Eruption! ft. Nicky Young… The Movie!

Rising Ape Eruption

It’s fair to say that ‘Rising Ape Presents… Eruption!’ was a blast. You became vulcanologists for the evening, vulcanologists who knew a surprising amount about the career of Pierce Brosnan. Using your in-depth knowledge of lava flows, increasing pH levels and the correct pronunciation of Ejyafjallajokull you came to the aid of the perilously located town of Rising Apeton. You were then regaled by researcher Nicky Young and her tales of studying Hawaiian volcanoes and dodging Aberdeenian seagulls. Thank you once again for making it a fantastic evening (and some of the most tortuous quiz team names ever imagined)!

There was just one problem. The next day, when your work colleagues asked what you did the night before, they probably didn’t believe you, it all sounded so incredible. That’s where we can help.

Please enjoy the video evidence of your heroics in our highlights reel below, and show those doubting friends of yours what they missed out on. We hope you like it.

Finally, a massive cheers to the highly professional crew of Raw Frames for making the film. We can heartily recommend them to anyone looking for a video of their event.

Eruption Ft. Nicky Young

03/06/15 7.30pm, Bristol Improv Theatre, £3.50 entry

“What was that?” gasped Carol, one of Rising Apeton’s oldest residents. She’d been hearing worryingly strange rumblings for weeks. This was partly down to her astute, matriarchal, cautious nature; but also the amusing fact that ever since she’d sent her hearing aids in for service, they were now so sensitive she could even pick up three channels of Croatian TV. “It’s nothing, you’re hearing things again you old bat,” barked her ogreish neighbor. But Carol wasn’t that old, and if she were a bat she’d have been smart enough to leave this damned place long ago. What Carol had been hearing was the murmuring of Risuvious, the apparently dormant volcano that lay at the centre of the Bristol ‘Bubbling Cider’ fault line. The birds had left weeks before, but in their arrogance the clever humans had stayed far too long. The end drew near for Rising Apeton…

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Rising Ape returns with a real lava palaver! What’s your mission? To work out how to save Rising Apeton. As always, you’ll need your best quiz heads on, and of course the winning team will get a sizzling prize. The night will end with an incandescent talk from bubbling volcanic researcher Nicky Young. So come along, grab a drink, and get planning!

Nicky Young studies volcanoes as a PhD candidate at the University of Bristol. An early love of rock-hounding and geology-based movies such as Dantes Peak, Volcano, and Journey to the Centre of the Earth (factual or not as they may be) led her to beginning a Geology MSci at Bristol 6 years ago. This was followed by a 6 month stint in Hawaii at the Volcano Observatory where Nicky explored the signals Kilaeau volcano emitted to try and discern volcanic movement. Since then studying volcanoes has been her passion, which is why she returned to Bristol for a PhD. She studies the movement of active volcanoes to understand what is happening deep below our feet.

Location: Bristol Improv Theatre, St Pauls Road, Bristol, BS8 1LP

Ticket Price: £3.50 on the door or available online from the Bristol Improv Theatre website

Time: 3rd June 2015. 7:30pm – 10:00pm

Debrief: Enter the Bat Cave

Rising ape presents enter the bat cave

It’s that time again when we sit back and reflect on last month’s proceedings. As February’s Rising Ape event was bat themed, I’m tempted to say I’m sat in an old, cold and creaky castle, in a deep and dusty chair, scribbling by a candlelight which animates lurking figures on the walls. But after attending Enter the Bat Cave we know this demonic stereotype and the repulsion it spreads is unwarranted.

Barising apets, far from living up to their reputation as the archetypal Halloween animal, are actually quite cute. And thanks to Kiri and Stuart from the Avon Bat Group we all got up close and nocturnal with some pipistrelles – a cute little species found commonly in the UK.

Your quiz team names were, as ever, impeccable. We had the Hand Wings (Google it), Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na Quiz Team (touché), Bats with Prostates (they do have them), and the Flying Rats (what did we just say about stereotypes, ey?).

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Kiri and Stuart showing off their bats

And in the activity your bat untangling skills shone through. Many of you even became dab hands at bat identification – a skill that can take researchers many years to master.

Enter the bat cave Rising apeRising Ape presents enter the bat cave

Heather Nichol explained how wind turbines can and do affect bats in their environment. This isn’t an argument against renewable energy, far from it; we just have to make sure that in trying to save our world by mitigating climate change, we don’t unwittingly cause damage to local ecosystems.

Heather Nichol Rising ape
Heather imparting her batty knowledge.

The night hopefully did a small part to peel back the bad name of bats – the bloodsucking prejudice which taints the image of these fascinating creatures. Thank you again to everyone who came along and took part. Keep an eye out on Facebook or Twitter for our next event.

ENTER THE BAT CAVE Ft. Batwoman Heather Nichol

Plunge into the depths of one of Bristol’s darkest bat caves – a place where the echoes of lost souls linger and haunt the footsteps of all those who enter. Fleeting silhouettes of winged creatures lay claim to these walls, and the stench of guano weighs heavy on the air…

OK, so in reality we just turned off all the lights in the Bristol Improv Theatre, and the Rising Ape team forgot to wash, but bear with us for a moment. Rising Ape returns with a night of bat-themed madness. Bring a team and stretch your wings in the quiz. You better know your long ears from your short snouts, your Dracula from your Orlok, and your Slazenger from your Gunn & Moore. But as bat researchers stuck in a terrifying cave, we don’t expect you to just sit there all night. Be prepared to get up close and personal, untangling these creature’s fascinating secrets for yourselves with help from some special guests. To conclude the night’s eerie proceedings, real-life Batwoman Heather Nichol will share her personal journey into the world of bats.

Tickets available at http://improvtheatre.net/calendar/enter-the-bat-cave/

Tickets also available on the door.

Enter the Bat Cave... there is no exit.
Enter the Bat Cave… there is no exit.

More about Heather Nichol: Heather has been involved in bat conservation for the past 5 years. She was first introduced to the world of bats during her undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds, and has since taken part in various conservation projects, including a project that discovered the first know breeding colony of Alcathoe bats in the UK. Heather has just completed a Masters by Research at the University of Bristol studying one of the hot topics in ecology at moment: bat fatalities in wind farms in Britain.

Debrief: Life on Mars

It’s been just over a week since our first event, Life on Mars, and we thought now would be the perfect time to sit back and reflect on it.

Firstly, we’d like to thank everyone for coming along and making it such an enjoyable evening. Your witty quiz names and animalistic competitiveness added so much to the proceedings.

rising ape presents
What would quizzes be without pun names?

For the first group of civilians on Mars, you settled in quickly. Drinking your way through the ethanol rations and indignantly defending your David Bowie album knowledge. In light of certain disagreements over quiz answers, future Rising Ape quizzes will come equipped with an academically formatted Harvard reference list. Still, the legendary Colin Pillinger would be delighted by your flattering biro portraits, and a couple of you were incredibly close to pinning the Curiosity on the Mars-y. Accordingly, inter-planetary points were awarded galore.

Next, we were very proud to see your ambition when taking on your mission to design a Martian rover. We were also slightly astonished with the lack of humanity when teams raided the scrapheap for building resources. We were reminded of a group of starving, rabid squirrels swarming in on a small packet of KP salted peanuts – needless to say, some did not survive.

rising ape presents
Constructing the rover using NASA-certified materials.

Following your vibrant materials raiding, we were surprised by your incredible ingenuity, some of the rovers could actually roll across rocky terrain, and one was built without any tape at all! (We know most Martian rovers are built without sticky tape, be it sello or gaffer, but NASA don’t use straws as axles either – this was seriously impressive!)

rising ape presents
“I tell you, he was small and green and I saw him run into that crater!”

When the sandstorm outside the colony had died down, our speaker Michaela Musilova inspired us with the science of astrobiology. She also shared with us stories from her time on the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), a Mars colony experiment in the Arizona desert. According to her experiences on the MDRS, before we ship off to Mars, we need to seriously work on the psychological problems which we suffer from when cooped up with people in a small space. The Rising Ape Team thinks the only reason there hasn’t been a murder on Big Brother is probably the voting off process. Needless to say this isn’t an option on Mars.

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Michaela’s captivating presentation.

Following Michaela’s talk we opened up to questions from the floor. The first of these came in at warp speed, with what is probably the hardest scientific or metaphysical question you can ask in three words: What is life? Keep this kind of curiosity coming Rising Apes, it’s what has made humanity special all along.

Here’s the night’s playlist because we know how much you colonists enjoyed doing the Martian Hop.

rising ape presents
Our chemist, David ‘Chem Judge’ Judge, with an assemblage of Martian rovers.

LIFE ON MARS FT. MICHAELA MUSILOVA

Welcome to a night of knowledge, excitement, exploration and (ethanolic) excess.* (*Please drink reasonably, but feel free to consume knowledge and excitement in rampant abundance.) You are officially invited to join colony #001, the first human settlement on Mars.

The first task our crew will be subjected to is an Earth-style pub quiz on the topic of Mars. Indeed, a strange start to the first day on Mars. Nevertheless, you better wipe the dust off those Mars mission background briefings ESA mailed you a couple of months ago, and get studying. Your quiz team, or Tactical Life on marsTask Force, will be limited to a maximum of 4 colonists. But overall scores will be boosted with the second part of the evening—the activity. The nature of the activity is TOP SECRET, as exposing this information may lead some colonists to practice or buy ergogenic aids. Finally, once the scores have been collated and the prizes distributed to our most knowledgeable and dextrous of colonists, we will receive a 20 minute briefing from our crew’s resident astrobiologist Michaela Musilova. Michaela will talk us through exactly where the current academic thinking is on Martian life. Following this briefing we will have a question and answer session so we can all pick Michaela’s impressive brains some more.

To book tickets for this event follow the Eventbrite button in the sidebar. Alternatively, you can buy tickets at the door, subject to availability. You can even tell us you’re attending, and say hello, through the Book of the Face.

More about Michaela Musilova: Michaela is currently working as a PhD research student at the University of Bristol. Her dream is to be part of future space exploration missions searching for extraterrestrial life. Michaela Musilova’s primary interest is in extremophiles, organisms that live in extreme environments, such as deserts, deep sea vents and glaciers. They are significant to industry and medical research, since their enzymes are stable and functional over a wide range of physical/chemical conditions. Similar life could potentially be found in analogous extreme conditions on other planets and moons. Thus, they are very important to astrobiology – a multidisciplinary science exploring the origin and distribution of life in the Universe. During her studies, Michaela pursued other astrobiology related research, including: working as a research fellow at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); simulating lunar and planetary surfaces through NASA and the UK Space Agency’s MoonLite project (funded by a Nuffield Foundation grant); searching for exoplanets at the University of London Observatory; and being selected as an analogue astronaut at the Mars Desert Research Station, USA.