Date: Wednesday January 25, 2012
Time: 8pm
Location: Genna’s Lounge (map)

Promiscuity Promotes Biodiversity: And Other Tales of Sex and Speciation

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Summary: Since before Darwin, biologists have sought to understand how the extraordinary diversity of life on earth came to be. We’ve figured out that, when it comes to speciation, it really is all about sex (or rather lack thereof). This talk will explain different speciation mechanisms and the quest to identify ‘speciation genes’, touching on topics such as sperm competition, sexual conflict, and ligers.

Presenter bio: Leslie Turner is a postdoctoral fellow in Genetics at UW-Madison, studying the genetic basis of species barriers in house mice. She’s been an academic nomad for many years, having lived in 6 states and 2 countries during her training. Hopefully she’ll survive the grueling academic job market and end the moving streak someday soon.


Internet Agoraphobia or: Why You Should Be Afraid to Venture Into the World Wide Web

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Summary: The internet has become an integral part of our daily lives — we use it for communication, we make purchases, we upload files. But in this normalcy, do we ever stop and think about where our personal information is going and who might have access to it? Surely if we did, we might want to stay “indoors”. In this talk, you will learn how to best protect yourself from the hazards that await you on the World Wide Web.

Presenter bio: Based in Madison, Rob is a software developer who devotes much of his free time writing FLOSS (free/libre/open source software) and the rest informing people how to practice safe hex (computing, that is). Rob currently works at INOC on the East Side, where he writes web applications and server-side programs.


Cows Shit Gold: The Magic of Manure

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Summary: “Pasture Patties.” “Cow Pies.” “Meadow Muffins.” No matter its name, cow manure is agricultural gold. For centuries, humans have been using manure as a fertilizer for land. Cow dung is rich in nutrients and microbes eager to unknowingly cultivate farmland. But in addition to its use as a crop dressing, manure has other lesser known applications from serving as an insect repellent to a biofuel. In this talk we’ll learn just how valuable manure is, both historically and to modern science, and hopefully learn plenty of synonyms for “poo” along the way. So grab a stool, take a load off, and let us enrich your pootential.

Presenter bio: Clarissa Booth is an environmental toxicology graduate student at UW. She’s taking care of business by using enzymes from manure and compost to degrade recalcitrant proteins. She frequently collects prairie pancakes to study, but for eating, says blueberry pancakes are her favorite.