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Posts Tagged nerdnite Wellington

nerdnite wellington #6: seriously awesome aimee whitcroft Jul 19

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UPDATE: Videos from nerdnite 6 are available here

Last night was the sixth, _sixth_, nerdnite Wellington.

nerdnite-logo-trueIf you remember*, I started nerdnite about a year ago. The event takes place in a bar/pub, and consists of lots of interesting (and interested) people, drinking copious quantities of beer**, and 4 speakers speaking on whatever floats their boat.

So far, there’s been a huge range of topics, from witchcraft to bioengineering, from electronic music to cryptic crosswords, from scrabble to arduino.

And last night was the biggest yet – I estimate we had over 100 people there! Our speakers spoke on the subjects of beer, cryptic crosswords***, the use of video editing in propoganda, and 3d printing/rapid protoyping****.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in previous talks (and vids therefrom), might I direct you to the website.  Forthcoming talks will cover everything from mentalism to chemistry (and alchemy!), neuroscience to physics, cartography in video games to counting fish using acoustics.  And, if I can find anyone to talk about taxidermy, that, too :)  Also, there are going to be increasing numbers of working scientists talking. Beware…

Cheers to everyone who turned up, the great staff at Bodega, and my awesome, awesome friends for helping me out with it!  Massive shoutouts this time around to @chelfyn and @dene.

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There’s also a twitter stream and a facebook page, of course

* Shameless self-plug.

** Or wine.  Or, y’know, other beverages.

*** I might actually start doing these now.  Turns out, it’s all about the tricks and clues given by the clues themselves.  Also, David’s made a cheat sheet, available on his website :)

**** The events are recorded, and videos from last night will be up shortly.  Also, there are some photos floating around I’ll upload, too.

I’m back! aimee whitcroft Aug 09

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I have, once again, been remiss in my blogging.

nerdnite logo true

To those who noticed: my most humble of apologies.  Rest assured the self-flagellation in this respect has been more than adequate.  To those who didn’t: um, yes.  At least you were saved any potential pain and/or horror at the situation.  And, hopefully, I once more have a little bit of time for blogging occasionally.

So, what have I been doing that’s had me so distracted?!  A number of things, not all of which this is the forum to discuss.  But one, certainly, bears an update and brief description.

Last Monday, the first ever Southern Hemisphere Nerdnite took place.  Here, in Wellington.  Some of my readers may remember that I wrote of starting said chapter, with the fantastic Brian Calhoun, in early June of this year.  And start it we did!  Even more exciting, people actually turned up, and in numbers greater than we had expected.

Held at Betty’s, in part due to the fantastic wraparound projectors the bar sports (it’s certainly not a sports bar, though), we survived the rather major technical glitch which had the inhouse projectors refusing to speak to any of our laptops (requiring a run to SilverStripe to borrow their projector), and the evening got under way.

At this point, many of our patrons were on their second round, which always helps, and our speakers had definitely* been matching pace.

First up was Daniel Spector, who had transported himself back to 1912, donned a gorgeously appropriate suit and hairstyle, and was discussing past, present and future trends in self-propelled motor vehicle transport.  You know.  Cars.  Buses.  And verily, was there some wonderful madness in all that early design, and, at the end, some highly amusing badinage.  I shan’t bother trying to replicate it,** though.

Next was Chelfyn Baxter, of ‘the g33k show‘ fame.  Taking transport somewhat into the future, he talked of better ways of getting, well, stuff into space than rockets or space elevators.  Key parameters for acceptance into his talk included cost and danger***.  Much hysterial laughter ensued, and a great deal of audience participation.  He also used a brilliant presentation tool called prezi, which we all love because a) it’s free, b) it’s easy to use and c) it should replace the dreaded (and dreadful) powerpoint in the very near future.

Third up was Matthew Holloway, of the Creative Freedom Foundation, to talk about copyright in New Zealand, and how it differs to that used by countries such as the UK and the US.  For example, copying content for the use of satire and parody is completely legal in the US (otherwise a great many comedy shows would be in trouble).  In the UK there’s no such actual law allowing it, but it’s generally accepted that it’s OK.  In New Zealand, unfortunately, there’s no law protecting it, and no general acceptance, meaning that all copied/parodied/satirized content here is actually illegal, and could genuinely get people into trouble.  Not, in my opinion, a very good thing at all.  Audience interest was measured here not so much in peanut-gallery comments and good-natured heckling, but in serious questions at the end of the talk, as people tried to get some granularity for how things here actually work.

Finally, we had Joel Pitt speaking of consciousness, AGI, and the Singularity. AGI, for the uninitiated, stands for ‘artificial general intelligence’ (a branch of AI), and the Singularity, well, go here for an explanation****.  The talk was expected to melt brains and that it most certainly did, particularly for those members of the audience who had not come across the latter two concepts!  It’s always wonderful to watch people be exposed to new, brilliant information like that :)

Oh yes, and there was much happy drinking.

In short, then, the night was a great success – a great mix of science/tech, people and conversation.  The next one’s to be expected in mid-ish September (I’m going to be in SA in early October, so we brought it forward a bit). Anyone who has a topic they’d like to talk about, get hold of us! We intend to choose speakers for the next round by early September…

Oh yeah, and anyone who missed the talks/hilarity and would like to see them – stay tuned!  We’ve got video etc currently being assembled into a thing of sheer awesomeness :)  Stay tuned for the announcement of its readyness (on Twitter, most likely).

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* And at the very least.  With Brian and I keeping pace, of course, with no regard for life nor limb, in order to ensure that no one felt awkward (we’re heroic like that).

** Because we have footage.

*** The more, the better.  Obviously.

**** I’ve been following it for years and, I must admit, can’t wait.  Especially since the date moves forward every year :)

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Contact details:

Twitter: unbrand / teh_aimee / nerdnitewelly

Email: brian / aimee at nerdnite dot com

Website: nerdnite Wellington

Facebook page: nerdnite wellington

Wellington geeks/nerds: jooooooooiiiiiin uuuuuuus aimee whitcroft Jun 04

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Anyone who watches my twitter stream *snort* can now breathe: the details of the plotting mentioned can now be made public.

glasses

Brian Calhoun (SilverStripe) and I have decided to band bravely together in a novel, nerdy enterprise.  Sort of.  More an event, really.  And we need your help, and the help of everyone you know.  Think of this as a clarion call1.

More details before you commit, you say?  Not a problem, we reply!

It’s not a new idea, actually.  Called nerdnite, it started in the States (as so much great nerdiness/geekiness2 does) many years ago.  Not quite days of yore, but certainly a few.  Its purpose?  To bring together people who have obsessions, and get them to talk about said obsessions and, maybe, even talk to each other.  Gasp.

As one might expect, it happens in bars, since that’s where the beer/wine/etc3 is.

The format tends to take the shape of a few presentations on subjects ranging from different types of worms, to sports, to Wolverine’s various guises over the years, and anything in between.  There’s absolutely no limit to what people can talk about, or how they present it (apparently, music gets perpetrated too sometimes).

Since its inception in Boston, it’s spread like a cute, nerdy little virus all over the States and now into other countries .  Including Germany, of course4.  And so, we thought we’d organise one for Wellington.  Because Wellington’s brilliant, and we reckon there’s no shortage of people who’d love to get involved.

Please don’t prove us wrong.

What do we need from you?  Well, participants5!  If you have something you get all geeky/nerdy about, tell us.  Perhaps you might like to talk about it at some point, in front of some people.  Or, perhaps you have a friend/acquaintance/pet/deadly enemy who you think might like to get involved.

Or, of course, you think you’d like to come along and watch (we still want to hear from you), or have ideas around the perfect venue or some other way you’d like to contribute.

C’mon, it’ll be fun!  Watch out for the twitter hashtag #nerdnitewelly, and it’s easy enough to contact us by email, too (for me, for example, just look up the page)*. Should you prefer Twitter, we’re @teh_aimee and @unbrand (just guess who’s who).

I’ll leave you with the tagline: “It’s like the Discovery Channel… with beer!”

nerdnite

UPDATE: I just realised this was my 100th post (on Sciblogs, at least).  How appropriate :)

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Note: Non-nerds/geeks are also welcome. We enjoy fresh meat new people.  Ooh, and we’re not limiting it to Wellingtonians – it’s just going to be taking place here.

1 For the less linguaphilic of you, this means an emphatic call to action.

2 As previously mentioned, I’m not going to get into the debate.  Again, xkcd sums it up perfectly.  Which means that geeks are just as welcome as nerds.

3 The stuff that helps with the talking to (and in front of) each other.

4 I’m still saluting you German types for your support of the Wellington Declaration.

5 You were slightly worried we were going to ask for money or…other stuff…, weren’t you.

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I’m beginning to wonder whether I’m developing a footnote problem addiction.

* Ok, fiiiiine.  aimee dot whitcroft at gmail dot com.  And unbrand at gmail dot com. Or aimee at nerdnite dot com and brian at nerdnite dot com.  Enough choices?

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