Since the Maya’s have granted us the right of existence we are back with Nerdnite X. After looking death in the eye we decided to focus this anniversary edition on having fun. And how do we nerds have fun? With games! First out we have top athlete Leonie busting the mythe on females being the weaker gender and lecturing us on what your body can actually achieve if you set the right boundary conditions in your life. Second up Mikhel will enlighten us with lessons of Starcraft and he’ll argue that if you are willing to look into your gamers-eye, you will become a better employee, and maybe even a better person.
‘Any idiot can run a marathon. It takes a special kind of idiot to run an ultramarathon.’
Ultrarunning starts where the marathon ends: after 42.2km. But why would you want to run distances like this in a world of spaceships, supercomputers and fast cars? The answer is simple: because you can.
The human quest to find the true essence of being is as old as Pheidippides’ 246km long run from Athens to Sparta to seek help against the Persians in the battle of Marathon in 490BC. After arriving in Sparta he took the same 246km long way back to Athens. If he could do it, why can’t we? And what would it take to run 246km.
There’s a physical as well as a mental aspect to running distances like this. Obviously, you need to train hard, harder, hardest. But you need to train smart. You need to turn your body into a super-efficient, lean and mean running machine. Now that’s the easy part. The mental aspect of running a race like Spartathlon is where the fun really starts. But if you master the mental part of ultrarunning, chances are that you will come closer and closer to finding the true essence of being. And that’s the true gift of ultrarunning.
Join me at Nerdnite X and I will reveal some of the secrets of running Spartathlon, a 246km race. Because ‘the greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.’
Leonie van den Haak is an ultrarunner, Nike-adept, world traveler and punkrock-lover. She finished last years’ Spartathlon as 2nd woman in the 5th fastest time ever: 28:42:36.
Mihkel Kama – Craft your star with StarCraft
How playing games can make you more productive
Games are a way for all advanced creatures we know of to learn about real life. Videogames have become hugely popular and, in many ways, similar to physical sports. The most popular games have hundreds of millions of players, world-class superstar gamers, tournaments, and casters. All games are fun. But while the usefulness of physical sports is clear, this is less so for e-sports.
In my talk, I will introduce the popular real-time strategy game, StarCraft II, and will illustrate how playing it can reveal and heal personality traits that sabotage our attempts to be productive in real-life activities, such as publishing papers. By becoming aware of these traits, we can overcome them, becoming not only better gamers, but better people.
Mihkel Kama is an astrophysicist interested in the formation, evolution and characterization of planetary systems. He likes sports of all sorts, in recent times StarCraft and squash.