Nerd Nite Philly Turns 5!

Yo Nerds! The time is finally here–our 5 Year Celebration in Philadelphia.

We’re mixing things up and hosting the evening’s festivities at Johnny Brenda’s (after party at Frankford Hall!)

Now, the details:

The who: 6 All Star Speakers, 2 Local Nerdy Entertainers, and your friendly Nerd Nite Bosses
The what: 6+ nerdy talks and performances from some of our favorite Philadelphia nerds, Nerd Nite Philly swag, and most importantly, a party atmosphere to celebrate all the Philly nerds that have made our monthly events possible
The when: Thursday, July 9, 2015
The where: Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Ave.
The how much: $10 cover, get your tickets here

Jill Weber, “The Kunga: Solving the Riddle of this Royal Steed”
Ancient authors wrote about the Kunga – a prized animal that pulled the chariots of kings and gods – in the 3rd millenium BC. But, was this donkey x wild half-ass hybrid real, or just propaganda for the State? Here, I recount my pusuit of this animal across the Syrian wilderness and through the maze of academic intrigue.

Simon Joseph, “Getting Steamy in Philadelphia”
The history of steam power in America is linked strongly with Philadelphia. By talking about four boats (three launched and the fourth now anchored in Philly) and one ill-fated water tower, Simon will hopefully cover some of the major advances in the technology. Finally, as this is a departure from his normal vexillological fare, Simon will try to keep the fire alive by giving this presentation entirely in semaphore. (This may be a lie.)

Janet Monge,  “Hemlock, Cholera and Marijuana: Getting it all Wrong in Forensic Anthropology”
Case studies of prehistoric, historic and modern errors in the reconstruction of events surrounding death of 11 people. From the ancient Middle East to the suburbs of Philadelphia, history has painted a very different picture of the very real events of human violence against other humans. Forensic anthropologists get it right (and wrong sometimes) telling the stories from the very real bones left behind.

Mike Bair, “Antarctica, It’s Weirder than You”
A brief exploration of Antarctica and the people who work there…. No need to listen. I’m bringing pictures.

Alexis Jeffcoat, “True Love Never Dies: Victorians, Burials, and the State of Amour”
The woman who left behind her heart, the ashes that were pulverized to make room for two souls; the pomp and circumstance of arctic explorer’s burial with the sad state of his lover in a pauper’s grave. These are love stories. And hate stories, too. Lust, loathing, passion, devotion; all of it follows us to the grave. Be it all-consuming, romantic or even scandalous; love does not end with death and no one was surer of that than our Victorian predecessors. Sit back, grab a drink, and snuggle up: we’re about to gossip like its 1872. The dresses were long, the love was torrid and the burials? Dramatic.

Oh and also, Ben Leach, revisiting some of his best talks and discussing the things he just couldn’t squeeze into 20 minutes before.
And Trivia, free swag, poetic musings by F. Omar Telan, and more!

Nerd Nite No. 50: Nerd Nite Teams Up with the APS!

Hey Nerds! We’re at a bit of a milestone here in Philly– the 50th edition of nerd-based entertainment in the city of brotherly love! How awesome is that? We’re celebrating in two ways: first, on July 1 we’ll be presenting a series of talks in conjunction with the American Philosophical Society and, second, on July 9 we’ll be celebrating 5 YEARS in Philly with a party. We hope to see you at both!

So what’s up for July 1?

 

Bernard Brown, “Spermataphores, Orgies, and Chin Grinding”

Philly herper Bernard Brown will explore the hot cold-blooded sex lives of our local salamanders, including the spring ‘breeding aggregations’ of spotted salamanders, newt leg locks, and the seductive dance of the diminutive redback salamander.

About Bernard: Bernard Brown has been herping Philadelphia for over 10 years. He has written about natural history topics for Grid Magazine, is the Philadelphia County Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Amphibian and Reptile Survey (PARS), and co-hosts the Urban Wildlife podcast.

 

Jane Boyd, “Bears in the Backyard, Plants in the Attic: Collecting at the American Philosophical Society”

Before Philadelphia was chock-full of museums and libraries, there was a rectangular redbrick building next to Independence Hall where all the cool stuff went. During the late 1700s and early 1800s, people all over the country sent strange and interesting things to the “ingenious and curious men” at the American Philosophical Society. Find out about Thomas Jefferson’s live grizzly bears, Lewis and Clark’s pressed plant specimens, Charles Willson Peale’s mastodon skeleton, and other remarkable items that filled Philosophical Hall.

About Jane: Dr. Jane E. Boyd gets around town as an independent curator and museum consultant specializing in interdisciplinary exhibitions and projects, on topics ranging from natural history to Civil War medicine to chemistry sets. She has worked for the APS Museum and Library, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, the Mütter Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Wagner Free Institute of Science. More on her website at www.jane-e-boyd.com.

 

Steve Alt, “So You Think You Know Plants…”

…But you probably don’t, at least not about their origins. While certain founders were hard at work in the business of creating a country, other colonists were exploring the natural history of the New World. With thousands of new species to investigate and a substantial market in the import and export of exotic plants, there was a lot of green to be made in the greenhouse. This talk will explore the world of agriculture and horticulture in the 18th century.

About Steve: Steve Alt started farming in Plainsboro, NJ when he was just a wee lad. When the malls came to cover the strawberry and potato fields of NJ, Steve moved to botanical gardens and eventually trained in horticulture at the Morris Arboretum. He has a BA in history from the University of Pennsylvania, serves as a museum guide at the American Philosophical Society Museum, and has been in the landscaping and horticulture business in Chestnut Hill for 16 years.

 

What else can you expect? Lauren Duguid is going to show us all that you can play some pretty sweet music using a saw!

 

When: Wednesday, July 1

What time: Doors open at 4pm. Show starts at 7:30pm

How much: $5 cover gets you admission plus happy hour specials all night

Where: Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19125

 

Be there and be square!

Nerd Nite Philly

Nerd Nite No. 49 and 49.5: June 10 and June 18

Yo Nerds!

Please note we have some changes in June to our regularly scheduled program. First up, due to Philly Beer Week, we have pushed back our June Nerd Nite to Wednesday, June 10. We’re still working out the fine details, but you can expect to hear more about the Academy of Natural Sciences’ *new* Grossology exhibit, enjoy a discussion with local artist Blair Campbell, learn about why mushrooms should be considered superfoods, and and hear some beats from local 8-bit musician Pixel8ter. All the talk info is below. Remember, the show will start at 7:30 sharp at Frankford Hall with a $5 cover!

 

Michael Kalaras: “Mushroom Nutrition: Shining a light on the magical world of mushrooms”

Edible mushrooms, often relegated to lowly side dish fare, are a complex package of nutrients better suited to superfood status. This talk will focus on how a fungus grown in the dark can become a rich source of the important “sunshine” vitamin, the significance of a unique antioxidant and the role mushrooms may have in human health.

About Michael:

Dr. Michael Kalaras is a Research Assistant for the Center for Plant and Mushroom Foods for Health in the Department of Food Science at Penn State University. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Food Science at Penn State where his interest in the nutritive properties of mushrooms began. He has worked to develop a rapid method of vitamin D2 enrichment of mushrooms using UV light and recently taught a course devoted to the science of mushrooms.

 
Blair Campbell: “Pop Culture Pixels”

Blair will talk about his journey and process behind his career in making his digital geeky art.

About Blair:

Blair J. Campbell is a South Jersey native that has always been a geeky and an artist. Recently he’s found a way to mash both together and make a living off of it. He can be found most days messing around online, sipping coffee, and playing with his pug.

 
Mary Bailey: Animal Grossology: Putting the “Fun” in “Funky”

Stinky, slimy, puky, grimy; animals have some NASTY habits. From coprophagy to cannibalism, the creatures of the world can definitely make you say, “Ew, gross!” But never fear…Mother Nature has her reasons! Find out about the often disgusting, always fascinating, adaptations that give some animals the evolutionary edge, and explore the science behind why it makes us humans feel all icky.

About Mary:

Mary is a consummate conservationist, avid traveler, and slightly above average birdwatcher with slightly below average binoculars. Her finest accomplishment to date is making Sir David Attenborough laugh out loud when she told him she saw 137 species of birds during her Big Year.

 

 
Music by Pixel8ter between talks!

 

Also, because we can’t say no to evenings that mix beer and education–especially ones that involve visits from NASA and the International Space Station(!!)–we’ll be hosting Nerd Nite No. 49.5 on Thursday, June 18 also at Frankford Hall. This pay-what-you-wish edition will give Philly Nerds a chance to learn more about NASA’s involvement in the space station, via a NASA scientist and astronaut! We promise we’ll fill you in on the specific talk details when we hear more!

 

June18 Special Edition

 

XOXO,

Team Nerd Nite Philly

Nerd Nite No. 48: The Dangers of Democratization, Dirty MRFs, and Jedi Junk! Plus, Music by the Black Mariah!

Oh hey, Philly Nerds. We’re on a roll celebrating all that is nerdy in our great city. We had a great PSF-edition of Nerd Nite on the 29th, but now, back to our regularly scheduled program: May Nerd Nite.

 

What do we have planned? Well let’s get right down to business:

 

First up is “The Dangers of Democratization: The Story of Cote d’Ivoire” by Anne Frugé

In 1990, multiparty-democracy was introduced to Ivory Coast with strongman Houphouet Boigny at the helm. By 1993 Houphouet was dead, a power vacuum loomed, and the country was torn apart by political feuds. Ultimately the question of which Ivoirians should be considered citizens led to a civil war that lasted from 2002 to 2008 and La Crise of 2010. Based on recent field research, this Nerd Nite talk explains what happens when a country tries to democratize before important milestones in political and economic development have been reached.

About Anne: Anne Frugé is a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland researching (and teaching) politics of the developing world and ethnic violence. She has conducted field work in Ghana and Ivory Coast. Her husband, Phillip Gray, is so supportive of her work that he travelled to West Africa with her in 2014.

Next we have Michelle Feldman presenting “The Science of Recycling: Wait, What’s a Dirty MRF?”

What happens after your recyclables are picked up? Join your plastic bottles and milk cartons as they head to a Materials Recovery Facility, get crushed and melted, and then end up as a park bench or a jacket. This Nerd Nite talk will explore how various recyclables are broken down and re-made in to every day objects.

About Michelle: Michelle is the Executive Director of Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, a nonprofit organization dedicated to litter abatement and recycling education and promotion. She is not a scientist, but she is nerdy (just ask anyone, really!). Before her time at KPB, she was the Commercial Corridor Manager for the Frankford Community Development Corporation, where she gained a new love for Philadelphia and its neighborhoods. She holds a BA in Political Science from Brandeis University, and a Masters in Public Policy from Drexel (see, told you she’s not a scientist).  
Lastly, Nerd Nite regular Ben Leach will discuss “Jedi Junk: Oddball Merchandise from a Galaxy Far, Far Away”

Have you guys heard of this movie series called Star Wars? It’s pretty popular. And it survives thanks to merchandise. The total amount of money all of the Star Wars films have made at the global box office totals over $4 billion, but the total sales of toys for the franchise totals $12 billion. However, you don’t make and sell that much merchandise without a few missteps along the way. Nerd Nite utility player Ben Leach lets you ride shotgun in his T-16 Skyhopper as he discusses some of the stranger characters that were immortalized as action figures, the even stranger choices that were made when it came to merchandising popular characters, and some items that were clearly thought of after a rough bout of hibernation sickness and thus were never, ever sold, probably for the best.

About Ben: Ben Leach is a medical writer based in Southern New Jersey. He was dragged to his first flea market when he was a month old, and ever since then, he’s been on the hunt for weird and eclectic items that remind him of what it was like to be a kid in the 1980s and 1990s. He sometimes provides updates on his family’s website collectorgene.com. Previously, he’s spoken at Nerd Nite about brainy supervillains, foreign movie posters, his Mr. T collection, and he hosted a game show based on the 1984 Sears Wishbook.

 
Cover is $5, which gets you admission to learn from some local nerds as well as hear some new music from local band the Black Mariah, all while enjoying happy hour prices at the always accommodating Frankford Hall.

 

When: Wednesday, May 6

What time: Doors open at 4pm. Show starts at 7:30pm

How much: $5 cover gets you admission plus happy hour specials all night

Where: Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19125

Be there and be square!

Nerd Nite Philly

Nerd Nite PSF-Edition: Busting Science Myths Left and Right!

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Yo Nerds!

Happy Science Festival! We’ve got a great edition of Nerd Nite brought to you in conjunction with the Philadelphia Science Festival. We’ll be busting myths for you fine folks and entertaining you with one of our favorite nerdy bands, Los Festingos!

So what’s in store? We’re taking cryptozoology, gluten free diets, and forensic science to task– what’s truth, what’s fiction, what is still unknown? Intrigued? Join us! Note that the pre-sale tickets for this event  are *sold out* but we’re still selling tickets at the door! Get there early because we do expect a crowd!

Cryptozoology: Hidden Animals or Figments of Imagination  by Ned Gilmore
By definition, cryptozoology is the study of hidden animal species. Many  however call this a pseudoscience focusing on animal species conjured up by human imaginations. But, are there unknown species not yet revealed? Are there animals thought to be lost to time still secretly living on the Earth? Myths, facts, and recent scientific discoveries will be discussed!

Gluten Free, the craze that’s sweeping the nation by Stephanie Moleski
Dr. Stephanie Moleski is Assistant professor of Medicine at Jefferson Hospital in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Her clinical and research interest include celiac disease and gluten related disorders. She will discuss the differences between gluten intolerance and celiac disease and help explore some truths and myths regarding these disorders No fear – gluten containing beer will be served.

And last but not least will be  No Sh*t Sherlock: Forensic Fiction and Fallacies by Kimberlee Moran

TV and crime novels would have us believe that a DNA profile takes a matter of minute and a CSI crew can fingerprint your front lawn.  Learn some truth behind popular depictions of forensic science as well as some forensic facts that are stranger than fiction.

 

When: Wednesday, April 29

What time: Doors open at 4pm. Show starts at 7:30pm

How much: $5 cover gets you admission plus happy hour specials all night

Where: Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19125

 

Be there and be square!

XOXO,

Your friendly Nerd Nite Philly Team