Nerd Nite No. 42: Oktoberfest! Conjoined Twins! The Science of Being Spooked! Plus entertainment by the One Man Sideshow

Yo Nerds!

Are you ready for the October edition of Nerd Nite Philly? 
We have a little something for everyone ranging from the history of beer to the science of being scared 
and a wild card with a talk about conjoined twins by an expert from the Mutter Museum. But there’s more! 
Friend of Nerd Nite, David Darwin, will be once again performing his One Man Sideshow act for 
our entertainment.
Without further ado, the discussions at hand:
"Beer, Brats, and Bavaria: A History of Oktoberfest" by John Ceccatti

The first Oktoberfest was celebrated in 1810 to honor the marriage of the Bavarian Crown Prince. The early
festivities included a horse race and a display of local agricultural products. Munich brewers joined the
event later in the 19th century, although the malty amber lager they served likely emerged much earlier 
in response to the Reinheitsgebot, the 16th-century Bavarian brewing law that prohibited brewing during 
the warm summer months. To comply, Bavarians brewed a stronger beer in March – Märzen in German – that was 
stored in cool caves and would be drinkable all the way to October. As this year’s Oktoberfest draws to 
a close, it seemed like an opportune moment to explore the connection between beer and history in Bavaria. 
 
About John: John Ceccatti, a lecturer in the history of science at the University of Pennsylvania, studies 
the history of the German brewing industry. Although he has visited Oktoberfest in the past, he would rather 
enjoy German gemütlichkeit in Munich’s famed englischer Garten or at the Andechs monastery in the 
Bavarian countryside.


Tom Knabe will talk about The Science of Fear: Why Haunted Houses Scare Us

Millions of people attend haunted attractions every year for the thrill of being scared. But what causes 
us to be fearfully startled? Tom Knabe, Creative Director for Fright Factory haunted attraction in 
South Philadelphia, has been in the industry for 9+ years and will go over many of the classic and modern 
scenarios haunted attractions use to maximize fear levels.


"Conjoined Twins: Together Forever?" by Marcy Engleman
They say twins are close, but conjoined twins take that to the extreme. Monsters, freaks of nature, 
abominations: all things people have thought about conjoined, or “Siamese” twins. How do conjoined twins 
happen? This talk will highlight these amazing people throughout history, their origins, lives, and for 
some, separation.

About Marcy: Marcy Engleman is the Museum Educator at the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of 
Philadelphia. She is proudly a committee member of the Museum Educators Roundtable. Marcy graduated from Penn 
State University with a BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Science and at home, she maintains her own personal zoo 
of reptiles and a bird. Marcy is the mother of twin girls.

Plus Entertainment by David Darwin!
The logistics:
Wednesday, October 1
Doors open at 4pm. Show starts at 7:30pm
$5 cover gets you happy hour specials all night plus admission to this fantastic night
Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19125

Be there and be square!

Love,
The Nerd Nite Philly Squad


Nerd Nite No. 41: Come for the knowledge, stay for the beer and awesome Philly nerds

Ready for Nerd Nite Number 41 on Wednesday, September 3?  The Nerd Nite Philly team is pleased to present you with…

Naomi Hampson will present “From Underwear to Gutenberg: The Rise of Movable Type Printing”

Why did it take until the second half of the 15th century for moveable type printing to be developed? A number of technological, sociological, and fashion changes all converged to make moveable type printing not only possible, but necessary. This talk will trace those changes and explain how underwear ultimately led to the printing revolution.

About Naomi: Naomi Hampson recently graduated from the Drexel University Department of Materials Science and Engineering, where she studied human bone. In completely unrelated research, she studies the history of European printing. She is currently trying to recreate a medieval printing ink, and has happily and safely learned from her failures, which included a fireball. In her spare time, she is involved with the Society for Creative Anachronisms, which lets her develop these interests within a hands on medieval research framework. While still looking for a job in her actual field of study, she is opening a coffee shop in Philadelphia, which will be called Philly Grinds.

 

Trevor McElroy will discuss “”Boundaries, names, and expansion; a history of the map of Philadelphia”

About Trevor: Trevor McElroy is a Philly tour guide and “free lance historian”. He gives all types of tours in and around Philly, and has been a guide at Bartram’s Garden for a several years. He is also an Association of Phila. Tour Guides (APT) certified guide and board member. Trevor also has the fine distinction of being a Nerd Nite Philly alumnus who has proudly represented Philadelphia at Nerd Nite Global Fest in NYC.

 

Chris Cummins will share his thoughts about “The Greatest Pop Culture Board Games Ever Made”

Throughout the years there have been countless board games based on everything from Kojak to Bigfoot. They are wondrous! In this talk, Nerd Nite Philly co-boss/pop culture historian Chris Cummins will examine the coolest classic board games around, and offer up his skewed views on why these pastimes will never go out of style.

About Chris: Chris Cummins is a Philadelphia-based writer who regularly contributes to Geekadelphia, Den of Geek US, Topless Robot and his own site, Hibernation Sickness. He’ll be hosting the upcoming Sci-Fi Explosion and Doctor Who Trivia/Costume Contest next month as part of New York Super Week. You can find him on Twitter @bionicbigfoot.

 

Our musical guest will by local singer Victoria Watts!

The specifics:

Wednesday September 3

Show starts at 7:30pm

Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Avenue

*Seating is first come first serve. Standing room after the tables fill*

$5 cover gets you admission and happy hour specials all evening

Be there!
The Nerd Nite Team Philly

Nerd Nite No. 40: Is it True That Size Isn’t All the Matters? Plus the wacky world of enhancement drugs and controversial librarians!

We’re ready to rock you with another line up of Philadelphia’s finest Nerds on Wednesday, August 13. Here are all the details you could want:

“It’s Not Just Size That Matters: Conflict, Competition and Dominance in the Animal World” by Marina Haynes Many people think that to be the “top dog” you have to be bigger and stronger than your opponent. Size definitely helps but that not the only thing influencing how groups of animals interact. Learn about the many ways animals (and people) deal with conflict and competition and learn to be a better observer of behavior in the process!

 

Bio: Marina Haynes is the Curator of KidZooU at the Philadelphia Zoo, the Zoo’s newest exhibit and largest in its history. Her academic background is in animal behavior and has conducted research on animal play behavior. At the Zoo, she is responsible for the management of the widest range of animal taxa in any one area including birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and fish. Her passion is training animals and people using positive reinforcement techniques.

 

“Drugs are good? A history of “enhancement” drug use in policy, sport, and life” by Ross Aikins What do Nazis, Francis Crick, Lance Armstrong, The Beatles, and one in eight college students have in common? They all use drugs to better (and sometimes worse). From substances of enlightenment to substances of abuse, the complex, enduring relationship between people and drugs continues to evolve. Somewhere along the way in America, we decided that some drugs were good, some were bad, and sometimes we changed our minds. This talk shouldn’t make you want to reconsider doing drugs, but it might make you reconsider “drugs.”

 

Bio: Ross Aikins got into drug and health research as a “recovering Californian” from UCLA, and is currently on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, where he specializes in college student health, military veteran populations, and other issues in higher education. Prior to coming to Philadelphia less than a year ago (!), he studied so-called “enhancement drug use” in literature, science, war, sport, and society as an NIH postdoctoral fellow in New York City—focusing specifically on the nonmedical use of Ritalin, Adderall and other stimulant medications among college students. When not boldly exploring the menu of “Wawa” or practicing his pronunciation of Philly suburbs, Ross enjoys comedy and general NBA nerdery. A chapter he co-wrote on PED use in college athletics will appear in the book Scandals in College Sports, to be released in March.

 

“Unexpected results from a lifetime of microplannning:random chance, unconscious schematics,finding an adversary, going viral without getting sick & the Great Librarian War of 2014” by Kyle Cassidy In early 2014 Kyle Cassidy published what seemed to be an innocuous photo essay about librarians in Slate magazine. Within hours it went viral and ultimately became the most viewed series of photos Slate had ever published. Unexpectedly controversial, it spawned a documentary, narrated by Neil Gaiman, attracted the attention of publishers and began an intense discussion about image, body image, and the future of libraries that is still resonating.

 

Bio: Kyle Cassidy is the award winning photographer behind the documentary photo books “Armed America: Portraits of Gun Owners in their Homes” and “War Paint: Tattoo Culture and the Armed Forces”. He most recently photographed “Geek Knits”, a book about knitting and nerds written by Joan of Dark and published by St. Martins Press, it comes out in December. Currently he’s hard at work photographing science fiction writers desks and roller derby players. www.kylecassidy.com @kylecassidy

 

Plus, music by Tom Kelly. Think nerdy videogame-inspired tunes.

 

As always, we’ll be at Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Avenue.

Show starts at 7:30 sharp.

Cover is $5

Be there and be square!

Nerd Nite No. 39: Taphophobia! Drunk Science! Entomogaphy!

Hey-Yo Nerds!

Ready for Nerd Nite Number 39 on Wednesday, July 9? Here’s what’s in store:

“The Dead Alive: The Victorian Fear of Premature Burial” by Megan Rosenbloom

Librarian Megan Rosenbloom, director of Death Salon, takes you on an exploration of the Victorian obsession with premature burial based on books from the era, and how those hilariously lurid books inspired the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Megan will delve into some of the purported tales of live burial, the entrepreneurs who made safety coffins, the societies formed to protect against this primal fear, and how this fear trickles down into our modern culture.

Bio: Megan Rosenbloom is a medical librarian at the University of Southern California, where she manages the medical rare book collection. Megan is the director of Death Salon, an event that brings together intellectuals, artists, and death professionals to share their work in the culture of mortality and mourning. Death Salon New York will be held at Morbid Anatomy Museum in October 2015. Megan is currently traveling and doing research for her first book in medical library special collections.

“Alcohol Induced Science” by Cole Smith

Alcoholic beverages aren’t only good for drinking, in fact they’ve lead to some interesting science.  I’ll be discussing three discoveries during this talk: the use of beer foam to model atomic motion, making diamonds out of tequila, and which wine makes the best superconductor.  I’m hoping this talk will not only entertain but inform people on the benefits of these experiments, and maybe make some home-brewed atomic modelers in the crowd.  Please clean up your beer if you decide to do so.
Bio: Cole received his B.S. at Boise State University in Materials Science and moved to Philadelphia to work on my Ph.D. in the same field at Drexel.  He’s planning on graduating in January. His recent work focuses on the creation of new materials by stacking atoms one layer at a time.  He also gets to characterize these new materials using a decent arsenal of equipment.  Before his work on new materials, he was studying corrosion of aerospace alloys and had the opportunity to work on the F-22 project.

“Eat Bugs, What?” By Isa Betancourt

A year ago the United Nations stated that we ought to be munching and crunching on more 6 legged critters. Say what? For many people, the FDA limit of 4 insect larvae per 1lb of frozen berries adds more than enough bugs to their diet. We’ll explore why we should increase the number of bugs in our diet. Let’s flip that around… Why aren’t we eating bugs? About 2 billion people on the planet eat bugs normally and our primate relatives chow down bugs. So what happened to us?

Bio: Isa Betancourt has been a Curatorial Assistant of Entomology at the Academy of Natural Sciences since receiving her Entomology degree from Cornell University. When she is not in the depths of the Academy’s collection, caring and organizing the 4 million dead insect specimens, you can find her wading around in Swann Fountain collecting insects with her fish net.

Plus! Local singer-songwriter Kerry Justine will provide the musical interludes.

Wednesday, July 9
Show starts at 7:30pm
**Seats are first come first serve. Standing room available after the tables fill up!**
Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Avenue
$5 cover gets you admission and happy hour specials all evening

 

Be there and be square!

Nerd Nite No. 38: Grey Matter– Plastinated Brains, Morton’s Skulls, and Cerebral Supervillans

Greetings Nerds!

Are you ready for an extra-brainy Nerd Nite? Join us on Wednesday, June 11 for our next edition of Nerd Nite, featuring talks on that very special super computer we all have inside our heads. This special Nerd Nite in collaboration with the Franklin Institute’s Science After Hours program features a little something for everyone: software to visualize the brain, skull collecting, and a review of brainy characters in popular culture. Want more? We’ll have local video game developers Cipher Prime on hand for some brain games for your entertainment.

Check back soon for more details, but in the meantime…

The line up:

Brandon Zimmerman: Confessions of a 19th- Century Skull Collector

When it comes to collecting skulls, no one did it better than Philadelphia’s own, Dr. Samuel George Morton. Aided by a fiercely loyal and tireless network of skull collectors, Morton amassed the world’s largest collection of skulls and redefined Philadelphia’s relationship with the dead. Featuring stories about some of Morton’s most famous skulls and infamous skull collectors – from medical dissections to bloodthirsty pirates, from raided Egyptian tombs to Philadelphia’s own serial killers – it’s bound to be the best 20 minutes of entertainment involving a disembodied head since Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Say it with me… Meka Leka Hi Meka Hiney Ho!!

Bio: Brandon Zimmerman is an award-winning illustrator, museum exhibition designer, historian, and photographer. He has worked as a consultant for a national forensic firm, a vaccine manufacturer, and several local museums. He also has an unhealthy fascination with tapeworms and an even unhealthier love of Chinese buffets and bad 80s comedies. Over the past 5 years, most of his time has been spent researching shrunken heads, books bound in human skin, and the history of the Samuel George Morton Cranial Collection, so yeah… pity his social life. You can contact him and see more of his work at www.brandozim.com

Jayatri Das: Your Brain Creates Your World

What is reality? Your brain creates a reality for you that’s different from anyone else’s, and scientists are still trying to figure out how your brain does it. Test your brain in a series of minds-on activities that investigate memory, attention, and language to discover how you perceive a unique world around you. What questions emerge from these “brain tricks” that will shape the future of brain science?

Bio: Jayatri Das is Chief Bioscientist at The Franklin Institute and a Fellow of the Center for Neuroscience & Society at the University of Pennsylvania. She has developed the science content for Your Brain, an exhibition about neuroscience and psychology of the human brain scheduled to open on June 14. When she’s not engaged in science outreach, she enjoys her ongoing at-home experiment with early childhood development, also known as her three-year-old twins.

Ben Leach: Brains Not Guaranteed: The Stupid Schemes of Supposedly Super Smart Supervillains

If you are a fictional character with an enlarged or exposed brain, chances are you’re going to eventually become a supervillain. Often, these clever creeps brag about how intelligent they are and how they are the masterminds behind the perfect plans to stop our favorite heroes and heroines. Thankfully, decades of pop culture have preserved many moments in which we’re able to catch these smart scoundrels with their pants down. From B-movie brain monsters to cartoon and comic supervillains, we’ll be highlighting some especially stupid moments involving fictional characters who should be in MENSA.

Bio: Ben Leach is a New Jersey-based science and medical writer. However, he is also a collector of the eclectic and unusual, especially if it’s something that relates to his childhood from the 1980s and 1990s. He has been a published author on collectibles since he was 19, with work appearing in Lee’s Toy Review, Toyfare, and about.com. Currently, he operates a website dedicated to antiques and collectibles with his family called The Collector Gene (www.collectorgene.com)

Plus: Interactive games from innovative local developer Cipher Prime will be available to try out between speakers!

The particulars:

Wednesday, June 11

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

$5 cover gets you happy hour specials all night plus admission to this fantastic night

Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Ave.

Philadelphia, PA 19125