Nerd Nite Pittsburgh is a lecture series that’s a mix between a TED talk, a comedy show, and freshman orientation. Speakers present for 15 minutes on a variety of topics related to science and technology, popular culture, history, and other nerdery with a vibe that’s as entertaining as it is academic! Audience members can ask questions and beforehand there is an entirely optional networking game. If you like alcohol, learning about random and interesting things, and meeting other nerds this is for you! Networking game starts at 6:30, Doors open for the show at 7:25, show starts at 7:45. If you have a topic you are passionate about and you’d like to be a speaker at a later event get in touch at ! The speakers for September 2nd are:
Phil Nash: “Watergate Weirdness: Come for the High Crimes, Stay for the High Jinks.”
We all know the Watergate scandal story of the 1970s, but very few of us know just how many weird scenarios and personalities were involved in the famous crimes that ended the Nixon presidency. This talk shows the manifold political motivations that prompted the Watergate break-in and cover-up, all the way from secret 1968 Nixon campaign shenanigans about Vietnam, to some of the seedier sides of Nixon’s personal finances. And what a rogues’ gallery of criminals! The lives and careers of many of the Watergate burglars and their fellow travelers would be considered too far-fetched even for a Hollywood thriller. Like most famous historical events, Watergate is weirder and far more complex than you think!
Philip Nash is an award-winning history professor at Penn State. He is an expert on modern American political and diplomatic history, and his books “The Other Missiles of October” (about the Cuban Missile Crisis) and “Breaking Protocol” (about America’s first female ambassadors) have made major contributions to their fields. Phil is also committed to bringing scholarly history to the general public, and his appearances on podcasts and on talk radio have captivated audiences world-wide. He just finished writing a biography of Clare Boothe Luce–who thought Nixon got a bad rap for Watergate.
Joe Coohill (aka Professor Buzzkill): “The Hitler Testicle Meter.”
Allied soldiers sang the humorous ditty “Hitler Only Had One Ball” during World War II, and the question of whether Hitler suffered from “monorchism” (having only one testicle) has been a minor historical issue ever since. This talk analyses how historians of medicine and psychology have tried to determine whether the Fuhrer was missing some wedding tackle, and whether that may have contributed to his mania. This talk is about science and pseudoscience, the nature of serious historical research, how urban legends start and spread, and, of course, about the number that the Hitler Testicle Meter has displayed at any one time.
Joseph Coohill is a historian of Britain and Ireland. He received his doctorate in modern history from Oxford in 1998. He has taught in universities in Britain and the United States, but has found his greatest reward in becoming a “Historian for the Public,” because of his highly popular show, The Professor Buzzkill History Podcast (professorbuzzkill.com). Joe is continually fascinated by myths and misunderstandings in popular conceptions of history. His latest project is about the rise of Churchill legends in the United States.
Andrew Meade McGee: “When Washington Met Silicon Valley: Did Al Gore Invent the Internet?”
The “Al Gore said he invented the internet” story is now part of American history. This “boast” was (and is) relentlessly ridiculed on talk radio. But, in the broader sense, is there any truth to it? Computers come from dorm rooms and garages in California, right? Genius inventors combining futuristic design and cutting-edge technology? Well, that’s only half the story. Our modern digital age was shaped by a surprising number of decisions made not in laboratories but in government boardrooms. This talk shows that surprising political decisions created the American information society.
Andrew Meade McGee is a visiting assistant professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University. He studies big technology, big government, and big business. Educated at Harvard and the University of Virginia, he also did improv comedy before settling on a career teaching undergrads. He has been the Kluge Fellow in Digital History at the Library of Congress and is a member of the global “Histories of Artificial Intelligence” working group based at the University of Cambridge. He loves American history in its convoluted, messy whole.
Our Networking game will take place before the show from 6:30-7:30. Similar to ‘Speed Dating’ or ‘Speed Networking’ our game is ‘Speed Friending’! Whether you are new to the city and hoping to make friends, trying to expand your professional network with other nerds, or are single and looking to mingle, the game is just about meeting new people! You’re welcome to come late or leave early. We have a system in place to rotate everyone around to meet someone new every 5 minutes, then you can fill out an online form with which conversations you enjoyed and we’ll put you in touch with the matches!
If you haven’t been here before, check what this is about with videos from our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVl964vvbYrgRJaUCLifPgw This event is 21+ and requires ID. The venue has limited space and there may not be door sales if we sell out, which happens regularly. Be sure to get a ticket before heading over.
The CDC has maintained its stance that those who are vaccinated can resume normal activities. We’re trusting the CDC in our decision to continue hosting events. If the CDC changes this recommendation we will immediately cancel and everyone will receive a full refund for their ticket. Additionally, following Spirit’s protocol at this time during all indoor events, we will be checking temperatures at the door and asking those who can’t provide proof of vaccination or a negative pcr test within 72 hours, to remain masked indoors. A printed copy or a photo on your phone of your vaccination card or pcr test will suffice as proof as long as the name is visible and it matches your id. We will have disposable masks available at the door for those who do not provide proof. If you have concerns or questions about public safety, please reach out to Spirit at .