Tag: sex

Nerd Nite #16: Mars, Bugs, and Surrogacy

If you are a fan of TED talks, the Discovery Channel, Wikipedia binges, and drinking, Nerd Nite is the show for you!

Thursday, October 22, Nerd Nite Denver tackles scientific topics great and small: from human exploration of Mars, to human surrogacy, all the way down to the sex lives of bugs.

Join us in October as senior research scientist Bill Farrand takes us to Mars with NASA’s rovers; Ellen Trachman shows us the new-fashioned way to make babies; and David MacNeal explains all the ways bugs are having better sex than the rest of us. 

Grab your tickets!

  • When: Thursday, October 22 – doors at 6:30pm, show at 7:00pm
  • Where: The Oriental Theater
  • Tickets: $5 online, $8 at the door – 18+


These Wheels are Made for Roving: Exploring the Surface of Mars with Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity 

by Bill Farrand 

When the Spirit and Opportunity rovers landed in 2004 they didn’t find any Tharks or H.G. Wellsian tentacled creatures with leathery skin, but they did find evidence of an early Mars that was more Earth-like than previously recognized. Both rovers vastly exceeded their nominal missions with Spirit exploring until 2010 and Opportunity still in operation and now exploring the rim of the ancient Endeavour crater. Spirit and Opportunity were joined on Mars by the larger Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity in 2012. All three rovers have helped to transform our view of the surface of Mars from a barren, dead volcanic planet to one that was once much like the Earth with flowing ground and surface waters and stunning scenic vistas. 

Speaker Creds

Bill Farrand is a senior research scientist at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado. He has a B.A. in Geology from Franklin & Marshall College and a M.S. and Ph.D. in the Geosciences from the University of Arizona. He has worked extensively in terrestrial remote sensing as well as in the remote sensing of Mars and of the Moon. In the terrestrial remote sensing field, Bill has worked extensively with data from airborne hyperspectral remote sensing systems for both commercial and government programs. Bill has been a Participating Scientist on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission since 2002. Bill has worked extensively with multispectral Pancam data from both the Spirit and Opportunity rovers looking at the multispectral reflectance of rocks viewed by the rovers at the Columbia Hills of Gusev crater and on the plains and craters of Meridiani Planum. He is also involved in several other projects examining terrestrial analogues of Martian surface materials, working with orbital remote sensing data of Mars, and examining the hyperspectral reflectance of dry and ephemeral lakes. In his free time, Bill is an avid rock climber and also enjoys skiing, hiking, taking his dogs on walks, and pursuing useless TV and movie trivia. 

Test Tubes & Turkey Basters: Law and Ethics in Creating Families the New-Fashioned Way

by Ellen E. Trachman

The advent and advancement of assisted reproductive technology has changed the way families can and are being formed. Now grandmothers can give birth to their own grandchildren and courts are awarding embryos to their infant genetic siblings to determine their future use. As gamete donors and gestational surrogates become common place, sci-fi fantasies have become a reality, and family dreams fulfilled. Paired with parallel advancement in LGBTQ rights, the law struggles with applying old concepts of personhood, parental rights, inheritance, and citizenship to new forms of families and the inevitable conflicts that arise. 

Speaker Creds

Ellen E. Trachman founded Trachman Law Center, LLC in order to bring dedicated and compassionate legal representation to those wishing to build a family through adoption or assisted reproductive technology. Originally from Los Alamos, New Mexico, Ellen completed undergrad at the University of California, Berkeley and law school at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Ellen practiced law in the investment management group of Sidley Austin LLP, a large international law firm, in San Francisco and corporate law for a well-respected Colorado practice before founding Trachman Law Center, LLC. Ellen is a member of the American Bar Association Assisted Reproductive Technology Committee and Adoption Committee, the Colorado Bar Association Family Law Section, the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and Resolve (a national infertility association). 

Even Educated Fleas Do It

by David MacNeal

Bugs make the Marquis de Sade look like an amateur. They have the most metal sex, putting the Kama Sutra to shame. In order to keep our planet’s biomass humming along, with an annual, global pollination contribution of $216 billion, insects reproduce in high volumes. But how have their absurd acts evolved over the past 400 million years? And with global warming leading to numerous, unseen insect extinctions, how will they fare over the next 400? Luckily the insect Dr. Ruths of the world (i.e. conservationists) are trying to figure that out, and sometimes that means coercing bugs to have sex–by hand. 

Speaker Creds

David MacNeal is a Denver-based journalist whose work has appeared in Wired, Medium, Outside, etc. He’s also writing a non-fiction book about our (love-hate) relationship with insects due out summer 2017. Examining the inner workings of insect sex is just one of the perks of the job.

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As always, a huge thanks to our primary sponsor Sexpot Comedy and to our photographer partners in crime From the Hip Photo!

Take a moment to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates and fun facts, and be the first to know event details by signing up for our email list (in the bar to the right).

Want to be a Nerd Nite speaker? Do you know someone who should be? Let us know!

Nerd Nite #3: Sex, Stealing, and Natural Selection

Huge thanks to everyone who joined us at July’s Nerd Nite! For a recap of the evening, the amazing Girls of Geek 12 have written up a review. Check it out!

And for those who want to watch the first talk in its entirety, a video of Sexy Science can be found by clicking on the image below.

Sexy Science - Screen Shot

Watch now! Sexy Science: The Evolution of Sexual Norms



Humans. We’re fragile, flawed, and wonderful.

Nerd Nite - July 24, 2014

Nerd Nite – July 24, 2014

And we’re biologically designed to survive — whether through reproduction, stealing resources, or just not dying from disease. This month, we talk about all the wonderful (and sometimes controversial) ways that we humans interact with the world around us. Ooooh it’s going to be a saucy one!

    • When: Thursday, July 24, 2014 – doors at 6:30pm, show at 7:00pm (come early to mingle and drink with us)
    • Where: The Oriental Theater
    • $5 online, $7 at the door – 18+
    • Tickets:

Eventbrite - Nerd Nite #3: Sex, Stealing, and Natural Selection


* Sexy Science: The Evolution of Sexual Norms…and How You Can Ditch Them

by Kayla Knopp, Rachel Miller, and Lane Nesbitt

DESCRIPTION: Have you ever wondered why our culture’s sexual attitudes and practices are the way they are? In this Sexy Science presentation, we will present research on the biological and social influences on the evolution of sex throughout human history, focusing on how we ended up with modern American sexual norms. We will open your eyes to the broad range of desires that encompass human sexuality, and highlight how narrow the range of sexuality that is considered “normal” actually is. In this talk on sex outside the bounds of cultural norms, you will get a taste of the sexual possibilities that await you, with a promise of more to come. Prepare to open your mind, your heart, and possibly your bedroom, to sex as you’ve never thought of it before.

SPEAKER BIOS: Kayla, Rachel, and Lane are clinical psychology Ph.D. students at the University of Denver. They conduct research on romantic and sexual relationships. They are interested in working with populations that are not traditionally studied, and seek to explore uncommon perspectives on topics for which a single perspective presently dominates the field. They also engage in clinical work with couples and individuals, and particularly enjoy working with clients on issues related to romantic and sexual involvement.

* Red Team Testing: Lying, picking, and stealing

by Ryan Jones

DESCRIPTION: “Red Team” is a term originated within the military to describe a team whose purpose is to penetrate the security of “friendly” installations, and thus test the effectiveness of their security measures. Over the last several years, this practice has become increasingly common in the private sector. This talk will show the reasons companies use these tests, the techniques and tools used by the teams to conduct the tests, and hopefully get you thinking in a way that makes you slightly more aware of your surroundings when it comes to the everyday security of the world around you.

SPEAKER BIO: Ryan has been working in the information security arena for 20 years, with a focus on penetration testing and red team testing. He is currently a Senior Consultant at Lares, an information security company out of Denver. In his free time, Ryan enjoys piña coladas, and getting caught in the rain. His rarely posted to twitter is @lizborden and you can yell at him after the presentation via email at

* Natural Selection and Your Health: Can I have a different evolutionary history, please?

by Dr. James DeGregori

DESCRIPTION: Most medical schools do not significantly cover evolutionary biology, and yet we cannot understand human health and illnesses without appreciating how evolution has shaped disease susceptibility and the potential nastiness of pathogens. We will discuss really depressing subjects like why we get old and sick, and why modern living (despite niceties like a longer healthier life) has come with a few side effects. Finally, we will learn about our crazy new theory on why we get cancer (and more importantly, why we don’t).

SPEAKER BIO: James DeGregori received a B.A. in Microbiology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1987, where he learned to piss people off, and a Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge in 1993, where he learned enough to piss people off intelligently. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Duke from 1993-97, where he learned that pissing people off can get you in trouble. In 1997 he managed to get a real job in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, where he is currently (and hopefully futuristically) a Professor. He is also currently the Associate Director for Basic Science at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.


Don’t miss these amazing presentations (and the accompanying drinks). Tickets are $5 online and $7 at the door. So grab your tix now!

Before you go, be sure to take a minute to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates and fun facts, and be the first to know event details by signing up for our email list (in the bar to the right).

See you soon!