Nerd Nite No. 72: A Celebration of One Book One Philadelphia!

Our March Nerd Nite is part of One Book, One Philadelphia, a signature program of the Free Library of Philadelphia that promotes literacy, library usage, and citywide conversation by encouraging the Philadelphia area to come together through reading and discussing a single book. The 2017 featured selection is Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”

Ian Sheffer will give us a talk on Medical Puzzles.

Say the words “medical” and “puzzle” and most people think of exotic diseases, odd symptoms, quirky travels, and the TV show House. Of course, these strange and unusual cases do occur, but the reality of day-to-day medical puzzles is much more complex–and far more interesting. I will discuss how activism, art, and politics helped science and medicine solve the puzzles of the AIDS epidemic and turn HIV from a death sentence into a manageable chronic disease. I will also discuss the many pieces of the puzzle that have to fit together for HIV treatment to be successful for patients living with the virus today.

Ian G. Sheffer, MD, MBe is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine. He earned undergraduate degrees in Philosophy and Biology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, a Master’s degree in Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, and completed his medical training at Temple University School of Medicine and Temple University Hospital. He currently practices and teaches in Philadelphia at Hahnemann University Hospital, Partnership Comprehensive Care Practice, and the Dorothy Mann Center for Pediatric and Adolescent HIV at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. When he’s not at the bedside, you’ll likely find Dr. Sheffer at the Bucks County Curling Club throwing rocks down sheets of ice.

Thomas Rush will give us a brief glimpse into Coordination and Computing.

Starting with the Byzantine General’s Problem, moving to the idea of consensus, and moving into Bitcoin and then Ethereum, I will discuss a series of four “problems” and their subsequent “solutions” which have come together over the last 50 years to bring us the programmable, immutable, shared public data store that we have today. I will end with an example of they types of software this new software platform enables.

Thomas Jay Rush owns his own Internet-based software company, Great Hill Corporation, founded in the dark days prior to the Internet. In 2012, Mr. Rush took an MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry from Rosemont College. Until late 2015, he taught writing and poetry at the Community College of Philadelphia. In late 2015, Mr. Rush encountered Ethereum. Since then he has been full-time, night and day, blockchain focused. His new firm,, aims to deliver blockchain data analytics at speed.

Graham Dobereiner will Catalyze us into action!

What is catalysis, and why study it? I’ll be describing the history of the field of catalysis, how it became the obsession of so many scientists, and go over what my research group is doing at Temple. Light jokes will be served.

Graham Dobereiner is an assistant professor of chemistry at Temple University. He’s been at Temple since 2014, where he runs a research group and teach classes. Before Temple he got his PhD at Yale (2011) and did a postdoc at MIT.

Our entertainment portion of the evening will be hosted by Kalela Williams, who will lead us through a bit of book talk & trivia.

Kalela Williams has been the director of One Book, One Philadelphia since 2012. In her spare time she enjoys creative writing, and her most recent work appears in Calyx: A Journal of Art & Literature by Women, and Drunken Boat. She is currently working on a novel.

The details:
Doors open at 4pm. Show at 7:30pm. We recommend you get there early to ensure getting a good seat!
Wednesday, March 1st
Frankford Hall
1210 Frankford Avenue

Nerd Nite No. 71: Activism, Animal Rescue, and the Canine Biome

Our first Nerd Nite of 2017 will feature talks by Gilberto Gonzalez, Lindsay Condefer, and Ana Misic.

Lindsay Condefer will discuss her work with Street Tails Animal Rescue

Bio: Lindsay founded Street Tails Animal Rescue in 2001, shortly after opening Philadelphia’s first natural pet boutique. Since then she’s helped save the homeless and unwanted animals in our area….with a focus on those with special needs. As the universe would have it, 4 yrs ago (almost to date), she took in a foster pup who was born with a double cleft nose, lip and palate. That pup flourished beyond any medical expectations and has been dubbed the “ambassadog” for children with Craniofacial differences. She doesn’t know where the universe will take her in the future, but is thankful to be able to spread the word on kindness and hoping to make (even a small difference) as she continue to help the lives that we save along the way.

Ana Misic will give a talk called “The Canine Microbiome: What’s Living On Your Dog?”

Dogs are our best friends and we share a lot with them, including our germs! In this talk, I will explore the canine microbiome (the collection of bacteria, viruses, and fungi) living in and on your dog and also how this knowledge can help us improve human health as well as the health of your pet.

Bio: Ana Misic is from California, has a degree in Chemistry and Microbiology at the University of California – Santa Barbara. She obtained her Ph.D. in Biomolecular Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in the lab of Dr. Daniel Beiting. She studies staph infections and GI diseases in humans and animals.

Filmmaker, writer and activist Gilberto González will discuss his work.

Bio: González published “Three Rings” a shockingly sexy, gritty and humorous fictional memoir that captures the flavor of growing up in the hood and is roughly based on his relationships with women in his adolescence. González says that he “wanted Three Rings to focus on life in the hood but from the point of view of interpersonal relationships.” Three Rings weaves into the pages many of González’s powerful paintings of urban landscapes to underscore the themes of the book, which was a runner-up in the New York Book Festival.

PLUS: Wear your nerdiest T-shirt and prepare to tell the crowd about it for fame, admiration, respect and maybe even a prize, as the Nerd Nite Dry T-Shirt Contest returns tonight!

The details:
Doors open at 4pm. Show at 7:30pm. We recommend you get there early to ensure getting a good seat!
Wednesday, February 1st
Frankford Hall
1210 Frankford Avenue

Nerd Nite No. 70: Tobacco, Aphasia, Superspreaders, and the glorious return of The Cost is Correct!

Stephanie Gervasi will present “Disease Superspreaders”

“Superspreaders” are individuals who contribute disproportionately to the spread of infectious disease. Identifying the unique physiological and behavioral characteristics of superspreaders may be key to predicting when and where epidemics and disease-driven extinctions will occur. I will discuss how the integration of tools and principles from the fields of epidemiology, immunology and behavioral ecology has guided my past and present research about the dynamics of infectious disease in wildlife populations and risk of zoonotic pathogen transmission to humans.

Steph Gervasi is a postdoctoral scientist at Monell Chemical Senses Center (@MonellSc) who is fascinated by parasites and pathogens. As a disease ecologist, she endeavors to understand the factors that drive extinctions and epidemics in wildlife and increase the risk of pathogen spillover from wildlife to humans. Steph got her PhD in Zoology at Oregon State University, her MS in Natural Resources at the University of Michigan, and is thrilled to be currently living in the beautiful city of Philadelphia. She would love to talk to you about her favorite parasite-inspired horror movies and why toads are the coolest animals on the planet.

Sadhvi Saxena will present “More than Words – Tales of The Unspeakable Brain”

Imagine you want to say “I love you,” but you can’t actually speak the words. Imagine you have a gluten allergy, but you can’t read the ingredient list. Imagine that this happens all of the time, despite the fact that your intelligence, thoughts and consciousness are intact. Some stroke and brain injury survivors have to deal with this frustration everyday, because they have what is known as aphasia. Aphasia hinders one’s ability to speak, write and understand both written and verbal language. This talk will introduce the audience to the diversity of aphasia, it will discuss the brain and aphasia research from a clinical perspective, and it will delve into innovative methods for aphasia treatment.

Sadhvi is a shameless lover of broken brains. For 6 exciting years, she has been researching brain injury, dementia, and the use of noninvasive brain stimulation to study and treat brain disorders. When not working with patients or playing with data, she advocates for the development of personalized, continued, and affordable rehabilitation. She received her M.S. in Clinical Investigation from Boston University and is currently finishing up her M.H.S at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Ryan Coffman will present “The Tobacco Industry: Behind the Smoke and Mirrors”

The talk would focus on the Tobacco Industry’s extensive history of deception and manipulation to promulgate the tobacco epidemic domestically and globally. This includes denying that nicotine is addictive concealing the harms of second hand smoke and general industry manipulation of scientific evidence and public health efforts to reduce adult and youth smoking. I would reference real industry quotes secured by litigation and actual campaigns the industry has launched to targeting vulnerable populations.

Ryan Coffman, MPH, CHES, CTTS-M is the Tobacco Policy and Control Program Manager for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.  In this role, he seeks to reduce adult and youth tobacco use smoking through out the city through policy, systems, and environmental strategies. Such as preventing youth tobacco use, helping tobacco users quit, mass media campaigns, and clean indoor and outdoor air laws. This presentation he will expose the source of the tobacco epidemic and pandemic. The Tobacco Industry itself.

Entertainment by Nerd Nite Favorite Ben Leach, who returns with Sears Wishbook “The Cost is Correct” trivia!

The details:
Doors open at 4pm. Show at 7:30pm. We recommend you get there early to ensure getting a good seat!
Wednesday, December 7th
Frankford Hall
1210 Frankford Avenue

Nerd Nite No. 69: l’Unifolié, Inside the Foot, Film Noir and more!

Changing Canada’s Flag

Ever wonder how our Neighbors to the North chose their iconic flag? Come listen to this tale of political intrigue that starts with winning a Nobel Prize, ends in death threats, and leaves a certain college professor salty fifty years after the fact.

Simon “the Cannibal” Joseph (@Cannibal_Simon) is, among other things, the host of the much neglected podcast, The Vexillogicast. He’s also co-boss of Philly Nerd Nite and hosts board game nights at both Frankford Hall and South House. Finally, seeing as it’s election season, he’ll gladly talk your ear off about mixed-member proportional representation and how deeply flawed our current election system is.

The Ground Connection: Why You Should Be Aware of Your Feet

26 bones, 33 joints, and over a hundred small muscles and small tendons; and that’s just one of them. The human foot is one of the more intricate, complex and fascinating parts of the human body. Acting as the sole connection through ourselves and the earth below, we rely heavily on our feet to guide us through our day and allow us to participate in all the activity we love to do. Have you ever wondered how and why our feet are made to function the way they are? Have you ever looked down at them and wondered why the hell they hurt so bad? Join us as I take you on a journey of the foot and offer all the reasons why you need to be more aware of them than ever before.

My name is Dr. Matthew Klayman (@MatthewKlayman) and I am a Physical Therapist at Zarett Rehab and Fitness located in the Rittenhouse area. I recently graduated from Rutgers University with my Doctorate of Physical Therapy and have a strong passion in the treatment and understanding of orthopedic issues related to the lower extremity and foot. I have also attained my ACSM Health Fitness Specialist and a Bachelor of Sciences in Kinesiology at Penn State University. I am a runner in my spare time, completing two marathons and countless half marathons as well and have developed a particular interest in all types of running shoes. Although I am from New Jersey I have made a home in Philadelphia currently residing in the Queens Village neighborhood.

Distressing the Damsel

Playwright Jeremy Gable will explore the history of film noir, how it changed the way we watch movies, and how its typically male-driven world is bringing in some diamond-tough ladies in the upcoming rock cabaret “Nowhere Fast”.

Jeremy Gable (@Jeremy_Gable) is a local playwright whose works have been seen at Philadelphia Theatre Company, InterAct, Theatre Exile, Azuka, and Theatre Horizon. He writes about the triumphs and struggles of women in the 21st century. As the Resident Playwright for Sam Tower + Ensemble, he penned the script to last year’s Fringe Festival hit “901 Nowhere Street”, as well as the upcoming “Nowhere Fast”. He spends his day just trying to figure this whole damn thing out.

Entertainment by local artist Mike “FonzaRelli” Roberts! Check out his music here:

The details:
Doors open at 4pm. Show at 7:30pm. We recommend you get there early to ensure getting a good seat!
Wednesday, November 2nd
Frankford Hall
1210 Frankford Avenue

Nerd Nite No. 68: Archives Month! D&D, VHS Horror, & the Public History Truck

We’re excited to once again participate in Archives Month! Here’s what’s in store for you:

Matt Shoemaker: Dungeons and Dragons

Archivists working “in the field” with communities to assemble and collect archival collections is a difficult but important process for preserving historic narratives. This is no different with the communities that created tabletop and role playing games (RPGs) in the 1960s, especially Dungeons and Dragons. Over the past four years I have been working with these men and women on behalf of a Dungeons & Dragons film documentary project in order to gather, organize, and describe original and digitized material related to the early history of RPGs. This talk should be of interest to any archivist curious about working with communities to build archival collections and to anyone who wants to learn more about the materials I found while filming the documentary and what it was like to “collect” them.

Matt Shoemaker has worked to build the digital scholarship program on Temple’s campus since 2013. He has created and given workshops in several areas of digital scholarship including making technologies (3D printing, 3D scanning, physical computing, photogrammetry), basics of GIS for digital scholarship, creating digital exhibitions, textual analysis, data cleanup, project design, games for education and as historical models and other DS areas. Prior to coming to Temple University, Shoemaker worked for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania where he led the development of HSP’s digital library, digitization program, and co-authored several successful grant proposals for digital projects. Shoemaker holds an MA in history, focused on French empire in North Africa, and an MLIS with a concentration in archives; both received from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. He is currently assisting with a project at the Philadelphia Museum of Art focused on digital uses for their Marcel Duchamp collections as well as co-producing a documentary on the history of Dungeons and Dragons.

David J. Gary: Collecting Horror and Exploitation VHS Tapes

In early 2015, Yale purchased nearly 3,000 horror and exploitation VHS tapes from a private collector in Ohio. The project was conceived to help scholars explore the connections between the emergence of the prerecorded video industry, the development of the horror and exploitation genres, and the growing concern of materiality in media. This talk will focus on why and how Yale purchased this collection, its importance beyond mere nostalgia, and the problems of managing a VHS collection. With the last new VCRs rolling off the production lines a few months ago, it is an opportune moment to take stock of the role of video tape in the production of culture.

David J. Gary is the Curator of Printed Materials at the American Philosophical Society, where he builds, interprets, and promotes collections. Before moving to Philadelphia in June, he was the Kaplanoff Librarian for American History at Yale University Library. At Yale, David was the liaison to the history, American Studies, and African American Studies departments and performed collection development duties in the area of American history. One of his large projects at Yale was co-founding the Yale Horror and Exploitation VHS Collection, which is the basis for his talk tonight. He has a PhD in American history, with an emphasis on early America and the history of the book, from the City University of New York’s Graduate Center.

Erin Bernard: Public History Truck

The Philadelphia Public History Truck is Philly’s own mobile museum, but it does not simply bring history to the people. It makes exhibitions with others, sometimes with archival materials, sometimes including archivists! But what do those collaborations look and feel like? How else could these collaborations work? Erin Bernard, the project’s creator, is ready to share all her archives dirt– errr– fuel with the audience of Nerd Nite.

Erin Bernard is the creator of the Philadelphia Public History Truck, a mobile museum which creates exhibitions with people here in the city. Her work has earned her the National Council on Public History’s 2016 Best Project of the Year Award, a John Andrew Gallery Community Action Award from the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, and the Best In Real Life Project of the Year from the Philadelphia Geek Awards. She is a Senior Lecturer of Museum Studies at the University of the Arts and an Adjunct Professor of History at Moore College of Art and Design for Women. She is the recipient of a 2016 Individual Project Grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage to complete the History Truck W.I.C. Work/Shop while the project’s neighborhood work continues for its fourth year, this time in Fairhill. Erin is a Mom of two living in South Philly.

PLUS! Entertainment by Christine Irizarry

The details:
Doors open at 4pm. Show at 7:30pm. We recommend you get there early to ensure getting a good seat!
Wednesday, October 5th
Frankford Hall
1210 Frankford Avenue