Thursday, July 9, 2015

Nerd Nite moved from Stardust to the Geek Easy.


Stardust Video and Coffee, (1842 E Winter Park Rd, Orlando, Florida) hosted the 23rd consecutive and first Nerd Nite Orlando event! The evening consisted of entertaining yet thought-provoking talks across many disciplines, all while the audience drinks along in a casual bar atmosphere. Speakers present for 15-20 minutes each on a fascinating subject of their choice, often in an uncanny and unconventional way. Following each presentation is a brief Question and Answer with the audience. Quench your curiosity! Come meet up, drink, and learn something new!

The first presentation was “DNA Nanotechnology: A Breakthrough For Us All” by Felix Sosa. The talk is about the history, development, and possible future of the great breakthrough known as DNA nanotechnology. Felix is an undergraduate researcher at UCF working towards a Bachelor's degree in both chemistry and computer science. He currently is a part of a large-scale research effort between the Chemistry Department, NanoScience Technology Center and Physics Department at UCF designing, simulating and synthesizing DNA architectures that have vast applications from medicines to computational machines. His talk opened our eyes to the incredible possibilities right around the corner.

My favorite talk of the evening was "Trash to Treasure: Hoarding Demystified" by Heather Grove.  If you are a hoarder, have friends or family who hoard, or just know about it from the Discovery channel, you know it is a serious, life-threatening disease. With 1 in 30 Americans afflicted by the not so uncommon disorder, Heather hopes to shed some light on the science behind collecting shit. Since she was one, Heather has found value in what most might consider valueless. From rocks to wine cork collections, Heather has been an avid acquirer of things, but with an extreme hoarder in the family, she has fought the genetic proclivity to collect stuff by understanding the science and specifics of the disease...she hopes to help others transform their habits from hoarding to helping re purpose waste and keep it from landfills. By day, Heather turns wasteful lawns into food-growing gardens and she is co-creator of East End Market. Her talk hit home because she had family that were hoarders. This made her talk more personal as she tried to explain her own hording tendencies. I myself seem to be a hoarder. I collected rocks and minerals as a child, coins, stamps and now I collect shelves full of sketchbooks. My studio is a riot of materials and books making it hard to even enter the room. Yet, since I still create every day, I don't seek a cure.

The final talk, "The Cosmetology Cosmologist" by Derek Demeter. Derek has been Planetarium Director at Seminole State College of Florida since 2007. He writes and produces new shows that explore the astronomy and history of numerous cultures from around the world. He serves as Vice President of the Central Florida Astronomical Society and sets up telescopes at local shopping centers to give the public a truly “out-of-this world” experience.

After this evening, Ricardo Williams took the helm to lead Nerd Nite into the future. Now the events are being held monthly at the Geek Easy ( 114 S Semoran Blvd Suite 6, Winter Park, Florida). Mark your calendar! The next Nerd Nite is Ladies Nite and it will be tonight, July 9th from 7pm to 9pm.

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