Nerd Nite Honolulu #71 – Isotopies, Fishies, & Galaxies
















Come drink, think, and be merry with your fellow nerd ʻohana as three experts talk story!


Iso-what-now? How stable isotopes help scientists understand life and our planet

Dr. Chris Wall

Isotopes—funny name, serious topic. Isotopes, in particular “stable isotopes” are naturally occurring elements that occupy the same place on the periodic table as elements we all know, such as carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. However, “heavy” and “light” isotopes of these elements behave and react in slightly different ways due to small differences in mass. I know, this is sounds like a nightmare from your high school chemistry class; it isn’t! Isotopes are hugely important and have contributed to our understanding of species interactions in food webs, the hydrological cycle, and have been used as evidence in topics validating man-made climate change and geographic sources of cocaine. Seriously. Join us for an enriching experience about the shared chemistry of life and learn the truth behind the saying, “You are what you eat.”

Chris received his Ph.D. studying reef coral and environmental stress from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and is a Post-doctoral Research at the Pacific Biosciences Research Center at UH working on host-microbe interactions in plants. He loves
surfing, thrash metal, and heavy nerding on isotopes.


Fish for dinner? How you can support local fishers and sustainable fisheries by being a more mindful consumer

Ashley Watts

Local I’a is Hawaii’s only community supported fishery and sustainable seafood distributor. All seafood is traceable from boat to plate. Fair-trade for the resource fosters more sustainable fisheries and provides fishers the means to support their families and remain fishing. We provide seafood directly to consumers through our prepaid CSF service, at farmers markets & Kokua market Coop, catering & events, and to chefs islandwide.

Ashley is a marine biologist turned entrepreneur making waves in our local sustainable food movement. She is honored to share her story with you all.


Galaxies like to live together

Dr. Roy Gal

Like people, galaxies are social. They are not distributed randomly throughout the universe, instead aggregating into giant clusters of galaxies, smaller groups, and some preferring rural life. Just like people, galaxies in these different environments have different properties, and these distinctions change with time. Why? What are the physical causes? Let’s do some galaxy sociology and find out.

Roy grew up in New York City where he couldn’t see the stars, but he still became an astronomer. He did his undergrad at Columbia, PhD at Caltech, and stints at Johns Hopkins, UVa, and UC Davis before giving up on the coasts and moving to Hawaii 12 years ago. He uses observatories on the ground and in space to study how galaxies in the universe’s cities, suburbs, and rural areas change over cosmic time, but spends most of his time doing public outreach and media relations for the UH Institute for Astronomy. His wife Christine is a radiologist and together they run the Hawaii Lego Users Group, and have two young boys, ages 6 and 3.

Nerd Nite #70: Polynesian Voyaging Society

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Oh the lessons we Learned:

Stories of adventure and impact from crew members of Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia’s Worldwide Voyage

Crew members from the Worldwide Voyage of Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia will share a general description of how the Mālama Honua journey began, adventures they experienced along the way and lessons learned that continue to impact their personal and professional lives. Pay close attention because we will end the night with some Worldwide Voyage themed trivial, where participants can win coveted Polynesian Voyaging Society prizes.

Bruce Black – 58 yrs. on earth, husband, father, teacher, about 60% water but 100% water enthusiast. Went to school at Punahou class of 79. Attended UCLA and got a degree in Sociology. Then Chaminade University for my Masters in Education. I was a 5th grade teacher with Mid Pacific School for 20 years. Presently owner of an Eco-adventure tour business called Aloha Spirit Hawaii. Bruce was a crew member on leg 11: Aurere – Brisbane and the 2016 sail to Brazil.

Matt Caires – Matt’s first time sailing on Hōkūleʻa was on Leg 24 sailing from New York to Virginia. To Matt, Hōkūleʻa is both physically and spiritually a vessel to help us connect to Hawaiian traditions, culture, practices, and way of life and to share them with the world. Through her, we can stay connected to and honor our past and channel the lessons of our ancestors to guide our future.
While out at sea, Matt most misses ice cubes. When back on land, Matt misses the feeling of being forced to work with the elements – wind, water, sun and darkness – in order to survive. Matt was a crew member on leg 24: New York – Virginia and the Homecoming leg from Tahiti to Honolulu.

Shawn Kanaiaupuni – Shawn Kana’iaupuni, Pūpūkea native, Kailua resident, nerd imposter. Alum and employee at Kamehameha schools. Lived in Denver, Chicago, Philadelphia, Mexico, Madison. Has eaten rat and cricket???? Loves voyaging, tennis, paddling, and hanging with family. On Hōkūleʻa, went to USVI, BVI, Cuba, Florida, Potomac River DC, Hudson River NYC, Panama City, Galapagos, Tahiti, and on Hikianalia from Cali to Hawaiʻi last year. Shawn is the Director of Public Education Support at Kamehameha School, through which she works closely with the Polynesian Voyaging Society on the educational efforts of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage. Aloha!

Tara O’Neill – Originally from Washington, DC, Tara first sailed on Hōkūleʻa in 2011. To her, Hōkūleʻa gives permission to imagine infinite possibility. As a professor of science and STEM education at UH Mānoa, the Worldwide Voyage served as a catalyst for restructuring the education sail plan within Hawaiʻi and beyond. Inspired by voyage, Tara created a place and culture-based STEM education construct called STEMS2. One of the goals of STEMS2 is to reconnect STEM education to our local communities and for community and civic application of knowledge to be valued over standardized test scores. Tara was crew of two statewide legs of the voyage (Maui – Molokaʻi and Moloka‘i – Oahu) and leg 9: Auckland of the Worldwide voyage.

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Nerd Nite #69: Stars, Worldly Realities, & Disasters



Alternative realities in our Brave New World

Dr. Charles Birkeland – Coral Reef Biologist, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

In 1932, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World told the story of a future society in which the people are conditioned to dislike nature and books. Their main purpose in life will be to purchase and consume continuously to keep the GDP growing.  Fossil fuels, technology, and electronic media have led us to give abstract realities (e.g., GDP, debt, etc.) priority over material realities (resource stock size, atmospheric chemistry, etc.) for continuous growth, giving sustainability little thought. Faust himself had to pay the Devil for his rich life, but while we are enjoying the rich life given to us by fossil fuels, technology, and electronic media, the repayment will be taken from our grandchildren. How can we turn this around?

Charles Birkeland has been studying coral reefs for 49 years – so far. After receiving his degree from the University of Washington in 1970, he had a post-doc with the Smithsonian in Panama for 5 years, was at the University of Guam Marine Lab for 25 years, and has been associated with the Zoology/Biology Department at UH for 19 years.


Disasters: It’s not if, but when!

John Cummings III – Public Information Officer, Honolulu Department of Emergency Management

An emergency can strike our community, homes, and families unexpectedly and without warning. Do you know what to do? Does your family know how to contact you? Do you have a plan to connect and meet up with your loved ones? Do you have 14 days’ worth of disaster supplies, food, and water for you and all members and pets in your household?

Additionally, due to our isolation, large population, and limited resources, it could be a number of days to weeks before help arrives to your community. Government may not be able to effectively respond to a large scale disaster without your help. Community preparedness begins at home and begins today, not when a disaster is looming.

John will talk about disaster preparedness and why everyone in Hawai’i needs to be concerned and begin planning immediately if they have not done so already.


Star Hopping the Hawaiian Night Sky

Tony Smith – Lead Planetarium Educator, Bishop Museum

Learn some basic astronomy and how to identify celestial objects visible in the skies over Hawaii. We’ll learn about Hawaiian stars and constellations alongside the Western system and how Harry Potter fits into the picture too!

Tony Smith has been a Science Educator since high school when he volunteered with Outdoor School in the forests near his native Portland, Oregon teaching 6th graders about natural science. After graduating from Oregon State University with a degree in General Science and intentions to be a middle school science teacher, Tony instead ran back to the woods and worked as staff at Outdoor School. Tony has also worked at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland and Pacific Science Center in Seattle, WA. He  is currently the Lead Planetarium Educator at the Bishop Museum. When he’s not staring at the night sky, Tony is also a Co-Boss of Nerd Nite Honolulu.

Nerd Nite #68: International – Sexy Talk – Data

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International Development: technological progress in distant corners of the globe
Brennan Purtzer

Brennan is a returned Peace Corps volunteer from Ukraine, the founder of the Blue Continent Alliance international research project, and The Molokai Island Times Newspaper. After founding his first business at age 22, he has worked on presidential and directed congressional campaigns, lived at the North Pole and received his Masters degree from Norway. Over the past 10 years, he has conducted international development research on nearly every continent.

In this presentation, Brennan will share a sampling of the work he has observed while developing the Your Blue Continent media project in the past year, and shedding light on the state of international development today.


Talking Dirty with Confidence: a tutorial for shy and stumped nerds
Maria Houar

Dirty talk is the most adaptable, not to mention affordable (free!) of kinks, but those looking to try new things with their partners express feeling bashful, silly, or simply at a loss for words, when they find themselves “in the moment”. In this presentation, we will use cooking metaphors to walk through some fun, easy and accessible ways to engage in safe and consensual dirty talk with confidence. Anyone can use these skills to spice things up when things are getting hot in the kitchen, so to speak! This talk is safe for work, but it won’t be bland.

Maria Teresa is part of the Doctoral program of Performance Studies at UH Mānoa, researching dance, queerness, sexuality, and consensual allyship in live performance.


Professional Data Wrestler
Dean Ramos

Dean will be sharing a unique perspective of how he wrestles complex data into submission. He’ll be hitting three points:
1) Technology & the World Around Us, 2) How Computers Talk to Each other, and 3) Tying it all together and why it’s relevant to you.

Dean Anthony Ramos has 20 years of experience in information technology with a passion for learning how things work. A graduate of San Jose State University and a member in the Gary Sbona Honors Program. In addition to managing data, he is the Official UCE Wrestling Ring Announcer.

Nerd Nite #67 – ChemComms, Plant-Animals, & Sitcoms


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Dr. Marnie Freckelton



Amy Hruska

Species interactions are the bread and butter of ecosystems. But, we often hear about biodiversity, and its loss, through the lens of a species or a group of organisms. When we lose biodiversity though, we lose so much more than species. We lose interactions that are critical for ecosystem functions that we rely on. Join me as we take a whirlwind tour of past, present, and future global biodiversity through the lens of species interactions.



Danya Weber

Danya will be talking about how to create a sitcom (a creative endeavor) and the inner-workings/philosophy behind it.


Nerd Nite #66 Bishop Museum Takeover!

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Nerd Nite Honolulu – Hawaii Feast Fundraising Event!

Attend the March 16th FEAST + NERD NIGHT
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Join us as Hawai‘i FEAST & Nerd Night Honolulu team up to host a community dinner & fundraiser to support the upcoming exhibit SymbioSEAS: Connecting Science, Education, Art, and Society through Coral Reefs.

When: Saturday, March 16th from 6:00 to 9:00pm
Where: ARTS at Marks Garage (1159 Nuuanu Ave)
Food Caterer: 
Local I‘a
Cost: $25 (dinner included); $10 (dinner not included) 

Buy Tickets Now
The SymbioSEAS gallery (on display from March 1st to 30th, 2019 at the ARTS at Marks Garage) represents a group of 40+ scientists and artists who have worked together over the past year to bring to life coral research through various 2-D and 3-D mediums. At the March 16th FEAST + NERD NIGHT, while attendees eat, mingle, and imbibe, this group of artists and scientists will share their experiences on banding together to bring global awareness to the health & rehabilitation of our oceans and coral reefs through the unusual duo of cutting edge research and creative expression.

A silent auction will also be held during the event to provide attendees the opportunity to purchase art pieces from the SymbioSEAS gallery. All proceeds from the event will go to supporting the projects created for the SymbioSEAS gallery.

Click here to watch a short video about the SymbioSEAS gallery on display from March 1st to 30th, 2019 at the ARTS at Marks Garage.
Hawaiʻi FEAST is an event platform that supports place-based and public artwork through community financing and social networks. FEAST empowers artists to create a sense of place within their communities through creative expression. FEAST is built solely upon community resources; Local artists produce ideas for public artwork and community members take part in the decision making process of selecting projects and financing these projects. Learn more about FEAST by visiting our website
Nerd Night Honolulu is a monthly gathering that happens every first Tuesday at Anna O’Brien’s. It is a platform for Nerds et al. to mingle, drink and think about various topics presented by members of our community! Every month there are fun and intelligent presentations accompanied with music by DJ Globes.

Nerd Nite #65: Norse Sisters, Greek Mythology, & Symbiosis

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Krissie Kellogg – Aerospace Exploration Lab & Imaginarium Specialist at WCC
Greek Mythology: Rated R
The (not very) romantic escapades of Zeus and how Greek mythology is an R-rated topic.
As a kid, she was always interested in space, stars, planets, robots, machines, etc. S he couldn’t have been more different than the family I grew up in!  She works at the Windward Community College where she is surrounded by everything she loved as a kid! She’s living her 9 year old kid dream every day!
Dr. Brian Bowen – Researcher at Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology
Can three Norse ladies save the planet?

Mythology is a reflection of the human psyche, useful for explaining things so that even drunks can understand them. In this context, Brian uses Norse mythology to explain the role of three scientific disciplines (phylogenetics, ecology, and evolution) in wildlife conservation.

Brian is a Grateful Dead fan and connoisseur of fine tequilas. When the Dead aren’t touring, or when consuming tequila is unwise, he is a research professor at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology.


Beth Lenz – PhD Candidate at Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology

SymbioSEAS: Science, education, art, and society

2018 was the Year of the Reef, Pantone declared 2019 the living coral – find out ways scientists and artists in Oahu have come together to share their perspective on tropical coral reef ecosystems in the upcoming exhibit SymbioSEAS: Connecting Science, Education, Art, and Society through Coral Reefs.

Beth’s spirit animal is a hummingbird.

Nerd Nite #64: STARS, SLAVERY, & ART



Star-Hopping the Hawaiian Night Sky
Tony Smith
Learn some basic astronomy and how to identify celestial objects visible in the skies over Hawaii. We’ll learn about Hawaiian stars and constellations alongside the Western system and how Harry Potter fits into the picture too!
Tony Smith has been a Science Educator since high school when he volunteered with Outdoor School in the forests near his native Portland, Oregon teaching 6th graders about natural science. After graduating from Oregon State University with a degree in General Science and intentions to be a middle school science teacher, Tony instead ran back to the woods and worked as staff at Outdoor School. Tony has also worked at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland and Pacific Science Center in Seattle, WA. He moved to Hawaii this past June and is currently the supervisor of the Bishop Museum Planetarium. When he’s not staring at the night sky, Tony is also a Co-Boss of Nerd Nite Honolulu.
Slavery and Loyalism
John T. Harrison IV
This history lecture sketches a brief picture the choices of escaped slaves who found a better chance of realizing freedom within their lifetimes by siding with Great Britain in the American War of Independence, and the outcome of their choices at the end of the war.
John Harrison was born here in Honolulu and grew up in Kaneohe. He earned his Bachelors Degree studying History at UH Manoa, while moonlighting as a wine snob at Vintage Wine Cellar.


EH (the earth without art)
Jessica Orfe
This holo holo talk will take you through a brief history of artistic approaches to science & survey some modern ‘SCIART’ endeavors. You will also get an insider scoop on Microbial Mysteries in the OMZ and learn
(vicariously) what it is like to ‘hit a wall’ (with paint). Bonus points for glowing bunnies.
Jessica is an artist, illustrator, dancer, and nature-enthusiast. Between artistic forays and involvement with local organizations she is soaking up inspiration from her favorite gallery (guess which).  For more info/updates, visit her website or IG ( @cherubjeo3).

Nerd Nite #63 – Documentaries, Camp Microbe, Gaming



Meet Me: A Mini Documentary Series

Robert Pina

Hello Nerd Nite, I am the editor, Robert Piña of Red Visual Magazine and I am focusing on a diverse nomadic lifestyle magazine. We are presenting in the next nerd nite a mix of Interviews from our voyage on the Hawaii and media from California (not advertising the magazine). Overall, it will strictly be educational and informative to the audience of Nerd nite taking a journalist approach.


Nerds just want to have fun: adventures in adult science summer camp and microbial mischief 

 Sarah Tucker

Ah, the rigorous summer science course, fondly known as adult science camp. The home of a truly majestic and strange culture of boundless scientific inquiry, awkward networking interactions, beer-driven philosophical conversation, passive-aggressive pipette sharing, and sometimes… METHANE GAS. I invite you to join for a sneak peek into my experience as an adult scientist summer camper at a camp for microbe enthusiasts. Together, we will discover microscopic treasures that are stranger than you could ever imagine.

Bio: When Sarah is not at summer camp, she is studying marine microbes at the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology for her PhD, inhaling Bob’s Pizza, and attempting to speak in different tongues (read: learn new languages).


Creating & Playing Games for Preferred Futures – On Multiversity in Lieu of University

Cody Lestelle

Come and marvel at the wonders of learning through play and level up in life utilizing the structure of games! This talk begins with a brief journey of critical history on the origins of ‘the university’ (universitas) and its role as an institution of inquisition from the European witch hunts and gestures toward its contemporary role in domesticating and policing magical practices. After providing this key historical and political context to elucidate the occult, pedagogical, and political significance of multiversity, those present will learn a wide range of strategies, tactics, and tools for using games and play in creating and navigating to preferred futures–for a world in which many worlds fit.
Keywords: Augmented Reality, Alternate Reality Games, Deschooling, Dungeons & Dragons, EdTech, eSports, eLearning, Futures, Higher Education, K-12, Minecraft, Social Skills, Therapy, STEM, STEAM
Bio: Cody Lestelle is the founder of the Academy for Gameful & Immersive Learning Experiences ( Cody holds a Masters degree in Autonomous Organization from the University of the Earth (Oaxaca, Mexico) and is currently studying for a Ph.D. in preferred futures with the department of Political Science at the  University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
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