Nerd Nite #41: Beware the Ideas in March (see what we did there?)

Oh sure, it’s been about 2,062 years since Caesar was assassinated… But if he were alive today, you can bet your bottom dollar he’d be one of the first people buying a ticket to Nerd Nite Edmonton’s March show. Where else can you hear about goats, first-response superheroes and delicious lab-grown meats? Certainly not in ancient Rome!

Be there AND be square!

When: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 (show @ 8pm)
Where: Westbury Theatre, ATB Financial Arts Barns (10330 84 Ave NW)
Tickets: On sale Tuesday, February 20 at 10pm at the Fringe Box Office (and online)!

Our line-up of talks includes:

Cities are Going Green with Weed-Whacking Goats
Michael Glazier

Some plants are good and some are BAAAAHHHHD. Why are cities turning to ruminants to manage undesirable plant life? It turns out goats aren’t just en vogue for online videos, they are damn good at munchin’ weeds! Learn about the innovative strategy of using goats to combat the issue of noxious weed infestations in cities.

Michael was part of the project team that led the weed-eating goat program this summer in Rundle Park. Since that magical experience, he now considers himself a professional scientist and goatherd. He is an Education Coordinator for the City of Edmonton and was named Top 30 under 30 by the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation in 2016.

The Fort McMurray Wildfire: One firefighter’s story
Andrew Pearson

We all watched the Fort McMurray wildfire live on TV but what actually went on up there? This is one firefighter’s behind the scenes story about his time fighting the Fort McMurray Wildfire of 2016 over 8 days. As people evacuated thousands headed up to battle “The Beast”, a fire that grew to 1.5 million acres, destroyed 2,400 buildings and cost $10 billion. From sleep deprivation, carbon monoxide poisoning and running from bears, this is a behind the scenes look into the crazy life of a first responder during the worst disaster in Canadian History.

Andrew has been playing in the world of emergency response for almost 20 years. He has worked from the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains to the wilder parts of downtown Edmonton as a firefighter/primary care paramedic. From rescuing ducklings out of sewers (yes, it’s true) to pulling people out of house explosions, Andrew has enjoyed the challenges and excitement of his career. Currently employed as a firefighter with the City of St Albert, he has finally settled into the job he has dreamed of ever since he was a kid. Over his career, Andrew has been awarded the Bronze Medal for Gallantry, a St. John’s Ambulance Lifesaving Award and the prestigious Mountbatten Medal for the most courageous water rescue in the Commonwealth. When he isn’t being a firefighter Andrew likes to run ultra marathons in the mountains and serves as a Reservist with the Loyal Edmonton Regiment in the Canadian Army. Andrew likes dogs more than people and calls his Mom every Sunday.

Cellular Agriculture: ‘Frankenmeat’ and the Future of Food
Matt Anderson-Baron

Cellular agriculture envisions a post-animal bio-economy in which animal products are harvested from cells, rather than whole animals. Scientists believe this may hold the key to feeding a growing global population more affordably and sustainably. This presentation focuses on a particular product of cellular agriculture: cultured meat, which is created in a bioreactor (like a beer-brewing tank) using the muscle cells of an animal. A small muscle biopsy is taken from the animal, from which stem cells can be isolated and replicated. Under the appropriate conditions, these cells can be induced to form muscle cells and shaped into three-dimensional structures. Muscle cells can then be “exercised” until they are large enough for a piece of tissue (e.g tasty chicken nuggets) to be extracted. In this talk, we will explore exciting advances in technology and science that are changing the way we think about food production in the future.

Matt is a cell biologist and PhD student at the University of Alberta. While his PhD research focuses on peroxisome biology and lipid metabolism, his real passion is cellular agriculture. Matt stumbled into the field by way of his love for science and cute baby animals. He is a co-founder of Future Fields, an Edmonton-based biotechnology company that hopes to bring cultured meat to the Canadian market.

SOLD OUT! Nerd Nite #40: Love in the time of Nerdity

Love is in the air, and we nerds can smell it. But rather than do what’s expected — the box of chocolates, the flowers, the breathless poetry — we’re going to come together to enjoy the company of our fellow nerds and learn a thing or two of the Love In The Time Of Right Now. Sure, we blew past Valentine’s Day, but we aren’t super nerdy about calendrical precision…

Be there AND be square!

When: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 (show @ 8pm)
Where: Westbury Theatre, ATB Financial Arts Barns (10330 84 Ave NW)
Tickets: SOLD OUT!

Our line-up of talks includes:

Where do babies come from?
Scott and Maura Armstrong

Making babies isn’t always fun. Hear Maura and Scott’s story and the science behind conception outside of the body. Learn about the emotional, physical, and financial realities made possible by the fascinating process of IVF… and endless vaginal exams.

Maura and Scott Armstrong have been married for 9 years and live in Edmonton. Maura is the School Programs Manager at the Telus World of Science Edmonton and Scott is an Advanced Care Paramedic with AHS in Edmonton. They have a shared love of games, science, and culinary adventures. They both hate camping.

“You want to study WHAT?” Researching the neural bases of sexual pleasure
Melike Schalomon

Sexual pleasure has inspired poetry and artwork for millennia, and has been speculated upon by scientists for centuries. But studying the neural bases of pleasure is still in its infancy, as it had to await the development of modern methodologies for studying the functional anatomy of the brain. Even today, much of what we know about the neural bases of sexual pleasure is based on experimental brain manipulation in rodents. Human research tends to focus on the neural pathologies of patients with nervous system damage who experience unusual sexual pleasure. In this presentation, we will explore the corner of science where sex and neuroanatomy collide.

Melike Schalomon is a somewhat accidental sex researcher. With a doctorate in Behavioural Neuroscience, she largely spends her days working as the Associate Dean, Administration, in MacEwan University’s Faculty of Arts and Science and doing research with one inch zebrafish. About ten years ago, after developing a course on Human Sexuality, she combined her expertise in brain science with her fascination with human sexuality and developed a second line of research on human sexual behaviour in exceptional populations. She has collaborated with her students on topics ranging from sexual awareness and experience in swingers to sexuality in high functioning autistic adults. In her spare time, she is most likely to be found on her remote acreage where she is always on the lookout for new brain specimens.

The art of being (almost) naked. A 101 Course in the Art of Burlesque
Violette Coquette

A step-by-step guide showing how you, too, can master the Art of Being Mostly Naked OR—if the stage is not your thing—why you should get out and support more (mostly) naked burlesque art. What is burlesque? When did it start, and why is it having a resurgence? What is the correct way to enjoy burlesque? In this 20-minute talk we will discuss why a hedonistic mindset is critical, how to be present in the moment, and the sociopolitical underpinnings of the striptease. The presentation will end by putting the audience’s newfound burlesque knowledge to the test, culminating with a real-live burlesque act.

Violette Coquette is a burlesque artist and “feminist provocateur” who thrives on the magical energy created when a live performer and audience connect under glittering lights. Violette regularly performs locally and has also performed on numerous burlesque festival stages, including the 2016 New Orleans Burlesque Festival, the 2017 London Burlesque Festival, and MELT cabaret in Stockholm, Sweden. She has performed with theatre company Send in the Girls Burlesque’s productions “Shakespeare’s Sirens” (nominated for two Sterling awards) and “With Glowing Hearts”, and will be headlining the Itty Bitty Burlesque Festival with Send in the Girls later this Spring. Violette is the co-founder of House of Hush Burlesque and currently produces a monthly burlesque show at Crash Hotel.

Nerd Nite #39: A New Year and a new venue!

We’re saying goodbye to the dumpster fire that was 2017—where the only highlight was spending time with lovely nerds; and saying hello to 2018, which will hopefully include nerdy learning and nerdy drinking. We have a new home at the ATB Financial Arts Barns in the heart of Old Strathcona, and we’re so excited to host you in our new space!

Be there AND be square.

When: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 (show @ 8pm)
Where: Westbury Theatre, ATB Financial Arts Barns (10330 84 Ave NW)
Tickets: On sale NOW at the Fringe Box Office
$20 in advance (service charges apply)
[Must be 18 years or older]

Our line-up of talks includes:

Living organs, outside of your body! From preservation to organ repair
Allan Wu

“But Allan, don’t your organs need to be inside your body being pumped with blood and stuff?” Yes, but machines can do the same things for us now! From heart-lung bypass and ECMO to hemodialysis in renal therapy, we have gained the ability to replace various bodily supports for organs. Yet there is still much to be learned when it comes to developing technologies to support individual organs outside of the body – could we one day repair our own organs outside the body in lieu of transplants? Today we will talk about some recent breakthroughs in the field of ex vivo organ perfusion and the challenges to come.

Allan is a graduate student at the University of Alberta studying Ex Vivo Kidney Perfusion. He is passionate about physiological research and sharing exciting new discoveries. Allan studies in a lab focused on ex vivo organ perfusion and stem cell research, where biomedical engineering, industrial design, and medical research come together to create magic! Throughout his undergraduate and graduate careers, Allan continues to spearhead student initiatives for community outreach and engagement in science. In his spare time, Allan volunteers as a first aid responder with St Johns Ambulance and works as a lifeguard with the City of Edmonton.

WTF, Autonomous Vehicles won’t solve the world’s transportation problems?
Megan Strickfaden

Hype about autonomous vehicles is everywhere. Automobile companies around the world are fighting to be the first ones to launch the ultimate autonomous vehicle that will solve the world’s transportation problems. But can they make the mark and satisfy all the wants, desires and expectations of our diverse and needy society? Not yet. This talk focuses on a recent collaboration with researchers at Cambridge’s Engineering Design Centre. Highlights include: an overview of the new wave or autonomous vehicles; public perceptions of autonomous vehicles; future users of autonomous vehicles; and (most importantly) an analysis of the directions that automotive companies need to take in order to create meaningful anti-universally designed vehicles. This presentation promises to debunk normative approaches to creating adapted designs for persons with differing abilities. It will also bring awareness to the limitations and viability of various technological solutions.

Megan Strickfaden is a migrant who has lived in seven exotic countries including Canada. She currently makes a home in Edmonton’s University of Alberta at the Department of Human Ecology. Megan is an associate professor of design studies who has built her career around solving complicated problems for people who live without sight, people who move around speedily on wheels, and/or people who are considered to process the world differently from other. In her spare time, Megan has co-edited one book, written another, written 56 journal publications and chapters, produced/directed 13 films with 5 underway, designed/curated 19 exhibitions, been involved in the design of 44 products, and holds 2 patents. Her biggest claims to fame were involvement with: the dementia village ‘de Hogeweyk’ in the Netherlands, the Brussels Metro System STIB/MIVB in Belgium, Alain Mikli International in France, and Alberta Ability Lodges Society in Canada.

Stone Dildos and Porno Pots — Sex and the Archaeological Record
Katie Biittner

To archaeologists even the most mundane objects can reveal many exciting and interesting things about the lived experiences of people in the past. This also means that archaeologists must acknowledge that those things, which at first glance, that seem fantastic could in fact be mundane. Is that carved rock really a marital aid? Why do those figures have such large breasts? Did Moche rulers really serve guests using vessels with such explicit sexual imagery? What is pornography and wtf will people in the future think about us based on the junk we leave behind? In this talk Dr. Biittner will examine how our own biases, especially those regarding sexuality, influence our interpretations of artifacts.

Dr. Katie Biittner is the Anthropology Lab Instructor at MacEwan University. Katie’s passion for archaeology has led her to participate in excavations in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Idaho, and Tanzania. Her current archaeological research focuses on the Stone Age and Historic archaeology and Cultural Heritage in Tanzania. Since her last Nerd Nite Edmonton appearance, Katie has continued to corrupt undergrads with the anthropological perspective and acquired a new tattoo. When not in the classroom, Katie can be found arguing about cutie marks with her kiddo and role playing possibly the worst bard ever.