Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

SOLD OUT! A special Edition of Nerd Nite: Our 50th Show!

We made it to 50, everyone! 50 shows, and 150 presentations. So we’re celebrating the only way we know how: more nerdy content, with a few twists thrown in just for you!

Ticket-holders get to join us for:

  • An exclusive pre-show reception with music, drinks, and fiery science demos.
  • Some Nerd Nite trivia hosted by Edmonton comedienne Elisia Snyder. We’re sourcing fabulous prizes for this one, so make sure you bring a fully-charged mobile device so you can play along.
  • Elisia Snyder’s signature style of stand-up comedy, maybe with a nerdy twist!.
  • And then: the main event. A homegrown Nerd Nite presenter we’re thrilled to have on our stage, and the host of A User’s Guide to Cheating Death on Netflix, Timothy Caulfield. Details below. Be there AND be square!

When: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 (doors @ 7:00pm | show @ 7:45pm)
Where: Westbury Theatre, ATB Financial Arts Barns (10330 84 Ave NW)
Tickets: $20 in advance (plus fees + GST)
No minors.

Tickets on sale NOW SOLD OUT!

Check out the details on our guest presenters:

Scienceploitation and the Rise of Science-y Unproven Therapies
Timothy Caulfield

Timothy_Caulfield-cropThese are exciting times in biomedicine. Research areas like stem cells, personalized medicine, and the microbiome are leading to promising new developments. But too often the language of real science is used to market unproven therapies and health concepts. In this presentation, Timothy Caulfield will argue that “scienceploitation” has emerged as a significant health policy issues, one that is having an adverse impact on both individuals and healthcare systems throughout the world.

Professor Timothy Caulfield is an unrivalled communicator who debunks myths and assumptions about innovation in the health sector — from research on stem cells to diets to alternative medicine — for the benefit of the public and decision-makers. He is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, a professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health, and a Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta.

Professor Caulfield also writes frequently for the popular press on a range of health and science policy issues and is the author of two national bestsellers: The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness (Penguin, 2012) and Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash (Penguin, 2015). His most recent book is The Vaccination Picture (Penguin, 2017). He is also the host and co-producer of the award-winning, hit documentary TV show, A User’s Guide to Cheating Death, which has been shown in over 60 countries and is currently streaming on Netflix.

Nerd Nite Trivia + Comedy
Elisia Snyder

Elisia-Snyder-cropElisia Snyder is one of the fastest rising stars coming out of the Edmonton comedy scene. Her comedy brings a fresh take on modern issues ranging from the mundane to the outright absurd. She has performed in such exotic locales as: Fort MacMurray, Saskatoon, Meadow Lake, Red Deer, Onoway, Edmonton, and North Edmonton. Last year, she advanced to the finals in Edmonton’s Funniest Person with a Day Job, was the darling of the Okanagan Comedy Festival, and founded a British-panel-style game show right here in the City of Champions. Elisia brings dark, clever, and deeply personal stories to the stage with a unique voice and an unforgettable stage-presence.

Nerd Nite #49: Pirouettes, pedagogy and Punnett squares

Can you help out an old ’49er? Some of you Star Trek nerds will get this. The rest of you will think it’s a reference to our 49th show. The good news is you’re all correct! We have a little art, a little science, and a little but of content from left field. It’s the ultimate Nerd Nite line up.

So be there AND be square!

When: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 (doors @ 7:30pm | show @ 8pm)
Where: Westbury Lobby, ATB Financial Arts Barns (10330 84 Ave NW)
Tickets: $20 in advance (plus fees + GST)
No minors.

Tickets on sale NOW!

Our line-up of talks includes:

The future of DNA technologies
Mikolaj Raszek

DNA sequencing is rapidly altering the world of medicine and entering popular culture. But being the most efficient repository of information in the universe, combined with its ability to interact with itself and other molecules, DNA holds an incredible array of possible uses. DNA is most famous for storing information on how to create a life form, but it can store any information desired, opening doors for manipulating living organisms into new artificial directions outside what is found in nature. DNA can also form three dimensional structures, and act as a computer program. This provides the opportunity for DNA to become a tool of advancement and progress or a weapon of unimaginable destruction; a tool for distributive justice, or a treasure held by elitist hands. In this talk, we will review a few of these possibilities and what the future might hold.

Dr. Mikolaj Raszek made a mistake of getting a doctorate degree, and by the time he realized what he was in for, he had to actually plan some career to accommodate his degree. Enter DNA sequencing business, exit normal life. Prior to genetic commercial speculation, Mikolaj was quite a normal member of society, particularly being fond of outdoors, freezing extremities during winter, or testing the limits of sun tanning at any beach he could find in the summer, no matter how accidental. But that is all thing of the past. Since then, Mikolaj discovered he has a genetic predisposition for a higher level of nerdiness that merited further nourishing.

Teachers Reaching Teachers
Jessica Kornder

Teachers never stop learning. Or teaching, for that matter. But it’s not as simple as showing up at a couple of PD days at the Shaw Conference Centre each year. Many of us travel the world to share our knowledge and learn from others, often in unexpected ways. I have been involved in thee projects with Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) and 1 with Change For Children. I’ll be talking about what Project Overseas — CTF and Change For Children initiatives are and provide brief narratives of my various experiences. I’ll touch on how my profession is similar worldwide and how teachers can work in solidarity with colleagues, at home and abroad, to ensure that all children have access to quality public education.

I was born and raised as a bookworm in Grande Prairie. I moved to Sherwood Park in 1998, finished high school (where my dad was the principal—yes, I am a super nerd) then left to spend a year in the Dominican Republic doing volunteer work. I came back to complete my B.Ed. at the Campus Saint-Jean U of A (with Honors—yes, more nerd-spice). I started teaching Grade 1 in a French Immersion program. After 5 years there, I spent a year teaching on the Sunchild Reserve close to Rocky Mountain House. When I returned to Edmonton, I switched into the Spanish Bilingual program and taught Grade 1 Spanish for six years. I am now a Learning Coach in a dual track (French/Spanish) school, where I get my nerd on by helping teachers in figure out what their students need to best learn.

How to compose ballet music, in case you’ve ever wondered
John Estacio

What comes first when creating a new ballet; the choreography or the music? Well, technically, neither because the story comes first. But in case you’ve ever wondered how a composer approaches writing music for a never-seen-before ballet, John Estacio will shed some light on the process and talk you through how he composed music for the Cincinnati Ballet’s production of “King Arthur’s Camelot.”

John Estacio has worked as composer for three decades. He was the Edmonton Symphony’s first ever composer-in-residence and has also held similar positions with the Calgary Philharmonic and the Calgary Opera. In addition to composing for the symphony, opera and ballet stages, he has also composed music for film. He loves film music and sometimes he’ll watch a movie just to listen to the music and study how it is integrated with the performances and action on the screen. He has been nominated for a JUNO Award four times and in 2017 he was awarded the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Award for Excellence in the Arts. He lives in Edmonton with his partner of 19 years and their pup Chewie.

Nerd Nite #48: Family planning, city planning, and joking

A genealogist, city planner, and psychologist walk into a theatre. They tell you things you didn’t even want to know: was Elizabeth Warren nuts when she laid claim to indigenous heritage? How are parking minimums shaping Edmonton’s urban form? Can we make a good (or bad) joke out of any of this?

The great news is that these questions and many others will be answered at our March Nerd Nite. You won’t want to miss this one, and the three reasons why (our speakers and their topics!) are listed below

Nerd Nite: It’s like the Discovery Channel, but with beer!

When: Tuesday, March 19, 2019 (doors @ 7:30pm | show @ 8pm)
Where: Westbury Theatre, ATB Financial Arts Barns (10330 84 Ave NW)
Tickets: $20 in advance (plus fees + GST)
No minors.

Tickets on sale now!

Our line-up of talks includes:

Genetic Genealogy: The Joys, Risks, and Follies of Spitting in a Tube
Alyssa Paterson

From finding lost siblings to uncovering unknown family histories, to discovering that your dad is not your dad (surprise!), we’ve all heard stories of shocking discoveries that have come from spending $129 to spit in a tube or scrape some cells from inside your cheek. Genetic genealogy is big business and is growing bigger by the day. Learn about how these tests work, what they’re actually telling you (hint: it’s probably not what you think), reasons why you should take them, and reasons why some of you probably shouldn’t.

For the past 18 years, Alyssa Paterson has answered the question “What are you nerdy about?” with the word “genealogy”. In her undergrad, she pursued a dream of becoming a Genetic Counsellor, until she failed Organic Chemistry and gave up on science forever (she’s really a music person anyway). By day she works as General Manager of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Winspear Centre, and by night she builds out her family tree, branch by branch.

Zoned Out: How Legalese Shapes the World Around Us
Anne Stevenson

City planning is about big ideas: how we grow our cities, build our neighbourhoods, and connect our communities. These big ideas, however, ultimately get boiled down to a single document: the Zoning Bylaw. Likely to put most readers to sleep, Edmonton’s Zoning Bylaw is 800 pages of often inscrutable rules that nonetheless profoundly affect the way our city looks and functions. Join me as I share the sordid history of zoning, the pseudoscience behind some of the regulations, and how a single comma can change the shape of the future.

Anne Stevenson is a proud born and raised Edmontonian. After a BA in international development, Anne was inspired to pursue an MSc in Urban Design at the London School of Economics to better understand how the shape of our cities can help – or harm – our communities. Anne has had the chance to live and work around the world, and currently serves as Senior Planner of the Zoning Bylaw with the City of Edmonton.

What are you laughing at? A scientific look at the world’s worst jokes
Chris Westbury

Although scholars have proposed and debated theories of humour for over 2000 years, the study of humour has never been put on a scientific basis. This is largely because theories of humour tend to be post hoc, hand-wavy descriptions that are too general to make explicit testable predictions. I will discuss experimental studies that solve this problem by focusing on the world’s worst and second-worst jokes. By stripping humour down to so little, we have had considerable success in building statistical models that predict humour judgments in advance. Our model of the humour of single words is simultaneously consistent with several major theories of humour and synthesizes and weights information from a large number of independent measures (yes, single words are really complex!). I will also share my less-than-scientific thoughts on why we (and other primates) laugh at all.

Chris Westbury was born and raised in Calgary. He attended university at McGill University in Montreal, where he obtained a PhD in clinical psychology. Following post-docs in philosophy, neuroanatomy, and psycholinguistics, he was hired in 2001 in the Department of Psychology at the University of Alberta, where he is currently a professor. His research focuses on studying the structure, organization, neurological foundations, and computational modelling of language processing, with a main focus on semantics, the meaning of words.

Tickets on sale now!