> Nerd Nite 38: Mostly Invisible

Nerd Nite 38: Mostly Invisible

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This month we’re exploring below the surface! Go underground with us to hear about fossilized animal burrows and how wastewater in Lawrence is treated and reclaimed. Then we’ll take a look inside your smartphone and be amazed that computers were once made of rocks.

Doors open at 7:30 at Maceli’s and presentations begin at 8. Cover is $1. Food served until 9-ish!

Presenters include:

Renée Whaley: “Let’s Drop a Deuce (Colon) the Future of Wastewater Treatment in Lawrence, Kansas”

Do you ever wonder what happens to water once it goes down the drain? Where do all the offerings to the porcelain princess go? What’s up with all this talk about the city building a second wastewater treatment plant? Wastewater treatment is the totally non-sexy, oft-forgotten sibling to water treatment, but as a community we’re poised to invest $70 million into building a new wastewater treatment plant and currently “sewer” adds the most to your utility bill. This presentation will (hopefully) demystify wastewater treatment, explain why the new plant will be super awesome, and inform you as to why your drains are not magical holes that lead to nothingness.

Renée is a graduate of the University of Kansas where she studied philosophy, and she currently works for the City of Lawrence Utilities Department which goes to show that there is life for humanities majors after school. She is a state certified water and wastewater operator, and in her free time she spoons with her cat, looks at stuff under a microscope and blogs about it (lfkulture.tumblr.com), and lifts like a bro, bro.

Nicole Dzenowski: “Holes in Dirt: What’s Really Going on Down There?”

It’s easy to think that nothing but worms and bugs make their living underground but the ground is practically alive under our feet with all sorts of animals, large and small. This presentation will introduce you to the many unexpected animals that burrow, modern and extinct, and how these burrows can be used by paleontologists to interpret ancient environments and ecosystems.

Nicole is a paleontology Ph.D. student in the geology department at KU. She is interested in all aspects of burrowing in extinct and modern vertebrates. While she thinks all vertebrates are cool, she knows that amphibians are the coolest. Deep down, you know this too. In the few sweet moments she gets outside of school she enjoys sleeping, watching the X-files, listening to Dave Matthews Band, and drinking fancy cocktails.

John Parton: “A Brief History of the Mechanical Computer or: What the F#ck is a Slide Rule?”

The presentation will cover the overall evolution of computational technology from counting pebbles to more sophisticated tools. The modern electronic computer is not a singular invention, but rather a long series of innovations, each improving on the previous work. This talk will give a glimpse at the sometimes obscured foundation of the devices that we use every day.

John is a computer programmer working here in Lawrence. He loves making his brain work on just about any topic he can get his hands on, but his real passions are mathematics and computer science.

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