Nerd Nite for January 11, 2020

DC9 Nightclub

“All the Reasons Why Country Rankings are Harming International Development: A Ranking” by Tunde Olatunji

Summary: Ever wonder why we tend to think that Norwegians are the happiest people in the world? Or that there’s a lot of corruption in Nigeria? In many ways, our understanding of how the world is organized (economically, politically) is informed by a handful of annual country rankings (“indices” if you’re annoying) that help make sense of a complex world that we’re otherwise not super familiar with (unless you studied abroad, in which case you already know everything and I’m sorry for wasting your time). For the rest of you, I’ll give an overview of the sexy world of country rankings and then try to figure out just how some of these rankings are defined and whether we should be skeptical of them. If this doesn’t sound interesting to you, do bear in mind that I am incredibly sensitive and WILL cry on stage if heckled.

Bio: Tunde comes to us from Lagos, Nigeria. He works on international development research at the world bank and has lived in DC for 6 years. Identifying as a nerd in 2020 feels like stolen valor to him so he won’t. But also gatekeeping in nerd culture is kind of bullshit so maybe he should to make a point? Tunde (aka the nerdiest boy there ever was) enjoys playing soccer and has a Morrissey tattoo that has aged poorly.

“The Real Constitutional Crisis: News Media Vs. Intellectual Property” by Emma Raviv

Summary: Both the press and copyright law are mentioned in our great Constitution:  Art. I section 8 clause 8 allows the government to give “exclusive rights” to owners of creative works, and the First Amendment enshrines the freedom of the press.  But this has become, somehow, this era’s true constitutional crisis:  the press seems to be super confused about the not-so-subtle nuances of intellectual property law.  Together, we’re going to untangle these nuances, and you’ll walk out of DC9 more knowledgeable about IP than the New York Times.

Bio: Emma Raviv is the Assistant General Counsel for the PBS NewsHour, the nightly news program which, for the record, has never mixed up intellectual property law terms.  She used to litigate copyright, trademark, and trade secret claims at a law firm in New York for advertising and cruise ship and fitness companies, and also worked at the U.S. Copyright Office, but these days prefers advising producers and reporters on what they can and cannot include in their stories.  They tend to listen, and so she mostly is able to sleep at night.

“Sexy Creatures with Mystical Features – How Coral Get Their Sex On” by Beth Lenz

Summary: Coral are super sexy – time to get down and funky with these  sea beasts.

Bio: Beth is originally from The Golden State, but recently moved to DC after finishing her PhD at the University of Hawaii at Manoa studying coral reefs. While in Hawaii, she was the Nerd Nite Honolulu Boss and is stoked to share the Aloha with DC nerds. She and her island jungle pup Charlie are excited to be here while Beth works on The Hill for the next year.

Nerd Nite for October 12, 2019

DC9 Nightclub

“Beyond Horoscopes: How Astrology Can Lead to Interesting Life Insights” by Rowena Winkler

Summary: Many of you may know your zodiac sign, but more recently, astrological concepts such as Mercury in Retrograde, Rising Signs, and Synastry (AKA compatibility) have started coming into the mainstream via online articles and popular apps such as Co-Star and The Pattern. In this presentation, learn from Rowena’s experiences getting more involved in the study of astrology, and how this knowledge has impacted several areas of her life — and potentially yours as well.

Bio: Rowena Winkler is a former Communications professor now Communications manager at a software company who balances writing about technology with exploring her co-worker’s astrology charts. Other than being way too involved in other people’s lives, she is a community theater performer, choreographer, and director in the DMV area, an avid foodie, and the mother of three adorable cats. She and her husband Derek are expecting their first child and will be adding a human to the Winkler clan in March 2020

“An Idiot’s Guide to Being a Guide” by Blake Lindsey

Summary: Taking tours of the U.S. Capitol has been a tradition in DCsince it opened in 1800. Which means the Capitol Guide Service has seen some things over the years. Come hear some of them and next time your out of town friends/family want a “tour” of DC, you might be a little more prepared…

Bio: Blake is a local historian, author, and U.S. Capitol Guide. Don’t tell my bosses I’m here…haha just kidding they wouldn’t mind but maybe to be safe don’t mention it to them.

“If loose lips sink ships, what might her other parts do?: Policing women’s talk in wartime” by Rebecca Adelman

Summary: During World War II, the “loose lips” blamed for “sinking ships” frequently belonged to women, and posters reminded amorous GIs not to share sensitive information in an attempt to impress the ladies. Today, OPSEC (Operational Security) materials for military families warn wives to scrub their social media and keep their husbands’ deployments secret. While men telling women to be quiet is hardly novel, in these cases, talkative women are portrayed as not just irritating but lethally dangerous. These chatterboxes will be our guides through a history of the U.S. military’s approach to the problems of its men liking women, and those women liking to have contact with the outside world.

Bio: Rebecca Adelman is an Associate Professor of Media and Communication Studies at UMBC, where she teaches and writes about things like militarized violence, surveillance, and media theory. Her newest book is Figuring Violence: Affective Investments in Perpetual War, and everyone should buy it. Rebecca is currently 11.8% done with her life ambition to run a marathon in every state + DC. Turns out, there are a lot of states.