Tuesday, February 11
7:00pm until 10:00pm in the CST
American Junkie

15 W Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60654

Nerds of Chicago, we miss you!

Maybe it’s all the instabilities of the jet stream, but this pre-climate-change, traditional Holocene winter makes us all nostalgic and excited.

We also have friends in from out of town, attendees of IPSEC 2014, the International Public Science Events Conference.

It’s high time we hold the Nerd Nite Dry T-Shirt Contest, too! Come in your dorktastic best; the nerdiest T-shirt wins!

And finally, most excellently, we’re stoked to announce that Emily Graslie, host and writer of The Brain Scoop, as our featured Special Guest.

All of this nerdery means we’re gonna need an Even Gianter Nerd Nite this month. (Hence the change of location to American Junkie.) To keep things manageable, we’re using EventBrite to sell tickets, which is a total first for us. (Nominal ticket fee, payable at the door if we haven’t sold out.)

But what will the substance of the night be? Read on, dear horn-rimmed ones:

Christ on a Cracker!

by Laura Lanford

(Pareidolia, Apophenia and Reality)

The human brain has a remarkable ability to attribute consequence to non-meaningful data patterns. While Nerd Niters are generally a skeptical bunch and not prone to over-attribution bias, understanding pareidolia — the brain phenomenon that finds these patterns — is valuable information for understanding our survival as a species and, quite possibly, our individual quality of life.

Laura Lanford is a preparedness hobbyist highly skilled in making Type I errors. Ask her about the Post-Apocalyptic World after her second drink!

Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language

by Kathryn Jepsen

In the south of Israel, in the small village of Al-Sayyid, it doesn’t matter if you can hear; you’d better know how to sign. That’s because Al-Sayyid has the highest concentration of hereditary deafness of any community in the world. The sign language there is homemade, from scratch, with a different grammatical structure from the spoken language, Arabic. As far as languages go, ABSL is just a baby—about 80 years old. But its story has helped illuminate how languages form and change over time.

Nerd Nite presenter Katie Jepsen is a lover of linguistics. She knows at least the basic curse words in a variety of tongues.

…And finally, our Special Guest Lecturer from the Field Museum:

What Lies Beneath: The Secrets of the Field Museum

by Emily Graslie

In the short time Emily has been at the Field Museum, she’s found secret doors, fossils hidden in the floor, and curious figures in dioramas. Emily will take you on a virtual Easter Egg hunt through the museum to showcase the special objects without tags or plaques, hiding in plain sight within exhibits and beneath your feet.

Emily Graslie is Chief Curiosity Correspondent of The Field Museum, host/writer of The Brain Scoop (an educational YouTube series that explores the behind-the-scenes world of natural history museums), and has the most awesome beetle earrings you have ever seen.

Can’t wait to see you there!