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:

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.