Nerd Nite Miami

Miami

Badass lady nerds take over PAMM

Amazing night at the Perez Art Museum Miami with our first ever all female line up.  It was a beautiful night by the water with some really informative talks.

Nerd Nite Miami 2.1.18

Nerd Nite at PAMM
(featuring some badass lady nerds!)

February 1, 2018, 7:00pm
Perez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

1) “Florida’s Deadliest Hurricane (It’s Not Andrew)” by Ta-Shana Taylor
The Hurricane of 1928 is the hurricane that had Lake Okeechobee breach it’s dikes, flooding the surrounding towns. It’s the 2nd deadliest hurricane in American history. Ta-Shana Taylor discussed the storm and the impacts to the local communities.

Bio: Ta-Shana Taylor is a lecturer with the University of Miami’s Department of Geological Science where her most popular course is Natural Disasters: Hollywood vs Reality. She also volunteers for a national nonprofit organization called Outdoor Afro where she leads trips here in South Florida that celebrate and inspire black leadership in nature. Ta-Shana has recently been awarded Outdoor Afro Leader of the Year for 2018.

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2) “Nature Knows Best” by Danni Washington
Why create something from scratch when you can steal the next great idea from nature? Danni Washington highlighted a few examples of brilliant inventions that were inspired by nature! She dove into the whimsical world of biomimicry and we discovered that some of nature’s best-kept secrets could be right in your own backyard.

Bio: Miami native with Jamaican roots, Danni Washington is deeply passionate about our oceans and science communications. She co-founded the Big Blue & You, has served as a science filmmaker with Untamed Science, and currently, hosts Xploration Nature Knows Best, which is a STEM educational TV show which features the latest advancements in bio-inspired technology and design syndicated nationwide on FOX, HULU and Amazon Prime. A graduate of the University of Miami with a degree in Marine Science & Biology — she is also a scuba diver, proud curly girl and overall lover of the outdoors.

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3) “Florida Man” by Sara Yousuf
A criminal justice nerd walked us through the insane and irrational rules of Florida’s penal system. Did you know that in Florida it’s more serious to attend a cockfight than to commit your second DUI? Did you know that in Florida your driver’s license will be suspended for failing to pay child support (thereby making it harder to pay child support)? Did you know that in Florida it’s more serious to steal copper wire from a house than to commit rape? OMG WTF.

Bio: Sara Yousuf, Esq. is a board-certified criminal defense attorney who has represented Miami’s indigent accused for 12 years. She chairs Engage Miami, a nonprofit that involves young people in local politics. Sara co-founded Emerge Miami, a grassroots community group that makes Miami better through progressive social events, Sara also co-founded Sweat Records, Miami’s premiere independent record store. Sara can beat you at Scrabble and has a lifelong love of origami.

June 2017 – Plastics, Nutrition, Biodiversity

Nerd Nite Miami XXVI 6.8.17

1) One Word: Plastics by Nathan Laxague

The use of plastics in everyday objects has become as American as apple pie. As an example: good luck making apple pie without any plastic tools or implements. Not a problem, right? Plastics are light, cheap, and durable… maybe a bit too durable. I’ll give a brief history of our favorite family of synthetic polymers, talk about how they’ve become a part of our daily life, and do my best to describe what that means for the natural world and its inhabitants.

Nathan Laxague is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS). He received his B.S. in physics and his Ph.D. in applied marine physics, both from UM. His research focuses on small-scale fluid mechanical processes which govern physical interactions between the atmosphere and the ocean. He is also a co-founder of Nerd Nite Miami (back for one night only!).

2) Fat or Fiction: Debunking Nutrition Myths by Amanda Gilhool

The world of nutrition has exploded in the past few decades, and there are more opinions circulating than there are calories in a Crunch Wrap Supreme. As a Registered Dietitian, I’ve heard people spread plenty of questionable information about food and the human body. Let’s talk about the inaccuracy of these nutrition fallacies that are popular in our society and the downright nerdy reasons why.

Amanda Gilhool is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and Certified Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC) with her M.S. in Human Nutrition from Drexel University in her hometown of Philadelphia. She has worked in customer service, foodservice, private consulting, and clinical nutrition. Her hobbies include (but are thankfully not limited to) eating, napping, and watching animal videos on YouTube.

3) Biodiversity in Miami by Chelle King

Miami-Dade County is home to a great diversity of life, from Biscayne Bay to the Everglades, and all areas in between. You see examples of biodiversity everyday –

February 2017 – Archaeoastronomy, Everglades, Forensic Anthropology

Ancient Aliens and Crystal Skulls: The Stellar Truth About Archaeoastronomy
by Mallory Fenn

Let’s set the record straight: archaeologists have never actually uncovered alien skulls, ancient spacecraft, or found evidence for any extraterrestrial species’ involvement in the construction of monuments or pyramids. However, some archaeologists do study the way human beings interacted with space thousands of years ago. While light pollution has changed the way we see the sky today, celestial bodies were of vast importance to ancient humans. The movement of the sun, moon, stars and planets are thought to have affected architecture, landscaping, and the way people living all over the planet understood the universe. We’ll be talking about real archaeoastronomy, and how scientists figure out what the sky meant to human beings before light pollution.

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Snakes in the (saw)Grass
by Dawn Shirreffs

Pulling back the curtain on the world’s largest ecosystem restoration program reveals conflicts lurking in the shadows of Miami which threaten to derail the worlds largest ecosystem restoration project . Although so much of it seems suitable for a telenovela – the problems and pythons are a very real threat to our lifestyles and livelihoods. Can America’s Everglades survive a landscape of invasive snakes, politics and radical environmentalists?

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I See Dead People and So Can You!: An Introduction to Forensic Anthropology
by Tony Morales

This presentation will introduce forensic anthropology with a focus on biological profiling. We’ll talk methods, look at some gory images, and discuss the types of information that can be ascertained through analysis of the human skeleton. By the end of the presentation, attendees will each have had a chance to sex (yes, sex) dead people. Expect to leave feeling disgusted, amused, or both!

Best of @ PAMM

Nerd Nite Miami @ PAMM 2.2.17

“Best of Nerd Nite Miami”
A special event at the Perez Art Museum of Miami 

“Everything I Need To Know In Life I Learned From Sharks” by David Shiffman
Marine biologist and science writer David Shiffman shared a series of life lessons learned from his studies of shark behavior, ecology and conservation. He has seen or interacted with thousands of sharks of more than 50 species on five continents. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpYdBQy_GlU
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“Graphic Classes: Why Graphic Novels should be a Literature Teacher’s Best Friends” by Adam Schachner
From Batman to Bukowski, or from The Far Side to Foucault, graphic novels are amongthe most effective tools for teaching readership, analysis, and inference, but many veteran teachers and old-school curriculums dismiss them as just base “comic books”. There’s a case to be made for graphic narratives and their ability to expand minds, not limit interpretation or reduce the canon to childishness. Open your mind, read between the panels, and go get some graphic action!

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“Sex Underwater: A Slightly Inappropriate Musical Revue” by Gary Bremen
Sex has a purpose. Sex can be violent. Sex can be a solo experience. Sex can be kinky. The really cool, nerdy connection is that all of these are happening RIGHT NOW in the waters off Miami. Marine science educator Gary Bremen gave our audience a humorous (and maybe even inspirational) look at everyone’s favorite “hobby,” with a soundtrack to match.

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* Nerd Nite Miami XXV

Nerd Nite Miami XXV 11.10.16

“The Good Old Days: Growing Up On Biscayne Bay” by Captain Dan Kipnis

A history lesson leading up to the critical environmental problems that have recently surfaced to degrade the health of the Bay.

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“#BayDrift: Using nerds like you to find the solution to pollution.” by Laura Bracken Chaibongsai

Picture this – you’re enjoying a long walk on the beach, the sun is setting over the Miami skyline, warm breeze in your hair…. until you stumble upon a lone flip flop, a bottle, or maybe a diaper?!?! Gross! Where the hell did that come from?!?! With the help of citizen scientists, researchers are working to understand how ocean currents in Biscayne Bay are transporting trash and other pollutants. The #BayDrift study is a collaborative community research project led by CARTHE (research team based at University of Miami RSMAS), Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, and Frost Science. The nerds learned about our Bay and ocean currents, and how we are trying to solve the marine debris mysteries. Bonus: painting drift cards for the upcoming drift card release.

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“A Dredgeful Situation: PortMiami, corals, and the endangered species act.” by Rachel Silverstein

In a race to expand U.S. ports to accommodate larger, next-generation shipping vessels, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is targeting ports along the eastern seaboard for expansion and dredging. The Port of Miami was first on the list, where the shipping channel bisects a once-thriving coral reef and critical habitat for threatened staghorn corals. Our reefs have been smothered by sediment from the dredging but the Army Corps and its contractors have still not been held accountable for the damage. In response, Miami Waterkeeper, along with three other co-plaintiffs, filed a citizen suit in October 2014 to enforce legally-mandated protections for these imperiled corals through the Endangered Species Act.

* Nerd Nite Miami XXIV

Nerd Nite Miami XXIV 10.13.16
"The Miami Dance Index: Dance, Cities, and the Future of Miami-Dade" by citizen kevin

As you travel through cities across the globe, as a citizen fluent in dance, you'll likely notice that some cities dance far more than others. Why is this? And how does Miami compare? And what is the future of dance in Miami-Dade country? To answer these questions, we'll first need to answer a more basic question, what is dance anyway?

citizen kevin is a dancer. In the past two years, he has danced in 17+ cities. At various times in his dance career, he has found himself doing strange dances such as the "entrepreneur dance", "the engineering dance," "the independent consultant dance" in addition to more commonly held dances such as hip hop and ballet. He is currently working on his fluency in latin rhythms in preparation for a pilot tv episode on Cali, Colombia. You can find him at citizenkevin.com.
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"Can Harry Potter Fans Change the World?" by Anna Dilernia

The magical world of Harry Potter has brought many things to real life including butterbeer and the addition of the word muggle into dictionaries but did it also spur a new form of activism? During this talk, we'll explore the emerging practice of fan activism and it's effect on civic engagement
Anna Dilernia is a self-described “Data Diva” with a love for community information and open data sets. By day, she supports the The Children's Trust's work in grant evaluation, research, and impact measurement. By night, she’s lurks on Harry Potter forums to correct inaccuracies and actively reads scholarly research related to Harry Potter content. In her free time, she actively supports social change by volunteering with the United Way, League of Women Voters, The Cat Network Miami and the Harry Potter Alliance. She can be found on Twitter @annadilernia

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"FUTURLAWMA! 21st Century Solutions to 31st Century Problems" by Justin Wales

Cryogenic Freezing! Cloning! Robosexuality! Exploring futuristic issues under soon-to-be antiquated and out-of-date modern legal theory.

* Nerd Nite Miami XXIII

Nerd Nite Miami XXIII 9.8.16

“Adventures and Misadventures in Marine Biology” by Ian Enochs

So you want to be a marine biologist…. are you sure?? A career in marine science can take you to remote uninhabited islands, sunken volcanoes, and beautiful coral reefs. Sometimes these places lead to new discoveries that teach us about the impacts of climate change. Sometimes they lead to a hospital with a chunk bitten out of your arm and a gentleman handcuffed to the gurney next to you.

Ian Enochs is an Associate Research Scientist at the University of Miami’s Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies and NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. He received a PhD from UM’s Rosenstiel School in 2010. He has published 23 peer-reviewed publication and 4 book chapters on coral reefs and reef-associated animals. Some of this research has been featured in the Miami Herald, Gizmodo, IFLScience, and PBS Changing Seas, among others. Most importantly, he has been hurt a lot of times in the field.

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“Have you tried turning it off and on again? – The Infrastructure of the Internet” by Brian LeBlanc

From the humble beginnings of ARPANET, the internet has grown into a vast network of global infrastructure that you use every day and probably never think about.  We took a brief tour of the internet, including networking protocols, DNS, the interaction of server and browser software, cloud computing, Google indexing and the dark web.  We learned the basics of web technology with everything that makes the internet great: Grumpy Cat, sunglasses, explosions, fun!

Brian LeBlanc is a web developer at the University of Miami, a citizen of the internet since the days of Netscape Navigator, and a recovering World of Warcraft addict.  When offline, he is an active local stage musician, avid snowboarder and a world traveler.  He has visited all 7 continents, climbed the great wall of China, swam in the Antarctic ocean, jumped off the Auckland Skytower, toured the Lord of the Rings filming locations in New Zealand, and competed in the Broadway Bomb, an un-sanctioned 8 mile skateboard race through New York City traffic.

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“Graphic Classes: Why Graphic Novels should be a Literature Teacher’s Best Friends” by Adam Schachner
From Batman to Bukowski, or from The Far Side to Foucault, graphic novels are among the most effective tools for teaching readership, analysis, and inference, but many veteran teachers and old-school curriculums dismiss them as just base “comic books”. There’s a case to be made for graphic narratives and their ability to expand minds, not limit interpretation or reduce the canon to childishness. Open your mind, read between the panels, and get ready for some graphic action!
Adam Schachner has taught high school literature for 13 years, and in the process has developed curriculum dedicated to incorporating graphic novels in the classroom. Using them as tools for interdisciplinary topics and to create classes that foster collaboration and creativity across a range of learning types, he is always thrilled to share these methods or just to geek out on his passions. Demonstrating that creating a curriculum is maybe just a little self-indulgent for a teacher, he is excited to share his love of teaching graphic novels to fellow nerds eager to have their brains popped.

* Nerd Nite Miami XXII

Nerd Nite Miami XXII

Despite the Zika epidemic, we held Nerd Nite in August and rolled with the theme.

  • Infectious disease spelling me
  • Infectious disease trivia

1) Black Dreams Matter: Understanding the Black Sci-Fi Movement
by Jeff Carroll

2) Namesake: How Some of the More Ridiculous Places in Florida Got Their Names
by Laura Chaibongsai

3) Mosquitoes = Bad
by Tanjim Hossain

We all learned a little bit about conspiracy theories and opening up our minds to look at things in a few way.  Great nite!

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* Nerd Nite Miami XXI

Nerd Nite XXI 7.14.16
1) A Brief History of Non-Monogamy
by David Ghenassia

A quick look at non-monogamous relationships, past and present. Includes open relationships, polyamory, polygamy, polyandry, and swinging.

David Ghenassia is a dual national Franco-American, rare South Florida native, and educator. He loves hiking, biking, snorkeling, and kayaking the great outdoors. When forced indoors he likes reading, watching documentaries, and taking naps. He is a core member of a South Florida polyamory group on MeetUp.com.

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2) "Sex, Drugs, and Happiness" 
by Nerd Nite Boss Melissa Blundell Osorio 

A look at the science of happiness and how drugs, money, sex, and having kids may or may not makes us happier. 

Melissa Blundell Osorio is one of the Nerd Nite Miami Bosses. During the day, she's a positive psychology-based teacher and strategist and the founder of Positive Psychology Miami. 
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3) Through Galadriel’s Looking-Glass: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Role in Fantasy Through Past, Present, & Future 
by Nathan Laxague 

It is difficult to imagine modern fantasy in the absence of a series of books written 60 years ago by an eccentric professor of English at Oxford. But what drove Tolkien? And how does his work still impact the state of fantasy today? 

Former Nerd Nite Miami boss and forever Tolkien enthusiast (obsessor…) Nathan Laxague hopes that you’ll enjoy the nerdy details of this several hundred-year journey from oral tradition to video games. No knowledge of Old English or Finnish required. Interest in fantasy literature a plus. Nathan Laxague is a Ph.D. candidate in Applied Marine Physics at the University of Miami. This has absolutely nothing to do with his talk. 

* Nerd Nite Miami XX

Hacking Reality Through Storytelling
by Alex De Carvalho 

From the origins of language, stories helped us make sense of a challenging, complex, and dangerous world. Stories string together facts and events in memorable ways and filter our view of the world. Quantum mechanics suggests that we are the protagonists in the reality we observe. We'll look at how stories shape our perception of the world ... and how we can shape reality by the stories we tell. Only humans tell stories. What's yours?

A Brazilian-Finn born in France, Alex has navigated through multiple cultures and realities. He is at the origin of some local tech associations, including Social Media Club South Florida and RefreshMiami, as well as recurring tech events like BarCamp, Ignite, Social Media Day, and Startup Weekend. Most recently, he co-founded the Visual Storytelling Institute and taught a Master's course in "Global Marketing & Advertising" at FIU - Miami Ad School. 

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How To Tell A Story Through Film Editing
by Stephan Rich 

From the cold, dark editing room...Where the real story is told. 

A Cleveland native, Stephan Rich always considered himself a storyteller. Starting at Full Sail University, he latched onto the role of First Assistant Director, organizing every facet of the storytelling experience. He has worked in New York, Miami, and Hollywood building an impressive cross-disciplinary resume in film, television, and commercials. That same driven vision led him to his last award winning film, Acaso. today, Stephan has several documentaries in various stages of development.

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How To Nicely Manipulate People: Get What You Want From Everyone and Still Be Liked
by Maryan Firpo

Few jobs provide the exact set of skills necessary for you to be well-liked. Behavior therapy not only teaches you how to be well-liked, but also how to get others to comply with your requests without changing how much they like you.

Maryan works at a private school with special curricula for children with autism. When she's not working, she likes to be involved in the community.