1940 9th Street, NW
From a press release:
“A New Year has arrived, and Nerd Nite DC is starting its 7th year keeping DC nerdy. This January we are diving straight into the deep end of where science fiction swims with science fact. We’ll explore how Superman changed science fiction, sail past the stereotypes of AI to get down to what the tech is actually up to, and do some sweet somersaults off the edge of zero gravity. Wear your best superman or wonderwoman swim trunks and join us in the Nerd Nite deep end!
Date: Saturday Jan 9, 2015
Where: DC9, 1940 9th St NW
How Superman’s Powers Changed Comics
by Alan Sizzler Kistler
In the 1930s, comics had masked athletes, supernatural detectives, and vigilantes who used stage magic. But in 1938, Superman brought a new level of science fiction to US comics after being repeatedly rejected because his abilities were deemed “too unrealistic.” Learn how the Man of Tomorrow’s abilities are connected to the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, how they grew from science fiction to science fantasy, and how they’ve evolved over the decades in how they work and are explained.
Bio: Alan Sizzler Kistler is a geek story consultant and pop culture historian focusing on American superheroes and science fiction. He has appeared as a character in multiple Star Trek novels, has contributed to the books The Walking Dead Psychology and Star Trek and History, and is the author of the New York Times Best Seller Doctor Who: A History. He speaks at conventions and in classrooms about the evolution of hero stories and the need for better representation and diversity in them. You can find him on Twitter @SizzlerKistler.
Artificial Intelligence: Murderbots, Benevolent Gods, and Reality
by Peter Gayler Depending on who you ask, artificial intelligence will inevitably lead to utopia or the extermination of humanity. Why? Will it? I’ll give some examples of how we build intelligent systems today, illustrate their successes and some truly epic fails, then plot a course for AI that might not get us all killed and maybe (just maybe) save the world. Bio: Peter is a research engineer at Johns Hopkins studying machine learning and artificial intelligence. He earned his 15 seconds of internet fame for building Real Life Mario Kart. If he does end up building Skynet, he’ll only connect it to the toaster. Promise.
My Life Upside-Down: A Taste of Spaceflight Training
by Tim Bailey
No longer a-sci-fi dream, space tourism requires special training aboard parabolic “zero gravity” flights. No ticket to space? You can still float like an astronaut and fly like a superhero in weightlessness. It is a one-of-a-kind experience for most, but Tim Bailey flown hundreds of times as a Flight Director. Hear him describe the science of free fall, recount celebrity run-ins, and the marvel at the fluid dynamics of vomit.
Bio: Tim Bailey is a catalyst, husband to a brilliant engineer and father of two girls whose adventures are fueled by LEGOs and rockets! Tim is also proficient at zero gravity flips in multiple axes due to plenty of practice as a Zero G Flight Director.
NERD NITE: BE THERE AND BE SQUARE