Join us at the Middlesex for a Nerd Nite Boston three years in the making!
It all started one night at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn, New York. A beautiful woman goes to Nerd Nite NYC to support a friend giving a talk on sex robots. A handsome man behind the bar serves her a drink. At the end of the night they exchange phone numbers. Three years go by. Between now and then, the pair falls madly in love, moves to Boston, makes significant career advances, parents an adorable dog, and hosts lavish Settlers of Catan parties. Oh, and now they’re our Nerd Nite Boston speakers for March.
Talk 1 – “Protecting Superman or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Intellectual Property” by Anderson Duff
After giving a brief history of copyright and trademark protection in the United States, Anderson will explore the creation of Superman, the little sex shop that could, and the how the Betamax opened the door for online file-sharing. While recent discussions of intellectual property often appear polarized between the tech community and vested interests, the truth is more nuanced. If you plan on arguing with anyone over intellectual property at some point in the future, this talk should provide you with plenty of fodder.
Anderson is an associate at a Boston-based law firm specializing in intellectual property. Before moving to Boston, he worked at NBC for a year, spending every lunch break in search of the bunk beds that Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi installed at 30 Rock.
Talk 2 – “In Case You Didn’t Pay Attention in High School: Honest Sex Ed for Grown Ups” by Claudia Lux
For a lot of people, comprehensive and accurate sex education in high school was either scarring, boring or entirely non-existent. But now that we’re all grown up, there’s a lot of misinformation and confusion out there and not a lot of reliable forums to talk about it. At this Nerd Nite, Claudia plans on changing that. She will be discussing the most popular methods of birth control and how to use them–everything from the pill to pulling out–dispelling myths and answering any of your questions. And yes, she’s heard them all. From a room full of men in prison. While holding an anatomically correct penis model. So, bring it on.
Claudia Kilbourne Lux is a sexuality educator and reproductive health activist who has worked for many sexual health organizations in the U.S. and Amsterdam. She is very happy to be going second at Nerd Nite so everyone can get the liquid courage to ask questions. Otherwise she will be forced to spend the end of her time making condom balloon animals, which is admittedly not a strength.
Be there and be square.
Way more than love is in the air this month, folks. This February brings talk of the FUTURE. Join us for two delightfully informative presentations on space and robots. (Does it get any nerdier?)
Talk 1 – “The Future Prospects of Human Space Settlement” by Andrew Rader
Talk 2 – “Creative Robots & Law” by Rocky Acosta
Artificial intelligence is, simply put, “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.” Quintessential examples of artificially intelligent machines include Hal from 2001 Space Odyssey or the robots from Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot series of short stories. Many of the things we think of when we think of applied artificial intelligence — such as understanding nuanced language, solving novel problems, or learning through experience — are just starting to be real phenomena. Machines have no intention of creating novel works, nor do they consider incentives as such. It remains an open question as to whom, if anyone, would get the rights if all the innovative or novel contributions were the work of a machine.
While self-aware killer robots remain within the realm of fiction, developments in the field of artificial intelligence are advancing our understanding of what computers are and what they are capable of being.
Rocky Acosta studies at Harvard Law School, is an avid technophile, and is big into media-tech & the experimental arts. Rocky blogs at Art Tech L@w, and is looking to represent SkyNet after the singularity frees our robot overlords.
Happy 2013, everyone! We’re back in action with two great talks lined up for your learning pleasure. First, Allison delivers a first-hand account of feminist geeks in the nerd world. Then Josh explains why he subjects children to fart spray. Good times! Come over!
Talk 1: “Gender & Nerd Culture: A Year in Review” by Allison Wilhelm
Allison is a recent graduate of Northeastern University, where she studied political science, law, sociology, and women’s studies. She was also involved in her school’s anime club and feminist student organization, making significant contributions to both clubs. Allison has been immersed in nerd culture since 2007 when she attended Anime Boston for the first time; she has been presenting panels on the intersection of feminism and all things nerdy since April of last year and hopes to present many more in the future. Allison’s favorite superheroes are Captain America and Wonder Woman; her favorite video game is Bioshock; her favorite anime changes frequently but she is a big fan of Blue Drop and Hell Girl. She also adores musical theater, Disney movies, shiny objects, ballet, and old-fashioned swing music.
Talk 2: “Aliens Behaving Badly: Children’s Acquisition of Novel Purity-Based Morals” by Josh Rottman
Moral development has long been heralded as a rational process through which children are increasingly able to reason logically about what is right and wrong in accordance with their cognitive maturity. Josh thinks this is mostly flat-out wrong. Instead, he argues that emotion (in addition to norm learning) is responsible for the childhood acquisition of moral beliefs. In order to gather evidence for this claim, Josh subjected dozens of seven-year-olds to the horrendous smell of Liquid ASS (TM) and asked them to make moral judgments about the unfamiliar behaviors of extraterrestrials.
After failing to attain his childhood career goals of becoming a magician/marine biologist/rabbi, Josh has become a professional question-asker to children. He hails from a small town in Colorado known for a chicken (Mike) that lived for 18 months without a head, and he is now a 20th grader in Psychology at Boston University.
Join us for a Nerd Nite party like no other! Your curators of cool, masters of merriment, arbiters of awesome, purveyors of puns, and teaching fellows of funk are throwing what promises to be the most festive of festive evenings. We’re trading in the Venn diagrams and PowerPoint presentations for nerdy holiday programming full of cheer.
Nerd Nite Yankee Swap! Make many friends and perhaps a few enemies during our regionally-appropriate gift-giving game. This is going to be great! To participate, RSVP here. (No cover charge for swappers. Limited to a maximum of 20 players. The nerdier the gift the better! For more details, click here.)
Funkin’ A, folks! We couldn’t be happier to host this band of singing nerds. An irreverent 7-part vocal band covering an eclectic mix of pop tunes and deep cuts from the 50s to the present, Funkin’ A! will delight. They will entertain.
Wear your festive best! Monday, December 17, 2012 | Middlesex Lounge | 9PM | $5
It’s time for Nerd Nite November! Meet us at the Middlesex for two enlightening talks on technology of different types and in different times. Deb Nicholson speculates on technology’s role in our dystopian future. Sam Shupe takes us on a ride down memory lane, sharing his knowledge of New England’s rich cycling history.
Talk 1 -”Technology and Dystopia: Do you dream of angry android sheep? by Deb Nicholson
Humor will be employed to explore the possible enslavement or eradication of humanity in our future. Deb will discuss several popular fictional dystopias set in humanity’s future and what technologies are in play that could help or hinder each scenario. John Gaventa’s framework for social power will be used to discuss the political and economic factors that will shape the human race’s destiny. Lastly, she’ll identify some of the underlying freedoms and educational efforts that she believes can help us avoid (or at least ameliorate) a dystopic future. During Q&A, the audience is invited to share or comment on technologies that keep them up at night worrying about the fate of the world.
Deb Nicholson works at the intersection of technology and social justice. She has been a free speech advocate, economic justice organizer, and civil liberties defender. After working in Massachusetts politics for fifteen years, she became involved in the free software movement. She is the Community Outreach Director at the Open Invention Network and the Community Manager at Media Goblin, a GNU project dedicated to building decentralized media hosting. She also serves on the board at Open Hatch, a non-profit dedicated to matching prospective free software contributors with communities, tools, and education. You can find her on identi.ca at @eximious or on freenode as freedeb. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Talk 2 – “Bicycle History and Culture in Maine and New England 1880-1900″ by Sam Shupe
I am excited to announce our first collaboration with the Museum of Science! They’re starting a brand new program for adults called the Science Author Salon. This series of events occurs at a variety of venues around town and features bright minds from around the world who’ve recently put their ideas on paper. The evening kicks off with a social hour, allowing nerds to mix and mingle with one another. Immediately following are a few words from the guest of honor. Tuesday the 13th’s author, George Church, will read from and/or talk about his latest book, “Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves.” There will be time for Q+A with George after his talk.
Please join us on Tuesday, November 13, at Ole in Inman Square! Our gracious venue encourages you to snack on genetically perfected Mexican bites and sip a mutating margarita. The Museum of Science and Nerd Nite encourage you to stick around for revolutionary conversation and snag a signed copy of “Regenesis.”
Who: Museum of Science & Nerd Nite Boston
What: Science Author Salon featuring George Church, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Director of PersonalGenomes.org
Inside the laboratories of biotechnology, the science of synthetic biology is literally coming to life. When humans can control the genetic makeup of organisms, nature will no longer be the exclusive arbiter of life, death, and evolution. Join the conversation about how synthetic biology may hold the keys to improved health, increased longevity, halting global warming, and boosting genetic diversity.
Where: Ole Mexican Grill, 11 Springfield Street, Inman Square, Cambridge
When: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 @ 6PM $5
Be there and be square!
It’s time for Nerd Nite October! Join us at the Middlesex for two delightfully informative talks. Anna Rothman brings us New England’s own tales of crypts. Alex Bloemendal is probably going to talk about probability. (The odds are in our favor.)
Talk 1: “Heads or Tails? Adventures in Coin Tossing” by Alex Bloemendal
The humble coin toss is the archetypal random phenomenon. Repeated tossing leads to all kinds of questions: How long can a run of heads go on? Is my coin fair or biased? Can you get a fair toss out of a biased coin? a specifically biased toss out of a fair coin? Find out answers to these questions and more! Expect to encounter randomness, certainty, Andrey Kolmogorov, John von Neumann, binary representation, the law of large numbers and — time permitting — the devil’s staircase.
More Info on Alex: Alex hails from Toronto where he recently did a PhD in mathematics, a slightly masochistic activity that entails banging your head against a blackboard several hours a day for several years. He is currently doing research on random matrices and teaching at Harvard.
Talk 2: “Here Lyes ye Body: a Field Guide to 18th- and 19th-Century Gravestones” by Anna Rothman
For Early Americans, a trip to the graveside of friends or family was a regular occurrence, but the modern American holds his breath as he passes by. How did we go from picnicking in graveyards to avoiding them at all costs? Decipher the historic clues hidden in every gravestone, with symbols, epitaphs, stone placement, and more. Pick up a few tricks and tips for your own graving expeditions!
More Info on Anna: Since full-time cemetery historian gigs are hard to come by, Anna has a day job as a pharmaceutical librarian. She once smelt a ghost.
Be there and be square!
Join us for another exciting installment of Nerd Nite at Oberon. It’s two events in one — you can join us for Nerdnite at 8, or come early for our first-ever…
NERD NITE SPEED DATING — 6:30pm. Our first order of business for the evening finds hosts Jeremy and Mary playing the part of cupid for 20 single ladies and 20 single gents. It’s like the Love Connection with nerds. Speed dating will start at 6:30pm. Get your tickets today by clicking here. Price includes admission to speed dating and main Nerdnite event.
THE MAIN EVENT – 8PM
As usual, our main event features two talks that are certain to delight and entertain. Claude Money with special guest Raleigh Fingers of Brobots! play nerd appropriate tunes for your listening pleasure. Advance tickets on sale now — click here to buy.
Talk 1 – “Dance Your PhD”
by John Bohannon
Science correspondent John Bohannon demonstrates how scientists around the world are competing to explain their PhD research projects with interpretive dance.
Talk 2 – “Bending Steel: Professional Filmmaking in the New DIY Age”
by Ryan Scafuro
Filmmaker Ryan Scafuro discusses his experience as the producer and director of photography of the feature length documentary “Bending Steel,” and how the advent of affordable high definition DSLR cameras and the popularity of crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding has opened up a new world of opportunities for independent filmmakers hoping to produce and distribute films on a micro-budget.
Twitter: @BendingSteelMov (https://twitter.com/BendingSteelMov)
Be there and be square!
2 Arrow Street (in Harvard Square)
Friends of Nerdnite Boston,
Our next event — and the last of the summer — will take place Monday August 27, 8pm at the Middlesex Lounge. Whether you’re an old hand at Nerdnite or just arriving in town for the new semester, we’re sure you’ll enjoy the nerd-tastic lineup that’s on tap this month. As always, DJ Claude Money will be on hand spinning the nerd-appropriate tunes.
Here is this month’s lineup:
Talk 1: “Edvard Munch: His Life and Work In Context”
by David Curcio
While widely recognized for such iconic masterpieces as The Sick Child, Madonna, and especially The Scream, Edvard Munch (1863 – 1944) has been largely misinterpreted as a tormented genius doing battle with inner demons and isolating himself from the art world and the public. While this is in part true, Munch was also a shrewd businessman, responding to cultural turn-of-the-century trends including psychoanalysis, misogyny and the anxiety produced by the Industrial Age. Also little known is the fact that the majority of his most famous work was done before he was forty, and that until he died at 80 years old, he was more prolific than any artist in history, producing a body of work staggering in its breadth, style, and contribution to modern painting.
David Curcio has been more or less preoccupied with Edvard Munch since 3rd grade when he saw a reproduction of the black and while lithographic version of The Scream. It worked its way into his nightmares which lasted for years. Today he is an artist living and working in Boston, his obsession with the great Norwegian never having left him.
Talk 2: “Sh*t [nerds] say: Just what the hell is a snowclone anyway?”
by Tim Sullivan
In this talk, Tim will discuss what a snowclone is, why he thinks they’re interesting, and how they’re not-so-slowly infiltrating every facet of your life.
Tim Sullivan has a degree in public policy. He has never studied linguistics, but thinks this sort of thing is pretty cool. He enjoys bow ties and ginger beer.
Be there and be square!
Monday August 27, 8pm
315 Mass Ave
Friends of Nerdnite,
The next edition of Nerdnite Boston takes place Monday July 30 at Middlesex lounge, and we’re pretty fired up about this month’s lineup. Come spend a summer evening enjoying a brew with fellow nerds and learning a thing or two about your immune system… plus, an answer to the question, “Silk: is there anything it can’t do?” As always, DJ Claude Money will provide the nerd-appropriate tunes. It’s a great lineup — hope to see you all there!
“Too Close For Missiles, Switching to Guns: Stories From the Front Lines of an Immune Response”
by Sarah Bettigole
Sarah is a Ph.D. student in the Immunology program at Harvard studying how stress influences inflammatory processes. Her talk will illustrate the social network dynamics of immune responses in the context of various pathological events such as infection and cancer. Having tutored and taught extensively in college and graduate school, she likes doing 3D design and animation of biological processes in an attempt to make science more engaging to a general audience. And sometimes to her advisor.
“Silk: The Ancient Material of the Future”
by Max Chalkin
Silk is a natural fiber that has been cultivated and fabricated into textiles for over 5,000 years. The Tufts Silklab is hard at work reinventing it. Max is a member of the Tufts research group led by David Kaplan and Fiorenzo Omenetto. His talk will cover many aspects of silk’s awesomeness. For instance, silk has a combination of properties not found in any comparable material used today — it is programmably degradable, biocompatible and edible, and completely sustainable. Silk has wide-ranging implications for high-technology, medicine, material science, and global health. To date, the Silklab at Tufts University has created implantable, fully-biocompatible sensors and optical components, refrigeration-free drug delivery systems, tissue scaffolds and orthopedic devices, and biodegradable ‘smart’ consumer goods. With silk and silk composites, we can imagine a world free of plastic bottles and Styrofoam cups, in which drugs are transported across the desert without the need for refrigeration, food tells us if it’s stale or contaminated, and our bodies alert us before we get sick. High-tech silk implants and hardware can deliver drugs, promote bone and tissue repair, and harmlessly dissolve in the body or remain stable for years. With silk, the possibilities are limitless.
Be there and be square!
Monday July 30, 8pm
315 Mass Ave, Cambridge MA