Madison Nerd Nite #96 PlayStation Prototype, Death of High Mass Stars, and Race Horse Names

Date: Wednesday, March 20th
Time: 8pm
Location: High Noon Saloon

Get ready for the final Nerd Nite ’til AUGUST! Come get your fill of nerdiness with three spectacular topics!
First, we have Max Olmsted with “The History of the Nintendo PlayStation Prototype: The Rarest Video Game Console in the World”: Imagine a world where Mario and Crash Bandicoot teamed up! That almost became a reality with the Nintendo PlayStation, a legendary console shrouded in mystery. This presentation dives into its exciting backstory – a tale of a vanished prototype, and a dramatic rediscovery. Get ready to journey into a hidden chapter of gaming history!

Next up is Bartje Wakker taking us into outer space with “Oops! All Neutrons!: The End of Lives of High Mass Stars”: Big stars burn bright and die young, but how do they die? And what happens next? And where do they come from in the first place? Understanding these and their demise can tell us where the elements come from, why there exists as an atomic nucleus the size of manhattan, and even how the strongest material in the universe is… tasty?

Our final presenter til we meet again in AUGUST is Dr. Sarah Koske, getting us ready for Derby Day! She will be presenting “Bat Ship Bray: Why Racehorses Have Crazy Names”: Have you ever wondered why racehorses have such bizarre names? Racehorse names can range from badass (Hades) to funny (Bodacious Tatas), to sentimental (Always Dreaming), so how do these athletes come to be named? Sarah will explain the various horse naming traditions and the complex system of rules that govern the naming of racehorses. We’ll also touch on the psychology behind names and how they might affect your own performance at the track.

Nerd Nite #95 K-Pop, Love Darts, and Climate Change

Date: Wednesday, March 20th
Time: 8pm
Location: High Noon Saloon

Spring has sprung, and it is time for another exciting Nerd Nite!

Kicking things off is Linda Lay with A Brief History of K-Pop! Learn about the sound of the Hallyu Wave! Whether you’re an established fan, or just want to relate to your niblings as they trade photocards at Thanksgiving, come listen to a seasoned veteran go over almost 30 years of K-pop history combined with some personal anecdotes.

Next up is Kaitlyn Abshire presenting Love Hurts: the Intimate Mating Rituals of Snails and Slugs. Snails and slugs have some of the most unique mating rituals, ranging from using love darts to dangling from mucus ropes to penis fencing and much more! Let’s explore the fascinating sex lives of snails and slugs.

Last but not least, we welcome Eric Niemeyer (of Nic Cage presentation fame) back to the Nerd Nite stage! Eric will be discussing Climate Change Anxiety. This will be a mix of science and storytelling from various scientists, activists, and other folks involved in climate change solutions. Join us to find the humor in a topic near and dear to many of our hearts!

Be there, and be square!

Madison Nerd Nite #94 Traffic, Insurance, and Birthday Disappointment (but it’ll be fun we promise)

Date: Wednesday, February 7th
Time: 8pm
Location: High Noon Saloon

Winter woes got you down? Nerd Nite is here for you! We have three fabulous presenters lined up to entertain and educate you this February!
First is McKenzie Beyer to explain why so many people feel disappointed on their birthdays! Birthdays are complicated, and relationships with them change over time. McKenzie will also give some advice about avoiding those birthday blues.
Second is Dan Gantman talking about another stressor: traffic! We all get eaten up by the daily grind, but why is our daily commute so painful? During construction, commuters are often required to merge into a single lane of traffic, a bottleneck causing serious back-up, frustration, and late Zoom calls. It seems obvious when one should merge and yet commuters are polarized: Do you get in line right away or merge at the last second? In this presentation, we will settle the debate once and for all between anti-mergers and pro-mergers. You will learn how to simulate traffic and be empowered with equations to prove who is right about zipper merging, who is wasting everyone’s time, and who is just an asshole.
Our final speaker is returning Nerd Niter Larry Werner, who will be sharing the history of insurance! Insurance impacts all of our lives, whether we have it or not– its origins are more interesting than you may think!

Madison Nerd Nite #93 The Wonders of Soil, Lord of the Rings Gossip, and Growing in Straw bales!

Date: Wednesday, January 3rd
Time: 8pm
Location: High Noon Saloon

Start your year off right with Nerd Nite!
Our first speaker is Erica Hagen, to teach us about the wonders of soil: “We take for granted the stuff under our feet, but soil has memory and feels stress just like us. Let’s get the scoop on this fascinating engineering material!”
Second is Matt Kendrick with “A Royal Scandal: The King of Gondor Marries his Cousin?” This will be an overview of some of the notable events of the ancestors of Aragorn and Arwen. Lord of the Rings nerds, we see you!
Our third speaker is Paul Matthews to get us in the springtime mindset! “Learn about the magic of growing veggies in strawbales! This dirt-less method combines the advantages of no weeding, reduced watering, and bonus compost for next year’s garden!”
We will see you all at the High Noon on Wednesday! 

Madison Nerd Nite #92 Gerrymandering, Drunken Animals, and Incredible Genitals!

Date: Wednesday, December 6th
Time: 8pm
Location: High Noon Saloon

Get your final Nerd Nite fix before the year ends!

First speaker is Ben O’Connell, with “The Map to Your Heart: How Wisconsin was Gerrymandered”. In the 2022 elections, Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor Tony Evers won with 51% of the vote, while at the same time Republicans held a 2/3 majority in the State Senate and nearly a 2/3 majority in the State Assembly. The reason? Wisconsin is one of the most gerrymandered states in the United States. In this presentation you’ll hear how Wisconsin was gerrymandered, how it relates to the movie Flubber, and some extraordinarily silly theories on what happened in closed door meetings on redistricting.

Next, we have Shea Topel, to teach us about animals! Drinking! Shea will be citing evidence and cases of how animals seek out and consume alcoholic substances for various reasons. Some examples include monkeys forming social circles of different kinds of drinkers, Russian bears huffing jet fuel and the amazing alcohol tolerance of the tiny pen-tailed tree shrew.

Lastly, we have NERD NITE AFTER DARK. This one will be a wild ride! ARJ will be discussing comparative phallology, or….animal genitals.
Join us for the least stressful holiday season event you’ll attend! Kick back, relax, and be nerdy with us!

Madison Nerd Nite #91 Plant Taxonomy, Bees, and Taco Bell!

Date: Wednesday, November 8th
Time: 8pm
Location: High Noon Saloon

First is Celeste Huff with All the Single Ladies: Let’s Celebrate Solitary Bees! “Solitary bees… these little ladies are everywhere. With over 20,000 species of bees worldwide, most of them (over 90%) actually fly solo. Celeste Huff, a graduate student in the UW Madison Department of Entomology, will be talking about the fascinating lives of solitary bees and ways you can help them thrive!”

Second is Bartje Wakker presenting Tantalizing Trees: Convergent Evolution, Naming, and Taxonomy in Trees! “What we call certain trees can be misleading – especially within the name ‘Cedar’. In reality, many trees that you might think are closely related, or even call the same name – are quite distant, and more closely related to other familiar plants including common vegetables or ornamental flowers. In this talk I – Bartje Wakker – will be trying to put how well known plants are (or aren’t) related to each other by covering some examples of this phenomenon, as well as what ‘convergent evolution’ is and why it leads to all of this – as well as a couple… personal gripes… on the naming of certain types of conifer trees.”

Last but not least, we welcome Ashleigh Gradel to the stage for A Qualitative Analysis of the Taco Bell Menu. “Do you like Taco Bell but struggle to figure out which form factor of beef, cheese, tortilla, and lettuce is the best for a given scenario? This presentation is for you: my name is Ashleigh Gradel, and I have three goals: (1) to provide a comprehensive, analytical, and fair review of the Taco Bell menu, (2) to abolish the Mexican Pizza, and (3) to get you ready for your next Taco Bell encounter. I’ve used my own expertise (and several expensable meals on work trips) to develop the Live:Más ratio to evaluate, definitively, the best (and worst!) of Taco Bell.”

Madison Nerd Nite #90 Madison Nerd Nite #90

Date: Wednesday, October 4th
Time: 8pm
Location: High Noon Saloon

First up, we have Leslie Schroeder and Karen Kendrick-Hands tag teaming to teach us about textiles! “The current plastic-based textile industry harms our health and our climate. Growing the ancient fiber plant, flax for linen in the Midwest is a solution. Learn about our plan to support farmers in profitably growing flax, a low-input, soil-friendly crop!”

Next is FORMER NERD NITE CO-HOST EXTRAORDINAIRE Julie Collins with cat genetics! “Let’s genotype my cats! As a proud cat mom of 4 with some knowledge of genetics, I assumed that figuring out the inheritance patterns of my bebe’s markings would be pretty easy. I thought wrong. Come for the cute cat pics, stay for the bonkers biology.”

Last but not least, we have researcher/comedian Sasha Rosser to teach us about brains and music: “The left-brain vs. right-brain debate comes to a head when it comes to music processing. After hundreds of millions of years of evolution, humans have developed unique dispositions with regards to the informational and emotional content of music — in turn influencing culture, religion, language acquisition, and more.”

Madison Nerd Nite #85 Madison Nerd Nite #89

Date: Wednesday, September 13th
Time: 8pm
Location: High Noon Saloon

Join us for an extra exciting Nerd Nite this month! We are THRILLED to invite some new speakers to the High Noon stage!

First, get ready to leap from the top rope with Jason Werner and women’s wrestling! “From the circus to Wrestlemania, we will explore women’s origins in professional wrestling, how they got started, and their struggle to be accepted at the same levels as their male counterparts.”

Next we have Nick Hein to tell us about a strange and awesome form of transportation: the velomobile! “Private autos are the world’s single largest source of air pollution, mainly because they are inappropriate for the short, single-occupant trips where we use them most. What if I told you that there’s a vehicle that could eliminate most of those trips that is healthy and fun, affordable to buy and maintain, and available. It’s called a velomobile, and you’ll learn more about them in this talk.”

Last we have WORLD RECORD HOLDER Gabriella Gerhardt to talk about her passion: hunting for 4 leaf clovers! “4 leaf clovers are a mutation of the white clover plant, generally considered to be lucky charms. Gabriella has 145,000 4+ leaf clovers and 5 related world records. She will share her love for these mutants and give some tips on how you can find your own.”

Madison Nerd Nite #88: Madison Nerd Nite #88 – Wayfarer’s Takeover

Date: Wednesday, August 9th
Time: 8pm
Location: High Noon Saloon

Nerd Nite is back for the fall season, but with a twist! We are collaborating with the Natural Resources Foundation’s Wayfarers Group to do a conservation themed night! The same shenanigans you’ve come to love at Nerd Nite, but this time we’re sharing the love!

Lisa Kitchel will be presenting “The Weird and Wonderful World of Our Native Mussels”. Our native mussels have a surprisingly complex life history for animals that pretend they are rocks on the riverbed. We will discuss why a mussel would want to have a fish on its posterior and other such oddities!

Ben Lam brings us “The Whooping Crane Story: The Power of Hard Work, Costumes, and Dance!” Whooping cranes are one of North America’s most endangered bird species with only about 830 remaining. We’ll take a look at the history of this species and some of the techniques used in bringing whooping cranes back from the brink of extinction.

Finally, Micah Kloppenberg will share “Dung Beetles: The Coffee Snobs of the Coprophagous World?” While pollinators get the press for filling our grocery aisles, dung beetles help break it down on (from?) the other end. We’ll find our what drives a dung beetle’s dietary attraction!

Nerd Nite Office Hours

Date: Saturday, July 1st
Time: 9 am – Noon
Location: Northstreet
557 North Street, Madison, WI

Join Nerd Nite Co-Hosts, Haley and Ally at Northstreet to discuss all things Nerd Nite!

Do you have a great idea for a presentation but need some help getting started?

Are you a long-time Nerd Niter with awesome ideas for how we can improve?

Regardless of what you’d like to discuss, we’d love to see you and chat!