Category: Events

New Facebook Page

The avid followers among you are, no doubt, members of the Facebook group ‘nerdnite – Austin’.

Well, the group will soon make way for a Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/nerdnite-Austin/147994462577

This page gives us a lot more flexibility for providing information and connecting content on this site with content on Facebook.

Take a moment to become a Fan of ‘nerdnite – Austin’ today.

Oh yeah… and we’ll see you on Thursday!

Revenge of the nerd(nite)s

You’ve been patient and nerdnite is back, now in it’s new temporal home of the first Thursday of the month.

September 3rd at Buffalo Billiards sees music, the Holy Grail and poop! What a heady combination. As ever, the fun starts at 7pm and is open to those of you who are 21 or older (we’re working on that…)

Film Music: The Real Reason We Go To The Movies
Brian Satterwhite

Sure, we live in a cinematic age ripe with digital effects where photorealistic characters are created from scratch by computers using billions of pixels instead of cells. But it’s not merely our eyes that are titillated by our favorite films…it’s also our ears. Music has played an important role in telling stories through motion pictures for as long as the medium existed. Ever hear a picture? How about see a melody? Let’s do both!

Brian Satterwhite is an award-winning film composer and conductor with over seventy-five independent, short and feature film credits to his name.

From Indiana Jones to Dan Brown to….Plays About Math? Recent Interpretations of the Holy Grail on Stage and Screen
Christina Gutierrez
For those of us of a certain age group, the words “Holy Grail” call to mind almost immediately the scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in which Indy escapes a gruesome death (by late 80s special effects standards) by correctly identifying the sacred relic as a plain “carpenter’s cup” rather than the ostentatious and ornate vessel chosen by his Nazi pursuers. But what of other representations of the grail? Some films, like the more recent The Da Vinci Code (along with most grail-influenced stage plays) pick up the idea that the grail is not an object, but an idea or a state of being. Christina Gutierrez  examines representations of the grail in film and on the stage, tracing its roots in medieval romance asking the question that has puzzled scholars for centuries and fascinated directors and playwrights for decades…just what the hell *is*it? Why are we so fascinated with it on film? Why is it different (or difficult) to put it on stage? What do these depictions of a medieval catholic relic have to do with modern audiences? Is there a “holy grail” of grail representations?

Christina Gutierrez is a Ph.D. student in Performance as Public Practice at UT Austin. Her dissertation research is on modern performances of medievalism, both on stage (in plays that might not even realize that they’re medieval), and in spaces like the Medieval Times Dinner Theatre and the Renaissance Faire. She’s also a freelance dramaturg, most recently for the Austin Shakespeare Festival, and fully open to answering the age old question, “wait…what’s a dramaturg?”

Look Before You Flush
Phyllis Kung
It might not be something you’ve dwelt upon, but you can learn a lot  about yourself by staring at your poo. We will take you an a fascinating voyage and discover the defining characteristics of a stool and how Chinese Medicine uses these facts to understand the health of the ‘producer’. In addition, you’ll learn some fun facts about dung in popular culture and how to modify your diet and lifestyle in order to create a pristine plop.

Phyllis Kung is not so much a poo fanatic as she is fascinated by what naked eye observation can tell us about a person’s health, attitude, and lifestyle.  She is currently working towards her Master Degree of Acupuncture and Oriental medicine at the Texas College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Help Lewis Stop Shark Finning!

Emminent sharkologist, June Nerd Nite presenter and all around man-about-town Lewis Weil wants your help to end the despicable practice of shark “finning”!

All it takes is one phone call. See attached pdf.

Shark Conservation

The next nerdnite Austin

The astute of you may be feeling a-rumbling in your nerd glands… “Isn’t there a nerdnite due?” you may be asking yourself.

For a number of reasons, we’re moving nerdnite Austin from the last Thursday of the month to the first Thursday of the month. Here’s why:

  1. nerdnite Austin in November would fall on Thanksgiving, so we’d have to have moved that
  2. nerdnite Austin in December would fall on Christmas Eve, so we’d have to have moved that
  3. UT comes back in the last week of August, so delaying nerdnite August one week gives us a better chance of catching the returning UT students

Three good reasons, we think, to move nerdnite Austin to the first Thursday of the month.

Most exciting of all, our next nerdnite will be our sixth… half a year of nerdnite! Who’d have thunk it? Hope to see you there…

July’s nerdnite in Austin

July, July, you bring the summer sun and nerdtastic fun.

Nerdnite returns; let Buffalo Billiards pour beer into your belly and our speakers pour knowledge into your brain

The History of Financial Economics: Risk, Expectations, and the People Who Steal Your Money
Malcolm I. Wardlaw

In spite of, or perhaps because of, the enormous amount of coverage by the popular press, an understanding of the fundamental tenets of capital and financial markets remains elusive.  What is risk?  How does capital flow from investors to consumers and entrepreneurs? Indeed, what is value itself?  The answers to these questions are rooted in the accomplishments of a long line of extraordinary economists who, over the last 300 years, created a revolution in the understanding of capital.  Malcolm Wardlaw presents a tour of this history, explaining the principles of financial economics through the accomplishments of these scholars and examines the historical consequences of their work.

Malcolm I. Wardlaw is a 5th year Ph.D student in finance at The University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in economics from Rice University.  His current research deals with the effects of bank distress on their existing borrowers.   In addition, Malcolm is a huge history buff, amateur techie, and sometime freelance comedy writer.  He has also recently been told that, thanks to the internet, he knows way more about the game of Cricket than he should, though still way less than he would like to.

Geocaching: Like Orienteering… only cheating
Jennifer Bolding

Growing up in Southern Arkansas, Jennifer’s childhood was plagued with a lack of modern devices that most of us take for granted.  Having the true heart of a technology nerd however, she left the backwoods to venture into the technologically advanced city of Austin, TX. Here, her ruthless quest for all things modern drove her to discover a multi-billion dollar advanced satellite system, which we know as GPS, and harness it to locate small, worthless trinkets scattered around the hill country, cleverly hidden to avoid casual notice. Boldly slashing through poison ivy, brambles, or any other obstacles in her path, she now pursues these objects with ferocious abandon, guided only by her will, her dog, and a small hand held device displaying blinking, cartoon-like LCD icons. Don’t let her background fool you, her educational skills have been keenly honed from years of training opossums and razorbacks, which, trust me, ain’t that easy…..

The Significance of 2nd tier characters in John Hughes movies of the 80s
Heather Owens

Sure, a John Hughes film wouldn’t be the same without Molly or Anthony or Judd…but are they really key to the moral of the story?  Or does a more simple actor like Bill (Chet in Weird Science), John (Carl in Breakfast Club) or Darren (Cliff in 16 Candles) deliver the point?  An analysis of second tier characters in John Hughes movies of the 80s will answer this pop culture crucial question!

Heather will be a financial analyst with HP until July 24th at which time she starts considering new careers.  She has an MBA from the #1 party school according to Playboy Magazine 1987/1991 (Cal State Univ, Chico) and a BA in Political Science from USC (She was a trojan).  As a teenager of the 80s, John Hughes was influential in her understanding of what was going on around her.  She never wanted detention on the weekend so bad…

International Space Station visible overhead

nerdniters!

As a Brit, it often pains me to recognise the celebrations of 4th July, but this year I will be celebrating loudly. Why? Because there will be nerdtastic lights in the sky, outshining the red rockets’ glare.

The International Space Station will be passing overhead. You can read more at the NASA site.

Well… OK… I’ll  be honest… it’s not quite visible in Austin on Saturday, but you’ll have something to gaze up at, once the firework smoke clears on Monday.

Enjoy!

June’s nerdnite

Nerdniters!

Once again, you rocked it at Buffalo Billiards. We had the Daily Texan filming, Sharklemotion swimming and some lively debate.

Thanks to Joy, Ed and Lewis for their presentations. We’ll be putting up some follow-up information from them in the next few days, so watch this space.

As ever, if you’re interested in giving a talk, just drop us a line: dan@nerdnite.com or jc@nerdnite.com

The nerdnite cometh – June 25th

It’s that time of the month again! Nerdnite returns to Buffalo Billiards on June 25th! This month, we bring DANGER to Austin, in its many forms.

An Inconvenient Shark: A Citizen’s Guide to Shark Biology
Lewis E. Weil
Do sharks have twice as much fun? Do sharks get cancer? Who would win a fight with a shark? Learn the answers to these questions and more as Lewis E. Weil presents An Inconvenient Shark, a talk that explores shark ecology, reproduction, pop culture, and common misconceptions. An interpretive dance by Sharklemotion will kick off the presentation.

Lewis E. Weil works in biotech and leads field trips for K-12 students at the live shark and stingray exhibit at Qua in downtown Austin. He is a biologist, fish nerd, and Jacques Cousteau fanboy. Sharklemotion is led by choreographer and dancer Lindsey Taylor, who is on loan from Little Stolen Moments dance troupe.

Preventing a Dietary-based Apocalypse through Public Health Theory and Practice
Joy Casnovsky
In the past decade, Austin has seen massive increases in diabetes, overweight, obesity, heart disease and cancer. Why? Lack of healthy food access, marketing, educational, cultural and financial barriers all play a role. Joy Casanovsky will play tour guide through the social determinants of health and the built environment, as well as describe local grassroots efforts that are fighting back.

Joy Casnovsky is Program Director of The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre at Austin’s Sustainable Food Center. Joy has worked in support of sustainable food, environmental stewardship and social justice in locations as far-flung as Ecuador, Bolivia, Minnesota, California and Oregon.

December 2012 – An End of Days?
Dr. Ed Barnhart
Did ancient Maya prophesies predict an end of days coming in December of 2012?  Is modern science collecting evidence that an apocalypse is indeed upon is? Or are modern spiritualists correct that we are entering a new age of enlightenment and peace?  Join renowned Maya scholar Dr. Edwin Barnhart as he separates fact from fiction.

Maya Exploration Center Director Dr. Ed Barnhart has over a decade of experience in Mesoamerica as an archaeologist, an explorer and an instructor. He has published over a dozen papers and given presentations at five international conferences. In addition to his archaeological experience, Barnhart is the author of a popular Mayan Calendar and the creator of the Palenque Mapping Project, a three-year effort to survey and map the unknown sections of Palenque’s ruins

May’s nerdnite

Well, nerdniters… you did us proud.

We had a great showing last night and 3 great talks. Thanks to JC, Jonas and Phil for standing up and exposing their nerdery. Thanks to the nerds in the audience for engaging with some great questions.

JC and I wrote up a tasty looking menu of presentations from people coming up to us last night; in the cold light of day, I noticed a worrying lack of email addresses for following up. As such, we’ll be sending out an email to those of you on our mailing list who expressed an interest in presenting, asking for titles and availability. If you’re not on this list, please do sign up. Also, feel free to contact us with the contact form (in the menu bar above)

Look forward to seeing you in a month!

Added presentation for nerdnite Austin – May

We have a new presentation from nerdnite Austin’s very own JC Dwyer.

From the Black Plague to the Bread Line: How Politics Becomes Social Policy
JC Dwyer
You probably have a church soup kitchen somewhere in your neighborhood. You probably have a state welfare office, too. Why both? Did we decide to do things this way, or did it just happen? Learn about the historical assumptions underlying modern American social welfare policy.

JC Dwyer is a professional do-gooder. He has worked with groups as small as Food Not Bombs and as big as the United Nations, and honestly hasn’t seen much of a difference. Currently, he is a policy wonk for a statewide anti-hunger group.