Adventures in Technology
The facilitator of this group is providing an exciting program designed to encourage members to share their ideas about our technological development and its implications for the future of our species. This stimulates discussion about familiar and not so familiar technologies together with their application to the world around us. New perspectives are sometimes introduced by local and international guest experts speaking online to the members.
In the first session, the facilitator shared his interest in maritime research by talking about recent developments in amateur, military and commercial underwater technology. He highlighted how such technologies as rebreathers, gas mixing and decompression modelling are routinely taking researchers and amateurs well beyond previous limits to depths of up to 350 feet.
Future topics include new technologies relating to energy and climate change, advances in medical technology, education in the future, trends in space exploration, and cyber security.
The objective of this group is to learn about a range of different aspects of biology; for example, what separates different life forms from each other and what unites them. How did evolution bring about such a range of life forms and what was the impetus to many species going extinct, only to bring about an explosion of new life over time. For example, the explosion of mammal, bird and insect species after the asteroid impact wiped out the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago.
The group has been going for about a year and a half now, so we have covered quite a range of topics. Every month we discuss a different topic after Ulrike presents the basics in about an hour or more. The topics include genetics, immunology, the digestive system, the senses, the differences between insect groups or between different plant families etc. Whenever possible we look at a life specimen (not the gut!). As a biologist Ulrike can answer most questions that arise- or at least she knows where to look for an answer.
General Science and Technology
This is a group for people who are excited (or worried) about the potential of new technologies. Members look at aspects and issues relating to technology and physical science. The aim is to research and discuss such topics as:
- Are solar panels (and other alternative energy sources) really a complete alternative for energy needs in NZ and beyond? The discussion looks at future developments of solar and whether it would be useful for charging electric cars.
- When are manned drones likely to replace helicopters? Rapid developments so far and those proposed for the future.
- Technological developments, especially computer-based, and their uses in many areas such as health, wearable devices and education.
- Other areas of interest suggested by members of the group.
Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behaviour
Explore the latest theories and research from behavioural sciences to learn why we humans act the way we do. Amongst many more topics examine how seemingly odd behaviours make perfect sense when viewed through the lens of another culture, and gain insights into central questions about human behaviour like why we fall in love and why we blush.
This group will use a series of half-hour illustrated lectureby Professor Mark Leary of Duke University in North Carolina.