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Nerd Nite #51: Punks, parlour games, and psychology

A global phenomenon with local flavour: welcome to Nerd Nite Edmonton’s eighth season! Our summer off has our batteries recharged, our thinking caps and nerd glasses donned, and a series of shows that will leave you feeling informed, inspired, and entertained.

We’ve changed our format a bit this season: we’ll do a little pre-show (science demos + trivia) from doors until 8pm, when we’ll start our main show. Be there AND be square!

When: Tuesday, September 3, 2019 (doors and pre-show @ 7:30pm | main event @ 8pm)
Where: Westbury Theatre, ATB Financial Arts Barns (10330 84 Ave NW)
Tickets: $20 in advance (plus fees + GST)
No minors.

Buy your tickets NOW!

Our line-up of talks includes:

The Science of Rock, Paper, Scissors
Ben Dyson

Rock, Paper, Scissors is an excellent way of resolving deadlock when there are dishes to be done, hedges to be trimmed, taxes to be filed. The game is also interesting from a psychological point-of-view, as it can help us to understand how impulses from our evolutionary past conflict with optimal strategies during competition. I’ll talk about the origins of the game, what research tells us about changes in the quality of decision-making under pressure, and give you a fool-proof way to win every game (not really).

Ben Dyson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Alberta. He moved to Edmonton and the U of A in the summer of 2018 from previous positions in Brighton (UK) and Toronto. Working at a University makes you nerdy by osmosis.

The blackest sheep: stigma and Borderline Personality Disorder
Zanne Cunningham

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is often one of the most stigmatized mental health diagnosis, not just with the general public but also health care professional. What the heck is BPD? How might it manifest? How does it affect the individual? And why is it so stigmatized? These questions and more will be answered to help promote an understanding of how an individual with BPD navigates the world. Interwoven with the educational material, Zanne will also speak candidly about her own lived experience with a diagnosis of BPD.

Since discovering a path to wellness, Zanne has become a passionate mental health advocate. Never shying away from opportunities to question conventional thinking about mental illness and sharing her own lived experience, Zanne is part of the systemic change in health care as a Peer Support Worker with Alberta Health Services. After doing a lot of heavy lifting and donating most of her spoons at work, Zanne supports her wellness by engaging her nerd girl. She surrounds herself with graphic novels, watches Star Trek daily, and one day hopes Chewbacca will become her zombie space boyfriend.

Kick out the jams: how punk changed (and still changes) the world
Dylan Richards

What is Punk? Is it Mohawks and leather jackets? Three-chord songs and greasy hair? Or is it something more? Punk was (and continues to be) more than just a musical genre; it’s about doing your own thing, making something out of nothing, and in the words of Frank Turner, “not sitting ’round waiting for the light to go green.” Grab your Doc Martins and your favourite old T-shirt, because tonight we’re going to take a look at how Punk music changed—and keeps on changing—the world as we know it.

Storyteller, activist, sex educator, and all around nerdiholic, Dylan Richards has brought his passion for helping people discover what makes them shine to classrooms, boardrooms, and gatherings all around the globe. Dylan loves to bring his stories and experience to every topic he tackles, from sexuality to songs to spaghetti (well, cooking in general but then it wouldn’t be as poetic).

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.