Nerd Nite No. 80: Autism, Romance on the Riverwalk, Dune!

Join us on November 1 for our 80th edition of Nerd Nite. Topics include the weird marketing of David Lynch‘s Dune, “The Physical Mechanisms behind the most Romantic River Walk” by Kieran Dunne, and Steven Kilcoyne will discuss “Autism has a Perception Problem.” Local musician Rachel Attebery will bring the tunes. $5 cover gets you in for the show!

Here’s the full details of the talks:

Steven Kilcoyne, “Autism has a Perception Problem”

Description: From the guy who has perception problems himself come a talk about Autism, don’t worry though he’s vaccinated. In this talk, Steven will explore how the representation of Autism in the media affects people’s perception of people who are on the Autism Spectrum in real life.

Bio: Steven is a graduate from Temple University with a Bachelors of Art with a concentration Film and Media Arts. When he is not assisting people in finding out when the Technician will arrive to install their Television service, he reads about the Media that fills our screens.

Kieran Dunne, “The Physical Mechanisms Behind the Most Romantic River Walk”

Description: As the seasons change, it is great to squeeze in a romantic walk along the river before winter sets in. However, not all river walks are equally beautiful. For this talk, I will break down the physical mechanisms that cause some rivers to meander and migrate across their landscapes and subsequently create various landforms seen in river channels and on floodplains, as well as discuss how humans are can both directly and indirectly influence riverine environments.

Bio: Kieran Dunne is a PhD student at Penn in the department of Earth & Environmental science studying geomorphology. He is interested in the interaction between fluid forces and granular media that results in the landforms that we see on the surface of the Earth and other plants, such as river channels and sand dune fields. To pursue this interest, he combines experimental work and field work to elucidate the fundamental parameters required to understand the physical phenomenal observed in nature.

Chris Cummins, “Walk Without Rhythm: The Weird World of David Lynch’s Dune”

Description: In 1984, David Lynch adapted Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel “Dune” for the silver screen. The result was a film unlike anything audiences had ever seen before…or sense. Because studio execs thought this dark and twisted flick could very well be the next Star Wars, there was a lot of wildly inappropriate merchandise created for this film. In this talk, Nerd Nite Philly co-boss Chris Cummins will look at the weird marketing of Dune and its equally baffling spin-off products. And as a special bonus, he’ll present a tribute to the greatest of all cinematic canines: Dune Pug! Fear is the mind killer, so don’t miss this one.

Bio: Chris Cummins is a Nerd Nite Philly co-boss, and is a writer for Den of Geek. He also runs the events Sci-Fi Explosion and Music Video Book Club.

Plus! Music from  local singer/songwriter Rachel Attebery!

Wednesday, November 1st. 7:30 pm.
Frankford Hall
1210 Frankford Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19125
$5 (CASH ONLY, there’s an ATM on site and a Wells Fargo up the street)
Doors open at 4, we recommend getting there early to get a good seat!


Nerd Nite No. 79: Archives Month! Monuments, Pamphlets, Stooges, and music by Midwestern Exposure

Laurie Allen will present Monument Lab: Changing the way we write the history of our city together

What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia? Monument Lab is a citywide public art and history project centered around that important question. We’ve invited local and non-local artists to create temporary monuments and are gathering proposals from Philadelphians that will become a permanent collection of speculative monuments that tie together our city’s past, present, and future.

By day, Laurie Allen runs the Digital Scholarship Department at the Penn Libraries. She works to expand capacity for new kinds of scholarship. She is also the co-founder (with Penn Program in Environmental Humanities) of Data Refuge, an attempt to make copies of environmental and climate data housed on US Federal websites. Her side gig / passion project is as the Research Director of Monument Lab where she is working to create an archive/collection/dataset that reflects Philadelphia’s creative collective brilliance.

Will Fenton will present Friendly Indians, Fighting Quakers, and Scurrilous Pamphlets: The 1764 Paxton Pamphlet War

In December 1763, following years of gruesome frontier warfare, armed settlers in the Paxton Township exacted revenge on an isolated, unarmed Indian settlement, attacked the Lancaster jailhouse where refugees had taken shelter, and vowed to march all the way to Philadelphia. While these “Paxton Boys” were stopped in Germantown by a delegation led by none other than Benjamin Franklin, their critics and apologists spent the next year battling tooth and nail in print.

As a digital archive, critical edition, and teaching platform, the Digital Paxton Project ( surfaces broadsides, pamphlets, political cartoons, and correspondence that circulated during that pamphlet war and situates that print event in a larger representational debate that spans from the Seven Years’ War (1756-63), through the American Revolution, to the Northwest Ordinance (1787). Co-sponsored by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the Library Company of Philadelphia, with contributions from institutions as diverse as the American Philosophical Society and the Moravian Archives of Bethlehem, Digital Paxton wouldn’t be possible without the support of archives and cultural institutions across the region.

Will Fenton is the Elizabeth R. Moran Fellow at the American Philosophical Society and a doctoral candidate at Fordham University where he specializes in early American literature and the Digital Humanities. His dissertation, “Unpeaceable Kingdom: Fighting Quakers, Revolutionary Violence, and the Antebellum Novel,” explores how nineteenth century American novelists use “fighting Quakers” to authorize the violences attendant upon settlement, slavery, and westward conquest. He has developed a complementary digital humanities project, Digital Paxton (, a digital archive, scholarly edition, and teaching platform for the 1764 Paxton pamphlet war.

Finally, Michelle Squiccimara will present It’s Bigger on the Inside: How the world’s largest collection of Three Stooges memorabilia landed outside of Philadelphia.

Open to the public since 2004, The Stoogeum (rhymes with “museum”) houses over 100,000 objects along with an archive, research library, film vault, and a movie theater. Conceived as a home away from home for die-hard Three Stooges fans and the headquarters of one of the country’s oldest active fan clubs, the Stoogeum is now a highlight for oddity seekers from around the world.

Michelle Squiccimara is the registrar and outreach coordinator at The Stoogeum, the world’s largest collection of Three Stooges memorabilia. Despite what you may have heard, she did not get this job by guessing the correct number of jelly beans in a jar or win a call-in radio contest.

Our entertainment for the evening will be provided by Midwestern Exposure. Midwestern Exposure is a Blues / Roots rock band from Philadelphia consisting of Cam Clark, Jeff Goldman and Forrest Wright. Their recently released second album; The Workin’ Man’s Special, noticeably exudes a higher level of dedication and maturity from the band’s first album The Walrus Rabbi. The Rabbi was a terrific original dose of what Cam Clark and his music is all about so this time around the ante was upped and the bar, raised. The addition of Forrest Wright and his innovative styling’s ranging from tight melodic lines to fierce distorted runs on the lap steel, pedal steel and dobro had a striking impact on the overall sound of this album. With ominous adventures like ‘Pipeline’ the tone was set for an album with depth and dirtiness that the band’s music had not reached before.

The details:

Wednesday, October 4th. 7:30 pm.

Frankford Hall

1210 Frankford Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19125

$5 (CASH ONLY, there’s an ATM on site and a Wells Fargo up the street)

Doors open at 4, we recommend getting there early to get a good seat!


Nerd Nite No. 78: Beer History, Neutrinos, and Voting Theory

Here’s what’s happening at our September Nerd Nite event:

The History of Beer

Beer has been an important part of society since 3500 B.C. Along the way there are important dates, people, inventions and advancements in technology that have shaped the beer scene. Explore the wild world of beer from the simple beginnings to the marvels of today.

BIO: With more than over seven years of dedicated involvement in the craft beer industry within Pennsylvania, Meredith Megan Williams along with her husband Garrett Lee Williams, created Home Brewed Events. Home Brewed Events is a beer education and event planning company that works with local businesses and non-profits as well as private and public events to advance the beer culture of Philadelphia. Her passion for craft beer and learning has led to brewing professionally at Saint Benjamin’s in Philadelphia, managing a study group for and becoming a Certified Cicerone, and joining the Pink Boots Society, as part of the committee working toward developing a Philadelphia chapter.

What the heck is a neutrino?

Neutrinos have been snatching up Nobel prizes since the eighties, despite physicists knowing practically nothing about them. In short, neutrinos are particles with almost no mass, no electric charge, and they can travel through a light year of lead and have a 50/50 shot of making it out unscathed. With our beers in hand, we will go back to the very beginning to learn about these mysterious beasts- discovery, disbelief, disappearances, and that one guy who got to say “I told you so, @$$holes”.

BIO: Kelley Commeford is a grad student at Drexel physics. She used to work with a neutrino experiment before she learned that experimental physics was 95% coding instead of building cool stuff. Now, Kelley does Physics Education Research, which comes with a hefty love for talking about physics with non-physics people, because PHYSICS IS COOL! In her spare time, she likes to geek out in the woods and hit her friends with foam swords (aka LARPing).

Voting Theory: Those Who Make the Rules Win the Game

Feeling disaffected by our political system, unable to make progress in city, state, or federal government? There’s a reason for that! You’ve been intentionally excluded from challenging the status quo through the rules governing the ballot box. This talk will highlight the anti-democratic defects of our current system (gerrymandering, first past the post, &c.) and the solutions that can be applied at all levels of government.

BIO: Simon “the Cannibal” Joseph (@Cannibal_Simon) is, among other things, the host of the much neglected podcast, The Vexillogicast and co-boss of Philly Nerd Nite. He usually talks about flags, but is returning to his nerdy roots at this time of political turmoil. To go full hipster, he promises he was into voting systems / voting theory before CGP Grey’s popular “Politics in the Animal Kingdom” YouTube series came out.

Plus, another dry t-shirt contest!

The details:

Wednesday, September 6th. 7:30 pm.

Frankford Hall

1210 Frankford Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19125

$5 (CASH ONLY, there’s an ATM on site and a Wells Fargo up the street)

Doors open at 4, we recommend getting there early to get a good seat!


Nerd Nite No. 77: Diatoms, Victorian Era Flirting, Movie Product Placement

Look, it’s the dog days of summer and we know how ruff (sorry) that can be, but there’s no reason to stay home and mope. Not when we have another incredibly strong Nerd Nite planned. Here’s what’s happening at our August Nerd Nite event:

Alison Minerovic will discuss Diatoms

This talk will examine the role of diatoms in our daily life, including how they produce the oxygen we breathe, some engineering and medical applications of their amazing siliceous skeletons, and even their use in beer filtration and gardening.

BIO: Alison Minerovic is the collection manager of the world’s second largest Diatom Herbarium, housed at the Academy of Natural Sciences.

Alexis Pedrick, “Flirt Like a Victorian”

Get your history with a side of love, lust, and witty calling cards. As it turns out, navigating romance in the 19th century was just as weird, challenging, and full of unsolicited “sexts” as it is today. Dive into the fascinating social history of the Victorian era with tales that will make you appreciate Tinder and your ability to swipe left.

BIO: Alexis Pedrick is a huge history nerd who loves playing Dungeon and Dragons and enjoys being blinded by science in her position managing public programming for the Chemical Heritage Foundation. You can find her collaborating on projects like Science on Tap, Philadelphia Science Festival and leading tours as a volunteer guide at Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Ben Leach, “It Must Be What He Drinks on His Home Planet!: The Wacky World of Product Placement in Film”

Whether E.T. is lured by the delicious peanut butter and chocolate taste of Reese’s Pieces or Tom Hanks turns an official Wilson volleyball into his best friend, you know that it’s next to impossible not to be subjected to product placement in the movies after plunking down money for your ticket. Ben Leach enters Nerd Nite Philly’s hallowed 10-timers club by discussing the different ways in which movies attempt to seamlessly blend commercials into product placement. Really, though, this talk will serve as his excuse highlight some of the obscure films from the last couple of decades where the films were actually built around product placement to terrifying and mind-boggling results.

BIO: Ben Leach is a South Jersey-based science writer and web specialist who has managed not to integrate either of those careers into any of his 10 and counting Nerd Nite Philly talks. His parents took him to his first flea market when he was a month old, thereby conditioning him into an existence built around bargain hunting and amassing thousands of collectibles. He currently owns what he believes is the second or third largest private Mr. T collection in the world, unless there’s some bozo out there who’s holding out on him. He appeared on the Antiques Roadshow back in May, which really impresses people over the age of 60. He is planning to launch a new website around these varied interests and maybe he’ll have it done in time for the December Nerd Nite when he returns for The Cost is Correct: 1987 Edition.

Plus, music by local singer/songwriter Ryan Williams!

The details:

Wednesday, August 2nd. 7:30 pm.

Frankford Hall

1210 Frankford Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19125

$5 (CASH ONLY, there’s an ATM on site and a Wells Fargo up the street)

Doors open at 4, we recommend getting there early to get a good seat!



Nerd Nite No. 76: Comic Book Sidekick Jack Monroe, 1969’s Hurricane Camille, Joke-Telling Robot, Plus the Return of SKELETOR!

NEW NN Logo 2015

Okay nerds, July is upon us and we have one of the greatest lineups ever for you! Check it out:

Glen Tickle: “Knock Knock, Who’s There? A Robot That Tells Jokes”

Comedian Glen Tickle programmed his daughter’s toy robot Mr. Toyboto to tell jokes and to generate his own original knock knock jokes using a deep learning neural network. The results are bananas.

Bio: Glen Tickle is a writer and comedian who focuses on doing dumb things like making a robot tell jokes or playing the violin bad. He can be heard on SiriusXM and his work has been all over the internet. Glen also runs Nerd Nite Bethlehem, and his debut comedy album Yes, Really debuted at #13 on the Billboard Comedy Album Charts. He’s nice, you’ll like him.

Emma Paras – “Hurricane Camille of 1969”

In this talk, Emma will be giving an overview of her favorite natural disaster, 1969’s Hurricane Camille. She’ll be talking about three things that make this storm particularly interesting as well as the impact it had on emergency management and risk communication as they’re known today!

Bio: Emma Paras is the Senior Emergency Preparedness Planner at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Her background is in Emergency Management & Homeland Security, and Public Health. I’ve worked in a variety of emergency management roles including as a paramedic, municipal emergency management, and international emergency management with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

Ian Chant will discuss Marvel Comics sidekick Jack Monroe.

In the world of comics, there’s only one job more hazardous than being a superhero’s arch-nemesis—being their sidekick. And while plenty of sidekicks have had it rough, there’s maybe no better cautionary tale about living in a superhero’s shadow than the story of Jack Monroe. Ian Chant recounts the life, times, and ignominious death of a kid who just wanted to help Captain America and was rewarded with several lifetimes worth of troubles.

Bio: Ian Chant is a writer, science journalist, and shameless fanboy whose work can be found in the pages of Popular Science, Nautilus, Scientific American, and pretty much any other publication that will cut him a check. You can also listen to him tell weird stories about animals every month on the podcast Menagerie.


Our returning entertainment for the night is the one, the only SKELETOR. Eternia’s master of evil will be performing some new songs and joined by our own Chris Cummins for a look at the literary classic Letters to E.T.

You won’t want to miss this one. Spread the word, and check out our Facebook event page.

The details:
Doors open at 4pm. Show at 7:30pm. We recommend you get there early to ensure getting a good seat!
$5 (cash only, there is an ATM on the premises and a Wells Fargo around the corner)
Wednesday, July 7th.
Frankford Hall
1210 Frankford Avenue