Nerd Nite in Edmonton has hit double digits! To celebrate our milestone tenth edition, we’re doing more of the exact same thing. Join us as three presenters expound on topics near and dear to their hearts in climate controlled comfort with a beer (or other delightful beverage) in your hand. It’s a new year so resolve to learn new things; we’re committed to making your life more Nerdy. Remember, there are 10 types of people in this world: those who understand binary and those who don’t. Be there, be square.

When: January 9, 2014 (doors @ 7:30p, show @ 8)
Where: The Club (Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Avenue Edmonton)
$18 at the door
[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

On Our Obsession with Demon-Possession
Kirsten C. Uszkalo

She grunts, she blasphemes, and she vomits. Her body moves with astonishing strength, flexibility, and brutality. Details may differ—modern demoniacs vomit fewer pins, less straw, and very little lead—but do not let that fool you: the demoniac has not gone anywhere. Despite a decline in superstition over the last 400 years, the belief in demonic possession is on the rise. The demoniac is fictionalized on the big screen and the small; dispossessions happen in front of a live audiences at churches and hotels and are televised and pod-casted by deliverance ministries. Even the Vatican is joining in, running their own courses on exorcism. The demoniac is a woman possessed; but what possesses her may surprise you.

The demoniac does not suffer demon-possession, she suffers rage possession. The more she rages, the better she gets at it; the angrier she is, the more she looks possessed. Since Donald Hebbs fist postulated in 1949 that ‘cells that fire together, wire together’ we’ve known that from a neurological and biological basis, the more a behavior is repeated the more easily it can be repeated. By extension the demoniac’s experience is grounded in an extreme but normal experience of anger that, with each experience, make her look more possessed. Taking hints from what possesses today’s spiritually plagued, and borrowing concepts from cognitive science and neuroscience, this talk will look at what demon-possession can teach us about our own relationship with rage.

Bio: Kirsten C. Uszkalo, aka, ‘Dr. K,’ is an experienced editor, writer, teacher, and manager. She has helped generate three scholarly journals, over a dozen original classes, and a few new approaches to research. Somewhere between a historical/commercial/digital investigator, Captain Janeway, and a guerrilla neuroscientist, Uszkalo delights in chasing down hard to find facts, producing provocative reports, and chairing whatever committee she is on. She has been on T.V., taught at four renowned universities, done evaluative work for two governments, and had traversed the globe to present on e-learning, user experience, and data-mining. She has reconceived preternatural phenomenon, literary history, and timely trends that have sparked her interest. In general, she spends a great deal of time with her new kiddo and walking her two dogs.

Soil: Everything You Never Knew You Wanted To Know
Nina Craig

Have you ever stopped to think about the ground you stand on? Soils are the basis of our environment and provide many services – both those we can see, like growing our food (except “schmeat”), and those we can’t see, like filtering our water. Besides being useful, soils are just cool and interesting unto themselves; trust me. There are ten soil groups, or “orders” in Canada, each with a distinctly weird name like “Chernozem.” You will hear about each of these orders, how they are formed, what makes them unique, their uses, and how you can pick them out on the landscape without even picking up a shovel. You’ll never look at dirt the same way.

Bio: Nina grew up believing she would become a dentist, but after an unsuccessful attempt, she decided to join the world of service and retail. During this time, Nina realized working with people was for suckers and, as a long-time member of Kids for Saving Earth, decided to follow her passion for conserving and restoring the environment. She enrolled at the University of Alberta in the Conservation and Environmental Sciences program, where she discovered that soils were pretty much the coolest thing on Earth and that reclamation was a great way to protect and repair this amazing resource. Nina has a Master of Science from Virginia Tech and returned to Edmonton in 2012 to continue digging in beautiful, glaciated Alberta soils, and revel in the glory of 10-month winters as a a soil and land reclamation specialist.

How Outsiders Make Design Better
Myron Nebozuk

Design surrounds us: we can’t avoid it. Even mediocre and awful stuff is designed by someone putting in a college effort. Why is it that we take little or no notice of the many things that fill our homes, work places and social spaces? Instead, our attention goes to a select few things (and their celebrated creators). This presentation looks at the unique perspective that outsiders bring to the design process. Whether it be Jean Paul Gaultier or Thomas Heatherwick, outsiders reshape how we see and experience our world. This presentation looks at a handful of designers and the surprising methods they use to create inspiring and unforgettable work.

Bio: Myron is an architect with uber-geeky Manasc Isaac Architects. He comes by his outsider status honestly; he’s the son of immigrant parents and has an unpronounceable surname. Growing up, his only exposure to North American barbeque culture was through the Shake ‘n Bake variety. That ended badly. When he’s not trying to make the world a better place one building at a time, he immerses himself in the quirky but beautiful alternate universe created by Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.