Welcome back, kheds!
Talk 1 – “Science and Art: Bedfellows” by Alberta Chu
SciArt is a growing field that emerged at the intersection of science and art. One of the main reasons the movement has gained so much attention is that it makes increasingly complex science and scientific relationships more accessible in a visual, information-driven world. Educators in the STEM to STEAM movement, science communicators, and science outreach enthusiasts have demonstrated the potential benefits of combining science and art in schools, museums, and media. Combining science and art is fascinating, necessary, and beautiful. Ultimately, aesthetics make science accessible.
Alberta Chu is a documentary filmmaker exploring the intersections of science, art, and culture. ASKlabs, with Alberta at the helm, aims to bring stories about science and art to the public through documentary film.
Talk 2 – “Genomics Social Networking” by Murray Robinson, PhD
Big technology breakthroughs often lead to big changes in society. Ten years ago, a startling technological feat resulted in the first (sort of) complete human genome. In 2013, this feat costs $5000 and takes a few weeks. Next year: $1000?
So what can you find in your genome? Today–not much; services like 23andMe can interpret a mere 200 of your traits. However, clues emerging from human genetics studies suggest that there may be an enormous cache of personal information in each of our genomes. How do we extract it? How will we use it? How much of our personalities and behavior are genetically influenced? Because we like to (over)share on social networks, will there be a Facebook for genes? GoogleGenome? Will GeneHarmony replace eHarmony? Murray Robinson answers these questions and more!
Murray has been researching the ever-elusive cure for cancer for over two decades. A molecular biologist and art fan, he has both generated and collaborated on unusual genetic engineering experiments and BioArt projects along the way. Dr. Robinson was involved in the early days of genomics work, cloning many novel cancer genes including TERT, a key gene responsible for immortality in tumors. Recent massive technology breakthroughs in genomics has Murray turning his sights toward the challenge of deciphering the 3 billion bases of genetic information that we all possess.
30 September 2013 | Middlesex Lounge | 8PM | $5
The last Nerd Nite of the summer will bring us talks about how a supreme, all powerful autocrat could save the world, and everything you’ve ever wanted to know about DUI laws but were afraid to ask. Be there and be square! DJ Claude Money will rule the turntables with an iron fist and the good folks at the Middlesex will make sure your BAC is at the level of your choosing.
Talk 1: “I Got Your BAC” by Shane O’Sullivan
Each month, roughly 1,800 people are prosecuted in Massachusetts for the crime of drunk driving, or as it’s referred to in courtrooms, “operating under the influence (OUI).” In this talk, the crime will be dissected, from how likely one is to be acquitted, where the most convictions in the Commonwealth occur, the types of evidence presented at OUI trials, the anatomy of a traffic stop and a driver’s rights in such a situation, as well as the overall effect the crime has on our roadways. This really will be one of the only times you will actually want to hear a lawyer open his mouth while you’re enjoying a drink with friends.
Talk 2: “Come to the Dark Side: Save the Environment and Solve the Energy Crisis by Giving Us Total Control” by Helen Aki and Jared Carpenter
Using the Emperor and Darth Vader as metaphorical vehicles, this presentation will explain how the solution to insidious problems such as climate change, pollution, rising energy costs, and dependence on fossil fuels could be solved by turning everything over to a demand response program run by an all-powerful (but, ideally, incorruptible) authority. Highlights include: Star Wars references, an explanation of how electricity works that makes more sense than your high school physics class, a working replica of a city and its energy infrastructure controlled via cell phone internet signals, and possible total destruction of said city replica using lasers/flamethrowers/brute force/whatever security at Middlesex will reasonably allow.
Middlesex Lounge | 26 August 2013 | 8PM | $5 | Be there and be square!
This month’s talks are all about books. You love books! Our first talk comes from two speakers. The Brothers Hilts, a dynamic drawing duo from Cambridge, explain the trials and tribulations of the printing process. Our second speaker, Michael Healy, playfully questions William Shakespeare’s popularity and elaborates on what makes the old bard truly great. Meet us at the Middlesex Monday, July 29, at 8PM for two delightful talks on beloved books.
Talk 1: “You Call That Black? Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Printing Process” by The Brothers Hilts
The Brothers Hilts are: Sean (the younger one) and Ben (the other one). Together they work as a team, illustrating, creating art, and constantly comparing to see whose ideas are better. Ben went to Cooper Union; Sean went to rival Rhode Island School of Design. They are the recent winners of the Founder’s Award for best newcomers from The Society of Illustrators in New York City. The Insomniacs is the first picture book they have illustrated. Currently, they live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and are hard at work on their next book “The Runaway Circus”, which they are writing as well as illustrating. Their website is: www.brothershilts.com.
Talk 2: “Is Shakespeare as great as you’ve been lead to believe?” by Michael Healy
“He was not of an age, but for all time!” was the praise delivered by Ben Jonson, a friend of Shakespeare and a great poet in his own right, in the preface to the First Folio Edition of Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623, seven years after the Bard’s death. In the intervening nearly four centuries, Shakespeare’s reputation has only increased by many orders of magnitude, such that many people around the world today consider him the greatest writer in any language. George Bernard Shaw referred to the deep, universal love for Shakespeare as ‘bardolatry.’
But is there a reason why the Bard is revered and his plays are performed from Cape Town to Tokyo? Why Baz Luhrmann thought Romeo and Juliet should be retold in Los Angeles? Why Akira Kurosawa was so influenced by him when he made Throne of Blood? What makes him more truly universal than other great authors? Did he have any chief influences? If so, why don’t we hear more about them? Is there any reason why we should care about what these literary critics say when art and literature are very subjective matters? Michael Healy will provide beginnings (and probably not endings) to the answers to many of these questions while charming some of you and aggravating others.
Be there and be square!
WHAT IS A SUPERHERO?
Superhero fans abound, from the halls of Comic Con and summer blockbusters at the multiplex, to best-selling graphic novels at sacred neighborhood comic book stores. The superhero has emerged as an integral part of our culture and their stories a metaphor for discussing current real world issues and central cultural concerns. Join author Robin Rosenberg as she illuminates how these icons of pop-culture and their stories illustrate various psychological phenomena. She’ll share how these analyses open doors into more general psychological themes, have led to effective ways to convey life lessons, and shed much light on the ethos of the American people.
- Enjoy a tasting of super brews from a specially curated list of craft beers.
- Select from menu items appreciated by mutants, aliens, armor-clad super-geniuses, thunder gods, and super-soldiers alike.
- Use superior powers of conversation to socialize with some alter egos.
- Snag a signed copy of What is a Superhero.
Who: Nerd Nite Boston, Museum of Science, and Social Wines
What: Science Author Salon with with Robin Rosenberg, PhD, ABPP, clinical psychologist; contributor, Psychology Today and Huffington Post; author of The Psychology of Superheroes and Superhero Origins: What Makes Superheroes Tick and Why We Care
Where: Trident Cafe | 338 Newbury Street | Boston | $13
When: Thursday, July 25 @ 6PM
Why: Because you love superheroes and drinking beer!
Buy tickets here.
Talk 1 – “Books Made Out Of Science!” by Nellie McKesson
Talk 2 – “Comics and Healthcare” by Cathy Leamy
Let’s be honest, health care materials can be boring, confusing, and alienating: Dull handouts, complicated instructions for your meds, and walls and walls of scary text when what you really need is a friendly face.
You know what would help? COMICS!
Comics provide an amazing communication format that can engage and entertain readers, simplify complex topics, cater to different learning styles, and even foster a sense of empathy and community. And thanks to technology, just about anyone can make and distribute them.
The best part is, there are people in the medical world who already know about this! Clinicians, educators, and patients are all contributing to a “graphic medicine” movement, producing material ranging from illness memoirs and instructional books to new techniques of training future doctors.
Cathy Leamy is a web application developer at Massachusetts General Hospital by day and an indie cartoonist by night. She is a member of the local comics collective Boston Comics Roundtable, and her work includes the humor/autobio series *Geraniums & Bacon* and the health awareness minicomic *Diabetes is After Your Dick!*
It’s Memorial Day! Head to the beach, take a hike, play hooky from work during the day, then join your fellow nerds in the evening to compare sunburns. This month is all about public health and potentially fatal diseases, which is totally fun! As ever, we’re at the Middlesex Lounge on Mass Ave in Cambridge. 8 PM, $5. DJ Claude Money spins the illest 45s from his collection of rare and hard-to-finds, guaranteed to infect your subconscious.
Talk 1 – “Poopfrastructure, or Why You Should Start Your Own Poovolution” by Lauren Burgunder
POOP! We all think poop is gross (or hilarious for the mature of us). We tend to excrete it and flush it, never to think of it again. But maybe it deserves a little more love. Lauren will discuss some of the wonders of poop (because there are many) but mostly look at the evolution of our want to forget about it and the many forms “forgetting about it” have taken. We will discuss the infrastructure (or poopfrastructure if you will (EDIT: Oh, we totally will)) that has allowed us to forget and the global impacts of that decision.
Lauren became a poop enthusiast while completing her Masters in Public Health. She wrote many papers on diarrheal diseases and went to Guatemala to complete a sanitation needs assessment. She asked lots of women what they liked about their toilet and you should come prepared to answer the same question. Last year she returned to Guatemala for six months to start preventative health programs at a woman’s cooperative in Guatemala City. She is happy to report that she is headed to medical school in the fall!
Talk 2 – “Triple E & Me” by Asim A. Ahmed, M.D.
Asim is an instructor at Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School. After medical training at Baylor College of Medicine and UCSF, he completed a pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia followed by subspecialty training in pediatric infectious diseases here in Boston at Children’s/HMS. Asim will use these credentials to scare the crap out of us by telling the story of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a highly pathogenic, often fatal, mosquito-borne virus in New England.
Be there and be square!
Calling all design nerds! This month’s nite of nerdery is especially for you. We teamed with the BSLA‘s Emerging Professionals Committee to bring you two design-focused talks. Meet us on Monday night to learn how that beautiful digital fabrication device got to your desktop and discuss the impact and scale of the design process.
Talk 1 – “Impact and Scale” by Lee Moreau
There was a time when the impact of a particular design was directly correlated to the specificity of the brief, the scope of the project, and the size of the intervention? (Kind of quaint, right?) This talk will use some recent projects to begin a conversation about how the impact of design (project, process, ambition) has continued its separation from the scale of design and of the design process.
As an architect, Lee combines a unique capacity for complex systems thinking with a deeply empathic perspective, which he uses to critically engage and re-imagine the contemporary world. Lee has worked on service design projects for a diverse group of clients that blur the boundaries between content and experience. Lee is a principal at Continuum and a founding partner of the architectural research office Project_.
Talk 2 – “Innovation in Digital Fabrication: Creating the 1st Affordable 3D Printer” by Maxim Lobovsky
3D printing has been around for three decades, but has largely remained too expensive and complex for wider adoption. Formlabs, a Cambridge based company focused on innovation in digital fabrication, is disrupting the industry with a high resolution, low-cost desktop 3D printer for professional designers, engineers, and makers. Maxim will give a broader overview on 3D print technology and speak about the work that went into designing an affordable desktop printer.
Maxim, along with his two co-founders (Natan and David), started Formlabs in 2011 after meeting as graduate students at the MIT Media Lab. With strong roots in the Fab@Home and Fab Lab movements, Maxim has led the technical development of the Form 1.
Be there and be square.
Join the Museum of Science, Cambridge Science Festival, and Nerd Nite Boston in welcoming Emily Anthes to the next 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 socialize with the author and one another. Immediately following are a few words from the guest of honor. Emily will read from and/or talk about her new book, Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts. Q+A and conversation with Emily will take place after her remarks.
Please join us on Wednesday, April 17, at Zuzu in Central Square! Our gracious venue encourages you select from a menu of unique animal alterations and vegetarian delights. Enjoy classic cocktails cloned from old favorites. Bring a friend and meet some extraordinary new beasts. Explore science’s new tool box for tinkering with life and snag a signed copy of Frankenstein’s Cat.
Who: Museum of Science, Cambridge Science Festival & Nerd Nite Boston
What: Science Author Salon featuring Emily Anthes, journalist and author specializing in telling the stories of science
For centuries, we’ve toyed with our creature companions, breeding dogs that herd and hunt, housecats that look just like tigers, and teacup pigs that fit snugly in our handbags. But what happens when we take animal alteration a step further, engineering a cat that glows green under ultraviolet light or cloning the beloved family Labrador? In Frankenstein’s Cat, journalist Emily Anthes takes us from petri dish to pet store as she explores how biotechnology is shaping the future of our furry and feathered friends.
Where: Zuzu, 474 Massachusetts Avenue, Central Square, Cambridge
When: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 @ 6PM
RSVP and purchase tickets here.
Be there and be square!
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.