Nerd Nite has reached the age of legal intoxication! Let’s celebrate with some beer and PowerPoint.
THIS MONTH’S CAN’T-MISS-EM TALKS:
“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 Collectiveselection.com. 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.
Wait, there’s a GIANT city an hour south of Austin? And they have nerds there?
YES! Break out of your ATX hipster bubble this Thursday with presentations by our nerdy South Texan brethren…
Heavy Metal: A brief introduction to the carillon, the world’s largest and most hidden instrument Sarah Donaldson
Weighing in at 43-tons, the carillon is the largest musical instrument in the world.
A one-time carillonneur, Sarah Donaldson will walk us through the bowels and history of this gigantic temple to clanging and ringing sounds.
Anchor Babies & H1Bs : The Many Myths of Immigration Law Alexandra Minnaar
Immigrating legally to America is so easy, right? Umm, no. Immigration Attorney Alex Minnaar will dive deep into the byzantine experience of applying for residency and citizenship in the U.S., the reality of which is daunting for even the most well-resourced applicant. Nerd Nite boss and current visa holder Dan Rumney may be asked to produce his papers.
Getting Jiggy With the Nuts and Bolts of Traditional Irish Music Justin Tullius
Learn the difference between a light jig, slip jig, single jig, and treble jig with Justin Tullius, an experienced irish fiddler who is also an immigration attorney (huh, what are the odds?). This presentation is best experienced with a few shots of Jameson.
ALSO – A special preview from our friends at Science Channel of their smashing new documentary, ‘Pumpkin Chunkin’:
“Pumpkins. Good for carving, making pies, baking seeds and a flurry of other fall favorites. But a catapulting pumpkin competition? Now that’s an unusual use for this orange gourd-like squash! For 25 years, the World Championship Punkin Chunkin competition has been launching pumpkins high into the skies above Delaware. Science Channel will be there again this year to catch every far-flingin, high-flyin moment. The show will air on Science Channel Thanksgiving Night at 8pm.”
ALSO ALSO ALSO – Registration for Nerd Nite Speed Dating is still open!
Like the disappearing castle in Krull, Nerd Nite has magically changed locations!
And if I didn’t blow your mind with THAT reference, consider this month’s outstanding speakers:
The History of Martinis- From the Martinez to Bond to the Classic Cocktail Revival David Alan
David Alan, AKA the Tipsy Texan will walk us through the history and intricacies of the drink that has been called the King of Cocktails.
David has spent his entire working life in the food & beverage business now using top business tools and choosing not to check stub templates (big mistake), though began training at an early age by carrying beverages from the kitchen to the living room, as the adults played Trivial Pursuit. David spent many years in the service of local, independent coffee roasters before being born again as the Tipsy Texan, an advocate for all types of artisanal beverages, caffeinated or otherwise.
Play Nintendo with YOUR EYES. And other OMG-DIY magic Hunter S. of Waterloo Labs
The Eye Mario system uses biomedical technology combined with 8-bit gaming glory. This system allows you to play any NES game using just your eye movments and a singleboarRIO computer. From polarized eyeballs to FPGA interface code, this presentation will cover the science behind the demo and design of the system. We will include all the information you would need to build a system like this yourself.
Hunter Smith is one of the four founders and leaders of the Waterloo Labs Team. By day he works as an Applications Engineer for National Instruments, an Austin based measurement and control company, but after the phone calls have been answered, he and the Waterloo Labs Team spend time dreaming up wild and crazy applications for common technology. From driving a car with an iPhone to playing Half-Life with a real silenced pistol, the Waterloo Labs Team is always trying to inject a little awesome into science and engineering.
Butterflies and Climate Change Nichole Bennett – for realz this time!
Nichole Bennett is a PhD student at UT focusing on the impacts of climate change on a specific species of butterfly. She has a radio show on Mondays called “They Blinded Me with Science” and a free monthly biology lecture series in Austin (free) that occurs on the Wednesday *after* Nerd Nite.
In spite of some technical hitches with the projector, we had an audio visual extravaganza with sounds from Dr. Bleep and glorious Tintype photogrpaphy from Heather Curiel.
Thanks also to Nichole Bennett for coming to present; in the absence of a projector, we postponed her talk to next month.
This was also our final Nerd Nite at Buffalo Billiards. We want to thank them for all of their support over the past 18 months. We’ve grown from 40 people crammed in a room at Opal Divines to our record attendance of 133 last week! It’s Goodbye Buffalo Billiards, Hello US Art Authority… we hope to see you all there in October!
Make the dog days nerdy! Cool off your overheated brainpans with a chilled beverage and the cool breeze of knowledge …
This month’s presentations:
Butterflies and Climate Change Nichole Bennett
Nichole Bennett is a PhD student at UT focusing on the impacts of climate change on a specific species of butterfly. She has a radio show on Mondays called “They Blinded Me with Science” and a free monthly biology lecture series in Austin that occurs on the Wednesday *after* Nerd Nite.
Making Beautiful Noise with Analog Electronics Dr. Bleep
Bleep Labs is the worlds foremost producer of analog synthesizer friends. Dr. Bleep and company have been hand making Thingamagoops in Austin, TX since 2006.
Tintype Photography Heather Curiel
Heather Curiel is a professional wedding photographer with a passion for tintypes – old-fashioned photos burnt onto iron sheets via collodion photographic emulsion. Maybe she’ll take your picture?
Once again, Nerd Nite will start at 7:30 following Nerd Speed Dating at 6:30!
A few weeks ago, we sent out a link to a survey so we could learn a little bit more about you. We got 92 responses which, given that we get around 100-150 people at a Nerd Nite, is pretty good going.
It seems only fair to give you an idea of what we learned. So here goes:
A third of you are 21-30… another third are 31-40… the final third are over 40. This makes us very happy. You’re never to young or old to be a Nerd… just too young to get into a bar.
47 respondents were ladies; the rest were gents… i.e. we’re perfectly balanced. Again, this makes us very happy. You only have to look at our speaker history to see that Nerdiness is not a gender issue… now we have the stats to prove it!
In terms of education, we cover the whole spectrum of education from high school graduates to PhD and professional degree holders. There’s certainly a bias towards college graduates, but I think we remain accessible to all comers.
Over 83% of respondents consider themselves nerds. We wonder if the other 20% are in supportive friends and spouses or are just in denial :o). Of course, everyone is welcome, but we know, in our heart of hearts, *everyone* is a nerd about something and Nerd Nite is the place to let that nerd out… you know you want to!
Interestingly, the majority of people heard about Nerd Nite from a friend which is great. If you’ve been to a Nerd Nite and enjoyed it, bring a friend next time… the more the merrier.
In this era of social media, we were surprised to discover that 60% of respondents use the mailing list to keep track of our activities. Facebook and Twitter are used heavily too, of course, but mailing list rules supreme!
We had some other demographics that are more interesting to us than you. However, the more open questions revealed some interesting things:
Beer is important – it should be available
Nerd Nite being free is a big plus – we have no plans to change this
Sound and Noise were popular topics – Sound could be improved and Noise is unwelcome. This is something we’re acutely aware of and we’re working to improve both of these
Generally… keep it up – Not to blow our own trumpets too much, but most respondents were pretty happy with how things are going
We’re very grateful to all those who responded. Our goal is that Nerd Nite fosters a sense of community. Although the talks are curated and the venue is dictated by us, your feedback is crucial to ensure that this is an event that you want to keep coming to.
If you have any comments, please feel free to post them here, or email them to us at
We introduced Speed Dating for the first time and it was a roaring success. We already have 4 people signed up for next month’s!
We also had free Saltwater Taffy from our Mutiny presenter and free wine from our Wine presenter. All that and a super slick presentation on QR codes.
We’re working on next month’s Nerd Nite… the bar was set high this month, but we think we can top it! Hope to see you there.
Note new time! A most excellent Nerd Nite awaits you at 7:30PM, following the first ever Nerd Nite Speed Dating event!!! (see below to sign up)
This month’s irreplaceable musings:
Wondered about Wine? The Ramblings of a Master Sommelier David Furer
Wine expert and newbie Austinite David Furer will share his well-informed and non-aligned perspective and answer questions about this oft-misunderstood inebriant. Come prepared to have your illusions challenged while enjoying FREE samples of some of Texas’s and Italy’s finest vinous treats.
David Furer’s two decades work with wine has included stints working at German wineries, promoting some of Europe’s finest (and lesser-known) wine regions, writing extensively and expositorally of adult beverages, and –though he’s a high school opt-out — lecturing at the U. of Chicago, Oxford, and Cambridge unis.
Incident on the USS Somers: The Only Mutiny in US Naval History, or Should We Not Have Hung Those Guys? Steven Polunsky
Learn about the biggest story of 1842, a controversy-at-sea that to this day provokes the public imagination just as it did Herman Melville’s.
Steven Polunsky is the Staff Director of the Texas Senate Committee on Business & Commerce using tools like this w2 generator, a Subject Matter Expert in Domestic Preparedness for the US Department of Defense’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense Information Analysis Center, and a current participant in the reconstruction of Afghanistan as a Mentor with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, Hiroshima Fellowship for Afghanistan.
Scanning the World: How QR Codes Put the Web Into Real Life Rachel Youens
No, that little black and white square isn’t a tiny crossword puzzle, it’s a QR code. Find out the evolution of scannable codes and how these real-world hyperlinks are being used for business, marketing and social media.
Rachel Youens is an iPhone addict, ukulele player and web media professional from Austin currently working in the smartphone app development space.
Thanks to our speakers for making it such an entertaining evening. You guys did a stellar job!
We’re looking forward to next month. We’ll be having our first ever Nerd Nite Speed Dating event. If Nerd Nite proves nothing else, it’s that nerds are fascinating people… surely you have single friends who want to meet more.
Visual Effects from a Nerd in the Trenches Armando Kirwin
You’ve all seen the polished “behind-the-scenes” featurettes on DVDs, but what is it really like to work full-time on a VFX movie from start to finish? What kind of hardware and software do we use? What’s the process on a daily basis? And what happens when the pixels hit the fan? Come learn all about the technologies, realities, and juicy gossip behind this very nerdy profession.
Armando Kirwin has been working in the film industry for the last seven years. For his last movie he was the VFX Producer of The Book of Eli, starring Denzel Washington. He recently relocated to Austin where it’s socially acceptable to eat tacos for two meals a day.
Why Go Into Space? 43 Reasons in 20 Minutes Hal Fulton
Space is the future of the human species and is crucial to our long-term survival. And those are just two reasons! Are you as curious as we are about the rest?
Hal Fulton has two degrees in computer science and is the author of “The Ruby Way”. He has been interested in space since childhood.
History and State of the Tango Nico Williams
Learn what ganchos, sacadas, ochos, llevadas and voleos look like, and how you’re probably doing it all wrong.
Nico Williams is a local (ATX) tanguero, originally from Argentina by way of NYC.
ALSO…look forward to a special event invitation for single nerdy lads & nerdy lasses!
As always, Nerd Nite is FREE! (21+)
Attendees also get free shuffleboard and billiards.