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Nerdnite Auckland – Chapter 30.

Afternoon all.

So next Tuesday will be the 30th Nerdnite in Auckland and our 3rd birthday. It will also be my last one at the helm. These rambling once a month emails will either disappear or be coming from someone who doesn’t ramble quite so much ūüôā

Anyway, as per usual, we’ll be at Galbraiths next Tuesday evening, being Tuesday the 1st of September. Head along after work for a pint, food maybe (scotch egg, go the scotch egg, unless you’re vegetarian, in which case, get something else) and some general good geeky company. We’ll kick off around, ooo 7ish.

The mix of speakers, is, of course, as per usual, eclectic. Matt Williams will be along to talk about his area of study which involves exploring the connection between climate change and assault. There is one.

Diia Bourke will be talking about a topic that I am inordinately fond of, cheese (not that climate change and assault aren’t important or interesting, they are, it’s just that I get a lot more pleasure from cheese than I do from climate change and assault). There will be talk of flavours, the bugs that make the flavours, what to look for in a cheese and other general cheese related matters of importance (all of them).

And out final speaker is one Dave Snell, who currently has a program on TV, by the name of Bogans, which is well worth a look. He’ll be along to talk about the connection of two other topics from which I gather some small (lots of) pleasure – the connection between heavy metal and comics.

Should be good.

 

If I don’t see you on Tuesday – thanks for sticking around for ¬†both the rambling (from me) and all the cool things we’ve got to talk about over ¬†the 3 years I’ve been doing this. I hope to see you at future Nerdnites, where I will be in the back being quiet(ish).

Cheers

Ben.

Nerdnite Auckland – Chapter 29

So details are beginning to emerge about next Tuesday’s Nerdnite here in Auckland. After a couple of … odd months, I think we’re on to so good solid nerdy form here. 3 speakers, for your listening pleasure.

Anne Wignal studies spider communication – how spiders communicate with each other – and how male spiders reduce the risk that an aggressive female will eat him before he has a chance to mate with her. This is going to be good.

Did you know that pinball was illegal in several US states until it was proven in a court of law to be a game of skill rather than a game of chance? Were you aware that there are pinball machines for X-Men, Iron Man, Spiderman, The Avengers, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Star Trek, Star Wars, The Big Lebowski and many more nerdly themes? BJ Wilson – who represented New Zealand in the IFPA Pinball World Championships in 2013 – will talk about pinball’s past, present and future and its reflection of our technical, artistic and cultural evolution.

Also along for the evening, Rene, who for the past 2 years has been working on a project to lift student achievement in national standards in over 300 schools, focusing on enabling student agency, by engaging knowledge and skills within schools and communities. Over this time he was also completing his Master of Art and Design, the outcome of which was a creative consideration of climate adaptation as a social and ecological palimpsest, in a nutshell, how can art contribute to finding solutions to issues faced by communities . He decided the best way to do this was with gunpowder.

yeah, should be a good evening.

Grab your geeks and bring them along.

 

 

Nerdnite Auckland – Chapter 27

So. After missing last month due to staggering amounts of I can’t get my shit together on my part, we’re back. What are we going to learn about this time whilst having a beverage? Summing it up so briefly that it probably doesn’t make sense, it’s houses.

One of the chaps coming along to talk, goes by the name of Mark Todd. Not the equestrian. He’s responsible for a series of buildings popping up around time with a certain theme to their names. The Ockham. The Issac. The Turing. The Hypatia. All of you should know where those names come from. I shall be disappointed in you if you don’t. Anyway. Mark has titled his talk “Why housing exposes the dirty secret of modern western economics”. A talk about housing and economics from a maths geek who runs a science foundation and builds apartments. Should be interesting.

In the case of the our other speaker, it’s a specific house. Alberton House to be precise. Rendell McIntosh works at Alberton, one of Auckland’s historic homesteads. An interesting place to have a wander around (with a particularly awesome kitchen) if you ever get the chance, Rendell will be telling us a little about it’s history.

There might be a 3rd speaker. There might not. Either way, I’m sure you’ll deal with it.

Tuesday the 2nd of July at Galbraiths. 6:30-7ish. Find some geeks and bring them along. Or come by yourself.

See you there.

Cheers

Ben.

August News

So those more observant of you will have noticed that no details have been posted for Augusts Nerdnite in Auckland.

Long story short, we’re skipping a month. We’ve had … issues contacting speakers we thought we had confirmed. 2 speakers we would have gone with, we’ve done that before, but as of Friday, we were down to 1 confirmed speaker.

Galbraiths however, is still going to be open. The chances of me wandering along for a pint are … high. If anyone would care to join me for one, I’ll see you there he said.

Sorry about that. We’ll be back next month, promise.

 

Cheers

Ben.

 

Nerdnite Auckland – Chapter 19

Right. So the first thing to note is the change of venue. We’re trying out new digs at Galbraiths, number 2 Mt Eden Rd, where the beer is significantly better this month. It’s right at the top of Mt Eden Road near the intersection of Mt Eden, New North Road and Symonds St.¬†The second thing to note is that we want a good crowd to make a make a good impression so they’ll want us back – so make sure you get all your geeks (and yourself) along.¬†

 

The 3rd (and possibly most important) thing to note are our speakers. This, my friends is what you’re in for this month:

First up we have Vanessa Jordan discussing the selective publication of research and its effects on the body of evidence from which consumers and clinicians make healthcare decisions. In particular Vanessa will discuss the events that led the Cochrane Collaboration to pursue unpublished evidence on the drug Tamiflu and how Roche managed to sell billions of dollars of this drug worldwide based on selected (and biased) research data. Vanessa is a New Zealand Fellow of the highly regarded Cochrane Collaboration and a recognised expert in systematic review methodology.

Kate Hannah will be along to talk to us about the both the history and the correct usage of the comma. I am given to understand that specific mention will be made of the Oxford comma. Those of you with a fondness
for grammar can probably bring examples from my misuse of commas in this blurb to be painfully examined and worked over.

And we have one John Radford, an artist who is coming along to talk about some of his work and the inspiration that has been provided by Auckland and the Grafton that was before the motorway came along.

Right that about sums it up. Come grab a seat at table, a pint, and a feed. Next Tuesday. Galbraiths. 

Nerdnite Auckland – Chapter 18

Nerdnite is indeed on again this month, as it is most months, on the 1st Tuesday. That being Tuesday the 3rd of June. Or in a few days time. Nectar, upstairs from the Kingslander, 6:30ish onwards.

 

This month for your perusal, we present Kate Hannah after noting the many deplorable grammatical habits of scientists, will be enlightening us as to the history and correct usage of the comma. I believe an opinion may be expressed on the desirability of using the Oxford comma, where appropriate.

 

Beau Pontré will be talking about magnets. An incredibly wide range of magnets. From their use as compasses for navigation, to electricity generation through to the past few decades, when magnetism has been exploited in the form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a diagnostic tool to aid in the assessment of disease Рnow sufficiently advanced that we can go beyond simple images of the body and capture the movement of the beating heart. Cantor! Cantor! Cantor!

 

Gavin Marten will give us a talk about the mathematician Cantor – who seriously rocked by the way. An infinite number of infinities anyone? Georg Cantor’s work was described by Poincar√© as a “grave disease” infecting the discipline, and described him as a “scientific charlatan”. So what was all the fuss about ? Basically the foundations of set theory and of the infinite. How real numbers are not as simple as we might think. Gather your cold and thirsty geeks and bring them in for an evening of learning about seriously cool stuff that you are probably remiss for not knowing about beforehand.

 

Gather your cold and thirsty geeks and bring them along for a warm pint and some brain stretching.

Nerdnite Auckland – Chapter 17

So, time for some geekery then. That time being next Tuesday evening in Kingsland. We have a bioengineer and a paleobotantist coming to speak geeky things at you while you sit back and relax with a beverage of your choice. Luxury.

First up, we have David Cumin. The specialisation of modern healthcare has meant great advances in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. However, it has also meant greater complexity in the system and a need for staff to communicate effectively. David will talk about a novel project to train operating room teams that has just been piloted in Auckland. Come see how a little movie magic and some stressful situations could make our  hospitals even safer.

Next, paleobotanist Mark Large will be cramming an epic spanning millions of years into a 20 min time slot. In the Late Triassic c.201 MYBP Рan event occurred that caused the mass extinction of a fifth of all families of  marine animals (34% of marine genera). On land, many large archosaurs and large amphibians became extinct. At least half of the species now known to have been living on Earth at that time disappeared. This extinction  seems to have taken less than 10,000 years and occurred just before Pangaea started to break apart. Gradual climate change, and mass volcanism in the late Triassic reached a tipping point. However, this does not explain the suddenness of the extinctions in the marine realm. Is this past the key to our future?

The story of this event links the explorations of Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander in NZ, the pre-WII Greenland holiday activities of a Cambridge professor of Botany, Thomas Harris, and our own studies here in 21st century Auckland.

Got that? Right. Make sure you friends have seen this, then have a sit down and discuss over a beer or three over the weekend. Make it the subject of intelligent Sunday morning coffee conversation. Then remember to head along to Nectar in Kingsland next Tuesday around 6:30/7ish.

Cheers

Ben.

Nerdnite Auckland – Chapter 16

So…. after a bit of misstep in March (sorry about that) we’re back. All going according to plan, we’ll be back in Kingsland with a pint in our hands and something interesting in our ears on Tuesday the 1st of April. An architect, a meteorologist and a biologist or two have so far agreed to provide us the interesting bits. The beer you’ll have to get from the bar.

 

So, first up (in details being delivered, not speaker order mind, I’ve only got a vague idea as to how that’s going to go at the moment) is one Grant Bannatyne from Ignite Architects who will be talking about a project in London that he worked on a while ago conceived by Italian architect Renzo Piano. You may have heard of The Shard. It was the home of The Great Intelligence in the Doctor Who episode “the Bells of St John”. You all know which one I mean.

 

We also have on Georgina Griffiths from the Metservice coming along to talk to us about the Life and Times of cyclone Lusi. Lusi being the one that hit Northland a few weekends ago. Given the blas√© reaction of Aucklanders to the news of an imminent storm, I suspect it’s about time some of you became reacquainted with what an actual cyclone is he mused.

 

And then there are Eli Christian and Jess Fitch, Phage Hunters. Some of you may recall Heather Hendrickson’s talk last year about phage? These are two of her students who went out and discovered some new ones.
These are viruses that parasitize specific bacteria, called bacteriophages. There is obviously growing interest in finding phages that infect bacterial pathogens. Like PSA – the bacteria that that is currently destroying kiwifruit. Eli And Jess spent a summer characterizing a set of potential Pseudomonas phages that will contribute to an understanding of phages that may be used as biosecurity agents.

That should be enough for you for one night. Now go out and gather up your geeks to make sure they’re in Kingsland on Tuesday he said. Go on. Go and gather them.

Nerdnite – Chapter 13

So Nerdnite is once again upon us. Again, we’re making no pretence of having a theme. Talks will cover, apparently, Rock Paper Scissors, 18th Century French political scientists, the martial art of Wing Chun and a game called Pounamu that is being used to figure out where New Zealand science should go. Find a theme in that, I dare you.

 

Want to lose and afternoon? Look up Wing Chun on Wikipedia. Or come along to Nerdnite and listen to Barney Teng talk about the history, origins, philosophy of Wing Chun and it’s place in daily life. If you’re lucky, he might ask for a volunteer from the audience (technically that’s you lot, not me) for a demonstration.

 

We will be also be welcoming back our first ever Auckland Nerdnite speaker, Thomas Lumley of Statschat and UOA Department of Statistics fame.

Rock, paper, scissors: transitivity and statistical comparisons.
The game of rock, paper, scissors was known in Asian millennia ago. At about the time of Captain Cook, a French political scientist discovered that it isn’t always possible to construct an ordering by considering things two at a time. ¬†In the 1970s a statistician showed how to cheat at dice using this idea. The implications for experiments with a treatment group and a control group are still under appreciated.
Finally, we have Shaun Hendy, VUW physicist and science communicator extraordinaire.
Pounamu: an on-line conversation about New Zealand’s future.
Pounamu was a free, online game set in a future world where EVERYONE in New Zealand could use science as easily as they can use a computer. Anyone was welcome to play; from primary school students to research scientists, from young entrepreneurs to kuia and koro. You could play from anywhere with an internet connection for your browser. As a country, we have some big choices to make and Pounamu offered the ability to explore hundreds of paths forward. Shaun will discuss how the game worked, who played and what they talked about. He will also talk about plans for running the game again next year.

Gather your geeks, round up those that need some education forced into them at the end of a beer, bring them along next Tuesday, the 1st of October,  same nerdy time, same nerdy place. 6.30 pm for a 7 pm start at Nectar Bar, Kingland (470 New North Road, above the Kingslander). We have a diverse range of talks this month. Be there and be square!

Nerdnite Auckland – Chapter 12

So Nerdnite is once again upon us. Again, we’re making no pretence of having a theme. Talks will cover, apparently, Rock Paper Scissors, 18th Century French political scientists, the martial art of Wing Chun and a game called Pounamu that is being used to figure out where New Zealand science should go. Find a theme in that, I dare you.

 

Want to lose and afternoon? Look up Wing Chun on Wikipedia. Or come along to Nerdnite and listen to Barney Teng talk about the history, origins, philosophy of Wing Chun and it’s place in daily life. If you’re lucky, he might ask for a volunteer from the audience (technically that’s you lot, not me) for a demonstration.

 

We will be also be welcoming back our first ever Auckland Nerdnite speaker, Thomas Lumley of Statschat and UOA Department of Statistics fame.

Rock, paper, scissors: transitivity and statistical comparisons.
The game of rock, paper, scissors was known in Asian millennia ago. At about the time of Captain Cook, a French political scientist discovered that it isn’t always possible to construct an ordering by considering things two at a time. ¬†In the 1970s a statistician showed how to cheat at dice using this idea. The implications for experiments with a treatment group and a control group are still under appreciated.
Finally, we have Shaun Hendy, VUW physicist and science communicator extraordinaire.
Pounamu: an on-line conversation about New Zealand’s future.
Pounamu was a free, online game set in a future world where EVERYONE in New Zealand could use science as easily as they can use a computer. Anyone was welcome to play; from primary school students to research scientists, from young entrepreneurs to kuia and koro. You could play from anywhere with an internet connection for your browser. As a country, we have some big choices to make and Pounamu offered the ability to explore hundreds of paths forward. Shaun will discuss how the game worked, who played and what they talked about. He will also talk about plans for running the game again next year.

Gather your geeks, round up those that need some education forced into them at the end of a beer, bring them along next Tuesday, the 1st of October,  same nerdy time, same nerdy place. 6.30 pm for a 7 pm start at Nectar Bar, Kingland (470 New North Road, above the Kingslander). We have a diverse range of talks this month. Be there and be square!