Come learn about hunting art forgers with your eyes and dinner with your nose and ears at this month’s installment of Nerd Nite Seattle. Be there and be square.

Nerd Nite Seattle
Monday, June 15
7:30 (Doors open at 6:30)
Admission: $5


Master(piece)s of Deception || Sasha Myerson

Other titles for this talk which were considered and then summarily discarded because they were stolen or copied (no, the irony of that sentiment is not lost on me) were How to Steal a Million, The Art of the Steal, The Antiques Rogue Show, and F for Fake. The sheer number of stories about forgers and artistic con artists proves how fascinating we find them to be. The mystery! The romance! The intrigue of it all! My talk will dabble on what actually constitutes forgery and art fraud. Delve into some of the more famous and less famous but super interesting examples. And then (time, energy, and level of drunkenness permitting) will dip into detection.

Sasha is a fan of cons and grifters (as anyone who has seen her Netflix queue can attest) and if she didn’t have the artistic skills of a left-handed third grader that just got high from eating sparkle paste she might have wanted to pursue a career in art and artifact restoration. Instead she works in hotel management and occasionally whiles away her lunch hour with books about art, art history, and art crimes. She will now be the uncontested record holder for Nerd Nite Seattle speakers.


Nosing about: How leaf-nosed bats find prey || Leith Miller

All animals use sensory cues to accomplish even the most basic tasks, and many possess highly specialized sensory structures that allow them to perform extremely challenging tasks. For example, the common big-eared bat, can locate completely motionless and silent insects in the dense forest using echolocation alone – a feat that was previously deemed impossible. Finding prey is one of the most critical uses of the sensory system that can directly impact the survival of an organism.

Neotropical leaf-nosed bats (family Phyllostomidae) are one of the most ecologically diverse groups of mammals with over 160 species. They have an astoundingly wide range of diets, from insectivory, to carnivory (i.e., fishing), nectarivory, frugivory, and sanguinivory (i.e., blood-feeding). Unlike most bats, phyllostomids emit echolocation calls through their nose and possess a conspicuous nose leaf structure on their nares, which functions in echolocation. I study the anatomical variation in these sensory structures and how this influences the diversity of this group of bats. Studying the evolution of these sensory structures is important in understanding what drives resource partitioning, since predators must first detect prey items before they can eat them.

Leith is a Ph. D Candidate in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington. She is extremely interested in how different bats find food through echolocation. She does this research by tromping through crocodile infested wetlands and dark bat caves in Costa Rica to try and capture as many species as she can.