This month things are getting a little spooky… nerd style! Come to our next event on October 15th and start getting in the Halloween spirit. There will be spooky stories, decomposition, and
We will also have a nerdy costume contest! Free admission if you dress up as your favorite nerdy person or thing! Doors open at Pachamama’s Alton Ballroom at 7:30 pm and presentations start at 8 pm. $1 cover for uncostumed nerds.
Larry Brow: “The Mysterious Case of Amaziah Stevens: Specific, Targeted Research and . . . the Other Kind”
While processing the family papers of Professor E.H.S. Bailey, KU’s first full-time Chemistry teacher, the name “Amaziah Stevens” popped up in a few documents. Why was a mid-nineteenth century farmer from western Illinois included in the collected documents of a family from Connecticut? And why did his mother-in-law, Charity Birdsey Miller, specifically exclude him from benefitting from her will? Was he a wickedly bad man, or just devilishly handsome and misunderstood? Where do we look to find the answers?
Larry M. Brow is a 2011 graduate of the KU Museum Studies MA program and as of 2013, a Certified Archivist. His work at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas involves processing incoming collections to make them available to researchers for decades, and even centuries, to come. He is also a graduate of Grinnell College, 1980, the University of Iowa, 1988 & 1989, and Lawrence High School, 1976. A former Ceramics instructor at the Lawrence Arts Center, some of his bowls will be available for purchase at their upcoming Souper Bowl fundraiser.
Rose McSweeney: “Maggot Growth Rates, Tissue Types, and Time of Death – It’s not nearly as simple as you think”
If you watch crime TV, you’ve probably seen a scientist pick a bug off a some poor decomposed corpse and make a comment about due to its age when the sorry bugger bit the dust. Well, I hate to say it, but just like most science on TV it’s not quite that simple. I’ll be explaining how it’s not that straightforward and in some case just plain untrue. For the weak of stomach, there will be talk of maggots, rotting flesh, and statistics.
Rose McSweeney likes chocolate, reading, making jewelry, and poking dead things with a stick.
Seth Martin: “Cosmic Terror! Why H.P. Lovecraft is your favorite horror writer you’ve never read.”
He died destitute and alone, but H.P. Lovecraft exists on a plane with Poe as an influencer of the Horror genre. His works have been turned in to movies, referenced in some of the best known video games in history, and inspired some of the best known horror writers of our day. Find out why you love his work, even if you’ve never heard of him.
Seth Martin has handled hazardous waste, urine, dead bodies, and half-digested grass straight from a living cow’s rumen; perhaps explains his odd obsession with the terrifying and eldritch tales and mythos created by H. P. Lovecraft.
Hey Dude! Remember the ’90s? Remember when you were a kid? Remember all those times you made mistakes? Well then you’re all set for this month’s Nerd Nite: The Big Throwback! We will have presentations on puppet shows, classic Nickelodeon TV, and the worst performances by music groups.
This month there will also be an after show! After the presentations grab another beer and stick around for Nerd @ Nite. We will have an audience participation viewing of some Nickelodeon classics! Watch your favorite shows from the ’90s.
Join us on September 10 at Pachamama’s Alton Ballroom. Doors open at 7 pm, presentations start at 8 pm. $1 cover.
Mathew Klickstein: “Boogers, Burps and Farts: Revisiting Classic Nickelodeon Because It Was Just That Fucking Rad(ical)”
Ever wonder how the hell a show like Ren & Stimpy ended up on a network for KIDS? You’re asking the wrong question, dumbass. The REAL question is: “Why weren’t ALL of the shows on Nickelodeon during the 80s and early 90s just like Ren & Stimpy?” The folks behind the wild & crazy scenes at Nick certainly gave it their all and at least created some pretty close contenders with the likes of: The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Salute Your Shorts, Double Dare, You Can’t Do That on Television and a delightful mess of others we’re probably pissing you off right now by leaving out. Find out how the frantic art kids splitting their time between SNL, Sesame Street, MTV and Nickelodeon made for some of the most outlandish television we can remember … and why we’ll never see anything like it again.
MATHEW KLICKSTEIN is the author of SLIMED! The Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age, which appeared on such Best Of lists as those compiled by: Entertainment Weekly, Parade Magazine and The Atlantic. Mathew is proudly embarrassed of having penned Steven Seagal’s only horror film to date, Against The Dark (Sony Pictures) and is the co-creator of National Lampoon’s short-lived Collegetown USA, which you’ve never heard of before. He now works for Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible and is writing his next book, which deals with the changing nature of nerd/geek culture, for Penguin (Release Date: 2016).
Jon Niccum: “Failure as an art: The Worst Gig”
Ever wonder how bands reflect on their worst performances? What can we learn from listening to stories of a band’s worst gig? Jon will explore his interviews of rock artists talking about the worst show they ever gave.
Jon Niccum is an entertainment writer and film critic for the Kansas City Star. He is the former Music/Film Editor of the Pitch and Entertainment Editor of the Lawrence Journal-World. He is the co-writer of the films “Rhino,” “Time’s Up, Eve” and “Stuck!,” and a producer on the features “Jayhawkers” and “The Sublime and Beautiful.” His first book, “The Worst Gig,” was published in October.
Paul Santos: “Unexpected Felt: Puppets, Beards, and Dramatic Tension”
What it’s like to be a puppet show artist!
Paul Santos is a puppeteer who loves cartoons, plays Kickball and dodgeball and loves the city of Lawrence with all my heart. If you want to know anything else just he is super approachable!
Nerd Nite 30: Local Lawrence will be held on August 13th at Pachamama’s Alton Ballroom. We will have presenters from the community who are striving to make a difference in the economy, with supplying food, and in other towns in need. Doors open at 7 pm and presentations start at 8 pm. $1 cover OR bring a food donation for Just Food!
Dave Loewenstein: “From the League Dumpster to Funky Town: Not so Hidden Economies of Good Will in Lawrence”
When you recalibrate your notion of what an economy is supposed to look like, to include markets that don’t assume a quid pro quo, many examples of gift or exchange economies become apparent right here in Lawrence and sometimes in our own backyards.
Dave Loewenstein is a muralist, writer, and printmaker based in Lawrence, Kansas. In addition to his many public works in Kansas, examples of his dynamic and richly colored community-based murals can be found across the United States and in Northern Ireland and South Korea. Loewenstein’s prints, which focus on current social and political issues, are exhibited nationally and are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Center for the Study of Political Graphics. He is the co-author of Kansas Murals: A Traveler’s Guide, a 2007 Kansas Notable Book Award Winner, published by the University Press of Kansas; and the co-director of the documentary film Creating Counterparts which won Best Documentary at the 2003 Kansas Filmmakers Jubilee. The book from his most recent studio project Give Take Give, funded by the Rocket Grants program, was released in 2013.
Elizabeth Keever: “Oh SNAP! The life and times of the Supplemental nutrition assistance program”
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formally known as Food Stamps, has changed significantly since the first program began in 1939. Every step of the way, it directly impacts those in poverty and how food banks and pantries respond to the need. This is a peek into how the nation responds to the need, and how our communities respond when that need is greater than the government provides. With 1 in 6 people in the United States facing hunger today, ask yourself, are we doing right and what are we doing wrong?
Elizabeth Keever was born and raised in Dallas, TX . After graduating from high school, she left for the University of Kansas. Keever majored in Political Science with a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. During her college career, she spent much of her senior year at the State House as Sen. Marci Francisco’s intern. After graduating from college, Elizabeth was the fundraising director for the Kansas Democratic Party. In 2014, she made the switch to Just Food where she started out as the Director of Operations and Development. Within a year she was promoted to Chief Resource Officer at Just Food. Her role at Just Food includes marketing and communication, organizing food drives and fundraising events.
Lance Rake and Andrea Herstowski: “Designing for Good: Bamboo Bikes and Skateboards bring jobs to rural Alabama”
Eco-friendly transportation designs with community involvement in Alabama in mind!
Summer Shorts is back! July 16th at Pachamama’s Alton Ballroom. Doors open at 7 pm and presentations start at 8 pm. $1 cover.
There will be short presentations each three minutes in length on a variety of topics including:
Boog Highberger: William Allen White vs. Kansas Populism
Paul Dietz: Chicken Lickin’
Joey Hentzler: The Other Side of the Mountain: Human Rights and Global Citizenship
Bill Bruno: Tin Foil Hat Alert: Electromagnetism and Allergies
Courtney Shipley: The Little Big Religion that You Don’t Know Anything About
Emily Fekete: What can the Power of Reiki do for You?
Libby Martin: The Myth Behind the Math: The Legend of Lucas’ Tower
Josh Morgan: The Attuned: Role Playing in a Post-shift World
Amy Schweppe: The Galaxy Song
Erin Schramm: Megalodon: The Most Terrifying Sharknado
Tabby Gabay: Check Yo Self before you T. Rex Yo Self
Lindsey Givens: The Guinea Worm Hole: An Eradication Story
Charlotte Pemberton: The Annual Cicada: A Sap Sucking Sweetheart
Richard Noggle: Mumblecore: It’s Louder than You Think
Mike Wnek: There’s Nothing Funny about Railroad Ballasts
Larry Brow: Grading Art Students: Rewarding Risk Takers in a Culture of Minimalism
This month we will be a little later than normal because we are partnering with the Free State Festival and the Lawrence Public Library! Come join us as part of this film/art/music event.
We will hold Nerd Nite 28 on Monday June 23rd at 7 PM at Pachamama’s Alton Ballroom. Presentations to begin at 8 PM.
Presentations (with updates soon!) to include:
Laura Kirk (FSFF, WOLF): “Develop Your Voice and Build Content: Storytelling in the Digital Age”
Laura is a co-founder of the mentoring group “Women of Lawrence Film” and is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Kansas for both theater and film. Laura served as an executive producer and co-star of the film “The Sublime and Beautiful” which premiered at Slamdance in January and is on the festival circuit currently; Free State Festival June 28. Additionally Kirk was featured in the 2009 Sundance premiere of The Only Good Indian starring Wes Studi. Most recently Kirk served as executive producer on Willmott’s feature film Jayhawkers – a story of legendary coach Phog Allen and time when Wilt Chamberlain influenced desegregation of Lawrence, KS. Kirk currently lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her husband and two children.
Vince Meserko (KJHK): “Straight Love, No Chaser: Authenticity and the Soul Music Revival”
In his talk, Vince will discuss the soul music revival, as exemplified in the music of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and Chicago’s Numero Group record label. Vince will talk about how these musicians goes about making assertions of their authenticity even though soul music’s heyday has long since passed. His talk will focus on what it means to play “authentic” soul music in the year 2014, and the political and social implications that undergird such arguments about soul, music, culture, and authenticity.
Vince Meserko is a Ph.D candidate and graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas. His research focuses on American popular music, popular culture, and issues of selfhood and authenticity. His work has appeared in the Western Journal of Communication, and he has essays in forthcoming issues of the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media and Studies in American Humor. Vince hosts two radio shows on KJHK 90.7 FM, Hickory Wind from 8-10pm on Monday nights, and The Jookhouse from 6-8pm on Saturdays. He is an above average dancer.
Chance Dibben: “They May Be Used For Evil”: Exploring Film Codes and the Censorship Challenges Posed to Filmmakers
Chance Dibben is a writer, photographer, and comedian. He has written for Lawrence.com and The Pitch. He co-hosts the music/comedy podcast “Hot Riffs” and Comedy Freakout at Franks North Star Tavern. He attended The University of Kansas where he studied English and Film.
For more information on the Free State Festival, please visit their website: http://freestatefilmfest.com/nerdnite/
Our next Nerd Nite will be on May 14th at Pachamama’s Alton Ballroom! Presentations will cover the elements from landscaping to storm chasing to metal working. Doors open at 7 pm and presentations start at 8 pm. $1 cover.
Our presenters will be:
The design of outdoor space and why it makes a difference in your life
What makes an outdoor space? Is every space a place? These questions will be answered when we look inside the spaces outside the walls of buildings. The spaces in between buildings are often overlooked, as humans we tend to focus on objects (i.e. buildings). This presentation will demonstrate the importance of outdoor spaces. The space “in between” doesn’t just fill the gap; it works as glue to build communities. Learn to see the world through the eyes of a Landscape Architect, so you can do your part to make a world a more beautiful place.
Jake’s love for the land began on his family’s farm in south central Kansas. Using his knowledge of plants he became the horticulturist for the University of Oxford’s Plant Science department. Having returned from England triumphantly with a son and a master of their language, Jake began a new endeavor in landscape architecture. He now runs a land design business in Lawrence and when he is not at the beck and call of wealthy old ladies he studies bicycle infrastructure.
Dr. Jay Antle
Storm Chasing: Not quite like the movie Twister
Dr. Jay Antle will describe his involvement in Storm Chasing and the growing subculture around it’s practice. He’ll share many of the cool images he’s captured through his photography as well as teach some vocabulary useful for parties. He’ll discuss some recent chaser deaths and contributions of chasers to science, better severe weather warnings, and disaster relief efforts.
Dr. Jay Antle was born in Texas where he lived for the first 21 years of his life. He completed his undergraduate education in history and then moved on to Arizona State University for his Master’s degree and then to the University of Kansas in 1992 for his Ph.D. in American Environmental History. While in graduate school, he participated in an exchange program with Johnson County Community College that ultimately led him to secure a professorship there in 2000 that he still holds. His responsibilities at JCCC have grown to include heading up the college’s Sustainability program as the Executive Director of the college’s Sustainability Center. He currently lives in Lawrence and is an avid hiker and storm chaser. He is also a mediocre distance runner with over 17 half-marathons to his credit and he survived last the 2013 Chicago Marathon.
“Making Shit with Fire: How to Burn Yourself Fifty Times to Make a Doorstop”
Michael will describe the tribulations of designing, building and running a homemade scrap metal foundry. He’ll take a look into everything involved with melting metal in a backyard foundry furnace. Special attention will be paid to burner engineering, furnace specifics, material sourcing, mold making & finally casting.
Michael works as a self-proclaimed guerrilla engineer and for KU’s IR office as a programmer analyst. When building stuff he primarily works with re-purposed and recycled materials to create useful objects from otherwise worthless scrap. At KU, Michael spends his time shuffling databases around under the guise of researching stuff.
Michael has appeared on the (now) defunct Battlebots TV show and has (somewhat) contributed to the Burning Man festival for the better part of a decade. He currently operates a small custom machine & fabrication shop out of his country homestead. His better half, Jess, not only tolerates but encourages these activities. Her motives remain unclear.
On April 9th come join us for presentations on burial practices, extinction, and parasites. Doors open at Pachamama’s Alton Ballroom at 7 pm and presentations start at 8 pm. $1 cover.
“Extinction is Not Forever—Repeated Evolution is as easy as A-B-C” by Terry Meehan
I study old, dead things, namely, fossil mammals of North America. Piles of old bones do manage to speak loudly, though often it’s the same ol’ song—life is predictable. Sabertooths (which have fangs like this) evolved and went extinct like clockwork every 7.2 million years. The first sabertooths of 50 million years ago were not cats, but primitive mammals called creodonts. These were replaced by nimravids—a cat-like family, but we don’t see true cats (felids) until they replaced another cat-like family, barbourofelids about 7 million years ago. Large scale evolution is a game of replacement—it starts over again and again, often rolling the dice in the same sequence. We had giraffes in North America? Nope, but giraffe-like camels? Yes; this adaptive type evolved, went extinct, and re-evolved. Then rinse & repeat. Hyena-like carnivores same story. Hippo-like herbivores ditto. This is a most striking biological pattern. What’s the driving mechanism? (Will it drive you up a wall? Drive you to the end? I thought only people and penguins could drive…)
Dr TJ Meehan, vertebrate paleontologist, professor at Rockhurst University. Graduated from KU twice—Master’s in Geology & PhD in Biology. Published a few papers on this topic & currently working on a book. Would prefer to be paid to play bridge, ultimate Frisbee, & scuba diving.
“How to be a Great Host: Toxoplasma Gondii and You” by Lindsey Givens
Lindsey is more of a book nerd (she did actually get grounded from reading as a child), but her work in scientific publishing has opened whole new nerdy doors. Her other great passions are travel (she’d like to go to a country for every letter of the alphabet) and bubble baths
“Bring Out Your Dead: the cozy relationship between living and dead in 7000 BCE Çatalhöyük (present-day Turkey)” by Kelly Watt
On March 12th join us for Nerd Nite 25: The Man, The Myth, The Money where we will discuss the fictitious life of James Bond’s eating habits, cryptozoology and the mythical beasts that surround us, and the story of the bitcoin and other cryptocurrency.
Doors open at Pachamama’s Alton Ballroom at 7 pm and presentations start at 8 pm. $1 cover.
Presentations to include:
“Live and Let Dine: James Bond as an Effete Gourmet Assassin”
By Tom Weiss
Will the real James Bond please stand up! Is he the martini-swilling, car-crazy,womanizing super spy depicted in the movies, or an effete gourmet assassin as suggested in the novels? The answer may lie in the Bond Matrix, a large data base that contains savory details about the 500 dining experiences that the secret agent had or dreamed of having in the Bond novels. This presentation will be the first release of information from this data base. You may never see James Bond in the same light again.
Tom gave up a possibly lucrative career as a professional golfer and turned down a job in Dayton, OH in order to get a PhD in Economics. He taught at KU for nearly 40 years, where he did the usual path-breaking, seminal work that was expected. Perhaps his greatest innovation was the introduction of Powerpoint in the Presidential addresses of the Economic History Association. His research ran the gamut from economic growth in colonial North America, to industrialization in the slave South, the growth of service industries in the 19th century, and – in preparation for retirement – the economic history of tourism. None of these has anything to do with his work on James Bond’s dining history.
“Snipe Hunt: Cryptozoological Creatures and the Stories They Tell”
By Kent Smith and Matthew Lord
Sasquatch. Chupacabra. Nessie. Do these clandestine beasts exist in the physical world, or only in the recesses off our imagination? Though substantial evidence proves lacking, anecdotal accounts about these elusive creatures is available in droves. The mission of SNIPE HUNT, (Society of the Never-ending Inquest to Prove Existence and Hopefully Uncover Non-typical Terrestrials), is to explore the numerous reports of the many enigmatic creatures around the world and the cryptic phenomena that surround them. SNIPE HUNT founders Matthew Lord and Kent Smith will be sharing their knowledge in the field of Cryptozoology and the challenge of finding mystery in an ever-shrinking world.
Kent Smith is an illustrator, designer and all-around artist extraordinaire. A graduate of the University of Kansas with a BFA in illustration and design, Kent gets to spend his time making pictures—something he celebrates daily. Kent’s artwork is chock-full of humor and personality. Kent loves robots, ninjas, super-heroes, monkeys, ray-guns and romance.
Matthew Lord graduated with a BFA in illustration from the University of Kansas and is an illustrator/designer and fine artist. Matt’s artwork tilts toward the absurd, with a healthy dose of pop culture critique. He strives to tell a well-constructed story with his artwork, using the panel as his delivery device. Matt’s influences are drawn from a youth saturated with comic books and toy commercials.
“Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin: Such money. Very technology. So future. Wow”
By Caleb Chin
Bitcoin, one of the hottest topics in technology and the financial world, is an innovative digital creation that is as fascinating as it is volatile. Whether you hate it, love it, or don’t know anything about it, more and more people across the world are accepting bitcoins. So what exactly is it? How does it work? Is it just a fad or is it the real deal?
Caleb Chin is an undergraduate senior at KU who was first introduced to Bitcoin in 2012 by a techie friend, back when it was considered nothing more than “gold for nerds”. Caleb follows cryptocurrency news and markets to trade Bitcoin with other currencies, both crypto and non-crypto, dollar or Dogecoin. He is the founder and president of the local Bitcoin Club.
Nerd Nite 24 will take place on February 12th, just in time to talk about Valentine’s Day topics. We are also pairing with Read Across Lawrence for our first presentation.
On February 12th at Pachamama’s Alton Ballroom (doors at 7 pm, presentations at 8 pm) the topics will be:
“The Myth of White Picket Fences: The American dream confronted in Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson.”
Bio and description coming soon!
Gina L. Egan, PhD
“No Means No: Shining light on violence against women and how hope and healing persevere.”
One Billion Women on this planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime! That is 1 in 3 women! This statistic is alarming and the fact that it is true is not acceptable. Violence against women is not a “women’s issue”; it is a HUMAN issue. It affects women and men, girls and boys. It is time to end it, but what can we possibly do? V-Day is a global movement dedicated to ending violence against women and girls locally and globally. Gina will explore this issue and show what V-Day is doing in the effort to end this violence.
Gina is a new activist and feminist (still trying to be ok with this label) but has jumped in with both feet in the past year or so. Her passion comes from a newly-nurtured but deep-rooted belief that everything and everyone on this planet is connected and should be valued. It is from this place that she finds incentive to be a new board member of the United Nations Association of Greater Kansas City, a co-chair of the Women’s affinity group of the UNA-GKC, producer of the annual V-Day event and its auxiliary event One Billion Rising at JCCC, co-organizer of the one day conference at JCCC “Local Peacebuilding: Lessons from Uganda,” and speaker on the issue of violence against women and the V-Day movement. And now for something completely different: Gina is an Assistant Professor of Science at Johnson County Community College, and she earned her PhD in chemistry from The Pennsylvania State University in 2001. She also was a forensic chemist for the FBI Laboratory Division in Quantico, VA, but that just feels like a past life now.
“Idioms, currencies, and fantasies: An exploration into the tenants of relational satisfaction”
The world is full of popular myths about what makes romantic relationships work. The goal of this presentation is to help seperate fact from fiction in the realm of relational satisfaction. Citing both quantitative and qualitative studies, this presentation will provide the listener with the most up-to date research on how to increase both relational and sexual satisfaction in their romantic relationships. While there is no magic pill or equation to a successful relationship, research has shown several commonalities that seperate the successful relationships from the unsuccessful. With topics ranging from nicknames to sexual fantasies, every listener will go home with several ideas on how to better enhance and maintain their current or future romantic relationships.
Mike Anderson received both his Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in the Communication Studies department. Mike’s emphasis was on sexual communication and taboo topics in romantic relationships. Mike’s dissertation focused on the role of sexual fantasies in the realm of both relational and sexual satisfaction in romantic couples. He obtained 500 sexual fantasies for this project. Mike’s work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, academic books, and peer-reviewed journals. His most recent work on the communication of past sexual experiences in romantic relationships was published in the Journal of Sex Research. At KU Mike taught classes in public speaking, persuasive speaking, problem solving in teams and groups, behavioral research methods, and relational communication. Currently, Mike is the host of the Not So Late Show, a late night talk show on WOW’s Channel 6. The show has received several awards, and in 2012 Mike was named “The Most Interesting Character in Small Town America” by Readers Digest.
We’re back! A new year brings lots of new knowledge from fellow nerds!
Join us for our first event of 2014 on January 15th at Pachamama’s Alton Ballroom. As always doors open at 7 pm and presentations start at 8 pm.
At NN 23: Cracking Cultural Codes we will explore myths surrounding dieting, video game culture, and solving the Soma puzzle! Our presenters this month are:
“Power-ups and ammo crates, or how I saved the World today: the allure of modern video games and how this fringe cultural phenomenon turned into a titan of the entertainment industry”
To the average person, video games fall somewhere between D&D and Sudoku on the cultural spectrum; at best, they are seen as entertaining diversions, and at worst they are viewed with scorn and fear as the progenitors of violence and moral depravity. The purpose of this talk is to shed some light on how gamers view themselves and their culture, and show non-gamers how video games have changed since Mario, and explore how these changes have made games such a cultural powerhouse.
Josh through he’d basically grown out of video game addiction in college, but as it turns out he was wrong. He now spends his days managing a geology lab at KU and his nights trying to be as productive as he can before succumbing to the siren call of his favorite game.
“Dieting Myths and Big Fat Lies”
Description and bio coming soon.
“From Heisenberg to Parker Brothers: Cracking the Soma Treasure Map”
How a seven piece cube ate my life. A puzzle nerd comes out of the closet to reveal 35 years of research into his favorite obsession.
John Brewer has been writing computer manuals, composing music, folding paper, and cooking for his family for the last 38 years. He also loves long-distance walking, teaching himself Italian, and drinking box wine.