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 >> Get Tickets <<
$10 peanut gallery tickets (on sale when advance tickets sell out)
[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.

The first ever Nerd Nite wedding

When two nerds meet and fall in love, there are many things you can attribute that to: chemistry, biology, pheromones, and maybe even physics. For Nerd Nite Edmonton Alumnerds, Amanda Kelley and Scott Persons, the explanation may not be that simple, nor that scientific.

Regardless of why, we’re so very pleased to help these two lovebirds get married at the first ever Nerd Nite Wedding! This special event will feature two world-renowned dinosaur experts and a talk from the happy couple.

Be there AND be square!

When: Monday, July 25, 2016 (doors @ 7pm, show @ 7:30pm)
Where: The Old Timers Cabin (9430 Scona Road)
$20 in advance (includes fees and GST) — on sale Monday, June 27 at 9:30am
Cash bar (CASH ONLY)
Dress code: Semi-formal; hey, it’s a wedding, after all!
[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

Following the formal program, Nerd Niters will be invited to join nerd bosses Lauren and Adam at the Empress Ale House (just up the road) for drinks, while the happy couple enjoys time with their close friends and family.

Our line-up of speakers includes:

A Romantic World View of Dinosaurs
Phil Currie

The lives of T. rex and Triceratops were more than violent monster-on-monster clashes. Darwinian success means not just survival but the prosperous passing of genes from one generation to the next. Enduring for over 160 million years, dinosaurs evolved a lot of tricks to get the job done. From seductive crests to flamboyant feathers, many of the strangest dinosaur adaptations only make sense through the eyes of a romantic. Professor Philp J. Currie is a world renowned paleontologist, who has spent a lifetime traveling the globe and uncovering the secrets to a softer and sweeter side of dinosaurs. Join him as he shares the stories and the science from expeditions to the frozen mountains of Antarctica, the Flaming Cliffs of Mongolia, and the dragon-filled islands of Komodo..

Dr. Philip J. Currie is a professor at the University of Alberta, where he holds the Canadian Research Chair in Dinosaur Palaeobiology. His primordial love affair began when, as a child, he excavated his first prehistoric beast . . . from a cereal box. Since then, he has written numerous books, dug for dinosaurs on every continent, starred in documentaries, helped to found the Royal Tyrell Museum, discovered new dinosaur species, and had several new species named in his honor. He is also an avid science-fiction fan and likes to measure skeletons and write papers while listening to Rush and ACDC.

Nerds United: courtship ritual and pair bonding in fledgling biologists
Amanda Kelley & Scott Persons

Science Fact: nerding is more fun with company. Although the cold objectivity of Science seems at odds with the emotional vagaries of Love, the two often go hand in hand. Nerd Nite Edmonton ‘alumnerds’ Amanda and Scott are two biologists in love. Together, they consider the science of romance, while recounting their explorations across Canada and beyond, from photographing African wildlife, to wrangling squirrels in the frozen forests of the Yukon, to discovering the horned skull and skeleton of a new dinosaur in the badlands of Alberta. Join the pair as they analyse their own courtship and embark together on their newest adventure.

Beginning their nerdy romance as grad students at the University of Alberta, Amanda and Scott discovered a shared passion for exploring the natural world. Amanda is a behavioural ecologist who is nuts about squirrels, and Scott is a paleontologist studying dinosaur tails. However, as partners in love and science, they find ways to bring their interests together. They’re crazy about their two dogs, and enjoy binging on sci-fi and home-baked pizza.

Stegos in Tutus & Jurassic Murder Victims
Robert Bakker

Clad in boney armour and wilding lance-tipped tails, the stegosaurs have been described as “dino knights”. Join the legendary Dr. Robert Bakker as works to solve a 145 million-year-old murder mystery and pieces together the clues to a titanic showdown between one Stegosaurs and the Jurassic’s apex predator. In the science of “Dinosaur CSI” shed teeth tell the tale of dinosaur dinner parties and scarred bones reveal epic battles won and lost. But this ancient record of death and carnage also exposes surprising signs of parental love.

Dr. Robert T. Bakker easily ranks as one of the most influential paleontologists of the last century. A one man scientific revolution, his theories and research brought on the “Dinosaur Renaissance” and forever morphed our view of dinosaurs from slow-moving swamp-bound reptiles into agile warm-blooded birdy ancestors. Bakker holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale and a PhD from Harvard. Currently, he is the Curator of Paleontology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. His other notable life accomplishments include: designing dinosaur toys for Tyco, consulting on the film Jurassic Park, and staring in SEGA videogame commercials.