See you in September

We want to thank all of our amazing speakers for making Nerd Nite Edmonton another success for our 2014/15 season. And huge thanks goes out to our patrons who come out nite after nite (see what I did there?) to learn something new, ask a question, or just enjoy a fine beverage while being entertained.

We’ll be back at it in September. In the meantime, click on the newsletter sign-up link on the right, and make sure you don’t miss anything over the summer.

Thanks again, friends!

SOLD OUT: Nerd Nite 20: the last of the 2014/15 season!

It’s the last Nerd Nite of the season, and it’s going to be an evening of pure, sweet, delicious nerdity. Think along the lines of user experience, squirrels, and… well, foreskin, if we’re totally honest. Which we are.

You aren’t going to want to miss our season finale, so strap in and get ready to nerd out with the best of them.

Be there AND be square.

When: Monday, April 27, 2015 (doors @ 7:30pm, show @ 8pm)
Where: The Club (Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Avenue Edmonton)
$20 in advance, includes fees & GST (Tickets available April 2nd at 9:30amTickets sold out!
$25 at the door, includes fees & GST
$15 for balcony tickets (on sale the week prior to the event)

[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

Our line-up includes…

User Experience: Internet people who care about your feelings
Bob Evans

If you were born prior to 1990 you remember the origins of the internet as a confusing swirl of blue-text-on-black-backgrounds and self-playing MIDI sound files. Well, the web has come a long way since its introduction by a bunch of nerds. While most people perceive improvements to the web as primarily visual the driving force has been something much more expansive: User Experience. For a solid 20 minutes I’ll talk about what User Experience is, how it effects almost every aspect of your life and how when its doing its job right you don’t even know its there.

Bob Evans has spent the past 10 years-ish as a web developer, project manager, business analyst and user experience consultant for both the public and private sector. He also co-runs User Experience Edmonton (@uxyeg), a local professional group dedicated to growing User Experience knowledge within Edmonton. When not doing that he’s a husband, a raconteur and owner of the worst dog in the world… just the worst dog.

One Time at Squirrel Camp…
Amanda Kelley

Of all Nature’s beasts, none has a more indomitable spirit than the majestic squirrel. In the frozen forests of the Yukon, these bushy-tailed arboreal rodents wage a constant struggle against predators, the elements, and their own insatiable hunger… for peanut butter. For the last 31 years, University of Alberta researchers have tracked and studied a wild population of Tamiasciurus hudsonicus — North American red squirrels. Using live-traps, radio-telemetry, and a squirrel “thunderdome,” scientists have explored their subjects’ squirrelly lives. From sibling rivalries in the nest, to adolescent territory exploration, to winter mating chases, there’s never a dull moment in the world of the squirrel.

Amanda Kelley has been pursuing squirrels for the last 6 years, first as a bright-eyed technician, then as a nutty graduate student, and now as a sage field coordinator. Her Masters work focused on the development of personality in young squirrels. In her spare time, Amanda photographs cute critters for a local animal rescue and watches reruns of Futurama with her paleontologist boyfriend.

Strange medieval Christian relics
James White

Medieval Europe was full of relics. It was possible to see the arm of an apostle, a piece of the Cross, and the robes of your local saint, all in one day. And in at least twenty churches, you could pay homage to Christ’s foreskin. As a Jewish boy, Jesus was circumcised, and by the twelfth century, relics of his foreskin had appeared across western Europe. Although theologians thought the relics imperiled the coming Resurrection, female mystics revered them, as part of the emotional piety that developed in the late Middle Ages. Catherine of Siena claimed to wear Christ’s foreskin as a wedding ring, and Agnes Blannbekin did something with it too bizarre to post on the web (but I’ll talk about it anyway). Come think more about Jesus’s penis in twenty minutes than you (probably!) have in your entire life.

James White is a doctoral student in medieval history at the University of Alberta. He came to Edmonton in 2012 from the southern U.S. and still can’t get used to snow that doesn’t melt in 48 hours. He decided to focus his research on Christ’s genitalia after a schizophrenic academic past that includes degrees in biology, French, and German; and graduate work in microbiology. When not focusing on school, he reads 19th-century sensation novels and cross stitches while watching 1980s feminist comedies.

SOLD OUT: Nerd Nite 19: Pre-St Paddy’s Day Edition

We’ve cast off the onesies of our previous Nerd Nite, but the three amazing speakers we have lined up will wow you in plain clothes just the same. With topics ranging from elephants to multiple-choice test design and biotech deeds that will put you in jail, our 19th Nerd Nite (which makes it legal for Nerd Nite Edmonton to drink in any Canadian province) will astound, delight and confound you… in the best ways, of course.

Be there AND be square.

When: Monday, March 16, 2015 (doors @ 7:30pm, show @ 8pm)
Where: The Club (Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Avenue Edmonton)
$16 in advance, includes fees & GST (Tickets available 02/11/15 at 1:00pm) Tickets are sold out!
$22 at the door, includes fees & GST
[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

Our line-up includes…

Life as a conservation biologist: This ain’t Discovery Channel!
Aditya Gangadharan

When I was young and naive, I thought that conservation biologists wore khaki shorts and big hats, sat in fancy, off-road vehicles, and observed as elephant herds passed by. In reality, shorts mean legs are impaled by thorns, hats get tangled up in vines, vehicles break-down far too frequently, and the elephants charge! Oh yeah, and life revolves around animal fecal matter. In this presentation, I will illuminate the not-so-sexy world of field conservation research, introduce you to the most confused bird on the planet, and tell stories of a murderous primate and a curious tiger named Coffee.

Bio: Aditya recently completed his PhD on the conservation of elephants, tigers and other mammals in the Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot in South India. He has previously worked for several non-governmental organizations and a United Nations organization.

Choose ‘C’
Rachel Dunn

So many of life’s milestones are marked by writing a multiple choice test—getting your learner’s permit, writing diploma exams, even becoming a Canadian citizen! But a lot of people don’t realize what goes into creating the perfect multiple choice question. From deciding the Bloom’s taxonomical level (whatever that means) to running a test analysis after (aka getting your nerd freak on), here’s what teachers are really thinking when they make up tests.

Bio: Rachel writes and administers 48 exams a year as a teacher with Edmonton Public Schools, so she’s gotten pretty good at writing multiple choice questions. When Rachel isn’t busy blowing things up in her classroom, she volunteers as a Board Member for the Alberta Science Network and OPTIONS Sexual Health. She lives with her two furry companions: Moonie the Cat and Adam the man-friend.

Clones, three-parent babies, interspecies embryos and other cool biotech stuff that may land you in jail
Ubaka Ogbogu

If you have seen the movie Gattaca (Columbia Pictures, 1997), then you know someone already imagined how some future race of humans would be born. What you may not know is that reproduction through genetic manipulation no longer exists in some imagined or dystopian future. Sheep and dogs have been born through an asexual form of reproduction known as cloning, which results in an offspring that is the “genetic copy” of a single parent (in 2003, a bunch of party poopers called the Raelians falsely claimed to have achieved the same feat in humans). Recently, scientists in the UK developed a procedure that makes it possible to give birth to a “three-parent” baby. And depending on where you live, it is now possible to create a baby with genetic features that are designed to save an ailing sibling’s life. Before you say, “cool”, and convert you basement into a lab for cattle and creeping things, let me tell you first what sorts of reproductive technologies can land you in jail in Canada, OK?

Bio: Dr. Ubaka Ogbogu is an Assistant Professor cross-appointed to the Faculties of Law and Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta. He teaches and researches in the areas of health law and science policy studies, law and bioethics, legal history of science/medicine, pharmacy law and ethics, and the law of torts. He previously taught at the Universities of Nigeria, York and Minnesota, and his academic publications have appeared in numerous law and science journals, including the Health Law Journal, Constitutional Forum, Journal of International Biotechnology Law, Medical Law International, Cell Stem Cell, Nature Biotechnology, EMBO Reports, Regenerative Medicine, Canadian Medical Association Journal, and Canadian Pharmacists Journal. Dr. Ogbogu is a member of the University’s Health Law Institute and holds a research appointment as the Katz Research Fellow in Health Law and Science Policy. In his spare time, he writes poetry, drinks wine, hangs out with family and friends, and rants about the morality of paywalls.