Hacking AI – How to Defend Yourself Against the AI Apocalypse

Profile of human-looking android

February Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Evan Pederson

Given the inevitable AI apocalypse how does one stay ahead against a malevolent omnipotent machine? Let’s discuss some conceptual tools that can be used to fight against a rogue AI, or cause one. The topics covered shall be a light introduction to AI, light introduction to cybersecurity, hardware and software injection attacks against AI, and some other attack type vectors that can be used against AI. If there is a time a demo shall be given. 

Playing with Fire: Wood-Fired Ceramics

Two tan and cream-colored wood-fired ceramic cups with geometric etchings sit atop a wooden surface.

February Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Melissa Gohman

Delve into the fascinating world of clay with Melissa Gohman as she shares her enriching experience in building and firing a wood-fired soda kiln. Melissa, an art teacher with over 20 years experience, has specialized in ceramic sculpture and pottery since earning her BFA and Master’s degrees in ceramics from SCSU. She’ll discuss the intricate processes that artists employ to craft stunning pottery and sculptures from raw clay to finished masterpieces. Gain insights into the unique challenges and joys of working with this traditional firing technique and explore the artistry and craftsmanship behind the magic of ceramic sculpture and pottery.

Porn’s Relationship to Exploitation*

Woman's face from lips to chin with bright red lipstick and white blond hair

February Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Bri Cornell

Our society paints pornography as being an empowering tool for people to explore and embrace their sexuality. There are so many categories, options, and things to make you feel good. Right? Not exactly. In this presentation, Bri will unpack the problematic ideas that porn is empowering for performers and that they make so much money they don’t know what to do with it. We will also talk about the realities performers face in the sex industry and how those are linked with human trafficking, which is one of the world’s largest human rights issues.

*Content warning, as some of the topics presented can be triggering and are not suitable for kiddos.

A Deep Dive into High School Robotics

A robot that resembles Pixar's WALL-E on black surface with gray background

January Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Ryan Swanson, Paige Erickson, & Adam Bertsch

FIRST Robotics is the competitive high school sport that you wish you had when you were in school. Coaches and student members from the Sartell Robotics team will describe the FIRST Robotics competition program, dive deep into what makes their robots tick, and give you a glimpse into the exciting program that you missed out on in high school. Hear about the program from one of the best robotics teams in the state, and if you’re lucky, get a chance to drive the robot!

Preserving the Mind: Strategies for Dementia Prevention & Cognitive Well-being

The word Dementia is spelled out using white scrabble tiles on a white background

January Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Tami Kolbinger & Cristina Rodriguez

Dementia is no laughing matter, but these two presenters, with their unique and animated style, will certainly keep you entertained. Join Cristina and Tami from Central Minnesota Dementia Community Action Network as they go over dementia basics and prevention tips. If you want to start taking preventative action as your new year’s resolution, then you should definitely come to Nerd Night on January 4th.

The Building Blocks of Babies’ Mental Health: Relationships, Emotions, and Exploration

Baby in blue looks into camera over the shoulder of a gray-haired man in a white shirt

January Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Sara Falk

Mental health has become a big topic of discussion throughout our society, particularly after experiencing a global pandemic. However, we often talk about mental health as if it starts sometime in adolescence or adulthood. The truth is that mental health starts developing from the moment we are born (and maybe even before that!). Let’s talk about what mental health looks like in the first years of life and what babies need from us to build a strong foundation for lifelong mental health.

Color Psychology: Bringing Emotions & Color Together

A single rainbow carnation sits on a white background

December Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Elizabeth Schultz

This talk dives into the fascinating psychology behind colors. Starting with an exploration of how colors impact our perceptions, it delves deeper into the personalities associated with different colors and their relevance in various contexts. From decoding what our favorite colors reveal about us to understanding which colors are optimal for creating positive first impressions in interviews, dates, and interior spaces, this discussion navigates the intricate relationship between color choices and human perceptions.

The Magic of Christmas: Ancient Traditions & Celebrations

Santa with a surprised expression holds his round glasses to his eyes

December Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Aria Harveland

Prepare to unwrap the gift of knowledge as we sleigh the misconceptions about Christmas! Join us for a merry jaunt through history, where we’ll unravel the not-so-saintly origins of this festive season. From Saturnalia shenanigans to Yule logs burning brighter than Rudolph’s nose, we’ll explore the eclectic mix of traditions that deck the halls and jingle the bells of modern-day Christmas. It’s a ho-ho-whole new perspective on the holiday season. “Yule” be surprised at what you learn!

From Death Comes Life

two hands hold a clear read heart-shaped object as if to offer or give it to someone.

December Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Anita Fischer

Despite many nerds’ attempts to deny, delay, or downplay death, the fact is we will all die someday.  Some people (I won’t name names – ahem, me) have even pondered how and when they will die. Well, no crystal ball exists in this presentation. BUT, pay attention. You can learn more about the impact of what it means to be a donor after your death. Organ, eye, and tissue donation cannot happen without the generous decisions of those who are willing to momentarily gaze into the face of their own death and decide to make their final choice (one that comes after you are no longer able to make choices) to provide hope, healing, and meaning for others. What can be donated? Who can donate? How can one be a donor? All this will be revealed while you sip an excellent beer, wine, or cocktail. The best way to talk about death.

The Biological Process Behind COVID-19 Infection, Sample Testing, and Surveillance

November Nerd Nite on the Rocks

Cody Aguirre

As most of you may or may not know, there was a pandemic a couple of years ago called RONA, or more commonly, COVID-19. This was a SARS grade virus that would infect its host and sometimes kill them. With this new virus came a need for research, testing, surveillance, a vaccine, the whole shebang! The crazy amount of information that was learned and revised again and again within months was insurmountable. That’s where Cody Aguirre, a Native Texan, came in, because from 2020-2022 researching and testing COVID-19 was his life, and he’s here to share that with y’all.