NNA2 #58: Startup Success, Drug Dregs, and the Unsettling Uncanny


It’s happening again! Nerd Nite A2 is back as entrepreneur Leann Abad guides us through the ecosystem that new businesses need to thrive, pharmaceutical scientist Vernon Lalone reveals the impact of medication accumulation in our bodies, and Kat Johnson creeps us out with an examination of that strange feeling of intimate unfamiliarity – the uncanny. Grab a friend, grab a drink, and a grab a seat for Nerd Nite A2 #58!

When: Thurs. 9/20/2018

Doors at 6:30/talks at 7 pm

Where: LIVE, 102 S. First St.

Cost: Nothing! Sponsored by the Ann Arbor District Library!





Leann Abad

Leann Abad –  Startup Ecosystems: What Michigan Needs

When you hear the word startup, what do you think about? Do you think tech? Retail? Duo Security? Regardless of what you envision, we know one thing for sure: startups are what drive economic growth and development. This talk goes over what Michigan needs to continue growth as a startup ecosystem.

About Leann – Director of Content, Argonomo; Founder, ASHE Media; Host of the Impact Michigan and Generation [I] podcasts. Passionate about entrepreneurship, digital media, and building the Michigan startup ecosystem. Follow him @leann_abad.

Vernon Lalone headshotVernon Lalone – The Search for Drugs Within: A Multi-Scale Journey from Organs to Organelles

Did you know that many FDA-approved drugs accumulate inside organs and tissues of our bodies, sometimes so much so that they actually form crystals inside cells? Have you ever wondered where drugs go when we consume them? Throughout this talk, we will explore routes of administration, the fate of drugs inside our bodies (the ways they distribute throughout different organs and cell organelles), and the use of laser-scanning microscopy for the measurement of drug accumulation inside immune cells.

About Vernon: Vernon is a PhD candidate in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy. He is part of an interdisciplinary research team of scientists, engineers, and medical professionals studying the effects of long-term drug exposure and adverse drug reactions. Vernon was born and raised in Northern Michigan and has lived throughout this glorious state his entire life. When he’s not peering through a microscope, he spends his time pursuing balance in life through socialization, exercise, spirituality, literature, musical/visual art, and other creative avenues.

katKat Johnson – It’s Uncanny! Why Do I Feel So Anxious and Upset and What Does It Mean?

 The Uncanny is nothing and nowhere, the feeling of not being at home in a situation that should be familiar. We’ll delve into this psychological and media theory about what it means to be full of not knowing, not full of knowing, and to enter the Twilight Zone at the edge of science and imagination.

About Kat: Kat is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in Screen Arts in Cultures. She currently does not know what she is doing in any capacity whatsoever, but she really digs media analysis and holding a microphone, so here she is. You can probably find her hosting bar trivia, hosting the Borderline Insanity with Kat and Alex podcast, or reading anything of any sort. Follow her at @whoiskatreally.

NNA2 #57: Science & Stories: Stories Behind Stories, Crowdsourced Science, and Science Comics


This entry in the Nerd Nite Ann Arbor universe is full of stories! Kayla Coughlin has got amazing behind-the-scenes anecdotes and details of how the beloved books of your childhood were written and illustrated. Justin Schell will make your mad scientist dreams come true by explaining how you – YES, YOU – can pitch in on experiments and data collection and maybe, just maybe, make Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson proud. And graphic novelists (and husband-and-wife) will share the story of how they wrote Science Comics: Rockets! as a team, and still like each other today. So gather ’round, kids, because it’s story time at NNA2!!!

When: Thursday, August 16 – doors 6:30 pm/talks 7:00 pm

Where: LIVE (102 S 1st St)

No cover charge – Gee, thanks, AADL!

nn_coughlin_600x450ABCDWTF: Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Classic Kids’ Books – Kayla Coughlin

Remember some of those favorite books from your childhood? The ones with potty-mouthed authors, illustrators who couldn’t draw, and characters who cheated on their diet because cake is delicious? Kayla will discuss the largely unacknowledged truths of popular children’s literature.
About Kayla:
Kayla doesn’t talk about herself much in third person and eagerly seeks opportunities to learn something new.  She has a background in K-12 education and information science. Her current pursuits include improv, sewing, and maybe eating a vegetable every now and then.


Justin1Stand back, we’re all going to do science!  – Justin Schell
Learn about the many ways you can join people across the world in addressing some of the biggest social and scientific challenges in the world today through community and citizen science apps, websites, hikes, photos, and more!
About Justin: 
Justin Schell directs the Shapiro Design Lab at the University of Michigan Library, where he facilitates, among other things, a variety of citizen and community science projects. In addition to this work, he has a background as a documentary filmmaker, community archivist, and reformed trombonist.


anne and jerzyHow to Survive Making a Graphic Novel With Your Spouse – Anne and Jerzy Drozd
Navigating a relationship with your spouse or partner can be challenging enough–so why would you willingly work together on a project that can take a year or more to complete? Anne and Jerzy Drozd, authors of Science Comics: Rockets, explore how they handled the creative challenges of making a nonfiction comic about science and answer the most important question facing humanity today: WHO. DID. WHAT.
About Anne:
Anne Drozd is a public librarian by day and a cartoonist by night. She’s an avid space exploration enthusiast and a card holding member of the Planetary Society. Her favorite NASA mission is Apollo 12. Anne helps to introduce people to comics through her work at the Ann Arbor District Library and as co-organizer of the Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival. Follow her @ethelfred.
About Jerzy:
Jerzy Drozd is one of the artists of The Warren Commission Report. He leads cartooning workshops for children and teens in libraries and schools, as well as for teachers who want to bring comics to the classroom. He also podcasts about comics and how to make them. Drozd has drawn special projects for Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, Marvel Comics, VIZ Media, and others. Follow him @jerzy.


Nerd Nite A2 #56 – Race Riots, Pre-fab Pads, & Felines in Film

Here’s a collection of things you have maybe never thought of: an examination of what exactly constitutes a race riot, the secrets of maintaining an all-metal home, and the narrative function of cats in film. Nerd Nite A2 has assembled a brilliant lineup of people who have done the thinking of each of these topics for you – and they’re here to open your eyes. So invite a friend, grab a drink, and prepare to go down a few rabbit holes. See you there!

When: Thursday, July 19 – doors 6:30 pm/talks 7:00 pm

Where: LIVE (102 S 1st St)

No cover charge – AADL is sponsoring!

sherlonyaAmerican Race Riots — Our National Sport? – Sherlonya Turner

The United States has been the site of hundreds of race-based disorderly confrontations that can be described as race riots. By now, most everyone has seen images from riots on TV whether it’s a riot from the 1960s, or from the more recent unrest in Ferguson, Missouri or Baltimore, Maryland. But what is a riot? Why do they happen?  What are the trends? Common themes? While one can learn quite a bit from the study of any of these individual events, taking on the topic broadly has different lessons for us. This talk will discuss the overall trajectory of race riots in the United States, exploring the greater context for mass race-based conflict. 

About Sherlonya: Sherlonya is a department manager at AADL. When she’s not doing that, she can’t stop starting projects. Right now she is into learning about race riots, but is also into history-based baking, open letter writing, and a variety of sewing and crafts. If any of that interests you, you can find most of it at sherlonya.net or follow her on Twitter @sherlonya.

_JohnHeiderMugshotColorLustron: America’s Heavy Metal Housing – John Heider

Lustron homes were factory-made all-metal homes developed after WWII for the booming housing market. Most of their surfaces, inside and out and on their roofs were made of enameled steel. John lives in one, and will be sharing the ins and outs of occupying an all-metal home.

About John: John was a 28 year veteran newspaper photojournalist who was recently retired against his will and is also a ninja school dropout.



JenCatThe Film Cat-alogue: A Hiss-tory of Felines in Meow-vies – Jen Proctor

This illustrated lecture will provide an overview of the history of cats in movies, including their character types, their narrative functions, the notion of the “feline gaze,” and, of course, cuteness ratings on a scale from 1 to ZOMG KITTEH!!!

About Jen: Jen is a filmmaker and Associate Professor of Journalism and Screen Studies at UM-Dearborn. In her spare time, Jen studies abnormal feline behavior.

NNA2 #55: Scaring Kids, The Ends of the Earth, and Mutants, Cyborgs, and Aliens — Oh My!



After a hiatus in May, up pop TWO Nerd Nites for June — this first one, at Top of the Park, features some marvelous comix nerds, who are in town for the Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival (A2CAF). So we (kindly) kidnapped them for a special Nerd Nite!

Zack Giallongo’s going to tell us why scaring kids can be a GOOD thing, Maris is here to fill us in on adventures in Antarctica, and Hanah Stiverson shows us how comics allow readers to dig into new ways to explore what it means to be human.

Please note the earlier time and different locale than a usual Nerd Nite!

When: Thursday, June 14 – doors 5 pm/talks 5:30 pm
Where: The Annex, Top of the Park, Ann Arbor Summer Festival (915 E Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109)
No cover charge – thanks, AADL!


Zack Giallongo — I’ll Give You Something To Be Scared Of!: Why It’s Good To Be Frightening To Children
A look at the storytelling techniques that use frightening and disturbing imagery for kids, and why those stories stick with us through the relatable heroes that overcome them

About Zack:
Zack is a professional cartoonist and teacher, and a not very professional banjo-player or dresser. You might know him from his work on various Star Wars books, including the Ewok graphic novel, Shadows of Endor, and the series of Doodle books. You might also know him from his NYT bestselling graphic novel, Broxo, about teenage barbarians and zombies. He loves animals, D&D, and writing about himself in the third person.

Find him online here: @zackules


Maris Wicks — Is It Cold In Here or Is It Just Me?
Everything you ever wanted to know about Antarctica, and probably some stuff you didn’t (like that time I pooped in a bucket).

About Maris:
Comic book artist and writer with an insatiable appetite for science. Especially science in strange places

Find her online here: @mariswicks
Hanah Stiverson — The Future Is Non-human: Examples of the Comic Book Mutant, Cyborg, and Alien
American comics have historically been used as a way of imagining other modes of being. Since the creation of Superman humanity has been allowed an imagined space of greater power, ability, and capability. In recent years comics have transformed to include a wider range of experiences and bodies, and to allow for fuller beyond-human experience. In this talk I will be looking at examples of recent comic books that imagine fantastical ways of being, which allow readers to explore their humanity from new perspectives.

About Hanah:
Hanah Stiverson is currently a PhD student at the University of Michigan in the department of American Culture. Her current research focuses broadly on comics as a mode through which race, gender, sexuality and power can be articulated. Hanah works primarily with Image Comics texts to consider the ways in which access to a profitable creator-owned market has allowed traditionally marginalized voices new space to create dynamic works. Hanah is the co-coordinator of the Transnational Comics Workshop, which brings together scholars from many fields to encourage an interdisciplinary approach to reading and engaging with comics as a medium.

NNA2 #54 – Biology, Brains, & Behavior


For April, Nerd Nite A2 has teamed up with MSU’s Science Festival to bring you three amazing scientists talking about biology, brains, and behavior! Patsy Delacey will introduce us to the gelada monkey, and the study of the function of its’ “bleeding-heart” chest patch. Rosie Bettle uses chimpanzee behavior to explain why humans cooperate to create complex societies. Caitlin Posillico will explain how getting sick disrupts our capacity to learn, and how discovering why could lead to breakthroughs in diseases like Alzheimer’s. Lots of brilliance on display, so round up some pals and come advance your understanding of brains and behavior!

When: Thursday, April 19 – doors 6:30 pm/talks 7:00 pm
Where: LIVE (102 S 1st St)
No cover charge – thanks, AADL!

Patsy Delacey – The primate that wears its heart on its sleeve

Have you ever been curious about animal behavior? Have you wondered how animals communicate with one another? Do you love primates? Come learn about gelada monkeys – Ethiopia’s unique and wonderful highland monkey. Gelada monkeys are nicknamed “bleeding-heart monkeys” because of a patch of exposed red skin on their chests. Adult male gelada chest patches get brighter red when they’re excited, but this doesn’t happen for adult females, young males, or non-breeding males. Could the chest patch be an ornament to attract females, like a peacock’s plumage? Or does it signal to other males to back off? How does the environment influence signaling? I’ll discuss all of this and more about my field research in the Simien Mountains.

About Patsy:

Patsy is a biopsychology PhD student at the University of Michigan, studying how its high-altitude environment has shaped gelada monkey physiology and behavior.

Rosie Bettle – Thinking Like a Primate

Humans are a really weird species. In particular, we cooperate a lot, and this helps us build up complex societies. What kinds of mental abilities help us to cooperate, and do other species also use similar mental abilities to help them cooperate? To start answering this question, I will be talking about cooperation in our closest living relatives: chimpanzees.

About Rosie:

Rosie is a PhD student at the University of Michigan, who studies how primates think about the world. When she isn’t thinking about the mental lives of monkeys, she is usually exploring Kerrytown, trying to find new nature-y spots, or sampling a different craft beer.  

Caitlin Posillico – Brain fog from brain sickness

People get sick all the time, and sometimes it happens with the WORST timing. Maybe you’re supposed to take a big exam, attend an important meeting, leave for a business trip, or even take a vacation, but now all you can think about is how sick you are. What happens to our memory capability when this happens? Is this going to prevent us from being able to learn the new information being presented at the meeting? Is it going to prevent us from recalling the definition of that big term you learned about last week? Importantly, does this affect males and females differently? Caitlin’s research tries to figure out some possible answers to these questions using a viral mimic in male and female mice during different types of learning and memory tasks. If we can figure out how getting sick disrupts our capacity to learn and remember, maybe we can gain some insight as to how neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease or psychological disorders like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder cause debilitating memory impairments, and ideally, how we might be able to fix them.

About Caitlin:

Caitlin is a PhD student at the University of Michigan studying sex differences in the impact of neuroimmune activation on learning and memory. Essentially, she’s interested in what happens to memory when the brain gets sick and whether or not it affects males and females in the same way. She got her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Neuroscience at the University of Delaware (Delawhere? east coast!) where she fell in love with the brain, neuroimmunology, and academia. Originally hailing from Long Island, NY, she has (proudly) lost her accent and is loving the friendliness of Midwestern life. When she’s not locked in the lab or office, you can find her watching Netflix and looking for new ways to incorporate pesto into every meal.

Thurday, March 15 – NNA2 #53 – The Fine Arts of Printmaking, Virus Evolution, and Teaching Physics to Toddlers

It’s that time again! Nerd Nite A2 has another brilliant lineup for you! Katherine Hunt will tell us about the origins and future of printmaking, which is deeper than you might ink, er, think. Kayla Peck will talk about virus evolution and how to make effective vaccines that take virus mutation rate into account. Also, the flu sucks. Brandon Patterson turned his knowledge of the physics of bubbles into a children’s book, but it meant learning a lot about little lit. Friends, it’s gonna be another good one, so grab a friend, grab a drink, and grab a seat at the 53rd edition of NNA2!
When: Thursday, March 15 – doors 6:30 pm/talks 7:00 pm
Where: LIVE (102 S 1st St)
No cover charge – AADL is sponsoring!


NNA2 Katherine
Katherine Hunt – Printmaking Past, Present, and Future
An exploration of printmaking; its role in history, what it means to us today, and all that it can be used to do in the future.


About Katherine:
Katherine is a student at the University of Michigan, studying English and music. In her free time, she writes for PRINT@STAMPS and participates in a few other student organizations. Check out printstamps.tumblr.com and @stampsprintmakers on Instagram.



NNA2 kayla peckKayla Peck – Virus evolution: just how many mistakes should you make?
Viruses evolve extremely rapidly. This explains, for example, why we need a new flu shot every year. In just one year, influenza virus evolves to be slightly different from the previous year so the vaccine no longer protects against the new version. One of the many primary factors that impact how quickly viruses, like influenza, evolve is their mutation rate, or the rate at which mistakes are made when the virus makes more copies of itself. My research looks at how this rate impacts the virus population. What happens when the mutation rate is higher than normal? Have viruses, in fact, evolved to have mutation rates that are “just right?” Answering these questions can help us to better understand how viruses might evolve in the future and to design better vaccines against currently circulating viruses.


 About Kayla:
Kayla earned her PhD in Biology in 2016, working on a virus that could kill you. Currently, she is a postdoc at the University of Michigan, working on a virus that has a vaccine (so won’t kill you). Struggling with feelings of relief (at the increased safety) and disappointment (at sounding less like a bamf), she is primarily interested in virus evolution and how viruses emerge into humans. When not in lab, she can be found exploring breweries, becoming a D. Va main, discussing zombie apocalypse 5-man team compositions, or acquiring more Eevee merch.


NNA2 BrandonBrandon Patterson –  “Brooke Bubble Breaks Things”: The making of a sciencey children’s book
Children’s books are wonderful but surprisingly difficult to write, especially when you have no idea what you’re doing. In this talk, Brandon will tell the story of how he and some friends created a children’s book about bubbles to share their scientific research with a younger audience. We’ll also talk about some of the little-known rules of children’s book writing and the challenges that go with them.


About Brandon:

 Brandon is a cheerful and curious nerd wandering through life, trying figure out how the world works. Currently, he is working as a scientist at the University of Michigan Medical School, where he studies the physics of ultrasound in the human body. Outside of work Brandon enjoys walking, reading, tinkering, arguing, and participating in STEM Outreach.

Thurs, Feb 15, 2018 – NNA2 #52: Fighting Phragmites, Buying BitCoin, & Celebrating Sitcoms

nna2-2018-FEB-shareable copy

Welcome back to another round of Nerd Nite Ann Arbor!! This month, Karen Alexander dissects the dangers of the phragmites invasion of the Great Lakes basin, Ryan Brase demystifies BitCoin, and Kat Johnson breaks down sitcom structure in this very special episode of NNA2! Be there and be square, friends!

When: Thursday, February 15 – doors 6:30 pm/talks 7:00 pm
Where: LIVE (102 S 1st St)
Cover charge? No way! AADL’s got this!

ry4an-brase-1_1Ry4an Brase – Bitcoin: A Bad Idea Annoying People Won’t Shut-Up About

Bitcoin is a clever idea buried under its own baggage. It’s got
over-zealous advocates, a history of drug use, serious privacy problems, tax trouble, smarter competitors, criminal involvement, environmental fallout, consumer dissatisfaction, retailer desertion, and a fundamental lack of academic credentials.  Still, it refuses to go away.  We’ll spend a little time talking about what Bitcoin is, more time talking about what it isn’t, and then cover some of the absurd events of the last nine years.
About Ry4an:
Ry4an is a midwest-native, Michigan-import software geek, who bought some Bitcoin back in 2011 because it seemed nifty. He’s a college-dropout married to a Ph.D./Professor and has a globally unique first name — which seemed like a good idea before the web existed.


karen alexanderKaren Alexander – Fighting Back Against a Monster Grass in the Great Lakes Basin
The Great Lakes basin is infested with an invasive grass species called Phragmites australis (the Common Reed).  To help land managers fight back against this aggressive monster grass, the Great Lakes Commission and the USGS Great Lakes Science Center are developing a new program called thePhragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF). This presentation will introduce Phragmites and describe how the PAMF program will help address this basin-wide threat.
About Karen: 
Karen Alexander is a Senior Program Specialist at the Great Lakes Commission. Her main role is to work collaboratively with the United States Geological Survey to develop and implement the Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF), a program initiated by the Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative. Karen is the current co-chair of the OntarioPhragmites Working Group, and holds an Honors Biology degree and a Graduate Certificate in Ecosystem Restoration. Follow her on Twitter at @GLPhrag.


kat johnsonKat Johnson – 22 Minutes in 22 Minutes: Deconstructing the Sitcom from Cold Open to End Tag
Week after week, we tune into our favorite sitcoms. We expect and hope that our characters change little, fail often, and stay within the realm of familiarity. Nearly every episode of every successful sitcom follows the same basic formula of comfort, obstacle, failure, and a return to comfort—yet sitcoms as a medium are far from burning out. How does the formula work, and why does it keep us coming back for more?
About Kat:
Kat spends a huge amount of time watching the same shows over and over with endless enthusiasm. She is a 2017 graduate of The University of Michigan with a degree in Screen Arts in Cultures who would like nothing more than to work on a sitcom, and for there to be a Community movie. Amongst other things, she is a video editor, theater carpenter, and trivia host. Nerd Nite is her last day in Ann Arbor before moving into the great unknown, which is probably Chicago. You can find her at katmakesthings.work, @whoiskatreally on Twitter, and @picturesofspiders on Instagram.

NNA2 #51: Exciting Stories of Asteroids, Oscillation, and, Um, Excrement ????


Join us for THREE amazing speakers, and while we always say bring your nerd friends, text your biology and space nerd friends RIGHT. THIS. MINUTE. They’re gonna love this.
We’ve got Dr. Kelsey Cornelius explaining why your dog digs dung, Stephanie Hamilton touring us through the might of tiny things in outer space, and John Charpentier brings the Jessie Spano vibes — or maybe it’s Pointer Sisters Excitement? Either way, We’re SO EXCITED!
Grab a friend, buy a beer, and sit back and enjoy NNA2 #50!
When: Thursday, January 18 – doors 6:30 pm/talks 7:00 pm
Where: LIVE (102 S 1st St)
How much: $0. No cover. AADL’s got your back.


Kelsey Cornelius — All (Poop-Eating) Creatures Great and Small

Stephanie Hamilton — Ping Pong Balls, Bowling Balls, and What They Have To Do with the Solar System

John Charpentier — I’m So Excited: Excitable Media in Biology and Medicine

Kelsey Cornelius – All (poop-eating) creatures great and small: The warm and joyful memoirs of a lab animal vet.
Everybody poops. But did you know that some creatures eat that poop? And it can be a normal behavior?! Coprophagy, the eating of excrement, is commonly seen with many rodents, lagomorphs, pigs, primates, and even our beloved canines. Dr. Kelsey Cornelius, a laboratory animal veterinarian at the University of Michigan, knows all about rodents and rabbits ravenously dining on the dung. But, she was surprised to learn through her general practitioner classmates how commonly owners report their dogs for this repellent behavior. Come hear about these crap-loving creatures and what you can do if your dog digs the doo-doo.About Kelsey: Kelsey originally became fascinated with poop-eating when she was a young girl in Centerville, Ohio, at a cat-themed birthday party. Her patients now consist of animals that love to eat the guano (I bet you didn’t know all these poop synonyms). Kelsey is a veterinarian in her second year of a laboratory animal residency. Other than studying scat-snacking, Kelsey is passionate about animal welfare, public outreach, and porgs.
Stephanie Hamilton — Ping Pong Balls, Bowling Balls, and What They Have To Do with the Solar System
What if I told you that the smallest bodies in our solar system (that is, anything that isn’t one of the eight major planets) are actually the most important? Would you believe me? The discovery of the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune in the past 30 years has changed our view of the outer Solar System. Composed of small objects similar to asteroids, this region preserves the effects of past encounters with the gas giant planets, acting as a gravitational fingerprint of the history of the Solar System. Tonight, I’ll talk about the discoveries of Uranus and Neptune. Yes, I’ll even touch on everyone’s favorite Kuiper Belt Object, Pluto, and the revelations leading to its demotion to a dwarf planet. I’ll talk about how astronomers can use properties of the orbits of Kuiper Belt Objects, such as how big or oval-like they are, to learn about the history of our Solar System. Finally, I’ll tell you a little bit about my research using these objects to search for a new super-Earth planet in the very distant Solar System, Planet Nine! I hope that you’ll leave with a newfound appreciation for small asteroids and Kuiper Belt Objects and how they hold the key to unlocking the history of our Solar System while also pointing the way to new discoveries.
John Charpentier — “I’m So Excited: Excitable Media in Biology and Medicine” 
“What do the Mexican Wave, oscillating chemical reactions, and the male orgasm all have in common? Each exhibits the characteristics of an excitable medium! Come learn about this concept, how ubiquitous these systems are in nature, and how insight into how they work can be applied to other, seemingly unrelated problems in biology and medicine.About John: A Ph.D student in immunology at the U-M School of Medicine, John’s research focuses on the ways in which lymphocytes and other cells remodel their cellular membranes to ingest large quantities of extracellular fluid and materials, and the function of this uptake in cancerous and healthy cells. In addition to this work, John is a passionate advocate for scientific literacy and education and contributes to the U-M graduate student blog MiSciWriters.”

November 16 — NNA2 Faceoff Edition: NASA vs. Saturn, Henry Ford vs. Everyone, Healthcare vs. Hackers!


It’s NNA2’s 50th! The traditional gift to celebrate a 50th anniversary is gold, so please bring lots of it. It’s also the last NNA2 of 2017, so don’t miss it!
We have three great speakers – all talking about a different way to assert power. Diane Bouis will talk about breaking something in order to fix it, Eric Fitzpatrick will talk about the almighty gall of a civilization crashing a spacecraft into another planet – on purpose – and Rich Retyi and Brian Peters will tell the story of a man who rose to prominence by brute force. Grab a friend, buy a beer, and sit back and enjoy NNA2 #50!
When: Thursday, November 16 – doors 6:30 pm/talks 7:00 pm
Where: LIVE (102 S 1st St)
How much: $0, gee, thanks, AADL!
Diane Bouis — Can’t hack it? Bring a friend!
Richard Retyi & Brian Peters — Henry Ford’s Ann Arbor Enforcer
Eric Fitzpatrick — Cassini’s Final Destination


Diane Bouis — Can’t hack it? Bring a friend! Healthcare Innovation Through Hackathons
Everybody wants innovation. Lot’s of it. And ideally the type of disruptive innovation that changes the world and that the others haven’t thought of yet. But how do you come up with good ideas? How do people start companies?
Hackathons are a fun way to bring together a diverse community of people solve tough problems together and have fun doing it. We’ll go through some innovations that have come by applying unrelated expertise and talk about what you can do to bring the hackathon ethos to problems you’d like to help find solutions to.


About Diane: Diane is a nerdy kid turned scientist turned consultant.  At age 14 she told people she’d cure cancer and AIDS and clearly didn’t. But along the way – through an academic career in oncology and cardiology- she learned that great progress it’s not just about being smart but about engaging and inspiring others. She works as an innovation consultant at the Inovo Group and Co-founded A2 Health Hacks, a non-profit running healthcare hackathons in SE Michigan. And no, she can’t code.


Rich and Brian
Richard Retyi & Brian Peters — Henry Ford’s Ann Arbor Enforcer
Who would have guessed that a kid born to a poor family in Lower Town would one day rise in the ranks to stand at the right hand of the great Henry Ford, keeping assembly workers in line and firing pistols at pro-union demonstrators. Rough, tough and gruff Harry Bennett came within a hair of running the Ford Motor Company based on a resume as one of the greatest enforcers of all time. Hear his story and the story of the famed Bennett Castle, which still stands in Ann Arbor today.


About Rich and Brian: The fathers of the smash hit sensation podcast Ann Arbor Stories make their second appearance at Nerd Nite. Brian is co-owner of local indie label, Quite Scientific, and an all-around master of everything, while Rich is the communications and marketing manager at the Ann Arbor District Library and author of The Book of Ann Arbor: An Extremely Serious History Book, available at Literati Bookstore or on Amazon.

Eric Fitzpatrick – Cassini’s Final Destination

NASA recently crashed the Cassini space probe into Saturn. The probe contained about 90 pounds of a highly radioactive, non-naturally occurring substance: plutonium. We’d never do such a thing on our planet, so why did we do it to Saturn, especially when we have no idea if life forms of any sort may exist there? We’ll discuss the delicate environment of Saturn, the goals of the Cassini probe, and safer options for space exploration.


About Eric: Eric has spent 38 years studying the cosmos and has given astronomy lectures and instruction over those years. In addition to designing and building a telescope while he was in high school (which is still operational, btw), he is a strong advocate for dark skies and the importance of reducing light pollution.

Thursday, 10/19: Sugar, Cyberpunk, & Stimulation

nna2-2017-oct-shareableGather round, Nerds! Your friends at Nerd Nite Ann Arbor have more amazing speakers ready to shine a light on some spectacular topics!

Dr. Monica Dus force-feeds cake to fruit flies and while it turns out not to be great for the fruit flies, it IS really good for figuring out why humans get so hooked on sugar. Come face the horrors of your very own human biology!

Did you see Blade Runner 2049? Alex Kourvo did, and she has THOUGHTS about it. She’s actually got a lot to say about cyberpunk as a whole – so join us for the story of the birth of this science fiction genre.

Kulky Nakai is back with a talk about the psychology of human sexuality, delivered in her signature stimulating style. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry (from laughing), you’ll relate, you’ll make meaningful eye contact with a friend.

This Nerd Nite A2 is not to be missed – it’s going to be sugary, science fiction-y, and above all, stimulating.

When: Thurs. 10/19/2017, doors at 6:30/talks at 7pm
Where: Live, 102 S. First St.
Cost: Nada! No cover thanks to the sponsorship of the Ann Arbor District Library!


monicaDr. Monica Dus – Let Them (fruit flies) Eat Cake
Fruit flies’ eyes are bigger than their stomachs (no, really, they are), but this is not why they love sugar. In our lab we feed cake to fruit flies to see what happens to their brains (#badlyexplainyourjob), and boy, a lot happens, and most of it is NOT good. Maybe this is why we all love sugar and can’t stop eating it. And if you are one of those weird people who doesn’t maybe stop by the lab so we can study you?

About Monica: I received my first microscope at age 7, a gift from my dad, and had an idyllic childhood in Italy pulling hair off Barbie’s and legs off bugs and looking at them under the microscope. What really kept me in science, however, was the pervasive beauty of the natural world. I still remember the first time, as a high school student, I heard about molecular biology: I was amazed by its beautiful complexity. Nearly twenty years later, I still haven’t found something that is man-made and more beautiful than the natural world, not even a Dolce and Gabbana dress. At 18 I left Italy for the USA, majored in Biology and Philosophy, got a Ph. D in biology at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and in 2015 started a lab at the University of Michigan where I also teach genetics and neuroepigenetics. My favorite things in life are dogs, desserts, philosophy and post-modern literature, pastel colors, fuzzy things, and unicorns.

AlexKourvoAlex Kourvo – Living in a Cyberpunk World
Cyberpunk was everywhere in the 1980s. It started in science fiction, but it influenced fashion, movies, comics, games, advertising, and architecture. After a decade of high-tech, neon-colored, future-looking pop culture, cyberpunk just…went away. Or did it? Could cyberpunk stories still be with us, hiding in plain sight?

About Alex: Alex Kourvo loves books. She writes them, reviews them, edits them, and teaches other people how to write them. She is the author of numerous short stories and the forthcoming “Detroit Next” series of near-future thrillers. She edits books for Fifth Avenue Press and helped start the Emerging Writers Workshop at the Ann Arbor District Library, where she teaches monthly classes for new writers. You can find Alex online at AlexKourvo.com or follow her @AlexKourvo.

kulkyKulky Nakai: Psychology and Stimulation

About Kulky: Psychologist Kulky Nakai is more than a scholar, researcher, and clinician, she’s also a philosopher, creative writer, and entertainer who enjoys pushing socio-cultural boundaries and provoking common thought to the cutting edge. She recently launched her very own b/vlog and podcast titled “More To Be Revealed,” a space dedicated for exploring the unknown with a curious heart and a funny bone.