Nerd Nite East Bay #20: Bees in the Dirt, Development of Squirts, and Balls that Hurt

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Come one! Come all! To the twentieth installment of Nerd Nite East Bay! Where Hillary Sardiñas will dig up our pollinators where they live! Where Caren Walker and Sophie Bridgers will speak to how children learn! Where Adam Howe and Hunter Huston will rally the adult dodge ball league! And where DJ Ion the Prize, Rebecca, and Rick will wax lyrical!

Be there and be square.

Monday 6/30
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
The New Parkway, 474 24th St, Oakland
(less than half-a-mile from the 19th St BART)
$8
All Ages
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THE REAL DIRT ON BEES by Hillary Sardiñas

Bees are incredibly important to agriculture. One out of three bites of food we eat comes from a bee-pollinated crop. Honey bees, with their queens, colonies, drones and honey stores, are usually what comes to mind when we think of bees. In fact, there are over 20,000 species of bees worldwide. They have a variety of life history strategies that are nothing like those of the honey bee. We’ll delve into the diversity of wild bees, particularly focusing on where they nest: in the dirt!

Hillary is a doctoral candidate in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on native bee nesting in agricultural regions, particularly whether creating natural habitat on farm edges can help bolster bee populations and boost crop yields. She can often be found buzzing around farms in the Central Valley helping growers make decisions about habitat management techniques. Hillary has also worked as a restoration ecologist in a variety of non-profits and governmental organizations around the Bay Area.

LITTLE LEARNING MACHINES: CHILD AS SCIENTIST AND SUPERCOMPUTER by Caren Walker and Sophie Bridgers

Historically, children were considered to be incompetent, irrational, short adults. Recently, however, there’s been a revolution in our scientific understanding of the minds of young children, transforming our interpretation of childhood and providing new insight into adult cognition as well. As adults, we have coherent, abstract and highly structured knowledge of the world. The foundations of this knowledge are constructed in childhood from the fragmented and concrete evidence of our senses. How do those seemingly useless (but adorable) creatures learn so much about the world so quickly and accurately? Our research shows that even the youngest babies have learning abilities that are more powerful than those of the smartest scientists and most advanced computers. In particular, we propose that children, like scientists, implicitly formulate hypotheses about how the world works, and test those hypotheses through their own exploration and play.

Caren Walker is an East Coast transplant, currently wrapping up her Ph.D. in Developmental Cognitive Science at the University of California, Berkeley. When she’s not contemplating the origins of abstract knowledge, she enjoys experimenting with the circus arts and spending time in nature. (However, Caren will be going on the job market next year, so if anyone asks: she spends ALL of her time in the lab).

Sophie Bridgers has lived in the East Bay her entire life but is brand new to the Nerd Nite community. She currently works as a lab manager for Dr. Alison Gopnik, but is betraying her Berkeley roots and heading to Stanford in the fall to get her Ph.D. in Cognitive Development. When she’s not collecting data for Caren’s studies, she spends her time in the dance studio (or with Caren, in nature).

GETTING AWAY WITH PHYSICAL ASSAULT AND ITS CATHARTIC EFFECTS: RECREATIONAL ADULT DODGEBALL by Adam Howe and Hunter Huston (RAD League)

Though most people only remember dodgeball as a childhood sport or zany comedy, it has actually become a thriving intramural activity for 20-30 somethings across the country. In this 30 minute presentation, RAD League dodgeball will guide you through the inner workings of this quirky sport while explaining the rules, strategies, and positions used in today’s modern game. So grab your favorite knee pads and headband as you won’t want to DODGE this unique discussion.

RAD League dodgeball was created with the sole purpose of bringing together different groups of people who know how to have a good time and love playing dodgeball. One year, four seasons, and over a hundred participants later, RAD League is going strong! Whether you are a grizzled vet or 1st time player, RAD league offers a fun experience for all. And while the goal on the court might be to eliminate your opponents, the social part of our league is to meet new people, and hang out with old friends.

Adam Howe was a founding member of RAD League and helps oversee the scheduling, roster relations, and event planning for RAD League. On top of RAD League Adam currently manages the Pyramid Alehouse in Berkeley, CA and has made Oakland his home for the past 6.5 years.

Hunter Huston is one of three co-founding members of RAD League and has been playing dodgeball competitively for over 6 years. He has also been coaching high school basketball and teaching for the last 4 years in Berkeley.

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