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Nerd Nite #57 - How to Survive Making a Graphic Novel With Your Spouse

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 12:59pm

Navigating a relationship with your spouse or partner can be challenging enough–so why would you willingly work together on a project that can take a year or more to complete? Anne and Jerzy Drozd, authors of Science Comics: Rockets, explore how they handled the creative challenges of making a nonfiction comic about science and answer the most important question facing humanity today: WHO. DID. WHAT.

About Anne:

Anne Drozd is a public librarian by day and a cartoonist by night. She’s an avid space exploration enthusiast and a card holding member of the Planetary Society. Her favorite NASA mission is Apollo 12. Anne helps to introduce people to comics through her work at the Ann Arbor District Library and as co-organizer of the Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival. Follow her @ethelfred.

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Nerd Nite #56 - The Film Cat-alogue: A Hiss-tory of Felines in Meow-vies

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 12:19pm

This illustrated lecture provides an overview of the history of cats in movies, including their character types, their narrative functions, the notion of the “feline gaze,” and, of course, cuteness ratings on a scale from 1 to ZOMG KITTEH!!!

About Jen Proctor:

Jen is a filmmaker and Associate Professor of Journalism and Screen Studies at UM-Dearborn. In her spare time, Jen studies abnormal feline behavior.

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Nerd Nite #56 - Lustron: America’s Heavy Metal Housing

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 12:17pm

Lustron homes were factory-made all-metal homes developed after WWII for the booming housing market. Most of their surfaces, inside and out and on their roofs were made of enameled steel. John lives in one, and in this talk he shares the ins and outs of occupying an all-metal home.

About John Heider:

John was a 28 year veteran newspaper photojournalist who was recently retired against his will and is also a ninja school dropout.

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Nerd Nite #56 - American Race Riots: Our National Sport?

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 12:15pm

The United States has been the site of hundreds of race-based disorderly confrontations that can be described as race riots. By now, most everyone has seen images from riots on TV whether it’s a riot from the 1960s, or from the more recent unrest in Ferguson, Missouri or Baltimore, Maryland.

But what is a riot? Why do they happen?  What are the trends? Common themes?  While one can learn quite a bit from the study of any of these individual events, taking on the topic broadly has different lessons for us.

This talk discusses the overall trajectory of race riots in the United States, exploring the greater context for mass race-based conflict. 

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Nerd Nite #55: Architectural Supervillains

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 7:08pm

When it comes to architecture, we may not know what we like, but we know what we don't like: big buildings, greedy developers, the politicians that make both possible...

Hear more about the things we love to hate about buildings and cities; and, just maybe, discover some new things to love.

About Jessica A.S. Letaw:

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Nerd Nite #55 - Brain Injuries & Recovery

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 7:05pm

You're familiar with the brain, correct? Excellent. Chrissy tells you more about what it does and how it works, AND THEN she share stories of how an injury can affect your personality and life with real-life examples. 

About Chrissy Zimmerman:

She's a physical therapist and specializes in neurology. She bikes, she runs, she sports!

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Nerd Nite #54: The Primate That Wears its Heart on its Sleeve

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 3:21pm

Have you ever been curious about animal behavior? Have you wondered how animals communicate with one another? Do you love primates? Learn about gelada monkeys – Ethiopia’s unique and wonderful highland monkey.

Gelada monkeys are nicknamed “bleeding-heart monkeys” because of a patch of exposed red skin on their chests. Adult male gelada chest patches get brighter red when they’re excited, but this doesn’t happen for adult females, young males, or non-breeding males.

Could the chest patch be an ornament to attract females, like a peacock’s plumage? Or does it signal to other males to back off? How does the environment influence signaling? Patsy discusses all of this and more about her field research in the Simien Mountains.

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Nerd Nite #54: Thinking Like a Primate

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 9:14am

Humans are a really weird species. In particular, we cooperate a lot, and this helps us build up complex societies. What kinds of mental abilities help us to cooperate, and do other species also use similar mental abilities to help them cooperate? To start answering this question, Bettle talks about cooperation in our closest living relatives: chimpanzees.

About Rosie Bettle:

Rosie Bettle is a PhD student at the University of Michigan who studies how primates think about the world. When she isn’t thinking about the mental lives of monkeys, she is usually exploring Kerrytown, trying to find new nature-y spots, or sampling a different craft beer.

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Nerd Nite #49 - Living in a Cyberpunk World

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 8:07am

Cyberpunk was everywhere in the 1980s. It started in science fiction, but it influenced fashion, movies, comics, games, advertising, and architecture. After a decade of high-tech, neon-colored, future-looking pop culture, cyberpunk just…went away. Or did it? Could cyberpunk stories still be with us, hiding in plain sight?

About Alex: Alex Kourvo loves books. She writes them, reviews them, edits them, and teaches other people how to write them. She is the author of numerous short stories and the forthcoming “Detroit Next” series of near-future thrillers. She edits books for Fifth Avenue Press and helped start the Emerging Writers Workshop at the Ann Arbor District Library, where she teaches monthly classes for new writers. You can find Alex online at or follow her @AlexKourvo.

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Nerd Nite #49 - Psychology and Stimulation

Thu, 10/26/2017 - 9:10am

About Kulky: Psychologist Kulky Nakai is more than a scholar, researcher, and clinician, she’s also a philosopher, creative writer, and entertainer who enjoys pushing socio-cultural boundaries and provoking common thought to the cutting edge. She recently launched her very own b/vlog and podcast titled “More To Be Revealed,” a space dedicated for exploring the unknown with a curious heart and a funny bone.