Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Time: 8pm
Location: High Noon Saloon (map)

Semiotics: How to Be a Real-World Symbol Hunter

Summary: In this talk John will do three things:

  • Define semiotics (the science of signs and symbols) and talk about its real-world applications.
  • Talk about one such application, the applying of visual semiotic theory to the training of deep-learning neural networks, that is, training such networks to think better as a function of teaching them to see better, as in “Ah! I see what you mean!”
  • Talk about “5 Principles of Semiotics” that any would-be symbol hunter, “grail” quester, Robert Langdon, or Sherlock Holmes should know, principles such as “The Theory of Facial Height,” “The ‘Price Is Wrong’ Principle,” the “Meme, Seme, Deme Distinction,” and the “Sherlock Homing Principle”!
John Coletta

Presenter Bio: W. John Coletta, Ph.D., Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP), is a former President (2010) and Vice President (2009) of the Semiotic Society of America, and currently sits on the Editorial Board of The American Journal of Semiotics. Professor Coletta’s principal research interests include Peircean semiotics; physiosemiosis; ecocriticism; biosemiotic criticism; the history and representation of ecological and evolutionary thought; and the major British poet and minor naturalist John Clare. He is also CEO of INT3RP INC, a consulting company with offices in Madison and Stevens Point offering “semiotic services” in several domains.

Cute Aggression: The Struggle to Resist Squeezing Cute Things

Summary: Puppies, kittens, and babies – why do all these adorable things make us go crazy with cute aggression? Often we find ourselves overwhelmed with a desire to squeeze or even act violently toward cute things, but somehow we very quickly suppress those feelings. This strange human reaction could be a coping mechanism by the brain when overloaded with too. much. cuteness.

Asuka Eguchi

Presenter bio: Asuka Eguchi, PhD, does stem cell research in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While the focus of her research has been on designing molecular switches to control cell fate, she enjoys all things science and has a particular fascination with information processing by the brain. She was a wolf in her previous life and still spends all her free time running.

How we make stuff — mass manufacturing plastic things

Summary: Every piece of plastic that you’ve bought is made using a set of tools that are carefully designed. Whether it’s injection molded, blow molded, cast, or thermoformed, that plastic was converted into a shape, and the tools left telltale signs. You’ll never see everyday objects the same, because after this talk you’ll be thinking about the underbelly of the plastics industry with everything you touch.

Bob Baddeley

Presenter bio: Bob is a computer engineer and works in consumer electronics for some of the hardware startups around Madison. He designs and builds Internet-connected sensors. He’s also a member at Sector67, the local makerspace where you can get experience with many of the plastics tools he will discuss and participate in crazy projects like a Bluetooth-enabled outhouse.