CANCELLED: Nerd Nite #56: Labour Unions in Sci-Fi, starpeople, and the nerdiness of Fringe

Out of an abundance of caution given the rise of COVID-19, we’ve decided to cancel the Nerd Nite on March 31st.

We don’t want to put anyone’s health or safety at risk. We’re sad to have to do this, but we think it’s more important to do the right thing, and abide by the advice of the experts at Alberta Health.

We’ll be refunding tickets for people who’ve already purchased. Watch your inbox for more details.


Nerd Nite 55: War crimes, ambulances and a lack of control

This Nerd Nite, we’re smashing together pop culture, public service and not knowing what we want. Hopefully, by the end of the night, we WILL know what we want. Or at least know why we don’t really know what we actually want. Confused? Us too. Here are the details for the evening…

Science demo starts at 7:30pm. Trivia starts at 7:45pm. Main show kicks off at 8pm.

When: Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Where: Backstage Theatre — Northeast side of the ATB Financial Arts Barns (10330 84 Ave NW)
Tickets: $20 in advance (plus fees + GST)
No minors.

>> Get your tickets NOW! <<

Our line-up of talks includes:

How to Prosecute Thanos
Gregory Pang

Thanos kills half of all life in the universe in Avengers: Infinity War. His motivation was not to kill for the sake of killing, but he wanted to make life more sustainable. In the sequel, **spoilers!** the good guys win but not by way of due process in the courts of law to bring Thanos to justice. But what if instead, we, the surviving half of civilization, put Thanos on trial?

Gregory is a lawyer who has been practising since 2009 in the areas of business, trademark and entertainment law. He also collected many different Marvel comics as a kid and still keeps the most valuable ones securely locked away in an undisclosed location. Gregory’s negotiating style is inspired by Captain Picard totally owning the Sheliak when he cited the treaty’s arbitration clause against them in ST:TNG episode “Ensigns of Command”

Ambulance Dispatch: The most important thing is to know where you are
Monica Davis

Most people are calling 9-1-1 looking for an ambulance in one of the worst moments of their life. Through clear protocols and advance computer-aided dispatch and deployment, emergency communication officers are able to be the first first responders when someone calls for help. Learn a little about the voice on the end of the phone, the protocols we use, the technology we employ, and the realities of a job in ambulance dispatch.

I’m a single mom of four kids. I have a PhD and teach science labs at MacEwan University. I have worked in ambulance dispatch casually for nearly seven years. I love the juxtaposition of my former research life in basic science, where what I discovered had very few tangible results for actual people and the fact that someone can call me asking for an ambulance and I can see that ambulance arrive and give the help they need in real-time. I also love the comparison of my academic life that some like to flippantly call “ivory tower” and my first responder life, where I deal with so many people who are at the margins of our society. I like to think that I live in the middle of these two extremes and it allows me to be more empathetic while still having high expectations of the people in my life.

Do You Feel Like Your Life Is Out of Your Control? You’re Right!
Bryan Saunders

Years of psychological and neuroscience research have come down to this: we don’t really know what we want, and many of our actions are out of our logical control. This talk will explore all the subtle ways in which our behaviour and decisions are manipulated, and how this can be used for both good and evil in economics, dating, gambling, cancer prevention, religion, and more!

Bryan is the CEO of Psychology & Marketing. Here, he consults businesses on the use of psychology & neuroscience to influence behaviour & increase sales. Bryan is also the President of the Board of the Predictive analytics, Omnisensory, & Neuromarketing Society—which is working to establish ethical and professional standards in these emerging fields. Finally, he manages the Alberta operations of Aromatech Scent Branding & Marketing. Previously, Bryan used his superpowers to improve cancer prevention campaigns & public health policy tactics at Alberta Health Services. Bryan has a keen interest in eye tracking, multisensory marketing, & conversion rate optimization. He is currently working on a app that gamifies saving the planet. He’s hoping that it goes viral, and saves us from certain doom.

Nerd Nite 54: Nature, and the Internet

You’ve feasted, you’ve feted. But have you spent enough of your free time thinking of nerdy topics? How about getting nerdy about the outdoors, and at the same time, taking a deep dive into computers. This is the Nerd Nite for you!

Let’s ring in a nerdy New Year together! See you in 2020!

Science demo starts at 7:30pm. Trivia starts at 7:45pm. Main show kicks off at 8pm.

When: Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Where: Westbury Theatre, ATB Financial Arts Barns (10330 84 Ave NW)
Tickets: $20 in advance (plus fees + GST)
No minors.

Get your tickets NOW!

Our line-up of talks includes:

Edmonton’s Greatest Asset: The River Valley
Marcel Chichak

Ask people anywhere about Edmonton’s greatest asset and most will say ‘the Mall’ or ‘Hockey’, but in fact, our greatest asset is hidden in plain sight. From its origin near the turn of the 20th century to an energetic plan fifty years ago, the system has expanded to encompass a contiguous segment of river valley from Devon to Fort Saskatchewan. This system serves many purposes including preservation of riparian habitat; wildlife connectivity; control of development in the floodplain; and recreation. The river valley provides an incredible wealth of nature for everyone to use, for free. This talk will explore the health benefits of accessing the river valley trail system and show our nerd pals its history, the extent of the trail system, where to access it and what they can do there to find physical and mental health.

Marcel was born in Yellowknife NWT sometime in the middle of the last century and although he has yet to grow up, the growing he did was done here in Edmonton. Somehow, he managed to graduate from engineering school and successfully navigated Alberta’s boom and bust cycles working as a bridge engineer throughout western Canada for 35 years before retiring last year. He’s also a serial hobbyist having been a large-format black and white photographer, woodworker, car rally navigator, HAM radio operator and amateur historian. In what passes for his spare time, Marcel restores antique cars, cycles year-round and runs marathons.

How the Internet works like a terrible company
David Woods

Ever wonder how the internet works? Ever work for a really terrible company? Well there are more similarities there than you may think! The internet is really quite a giant mess of wires, devices, configurations, companies, parties, and protocols that all come together to work as one of the most complicated machines humanity has ever created (and you use to look at cat memes).

Dave got an Apple II at 9 years old and spent a lot of time on that little box with the green screen. No clue what he was doing but something must have clicked. He would type in programs from the back of magazines (What kids magazines shipped with BASIC code in them? We may never know!). Dave kept learning and reading all things I could about computers and quickly landed work in the field doing networking and software development. Eventually he found that companies were not nerdy enough and struck out on his own. He has now had his own software development and consulting company for over 15 years!

Why You Should Think About Thinking
Linden Couteret

What does it mean to think about something? How does it feel to learn? How did your math teacher know what to do next on that weird word problem that still bugs you to this day? These questions all relate to the educational concept of metacognition, often oversimplified to “thinking about thinking.” A more thorough definition can be given as being aware of, knowing about, and controlling one’s own thinking and learning. This talk will get you thinking about thinking about thinking, how it applies to whatever endeavours you take on, and how it can maybe make you better at them.

From an early age, Linden Couteret (she/her/they/them) showed signs of nerdiness. Growing up in the middle of nowhere in northern Alberta, she sated her nerdy side by reading books, pretending to be Nancy Drew, and constantly questioning pretty much everyone. Learning was highly valued in Linden’s family, so there is little surprise that her nerdiness grew to center on how it happens. She has done a lot of schooling related to this — both Bachelor and Master of Education degrees, with the latter focused on fostering student metacognition — as well as worked in a variety of education-based jobs. These days, Linden is a learning advisor at NAIT where she tries to sneak metacognitive awareness into everything she does. Since finishing that M.Ed., she is rediscovering free time which has centered on comics, video games, far too many podcasts, learning to be a D&D Dungeon Master, and books that she wants to read just because she does.