Nerd Nite 15 on Feb. 2nd at Eastworks!

Happy New Year, my Nerd Niters. We’ve got several months of talks already lined up and we’re excited to get back to it. So, without further ado…

Nerd Nite 15
Monday, Feb 2nd, 7PM
Eastworks, 116 Pleasant St., Easthampton
$5, 21+
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Welcome to Your Brain: Reality is a Biologically Constrained Illusion
Do you think that reality is shared among humans? What is perception and how does it work? In this talk we will briefly examine the neuroanatomy behind the senses, how we can use illusions to trick the system into revealing itself, and, in the process, learn about how our brains construct a shared reality (in theory, at least).

Kristina Curro is a  Ph.D. candidate at UMass Amherst, speech-language pathologist, and lifelong cognition junkie whose mind was blown in 7th grade when her biopsychology teacher showed her a Necker Cube.


Profound Games: Empathy, Community, and Teamwork at the Table
Games are fun—they let us unwind, escape, and even feel powerful—but can they be more? Come hear about just a few of the games that are redefining the medium, helping us connect with others, foster new perspectives, and become better people.

Joshua Yearsley is a freelance editor specializing in tabletop games, as well as a member of Owl and Raven, a non-profit game development cooperative in Northampton.


Also, if you or someone you know is interested in presenting at Nerd Nite or helping out (possibly for pay) please be in touch. Nerd Nite can use help posting flyers, with social media, documenting stuff, etc.

See you 2/2!


Your Nerd Nite host and organizer

Happy Holidays!

Nerd Nite is taking a month off. Enjoy your holiday season and we’ll see you in February!

Best wishes,

Mo, your Nerd Nite host and organizer

Next Nerd Nite, 12/1 @ Eastworks!

Hey there everyone, join us on December 1st for NN14 as we send you off to sleep with the fishes. Or at least, to learn about sleeping AND fishes. This is definitely going to be an interesting evening…

Nerd Nite 14
Monday, 12/1, 7PM, 21+ $5
Eastworks suite 160
116 Pleasant St., Easthampton


Why do We Sleep?
We spend a quarter of our lives asleep. But why? Myths abound in answer to this question; we’ll discuss which ones bear out when viewed through the new science of sleep.

Rebecca Spencer is an Associate Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at UMass Amherst and an expert in the cognitive neuroscience of sleep and cognition.


Get to Know Your Backyard Gladiator: The Broadbill Swordfish
Never thought you could love a fish? Then you’ve obviously never met a swordfish, whose latin name—xiphias gladius—means “the gladiator”. Come learn what makes these creatures—which are found in New England waters—such phenomenal examples of evolution.

Matt Rigney is a nonfiction author and novelist. His book, “In Pursuit of Giants: One Man’s Global Search for the Last of the Great Fish,” was published in 2012 by Viking.


Nerd Nite, November 3rd, back at Eastworks

Hello Nerd Niters,

We are back at Eastworks on November 3rd for the start of our 2nd year of bringing nerdliness to the Valley. Hope you can make it!

Nerd Nite 13
Monday, November 3rd, 7PM. 21+ $5
Suite 160 @ Eastworks
116 Pleasant St., Easthampton

Here are the talks:

Funding Your Startup: Sharks, Suits, and Thanksgiving Dinners
Entrepreneurs need funding to launch and grow their dreams. Hear stories illuminating the good, the bad, and the ugly of raising funding from family, banks, angels, big donors, and bootstrapping.

Paul Silva helps entrepreneurs via his leadership roles at Valley Venture Mentors, River Valley Investors, and Lean Launchpad: Pioneer Valley.


Painting with Science: Color Mastery for Thinking Artists
If you ever had an art teacher talk to you about color, they were probably wrong about most of it, and that probably made things hard for you. The truth of it is much more fascinating than the myths. Let’s figure out why painting with color is so needlessly difficult.

Steve Linberg is a lifelong IT nerd who finally picked up the paintbrush again 10 years ago, and can’t keep his brain away from it. He collaborates with realist painter Graydon Parrish and studies and teaches color theory and practice to artists around the country.


Spread the word, and see you there!

One-Year Anniversary Party! 10/25 @ The Deuce.

Nerd Niters! This is shaping up to be our biggest event yet. Come celebrate ONE YEAR of Nerd Nite in the 413 with an amazing party featuring live music, prizes, and one fun talk:

Saturday, October 25th, 8PM, 21+, $10
WWII Club (The Deuce, where it all began), 50 Conz St., Northampton

featuring: The Gaslight Tinkers!

Trivia with amazing prizes:
Platinum Pony gift certificate for a private movie night for 20 people!
Sip Coffee & Tea gift certificate!


one special Nerd Nite talk by French Lit Ph.D. candidate Rachel Tapley
Smut & Sluts: How Reading Novels Leads to Ruin

In eighteenth-century France, moralists predicted that scandalous novels falling into women’s hands would have dire consequences. Discover the dangers of fiction before it’s too late!

You are not going to want to miss this event. The Gaslight Tinkers are an amazing Celtic-world-rock-funk band that will make you dance–they are worth the price of admission by themselves. Please come and invite all your friends!

Special Event: Amherst Poetry Festival, 9/20

Hello Nerd Nite fans! We are very excited to partner with the Emily Dickinson Museum on a special poetry-themed edition of Nerd Nite, happening Saturday, September 20th at 7:30PM on the lawn of the museum. The event is part of the Amherst Poetry Festival, occurring from the 19th to the 21st. It’s all free! And we’ll be under a tent, so don’t worry about the weather.

Here are the talks:

Are You’re Sure Emily Dickinson Was a Poet?
How do notes scribbled on a chocolate wrapper become famous lyric poems? Let’s reflect on just what it means to be a poet by taking a look at some of Emily Dickinson’s manuscripts.

Sean Gordon is a PhD student and an instructor in the English Department at UMass-Amherst. He’s also a serious lover of Emily Dickinson’s … poetry?


How to Stop Worrying and Love Poetry
People often say they’re afraid of poetry, but this fear arises from focusing on meaning, as if the poem is a complicated envelope we have to extract some nugget from. But what if the poem is a playground instead? What if we enter it looking for the pleasure instead of worrying about getting it wrong?

Michael Thurston teaches courses on modern poetry (the hard stuff) at Smith College. He has also published several books and a dozen articles on twentieth-century poetry.

Hope to see you there!

Next Nerd Nite, September 8th @ Eastworks!

Hello my nerds,

We are back at Eastworks on 9/8 for our tenth Nerd Nite! We are excited to get in the swing of the academic year and welcome back all the students (and students of life). 7PM, 21+, $5. We have two awesome talks lined up (talks are not necessarily listed in order of presentation):

The Boeing 787: Innovation in the Sky
The carbon-fiber 787 is changing air travel with its improved fuel efficiency and customer experience. Learn what makes this plane, and today’s aerospace industry, so exciting.

Molly Sackett Pasquale has worked design and aftermarket programs for 12 years at United Technologies Aerospace Systems, the 787’s biggest supplier.


‘They’ Lives: A Linguist’s Defense of the Singular ‘They’
Using ‘they’ to refer to an individual rather than a group challenges grammatical convention, but sneaks into the speech of many. We’ll draw on the history of English and the mechanics of language change to examine the particular niche this use of ‘they’ fills and why it might just be the best word for the job.

Grace Mrowicki has a degree in linguistics from Haverford College, and wrote her undergrad thesis on the ways in which colonialism can affect pronoun systems.


Spread the word, and mark your calendars for 9/20 as well: we will be doing a special event as part of the Amherst Poetry Festival!

Next Nerd Nite: August 4th at Eastworks

Come join us in the usual spot, suite 160 at Eastworks on Monday, August 4th at 7PM for the next Nerd Nite! We have two talks that will cover some new territory for Nerd Nite and we’re really looking forward to them. $3 21+

How to Walk Through Hell with a Smile on Your Face
This is the story of how a community transformed a troubled drug addict into a philanthropic entrepreneur. Investing in people pays dividends; you’ll learn just how much.

Thom Fox is a business advisor and award-winning philanthropist. He was introduced to drugs at the age of nine; stabbed, shot at, and left for dead on a handful of occasions; and ultimately turned his life around with the support of caring mentors.


Talking in Tunes: Why Do We Do it, and How Do Kids Learn it?
“Don’t take that tone with me!” Humans use pitch and melody to convey different types of information in speech. Just what kind of information do kids understand through those tunes?

Meghan E. Armstrong is Assistant Professor of Hispanic Linguistics at UMass-Amherst. Her research deals with intonational meaning and intonational development in young children.


Spread the word! See you on the 4th…

Next Nerd Nite: July 7th @ Eastworks!

Hello everyone! I’m getting really stoked for our next Nerd Nite (and OK, partially because I’m giving one of the talks). We’ll be back at Eastworks in our usual spot near Rif’s with food and drink available, as always. Monday, July 7th, 7PM, $3. Please spread the word! And now, the talks:

Communes, Communications, and Community
How the Counterculture and Commune movements of the early 1970’s influenced the internet age, computers, social media and other aspects of life in the 21st century.

Craig Issod was a early member of The Farm, the most successful commune in the USA. He and his cohorts went on to create many of the guidelines, inventions, and innovations which drive modern media and society.


In a World of “In a World”: The Voice-Over Industry, Revealed
Encountering voice-overs is one of the most ubiquitous experiences you never think about. Go behind the mic with a 20-year veteran.

Mo Lotman is a voice talent with two decades of credits in commercials, narrations, e-learning, games and radio.

Nerd Nite Picnic on Sunday, June 8th!

We had an amazing time at Brick Coworkshop for NN7. One of our presenters, Richard Richardson, shared with us his creation of the beautiful Three Sisters Sanctuary in Goshen. Now we have an opportunity to go there together on Sunday! Swing by anytime between 1 and 4, bring a picnic lunch, a blanket, and even a bottle of wine if you are so inclined. Explore the sanctuary and socialize with your fellow Nerd Niters. Open to all (except dogs, alas). I hope to see you all there. Directions and more info at

Mo, your Nerd Nite host and organizer.


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