Posts Tagged ‘New England’

Nerd Nite 11/26/12 !!!

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 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

Sam Shupe is an American and New England Studies Ph.D. candidate at Boston University. Originally from Portland, Maine, Sam’s research interests center on Maine and New England history during the late 19th and early 20th centuries with particular attention paid towards visual and material culture. An avid and daily cyclist, the bicycle and it’s cultural history are central to Sam’s scholarship and everyday life.

Nerd Nite 10/22/12 !!!

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!

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