Nerd Nite Summer Shorts



JULY 11, 2018

Doors open at 7:00 pm. Presentations start at 8:00 pm.  $1 to get in

Maceli’s – 1031 New Hampshire LFK

We’re closing out the 2017-2018 series of Nerd Nite Lawrence events with Summer Shorts! Instead of three twenty-minute presentations we will have fifteen* three-minute* presentations. Get ready for some fast-paced nerdery. We’ll let you in starting at 7 so you can grab a chair and an icy beverage before presentations start at 8. Dollar cover.

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Three minutes? I could talk about anything for that long!” then you should sign up to present! We will continue to take volunteers until July 1st. Just email us at with your name, an oh-so-brief concept for your presentation, and an assurance that yes, you really can keep it to three minutes.


Thank you and we’ll see you there!!!


Lights! Camera! Nerds! Our theme this June is the movies, from appreciation to analysis to criticism. In addition to our night of cinematic adventure, our beloved hosts at Maceli’s are offering a Beer Blowout! Tank 7 will be $4, Free State Wheat and 3 Blind Mice will be $3, and Bud Light will be $2. That’s of course in addition to our usual $1 cover. Doors open at 7 and the featured attraction starts at 8.



“How to watch movies like a film critic (the basics),” by Abby Olcese.

What separates a great movie from a terrible one? What elements go together to create an enduring classic? How do you describe your favorite movie to a friend, family member or spouse beyond the words “awesome,” “beautiful” or “Keanu Reeves?” In this talk, you’ll learn what the people who write about movies for a living think about when they watch a film, and how to use that knowledge to deepen your own understanding of your favorite flicks.

“A Movie That Knows It Is A Movie,” by Ghiyong Patrick Moon.

This presentation explores the theoretical concept of self-reflexivity, addressing movies from Godard’s French New Wave films to Deadpool and Hot Fuzz. A few philosophical ideas in film theory regarding this topic will be explained in easy and friendly terms.

“The Art of Being an Old Movie Weirdo,” by Kellee Pratt.

Kellee will discuss classic film, and its sub genres, then discuss the culture of classic film fandom.

Our speakers:

Abby Olcese is a film critic who contributes to Kansas Public Radio and Sojourners, as well as She’s also a member of the esteemed PBR Book Club, and hopes they’ll still think she’s cool enough to come to meetings after this presentation. You can follow her adventures on Twitter @indieabby88 if you’re into that kind of thing.

Ghiyong Patrick Moon graduated Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea in 2016 with a Master of Arts degree majoring in cinema. His current research interest as a graduate student in the University of Kansas lies in the relationship between cinema and politics, which is also related to the topic of this presentation.

When not performing marketing and social media for where she also discusses classic comedy on her ‘The Funny Papers’ column, Kellee Pratt writes for her own classic film blog, Outspoken & Freckled ( Kellee teaches classic film study for Lawrence Parks & Rec Adult Ed (next courses: Film Noir 2 and Ray Harryhausen). Unapologetic social butterfly, she’s an active tweetaholic, Social Producer for Turner Classic Movies (2015, 2016), and busy mom of four kids and 3 fur babies. You can follow Kellee on twitter at @IrishJayhawk66.


In May we are bringing you video games, videodiscs, and The Boss. It’s Video Killed the Radio Star. Come meet in our abandoned studio (well, Maceli’s) for presentations that will begin at 8. Doors open at 7. Dollar cover.

Our presentations:

“Exploring Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town,'” by Conor Taft
A crash course on one of the rock icon’s greatest and most under-appreciated albums.

“StarCraft: The Last Bonjwa,” by Jon Lane
Jon will explore the ways in which media has shaped StarCraft from a video game into an entire subculture that has revolutionized the way video games were perceived and played.

“Movies Are Better on Vinyl: A Brief History of the RCA VideoDisc,” by Ben Gross
For most of the 20th century, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) was synonymous with consumer electronics. RCA established the first radio network and pioneered the development of both black-and-white and color television. But not all of the company’s innovations were commercially successful. This presentation will consider RCA’s short-lived campaign to dominate the 1980s home video market with a system that allowed consumers to watch movies encoded in the grooves of vinyl records.

Our presenters:

Born and raised in the Chicago area, Conor Taft came to LFK for school and loved it so much that he stuck around. Aside from his day job at KU Endowment, he enjoys going to concerts, reading, running, and occasionally competing in air guitar competitions under his stage name “Rockward Silence.” Yes, he IS related to President Taft, and no, we aren’t forgetting an “n” in his name.

Collegiate StarCraft competition and high school computer science teacher, Jon Lane founded KU’s StarCraft 2 team and competed against some of the best college StarCraft players during the height of StarCraft 2.

Ben Gross is the Vice President for Research and Scholarship at the Linda Hall Library, the world’s foremost independent research library devoted to science, engineering, and technology. He moved to the Midwest in 2016 and regularly attends Nerd Nites in Lawrence and Kansas City. His first book, “The TVs of Tomorrow: How RCA’s Flat-Screen Dreams Led to the First LCDs,” was published in March by the University of Chicago Press.

NERD NITE 70: Creature Feature II



Maceli’s 1031 New Hampshire
Doors open at 7, Presentations start at 8
Cost is one US dollar or coin.


Because you can’t get enough eukaryotes from Kingdom Animalia, we’re back with Creature Feature 2! If you are wondering whether Nerd Nite is more fun than a barrel of monkeys, our speakers may have answers for you.

Our presentations:

“Tale of a Jellyfish Sting: Untold stories of the oldest venomous animals,” by Anna Klompen
The oldest venomous animals, the Cnidarians (jellyfish, hydras, sea anemones, etc) are some of the most poorly understood in terms of venom content, structure, and evolution. Anna’s talk will be exploring the amazing jellyfish venoms we do understand, like how box jellyfish induce a heart attack in adult humans or how sea anemone venoms are currently being used as medicines.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: How animal ecology influences body plans,” by Matt Jones
Saber-tooths that aren’t cats. Lemurs that look like ground sloths. Crocodile-like amphibians. We see the same body plans show up repeatedly throughout time, but what does that tell us about evolution and habitat? Matt will discuss the concept of ecomorphology and how it can help paleontologists piece together ancient ecosystems.

“Performing for aliens: What can animal intelligence tests actually tell us?” by Ryan Ridder
Ryan is going to talk to us about different ways “intelligence” can be defined, various ways we’ve tried to measure it in other animals, and how some of our methods hold up to scrutiny.

Presenter biographies:

Anna is a doctoral candidate at the University of Kansas Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department with Dr. Paulyn Cartwright. She declared her lifelong passion for marine science at a well-matured age of 8, and studied biology and chemistry in her bachelors. Her love for jellyfish started in high school, and she currently studies how venom has diversified and evolved within jellyfish and their relatives.

Matt Jones is a PhD student studying paleontology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas under Dr. K. Christopher Beard. His primary research interest is in the origin and evolution of bats and he spends most of his days staring at tiny, fossilized bat teeth through a microscope.

Ryan is an Earth mammal that can talk, but do his gibberings *truly* reflect intentionality or a biographical sense of self? Can he truly take the perspective of others or plan for the future, and is he really using these traits to solve complex problems or mediate social disputes? Does he really have an inner life? Glyxor, lead investigator of the animal behavior research unit for the Kodosian Federation, Wolf 359 Beta, argues we should be skeptical. After all, those traits have always been What Makes Us Kodosian.



It’s going to be an IRRATIONALLY good time at Nerd Nite 69.

In celebration of Pi day 3/14 (3.14) it’s PI TIME!

We’ll be making math puns, raffling pie, and we’ll be learning about Mathematician Emilie du Chatelet with Dr. Cynthia Huffman and the chemistry and science of Pie with Meghan Heriford from Ladybird Diner!


7:30 PM  – Free State Brewery – Science on Tap presents Terry Soo with the KU Department of Mathematics explores the mathematical ideas behind secure communication systems and cryptocurrencies.

8:30 PM (door at 7:30) – Maceli’s – Nerd Nite 69: PI TIME –  Can math, science, an irrational number, and a delectable dough cased filling prepared in a pastry pan co-exist in one night of learning, friendship, and math puns?


FREE STATE BREWERY – 636 Massachusetts     MACELIS – 1031 New Hampshire

NERD NITE Itenerary

On 3/14, bring us 1 dollar and we’ll bring you two outstanding and very special guest presenters!

PLUS (see what we did there +) a short talk on Pi by a mystery guest.

It’s   π   Time!

Dr. Cynthia Huffman –
“Mathematical Passion – A Look at Emilie du Chatelet”

Émilie du Châtelet lived in France in the 18th century and wrote on the “new” invention of calculus. The mistress of Voltaire, she had love affairs and experienced intrigue, gambling, and even sword fights. In this presentation, we will take a look at the life and mathematical contributions of this passionate woman.

Meghan Heriford –
“The Secret Life of Pie”
Meghan talks about her journey to creating the perfect pie, tips learned along the way, the hits and misses, and a little bit about the chemistry of crust.


Meghan Heriford – Mother of four and owner/operator/head pie lady at Ladybird Diner. Honorary Texan and natural blonde.

Dr. Cynthia Huffman is a University Professor of Mathematics at Pittsburg State University. She is interested in sharing the beauty of mathematics with others, especially through the use of the history of math. She has also been a Research Fellow at the Linda Hall Library, studying mathematics books in the LHL History of Science Collection.

NERD NITE 68: A Most Wonderful Read Across Lawrence


This February we are proud to partner with our friends at the Lawrence Public Library to celebrate Read Across Lawrence.

Read Across Lawrence 2018 highlights “Wonder,” by R.J. Palacio. Haven’t finished the book yet? No worries! Our presentations will explore topics and themes pertinent to “Wonder” but won’t spoil the book for you. The doors at Maceli’s will be open at 7 and your bosses will be there to take your dollar cover charge. We’ll start at 8. It’s going to be Wonderful!

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 7  at Maceli’s 1031 New Hampshire
Doors open at 7, Presentations start at 8
Cost is one US dollar or coin.


Learn about the Lawrence Public Library Read Across Lawrence events here

Learn about the Lawrence Public Library Read Across Lawrence events here


The Nerd Nite Presentations:

“The Future is Now: Clinical Genetics as the Forerunner of Precision Medicine,”

by Eric Rush
Discoveries in genetics that impact the health of humans are in the news daily. While these advances are exciting, did you ever wonder who actually uses them to improve patient care? Enter Clinical Geneticists. We are clinicians who use our eyes, our brains, and ever-expanding cytogenetic and molecular testing to diagnose patients with genetic conditions. We use this knowledge to treat our patients either symptomatically or with targeted molecular therapies. The paradigm of giving a patient the correct treatment, at the correct dose, and at the correct time is the essence of what has come to be called Precision Medicine. We in Genetics have been approaching our patients in this fashion for the past fifty years. We will discuss the history of Clinical Genetics and how this relates to our current medical practice.

“The Creative Outsider, or Why Marginalized People Make the Best Innovators,”

by Barbara Kerr
Kerr will talk about her research on creative, eminent women for her book “Smart Girls” and eminent men for her book “Smart Boys” — and show how long periods of aloneness, rejection by popular peers, and distance from privilege can stir the imagination. The importance of one good friend and a family that provides both challenge and refuge also helps in the development of the creative person.

“‘The Wonderful[?] World of Disney’: Film Adaptations of Popular Children’s Narratives,”

by Giselle Anatol
Anatol will explore several popular Disney films from the 1930s to the present and juxtapose them with the stories on which they are based. She will consider changes to the original tales and how those provide clues to the historical and cultural contexts in which both versions were created. She will also consider the messages both versions send to viewers about a variety of ideas, such as gender roles, romantic love, and beauty ideals.

About the Presenters

Dr. Eric Rush is a Clinical Geneticist at Children’s Mercy Hospital and the University of Kansas Hospital and is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. As a high school student, he became interested in genetics when learning of the cause of his own color-blindness. He graduated from the University of Kansas with degrees in biochemistry and genetics in 2001, and graduated from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 2005. Between 2005 and 2017, Eric took his show on the road, completing his training in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Clinical Genetics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and staying on the faculty for five years after training. His research interests include treatment of rare genetic bone conditions and discovery of new syndromes.

Barbara Kerr is Distinguished Professor of Counseling Psychology and Co-Director of the new Center for Creativity and Entrepreneurship in Education at KU. She is also co-founder of the Lawrence Creates Makerspace. Her life’s mission is to make the world safe for creative people, but she worries it is becoming less, rather than more so. She studies how creative talent develops and the conditions that encourage it in the family, school, work, and cultures. She is author of the “Smart Girls in the Twenty-first Century: The Development of Talent in Women;” “Smart Boys: Talent, Manhood, the Search for Meaning,” seven other books and over a hundred articles. Her most recent is “Creativity and Innovation in Iceland: Individual and Cultural Variables.”

Giselle Anatol is a Professor of English at KU. Anatol’s primary fields of interest are Caribbean and Caribbean Diaspora Literature, especially 20th- and 21st-century women’s writing, African American Literature, and Children’s and Young Adult Literature, particularly representations of race, ethnicity, and gender in narratives for young people.

NERD NITE 67: Rock and Bowl Relics


It’s a new year and Nerd Nite is back with three fresh talks for you! We’ll have presentations with an art and design flavor for you this evening, from prehistoric rock art to renaissance reliquaries to design considerations for bowl makers. We will be ready to welcome you and take your dollar at 7 and presentations will start at 8. See you then!

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 10 – Maceli’s 1031 New Hampshire
Doors open at 7, Presentations start at 8
Cost is one US dollar or coin.

Our presentations:

“Buxom Women, Men in Kilts and Dogs with Curly Tails – Arabian Rock Art Captures a Glimpse of Ancient Life,” by Sandra Olson

“Hallowed Bones and Holy Foreskin: Relics and Reliquaries in Early Modern Europe” by Ashley Offill
Relics – pieces of bone, remnants of blood, entire bodies, and other odd objects believed to hold the essence of the holy – possessed religious and cultural power beyond their often unsettling origins. Whether hidden away in glorious golden reliquary statues or proudly displayed behind rock crystal, relics inspired grandiose displays, dastardly deeds, and miraculous happenings. This talk will explore some of the wonderful weirdness of early modern relics and reliquaries.

“Simple as a Bowl: Why Some Bowls Aren’t Ice Cream Bowls,” by Larry Brow
A bowl’s form should reflect its function. Ceramicist Larry Brow will discuss the design challenges of making bowls with emphasis on handmade bowls such as those you (yes you!) could acquire if you attend the upcoming Souper Bowl fundraiser at the Lawrence Arts Center.

About the Presenters:

Dr. Sandra Olsen is a zooarchaeologist who has focused much of her career on the investigation of horse domestication, directing excavations of Copper Age sites and doing research in Kazakhstan. In recent years, she has turned to advanced imaging of petroglyphs in Saudi Arabia, with particular interest in the impact of climate change on the Arabian Peninsula.

Ashley Offill is a Ph.D. candidate in History of Art at KU who is writing her dissertation on the relic cult of St. Andrea Corsini in Florence. Her research interests include issues of early modern art and culture such as commemoration, celebration, viewership, reception, and theatricality, and getting way too excited about how people decorate dead bodies.

Larry Brow is a graduate of Lawrence High School, Grinnell College, the University of Iowa, and KU, with degrees in History, Ceramics, and Museum Studies. He is a lifelong member of the Society for Creative Anachronism and a former Lawrence Arts Center Ceramics Instructor. He currently works at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at KU and is a Certified Archivist.



A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, we learned about an epic struggle between a ragtag rebellion and an evil empire. We marveled at twin suns, navigable asteroid fields, and habitable moons. We were inspired by the familiar and the fantastic and celebrated the world of Star Wars and other science fiction realms by creating conventions. Do join us for an evening of stars, wars, and Star Wars. There is no try.

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 13 – Maceli’s 1031 New Hampshire
Doors open at 7, Presentations start at 8
Cost is one US dollar or coin. Republic Credits are no good here. COSPLAY WELCOME


Our presentations:

“Horton Hears a Heil! The Anti-Fascist Political Cartoons of Dr. Seuss,” by Michael Pope
Theodore “Doctor” Seuss Geisel is best known for his children’s tales cautioning against patricide in “Hop on Pop” and extolling the importance of a proper diet in “Green Eggs and Ham,” but few fans are aware of his brief career as a political cartoonist during World War II. From 1941-1943, Dr. Seuss published more than 400 editorial cartoons in the liberal New York magazine “PM,” covering topics like fascism, civil rights, and political corruption – issues we find quaint and anachronistic in 21st-century America. Join self-proclaimed expert Michael Pope as he unearths this hidden history and shares a sampling of his favorite cartoons – some amazingly ahead of their time, others suffering from what can charitably be described as “misguided patriotism.”

“Dwarf Planets: Small and Forgotten (Until Now),” by Lucas Hemmer
On August 24, 2006 the International Astronomical Union passed a resolution to define what is and is not a planet. Practically overnight, Pluto was demoted from its planetary status and is now officially classified as a dwarf planet to the dismay of school children and nostalgic adults everywhere. However, much of the story has been glossed over in the discovery of other “minor” planets and our never-ending argument about what defines a planet that led to Pluto’s demise. Besides Pluto, there are four official dwarf planets and six unofficial dwarf planets and all are just as weird and unique as the eight official planets in our solar system. The best part is that there could be many more out there to endlessly study and explore to better understand our celestial neighborhood.

“Revenge of the Scruffy-Looking Nerf Herders,” by Ruth Lichtwardt
Who hasn’t heard of the San Diego Comicon? Cosplay? Star Wars and Star Trek conventions? Science fiction and fantasy permeate pop culture these days, reflected in books, TV shows and movies. Conventions both huge and tiny abound, celebrating all aspects of science fiction fandom, and some draw national media attention. What were the beginnings of this phenomenon, and how did science fiction conventions change from being viewed as gatherings for nerds and dweebs, to something for the whole family to attend dressed as The Incredibles?

Our presenters:

Michael Pope is a writer, editor, sometimes-podcaster, and proud member of the Nerd Nite Twitterati. He is married to the newest and most beautiful co-boss (sorry Adrian), but it’s not a conflict of interest because apparently nepotism isn’t a big deal anymore. He used to draw political cartoons for his high school newspaper and shares a birthday with Dr. Seuss, which is all the qualification he believes is necessary to speak on this subject. Also, he apparently doesn’t know what a “slow clap” means. Please be patient with him.

Lucas Hemmer is a graduate student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas. As a kid living in the ‘90s, he first became interested in learning about space and specifically the planets after playing the Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System computer game for Microsoft Windows. Lucas grew up reading about space and planets relentlessly and thought about becoming an astronomer before realizing he would have to take physics. He settled for a career as a biologist but still get’ unreasonably excited about new NASA findings and their color-enhanced space images while waiting for the next Star Wars movie.

Ruth Lichtwardt’s gateway drugs into the world of science fiction were Ray Bradbury and Star Trek. Since attending her first Starfleet convention as a wide-eyed noob in 1992 she has volunteered at SF conventions, and was Chair of the 74th World Science Fiction Convention in 2016. She is a longtime member of the Kansas City Science Fiction & Fantasy Society, a crew member of the Starfleet ship USS Dark Phoenix, is administrator for the annual Campbell Conference at KU, and is co-chairing ConQuesT 49 in Kansas City. Her day job has nothing to do with science fiction but helps to support the habit.




Nerd Nite 65: NERDISTAN


On one night only, join us to learn about the cities and leaders of Central Asia and an infamous spot in Eastern Europe.

In former Soviet Union, Nerd Nites You!

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 8 – Maceli’s 1031 New Hampshire
Doors open at 7, Presentations start at 8
Cost is one US dollar or coin.  No rubles.

“Presentation for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Tajikistan,” by Gloria Funcheon.
One man has ruled this tiny Post-Soviet country since 1992, but who is he and what is he doing to keep power? Come learn about Emomalii Rakhmon, whose antics would surely give Borat a run for his rubles.

“Strange and Sparkling: A Closer Look at Kazakhstan’s Capital City,” by Mandy Frank.
Located in northern Kazakhstan, Astana has been called one of the weirdest capital cities on Earth. The futuristic city is full of eccentric architecture that features shiny gold towers, buildings shaped like spaceships and dollar signs, the world’s largest tent, and a giant pyramid made of glass. This presentation will showcase Astana’s most unusual architectural assets and explore how a Soviet past, traditional nomadic culture, and the President’s vision for the future have literally shaped the skyline. Astana may seem like something from a science fiction novel, but a closer look at the past and present reveals a rational explanation for the strange and sparkling structures that rise up from the icy steppe.

Nate Pickett’s presentation title and description are coming soon!


Gloria Funcheon has spent four years living in the former Soviet Union but has never been to Russia. She hopes to change this by attending the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Mandy Frank is currently earning her Masters degree in Higher Education Administration at KU. Before relocating to Kansas, she lived in Astana, Kazakhstan for two years working as a Communication Studies Instructor and debate coach at Nazarbayev University. Mandy’s interests include travel, mac & cheese, treasure hunting, quantum physics, Tim Curry, and maple syrup. She is passionate about learning and is excited to share her experiences in Central Asia.

Nate Pickett’s bio is coming soon but in the meantime rest assured that he’s great.

Nerd Nite 64: G R A V E H O R R O R


WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 11  – MACELI’S 1031 New Hampshire 

Doors open at 7. Presentations start at 8.
The cost is one US dollar bill or coin.

The Grave Topics:

“Giallo Horror: Unmasking the Masked Killer” by Sarah Thomas and Kelly Nightengale.
From the yellow pages of pulp crime novels emerged GIALLO, the Italian horror film genre of the 1960s-1980s. Characterized by virtuosic camera work, stylized violence, and lurid color, Giallo left a bloody fingerprint on the horror genre that is still seen today!

“Oak Hill Cemetery: A History and its Symbolism,” by Lori Strecker.
An introduction about the rural cemetery movement and what characteristics make Lawrence’s Oak Hill primarily a rural cemetery. Digging deeper, we’ll next look at gravestone symbolism with several of examples from Oak Hill. Finally, time allowing, a brief exploration how later portions of it evolved into a lawn cemetery in the 1940s and what makes that different than the rural cemetery.

“Gifford Pinchot’s Ghost Wife,” by Rachel McCarthy James.
Gifford Pinchot worked with Teddy Roosevelt to protect the land we know as our national parks. But while he was one of the most prominent Republicans in the Roosevelt administration, his status as a handsome bachelor was a curiosity to the DC political scene.
The reason: his secret heteromortal marriage to Laura Houghteling, who died of tuberculosis in 1904. Though he would eventually marry an alive woman, he felt Laura as a spiritual and metaphysical presence, his source of support for nearly two decades. This is a deeply romantic story about nature, death, and love.



A passionate horror devotee, Sarah Thomas studied film and anthropology at the University of Kansas. She watched Mario Bava’s horror classic, Black Sunday, as a little girl, which sparked a lifetime appreciation of Italian horror.

Kelly Nightengale’s longtime admiration of giallo movies influenced her co-production, lighting, and set design of a feature length giallo-inspired horror melodrama called “It Starts With Murder,” and other dark experimental projects.
As founding members of the Black Light Jello Ectoplasm Film Society (aka Blood Church), Kelly and Sarah have collaborated on several short films which screened in the 2015 Illuminati Cult Dress Film Festival.

Cemeteries reveal much about the culture and history of a community and are a must-see whenever vacationing or visiting a new area; at least, this is what Lori Strecker tells her family whenever she schlepps them yet again on another cemetery field trip. Lori is happy to have a coven of fellow nerds who she hopes will come to love and appreciate Oak Hill cemetery as much as she does.

Rachel McCarthy James has written for Broadly, Bitch Magazine, LitHub, The New Inquiry, and Robot Butt. Her first book, titled The Man from the Train, co-authored with her father Bill James, has just been published and solves the mystery of the serial killer behind the Villisca axe murders of 1912.