Nerd Nite July 9th: Permaculture and The Force

World War II club
50 Conz Street, Northampton MA
Monday, June 11, 7:00pm, $5.00 admission
Guests are welcome to bring their own food or order take-out at the venue

‘Designing a Suburban Permaculture Homestead’

By living simply and in community, you can play a vital role in modeling regenerative land stewardship. In this case study, learn how Broadfork used the permaculture design process to establish a vibrant homestead on one acre in a suburban neighborhood. Learn how they invested in relationships with the community and utilized social capital to make it possible.

Ashley Schenk co-founded Broadfork Permaculture, a co-operative landscape design company in Western Mass. He also builds and enjoys earthen ovens.


‘The Luminiferous Aether and the Force’

The universe of Star Wars does not appear to obey the same natural laws as the one we know. Lightsabers, the Force, even the way spaceships move seem to defy our understanding of the world. But what if they can be explained by a theory we abandoned long ago in an experiment not so far away?

Tim McLaughlin Jr has been studying astrophysics, especially cosmology, most of his life. He has a keen interest in abandoned theories, conspiracies, and other fringe ideas that helped inform this curiosity.

Nerd Nite June 11: Presenting on Presenting and Anarchists in Spain

World War II club
50 Conz Street, Northampton MA
Monday, June 11, 7:00pm, $5.00 admission

‘Bullets are Bad for the Brain: Designing Effective Presentatpresentation vinteions’

Presentation design software wants you to be boring. This presentation about presentations gives the audience a few simple rules that will ensure that the next time they need to present on a topic, no one will die of ennui.

Fred Zinn is Associate Director of the Innovate@ Team at the
University of Massachusetts Amherst. His areas of interest and expertise include: visual communication of complex ideas, teaching people to draw and design their own instructional images, designing useful user interfaces, and advocating for effective (bullet-free) presentations.


‘Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War’

Cooper will give a brief description of anarchism, discuss famous “anarchists” (some non-anarchists included), and provide a short history of anarchism in Spain.

Cooper Wood became interested in the Spanish Civil War in high school after reading “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. He’s currently writing his novel, and recently moved to northern MA from New London.

May 14th: ‘Life in the Earth’s hot, dark crust’ and ‘Let me Google that for you’

World War II club
50 Conz Street, Northampton MA
Monday, May 14, 7:00pm, $5.00 admission

‘Life in the Earth’s hot, dark crust’
It is estimated that 20% of Earth’s microbes live in Earth’s crust. How do these microbes live there? What do they eat? Do they cooperate with one another or compete for resources? What can they teach us about origin of life and life on other planets?

Presenter Begüm Topçuoğlu loves microbes and their impact on Earth, and completed her PhD on this topic.


‘Let me Google that for you’

A look at the more esoteric features of Google search in Google and Google Scholar. Advanced search, search tools and how to get the most relevant results will help you ferret out the good bits and leave behind the chaff.

Lorre Smith has been a librarian and an expert in searching databases and teaching others to search since before Google was invented.

Nerd Nite April 9th: Comics and Craft Brews

World War II club
50 Conz Street, Northampton MA
Monday, April 9th, 7:00pm, $5.00 admission

‘Brewing Through the Ages’

A talk about the history of beermaking, from ancient civilizations, through industrialization, to today.

Jordana Starr & Mike Schilling own Beerology in Northampton and incorporate history into our classes. They find Beer history extremely fascinating, having attended a beer history conference that armed them with tons of great stories to share!


‘Why Comics? The Accessibility and Unlimited Potential of Words and Pictures’

Comics – a medium that means many things to many people. What counts as a comic? What is unique about this art-form for the sharing of the human experience and communicating information? Comics are for everyone, even you, too!

Christian W. Z. Reader, or XTN for short, has been enjoying comics in Western Mass since they were young. Now they own a boutique bookstore focusing on comics and everything words and pictures. They live in Easthampton Ma with their wife and business-partner, three awesome house-mates and two incredible dogs.

Nerd Nite March 12th: Saving Lions and Diagnosing Presidents

World War II club
50 Conz Street, Northampton MA
March 12th, 7:00pm, $5.00 admission

lion‘Pride in Our Prides: Can a Story Save the African Lion?’

In 2013, half of the lion population were poisoned in Northern Botswana. Poison is an indiscriminate killer with cascading impacts throughout the ecosystem. We started an innovative program to individualize the cats, telling their stories to the communities, to help increase tolerance for coexisting with these big cats.
Andrew Stein is a wildlife biologist and National Geographic Explorer focused on the conservation of large predators- specifically the big cats. Over the past 16 years, he’s lived and worked on various projects in Kenya, Namibia, South Africa and Botswana living in remote field sites with local communities to learn about ways to promote coexistence. He recently started a non-profit called the CLAWS Conservancy (Communities Living Among Wildlife Sustainably) to address the conservation of lions in the Okavango Delta, Botswana.
‘”Crazy Like a Fox” or Just “Crazy? The Case of Donald J. Trump’
Questions abound as to whether Donald trump is “mentally unfit” to be president of the United States and whether the 25th amendment should be invoked to remove him from office. We will look at whether the “Duty to Warn” trumps the “Goldwater rule” for mental health professionals to ethically speak out about signs that the President is mentally unfit for office and a danger to society. After reviewing the criteria for Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality Disorder, we will look at tweets and videos so that members of the audience can form their own conclusions.
David Arbeitman has a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Cornell university. He’s a licensed psychologist with 25 years of teaching Psychopathology and Ethics in the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University. He’s an avid reader of politics and political opinion.

Nerd Nite February 12th: Don’t live-tweet your heist!

World War II club
50 Conz Street, Northampton MA
February 12th, 7:00pm, $5.00 admission

‘Heist, Heist Baby (Too Bold, Too Bold): A discussion on caper culture, and certainly not an outline on how to plan and execute your own successful swindle’

What do the Shelby Mustang GT500, the Declaration of Independence, and John Travolta’s face have in common? At some point, someone has wanted to steal them for some ridiculous reason. In this talk, we examine how heist movies have evolved over the last 100 years, and see what lessons can be gleaned from their fictional successes and failures.

Joe Van Allen has some degrees in stuff not related to heists, is a capable contortionist, and gets a little emotional during Ocean’s 11 when they’re all standing at the fountain and Clair de Lune is playing.


‘Don’t #AskMeAnything: A review of social media fails and blunders by people who should know better’

Since the dawn of Facebook and Twitter, humankind has exhibited very poor judgment in the way they use social media. Major public figures and huge companies far too often post things that make us want to grab a bag of popcorn and watch things play out in a mixture of amusement and horror. In this talk, I’ll discuss the major ways in which people fail at social media, ranging from the funny to the serious, and throw in some wins as well.

Ebru Kardan is the Director of Communications at the UMass College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and one of the co-organizers of Nerd Nite NoHo. She’s managed social media for nearly a dozen organizations and businesses and has, on more than one occasion, given herself anxiety attacks by posting the wrong thing to the wrong page.

Nerd Nite November: Skeletons & Socialists

November 13th at the World War II Club

7:00pm  |  $5 general admission

Marx-2a-verticalSocialism, the Radical Future of Capitalism: How we can stake our claim to a radical future by guaranteeing health care, child care, and employment to all.
– by Sanjiv Gupta

This Skeleton is Full of Bugs: Learning about character rigging in video games by looking at the ways it goes wrong.
– by Connie Hildreth


“Socialism, the Radical Future of Capitalism”
The 2016 election revealed astonishing support for Bernie Sanders’ “democratic socialism.” But what is socialism? Karl Marx conceived it as the radical future of capitalism and democracy, one in which we enjoy our individual and collective capacities to the fullest. Capitalism works especially harshly in the U.S. But capitalism is also creating the means for a radically democratic society, one in which all of us participate consciously in making the future. In this talk I introduce Marx’s description of socialism. I also argue that we can stake our claim to this radical future by guaranteeing the following to everyone in the U.S.: health care, child care, and gainful employment.

Dr. Sanjiv Gupta is an Associate Professor of Sociology at UMass Amherst.


“This Skeleton is Full of Bugs”
In animation and games, rigging is the step in creating a character where you define how a character can move. It’s done once you already have a 3D model but before you animate it. It is a mix of technical and tedious that depends on what kind of movement a character needs to be capable, and is difficult to explain to your dentist when they ask you what you do for a living and why it’s not animating.

The importance of rigging and how it makes the media we enjoy is really apparent when it goes wrong. In animation, you only see this in blooper reel, but in games it results in eyeballs floating out of a character’s head, faces that look like knifes and running jauntily along with their arms at 90 degree angles. We’ll talk about why those things happen so much and in the way they do.

Connie Hildreth is a web developer who previously worked on rigging and tool development at a local animation studio.

Nerd Nite October: Einstein!

einsteinOctober 23, 2017 at The Academy of Music

$5.00 general admission  | 7:00pm

Nerd Nite Noho comes to the Academy of Music stage!
Nerd Nite is a monthly event held in more than 90 cities across the globe during which folks give fun-yet-informative presentations – while the audience drinks along. Presenters Gary Felder and Brokk Toggerson will cover themes related to the work of Albert Einstein as connective tissue and food for thought around our November Season Series performance of Jack Fry’s one-man show, Einstein! Come schmooze, have a drink and talk science!

GARY FELDER is a professor of Physics at Smith College. He holds a PhD in theoretical cosmology and has done research in the field for 20 years. He’s given many public presentations on the topic, including SciTech Cafe, appearances on the Bill Newman show, and talks at elementary schools, high schools, summer camps, retirement communities, and more.
“The Big Bang and Beyond“
Einstein’s theory of relativity presented a radically new idea of what space and time are, which in turn led to the development of the Big Bang Theory of the history of the universe. Gary briefly explain how the theory of relativity led to the Big Bang Theory, what that theory says about the history of the universe, and a few of the current open questions and areas of research in cosmology.

BROKK TOGGERSON is a physicist who did his Ph.D. at CERN’s LHC and is now a physics teacher at UMass Amherst.
“The Black Holes of Scientific Knowledge”
Sometimes it seems that scientists (and physicists in particular) have essentially everything figured out. Sure we are still working on a few really hard problems, but other than that it can seem that there are just details to be cleaned up. Turns out, there are some fairly significant things that we still do not really understand! Questions like, “what is nothing?” don’t really have satisfactory answers. In this talk, we will explore some stuff, both grand and every day, that we do not know.

Nerd Nite NoHo 9/11/17: Manipulation and Bats

September 11, 2017 at 7:o0pm

World War II Club, 50 Conz Street, Northampton MA

Join us for ‘Mind Control: Manipulating your audience when making presentations’ by Georges Grinstein and ‘To the Batmobile! The ongoing plight of North American bats’ by Jonathan Reichard.

$5 admission.

‘Mind Control: Manipulating your audience when making presentations’
Georges will discuss what visual analytics is, give examples of modern visualizations and visual analytic tools, and discuss his current research interests: cognitive visualizations, very high-dimensional data visualizations, and coupling visualization and machine learning.

Georges Grinstein is an academic with over 40 years of research and teaching focused on computer graphics, visualization and visual analytics. He’s started a number of companies and mentored numerous doctoral students, and loves starting new projects and learning new things.


‘To the Batmobile! The ongoing plight of North American bats’

Since 2006, populations of hibernating bats in the US and Canada have been decimated by the fungal disease white-nose syndrome. As the disease continues to spread across the country, the scientific community is making great strides to determine how to control the pathogen and promote recovery of bats. Some North American bats are avoiding the most serious impacts of WNS, but the ecology of bats in the US and Canada has been changed

Jonathan Reichard works for the US Fish and Wildlife Service as the national assistant coordinator for white-nose syndrome. Jon helped lead the collaborative actions of state, federal, and scientific agencies and institutions to prepare for the arrival of white-nose syndrome and implement conservation and recovery strategies.

Nerd Nite August 14th: Weather & Song

Monday, August 14th at 7:00pm
World War II Club Banquet Room
50 Conz Street
Northampton, MA

Nerd Nite NoHo! It’s happening again, and this month we’ve got the fantastic Wesley Olds presenting “Weather Forecasts, WTF?”

Weather forecasts have a notorious reputation for being unreliable, yet people often plan their day based on them. Is that reputation justified, or do meteorologists get an undeserved bad rap? If weather forecasts are unreliable, how can you use them wisely to make plans? This presentation will shed some light on those questions.

Wes received his B.S. in Meteorology from Lyndon State College and M.S. in Applied Statistics from Cornell University.

We will also have the absolutely lovely Adam Marks presenting “The Art Of Mashups and Sampling: How to Make any Two Songs Work Together”

Have you ever heard a song on the radio that used a part from and older song? How about a YouTube video which takes two songs you’ve never thought could work together flow seamlessly? Adam Marks has been making these kind of audio “Mashups” since 2006, and will be going through the basics of both theory and audio editing to prove that with a little bit of math and even more creativity, anything is possible. Other topics covered will include Digital Audio Workstations and basic music theory.

Adam creates his own music mashups and is capable of listening to and then considering the quality of musical performance.