We all know that learning is more fun when you’re drinking with friends and colleagues.
Thus, we bring you Nerd Nite, a presentation series during which several folks give 18-21-minute fun-yet-informative presentations across all disciplines—while the audience drinks along. Join us for this special Genius Week Nite as we learn about the unsavory origins of Tetris, the demise of the beloved 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea ride at Disney World and whether or not the utopian vision of the future as depicted in Star Trek can become a reality. Bring some friends to laugh and learn!
Click the program notes tab for information on the lectures and presenters.
This event is part of the 7 Days of Genius series.
7 Days of Genius receives generous support from individuals and organizations, including the John Templeton Foundation.
TETROMINOWLEDGE: How Four Blocks, Arranged In Different Patterns, Have Changed the World, Kind Of
by Neil Janowitz
Description: In 20 minutes, you will be taken through 20 years of Tetris development, including, but not limited to, the creation and ensuing lawsuits, the evolution, the competition and the strategy.
Bio: Neil Janowitz is a professional Tetris scholar who tours the country giving conferences and motivational speeches. He has collected his work into a book (now legendary in the field), Seven Little Pieces. His personal high score is 406,922 (NES, Nintendo release), which he thought was good until a friend, who is clearly much, much more intelligent, casually sat down and beat that score by almost 40,000. That hurt him.
A Journey Through Liquid Space: The Disney 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Ride
by David Shuff
Description: In 1971 Disney unveiled the greatest theme park attraction ever, the 20K ride. For decades it inspired, delighted and scared the crap out of anyone with half an imagination. In 1994 the ride was temporarily "closed for maintenance," but it was a lie, lie, lie. In fact it never sailed again, and after laying fallow for a decade the decrepit ruins were unceremoniously demolished in 2004. But the story—and the dream—doesn't end there. David Shuff has dedicated himself to keeping the memory and magic of 20K alive; in spite of riding it only once when he was 3 years old. Sharing rare photos, video and actual crew member accounts, he will helm a spine tingling adventure through the rise, fall and surprising afterlife of the 20K ride—the lost 8th wonder of the world.
Bio: David Shuff is a well rounded human being with a healthy dislike of most things Disney. Always drawn to the mysteries of the deep, as a child his dream was to be a marine biologist and his nightmares were about giant squids; it only dawned on him recently that he had the 20k ride to thank for both. Beware the plush giant squid behind his couch.
Three Easy Steps to Create Star Trek's Utopian Future
by Ali Mattu
Description: On April 5th, 2063, humans make first contact with Vulcans and usher in an era of peace. Poverty, disease and war are eliminated and humanity commits to peaceful exploration of the stars. So, with less than 50 years to go, what would it take to make Star Trek's utopian future a reality? It's simple—all we have to do is end prejudice, foster global cooperation and develop empathy for aliens. This presentation will outline how we can make it so.
Bio: Dr. Ali Mattu is a clinical psychologist at the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders. He specializes in the treatment of anxiety, hair-pulling and skin-picking disorders. Having served on the executive committee of local, state and national psychological associations, Dr. Mattu has been called a Jedi Knight of psychology. Dr. Mattu credits Star Trek for giving his life purpose and direction. He writes about the psychology of science fiction at www.BrainKnowsBetter.com in the hopes that it will help others develop a love for psychology, just like Star Trek did for him.