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.

SOLD OUT Nerd Nite 18: the ONESIE edition

A Mad Man, a writer, and a sexpert walk into a bar… And to know the punchline, you’ll need to come to the special ONESIE edition of Nerd Nite Edmonton! At our last Nerd Nite, the mere mention of a onesie whipped the audience into a frenzy. So if you come to Nerd Nite 18 in your own onesie, you’ll be eligible to win fabulous prizes! If you don’t come in a onesie… well, we’ll all know who the real nerds are. Celebrate a New Year with your fellow nerds. Be there and be square.

When: Wednesday, January 21, 2014 (doors @ 7:30pm, show @ 8pm)
Where: The Club (Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Avenue Edmonton)
$15.75 in advance, includes fees & GST (Tickets available 01/12/14 at 9:30am TICKETS ART SOLD OUT)
$23.40 at the door, includes fees & GST
[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

Return to Insight: the art & science of advertising
Adam Rozenhart

At some point in your life, you’ve probably turned to a friend and said, “That’s a stupid ad,” or “I hate that commercial.” It might surprise you to learn that the people who work in advertising often say the same thing—but for very different reasons. The average person is exposed to as many as 5,000 advertisements each day, and even for the ads you hate, a lot of thinking and research goes into them. In this talk, you’ll be taken through the creative process of developing an advertising campaign—from the brief to concepting to research to execution. And you may be surprised to learn that contemporary advertising is a lot like Mad Men, minus the smoking and drinking.

Bio: Adam is the head of the digital team at Calder Bateman Communications and has helped lead a number of clients into worlds they never imagined. His client work has included projects like Plenty of Syph with Alberta Health Services, Thanks Alcohol with the AGLC and the NoHomophobes project with the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies at Services at the U of A. In 2007, with a small group of partners, he founded the wildly popular hockey blog Adam was named one of Alberta Venture’s Next 10 in 2011, Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2013, and was awarded an Alumni Horizon Award from the U of A in 2014.

Fan-Fiction: The Stories You WISH Would’ve Happened!
Tammy Lee

Are you convinced Hannibal sent Abigail off to live in Europe? Did you wish they had just killed off Sylar in season one? What if Ellie, instead of Chuck, had gotten the Intersect? If you are mystified by all of those references then you need more nerdy television in your life! More importantly, these questions are the sort that lead inquiring minds into a realm of speculation and hit or miss grammar skills that is fan fiction! There’s a lot more to fan fiction than tweens pining after Edward Cullen. You’ll walk away from this presentation with a well-rounded knowledge of the stories, the community, and the issues surrounding the creation and consumption of fan fiction; and, dare I say, a burning curiosity that may require the use of an anonymous browser to satisfy.

Bio: Tammy Lee is barely a writer, mostly a senior web developer, and has been writing, discussing, and reading transformative fiction since the dark times before the Intrawebz. She is a mentor with Ladies Learning Code, a co-organizer for WordPress Edmonton Meetup, and she is on the committee for Social Media Breakfast Edmonton.

Weird Sex
Heather Proctor

We humans think we’re sexy creatures. But in comparison with the rest of the animal kingdom, we are an unimaginative lot when it comes to sperm transfer. In this talk I will take you on a tour of sexual diversity, starting from the very fundamental questions of what is ‘sex’ and what are ‘sexes’. From there I will discuss crazy gametes, hermaphroditism, acrobatic postures, traumatic insemination, genitalic role reversals, and more!

Bio: Heather Proctor is a professor in Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta. She had her eyes opened to sperm-transfer diversity during her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, where she investigated the evolution of copulation in water mites. She has retained this prurient curiosity and when not lecturing to undergrads about the wonders of biological diversity, continues to study sexual morphology and behaviour in tiny arachnids.

SOLD OUT: Nerd Nite #17

What do bees, lasers and dinosaurs have in common? About as much as you’d think — although depending on your allergies, they might all be deadly. But if you want to know the buzz about these topics, and are looking for a roaring good time, then you need to come to the next Nerd Nite! Also, lasers. Be there and be square.

And remember, this is the last Nerd Nite of 2014 — but we’re back in January!

When: Thursday, November 20, 2014 (doors @ 7:30pm, show @ 8pm)
Where: The Club (Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Avenue Edmonton)
$15 in advance (Tickets available NOW! — WE ARE SOLD OUT!)
$18 at the door
[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

“Apistemology”: On becoming an urban bee geek

Jocelyn Crocker

Apistemology is a made-up but impressive-sounding word that describes how your worldview changes once you learn about Apis mellifera, the European honeybee. In addition to using a plethora of bee puns, this talk will focus on the factors contributing to colony collapse disorder, how urban beekeeping can help bolster bee populations, Edmonton’s recent foray into urban beekeeping, and how you can bee-come an urban beekeeper.

Jocelyn Crocker (BSc, MEd) is an instructor with Biological Sciences at NAIT and one of the founding members of the foundling group, YEG Bees. Before taking a beekeeping certification course in January 2014, Jocelyn knew almost nothing about bees except that she liked to eat their tasty products on toast for breakfast. Now that she is taking part in the City of Edmonton’s urban beekeeping pilot project, Jocelyn regularly gets buzzed in her backyard apiary with her husband, young children, and neighbours.

The Coolest Little Cloud in Town

Lindsay LeBlanc

Lasers were one of those inventions that were initially just a novelty—the scientists that created them weren’t sure they’d ever be useful. In the fifty years since then, this technology has become so common that there are lasers in our supermarkets and computers. Back in the laboratory, we continue to find new uses for lasers: one of the more counterintuitive applications is in making things cold—colder, in fact, than anything else in the universe. Through this laser cooling process, we create clouds of about a million atoms that are only billionths of a degree above absolute zero. At these temperatures, quantum mechanics makes these atoms behave in ways that are a bit unexpected: like people in communities, the atoms find ways to act together that are better for the whole—and ultimately, better for us.

Lindsay grew up in various cities on the Canadian prairies, and first lived in Edmonton a decade ago when she completed her BSc in Engineering Physics. Seduced by the mysteries of quantum mechanics, she pursued her MSc and PhD in Physics at the University of Toronto before moving to Maryland for a few years as a postdoctoral fellow. Throughout her research career, she’s worked with lasers and atoms to study the fundamental behaviours of quantum mechanics, and recently moved back to Edmonton to do more of the same. When she’s not baking large batches of bread or learning to adapt her cycling habits to avoid potholes, Lindsay’s setting up Alberta’s first laser cooling and trapping lab at the University of Alberta’s Department of Physics, which will make Edmonton the coldest city with ultracold atoms.

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaur Empire

Scott Persons

We mammals live in an evolutionary dark age. A little over 230 million years ago, a group of reptiles known as dinosaurs rose from low on the primordial food chain to achieve global ecological domination. The dinosaur empire reigned for well over one-and-a-half-million centuries, and although their empire fell to a cosmic intervention 65 million years ago, our world has not yet recovered from the dinosaur extinction. Join University of Alberta paleontologist Scott Persons as he explains how we still live our modern lives under strong dinosaur influence and why the likes of Velociraptor and Edmontosaurus explain everything from pink elephants to lawnmowers.

Walter Scott Persons, IV, has a MSc in Evolution and Systematics from the University of Alberta, where he is currently completing his PhD thesis. Scott became a dino-maniac at the age of 21/2. Since then, he has joined fossil hunting expeditions to Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, the volcanic ash beds of Liaoning China, Africa’s Olduvai Gorge, throughout the American West and, of course, to Alberta’s badlands. Scott’s research focuses on understanding dinosaur locomotion and dinosaur adaptive arms races between herbivores and carnivores. He is also the lead curator of the new “Discovering Dinosaurs” exhibition at Edmonton’s Bay Enterprise Square.