SOLD OUT: Nerd Nite #4

*Tickets are selling briskly! If you want a ticket we’d recommend purchasing in advance. Seating is first come, first serve. Doors open at 7:30.*

It’s once again time for nerds to unite in the quest for deeper, more nerdy knowledge! It’s our fourth Nerd Nite, and we have a fantastic smorgasbord of fine beers and delightfully nerdy speakers to drop some science, arts and other knowledge on your mind grapes.

When: February 21, 2013 (doors @ 7:30p, show @ 8)
Where: Haven Social Club – 15120 Stony Plain Road
$10 in advance + service charge (includes a free drink!) Tickets on sale now!
$15 at the door (includes a free drink!)

#1 – Toys
Shane Turgeon

You played with them. Cherished them. Maybe even shot them with your BB gun – all before your mom gave them to the neighbour kid without telling you. They were your childhood favourite toys and these days they’re highly collected by people around the world. But there’s more to a toy than just being a toy; each is a work of art and an engineering marvel unto itself and the prototypes and preproduction materials that went into making your favourite toys are the creme de la creme of the toy collecting world. Collector and toy historian Shane Turgeon will be taking you on a journey down memory lane and showing you all of the hard work that goes into making just one, single, solitary action figure – all the way from concept to store shelves.

Bio:Shane Turgeon is a long time collector of toys, comics and pop culture artifacts. He’s the owner of Shades of Grey: Tattoos | Toys | Comics | Gallery here in Edmonton and started the Edmonton Collectible Toy and Comic Show over a decade ago; a show which has morphed into the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo, of which he is the co-founder and event coordinator. He’s written numerous articles and a couple of books on nerdy subjects including his self-published coffee table book, The Force in the Flesh: Star Wars Inspired Body Art. Shane currently has some exciting television projects on the go that will hopefully bear fruit soon!

#2 – Sewers
Don Iveson

Councillor Don Iveson – Chair of the City’s Utility Committee – was initially reluctant about being appointed to the Utility committee because he figured it would be really boring. Turns out the world of sanitary and storm sewers is fascinatingly nerdy. In terms of sheer scale, it’s quite remarkable: it would cost $13 billion to replace the infrastructure we use to keep sewage and storm water from rising in your basement. Plus, turns out Edmonton is doing all kinds of interesting things to modernize our system and reduce the ‘total load’ – yep, ‘total load’ – going into our river. We only think about it when something goes horribly, horribly wrong, but Iveson will try to give you a reason to smile and be proud every time you flush or walk by a drainage intake.

Bio: Don Iveson has represented southwest Edmonton on City Council since 2007; first elected in the former Ward 5, and since 2010 representing the new Ward 10 around the U of A South Campus, Southgate and Century Park. Don chairs the Capital Region Board Regional Transit Committee. He also represents Council on the Edmonton Public Library Board. He leads city council’s Environment Initiative, chairs the City of Learners initiative, and supports the youth and NextGen outreach files. He also chairs Council’s standing Utility Committee, or the “Poop, Garbage and Tap Water Committee” as he sometimes refers to it with younger audiences.

#3 – Ice, Ice, Baby: How and Why we Quest for Absolute Zero
John Davis

In our everyday lives we experience only a small slice of the possible temperatures that can occur – even in Edmonton.  Somewhat similar to how we only experience a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum as visible light.  But the variations in temperature are even more interesting than the spectrum of light.  Entirely new, and sometimes bizarre, phenomena occur when we cool materials down.  Harnessing refrigeration (and I mean serious refrigeration) gives us a control knob to discover new physics.  In my lab at the U of A we have recently reached 0.0072 K (the coldest temperature to have ever been reached in Alberta) and in the near future expect to be at or below 0.0003 K (which will be the coldest place in Canada).  [Note 0 K is -273.15 C].  I’ll tell you about how we can do this, and what we are hoping to see at these temperatures – like what happens to beer at these temperatures?  And I’ll try to perform some interesting experiments during the talk to demonstrate all this, hopefully without breaking anything or hurting myself.

Bio:  John P. Davis grew up in St. Louis Missouri – a relatively warm place compared to Edmonton – where he did his undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis.  Afterwards he moved northward to Chicago – definitely a cooler place (pun intended) – for his PhD at Northwestern University where he studied superconductors and superfluids.  Now, as far north as he ever hopes to go, at the University of Alberta he is building a lab and research team to explore new physics at the cross section of ultra-low temperatures and the nanoscale.


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Nerd Nite #3

Hey nerds. We know that January is cold and you don’t want to leave your house. We have two good reasons though to fight the urge to hibernate, knowledge and beer. Escape the cold by joining Adam, Wade (your Edmonton Nerd Bosses), and our fantastic line-up of presenters at the Haven Social Club for more stimulating presentations and scintillating drink.

When: January 17, 2013 (doors @ 7:30p, show @ 8)
Where: Haven Social Club – 15120 Stony Plain Road
Cost: $10 + service charge (includes a free drink!)
Buy a ticket!

#1 – Scholarly Gym Rat
Lianne McTavish

Why would a 43-year-old full professor lift weights, lose 25 pounds, slather herself in orange tanning dye, and prance around in a crystal-encrusted bikini? To undertake embodied research as a competitive bodybuilder, of course. After pumping iron seriously for three years, I forged my seemingly separate identities as: 1) an academic specializing in seventeenth-century French visual culture, the history of the body, and critical museum theory, and 2) a fitness enthusiast able to bench press her own body weight. I entered a contest in the category called ‘Figure,’ which favours muscular physiques with wide, capped shoulders, broad upper backs, and well defined legs, but requires a softer appearance than traditional forms of bodybuilding. My scholarly research project allowed me to experiment with different methods of knowledge production, and I will describe them along with my research results.

Bio: Lianne McTavish (PhD, University of Rochester, 1996) is Professor in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta, where she offers courses in early modern visual culture and critical museum theory. In addition to numerous articles, chapters, and exhibition catalogues, she has published two books, Childbirth and the Display of Authority in Early Modern France (Ashgate, 2005), and Defining the Modern Museum (University of Toronto Press, 2012). Lianne is currently completing another manuscript, inspired by her recent participation in a bodybuilding competition. For fun, she blogs at, cooks exotic meals, teaches spin classes, travels as much as possible, watches Coronation Street, and grunts while lifting heavy things at the gym.

#2 – Extreme Lutherie – Haiti 2012
Catherine Robertson

Wanting to further her skills in repair and restoration, Catherine moved to England for 3 years to attend the world renown Newark School of Violin Making where she specialized in restoration work. Upon completion of college, she traveled to Haiti with Luthieres sans Frontieres UK on a volunteer mission to assist in training local people in maintaining and repairing instruments in the thriving music programs there. She will be speaking to you about her rad trip to Haiti.

Bio: Catherine is a violin maker, player, repairer and lover. Upon landing an 18yr old violin nerd’s dream job at Alfie Myhre’s music shop, she has since been working in violin and guitar shops  doing repair work around Edmonton for 10 years. From working in banjo-friendly Alfie’s to shredder-heaven Axe Music, instrument setup, repair and restoration has become her life.  Not without A few deviations here and there – fiddling in a touring country band and fixing the score clock at Rexall Place.

#3 – Hands on Mars
Chris Herd

For centuries the planet Mars has been a source of inspiration and trepidation, its influence reflected in art, culture and science. Even as the space age has grounded Mars as a harsh, inhospitable place, its exploration today remains driven by the search for life.  Mars exploration has revealed that Martians have been visiting Earth for thousands of years as chunks of the Red Planet have fallen to Earth as meteorites. What do these meteorites tell us about Mars? Does holding one make you more aggressive?  Together we’ll explore Mars through its visiting meteorites, and learn what role they have to play in understanding if life exists elsewhere.

Bio: Chris is an associate professor in geology at the University of Alberta. His training in meteorite research comes from a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico, postdoctoral research at the NASA Johnson Space Center, and a sabbatical at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Chris curates the University of Alberta meteorite collection, the largest University-based collection in Canada, and which includes some fine Martian specimens.  When not professoring, Chris enjoys a good martini, hiking with his wife and kids, playing basketball, and reading science fiction.

Nerd Nite #2

Hey nerds. Our first nite was a sold out success and Edmonton nerds are clamoring (very calmly and orderly) for more. We’ve almost tripled our capacity for our second iteration, so escape the cold and snow by joining Adam and Wade (your Edmonton Nerd Bosses) at the Haven Social Club for more stimulating presentations and scintillating drink.

When: November 29, 2012
Where: Haven Social Club – 15120 Stony Plain Road
Cost: $10 + service charge (includes a free drink!)
Buy a ticket!


#1 – Exo-lent Planets!
Abigail Stevens

Travelling to another world has long been a dream of humankind, and recently astronomers have added hundreds of so-called ‘exoplanets’ to the list of possible destinations. We also see representations of these exoplanets in sci-fi and fantasy, but how realistic are they? There are a variety of types of exoplanets, and some of them are even Earth-like. Together we’ll dive into the scientific literature to explore how exoplanets are formed, how scientists discover them, and if we could ever move to one.

Bio: Abigail is an M.Sc. student in astrophysics at the University of Alberta. She studies dead compact star remnants that eat other stars and spin ridiculously fast and emit X-rays. When she’s not dodging interstellar X-rays you can find her TAing at the Campus Observatory. In her “free time”, Abigail enjoys geeking out about interior and graphic design, math, music, social activism, and cute animals. Check out her online nerdery too.

#2 – Political Bias: The Red Pill
Rodrigo de la Jara

If you disagree with a story, is it biased? If a story is balanced, is it unbiased? What if a story comes from a partisan–is it automatically biased? At this point you might (understandably) be confused about what bias really is. It’s time to take the Red Pill. We’ll explore, from a scientific perspective, what bias really is, and how to detect it. We’ll also identify how to determine what experts or sources of information are trustworthy and why. Finally, we’ll look at how your decisions as a consumer of information can have life-or-death consequences.

Bio: Rodrigo de la Jara is dedicated to enlightenment values and emphasizing empirical evidence over ideology or dogma. He belongs to the Greater Edmonton Skeptics Society and thinks you should too. Rodrigo has a wide educational background: molecular biology, psychology, microbiological sciences, education, and computer science. He works as a software engineer, likes to do high dynamic range photography, especially when travelling, and he loves having discussions with rational people.

#3 – Sexagogy
Lauren Albrecht

What is sexagogy? The perfect combination of education! and titillation! In this presentation I will reconceptualize sexuality education for adults (yes, adults!) outside of the ‘all too familiar’ risk prevention model. I will challenge old-school notions of ‘sex ed’ (think: segregated classes, anatomy charts, and secret question boxes) by sharing my journey and my research on one of the fun, sexy and pleasure-focused spaces of sexuality education – the home sex toy party. So bring your three-ring binder, your list of naughty words, and an open mind – who knows, you might learn a thing or two!

Bio: Lauren Albrecht is an educator and researcher. She recently completed her Master of Education with a thesis that examined sexuality education in the context of home sex toy parties. Currently, she works in research in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta. Aside from academia, Lauren loves a good glass of wine, documentary films and non-fiction books. If she was rich, she would spend her days travelling with her husband to exotic locations around the globe.


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