Nerd Nite #33: the beginning of the end of winter

You’ve made it through the dregs of winter. But even at this point in the year, there’s no guarantee that persistent warmth is on the horizon. You need something to keep you warm: fabulous nerds sharing their passions with you over pints of beer. Be there AND be square!

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

Our line-up of talks includes:

Spewing Pixie Dust- A Disney Nerd’s view on that Disney Magic
Michelle Weinhandl

Disney is large. From movies to theme parks, and education to conservation. Disney does it all! But it’s the little things that give Disney the magic touch. How did Walt become a theme park creator? Do you know that Disney diverted 49% of theme park waste from landfills in 2015? Have you ever found a hidden Mickey? Do you know why Space Mountain is located where it is? And why are the cast members so damn happy ALL THE TIME? Come and get covered in a whole lot of pixie dust as you learn about one of the most magical places on Earth.

Michelle has been a rabid fan of all things Disney since she was very young. In 2002, she was hired to work with Disney Cruise Line, on the Disney Wonder, which only fed her addiction. In addition to planning her next trip to see The Mouse, you can find her mentoring School Safety Patrollers, making crafty things, and hanging out with her Vulcan-like husband and Tigger-like son. You may also recognize her from such places as TELUS World of Science, and wherever cats can be found.

Anti-aging drugs: live long and prosper!
Basil Hubbard

Why do we age? Can we control aging to live healthier, longer lives? What exactly is aging? This talk will go beyond your grandma’s anti-wrinkle creams and internet miracles to examine the real science behind aging and longevity. With due references to history and pop culture, you’ll hear about the genes that control the aging process, and recently discovered drugs that can target these pathways. The potential for human lifespan extension will also be discussed, as well as the first official clinical trial for an anti-aging drug, which is currently underway.

Dr. Basil Hubbard is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Alberta and Canada Research Chair in the Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology of aging. He pursued his postdoctoral research at Harvard University on gene editing, and his graduate work at Harvard Medical School on longevity genes. As an undergrad, he had the opportunity to work at NASA and watch the launch of MER-B in person!

You see a dumpster fire, we see sunshine: Why journalism’s future is brighter than you think
Mack Male & Karen Unland

You’ve heard the doom and gloom, and honestly, you’re not wrong — journalism as it has been practiced and funded is in trouble, at a time when it is needed more than ever. But, wow, we have such an opportunity to create a better, brighter future for journalism, grounded in curiosity and service to the community, paid for in creative ways, and building on the experience of smart and dedicated people around the world. It won’t be easy, but how many worthwhile things are? So ditch your sadface and get on board with Mack and Karen as we delve into where our journo-nerdity came from and what we’re doing with it.

Mack is the co-founder of Taproot Edmonton. He’s a software developer, blogger, and Edmonton geek who has long been interested in the combination of technology and local journalism. He was one of the first 1,000 people in the world to join Twitter, helped establish the #yeg hashtag, and has been an active member of the local open data community. Mack is an active volunteer, serving on the Edmonton Food Council, Edmonton Heritage Council, and Downtown Vibrancy Task Force, among other organizations. You can find him as mastermaq on your favorite social media service.

Karen is the co-founder of Taproot Edmonton. She worked at the Edmonton Journal for 14 years as a reporter and various flavours of editor, including the editor in charge of, before quitting in 2011 to consult, teach, and embark on adventures in entrepreneurial journalism. She co-founded Capital Ideas, a community of business owners helping business owners by sharing what they know, and she pays close attention to the city’s bloggers and podcasters through Seen and Heard in Edmonton. She was not one of the first 1,000 people on Twitter, but she sure as heck followed @mastermaq within minutes of joining.

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.