Nerd Nite #40: Love in the time of Nerdity

Love is in the air, and we nerds can smell it. But rather than do what’s expected — the box of chocolates, the flowers, the breathless poetry — we’re going to come together to enjoy the company of our fellow nerds and learn a thing or two of the Love In The Time Of Right Now. Sure, we blew past Valentine’s Day, but we aren’t super nerdy about calendrical precision…

Be there AND be square!

When: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 (show @ 8pm)
Where: Westbury Theatre, ATB Financial Arts Barns (10330 84 Ave NW)
Tickets: Available at the Fringe Box Office at noon on January 18, 2018
$20 in advance (service charges apply)
[Must be 18 years or older]

Our line-up of talks includes:

Where do babies come from?
Scott and Maura Armstrong

Making babies isn’t always fun. Hear Maura and Scott’s story and the science behind conception outside of the body. Learn about the emotional, physical, and financial realities made possible by the fascinating process of IVF… and endless vaginal exams.

Maura and Scott Armstrong have been married for 9 years and live in Edmonton. Maura is the School Programs Manager at the Telus World of Science Edmonton and Scott is an Advanced Care Paramedic with AHS in Edmonton. They have a shared love of games, science, and culinary adventures. They both hate camping.

“You want to study WHAT?” Researching the neural bases of sexual pleasure
Melike Schalomon

Sexual pleasure has inspired poetry and artwork for millennia, and has been speculated upon by scientists for centuries. But studying the neural bases of pleasure is still in its infancy, as it had to await the development of modern methodologies for studying the functional anatomy of the brain. Even today, much of what we know about the neural bases of sexual pleasure is based on experimental brain manipulation in rodents. Human research tends to focus on the neural pathologies of patients with nervous system damage who experience unusual sexual pleasure. In this presentation, we will explore the corner of science where sex and neuroanatomy collide.

Melike Schalomon is a somewhat accidental sex researcher. With a doctorate in Behavioural Neuroscience, she largely spends her days working as the Associate Dean, Administration, in MacEwan University’s Faculty of Arts and Science and doing research with one inch zebrafish. About ten years ago, after developing a course on Human Sexuality, she combined her expertise in brain science with her fascination with human sexuality and developed a second line of research on human sexual behaviour in exceptional populations. She has collaborated with her students on topics ranging from sexual awareness and experience in swingers to sexuality in high functioning autistic adults. In her spare time, she is most likely to be found on her remote acreage where she is always on the lookout for new brain specimens.

The art of being (almost) naked. A 101 Course in the Art of Burlesque
Violette Coquette

A step-by-step guide showing how you, too, can master the Art of Being Mostly Naked OR—if the stage is not your thing—why you should get out and support more (mostly) naked burlesque art. What is burlesque? When did it start, and why is it having a resurgence? What is the correct way to enjoy burlesque? In this 20-minute talk we will discuss why a hedonistic mindset is critical, how to be present in the moment, and the sociopolitical underpinnings of the striptease. The presentation will end by putting the audience’s newfound burlesque knowledge to the test, culminating with a real-live burlesque act.

Violette Coquette is a burlesque artist and “feminist provocateur” who thrives on the magical energy created when a live performer and audience connect under glittering lights. Violette regularly performs locally and has also performed on numerous burlesque festival stages, including the 2016 New Orleans Burlesque Festival, the 2017 London Burlesque Festival, and MELT cabaret in Stockholm, Sweden. She has performed with theatre company Send in the Girls Burlesque’s productions “Shakespeare’s Sirens” (nominated for two Sterling awards) and “With Glowing Hearts”, and will be headlining the Itty Bitty Burlesque Festival with Send in the Girls later this Spring. Violette is the co-founder of House of Hush Burlesque and currently produces a monthly burlesque show at Crash Hotel.

Nerd Nite #39: A New Year and a new venue!

We’re saying goodbye to the dumpster fire that was 2017—where the only highlight was spending time with lovely nerds; and saying hello to 2018, which will hopefully include nerdy learning and nerdy drinking. We have a new home at the ATB Financial Arts Barns in the heart of Old Strathcona, and we’re so excited to host you in our new space!

Be there AND be square.

When: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 (show @ 8pm)
Where: Westbury Theatre, ATB Financial Arts Barns (10330 84 Ave NW)
Tickets: On sale NOW at the Fringe Box Office
$20 in advance (service charges apply)
[Must be 18 years or older]

Our line-up of talks includes:

Living organs, outside of your body! From preservation to organ repair
Allan Wu

“But Allan, don’t your organs need to be inside your body being pumped with blood and stuff?” Yes, but machines can do the same things for us now! From heart-lung bypass and ECMO to hemodialysis in renal therapy, we have gained the ability to replace various bodily supports for organs. Yet there is still much to be learned when it comes to developing technologies to support individual organs outside of the body – could we one day repair our own organs outside the body in lieu of transplants? Today we will talk about some recent breakthroughs in the field of ex vivo organ perfusion and the challenges to come.

Allan is a graduate student at the University of Alberta studying Ex Vivo Kidney Perfusion. He is passionate about physiological research and sharing exciting new discoveries. Allan studies in a lab focused on ex vivo organ perfusion and stem cell research, where biomedical engineering, industrial design, and medical research come together to create magic! Throughout his undergraduate and graduate careers, Allan continues to spearhead student initiatives for community outreach and engagement in science. In his spare time, Allan volunteers as a first aid responder with St Johns Ambulance and works as a lifeguard with the City of Edmonton.

WTF, Autonomous Vehicles won’t solve the world’s transportation problems?
Megan Strickfaden

Hype about autonomous vehicles is everywhere. Automobile companies around the world are fighting to be the first ones to launch the ultimate autonomous vehicle that will solve the world’s transportation problems. But can they make the mark and satisfy all the wants, desires and expectations of our diverse and needy society? Not yet. This talk focuses on a recent collaboration with researchers at Cambridge’s Engineering Design Centre. Highlights include: an overview of the new wave or autonomous vehicles; public perceptions of autonomous vehicles; future users of autonomous vehicles; and (most importantly) an analysis of the directions that automotive companies need to take in order to create meaningful anti-universally designed vehicles. This presentation promises to debunk normative approaches to creating adapted designs for persons with differing abilities. It will also bring awareness to the limitations and viability of various technological solutions.

Megan Strickfaden is a migrant who has lived in seven exotic countries including Canada. She currently makes a home in Edmonton’s University of Alberta at the Department of Human Ecology. Megan is an associate professor of design studies who has built her career around solving complicated problems for people who live without sight, people who move around speedily on wheels, and/or people who are considered to process the world differently from other. In her spare time, Megan has co-edited one book, written another, written 56 journal publications and chapters, produced/directed 13 films with 5 underway, designed/curated 19 exhibitions, been involved in the design of 44 products, and holds 2 patents. Her biggest claims to fame were involvement with: the dementia village ‘de Hogeweyk’ in the Netherlands, the Brussels Metro System STIB/MIVB in Belgium, Alain Mikli International in France, and Alberta Ability Lodges Society in Canada.

Stone Dildos and Porno Pots — Sex and the Archaeological Record
Katie Biittner

To archaeologists even the most mundane objects can reveal many exciting and interesting things about the lived experiences of people in the past. This also means that archaeologists must acknowledge that those things, which at first glance, that seem fantastic could in fact be mundane. Is that carved rock really a marital aid? Why do those figures have such large breasts? Did Moche rulers really serve guests using vessels with such explicit sexual imagery? What is pornography and wtf will people in the future think about us based on the junk we leave behind? In this talk Dr. Biittner will examine how our own biases, especially those regarding sexuality, influence our interpretations of artifacts.

Dr. Katie Biittner is the Anthropology Lab Instructor at MacEwan University. Katie’s passion for archaeology has led her to participate in excavations in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Idaho, and Tanzania. Her current archaeological research focuses on the Stone Age and Historic archaeology and Cultural Heritage in Tanzania. Since her last Nerd Nite Edmonton appearance, Katie has continued to corrupt undergrads with the anthropological perspective and acquired a new tattoo. When not in the classroom, Katie can be found arguing about cutie marks with her kiddo and role playing possibly the worst bard ever.

The Nerd Nite Edmonton T-Shirt Design Contest

nerd nite nebula

Announced at our last Nerd Nite (#37), we’re now running this contest until November 7, 2017 at 11:59pm.

Submit your T-shirt design to before the deadline and you could win:

  • Two tickets to Nerd Nites #39 to 46 inclusive (Jan-Nov 2018).
  • $50 in Needle GCs per show.
  • Everlasting recognition at all NN shows and on our website.

We’ll accept multiple submissions (that is, more than one submission per person). The winner will be selected by a panel of 3-5 AlumNerds (former presenters).