Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Nerd Nite 6 Year Anniversary

The Nerd Nite 6 Year Anniversary was held at Celine Orlando, (22 S Magnolia Ave, Orlando, FL 32801.) Nerd Nite anniversaries are usually held at The Abbey but that venue was booked for the night. The evening was slated to begin at 6 PM but the first speaker didn't take to the stage for another hour and a half. I suppose that was time set aside for mingling and networking. I used the time to block in my sketch. I had never been to Celine before so the space itself was exciting. Ricardo Williams started off with excerpts from some of his favorite Nerd Nite presentations over the years. His white suit caught the blue light to great effect.

Dr. Krista Noble was the first speaker for the night. Her talk was titled "Why the Heck Are We Conscious? The Hard Problem of Consciousness". As she said, "Everyone agrees that our mental processes (meaning our thoughts, emotions, and perceptions) correspond with physical processes in our brains. The question is, how and why? Why do we have subjective experiences at all? Why aren’t we genetically programmed to pursue survival, yet lacking consciousness? These fundamental questions still plague scholars in spite of our most advanced scientific discoveries." As she spoke about comparing two objects and noting that they were both bright red, I put some red notes on my sketch. If I sketch am I conscious? Perhaps I am more like a zombie using my few synapses to document what is around me with my hands and eyes.

“To Boldly Go: A Brief History of the Space Toilet” by Brendan Byrne followed with hilarious results. Brendan works for WMFE and he covers the space beat. As he said, "Human spaceflight has been plagued by waste. From urine-soaked spacesuits to floating turds, the history of human spaceflight is flush with dirty (and hilarious) anecdotes of dealing with waste in space. Engineers seem to have a handle on #1 and #2 as we explore low Earth orbit, but the future of deep space exploration hinges on our ability to overcome a heaping pile of physiological, biological and engineering problems. So how will we do it? Brendan has been exploring the history of the space toilet for a new book and presents a brief history of the galactic commode – and ideas for new hardware that will boldly take our poop to places like the moon and Mars." 

On the first space flight, the astronaut was supposed to be in flight for just 15 minutes so no thought was put into a toilet. He was nervous and drank many cups of coffee that morning. Then there was a delay in launch which resulted in his needing to ask permission from mission control if he could wet his spacesuit. Engineers followed with a hard dock solution in which a condom was attached to a bag. A crap was more difficult requiring a cup strapped to the butt and a two fingered method of snipping off the log. Gravity usually helps the solids fall away but there was no gravity. Brendan read a recently declassified transcript in which astronauts debated about whose crap was floating around the capsule. Upon opening a recently recovered capsule a navy man vomited upon smelling what was inside. There was some hilarious audio of astronaut John Young (namesake of John Young Parkway)  as he was on the moon. He farted loudly and curses saying he would never eat citrus again.

Technology did catch up with the problem with a small fan providing suction to draw the excrement from the source. He played a video of astronauts pee being vented into space and it instantly crystallizing. Today however all liquids are recycled to be reused as drinking water. For long distance space flight a researcher is creating a device that burns down all waste and turns it into water and hydrogen. Brendan ended the presentation with a photo if him sitting on a space station toilet replica. is  mom must be so proud. I geek  out just as hard trying to get to as many space launches as I can to  sketch.

It was an evening of scatological and cerebral pursuits, who could ask for more?

The next Nerd Nite is April 11, 2019

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

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