Date: Wednesday March 6, 2013
Time: 8pm
Location: High Noon Saloon (map)

The Game Theory of Life: if the sounds I made could be what you hear

Summary: It’s a common academic conundrum: a scholar comes up with an elegant theory– and then has to figure out why anyone should care. Many scientific (and those aspiring to be scientific) disciplines have given up attempts to answer this question to those outside their field, motivating legions of pop psychologists and nerd nite speakers to spread the good word. Here, Christopher will evangelize on the crucial importance of Game Theory and why you need to know about a pair of illustrative examples if you are interested in communication, along with answering some vital questions about life: Why are people assholes? Why can’t people figure out how to trust in one another? And why is it so difficult to communicate true information when everyone knows we are motivated to do so?

Presenter bio: Christopher is a modern-day-commonplace intellectual dilettante/wanna-be drifter. Three years ago, he left Northwestern’s Economics graduate school ABD, and he still can’t figure out what academic economists are researching these days. By that time, he had already learned all of the information he’s contributing during this talk, but he’s continued to live in bewildered amazement. Since that time, he’s worked on statistical analysis with the New York Yankees, and is currently employed by a healthcare software company you’ve probably never heard of. In his spare time, he does more silly things, such as rank the top 200 songs from the last decade, and is a fierce disciple of John Darnielle, Nate Silver, and David Foster Wallace–learn from them, please.


The scientific creativity behind musical instruments and its effect on musical geniuses

Summary: Soviet abduction, human capacitance, electromagnetic induction, and Jimi Hendrix: technology has influenced music as we know it today, often in unexpected ways. Musical instruments, the enablers of acoustic output from human input, are fundamental to the interplay between musician and scientist (often the same person). Guitars and synthesizers, twists and turns, surprising interactions, telephones, doorbells … all reveal music and technology are deeply intertwined!

Presenter bio: Marco was born in Milan, Italy and was raised in Minnesota and North Carolina, which resulted in an eclectic and juxtaposed background. In elementary school, he was a fiendish rocket fanatic, trying to get the largest rocket engines into the smallest rockets. He’s also confident he was the first to have launched a beanie baby into space (read: 10 feet). In middle school, he blew his life savings ($100) on a guitar, and it’s one of the best things he’s ever done. Since then, in some way or another, science and music have been the two interweaving threads that have guided his path. Presently, he’s en route to a PhD in chemistry studying the bio-nano interface. Wheeeeee!


Sex on Six Legs

Summary: Can you make your lover explode with passion? Follow you for life? Die for love? Insects can. You think your ex screwed you over? Bugs don’t even want to hear about it. And whatever that weird thing is you’re afraid to tell your partner about, don’t worry, it’s natural. When it comes to the evolutionary arms race for love, insects are way ahead of us. 398 million years and 6-10 million species, to be exact, and they didn’t get there by staying home every night.

Presenter bio: Deborah Seiler is a science communications specialist for the UW-Extension and WI Department of Natural Resources. Tonight’s talk is just about her favorite hobbies.