Posts Tagged ‘reality’

nerdnite wellington 5: of hardware, spaceware, brainware and wordware

UPDATE: videos available here, prezis from the talks available here.

18th April at Bodega, Wellington!

More geekery will be delivered to your eagerly-awaiting grey (and white) matter on this most auspicious of Mondays.

nerdnite #5 will cover topics such as antennae, narratives, open hardware and scrabble!

In no particular order, then (since I’m still deciding), may we present the Order of Things to Come!


Antennas, Everywhere.
Jon Brewer

There are more antennas in New Zealand than there are sheep. Many, many more.

From millimeters long to kilometers across, these little guys touch every part of our lives: communications, electricity, entertainment, food safety, medicine, retail shopping, transportation, and more.

In this talk we’ll walk through the lot of them, with a dive in to how they work, where they’re hiding, and what we’d do without them.

Jon Brewer has spent the last seven years of his life obsessing about antennas.


Consciousness and Reality, Story, and Bad SF movies
Jonathan Todd

An exploration of the nature of consciousness and reality, explicated via the nature of the stories we tell ourselves, facilitated by the common nerd-language of bad science fiction movies. Also contains comic books and cosmic gibberish.

Jonathan (Billy) Todd is a writer, musician and filmmaker. No one knows if there is really a person beneath all the hair.


Beyond Arduino
David Zanetti

“Beyond Arduino” will be about going a layer lower and learning from the Arduino designs to implement custom embedded electronics, from the perspective of challenges and lessons attempting to a complete self-contained Stratum-1 NTP server board.

David Zanetti has been in and around IT for the past 16 years professionally, and a geek well before that. Most of the time it’s with Open Source systems, and currently as a contractor with a multinational running Open Source systems for a variety of large New Zealand customers.


On becoming a Scrabble® nerd
Steven Brown

What does it take to go from being a mere Scrabble player to meriting the designation Scrabble nerd? This talk will touch on a few of the possibilities, including anagrams, algorithms, intellectual property, and more anagrams.

Steven has been involved in club Scrabble for around 18 years, and has been playing in tournaments for almost as long. He has represented New Zealand in the Trans-Tasman Challenge five times (so far), but hasn’t qualified for a World Champs (yet). His day job is not important, but note that his full name anagrams to BRAW GOVERNMENTESE. (It also anagrams to SNOWMEN ABET VERGER or BROWSER AVENGEMENT, but those are not nearly as relevant.)


Remember, new venue is Bodega. With oodles of room, so bring everyone you know! And yes, it’s still a free event. Because knowledge wants to be shared 🙂

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!”