Monday, July 30th

Cole’s Bar

We’re stepping out of the heat, our of your fond memories related to friends at dinner parties, and into Cole’s bar!

Talks on the heat death of the universe (no, that isn’t the best explanation for the weather this summer), the commercial and natural history of the banana, and the ornamental hermits of Europe.

Details of the evening:

A Natural & Commercial History of the Banana

Jason St. John

“The banana is worthy of high rank among those plant products which have had a powerful influence in shaping the destiny of mankind,” as Philip Keep Reynolds tells us in his 1927 classic _The Banana: Its History, Cultivation, and Place Among Staple Foods_. Banana biology (Musoidology?) embraces parthenocarpy (seedless fruit production), a tree which is not a tree, and an ancient journey across the world. Whether you like them greenish, brown-spotted, fried or not at all, bananas have appeal which is not to be stepped on.

Jason St. John the Musiodologist has no relationship to the boss of Nerd Nite Chicago, although they share the same name and address. The two also happen to consume the same number of bananas each day.

The Life and Times of Ornamental Hermits”

Amy Cavanaugh

You decorate your lawn with plastic flamingos and garden gnomes, but 18th century Britain favored ornamental hermits. Legend had it that you would throw successful parties and be considered a great host if you had a silent, unkempt person living on your property. Learn about the people hired to portray hermits, discover why the practice was so appealing, and find out how hermits coped with the strange life they signed up for.

Amy Cavanaugh, a food and travel writer, only knew about hermit cookies until a trip to Ireland found her inside a hermit’s grotto. She still likes the chewy cookies, but now prefers to talk about the hired variety.

“The end of the Universe, as we know it

Bo Jayatilaka

Starting from the destruction of the Earth (yes, this one is pretty much guaranteed), find out just what science tells us will happen to the Universe (this one that we’re in). Is it complete heat death? Nothing but clumps of iron floating around in space? Or a place you can round off a day with breakfast after doing six impossible things in the morning?

Bo Jayatilaka is not the kind of doctor who can fix broken bones, he’s the other kind. The science kind.

Talks will start pretty close to 8:30. Unless of course, that doesn’t happen.

Hope to see you there!

-jmsj (the other one)