Author: Lewis Weil

Nerd Nite 28: Punless!

I admit it. I was unable to find a cheeky pun to describe this Nerd Nite. There is no common thread this month, no uniting theme. Our three presenters fit no box other than nerdery. Their talks will follow no rule other than sheer nerdy awesomeness.

BUT HEY! The neat folks from Google Places will be joining us this month. Visit their on-site Chromebook station to review your favorite nerdy places, and receive free drink tickets and Google swag!

AND! Prepare yourself for two exciting announcements about the future of the Nerd Nite global empire.

The deets:


“Cambodian Shadow Puppetry,” by Abra Chusid

Inspired by her work with the Sovanna Phum Art Association in Phnom Penh, Abra will share a bit of shadow puppet history, contemporary practice, and some kick ass puppets.

Abra Chusid is a Fulbright Scholar, currently working on her MFA in drama education at UT. She likes kids, cats, and theatre, and will gladly travel to another far off locale to study any of the above if you will pay her way.



“Clues Within the Clues: Solving the New York Times Crossword Puzzle,” by Abigail Mahnke

Tell people you can finish the New York Times Crossword Puzzle and they think you’re a genius. The secret is that the clues themselves tell you a lot about the answer they’re looking for. Once you know the tips and tricks, the puzzle is yours to solve, too.

Abigail Mahnke was a hopeless crossword puzzler until a very nice boyfriend shared his puzzles and showed her the ropes. (Unlike him, she will not share puzzles.) She’s also the host of Inner Views, a weekly program on KOOP 91.7 FM Austin, where she interviews everyday people with extraordinary stories.



“Super weapons of the near future: It’s about power,” by Blake Freeburg

How will we keep the peace (or kill ourselves) in the decades to come? Armed androids, free electron lasers, fuel-air bombs and rail guns designed right here at UT! The only thing holding us back is the sending and delivery of energy. That, and treaties.

Blake Freeburg followed a degree in physics with a career as a serial startup engineer, working in over 7 companies in the last 15 years across a wide space of technologies. Blake is currently exploring “technological wildcatting”, founding several efforts and building solutions on a case by case basis.


Single? Test out your newest love potion at nerd speed-dating!

$10 gets you a beer and the attention of more nerdy guys and nerdy lasses than you can probably handle.

Speed-dating tickets here: (starts at 6:30 sharp)


Nerd Nite is FREE, cuz we do it for the love. And beer.

Nerd Nite 23: Space Jam

“Come with us now on a magical journey through time and space!”

OK, some of you may have felt we rocked USAA a little TOO hard last month.
That we are victims of our own success.
That sex talks are anathema to REAL nerdiness.

So be it. Consider this month red meat for the base.



“Planet Construction: Building Alien Worlds,” by Dr. Joel Green

Watching Star Trek, one gets the impression that habitable planets and alien life are as common as fast food restaurants. So what is the true variety of planets and planetary systems found within the universe? Using the latest state-of-the-art NASA and ESA telescopes we’ll discover what we have learned, and the vast amount we expect to learn in the next decade.

Joel is an astronomer who studies star and planet formation at the University of Texas at Austin, although he is hoping to start an internship with Slartibartfast.


“Stellar Alchemy,” by Julie Hollek

The oldest stars in the outer regions of the Milky Way contain the fossil record of the events that occurred before they were born, specifically the explosions of the First Stars formed in the universe. The oldest stars have a chemical signature that is distinct from those of younger stars like the Sun. Observing these stars reveal events that occurred in the early galaxy, from the Big Bang to the lives and deaths of the First Stars to the formation of the elements of the periodic table.

Julie Hollek is an astronomer by day and a gastronomer by night, unless she’s observing in which case she’s also an astronomer by night.


“The Beginnings of the Universe and What We Learn From its Oldest Light,” by Athena Stacy

How do we know universe is expanding? Why do we believe it began in
a Big Bang? What will be the ultimate fate of the universe? Take a tour through all the changes the universe has undergone in the 13.7 billion years since its birth, and how the Cosmic Microwave Background helps us connect the universe in its infancy to the universe today.

Athena is an astronomy graduate student at UT Austin. She runs
computer simulations to see what the universe looked looked like
during its first billion years, and is especially interested in how
the ancient stars and galaxies of these early times compares to young
objects like our Sun and Milky Way.



Special guests from the NASA MUSICAL OUTREACH PROGRAM!


Once again, we are offering queer-nerd speed dating before Nerd Nite — this time for guys and girls so they can find their match and enjoy with them maybe using toys like the top-notch G-spot vibrator and others. Tell your friends!

(Straights will get another chance next month)


Nerd Nite is FREE, cuz we do it for luv.

March Speed Dating- Queer Men

Wednesday March 2, 2011 – Wednesday March 2, 2011

View MapMap and Directions | Register


Nerd Nite Speed for Queer guys.


Nerd Nite 22- NSFW

We’re back!!! And sexxxay.
Nerd Nite returns to US Art Authority with a lineup guaranteed to get you all hot and bothered right for Valentine’s Day.
Also, note new date – hump day! How appropos.
This month’s scintillating talks:
“Steers & Queers: Sex Toy Laws in Texas,” by Julie Sunday
Right before Valentine’s Day 2008, the state of Texas struck down its ban on sex toys, making it legal to actually refer to our bedroom teammates as vibrators and dildos instead of “personal massagers” and “educational models.” While now legal, the world of sex toys is still a Wild West without government oversight. Sex toy expert Julie Sunday will explain the difference between latex, silicone, rubber, jelly, steel, and glass toys and hopefully inspire you to trade up from that nasty toy you bought in college to something that causes orgasms, not cancer.
Julie Sunday is a sex educator, writer and tireless advocate for people’s inalienable right to get down. She writes How to Have Sex in Texas, which won the award for Best New Blog in Austin in 2010.
“The Mathematics of Dating,” By Sheena Madan
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we explore what a 1950s matchmaking algorithm can teach us about dating and finding our optimal mate today.  “Field researcher” Sheena Madan describes the Traditional Marriage Algorithm and shares some of her observations from real-life dating applications.
Sheena Madan is a computer scientist who finds debugging people almost as interesting.
“An Introduction to Erotic Fan Fiction For Aspiring Writers,” by F*Bomb
Ever wonder what the sex was like when Jim and Pam finally hooked up? Have you been curious about what a magical orgy at Hogwarts Academy would look like? In this introductory overview to erotic fan fiction, F*Bomb breaks down the simple style guidelines and writing processes that amateur authors use to create the steamiest pop culture hook ups they can imagine. It’s time to quit hogging that hot John McClane/Jack Bauer anti-terrorism jerk off fantasy and turn it into a written reality we can all enjoy!
Equal parts Pomo and homo, F*Bomb is the hyper-gendered bastard child of a thousand bad ideas. Born out of the worst sort of Internet porn addiction and years of nitrous oxide abuse, F*Bomb tickles your fancy just the way you like.
My heteronormative loins are tingling already!
As always Nerd Nite is FREE and ALL AGES. Though you might not want to bring the kids to this one…

Nerd Nite News

Good news everyone. Nerd Nite is moving to the first Wednesday of the month. So the next nite will be Wednesday February 2nd. We are returning to the US Art Authority. We are also doing our first gay male Nerd Speed Dating. It is going to be a good nite. More announcements soon. But if you remember last February you have an idea of what is in store for you.

Nerd Nite 21- Fashion, Gaming and a Judge named Barefoot

Like Forever 21, only…unfashionable.

Nerd Nite has reached the age of legal intoxication! Let’s celebrate with some beer and PowerPoint.



“Pseudo-Rebellion and the Tyranny of Cool,” by Claire James

Don’t wear that! Claire James will lay bare the mechanisms of haute couture and offer us a backstage pass to the trend-adoption process in the fashion world, demonstrating how the same processes operate through human behavior in a scope far beyond clothing. For audience members who actually look at themselves in the mirror, she may sprinkle in some actual trendspotting from NYC.

Claire James unpicks the seams of the fashion system on her blog She thinks you shouldn’t automatically cringe at the mention of aesthetics.


“Motivation and Games Through the Looking Glass,” by Kain Shin

The science of “fun” has evolved over the last 5,000 years to incorporate society’s understandings of various fields ranging from brain chemistry to sociology and everything in between as many people love to play games, and some even play casino games online to have fun, and for this they visit the woo casino 2 which is perfect for this. What do games do to your brain? What techniques are involved in the science of getting people to do things? And how can I use my powers of motivational science to achieve world domination? This 20 minute presentation marks the beginning of the world’s end… as foretold by prophecy.

Kain has been working in the Austin games industry for over 10 years and cares about things a lot.


“Civil Rights, White Flight, and a Judge named Barefoot: How Brown Vs The Board of Education created Nerd High,” by Lisa McAnally-Maddox

The Supreme Court’s decision in Brown vs The Board of Education changed the face of the public school system in America. In Dallas, Texas many families fled to the suburbs in order to avoid integration creating a movement known as white flight. To help insure that the desegregation decision was upheld, Judge Barefoot Sanders developed a magnet school system that has caused years of controversy, tax issues, and accusations of being racist and elitist, while creating the number #1 high school in America.

Unable to function in the real world, Lisa McAnally-Maddox entered the Dallas public school magnet system. She currently works in the medical field where she spends large amounts of time ranting about the evils of anti-bacterial hand sanitizer.


PLUS: Spots are still open for Nerd Nite Speed Dating! Find someone to huddle up with and listen to “Merry Christmas from the Family”:

As always, Nerd Nite is FREE and ALL-AGES

“It’s like the Discovery Channel…with beer!