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.