SOLD OUT: Nerd Nite #23

Nerd Nite is like a good cocktail. A few simple ingredients make it spectacular. So for this next Nerd Nite, our 23rd, we’re mixing together rhetorical analysis with some anti-coagulants and a healthy splash of particle physics in Antarctica. And there’s only one way for you to know for sure if this new concoction is a success: come to Nerd Nite 23. Because if you don’t, there’s no amount of rhetoric you can dream up that will keep your blood flowing, and your, um… particle physics icy cold. And that, my friends, is what it looks like when a metaphor totally gets away from you.

Be there AND be square.

When: Thursday, November 26, 2015 (doors @ 7:30pm, show @ 8pm)
Where: The Club (Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Avenue Edmonton)
$20 in advance, includes fees & GST (Tickets available November 3 at 9:30am)
$25 at the door, includes fees & GST
$15 for balcony tickets (Only available on Monday, November 23th at 9:30am phone or in-person only)

[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

Here’s our line-up of speakers:

How to Dupe Friends and Manipulate People: The Fine Art of Bamboozlement
Lauren Sergy

Words can be slippery things, especially when used on the political campaign trail. How is it that time and again we listen to both promises and mud-slinging in speeches and debates, swearing that we will remain objective and rational, only to become frothing partisans ourselves? Why, when we know that speeches are spun to push out buttons and manipulate facts, do we still unwillingly and unwittingly buy into them? Get ready to dive into the fascinating, frustrating, sometimes frivolous, and often infuriating world of rhetoric through the lens of political campaigning. We’ll look at tactics that befuddle and bewitch us into taking sides even against our own better judgement.

Lauren is a public speaking coach and trainer, which makes her obsession with rhetoric and nuanced language slightly more forgivable. She has taught a wide variety of people, from professors to accountants to marketers, how to become more skilled and persuasive speakers. When not deconstructing politicians’ speeches, she enjoys other nerdly pursuits such as teaching her kids lightsabre fighting and frantically live-Tweeting facts during Nerd Nite talks.

Ice-cold neutrinos and you!
Tania Wood

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory is the first detector of its kind, observing the cosmos from deep within the South Pole ice. It uses a particle called a ‘neutrino’ instead of photons (light), like other observatories. The Neutrino’s unique properties allow them to carry information out from the most violent astrophysical sources such as exploding stars, gamma-ray bursts and active galactic nuclei (which is a fancy way of saying supermassive black holes, nbd). Interacting essentially only via the weak force, neutrinos allow this particle detector to see space with a whole set of new eyes. IceCube collaborators address several big questions in physics, like the nature of dark matter, the properties of the neutrino itself, why the detectors need to be in such extreme places and what to do if a penguin breaks into your lab.

Tania Wood is a PhD Candidate in Experimental Particle Physics at the University of Alberta. She is interested in excitement, adventure and really wild things; in particular extreme environments, discovery projects, the ‘big questions’ and directions to a good party. In the past she worked the Mars Phoenix Polar lander and on small scale helicopters all following the general theme of whimsy and exploration.

Heart Attacks, Chinese Hamster Ovaries, and Obduracy
Darren Knapp

What? How does the reproductive system of the Chinese Hamster help hundreds of heart attack patients annually in Wildrose Country? And what does the automaticity of the cardiac cycle have to do with a nightclub? Can I actually die of stubbornness? And why is there a bunny with a pancake on it’s head? You’ll see, stay tuned.

Darren began life as an embryo; fast forward to the 90’s where as a paramedic he patrolled the fast paced streets of Edmonton treating heart attack patients with little more than diesel and hope. Then in 2006 came the Vital Heart Response program which radically transformed the Northern Alberta landscape of coronary care. A Clinical Educator, Instructor and Quality and patient safety strategist writing the 1st draft of the provincial EMS protocols for Cardiovascular care, he is now the manager of this most successful dual reperfusion program for STEMI. Based out of the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, he’s the lead singer of Grave New World, rides his Harley whenever the sun allows it, and if you see him wandering around appearing lost, just point him in the direction of the nearest pub.

SOLD OUT: Nerd Nite #22: Charcuterie Edition

Fine meats and cheese, journalism, and Zumba®. These are just some of the things you’re going to learn about at Nerd Nite 22. Other things you will learn include: audience participation, trivia that may or may not be useful to you beyond Nerd Nite, and the difference between an ale and a lager*. Regardless of your interests, we guarantee you’ll have an evening with a bunch of a other nerds in a really welcoming environment.

Be there AND be square.

When: Thursday, October 15, 2015 (doors @ 7:30pm, show @ 8pm)
Where: The Club (Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Avenue Edmonton)
$20 in advance, includes fees & GST (Tickets available October 1 at 9:30am)
$25 at the door, includes fees & GST
$15 for balcony tickets (on sale the week prior to the event)

[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

*depends upon availability of ales and lagers.

Our line-up includes…

On modern journalism
Samantha Power

Bio and abstract coming!

The Science of Zumba®
Andrea Beça

If you haven’t been to a Zumba Fitness class, chances are you’ve at least heard about it. The latin-based dance fitness classes have taken the whole world by storm over the last five years. But what goes into the 60 minutes of fun you experience as a participant? Andrea Beça explores the science of countless rhythms, heart rate intervals, and choreography by and for non-dancers (yes, you read that correctly).

Andrea Beça has a BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Alberta and an MLitt in Playwriting and Dramaturgy from the University of Glasgow. She ran an indie theatre company for six years before moving into the world of film, where she works as a writer, director, producer, editor, and sometimes actor. She fell into the world of Zumba® by accident in 2012, got hooked, and hasn’t looked back since. If you get to know her even moderately well, you will see her krump.

Mould on my sausage: the what, why and how of the microbiology behind charcuterie
John Billiau

Charcuterie – so hot right now. Served on mahogany platters in Edmonton’s finest resto-pubs, it often reminds of European castles and small shops with legs of pork hanging from the window. But it is not impossible to craft your own snob style duck prosciutto that’ll leave your Instagram friends gawking. In this talk we look at the history of cured meats and cheese, and the microbiology that occurs in the curing process. pH-meters aside, we also leave the keeners amongst us with some tips to get started on your very own aged gruyere or Bresaola.

John is a man of many – very useless – talents and a hard time settling down. After graduating with two different masters he decided to move countries to chase a girl across the world, who was thankfully still happy to see him. Missing his favorite foods and spoiled for time in small town rural Alberta, he thought nothing better than to start making cheese and curing meat. What followed was a deep dive into microbiology, obscure purchases from China and a lot of awkward conversations. John now shares his passion for cooking and curing teaching classes, and keeps close to cheese during hours working HR for the Italian Centre Shops.

SOLD OUT: Nerd Nite #21: Back to School Edition

School’s back in, and so is Nerd Nite Edmonton! It’s our fourth season, and we wanted to kick things off with three juicy topics, and even juicier presenters. Join us for an evening reunion that will include geeky trivia, weird and possibly exciting prizes, and hopefully none of your Nerd Bosses in a onesie! An evening of politics, ancient foreskin, and chemistry!

Be there AND be square.

When: Thursday, September 17, 2015 (doors @ 7:30pm, show @ 8pm)
Where: The Club (Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Avenue Edmonton)
$20 in advance, includes fees & GST (Tickets available August 31 at 9:30am)
$25 at the door, includes fees & GST
$15 for balcony tickets (on sale the week prior to the event)

[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

Our line-up includes…

I wanna be like you: Voltroning molecules to build enzyme mimics
Tendai Gadzikwa

Humans have been using enzymes to enable all sorts of reactions for thousands of years. In beer making for example, malt enzymes are used to break down the starch in barley to produce sugars, which are then converted to alcohol. So we like enzymes. They are very good at their jobs of converting molecules, and for a while now, chemists have been trying to steal some of their tricks and apply them to non-biological reactions. In my talk I will discuss why that is, and how we go about doing it. Specifically, I will talk about supramolecular chemistry – this is the Voltron part – and how we use it as a tool to construct enzyme mimics.

Tendai Gadzikwa is currently a visiting researcher in chemistry at the University of Alberta, but she’s in Edmonton mainly to break the record for greatest distance between 2 Nerd Nite talks given by the same speaker. Tendai was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe aka The Sunshine City, but, for some reason, decided to study chemistry in the American mid-west (ihavemadeahugemistake.gif). After earning her BA from Macalester College and PhD from Northwestern University, she escaped to Europe for a potdoc postdoc at the University of Amsterdam. Tendai moved back to Harare in 2012, where, until recently, she was a faculty member in chemistry at the University of Zimbabwe. She is also a co-boss for Nerd Nite Harare.

Is Orange really the new Blue? A look at what the heck is going on in Alberta politics in 2015
Dave Cournoyer

For forty-four years, politics in Alberta was dominated by one single conservative party. It was something that we had all become accustomed to and even six months ago it was almost hard to believe it would ever change. But the old system blew up in May 2015 when Albertans elected their first new government since 1971. Now politics in this province have been turned on its head. In my talk I will discuss the events that sparked the monumental shift in the 2015 provincial election, how Alberta politics has changed and how it could impact this year’s federal election.

Dave Cournoyer is a writer and union communications professional based in Edmonton. In his spare time publishes the popular politics blog He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Alberta and in 2015 was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Yeggies for his decade of political blogging in Alberta. He lives in northeast Edmonton with his beautiful wife Kyla and their dachshund, Max.

Strange medieval Christian relics
James White

Medieval Europe was full of relics. It was possible to see the arm of an apostle, a piece of the Cross, and the robes of your local saint, all in one day. And in at least twenty churches, you could pay homage to Christ’s foreskin. As a Jewish boy, Jesus was circumcised, and by the twelfth century, relics of his foreskin had appeared across western Europe. Although theologians thought the relics imperiled the coming Resurrection, female mystics revered them, as part of the emotional piety that developed in the late Middle Ages. Catherine of Siena claimed to wear Christ’s foreskin as a wedding ring, and Agnes Blannbekin did something with it too bizarre to post on the web (but I’ll talk about it anyway). Come think more about Jesus’s penis in twenty minutes than you (probably!) have in your entire life.

James White is a doctoral student in medieval history at the University of Alberta. He came to Edmonton in 2012 from the southern U.S. and still can’t get used to snow that doesn’t melt in 48 hours. He decided to focus his research on Christ’s genitalia after a schizophrenic academic past that includes degrees in biology, French, and German; and graduate work in microbiology. When not focusing on school, he reads 19th-century sensation novels and cross stitches while watching 1980s feminist comedies.