Date: Wednesday June 27, 2012
Time: 8pm
Location: High Noon Saloon (map)

Stories from the Last Ice Age: Vegetation responses to the last global warming and species extinctions

Summary: If a tree grew in the forest 15,000 years ago, did it make a sound? And why should we care about long-vanished ecosystems anyways? In 20 minutes or less, I’ll make the case that the end of the last deglaciation is endlessly fascinating, both as a topic unto itself (Mammoths! Mile-high ice sheets! Migrating plants! Giant aphids that would tear your face off! [last one not true]) and as our one of the best model systems for understanding forest responses to climate change, species extinctions, human-driven shifts in fire regime, and other matters of pressing concern today.

Presenter bio: Jack Williams grew up wanting to be a mad scientist, but these days he is rarely more than mildly grumpy, at best. Jack is a professor of geography at UW-Madison and the current director of the Nelson Center for Climatic Research. Research interests include: paleoecology, paleoclimatology, global climate change, and vegetation dynamics, and pretty much anything else that intersects with these topics. See and for more info. Or follow his intermittent twitter feed @IceAgeEcologist


How to Revive a Nation: Ein Abend mit der Germans

Summary: With the presidential election in full swing we are constantly barraged with ideas as to which direction our country needs to take. Undoubtedly, everyone will claim their idea as the panacea for all that ails our country. How are we to sort through these various prescriptions? Unfortunately, I can’t help you there. What I can offer is a journey to a far away land (known as Germany) that once faced this very debate. In the early 20th century, many Germans felt that their country had gotten off track and proposed various ways to return her to her rightful glory. Perhaps we should shed bourgeois society by removing our clothing and worshiping the sun. Or maybe a quick war will sweep away the malaise and melancholy of modernity and catalyze a national revival. Indeed, the Germans tried it all and tonight we will consider their proposals for our own time and place. Tonight, we will revive our nation.

Presenter bio: Charlie Cahill is a PHD student in Modern European History at UW-Madison with a focus on 20th century Germany. Before moving to Madison Charlie lived in Germany for two years in order to study their mysterious ways. After resisting the siren call for the past four years Charlie is moving back to the promised land in the fall.


Creationism: When you don’t know the difference between The Flintstones and a National Geographic documentary

Summary: Why do forty percent of the American public believe the earth is only 6,000 years old, that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time in the Garden of Eden, and that 4400 years ago eight humans took care of over fourteen thousand animals (and their poop) on a boat for a year while the entire Earth was covered with water? Why would anyone spend forty seven million dollars on a so-called museum promoting such ideas? Because they believe the book of Genesis is a science book, and the story of Noah’s Ark is historical fact. Cross over the to dark side from reason and rationality. Get ready for some zany creationist quotes and other factoids from the “field” of “Creation Science.”

Presenter bio: Skip Evans has been studying creationism for a couple of decades, and did so professionally as the Network Project Director at the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, California from 2001 to 2004. He currently lives here in Madison, basking in the over-educated, hippie glow and organizing Science Pub which brings scientists and the public together over food, beer and good times. He occasionally blogs at and maintains