We are thrilled to offer an exciting line of speakers on topics relevant to all of us, such as technology, writing, hobbies and more! We’ll keep updating as our fabulous speakers are confirmed. Please check back here and like our AG Facebook page for the latest news!

Registration, the hospitality suite, games and crafting all start Friday, July 31 at 3pm. Join us then to meet old and new friends while you get your game on!

Friday, July 31

The Beginning of the Universe

Andrei Frolov

The universe is about 14 billion years old. How do we know? What is the science behind it? And what was here before? Andrei Frolov, research scientist in cosmology, explores the universe and possibilities within it. Join us in this session to learn what we know about the Universe from the first 3 minutes, see a snapshot of its younger days when it was just 400,000 years old and find out more about the science supporting what we know and the beauty of what is yet to be discovered.

Exploring the Chinese Market – An Urban Hiking Tour

Esta Mun

Explore the Captain Wa Richmond Public Market and local Asian shops nearby, including live seafood, bubble tea and Chinese Traditional Medicine and Health Foods.

Please allow 1.5 hours for the entire tour and bring some pocket money for shopping and market access. While the sidewalks are generally disability-friendly, participants will have to be independently  mobile for about 3 km. There is a limit of 10 people for the tour.

Origami for Everyone – The Japanese Art of Paper Folding

Come join us for some hands on fun with Origami. Make animals and objects just by folding paper. Favourite projects include a jumping frog and a bird that flaps its wings! Supplies are provided.

Bitcoin and Beyond

Piotr Piasecki

Join us for a broad look at the Bitcoin technology and some of the many projects it has inspired! Learn more about the core technology behind Bitcoin, and why it is an innovation for online payments. We’ll also discuss some projects using the software in innovative ways to handle payments and beyond.

Young Adult Mensans Meet and Greet

Rosemary Horwood

Enjoy some snacks and company in this meet and greet for Mensans in 19 – 40.

Tarot Readings by Janice Johnson

Come get a 15 minute Tarot reading. See what your future holds!

Nighttime fun!

Take your pick of fun social activities. We’ll be mixing and mingling over margaritas, movies, food, games and more!

Saturday, August 1

Mensa Testing

Leo Jung

Do you know someone who is not a Mensan, but should be? Leo Jung will proctor the Mensa membership admissions standardized IQ test. Applicants will have access to the AG festivities for the rest of the day (excluding the Banquet).

Mensa Canada AGM

Vicki Herd

Exercise your rights to be informed and vote by attending the Mensa Canada Annual General Meeting

Dealing with Difficult People

Millie Norrie

This is a fun “icebreaker” type presentation where the audience interacts, determines basic personality groups and learns how to use this to avoid conflict.

Introduction to Cryptography

Diana Pederson

Have you ever wanted to know how to send secret messages in code? In this session, we will look at how this game of codes began, how advances in cryptography were key in WWII and how cryptography is used today. Once we know a bit about codes, we will test our hand at how to break them with a treasure map game. Join us for a bit of undercover fun!

Membership Growth and Young Adult Mensans

Rosemary Horwood, Mary Susan MacDonald and Jim Mourgelas

Most people taking the qualifying Mensa test in Toronto are in the 19 – 40 age group, now referred to as the Young Adult Mensans (YAMs). Rosemary Horwood, Ontario Regional Rep and national YAM Coordinator; Mary Susan MacDonald, national VP Communications; and Jim Mourgelas, past Toronto LocSec and national Treasurer discuss the keys to supporting the communication and event organization for Young Adult Mensans.

Beginner Knitting (max 6ppl)

Rita Law

Knitting is an excellent way to relax and improve your mind. In this session, learn the knit stitch, bind off, two-needle cable cast-on and the bar increase. You want more? If time allows, we’ll look at the purl stitch and right-leaning decrease too. Right handed style. Leave this session with an introduction to classic knitting techniques, some hands on experience and (hopefully) a small, knit rectangle the size of a business card. Needles and yarn will be provided at no charge.

BC Guide Dogs – Meet a Puppy in Training

William Thornton

Join us here and learn more about the BC Guide Dog program, how it got started and how it runs today. Get your daily dose of cuteness too, and meet one of the puppies in training!

Robot Self-Modeling and Self-Other Reasoning.

Dr. Justin Hart

Traditionally, robots learn about tasks but not about themselves. In this session, we will discuss a robot that learns about its own body and senses by using them together. The inferred “self-model”, inspired by forms of self-awareness learned in infancy, enables robots to perform novel takes such as inferring a mirror’s visual perspective. This session also explores current research on self-other social reasoning. Such reasoning comes easily to humans, but is still remarkable difficult for robots to perform. Advances in self-other reasoning will enable robots to work in roles where they must act as collaborators to human operators.

BC Crime Writers Panel Discussion

Panel, facilitated by Sera Kirk

This self-moderating panel of six local crime/mystery writers (Cathy Ace, Robin Spano, Sam Wieve, Linda L. Richards, Dieter Kalteis and Owen Laukkanen) will discuss their writing routines, their inspirations, their challenges, and how they construct the stories that keep readers turning the page with bated breath.

Behind the Magic – How 3D Animation is Made

Valerie Morrison

Have you ever wondered how the phenomenal characters in your favourite films, television shows and games are animated? Come behind-the-scenes with Vancouver animator Valerie Morrison for an in-depth look into this fascinating process. Using live demos and the latest technologies, Valerie shows us how our beloved characters are brought to life.

Valerie has extensive experience in animated films and projects including “Hotel Transylvania,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.” and “Ice Age 3”.

Hosted Knitters Round-Table Drop In

Rita Law

Knitters! Bring your projects and problems! If you’re turning that heel, cabling, or trying the two-color weaving technique this is where you want to be. Feeling adventurous? Bring along a small sampler and learn the “I-cord bind off”.

Smartphone for Non-Techies

Geraldine Sombke

Sure it makes phone calls, but what else can I do with this fancy phone? Learn to use your smartphone as a camera, or for video calls, email, web browsing and more!

Blending Lies and Truth in Mysteries

Debra Purdy Kong

When is the truth too much? When is it not enough? Local mystery author Debra Purdy Kong will discuss strategies she uses to blend real places, characters, and events into fiction.

Facebook Privacy Discussions

Rosemary Horwood

Do you know how to set up your Facebook page so your boss doesn’t know what you did on Saturday night?

Safely using Facebook to ensure your privacy requires some explanation by an experience user. Rosemary Horwood, Ontario Regional Rep, is considered a Facebook veteran with over 10 years of memories, thoughts, and pictures on Facebook. Rosemary will teach you the keys to keeping your Facebook private by selecting the right options during setup of your Facebook page, and guidelines for appropriate behaviour. Attend this presentation if you are considering creating a Facebook page or your are a newbie to Facebook.

More night time fun!

This is the night for the big banquet (pre-purchased tickets only)! Join us for fantastic food, entertainment and the Mensa Awards. Everyone is welcome to join us for dancing, games and a special late night session…

SARA: Sex and Relationship Advice

Whether you come for the stand-up comedy, the quirky songs or just to see how World Famous British Sex Expert Dr. Nigel Cummerbund will answer your anonymously submitted questions, SARA: Sex and Relationship Advice is virtually guaranteed to be a fun-filled hour along with the FDA daily recommended dose of information.

This session deals with adult sexuality and contains occasional course language. Parental discretion is advised.

Sunday, August 2

D-Wave’s Quantum Computer: the Coolest Computer in our Universe (and Possibly Several Others)

Dr. Colin Williams

For the past decade, D-Wave has been developing a fundamentally new kind of computer. The quantum computer doesn’t just process 0s and 1s like a regular computer. It processes quantum bits or “qubits” that can be partly 0 and partly 1 at the same time. This, and other quantum effects, enables a kind of parallelism that ordinary computers can’t match. In this talk, Dr. Williams of D-Wave explains the ideas behind quantum computing and describes the inner workings of the new 1,000-qubit “Washington” quantum processor, which is currently the largest quantum computer in the World.

The Sometimes Dire Consequences of BC’s Archaic Mental Health Legislation

Dr. Muriel Groves

Did you know that under BC’s Mental Health Act, a competent individual can be involuntarily admitted and treated? Involuntarily admitted and treated psychiatric patients and those considered for such are excluded from three BC Acts, each describing rights protecting all other BC citizens, whether competent or incompetent. This includes the right to consult a legally designated representative and being informed of other risks and benefits of treatment options including what is least intrusive. This seemingly contravenes the Canadian Charter of Rights and the Canadian ratified UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and startlingly backward in comparison to other legislation such as Ontario’s. Join us in this session to learn more.

Ask the Captain

Fran Doyle

What would YOU like to know about being or the experiences of a professional pilot? Fran was a US Air Force pilot for 20 years, 17 years as a pilot in command, and 15 as an instructor pilot. He was also an Airline Pilot for 15 years, with 10 as a Captain. He has a BS in Military Sciences from the US air Force Academy, an MA in Management, and another MA in Human Relations from Webster University. This session will include a short presentation on ratings and training, with time at the end to answer your questions.

MC’s Membership Database Migration Project

Jennifer Albu

After a brief introduction to the Structured Query Language (SQL), Jenn will walk us through the business requirements for the Mensa Canada Membership Database from the point of view of the Board’s Strategic Plan 2013-16, Mensa International, Intelligent Member Cards, the Admin Office, Our Web Team, and the Membership. She will then describe the “As Is” process, the “To Be” process and provide us with an update on where the project is now. This talk is geared to Mensa Officials and IT geeks, but everyone is welcome.

Understanding Big Data

George Chow

You have likely heard the term Big Data, and you may have even read about the 3 V’s (Volume, Variety and Velocity). But what does Big Data mean in the real world? Where did Big Data come from and why should we care?

Between the hyperbolic nirvana posited by consumer, Internet companies and the pessimistic dystopia of Orwell and Snowden, there must be a middle ground. In this session, George Chow of Symba Technologies goes beyond the rhetoric to explain the ideas and mechanisms of the technologies behind the term.

Whacky Queen of Hearts Croquet

Bring out your inner kid and come play a really whacky game of Queen of Hearts Croquet complete with plastic flamingos and flashing light “hedgehogs”.   The only goal of the rules is to have fun and get you giggling.

Four Easy Steps to Overland Adventure Travel

Grant and Susan Johnson, Horizons Unlimited

This seminar will inspire you to get going and tell you what you need to know before you embark on your adventure. Topics covered: Planning – how much is enough?; Where and when to go; Paperwork – keeping you out of trouble; What to take and the perils of packing lists; Money – how much does it cost?; Life on the road – staying safe and healthy abroad; Dealing with breakdowns – what to do when you can’t call CAA; Language and cultural issues and much more! Includes video clips and lots of great pics!

Grant and Susan Johnson are icons in the round-the-world motorcycling community. The Johnsons write, edit, produce, manage and coordinate Horizons Unlimited – a global network of motorcycle travelers. Grant and Susan spent 11 years travelling around the world, from 1987 to 1998, eventually reaching over 50 countries, and every continent including Antarctica.

Brand Flakes: Discover what taste your brand leaves in people’s mouth

Azadeh Yaraghi

What is branding? What is the importance of branding in business? How do I use it to be seen as unique, remembered, and attract loyal customers?

Today’s marketplace is consumed by different brands. How will you ensure your brand stands apart from competition while presenting itself in an authentic and real way? Customers make decisions based on an emotional connection. No matter how big or small your company, it is important to take a hard, honest look at the good (and not so good) of your existing brand. This session will help you clarify the way you want your ideal target audience to perceive you and ultimately tell your unique story to create an emotional connection.

Operatic Voice Tasting and Brewing Workshop

Stefano Lodola

Do you know what opera actually sounds like? Many people don’t. Join us in this fascinating ‘voice tasting’ workshop and learn more about the real thing. Listen and compare famous singers’ renditions, live examples and..your own singing! That’s right. Join us here for a chance to record on stage and find out what your voice can sound like with some make up, and never fall mistake ‘popera’ for opera again!

The State of Marijuana and Its Use

Charles Stenger

Marijuana is the casual name of the plant called cannabis. It has been illegal in the US and Canada for some time, but was recently legalized for medical use in Vancouver. Join us in this session to discuss health considerations and the controversy around Marijuana, as well as the current status of cannabis in Canada and Vancouver (they’re different).

Technologies of the Extended Mind

Peter B. Reiner

In this talk, Peter B. Reiner will discuss some of the implications – both scary and exciting – of the extended mind hypothesis (EMH). The EMH is a new idea in philosophy of mind that suggests cognitive processing extends beyond the brain into the world at large. It is not just that devices may support cognition, but rather that they function as a bona fide part of the cognitive toolkit. The claims of the EMH are arguably radical, but there is a growing sense that for many, smartphones already function in precisely this way. The widespread accessibility of those TECHNOLOGIES OF THE EXTENDED MIND (TEMS) as a feature of modern life raises a number of issues; three stand at the forefront of neuroethical consideration:

  1. To what extent might TEMS be perceived as a threat to autonomy as they increasingly act not only as repositories of information but also as decision-making devices?
  2. If TEMS are widely perceived to be extensions of cognitive function, does surveillance by governments and corporations breach privacy of thought?
  3. Are there moral qualms about using TEMs extend cognitive capacities beyond the norm?

How the Cold War Changed British Columbia

Peter Scales

Why is there an oil pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby? Why is there an aluminum smelter on the north coast? How many nuclear-armed bombers crashed into BC? Who was the Don’t Make a Wave Committee, what were they trying to stop, and why did they later change their name to Greenpeace? Where are all of the 1960s bomb shelters? What was “duck and cover”? Peter Scales, MA, will describe BC history in a way that is light-hearted yet meaningful.

Monday, August 3

Dim Sum Brunch

Join us for a pay on your own Dim Sum at the Red Star Chinese Restaurant for an exquisite, authentic experience! Please RSVP in the Games room cork board so we can let the restaurant know how many to expect and be prepared to pay with cash ($25-$30)

Urban Hiking Tour: Vancouver’s Chinatown

Esta Mun

Explore Vancouver’s Chinatown and its Chinese architecture induing Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park, the Chinese Zodiac circle, Chinatown Gateway and the Sam Keep building.

While sidewals are generally disability friendly participants should due independently mobile for  a distance of 2km or more. This tour is limited to 10 persons, and requires participants to buy appropriate Transit Passes (less than $10 Cdn)