Trek Ethics, Weird Buildings, & Parasitic Puppetmasters



We’re back from out month off, and if you missed it, Nerd Nite Global Fest/Smithsonian was AMAZING! This month, consider the ethical system that governs the United Federation of Plants; the Prime Directive, hear about some interesting/weird stories and people regarding weird buildings in Ann Arbor, and learn about a parasite that can literally manipulate the behavior of its human host! So show up, have a drink, meet other nerds, and learn a bunch of awesome new junk!


When: June 19th, 2014, doors at 630pm, talks at 7pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
Moola: FREE! Thanks, Ann Arbor District Library!









trekMarcus Dillon – Prime Directive: The Ethics of Star Trek
In this talk, Marcus will outline the world of Star Trek and the ethical system that governs the United Federation of Plants; the Prime Directive.

Trek has touched on many issues over the course of its 50 year history. To name a few: freedom of speech, military interventionism, racism, the existence of God, transgender issues, and photon torpedoes.

Using a few episodes as a guide, we will challenge the merits and limits of this system and the moral predicaments it presents to the interstellar explorers of the future.

Don’t worry if you don’t know the difference between a tachyon and a tribble, this talk won’t go over your head.

About Marcus Dillon:
Marcus is an Ann Arbor native and has undergraduate degrees in US and Chinese history from Miskatonic University. He writes jokes on the internet pseudonymously. The Canadian border police have made it clear that he is no longer welcome in that country. He is totally unqualified to speak on any topic at any event, but hey, he works for free.






Patrick McCauley – Obsessively Researching Historic Buildings, and the Weird Things You Find
I briefly mention some of the interesting/weird stories and people I found while researching the houses for my book, and then I go into depth about the research I did on my own historic house, which has had some really weird characters associated with it.

About Patrick McCauley:
A native of the Ann Arbor area, growing up in Salem Township. I am a graduate of the University of Michigan (2000) with a BA in History. I have spent the last 20 years working on older and historic houses with my family’s house painting and home restoration business. In addition, I have bought and restored 3 historic properties in Ann Arbor, winning a Rehabilitation Award from the Historic District Commission. I am the former Chair of the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission, and co-author of Historic Ann Arbor: An Architectural Guide. I am currently a realtor at the Charles Reinhart Company, and I continue to restore and research historic houses.




toxoAric J Schultz – Meet your Puppet Master: Toxoplasma gondii
Toxoplasma gondii is a common parasite that infects humans worldwide. It is well known that T. gondii can manipulate the behavior of infected rodents, and current research is focusing on the parasite’s ability to manipulate the behavior of its human hosts as well.

About Aric J Schultz:
I am a graduate student at the University of Michigan, studying microbial pathogenesis. My thesis work focuses on aspects of the Toxoplasma gondii life cycle, and how it causes human disease.

Shortwaves, Tiny Trees, & Mini-Makers



How do tiny twisted trees come to be? What’s happening in the airwaves around you as amateur (aka ham) radio operators connect? What’s in store at a small version of Maker Faire in our very own backyard?

Come have a drink, meet up with your fellow nerds, and learn about little leaves, hams, and mini-makers!

When: April 17th, 2014, doors at 630pm, talks at 7pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
Moola: $5
Tickets: At the door or!






dan.romanchikDan Romanchik – Ham Radio Operators: The Original Nerds
Amateur, or ham, radio operators are arguably the original nerds. Ham radio has been around for more than 100 years, and is still going strong. In fact, there are more than 700,000 licensed radio amateurs in the U.S. today. Longtime ham radio operator, Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, will talk about the history of amateur radio, modern amateur radio technology, amateur radio activities in and around Ann Arbor, and how to get your amateur radio license.

About Dan Romanchik:
Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, has been a radio nerd for as long as he can remember. He got his start as a kid, listening to the shortwave band on his grandparents’ Philco console radio. He is a past president of ARROW, the local amateur radio club, and station manager for WA2HOM, the amateur radio station at the Hands-On Museum. In addition to talking to people all over the world via shortwave radio, he enjoys teaching amateur radio classes and has written three amateur radio license study guides. He also blogs about ham radio at



Jay Sinclair – Tiny Twisted Trees – An Introduction to Bonsai
This will be a brief introduction to the art and technique of bonsai. Topics will include a discussion of the origins of bonsai, and how the art has evolved. We will look at examples of some bonsai styles and discuss bonsai aesthetics. Basic bonsai techniques and horticulture will also be addressed.

About Jay Sinclair:
Jay Sinclair is a middle school Earth Science teacher. He has long been drawn to activities that have both technical and aesthetic aspects. Jay has been involved in bonsai since the early nineties, and after more than 20 years still considers himself a beginner. His other interests include astronomy, nature study, and cycling, on one or two wheels.


a2mmfEmily Puckett Rodgers – Why I love the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire
All Maker Faires involve similar ingredients: a large space, lots of noise, interesting activities, and creatives all around. But each Faire highlights the unique attributes of the community members who participate in the Faire. The Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire showcases just what makes this town such a great place to live in: the many people, skills, talents, and interests that come together for one day to celebrate making and learning together.

About Emily Puckett Rodgers:
Emily is a projects librarian at the University of Michigan Library. She is also a director of A2Geeks, a local organization whose aim is to create a flourishing community that supports creative and technologically minded people in Ann Arbor She has helped organize the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire for the past two years.

AADL + NNA2 present: Sega Nite!

nna2-2014-sega-shareableWe are teaming up again to have a nite of Toejam & Earl, Sonic & Knuckles, or whatever your favorite Sega Genesis games are! Since AADL is sponsoring this event is is completely FREE of charge again!

When: April 10th, 2013, 7pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
Moola: FREE! Thank you, Ann Arbor District Library!

Rock, Trees, & T-Paine



Did you know Michigan had its own “forgotten Woodstock” — a rock fest held less than an hour from Ann Arbor in 1970? Have you ever wished you could tell what a tree was just by looking at it? Or do you want to learn a little more about the most effective world revolutionary of all time? We are teaming up with Ann Arbor District Library this month to bring us all this with absolutely no cover!

When: March 27th, 2013, doors at 630pm, talks at 7pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
Moola: FREE! Thank you, Ann Arbor District Library!






goose-lakeMark Deming – Michigan’s Woodstock: The 1970 Goose Lake International Music Festival: The Greatest Show You’ve Never Heard of
In the summer of 1970, over 200,000 rock ‘n’ roll fans made their way to Goose Lake just outside Jackson, Michigan for the biggest rock festival ever held in the Midwest. It featured nearly all the major Michigan acts of the day, including the Stooges, the MC5, SRC, the Up, Brownsville Station, and Mitch Ryder and Detroit, as well as Rod Stewart and the Faces, Joe Cocker, the James Gang, Mountain, Chicago, Jethro Tull, and the Flying Burrito Brothers. The festival made headlines, angered the governor, and had local homeowners up in arms. So how come you’ve never heard of it? Music writer Mark Deming discusses the strange but true story of the biggest weekend in Michigan’s musical history.

About Mark Deming:
Mark Deming is a writer who has been covering music, film, and various aspects of popular culture since the 1980s. He’s been a regular contributor to All Music Guide and All Movie Guide since 1999, and has also written for Ugly Things, Resonance, Detroit Metro Times, Chicago New Times, Phoenix New Times, Ann Arbor Current, American Garage, and many others. His vocal stylings have appeared on recordings by the Clutters, Mark Lansing and his Board of Water and Light, the End Times, and the Seger Liberation Army, and he once met Captain Kangaroo and Leonard Cohen on the same day.



Ben Connor Barrie – Barking Up the Wrong Tree: A Crash Course in Tree Identification
This lecture will be a crash course in tree identification. Attendees will learn how to start developing their tree ID skills, not just memorize a few trees. Beginners will focus on accurate genus level identification. More advanced participants will work on species level identification. By the end of the lecture, everyone should be able to confidently identify some of the most common trees in the region.

About Ben Connor Barrie:
Ben is a Ph.D. student studying forest ecology at the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. In his spare time, he runs the local website Damn Arbor. He knows all the trees.


t-paineMichael Leonard – Thomas Paine:  How the First World Revolutionary Fell from Fame and Became the Forgotten Founding Father (of both America and France!)
At 37, a simple girdle maker and tax collector named Thomas Paine came to the American colonies and became known as Tom Paine.  There, instead of making girdles or collecting taxes, he would leave women’s figures alone and instead inspire tax payers to not only stop paying their taxes to the king, but “begin the world over again” with their very own nation – run by them!  Rich land owning colonists would welcome his powerful words of inspiration to rouse the rabble to their cause, but then abandon him at their first opportunity, when he proved himself to be a bit too dedicated to democratic participation for all – everywhere – from the country he named “The United States of America” to the other republic he directly helped to found, France’s First Republic… and beyond.  Tom Paine may have been a late bloomer, but he sure had a way with words that would make him not only the bestselling author of his day, but would also make him – while seen only  as an expendable propagandist to those who would take advantage of him to take power – the most effective world revolutionary of all time… Eat your heart out Che.

About Michael Leonard:
Trained as an applied socio-cultural anthropologist who indeed teaches cultural anthropology by day, Michael has decided to take on an alter ego by night – that of an intrepid historian of an obscure, yet important forgotten person of the past, and the “crimes” he perpetrated to earn his obscurity.  In this role, Michael hopes to make people think, even if this also may make them a bit uncomfortable – as thinking often does to people.  Thomas Paine is Michael’s target to help rescue from obscurity – in comparison with a far more famous Thomas of his ideological ilk, if not style – who are the subject of a book he’s working on entitled, Doubting Thomases.

Beer History, Hand Parts, and IP Spies

nna2-2014-feb-shareable-01Want to know where beer came from? What about what the inside of your hand looks like? Curious who’s looking through all the cameras you see everywhere? Good, ’cause those are the topics this month! Come have a cocktail and learn, maybe even meet some new nerdy friends!

When: February 20th, 2013, doors at 630pm, talks at 7pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
Moola: $5
Tickets: At the door or







Patti Smith – The History of Beer: From Mesopotamia to Mug Clubs

This talk will explore the origins of beer in ancient Egypt/Mesopotamia, through the European continent, to the Americas, through Prohibition and today. Along the way, we will learn about different styles of beer, how the brewing process has changed and how Prohibition forever changed the landscape of this fermented beverage.

About Patti Smith:
Patti Smith is a special education teacher and former lawyer who eschewed beer for most of her life. Thanks to a class on homebrewing and the Leopold Brothers’ microbrewery, she has enjoyed all sorts of craft beer since 2005. Patti lives with her boyfriend and their cats in Ann Arbor. She blogs about beer (and sometimes food) at


photo 1Susan Starr – .. on the other hand …

I will discuss the anatomy of the human hand from skin to bones.

About Susan Starr:
BS from MSU in Animal Husbandry, BS from EMU in Biology (minor Chem/ Concurrent Secondary Teaching Cert.), MS from EMU in Community College Biology Teaching. 26+ years teaching almost every Biology course known, from General Bio at Washtenaw Community College to Gross Anatomy for 3 different Doctoral programs at U-Mich. I have worked with cadavers, either as an instructor or prosector for plastination for 14 years. Beginning in May 2014, I will be teaching the lab portion of Medical Gross Anatomy for the new Physician’s Assistant program at EMU. Married for 35+ years (to the same guy!), 2 kids, both grown, successful adults. I enjoy gardening, walking my dog in the woods and cooking healthy meals.





jeff-kelleyJeff Kelley – Eyes Everywhere: The Rise of IP Cameras

A recent trend in cybersecurity is the realization that there are thousands upon thousands of unsecured IP cameras freely broadcasting live images to any browser who asks. Combined with huge lists of exposed cameras, special websites to search for them, and communities built around looking at them, there is now more attention paid than ever to this issue. But it isn’t all people trying to spy on their neighbors: this has serious implications for business, security, and privacy.

About Jeff Kelley:
Jeff Kelley makes iOS apps at Detroit Labs. When he’s not making apps, he’s stuck in his car listening to podcasts, running a lot, and reading about Internet security.

Origami, Museum Birds, and Music Composition



This month, you can look forward to the fascinating uses of museum bird collections, some of the most amazing origami you’ve ever seen, and styles of music composition. The speakers:

: January 23rd, 2013, doors at 630pm, talks at 7pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
Moola: $5
Tickets: At the door or 







Sara Cole – The Secret Life of Stuffed Birds

Most natural history museums house vast collections of specimens that are never seen by the public. Get a sneak peek at what goes on “behind the scenes” at our own Natural History museum and learn about why such collections are important for both scientists and artists.

About Sara Cole:
Sara is a research assistant in the Birds Division of the UofM Museum of Natural History, where she catalogs and prepares bird specimens for the research collection. She is also a graduate student at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment where she studies environmental education and communication.


Beth Johnson – Beyond Flapping Cranes: Contemporary Origami Art and Designorigami

When people hear the word origami, they typically think of flapping cranes and child’s crafts. They are often unfamiliar with the rich diversity of contemporary origami art, which ranges from the abstract and sculptural to the highly representational and mathematical. I’ll introduce the audience to the great variety of origami styles, discuss the processes and techniques I use to design my original models, and explore the endless possibilities that can arise simply through folding a single square sheet of paper without any cuts or glue.

About Beth Johnson:
Beth Johnson is an origami artist from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has been folding paper for many years, but only recently began designing her own models in 2010. Her work has been described as unique, fresh and original. In recognition of her designs, she was awarded the Florence Temko Award by OrigamiUSA in 2011, which honors a “lone folder” who has contributed to the art of origami in a meaningful way. She has since gained a great deal of recognition for her work in a relatively short period of time, and is quickly establishing herself as a pre-eminent artist in the origami world. Her diagrams have been published in books and magazines around the world, she has exhibited in multiple exhibits across the United States and abroad, and she has participated as a special guest at three origami conventions in 2013.


12_tone_matrixJames York – Six or Half a Dozen – Serialism & Aleatory Music: Different Approaches to a Common Problem

In the early to mid-20th century, composers of Western classical music were writing some seriously crazy stuff – I will play you some of it to prove it. In many cases, they were using brand new techniques to help with the writing of these pieces. Two schools of practice rose to prominence during this time. One was Serialism, whose practitioners created complex matrices to aid in the composition of their music in order to distance it from the traditional tonalities. The other was the Aleatoric or Indeterminate composers who relied on elements of chance to help compose and even perform their pieces. As is often the case with artist enclaves, they didn’t always have very high opinions of each other or their music; but they shared a desire to solve a common problem in two very different ways. What problem? Come and find out!

About James York:
I started out very interested in music. I taught myself to do it. Then I went to school for it. Then I got paid to do it. A while later I got interested in programming. I went to school for it. I taught myself to do it. Now I get paid to do it. I’ve always liked knowing stuff. Any old stuff. All the stuff.

The Nerd in the Machine






When: November 21st, 2013, doors at 630pm, talks at 7pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
Moola: $5
Tickets: At the door or


November will show us how robotics is an engineer’s team sport, how anyone at all can be a video game developer (no experience required!), and how communism just did a really bang-up job showing its usefulness. Just spectacular. The line-up:


kenKen & Kaleb Fox – FIRST Robotics: Team Sport for Engineers

FIRST FRC (backronym meaning For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international robotics competition involving over 2,800 high school teams and 71,000 students. It was started in 1989 by Dean Kamen “to transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.” Each year teams have 6 weeks to imagine, design and build a robot able to play that year’s game. The games have never repeated, but they are always played 3 vs 3 on an enclosed field about the size of a basketball court. The robots weigh 150 pounds
and draw 120 amps. These aren’t roombas! This talk will give an insider’s view into a build and competition season.

About Ken & Kaleb Fox:
Kaleb is a student at Skyline High School and a member of Eagle Imperium Team 3322 Ken is a software engineer at Atomic Object in Ann Arbor and a FIRST Robotics mentor. They’ve been with the team for 2 years. When not working on robots, their passions include cooking, anime, reading and board gaming. Well Kaleb anyways–Ken’s pretty much obsessed with robots.


Jennifer Marsman – You don’t have to be a computer nerd: How any nerd can build a cool game to publish in an app storejennifer

I discovered a very cool tool called Construct 2 (made by a company called Scirra) which allows you to easily create compelling games.  You simply add backgrounds and sprites on a page, and use an “event sheet” of simple if-then statements to define your game logic.  The game can then be exported as an iOS, Android, Windows Store, or Windows Phone app.  There are also templates/tutorials to get you started creating a shooter game, physics puzzle, driving game, and platform game (like Super Mario Brothers).  I’ll demo how easy and fun this is!  All nerds will leave knowing the fundamentals to build a wicked cool game.

About Jennifer Marsman:
Jennifer Marsman is a Principal Developer Evangelist in Microsoft’s Developer and Platform Evangelism group, where she educates developers on Microsoft’s new technologies.  Jennifer is a frequent speaker at software development conferences across the United States.  In 2009, Jennifer was chosen as “Techie whose innovation will have the biggest impact” by X-OLOGY for her work with GiveCamps, a weekend-long event where developers code for charity.  Prior to this role, Jennifer was a software developer in Microsoft’s Natural Interactive Services division, where she earned two patents for her work in search and data mining algorithms.  Jennifer holds a BSE in Computer Engineering and MSE in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  Her graduate work specialized in artificial intelligence and computational theory.  Jennifer blogs at and tweets at


marcusMarcus Dillon – Communism’s Greatest Hits

The communist utopia experiments of the 20th century did not go as well as planned.  Often the failures were horrific.  The rest of the time they were horrific and pure comedy gold.  In this presentation, we’ll be covering 10 of the funniest and most ludicrous goofs, fuckups, and fails by communist dictatorships from all over the world.  Fun is mandatory.  All surplus popcorn will be confiscated.  Insufficient applause at the end will be regarded as anti-revolutionary.

About Marcus Dillon:
Marcus is an Ann Arbor native and has undergraduate degrees in US and Chinese history.  He writes jokes on the internet pseudonymously.  The Canadian border police have made it clear that he is no longer welcome in that country.  He is totally unqualified to speak on any topic at any event, but hey, he works for free.

Night of the Living Nerds


It’s spooky time, and we hope you are just as excited about it as we are. We’ve got a great lineup of magic, cadavers, body snatching, and a halloween-themed kazoo orchestra that you will be participating in. As if that wasn’t enough, we are having a FULL ON NERF WAR at the end of the evening, so bring your guns and a lot of extra ammo and get ready to drink, learn, have shivers down your spine, and war. Our presenters for the evening:

closerupredfordGeorge Tait – Creating the Impossible
An interactive talk about traveling the world, creating the illusion of mind reading, and his background as a magician for the past 26 years growing up on a stage.

About George Tait:
Recently returning from Dubai, George Tait is has performed around the globe for the past 26 years as both a theatrical Mind Reader for audiences as small as 5 and as large as theater audiences of 10,000.  He’s recently come back from both Master’s of Illusion Live and The Illusionists world tours.  He’s served as a consultant on Derren Brown’s internationally known mind reading television show on Channel 4 and Syfy, Suinoma Las Vegas in Finland, and most recently for the first season of Andrew Maynes newest prank show amongst others debuting on the Discovery Channel in January 2013.    In the last several years audiences have enjoyed his key note talk on Critical thinking that he has delivered to University audiences across the United States.  When he’s not on the road he’s spending his free time with his cat Karina at his home in Royal Oak, MI.




Justin Fitins – A short history of cadavers and anatomical education
The dissected human body has been seen as one of the ultimate taboos, and the greatest tool for learning anatomy. Learn the history of cadavers from sketchy grave robbery to modern medical practices. Meet the seedy characters and scientific geniuses that have shaped the progress of modern medicine.

About Justin Fitins:
Justin Fitins is a student and freelance anatomist. His dissection specialty is removing the human brain. He currently is donating his skills to Washtenaw Community College’s anatomy program and pursuing research in anatomical preservation techniques. He has a passion for medical history and human biology.







KazooOrchestra-FMAGarrett Schumann – The Sinister Swarm of 200 Kazoos or Ghost Music for Dummies
UMS (that’s shorthand for University Musical Society) is presenting a good handful of “Uncommon Virtuosos” this season; these are artists who have done incredible work mastering unusual and interesting instruments. To celebrate these musical masterminds, UMS is recruiting members for our first ever UMS Kazoo Orchestra. Together, we will learn the mysteries of this “trumpet for the everyman,” meet new and interesting people, and make members of the community smile along the way. This Nerd Nite, we’re busting out our creepiest Halloween rep, it will be terrifying, and you will play along. No musical experience is necessary and kazoo is provided.

About Garrett Schumann:
Garrett Schumann is a doctoral student in Music Composition at the University of Michigan. In addition to his activities as a composer, Garrett is an active tweeter (@garrt) and writes on musical topics for, along with his own website,

James Mann – A Matter of Grave Concern; Body Snatching by the U of M School of Medicine
When the University of Michigan, School of Medicine opened in 1850, a problem at once became apparent. The school could not obtain enough cadavers for the anatomy class legally. The solution was to obtain the needed number of cadavers illegally. The school used body snatching, or grave robbing, to fill the need. As a result of his research on the subject, James Mann has dug up some interesting facts, which he will share with you.

About James Mann:
James Mann is a local historian and storyteller, and the author of seven published books of local history. His titles include Wicked Washtenaw County and Wicked Ann Arbor. His next book, Wicked Ypsilanti, will be published by The History Press in May of 2014. He is also the host of lantern tours of Highland Cemetery the last two weekends of October.


When: October 24th, 2013, doors at 630pm, talks at 7pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
Moola: $5
Tickets: At the door or  Eventbrite - Night of the Living Nerds

Origins of Writing, Video Game Saviors, and Boozecookery!

If you’ve ever wanted to watch someone brew hard cider live on stage while explaining the chemistry behind it, hear how videogames are going to save the world, or learn about the origins of writing, this is your month! Nerd Nite is back September 12th, and we can’t wait to learn a bunch of awesome crap and have a few beers with you! Oh, we almost forgot to mention… we’ll be ending this fantastic lineup with a full-on nerf war. That’s right; bring your own nerf gun and plenty of ammo and get ready to learn, drink, and engage in rubber-tipped combat! The pre-war lineup:

four_square_talk_advert_700x700Ed Trager – Origins of Writing

Written language is such a ubiquitous part of our modern lives that we take it completely for granted.  But it has not always been this way.  There was a     time when humans lived without writing. So how did we get here?  How did we get to this place where the written word is everywhere? We have to go back in time to find out.

About Ed:
At his day job, Ed is a bioinformatics software engineer at the Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan Health System. Outside of his day job, he pursues many different interests, and one of his interests is languages and scripts. Ed spent a couple of years in China and three years in Thailand, and he speaks Mandarin Chinese and Thai. He has worked on projects related to Unicode, software internationalization, and font technology on the Free Linux Desktop and on the web.  He is the author of Key Curry ( and he is currently working on a Tai Tham font as part of Google’s Web Fonts initiative.




Master Chief as Uncle SamJim Stanhope – Why Video Games Will Save the World

Video games, despite their popularity, are an often derided and misunderstood part of our society.  Recently, there has been a large push to wrap our collective heads around the issue of gaming and its ever growing popularity.  This talk will differ from others that you may have come across that claim one of the following:

1. That we must make use of the “gaming craze” to engage people in games designed to be both educational and immersive

2.  That we need to “gamify” our world in order to keep the attention of this new generation of gamers.

Instead, if we promote a change in the way that people interface with the games that are already being played by tens of millions globally, then we may just save the world.  However, it all starts with how each and every one of us view video games as an endeavor.  We need ya out there, soldier.

About Jim:
Jim is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan’s School of Education.  As an experienced gamer he has come to understand the importance of taking play seriously.  In the near future he will be taking his show on the road to Los Angeles in an attempt to establish a foundation for educational curricula based on teamwork-oriented video games.




Kevin Davis – Boozecookery: Drunk Science for Fun and Profit 

Kevin will explain the various processes of S. cerevisiae, not least of which producing Ethanol. Following that, a live demo of the homebrewing process, making a brown sugar hard cider ON STAGE. Discussion of homebrewing recipe sites, local homebrewing supply stores, various “schools” of brewing, and beer nerdship at large.

About Kevin:
IT Storage Geek by day, booze chemist by night, Kevin Davis has dabbled in the art of using saccharomyces cerevisiae’s combo of anaerobic respiration and self-defending byproduct production, namely our good friend Ethanol (YAY!) to produce tasty beverages such as beer, mead, hard cider, and some eclectic varieties of tipple.


When: September 12th, 2013, doors at 630pm, talks at 7pm!
Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
Moola: $5
Tickets: At the door or Eventbrite - Origins of Writing, Video Game Saviors, and Boozecookery!

Knives, Words, Crap, & Nerds!




That’s right. It’s July, which means it’s the perfect time to learn something new and drink with nerds. You know, like all the months. This particular month, we’re learning about the National Poetry Slam scene, Fecal Transplants, and Knife Making!  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. Our nerdy overlords for the evening:






poetry-slamErik Daniel – Poetry Slam +10, Putting the Nerd in Spoken Word

Poetry slam is conventionally defined as the art of competitive performance poetry. Created in Chicago by a construction worker named Marc Smith(so what?), it brought performance poetry out of academia and into pop culture, finally reaching the level of established art form. Almost since its beginning in the late 1980s, nerd culture has been an integral part of the poetry slam community.  Erik Daniel, Tournament Director for the National Poetry Slam and 20 year slam veteran, will talk about poetry, competition, and what nerds do with spoken word.

About Erik:
Erik Daniel is a father, husband, software engineer, and general purpose ninja. He used to write poetry. It was not good. Rather that continue writing bad poetry, he volunteered to help run the largest spoken word competition in the world, the National Poetry Slam. Now its tournament director, Erik has donated most of his vacation time to helping poets share their craft with audiences around the US and the world.


crisCris Hoogerhyde – Fundamentals of Knife Making

Focus will be on outlining the process, principles, science and art of how hand made knives are made. This will include profiling, the role of edge geometry, the alchemy of heat treatment, and the way different finishes are accomplished.

About Cris:
Cris Hoogerhyde has been a knife nerd for 25 years. It began as collecting- but after failing to collect all the cool knives, He decided to make his own. In 2011, he set up shop as Oxblood knives, and now makes several styles of handmade knives from scratch. Other tidbits of relevance include a hobby of throwing knives and tomahawks, and after several years as a classic cocktail bartender, he now works in the mental health field to be able to devote more time to knife making. He would love to talk to you about knives and/or whiskey anytime.







Anna Seekatz – Fecal Matters: The Ins and Outs of Fecal Transplants
For Nerd Nite, I will be talking about the importance of maintaining  “healthy” gut bacteria and how fecal transplantation aids in repopulating this bacterial community. Although disgusting in general, fecal transplantation has actually saved the lives of many patients suffering from recurrent antibiotic-associated diarrhea, a growing problem in the health sector. I hope that by the end of this short talk, you will at least be familiar with why these “good” bacteria are important, and appreciate the miracle of fecal transplants.

About Anna:
Since reading about Ebola in The Hot Zone as a child, I’ve been interested in infectious diseases. This interest morphed into a BS in biology at Western Washington University, followed by a PhD in microbiology at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. As a graduate student, my studies concentrated on changes in the gut microbiota (the “good” bacteria that live on and in us) after infection with Shigella, a bacteria that causes diarrhea. Now, as a postdoc in Dr. Vincent Young’s lab at the University of Michigan, I study Clostridium difficile infection, an antibiotic-associated pathogen of the GI tract, and its relationship with gut microbes. In the future, I hope to continue my research on these complex bacterial communities and their impact in human health and disease.


When: July 18th, 2013, doors at 630pm, talks at 7pm!

Where: LIVE, 102 S First St, Ann Arbor
Moola: $5
Tickets: At the door or Eventbrite - Knives, Words, Crap, & Nerds
Why: Because why wouldn’t you want to have a few drinks and learn something new with a bunch of other awesome nerds?!

See you nerds July 18th!