The article mentions a town I actually lived in a several years ago, pretty cool.
phion, Will you please post a link? I'd like to read that article. Thank you.
Here's the article referred to:
And for more information:
This is a Good Thing, as Martha would say... :-)
I also think this is a neat idea. Certainly it does not replace school, but it's a good community event.
Ah! "...a good community event..." Good call. I like your thinking, Greg. :-)
Some other good ways to create 'community', and to change things as they are now: building community gardens, seed bombing (i.e., turning abandoned or unused plots of land into sustainable food gardens, food forests, or garden plots, which helps promote and increase biodiversity, and (for some) community or neighbourhood hackers/maker spaces.
Also, Co-operatives, and Credit Unions, so that people have local control over their work environments and financial resources. And similar things which are equal, enabling and inclusive. :-)
Science cafes can help enable most of these activities, imho.
Oh, and another Good, in the higher sense of that word, appropriate for this forum: Open Science programs.
Absolutely it's a good idea, and considering where these places are setting up shop it's apparent to me that their marketing scheme is targeted toward the lower-upper class collegiate regions. All those industry private sector and technical institute babies. This is great because there's actually a market for science outside some temporary half-mast Starbucks or Caribou merchandising hook. If there was one of these around where I live I'd surely go there instead of any of those other coffee shops or cafes. A great way to hear about the news of the day or discuss that annoyingly difficult problem or share lame jokes!
I'd be a little nervous to bring my laptop though, for obvious reasons.
One could do some marketing to get together a group of people who would also like to attend a Science Cafe, and start one as a Co-operative/ member owned establishment (but also open to non-members.)
If there's a large enough community around you, that is....
Having a university/ college/ around would be helpful, since one can tap them for the teachers.
In my studies into History of the Colonial Era, I learned that people would group together to create things like "Mechanics Libraries", Agricultural Societies, and so forth. This was done to promote useful knowledge (as Thom. Jefferson, et al defined it) in the communities they were in. Boston, NYC, and so on.
They had books and other printed media, and when possible they would have speakers and presentations.
One could then argue that Science Cafes are a continuation of the tradition-- a high point of this heritage would be the public lectures given by James Clerk Maxwell, etc, in London every week or so at the Royal Society, or "Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge".
I think they still do this, but the whole scope of public lectures has changed with the advent of modern communications media: iUniversity, YouTube, TED talks, and the like.
But it's still nice to go somewhere and be surrounded by real people who have similar interests, sort of like going to a coffeehouse or bluegrass festival. :-)
That there is a strong interest in learning science is shown in part by a new on-line course at UBC that attracted 130,000 registrants. (game theory can apply to more than just games...)
And some of the most popular websites in the world are science-oriented ones.
The GLOBE at Night program is an international citizen-science campaign to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to measure their night sky brightness and submit their observations to a website from a computer or smart phone.
It gives me great satisfaction to announce this. I am the founder of the Museum of Arts and Sciences located in the state of Tocantins in North-central Brasil. We use my Questar 3.5 telescope for observing at night and fit it with a solar filter to observe the sun directly during the day.
A small group of young citizens from our town who are interested in astronomy and in contributing to the world’s body of scientific knowledge have recently signed up with Globe at Night and will begin observations of Orion and the Southern Cross (Crux). They will be reporting their first results soon.
I've bookmarked the Globe at Night link for future reference.
I presume you are aware of the Jasper Dark Sky Preserve, at Jasper National Park: Canada's largest formal Dark Sky Preserve?
I am now aware.
The Jasper Dark Sky Preserve program seems to me really great! My first language is English, so I have no problem reading and or participating in its programs. Too bad it's not available in other languages. My team in Tocantins, Brasil found "The Globe at Night" so attractive, and immediately joined and began participating, because the website appears in various languages, including Portuguese.
Blame Federal budget cut-backs for that.
Maybe dark sky enthusiasts around the world could volunteer to translate the info and the Parks Department can link to their translations?
I have enough experience using translation engines to translate Portuguese these past few years, especially Brazilian Portuguese, to not rely on those services for more than a few occasional words...and they might butcher those, too... :-(
Are you connected with the University in Tocantins? I looked the state up, and found it quite attractive. :-)
The Federal University, Tocantins branch is located in Palmas, our state capital. I am friends with the rector there and several professors, too. Our state is new (~20 years old) and UFT has only been here around 8 years now. Our state is most famous, I guess, for our rich ecological treasures: parks, rivers, wildlife, waterfalls, petrified forest, and museums. I have 2 species of primates and jaguars on my ecological reserve, for example.
This is my 14th year of permanent residence in Brasil. Here students and non-students alike are eager to connect with the outside world, and the above international light pollution project is a perfect chance for them to do real science now. If other projects were posted online in various languages (Globalization) I'm confident many other interested contributers would appear, ready to participate and contribute.
Separate names with a comma.