SOLD OUT: Nerd Nite #11

Join us as we mark the 1052nd anniversary of the Byzantine conquest of Chandax! That interesting fact will not be discussed at Nerd Nite 11, but there’ll be plenty of delicious knowledge morsels that you won’t want to miss from our three great presenters. 

When: March 6, 2014 (doors @ 7:30p, show @ 8)
Where: The Club (Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Avenue Edmonton)
$18 at the door
[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

Cold Rock: the northern kind, not the ice cream kind
David Dockman

We all know that Canada is very well endowed-geographically-but it is way bigger than you would think. The northern tip of Canada, on Ellesmere Island, is a mere 769km from the north pole. From Edmonton, Canada’s most northern point is as distant as Havana, Cuba, is to the south! Join David on geologic adventure from magma generation deep within the earth to the sample collection of ancient volcanic eruptions on the beautifully barren Ellesmere Island, Nunavut. An island that survived being torn asunder when the earth decided that Russia and Canada were being naughty and needed to be separated by a little thing called the Arctic Ocean. That all sounds pretty flashy, but the real fun begins back in the lab, where geochemists wage war against crustal contamination, scrutinize rocks under microscopes, and, yes, even satisfy the geological architype by beating rocks with hammers.

Bio: Dave grew up in Airdrie, AB, where there are no rocks. He loved the Rockies and the Tyrell Museum as much as any self-respecting Albertan youngster, but followed the Engineering family tradition rather than a geological one. A die hard UofA student since 2004, Dave took the path that most struggling engineering students take by joining the Geology program! Finding it much more hands on and adventurous (who likes cantilevers and moments of inertia anyway?!). His geological passions have taken him to Alaska, Yukon, NWT, Nunavut, Northern BC, and even Hawaii’s active lava lake, Halema’u’ma’u. Dave is currently taking a Masters in Geochemistry at the University of Alberta. His friends won’t help him move anymore because every geologist picks up rocks as souvenirs.

Subtractive Synthesis
Marc-Julien Objois

Even if you haven’t heard of subtractive synthesis, you’ve definitely heard it. If a tune incorporates a synthesizer, chances are good that those synthesizers use certain basic waveforms and subtract frequencies in different ways to create interesting sounds. What do these waveforms look like? How do they sound, and how do they get bent and twisted into the music you love? You’ll have a chance to Name That Tune by identifying a song from its bass or lead synth line, and to Test Your Might by identifying the waveforms used in well-known hits.

Bio: Marc-Julien Objois is a bona fide hallway-tripping, thick-glasses-wearing, science-class-loving, French-Horn-playing nerd. His appreciation for science was shaped by a love of shows like Wonderstruck (by Bob McDonald), magic, electronic music instruments, and an insatiable need to know how things work. Armed with a Computer Engineering degree from the University of Alberta, he became a software developer, and in his spare time continued to explore the world of electronic music, had a brief life on stage with Rapid Fire Theatre, then switched from making music to photography because he’s actually good at that. Nerd credentials include being the President of the Greater Edmonton Skeptics Society and putting on the yearly science conference, LogiCON.

Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
Julielynn Wong

Star Trek Replicators, in the form of 3D printers, are here! NASA is planning on launching the first 3D printer in space this year. The European Space Agency’s AMAZE Project aims to develop the first metal 3D printer for space missions. Unleash your inner designer and discover how 3D printers are revolutionizing space travel and life here on Earth.

Bio: Julielynn Wong, MD, MPH, is a Harvard-educated, award-winning physician, scientist, and journalist. Dr. Wong is an academic lecturer at the University of Alberta and served on faculty at Singularity University where she taught design and 3D printing workshops through the Autodesk Innovation Lab. She was selected to train in space medicine at NASA Johnson Space Center and has tested 3D printers in 0-g. Miss Wong has reported for ABC World News, is a blog contributor to Forbes and the Huffington Post, and made numerous television appearances, including an Emmy-nominated series on Discovery Channel. Dr. Wong is a graduate of Queen’s University School of Medicine and is a recipient of the Harvard University Knox Fellowship, the Aerospace Medical Association Young Investigator Award, and the Canadian Medical Association Award for Young Leaders.

SOLD OUT: Nerd Nite #10

Nerd Nite in Edmonton has hit double digits! To celebrate our milestone tenth edition, we’re doing more of the exact same thing. Join us as three presenters expound on topics near and dear to their hearts in climate controlled comfort with a beer (or other delightful beverage) in your hand. It’s a new year so resolve to learn new things; we’re committed to making your life more Nerdy. Remember, there are 10 types of people in this world: those who understand binary and those who don’t. Be there, be square.

When: January 9, 2014 (doors @ 7:30p, show @ 8)
Where: The Club (Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Avenue Edmonton)
$18 at the door
[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

On Our Obsession with Demon-Possession
Kirsten C. Uszkalo

She grunts, she blasphemes, and she vomits. Her body moves with astonishing strength, flexibility, and brutality. Details may differ—modern demoniacs vomit fewer pins, less straw, and very little lead—but do not let that fool you: the demoniac has not gone anywhere. Despite a decline in superstition over the last 400 years, the belief in demonic possession is on the rise. The demoniac is fictionalized on the big screen and the small; dispossessions happen in front of a live audiences at churches and hotels and are televised and pod-casted by deliverance ministries. Even the Vatican is joining in, running their own courses on exorcism. The demoniac is a woman possessed; but what possesses her may surprise you.

The demoniac does not suffer demon-possession, she suffers rage possession. The more she rages, the better she gets at it; the angrier she is, the more she looks possessed. Since Donald Hebbs fist postulated in 1949 that ‘cells that fire together, wire together’ we’ve known that from a neurological and biological basis, the more a behavior is repeated the more easily it can be repeated. By extension the demoniac’s experience is grounded in an extreme but normal experience of anger that, with each experience, make her look more possessed. Taking hints from what possesses today’s spiritually plagued, and borrowing concepts from cognitive science and neuroscience, this talk will look at what demon-possession can teach us about our own relationship with rage.

Bio: Kirsten C. Uszkalo, aka, ‘Dr. K,’ is an experienced editor, writer, teacher, and manager. She has helped generate three scholarly journals, over a dozen original classes, and a few new approaches to research. Somewhere between a historical/commercial/digital investigator, Captain Janeway, and a guerrilla neuroscientist, Uszkalo delights in chasing down hard to find facts, producing provocative reports, and chairing whatever committee she is on. She has been on T.V., taught at four renowned universities, done evaluative work for two governments, and had traversed the globe to present on e-learning, user experience, and data-mining. She has reconceived preternatural phenomenon, literary history, and timely trends that have sparked her interest. In general, she spends a great deal of time with her new kiddo and walking her two dogs.

Soil: Everything You Never Knew You Wanted To Know
Nina Craig

Have you ever stopped to think about the ground you stand on? Soils are the basis of our environment and provide many services – both those we can see, like growing our food (except “schmeat”), and those we can’t see, like filtering our water. Besides being useful, soils are just cool and interesting unto themselves; trust me. There are ten soil groups, or “orders” in Canada, each with a distinctly weird name like “Chernozem.” You will hear about each of these orders, how they are formed, what makes them unique, their uses, and how you can pick them out on the landscape without even picking up a shovel. You’ll never look at dirt the same way.

Bio: Nina grew up believing she would become a dentist, but after an unsuccessful attempt, she decided to join the world of service and retail. During this time, Nina realized working with people was for suckers and, as a long-time member of Kids for Saving Earth, decided to follow her passion for conserving and restoring the environment. She enrolled at the University of Alberta in the Conservation and Environmental Sciences program, where she discovered that soils were pretty much the coolest thing on Earth and that reclamation was a great way to protect and repair this amazing resource. Nina has a Master of Science from Virginia Tech and returned to Edmonton in 2012 to continue digging in beautiful, glaciated Alberta soils, and revel in the glory of 10-month winters as a a soil and land reclamation specialist.

How Outsiders Make Design Better
Myron Nebozuk

Design surrounds us: we can’t avoid it. Even mediocre and awful stuff is designed by someone putting in a college effort. Why is it that we take little or no notice of the many things that fill our homes, work places and social spaces? Instead, our attention goes to a select few things (and their celebrated creators). This presentation looks at the unique perspective that outsiders bring to the design process. Whether it be Jean Paul Gaultier or Thomas Heatherwick, outsiders reshape how we see and experience our world. This presentation looks at a handful of designers and the surprising methods they use to create inspiring and unforgettable work.

Bio: Myron is an architect with uber-geeky Manasc Isaac Architects. He comes by his outsider status honestly; he’s the son of immigrant parents and has an unpronounceable surname. Growing up, his only exposure to North American barbeque culture was through the Shake ‘n Bake variety. That ended badly. When he’s not trying to make the world a better place one building at a time, he immerses himself in the quirky but beautiful alternate universe created by Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.

SOLD OUT: Nerd Nite #9

Nerd Nite #9 is going to be a little different than our previous iterations. Throughout November the U of A’s Undergraduate Research Initiative (URI) is having their first ever Festival of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (FURCA). We are helping them cap the month off at Nerd Nite with a showcase of some of their excellent nerds. The URI loves nerds. They’re all about creating a supportive environment for students to hone their nerd skills and to explore whatever they’re passionately nerdy about. That’s a mission we can get behind. So, rather than three presentations we’re having five. Four shorter presentations from the URI students and one typical length one from an individual who is well established in his field. It’ll be different but it’ll be awesome. On with the details!

When: November 28, 2013 (doors @ 7:30p, show @ 8)
Where: The Club (Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Avenue Edmonton)
[Children 17 & Under Will Not Be Admitted]

Robotic Evolution
Adam Parker

At an ever increasing pace, robotics are being used to improve the quality of our lives. In a short span of time, consumers have progressed from having access to simple machines to owning robots that do our vacuuming and mow our lawns. Having robots help us is all well and good, but what if they could actually make us better? What if robots could improve us by augmenting our bodies? What utility might an extra limb offer? Why not a tail to help with balance? Or how about an accessory to portray emotion? In this presentation we will explore the possibilities of wearable robotics in the near and distant future. Fear not, you will not be assimilated during this presentation.

Bio: Adam received a diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering tech from SAIT then, after approximately 6 month in the field, he decided it wasn’t for him. Lots and lots of nights, forever. His academic idol is Nikola Tesla, and his comic book idol is Iron Man. Put together, electrical engineering seemed to be the ticket. Adam is in his second year at the University of Alberta studying electrical engineering with a focus on nano. He also works with Patrick Pilarski on artificial intelligence and communication for prosthetic limbs. When not studying or working, Adam will likely be be found participating in an 18th century or Viking re-enactment. More nerd cred? He owns a musket.

Following Threads: From China to India (without getting stuck on the knots)
Ann Salmonson

Research grant in hand, days before purchasing my flight to China, and possessed by a fervent love of Qing Dynasty robes and their opulent embroidery; I lose all signs of the master embroiderer I hoped to find. A timely e-mail, a steadfast friend, and the illogical results of a Google search send me off on an adventure of unimaginable scope. From the politics of China’s traditional Han embroidery to spending time teaching sewing to refugee Tibetan Nuns finding solace in India; sidestepping the roadblocks and searching for answers, I continue on to find, among other things, that the Dalai Lama’s Tailor is a really nice guy.

Bio: As well as being a fourth year Human Ecology student, Ann is the cutter and tailor for the University of Alberta’s Drama Department. Her love of textiles and clothing includes perspectives ranging from practical, historical, cultural, social, environmental, economic and technological. Her passion for Chinese textile and embroidery traditions developed over a summer of studying with the MacTaggart Art Collection. Ann is on the board of the University of Alberta’s Fashion Culture Network and a member of the Edmonton Needlecraft Guild. In 2012, she was the recipient of a Timms Theatre Innovation Fund grant to explore CAD pattern drafting, 3D body scanning and the use of avatars in costume and pattern development in a theatre wardrobe setting.

Dinosaurs in our Backyard
Katherine Bramble

Did you know that dinosaurs have been found in Edmonton? Long before we called Edmonton home, Edmonton was home of the Edmontonsaurus. That’s why we call it Edmonton – good thing they didn’t find Bruhathkayosaurus! The Danek Bonebed is found in southern Edmonton and contains the fossils of a herd of edmontosaurs, plus bits and pieces of five other kinds of dinosaurs. The site has seen a considerable amount of research by palaeontologists from the University of Alberta and from around the world. What do we know about this herd of edmontosaurs? How did they die? And, what can we learn from their remains 73 millions years after they perished?

Bio: Katherine Bramble has a thing for dinosaurs; she loves them so much that she moved across the country to study them at the University of Alberta. She is currently finishing the final year of her undergraduate degree in palaeontology. Katherine then plans to move into the masters program and study dinosaurs as a starving grad student at the University of Alberta. This is her second undergraduate degree and she swears she won’t do a third.

Zebrafish are Awesome
Shubham Shan

Zebrafish are tiny minnow fish native to the Himalayan region in India, Pakistan and China. And, they’re awesome. They are an important vertebrate animal model which have been involved in variety of important scientific findings in various fields. Zebrafish are widely used for research in addiction studies, embryology, neurophysiology, electrophysiology, genetics, vision and auditory studies, to name a few. In this presentation, we will look at zebrafish morphology and some exciting results they’re producing.

Bio: Shubham is a full time student at the University of Alberta, currenly doing a B.Sc in Physiology (honors). He enjoys learning new things about the human body and is always amazed by its wonders. His true passion is medical research as he has had accomplished research in Pediatrics (Oncology, Hematology and Gastroenterology) and Neurophysiology. Shubham sits on several boards including the Undergraduate Physiology Students’ Association, Pre-Medical Students’ Association, Golden Key International Honours Society, Canadian Digestive Health Foundation Initiative, Canadian Liver Foundation, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. When he does have free time (which never happens!), he enjoys an intense game of badminton, watching Modern Family and eating himself into a diabetic coma.

Kim Solez

Kim Solez is a physician techno-geek who reads various organ transplant biopsies under the microscope and sets the standard for how such biopsies are read by other doctors. For the past twenty-two years he has run the international meeting that expands and makes further changes to these global medical classification systems. In 1999 this meeting incorporated poetry for the first time. In 2002 Kim also began organizing separate musical, art, and poetry events celebrating the birthday of iconic Canadian poet, singer, songwriter Leonard Cohen. He met with Leonard over a three-day weekend in November 2005. Leonard described Kim as being “serially surreal.” A robotic dog accompanied him on the visit.

In 2011 Kim began teaching and directing a unique University course on Technology and the Future of Medicine, LABMP 590, which any Nerd Nite audience member could attend. This massively multidisciplinary course involves the best and brightest lecturers and students from all Faculties within the University. The course explores the possibility of a future post-scarcity world of abundance where any experience you want you can have because virtual reality is better than real reality. Kim is convinced that poetry is a universal component of humanness and that poetry is able to accomplish important things in the world which nothing else can.

Kim Solez is Professor of Pathology at the University of Alberta. In 2010 he took a 9-day course at Singularity University teaching about exponential technologic change and the future merger of humans and machines when machines become smarter than we are, the technological Singularity predicted to occur in 2045. He always wanted to be a spy and his interests in the Singularity in music have caused him to be a regular stealth listener to Hot 107, a local radio station catering to the mainstream musical tastes of teens and 20-somethings which assumes that they have no older people or physicians in their audience. He doesn’t know anyone else who listens to Hot 107. He has an official alter ego, David Crippen at the University of Pittsburgh, a totally cool doctor dude who is completely unlike him in every way.