SOLD OUT: Nerd Nite #6

Watch as our three presenters illuminate you with new knowledge that just mite make you smile. Also, puns. Our last two nights have sold out and Nerd Nite #6 has another fantastic line up. So don’t be left out, grab tickets before they’re gone!

When: May 23, 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 – The Walking (Nearly) Dead: Parasite Manipulation of Host Behaviour
Kaylee Byers

Though at times it may be refreshing to have decisions made for us, the ability to choose how we spend our days is something we non-parasitized may take for granted. From fungi, to nematodes, to wasps, some parasitic species have adapted the amazing ability to manipulate their host’s behaviour in a way that goes beyond the horror of any George A. Romero film. Join us while we explore the fascinating world of host-parasite interactions where the microscopic have tremendous influences. We will discuss the diversity of parasites that manipulate not only host behavior but also host appearance; all in an effort to complete their life cycle and start the process all over again.

Bio: Kaylee is currently an MSc student at the University of Alberta where she studies the reproductive morphologies of feather mites. While she specializes in acarology (the study of mites), she is particularly fascinated by the bizarre biology of parasites. In Fall 2013, Kaylee will be commencing a PhD at the University of British Columbia where she will be studying urban rat ectoparasites and their potential to transmit disease ( In her spare time, Kaylee enjoys travelling and acquiring her own parasites, all in the name of Science.

#2 – It’s About Time!
Dean Albrecht

Digital-savvy generations have developed a nostalgic interest in vintage technologies like vinyl records and pinball machines. Similarly, Mechanical wrist and pocket watches have stimulated a new wave of attention. It’s no wonder why, the best Swiss timepieces satisfy on many levels; complex engineering, precise construction, beautiful design, and flawless craftsmanship. Beyond these physical characteristics, the vintage watch answers a primeval need to touch history. With patience and curiosity, one can discover a portal into the past; the people and events that provide context to the physical object. To illustrate, I will present a few pieces from the 1860s to 1950s and share their stories. I promise that your inner nerd will find it fascinating, romantic, and even disturbing.

Bio: Dean Albrecht is a retired cop with too much “time” on his hands. Although an avowed adrenaline junkie, he finds welcome respite in collecting and writing on Swiss watches of the golden age from the mid-19th to 20th centuries. Dean will be returning to Switzerland this spring for his third visit, to literally walk the hills and valleys of watchmaking history.

#3 – Glowing Animals: A Neuroscience Toolkit at the End of the Rainbow
Robert Campbell

Remember when the only animals that glowed were the ones that nature intended to glow? I do. It was the 1980s and the only things that glowed were fireflies, deep sea creatures, and those neon shirts that I loved. Fast forward to 2013 and you can’t swing a red fluorescent cat without hitting some new glowing freak of science. In the last couple years we’ve seen red fluorescent dogs, yellow fluorescent pigs, green fluorescent monkeys, “GloFish”, and don’t even get me started on the genetically altered mice! What the hell happened? The answer to this question starts with a humble jellyfish and ends with current efforts to completely map the activity of the brain. In this presentation I will demonstrate how making fluorescent animals has revolutionized our ability to peer into the inner workings of cells and live animals. Specific emphasis will be placed on how my research at the University of Alberta is enabling scientists to do the previously unthinkable: visualize the activity of every neuron in the brain of a living animal!

Bio: Robert E. Campbell Ph.D. (UBC, 2000) is an associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Canada Research Chair at the University of Alberta. He is also a certified nerd that loves all things sciency. From 2000-2003 he had the good fortune to undertake his postdoctoral research in the lab of a soon-to-be-Nobel-prize-winner; an experience that launched Robert’s career as the world’s expert on fluorescent proteins. Today, he and and his minions (13 super-talented graduate students that represent the most concentrated talent pool of protein engineers in the world) are all working hard to create a new generation of fluorescent proteins that will enable the visualization of brain activity in real time.

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.


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