Nerd Nite #4

November 4, 2015 at GoodEarth in Canmore at 7pm.

Buy Tickets

Please note: Science has indicated that learning is more fun while drinking beer.

The Birth of a Superhero – Captain Clot-Buster by Martin Parnell

A super hero’s origin story is one of, if not the most important aspect of their entire being. While many characters find renewed interest when their origins are revised or improved, many of the most iconic and enduring superheroes of all time are still best defined by the original story that made them who they are. Captain Clot-Buster is no different. Learn how he was born in a barn in rural England, survived a life threatening disease and at the age of 21 left his homeland for the colonies. This story will reveal how a mild mannered Professional Speaker and Author evolved to a clot-busting hero.

Martin Parnell loves science fiction and has all the Battlestar Galactica reimaged CD’s, even The Plan. As a child he suffered from asthma and loved “painting by numbers” kits but he showed his rebellious side when he didn’t follow the number to colour guide. He worked deep in the Canadian mines for many years and when he re-emerged he bought a bike and cycled across Africa. His passion is to help kids achieve their potential and change the world. He is married to his wonderful wife Sue, has three children and three grandchildren.

A (long) day in the life of a primatologist (and no, we don’t predict the weather) by Hugh Notman

Primatologists – humans who study our furry primate cousins – come in all shapes and sizes and do a variety of things.  Some are pretty, blond English women who grow up to be famous for studying chimpanzees and for spearheading global conservation initiatives.  Others are big bald men who work at universities, go to the field occasionally, and poke around in monkey poo while they’re there.  All of them, however, are united by a passion for probing into our evolutionary past for clues to why we humans do what we do, from language to Lewinsky.  This presentation will be a brief history of one primatologist’s (no, not the pretty English one) journey; the early self-discoveries, the mediocre grades, the parental consternation at his choice of profession, and the WTF? questions from high-school friends.  I will then give an overview of what it is that I and other primatologists do, exactly, and why you should care.  Or not.

I am an associate professor in biological anthropology at Athabasca University, where I teach courses in primatology and human evolution.  My research centres on primate communication, cognition and the evolution of language.  I have worked in Uganda studying chimpanzees, in Belize studying howler and spider monkeys and in South Africa studying vervet monkeys.  Part of my job involves collecting monkey poo, recording things the monkeys and apes say, and watching them do nothing for many hours.  I hail originally from the Caribbean and assumed from a young age that I would grow up and watch (and catch) fish for a living, but I realized my interest in communication and cognition would only take me so far if he stuck to fish.

Social Innovation Technologies by Jess Harding

How can tech tools tackle global challenges? By mid-century over 3 billion people will have migrated to cities that haven’t been built yet. It’ll take a lot of resources to build two Calgary-scale cities every week for 35 years. Done right, we build safe, efficient space for billions to live, learn, earn and thrive. If we fail, we trash the planet. Can we do it? Jess will talk about how the tech tools we have now can help us ask interesting, early-warning indicator questions, help find, evaluate and refine answers to guide us on this quest.

Jess Harding is an engineer living in Banff. He is a forward thinker with a strong commitment to social issues, creating value in the social innovation technology space, connecting, engaging, and providing voice for communities of interest. He’s building on a career delivering leading-edge technologies and organizational change in realms as diverse as survey & mapping, natural gas pipelines, extraction, utilities, and electric power industries, post-secondary education, and the arts, from startups through large enterprises. Jess serves on the Board of the local Banff Public Library, and advocates for foreign aid, ‘publish what you pay’ aid and extraction industry transparency with Engineers Without Borders. 

Be There and Be Square.

Buy Tickets


Nerd Nite Banff #3

Buy Tickets

Thursday March 5, 2015 -doors at 7, show starts at 7:30 @ Good Earth Cafe in Canmore

Science has indicated learning is much better while drinking beer.

Stop F*&king Tweeting: How social media is killing the planet.

by: Stephen Bates

Abstract: In 2013 about 2% of all electricity generated in the United States went to powering and cooling data-centers. In the same year the US Department of Internet Crap determined that 84% of all videos on YouTube were of a cat playing a keyboard. In this talk we take a (supposedly humorous) look at what happens in big data-centers. How is your data stored? How are services provided? How is targeted advertising deployed? What happens to cat videos when they die?

Bio: Stephen is a Technical Director in the office of the CTO at a company called PMC-Sierra. He works in enterprise and data-center storage and his biggest customers used to be companies like HP, IBM and EMC. Now they are companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon. He has a PhD in some weird math shit and is a Senior Member of the IEEE (whatever that is). Based in Canmore he is either on a plane or VPNing/SSHing his way around the world.


The Art and Science of Advertising

by Adam Rozenhart

At some point in your life, you’ve probably turned to a friend and said, “That’s a stupid ad,” or “I hate that ad.” It may surprise you to learn that the people who work in advertising often say the same thing—but for very different reasons. The average person is exposed to as many as 5,000 advertisements each day, and even for the ads you hate, a lot of thinking and research goes into them. In this talk, Adam will take you through the creative process of developing an advertising campaign—from research to concepting to execution. And you may be surprised to learn that contemporary advertising is a lot like Mad Men, minus the smoking and drinking.

 Bio: Adam is the head of the digital team at Calder Bateman Communications and he has helped lead a number of clients into worlds they never imagined. His client work has included projects like Plenty of Syph and Sexgerms with Alberta Health Services; and the NoHomophobes project with the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies at Services at the U of A. In 2007, with a small group of partners, he founded the wildly popular hockey blog Adam was named one of Alberta Venture‘s Next 10 in 2011, Avenue Magazine‘s Top 40 Under 40 in 2013, and was awarded an Alumni Horizon Award from the U of A in 2014.


Talk description and Bio coming soon.

by Steve Michel

TWO DOLLARS from every ticket sale will go to support Knight’s Cabin Cancer Retreats.

*Please note: tickets are $12.00 in advance (plus Eventbrite fees) and $15.00 at the door.

Buy Tickets

Nerd Nite #2

Wednesday May 7, 2014, Starts at 7pm sharp @ Bruno’s Banff

Crystal Phillips– The Emerging Field of NeuroCAM

A healthy brain is progressive, organic, imaginative and flexible. Branch Out Neurological Foundation strives to be the same.

After 4 years of raising money and 3 years of funding research, a path is getting paved for a new field of study called neuroCAM (neuroscience and complementary and alternative medicine).

Learn what neuroCAM is all about, hear about the latest research in the field and how on earth the idea of neuroCAM and branching out came to be!

Bio: Crystal Phillips is a former national level speed skater and Registered Holistic Nutritionist with 8 years of nutrition consulting experience. Crystal’s love of nutrition developed after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2005. She found proper nutrition and alternative medicine to be the most effective form of treatment, allowing her to live a healthy and active life, drug free. Her personal success inspired her to create the Branch Out Neurological Foundation, a charity dedicated to raising funds to support neuroCAM research (neuroscience and complementary and alternative medicine).

Graham Christensen– Next Stop Mars

An Albertan Mars One candidate tells the story of his lifelong love of science and adventure, calling the red planet home and of the deep past and possible future of humankind. The talk will focus on Mars One’s plan to send 40 people on a one-way mission to Mars which is set to launch the first settlers in 2024 and will begin training the candidates in 2015. Graham will share his personal story of obsticles and triumph in his effort to reach the red planet. Along the way, he will introduce us to Mars of the past and present and share his thoughts on the Neanderthals and human evolution, Mars as a stepping stone to the establishment of a galactic civilization and the potential diversity of a cosmic biosphere.

Bio: Graham Blair Christensen is one of Mars One’s 1,058 worldwide candidates for a one-way mission to Mars which plans to launch the first human settlers in 2024. Graham has lived in Alberta all his life where he has persued his interests in astronomy and paleontology and his love of outdoor adventure. He has some formal background in electronics but is largely self-educated. As a seasoned fossil hunter Graham has made many fossil discoveries in Alberta’s badlands and mountains. His lifelong love of astronomy is expressed through astrophotography, nightscapes and time lapses.

Buy Tickets

Be there and be square.

Nerd Nite #1

February 26, 2014, Doors at 6:30 @ Bruno’s Banff

“it’s like discovery channel…with beer”

We all know that learning is more fun when you’re drinking with friends and colleagues. Thus, Nerd Nite is an event held in more than 70 cities across the globe during which several folks give 18-21-minute fun-yet-informative presentations across all disciplines – while the audience drinks along.Imagine learning about everything from math feuds or the science of the Simpsons, to the genealogy of Godzilla or debunking beer myths.  Fun, right?

This edition we will hear from the brilliant minds of

Kevin Van Tighem– Fighting the River with Kindness

After the 2013 flood, Calgary’s mayor said “the river was angry.”  Well maybe it was, and maybe it should have been.  But some of the flood control ideas being bandied about could make it a lot angrier the next time.  If we want a happier river, there’s a few things we could do involving rodents, shade, ranchers and maybe even spike belts that would get happier outcomes than waging war with the river with dams and diking and dredging.  Floods (and their evil twin, droughts) come from landscapes, not rivers.  Kevin Van Tighem will share a few modest proposals for keeping our rivers happy by giving them the kinds of headwaters they deserve.

Bio: Kevin Van Tighem is a recovering bureaucrat who lives in Canmore. After more than three decades working in national parks as a biologist, nature interpreter and senior manager, he changed course in 2011 and left the public service to reclaim his voice as a writer and conservation advocate.  He’s the author of several books on wildlife and conservation including, most recently, Bears Without Fear and The Homeward Wolf.

Rob Murray– Basic Audio Engineering for Nerds

In this presentation, Mountain FM Morning Show Host Rob Murray will show you the basics of editing and producing audio files.  You’ll learn some basic tips and tricks for editing your own music library using easy-to-find software.  You’ll also discover how this process is used in the world of radio, from editing interviews to creating commercials.


Bio: Rob Murray has been a resident of the Bow Valley for 12 years but a certified nerd since childhood, when he used to spend his afternoons conducting experiments with his Electronic Project Lab and breaking a sweat to defeat the evil Dr. Wily in Nintendo’s Mega Man 2.  Rob is probably best known as the guy who wakes up the Bow Valley every weekday as the host of 106.5 Mountain FM’s morning drive program but actually fell into an on-air career by accident, having planned on being a radio producer through broadcast school.  He is also a local DJ for weddings and corporate parties.  When not spending time with his wife Lauren and 3-year-old son Ben, Rob can often be found partaking in some of his favourite geeky hobbies – absorbed in an RPG on his PS3, or playing Magic: The Gathering with other local nerds.

Dr. Scott Forbes– The Role of Exercise and Nutrition on Cognitive Health

Thirty six million individuals lived with dementia worldwide in 2010, with numbers projected to increase to 115.4 million in 2050. This has led to the World Health Organization declaring dementia as a public health priority, not only citing the high global prevalence but the economic impact on families, communities, and health care service providers. In the absence of curative treatment, prevention is of critical importance. A 5 year delay in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease is predicted to reduce the prevalence in the population by 50%.  As such, effective treatment and prevention strategies are of major economic and medical concern. Unfortunately, pharmaceuticals have had little success in preventing or treating age-related cognitive decline.  The purpose of this presentation is to outline the recent evidence for non-pharmaceuticals to treat and/or maintain cognitive health as we age.

Bio: Currently, my research focus during my Post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Calgary is to examine the link between cognitive changes and the systemic balance of anti-oxidants and oxidative stress as well inflammatory markers following an aerobic exercise training intervention in older adults. In addition, he is currently conducting a systematic review examining nutritional and dietary interventions to prevent cognitive decline in older healthy adults. In the past my research has included nutritional and exercise interventions in a variety of different athletic populations . In addition, I have completed several reviews in the area of aging muscle health, which examined emerging exercise and nutritional interventions for the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia and type II diabetes. In his spare time Scott enjoys hanging out with his wife and daughter. And he also plays on the national canoe polo team (a competitive ball sport played in kayaks).

“Be there and be square”