We’re hosting our fun, nerdy nights on the first Wednesday of EVERY MONTH.
Our next event is 6 September at Little Andromeda (back for the rest of the year!).

6 September Speakers

“Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck?”
by Mike Dickison

You stumble into the arena. Two doors face you; behind one is a gigantic duck; behind the other a hundred tiny horses. Which door should be your fate? The horsey-duck-ducky-horses question was dreamed up on a UK talk show a decade ago, and has been posed to numerous celebrities, including President Obama. Now it’s your turn. But be warned: the answer is more complicated than you think, and involves Galileo, biomechanics, evolution, and something called the Demon Duck of Doom.

Mike Dickison has a PhD in the evolution of giant flightless birds, and has previously spoken at PechaKucha Christchurch on exactly what kind of bird Big Bird is, and at Nerd Nite on how to vandalise Wikipedia. He did his undergraduate study at UC and VUW, and went to graduate school at Duke University. Since then he’s been curator of the moa collection at Whanganui Regional Museum, and is currently a freelance Wikipedia consultant living in Hokitika.


“Killer robots and your imminent demise”
by Doug Campbell

With the advent of Chat GPT, Alpha Go, and self-piloting delivery drones, the technologies of artificial intelligence and robotics are poised to put enormous destructive power in the hands of ‘lone wolf’ hackers and terrorists. What can society do to stop this from happening? The answer, it will be argued, is “bugger all”. Are we all going to die? Yes.

Doug Campbell is a father of three, the owner of two badly behaved dogs, two badly behaved love birds, and a quite well behaved rabbit, and a senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of Canterbury where the topics he teaches include the existential threat to humanity posed by certain emerging technologies.


Talk Nerdy to Me: Why science is so hard to explain and what can be done about it?
by Molly Magid

Have you been lost trying to read a journal article with a title like “Nonequilibrium sensing of organometal halides with high-sensitivity nanophotonic sensors”? Have you struggled to understand a presentation about how the phenomenology of psychology draws on hermeneutic philosophy? If so, you know that science can be really hard to explain. We’ll take a journey through the history, jargon, and structure of science to understand why it’s so hard to talk about and what can be done to make communicating about science easier.

Molly Magidis a science communicator and science journalist. She has been telling stories about science since she was six, when she wrote a biologically accurate story about ladybugs. She enjoys sharing her passion for science through making podcasts, writing articles, and declaring her love of longfin eels on the street.