> Nerd Nite SF #6: Mars, Penguins, and Gonorrhea

Nerd Nite SF #6: Mars, Penguins, and Gonorrhea

We’re back from our little October vacation!  After all the partying we’ve done, from Halloween to the World Series, we could probably use another vacation, but instead we’ll persevere to bring you the best in drunken nerdy entertainment.  This month we have presentations on the quirks of Mars’s magnetosphere, the peculiarities of those adorable penguins, and a history of the not-so-adorable gonorrhea.  “Ooohs,” “Awwws,” and “Ewwws” will abound.  Be there and be square! Sponsored by Science Channel!

Weds. 11/17
Doors @ 7:30pm, show @ 8pm
Rickshaw Stop
155 Fell St @ Van Ness
$8

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“Mars’s Lumpy Bumpy Neato Magneto(sphero)” by Dave Brain

Imagine that you are a boy or girl scout wandering around Mars using your trusty compass to navigate.  Congratulations—you’re lost!  As your air slowly runs out and you lie wondering where it all went wrong, I’ll explain what happened, the connection between your useless compass and the cold, thin, toxic Martian atmosphere, and what those faint lights in the sky are.  Maybe you can get a merit badge as consolation.

Dave Brain (yes…`Dr. Brain’…it is very embarrassing) is a planetary space physicist from UC Berkeley who studies the connections between magnetic fields and atmospheres at Mars and other planets.  He can’t believe that people are willing to pay him to think about planets all day. And he never made it past Webelos.

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“Penguins: The True Chicken of the Sea” by Brooke Weinstein

Despite being almost universally loved, penguins are easy to parody.  They walk funny, and we laugh at them when they trip.  They look like they’re wearing tuxedos, so we dismiss them as all being the same.  They’re birds, but they’re fundamentally different from all other birds.  Biologist Brooke Weinstein will take us beyond the caricatures and explain the basic peculiarities of these fascinating creatures.

Brooke Weinstein is an aquarium nerd and aquatic biologist at the California Academy of Sciences.  At work, Brooke is responsible for a portion of the freshwater collection, including the freshwater stingrays and the 110,000-gallon Amazon Flooded Forest Display, which she likes to dive in as much as possible.  She also spends a good bit of time caring for the Academy’s African penguin colony while trying, sometimes successfully, to be the biggest penguin.

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“The Perilous Infirmity of Burning: The History of Neisseria Gonorrhea” by D Muthulingam

Described in Leviticus and named by the Greeks, gonorrhea has faithfully followed the loins of lovers through Roman conquests, Parisian whorehouses, and American college dorms.  Shadowed by the more glamorous syphilis and that upstart chlamydia, “The Clap” has persisted, overcoming the Roman Catholic Church, mercury, penicillin, and fluoroquinolones.  This is a story of a gram-negative diplococci committed to love—and oh, how it burns!

D Muthulingam is a fourth-year medical student passionate about health education, self-knowledge, and preventive care.  She has studied the molecular epidemiology of Chlamydia trachamotis in Ecuadorian sex workers, and helped folks at the Berkeley Free Clinic understand what to do when “omg i have a rash!!!”  Currently she is studying the effects of HIV infection in the central nervous system.  She loves good coffee, mucus membranes, and the basal ganglia.

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Plus:

Pumpkins. Good for carving, making pies, baking seeds and a flurry of other fall favorites. But a catapulting pumpkin competition? Now that’s an unusual use for this orange gourd-like squash! For 25 years, the World Championship Punkin Chunkin competition has been launching pumpkins high into the skies above Delaware. Science Channel will be there again this year to catch every far-flingin, high-flyin moment. The show will air on Science Channel Thanksgiving Night at 8pm.

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DJ Alpha Bravo will spin an eclectic array of nerdy tunes themed around our presenters’ topics.  Alpha Bravo is VP of left-field pop label Radio Khartoum and was one of the forces behind legendary SF pop club nights Anisette and Schokolade.

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