We’re on a motherf*cking boat!  Hudson River Park and the New York Hall of Science have partnered with Nerd Nite so we can bring you some fun-yet-smart evening entertainment on The Frying Pan (the name of said boat…spoiler alert: it’s docked) at Hudson River Park as part of the 2014 SUBMERGE! NYC Marine Science Festival .  Enjoy three funny-yet-smart presentations — marine-themed, of course — while the audience drinks along.  And wear your best nerdy t-shirt as part of our dry t-shirt contest.  We’re sure that learning, drinking, and a gently roiling docked boat is a terrific combination.  Buy tickets here.

October 2, 2014 at 8pm
The Frying Pan (pier 66 at West 26th Street) at Hudson River Park
NYC, NY 10001
C/E trains to 23rd Street

Back to the Lectures At-Hand:
*Presentation #1
Stomatopods: What’s up with those Eyes and why is my Thumb Bleeding?
by Dr. Peter Thompson

Description:  So many organisms in the world and so many COOL adaptations.  Meet the lowly mantis shrimp, commonly referred to as the “thumb-splitter.”  A denizen of the colorful world of coral reefs, this crustacean sees the world through the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom and has an attack strike that can knock a hole in glass.  Come learn about what stomatopods can see that you cannot and the biomechanics behind the generation of extreme power in a liquid environment.  You too may come to believe that marine ecosystems are where its at.

Bio – Pete is a researcher at the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he works to keep young urbanites healthy if they eat that tasty free-range pork.  There is a parasite responsible for the common prohibition of eating rare pork.  It was nearly a thing of the past.  Now, with pasture raised pigs, it may make a comeback.  Pete is working on that.  In his fantasies, he lives in an underwater house surrounded by coral reefs.  That is why you will hear him talk about what he thinks is a most remarkable organism, the stomatopod.

*Presentation #2
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.

*Presentation #3
The Bizarre War Against Pinball
by Seth Porges

Description: Today, pinball seems like an innocent and all-American pastime. But for three decades, the game was a crime in most of America’s major cities–including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. In NYC, just weeks after Pearl Harbor, Mayor LaGuardia enforced Prohibition-style raids, in which thousands of machines were rounded up and destroyed. On the verge of extinction, the game survived behind closed doors in seedy joints in Harlem and the Village. This talk will explore the bizarre history of this quintessentially American game, from its Depression-era origins and its suspected links with the Mob, to the present state (today, just one company in the entire world still makes pinball machines). The goal is to answer a single question: Why have so many people found pinball to be so scary?

Bio: Seth Porges is a technology journalist, entrepreneur, TV commentator, and co-founder of Cloth for iOS. A former editor (and current contributor) at Maxim and Popular Mechanics, he also contributes to InStyle, Fast Company, Self, Men’s Journal, Mashable, and Forbes. In addition to making regular appearances on cable news as a science and technology analyst, he appears on four series currently in rotation on History, Discovery, and National Geographic. His recently produced documentary series “The Most Insane Amusement Park Ever” was based on a prior Nerd Nite talk. You can follow him on Twitter at @sethporges, or Facebook.

Dry T-Shirt Contest: Wearyour nerdiest t-shirt and the audience will vote on a winner

About the SUBMERGE! NYC Marine Science Festival
NYSCI has partnered with Hudson River Park to bring a free science festival to New York City residents. SUBMERGE! NYC Marine Science Festival is a daylong festival devoted to understanding our coastal waters. This inspiring day of interactive science will take place on the waterfront in lower Manhattan, at Hudson River Park’s Pier 26, on Sunday October 5 from 11 am – 3 pm. City residents and visitors alike will be invited to Pier 26 for a unique opportunity to engage directly with scientists and other professionals to experience first-hand the cutting-edge science, technology and engineering responsible for helping us to better understand, conserve and restore our ocean and connected waterways. Learn all at: http://nysci.org/submerge-nyc-marine-science-festival/