Cheating/Not Cheating, Helping/Not Helping, and Landing on the Moon

Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Doors 7pm, talks start 8pm

Bottom Lounge (upstairs)
1375 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60607

Dear nerds, we miss you. We miss your smart-ass wise cracks and your endearing way with alcohol. So we’re laying a nerd-trap for you, then telling you about it, because that’s what villains do. Please attend!

We have a great lineup for this Wednesday, and we want you to see it! We have a particle physicist sharing how to cheat at bike racing, a film maker expounding on morally iffy tourism fads, and a food scientist enthusing about the Apollo moon landing.


Voluntourism – You’ve Probably Done it, and it’s Maybe Bad” – Jack Newell

You know that friend you have that did Peace Corps, or visited an orphanage in rural India, or tutored some disenfranchised kids in a low income area? Of course you know, because they posted a photo of themselves doing it on Facebook.

Voluntourism seems like a new phenomenon with the social media tools of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter but it actually has roots stretching back to the Victorian era and for those who are actually hoping to enact some type of effective change for the almost 3 billion people who live below the poverty line it is not helping.

In fact, that friend who posted a photo of themselves helping others is doing more to harm the war on poverty than help it.

See also, this Onion article to make you laugh after reading those two depressing paragraphs.

Jack Newell is a filmmaker and teacher who is currently in production on his first feature length documentary, How to Build a School in Haiti about the challenges surrounding International Economic Development.


How to Fail at Cheating at Bicycle Racing” – Michael Kirby

No details. That would be cheating.

Dr. Kirby is Some Kind of Scientist


The Apollo Moon Missions — How NASA and Their 36,000 Employees and 376,000 Contractors Got Humans to the Moon and Back.” – Darryl Suskin

45 years ago Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. Yet nobody remembers Michael Collins, who had to stay in lunar orbit, or the 300,000+ NASA employees and contractors that helped make it happen. I’m going to cut out the hours worth of details and explain how it was done, in 20 minutes or so. If I have time, I may even show you a big explosion because my wife says that all good presentations have explosions.

Darryl Suskin is a food scientist who gets obsessed with different science topics unrelated to his job. Right now he is going through his moon phase and probably has no business giving this talk. He will probably transition towards a nuclear phase after his presentation. His chili is better than yours and he can beat you at Tetris.