Archive for the ‘Wellington’ Category

nerd nite 13: the Alternative one

Note: To attend this nerd nite, you need to register (it’s free) here.

To celebrate our 13th nerd nite, we thought we’d do something a little different, and so allow us to present nerd nite 13: the Alternative one!

Once again, the show will happening at the Hotel Bristol (our official home!), and will be starting at around 6:30 pm (although, please do start arriving from 6pm).

Details as follows (be aware that these may change):

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Card magic
Chelfyn Baxter (@chelfyn)

Chelfyn Baxter will be talking about, and giving a demo on, Card Magic. He will be performing 3 minor miracles of close-up magic that rely on 3 very different principles of magic. He will then take a vote, and will fully explain whichever ONE trick that the audience is most curious about. He’s been handling card for over 30 years and studying magic for nearly a decade.

Chelfyn’s talk will be split into two parts, so stick around until the end!

Chelfyn Baxter is Grand Vizier of Mohawk Media, a DJ / VJ / 3D animator and magician.

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The History of Burlesque
Helen Baxter, (msbehaviour)

MsBehaviour looks at the history of burlesque, from the parody plays of the 17th century to the recent neo-burlesque revival.

MsBehaviour is Managing Directrix of Mohawk Media, and worked in Theatre and Circus at Glastonbury Festival of the Performing Arts for ten years.

—–

Quick demo: how to twirl nipple tassles
(Still TBC)

A 5 minute demonstration showing how anyone (even boys) can twirl nipple tassles.

—–

The Physics of Pole: A New Twist
Shirley Jones, aka Miss Taken

In this talk and demonstrations, Shirley and her demonstrators will offer one of the few non-abstract displays of both centripetal and centrifugal forces at the same time. All whilst battling gravity and our own strength.

The act will show them defying gravity, playing with both centripetal and centrifugal forces, and demonstrating the power of the triangles of strength, all whilst wearing hot pants and a crop top – silly heels optional. Of additional physics interest is that the pole will be freestanding!

Shirley performs as Miss Taken (retired, but has been persuaded to begin again by @teh_aimee). She is a pole instructor and New Zealands first Boylesque instructor and coached NZ’s highest ranked Male Pole Dancer.

Pole: making science and engineering sexy, and defying human physical limits.

—–

As always, nerd nite is a FREE event, so bring everyone you know!

 

nerd nite 12: of (funda)mentals, data(vis), and Mongolian madness

Our twelfth nerd nite is going to be a bit different!

Still happening at the Hotel Bristol, September 17th,and starting at 6pm, this one will be a little simpler, and shorter.

Update: details below! We’re only having two talks this time, as we expect the one on Mongolia to last for longer than 20 minutes 😛

Further update: We now have three speakers. This happens 😛

——
A triptych on knowledge: a talk that will raise your IQ and lower your certainty

Jonathan Todd (@billymoose)

Writer/Filmmaker Jonathan (Billy) Todd returns (after his well-received talk at nerd nite 5) with another playful wide-ranging examination of fundamental questions.

Expect something amusing, and filled with a highly organised scatology of awesomeness.

Jonathan (Billy) Todd is a writer, musician and filmmaker. No one knows (to this day!) if there is really a person beneath all the hair.

—–

Data-Driven Storytelling (+/- Wild Hand Gestures)

 Keith Ng (@keith_ng)
Data Visualisation Nerdcenary Keith Ng will present a zoo of data-driven storytelling techniques, from simple static designs through to some bitchin’ multidimensional and hierarchically explorable interactive whatchamejigs. Only useful things will be discussed: No bullshit infographics, no data art.
He’ll flail his arms with as much wild abandon as Hans Rosling (+/- 50%), skim past Edward Tufte, and gush over Amanda Cox.
Having wandered the Earth for years as a hobo freelance journalist, Keith is now exploring the Batman-model of journalism: Making money elsewhere so he can do whatever the hell he wants. Well, making money doing very nerdy things so he can do more nerdy things for free.By day (and night) he designs and builds data visualisations like these. Later at night till early in the morning, he does nerdy data journalism on public policy and economics in NZ.
He is also a volunteer medic with St John and would make a great addition to your post-apocalyptic band of survivors.
—–

Surviving the Mongol Rally, or, how we lost our boundaries and gained our freedom

aimee whitcroft (@teh_aimee) and Dane Foster (@dene)

nerd nite founder/host aimee whitcroft and nerd nite tech wrangler Dane Foster will discuss the 2012 Mongol Rally, which they not only survived, but kicked arse at.

Featuring never-before-seen footage, photos, and more! Also, we’ll be taking your questions. Any of ‘em (we no longer have any boundaries) 😛

—–

As always, nerd nite is a FREE event, so bring everyone you know!

nerd nite 12: Of (funda)mentals, and Mongolian Madness

Our twelfth nerd nite is going to be a bit different!

Still happening at the Hotel Bristol, and starting at 6pm, this one will be a little simpler, and shorter.

Update: details below! We’re only having two talks this time, as we expect the one on Mongolia to last for longer than 20 minutes 😛

——

A triptych on knowledge: a talk that will raise your IQ and lower your certainty

Jonathan Todd

Writer/Filmmaker Jonathan (Billy) Todd returns (after his well-received talk at nerd nite 5) with another playful wide-ranging examination of fundamental questions.

Expect something amusing, and filled with a highly organised scatology of awesomeness.

Jonathan (Billy) Todd is a writer, musician and filmmaker. No one knows (to this day!) if there is really a person beneath all the hair.

—–

Surviving the Mongol Rally, or, how we lost our boundaries and gained our freedom

aimee whitcroft (@teh_aimee) and Dane Foster (@dene)

nerd nite founder/host aimee whitcroft and nerd nite tech wrangler Dane Foster will discuss the 2012 Mongol Rally, which they not only survived, but kicked arse at.

Featuring never-before-seen footage, photos, and more! Also, we’ll be taking your questions. Any of ‘em (we no longer have any boundaries) 😛

—–

As always, nerd nite is a FREE event, so bring everyone you know!

nerd nite 11: Of Angry Birds, Medical Words, and Science Hipsters

The Southern Hemisphere’s eleventh nerd nite.  Gosh.  It’s been almost two YEARS since we began all this madness!

Once again to be held at the Hotel Bristol, from 6pm, this nerd nite will taking place on Monday June 18th.

And we have some really interesting speakers!  Well, that’s what aimee thinks, anyway :)

 

—–

Why, exactly, those birds are angry
Mike Dickison (@adzebill)

Angry Birds is the world’s most popular computer game and Finland’s greatest cultural achievement since Sibelius. Very little attention, however, has been paid to the game’s semiotics: what do the green pigs represent? Why do they sometimes have moustaches? Why are their homes so flimsy? And why, exactly, are the birds so angry with them? Mike will outline his all-encompassing explanation that involves Walter Benjamin, the Battle of Midway, and the evolutionary history of little flightless birds.

Mike did his PhD at Duke University on the evolution of giant flightless birds, wrote a best-selling book on how to play the ukulele, and helps scientists visually communicate their data. His talk on the biology of Big Bird is the world’s most-watched PechaKucha.

Some links for the above:

http://www.giantflightlessbirds.com

http://www.adzebill.com

http://www.pecha-kucha.org/presentations/?sort[popularity]=desc

Medical Terminology – what and why.
Ted Cizadlo

Electronic medical records have nearly replaced paper-based record keeping in your doctor’s office.  The quality of these records can be a matter of life and death, but is not regulated.  This talk will introduce you to some of the things that are important in medical records, and look at what the future may hold in this area.

Ted Cizadlo was the Group Manager of the National Systems and Infrastructure team at the Ministry of Health until January of this year.  Prior to that he directed the Psychiatric Neuroimaging Lab at the University of Iowa Medical Centre in Iowa City, Iowa. Ted was trained as a physical chemist, taught physics and chemistry.  He is also a luthier with a small workshop in Karori.  Ted is currently working as a part time consultant and part time luthier.

The Return of Dr. Evil,
or: How Not to be a Science Hipster
Matt Thijs

He’s still getting aimee a blurb, but it’ll be something about an exploration of the golden age of science, why today science is often mistrusted and scientists ridiculed and, of course, a call to arms how we can reverse this unacceptable trend!

—–

As always, this is a FREE event, so bring your friends, family, pet aliens and enemies (a bit of education never hurt anyone, right?). Additionally, if you think you’d like to write an article/blog post about something nerdy, please get in touch with aimee.

See you there!

nerd nite 11: Of angry birds, medical words, and science hipsters

The Southern Hemisphere’s eleventh nerd nite.  Gosh.  It’s been almost two YEARS since we began all this madness!

Once again to be held at the Hotel Bristol, from 6pm, this nerd nite will taking place on Monday June 18th.

And we have some really interesting speakers!  Well, that’s what aimee thinks, anyway :)

—–

Why, exactly, those birds are angry
Mike Dickison (@adzebill)

Angry Birds is the world’s most popular computer game and Finland’s greatest cultural achievement since Sibelius. Very little attention, however, has been paid to the game’s semiotics: what do the green pigs represent? Why do they sometimes have moustaches? Why are their homes so flimsy? And why, exactly, are the birds so angry with them? Mike will outline his all-encompassing explanation that involves Walter Benjamin, the Battle of Midway, and the evolutionary history of little flightless birds.

Mike did his PhD at Duke University on the evolution of giant flightless birds, wrote a best-selling book on how to play the ukulele, and helps scientists visually communicate their data. His talk on the biology of Big Bird is the world’s most-watched PechaKucha.

Some links for the above:

http://www.giantflightlessbirds.com

http://www.adzebill.com

http://www.pecha-kucha.org/presentations/?sort[popularity]=desc

Medical Terminology – what and why.
Ted Cizadlo

Electronic medical records have nearly replaced paper-based record keeping in your doctor’s office.  The quality of these records can be a matter of life and death, but is not regulated.  This talk will introduce you to some of the things that are important in medical records, and look at what the future may hold in this area.

Ted Cizadlo was the Group Manager of the National Systems and Infrastructure team at the Ministry of Health until January of this year.  Prior to that he directed the Psychiatric Neuroimaging Lab at the University of Iowa Medical Centre in Iowa City, Iowa. Ted was trained as a physical chemist, taught physics and chemistry.  He is also a luthier with a small workshop in Karori.  Ted is currently working as a part time consultant and part time luthier.

The Return of Dr. Evil,
or: How Not to be a Science Hipster
Matt Thijs

He’s still getting aimee a blurb, but it’ll be something about an exploration of the golden age of science, why today science is often mistrusted and scientists ridiculed and, of course, a call to arms how we can reverse this unacceptable trend!

—–

As always, this is a FREE event, so bring your friends, family, pet aliens and enemies (a bit of education never hurt anyone, right?). Additionally, if you think you’d like to write an article/blog post about something nerdy, please get in touch with aimee.

See you there!

nerd nite 10: Of the Strange, the Alien and the Device

Greetings, nerders nite!

A quick FYI, with more details in the near future, that nerd nite Wellington number 10 will be happening this month, April 23rd, at Hotel Bristol from 6pm.

We’ve changed the format a little and will only be having three speakers from now on, but this one promises to be a good’un, covering quantum mechanics, Mars, and making Mad Gadgets that Do Things (with sound).

Don’t forget to check our Facebook page and Twitter stream (links in right hand column) for more details, or the event listing on Facebook! There’s also some background information on nerd nite on aimee’s blog.

Can’t wait to see you there, and keep an eye out for more information soon!

Your loving host
aimee

Update: Thanks to Brett Wilkins for our new and improved title! [Check the URL to see the first one]

UPDATE! Our full lineup (not necessarily in this order) is as follows:

—–

What is Existence? The following is a scientific answer.
Roger Hanson

The early 20th century view of existence as described by Newton and Einstein, is merely the front-stage show in this Universe. Underpinning this is a more fundamental physics, quantum physics, operating back-stage, where the seemingly impossible becomes possible. Without quantum physics, living organisms, for example, could not exist. Dr Hanson will raise the curtain and reveal what is going on.

Dr Roger Hanson has a PhD from Cambridge University. In 2011 he delivered a presentation on The Evolution of Universes to the Flamsteed Society at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich London. He is author of a book, The Cosmic Engine and writes a weekly science article for The Taranaki Daily News and The Marlborough Express. He is currently writing a less academic version of the The Cosmic Engine for the non-scientist.

 

Kiwimars: NZ’s space race
Elf Eldridge

Welcome to NZ’s burgeoning space industry! Well maybe ‘burgeoning’ is too strong a word…perhaps ‘non-existant’ is a better phrase! Nonetheless, during the last 2 weeks of April, 6 Kiwis are winging their way to Mars. For two weeks, these intrepid Kiwi-naughts will east, sleep, exercise and communicate as if they were marooned on the red planet, whilst inhabiting the most Martian place on Earth: the deserts of Utah. Kiwimars is the latest in a series of NASA experiments to test the habitability of the Martian surface. Mission controller Elf Eldridge will tell how and why the mission came into being, relay messages from the crew and provide a brief insight into Kiwimars living conditions. Elf will look at the science behind the experiments they’re doing, the implications for the the future colonization of Mars, the possibility of a New Zealand with an active part in space research, and wil digress breifly into talking about Ice caves under Austria.

Elf is a Physics PhD student with the MacDiarmid Institute with a keen interest in all things sciency. He’s been interested in space ever since wanting to sell ice-creams on the moon as a child, and now works at Carter Observatory, which is as close as he can currently get.

See you on Mars….

 

Zen and the Art of DIY Electronics
Richard Dennis Bartlett (aka Rich Decibels)

Rich tells the story of how his love of weird noises took him from respectable engineer to broke artist, and shares some of the lessons he learnt along the way.

Rich Decibels is an electronics nerd with a passion for open source, DIY, and teaching people how they can make anything.

—–

As always: it’s a free event, so bring everyone you know who likes to know more! Just bring money for beer and food :) Talks start at 6:30pm, but seating fills fast, so the closer to 6pm you get there, the better your seats.

See you there!

nerd nite 10: the ‘we’re still thinking of a name for it’ edition

Greetings, nerders nite!

A quick FYI, with more details in the near future, that nerd nite Wellington number 10 will be happening this month, April 23rd, at Hotel Bristol from 6pm.

We’ve changed the format a little and will only be having three speakers from now on, but this one promises to be a good’un, covering quantum mechanics, Mars, and making Mad Gadgets that Do Things (with sound).

Can’t wait to see you there, and keep an eye out for more information soon!

Your loving host
aimee

nerd nite 9: the miscellaneous edition

Greetings, all, and welcome to the first nerd nite of 2012!

We’re still waiting on the details of our speakers, but let us titillate you a little. We’ll be covering retro computing, radio and our relationship with it, negotiation, and super heavy elements.

We’ll also be spoken to by an expert on one of these matters, over here from lands far away!

More details soon – stay tuned :)

And, as always, please do indicate by RSVP whether you’ll be coming! Our Facebook page is a good way to go about that :)

nerdnite 7: data. data data data.

The next coupla months are gonna be busy.  Just warning you.  There is going to be MUCH nerdnite-related awesomeness happening.

But for now!  Presenting nerdnite #7.  Well, mostly :)   There shall be more details forthcoming, of course.

In the meantime, it’s about data.  All kindsa tasty data, and what we do with it, and how it affects us.  Oh, yes, and we will also have a special outro (details below).

NOM

As usual, it’s happening on a Monday – the 19th September, to be precise.  And probably at Bodega, although this might change.  Also, and this is important: September 19th is International Talk Like A Pirate Day.  So don’t be surprised if you see many piratey people, and hear ‘aarrrr!’ a lot.

Aaaaand, some of our speakers for the evening are (order not necessarily this one):

note: the other two are mostly confirmed etc, but double-checking :)

—————————–

The extended mind

Matt Boyd

Traditionally materialists (i.e. those who don’t believe in spooky stuff like souls) have taken the brain to be the object of study when we want to learn about the mind. But a lot of important information processing goes on outside of the brain and outside the body. We use fingers to count and respond to our own gestures when we talk. We refer to instructions or lists we’ve made in order to remind ourselves what it is that we believe. We physically rotate objects to solve spatial rotation problems rather than doing it in our brains alone.

In many cases it is only a kind of brain-bias that prevents us from calling these information processing acts ‘thought’ and counting the external objects as parts of our minds. But, even if we resist claiming that minds are partly constituted by external objects, looking at these interactions focuses our attention on how important stuff ‘out there’ is to our thinking. We really can give someone a lobotomy by hiding their notebook and iphone, tying up their opposable thumbs, and preventing them from using written symbols. In fact there was a time when none of this was actually available to us, and we would have thought in very different ways back then. This begs the question, if minds ‘extend’ in any meaningful sense then what psychological changes will waves of new technology bring?

I will introduce the idea of the ‘extended mind’ and suggest that this way of thinking about the way we think, raises interesting questions about who owns various thoughts, and the impact of technology on our minds.

Matt has recently submitted his PhD thesis ‘As We Build Our World We Build Our Minds’ to Victoria University of Wellington. His research interests are philosophical topics in evolution and the mind. When he’s not arguing with Richard Dawkins in the academic literature, Matt enjoys writing bad philosophical fiction. After nine years in Wellington he is about to take up an academic post at Auckland University (the recent snow had nothing to do with this decision).

Gimme the cache!

David Preece

Computers do two things: store numbers and do things with them. Exactly how you get the numbers from storage to the coal face, and the impact this has on performance is hugely interesting. If you’re a nerd. Dave will give an overview of the situation as it stands today, how we got here and what the well dressed modern developer needs to know about caching.
David Preece is an old school computer nerd with interests in mashing lots of numbers. During the day he mashes numbers for Weta and has previously mashed numbers for audio, video and network software in a variety of different forms. He spends his evenings being amazed at how cool his family are.

Musical outro!

Zuni Preece

Zuni learned to play “Still Alive” (the outro music from best-computer-game-ever Portal – ) for a school thing and could be persuaded to play music for nerds. Maybe even with a bouncing dot over the words or something…

nerdnite 6: of taste, speech, sight and touch

Hellz yeah! We have another nerdnite, coming straight to your geeky, geeky brains, on July 18th (venue TBC). And it’s gonna be _great_. A veritable feast for the senses.

Seriously – check out the lineup, and then ask yourself: why the hell would I _not_ be at this nerdnite?

So, and in an order that’s likely to be this one, but might change, let us present our speakers and their subjects:

————————

Alchemy In Your Glass
Allyn York (@allynyork)

In its various forms beer has been with us for thousands of years. And for most sectors of most societies over that time it has been extremely popular.
A brief look at the history of beer, how it’s made, an overview of various styles, and specifically what’s in your glass right now… assuming that you’re partaking in this divine beverage.

Allyn York starting drinking beer when he was 6 and started brewing a couple of decades later. Allyn, and his partner in zymurgy, Chris Mills took the overall silver medal, and best in class (NZ pale ale) in the 2008 NZ homebrew championships.

 

Weep quietly and twitch
David Tossman (@obel)

Weep quietly and twitch will explore cryptic crosswords from both the solver’s and the setter’s point of view, showing how they not only test, but also amuse, entertain and stimulate the brain. And yes, geeks, although pen and paper or even, if you must, pencil and paper, are good, you can tackle them via mobile apps.

David Tossman is best known for his prodigious somnolence but is also widely reviled (think needles and wax effigies) for his work composing cryptic crosswords for the New Zealand Listener.

 

Film Editing: Another Version Of The Truth
Nick Swinglehurst (@nickscale)

Ever since we started recording people on film, another bunch of people have wanted to change that recording, to reframe and reinterpret its indelible truth into something that better serves the purpose of the filmmaker.

This process is film editing. Usually it’s a force for good – making complex arguments accessible, making protracted events succinct, or simply for making a dull story more compelling.

But the reversioning of the truth which is so intrinsic to editing, can be deceptive in the wrong hands. It started as a tool for propaganda and continues to manipulate audiences today.

In this talk, I will demonstrate and explain some common tricks of the editing room – and make examples of some of their most nefarious abusers…

 

3d printing, rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing: your own little factory
Patrick Herd (@patrickherd)

The ability for invidividuals to conduct their own 3d printing and rapid prototyping is relatively new – up until now, stunning material and infrastructure costs have prevented it. Now, however, things are changing, and Patrick will take us through what can be done, how, and why it’s considered to be some of the best fun one can have with one’s clothes on.

Patrick has worked with artists, engineers and computer scientists on projects that examine bleeding edge technologies ability to articulate contemporary ideas. He is particularly interested in eclectic mashups of technologies, ie what happens if you put this with this and that. Technologies that go bang and those that can activate interventionist situations. Other projects include music videos and feature film effects work.

Suggested prior reading:
www.makerbot.com
www.ultimaker.com
www.reprap.org
www.thingiverse.com

NOTE: Patrick will be bringing a 3d printer along for y’all to see running and get up close and personal with.

————————

A reminder. Nerdnite’s a free event, where we encourage conversation, the bringing along of people you know, and the serious drinking of beer (or other such liquids).

We hope to see you there :)

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