Author: annarbor

Nerd Nite A2 #72: AND WE’RE BACK!


Hey there, NNA2 pals! We’re delighted to dip our toes back into the event pool with a fantastic lineup including NNA2 alumni presenters: Jess A.S. Letaw, Sagar Kamat, and Rich Retyi! Many thanks to York for hosting us in their incredible outdoor space!

More NNA2 events are planned for this summer! So put Wednesday, July 20 and Wednesday, August 17 @ 7:30 pm, and you know what comes next. That’s right! Be there AND be square!

LIVE from Ann Arbor, It’s Nerd Nite!!

Nerd Nite Ann Arbor - May


Nerd Nite is back for May, and ready for you to have a drink and learn things in it! If you haven’t been before, Nerd Nite is a monthly social event where nerds of all disciplines give 18-21 minute funny and informative talks while the audience drinks along and asks questions.

The line-up this month:

Adventures in Programming: Lessons from a Computer on How to Be Human, Erika Carlson

“Technology catalyzes changes not only in what we do, but in how we think.” -Sherry Turkle

Why learn to program if you don’t want to become a professional software developer?

Programming teaches a set of skills that are invaluable for much more than the building of software (although that’s pretty cool, too). Programming is about logic and problem-solving, but it’s also about creativity, play, curiosity, possibility, thinking outside the box, learning to see things differently, and –if you’re doing it right– joy. It’s a little bit magical, and a lot of fun.

Erika accidentally became a programmer in 2011 and has been learning software development ever since. With a background in psychology, she’s interested in people and problem-solving, and is passionate about the potential of technology to create positive change in the world. Erika is a software developer and president of the enthusiasm committee at Pillar Technology, and co-founded the Detroit chapter of Girl Develop It in 2012. She also gives introductory programming presentations at elementary and middle schools, and is working to create more opportunities for technology education in Detroit.

SCUBA Diving, Brian Bondy

The joys, misconceptions, worlds best diving destinations, shipwrecks and sharks! All condensed of course 🙂

Brian started his career in a skilled trade, not knowing what he wanted to be when he grew up. Brian realized early in his career that he wasn’t wired to work for someone else and needed to find a way to get out on my own.  Huron Scuba presented an opportunity to move towards his goal of working for himself. Brian bought Huron Scuba in July 2010 and has owned and operated a PADI 5 Star dive operation since. He also managed a successful Handicap Scuba Association program built in 2012 and made it available to all who may benefit with a focus on the men and women who have served in the armed forces.

A New Kind of (Citizen) ScienceGreg Austic

This talk comes in 2 parts: Part 1 (5 minutes) – all about the local non-profit A2Geeks, what we do, what we’d like to do, and how we can help you!  Part 2 (15 minutes) Citizen Science isn’t just a fun way to educate people about science, or even a just cool way to get people to do some of science’s dirty work (like identifying planetary wobblesdecoding ancient Greek papyrus, or identifying protein structures.  It’s going to change the scientific questions we can answer, the methods we use for answering them, and the structure and motivations of the lives of professional researchers.  This will give a brief background of citizen science, what’s happening in the field now, and painting a picture of where we could end up.

After 2 years in the Peace Corps in Moldova, Greg worked his way through a small biodiesel startup from collecting grease to running a research and development department.  After becoming frustrated with the limitations of the traditional patent/profit/protect model, he left biodiesel all together and spent a year working on mozilla open badges and creating an open source board game called The City.  Now Greg works at Michigan State University, where he’s developing a low-cost handheld device for taking non-destructive photosynthesis measurements.  In the long term, Greg is interested in how we can develop sustainable organizations and business models for open commercialization (no IP, patents, etc.) of a wider range of products and services.

When: Thursday, May 16

Where: LIVE 102 S. First St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104

When: Doors at 6:30 Event at 7

Fee: $5 cover, drinks as you like

Stuff: T-Shirts $15 , Buttons for a recommended donation

Buy your tickets early or RSVP on Facebook!

Wham! W00t! Wednesday!

What up, A2nerds? We’re mixing things up a bit this month by bringing the nerdery to Wednesday. For those of you that are new to the fold, Nerd Nite is a monthly social event where nerds of all disciplines give 18-21 minute funny and informative talks while the audience drinks along and asks questions. We’ve heard good things about this shindig. So, what will we be learning about this time?

W is for Water: David Trossman will channel his inner Steve Zissou and guide us through Voyages of the Neo-Voyeurs: How They Observe Motion in the Ocean.

W is for Writing: Amy Wilson would Do Anything for Love and she’ll explain to us Why, in fact, Good Pop Music is Good Writing.

W is for Whiskey: Michelle Kydd, in Eau Whiskey, will help us see that whiskey isn’t just for drinking, but for smelling, too.


When: Wednesday, April 17 Doors at 6:30 Event at 7
Where: The Last Word, 301 W. Huron St.
Wage: $5 Buy online! or at the door (cash/credit)


Voyages of the Neo-Voyeurs: How They Observe Motion in the Ocean, David Trossman

If all of the oceans were to suddenly evaporate, we probably wouldn’t survive the ensuing greenhouse-like heat.  While there is essentially zero risk of this happening any time soon, the ocean serves as a temperature buffer for much of the planet and is a sink for between one-fourth and one-third of our carbon dioxide emissions, further buffering us from changes in climate more rapid than those we’ve seen over the course of history.  The oceans also are teeming with microscopic lifeforms, which supply about half of our oxygen, and macroscopic lifeforms, which oceanographers have utilized for data collection purposes.  Other oceanographers have taken advantage of the fact that we’ve developed nuclear capabilities and leaked tons of radioactive chemicals into the ocean to figure out things about the ocean.  This talk will provide a biased overview of how oceanographers know anything at all about the oceans and the extremes tactics they’ve needed to use to arrive at their current understanding of the oceans.  Arguably, what oceanographers know today can be used to protect the oceans, and indirectly ourselves, from irreversible damage on timescales relevant to us or our grandchildren. As the children’s book I read as a youngster said, we’d better protect the oceans so that we can reap their resources, right?…

David had no choice about his excessive consumption of M&M’s in the womb, was born in Evanston (Illinois), and played bass in over a dozen bands before ending being one of those people who ended up getting a BA in math and BA/MA in physics from Washington University in St. Louis, MA in policy from the University of Chicago, and PhD in physical oceanography (studying ocean-atmosphere interaction by using statistics to combine information from observations and numerical models) from the University of Washington.  David is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Michigan, where he is studying how bottom topography-flow interactions ultimately mix up the ocean and he is getting his life back.

I Would Do Anything For Love: Why Good Pop Music is Good Writing, Amy Wilson

Good writing is vigorous.

“Vigorous writing is concise.”

A good pop song is, also, concise. Therefore it is good writing.

Confused? Intrigued? Learn how Amy came to these conclusions and enjoy examples!

Amy Wilson is an aspiring cultural critic, a generalist, and a huge fan of microwave popcorn and music videos on OnDemand. She blogs at In Bed With Amy Wilson about pop music philosophy, and hosts Turn it Up with Amy Wilson on WCBN. She works at local nonprofit 826michigan ( and, in her spare time, writes Tweets at @howeverbal and insane text messages to her friends.


Eau Whiskey: A Smell and Tell, Michelle Krell Kydd

What do whiskey and perfume have in common? The answers may surprise you. The sense of smell has been transformed from “the bastard stepchild of the senses” to the next big thing in science. What does whiskey have to do with it? Well, it’s not part of the research process, but you might want to have a glass in hand as Michelle shares precious extracts and scents related to the aromas found in whiskey and teaches fellow scientualists how to get their smell nerd on.

Michelle Krell Kydd is the editor of Glass Petal Smoke, an award-winning blog that explores the world of scent and taste. She is a trained “nose” in flavors and fragrance and uses her talent to create olfactory writing workshops for 826Michigan and the Ann Arbor District Library. She’s sniffed the good, the bad and the downright smellacious. Michelle was recently interviewed in the winter 2012 edition of the Whisky Advocate on the subject of smoke notes in perfume and whisky. When she’s not evangelizing olfaction she can be found at the University of Michigan where she works as a Communications Specialist for The Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru). Contact Michelle on Twitter @glasspetalsmoke.

This is Madness?! This is Nerd Nite!!

Nerd Nite A2 March


Join us for an evening of complete madness and tasty drinks!

Grab your friends by the straightjackets and come get wild with us at The Last Word! From the influenza epidemic of 1918 to self deception and sports, we’ve got about as much madness as you can handle- and maybe a little more! Be there. Be MAD.

Date: Thursday, March 21st
Time: Doors at 6:30, event at 7
Location: The Last Word, 301 W Huron, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Fees: $5 Cover


We’ll have buttons and T-shirts, and they’ll be as many drinks as you want to buy at the bar!

Questions? Send us an e-mail at nerdnitea2[at]

Want more info? Check out this month’s presentation highlights:


Self-Deception, or: I’m Pretty Sure This is the Best Nerd Nite Talk You’ll Ever Hear, Alex D Jakle

NNA2 March - Self Deception

Athletes, as a matter of practice, often tell themselves they can win a race or a game even when all the evidence suggests otherwise. But self-deception is hardly limited to athletes; we all lie to ourselves. All the time. About everything. We fit everything around us into pre-fabricated narratives\ whether true or not (and whether they fit well or not). Many – if not most – of the things we hold dear are founded at least in part on the exaggerations, half-truths, and lies we tell ourselves. But don’t despair! Because the dirty little secret? It may not be such a bad thing…

Alex is a law student and a Ph.D candidate in Political Science at UM. His research explores how the culture of amateur baseball encourages NCAA rule violations, for which he had to spend two grueling summers doing fieldwork in the Cape Cod Baseball League. He’s worried somethin’ awful that he’s lying to himself about the quality and progress of his dissertation.


Nerd Nite A2 - March - Stoolman

Influenza Madness: The Pandemic of 1918 and the Flu TodayJoshua Stoolman

Pandemics seem to be a great topic for horror stories. 28 Days Later, Resident Evil, Contagion are a few that come to mind right off the bat. The best one I have heard just happens to be real. The 1918 flu pandemic was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic which infected 500 million people across the world and killed 50 to 100 million of them — 1 to 3 percent of the world’s population at the time — making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. This virus’ progeny are still around today and cause about 1 billion infections world wide each year. The H1N1 scare in 2009 illustrates how real of an issue this still is today.

Joshua was born and raised in Ann Arbor, went to Kalamazoo College where he majored in biology and came back to Ann Arbor do work as a technician in an immunology lab. Joshua is now a graduate student in the Program in Immunology at the University of Michigan where he study immune cell migration to the central nervous system in a mouse model of Multiple Sclerosis.


Nerd Nite A2 holmes-fatal-gas-trunkH. H. Holmes: A Devil Born in his Soul, James T Mann

Serial killer, con artist. Born Herman Webster Mudgett in 1861 in Gilmanton, New Hampshire. Sometimes referred as the Beast of Chicago, H. H. Holmes’ life of crime started out with various frauds and scams as a medical student at the University of Michigan…

James Mann is a local historian, storyteller and author. His books include “Ypsilanti: A History in Pictures,” City of Ypsilanti Fire Department 100 Years,” and “Our Heritage: Down by the Depot in Ypsilanti,” written with Tom Dodd. His most recent book is “Wicked Washtenaw County: Strange Tales of the Grisly and Unexplained.”


It’s time for Nerd Nite Ann Arbor .. the Second!

Nerd Nite A2 - Feb Poster



This time around, we’re honoring Valentine’s Day/Singles Awareness Day by providing you with some nerd talk on love, passion, and fire! We hope to see you and your friends on Thursday, February 21!

When: Thursday, February 21
Where: The Last Word 301 W. Huron, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
When: Doors at 6:30 Event at 7
Stuff: T-Shirts $15 , Buttons for a recommended donation

Buy your tickets early or RSVP on Facebook!





Here’s a peek at what we’ve got lined up for February:

Kill It with Fire: Building Giant Art for Fun And Absolutely No Profit, Jane Davis

Nerd Nite Ann Arbor - Jane Davis Fire Art Presentation

Photo by Tristan Savatier

Jane Davis, a member of Flaming Lotus, will share how to make kinetic, mechanical fire art. Flaming Lotus work stands at the intersection of sculpture, kinetics, robotics, pyrotechnics, and electronic technology. They create interactive large-scale fire installations, incorporating innovative designs in welded metal, interactive fire effects and responsive electronics, that engage viewers and invite them to become part of the art. Sculptures are made of steel, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, glass and wood – and sizes range from small to the very large, with fire blazing from 2“ to 150’.

Jane Davis has been making big stupid things since 2009, when she wandered into a metal shop in San Francisco and refused to leave. At the moment she lives in Ann Arbor, where she makes little stupid things and is getting her master’s degree in information science. Her favorite tool is an impact driver, but only because no one will let her near a boom lift. She knows four chords on the ukulele and thinks you look very nice today.


Coitus and Curry: Divine Sexy Times with Lord Krishna, Becky Bloom

Nerd Nite Ann Arbor - Becky Bloom

Lord Krishna, perhaps India’s most beloved god, is best known for his boyish (if bluish) good looks, sexy flute-playing, and springtime canoodling with all the milkmaids in town. The divine activities of Krishna are more than erotic myth, however, as they represent the intimate relationship possible between god and devotee. In her presentation, Becky Bloom will explore the romantic complexities of divine love and devotion as expressed through the art and poetry of India.

Becky Bloom is a PhD student in the department of Asian Languages and Cultures, specializing in Tibetan Buddhism and Himalayan Art. Before coming to Michigan, Becky worked for the Rubin Museum of Art in New York, which highlights the art of Tibet, India, the Himalayas, and beyond.


Cupid Wasn’t Aiming For Your Heart: The Neuroscience of Love, Dr. Tiffany Love

Nerd Nite A2 - Feb_CupidWhat is love?  This question tops Google’s most searched list and has been pondered throughout history by poets, scholars and, of course, 90’s pop artists.  Where does love come from?  What brings on those butterflies in your stomach when your beloved is near?   Scientists are closer to understanding that thing called love and in her talk, Tiffany Love will present some of the recent research that reveals the host of brain chemicals that are tweaked following a bite from the love bug.

Dr. Tiffany Love is a faculty member in the Substance Abuse Section within the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan and her BS in Biology and Psychology from the University of New Mexico.


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The Very First Ever Ann Arbor Nerd Nite!

We all know that learning is more fun when you’re drinking with friends and colleagues. Thus, Nerd Nite is a monthly event held in more than 50 cities across the globe during which several folks give 18-21-minute fun-yet-informative presentations across all disciplines – while the audience drinks along.  And there are often bands, acrobats, trivia, and other shenanigans as well.  Imagine learning about everything from math feuds or the science of the Simpsons, to the genealogy of Godzilla or debunking beer myths.  Fun, right?  As nerds and non-nerds like to say, “Nerd Nite Is Like the Discovery Channel™…with Beer!” We’ve finally brought this fun event to Ann Arbor, and we would love to have you come or present. Here are some details for our first event:

Date: Thursday, January 24
Location: Bar @ Braun Court – 327 Braun Court Ann Arbor, MI 48104 (Kerrytown)
Time: Doors at 6:30, Event 7-9
Price: $5 at the door, drinks + t-shirt if you want are some sample presentations!
Questions? E-mail us!
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