Nerd Nite Vancouver

Vancouver

Nerd Nite v7.0

Our next nerd-tastic event will be held at Cafe Deux Soleils on Wednesday, October 15th! Details to come shortly! Until then, here is a take on Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty to Me” – Talk NERDY to me!

Nerd Nite Vancouver v6.0

On September 17th, 1976 the first Space Shuttle, Enterprise was unveiled by NASA. Join us for an equally epic unveiling of Vancouver’s nerdiest nerds! Check out a sneak peek of Nerd Nite v6.0 below.

Where: Café Deux Soleils (2096 Commercial Drive)

When: Wednesday, September 17th 2014 @ 8pm (Doors @ 7:30pm)

Tickets: $5 dollars at the door

#1. Quit school and join the circus: How juggling and human pyramids do a better job preparing you for life.

Jacqueline Davis

There are big think tanks where pedigreed academes spend loads of time discussing how to cultivate more pedigreed academes. Great gobs of money are invested in deciding which human attributes are worth investing gobs of money in, then more gobs of money are spent (and made) testing whether student performance justifies having spent those gobs of money. But, gee, sometimes some pretty good ideas come out of all those gobs, like naming skills that people need to actually live their lives: how to think creatively, collaborate with others, and adapt to change, for example. These are known as 21st Century Skills.  Missing from this discussion however is that school might not be the only place, or the best place, to learn these skills. Sometimes, the circus might be better.

Bio: Jackie Davis is a 3rd year doctoral student in the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program at the University of British Columbia where she’s researching the effects of community-based circus arts on youth development. She first started geeking out on circus during her master’s degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, then later coined the term “circademic” for that special breed of scholar who loves connecting dots between circus practice and statistical significance.  When she’s not working on her comprehensive exams, or her research design, or her lit review, Jackie is — wait, she’s never not doing those things. Never mind.

#2. Psycho. Acoustic.

Gordon McGladdery

We are constantly interacting with sound. It carries human and animal language, informs us of our environments and is capable of wholly manipulating our emotions. Yet outside of music, we pay very little attention to it both in our surroundings and within the media we consume. How is sound found in nature (what is a sonic boom, anyway?), and how is nature using sound? From echolocation to vibrating elephant foreheads and stridulating bug penises as loud as a broken diesel truck, mother nature is the most skilled and creative sound designer imaginable. How do we steal her ideas for fortune and glory? We’re animals as well, but sound for us is different in that it makes us feel feelings. What techniques are sound designers using in games, film and otherwise to brainwash audiences in to doing our emotional bidding? We’ll draw from my [completely non-academic] obsession with sound to expound on these topics.

Bio: Gordon McGladdery is a professional composer and sound designer. He helps stimulate the nerdtastic passions of the world with Destin on the hit Youtube channel Smarter Every Day, spearheaded audio and music for the top-selling game Rogue Legacy and generally loves learning about and evangelizing audio to the world. When he’s not working on games or film, he’s further nerding out with Matt Marteinsson of Klei Entertainment on the podcast Beards, Cats and Indie Game Audio.

#3. Alien Languages – Beyond Human Limits?

Guy Immega

Animals make sophisticated calls but only humans talk. No other creature on Earth – ape or bird – has mastered syntax: structured sentences with a subject, verb and object. Dinosaurs had over 200 million years to acquire language, but probably didn’t. Did Neanderthals talk? Today, seven billion chattering humans are the masters of the planet. But what about sentient aliens? Could language evolve differently on one of the estimated 100 million exoplanets in the Milky Way that may harbour complex life? Does speech need words? How does language shape culture? A science fiction author examines some of the myriad possibilities.

Bio: Guy Immega is a retired aerospace engineer, entrepreneur and science geek. His company, Kinetic Sciences Inc. built experimental robots for the space station, robots to clean up nuclear waste and miniature fingerprint sensors for cell phones. In 2005, he sold the company’s assets and retired. Since then, Guy has published science fiction short stories and other nonfiction essays and completed an SF novel, in which he explores the linguistic potential of an alien species. For more info, check out his website: http://kineticwords.net.

Nerd Nite Vancouver v6.0

To all you nerds out there! We are taking August off, and will be back with more amazing talks in September! Presenter bios and abstracts will be posted in the next couple of weeks!

Until then, here’s a beautiful dancing peacock spider for you. Just puttin’ the moves on the more dully colored female.

Nerd Nite Vancouver v5.0

Summer is a busy time for nerds. We’ve got nerdy drinks to make, nerdy books to read, and nerdy things to see. We are adding to that Nerd list by giving you one more event to jot into your schedule. Get ready to get your nerd on!

Where: Café Deux Soleils (2096 Commercial Drive)

When: Wednesday, July 16th 2014 @ 8pm (Doors @ 7:30pm)

Tickets: $5 dollars at the door

 

#1 Stop looking at me. I told you to stop looking at me. Why are you still looking at me?

George Wallace

Why do you look at stuff? What stuff do you look at? What exactly is this ‘stuff’ anyway? Most of us give little to no thought about the constant stream of energy bombarding us. Electromagnetic energy, in the form of visible light, pouring forth from the sun. Some wavelengths absorbed, some reflected, others refracted, most never seen. It is only when we have our big stupid faces pointed in the general direction of the oncoming barrage do we even have the chance of really seeing something. Sadly, even then most of that information will go unattended. Lost forever in the sea of radiation. The talk I will give will deal with three questions. First ‘What exactly is this stuff anyway?’ An explanation of what our visual experience is made of and how electromagnetic energy from the sun becomes our visual experience will follow. Second and third ‘What stuff do you look at? and Why do you look at stuff?’. There are visual elements or features that attract the eye (more accurately the attentional system). There are things we can’t help but look at. You can be tricked into looking at something without knowing why you are looking. This talk will draw from my formal studies in human cognition, human vision, human attention and thesis work I completed on human attention

Bio: George is kind of a spaz. In pre-school he sneezed, covering his upper lip in snot, which he then promptly ate. When he was in grade three a grade six girl asked him to a dance but then she ignored him most of the night. They danced once; it was awkward. He then daydreamed his way through high-school, barely graduating and impressing no one.  He went to university because there was the promise of cute girls; he didn’t meet any, but he did develop an interest in human attention, neuroscience, cognition and perception, which he studied in grad school. Now he’s an on again, off again lecturer. So if you know about any positions let him know.

#2 The secret sex lives of fishes

Holly Kindsvater

In the animal kingdom, the invertebrates are the true celebrities of kinky sex, from black widow spiders (females eat males after sex) to bedbugs (males fertilize females by stabbing them in the abdomen). By contrast the diversity of mating techniques in our fishy vertebrate cousins has been sorely overlooked. This talk will shed some light on the secret sex lives of fishes, particularly in wrasses, a cosmopolitan fish family that has evolved an amazing array of methods for getting the job done. We’ll cover how wrasses use tactics like sex change, female mate choice copying, male sneaking, and cooperation among dominant males in the hopes of winning the battle of the sexes – the fallout isn’t always pretty, but it sure is fun to study!

Bio: Holly Kindsvater grew up in the Mojave Desert where it rained one or two days each year. She became a fish nerd during her undergraduate days in order to ensure she was never that dry again. Since then she has been lucky enough to study fish in rivers and oceans around the world, including Mexico, the south Pacific, and the Mediterranean. She moved to Vancouver in 2012 where her postdoctoral research at Simon Fraser mostly involves a lot of computer time.

 

#3 Screw the Ramen Noodles! How to have an actual career in art and not starve… or at least, not all of the time

Pia Guerra

Art is a hard gig, but it doesn’t have to be THAT hard. Pia Guerra, award winning comic book artist with over 20 years of freelance illustration experience will guide you through the perils of choosing art as a career path. How do you keep a roof over your head while developing a portfolio? How do you balance necessities vs luxuries in a world where credit can get you anything… and a whole mess of bill hurt? How to live with instability and still thrive? Should you take that phone sex line job on the side? Pia will bring in her own life experience and that of colleagues to help narrow down what you need to know to become a lean, mean, art producing machine. (There may even be a ramen noodle recipe in there if you’re good).

Bio: Pia Guerra is best known for her work as lead artist and co-creator of the Vertigo series Y – The Last Man. She has been drawing professionally since the early 90s, often taking whatever illustration work she could find, from storyboarding for Microsoft to illustrating Star Trek RPG manuals, to painting a mural in a rich lady’s bathroom, all the while doing a wide variety of “real jobs” to make up the difference.

Nerd Nite Vancouver v4.0

On May 21st 2005, the world’s tallest roller coaster – Kingda Ka – was opened at Six Flags in New Jersey. Buckle up for a ride that will be equally thrilling, but won’t make you want to reconsider eating hotdogs beforehand. (Note – prior consumption of hotdogs is encouraged).

Where: Café Deux Soleils (2096 Commercial Drive)

When: Wednesday, May 21st 2014 @ 8pm (Doors @ 7:30pm)

Tickets: $5 dollars at the door

 

#1 Cyborgs Eat Cities

Ryan Betts

Technology doesn’t change cities, cities change technology. No matter how much we wish we could wave the wand of technology to fix civic and social issues, it never happens quickly. People are stubborn assholes – often times rightly so – and tend to ruin techno-optimists’ good times. This is how it has been for all of human history, right back to that first jerk that started lighting fires everywhere to keep people warm and places well lit. In our modern age of cyborgs, drones, and adding 2.0 to the end of things the dynamic is no different. Cyborgs rush to cities, and the cities eat them alive.

Bio: Ryan is a drummer, interaction designer, coder, and urban design enthusiast. He is Director of User Experience and Chief Drinking Officer at bazinga! and moonlights as a stage level in local bands The New Values and Dirty Spells. He firmly believes that the future is here, it’s just not terribly well thought out.

 

#2 Has the Field of Neuroscience been Hijacked?

Neal Melvin

Popularity can be a double-edged sword. Many news stories, TED talks, and commercial products related to neuroscience attest to its popularity among the public, but this popularity can also foster a false sense of confidence in the relevant findings. I will discuss several examples of this phenomenon as well as the evidence, which may or may not support their conclusions. I will also discuss the responsibility of people who give the public information about findings in the field, suggesting that the role of “responsible interpreter” is often not taken seriously enough.

Bio: Neal conducted his undergraduate studies at the University of Lethbridge, where he first became interested in cellular, molecular, and behavioural neuroscience. After finishing his Masters in Neuroscience at the University of Calgary, he returned to Lethbridge to complete his Ph.D. As part of his doctoral work, Neal discovered a novel area of the rat hippocampus, a structure critically involved in learning and memory, which constitutively lacks the ability to produce new brain cells. Neal then completed an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research-funded fellowship in Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, studying the molecular basis of psychiatric disorders like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. He is now a faculty member at Quest University in Squamish, and an Adjunct Professor in Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge. At Quest, he teaches courses in neuroscience and molecular biology.

 

#3 Kathy Bates is my Spirit Animal: The Journey of Becoming a (Somewhat Chubby) Actor

Natalie Semotiuk

“So while I’m in the middle of my porn-jokes set we realize the only members in the audience are the Christian Coalition on Campus.” What is it like to shed your skin and step into another person’s shoes? To completely construct an individual, fight for their wants and desires and share their story? Unlike any other profession, many people assume “Hey, I can be an actor!” but what does it really involve to create an emotionally-truthful character and share their story with integrity? Now back to the porn jokes. Join us as we explore the constant struggle to be a compelling actor, going through classical training, “Wait. She was his mother?” and what it was like during a brief flirtation doing stand up comedy on the historic stages in Los Angeles, CA.

Bio: Natalie Semotiuk is a Masters student currently studying for her MFA in theatre at York University. After growing up in Edmonton, AB, she ditched the prairies for flip-flops and moved to Los Angeles, CA where she at first pursued acting at the New York Film Academy, and then her Undergraduate degree in 20th Century history. After working for controversial non-profit Invisible Children for a year and then the Toronto International Film Festival she decided to go back to her first love: Theatre. Over the years she as been on stage many times as an actor, a few less as the director and some even as the writer. After concluding her first year of studies of her MFA, Natalie has studied the classics, and continues to learn what it means to be a compelling actor.

Nerd Nite Vancouver v3.0

Spring is upon us! And what better way to ring it in than to expand our knowledge of those beautiful flowers all around us, and the ways in which they are having sex! Because, you better believe they’re having sex, and lots of it. We have a great line up this month, from plants, to artificial intelligence, to the importance of science literacy! Come get your nerd on!

Where: Café Deux Soleils (2096 Commercial Drive)

When: Wednesday, April 16th 2014 @ 8pm (Doors @ 7:30pm)

Tickets: $5 dollars at the door

# 1 The Seedy Side of Plants

Nicole Balsdon

Let’s talk about sex – plant sex! Compared to the world of seed plants, human sex lives are relatively “vanilla”. Sessile, and separated by metres or miles, plant partners usually need assistance to reproduce sexually. This dependence on external collaborators has created extraordinary reproductive strategies including sensory trickery towards animals, releasing pollen en masse (how messy!), and even the frustratingly lonely self-fertilization. Over thousands and millions of years, these strategies have evolved, ensuring species resilience, genetic diversity, and survival in dramatically challenging landscapes. Discover how plants manipulate, trick, and use tools to help in the need to create seeds.

Bio: Nicole Balsdon currently works at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC; she loves spreading her passion for science to people of all ages, particularly the messy world of biology. When she isn’t getting strangely close to plants, she enjoys cooking and baking, most notably convincing yeast and other microbes to work on beverages and breads in her kitchen. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, and has worked for Alberta Environment and the U of A Herbarium.

 

# 2 Sex and the Singularity

Nikolas Badminton

A talk that looks at how we have come to a point when technology is inevitably changing the way we have and consume sex. It also looks at how things will (and must) change as we head to 2045 when artificial intelligence will have progressed to the point of a greater-than-human intelligence, radically changing civilization, and perhaps human nature.

Bio: Nikolas Badminton started studying cognitive psychology, human interaction, social network theory and web engagement 20 years ago. He continues to advance his thinking daily in these areas. He is the curator of “From Now” – a conference on Humanity with Technology on June 7th, 2014.

 

# 3 On Being Scientific Literate… Particularly as it Relates to Unicorns

Dr. David Ng

My talk will explore the concept of scientific literacy, which is often something that is usually hard to fully imagine (it’s a moving target and its parameters are a little messy at the best of times).  With this in mind, I’ll try my best to encapsulate some of the key elements of being scientific literate and why it’s important for members of the general public to be aware of these nuances, especially as it pertains to civics and also as an AWESOME FORCE TO BE RECKON WITH! There will also be unicorns in my talk.

Bio: David Ng is a geneticist, science educator, part time writer, and Faculty based at the Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia. You can find out more about his academic dabblings at bioteach.ubc.ca or on his twitter feed (@ng_dave).  Of note: (1) he is partly responsible for the massive DNA helix emblazoned on his building’s facade; (2) his Dad beat up Bruce Lee; (3) his first foray into general publishing featured a unicorn on the front cover; (4) his academic projects are unconventional (studying the interplay between science and creativity; an online initiative mixing biodiversity with Pokemon); and (5) his wife and kids are exemplary.

Nerd Nite Vancouver v2.0

On March 19th, 1962, Bob Dylan released his debut album with Columbia Records! Join us for an equally momentous event at Nerd Nite v2.0!

Where: Café Deux Soleils (2096 Commercial Drive)

When: Wednesday, March 19th 2014 @ 8pm (Doors @ 7:30pm)

Tickets: $5 dollars at the door

 

#1 Whales vs. Worms – Who’s Eating Whom?

Sheila Byers

Like a classic horror story, eyeless worms lurk in the dark, settling on dead animals in the deep ocean and sending out green roots to devour their bones. What?!? You’ve got to be kidding. Seriously, a recent discovery of zombie worms reveals an interesting twist on the size factor of whales versus worms and who’s eating whom. Can these tiny mouth-less worms really play a role in controlling the fate of whale carcasses that fall to the ocean floor? Oh…, did I mention their peculiar sex life?

Bio:  Sheila Byers is a marine invertebrate taxonomist, specializing in polychaete worms, their natural history and ecology. She is the author of the booklet, “Explore the Rocky Shore at Stanley Park” and loves to go on beach walks to discover the fascinating local biodiversity. She is presently working as an Interpreter at the ‘new’ Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC.

 

#2 How to be a Superhero

Kirby Morrow

They say that variety is the “spice of life”. Well how spicy would you find life if you changed your job, relationships, and even your entire sense of self, dozens of times a year. One week you’re a lawyer in a rocky marriage, the next month you’re a superhero defending the galaxy, and a few days later, you’re a little girl with a lisp… even though your driver’s license claims you’re a 40 year old man. It sounds like the troubled life of someone mentally ill, but in fact it is the fabulous life of a working actor and voice actor.

Bio:  A veteran of the stage and screen in a multitude of mediums.  From stand up comedian to animated superhero and a recognizable guest star on dozens of television shows and movies. Kirby is known around the world as one of the most diverse and talented voice over actors today.  His portrayal of Goku from “Dragonball Z”, Cole on Lego’s “Ninjago” and Michaelangelo from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” are among hundreds of characters he has voiced.

On camera Kirby is widely known as Captain Dave Kleinman from “Stargate: Atlantis”. He has most recently starred in the Hallmark movie “Ring by Spring”, the hit web series “Parked” and a number of tv series including the hit show “Arrow”. Kirby’s diverse range of characters and credits has made him a sought after attendee at Comicons and Animation Conventions around the world.

 

#3 Dancing, Dips, Ducks and Distant Lions: The Real Science of Real Alien Worlds

Dr. Jaymie Matthews

On 26 February 2014, the number of planets in the Universe known to humanity almost doubled. What’s that have to do with dancing? The first planets around stars other than the Sun were found by a technique (pioneered at UBC and UVic) which follows the moves of distant stars with their unseen planetary dance partners. Dips? Dips in light are key to discovering even more exoplanets with satellites, including Canada’s first space telescope. Ducks?  If you want to be sure you have found a duck, it must look like a duck, waddle like a duck, and quack like a duck. The same cautious principle applies to finding planets. Distant lions? To understand the sudden explosion of confirmed planets last month (which was detonated by a UBC alumnus and my former PhD student), it helps to picture yourself looking for lions on the Serengeti. Find out how cosmic discoveries in our own Galaxy (but still far, far away) are being made in your own backyard here in Vancouver

Bio: Dr. Jaymie Matthews is an astrophysical “gossip columnist” who unveils the hidden lifestyles of stars by eavesdropping on “the music of the spheres.” His version of an interstellar iPod is Canada’s first space telescope, MOST (Microvariability & Oscillations of STars). which detects vibrations in the light of ringing starts too subtle to be seen by the largest telescopes on Earth. MOST also makes Dr. Matthews an “astro-paparazzo” by helping him spy on planets around other stars that might be homes for alien celebrities. Celebrities? Maybe not beings like the fictional Vulcans, but even the discovery of extraterrestrial microbes on another world would qualify those microbes as newsmakers of the century.

Dr. Matthews is the Mission Scientist leading the Canadian Space Agency’s MOST project, and a Professor of Astrophysics in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of British Columbia. In 2006, Dr. Matthews was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, and in 2012 he received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. In addition to heading the MOST Mission, Dr. Matthews serves on the Science Team for BRITE Constellation (BRIght Target Explorer) – a Canadian-Austrian-Polish space satellite mission to monitor the brightest stars in the night sky. He is a member of the Executive Council for NASA’s Kepler space satellite mission hunting for Earth-sized exoplanets in the Habitable Zones of their parent stars.

 

 

 

Nerd Nite Vancouver v1.0

There has never been a better time to embrace your nerdiness and thirst for knowledge (except for maybe during The Enlightenment, but we missed the boat on that one). Nerd Nite Vancouver is kicking off Version 1.0 and is ready to rock your knee-high socks off with three fantastic presenters! So, be there and be square!

Where: Café Deux Soleils (2096 Commercial Drive)

When: Wednesday, February 19th 2014 @ 8pm (Doors @ 7:30pm)

Tickets: $5 dollars at the door

 

#1 The Other Side of Two Dimensions

Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

With the advent of image making and seeing them on computer monitors, I believe that while we no longer get paper cuts, we have lost a sense of our three-dimensional world. What would it be like to live in only two dimensions? How can we learn to incorporate that third dimension to a screen that is photons thick?

Bio: My birth in a Buenos Aires hospital was recorded with a burst of a photographer’s magnesium flash in 1942. I knew then that I would become a photographer.

I taught algebra, and ancient and medieval history in a Mexico City high school until 1975 when I moved here with my Canadian wife Rosemary and two Mexican-born daughters.

I started as a stills photographer shooting CBC drama and variety shows. But magazines were my real love. I have shot for almost every magazine and newspaper in Canada, Time, New York Times, Vanity Fair, Stern, the Guardian, Globe & Mail and many more. I am also a gardener. I had a series of rose stamps for Canada Post.

For 13 years I taught photography for the Outreach Program of Emily Carr and for 15 years at Focal Point until it closed.

 

#2 Structural Colour: How Nature Makes Beautiful Colours Out of Fingernail Clippings and Sand (and uses them for, um, sexual purposes)

Joel Kelly

Colour has been described as “evolution’s most beautiful accident”. As long as there have been eyes to see it, colour has been used by organisms to hunt, distract, camouflage, and communicate. Although many are familiar with dyes and pigments that exhibit colouration through absorption of light, nature has also harnessed structural colour to produce brilliant, intense colours (such as those found in peacock feathers, opal gemstones, or butterfly wings). These colours originate from otherwise transparent materials (such as silica, cellulose or keratin), and are generated through the spontaneous organization of these materials into elegant periodic structures at the nanoscale. We will discuss the origins of structural colour throughout nature, its importance in biological interactions and how scientists inspired by this approach to colour have produced synthetic materials with controllable structural colouration.

Bio: Dr. Joel Kelly is a scientist working in chemistry at the University of British Columbia. His research is based around the development of new synthetic materials with structural colour made through self-assembly.

 

#3 How Comic Books Can Save a Life

Ian Boothby

“A talk about how comics from mainstream to indie can save lives”. Ian will give a unique perspective on the evolution of the comic book industry from when he first started reading them to now – when he creates them.  He will tell the story of how they have affected his life personally, and how they can change our lives.

Bio: Ian Boothby is a multiple Shuster Award, Harvey Award and Eisner Award nominee and Eisner Award–winning comic book creator best known for his work as one of the main writers on THE SIMPSONS and FUTURAMA Comics, including the SIMPSONS FUTURAMA CROSSOVER CRISIS and COMIC BOOK GUY THE COMIC BOOK. Ian is also an improv, sketch and stand up comedian living in Vancouver where he writes for CBC Radio’s THE IRRELEVANT SHOW and co-hosts the SNEAKY DRAGON and COMPLEATLY BEATLES podcasts.

Nerd Nite Vancouver Has a Home

Nerd Nite Vancouver will be making a splash on Wednesday, February 19th at Cafe Deux Soleils on Commercial Drive!

Join us for drinks and presentations from local self-proclaimed “nerds”!

Info on tickets and presenters will be updated shortly!