Nerd Nite 42: Climate change, Singularity and Owls

Nerd Nite Brighton: Climate change, Singularity and Owls
Thursday 27th July 2017

We’ve got something for everyone at Nerd Nite this month with an amazing diversity of speakers, plus our usual nerd news, nerd quiz and (nerd) cakes.

Doors open 7.30pm for an 8pm start.

£4 Regular Nerds, £3 Unemployed/NUS/65+ Nerds

Tickets available from Rialto Theatre
Twitter: @brightonnerd
Facebook: NerdNiteBrighton

Our speakers this month:

Robin Webster: Grief, hope and whether the climate geeks could save the earth
David Plummer: Owls: Natural Born Killers
Simon Wilkinson: Postcards from the Singularity

Robin Webster will be talking about whether the nerdy language we use when we talk about climate change is almost deliberately set up to distance us from the reality of the issue – and in polite society we’ve silently agreed not to talk about it at all. She’ll describe some of the most recent technical research showing us where we’re at on emissions, the tehno fixes we’re relying on and the unexpected changes of the last few years that give us hope. She’ll also take a dive into the fascinating research showing why we find it hard to talk about climate change, how we might be able to frame our way out of trouble and why small actions matter a lot more than we think they do.

Robin has been a climate change researcher, writer and campaigner for ten years. She’s worked for a number of different NGOs and specializes in turning technical material about climate change impacts and emissions into something that someone might want to read. In 2009, Robin helped start up the climate fact-checking blog Carbon Brief, and subsequently spent a few years diving into Daily Mail headlines and the Annexes of reports about energy policy – in order to find out what was accurate and what (more often) wasn’t. Robin also performs comedy improv and has trained as a storyteller. She’s fascinated by how we can tell more compelling stories about climate change, and why we don’t often do it.

David Plummer’s talk will show the true nature of owls opposed to myth, with a comparison to the Terminator. Wildlife and photography have always been David’s two great loves. His earliest memory is of studying woodlice at the age of two. At eight, he bought his first second-hand SLR camera and was delighted when he managed to get a full-frame shot of a blue tit at nest. David now runs wildlife photography courses, teaches on behalf of the Sussex Wildlife Trust and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and conducts tours for Steppes, the leader in worldwide ethical travel, in India, the Galapagos, Kenya and Rwanda. He also conducts bespoke private tours in specific locations or to film target species, with particular expertise in: the Pantanal region of Brazil, the Maasai Mara, and Hungary.

David is a passionate believer in protecting functioning eco systems, and advises internationally on eco-tourism and how it can be used to protect habitats and species. He is also actively involved in conservation in the UK: he is the co-ordinator of the BN5 owl project, a community based project in Sussex to monitor and boost owls, and he is a committee member of Henfield Bird Watch, winner of the British Trust for Ornithology’s “Marsh Local Ornithology Award”.

Find out more:

Simon Wilkinson will be tackling the question of how the human perspective will change as AI becomes artificial general intelligence and how the narratives we tell ourselves about the world and our role in it might begin to look increasingly shaky.

His work incorporates audiovisual, installation, VR, AR, Ai, electronic music, online and performance mediums; often combining multiple approaches simultaneously to create highly immersive narrative environments which invite prolonged audience engagement.

His work has been featured at Tate Modern and regularly tours internationally. The most recent five works, produced under the name CiRCA69 and collectively entitled Whilst The Rest Were Sleeping, exist within a continuous narrative universe. Shows from this series have, in 2016/17, enjoyed a 16 nation world tour across 6 continents. A world premiere of the complete collection will take place in Mexico City October 2017 as part of MutekMX.

Simon guest lectures at a large number of international universities including Netherlands Film Academy, Sarajevo Academy of Fine Art, Bilkent University Ankara, Lima University of Technology and Engineering London College of Communication and a number of UK universities. He was the lead facilitator on British Council’s Transmedia Thinktank in Venezuela 2016 and in 2017 was a resident at Cambridge University’s Centre for the Future of Intelligence exploring the use of artificial intelligence in his practice.

Find out more at

Images in poster by kind permission of circa69 and David Plummer.

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