Nerd Nite 35: The Nerd’s Tale

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It’s our last Nerd Nite at Pachamama’s Alton Ballroom :( On February 11, come celebrate Pachamama’s and Read Across Lawrence with presentations related to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. Presentations will cover topics from Feminist interpretations of porn, to human trafficking, to privacy in a digital age. Doors will open for the event at 7:30 and presentations will start at 8:00. $1 cover.

Jon Peters: “Thy brother came with subtlety: Journalism and its New Privacy Problem”

In the digital world, almost everything you do leaves a trace. That’s a problem for journalists who need to protect confidential sources and information. This talk will explore how journalists are navigating a new set of privacy challenges.

Jonathan Peters, an attorney, is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Kansas, where he teaches media law. He is also a faculty affiliate at the KU Information and Telecommunication Technology Center.

Kate Gramlich: “Feminists Tackle Porn: From Handmaid’s Tale to Herself.com”

Radical feminists and staunch conservatives almost never see eye to eye… except when it comes to porn. In Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, both the pre-Gileadean feminists and the controlling religious regime stood firmly against pornography’s harmful imagery. However, the issue is even further complicated in American society today by debates within feminism on whether porn is inherently oppressive or able to be a site for empowerment.

My goal of this talk is to give a brief overview of the conflicting narratives within feminist theory, introducing key players and arguments of both “anti-pornography” and “anti-censorship”/”pro-sex” feminisms. I will draw in quotes from The Handmaid’s Tale, this year’s Read Across Lawrence book, as well as incorporating more recent discussions on the topic. It is my hope for audience members to use this information as a framework for discussing porn and feminism, as Right vs. Wrong, but more as an open-ended conversation about a complex issue.

Kate is a member of the (fantastic) Readers’ Services staff at the Lawrence Public Library and a recent Kansas transplant. She studied communication and taught women’s studies at Southern IL University Carbondale and is now thrilled to be a part of the Lawrence community. Find her in the fiction loop at the library to chat about books, feminism, cats, glitter, etc.

Corinne Schwarz: “Human Trafficking in the Heartland”

Human trafficking is a phenomenon we don’t usually encounter outside of breaking news updates and “Law and Order: SVU” marathons. But the hidden population of vulnerable, exploited, and trafficked persons does exist in our Kansas communities. Additionally, some interesting Kansas politicians have been major players in state and national-level anti-trafficking policy. This talk will establish the climate of human trafficking and anti-trafficking advocacy across the state and show how trafficking exists outside of our sensationalized media narratives.

Corinne is a graduate student in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at KU. She is also a graduate research assistant with KU’s Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking Initiative (ASHTI), an interdisciplinary working group examining vulnerability, exploitation, and trafficking. Her own research looks at anti-human trafficking interventions and health services delivery in rural and underserved communities. When she’s not researching, she’s probably eating a burrito.

Nerd Nite 34: Dino-Mite!

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We’re Back! And this month Nerd Nite is teaming up with the KU Biodiversity Institute and Natural History museum to bring you three nerdy presentations exploring the museum, dino diets, and the Tolkien inspired naming of new species. We will still be at Pachamama’s Alton Ballroom for the next couple months so you can get your fill of Pachamama’s before they close after Valentine’s Day :(

Join us: January 14th. Doors at 7:30, presentations at 8:00 pm! $1 cover. Come early to experience our activity table where you can make your own fossil print!

Presentations include:

Greg Ornay “Scenes from the Museum: From Fossils to Humping Grasshoppers”

Working at KU Natural History Museum you get to see many unique things and get caught up in some crazy situations dealing with live animals (sometimes wild ones) and insects. There are over 10 million specimens and only a small percentage makes it into the public exhibits. Working as an exhibits specialist has allowed my to go behind the scenes and explore some of the most extensive and unique collections. I will take you on a journey behind the scenes of Bug Town, the bee colony, secrets of the panorama, creating exhibits that connect and resonate with people, and much more that have been in the making for years and still continuing.

Greg first started out, as an artist working is such mediums as Sculpture, performance and installation art. During his time in College he worked for several art galleries and a few museums. Always being on the creative side he wound up working for KU’s Natural History Museum. For the last 10 years he has been creating exhibits at the museum. From concept, design, fabrication, and installation he has used his art background to showcase new exhibits to the public.

Jesse Grismer “Sauron and Science: How Tolkien Lives on in Scientific Nomenclature”

Naming new species of plants and animals can be a great way to bridge passions eg. fantasy, comics, scifi, research, etc. When a new species is discovered we get to choose the species’ name. So we have named species after Gollum or from areas in the Tolkien Universe such as the Elves of Las Gallen. There is no reason not to infuse research with other areas of our lives that we are passionate and excited about. This also how shows that not all scientist are stuffy or dorky and makes our work more engaging to the general public. It gets them asking questions, like can you do that? Does it still count? Then this opens up a dialogue about how and why describing species is important and vital to conservation but can also be a blast man!!

David Burnham “The Food of Dinosaurs—a survey of diets found preserved among the Dinosauria”

My talk is about dinosaurs and what they ate. Not what we think they ate based on their teeth and claws, but rather on scientific evidence such as what was found inside their bellies. Such remains of the past are rare insights and bring interesting conclusions that I will share during my talk.

David read the stories that are embedded in the rocks. Rocks are time capsules and if you learn how to read them they become windows into the past. This allows one to time travel and see long extinct life forms from a very distant past. And that is what captivates David to this day. Soon he realized that looking was no longer enough. Not only did he want to look into the past, David also want to extract the primitive life forms that seemed to be locked in stone. You see, the name fossil means something “dug up” and he wanted to do just that. However, he wanted to not only go back in time, but he wanted to put fossil organisms back together and make them whole again. Then he would see the entire picture and discover the unknown. This has manifested itself as a life-long career as a time traveler. In more formal circles we are called Paleontologists. But we remain as inquisitive children looking at rocks and stones for clues no one else can see.

Nerd Nite 33: Gathering, Gallantry, and Grinds

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It’s our 3rd birthday! Come and celebrate with Nerd Nite 33: Gathering, Gallantry, and Grinds. Join us on November 12 at Pachamama’s Alton Ballroom as we explore the history of coffee, masculinity and medieval armor, and foraging for wild eats! Doors will open this month at 7:30 and presentations will start at 8:00. $1 cover. There will be cake!

Presentations include:

Louis Wigen-Toccalino: “Dancing Goats to Double Gibraltars: the discovery and spread of the coffee bean”

Louis learned how to cook from his grandmother, drinks 205 quarts of coffee a year, and views tea with disdain. He is a pedant, an optimist, a risotto master; he can often be found waxing philosophic at a local watering hole. He opened Decade in LFK to share the gospel of caffeine, with anyone who will listen.

Chaz Kirchhoff “The Armored Imaginary: Meaning, Memory, and Masculinity in Late Medieval Armor”

My talk will explore two facets of the complex relationship between armor, masculinity, and memory during the period between 1480 and 1530, when the forms, functions, and meanings of plate armor were undergoing significant changes in response to new military technology (like gunpowder) and shifting models of political power. First, I will discuss how specific armors (that is, sets of plates now commonly called “suits of armor”) were memorable surfaces upon which identities, events, and political contexts could be impressed, recalled, and reimagined, illustrated through art. Second, I will describe how armor, which was specially-crafted to fit its intended wearer, could become an impression of the body that functioned as a surrogate presence of the person it once encased. Thus, the two parts of my Nerd Nite talk will share how both real armors and images of the armored body could help to construct 15th- and 16th-century ideals of knightly masculinity and could become repositories of memory where such powerful ideals and identities were preserved and recalled.

Chaz has managed to combine her artistic background in steel and non-ferrous metalwork with her passion for art historical research in her exploration of the creation, use, and meaning of plate armor in late medieval and renaissance Europe, particularly in the German-speaking lands of the Holy Roman Empire. Chaz received undergraduate degrees in Art History and Sculpture from Drury University and an MA in Art History from KU, where she is currently pursuing a PhD. She worked as a curatorial intern at the Spencer Museum of Art for three years in the departments of European and American Art and Works on Paper, and it was there that she discovered her interest in armor while conserving a breastplate in the gothic style. Chaz is currently working on a dissertation entitled “Constructing the Armored Body in the Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Holy Roman Empire,” and spent part of last summer analyzing armors, manuscripts, and related artworks in the Prague Museum of Decorative Art and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

Robbie Wood: “Urban Foraging for Wild Edibles”

Talking about some local wild foods. Specifically Persimmons as they are in season right now. But also two of the most common weeds in the world plantain and dandelions and how we can incorporate them into our lives instead of just mowing them over.

Robbie Wood is a Senoir at Haskell Indian Nations University. He is from a rural area in Northeastern Oklahoma. His granparents were old timers and knew a lot about farming and gathering wild foods, something he was fascinated by and decided to make a goal to learn.

Nerd Nite 32: Mystery, Monsters, and Maggots!

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.

Presentations include:

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.

Nerd Nite 31: The Big Throwback

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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-nomics! The Nerdy Side of Community Activism

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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!

Presentations include:

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!

Nerd Nite 29: Summer Shorts Too

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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

Nerd Nite 28: Free Souls and the State of Film

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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/

lawpubliblogo Free state fest

Nerd Nite 27: Earth, Wind, and Fire

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.

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Our presenters will be:

Jake Hodson

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.

Michael Harry

“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.

Nerd Nite 26: Nerd of the Living Dead

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.

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“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

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