Nerd Nite 47: Abra Macabre


Wednesday, MARCH 9
Maceli’s 1031 New Hampshire St.
Door: 7:00 pm Presentations start at 8:00 pm
$1.00 Cover
Drinks and a mini-menu available.

In March we are back at our regular location Maceli’s and humbly present to you, dear audience, a night of mortific magnificence. Our shuddersome theme for the evening is Death, or more precisely our topics will take a look at where our social norms come from concerning funeral rites, dress and exequies . Never fear, sweet friends, this night will be more anthropological than ghoulish. So put pallid hand in hand and take a grim walk with us to Marble Town.  

Abra Macabre


“Dead Man’s Party”

by Krys Arkeketa

“Grieving, the Right Way (?)”

by Abby Young

“The Mourning After: Death and Victorian Dress”

by Annette Becker

The Deathly Details:

“Dead Man’s Party”

by Krys Arkeketa

Death is inevitable; every single one of us will die one day. Are you prepared? Fear not if you are unsure! We will be exploring the taboo topic of death and what your options are. Topics that will be covered are:

1. A brief history of embalming and American death culture.

2. What are my options besides burial?

3. “Why can’t I have a viking funeral?” and other myths about death.


Krys Arkeketa is a mortuary student from the Lawrence, KS area. She began her mortuary journey in 2013 when she realized nursing school was not for her. Involved in oddities and rarities sale and trade, she preserves fetal animals, organs and wet specimens as her hobby and felt becoming a mortician was the next big step. She is Native American and her goal is to specialize in Native American funerals and post-mortem ceremonies.

“Grieving, the Right Way (?)”

by Abby Young

Societal treatment of grief is often one-size-fits all;  sometimes conjuring feelings of shame in the bereaved where sympathy is intended.  In this talk, we’ll be exploring the notion of what it means to grieve “normally” in the western world and the pressures society can put on us: “Shouldn’t I be over it?” “Why am I still sad they died?”  Often the pressure “to get over it” can become overwhelming. With these questions in mind, we will look to see if there truly is a “right” way to grieve. Some of the research will surprise you.


Abby Young found herself working as a photojournalist in her 20s to only discover that therapy was her main calling. Abby received her masters of social work from the University of Kansas and opened her own practice, Tillery Time Counseling, in Lawrence. She has done work with people in many walks of life including those impacted by cancer, grieving, and surviving domestic violence to mention a few. She brings in an understanding of the mind, brain and body connection in working with people.

“The Mourning After: Death and Victorian Dress”

by Annette Becker

Are you from the nineteenth century? Has your spouse, second cousin, employer, or a beloved politician passed away recently? Well, look no further! Together we’ll explore a century of mourning etiquette and dress and the impact of those traditions on twenty-first century culture.


Annette Becker is a fashion historian who specializes in nineteenth and twentieth-century British and American dress.  She has lectured and published on clothing’s relationship to the body, political and health reform dress, and first lady fashion.  She has worked at Historic Deerfield, the Speed Art Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Texas Fashion Collection, and is currently at the Spencer Museum of Art.  The highlight of her career thus far has been touching George Bernard Shaw’s woolen underwear a few weeks ago.



Doors open at 7:00 PM. Presentations begin at 8:00. $1 Cover.

Nerd Nite 46: Mars and Other Curiosities | Location: The Cider Gallery


Wednesday, February 10
The Cider Gallery  (810 Pennsylvania St)
Doors at 7:00 PM, presentations at 8:00 PM
$1.00 Cover
Drinks will be available for purchase
Wilma’s food truck will be on-site

Please join us for a very special edition of Nerd Nite as we partner with the Lawrence Public Library and KU Libraries to bring you “Mars and Other Curiosities.”

We are presenting three Mars related talks in in conjunction with the Read Across Lawrence selection for 2016, Andy Weir’s book, “The Martian”.

Please note the location for this month will be the Cider Gallery!  

Mars and Other Curiosities


“The Spiders on Mars and Other Space Oddities”

by Alison Olcott Marshall

“Autonomous Mobile Robots”

by Arvin Agah

“An Explorer’s Guide to Mars (Fiction)”

by the LPL book squad

About the Topics:

“The Spiders on Mars and Other Space Oddities”

by Alison Olcott Marshall

On July 15, 1965, Mariner IV provided the world with the first close-up view of Mars. Just fifty years later an amazing array of flybys, orbiters, landers and rovers has provided us with enough images of the red planet that it is now possible to leisurely tour the planet on Google Mars. These images are not only beautiful and (quite literally!) otherworldly, but they have allowed us to learn so much about our nearest neighbor, a planet that is so similar to and yet so different from Earth. In this talk we will explore what we know about Mars, how we know it, and indulge in some speculation about what we could still learn.

Alison Olcott Marshall is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geology, where she uses chemistry to explore fossils of all types, sizes, and ages and tries to apply those lessons to the search for life on other planets. She has a 2 year old and a 4 year old, so she has forgotten what “free time” is, but she is pretty sure she used to enjoy doing things in it.

“Autonomous Mobile Robots”

by Arvin Agah

The only known Martians at this point in time are Curiosity and Opportunity, two Mars rovers by NASA. Mars rovers, Drones, driverless cars, and robotic vacuum cleaners are a few examples of autonomous mobile robots—robots that move on their own. This presentation will cover the history, applications, competitions, trends, and challenges (technical and philosophical) of autonomous mobile robots.

Dr. Arvin Agah is Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs in the School of Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Kansas, which he joined in 1997, after spending two years in Japan as a researcher in the Bio-Robotics Division of Mechanical Engineering Laboratory. He has edited two books and published over 170 refereed articles in the areas of robotics and artificial intelligence. He has degrees from University of Texas at Austin (Computer Science BA), Purdue University (Computer Science MS), and University of Southern California (Biomedical Engineering MS and Computer Science PhD).

“An Explorer’s Guide to Mars (Fiction)”

by the Lawrence Public Library book squad

This short, spoiler free presentation will cover everything you need to know about Mars related fiction.

Doors open at 7:30 PM. Presentations begin at 8:00. $1 Cover.

Nerd Nite 45: “Bugs”!

Wednesday, January 13
Maceli’s (1031 New Hampshire)
Doors at 7:30 PM, presentations at 8:00 PM $1.00 Cover


Bees. There’s more to them than you might think. It’s complicated. And what’s the most common infection in the world? Here’s a hint: it lives inside the cells of half the known insect species of the world. Then, carmine dye is derived from the cochineal insect and is commonly used as a coloring for food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Learn how this small insect played a big role in history and was at one point Mexico’s second most sought-after export after silver.

Join us in January as we explore the tiny world of insects and three examples of their significant impact on global events.


Cochineal, Colonialism, and Cartels -one little bug, one big commodity.  by Kristin Soper

The Most Common Infection in the World by Chris Hamm

Beyond Honeybees: The Unseen World of Wild Bees by Daphne Mayes


About the Topics:

“Cochineal, Colonialism, and Cartels

by Kristin Soper

One little bug, one big commodity.

Kristin is a librarian at Lawrence Public Library and loves stories, art, and history. She came across the story of cochineal and the history of red dye at the folk art museum in Santa Fe. She mostly retweets things about feminism and libraries, but, if you’d like to, you can follow her @soperific

The Most Common Infection in the World

by Chris Hamm

The bacterium Wolbachia lives inside the cells of half of all insect species and many parasitic worms, making it the most common infection in the world. Wolbachia is often considered a reproductive parasite that can manipulate its host’s reproduction to promote the growth of more Wolbachia. This bacterium has been living with insects and worms for millions of years, and scientists are now using this bacterium to combat diseases from heartworm to Dengue fever and Malaria. I will talk about the biology of this bacterium, some of the fascinating things it can do, and what researchers around the world are doing to trick bacteria into helping humans.

Biologist, Insufferable geek, way too into butterflies, Dodgers, lover of delicious beer and pizza.


Beyond Honeybees: The Unseen World of Wild Bees

by Daphne Mayes


Native bees make important contributions to our environment and the economy via their role in pollination. Concerns regarding the status of many bee species have urged greater attention and awareness. This presentation aims to open your eyes to the world of our wild bees—a remarkable unseen world.


Daphne Mayes is a doctoral student at the University of Kansas, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology department and is studying how changes in land use impact wild bee communities. She earned a M.S. degree in Natural Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where she studied as a Master’s International Student in the U.S. Peace Corps in Zambia, Africa from 2009-2011. She earned her B.S. in Biology from Emporia State University.



Doors open at 7:30 PM. Presentations begin at 8:00. $1 Cover.

Nerd Nite XLIV: A Nerd Awakens

Wednesday, Dec. 9
Maceli’s (1031 New Hampshire)
Doors at 7:30, presentations at 8:00


No spoilers. No midi-cholorians. Nerd Nite is calling to you. Just let it in.

Our Program for the Evening:

Expanding the Universe: Kitbashing as Three-Dimensional Fan Fiction by Matt Jacobson

‘You Don’t Know the Power of the Dark Side’: The Mysterious 24% of the Universe We Call Dark Matter by Alex Ford

‘I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing’: Science Fiction vs. Star Wars by Adam Mills



“Expanding the Universe: Kitbashing as Three-Dimensional Fan Fiction”

by Matt Jacobson

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (well, actually in Van Nuys, CA, in 1976), modelmakers from Industrial Light and Magic pushed the envelope of model design and construction to create the groundbreaking mechanical details of the worlds of STAR WARS. Their work set the standard for movie FX for years to come, and their designs became the basis for commercial plastic models, built by generations of STAR WARS fans. Today, some of those fans “bash” their own models into new designs that expand on the ideas presented in the Star Wars Universe. This presentation covers one fan’s creation of “kitbashed” designs, and how “kitbashing” can become a kind of storytelling in its own right.

When he’s not down in the Cavern of Awesomeness (a/k/a the model-building room in the basement), Matt Jacobson works as a professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at the University of Kansas, teaching cinematography and film and media production. For the last sixteen years, he has worked as director Kevin Willmott’s cinematographer, filming projects like CSA: CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, THE ONLY GOOD INDIAN, and JAYHAWKERS. Previous to that, Matt worked in the film industry in Los Angeles, including working as an FX-unit technician on ED WOOD and MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS: THE MOVIE. He has three children, and two-and-a-half Corgis.

“‘You Don’t Know the Power of the Dark Side’: The Mysterious 24% of the Universe We Call Dark Matter” by Alex Ford

Alex Ford will discuss how we first discovered something was amiss with our understanding of galaxy dynamics, the differences between modified gravity and dark matter, and finally what the current understanding of dark matter is.

Alex Ford is working on a phd in astrophysics from KU. His primary research focus is plasma production in the magnetosphere around spinning black holes and its implications to astrophysical jets, but he is excited to take a break from the brightest objects in the universe to talk about the darkest.

“‘I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing’: Science Fiction vs. Star Wars”

by Adam Mills


It would seem uncontroversial to say that Star Wars is regarded as a high-water mark in the history of science fiction film and storytelling – and yet, since the initial release of A New Hope back in 1977, there has been significant argument not only over whether Star Wars is in fact science fiction, but also whether or not it “ruined” science fiction to some extent in the public imagination. This presentation hopes to profile the controversy within the fan community upon precisely these questions, and then go further to ask why these questions are so important in the first place. In other words: why does it matter whether or not we think of Star Wars as science fiction? Why does it matter that we call anything science fiction?


Adam Mills is a PhD student in Creative Writing at KU. He is also volunteer coordinator of AboutSF, the educational outreach branch of the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. He has previously served as Fiction Editor for Beecher’s Magazine and Managing Editor for the webzine Weird Fiction Review. To this day, Mills credits The Empire Strikes Back for first stoking his affection for wild twist endings. You know, the one where Boba Fett takes his helmet off to reveal that he’s actually Lando Calrissian. Yeah, that one.

Doors open at 7:30 PM. Presentations begin at 8:00. $1 Cover.


May the Force be with You

NN 43: Body Movin’

Wednesday, Nov. 11
Maceli’s (1031 New Hampshire)
Doors at 7:30, presentations at 8:00

Nerd Nite 43: Body Movin'

Special aerial performances from The Last Carnival throughout the night!

That’s a Wrap: Unraveling the intrinsic code of aerial silks body wraps by Dagney Velazquez

Aerial silks, a relative newcomer to the circus world, combines acrobatics, dance, and daredevil courage into an art form that seems to defy gravity. Aerialists are held aloft using not only sheer strength but also by wrapping the fabric around their bodies intricately. These combinations of wraps have been passed along from one aerialist to another, and each unique wrap has been given a common, though not universal, name.

As an amateur aerialist who was initially thoroughly confused by the body wraps, I decided to use my math skills to create a code that could adequately detail and communicate the various wrap combinations. I will present the early stages of this work.

Dagney J. Velazquez is a math professor at Kansas City Kansas Community College where she regularly annoys her students with exclamations of joy over the beauty and mystery of mathematics. She holds an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering, a Masters of Divinity, and is one class away from her Masters of Mathematics. During her downtime, she enjoys hiking, bicycling, aerial silks, acroyoga, and annoying her daughter with exclamations of joy over the beauty and mystery of mathematics.

The Speed of Weightlessness by Crystal Shepherd

Weightlifting and how body movements like pull ups and kettle bell swings use power and speed to lift objects, not just brute strength.

Crystal Shepherd is a coach and personal trainer, with over 13 years of experience in the industry. She has Master’s level education in the area of mental health counseling and enjoys the study of human behavior and movement.

She is engaged to her best friend, Zach Sherman, and together they have owned and operated a training facility. They have 4 kids, and 2 dogs, and a lot of laundry.

Nerd Nite 42: CTRL, ALT, TWEET

Wednesday, Oct. 14
Maceli’s (1031 New Hampshire)
Doors at 7:30, presentations at 8:00


Scheherazade’s Clothes: Harem Fashion and Politics in Sudan by Marie Brown

A strict culture of seclusion and limited access to formal education have long given scholars the impression that for much of the twentieth century Sudanese women were politically uninformed and isolated in their homes. But what if we’ve been looking for women’s voices in the wrong places? Why are historians so obsessed with (male-dominated) written documents? When we abandon texts for textiles, we find Sudanese women to be eager storytellers: weaving together tales of local celebrities, global revolution, Broadway plays, and space exploration in their clothes.

Marie Brown is an Assistant Professor of Middle East History at KU. Her book, Khartoum at Night: The Politics and Pleasures of Fashion in Imperial Sudan, argues that northern Sudanese women’s experiences of imperialism were expressed on and through their bodies. Her work on fashion means that she has a reputation to uphold and must always appear smartly dressed at work, parties, the farmers’ market, and even on errands to Cottin’s Hardware. When not buried under books, archival notes, or old photographs, Marie can be found knitting…or kickboxing.

“Another thing that got forgotten was the fact that against all probability movies were once recorded on vinyl discs” by Sean Passmore

The CED movie format from the 1980s was movies recorded on large vinyl discs. This format lost badly to other, better and more popular formats such as VHS & Laserdiscs.

Sean Passmore claims Lawrence as his hometown, despite growing up on a farm in Western Kansas and living in New York City throughout most of the ’00s. Sean was formerly a late night radio personality, under a pseudonym, at 105.9 the Lazer throughout the mid ‘90s, and is currently a car salesperson, collector of obscure information, Downtown Lawrence enthusiast and is good at jokes sometimes.

Of poets and robots. Twitter bots as everyday literature. By Élika Ortega

Twitter, like other social media, have a reputation of being the dark, superfluous doom of culture. Though crucial activist uses of Twitter have been common in social movements like the various versions of Occupy around the world, the microblogging platform still has to be seen as a place where arts ocurr. In this talk, I will talk about of Twitter bots in order to propose them as a radically contemporary literary phenomena that floods our everyday use of the platform.

Don’t know what a Twitter bot is? This talk is for you!

élika ortega

Élika is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Kansas. Before coming to Lawrence, she spent almost a decade in Canada, and before that, she grew up in Mexico City. She is nerdy about literature, computers, and weird books, both old and new.
A self-declared dog person, when she’s not working in the mysterious and wondrous field of Digital Humanities (don’t forget to ask her what that is) she likes to bind books, ride bikes, and run. You can find her on Twitter as @elikaortega

Nerd Nite 41: Old is the New New

Wednesday, Sept. 16
Maceli’s (1031 New Hampshire)
Doors at 7:30, presentations at 8:00



How Convenience Affects Our Health: The Inconvenience of Convenience by Angie Schoenherr

It is no secret that convenience is a large part of our culture, but when does our pursuit for convenience no longer become so convenient? In this presentation, we will examine several points on how the pursuit of convenience influences our current health choices, examples of how we can approach convenience in a balanced manner, along with tips on how to gain a deeper understanding of your own relationship to health and convenience.

Angie Schoenherr received her certification as a Holistic Master Nutrition Therapist at the Nutrition Therapy Institute in Denver, Colorado. She currently works out of Southwind Health Collective and teaches nutrition classes at the Community Mercantile. Angie’s primary interest and motivation in being a nutritionist is based out of dissatisfaction with modern medicine and a desire to help others feel empowered to make their own health decisions. Aside from being a nutritionist, she spends her time playing music, painting, making up new dance
moves, taking naps, going to potlucks, and being an organizer for Girls Rock! Lawrence.

Living in a Missile Base: The Amazing Transformation of Cold War Infrastructure by Leigh Anne Fulkerson

In the two decades following World War II, the US spent billions of taxpayer dollars on defense. To compete with Russia in the race for space and as a nuclear deterrent, US missile systems were continually developed and improved. In this presentation you’ll learn more about these hardened, underground structures and see how some amazing people have transformed them from stark, abandoned places that once housed weapons of mass destruction into safe, comfortable and interesting housing for people.

As “Missile Base Specialists” Leigh Ann and Matthew Fulkerson first met, got married, and lived at an Atlas E missile base called Subterra Castle, which is located about 20 miles west of Topeka. From 2010 until last month, they worked with “20th Century Castles, LLC” the leaders in location, acquisition, and sales of missile bases nationwide. In 2013, they formed their own company, Plan B Consulting, LLC and purchased an Atlas F missile base in central Kansas. They are currently in the process of re-purposing it.

Looms and Computers: The Rollercoaster of Contemporary Weaving by Carla Tilghman

A brief exploration of the overlapping worlds of craft and technology, art and craft, gender and labor. All in 20 minutes. Contemporary digitally assisted looms developed from technology used in China 2000 years ago. In the west, these looms played a key role in the Industrial Revolution and simultaneously, in the development of the Modernist Textile movement. Many contemporary weavers now use digitally assisted looms to create woven products — which all stand on the ground on the ground of the gendered history of labor and the artworld. Really, all in 20 minutes.

Carla learned to spin and weave when she was 12 and has been fascinated with textiles in general and weaving in particular ever since. After a career as a paramedic (you never know where life will lead you), she earned my MFA in Studio Arts from Kent State University and am working on a PhD in American Studies from KU. No surprise, she is writing about …. you guessed it, weavers who use digital technology and looms. In her copious spare time, she chases after her child, hangs with her husband, plays with the cats and watches “Chicken TV” in her backyard. Oh, and she weaves like mad, because weaving is amazing.

Nerd Nite 40: Summer Shorts 3: Welcome to the Thun-Nerd-Dome!


Summer Shorts is back on July 15th, Thun-Nerd-Dome style! Summer Shorts is our annual event where we flip Nerd Nite on its head. Instead of three 15 minute presentations, you will get to enjoy fifteen 3 minute presentations! Topics range from roller derby to pie crusts, wilderness to Ren Faires, and GPS to weightlifting! Doors open for our crazy event at Maceli’s at 7:30 pm with presentations starting at 8 pm. $1 cover for a night of fun!

Presenters include:

Allison Puderbaugh: “Wilderness or Why Mule Packing is Important”
Sally Chang: “The Many Lives of the Jellies”
Rustin Dodd: “The Winter of Ernest: Hemingway’s forgotten time just down the road”
Jenny O’Brien: “A Mating Call for Carpoolers”
Crystal Shepherd: “The Incredible Snatch Revealed”

Kate Meyer: “The Lattice Pie Crust: Fussy or Functional?”
Dawn Buehler: “Kansas Tributaries: Water Maze”
Kim Bellemere: “The Tallgrass Prairie: More Than Just Grass?”
Mark Reaney: “All Things Sherlock”
Emily Fekete: “Huzzah! There’s More to Ren Faires than Beer and Boobs”

Maulik Nariya: “Where the fork am I? Working principles of GPS”
Lindsey Givens: “Yellow Fever Pitch: the Ugly, the Bad, and the Good”
Jenica Nelson: “Stronger in numbers: Extraordinary Women Who Have Shaped America’s (and Kansas’) Environment”
Erin Schramm: “It Looks Cool but What the Hell is Happening? The Rules of Roller Derby”
Chris Ford: “Taking in the Good”

Nerd Nite 39: Three Nerds Walk into a Bar…


For our 40th Nerd Nite, we are going to explore the themes of music and comedy! In Nerd Nite 39: Three Nerds Walk into a Bar…, there will be presentations on hidden tracks, rock humor, and feminist stand-up. Join us on Wednesday, June 10th at Maceli’s at 8 pm. (Doors open at 7:30) $1 cover.

Adrian Jacobs: “A Funny Thing Happened at the End of the Album”

Exploring the stories, methods and madness behind some of the greatest hidden tracks of all time.

Adrian Jacobs is the Senior Communications and Operations specialist at LJWorld, and and helps run the annual Best of Lawrence event. He’s on the board of the Social Media Club of Lawrence and is an alumni DJ with KJHK. A self-proclaimed musicologist, film buff, art history enthusiast, amateur videographer and recent High School Talent Show Judge, Adrian is also known to play guitar and “sing”

Iain Ellis: “A Hurried History of Subversive Rock Humor”

This presentation will throw a spotlight on the history of humor in rock music and its use as a weapon of anti-establishment rebellion. The performers who are the subjects are not merely musicians or comedians–they are artists whose works exude defiance and resistance, whether aimed at social structures, cultural mores, political systems, or the music industry itself. Subversive rock humorists serve as the conscience of our culture. They criticize pretensions, satirize hypocrisy, and pour scorn on power, corruption, and lies.

Born in Manchester and raised east of London, Iain Ellis now lives in LFK where he teaches classes on youth rebellion for the KU English Department. He mostly writes about humor and youth culture, writing over 50 articles for the online journalPopMatters and publishing 2 books on rock humor, Rebels Wit Attitude: Subversive Rock Humorists and Brit Wits: A History of British Rock Humor. When not writing or propping up the bar at the Replay, Iain performs and records with 3 local bands: KT/DG, The Leotards, and Heebie Jeebies.

Rachel Blackburn: “Surfing the Fourth-Wave of Feminism in Stand-Up Comedy”

Feminism has been lurking around comic corners for a long time, ever since Jane Austen penned her wit to paper and even before. So how then does our current wave of feminism play out on the stand-up comedy stage? Is feminist stand-up comedy just jokes made by women? For women? Involving vaginas and the wage gap? Or is there more to it? Take a look at the various layers of how fourth-wave feminist politics and social views are constructed through the new and exciting work of stand-up comics who self-identify all throughout that beautiful gender spectrum. We’ll look at the work of Free State Fest performer Tig Notaro, plus Hari Kondabolu and Adrienne Truscott among others, and the exchange between comedy and the fight for equality. Plus, you’ll learn the answer to the age-old question, “Can you write a feminist dick joke?”

Rachel Blackburn, M.F.A. (Virginia Commonwealth University) is currently a third-year Ph.D. student and instructor in KU’s Theatre Department. Her research explores the intersections of stand-up comedy, race, gender, transnational and performance studies. Her professional practice frequently involves directing and performing theatre, both abroad and domestically. This summer, she is teaching Public Speaking as Performance, directing a play reading, presenting her writing at a theatre conference to friendly Canadians, and performing in a New Play Development workshop in Montreal. When Rachel’s not imparting wisdom to her students or gleaning it from professors, she can be found playing her guitar, dancing to some sick beats (preferably by T-Pain), travelling the world, wishing she had a puppy, and laughing a lot with her friends along the way.

Nerd Nite 38: Mostly Invisible


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 (, 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.