Nerds Convening in Venice

The WitzEnd will host a "Nerd Nite" later this month.

The WitzEnd will host Nerd Nite, a gathering to discuss three presentations that will cover “nerdy” topics, all while audience members enjoy libations. 

Nerd Nite started in Boston, Mass. and is now an event that is held in more than 50 cities. The event at WitzEnd, located at 1717 Lincoln Blvd., will be held March 12 at 7 p.m.

Three 20-minute topics of discussion presented will be:

1. Using Data to Answer Subjective Questions Objectively

We often use data to answer mundane objective questions (e.g. What is the unemployment rate? What ads get the best response rate?) instead of the questions with more subjective, and potentially more interesting, answers (e.g. What is the best movie ever made? What truly makes me happy?). The “wisdom of crowds” approach can help us answer these questions, by aggregating disparate sources of information to help us answer these questions from different perspectives. Using data and algorithms from Ranker and from academia, this presentation will show how big data can be used to answer subjective questions objectively. 

Bio: Ravi Iyer is the principal data scientist at Ranker.com. He combines 15 years of hands-on experience with database technology with a PhD in moral psychology from the University of Southern California. He publishes regularly in top scholarly journals and his research has been featured in the New York Times, Wall St. Journal, The Atlantic, and at SXSW Interactive. He is a cofounder of BeyondThePurchase.org and YourMorals.org and he blogs regularly at Polipsych.com and Data.Ranker.com.


2. A Work in Progress – The Developing Adolescent Brain after Traumatic Brain Injury

Adolescence is a period of critical brain development, and several hormones produced by the pituitary gland increase during adolescence and are responsible for the changes that occur in the brain during this time. These critical processes may be hampered by traumatic brain injury (TBI), the leading cause of death and disability in children, adolescents and young adults. We are now learning that TBI also damages the pituitary gland, and may have a negative impact on brain development and, ultimately, consequences for adult behavior. 

Bio: Tiffany Greco completed her Ph.D. in early 2011 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She currently is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Neurosurgery at UCLA. Her work focuses on both metabolic and neuroendocrine dysfunction following pediatric traumatic brain injury. In addition to her research, she also participates in neuroscience educational programs targeted for elementary, middle school and high school students.

*Speaker brought to you in collaboration with the Society of Postdoctoral Scholars at UCLA.


3. Why Electronic Music is Art and Much, Much More

‘Skrillex’, ‘Harlem Shake’, ‘Dubstep’ are a few words you must’ve heard of (unless you live under a rock). But whether did they come from? Is electronic music just DJ crap that kids on drugs listen to, or is there is a cultural ethos, a fiercely innovative aesthetic and an undercurrent of abstract expressionism there? What makes electronic music Art? And what, after all, is Art? 

Bio: Born in India, and an Angeleno for over two years now, Karan Gill finished graduate school working at the cross-section of Physics and Engineering, and went on to technology licensing. Electronic music is one of the paths his tastes led him into, and the open, kinesthetic culture with its emphasis on a relentless pursuit of the sonic bleeding edge was one of those loveatfirstsight affairs. He is happy to talk about it for hours, and indeed about anything that contributes to our understanding of the world around us. 


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