Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

Nerd Nite No. 51: Street Art! Mulberry Paper! Star Wars Maps! Plus music by Emily Mineo

Hey gang! Thanks for all of you that came out for our 5 Year Party! WE had a great time, and hopefully you did too.

Now, a look to the future! And by future, we mean August Nerd Nite. We have a great group of speakers– many of whom have come to Nerd Nite on a regular basis– and we’re happy to hand them the mic for the first time.

Lindsay Bates,  “Bombing, Tagging, Writing: Why Graffiti and Street Art are More than Vandalism”

A first look upon a well-contrived piece of graffiti or street art may inspire feelings of surprise, delight, and amusement, but the connection between graffiti and cultural heritage might be more difficult to perceive. Conventionally, graffiti was synonymous with vandalism, associated with a subculture that needed to be extinguished immediately. However, with the works of such artists as Basquiat, Keith Haring, Banksy, Steve Powers, and the like, graffiti began to be recognized as something more than crime – something with far more value, something that could reach beyond the walls of a gallery. Indeed, this subculture has since proliferated exponentially, and with its popularity a closer connection to heritage becomes more apparent. Though it may be a more radical and alternative way of creating heritage, its increasing recognition suggests that such cultural values are clearly demonstrated.

Bio: Lindsay Bates holds a BS in Architecture from Catholic University, and a MS in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania.  She has been a graffiti and street art enthusiast since visiting Barcelona in 2005, and is especially passionate about how art can be a catalyst for change in our communities.


Nicole Donnelly, “Papermaking with a Philadelphia Invasive”

Nicole is an artist & papermaker, and for the last few years, she has been harvesting Philadelphia’s paper mulberry tree (broussonetia papyrifera) from the abandoned piers in the Delaware River. This plant probably looks familiar to you, and that’s because it’s a non-native, aggressive / invasive plant, and it grows all over the city, especially along the highways and rivers, and it can actually thrive in very poor soil (like so many of our invasive plants, a.k.a. weeds). However, this plant has been used for thousands of years to make paper, and is the traditional fiber used for paper in China, Japan & Korea (what is commonly, and mistakenly, referred to as ‘rice paper’, and in the art store is called ‘mulberry paper’). This kind of papermaking is a SUSTAINABLE practice (because the plant is perennial and regenerates the branches that are cut each season).

Bio: Nicole Donnelly is a papermaker, visual artist, and independent teacher based in Philadelphia, PA. She fell in love with handmade paper and its artistic possibilities while studying with Timothy Barrett at the University of Iowa (2008­-09), who literally wrote the book on Japanese hand papermaking. Donnelly is a co-­organizer of the Hand Papermaking Community Documentation project; the founder of paperTHINKtank, a papermaking studio in Philadelphia; a board member of The Soapbox Independent Publishing Center in West Philly; and the President of the International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists (IAPMA), 2015­-17. Her artwork is focused on the environmentally sustainable possibilities and beauty of handmade paper.


Henry Bernberg, “Mapping the Galaxy Far, Far Away: Using Raster Channelization Techniques to Build a Hyperspace Network for the Star Wars Galaxy”

Ever wondered how the Imperial Fleet gets around the Galaxy Far, Far Away while avoiding all those black holes and supernovas? Or how the Millennium Falcon could make it from Hoth to Bespin without a working hyperdrive? Learn about how the galaxy was mapped, who mapped it, and how advanced spatial analysis techniques can be applied to filling in the gaps between planetary clusters and the hyperspace lanes that connect them.

Bio: Henry is a sci-fi and mapping nerd living in Philly and specializes in geographic information systems analysis. He holds degrees in urban spatial analytics, historic preservation, architectural studies, and anthropology; has worked on archival and mapping projects projects at The Penn Museum, Azavea, and the Kansas Geological Survey; and worked on archaeological digs in Belize and Turkey.


Music by local artist Emily Mineo!


When: Wednesday, August5

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

How much: $5 cover gets you admission plus happy hour specials all night

Where: Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19125

Be there and be square!

Nerd Nite Philly

Nerd Nite No. 48: The Dangers of Democratization, Dirty MRFs, and Jedi Junk! Plus, Music by the Black Mariah!

Oh hey, Philly Nerds. We’re on a roll celebrating all that is nerdy in our great city. We had a great PSF-edition of Nerd Nite on the 29th, but now, back to our regularly scheduled program: May Nerd Nite.


What do we have planned? Well let’s get right down to business:


First up is “The Dangers of Democratization: The Story of Cote d’Ivoire” by Anne Frugé

In 1990, multiparty-democracy was introduced to Ivory Coast with strongman Houphouet Boigny at the helm. By 1993 Houphouet was dead, a power vacuum loomed, and the country was torn apart by political feuds. Ultimately the question of which Ivoirians should be considered citizens led to a civil war that lasted from 2002 to 2008 and La Crise of 2010. Based on recent field research, this Nerd Nite talk explains what happens when a country tries to democratize before important milestones in political and economic development have been reached.

About Anne: Anne Frugé is a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland researching (and teaching) politics of the developing world and ethnic violence. She has conducted field work in Ghana and Ivory Coast. Her husband, Phillip Gray, is so supportive of her work that he travelled to West Africa with her in 2014.

Next we have Michelle Feldman presenting “The Science of Recycling: Wait, What’s a Dirty MRF?”

What happens after your recyclables are picked up? Join your plastic bottles and milk cartons as they head to a Materials Recovery Facility, get crushed and melted, and then end up as a park bench or a jacket. This Nerd Nite talk will explore how various recyclables are broken down and re-made in to every day objects.

About Michelle: Michelle is the Executive Director of Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, a nonprofit organization dedicated to litter abatement and recycling education and promotion. She is not a scientist, but she is nerdy (just ask anyone, really!). Before her time at KPB, she was the Commercial Corridor Manager for the Frankford Community Development Corporation, where she gained a new love for Philadelphia and its neighborhoods. She holds a BA in Political Science from Brandeis University, and a Masters in Public Policy from Drexel (see, told you she’s not a scientist).  
Lastly, Nerd Nite regular Ben Leach will discuss “Jedi Junk: Oddball Merchandise from a Galaxy Far, Far Away”

Have you guys heard of this movie series called Star Wars? It’s pretty popular. And it survives thanks to merchandise. The total amount of money all of the Star Wars films have made at the global box office totals over $4 billion, but the total sales of toys for the franchise totals $12 billion. However, you don’t make and sell that much merchandise without a few missteps along the way. Nerd Nite utility player Ben Leach lets you ride shotgun in his T-16 Skyhopper as he discusses some of the stranger characters that were immortalized as action figures, the even stranger choices that were made when it came to merchandising popular characters, and some items that were clearly thought of after a rough bout of hibernation sickness and thus were never, ever sold, probably for the best.

About Ben: Ben Leach is a medical writer based in Southern New Jersey. He was dragged to his first flea market when he was a month old, and ever since then, he’s been on the hunt for weird and eclectic items that remind him of what it was like to be a kid in the 1980s and 1990s. He sometimes provides updates on his family’s website Previously, he’s spoken at Nerd Nite about brainy supervillains, foreign movie posters, his Mr. T collection, and he hosted a game show based on the 1984 Sears Wishbook.

Cover is $5, which gets you admission to learn from some local nerds as well as hear some new music from local band the Black Mariah, all while enjoying happy hour prices at the always accommodating Frankford Hall.


When: Wednesday, May 6

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

How much: $5 cover gets you admission plus happy hour specials all night

Where: Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19125

Be there and be square!

Nerd Nite Philly

Nerd Nite No. 29, September 18, 2013

Hey Nerds! September Nerd Nite is a little later this month, but no less awesome. We have a *jam-packed* evening ready for you and we’re doing it with the help of our friends at the Green Philly Blog and Clean Air Council. Our line up includes a little sustainability, some folksy music, and the inside scoop on the new beer that Yards Brewing Company has cooked up. So are you folks ready to welcome in the school year with some Nerd Nite?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
doors at 7pm, show starts at 7:30pm
Frankford Hall at Frankford and Girard
$5 cover gets you a night of nerdy fun, plus food and drink specials

“Recycle-full-cycle in Philadelphia” by Phil Bresee

Recycling has come a long way in Philadelphia during the past few years. The City’s new-ish recycling chief and self-proclaimed ‘garbage geek’ will chart progress, future challenges, and share some of his perspectives on managing solid waste in the City of Neighborhoods.

About Phil: As the recycling director for the City of Philadelphia, Phil Bresee guides and supports a number of solid waste and recycling program and planning initiatives, including the update to the city’s solid waste management plan, public outreach efforts, the recyclables processing contract, and the Philly Recycling Rewards incentives program. Bresee is also spearheading improvements to the City’s commercial recycling efforts. He came to Philadelphia in July 2012 from Broward County Florida, where he guided the county’s recycling programs including the county’s innovative project that studied the feasibility of using pulverized recycled glass for beach erosion control.

“A year behind bars and 5 more in the public sector” by Kristin Sullivan

Ostensibly “boring” information about how the City manages its use of electricity, natural gas, and steam will be presented. To Kristin, however it is anything but boring. The City uses over 3.5 Million MMBtus a year in just about 800 facilities. Kristin will dazzle you with dizzying facts and made up units of measure. We’ll bore into figures about the City’s work and our plan to manage that usage down and thus reduce its costs to taxpayers. Maybe you couldn’t care less about the difference between a kilowatt and a kilowatt-hour. Perhaps you think an MMBtu is just an extreme bra size. No matter. Kristin will pepper in some details about a 14,000 mile bicycle trip she took from Alaska to Argentina over the course of a year to get people to think a little bit more about their impact on the earth.

About Kristin: Kristin Sullivan is the Energy Manager for the City of Philadelphia. Her work in utility conservation and distributed energy generation straddles both the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities. Kristin began her career as an energy analyst with an international energy consulting firm and then as a development manager for Iberdrola Renewables, a large scale wind energy company. In 2004, she created, an environmental education and toured and lectured throughout North and South America on a bicycle trip from Fairbanks, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina. The 14,055 mile trip was supported by individual, environmental non-profit, and corporate sponsors, and took 355 days to complete. Kristin Sullivan graduated from Gettysburg College, Majoring in Environmental Studies and Biology, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Natural Resources sector in Honduras from 1998 to 2000.

“The Art & Science of Landscape Architecture” by Eric Wahl

Long before the profession was named, Landscape Architecture played a significant role in our everyday lives. From agrarian and rural landscapes to private gardens, towns, and neighborhoods, people lived in, borrowed from, and captured views of their surroundings. The threads of Art and Science of these special places are woven through our history, which we should learn from, and indeed improve upon for a sustainable and healthy future. In this presentation, we’ll go from historical contributions to the landscape, to contemporary design patterns that evolved over time that all help to create the Landscape of Man.

About Eric: Eric holds a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Temple University, and is a registered Landscape Architect in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. He is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and was recently appointed President of the Delaware Board of Landscape Architecture. Eric is also the current Vice-President of the Delaware Native Plant Society, and an adjunct professor on Sustainable Sites and Landscaping at Delaware Technical & Community College in Georgetown, Delaware. Eric strives for a balance between the built and the natural environments. With an eye towards ecological awareness, his designs lean toward sustainability and foster an ecological stewardship.


Between lectures and to entertain you wonderful nerds is Midwestern Exposure. A Philadelphia based roots rock trio consisting of Cam Clark, Jeff Goldman and Forrest Wright, Midwestern Exposure combines Blues, Folk and Rock into a great original sound.

But, wait! There’s more! As a prelude to this special evening, we will have Franklin Winslow, former research microbiologist and current Director of Quality Assurance at Yards Brewing Company, talk about a new German Pale Ale recently brewed up, applying the Reinheitsgebot to Burton-on-Trent.


Nerd Nite No. 26, June 12, 2013

Greetings nerds!

Be prepared for another informative Nerd Nite next Wednesday, June 12, a night promising to be better than your typical summer school– happy hour priced beer and big German pretzels are involved!

The details:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

doors at 7:00, show at 7:30 sharp

Frankford Hall at Frankford and Girard

$5 cover gets you a night of nerdy fun, plus food and drink specials

Importantly, our line up of distinguished speakers and their prepared talks:

Bibotorium: Dreamboats for Nightmares by Camp Little Hope

Camp Little Hope directs a project called Bibotorium in an abandoned swimming pool as part of the Hidden City Philadelphia Festival. Bibotorium is an educational saloon and public think-tank for imagining the future of water in Philadelphia. Through conversation and complimentary beverage service, Camp Little Hope designs and builds boats to illustrate future water environments.

Bio: Camp Little Hope is an international research collective that works in proprioceptive museum installations, free algorithmic restaurants, sustainable impossibilities, alternative institutional forms, speculative sciences, and matching jumpsuits.

Analytical Improv: Patterns and Intuition by Matt Akana

Professional nerd Matt Akana explains an analytical approach to improv comedy that involves pattern recognition and developing a sense of play.  He explains how to push through the initial obstacles to truly enjoy being in the moment, with no safety net, in front of others.  He will demonstrate how to fail with momentum!

Bio: Matthew Akana is a San Francisco-born, Philadelphia-residing improv comedy performer, game designer, and molecular biologist.  During the day he does high throughput pharmaceutical assay development and by night he performs live with ZaoGao at the Philly Improv Theater and with the N Crowd.

The Weird World of Archie Comics by Chris Cummins

Throughout the 1970s, strange things were afoot in the seemingly peaceful town of Riverdale. In an effort to make their books more competitive with their edgier rivals at DC and Marvel, Archie Comics started focusing on telling grittier tales in some of their titles that involved such story elements as murderous crooks, high school scandals and even Satanic teddy bears. As you can probably guess, they were amazing. Around the same time, Archie artist Al Hartley convinced his bosses to allow him to create religious versions of Archie books to be sold at Christian bookstores. These oddities are a head-scratching bunch that come complete with Betty Cooper trying to convert her heathen pals and a cameo appearance by Jesus as a surfer dude. Subsequent decades have seen such head-scratching developments in the Archieverse as Jughead travelling through time with one of Archie’s female descendents from the 29th century, as well as a monthly title that gave the staff of Riverdale High super powers. This talk will present a look at the oddest moments from Archie’s storied history, offering up a compelling glimpse at how easily the middle of the road can swerve into Weirdsville.

Bio: Chris Cummins is a Philadelphia-based writer who regularly contributes to Geekadelphia and Topless Robot. He also runs the blogs Hibernation Sickness, What’s Dave Kendall Wearing? and Songs of 1992, and co-hosts a monthly quizzo night at The Dive. When not writing about pop culture, he can usually be found obsessing over everything from Star Wars figures to forgotten shoegaze bands. You can follow him on Twitter at @bionicbigfoot.

Music by Los Festingos!

A Festingo: One whom expands the musical universe through creative, humorous, and often outrageous feats of harmonious excellence.


Be there and be square!

Nerd Nite Philly Crew

Nerd Nite No. 23, April 3, 2013


Spring is nearly here!  We are going to get you guys revved up with some talk about seeds!  And toilets?!  Yes!  And secret assassin societies!  And some great tunes!  Hooray spring!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

doors at 6:30, show at 7:30
Frankford Hall at Frankford and Girard
$5 cover

wherein you will hear the following:

“Seeds, Seed Exchanges and Solifuges” by Aimee Hill

What do solifuges and free, fancy and available “heirloom/organic” seeds that grow well in Philly have in common? Wait, what’s a solifuge? What’s a seed? As inhabitants of a post-industrial city, what do we have to do with maintaining and developing an ever-changing, resilient and delicious and living bank of edible plants? (mmm, edible plant bank) Learn the answers to all these questions and more…Got a problem? Seeds can fix that.

Bio: Aimee helps maintain the Philly Seed Exchange and is a Farmer and Teacher with a fascination for all things regarding bacterial domination of the world. She has recently moved from Philly to NJ (embarrassing, I know) for farm reasons, but returns to Philly often for seeds, gardens, and the City itself.

“Hold that flush! Towards sustainable equity when doing our business” by Christiaan (yes two aas) Morssink

A lighthearted yet demanding discourse on the wickedness of using tapwater for toilets, the absolute abhorrent global inequities in terms of access to facilities and the need for nerds worldwide to apply their nerdiness towards solutions that are sustainable, improve health and quality of life, while underscoring the dignity of each and all. In other words, bs-ing about excrement.

Bio: Christiaan is a public health policy professional, exe dir of the United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia, president of the Project for Nuclear Awareness, founding member of the Philadelphia Global Water Initiative as well as the Global Philadelphia Association. His interests are social determinants of health, and the amelioration of the lives of the poor while they buckle under the onslaught of the world’s feral capitalism. His interest in water is due to his Dutch origin and the realization that all breweries everywhere need clean water.

“Assassins, Creeds, and Crusaders (for reals)” by Paul Cobb

Is a secret society of sexy time-traveling murderers-for-hire too good to be true? Sadly, yes. But the reality is pretty nifty anyway. Thanks to various popular media, in particular the wildly successful video-game series ASSASSIN’S CREED, many people (or at least males between the age of 12 and 25) have heard of the medieval Order of Assassins. In this talk, I will take you behind all these fictions to the real, historical sect that inspired them, a medieval Muslim community that beat all the odds of history and is flourishing–quite peacefully–today.

Bio: Paul M. Cobb is Professor of Islamic History in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania. He prefers bourbon. His new book, THE RACE FOR PARADISE: AN ISLAMIC HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES is coming out wicked soon.
Featuring music by Gretchen Lohse.Gretchen Lohse is a native Philadelphia singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She comes from a family with deep music roots and was classically trained on violin, which is evident on her recordings. As the front woman of Philadelphia psychedelic folk rock band Yellow Humphrey, she dreams up rich, strange musical tapestries- part memoir and part tall tale- that are heavily influenced by folklore and silent films.