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Nerd Nite XIV: Downtown Dinosaurs, Schools Never Learn, and a Scientific Sermon!

Join us for a blast from the ancient past, a look at the miseducation of American students, and a thought experiment on science as a religion!

Nerd Nite Orlando is an evening of entertaining yet thought-provoking talks across many disciplines – all while the audience drinks along in a casual bar atmosphere. Speakers present for 20-25 minutes each on a fascinating subject of their choice, often in an uncanny and unconventional way.

It’s like the Discovery Channel – with beer! Come meet up, drink, and learn something new!


Thursday, April 10th
Talks 7:00 – 9:00pm
Stardust Video and Coffee, 1842 E. Winter Park Rd. Winter Park, FL 32803.
Facebook Event:



“Downtown Dinosaurs: New News on Old Bones and Orlando’s First Giant Rodents” by Jimmy Waldron

Everyone can agree that dinosaurs are awesome. They spark our sense of wonder because they’re like dragons, except real! Sure, they didn’t breathe fire (that we know of), but how could any dragon compare with the visual splendor of a towering T. rex? In this exciting presentation, we’ll unearth some amazing new findings that take the Terrible Lizards beyond anything you’ve ever imagined. We’ll also travel through time to explore prehistoric Orlando’s Giant Mice. Join us for this blast from the ancient past!

Jimmy Waldron is a dinosaur-hunting explosions expert whose fossils are on display in several museums in Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale. With his infectious passion, he’s brought science to the masses on Fox-35′s Good Day Orlando, The Monsters in the Morning, and How to do Florida. His day-job consists of teaching science at a charter high school. Also, he once high-fived a bear.


“Schools Never Learn: The Miseducation of America” by Christine Ortiz

Quick: recite the Krebs cycle, the quadratic formula, and the definition of iambic pentameter (no cheating)! Don’t sweat it if you can’t. Education is what remains when you’ve forgotten much of what you studied in school. The hope being that you learned how to think instead. Do most modern schools effectively achieve this, though? If not, then why? This talk will cover the history of schooling in the US, highlighting influential movements, policies and court cases. We hope you laugh, because if not, this stuff might make you cry.

Christine Ortiz is the founder and CEO of [ ]schools, a radically different approach to school model development utilizing interdisciplinary teams, d.thinking and human centered design, and lean startup methodologies. Christine is a serial social entrepreneur who spent her teen years designing the National Truth Anti-Tobacco campaign, has launched several education related businesses, founded Ampersand, a K-12 lab school located in Orlando, Florida and consults on innovation in education.


“A Scientific Sermon: What if Science Were a Religion?” by Shaun Marshall

The idea that science is “just another religion” has led to a contentious debate for millennia. However, many scientists and theologians alike agree that religion is built up of beliefs, as a house is built of stones, but an accumulation of beliefs is no more a religion than a heap of stones is a house. But what if science truly were structured like a religious doctrine? What would be its core principles? This “sermon” will guide you through the “Ten Commandments of the Scientific Method,” explain the meanings of scientific Fact, Law, Hypothesis, and Theory, and evaluate the miracles of faith against the achievements of science. You’ll gain an exciting new perspective from this intriguing thought experiment!

Shaun Marshall has been enthusiastic about science since he was in diapers. From his early experiments, whose materials included his father’s pajamas and lighter fluid, to more advanced research regarding feasibility drafts for the Space Shuttle Program’s Liquid Flyback Boosters, scientific exploration has defined his life. As a father to daughters who are destined to take over the world, he ensures that science literacy remains strong in their minds, while having love in their hearts for the world around them.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    All three presenters did a wonderful job. Enthusiasm along with great information...a great combination.

    April 15, 2014

  • Christine D.

    I came for the last part of the first talk, all of the second, and left before the last. The Schools Never Learn talk wasn't really anything new I hadn't heard before and I was surprised when it ended, like "was that it?"

    April 14, 2014

    • Josh

      Christine - I was expecting a slightly different talk. Sorry that you missed the last Talk. We recorded it and posted it here­.

      April 14, 2014

  • Lori

    Hi all, this would have been my first experience with the group and I'm so sorry to have missed it. Glad it was a success and I'll meet all of you on the next one!

    April 11, 2014

  • Michael

    This was my first foray into the Meetup world and I picked a great one to start. Informative and entertaining, it was a very cool experience. The organizers, speakers and audience members were friendly and engaging. I will definitely try to attend another in the future.

    April 11, 2014

  • Alexander Kolozvary J.

    Car in shop. Can't make it without my wheels. Let me know how it turns out tonight.

    April 10, 2014

    • Josh

      Hope to see you next month!

      April 10, 2014

  • Josh

    Thank you to everyone that made it out tonight! Our last talk was recorded and already uploaded to YouTube. Check it out!

    April 10, 2014

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