Nerd Nite No. 44: Dickens! Mutter Museum! Dark Matter! And a Special Holiday Contest

Are you fine folks ready for the final Nerd Nite of 2014? We sure hope so, since we have an extra special lineup planned. And you won’t be able to get another dose of nerdy action at Frankford Hall until February! We’ll be at Frankford Hall the first Wednesday of the month so mark your calendars now: February 4, March 4, April 1, you get the picture.

Now without further ado, the topics for the final 2014 Nerd Nite:

“From Picked to Pickled: True Tales of the Mütter Museum” by Anna Dhody

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes of America’s most Disturbingly Informative museum? Join Curator Anna Dhody for some true tales of the Mütter Museum!
Bio: Anna N. Dhody is a human, female, successful propagator of half of her genetic material, and a bibliophile. She suffers from coulrophobia and arachnophobia (but only at the same time), and has a weakness for hedgehogs. When not cooking for her two boys (one offspring, one spousal) she is also the Director of the Mütter Institute and Curator of the Mütter Museum.

“Charles Dickens and the Haunting of Christmas” by Edward Pettit

For a time in the 19th Century, when readers bought the Christmas issue of a magazine, they did not expect to be regaled with tales of good will to all men and visions of sugar plumb fairies. Instead they expected it to contain a tale or two that would chill their very souls— a tale they would read aloud around their hearth on Christmas Eve with the wind whistling down their chimneys and the world outside still and silent.  Ghosts and spirits would rise from the pages and haunt their dreams.  And the man responsible for the Christmas Ghost Story tradition: Charles Dickens.

Edward G Pettit is a Philadelphia writer, professor, book reviewer, film presenter, public lecturer  and all around literary provocateur.  He is known as the Philly Poe Guy, but also recently served as the Charles Dickens Ambassador for the Free Library of Philadelphia’s yearlong Bicentenary celebration of the author’s birth in 2012 and wrote the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion’s 2013 murder mystery play, Twisted, in which he played Dickens.  Pettit will be reading one of Dickens’s Christmas books, The Cricket on the Hearth at the Maxwell Mansion on December 13.

And Christina Love presents “Join the DarkSide: Dark Matter Matters”

Dark matter makes up over 80% of all the matter in the universe. We don’t know what it is. We can indirectly see dark matter by the gravity that it produces, but we have yet to directly detect it. There are three ways that researchers are currently looking for dark matter: particle detectors, particle accelerators, and excess particles.

Bio: Christina Love received her PhD from Temple University where her work focused on the direct detection of dark matter with the DarkSide Collaboration and she completed her postdoctoral work at the Transportation Security Laboratory working on the detection of explosives for aviation security. She is currently an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Physics at Drexel University where she works on education and outreach. For example, she is the founder of Start Talking Science, an event where researchers present non technical posters to the general public.

And a special holiday treat for everyone: Nerd Nite veteran Ben Leach will be mixing up our usual entertainment segment with a special Price Is Right style contest featuring the 1984 Sears Wish Book! It’s going to be incredible retro fun!

The logistics:

Wednesday, December 3
Doors open at 4pm. Show starts at 7:30pm
$5 cover gets you admission plus happy hour specials all night
Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19125

Nerd Nite No. 43: Fungus, Braille Art, Hacking and Poetry

Us Nerd Nite bosses–you know, the fine folks who organize the monthly celebration of nerdiness at Frankford Hall–are quite pleased with November’s line up of speakers and local entertainment. Where else in Philly are you going to learn about zombie fungus and computer hacking, meet the creators of #BrailleStreetArt, and enjoy some spoken word poetry all in one place? Well, if there is somewhere else, we imagine that liters of beer and excessively large German pretzels aren’t involved.

Without further ado, the topics at hand:

Fungal A.I. – Zombie fungus and mold logic by Samuel Bledsoe

Fungus acts in ways similar to some basic computing algorithms. The focus is on Cordyceps, a parasitic fungus that controls ants for its reproductive needs.

 
#BrailleStreetArt: Where Art and Accessibility Meet by Austin Seraphin and Sonia Petruse

Meet the creators of #BrailleStreetArt, the Philly Geek Award winning project that combines the social, political & tactile processes of art and accessibility. Sonia Petruse & Austin Seraphin will discuss the origin of the project, how their personal & professional affiliations in Philadelphia inspire them and what’s next.

 
And What the Hack? A glimpse into the dark art of computer hacking by Dylan Pierce

Ever wonder how websites get hacked? Ex-hacker and former IT Security Administrator Dylan Pierce shares a glimpse into the history and culture of hacking, from phone phreaking to modern day hacktivism and SecOps. This includes a demonstration of one of the oldest but still most frequently used attacks to compromise databases. Don’t try it at home. Actually yea, you can totally try it at home just don’t use it on someone else’s site. That’s very illegal. Just don’t do it

 
F. Omar Telan presents POEMS OF THE APOCALYPSE (including MY HEART AND OTHER TEEN AGED MELODRAMAS) with A SLIDESHOW OF DOOM and INCIDENTAL MUSIC OF DESPAIR!!! or, you know, something

More questions? Well you better just stop by and ask our illustrious presenters yourself!
The logistics:
Wednesday, November 5
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!
The Nerd Nite Philly Squad

 

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!