Author: Amber Conville

CANCELED - Nerd Nite A2 #77: Canceled – The Depths of Wikipedia with Annie Rauwerda

Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to postpone tonights’ Nerd Nite Season Finale. Stay tuned for a new date sometime in 2023!

It’s time for the season finale of 2022’s Nerd Nites, and we’re going out with a bang! Join us in the Lobbytorium of the Downtown Branch of the Ann Arbor District Library (343 South Fifth Ave) at 6:30pm on Tuesday, November 22, to explore The Depths of Wikipedia with Annie Rauwerda.

UM Graduate Annie Rauwerda highlights the strange and wonderful quirks of Wikipedia on Instagram (@depthsofwikipedia) and Twitter (@depthsofwiki) — and NOW, in person at your local library! You’ll laugh, you’ll learn something, and you’ll have a great time, or YOUR MONEY BACK*.

*As always, there’s no cover charge for Nerd Nite A2! Come out and join us for a FREE night of great entertainment!

Nerd Nite A2 #76 The Epigenome, Spacial Memory, & the Sex Lives of Sea Slugs

Autumn is a great season for Nerding out! We’re excited to be back in the lovely outdoor space at YORK (1928 Packard St) on Wednesday, October 19th from 7:30-9 pm for our next night of NNA2!

Bek Petroff is a public health scientist who likes to dabble in things that are bad for your health, like ice cream, alcohol, and too much sun exposure on the few nice days we have here in Michigan. She is fascinated with complicated things that we really don’t fully understand yet and will be doing her best to share our current knowledge about how these lifestyle choices and where we live could be impacting the epigenome and health of you, your grandchild, and maybe even your great grandchild! After all, It’s Not Just in Your Genes!

Chloe Rybicki-Kler, a third year PhD candidate in the PIBS Neuroscience program at the University of Michigan, will teach us Navigating the Retrosplenial Cortex. Ever wondered how you find your way through the world every day? Now you can find out! Come take a tour of spatial and navigational memory with your brain’s chief navigator, the Retrosplenial Cortex!

Nancy Wayne, received her PhD in physiology from University of Michigan in 1988 and was professor of physiology at UCLA for 28 years, studying how the brain controls reproduction in sea slugs and fish and will be sharing  The Fascinating Sex Life of a Hermaphroditic Sea Slug.  

Make sure Wednesday, 10/19 @ 7:30 pm is on your calendar! We’re hoping for lovely fall weather, but no matter the temperature, the drinks will be refreshing and the talks will be entertaining! Be there and be square! This will be our last traditional Nerd Nite until warmer weather returns, but be sure to check out our “Nerd Nite Season Finale” on Tuesday, November 22 @ 6:30pm at the Downtown Branch of the Ann Arbor District Library. We’ll be deviated a bit from the Nerd Nite template to give a full hour to Annie Rauwerda from The Depths of Wikipedia!

Nerd Nite A2 #75: How Curling Can Save the World, The Unlikely Origins of Catsup, & An Ode to Xanthophyll

Autumn is a great season for Nerding out! We’re excited to be back in the lovely outdoor space at YORK (1928 Packard St) on Wednesday, September 21st from 7:30-9 pm for our next night of NNA2!

Theresa Tejada, member of the Detroit Curling Club and lead of a team that competed in the 2021 National 5 and Under Bonspiel, will teach us How Curling Can Help Restore Social Connectedness in the COVID Era (and Possibly Save the World!) Curling is more than the weird sport with the shouting and the sweeping that generates memes every four years during the Winter Olympics. It has a unique gameplay and culture among team sports with its emphasis on fair play, collaboration, communication, and socialization: essential features in a thriving community and democracy. Learn about how the game is played, behind the scenes aspects of curling culture, and how curling clubs instill community building. Perhaps you might be inspired to get out on the ice yourself!

Leif Laufeyjarsen, volunteer docent and master chef at Cobblestone Farm, will cover The Unlikely Origins of Catsup. What do the ancient Romans have to do with catsup? How many varieties are there, and just how did Heinz become so popular? The Catsup journey spans three continents and millennia but Chef Laufeyjarsen will take us through it in just fifteen minutes!

Kayla Peck, a biologist who has dabbled in lots of “ologies” including virology, molecular biology, and computational biology, will be going back to her evolutionary biology roots with Evolution of Color in Nature (an Ode to Xanthophyll) to help celebrate the 15-year anniversary of one of her oldest companions and also inspire you to look at the world around you just a tad bit differently. 

Make sure Wednesday9/21 @ 7:30 pm is on your calendar! We’re hoping for lovely fall weather, but no matter the temperature, the drinks will be refreshing and the talks will be entertaining! Be there and be square!

Nerd Nite A2 #74: Microfluidics of Covid-Tests, Remedial Knot-Tying, & the Development of Ska

HELLO fellow Nerds! We’re excited to be back in the lovely outdoor space at YORK (1928 Packard St) on Wednesday, August 31st from 7:30-9 pm for more NNA2 action! Thanks for waiting with bated breath for this reschedule (and if you’re wondering “what happened to the talk about Xanthophyll?” don’t worry — it’s on deck for September’s session!

Claire Cook, PhD student in the Chemistry Department at U of M, will tell us about The Microfluidics of an At-home Covid Test – perfect topic since her research focuses on developing microfluidic devices for studying the epigenome (aka the group of compounds that control how and when our DNA gets used). Outside of the lab, Claire is passionate about teaching and training to make science more understandable for everyone.

Ry4an Brase will teach us all Remedial Shoe Tying for Children of the Left Handed with giant rope in hand! Ry4an (not a typo) lives in Ann Arbor, works in Pittsburgh, and is always the first person to volunteer to tie something to the top of a car.

John Bunkley, blues and jazz singer, writer, producer, composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist will reveal It’s More Than Just Horns: The Four Waves of Ska. John is the founder of the Atlantic Records Atomic Fireballs and Detroit’s first ska band Gangster Fun. He is critically acclaimed for his vocals and performance, having shared the stage with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Ruth Brown, Bad Brains, B.B. King and The Skatalites.

Make sure Wednesday8/31 @ 7:30 pm is on your calendar! It can be pretty sunny over there at York, so bring along sunscreen and don’t hesitate to come early to snag a seat in the shade and a refreshing beverage or two!

CANCELLED (stay tuned for new date)- Nerd Nite A2 #74: Microfluidics of Covid-Tests, Remedial Knot-Tying, & An Ode to Xanthophyll

We’re sorry to say that the weather isn’t cooperating tonight. We’re still getting our ducks in a row for the reschedule (they must be busy playing out in the rain), but should have an updated date soon! Stay dry and stay nerdy!

HELLO fellow Nerds! We’re excited to be back in the lovely outdoor space at YORK (1928 Packard St) on Wednesday, August 17th from 7:30-9 pm for more NNA2 action! (And want to know some excellent news? Like our last two Nerd Nites, we WILL have engaging speakers and we WILL have delicious food and beverages, but we WILL NOT have 90 degree weather!)

Claire Cook, PhD student in the Chemistry Department at U of M, will tell us about The Microfluidics of an At-home Covid Test – perfect topic since her research focuses on developing microfluidic devices for studying the epigenome (aka the group of compounds that control how and when our DNA gets used). Outside of the lab, Claire is passionate about teaching and training to make science more understandable for everyone.

Ry4an Brase, will teach us all Remedial Shoe Tying for Children of the Left Handed with giant rope in hand! Ry4an (not a typo) lives in Ann Arbor, works in Pittsburgh, and is always the first person to volunteer to tie something to the top of a car.

Kayla Peck, a biologist who has dabbled in lots of “ologies” including virology, molecular biology, and computational biology, will be going back to her evolutionary biology roots with Evolution of Color in Nature (an Ode to Xanthophyll) to help celebrate the 15-year anniversary of one of her oldest companions and also inspire you to look at the world around you just a tad bit differently. 

Make sure Wednesday8/17 @ 7:30 pm is on your calendar! It can be pretty sunny over there at York, so bring along sunscreen and don’t hesitate to come early to snag a seat in the shade and a refreshing beverage or two!

Nerd Nite A2 #73: Seeing in Space, Ann Arbor Stories & Delectable Descriptors

HELLO! We’re excited to be back in the lovely outdoor space at YORK (1928 Packard St) on Wednesday, July 20th from 7:30-9 pm for more NNA2 action!

Jennifer German, NASA Ambassador (and so much more,) will tell us about space telescopes – how they work, what they see, where they’ve gone wrong, and how they’ve deepened our understanding of the universe!

Rich Retyi, AADL Marketing & Communications Manager and host of the Ann Arbor Stories podcast, will gather us ’round for a good ol’ fashioned local history storytime!

Sherlonya Zobel, AADL Associate Director and inveterate doer of research projects, will be laying out a banquet of linguistic weirdness to delight and – possibly disgust – you!

Make sure Wednesday, 7/20 @ 7:30 pm is on your calendar! It can be pretty sunny over there at York, so bring along sunscreen and don’t hesitate to come early to snag a seat in the shade and a refreshing beverage or two!

NERD NITE A2 – HIATUS EDITION!!!

practicing social distancing and asking you to as well

Hello NNA2 Friends!

You know we love our audience, and that’s why we have taken the kind, generous, intelligent, responsible step of canceling everything!!!

In the meantime, stay home and join us in the FLATTEN THE CURVE CHALLENGE!

To satisfy your NNA2 content cravings, head on over to AADL.org/nerdnite and enjoy videos of NNA2s past!

Now everyone go wash your hands!

 

 

 

Nerd Nite A2 #71: Disease Detection, Finding Feel, & Outdoor Art

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If, like most people, your New Year’s resolution is to go out to a  local drinking establishment at least once per month and, while there, learn about a variety of interesting topics with a group of equally-interested and interesting people, then NERD NITE A2 IS THE PLACE FOR YOU!  

In our lineup this month, we’ll learn how microRNAs can help pinpoint the presence of disease without requiring painful medical tests. Automotive engineer Sagar Kamat will explain what makes your car interface “click” – offering a window into the process of designing the knobs and switches we encounter every day.  Local street artist David Zinn will discuss his chalk art, outdoors as his medium, and why he doesn’t fear the rain. You don’t want to miss this month, so grab a friend, grab a seat, and join us for NNA2 #71!!

When: Thursday, 1/17/20

Doors at 6:30/talks at 7 pm

Where: LIVE, 102 S. First St

Cost: Zero dollars, friends, so come on out!


Quicker, more accurate detection of microRNAs for diseases 

MicroRNAs have the potential to disease biomarkers that can serve their purpose without the need of invasive, painful tests. My technique serves to be a quicker, more effective way of detecting them.

sagar kamatThe Science of Switch Feel – What makes a switch click-ass – Sagar Kamat

Push buttons, knobs, touchscreens…Every day, we interact with hundreds of different switches around us, to do everything from prepare our coffee, type out our emails, turn ON the lights, drive our cars and everything in between. But have you ever paused to think about what goes into designing each of those micro-experiences? Have you thought about makes them all feel a certain way? How do you quantify and specify ‘feel’? Join me to learn about what makes our world click. 

About Sagar: Sagar is an Automotive engineer by the day, where he helps craft the next generation of automotive user interfaces, and an all-out nerd by night, susceptible to frequent trips down the black hole of the internet reading about the vaguest of topics. Currently going through a podcast phase, he finds it difficult to carry on a conversation without, at least once, saying ‘Have you heard this podcast…..” . You can read his blog at sagarkamat.com or find him on Twitter at @sagarkamat.   

david zinnHow to avoid Making Art while still being an artist – David Zinn

While drawing in public, I have had countless conversations with random strangers about Art and being an artist, and mostly about how almost everybody thinks they aren’t one and can’t make any. I will endeavor to prove that everyone in the room was or is an artist, I will explain how my father’s desire for peace & quiet in restaurants defused my own Fear of the Blank Canvas, and I will answer the eternal question asked of every sidewalk artist: “But won’t you be sad when it rains?”

About David: David Zinn is a life-long A2 townie, an alumnus of the U-M Residential College, and a former freelance commercial artist who currently makes his living by drawing on sidewalks with chalk. He is as surprised by this as you are. Follow him on Twitter @davidzinn_art.

Nerd Nite A2 #69: The Universe, the Berlin Wall, and Cellular First Responders

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Hello NNA2 family! Gather ’round for our next event in which physics grad student Taylor Baildon dives into humanity’s first glimpse of the universe. Biology PhD student and RELATE member Fatima Javed will introduce us to neutrophils, the cells that initiate the healing process within our bodies. Engineer/amateur historian Andrew Huster will mark the 30th anniversary of the demise of the Berlin Wall with a look at Germany’s “edifice of fear.” But we’re not afraid! So come on out and learn something eye-opening, old or neu(trophil) from this great lineup! Bring a friend, grab a drink, and sit back for another great Nerd Nite A2!

When: Thursday, 10/17/19

Doors at 6:30/talks at 7 pm

Where: LIVE, 102 S. First St

Cost: No cover charge, AADL’s got this!


Fatima Javed - Web pic_250Understanding Our Bodies First Responders

Have you ever gotten a paper cut Or injured yourself while cooking, biking etc.? Our normal response to this injury is clean the wound and put a band-aid on to prevent infection. And then in a couple days, our body will heal itself. Ever wondered what happens inside your body when you injure yourself? Well, in this talk you will learn about the specialized cells, called neutrophils, that help start the healing process when you injure yourself.

About Fatima: I am a third year PhD. Candidate at the University of Michigan in the department of Cell and Developmental Biology. My work focuses on understanding the inner workings of our body’s first responding cells, called Neutrophils. I love research and talking to people about science. But when I am not in lab, I enjoy watching TV, reading fiction novels and cuddling with my cat. Follow Fatima @javedfatima2.

HusterLies, Ideologies, and Technicalities: The History of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall stood for twenty-eight years as the stark manifestation of the division between east and west. On the eve of the 30th anniversary of its fall, we’ll take a look back into the history of this “edifice of fear”: how and why it came about, how it remained, its effects on the city and the world, its astonishingly sudden demise, and what has happened since it came down.

About Andrew: Andrew is an electrical engineer by day. By night, he indulges in various eclectic interests, one of which is twentieth-century history. For his day job, he writes code that makes cars drive themselves. He maintains a list of cool band names at http://magitronix.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @ahuster.

NNA2 #68: What Your Brain Wants, the Inner Life of Solar Cells, & Why Dogs Are So H*ecking Good

Sept 2019 NNA2 intro screen

What’s brighter than the sun? What’s more complex than the brain?? What’s gooder than a doggo??? NOTHING, that’s what? But ALSO nothing brings them all together quite like Nerd Nite A2!! U-M chemistry grad student Emily Mueller will explain one weird trick to make solar cells last longer. U-M psychology PhD candidate Erin Naffziger will explain how your brain processes craving and desire. Laura Witkowski and Jane Wolff, owners of Good Wolff Dog Training, will talk dog behavior and training. Join us for good times and good company! Bring a friend, grab a drink, and sit back for another great Nerd Nite A2!

When: Thursday, 9/19/19

Doors at 6:30/talks at 7 pm

Where: LIVE, 102 S. First St

Cost: No charge, Ann Arbor District Library’s got this one covered!


emily muellerEmily Mueller – A Marvelous Mix: how a key ingredient makes solar cells last longer!

Solar cells help us get energy from the sun, which is a renewable energy source, instead of fossil fuels, which are a finite energy source. But did you know that there is a type of solar cell that can bend? That can be transparent? That could be rolled up and stored in your pocket? These devices are called “plastic solar cells” because they are made with materials similar to plastics. In this talk you’ll learn about how these unique solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. You’ll also discover that these solar cells have a dark side: they wear out quickly (after ~ 2 years)! The reason for this is that there are two ingredients in the solar cell that need to be mixed together for it to function best, but these ingredients separate over time (like oil and water). I add a polymer (a big molecule) to the solar cells that helps the two cell ingredients stay mixed together and makes the solar cells last longer! 

About Emily:

I am a 4th year Ph.D. student in the Chemistry department at UM where I make and study polymers for solar cells. I suspect that I may be solar powered myself because I feel best when I am outdoors (swimming, hiking, biking)! I also enjoy reading anything I can get my hands on, cooking things from scratch, and making music. 

erinErin Naffziger – The brain ‘wants’ what the brain wants

Over the course of evolution our brains have become excellent at detecting rewards (e.g. food or a potential mate) in our environment and in turn generating motivation to obtain that reward. While this system was originally necessary for survival, it can easily become maladaptive in a world where access to rewards (such as high-calorie food, drugs and alcohol, gambling) are present in abundance. Unfortunately, this reward detection system can become hypersentitive in some individuals, in turn causing excessive desire and craving each time they come across a reward cue in their world. In this talk we will address how and why this reward system can become dysregulated in some individuals. Answering these questions will help scientists discover new treatment options for individuals living with addiction or psychiatric disorder. 

About Erin:

Erin is a PhD Candidate in Biopsychology at the University of Michigan studying how the brain creates the psychological processes: desire and craving. She wants to know how motivation is generated in the brain and how it may become dysregulated in mental illnesses. When she’s not playing with rats or using lasers to activate the brain, she enjoys true crime podcasts and hanging out with her elderly cat. 

jane and lauraJane Wolff and Laura Witkowski – Way More Carrot, A Lot Less Stick: How to REALLY be your dog’s best friend

“What is my dog thinking?” There’s a lot of misinformation, pernicious myths, and general confusion about how to train dogs. Understanding how dogs process the barrage of information in their environment is the first step in separating the good from the bad when it comes to dog behavior. We will talk about the two ways dogs learn and how to harness that knowledge to get more of the behaviors you like and less of the ones you don’t – without ever hurting or scaring your dog.

About Jane and Laura:

Jane and Laura of Good Wolff Training are both Certified Professional Dog Trainers and graduates of the highly regarded Academy of Dog Trainers. They use humane, field-tested, science-based methods for dog training and behavior modification. Laura and Jane love working with shelter dogs, teaching group training classes, and helping owners better understand dog behavior and better enjoy life with them. Jane also specializes in separation anxiety and is a Certified Separation Anxiety trainer. Laura is a stand up comedian and has a way of bringing humor and levity to challenging behavior problems. Find them on Instagram @goodwolfftraining.