Red Light Romance: A Very Nerdy Valentine – Thursday, 2/16

It’s Nerd Nite time again, Ann Arbor friends! We have an exceptional lineup of Valentine’s Day-adjacent topics presented by a lovely assortment of local nerds that we are delighted to be bringing to the LIVE stage on Thursday, 2/16.
Romance novelist Celia Mulder will lead a ridiculous romp through the world of romance novel subgenres – from time-traveling Vikings to firefighting cowboys to shapeshifting were-creatures – and so much more.

Rich Retyi and Brian Peters, the beer-drinking, local history-loving duo behind the Ann Arbor Stories podcast, will bring the story of Ann Arbor’s seedy underbelly to (red) light.

Physicist Brian Worthmann says pink is bulls&%# and he’ll give a whole spectrum of reasons why in this colorful talk.
So bring someone you love, like, or love to hate, and join us for Red Light Romance: A Very Nerdy Valentine at LIVE on First St, Thursday, 2/16, doors at 6:30 pm.

Time Traveling Vikings: Or, the many layered subgenres of romance novels
Within the romance genre there are dozens of subgenres, some well known, some very unknown. Most people can name a few – contemporary, historical, or paranormal for example. Some people have even heard of Amish romance, westerns, or highlanders. This talk isn’t about any of those. It’s about the subgenres that almost no one’s heard of, the time traveling viking romances that we never knew we were missing.
About Celia Mulder: She is a first year Master student at the University of Michigan School of Information. She happens to be a huge romance fan but she honestly can’t tell you what her favorite book is, there are just too many. In addition to reading the smutty stuff, she writes it too. Her first book comes out this October.

Rich and BrianProstitutes, Politicians and Pornography: The History of Ann Arbor’s Red Light District
There was a time in Ann Arbor’s history when the Fourth Avenue area of downtown was known as the red light district. Lined with prostitutes, adult bookstores and massage parlors, Ann Arbor’s red light district was presided over by the Pied Piper of Porn, Terry Whitman Shoultes. Take a trip into the seedy underbelly of Ann Arbor’s dirty past.
About Rich Retyi and Brian Peters: These gents produce Ann Arbor Stories, a podcast featuring stories from Ann Arbor’s distant and not so distant past. Rich runs digital and social media strategy for the University of Michigan hospitals and enjoys writing, playing with his kids, and Friday beers. Brian is the Operating Officer for Ghostly International, a multi-platform cultural curator and record label, as well as co-owner of local indie label, Quite Scientific; he enjoys fishing, camping, mustard, and surprise surprise – Friday beers.

Pink iNNA2_Feb2017_Worthmanns Bullshit
The question is – which ‘Pink’ am I referring to? Perhaps this talk will be about gendered color-coding of children’s toys. Or maybe it’ll be about breast cancer awareness. Perhaps it’ll be about Victoria’s Secret’s advertising campaign for college-aged women. Or maybe the Grammy-award-winning pop singer from the early 2000s. Or perhaps it’ll be about all the overdose deaths associated with the powerful synthetic opioid eight times stronger than heroin. But as you might have guessed – this talk will be about none of these things!
About Brian: Brian is a fourth-year Applied Physics PhD student at UM, and a third-time presenter at NNA2. While not busy preparing for a Nerd Nite talk, he can be found teaching a class at OLLI, giving conference talks, traveling the world, and, on rare occasions, actually doing the research he’s paid to do.

The Next Nerd Nite will be Thursday, February 16

Stay tuned for more details, but we’re excited to hear why Pink is Bullshit, a little more about Ann Arbor Stories, and even a little bit of (ridiculous) romance!

Packing a PUNch, Making Light, & Fake News

…AND nna2-2017-jan-shareableWE’RE BACK!
It’s the new year and we’ve got an all new line up of speakers ready to let their nerd light shine. First up is Reema Abi-Akar, who knows there’s nothing new under the pun, but has some quip-witted repartee on everyone’s (dad’s) favorite kind of wordplay. Andrew McAllister, he studies applied physics, he works on a super computer, and he predicts a glorious and well-lit future in which super-efficient LED bulbs are also super-affordable. Newshound Jim McBee of The Ann magazine is here to talk about those phony news stories your uncle keeps sharing on Facebook, and how to separate the credible from the incredible.
It’s going to be illuminating in more ways than pun one!
When: Thursday, January 19, 2017, doors at 6:30 pm, talks at 7 pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
NO COVER, thanks to your friendly neighborhood AADL!


HeadshotReema Abi-Akar: The Rogue Pun: More than just quip-witted repartee

Puns abound in society, whether we realize it or not. In this pun-apologetic analysis of wordplay, discover the linguistic and social history of puns. Learn how to identify different types of puns, their place in the linguistic structure, and why they are true language anarchists.

About Reema: Reema is a master’s student at Michigan studying Natural Resources and Environment. She is an avid punster and knows the names of all the US presidents in order because history is important. In her spare time, she researches adorable baby animals online. Find her on twitter at @ReemaAbiAkar

20140816_201124(2)_2Andrew McAllister: LED Light Bulbs: Why do they cost an arm and a leg?

The light sources of the future will be LED bulbs. They are efficient, last a long time, and some can even change colors on the fly. But why are they so expensive? Come learn about what LEDs are, why they are so important, and some of the ways we’re trying to make LED lighting affordable for everyone.

About Andrew: Andrew is a first-year in the Applied Physics program at the University of Michigan. He studies the many materials that we use to interact with light, and is interested in ways these materials become inefficient when we push them to extremes. He does all of his research using supercomputers, so instead of wearing a lab coat and glasses, he sit in front of a big computer monitor all day. When he’s not doing that, you’ll most likely find him wearing spandex (on a bike), playing board games, or ogling books at Literati.

mcbee mugJim McBee: What’s up with all this fake news, anyway?

All of a sudden, we seem to be deluged in completely made up phony stuff masquerading as credible news. How bad is it really, where does it come from and what should we do about it?

About Jim: Jim is a co-founder and creative director for The Ann magazine in Ann Arbor. He’s a lifelong newspaper gypsy. Find him and The Ann on twitter

Nerd Nite Treats: A Cornucopia of Cheese, Cocktails, and Vegan Eats



Gobble gobble! Feast your eyes on the lineup for NNA2 #40, featuring a hearty helping of some of the best folks from Ann Arbor’s food scene. Joel Panozzo of The Lunch Room guides us through his approach to veganism, including his take on why tofu tastes bad. Ann Arbor Distilling Company’s Phil Attee gives us a glimpse into how booze is born, and walks us through a day in the life of a distiller. Last, but certainly not least, Mike White from Zingerman’s slices us off a hunk of some pungent, delectable cheese knowledge. So put on your elastic-waist pants and turkey-trot your way over to Live — and raise a glass with your fellow nerds!

When: Thursday, November 17, 2016, doors at 6:30 pm, talks at 7 pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
$$$: NO COVER, thanks to your friendly neighborhood AADL!

Specters, Serial Killers, & SuperHERos


NNA2 edition #39 is coming at you in all its vaguely Halloween-y glory! Filmmaker Jen Proctor will explore the paranormal communication and hear voiiiiiices from beyond – or at least, what believers claim are voices from beyond. Sara Wedell, who has read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books more times than you have, will reveal the sinister side on the prairie – a family of serial killers preying on pioneers. And superHERoes Chelsea Liddy and Amanda Reyes Aquino of Comique Con will talk about the evolving roles of women in the world of comics. So put on your smarty-pants glasses and come on out to raise a few beer glasses!
When: Thursday, October 20, 2016, doors at 6:30 pm, talks at 7 pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
$$$: Free, thanks to your friendly neighborhood AADL!


Jen Proctor: Talking to the Dead: A History of Spirit Communication Technologies – Jen Proctor
From the telegraph to mobile apps, from Poltergeist‘s televisual ghouls toUnfriended‘s possessed Skype sessions, from EVPs to spirit photography, this talk will explore the history of attempts to communicate with the dead using electric and electronic technologies. We’ll see and hear terrifying and not-so-terrifying evidence of spectral messages, and examine what exactly constitutes evidence for investigators of the paranormal. GHOSTLY CAT VIDEOS WILL BE INCLUDED!
About Jen: Proctor is a filmmaker, media artist, and Associate Professor of Journalism and Screen Studies at UM-Dearborn. She is currently working on a documentary about the relationship between technology, the paranormal, and spiritual belief. In her spare time, she studies abnormal feline behavior.


Sara Wedell: Little Slaughterhouse on the Prairie
Frontier life in the 1870s was hard and the massive prairie held endless dangers – aside from the harsh elements, the grueling work, and the salt pork-heavy diet. This is the sinister side of Little House on the Prairie – the true story of a family of serial killers targeting pioneers on their way out West.

About Sara: Sara Wedell is a production librarian at the Ann Arbor District Library and a Nerd Nite Ann Arbor Co-Boss. She knows it’s not cool to love Laura Ingalls Wilder, BUT SHE DOES IT ANYWAY. #sunbonnetsquad

Comique Con 2016

Chelsea Liddy and Amanda Reyes Aquino: A History of Women in Comics
We’ll discuss how women’s roles in and in creating comic books have evolved over the past 100 or so years, as well as how things are changing and the future that Comique Con is helping to create.

About Chelsea, Amanda, and Comique Con: ComiqueCon is a one-day celebration of the contributions of women to the sequential arts. Launched in 2015 in Metro Detroit, the event brings together comics all-stars and their fans for a wicked awesome day of comics and cosplay! Prior year featured guests have included Alex de Campi, Mikki Kendall, Marguerite Sauvage, Carey Pietsch, Nancy A. Collins and Mairghread Scott. In an industry that consistently under-solicits women, we’re spotlighting the work of women in comics and encouraging representation and inclusiveness.

Sex, Lines, and Video Games: Sex Smarts, Bonkers Borders, and a Mario Kart 64 Master

NNA2 ednna2-2016-sept-shareableition #38 is proud to present sex smarts, bonkers borders, and a Mario Kart 64 master this month for your learning-while-drinking pleasure. Master of Public Health and owner of the S3 Safe Sex Store Beth Karmeisool presents a pop quiz on sexual health – AND THERE WILL BE PRIZES. Geography buff Alex Stefanov outlines outrageous examples of where (and why) countries draw their lines, and speed-running world record holder Jonathan Serwatowski levels with us on how playing video games as fast as possible can make the world a better place. Bring your brain, your buddy, and your beer money, and join us for a great night of nerd-dom.
When: Thursday, September 15, 2016, doors at 6:30 pm, talks at 7 pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
$$$: Free, thanks to your friendly neighborhood AADL!

Beth Karmesisool

Beth Karmeisool: “S3 Safe Sex Store Trivia and Talk”
Pop quiz, hot shot! Bring your sexual health A game and we’ll see what you really know about sex. Be the first to answer correctly and win a sexy prize.

About Beth: Beth is the founder of S3 Safe Sex Store and has a Master’s of Public Health specializing in sexual health awareness and prevention of STDs and unintended pregnancies. She has been educating about and promoting sexual health to normalize sex for over 20 years.

Alex Stefanov Nerd NiteAlex Stefanov: “Bonkers Borders: Crazy Ex(clav)es, Drunken Surveyors, and Uzbeki Seas”
Borders are all around us, literally! These days, too many people struggle to place Poland on a map and even have trouble identifying West Virginia. If we paid more attention to our geopolitical frontiers, we’d find not only fascinating shapes but also rich histories behind them! Was moonshine consumption involved in delineating the Carolinas? Could poker have been a driving factor in demarcating India? Is there still unclaimed land out in the world? Let’s explore these and other intriguing cases of bonkers borders!
About Alex: Alex is a Michigan alum from New York and Bulgaria who loves the borders of all three. He looks to be a neuroscientist by day and a geography hobbyist by night, a sort of “Doctor With Borders”.

Jonathan Serwatowski
Jonathan Serwatowski: “The Insanity of Speed Running”
We’ll run down the basics of speed running: terminology, frame count, how to select your game, go in-depth on Mario Kart 64, demonstrate hand exercises for longevity, and a few funny speed run reaction videos. There’s also more to speed running than meets the eye, so we’ll also discuss the charity work opportunities the pastime presents.
About Jonathan: I am a recent graduate with a B.A. in History from Grand Valley State University. I am a speed runner with 3 years of speed running experience. I primarily run Unreal Tournament, Mario Kart 64, and Star Wars: Empire at War. I am the current world record holder in Star Wars: Empire at War in the Category of Zan Consortium Campaign Easy. I am the 17th in the world in Mario Kart 64, any %, no skips, and a former record holder of Mario Kart 64 100%. I also have the 4th best time in Unreal Tournament 1999 deathmatch %. Outside of gaming, my interests include current world events, heavy music, gardening, fishing, and tennis. Follow hum on Twitter @serwatoj.

Go Big: The Dramatic and Daring Worlds of Genetic Engineering, Memory and Epic Drama



This month, we have a diverse trio of great topics headed your way at NNA2 edition #37!

Aric Schultz returns to the NNA2 stage to give us the scientific skinny on genetically modified organisms. Beloved heckler Kevin Davis is back to talk data storage and perhaps ruin any illusions you may have regarding the cloud. And fellow NNA2 alum Carl Engelke (of the amazing homemade trumpet!) brings us home with his talk on the most epic magical saga of all time – Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Going to be a great night, so grab some friends and a couple of cold ones to join us at Nerd Nite!

When: Thursday, August 18, 2016, doors at 6:30 pm, talks at 7 pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
$$$: Free , thanks AADL!


Aric J Schultz: “OMG, GMOs.”

We often hear the term “genetically modified organisms” (GMOs) without much context as to what they are and what they are not. I’ll explain how they are made, plus their application and impact.

About Aric: I am a graduate student in the microbiology department at the University of Michigan Medical School. I study a microscopic parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, in order to learn more about how it causes disease in humans and identify aspects of this infection that could be exploited and used in the treatment of the disease. Outside of the lab I enjoy practicing brazilian jiu jitsu, gardening, and of course science communication. Follow him on Twitter at @aricj10.


ringCarl Engelke: “The use of leitmotif in Wagner’s Ring Cycle: A boring musicology talk”

The original “never-ending story,” (okay, so it’s actually 15 hours) Wagner’s epic opera cycle Der Ring des Niebelungen is widely regarded as the best way to thoroughly convince people that they hate opera. But it need not be so! As we cruise through a “brief” synopsis of the plot, we will explore how Wagner’s use of musical motifs neatly ties the storyline together, and how this compositional style has influenced the development of film scores.

About Carl: Carl had many, varied interests throughout the years, and he still sometimes wonders what he wants to do when (if) he grows up. He studied trumpet performance in college at Indiana University and the Royal Academy of Music in London, and performed with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago upon graduation. Currently, as a completely logical next step, he is an MD/PhD student at the University of Michigan Medical School, where he studies how chromatin dynamics influence the development and progression of prostate cancer.


Kevin Davis: “Flipping Bits: The History of Data Storage”kevin

A review of the advancement of data storage and archival technologies, from the Mainframe to the Pokedex.

About Kevin: A SAN Engineer for a Fortune 10 company, Kevin determines the best IT storage solutions, for needs ranging from PowerPoint to Oracle. A 17-year IT veteran, he spends his days hard drive drag racing, writing manuals and procedure guides, reviewing new builds, and overseeing storage operations.

Play It, Think It, Share It: Board Games, Memory, & Memes


Summer’s here and the time is right for nerding out with friends! The 36th edition of NNA2 will be next Thursday, July 21! Up this month: a fantastic trio of full-spectrum talks by some of Ann Arbor’s greatest. Katie Prater will take us beyond The Game of Life to introduce us to the wide world of European board games. Lorraine Suzuki will explain what’s going on in your brain when you’re learning to ride a bike (and why that’s different than memorizing state capitals!). And Danny Mayer will show us how evolution shapes our lives by impacting culture as well as our genes. So grab a drink and a couple of pals to come beat the heat with your fellow nerds!
When: Thursday, July 21, 2016, doors at 6:30 pm, talks at 7 pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
$$$: Free because Ann Arbor District Library has got you covered!

Katie Prater: “The Death of The Die: The Rise of “Euro” board games in America”P1090106
Did you “Pass Go and Collect $200” on your way in to work today? If you grew up playing classic American board games as a child, you’re likely familiar with never-ending games of Monopoly or squabbling over some uninhabitable territory of Australia in Risk. But board games aren’t just for kids anymore! Adult nerds all over America are gaming, and loving it! We’ll discuss the characteristics of classic American games, the differences between those and Eurogames, and why everyone who tries them agrees that Eurogames are much more fun! If you’re interested in spending your nights and weekends breeding sheep, building temples, recycling garbage, and taking control of your own destiny, this talk will get you started!
>About Katie: When not in the neuroscience lab at UofM, Katie can often be found teaching new board games to friends, with her nose in a book, playing computer games with her husband, or enjoying the outdoors. She also loves attending GenCon, where she can check out the newest board games and show off her Kaylee Frye costume. She recently completed her PhD, during which she also co-founded a science communication organization called RELATE ( Follow her on Twitter at @katieeprater.

Lorraine Suzuki: “Motor learning and memory systems”LorraineSuzuki
As we learn motor skills we use two memory systems. These systems are separate and can compete with each other. My talk will go over some evidence of this interaction within the brain.
About Lorraine:  Lorraine is a PhD candidate in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Michigan. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Genetics from the University of Western Brittany (Universit de Bretagne Occidentale. She now works on understanding how learning new motor skills affects brain networks.

Danny Mayer: “Genes, Memes, and Human Beings: Why Evolution Isn’t Just a “Life” Thing”bio-headshot
Evolution is a part of our everyday lives. We might talk about how someone’s beliefs have evolved. We might explain the success of an app or business as “survival of the fittest.” But rarely do we consider that evolution—in the real, scientific sense—might be able to explain things other than life. Maybe life isn’t as special as we think—after all, viruses aren’t considered by science to be alive, and yet they evolve in more or less the same way that living cells do. Enter memetics: the study of how units of cultural information (memes) evolve. Using memetics, genetics, and philosophical theories of mind and consciousness, we’ll explore how evolution has shaped the world of information that we live in, how our identities are made up of both genes and memes, and how evolution plays an enduring role in the future of our species.
About Danny:  Danny Mayer is a web designer and entrepreneur who’s proud to have called Ann Arbor home for the past 6 years. After getting a degree in English from U of M, he shifted his focus to web design and programming, and now works at Magnetic, an ad tech company. His passion for design and development has given birth to several websites and even an app (coming soon), and late last year he co-founded Hyzer Shop, a Disc Golf retail shop, designing and developing the company’s cutting-edge online store. Alongside all this, Danny loves keeping up with his academic interests, which include literature, philosophy, and evolutionary biology. He’d like to thank his family, friends, and amazing girlfriend, all of whom inspire him to be better, and to keep learning, creating, and laughing every day. Follow him on Twitter at @damayer92.

Improv, OCD, and Legs



We’re back! NNA2 returns from break Thursday, June 16 — mark your calendar! We’ve got a solid session featuring quick thinking, robotic legs and sticky brains!  First up, Patti Smith schools us on the history of improv comedy, illuminating the ways its concepts pops up in our day-to-day lives. Shai Revzen opines on the greatness of legs, and walking us through his related research — making robot legs and mobility better and better. Capping things off, social worker Sara Tischler breaks down obsession, compulsion, OCD research, and techniques that help people “un-stick” the brain. Grab a fellow nerd, order a refreshing drink, and we’ll see you there!

When: Thursday, June 16, 2016, doors at 6:30 pm, talks at 7 pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
$$$: NO COVER! Thanks for having our back, Ann Arbor District Library!

Patti Smith — Improv is Life: History & Facts About Improv Beyond “Whose Line is it Anyway?”pic of me
We use improv our entire lives, even we don’t realize it. One could say that humans started doing improv when we started using the spoken language. But how did improv as art form get started? And what does it look like now? Most importantly–how and why should YOU try it? Patti Smith will talk about the history of the art form, examples of improv, and local opportunities to try it yourself. 
About Patti: Patti Smith is a special education teacher and writer who lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and cats. Patti is the author of two books about history in Ann Arbor, the most recent of which is The History of Ann Arbor’s People’s Food Co-op. She loves storytelling, most forms of public speaking, especially improv! She believes that improv is for everyone!

Sara Tischler — Un-sticking your Brain: OCD and its Treatment
527255_10152100711550475_1231121144_nObsessions are “sticky” thoughts, images or impulses that occur over and over again and feel uncontrollable. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or rituals that someone uses to get rid of the obsessions. Together they make up obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD. Hear about OCD and exposure and response prevention (ERP), an evidence-based treatment for the mental health disorder that affects approximately 3.3 million people in the United States.
About Sara: Sara is a clinical social worker in the department of outpatient psychiatry at the University of Michigan Health System. She has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Michigan State University (Go Green! Sorry, Ann Arbor) and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Michigan. She completed her internship and fellowship at the University of Michigan Child and Adolescent Outpatient Psychiatry clinic, where she is now a staff social worker. She provides psychotherapy for children of all ages and their families. Besides OCD, her clinical interests include anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorder, depression, and trauma/grief. She was born and raised in Southeast Michigan and lives with her partner, Alex. Together they have two beautiful (furry) “children” — Phoebe the dog and Bu the cat, whom she talks about constantly.

Shai Revzen —  A Few Reasons Why I Love Legslegs-1
No animals other than ourselves move on wheels. That might seems strange, given how efficient and effective wheels are for moving around on land. Nevertheless, there are many good reasons to love legs. These include more obvious reasons, like the ability to use sparse footholds on rough surfaces, and less obvious reasons, such as newly discovered ways that legs make it easier for animals to control their movements. Insights from the animal world are leading to new and amazingly capable walking and running robots.
About Shai:  Shai Revzen is an Assistant Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department and in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department of the University of Michigan, and heads the BIRDS Lab. This confusion about where he belongs isn’t new — he is a bit of many things that don’t seem to fit together neatly in a box. His research focuses on the biomechanics of organisms, the legged locomotion of robots, and the mathematical tools that connect the two. Before becoming an academic by running cockroaches on treadmills for six years at the University of California at Berkeley, he worked as a Chief Architect in mid-sized company in Silicon Valley, went around the world, and was unabashedly nerdy.

Nerds! We’re taking a break during May – but check back for our next awesome event on June 16!