Posts Tagged ‘Penn’

Nerd Nite No. 45: Passenger Pigeons, Cravings, Working Dogs, Plus Music from Sidewalk Atlas!

Greetings Nerds! We have a great line up for the 45th Nerd Nite Philly (and first of 2015!). We know you’re itching to find out what we have planned, so let’s do this:

Passenger Pigeon – The Disintegration of a Species
It doesn’t matter if we all die. – The Cure

Trying to find humor in the story of the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon is akin to finding sunshine in a Cure song. Well, a good Cure song anyway. But that is what Kate Garchinsky, writer and illustrator, aims to do for Nerd Nite. Using the timeline of her own life, she will share her experience of the preventable extinction of the Passenger Pigeon in words, pictures, and depressing song lyrics–one hundred years post-mortem.

Bio: Kate Garchinsky’s first word was “bird.” Now she is a writer and illustrator of natural history for children who also likes to draw dead birds. She began working on her book, “Passenger Pigeons: Their Amazing Life and Tragic Extinction” a few years ago, inspired by her bird rehabilitation volunteer work, and a life-changing Wikipedia search. She also is currently illustrating two more non-fiction picture books for children, due out in 2016 and 2018. Kate has exhibited her Passenger Pigeon artwork at the Audubon Center at Mill Grove, and the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin. Visit Kate online at:
It’s better than it tastes: How a food looks affects liking for the taste of the food.

Although most people think that the flavor of a food is the primary driver of liking or disliking that food, research has shown that it is only one of many factors influencing liking. Since “the first taste is with the eyes” we have, not surprisingly, found that how a food looks has a big effect on how much we like a food. This is good news for those of us who do not cook like Marc Vetri but would like to have family and friends enjoy what we make for them.

Bio: Debra A. Zellner is currently Professor of Psychology at Montclair State University in New Jersey and on sabbatical leave at the Monell Chemical Senses Center doing a research project with the Vetri Foundation. She is the author of numerous research articles and book chapters on the liking and perception of food. Her primary interest is understanding why people like the foods they like.
Science has gone to the dogs

We all know that dogs are pretty smart and some dogs have jobs. Now dogs are going to college to become scientists! At the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, dogs are helping find lost people, identify cancer and answer the age old question, why do dogs eat grass (actually that one is still a mystery).

Bio: Dr. Cindy Otto, a veterinarian and scientist founded and directs the Penn Vet Working Dog Center to dig into the questions that “only a dog nose”. She incorporates her experience as a clinical veterinarian (specializing in both emergency medicine and sports medicine), a disaster responder working with search dogs, a research scientist and a dog trainer into the coolest job ever.


We’ll have 2 intermissions filled with music from returning band Sidewalk Atlas.


This all goes down at the famed Frankford Hall, per usual.

Wednesday, February 4
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

Be there and be square!

Nerd Nite 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. @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 Brunch: Body vs. Booze

Nerd Nite Brunch: Body vs. Booze
A Nerd Nite that is held during the day? GAMECHANGER!

Yes friends, we are teaming up with the Philadelphia Science Festival for a special Nerd Nite Brunch event focusing on booze and its wonderful/detrimental effects upon the body! Along with a great brunch menu from Frankford Hall and some fun giveaways and activities, there will also be the following talks:

Aman Goyal, Julie Lyzinski Nettleton and Noelle Melartin, “The Not So Happy Drunk”
There are a lot of misconceptions about the effects of alcohol on the brain and body. Think of this talk as an “Alcohol 101” on how to maximize the fun of drinking while minimizing the negative consequences.

Aman Goyal, Julie Lyzinski Nettleton and Noelle Melartin all work for the Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Program Initiatives. They bring their combined years of education, experience and expertise to this Nerd Nite for what promises to be a fascinating speech.

Ava Forte Vitali, “Lore, Legend, Lush: Drinking in Ancient Egypt”

The story of the body vs. booze in an epic war against the hangover is a tale as old as time…. or is it? Beer is one of the most important elements in the ancient Egyptian myth the ‘Destruction of Mankind’ – and not in the way you think! This lecture will discuss the role of beer and wine in ancient society, particularly ancient Egypt, where it figured prominently both in the everyday world and in religion, ritual, and mythology.

Trained archaeologist and art historian Ava Forte Vitali  is a Featured Lecturer at the Morbid Anatomy Library and Museum in Brooklyn, New York. Her series, “Death and the Occult in the Ancient World” aims to bridge the gap between the educated, academic community and the eager, interested public. She has excavated in both Egypt and Turkey, and completed her Master’s Degree at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, where she focused on domestic cult in Ancient Egypt. She currently works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in collections management for Greek and Roman Art.

Dr. Michael Oshinsky, PhD, “Drunk Rats and Your Hangover”
Dr. Oshinsky will be discussing how alcohol is broken down by the body and how this leads to the nasty symptoms of a hangover. Using animal models of migraine, he discovered the cause of the dreaded hangover headache and a scientific basis for its treatment.

Michael Oshinsky, PhD, combines a passion for science with a desire to help migraine sufferers. Dr. Oshinsky is currently an associate professor in the Department of Neurology at the Thomas Jefferson University, where he works closely with doctors at the Jefferson Headache Center to study the most complicated areas of headache medicine. Dr. Oshinsky’s research focuses on understanding migraine and chronic headache. Using animal models of migraine, he has developed methods for studying the mechanism of action of migraine treatments and hangover headache. In his spare time, Dr. Oshinsky enjoys spending time with his children, whom he tries to “inspire to make a difference.

Plus: Music by Los Festingos!

The particulars:
Sunday, April 27th
Frankford Hall
1210 Frankford Ave.
Show starts at noon.
$5 cover gets you admission and happy hour specials.

See you on Sunday!

The Philly Nerd Nite Team

Nerd Nite No. 19, October 10, 2012


What could be nerdier than hackers, donkeys and 3D printing all in one night?  Only you holding a beer and listening to talks about these things.  Just kidding.  (Ok, not.)

The details:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
doors at 6:30, show at 7:30
Frankford Hall
$5 cover

For your edification and amusement, we present:

“Join the Hackerspace Revolution.” by Georgia Guthrie 

News flash: the hacker uniform is no longer limited to snarky black t-shirts, shorts, and mid-calf socks. Anyone can be a hacker today, and at The Hacktory we think everyone should be a hacker. In this presentation, we’ll talk about our definition of “hacking” (no, it doesn’t include stealing credit card numbers), the roots of the hackerspace movement, what we hack at The Hacktory, and why you might want to get involved. We will have a brief demo of a project we’re currently working on with Carbon Dance Theatre and the Immersive Kinematics lab at UPenn, and details about the most amazing Halloween party ever that we’re hosting this October.

Bio: Georgia Guthrie is the Director of The Hacktory, Philly’s first hackerspace and a Designer at the Action Mill. For the past three years she has worked to expand people’s notion of hacking by creating new partnerships that explore the intersection of art and technology with the likes of Design Philadelphia, the Fleisher Art Memorial, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, NextFab Studio, Breadboard, Public Workshop, and others. This year, under her direction, The Hacktory was awarded a Knight Arts Challenge grant to create a tech-arts apprenticeship program, and she was named Hacker of the Year by Geekadelphia.

“The Kunga: Solving the Riddle of this Royal Steed” by Jill Weber

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.

Bio:  Jill Weber received her PhD in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006.  This has allowed her to continue her travels to Syria, Turkey and Armenia – making many other stops and drinking lots of wine along the way.  She opened Jet Wine Bar in Philadelphia in November of 2010, and continues to drink lots of wine!

“Modern Fabrication Techniques: Laser Cutters, Milling Machines + 3D Printers” by Adolphe Alexander

In this age of computing labor intensive processes of fabrication are being handed over to machines. Compared to traditional machining, computer-aided manufacturing increases productivity, precision and safety of the human-operator. This presentation will explore the current capabilities and the future potential of various automated manufacturing processes.

Bio: Adolphe Alexander is a researcher, designer and engineer who specializes in fabrication of electronic and mechanical devices. He has a decade of experience developing test-equipment for civilian, military and commercial research facilities including CERN, JPL and Seagate. His current set of interests focus on radio-frequency amplification, aquaponics and geological illumination.

And featuring music by The Missing Keys
Drawing on an eclectic collection of influences, The Missing Keys have combined elements of Rock, Blues, Jazz and Psychedelia(!) into a sound that stands tall on even the most eclectic shows.

Nerd Nite No. 17, August 8, 2012

Dear Nerds,

Join us for the August edition of Nerd Nite.  It will be creepy, crawly, delicious and magical!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012
doors at 7:00, show at 7:30
Frankford Hall at Frankford & Girard
$5 cover

On tap for you:

“Bed bugs and a novel detection tool” by Dina Richman
Worrying about bed bugs? Not sure how to find them or what damage they cause? Have them and need to get rid of them? Come to Dina’s talk to get informed. Get all the bed bug basics that can fit into a 20 minute talk, plus learn about a new bed bug detection tool.Bio: Dina Richman has been with FMC Professional Solutions R&D in Philadelphia for almost 10 years where she is the pest segment product development manager. Dina has been involved with a variety of research projects, ranging from ant control to wasp control to bed bug detection. Before FMC, Dina completed a Masters degree in entomology focusing on flea control and a Ph.D. focusing on using building construction to control subterranean termite infestations. Both degrees were earned from the University of Florida. While at FMC, Dina also completed an MBA program, earning that degree from Drexel University. Oh, and she loves bugs. She presently lives in Kensington with her three big dogs.

“Grow. Cook. Teach.” by Danny Gerber
Danny has been teaching nutrition in Philadelphia for the past 18 years and he’ll be sharing some of some of the hands-on, interactive food systems lessons developed at the Urban Nutrition Initiative over this time.  Along with some stories from the field, this workshop will provide an overall picture of what’s wrong with our food system and how you can get involved in the movement to transform it.  Time permitting there will be an awesome hands-on food prep demonstration with opportunities for audience participation!

Danny Gerber is the founding director of the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative (UNI), a program of Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships.  UNI engages, educates and empowers youth, university students and community residents to promote healthy lifestyles and build a just and sustainable food systems.  UNI’s programs include youth-run urban farms, healthy cooking programs and school nutrition education partnerships.

“How the $%@# Did You Do That? (Why Magic Tricks Work Best on Smart People)” by Francis Menotti
We always ask how magic tricks work. Perhaps a more pertinent question is why they do. Grab a drink, watch some magic, then learn a bit about psychology of misdirection and deception that magicians use to fool your senses. Maybe even learn a trick or two in the process!

Francis Menotti does the impossible. OK… he creates the illusion thereof.  A full-time magician based out of Philadelphia, Menotti also writes, creates and directs magic for other magicians, theatre, film and television. Steve Martin calls his work “very clever,” and Teller has referred to him as “the future of magic,” but what do they know?

And featuring: magic by Francis Menotti and music by Carol Cleveland Sings