Abbotsford Learning Plus Society


10 a.m. till 12 noon, Tuesdays and Thursdays

(topics/speakers subject to change)

Open House – September 13, 2018


1.  Civil Rights in Canada? The Forgotten History

         September 18, 2018, Tuesday

         Ian Rocksborough, UFV


         Ian’s meticulous research and adept storytelling provide an in-depth look at the legacy of Black Canadians, their experiences of discrimination, their vital role in the community. He honours the many ways they have helped to make Canada the culturally diverse, compassionate and prosperous nation it is today.


2.  From Village to City: Abbotsford’s Culture of Excellence and


         September 20, 2018, Thursday

         Patricia Ross, City Councilor


         Join Patricia for an enjoyable stroll down memory lane as she shares highlights of the 24 years since the amalgamation of Abbotsford and Matsqui. Patricia will discuss how the amalgamation affected our city and share the many wonderful stories of events that have shaped our city since.


3. Quarks & Gluons: Nature’s Construction Materials

         September 25, 2018, T

         Derek Harnett, UFV


         Matter is made of molecules; molecules are made of atoms; atoms are made of protons and neutrons (and electrons). Protons and neutrons are made of quarks held together by gluons. Quarks are the smallest bits of matter discovered to date. In this presentation, we’ll talk about quarks and the different ways they stick together to form larger, composite particles.


4.  Ruling Rome: Art, Power and Posterity

         September 27, 2018, Th

         Jill Bain, UFV


         The visual culture of Ancient Rome casts a long shadow over most of the periods of Western culture that succeed it. Whether conscious of it or not, we are constantly in the presence of Roman visual influence: our sports arenas, government buildings, interior décor, fashions and coinage (as a small sample) testify to this. This illustrated lecture will examine select Roman monuments and imagery to consider their value and meaning in both ancient and more recent contexts.


5.  Grief and Loss

         October 2, 2018, T

         Jason Wong 


Every person at some point in life will experience grief and loss, or a sense of final separation from someone or something important. Grief is a complicated and unique experience that often requires assistance to work through the process.

This workshop will explore

 **Vivienne Chin's session has been postponed to spring 2019.


6.  AGM/Soroptimist – 37 Years of Volunteer Service in Abbotsford

         and Mission

         October 4, 2018, Th

         Colleen Schmidt


         Soroptimist is a global volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. Our local club, chartered in 1981, supports many organizations in Abbotsford and Mission, along with our own projects. Our signature project, the Live Your Dream Award, assists women by giving them the resources they need to improve their education, skills and job prospects.


7.  Cannabis

         October 9, 2018, T

         Tom Baumann, UFV


         The subject of Cannabis is very controversial because of aspects such as legality, influence on health, possible capacity for driving, and general function. This talk will delve mostly into the aspects of getting a legal operation going, planning a growing facility, personnel, special techniques needed for the crop, handling medical substances and so much more.


8.  Culinary Landscapes: The Wonderful World of Fermented Foods

         October 11, 2018, Th

         Lenore Newman, UFV


         We’ve been told that fermented foods are good for our ‘gut’ and such foods have been a part of many cultures for as long as we can remember. So what old and new wonders do these microorganisms create? As Canada Research Chair in Food Security and Environment, Lenore is certain to enlighten!


9.  Electoral Reform - Which Option is Best?

         October 16, 2018, T

         John Redekop

         What are the pros and cons of each option? Can we have both proportional representation and stable government? Is our present system really unfair to anybody? How important is the simplicity of an electoral system?

**Molly Ungar's session has been postponed.


10. The Influence of Algorithms - Social Media's Impact on Public Opinion

         October 18, 2018, Th  **due to BC Shakeout, this class will run from 10:30 - 12:30

         David Thomson, UFV


         With over 2 billion active users Facebook has the power to reach the world's population on an unprecedented scale. Other social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn have similarly vast audiences. How do these "engines of connection" change the way public opinion is measured and, more importantly, shaped? We will look at the increasingly central role of social media in public discourse in general, and political campaigns in particular.


11. Understanding and Explaining President Trump: Can It Be Done?

         October 23, 2018, T

         John Redekop

         What are President Trump's basic values? How does he perceive politics? Why is he popular in certain circles? How did he manage to win the 2016 election? How can Canada deal with President Trump? How should we assess his global role and policies? What is the prognosis of President Trump in power?   What are his strengths and weaknesses? Will his time in office have a long-term effect on American politics, on Canadian-American relations and on world affairs?

**Christina Moreno's session on art expression has been postponed till Spring 2019.


12. Cape Town-Okavango Delta-Victoria Falls-Kenya – Another

         Africa Adventure

         October 25, 2018, Th

         Ruth Thiessen


         Being tourists in a city without almost no water is an adventure no one wants, but one we experienced in Cape Town. Touring a winery which started in 1700, visiting a cheetah outreach project, and once again exploring Cape Town are the prelude to another safari in the Okavango Delta, visiting two new camps at a time when the water should be very high. A few days in the elephant-rich Chobe Game Park and the grand finale, Victoria Falls. We conclude our personal tour with 10 days in Kenya, revisiting old friends, possibly as far north as Samburu Country.


13. King Arthur: Fact or Fiction?

         October 30, 2018, T

         Brian Antonson


         We know him as King Arthur. But did he really live? Or is he a mere legend? Explore the landscapes of Arthur and the history of how he came to be. Brian Antonson has visited many sites associated with the legend, and studied the history and pseudo-history surrounding the mysterious figure from 1500 years ago, and will lead an engaging tour of these sites and explore the truth behind the tales.


14. 2017 Travels into Japan and South Korea

         November 1, 2018, Th

         Judith Ray


         My husband, Fred Reynolds, and I had a 22 day visit via a cruise to these two countries including areas a bit off the beaten track. Travel with us through photos and stories of our experiences. I will also share a handout of some of the history of both countries to help the audience have an appreciation of some of the tumultuous past they have had, including with each other.


15. Fake News

         November 6, 2018, T

         Darren Blakeborough, UFV


         It has been said recently that we live in a “post-truth” age. Key to this is the idea of fake news. The issue of fake news isn’t new but it certainly has increased in prominence. It can mislead and misinform and we have recently witnessed powerful examples of the effects it can have. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are fertile ground for the spread of fake news. But what exactly does it all mean? What does it look like? How can we know and what can we do? What is our role or responsibility as a critical thinker?


16. The Doctor Is In!

         November 8, 2018, Th

         Dr. Alex Bartel


         Our favourite Doctor is in to update us on the latest, answer our many questions and concerns, and grace us with his good humour and good company!


17. Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies, and Block Chain

         November 13, 2018, T

         Mike Olthoff


         Cryptocurrencies have been getting a lot of attention as the notion of decentralized stores of value start to become more and more accepted. The blockchain is the new buzzword and everyone wants one, but what is a blockchain?

         This presentation is directed towards those of you who want to know about bitcoin, the blockchain, and cryptocurrency but find all the info out there completely overwhelming. Our approach will be to be as non-technical as possible while explain some key benefits and downfalls of the technology.


18. Learning More About Mental Illness

         November 15, 2018, Th

         Catherine Larnon-Trout


         Did you know that Mental Illness affects one in four of us in Canada and that statistic is only from those who have reported to a Medical Professional? Did you know that someone diagnosed with Schizophrenia occupies one in every 12 beds in Canada? That is more beds than needed for any other single illness except cardiovascular illness. Do you believe there is still a huge stigma attached to having a disease of the brain as opposed to the rest of the body? Where and when did you first hear the words Schizophrenia or Psychosis? Why the perception that people who say they are depressed are possibly seen as ‘just lazy’ or need to ‘pull up their bootstraps and get on with it’? Catherine will help us see new light with regards to understanding and treating Mental Illness.


19. Sleep Apnea. Is It Just a Buzz Word?

         November 20, 2018, T

         Janet West


         You might have heard more and more people talk about snoring and sleep apnea in the last few years. Canadian Health authorities say that 80% of people who may have Sleep Apnea are undiagnosed. Untreated sleep apnea can shorten your life span by 10 or more years, raise your blood pressure, increase your risk for strokes and heart attacks, cause impotence, increase anxiety and depression. Most importantly, untreated OSA decreases performance. Period. In life and work, we all need to be performing at our highest level.

         So YES, snoring and sleep apnea is a big deal. Come join us for a great session packed with information on sleep and how to achieve your highest quality of life!

         Sleep better. Live better.


20. It Takes Raindrops to Fill a Lake: The Fifty-Year Story of

         Abbotsford Community Services

         November 22, 2018, Th

         Walter Paetkau


         Fifty years ago Walter Paetkau together with a team, made a vision come to life.  As the founder and first executive director, hear the stories of the formative years of Abbotsford Community Services, the areas they service, some of the major social issues, the community partnerships, and lessons along the way.


21. A Touch of Old England

         November 27, 2018, T

         Janet and Bob Trout


         Once again, Janet and Bob take us along for a delightful trip – a short excursion into Olde England. Enjoy the ‘here and there’ through stories of history and images of beautiful scenery.


22. Travel Stories of Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans

         November 29, 2018, Th

         Chef Dez


         Come join Chef Dez as he shares with us his journey of his most recent exclusive “Spoons & Tunes” Culinary Tour to Nashville Memphis and New Orleans! Tour guests on these trips experience not only the cuisine of areas of the world, but also the history, culture, and the daily way of life. Chef Dez will walk you through this past trip with photos and stories, helping you feel like you are there, too.

         Copies of Chef Dez’s most recent books, cookbook “The Best In Your Kitchen” and motivational book “Parsley is World Peace in Disguise” will be available for $15 and $10 respectively, cash only – to make a great personalized Christmas gift!


23. Landscapes of the Fraser Lowland

         December 4, 2018, T

         Jonathan Hughes, UFV


         Join Dr. Hughes as he presents images of landscapes commonly seen around the Fraser Lowland and explains their geologic origin and ecological significance. These stories are a compilation of examples used to excite undergraduate students to learn about their natural environment – they may excite us, too!


24. Gravitational Waves: We Can Now Feel the Cosmos!

         December 6, 2018, Th

         Arnold Sikkema, TWU


         When Galileo turned a telescope to the heavens in 1609, the consequences were world-changing as this dramatically extended our ability to see beyond Earth. In February 2016, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) announced it had detected the merger of two black holes about 1.3 billion years ago, which was “felt” on September 14, 2015. Until that moment, it had been mainly light (more generally electromagnetic waves of all wavelengths) which has given us information about the cosmos beyond our atmosphere. I will summarize Einstein’s 1916 prediction of gravitational waves as well as their earlier indirect confirmation, explain the observational and theoretical methods and results, and outline the potential of this new window into the cosmos. I hope to share both my excitement about the observation itself and my reflections on the character of science that the public dissemination and reception of this discovery revealed, and will provide updates of subsequent gravitational wave detection.



Christmas Tea – December 11, 2018