Nerd Nite #38 - Bonkers Borders: Crazy Ex(clav)es, Drunken Surveyors, and Uzbeki Seas

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September 15, 2016 at Live! 102 S. First St.

Borders are all around us, literally! These days, too many people struggle to place Poland on a map and even have trouble identifying West Virginia. If we paid more attention to our geopolitical frontiers, we’d find not only fascinating shapes but also rich histories behind them! Was moonshine consumption involved in delineating the Carolinas? Could poker have been a driving factor in demarcating India? Is there still unclaimed land out in the world? Let’s explore these and other intriguing cases of bonkers borders!

About Alex: Alex is a Michigan alum from New York and Bulgaria who loves the borders of all three. He looks to be a neuroscientist by day and a geography hobbyist by night, a sort of “Doctor With Borders”.

Film & Fun! Paddle To The Sea

Enjoy an afternoon of fun with a movie and a movie-themed craft!

The featured film, Paddle to the Sea is based on Holling C. Holling’s beloved Caldecott Medal-winning children’s book.

William Mason’s stunning film follows the adventures of a tiny, wood-carved canoe as it forges its own path from Lake Superior through the Great Lakes and down to the Atlantic Ocean. Buoyed by beautiful photography and a sense of true wonder about the sun, earth, and water, the Academy Award–nominated Paddle to the Sea is an unforgettable tribute to the forces of the natural world, as well as a thrilling journey across the waves and rapids of North America.

The film will be followed by a movie-themed craft.


Nerd Nite #28: Underground Alliances

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September 17, 2015 at LIVE 102 S First St.

PhD student Alex Taylor explains that nearly all plants form intimate symbiotic partnerships with fungi called Mychorrhizae. These fungi grow in elaborate webs through the soil, and then into the plan roots, growing even inside the plant cells, where the plant and fungus have struck a fabulously successful deal. The terms of this deal are straightforward: a trade of sugar for mineral nutrients that plays to the strengths and weaknesses of each partner. Mycorrhizae helped early plants get a toehold on land, and to this day, the vast majority of plants across the globe thrive thanks to their fungal partners. The world would be a barren place without this ancient and strange symbiosis.

About Alex Taylor: Alex is a PhD student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, studying how plants evolved the ability to recognize and partner with bacteria and fungi in the soil. Most days, this involves sitting at a computer and running algorithms on the genome sequences of different plants. He also loves talking and writing about the spine-tingling majesty of science, and co-founded the blog “Thought and Awe” to do just that. In his spare time, Alex is into camping, gardening, and talking about the big stuff over a beer. Find him on Twitter at @ATayters.


Author Jan Jarboe Russell and Holocaust Survivor Irene Butter Discuss The New Book "The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II"

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October 2, 2015 at the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

Author Jan Jarboe Russell and local Holocaust survivor Irene Butter paid a special visit to AADL to discuss Russell’s new book, which features a chapter about Irene Butter.

The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II is the dramatic and never-before-told story of a secret American internment camp in Texas during World War II, where thousands of families, many of whom were US citizens, were incarcerated, with approval from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Combining big-picture World War II history with a little-known event in American history, The Train to Crystal City reveals the war-time hysteria against the Japanese and Germans in America, the secrets of FDR's tactics to rescue high-profile POWs in Germany and Japan, and how the definition of American citizenship changed under the pressure of war.

Author Jan Jarboe Russell is a former Nieman Fellow, a contributing editor for Texas Monthly, and has written for the New York Times, the San Antonio Express-News, Slate, and other publications. She is the author of Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson and has also compiled and edited They Lived to Tell the Tale. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Dr. Lewis F. Russell, Jr.

Irene Butter, born in Berlin, Germany grew up as a Jewish child in Nazi-occupied Europe. A survivor of 2 concentration camps, she came to the US in 1945. After graduating from Queens College in New York City, she obtained a Ph.D. in economics from Duke University. She and her husband were on the faculty of the University of Michigan for more than 35 years. Since the late 1980s, she has been teaching students about the Holocaust and the lessons she learned during those traumatic years. She is a co-founder of the Raoul Wallenberg lecture series at the University of Michigan and is also one of the founders of ZEITOUNA, an Arab/Jewish Women’s Dialogue group in Ann Arbor.


History Mysteries with Mystery Authors Carrie Bebris, Susanna Calkins, Anna Lee Huber, and Sam Thomas

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August 8, 2015 at the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

Mystery buffs will marvel at this panel of award-winning historical mystery authors, each with a brand new mystery book that has just been released!

Robin Agnew of Aunt Agatha’s Mystery Bookshop moderated this event, which will included opportunities for audience questions.

Panelists included:
• Award-winning author Carrie Bebris, author of the critically acclaimed Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery series (the further adventures of Jane Austen’s most beloved characters) is also a life member and regional coordinator of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Her seventh book in the Jane Austen-based series, The Suspicion At Sanditon, finds Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy have moved to Sanditon, the setting of Jane Austen’s final work. They have barely settled into their lodgings when they receive an unexpected dinner invitation from Lady Denham, one of the town’s most prominent residents. Thirteen guests assemble at Sanditon House—but their hostess never appears. The Darcys, like most of their fellow attendees, speculate that one of her ladyship’s would-be heirs has grown impatient … but then the guests start to vanish one by one.

• Susanna Calkins is the author of the award-winning Lucy Campion novels, which are set in 17th century London, a time period that gives Calkins the ability to write about both the plague and the Great Fire. Her main character, Lucy, began the series as a chambermaid, but in this third novel, The Masque of a Murderer, Lucy is working as a bookseller's apprentice, selling broadsides with her fellow apprentice on the streets of London. On a freezing winter afternoon in 1667, she accompanies the magistrate's daughter, Sarah, to the home of a severely injured Quaker man to record his dying words, a common practice of the time. The Quaker, having been trampled by a horse and cart the night before, has only a few hours to live and Lucy is unprepared for what he reveals to her — that someone deliberately pushed him into the path of the horse, because of a mysterious secret he had uncovered.

• Anna Lee Huber is the award-winning and national bestselling author of the Lady Darby Mystery series, set in Scotland in the 1830’s. In A Study In Death, the fourth riveting mystery in the series, Lady Kiera Darby is commissioned to paint the portrait of Lady Drummond, but is saddened when she recognizes the pain in the baroness’s eyes. Lord Drummond is a brute, and his brusque treatment of his wife forces Kiera to think of the torment caused by her own late husband. When she finds Lady Drummond prostrate on the floor, the physician is called and Lord Drummond appears satisfied to rule her death natural. However, Kiera is convinced that poison is the culprit and intends to discover the truth behind the baroness’s death, no matter who stands in her way.

• Historian and teacher Sam Thomas is the author of the Bridget Hodgson series, set in 17th century York. All of the mysteries in the series focus on Bridget's work as a midwife. His latest novel, The Witch Hunter’s Tale, finds the Puritans scouring the British countryside for witches with often heartbreaking consequences. As women and children sicken and die, midwife Bridget Hodgson is pulled against her will into a full-scale witch-hunt that threatens to devour all in its path, guilty and innocent alike. As the trials begin, and the noose begins to tighten around her neck, Bridget must answer the question: How far will she go to protect the people she loves?


Poets & Patriots: A Tuneful History of the United States Through The Tale of Francis Scott Key’s Most Famous Song

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August 17, 2015 at the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

The story of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is the story of the United States itself. The melody was famously set to new words by amateur poet and lawyer Francis Scott Key after the Battle of Baltimore in 1814.

Since the “dawn’s early light” on that now emblematic day, the song has grown and changed in ways largely forgotten today. This lecture and discussion by U-M Associate Professor of Musicology and American Culture Mark Clague explores the history of the American national anthem as a witness to the story of the nation itself.

Mark Clague is a native of Ann Arbor and longtime fan of the Ann Arbor District Library. He serves as Associate Professor of Musicology and American Culture at the University of Michigan and is editor-in-chief of the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition and director of the University’s Gershwin Initiative.


Nerd Nite #26: Detroit - Planning a City After Abandonment

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July 23, 2015 at Live! 102 S. First St.

Urban planning as a field focuses on managing development to shape the effects of growth on cities. But what can planners do in cities like Detroit where developing, redeveloping, rebuilding, and revitalizing are not possibilities? University of Michigan professor of urban and regional planning Margi Dewar lays out directions with a few examples for a different kind of urban planning.


Nerd Nite #26: Calculating 10^18 Results per Second

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July 23, 2015 at Live! 102 S. First St.

The world of high performance computing is changing. Dave Strenski's talk will run through a short history of computing highlighting the different types of computations used in computing’s past, including vectorization, parallelization, accelerators, and reconfigurable computing. Starting from a historical perspective, this presentation builds to what is needed for the future to reach exa-scale (10^18 floating point operation per second) computing. It also covers the types of applications that need exa-scale computing and the merging of high performance computing and data analytics.


Celebrated Actress, Writer, and Producer Cindy Williams Discusses Her Career And Her New Autobiography: “Shirley, I Jest!: A Storied Life”

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August 9, 2015 at the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room

Actress, writer, and producer Cindy Williams is one of the most recognizable names and faces of 1970s & 1980s television.

Best known for her starring role in the hit TV show "Laverne and Shirley," she also had lead roles in such iconic films such as "American Graffiti" and Francis Ford Coppola's "The Conversation."

While millions have been entertained by her good-natured personality and comic antics, she has rarely spoken about her life in entertainment, and how she came to star in one of the most popular shows of all time.

In this special event at the Downtown Library, Cindy was joined by local radio personality Lucy Ann Lance to discuss her life, career and new book Shirley, I Jest!: A Storied Life. In this hilarious and heartfelt book, she shares some of her most memorable stories including her role as Shirley Feeney in the iconic TV show "Laverne & Shirley." She shares stories of her experiences in her personal life (growing up in a blue-collar family) and show business as well as her encounters with entertainment legends such as Gene Kelly, Lucille Ball, Little Richard, Cary Grant, Jim Morrison, Ron Howard, and many more. Of course, she also talks about her professional partnership and personal relationship with her co-star and friend Penny Marshall.


Super Seniors: Independent, Engaged, Connected

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July 14, 2015 at the Malletts Creek Branch

Want to be a “super senior”? If you are approaching the senior years, or have an aging parent, this event addressed several complex issues that seniors are facing: Independent and Assisted Living, Estate Planning, and Rehabilitation. Four local experts discussed these issues and offered answers to big questions. The panel included:

Assisted Living -Beth Conway, Sales & Business Development Consultant with StoryPoint Senior Living. Beth has been involved in senior living for several years with special dedication to Assisted Living and Memory Care. She is an active committee member with the Alzheimer's association and truly feels that research is getting close to help stop the progression of the disease. She is an activist for seniors and enjoys being able to help and educate them on all options that are available for their wellbeing.

Estate Planning - Kyra Sims, Attorney Legacy Law Kyra was particularly drawn to the Estate Planning practice area as a result of her father being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Witnessing firsthand the negative effects that result from not having a comprehensive plan in place motivates her to go the extra mile for our clients. By working at Legacy Law Center, she is able to aid individuals in making complex and meaningful decisions for themselves and their families. Kyra is an Ann Arbor native who received her undergraduate degree from The University of Michigan. Upon graduation, she attended Howard University School of Law where she received her J.D. She is currently an active member of the State Bar of Michigan and the Washtenaw County Bar Association.

Independent Living - Debbie Adams, Director American House Carpenter Debbie has been the Director of American House Carpenter for seven years. She enjoys both the residents and their families. She has been an advocate for seniors in many roles and has a background as a rehab social worker, activities director, and as a caregiver. The aging process is often complex and sometimes scary, and she believes it is her role to offer each senior an opportunity to experience joy, understanding, and solutions and to honor their beautiful human spirit.

Rehabilitation - Courtney Hayes, Heartland Admissions Coordinator Courtney is an Eastern Michigan graduate majoring in Marketing and Communications. She started her journey with Heartland Health Care Center a little over four years ago. She enjoys being an advocate for patients and has watched patients who she never thought would walk again, walk out Heartland’s doors and return home to their lives.

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