BY SCOTT DIETRICH
Do you enjoy science, comic books and other fantasy fiction? Do you enjoy playing sports video games rather than actually playing the sport? If so you may be classified as a nerd, but don’t worry, if you live in K-W you’re not alone.
Nerd Nite K-W is a social network that is open to anyone in the community but specifically tailors its culture to science fiction, fantasy and other nerdly pleasures. It is a growing global network that began in New York seven years ago, and has since spread all over the world. They usually meet in a pub, have a few drinks, meet some new people and, of course, learn. There are prizes to be won and games to be played. The non-profit organization promotes itself as a social profit club.
Charlotte Armstrong is the “boss” of the K-W chapter which was founded in 2012. She came up with the idea to bring Nerd Nite to K-W when she first started going to meetings in Toronto.
“Two years I was travelling back and forth to go to the Nerd Nite (events) in Toronto and then I realized, K-W is way more nerdy,” Armstrong said. “This is like the nerd capital of Canada, so we should have one here.”
Although Nerd Nite events draw a lot of the same people time after time, Armstrong said you don’t have to know anybody to come to an event as all are welcome. “A lot of people come by themselves and wind up making friends and connecting with the community,” Armstrong said.
The last event they held was on Nov. 9 in the Rum Runner Pub and was called Carl Sagan Night, a loving tribute to a man whose passion for science popularized it. His show Cosmos: A Personal Voyage was influential on the careers of many academics in the field of science today.
Guests of the event could dress up a Carl Sagan paper doll, make a mask out of a photo of his face and watch a non-stop playlist of Cosmos episodes. It was a perfect way to honour the memory of a man who wanted to educate everyone and bring science into homes all over the world.
Armstrong said the first time she saw Carl Sagan’s show is the moment that she fell in love with space. “He was the first scientist to be in the media and you heard the love and passion (for science) in his voice.”
Another popular attraction at the event was the Oculus Rift, a state-of-the-art virtual reality machine. People could put on a pair of plasma screen goggles and noise cancelling headphones, and be suddenly rushed into a different time or place.
Since the viewer cannot hear or see anything in the real world, the illusion is created of being in the place the machine is projecting. The screen also syncs with the movement of the viewer’s head, so if the projection was the viewer travelling through space, he could look to his left and suddenly see an asteroid that he didn’t know was there.
For more information on upcoming events and trips, go to Nerd Nite K-W’s Facebook page.