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Nerd Nite for November 10, 2018

DC9 Nightclub

Nerd Nite is an informal gathering at which nerds get together for nerdery of all sorts (well, mostly presentations and drinking). Nerds and non-nerds alike gather to meet, drink and learn something new. Each evening, three nerds will give short, fun presentations where they can nerd out about sperm transfer, string theory, Aztec mythology, or some similarly nerdilicious topic. While they talk, you drink, thereby increasing their wittiness, and your IQ.

“Brontës Behaving Badly”

Summary: English classes the world over read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights and talk about the rules these precocious novels broke and the accomplishments of their reclusive, mythic authors, Charlotte and Emily Brontë . But what they DON’T talk about is the even more salacious work that Charlotte and her other sister, perpetual underdog Anne, went on to write. Come along on a deep dive into Agnes Grey, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Shirley, and Villette where you’ll find critiques of marriage, depictions of substance abuse and adultery, acts of outspoken feminism and slapstick comedy, Victorians in drag, and cynicism that declares shipwreck is a much kinder ending than marriage. You’ll meet lesser known figures in the Brontës orbit–dissolute brother Branwell, stalwart adventurer Mary Taylor–and hear literary gossip about the likes of Elizabeth Gaskell and William Makepeace Thackeray.

Presenter Bio: Miranda K. Pennington is the author of A Girl Walks Into a Book: What the Brontes Taught Me About Life, Love, and Women’s Work, a bibliomemoir that mixes biography, memoir, and literary criticism (and picks up where this Nerd Nite talk leaves off!) She received her MFA in creative nonfiction from Columbia University and currently teaches college writing at American University. You can find her most weeknights doing standup comedy in DC’s finest dive bars and on Twitter at @MKPinDC.

“A Robot, an Anthropologist, and A Comedy Researcher Walk Into A Bar”

Summary: A look at the hilarious attempts to get AI to write comedy and what that means about humanity.

Presenter Bio: Rachel Pendergrass is the Co-Boss of Nerd Nite DC, so you know you’re in good hands. Who else is Rachel Pendergrass? Rachel Pendergrass is the CEO of Science Art Fusion (aka ScienceAF), a company that helps bring nerdy, nerdy science outreach to the masses. She is a writer, performer, and gigantic dork who has written for everyone from National Lampoon to HowStuffWorks. She’s the producer of the internationally touring Solve for X Variety show, and a staff writer for Southern Fried Science. She has over seven years of experience as a performer and educator and over five years of experience touching sharks. She has also, at one point in her life, played didjeridoo in a one-night-only Johnny Cash cover band.”Maritime Unmanned Surface Vessel Autonomy: An Application”

“SOON TO BE ANNOUNCED straight from National Geographic! “

Summary: It’s going to be a topic straight from National Geographic, so c’mon.

Presenter Bio: This will be a person who actually works for National Geographic, so again, c’mon.

Leidos Presents: Nerd Nite for September 8, 2018

DC9 Nightclub

After our summer hiatus, Nerd Nite is BACK IN ACTION in a big way! We’ve teamed up with the nerds over at Leidos to bring you an extra-special Nerd Nite extravaganza.

Thanks to our sponsor, tickets to this extra-special Nerd Nite are ABSOLUTELY FREE! Also, the first 100 people there on the day of the show get one free drink ticket AND a special door prize. There’s also going to be a booth with puzzle games! And, of course, three amazingly nerdy talks. Here’s the lineup this month:

“If Books Could Kill: Deadly Bookbindings and What Makes Them That Way”

Summary: Being a special collections librarian is usually not seen as a dangerous job, but sometimes that line about “other duties as assigned” packs a real punch! A 1602 edition of Ulisse Aldrovandi’s De Animalibus Insectus housed in the Smithsonian Libraries holds a deadly secret: its binding contains a frankly shocking amount of arsenic. This new discovery was revealed through the collaboration of book history and technology, and highlights some interesting aspects of bibliography and science.

Presenter Bio: Allie Newman is a rare book librarian and book historian at the Cullman Library in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, one of 21 branches of the Smithsonian Libraries. She has more research interests than you can shake a stick at, but in her heart of hearts she is a binding historian and medievalist. The Librarian of Congress recently called Allie a cool librarian in public and on Twitter, so her career has pretty much peaked.

“Bees That Aren’t Scary and Imperialists Who Very Much Are (Or: Stingless Honeybees in Colonial Mexico)”

Summary: There are honeybees without stingers! They are very small, very important, and their honey is both delicious and eye-wateringly expensive. But when the Spanish colonized the Yucatán Peninsula they were more interested in their wax than their honey. This talk is all about how beeswax was extracted in the Maya region when it was a Spanish colony: where it went, who got rich, who didn’t get rich, and how honeybees probably felt about having their nests smashed all the damn time. It’s got fancy digital maps, conquistadors deeply regretting their life choices, the eighteenth-century equivalent of a middle finger, and some super cool bees.

Presenter Bio: Geoff Wallace is an environmental historian and historical geographer from McGill University who has been almost done his PhD for two years. He is also a visiting researcher at Georgetown University’s Center for Latin American Studies. He’s been digging up archival records from colonial Mexico and shoehorning them into digital maps for his entire graduate career.

“Maritime Unmanned Surface Vessel Autonomy: An Application”

Summary: When ships become robots, the seas become safer and ships become weirder in the most technologically advanced way you can imagine.

Presenter Bio: Dr. Timothy A. Barton is a Leidos Vice President, Technical Fellow, and Solutions Architect, and is currently the Chief Engineer of the Leidos Mission Systems Integration Operation (MSIO), where he helps oversee all technical aspects of the Operation’s efforts in the maritime domain – including a wide variety of sensor systems and platforms. Dr. Barton’s technical background and research interests include sonar and radar signal processing, algorithm development, autonomy, test and evaluation, underwater acoustics, and ocean engineering. Prior to joining Leidos (formerly SAIC) in 2005, Dr. Barton was a Staff Member at MIT Lincoln Laboratory from 1993 to 2005. Dr. Barton holds B.Sc. (1987) and M.Sc. (1989) degrees in Electrical Engineering from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, and a D.Sc. (1993) degree in Electrical Engineering from Washington University. Dr. Barton currently resides in Reston Virginia with his family, and his hobbies include photography, music, and fly fishing.

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