A video about our 2013 Nerd Nite Global Festival
Imagine many of the greatest Nerd Nite presenters from across the globe all in one location. Imagine the editor-in-chief of Popular Science and the producers of Radiolab emceeing and judging a Drunk Science competition among audience members. Imagine meeting fellow curious, smart folk like yourself while drinking FREE BEER FOR 3 DAYS. Imagine no more!
Since we here at Nerd Nite have done such an extraordinarily poor job of sharing content across our 50+ cities worldwide, we’re finally doing something about it. Yes, we proudly bring you our first annual Nerd Nite Global Festival 2013! Buy tickets now!
Join us August 16-18, 2013 at the Brooklyn Lyceum (Brooklyn, NY, USA) for our first annual fest featuring 25 of our greatest hits presentations from across the globe, games, trivia, mingling with fellow nerds, lots of free beer and cheap wine (you must be 21+, no exceptions). And wine will only be $3/glass. Seriously, yes, that is a LOT of content and fun – oh, and all of this amazingness is a mere $100 (day-passes are available too). So be prepared to be dazzled, tantalized, and exhilarated upon hearing from the best presentations ever from the last few years.
Nerd Nite Global Festival 2013
227 Fourth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, USA
August 16-18, 2013
Subway: R train to Union Street
*R train note: If you’re coming from Manhattan to the Brooklyn Lyceum via subway, as of last week the R train is no longer running from Whitehall Station (Manhattan) to Court Street (Brooklyn) because the MTA is fixing the tunnel under the East River. Now, if you’re coming from Manhattan, take the B/D/N/Q/2/3/4/5 to Atlantic/Pacific/Barclay’s and then transfer to the R train. Or take the F/G to 4th Avenue station and transfer to R train. For more info go to http://www.mta.info.
$100 (there’s a $8.9o service fee) for the full fest
Day Passes: $30 Friday-only, $65 Saturday-only, $50 Sunday-only
*tickets available at the door too
Nerds across the globe unite!
Friday August 16, 2013
8-10pm Opening Reception with music by the Main Squeeze Orchestra
Saturday August 17, 2013
9-10:30am and/or (you choose) 10-11:15am: Walking tours led by Levy’s Unique NY that leave from outside the Bowling Green subway station on Broadway in lower Manhattan
10-11:30am: Trivia contest
12pm: A Journey Through Liquid Space: The Disney 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Ride by David Shuff (Brooklyn, NY)
12:45pm: Sexy Serpent Smells: A Sense of Snake Scents by Rocky Parker (Philadelphia)
1:30pm: Violinist’s Thumb by Sam Kean (Washington DC)
2:15pm: The Scholarly Gym Rat by Lianne McTavish (Edmonton)
3pm: Welcome to the Nanoworld! by Dr. Kristin Cederquist (Ann Arbor)
3:45pm: Sex and the Sick Bee by Ben Taylor (Madison, WI)
4:30pm: The Limits of the Human Body by Jake Ward (San Francisco)
5-7:30pm: Break (go eat dinner somewhere in the neighborhood)
7:30-10pm Drunk Science featuring the producers of Radiolab and Jake Ward, editor-in-chief of Popular Science and judging of the Dry T-Shirt contest
A games room will run concurrently to the presentations all day
Sunday August 18, 2013
10am: Final Sunday opening comments
10:15am: Itchy Itchy Scratch: Insects That Make your Skin Crawl and all the Lovely Reasons Why by Irene Moon and Yon Visell (Gainesville)
11am: How Dolley Madison helped bring German Beer to America: Connecting Historic Beer Technology with the Rise of Ice Cream as an Iconic American Food by Trevor McElroy (Philly)
11:45am: The Art of the Star Wars Retcon by Dustin Diehl (Phoenix)
12:30pm: Triple E: The Story of a Highly Pathogenic, Often Fatal, Mosquito-Borne Virus in the United States by Asim Ahmed (Boston)
1:15pm: Alien Minds by Lauren Shorser (Toronto)
2pm: Leaving Earth by Dr. Andrew Rader (Kitchener, ON)
2:45pm: Planet Construction, Caught in the Act by Dr. Joel Green (Austin)
3:30pm: Godzilla: History, Biology and Behavior of Hyper-Evolved Theropod Kaiju by Shyaporn Theerakulstit (NYC)
4pm: Closing remarks
A games room will run concurrently to the presentations all day
We have a room block at the Holiday Inn Express on Union Street around the corner from the fest venue. It is $189/night for a single room and $209/night for a double, both with free wifi and breakfast. Must reserve by July 12, 2013. Click here to reserve and use discount code: NER
Presentation Descriptions & Presenter Bios
Dr. Chris Balakrishnan
Chris is the godfather and founder of Nerd Nite. He can talk about whatever he wants and it will be awesome.
Godzilla: History, Biology and Behavior of Hyper-Evolved Theropod Kaiju
By Shyaporn Theerakulstit
Description: Tsunami, earthquake, hurricane and typhoon all rolled in one, Godzilla, “King of the Monsters,” has both plagued and benefited humanity for over half a century. By examining the origins and zoology of this force of nature, people and nations will be better equipped to deal with the awesome destructive power of our radioactive visitor from the Cretaceous.
Bio: Shyaporn Theerakulstit is an actor, writer, director and D-List YouTuber, where he posts videos about drug addicted Easter bunnies, unemployed Superfriends and flying kittens. You can see examples of his internet hackery at http://www.youtube.com/shyaporn
Sexy Serpent Smells: A Sense of Snake Scents
by Rocky Parker
Description: Imagine sitting on the barely-thawed ground of a field, surrounded by flattened yellow grass and bare trees. Then you hear a rustle, some thrashing, more rustling… then out from the grass pop one, two, ten, twenty little brown and yellow heads staring blankly into the spring air through lidless eyes. They flick their glossy black tongues expectantly and tick their heads in random directions before indulgently returning to the scents of sex saturating the ground. Every spring, garter snakes emerge in the tens of thousands from limestone sinkholes on the midwest plains in search of one thing: sex. After 6 months of life in complete darkness at 3 degrees Celsius, they are willing and able to seek out mating opportunities immediately… and as many as possible in the tumultuous four week scramble of spring. The one cue males need to locate and choose between mates is the female sex pheromone. But sometimes, things are not always what they seem. Sometimes, there are males that smell like females. In my talk will first give Canada a good ribbing then discuss different aspects of the garter snake mating system, with special focus on how pheromones are used to coordinate reproduction in this (and maybe all?) snake species.
Bio: Rocky Parker is a chemical ecologist/reproductive endocrinologist now specializing in the interaction between hormones and sensory systems. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia examining steroid hormone modulation of taste behavior and gene expression… but his real claim to fame is that he can slay Bohemian Rhapsody… a cappella.
Sex and the Sick Bee
by Ben Taylor
Description: Using the beloved and timeless characters of the HBO comedy series as our guide, we will explore the beautiful evolutionary journey from single egg-laying sawflies to honey bee orgies. But it’s not all sex and nectar drinking in our honeycomb city, and just as Samantha had her breast cancer (SPOILER!), so too must the honey bee deal with her Colony Collapse Disorder. It’s a story of sex, drugs, deception, exploding males, and zombies. Just like any other episode of Sex and the City, only with three times the shoes.
Bio: Ben Taylor is the Assistant Director of Education for the UW Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, but, even more so than jamming words into his job title, his real passion is for bees. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in entomology from the UW-Madison, Ben worked on a nine-month research project focusing on native bee pollination in Wisconsin’s apple orchards. Yes, he has been stung in the face. No, it was not a pleasant experience.
The Scholarly Gym Rat
by Lianne McTavish
Description: Why would a 43-year-old full professor lift weights, lose 25 pounds, slather herself in orange tanning dye, and prance around in a crystal-encrusted bikini? To undertake embodied research as a competitive bodybuilder, of course. After pumping iron seriously for three years, I forged my seemingly separate identities as: 1) an academic specializing in seventeenth-century French visual culture, the history of the body, and critical museum theory, and 2) a fitness enthusiast able to bench press her own body weight. I entered a contest in the category called ‘Figure,’ which favours muscular physiques with wide, capped shoulders, broad upper backs, and well defined legs, but requires a softer appearance than traditional forms of bodybuilding. My scholarly research project allowed me to experiment with different methods of knowledge production, and I will describe them along with my research results.
Bio: Lianne McTavish (PhD, University of Rochester, 1996) is Professor in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta, where she offers courses in early modern visual culture and critical museum theory. In addition to numerous articles, chapters, and exhibition catalogues, she has published two books, Childbirth and the Display of Authority in Early Modern France (Ashgate, 2005), and Defining the Modern Museum (University of Toronto Press, 2012). Lianne is currently completing another manuscript, inspired by her recent participation in a bodybuilding competition. For fun, she blogs at feministfiguregirl.com, cooks exotic meals, teaches spin classes, travels as much as possible, watches Coronation Street, and grunts while lifting heavy things at the gym.
The Limits of the Human Body
by Jake Ward
Description: Our bodies are incredibly fragile. We burst, burn, and break extremely easily, and yet we constantly travel to dangerous places, dive under the ocean, fly, drive, drink alcohol, and otherwise do things that our bodies are wholly unqualified to handle. This presentation discusses the science of human limitation, and what fundamental technologies make it possible for us not to suffocate, freeze, catch on fire, or otherwise die the thousand deaths that our unbelievably dangerous lives whisk us past each day.
Bio: Jake Ward is editor-in-chief of Popular Science, the world’s largest science and technology magazine. He’s written for The New Yorker and Wired, and has hosted television shows for Discovery, PBS and National Geographic. He splits his time between New York and California.
by Lauren Shorser
Description: Though most people will only encounter them on a dinner plate, cephalopods (octopus, squid, and cuttlefish) are much more than exotic and chewy seafood. These short-lived, anti-social, and occasionally cannibalistic invertebrates are making a name for themselves as highly intelligent beings, and we’ve only just scratched the surface of what they can do.
Bio: Lauren Shorser is a science writer and scuba diver who has a deep love of cephalopods. She finds it unsettling to write about herself in the third person.
by Dr. Andrew Rader
Description: So the moon isn’t enough and now you have your sights set on the red planet. This presentation will examine why Mars makes a good candidate for human settlement in the context of recently announced ventures to get there (Inspiration Mars, Mars One), NASA missions, and the trajectory of human spaceflight. Topics will include the prospect for finding life, utilization of local resources, past and proposed mission plans, base construction, and the possibility of terraforming. Special emphasis will be given to the challenges we face in getting and living there, along with potential solutions.
Bio: Andrew Rader completed his PhD in Aero/astro engineering at MIT in 2009, examining the impacts of long duration spaceflight on the human body, and has worked for the last few years as a spacecraft systems engineer. Andrew is an applicant for the Mars One Mission (http://youtu.be/w_JKIfMxlb0), and an advocate of both human and robotic spaceflight. He was the recent winner of Discovery Channel’s competitive reality TV show ‘Canada’s Greatest Know it All’ (http://youtu.be/kUH1e-3Kubw). You can find more information at Andrew’s public Facebook page (Rader.Andrew), follow Andrew on Twitter @Rader_Andrew, and watch his videos at his youtube channel (AndrewRader). You can also vote to help Andrew conduct a student experiment in space (http://youtu.be/Czn-J0izSAQ).
Planet Construction, Caught in the Act
by Dr. Joel Green
Description: Planets are (figuratively) falling from the sky thanks to the success of the Kepler telescope, but would we want to live there? Watching Star Trek, one gets the impression that the universe is teeming with life, and habitable planets are as common as barbeque joints. But when we glance around our own Solar System we see a treasure trove of incredibly hostile environments — frozen, boiling, erupting with lava, covered in acid rain, or immutable. So what is the true variety of planets found in stellar systems in the universe? Only seventeen years after the first planet outside our solar system was discovered, we know of over 4000 planets and planet candidates, discovered with an inventive variety of techniques. Finally we start to answer questions: what are other planets like, and what do they tell us about how common planets are? How do planets form around other stars, how long does it take, and what are they made out of? Using the latest state-of-the-art NASA and ESA space telescopes I will review the fields of exoplanets and protoplanets, and the exciting discoveries we expect to make in the near future.
Bio: Joel D. Green is a research scientist at the University of Texas at Austin, although he is hoping to start an internship with Slartibartfast. He grew up in the suburbs of New York City, and bounced between upstate New York and NYC itself for many years, but in Austin he has become addicted to sun, cowboy boots, and dry rub barbecue. He eagerly awaits the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, for which he has grand plans.
Triple E: The Story of a Highly Pathogenic, Often Fatal, Mosquito-Borne Virus in the United States
by Asim Ahmed
Description: Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is a highly pathogenic mosquito-borne virus that causes brain infection in humans and horses. Indigenous to the east coast and gulf coast states of North America, public health surveillance suggests that EEE is re-emerging and that its range is expanding. In this presentation, learn about the natural transit of the virus in nature, the local risk factors that contribute to acquisition and strategies to prevent the infection.
Bio: Asim A. Ahmed M.D. works on mosquito-borne diseases at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. After medical training at Baylor College of Medicine and UCSF, he completed a pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia followed by subspecialty training in pediatric infectious diseases at Boston Children’s Hospital.
How Dolley Madison helped bring German Beer to America: Connecting Historic Beer Technology with the Rise of Ice Cream as an Iconic American Food
by Trevor McElroy
Description: Pennsylvania has the country’s oldest brewery and ice cream company, but have you ever wondered how people were able to enjoy ice cream or a cold lager before refrigerators? Beer and ice cream have a very connected history and I will discuss how they are intertwined and how you can see the legacy now.
Bio: Trevor McElroy is a Philadelphia tour guide and “free lance historian”. He gives all types of customized tours in and around Philly, and has been a guide at Bartram’s Garden for 5 years. He is also an Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides (APT) certified guide and former board member. He’s a community garden organizer and home brewer and loves to eat and drink things connected to history.
The Art of the Star Wars Retcon
by Dustin Diehl
Description: Retcon (or retroactive continuity) has become a common practice in many multi-channel franchises, from DC Comics to Dr. Who. But in no other universe is it more prevalent (and damned creative) than in the Star Wars pantheon. Discover the how, why, who and what of the Star Wars retcon!
Bio: Hailing from Phoenix, Dustin works for a digital marketing agency, writes for a local geek blog and simply loves all things Star Wars!
Itchy Itchy Scratch: Insects That Make your Skin Crawl and all the Lovely Reasons Why
by Irene Moon & Yon Visell
Description: Sing and dance your way through a factual presentation about the diversity of creepy-crawlies that can give you an itch to scratch. Haptics researcher Yon Visell (Drexel University re-touch-lab.com) and Irene Moon (American Museum of Natural History www.begoniasociety.org) team up to demonstrate the power of itch-ful thinking.
Bio: Irene Moon (Katja C. Seltmann, PhD) has worked in entomology for over ten years and is presently a researcher at the American Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology. She brings the aesthetics from the entomology laboratory in front of alternative audiences (principally art galleries and music venues) in the form of absurd, however, truly factual presentations about insects. Yon Visell is an Assistant Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Drexel University, where he directs the RE TOUCH Lab (www.re-touch-lab.com), which is devoted to reverse engineering the sense of touch and to the development of new haptic technologies. He has spent more than a decade working between areas of sciences, interactive technology, and the arts.
Welcome to the Nanoworld!
by Dr. Kristin Cederquist
Description: Nano isn’t just a moniker for an adorable little mp3 player. In fact, complex structures can occur on a scale far too small for your eye to see. Nanoparticles and nanoscale objects have been used to create art for centuries, but only recently have scientists embarked upon the journey to harness these materials for their distinct optical and mechanical properties. Learn about the role of nanoparticles in everyday products and ways we are using them to make novel coatings and enhance diagnostics.
Bio: Kristin Cederquist is a chemist who, after completion of a Ph.D. in chemistry from Penn State, moved to Toronto to become a postdoctoral fellow, and now calls the (awesome, beer-drinking) state of Michigan home. She made a splash at Nerd Nite Toronto for her Sarah Palin impression. Thank goodness they didn’t ask to see it at Nerd Nite Ann Arbor.
by Sam Kean
Description: The Violinist’s Thumb: Did the human race almost go extinct? Can genetics explain a crazy cat lady’s love for felines? How does DNA lead to people with no fingerprints, or humans born with tails? And how did the right combination of genes create the exceptionally flexible thumbs and fingers of a truly singular violinist? Unraveling the genetic code hasn’t always been easy—from its earliest days, genetics has been rife with infighting, backstabbing, and controversial theories—but scientists can now finally read the astounding stories about human history buried in our DNA.
The Main Squeeze Orchestra is a 15-piece all-female ensemble of smart and funny women who all happen to play the accordion. The band has played in New York at nightclubs, gallery openings, variety shows, warehouse parties, bowling alleys, bar mitzvahs, and burlesque shows. Interviewed by Psychology Today as well as NPR, the band also appeared on the tv show America’s Got Talent where Sharon Osbourne declared it was “the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen!”. With a cult following of fans, the band’s diverse musical repertoire defies nerdy stereotypes of accordion music, and surprises audiences with lively genre-bending performances of both classical and popular songs.
Bio: Sam Kean is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Disappearing Spoon and The Violinist’s Thumb. Both books were named Amazon top-five science books of the year, and his work has been featured on “Radiolab,” “All Things Considered,” and “Fresh Air.”
Beer will be lovingly provided by Brooklyn Brewery. Yum!!!