Posts Tagged ‘nerdnitewelly’

nerd nite 10: Of the Strange, the Alien and the Device

UPDATE: The prezis from the talks are available here.

Greetings, nerders nite!

A quick FYI, with more details in the near future, that nerd nite Wellington number 10 will be happening this month, April 23rd, at Hotel Bristol from 6pm.

We’ve changed the format a little and will only be having three speakers from now on, but this one promises to be a good’un, covering quantum mechanics, Mars, and making Mad Gadgets that Do Things (with sound).

Don’t forget to check our Facebook page and Twitter stream (links in right hand column) for more details, or the event listing on Facebook! There’s also some background information on nerd nite on aimee’s blog.

Can’t wait to see you there, and keep an eye out for more information soon!

Your loving host

Update: Thanks to Brett Wilkins for our new and improved title! [Check the URL to see the first one]

UPDATE! Our full lineup (not necessarily in this order) is as follows:

EVEN MORE UPDATE! Andrew Stephens (one’s #9’s speakers) will be giving a brief celebration of the ZX Spectrum, seeing that tonight is it’s 30th birthday.  He’s bringing his.  There may be games.


What is Existence? The following is a scientific answer.
Roger Hanson

The early 20th century view of existence as described by Newton and Einstein, is merely the front-stage show in this Universe. Underpinning this is a more fundamental physics, quantum physics, operating back-stage, where the seemingly impossible becomes possible. Without quantum physics, living organisms, for example, could not exist. Dr Hanson will raise the curtain and reveal what is going on.

Dr Roger Hanson has a PhD from Cambridge University. In 2011 he delivered a presentation on The Evolution of Universes to the Flamsteed Society at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich London. He is author of a book, The Cosmic Engine and writes a weekly science article for The Taranaki Daily News and The Marlborough Express. He is currently writing a less academic version of the The Cosmic Engine for the non-scientist.


Kiwimars: NZ’s space race
Elf Eldridge

Welcome to NZ’s burgeoning space industry! Well maybe ‘burgeoning’ is too strong a word…perhaps ‘non-existant’ is a better phrase! Nonetheless, during the last 2 weeks of April, 6 Kiwis are winging their way to Mars. For two weeks, these intrepid Kiwi-naughts will east, sleep, exercise and communicate as if they were marooned on the red planet, whilst inhabiting the most Martian place on Earth: the deserts of Utah. Kiwimars is the latest in a series of NASA experiments to test the habitability of the Martian surface. Mission controller Elf Eldridge will tell how and why the mission came into being, relay messages from the crew and provide a brief insight into Kiwimars living conditions. Elf will look at the science behind the experiments they’re doing, the implications for the the future colonization of Mars, the possibility of a New Zealand with an active part in space research, and wil digress breifly into talking about Ice caves under Austria.

Elf is a Physics PhD student with the MacDiarmid Institute with a keen interest in all things sciency. He’s been interested in space ever since wanting to sell ice-creams on the moon as a child, and now works at Carter Observatory, which is as close as he can currently get.

See you on Mars….


Zen and the Art of DIY Electronics
Richard Dennis Bartlett (aka Rich Decibels)

Rich tells the story of how his love of weird noises took him from respectable engineer to broke artist, and shares some of the lessons he learnt along the way.

Rich Decibels is an electronics nerd with a passion for open source, DIY, and teaching people how they can make anything.


As always: it’s a free event, so bring everyone you know who likes to know more! Just bring money for beer and food 🙂 Talks start at 6:30pm, but seating fills fast, so the closer to 6pm you get there, the better your seats.

See you there!

nerdnite 6: of taste, speech, sight and touch

UPDATE: VIDEOS AVAILABLE HERE, prezis from the talks are available here.

Hellz yeah! We have another nerdnite, coming straight to your geeky, geeky brains, on July 18th at Bar Bodega. From 6pm. And it’s gonna be _great_. A veritable feast for the senses.

Seriously – check out the lineup, and then ask yourself: why the hell would I _not_ be at this nerdnite?

So, and in an order that’s likely to be this one, but might change, let us present our speakers and their subjects:


Alchemy In Your Glass
Allyn York (@allyn)

In its various forms beer has been with us for thousands of years. And for most sectors of most societies over that time it has been extremely popular.
A brief look at the history of beer, how it’s made, an overview of various styles, and specifically what’s in your glass right now… assuming that you’re partaking in this divine beverage.

Allyn York starting drinking beer when he was 6 and started brewing a couple of decades later. Allyn, and his partner in zymurgy, Chris Mills took the overall silver medal, and best in class (NZ pale ale) in the 2008 NZ homebrew championships.


Weep quietly and twitch
David Tossman (@obel)

Weep quietly and twitch will explore cryptic crosswords from both the solver’s and the setter’s point of view, showing how they not only test, but also amuse, entertain and stimulate the brain. And yes, geeks, although pen and paper or even, if you must, pencil and paper, are good, you can tackle them via mobile apps.

David Tossman is best known for his prodigious somnolence but is also widely reviled (think needles and wax effigies) for his work composing cryptic crosswords for the New Zealand Listener.


Film Editing: Another Version Of The Truth
Nick Swinglehurst (@nickscale)

Ever since we started recording people on film, another bunch of people have wanted to change that recording, to reframe and reinterpret its indelible truth into something that better serves the purpose of the filmmaker.

This process is film editing. Usually it’s a force for good – making complex arguments accessible, making protracted events succinct, or simply for making a dull story more compelling.

But the reversioning of the truth which is so intrinsic to editing, can be deceptive in the wrong hands. It started as a tool for propaganda and continues to manipulate audiences today.

In this talk, I will demonstrate and explain some common tricks of the editing room – and make examples of some of their most nefarious abusers…


3d printing, rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing: your own little factory
Patrick Herd (@patrickherd)

The ability for invidividuals to conduct their own 3d printing and rapid prototyping is relatively new – up until now, stunning material and infrastructure costs have prevented it. Now, however, things are changing, and Patrick will take us through what can be done, how, and why it’s considered to be some of the best fun one can have with one’s clothes on.

Patrick has worked with artists, engineers and computer scientists on projects that examine bleeding edge technologies ability to articulate contemporary ideas. He is particularly interested in eclectic mashups of technologies, ie what happens if you put this with this and that. Technologies that go bang and those that can activate interventionist situations. Other projects include music videos and feature film effects work.

Suggested prior reading:

NOTE: Patrick will be bringing a 3d printer along for y’all to see running and get up close and personal with.


A reminder. Nerdnite’s a free event, where we encourage conversation, the bringing along of people you know, and the serious drinking of beer (or other such liquids).

We hope to see you there 🙂


FB event page here

nerdnite wellington 3: in which we explore tragedies, games, brains, and stars!

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

Sign up: Facebook page or @ us on Twitter if you can make it. Or you can email us.

In a very particular order, then, may we introduce our speakers:

Finity: Confronting Limits

Colin Jackson

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 Bell

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

Fabiana Kubke

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 Moss

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.

nerdnite wellington 1: in which we explore past and future, politics and transport modes

UPDATE: videos available here

Nerdnite Wellington 1 – In which we explore past and future, politics and transport modes.

Nerdnite has finally gone Southern Hemisphere, and Wellington’s proud (and not at all terrified, honest) to be its hosting city.

When: Monday 2 August, from 6pm ’til we’re thrown out

Where: Betty’s at 32 Blair Street, Wellington

Sign up: Facebook event or @ us on Twitter if you can make it. Or you can email us.

For our inaugural event, we offer to you, our guests, a heady mix of politics, space, history and futurism.

In a very particular order, then, may we introduce our speakers:

Motorised Vehicle Technology and Trends, 1910 and beyond

Daniel Spector

Though the first so-called “Automobiles” were imported to New Zealand in 1898, it is only in the last few years that self-propelled motor vehicles has truly passed out of the experimental stage and into practical reality.

Freshly back from the motorcar race season of 1912 and the opening of the world’s first “brick track” at Indianapolis in the USA, Mr Spector of Thorndon (Ex San Francisco) will spend a few minutes discussing the current technology regarding motorcars and motorcycles and possible future directions for self propelled vehicles.

Mr Spector also promises to be equipped with pictures to be displayed via a projection scope.

Daniel Spector is an adventurer, raconteur and eccentric gearhead from a previous century.

Achieving orbit with style, verve and imagination

Chelfyn Baxter

Riding atop an enormous, barely controlled explosion is a very brutal, inelegant solution to the problem of achiving orbit. I will be looking at a few more creative ways of getting things into space.

Chelfyn’s career has been a verb, not a noun. He animates, codes, writes and plays music, though usually not all at the same time.

<<a treatise on copyright in New Zealand>>

Matthew Holloway

<<details to come>>

Consciousness, AGI, and the Singularity

Joel Pitt

Can computers think? Can they be conscious? This talk will hopefully convince that yes they can, or at least: if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then debating whether the duck actually exists is mostly pointless.

Artificial General Intelligence is a branch of AI that focuses on creating agents that can reason an act in an uncertain world (a bit like we do). OpenCog is an open source AGI framework that Joel has spent the last several years being a lead developer on. He’ll share some of the stuff he does and explain the ideas of the technological singularity and the challenge of AI friendliness (AKA “how to avoid SkyNet”), as well as share how learning about cognition has shaped the way he lives his life.

Joel Pitt is a crazy mad scientist, software engineer, hacker, DJ and transhumanist. He contributes to a handful of OSS, got his PhD from Lincoln University, and is the board secretary for the worldwide transhumanist association “Humanity+”.


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!”