North American Nerd Nite-A-Thon (Virtual) Tuesday March 31, 2020

Nerd Nite-A-Thon (Virtual): March 31, 2020. Watch/view at http://www.facebook.com/nerdnite
We’re putting on our first North American Nerd Nite-A-Thon so you can enjoy eight of our favorite presentations from across North America. Enjoy drinking and learning from the comfort of your PJs. We’ll toast you while online. The line-up:

7pm-7:30pm EDT (Nerd Nite Baltimore): The Power of Breakfast Sandwiches by Dr. Neil Bardhan

Need more be said? Neil is a returning Nerd Nite speaker from the very first Nerd Nite Baltimore in January 2016 (on the effect of your nasal cavity on vowel pronunciation)! We’re happy to have him return every 3 years. Neil is a native of Corning, NY (of glass fame), has a Ph.D in cognitive science and psycholinguistics, and is currently Executive Director at Broad Street Review and Manager for Applied Storytelling at First Person Arts in Philadelphia.

7:30pm-8pm EDT (Nerd Nite Philly): The Greatest Sci-Fi Songs You’ve Never Heard by Chris Cummins

Description: Join Chris Cummins as he takes you on a cosmic journey deep into the world of weirdo science fiction spin-off songs. From disco versions of the Star Wars theme to cash-in records from actors from Star Trek and Doctor Who to creepy tunes about E.T. and Max Headroom and beyond, this will be an A/V exploration of how science fiction has not only impacted our lives but our music as well. And yeah, Chris will be playing some favorites from his personal collection. VIRTUAL DANCE PARTY YO!

Bio: Chris Cummins is the boss of Nerd Nite Philadelphia and the host of Sci-Fi Explosion, a cosmic cabaret of craziness that celebrates the strangest aspects of science fiction. You can follow him on social media at @scifiexplosion!

8pm-8:30pm EDT (Nerd Nite Miami): Oh Hell No: The Cultural Impact of SharkNado by David Shiffman, Ph.D.

Description: Sharks: so hot right now! Sharks are in, and one of the best examples of this is a whole genre of bad shark movies. In this genre, the SharkNado franchise stands head and pectoral fins above competitors like Sharktopus, avalanche sharks (“snow is just frozen water,”) and six-headed shark attack. In this talk, Dr. David Shiffman will discuss the history of bad shark movies, with a focus on SharkNado and the incredible impact it had on pop culture and even public discourse.

Bio: Dr. David Shiffman is a marine conservation biologist who studies sharks. His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Scientific American, Slate, Gizmodo, and a monthly column in SCUBA diving magazine. David is an award-winning public science communicator who invites you to follow him on twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @ WhysharksMatter, where he’s always happy to answer any questions anyone has about sharks. In the interest of full disclosure, David has asked us to inform you that SharkNado 2 is thanked in his Ph.D. dissertation because it funded some of his research. He has presented at Nerd Nite Miami, Nerd Nite Vancouver, and Nerd Nite DC.

8:30pm-9pm EDT (Nerd Nite Pittsburgh): Bullshit in Space! An Astronomical Adventure Through Cosmic Misinformation by Ralph Crewe

Description: The night sky and the cosmos beyond have been a source of wonder, awe, and curiosity for people across the centuries. Today, we are in a golden age of astronomy and one of the best places to explore the cutting edge of our understanding of the universe is your local planetarium. Unfortunately, along with the sea of celestial knowledge comes an ocean of bullshit and misconception. Join planetarium program coordinator Ralph Crewe as he plumbs the depths of Bullshit in Space!

Bio: Ralph Crewe: Ralph is a professional science nerd, and until the COVID-19 shutdown, he was working as program development coordinator for the Buhl Planetarium and Observatory at Carnegie Science Center. He has coordinated astronomical programming like SkyWatch, hosted the Café Scientifique science lecture series, created and hosted the SNaQ podcast, and more. In his spare time, he plays music (bass and piano), rides his bicycle, and competes in birdwatching competitions.

9pm-9:30pm EDT (Nerd Nite NYC): The Law of Star Wars Strikes Back by Major Thomas Harper

Description: Star Wars may be full of lightsabers, space battles, and one very awkward brother/sister crush, but it’s also brimming with legal issues. Are Ewoks a bunch of furry war criminals? Can Kylo Ren claim the insanity defense? Join Army JAG attorney Major Thomas Harper as he returns to Nerd Nite NYC to break down these issues and more from the galaxy far far away.

Bio: Major Tom Harper served on active duty as an Army JAG officer for over seven years before switching to the Army Reserves and private practice.  As a JAG attorney, Tom has served in a variety of positions, including as a prosecutor, a defense counsel, and as an operational law attorney advising on combat operations in Afghanistan.  He is also obsessed with Star Wars and still proudly carries a Darth Vader lunchbox.  Tom blogs and podcasts for The Legal Geeks, using Star Wars to teach about a wide variety of legal topics.  He regularly shares his love of Star Wars on the national stage, and has presented at San Diego Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration, WonderCon, and DragonCon. You can follow his Star Wars ramblings on Twitter at @thomasLharper.

9:30pm-10pm EDT / 7:30pm-8pm MDT (Nerd Nite Denver): Debunk in the Trunk: Setting Some Historical Myths Straight by Dr. Francesca Tronchin

Description: Dr. Francesca Tronchin will examine some old myths and assumptions about the history of the ancient Mediterranean in this talk. Was Cleopatra really Egyptian and also really beautiful? Were the Spartans truly the greatest fighting force of the ancient world? What did Greek and Roman temples and statues really look like? If you behave, she might bust some bonus myths about Hitler and Napoleon!

10pm-10:30pm EDT / 7pm-7:30pm PDT (Nerd Nite Vancouver): Spider Butts and Spit Glands: Adventures in Working with Galleria Mellonella Silk by Mary Glasper

Description: Remember those plastic-eating worms in the news last year? I work with those! One summer, while working in an entomology lab, my supervisor asked, “Have you ever looked at Galleria silk? It’s really strong and they produce a TON of it.” Suddenly, a master’s thesis was born, where I investigated the properties of Galleria silk for its use in textiles. Galleria mellonella, a.k.a. the greater wax moth, is a pest of beehives and is also a popular model organism for the study of medically significant mammalian pathogens. In this presentation, I’ll show you how to collect, process, and characterize this silk as a textile fibre. Could it be a viable alternative to spider silk? Come and find out! Spoiler: I don’t feed them plastic.

Bio: Mary Glasper has been a fan of our many-legged friends and of fibres for as long as she can remember, and has professional experience in both Entomology and Textile Science. It’s only natural that she would combine both of her interests by studying how insects create fibres! She has a BSc in Biological Sciences & Human Ecology from the University of Alberta, and finished her MSc in Textile Science. Mary is now a Materials Developer at Arc’teryx Equipment.

10:30pm-11pm EDT / 7:30pm-8pm PDT (Nerd Nite LA): “That’s not a @&$#ing dinosaur!”: Misconceptions about Paleontology by Trevor Valle

Description: Ross Gellar. Jurassic Park. Dinobots. Barney. Pop culture has this on again/off again love affair with the reality of paleontology, but refuses to take it out to dinner and really listen. Let’s get them talking (and drinking)!

Bio: Trevor Valle has looked for old, dead things in some really screwed up places… from artichoke fields in northern California, to the permafrost and tundra of north-eastern Siberia. Formerly the Lab Supervisor of the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, he can now be found making sure construction crews don’t accidentally dig up mammoths, or occasionally on TV talking about dead stuff.

 

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