Tag: space

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.

Sexpot Logo

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 #4: Cosplay, Gaming, and Satellite Imagery

We’re going full nerd this month with anNerd Nite: Cosplay, Gaming, and Satellite Imagery in-depth look at cosplay, the evolution of video game controllers, and how satellite imagery can save lives.

Wave that nerd flag high and get your tickets now!

  • When: Thursday, August 28, 2014 – doors at 6:30pm, show at 7:00pm
  • Where: The Oriental Theater
  • Tickets: $5 online, $7 at the door – 18+

Eventbrite - Nerd Nite: Cosplay, Gaming, and Satellite Imagery

Drinks, food, and mingles start at 6:30pm, show starts at 7pm — so come early to hang out with us!

Don’t miss the amazing presentations (and the accompanying drinks). Tickets are limited at the door so grab yours now!


August’s Nerd Nite will feature the following, nerdtastic presentations:

Cosplay Corner

by Shae and Mattie of Girls of Geek 12

DESCRIPTION: As more nerdy conventions start popping up around the United States, the demand for Cosplay is in. In a way, the Cosplay community has become a society with rules and behaviors. We are here to show why Cosplay is such a big thing in the nerd/geek world, the easy and hard ways to make your Cosplay and Cosplay etiquette.

SPEAKER BIOS (in their own words!):

“I am Mattie and I have been a nerd/geek for a majority of the 26 years that I have lived. I love conventions, video games, comic books and so much more. Even though I am a functioning member of society working 40 hours a week, I enjoy my geeky life and try to live it to the fullest. I have been with Girls of Geek 12 since October 2012 and have enjoyed every minute of it especially since I pulled my best friend into it. My passions are reading, writing and sewing/creating costumes. ”

“Hi! I’m Shae, and I’m a geek/nerd! I started out in the wonderful world of anime and moved onto sci-fi and all the gloriousness that comes along with being a geek. I love comics, video games, naps, and anything nerdy related. I’ve been cosplaying on and off since I was 15, and am not an expert at all. I’m just someone who loves to be a geek and proud of it. Mattie got me interested in Girls of Geek, and as of July 2013, I have been an official Girl of Geek. There’s nothing better than spreading the awesomeness of the nerd-verse and bringing geeks together.”

How the Nintendo Controller Changed Gaming Forever

by Jeff Fal

DESCRIPTION: The NES controller changed gaming forever. In 1983, a glut of consoles and crappy games nearly killed the gaming industry. When Nintendo released the NES in America a few years later, it initiated a more mature phase for gaming. The best evidence for this is the classic NES controller, which became a standard all other console makers followed. Companies like Atari, Coleco, and Magnavox had bounced around different controller concepts for years, but Nintendo finally cracked the code. Every great idea that was in the NES controller is still with us in every game controller of today.

SPEAKER BIOS: Jeff Fal is an interaction designer whose current job with Denver’s Ping Identity was preceded by a year-and-a-half spent designing, developing, and launching the game Dungeonism for iOS. You can find Jeff on Twitter as @jefffal, tweeting very little about video games, some bit about politics, and mostly dumb jokes that someone else on Twitter has already thought of.

What *is* Humanitarian Satellite Imagery?

by Adam Brinckerhoff of Space United

DESCRIPTION: Space technology is cool. Helping people is cool. But can you help people using space technology? The ImageGryphon mission proves that you can and should by donating space imagery to international nonprofits. Very cool.

SPEAKER BIOS: SpaceUnited Development Engineer Adam Brinckerhoff was born and raised in Springfield, Illinois, not exactly the hub of the international space industry. He followed his passion for space to Michigan, Virginia, Alabama, California, Georgia, and Washington, DC. He now lives in Broomfield with his wife, dog, cat, fish, snail, and very first acoustic piano.

Poster credit: Melanie Schultz, cleverviolet.com


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See you soon!

p.s. Want to be a Nerd Nite speaker? Or know someone who should be? Let us know!