#34 Nerd Nite – 26 November 2018 (SOLD OUT)

For our final show of 2018, our 3-speaker line up will be discussing challenges of doing remote Antarctic fieldwork for women, historic subcultures of Australia and the amazing cognitive abilities of bees. Come join us at our venue Howler, in Brunswick for $15 burger and pot deals whilst you are learning. Keep your eyes peeled for speaker bios and talk summaries.

Monday, 26 November 2018
at Howler 7-11 Dawson Street, Brunswick
Doors 7pm
Tickets: $10 (online)/ $12 (door) [SOLD OUT]
*Online ticket sales open Tuesday, 30 October 2018 at 9am

*Presentation 1
The end of the heroic age? Women in Antarctic research and fieldwork
by Meredith Nash

Description: Antarctica is often associated with images of heroic men like Shackleton and Mawson battling against the blizzard. The pervasiveness of heroic white masculine leadership and exploration in Antarctica and, more broadly, in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) research cultures, has meant women have had less access to Antarctic research and fieldwork opportunities. Today women are more visible in Antarctica than ever before; nearly 60% of early career polar researchers are women and they are integrated into – and, at times, lead –the everyday activities of National Antarctic Programs. Nevertheless, female polar scientists around the world continue to face the well-established gendered barriers in STEMM. In this talk, Meredith will focus on Australia and discuss five key barriers that shape women’s experiences of Antarctic research and fieldwork and explain why structural inequality is not a problem that women should be expected to fix in Antarctic research or in science broadly.
Bio: Dr Meredith Nash (@babybumpproject) is Deputy Director of the Institute for the Study of Social Change and Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Tasmania in Hobart. Her research broadly examines the persistence of gender inequity in four key areas of social life including STEMM leadership, parenthood/reproduction, physical activity, and the media.  Over the last 15 years, her research has taken her to a range of exotic locales including the icy depths of Antarctica, the starting line of parkrun on a Saturday morning, to the homes of pregnant women in inner Melbourne. Meredith is the author of Making Postmodern Mothers: Pregnant Embodiment, Baby Bumps and Body Image (2012, Palgrave), the editor of Reframing Reproduction: Conceiving Gendered Experiences (2014, Palgrave), and co-editor of Reading Lena Dunham’s Girls: Feminism, Postfeminism, Authenticity and Gendered Performance in Contemporary Television (2017, Palgrave). Meredith regularly writes for and appears in the media as a commentator on television, radio, and podcasts.

*Presentation 2
How to train your honeybee: Communication by numbers
by Scarlett Howard

Description: Is it possible to communicate effectively with a species separated from humans by 600 million years? What if humans could find a way to communicate with an insect operated by a brain the size of a sesame seed? For a few decades, it has been possible to train and test honeybees on a variety of different tasks such as facial recognition, illusionary perception, categorisation, maze navigation, and pattern recognition, among many others. More recently, bees have been tested on their ability to process numbers, thus demonstrating a capacity to count, discriminate between quantities, and understand advanced numerical concepts. Could the honeybee’s ability to learn numerical tasks from humans forge a new method of communication between two very different species? In this talk, Scarlett will explain how it is possible to train and test individual bees, how they demonstrate rule learning and application, and what widespread applications these results have for areas as diverse as artificial intelligence development, pollination, or even space exploration.
Bio: Scarlett Howard is a PhD candidate in the Bio-Inspired Digital Sensing Lab at RMIT University. Her work on number processing in bees has been published in Science and read by over 40,000 people through social media outlets like The Conversation. She has a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Zoology from the University of Melbourne. Scarlett has been training and testing cognition and decision-making in honeybees for five years. In the past three years, she has been developing and implementing training and testing procedures to determine if honeybees are able to learn complex numerical rules and concepts. She also aims to examine the possible application of insect learning to computational processing. By bridging the areas of biology, physics, technology, and neuro-entomology she hopes to extend what is known about the capacity of miniature brains and their potential links to improving machine vision and processing. Her work on honeybee cognition spans between collaborations in Australia, France, and Germany. She is also involved in projects relating to pollination, vision, and complex urban interactions.

*Presentation 3
“Wowsers, Weirdos, Wonks.” Australia’s stranger social groups of yore.
by Jack Dunstan

Description: As a new colony and nation Australia was trying to find it’s feet and assert some identity separate from its colonial and penal past. Being part of a organisation was a way to formalise social movements, establish change and meet like minded people. Despite a strong religious presence in Australia in the early 1900s many groups were secular and provided the development of values that still exist today. From unions to friendly societies a organisational structure helped people form dialogue to promote a social cause for the benefit of others. Of course there are also the ratbags and weirdos. Some groups existed purely as an opposition to other social behaviour, such as Temperance Unions and the Anti-Football League. In this presentation Jack will do his best not to poke fun of groups that had sincere interest in the making of Australia and reflect on their contribution.
Bio: In a widely varied career, Jack Dunstan has gone from making and selling wine to nursing to pixelating people’s genitals in video evidence for the Supreme Court. He now produces online learning material for RMIT. Throughout this, a common interest has persisted, uncovering local and obscure trivia related to Australian groups and personalities. Although being unable to apply himself sufficiently to compile these tidbits into a publication, he loves to share these discoveries with anyone who’ll stop in the same place long enough. Barry Humphries is his spirit animal.

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