Nerd Nite for June 8, 2019

DC9 Nightclub

We’re taking July and August off, so come check out your LAST CHANCE to hardcore Nerd Nite before summer break! And with a lineup this stone-cold fantastic, there’s no cooler place to park your brain than DC9 on June 8. Just check out these speakers:

“I’m Not Crazy, I’m Just Not You: The Good and Evil of Personality Assessments” by Margarita Rozenfeld

Summary: From OKCupid to Cosmo to Myers Briggs, there are countless contenders for the most winning personality test, but who can actually help you know thyself (and others)? In this social science nerd talk we’ll investigate why personality tests are so popular, how valid they are, what’s the best way to use them for good vs. evil and dive into one assessment that can actually help you figure out how people tick (but only if you promise to use that information for good!)

Bio: Margarita Rozenfeld is an organization and leadership development consultant who is fascinated by what makes humans tick. She has made it into a career and helps all kinds of organizations, teams and leaders – from non-profit to corporate to government – do good in the world and well by their employees. When she’s not doing that, Margarita is likely on some awesome travel (mis)adventure in a remote part of the world (or telling a story about it.)

“Don’t Read the Comments: Edgar Allan Poe Spilling Tea and Throwing Shade in a Pre-Internet World” by Colleen Parker

Summary: If Edgar Allan Poe was alive today, he would be the Twitter Troll Diva Supreme. He wrote an extensive amount of essays and reviews for the various newspapers he either worked for or owned. His works included shade posts of his peers, spilling the tea on [alleged] plagiarism, negging female authors, and straight up trolling the literati of Boston. In this presentation, we will explore the best and the worst of Poe’s literary criticism, the historical context, and how strikingly similar some of Poe’s most scathing reviews are to the internet trolls of today.

Bio: Colleen Parker is a performance artist with Super Art Fight, a costume and prop maker for TBD Immersive, and she makes soap in her free time. Mostly she listens to audiobooks. All day, every day. Like it’s her job. Because it is her job. She is the Director of Quality Assurance with a contractor for the Library of Congress’s National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Her greatest achievement in her audiobook career was to say, in all seriousness, it’s leviOsa not levioSA.

“Elf Lobbyists, Harald Bluetooth and Stubby the Yule Lad: Contemporary and Ancient Folklore of Iceland” by Jules Coney Revere

Summary: What if the Silver Line woes could be solved by an elf whisperer? Would you give someone new clothes to prevent them from being stolen by a giant black cat? Using elf experts to smooth along construction projects and warding off the Christmas Cat are some of the folkloric traditions held by Iceland. Considering Icelanders lived in almost impossibly harsh conditions, under colonial rule, and next to a volcano that killed almost 6 million people and helped cause the French Revolution, maybe it’s not so weird. Come hear some of the tales of Icelandic Hidden Folk, trolls, and how to create a tilberi that’ll save you a fortune on milk and butter.

Bio: Jules has been nerding out on folklore and mythology roughly since she could read. Her fascination with Icelandic folklore began in 2012 as she prepared for her first visit and learned about the elves. She obtained her first MA at Concordia in Montreal where her thesis explored the use of dance and movement in organizational development and innovation. She is considering a second MA in Icelandic Studies (or simply moving to Iceland). She currently works at Republic Restoratives Distillery and East City Bookshop where she has probably tried to sell you a book set in Iceland.

Nerd Nite for April 13, 2019

DC9 Nightclub

Nerd Nite is back at DC9, the best goddamn Nerd Nite HQ in the universe, and we’ve got a lineup that is going to straightaway blow your mind. We’re talking Humans and Healthcare, Jeopardy-Sized Memories, and Goddamn Whale Penises. Check it out:

 “We Found Love in a Hopeless Place: Designing the Humanity Back into the Doctor/Patient Experience,” by Amanda Chavez and Kelly Grigg

Summary: Would you describe most of your patient experiences at the doctor’s office as top notch, exceeding your expectations, or even life affirming? Yeah, neither have we. And there’s a good reason why. Medical practitioners and patients alike face unprecedented external pressures ranging from insurance companies to the very technology both parties use everyday. Even worse, neither practitioners nor patients have enough time during a medical visit to really understand where the other is coming from. During this session, we’ll explore how designers can really dig into to the heart of these problems to create solutions that improve the relationship as well as the overall experience between practitioners and patients.

Presenter Bio: Amanda Chavez and Kelly Grigg are human-centered design (HCD) executives for Cognosante (a healthcare/IT company). Both manage the company’s digital and service solution portfolio that address the toughest challenges in healthcare. Amanda and Kelly are known within their company as the Odd Couple of Design. Within about 1 minute of meeting the ladies, you will know who is the Oscar and who is the Felix of the relationship.

“Secrets of the Memory Champions: How Thousands of Years of Mnemonics Research Can Drive Game Show Success — And, Perhaps, Offer A Path to Enlightenment,” by Matt Jackson

Summary: Human memory is slippery and full of strange shortcuts and unexpected obstacles. For as long as humans have existed, we’ve tried to understand our brains better so we can store and retrieve more information. Join Jeopardy! superchampion Matt Jackson on a whirlwind tour of mnemonics and memory-training through the ages, from the Homeric bards of ancient Greece to the experimental masochism of Hermann Ebbinghaus and beyond. We’ll learn how game show champions and trivia competitors, drawing on these insights to “hack” the game in front of them, pick up the torch as the latest researchers (and the latest test subjects!) in the great quest to demystify human learning. And we’ll see how feats of mnemonic strength become an almost mystical insight — a window into what makes us human, even in the age of light-speed search engines and external hard drives.

Presenter Bio: Matt Jackson took the nation by storm in the fall of 2015 with his 13-game winning streak on the game show Jeopardy — still the fourth-longest in the game’s history — as well as 2nd-place finishes in the Season 32 Tournament of Champions and last month’s Jeopardy All-Star Games. Once described as the Internet’s “most GIF-able human,” Matt was born and raised right here in the District of Columbia, which he returned to after studying philosophy and political theory at Yale University. For several years, he helped produce and organize the annual PACE National Scholastic Championship, the preeminent national title for high school Quizbowl teams. His non-trivia interests include board games, card games, performing traditional folk songs with Washington Revels, and finding the perfect way to combine gelato flavors.

“Moby’s Dick – how whales and dolphins get their freak on” by Whalebone Kerri Smith

Summary: Have you always wanted to know what a whale penis looks like? Or which whales have the biggest testicles? Whether you answered yes or no to those questions, you’re in for a real treat! We’ll look at a lot of whale dick pics, talk about dolphin masturbation, and explore sperm competition as we take a peak under the waves to see how whales and dolphins exchange bodily fluids.

Presenter Bio: Whalebone Kerri is a Research Fellow at the National Museum of Natural History studying beaked whales (which most people have never heard of). She spends half her time playing with power tools and whale bones, and the other half performing delicate laboratory procedures. As a PhD student she has no free time, but if she did she’d like to spend it on or under the water. Growing up she was a precocious child, beginning her own natural history collection (read: assortment of dead animal parts and rocks) in her parent’s basement.