Nerd Nite #32: Helping you dream of summer

Shake of the deep chill of the cold Alberta winter with three nerdy presentations sure to get your blood pumping — not out of rage, but out of a nerdy lust for knowledge, camaraderie and the sweet taste of beer! Be there, be warm, AND be square!

When: Wednesday, February 8, 2017 (show @ 8pm)
Where: The Needle Vinyl Tavern (10524 Jasper Avenue)
Tickets — on sale Wednesday, January 11 at 10pm on
$20 in advance
$10 peanut gallery tickets
[Must be 18 years or older]

Our line-up of talks includes:

Aquatic Invasive Species Just Might Eat Your Children (or at Least Kick Your Puppy)
Kate Wilson

Most environmental problems, as we all probably recognize, are really PEOPLE problems. Invasive species issues are, for the most part, exactly that, and cause an incredible amount of damage, including the extirpation of native species — which you should care about because if we don’t work together to protect the health and diversity of species, they just might disappear. And then we’ll just be left with a planet overrun with too many people and crazy horrible invasive species that will just might bring forth the apocalypse. The impacts of aquatic invasive species range far and wide — from increases in utility and food costs, to decreases in property values, and loss of our native species. But alas, there is hope! We can turn this mess around! Just don’t sit too close, I talk with my hands and swing elbows often.

Kate Wilson is perhaps a little bit obsessed with water and native species conservation… in particular the crazy things that people do to put them at risk! For example, bringing “dirty boats” into clean waters; straight up dumping their aquariums into ponds, rivers and lakes, planting pretty new plants and flowers from faraway places on their lakeshore properties, and failing to consider the consequences of their actions. Kate is outspoken and probably sometimes annoying in her drive to change human behaviour associated with introducing critters and plants that cause problems. She is very passionate about protecting our wild and special places, and is stoked to lead Alberta’s Provincial Aquatic Invasive Species Program.

The Top Ten Garden Myths (Save the Bullsh** for your plants!)
Jim Hole

Gardening is a hobby that many of us love. But the path to success with gardening is one that is more convoluted, confusing and costly than it should be thanks, in part, to a number of garden myths that refuse to die. Killing them with some good, old ‘farm sense’ and a bit of horticultural science will save your back and bank account at the same time. Exploring the Top Ten gardening myths will help to keep the bullsh** in the garden where it belongs.

Jim Hole grew up in his family’s horticultural business and has been co-owner of Hole’s Greenhouses and Gardens Ltd. in St. Albert since 1979. Jim has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Alberta, is a Professional Agrologist, Certified Arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture, Certified Professional Horticulturist with the American Society for Horticultural Science, and a Certified Greenhouse and Landscape Pesticide Applicator. Jim is also a landscape consultant and provides plant diagnostic services both in store and online. In addition to writing bestselling gardening books, Jim is a gardening columnist with the Edmonton Journal, Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, and CBC radio.

Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together!
Owen Brierley

MID, DAW, VJ, OSC, DJ, mapping, FFGL, VST, fractals, procedural FX, DXV3.. oh my! I will walk my talk by presenting the concepts and ideas of VJ/DJ collaborations, and explore how the nightclub can serve as a media artist’s laboratory. This piece will mash concrete with abstract, harmony with dissonance, data with allegory. A digital analogue poem designed to offer aural and visual stimulants that will lead to epiphanies about common notions or just sparkly ocular delights to a thumping rhythm. How deep you go is entirely up to you. Trigger warnings are in effect. Please ensure your tray is in an upright and locked position. These moist towelettes are provided for your convenience. Walk, don’t walk, walk, don’t walk.

Owen Brierley produces stories. Owen is the Executive Director of the Edmonton Digital Arts College. He is also a digital media producer based in Edmonton for over 20 years. Owen has been pursuing media production projects that explore the forefront of blending arts and technology. Working on projects like the Citadel Theatre’s production of “Make Mine Love,” (which won him a Sterling Award for Best in Multimedia Design), projection mapping events like Make Something Edmonton’s “Sound, Light & Vision,” or creating gigantic projected murals for La Cite Francophone’s Flying Canoe Festival, the Deep Freeze Festival, are all part of the continual pursuit of merging technology and arts into a seamless, engaging whole. Owen has also worked with Alberta Education, NAIT, U of A, MacEwan University, Athabasca University, the Banff Centre, CityTV, NorthWestFest Film Festival, YESS, Startup Edmonton, and many others in the Edmonton community.

Nerd Nite #31 – The Year of the Nerd

New Year, new you. That’s how the saying goes. But we aren’t going to say that. In fact, pretend we didn’t.

One thing was can promise you in 2017 is more of the same great Nerd Nite quality you’ve come to expect from Nerd Nite Edmonton. Join us for our first show of 2017!

Be there AND be square!

When: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 (show @ 8pm)
Where: The Needle Vinyl Tavern (10524 Jasper Avenue)
$20 in advance
$10 peanut gallery tickets
[Must be 18 years or older]

Our line-up of talks includes:

When a bird sings in the forest, does anybody hear?
Tara Narwani

A close listen to the clamour of nature—ever been woken up by crack-of-dawn bird chatter in the spring and summer?—reveals a lot. It can tell you who’s present (which species of birds and other animals), where they live, and how they may be affected by activities around them. Technology is changing the “when”, “where”, and “how” researchers listen to the singing (squawking, squealing, chirping) creatures in our environment. This talk will transport you into Alberta’s boreal forest and give you an intimate listen into how scientists at the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute and the University of Alberta monitor our province’s vocalizing species.

Tara Narwani is a scientist by training, but a science communicator at heart. After spending many months and years with a pipette in her hand, she traded it in for a keyboard and screen to write about science and medical research for Alberta Innovates. Science communication became her full-time gig when she joined the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute in 2012. Tara keeps hoping leading a science-themed flash mob is in her future.

Cosplay meets Couture
Nikki Ewing

Cosplay is truly the runway of the imagination. Cosplay Meets Couture explores the growing intersection where costumes meet high fashion. Faithful character reproductions, mash-ups, and interpretive designs are all an integral part of cosplayas we know it. Here you’ll see, in glorious living technicolor, intricate hand-made outfits from a wide variety of fandoms. Closer looks as well as discussion on props, ethical fashion, just what goes into the creation of a couture ensemble will all be discussed. Burning questions are not only permitted, they are encouraged! Indulge your imagination and explore what it means to cosplay!

Nikki started Dark Knits Boutique in 2006 to give life to her passion for all things creative and her belief that everyone should be able to have a spectacular handmade quality piece in their wardrobe. Each piece Nikki makes, from corset to latex to top hat, is custom, unique to both her vision and that of the client’s requests, and is of heirloom quality. Dark Knits Boutique is also founded on Nikki’s commitment to founding an inclusive community and showing beauty in all shapes and sizes. Dark Knits is where the macabre, the inclusive, the creative, and the well-tailored fuse together into wearable art.

From the motor cortex to muscles: How do humans move?
Dave Collins

Humans move when electrical signals travel from the brain, down the spinal cord and out to muscles. For this interactive presentation I will bring as much of my lab equipment on stage as possible to record from (and listen to) my muscles when they contract and stimulate my muscles and brain to produce movement. Through these demonstrations I will describe how muscle contractions are generated and how movement can be restored for people experiencing paralysis due to injury or disease of the nervous system. During the talk it is hoped that audience members will learn a bit about the neural control of movement and get closer to their inner neuronerd.

Dr. Collins is a self-proclaimed and proud “neuronerd”. He is a Professor in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, a member of the Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute and the Director of the Sensorimotor Rehabilitation Neuroscience Group at the University of Alberta. Dr. Collins runs the Human Neurophysiology Laboratory at the University where he and his research team investigate how the nervous system controls movement and develop better ways to restore movement for people experiencing paralysis.

SOLD OUT: 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.