Posts Tagged ‘oceanography’

nerd nite 15: windfarms and apocalypse preparation, information theory, and the sound of turbulence

the poster for this nerd nite. click to embiggen, and feel free to share/use!

the poster for this nerd nite. click to embiggen, and feel free to share/use!

UPDATE: The prezis from the talks are available here.

Greetings, fellow nerd-types!

Well, this nerd nite – our 15th, if you can believe it – promises to be as awesome as all of our previous ones.

As usual, it will be held at the Hotel Bristol, from 6pm. Date? March 18th 2013.

And without further ado – our lineup!

Note: As always, this may not be the final order of the lineup…


Prepare Your Windfarm for the Mayan Apocalypse!
What does a technical writer do for a living and how do you get that gig?
Nat Janke-Gilman

In which Nat will demonstrate how to communicate effectively to a technical audience, while going off on a polemic about reliability engineering interspersed with ribald tales of synchrotron radiation emission and the almost true story of how Wellington’s fleet of wind turbines were saved from uncertain destruction on 21 December 2012. Along the way you’ll hopefully gain a bit of insight into the broad, important and arguably under appreciated field of technical communication.

Nat Janke-Gilman has a PhD in Physics, is a certified professional engineer, is registered in NZ as an authorized person to repair toasters and other small appliances, has no formal qualification whatsoever as a writer, and is a proponent of the Oxford comma “just because”. Nevertheless Nat is currently employed as a technical writer tasked with implementing Wind Turbine Safety Rules, in which role he is essentially writing a mountain of work procedures describing how to fix wind turbines without killing oneself. He has only jumped off a wind turbine once.


Information theory and practice
Kevin Maloney

A journey into the ones and zeros that our digital life runs on top of: Learn about the state of the art for storing and transmitting data. Understand why you can’t zip your zip files indefinitely. Marvel at the wonders of modern technology.

Kevin Maloney is an Enterprise Architect for Telecom. He has been involved in the implementation of broadband, mobile, voice and over the top services. Occasionally he flirts with the dark side and works on IT and data centres.

Ocean Turbulence – The Earth System Viewed from the Perspective of a Record Needle
Craig Stevens

Quote: [Horace Lamb attr.] I am an old man now, and when I die and go to Heaven there are two matters on which I hope for enlightenment. One is quantum electrodynamics and the other is the turbulent motion of fluids. And about the former I am rather more optimistic.

Energy gets put into the earth system at celestial scales (tides, solar heating) and does its thing driving atmospheres and oceans – but we sort of fudge the dissipation of all this energy with somewhat ad hoc numbers in computer models. My science is to try and capture this turbulent dissipation of energy which happens at tiny scales (say ~ 2 mm) and relate it back to global scales. The approach evolved out of looking for submarine wakes after WWII but it’s not far off strapping a record needle to a torpedo and shooting it through the ocean looking for the “sound of turbulence”.

Craig Stevens is a professional physical oceanographer and amateur noise maker based in Wellington. Field expeditions have taken him from Cook Strait to Antarctica; from water-filled mine pits in Canada to tidal turbines in the U.K.; from inland seas in Europe to the southern ocean. Someone has to do it.


As always, nerd nite is a FREE event. Bring your pets and other loved ones!

And if you, or anyone you know, would like to speak, or hear a talk about a specific subject, get in touch.