Posts Tagged ‘anti-science’

nerd nite 11: Of Angry Birds, Medical Words, and Science Hipsters

UPDATE: The prezis from the talks are available here.

The Southern Hemisphere’s eleventh nerd nite.  Gosh.  It’s been almost two YEARS since we began all this madness!

Once again to be held at the Hotel Bristol, from 6pm, this nerd nite will taking place on Monday June 18th.

And we have some really interesting speakers!  Well, that’s what aimee thinks, anyway 🙂



Why, exactly, those birds are angry
Mike Dickison (@adzebill)

Angry Birds is the world’s most popular computer game and Finland’s greatest cultural achievement since Sibelius. Very little attention, however, has been paid to the game’s semiotics: what do the green pigs represent? Why do they sometimes have moustaches? Why are their homes so flimsy? And why, exactly, are the birds so angry with them? Mike will outline his all-encompassing explanation that involves Walter Benjamin, the Battle of Midway, and the evolutionary history of little flightless birds.

Mike did his PhD at Duke University on the evolution of giant flightless birds, wrote a best-selling book on how to play the ukulele, and helps scientists visually communicate their data. His talk on the biology of Big Bird is the world’s most-watched PechaKucha.

Some links for the above:[popularity]=desc

Medical Terminology – what and why
Ted Cizadlo

Electronic medical records have nearly replaced paper-based record keeping in your doctor’s office.  The quality of these records can be a matter of life and death, but is not regulated.  This talk will introduce you to some of the things that are important in medical records, and look at what the future may hold in this area.

Ted Cizadlo was the Group Manager of the National Systems and Infrastructure team at the Ministry of Health until January of this year.  Prior to that he directed the Psychiatric Neuroimaging Lab at the University of Iowa Medical Centre in Iowa City, Iowa. Ted was trained as a physical chemist, taught physics and chemistry.  He is also a luthier with a small workshop in Karori.  Ted is currently working as a part time consultant and part time luthier.

The Return of Dr. Evil,
or: How Not to be a Science Hipster
Matt Mourits

He’s still getting aimee a blurb, but it’ll be something about an exploration of the golden age of science, why today science is often mistrusted and scientists ridiculed and, of course, a call to arms how we can reverse this unacceptable trend!


Humans are the first species  of this planet to have mapped its own genome, eradicate some of its most deadly viral and bacterial threats, uncover the particles that make him and put one of their own on surface the moon (after having flung some specimens of the other species involuntary into space first to “test the water”, so to speak).

With all these achievements combined, stack on top of each other, you would think that everyone would be united in admiration for the brave men and women who brought us these wonders and be proud to use the same methods and tools they did it with?
Then why is science still so mistrusted? Why are pseudo-science and superstition on the rise and do skeptics have to be apologetic for their critical questions? Is critical thinking (or as we like to call it “thinking”) really not as natural as it seems?

If we want this age to be a scientific age then it is time for the geeks to rise, (gently) storm the barricades of ignorance and stupidity and proclaim what is rightfully awesome.

Matt is a computer engineer who studied the scientists at the Center for Mathematics and Computer Science in Amsterdam for many years. This opportunity to observe these academic creatures in their natural habitat made him wonder what made them so different form the other species of homo sapiens who looked over the fence with a mix of curiosity and bewilderment.

Matt sometimes finds himself bewildered by how anyone can fail to be amused and amazed by the wonders of nature and the joy of finding out how it really works.
He will share his bewilderment with you and his plan to nudge so sense into the world.


As always, this is a FREE event, so bring your friends, family, pet aliens and enemies (a bit of education never hurt anyone, right?). Additionally, if you think you’d like to write an article/blog post about something nerdy, please get in touch with aimee.

See you there!