen Brick Works. And they are asking for a 20$ donation.

Summit Series Lecture in Edmonton
In Edmonton, the Canadian Mountain Studies Initiative presents the latest installment of its Summit Series. The lecture will bring together three speakers—each from a different disciplinary home—to share their research on mountain environments and cultures. You’ll hear about invasive plants and their surprising effect on bumble bees in the Colorado Rockies. Learn about your body’s adaptations to high altitude. And explore the poetry and natural history of a Rocky Mountains park. It all happens Friday, April 5th at the University of Alberta.

Over-Wintering Birds Day in Johnson’s Crossing, Yukon
In the Yukon, we’ve got an event about a flock of amazing over-wintering birds. Join Adam Skrutkowski on the banks of the Teslin River where you’ll see the hardy swans that overwinter at Johson’s Crossing. Adam will share his photos taken over the past months, and you’ll learn how these birds survive the cold weather. Bring a picnic lunch—but not for sharing with the birds. That’s happening the morning of Sunday, April 7th in Johnson’s Crossing.

Fresh Perspective

This week, stories about people breathing new life into rivers, cities, and the way we see the universe. We’ve got a story from the streets of Seoul, about the centuries of history that flowed by before one of its dirtiest waterways became a tourist destination. Then, we’ll see how the revitalization of Montreal’s Lachine Canal has changed the lives of the nearby residents. Finally, we’ll hear a model of what planets, stars, and life itself might sound like. Before we go, we’ll brief you on the week’s environmental events.

A view of the icy stream and tree branches below the office buildings on nearby streets.

Cheonggyecheon today is one of Seoul’s most mesmerizing tourist attractions – a far cry from its past as a de facto sewer.

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New Life for Seoul Stream

A lot of us have had this experience of getting to know a place when we’re young, and seeing it get choked with litter or polluted over the years. Every once in awhile, we get to watch things turn around. A big cleanup project, or a revitalization. About a decade ago, the city of Seoul spent hundreds of millions of dollars to give one ancient stream a makeover. Chris Chang-Yen Phillips was in South Korea, curious about why it was singled out. What makes some places so special that cleaning them up can catapult a mayor into the presidency? And how do we decide when it’s time? This is the story of how a stream called Cheonggyecheon was given new life.

More information:

Lachine Canal Carnivale

Chris showed us how one stream became the focal point for upscale urban renewal in Korea, but Canada has its own share of once poor neighbourhoods that are now trendy urban playgrounds. One such place is the neighbourhood of St. Henri in Montreal. It’s a working class part of town, but since the early 2000s, the area has seen an explosion of condo redevelopment. It all began with the clean up and re-opening of the Lachine Canal.

The Sound of Science: What the Universe Sounds Like

Alyssa Hindle and Matt Hirji interviewed Dr. Abram Hindle, a local computing science professor and Noise musician. Alyssa’s brother Abram uses his programming background with inspirations from nature and physics to create unique, and very technically based, sounds. Alyssa Hindle and Matt Hirji spoke with Abram Hindle about his Noise performances and music production.

More information:

What’s Happening

Tzeporah Berman talk at University of Victoria
Tzeporah Berman has been fighting Canadian politicians for 20 years to protect millions of acres of endangered Canadian forests. That being only one of the many fights she has taken on as an activist and author. Berman has been featured on CBC’s The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos and in the global warming documentary film, The 11th Hour that was narrated by actor, Leonardo DiCaprio. Tzeporah Berman will be speaking on Thursday, March 14th at 7pm at the David Lam Auditorium located on campus at the University of Victoria. The event is free and for more information you can visit their website.

George Stroumbouloupoulos at MacEwan University
George Stroumboulopoulos, host of 
CBC’s The Hour has been an advocate of sustainable living himself. He will be speaking at the Students Association of McEwan University’s Speaker Series, for their sustainability week called COMMON GROUND on March 15th at 5pm. Tickets are on sale online. For more information on the series visit the Students Association website.

Thunder Bay Environmental Film Festival
Thunder Bay, Ontario’s Environmental Film Festival opens on March 20th at 7pm and runs until March 24th. It is a free festival that is run by the Thunder Bay Environmental Film Network or EFN. EFN is a volunteer organisation and will be screening films based on environmental and social issues along with an Opening Night Gala, post-film screening discussions and guest speakers. Donations are encouraged and volunteers are welcomed. Read more.