UPDATE: Prezis from the talks are available here.
29 November at Betty’s in Wellington
We’re back for another evening of geekery!
Nerdnite Wellington #3 – In which we explore tragedies, games, brains, and stars!
When: Monday 29 November, from 6pm ’til we’re thrown out
Where: Betty’s at 32 Blair Street, Wellington
In a very particular order, then, may we introduce our speakers:
Finity: Confronting Limits
There’s an economic concept called “The Tragedy of the Commons”. The notion is that people will rationally use the a free common good or service rather than their own resources. It’s usually framed in terms of grazing in English villages, but a really extreme example is what happened on Easter Island. (I have pictures) This leads to some economic theory on the best way to ration resources, that essentially says privatising public spaces in the right thing to do. I will then attempt to show that this analysis misses several points about how people behave in the real world, and in particular that so-called intellectual property is the misguided bastard offspring of voodoo economics. Not that I’m taking a position, you understand :) I will end with the reflection that it’s a shame that governments can cooperate to restrict access to resources that are genuinely free to copy, but can;t agree how to ration limited physical resources like atmospheric carbon or tuna.
Colin’s been around internet stuff in Wellington for some time. And he’s been on radio.
Fever Pong: A (cautionary?) tale of videogame addiction (NOTE: THIS TALK WAS CANCELLED)
Alan reminisces on the impact gaming has had on him and the people around him as the two grew up together.
Alan Bell is a passionate Videogame nerd. He’s been playing them since they existed and he clutters up his tiny house with thousands of the things, as if in some sort of test of both his wife’s patience and how high you can stack the different types before they fall over. In addition to playing them, he writes about them for a living and even spend nearly 7 years making them – some of which even won awards.
Unraveling the brain one step at a time
Why do some scientific ideas take off and some don’t? Many times it just has to do with what technology is available at the time to explore them. While rummaging through old issues of the scientific literature it is not hard to find many questions that just sit there waiting for the right technology to show up.
In neuroscience, developments in optics and electronics were crucial to advance our understanding of how the brain works. And as new technologies emerge, they continue to challenge the way we think about the brain. I will explore how microscopes, electrodes, chips and brain machine interfaces make us change our understanding of the brain.
Fabiana Kubke is a neuroscientist at the University of Auckland where she studies brain evolution. She blogs in at Building Blogs of Science, and exists as Kubke pretty much everywhere else around the web.
The Art of Astronomy in Aotearoa
Paul will discuss the transition of sharing historical astronomical spaces to creating new astronomical spaces to share. The talk will cover traditional astronomy events and the explosion of new astro style eventing brought about with social networks, music and video, art, culture and environmentalism. Moving from the cave, stone circles, the observatory with telescope, planetariums, astro societies, to the art gallery, the street, the south coast, music and cultural festivals, the world, to the Forest, and finally to Stonehenge Aotearoa.
Paul Moss is a ‘New Media’ artist, specialising in astro-photography and astro-video, for entertainment and illustrative purposes, art gallery installations, and has been published in many newspaper and magazine articles, CD covers, posters, calendar’s/almanac’s, including the NZ award winning book, ‘Astronomy Aotearoa’. Paul organises events with telescopes on the street and live music performances, runs camera crews for video screens at major music and cultural festivals, and performs on occasion as vj, dj and dubmaster moza. Paul was awarded a global gold medal for ‘Most Outstanding Individual’ for record breaking astronomy events IYA2009.
The event’s free, and we urge you to bring your friends, enemies, pets and favourite extraterrestrials. Come drink with us!
Or, in the words of the unofficial nerdnite tagline, “It’s like the Discovery Channel…with beer!”
Have questions? Get in touch with us on Twitter or fill out the Contact form and our nerd monkeys will pound on a keyboard and get back to you.