Nerd Nite Seattle [57]: Pride and Protagonists

High Dive Seattle
Tuesday, October 18th
Doors open at 6:30, talks start at 7:30
$5 at the door

Sarah Faulkner: Jane Austen: Sappy Spinster or Brilliant Badass?

The recent movie Pride & Prejudice & Zombies appears to take the classic beloved (and despised) Austen novel and make it more “badass” with the addition of violence, gore, and heaving bosoms. Sarah is here to tell you that Austen and her novels were badass far before zombies came along. Frequently challenging the conventions many believe she followed, Austen’s heroines are a revolutionary middle finger to contemporary conduct novels and the patriarchy.

Sarah Faulkner is a PhD student in English at University of Washington, where she focuses on eighteenth and nineteenth-century British women writers. She has presented her research on Jane Austen at Cambridge University and the University of London, and has her second article appearing in print next year. She has also attended a Regency ball in full costume.

John E. Williamson: Narrative Tricks and Shortcuts

Desc: On a dark and stormy night, when it was the best of times, it was also the worst of times for your game. Writing is hard, harder still if you don’t consider yourself a writer. We will skip over the Literary Theory and interpretation that drove you mad in English Lit class. Instead, this talk will cover narrative hacks, tricks, and shortcuts used by Hollywood to create compelling, memorable stories and characters.

John E. Williamson is has served as a Writer, Designer and/or Producer on over three dozen titles, in nearly every genre, on nearly every platform (Hawken, Super Nova, the original Spec Ops series, Rainbow Six, Alone in the Dark, Frogger). John understands the value of a good tale told well, appreciates the challenges of working within the budget constraints of time, money, assets, and RAM, while valuing the joys and wonder that come with interactive story telling.

Nerd Nite Seattle [56]: Vaccines and Voyages

High Dive Seattle
Tuesday, September 20th
Doors open at 6:30, talks start at 7:30
Celebrate September with two things that Seattle does best: sailing and biomedical research!
Ro Yoon will discuss the science of HIV and the work of The Fred Hutchinson Seattle Vaccine Trials Unit (VTU).
Ro joined the VTU in 2010. She is an activist that engages with diverse communities throughout Seattle to ensure that HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention research are relevant and inclusive to all. In addition to educational sessions with volunteers and being a liaison for VTU Community Advisory Board, Yoon coordinates community events and training that address health and wellness issues that intersect with HIV and AIDS.
Kat Wolcott: “Sailing for the 99%”
Have you looked around at the beautiful waters around Seattle and always thought that sailing was just for the 1%? Think again! Learn about the history of sailing, the (lack) of fiscal responsibility involved, and the sorts of shenanigans you can get into — especially if you’re dealing with boats for the 99%.
Kat is the director of business operations for a local aerospace company. When not keeping the lights on, her hobbies include adopting sad boats and attempting to rehabilitate them, as well as foraging for mushrooms in the wilderness.

Nerd Nite Seattle [55]: August Edition

High Dive Seattle
Tuesday, August 16th
Doors open at 6:30, talks start at 7:30
$5 at the door


Gabriel-­Bello Diaz: How Fablabs and Makerspaces create community through public education, citizen collaboration and industry support.

Gabriel­-Bello Diaz is a Puerto Rican architect, educator and entrepreneur in digital fabrication. He is currently the Engineering Instructor at TAF Academy in Seattle, a public school serving 6th ­12th graders through a project based STEM curriculum, and is also Co­Founder of SoDo MakerSpace, a warehouse that has been transformed into a community space.

Brian Nisonger: Your vs. You’re, and Why it Doesn’t Matter

A linguist takes on the ages old internet arguments and obsession over correcting ‘your’ vs. ‘you’re’!
Brian has a graduate degree in computational linguistics, but hasn’t let that stop him. He is currently researching weird phones and tablets for a marketing research firm. He spends way too much time looking irrelevant things.

Nerd Nite July [54]: Lasers and Labradors

High Dive Seattle
Tuesday, July 19th
Doors open at 6:30, talks start at 7:30
$5 at the door


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Catch some (gravitational) waves and hang with the canines at this month’s Nerd Nite!

Joey Key – Black Hole Collisions with LIGO

Polly Membrino – See Spot Evolve: How Domestication Made Dogs Homo Sapien’s Best Friend

For questions or concerns about accessibility, please message us on Facebook or at

Nerd Nite June [53]: Fascinating!

High Dive Seattle
Tuesday, June 21st
Doors open at 6:30, talks start at 7:30
$5 at the door


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Water manager John Chandler investigates drought in Washington State, Outdoor Trek brings us the science of Star Trek, and the original co-boss Julia Maddox will give her first (and final) talk!

For accessibility accommodations, please message us on Facebook or at

Nerd Nite May [52]: Genomes and Honeycombs

High Dive Seattle
Tuesday, May 17th
Doors open at 6:30 (get there early for seats!), talks start at 7:30

~Kathy Cox: Honeybees are the Canary in the Coal Mine~

Hear about ways to help without getting stung! Find out where the boy bees hang out. Get the scoop on the Queen’s sex life. Discover that bee stings are good for you. Bees are changing medicine. Did you know that bees brains defy time? They have personalities. Their architecture is perfectly strong. They help find serial killers! BEES are a fascinating super organism. Come learn about the art and science to beekeeping.

A Journeyman beekeeper, Kathy has kept bees for 14 years and bought her first 6 hives at a garage sale! She was previously a side-liner and commercial Beekeeper and is now a retired backyard Beek. Her style of beekeeping is chemical free and survival of the fittest! Bees are her passion and she loves sharing her knowledge with others. Kathy is a 2015-2016 Trustee for Puget Sound Beekeepers Association, a member of Washington State Beekeepers Association, American Federation of Beekeepers and is the Master Beekeeper Education/Certification Coordinator for PSBA. She is currently teaching newbees and is a Master Beekeeper candidate.

~Jake Herman: Gene Editing: Natural Origins, Complex Future~
GMO, retrovirus, frankenfood, CRISPR, transgenic, designer babies, disease cures – altering genetic material is a complex technology and an even more complex ethical discussion. As with most biological technologies, nature did it first. Genetic engineers have learned tricks from sexual reproduction, bacteria, and viruses to create technologies such as TALENs, homing endonucleases, CRISPR, embryonic microinjections, and viral gene transfer. With a drink in hand, we’ll start by exploring the science behind genetic engineering, then look at current uses for gene editing outside the lab, including cancer therapies, agriculture, and bioreactors.

Jake always wanted to be a physicist, but it constantly made him feel insignificant and bad at math. Those challenges paired with a Jurassic Park obsession landed him in the field of molecular biology. He is currently working at Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center to develop therapeutics that inhibit mitosis in brain and other cancers.

Nerd Nite April [51] – Brains and Bots!

High Dive Seattle
Tuesday, April 19th
Doors open at 6:30 (get there early for seats!), talks start at 7:30



~Christina Durbin: Paradoxes & Complexities: The Science of Creativity~
Archimedes in the bathtub, Newton and the apple, Einstein’s theory of special relativity — Eureka! moments are what happens when hours of work come together in a single “creative”” flash. For most of human history, creativity was something otherworldly, a gift from the muses, only to be bestowed upon a select few. Today, cognitive science has shown this to be false. The real story of creativity is more difficult and strange than one can imagine, but one thing is certain: We are all creative. This talk will tell the story of the brain that gave the world such revolutionary ideas as E=mc² and the Theory of General Relativity, and cover simple techniques you can use to foster your own creativity.

Chris Durbin is a “creative”” currently working as a user experience designer in the tech industry. Outside of work, Chris exercises her passion for books, beer & lifelong learning by way of UX Book Club, a monthly meet up with author Q & As that cover a smattering of topics related to experience design.

~Brian Douglas: Synthetic Psychology and Braitenberg Vehicles: Explorers, Cowards and Lovers~
Not all robots require complex computing power and complicated engineering! Brian will talk about the world of Braitenberg Vehicles, simple robots with simple sensors that can exhibit complex behaviors based on how you connect them. These robots are a concept from the Italian-American cyberneticist Valentino Braitenberg, a pioneer in the field of synthetic psychology. Brian will show us how by selecting simple sensory inputs, and modifying their connectivity to simple actuators, the resultant robot may exhibit complex, intelligent seeming behavior in response to stimuli — some may be lovers, some might be cowards and others might even act like eager explorers!

Brian Douglas is the principal engineer for attitude determination and control at Planetary Resources, and author/producer/director/everything for the popular ‘Control Systems Lectures’ YouTube video channel. His current extra-curricular project is writing a free textbook on control theory released under Creative Commons that emphasis reader interactivity and incorporating feedback. You can follow him on Twitter at @BrianBDouglas.

Nerd Nite March [50]: Out of this Worm!

High Dive Seattle
Tuesday, March 15th
Doors open at 6:30 (get there early for seats!), talks start at 7:30

Laura Taylor: Worms with Dementia!
Laura’s talk will give a brief overview of neurodegenerative diseases and the molecular mechanisms that lead to their progression, followed by an explanation of how her lab uses a transgenic worm model of dementia to better understand how neurodegenerative diseases occur and discover therapies to prevent them.

Laura Taylor is currently a third year PhD candidate in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Washington. Laura works at the VA hospital of Puget Sound in the Kraemer laboratory, which studies dementia. Her specific focus is on understanding what early molecular changes drive neurodegeneration during aging. When she’s not studying disease progression, Laura enjoys volunteering with the Pacific Science Center as a Science Communication fellow and speaking at informal science talks around King County. She is interested in promoting scientific education and wants to pursue a career in science policy. Aside from science, Laura enjoys dancing ballet, taking short walks on the beach with her dog Lucky, and trying to play Harry Potter theme music on her piano.

David Gould: Rovers were on Luna, Landers were on Venus — Unique Achievements of Soviet-era Robotic Planetary Exploration
Many of the Soviet Union’s greatest accomplishments and most interesting failed attempts in robotic planetary exploration have been sadly shrouded in obscurity. Their scientists pioneered planetary landers, rovers, & sample return missions, and accomplished groundbreaking explorations of the moon, Mars, and Venus, setting records and using unique technology. This talk will range over little-known “firsts” of the past and a little into the present, looking at where things stand today (both figuratively and literally). We’ll explore shooting lasers at the Moon to find misplaced rovers, a crowd-sourced search of images for crashed landers on of the surface of Mars, floating balloons in the clouds of Venus, the cleanup of radioactive debris, and a very unfortunately placed lens cap.

David is a serial Nerd Nite attendee and computer geek by trade. He’s a fervent aviation nerd and casual space exploration enthusiast by dint of having grown up in NASA’s back yard.

Nerd Nite February [49]: Share the Love Fundraiser

The High Dive – Fremont
Tuesday, February 16th
Doors 6:30, talks start at 7
$5 (or more if you can!)

RSVP here

Invite your friends and hot Tinder dates to an extra special Nerd Nite. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll learn something rad!

100% of all proceeds for this month’s event will be donated to the Virginia Tech research team that was critical in exposing the drinking water crisis currently affecting Flint, MI. Bring your extra dollars to support this worthy cause!

See the Virginia Tech fundraising breakdown here:

More info:


Nicholas Hunt-Walker: Holding the Souls of Black Folk: Candomble, Vodou, and Santeria in the Western Hemisphere

As we move through Black History Month, we reflect on the many and varied events which forged that history and honor the strugglers and the struggle. There is, however, no black history in the Western Hemisphere without slavery and black spirituality. These days when we consider the latter, we focus mostly on black christian and muslim communities, the first growing out of America’s slave society, and the second growing out of black resistance. However, those people who first saw the New World from slave ships had gods before gods were given to them. Some of those gods were inevitably shaped by the circumstances of the western hemisphere and became Brazilian Candomble, Hispanic Santeria, and Haitian Vodou (amongst others). We’ll delve into some facts behind these faiths, finding their common threads and dispelling some of the devilish propaganda that’s built up over the centuries. Then, from trickster gods to mothers of the ocean, we’ll discover gods whose faces are undeniably and eternally black.

Nick, a lover of stars and data, is a Ph.D. student in Astronomy at the University of Washington. When he’s not trying to teach about the cosmos to undergrads trying to get a credit, he researches the structure of our galaxy, practices the magnificent martial art of Capoeira, and delves into the data of our world. Check out his Twitter feed, @nhuntwalker, and his blog,


Anthony Poponi: Control Your Inner Caveman and Laugh More!

Stress is Killing You! Exercise? Sure, it helps. How about getting the benefits of running without having to run. Meditation? It’s wonderful. How about getting the benefits of meditation without having to meditate. It’s the American way to want a pill to cure everything but there’s a solution to the stress in your life and it’s free. It’s laughter and it’s available to each of us. Need help finding more laughter in your life? We’ll show you how.

Anthony is a little “off” – but in a good way (and a regular speaker at Nerd Nite Honolulu). Anthony has a passion for laughter, life, community and philanthropy and it shows in his actions, words – and yes, antics. In our hectic personal lives and business schedules we sometime fail to pause, to take a moment to stop and reflect on life’s gifts, our own accomplishments and our ultimate goals. Anthony loves to inspire people to recognize their fortunes, to give thanks, to be persistent and to most importantly share a laugh while on this journeying up with me!


Be there and be square ♥

Nerd Nite January [48]: Turing and Turrets

High Dive
Tuesday, January 19th
Doors open at 6:30, talks start at 7:30

2016 is off to a strong start! This month features a talk about castles by Nerd Nite veteran Sasha Myerson and Nick Vaidyanathan’s review of educational theory and artificial intelligence. Be there and be square. 

Sasha Myer: The History of Castles
Castles are fascinating! They’re beautiful and imposing and (perhaps inaccurately) nostalgic. By design and function, a castle had to be both warm welcoming home and deadly war machine. My talk will journey back to “once upon a time” time and introduce the history and architecture of western European medieval castles. I’ll start from timber ringworks and move on through the Norman invasion, Edward Longshanks, the Reconquista, the Crusades, and discuss all the crazy killer (literally, killer) ways that castles evolved to be safer against siege.

Bio: Sasha got her BA in Medieval History with an Art History concentration. But since she would rather gaze lovingly at armor and triptychs and stained glass then write a paper on them, she works in hotel management. Yesterday she googled “beautiful castles” while looking for images to include in her powerpoint. The MSN slideshow that she found included Universal Studios’ Hogwarts and Euro Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. She is really not okay with that.

Nick Vaidyanathan: Intelligence: Man, Machine, and Beyond
What is it? How is it different in humans and machines? How does it differ between experts and novices? In this talk, we’ll discuss findings from the National Research Council and other publications around the differences in thinking between experts and novices and man and machine. By the end of tonight you might just be an amateur cognitive or data scientist…or at least know enough to recognize bad ones on TV!

Bio: Originally hailing from The City of Angels, Nick Vaidyanathan decided to go to school to become a Devil of the Sun and along the way picked up merit badges in Computer Science, Business, and Computer Systems Engineering. He devotes his research energies to bringing science to the Art of Computer Programming and engineering better programmers. As a general irascible malcontent, he decided the best way to gain expertise in this would be through field experience, and can now be found swabbing the decks on the Dread Pirate’s Ship and striving very hard not to break the internet…or most only once a year. If you don’t learn anything about learning tonight, be sure to teach him a lesson!

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6:30 doors, 7:30 talks
Happy Hour From 6:30-7:30!
$5 cover
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