Nerd Nite Edmonton #81: AquaNerds

There’s no such thing as a fish (shout-out to one of the best podcasts out there). But there is such a thing as Nerd Nite Edmonton #81, which has an aquatic theme! You’ll learn about what effect bad data collection can have on fish populations, aquatic citizen science, and places to scuba dive you may not have thought about.

When: Thursday, May 30th, at 7:30pm

Fringe Theatre Arts Barn, 10330 84 Ave NW, Edmonton

(Doors & bar open at 7pm, with drinks available all night!)

Where: Backstage Theatre at Fringe Theatre Adventures

How much: $30

Shona Derlukewich: Does the misidentification of fish have a significant repercussion on our fish populations?

In fisheries management, accurate fish species identification is critically important as the first basic step in data collection. Provincial and Federal legislation states, we must distinguish each species and implement the appropriate management/measures to protect fish and fish habitat. If not, we run the risk of costly, inaccurate data collection which could ultimately lead to the extinction of a species.
Over the years, I have known fish identification to be underappreciated and I strive to tell students why we need to change our mentality to care for all fishes especially the “small-bodied fishes”. From the ecosystem functionality to socio-economic impacts, I will guide you through the effects of misidentifying these underwater mystic creatures. Let’s go on the journey in the life of a fish without a name and offer them more respect!

Shona Derlukewich is a graduate of the University of Alberta – Conservation Biology and Northern Alberta Institute of Technology – Renewable Resources programs. She has provided field knowledge and educational teaching in fisheries over the past 18 years. With the help of Consultants, Governments, Trout Unlimited Canada and friends, Shona’s fish identification guides and workshops have provided the necessary tools to ensure the longevity of our fisheries and sustainable use. She is passionate about circulating her fisheries field knowledge to anglers, biologists, and technologists across Canada. She believes that together we can provide mentorship, education, and awareness to ignite the passions in our fisheries.

Facebook: School of Fish
Web: School of Fish

Lee Burton: Release The Minnow!

The Minnow is an exciting new citizen science tool. Come on a virtual tour and learn all about “The Story of Water” in this exciting new facility rolling out to a waterway near you!

Lee J. Burton is the Secretary to the Board at the Aquatic Biosphere Society of Canada. An experienced scuba diver and amateur filmmaker, Lee’s passion is to bring the mysteries of our water to the public eye. Through key roles at the Aquatic Biosphere Project, the MacEwan Scuba Club and the Alberta Underwater Council, Lee has shared a deep passion for water for over 20 years.

LinkedIn: Lee J Burton

Terina Hancock: Journey beyond the warm waters of the tropics

When most people think about scuba diving and holidays they think of tropical warm water, coral reefs and sandy beaches. However, there is a vast world out there amongst the cold waters and rocky shores. Journey with me as we go on a cool adventure beyond El Fin del Mundo.

Terina is a freshwater biologist with a BSc. in Conservation Biology that is passionate about scuba diving and learning/exploring our natural world in all forms. Although diving is not part of her day job, as a biologist she combines her curiosity of the natural world with her diving by exploring local lakes, differing oceans and recently underwater caves. In 2009 she visited Antarctica above water learning about the above ice world and after visiting the Arctic (Svalbard and East Greenland), she finally made her way back to Antarctica in 2024 to also experience below the water.

Facebook: Terina Hancock

Nerd Nite Edmonton #80: Machine Learning, Cults, and Birds

Nerd Nite Edmonton #80 comes crashing into April with another stellar roster of speakers. Come learn about AI (Machine Learning), how people get recruited into cults, and birds (including our favourite: owls).

When: Thursday, April 25th, at 7:30pm

(Doors & bar open at 7:00 pm with drinks available all night!)

Where: Studio Theatre at Fringe Theatre Adventures

Fringe Theatre Arts Barn, 10330 84 Ave NW, Edmonton

How much: $25

Matthew Dowling: First Sip of AI: An Introductory Brew to Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have been around for a long time. Some of the ideas behind the so called Deep Learning models were invented in the late 1950s. It wasn’t until late 2022 though, when ChatGPT was released, that the public really started to consciously use AI instead of it being something hidden from view. In this talk I want to give an intuitive understanding of how ML and AI are different from regular computer programs and share some of my experiences with developing ML applications and playing with it over the last few years.

I am currently a Senior Lead ML Developer at AltaML, an Applied Machine Learning company based in Edmonton. I have a PhD in particle physics from the University of Alberta and have been working in the ML community for the past 6 years. I’ve been with AltaML since day 1 and as a result have worked on a large variety of ML problems in various industries ranging from Finance and Insurance to Industrial Operations. Most recently I’ve been doing a lot of work with Large Language Models (like GPT) and Generative AI.

LinkedIn: Matthew Dowling
Twitter: @MLMatt_D

Heather Hutchinson: The Siren Song Remains the Same: Cult Recruitment Tactics and Rhetoric

In spite of the advances of the digital age, cults remain as popular as ever. Does social media make their recruiting methods different? Are they more dangerous now because of the internet? Communications renegade Heather Hutchinson will tell you all. Or at least some.

Heather Hutchinson is a recent graduate of MacEwan’s Professional Communications program. She is fascinated by rhetoric, persuasiveness, cults, true crime, and enjoys playing the ukulele and yelling at people on Twitter.


Jana Teefy: Beaverhill Bird Observatory, MOTUS, and owls of Alberta

The Beaverhill Bird Observatory has over 40 years of migration monitoring data, which we collect through standardized bird banding practices. I’ll talk about our research, population trends over time, our MOTUS research. I’ll touch on a few owls of Alberta and the threats to their populations.

My name is Jana Teefy (Jay-na Tee-fee), self declared bird nerd and Head Biologist of the Beaverhill Bird Observatory. I have been with the observatory for 4 years. I have an Environmental Sciences diploma from Lakeland College with a major in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation and was a veterinary nurse in my previous career.

Instagram: @jana_loves_adventure, @beaverhillbirds
Facebook: Beaverhill Bird Observatory-BBO

Nerd Nite #79 Light, Lasers, and Psychedelics

March is here. The ice is melting (again?) and we’re looking forward to listening to three nerds nerding out about their passions! We’ve got a potpourri of topics from a homogenous white male lineup of speakers ready to entertain you!

When: Thursday, March 28, 2024, at 7:30 pm

(Doors & bar open at 7:00 pm with drinks available all night!)

Where: Backstage Theatre at Fringe Theatre Adventures

Fringe Theatre Arts Barn, 10330 84 Ave NW, Edmonton

How much: $25

Chris Robson: Revealing the Invisible – Hyperspectral Imaging From Space

There is a hidden world of light that we don’t perceive with our eyes. Using hyperspectral images from Space, Chris Robson, the CEO of Wyvern, is making it possible to reveal the invisible. Walk through how hyperspectral imagery can help us see methane leaks, identify different plant species, or figure out where to mine.

Chris Robson is the CEO and co-founder of Wyvern Inc, a space data company located in Edmonton Alberta capturing the highest resolution hyperspectral images of Earth from space. Before he was a space entrepreneur, Chris was an engineering and project leader with AlbertaSat. There he helped build and launch Alberta’s first satellite – Ex-Alta 1 which was deployed from the International Space Station in May 2017. While working on Ex-Alta 1 in his free time, Chris earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Alberta.

LinkedIn: Christopher Robson

Zac Erickson: Healing Journeys – Psychedelics and Modern Mental Health

Embark on an enlightening journey with Zac Erickson as we navigate the colourful past, dynamic present, and promising future of psychedelics in mental health. From their roots in ancient ceremonies to their resurgence as cutting-edge therapeutic tools, discover how these substances are unlocking new pathways to healing. This talk promises a deep dive into the science, safety, and societal implications of psychedelics like magic mushrooms and LSD, all while breaking down complex concepts into accessible, engaging insights for everyone.

Zac Erickson is a Registered Psychologist and the founder of Recharge Psychology. He has particular expertise in working with ADHD, mood disorders, and trauma, and enjoys bringing a blend of the practical and spiritual to his therapy practice, including mindfulness, breathwork, acceptance and commitment therapy, and cognitive behavioural therapy. With Masters degrees in both Neuroscience and Counselling Psychology, Zac is always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to educate and inspire others, through therapy, podcasting, or public speaking.

Instagram: @rechargepsych
LinkedIn: Zac Erickson

Marc MacKenzie: Frickin’ Laser Beams – Fighting Cancer with Physics

Advances in physics knowledge and the applied technologies have been in lock step with improvements in outcomes for cancer patients. This talk will be an overview of advancements over the last 130 years, and our continuing evolution of understanding of diagnosing, imaging, and treating cancer, all from a physicist’s perspective.

Dr. Marc MacKenzie, PhD, is a physicist whose specialty is radiation oncology physics. He’s been a practicing clinical physicist for almost 25 years, partly at the Cross Cancer Institute, and more recently as Director of Medical Physics for Community Oncology.

Twitter: @marcmack
Instagram: @marcmack3k