SOLD OUT: Nerd Nite #5

Due to overwhelming tickets sales for NN#5, we will NOT be selling tickets at the door tonight. We apologize for any inconvenience. We’ll be announcing Nerd Nite #6 very soon, so stay tuned for that.

When: April 11, 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 – Bare Bones: The realities of Temperance Brennan and Forensic Anthropology

Katie Waterhouse

As much as television shows such as CSI and Bones suggest that forensic s and forensic anthropology involve stiletto heels, dramatic suspect hunts, gun fights and buckets of sexual tension this sadly doesn’t reflect reality. Although there might be sexual tension, forensic anthropologists seldom wear heels (bodies are rarely found in heel friendly territory), don’t hunt out suspects (what else are the police for?) and certainly don’t get guns (the people we work with are already dead). We do however work with the skeleton to determine as much about the individual as we can. Determining age, sex, stature, and other personal attributes helps to identify the individual and tell us something of their life. Join us as we go over some fascinating case studies outlining some of the fantastic things forensic anthropologists can determine from remains.

Bio: I have my MSc in Forensic Archaeological Sciences from University College London and just finished my PhD in Forensic Anthropology at the U of A. For my PhD thesis I studied the fragmentation of burnt bone with the aim of improving recovery methods from fatal fire scenes such as house fires and car fires. I have assisted in forensic cases as well as spent time excavating human remains from archaeological sites. I have also worked with skeletal collections analysing the human remains.

#2 – Crush my Gall Nuts Baby and I’ll Stay With You Til the End of Time
Ted Bishop

Is ink dead in the digital age? Not a chance. Ted Bishop is writing a book on The Social Life of Ink that has taken him from Samarkand to Budapest, from ancient Chinese ink sticks to e-readers. He will talk about why the ballpoint pen is immoral, why ink sticks are profound, and he’ll have you crush gall nuts to make the same ink used for the Dead Sea Scrolls – your signature from the Haven will last 2,000 years

Bio: Ted Bishop is the author of Riding with Rilke: Reflections on Motorcycles and Books, a Canadian bestseller that earned him Governor-General’s award nomination and a mention in Playboy magazine (alongside fellow Canadian Pamela Anderson). He has written about striding down the fashion-show catwalk, being caught in a small avalanche, and reading a Kindle with an enchilada. He teaches in English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, and you can read his work and see his hand covered with ink at

#3 – EDM in YEG
Marc Carnes and Thomas Scott — Urban Monks

Born out of the underground dance/disco clubs of Chicago in the late ’70s, “House Music” signaled a fundamental shift in the way we consume and experience music of all kinds. It’s a product of a modern technological explosion, and a common thread in the blurring of social, musical and geographical boundaries. Still largely underground and independent of the mainstream, EDM (“Electronic Dance Music”) has become a global force in music, and at the heart of this musical movement is the often misunderstood role of the DJ – the medium, rather than the creator. So sit back while we drop the needle on some musical history.

Bio: They don’t have Masters or PhDs in DJing (PhDJ?), but they really like what they do. Between the two of them they have over 25 years of DJ experience and have watched the industry, and the culture change dramatically. By day, Marc is a suit with Incite Marketing, and Thomas is a cultural ambassador for Citadel Theatre. By night, the two can be seen DJing around Edmonton at a variety of events (like Nerd Nite) and venues (like Red Star). They have played in some pretty cool places, too, including as far away as Japan, and in such unique venues as the top of a mountain, and Edmonton’s own LRT while it rode the tracks.

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.


Stay tuned to our Facebook page and Twitter account for updates.

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.