Nerd Nite #30: The Day After the End of the World

There’s a slim chance our 30th Nerd Nite won’t happen. It’s the day after the United States Presidential Election, after all.

But we’ve planned one all the same just in case the worst-case scenario doesn’t pan out. And we’re featuring another line-up of fantastic speakers ready to blow your mind talking about oil sands, sex, and — well — the US presidential election. Join us for another fabulous evening of food, drink, and very possibly learning something you didn’t already know.

Be there AND be square!

When: Wednesday, November 9, 2016 (show @ 8pm)
Where: The Needle Vinyl Tavern (10524 Jasper Avenue)
$20 in advance sold out
$10 peanut gallery tickets >> BUY NOW <<
[Must be 18 years or older]

Our line-up of talks includes:

Lye Soap, Hard Water, and Internet Porn: What is going on in Surface Mined Oil Sands?
Randy Mikula

Tailings ponds that can be seen from outer space and the land disturbance associated with surface mined oil sands are the poster boy for the impact this industry is having on the environment in northern Alberta. This talk will be a guided tour through the science behind tailings management, pointing out where we are on the path to minimizing water use and reclaiming the boreal forest. Along the way, we will pause from time to time to reconcile some of the seemingly irreconcilable rhetoric from the environmental and industry lobbies. Hang on for a wild ride through oil sands water and tailings management with an abrupt stop at GHG issues.

Dr. Mikula is the former team leader of the Oil Sands Extraction and Tailings group at the Federal Government’s Natural Resources Canada Research Station in Devon, Alberta. With a PhD in Nuclear Chemistry via a dissertation titled “Thermalization of the Muon and Muonium in Rare Gases”, over 25 years of oil sands research experience with the Federal Government, and a new job as head of Kalium Research, Randy offers a unique perspective on oil sands water and tailings management.

Everybody’s a Little Kinky: Sex, Culture, and 50 Shades of UUUUNF
Dylan Richards

Now more than ever, people are exposed to sexual topics in our everyday lives… yet for some reason, being open about sharing (or even discovering) who we are as sexual creatures is still incredibly taboo for some people! When was the last time you had a conversation with someone about sex that wasn’t filled with half-truths and uncomfortable laughter? (Though let’s be honest, everyone loves a good sex joke). Through this talk, we are going to take a look at how we got to where we are with our attitudes towards sex and sexuality in North America, and show that even though we like to pretend… everybody’s a little kinky.

Prankster, outlaw, educator, co-conspirator… Dylan wears a lot of hats. (Interesting side note: he doesn’t actually wear hats all that often). Storyteller, activist, and dynamic sex educator Dylan Richards brings his passion for helping people discover what makes them shine to classrooms, boardrooms, and gatherings around North America. Dylan loves to bring his stories and experience to every topic he tackles, from sexuality to spirituality to spaghetti (well, cooking in general but then it wouldn’t be as poetic).

Understanding the Circus: What the 2016 US Election means for the rest of us
Bob Murray

It’s no secret that the upcoming US election has been a major source of interest both within the US and across the world, but many are asking “what does it mean for Canada?”, regardless of whether Trump or Clinton win on November 8. There is no shortage of consequences and implications not only for Canada, but for the rest of the world, depending on who is victorious on election night, and my goal is to tell you what you need to know and how this US election can and will have profound implications for how the US behaves in the world around us. Building on my work on international security and foreign policy, especially my most recent book on multilateralism, I will cover how and why US Presidents affect not only US foreign policy, but the foreign and defence policies of other countries across the world, and why this election is unique in terms of how it might affect world order on a broader scale than you might think.

Dr. Bob Murray is a Senior Business Advisor in the Public Policy and Regulation Group at Dentons Canada LLP and an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Alberta. He’s a well-known commentator on political and policy issues, and is a life-long fan of the Buffalo Bills, an admission that constantly leads to him being openly mocked.

Nerd Nite #29

You won’t want to miss our post-Thanksgiving Nerd Nite! We can’t guarantee they’ll be serving turkey and ham leftovers, but you never know (we do, actually, and they won’t). What we can almost certainly guarantee you is three outstanding speakers and a broad range of off-the-beaten-path topics.

Be there AND be square!

When: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 (show @ 8pm)
Where: The Needle Vinyl Tavern (10524 Jasper Avenue)
$20 in advance (SOLD OUT)
$10 peanut gallery tickets >> Get Tickets <<
[Must be 18 years or older]

Our line-up of talks includes:

Post-It processes: Map everyday workflow for fresh insight & adaptive change
Janet Karasz

We are living in interesting times, with disruptive technology forcing change to the way we do business every day. Communicating through workflow diagrams is a handy way to translate ideas into action. It’s visual, it’s interactive, and there’s no denying the efficiencies when they are found. A well-drawn process tells a story. In this lively demonstration, Janet offers to build an improv process of the audience’s choosing using post-it notes and string. We’ll then mess with the diagram to uncover the new from the familiar.

A career records manager who has likely racked up more than 10,000 hours in process mapping, Janet has enthusiastically diagrammed out much what we do from shoe shopping to government procurement. In between she has developed as a fine artist, showing off her work at the Whyte Avenue Art Walk on occasion. Janet has presented workshops on process mapping, spreading process literacy across the records community and beyond.

From 20 kids to 10,000 — how a vision for free soccer grew
Tim Adams

When Tim launched Free Footie eight years ago, his vision was to eliminate every barrier to playing sports. That if a kid wanted to be on the field, they would be. The goal was to get the program into 50 of the city’s highest needs schools & use the game of soccer as carrot to bring up grades, attendance and give voice to a group of kids who otherwise are never heard from. You probably don’t care at all about soccer, but the Free Footie story is a lesson for anyone on how to implement a vision, how to motivate the masses around you, how to attack problems rather wait for solutions, how to advocate not irritate and of course on the politics and artful dance of asking for money from your neighbour, your grandma, a CEO or a politician. Finally, it is a lesson on going for it when everyone else tells you that you’re crazy.

Tim Adams is the founder of Free Footie, a totally free after school soccer league for 2,000 of the highest needs kids in Edmonton. When he’s not volunteering his life away on a soccer pitch you can hear him on the radio at CBC Edmonton where he directs and reports on the morning show Edmonton AM. The rest of the time you’ll find him on adventures around the city with his two kids, lovely wife Dana and crazy dog Numa.

I Got 99 Problems But Fake Gold Ain’t One
Dana DiTomaso

Most massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) have an economy of some kind. And usually that economy requires you to slay a million boars, save that stupid prince again and again, or something else equally ridiculous — like pay them real money — until you’ve managed to scrape enough gold together to buy a mediocre horse. Why grind when you can profit? Time is money, friend, and I’m here to enlighten you on the ways you can game most in-game economies to your benefit. So put on your capitalist hat and prepare to take advantage of people who don’t know any better to score some coin.

Dana is President & Partner at Kick Point, where she applies marketing into strategies to grow clients’ businesses, in particular to ensure that digital and traditional play well together. With her deep experience in digital, Dana can separate real solutions from wastes of time (and budget). Dana was born in a steel mill but overcame these humble beginnings to move to Edmonton in 2010. In her spare time, Dana is the past-president of the Advertising Club of Edmonton, co-leads Ladies Learning Code Edmonton and is the weekly technology columnist on CBC Edmonton AM. She also enjoys drinking beer and yelling at the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Nerd Nite #28: Nerds in a new lair


Nerd Nite Edmonton is back for another season, and we need you to help us break in a new roster of speakers, and our new location. This year, Nerd Nite will be hosted at the Needle Vinyl Tavern. Stories will be shared, beer will flow, and learning will happening. You won’t want to miss our star-studded kick-off to the fifth season!

Be there AND be square!

When: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 (show @ 8pm)
Where: The Needle Vinyl Tavern (10524 Jasper Avenue)
$20 in advance — SOLD OUT
$10 peanut gallery tickets — On sale Monday, Sept 12 at 11am
[Must be 18 years or older)

Our line-up of speakers includes:

Smart polymers & you: better sensors, stronger muscles, and more effective drugs
Dr. Michael Serpe

Wondering what a polymer is? Want to know how polymers will make us better, smarter, and stronger? The work I’m doing focuses on the development of new polymer-based materials for solving environmental and health-related problems. In my work, my team and I focus on “smart/intelligent” polymers that react in defined ways to changes in their local environment. While there are many uses for such materials, this Nerd Nite talk will highlight smart polymers’ ability to detect species of interest, act as muscles that are pound-for-pound stronger than humans, and deliver therapeutics in a controlled and triggered fashion to improve drug efficacy, and maybe even cure your hangover.

Dr. Michael Serpe is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Alberta and the Associate Scientific Director and Theme Lead for the Canadian Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) IC-IMPACTS. He is also Chair of the local section of the Chemical Institute of Canada, and a member of the executive committees for the Analytical and Materials Chemistry Divisions of the Chemical Institute of Canada

Culture, body mods, and the stories we inscribe into our flesh
Dr. Katie Biittner

Attend any festival in Edmonton and you may observe that the tattooed often outnumber those who have not modified their bodies. While most are familiar with the reasons why as individuals we get tattoos or piercings, this presentation will examine more broadly how our bodies serve as cultural texts and how anthropologists “read” these texts. Through a cross-cultural examination and using Margo DeMello’s “bodies of inscription” construct, Dr. Katie Biittner will examine the antiquity of tattooing, the connection between body modification and rites of passage, and the influence of popular culture on how we (re)shape our bodies. She’ll also challenge our ideas of what body modification is and what it may look like in the future.

Dr. Katie Biittner is the Anthropology Lab Instructor at MacEwan University. Katie’s passion for archaeology has led her to excavations in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Idaho, and Tanzania. Her current research focuses on the African Stone Age, the origins of our species, and Cultural Heritage in Tanzania. When not corrupting undergrads with the anthropological perspective, Katie can be found wrangling her three year old, tweeting about adventures in 3D printing, rolling dice, ranting about movies and comics (why is there no Squirrel Girl movie yet?), and brainstorming ideas for her next tattoo.

‘Don’t be nervous, but the whole country is watching…’ Confessions of an Olympic Broadcaster
Mark Connolly

What happens when the national broadcaster makes your dreams come true and sends you to the Olympic games? They tell you’ll be a reporter and then 5 days in, assign you to do play by play of tennis — a sport you have a very casual interest in and no expertise. Thus begins my Olympic career which has included rye and cokes in the bobsleigh parking lot in Nagano to celebrate Olympic gold, a private concert with the Tragically Hip, getting tear gassed in Athens, and becoming famous in Sochi because of a tweet about coat hangers. Fresh from Rio, this is the behind the scenes story of the Olympic games.

Mark Connolly is the host of Edmonton AM, CBC’s local radio morning show. He has also been a sports commentator for CBC for the last 20 years. That has given him the chance to broadcast at 9 Olympic Games, summer and winter. It might not be the best job in the world but it’s a living.