Nerd Nite SF #59: Dino Art, Social Fishes, and Bees!

Nerd Nite SF #59: Dino Art, Social Fishes, and Bees!Wednesday, 4/15/2015
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here!

First we took away Brontosaurus (and no, dear readers, it is not back. Yet.), and now we’re going to tell you that dinosaurs probably don’t even look the way you think they do. That will go over well, we’re sure. Then we’ll school you on schooling (fishes) and finally give you the buzz on bees! So come enjoy lectures with drinks, music, grilled cheese, librarians, and the company of your fellow nerds. Be(e) there and be(e) square!

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“Extreme Dinosaur Makeover” by Brian Engh

Most of the dinosaurs you see in media are highly speculative and their accuracy and realism is often fiercely debated. Using a newly discovered species of dinosaur called Aquilops americanus as an example, I’ll take you through the painstaking process of reconstructing dinosaurs as accurately as possible, starting from scrappy bone to a complete life restoration of the animal behaving in its environment.

Brian is an artist, animator, filmmaker and monsterologist. His depictions of prehistoric creatures have been published in scientific papers and blogs, and soon to be in several museum exhibits, an interpretive trail in Moab Utah, and in a book on Australia’s ancient inland sea published by the Melbourne Museum.

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“Socializing Through a Fisheye Lens” by Ray Engeszer

Social systems and interactions are central to our lives as human beings, and yet they just won’t let us perform controlled experiments on people! Not even children! Ridiculous, I know. So I tried to use a small fish as a model system to answer questions about how social groups form.

Ray Engeszer knows quite a bit about schooling beyond fish, having a bachelors in Integrative Biology from U.C. Berkeley and a doctorate in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from U.T. Austin, and is now a high school teacher.

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“Sex, Wax, and Pollen: The Honeybee Super-Organism” by Ryan Smith

-or-

Why bees are a (hu)man’s best friend

Bees are highly industrious dance fanatics who have a knack for mathematics and are obsessed with pleasing their queen. These goddesses of the garden have helped humans for thousands of years to make candles, get drunk, sweeten our lives, and most importantly: put food on our plates. But as global populations of honeybees are declining, we are scrambling to find out the roots of the imbalance. We will fly into the hive to understand the big story of this tiny bug and how we can keep the sweetness flowing. Come find out what honeybees mean when they dance and what the world looks like in bee-vision!

Dr. Ryan Smith is a laser physicist, musician, seasoned beekeeper, and physics professor at Cal State East Bay. While his bee-keeping interests began in the Southeastern U.S., he is now an advocate on the sweet west coast.

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With: Alpha Bravo, who’ll be spinning tunes specially selected to match the presenters’ themes. Follow the setlist on Twitter @djalphabravo.

Sammies available for purchase from Grilled Cheese Guy.

Plus: The librarians will be here! The librarians will be here! SFPL’s finest will dole out library cards, reading lists, and the hottest branch gossip.

Nerd Nite SF #58: Diabetes, Global Maritime Trade, and Face Mites!

Nerd Nite SF #58: Diabetes, Global Maritime Trade, and Face Mites!Wednesday, 3/18/2015
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here!

Things you should learn about: The word “pancreas” means “sweetbread.” (Ick.) Dockworkers should not be fucked with. (Fact.) You have tiny arachnids crawling all over your face right. this. very. second. (Noooooooooooo!) More intrigued than alarmed? (And even if you’re not.) Come to the place where the drinks and the music and the learned people–not to mention the grilled cheese and the librarians!–make diabetes, global maritime trade, and face mites intriguing AND alarming in equal measure. Be there and be square!

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“Sweet Nothings from Deep in Your Tummy: A Tale of the Pancreas and Diabetes” by Tommy Hennings

“Diabetes mellitus” literally means sweet, excess urine. Besides requiring a very, ahem, intimate patient-doctor relationship, diabetes has one underlying trait in all of its types: the dysfunction of a certain type of cells within the pancreas. But wait a minute–what is the pancreas, anyway? Come learn about how this organ that looks like a corn cob micromanages blood sugar, why it ends up dropping the ball, and the big changes brewing in diabetes research and treatment.

Tommy is a PhD student at UCSF researching pancreatic beta-cell development and dysfunction, who has lived with type 1 diabetes for 8.5 years.

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“Two Billion iPhones Crossing the Ocean” by Daniel Chin

Nearly all our gadgets and toys come to us from massive factories overseas–everything from the clothes we wear to the cars we drive and the phones we use to navigate the world. But how many of us know the incredible journey that our clothes and cars and phones take before they get to our homes? A professional seafarer and marine engineer will share the fascinating story of modern global maritime trade and the people who bring us “90 percent of everything” created around the world. We will also see what happens when this normally smooth-running machine of global commerce is stymied by technological failures, labor disputes, and pirates!

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“Meet Your Face Mites: A Story of Discovery, Evolution, and Intrigue” by Michelle Trautwein

Right now, deep in your pores, eight-legged creatures are happily making your face their home. Our face mites are perhaps our closest companions, yet we know very little about them. But as we learn more, our mites may offer us a glimpse into our own evolutionary past. What do they look like? Where did they come from? Are you sure that I have them? Come get the answers to all your face mite questions!

Michelle is an entomologist at the California Academy of Sciences and focuses on the Earth’s most lovable creatures: flies and face mites.

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With: Alpha Bravo, who’ll be spinning tunes specially selected to match the presenters’ themes. Follow the setlist on Twitter @djalphabravo.

Plus: The librarians will be here! The librarians will be here! SFPL’s finest will dole out library cards, reading lists, and the hottest branch gossip.

Nerd Nite SF #57: Viking Gender, Induced Quakes, and Bioinspired Tech!

Nerd Nite SF #57: Viking Gender, Induced Quakes, and Bioinspired Tech!Change! – changing gender norms, changing landscapes, and changing lineups (as soon as we finalize the details of our third talk) – is the accidental theme at this month’s Nerd Nite SF. So change up your Weds routine to come down to the Rickshaw Stop, order a different beer than you usually do, and learn something new!

Wednesday, 2/18/2015
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here (recommended!)

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“Odin in Drag: Gender Performance in the Viking Age” by Molly A. Jacobs

Everyone knows the story about Loki giving birth to a horse, right? But did you know that gender-bending behavior really wasn’t that unusual among the Norse gods? The mythology and literature of medieval Scandinavia are full of stories of gods and people cross-dressing, shape-shifting, and playing creatively with concepts of gender, from shield maidens to Odin himself. Come learn what Vikings thought about gender, whether half of all Viking warriors really were women, and what happened when Christianity arrived.

Molly has a PhD in Scandinavian and Medieval Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, where she currently teaches courses on Vikings, writing, and medieval literature.

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“Can People Really Cause Earthquakes?” by Justin Rubinstein

In 2014, Oklahoma experienced more magnitude 3 and larger earthquakes than California. Many people believe that hydraulic fracturing is to blame. But can we really cause big enough changes in the earth to trigger earthquakes? The short answer is yes. In fact, humans have been inducing earthquakes for well over a century!

We’ll explore how human activities can cause earthquakes and try to answer some important questions. Do we need to worry about these earthquakes? How big can they get? Now that hydraulic fracturing is coming to California, do we need to be worried?

Justin is a seismologist with the US Geological Survey. Studying earthquakes has taken Justin all across the world, but these days he finds himself in glamorous locations like Kansas and Oklahoma.

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“Science Fiction’s Body Shop: designing robots, prosthetics, and tissues” by Terry D. Johnson

Nature has a lot to tell us about how bodies – and the parts they’re made of – ought to work. If you want to design a robot, prosthetic, or implant, you’ll find solutions to many of your problems courtesy of evolution. We’ll see how new technologies in repair and replacement are inspiring science fictions – or making them less fictional.

Terry is currently teaching bioengineering at UC Berkeley. He is also (with Kyle Kurpinski) co-author of the popular science book How to Defeat Your Own Clone (and other tips for surviving the biotech revolution).

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DJ Alpha Bravo spins tunes specially selected to match the presenters’ themes. Follow the setlist on Twitter @djalphabravo.

Tasty tamales from Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas will be available.

And the San Francisco Public Library will be doling out library cards, reading lists, and the hottest branch gossip.

Be there and be square!

Nerd Nite SF #56: Reinventing Satellites, Underwater Archaeology, and the Illusion of Bodily Perfection!

Nerd Nite SF #56: Reinventing Satellites, Underwater Archaeology, and the Illusion of Bodily Perfection!Wednesday, 1/21/2015
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here

What’s way up in the sky, way down deep in the ocean, and standing right here? We’re everywhere and we’re square! Wait, is that right? Anyway, come to the Rickshaw and follow through on your resolution to get taught (no, not taut!) while getting tipsy. A space architect, an underwater archaeologist, a technical writer with a fake butt fixation, a DJ, some bartenders, SFPL’s finest, and a grilled cheese scientist will lead the way. Happy new year, indeed!

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“Reinventing the Satellite” by Ben Haldeman

Picture the largest ever fleet of imaging satellites, designed from the ground up as an agile response to space access. Now picture the pictures these satellites provide: fresh daily images of the Earth to help transform the science and markets that rely on observational data. How did a company go from a garage in Cupertino (natch) to sending a flock of Doves up to the skies in only 2 years? By taking advantage of improvements in miniaturization, off-the-shelf components, and agile practices in manufacturing, design and deployment. The way we design for space is changing.

Ben is a lead design architect at Planet Labs. He’s also worked on Mars rover instrumentation and for the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network.

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“I Can Ex-Plane! Underwater Archaeology of WWII Aircraft” by Sam Bell

We tend to think of archaeologists as digging in the dirt, but vast amounts of cultural material lies beneath the waves. Dive deep into the study of underwater WWII aircraft in Saipan (located in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands) and find out what archaeology can teach us about these sites.

Sam has a Masters of Maritime Archaeology from Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia, and now works at Chabot Space and Science Center. She is passionate about teaching history and science to youth.

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“The Illusion of Perfection: Fake Boobs, Fake Butts and Our Unending Struggle with Human Inadequacy” by Laura Rubin

(NOTE: This is a placeholder description written by your humble organizers. The actual talk may deviate somewhat from this.)

For centuries, fashion has been used to alter the appearance our proportions. Through a bewildering array of pads, scaffolds, bindings, or props we’ve wanted to make our butts and boobs look bigger or smaller, as dictated by the times. In this talk we’ll explore some fashion history, and our inability to be content with our “natural” selves.

Laura Rubin is a technical writer by trade, but is fascinated by the history of textiles and fashion, and is an Odd Salon fellow.

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With: Alpha Bravo, who’ll be spinning tunes specially selected to match the presenters’ themes. Follow the setlist on Twitter @djalphabravo.

And: Our scientist of the cheese, the bread, and the brick, Grilled Cheese Guy!

Plus: The librarians will be here! SFPL’s finest will dole out library cards, reading lists, and the hottest branch gossip.

Extra credit: B-Movie Shark Science, Neutrinos, and Monarch the Bear!

Thanks to all for the great time last night! Kelly, Anna, and Drew were really fantastic, no? I bet you were super-inspired to learn more about their topics.

Good news, everyone! Here’s a bunch of materials cited by our speakers, and some resources available through our friends at the San Francisco Public Library.

“Big Brains in the Deep Blue Sea” by Drew Halley

Let’s just get this out of the way: LL Cool J’s “Deepest Bluest (Shark’s Fin)”, a terrible song for a terrible movie. How terrible is it? The chorus is “Deepest, bluest, my hat is like a shark’s fin”. Repeat x8.

The Principles of Brain Evolution. Striedter, 2007

Variation in brain organization and cerebellar foliation in Chondrichthyans: sharks and holocephalans. Yopak et al. 2007. Brain Behavior & Evolution

Understanding vertebrate brain evolution. Northcutt 2002. Integrative & Comparative Biology

From the SFPL:

Apetalk & Whalespeak: The Quest for Interspecies Communication by Ted Crail

Sharks : ancient predators in a modern sea by Salvador Jorgensen, Ph.D

“Ernie and Bert at the South Pole” by Dr. Anna Franckowiak

IceCube’s (the neutrino detector) headquarters at University of Wisconsin-Madison

Ice Cube’s (the rapper/”actor”) headquarters

The history of neutrino discovery

Evidence for High-Energy Extraterrestrial Neutrinos at the IceCube Detector IceCube Collaboration. Science 22 November 2013: 342 (6161), 1242856 [DOI:10.1126/science.1242856]

From the SFPL:

Neutrino Cosmology by Julien Lesgourgues … [et al.] (Available as an eBook!)

Neutrino Hunters: The Thrilling Chase for a Ghostly Particle to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe by Ray Jayawardhana (Available as an Audiobook!)

The Perfect Wave: With Neutrinos at the Boundary of Space and Time by Heinrich Päs

“Monarch the Bear: A Tale of Tycoons, Taxidermy, and the California Flag” by Kelly Jensen

Bears I Have Met – And Others by Allen Kelly  (eBook)

Bear In Mind by Susan Snyder. All the pictures of California Grizzlies you can handle, plus original source documents.

Monarch’s taxidermied hide is kept in the California Academ of Sciences’s Ornithology and Mammalogy collection, a research collection containing over 135,000(!) specimens.

Talk to Kelly on Twitter – she’s funny and does cool stuff!

From the SFPL:

After the Grizzly: Endangered Species and the Politics of Place in California by Peter S. Alagona

The Authentic Animal: Inside the Odd and Obsessive World of Taxidermy by Dave Madden

Nerd Nite SF #55: B-Movie Shark Science, Neutrinos, and Monarch the Bear!

Nerd Nite SF #55: B-Movie Shark Science, Neutrinos, and Monarch the Bear!

Nerd Nite SF #55: B-Movie Shark Science, Neutrinos, and Monarch the Bear!Wednesday, 12/17/2014
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here

Sham science inspiring real inquiry, really weird science so hard to measure it seems fake, and an only-in-California tale of one of the most famous taxidermy victims to grace a flagpole. Just a typical month of nerdery around here! Come get your think on AND your drink on. Vinyl grooves will be explored. Grilled cheese will be inhaled. Librarians will be consulted. Be there and be square!
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“Big Brains in the Deep Blue Sea” by Drew Halley

Between the devil and the Deep Blue Sea you’ll find: hyperintelligent super-sharks, Renny Harlin, bioethical disaster, a cure for Alzheimer’s, Stellan Skarsgård slumming it, and a heckuva lot of pseudoscientific blather. An anthropologist takes a late-‘90s B-movie as the perfect diving-off point for a discussion of shark neuroanatomy, allometric scaling in brain evolution, interspecies cognition, and, of course, what any aspiring genetic engineer might need to before setting up their own offshore experimental lab. Thank you, Hollywood!

Drew is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at UC Berkeley, researching evolutionary alterations to embryonic brain development across a variety of primate species. He is also a collaborator in a multi-year investigation of shark films.

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“Ernie and Bert at the South Pole” by Dr. Anna Franckowiak

Neutrinos are weird subatomic particles. Sixty billion of them pass unnoticed through your thumbnail every second! They can travel without being absorbed or deflected, escaping from dense environments around black holes or the heart of a star and thus carrying unique information about the most violent processes in the universe. But they’re really hard to detect. So a cubic kilometer of ice at the South Pole was instrumented to measure traces of their rare interactions. And lo, Ernie and Bert—-two very high-energy neutrinos—-were detected. Grab your rubber duckie and come learn about the beginning of high-energy neutrino astronomy!

Anna spent some time at the IceCube while getting her PhD in neutrino astronomy. Now she’s a postdoc at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

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“Monarch the Bear: A Tale of Tycoons, Taxidermy, and the California Flag” by Kelly Jensen

You know the bear on the California flag, right? That’s Monarch. Captured at the behest of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, Monarch was the last California grizzly in captivity before they went extinct. That’s just the beginning. The rest of the story involves bear-hunting journalists, kangaroos and druids in Golden Gate Park, a Victorian amusement park in the heart of The Mission, and LOTS of bad taxidermy.

Kelly Jensen is a nerd-about-town. She is the photographer/co-author of Photojojo!: Insanely Great Photo Projects and DIY Ideas, a fellow of Odd Salon, and a librarian/archivist at the California Academy of Sciences. Never lend her the keys to your walk-in taxidermy freezer.

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With: Alpha Bravo, who’ll be spinning tunes specially selected to match the presenters’ themes. Follow the setlist on Twitter @djalphabravo.

And: Our scientist of the cheese, the bread, and the brick, Grilled Cheese Guy!

Plus: The librarians will be here! SFPL’s finest will dole out library cards, reading lists, and the hottest branch gossip.

Nerd Nite SF #54: Cancer’s Metabolism, Whale Disentaglement, and the Midwinter Fair!

Nerd Nite SF #54: Cancer’s Metabolism, Whale Disentaglement, and the Midwinter Fair!Wednesday, 11/19/2014
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here

The UNKNOWN. We haz it. No, not the fear of the UNKNOWN – we are not afraid of it. We embrace it. We make the UNKNOWN, or at least the unfamiliar, known. (Wait, doesn’t that word look really weird now?) For now, our third talk is, yes, UNKNOWN. But we know that that UNKNOWN will soon be known. As to what we do know: We know that we’re going to drink some known intoxicants; nod our heads to some known, but mostly UNKNOWN, vinyl recordings; eat some comfortingly well known grilled cheese; and get to know about the metabolism of cancer and how to get all WET with a marine mammal disentanglement expert. Be there and be square!

UPDATE: Our third talk is now KNOWN! Woody LaBounty will regale us with strange and wonderful tales of the 1894 Midwinter Fair!

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“Metabolism and Cancer: You Aren’t What You Eat” by Roman Camarda

We’ve all heard it before: “You are what you eat!” But it turns out that, in cancer, this isn’t really true. Research over the past century has shown that cancer has a different metabolism than the rest of our body. This altered metabolic state is a hallmark of the disease, and allows it to take advantage of nutrients meant for good (like those in pizza and ice cream). Luckily for us, this altered state may be the Achilles heel of cancer! The question is: How do we selectively disrupt the metabolism of this devious disease while leaving the rest of our bodies free to enjoy the pizza and ice cream?

Roman is a PhD student at UCSF. His dissertation research is on altered metabolism in breast cancer.

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“Whale Disentanglement: You Don’t Need a Bigger Boat” by Kathi Koontz

Rescuing a 40-ton sea monster entangled in fishing gear is dangerous, difficult work. An errant fin can stun or even kill a person and a collision can capsize a boat. The rough waters and sheer vastness of the ocean are daunting. But there is a rescue team up to the challenge: WET, the Whale Entanglement Team. Why do whales get caught? What can be done to prevent it? And how exactly does WET save whales, one at a time?

Kathi Koontz is a primary responder with WET (under the auspices of NOAA Fisheries), a supervisor for the Marine Mammal Center’s special rescue operation team, a co-investigator with Marine Life Studies, and a project manager at the California Academy of Sciences. She has participated in numerous marine mammal rescue operations.

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“Man-Eating Lions and Stucco Igloos: The Weird Midwinter Fair of 1894″ by Woody LaBounty

The California Midwinter International Exposition, better known as the Midwinter Fair, drew over two million visitors to Golden Gate Park from January to June 1894. Originally billed as the “Commercial World’s Fair,” the five-month production featured fairytale architecture, deadly animal acts, dark rides, and exhibits of foreign culture that included a Cairo Street, a Chinese Theatre, and an Eskimo village (with stucco igloos). Strange, comically ethnocentric, and boosterish to modern sensibilities, the fair helped pull San Francisco out of an economic depression and acted as the progenitor of today’s Music Concourse, de Young Museum, and Japanese Tea Garden.

Woody LaBounty is the founder of the Western Neighborhoods Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the history of western San Francisco (outsidelands.org). He is the author of “Ingleside Terraces: San Francisco Racetrack to Residence Park” and “Carville-by-the-Sea: San Francisco’s Streetcar Suburb,” and is recognized as the leading authority on the city’s western neighborhoods.

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With: Alpha Bravo, who’ll be spinning tunes specially selected to match the presenters’ themes. Follow the setlist on Twitter @djalphabravo.

And: Our scientist of the cheese, the bread, and the brick, Grilled Cheese Guy!

Nerd Nite SF #53: Undead Philosophy, Math, and Space Man!

Nerd Nite SF #53: Undead Philosophy, Math, and Space Man!Wednesday, 10/15/2014
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here

For all the meteorological, celestial, and sporting delights this San Francisco October has offered, there is nothing more delightful than an autumnal Nerd Nite at the Rickshaw Stop! It’s getting dark out there, so come early, gulp an intoxicating beverage, let Alpha Bravo’s vinyl vibrate your eardrums, and hear tell of: What happens when philosophers and biologists think about zombies, the forefront of mathematical knowledge, and Walt Disney and the rocket scientist. Be there and be square!

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“Life, Death, and Undeath: Philosophical Notes” by Diego Nieto and Manuel Vargas

Everyone is familiar with the undead (cue zombie moaning and shambling). But what makes something undead as opposed to alive or simply dead? Philosophers have puzzled over this question and what (if anything) undeath suggests about our categories of life and death. If the philosophers are right–that lots of things are indeed quasi-living–contemporary biology suggests that the undead are extraordinarily common. It turns out that life and death aren’t binary conditions but complicated “cluster” states that can be had in greater and lesser degrees. Not so scary after all, huh, George Romero?

Diego is a research entomologist at UC Santa Cruz. Manuel is a professor of philosophy and law at the University of San Francisco.

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“Can You Hear the Shape of a Drum?” by Otis Chodosh

With a BANG, a math scholar will take you to the forefront of mathematical knowledge, focusing on the hard-hitting questions: Just what is the forefront of mathematical knowledge? Does anyone care? Can you hear the shape of a drum? How will any of this help fight cancer?

Otis is a PhD candidate at Stanford. In his research life, he likes to think about where to put up a fence if you live near a black hole. In his private life, he tries to avoid both fences and black holes. He can’t play the drums.

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“Climbing Space Mountain: Walt Disney and the Space Race” by Lauren Marie Taylor and Eric Toldi

After WWII, all the engineers left alive in Germany (if you catch our drift) were divided between the US and the USSR, and obviously we got most of them because, well, post-WWII Soviet Union wasn’t exactly Malibu. Wernher von Braun–the engineer behind the V-2 rocket–was the most important of them all. But don’t take our word for it: NASA calls him “without doubt, the greatest rocket scientist in history.” Walt Disney thought he was pretty special too, and these two visionaries teamed up to create a TV show about man in space, aptly titled “Man in Space.” Its imagery and utopic philosophy remain embedded in the American imagination.

Lauren is a conceptual artist and Director of Educator Associates at the AIAA, San Francisco. She was the first artist in residence at Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory. Eric is a space historian and vice-chair of AIAA San Francisco. He is working on several space history books.

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With: Alpha Bravo, who’ll be spinning tunes specially selected to match the presenters’ themes. Follow the setlist on Twitter @djalphabravo.

And: The Grilled Cheez Guy, who’ll be slinging those oozy sandwiches we love so much!

 

Nerd Nite Block Party!

Nerd Nite is hosting the kick-off celebration for the Bay Area Science Festival this year! Woohoo!

As always seems to happen with us, it has grown into something ridiculous. Not happy with just a single venue, it morphed into several events in a three block radius for an epic evening of science-themed shenanigans. There will be rock music, physics demos, speed dating, field trips, video games, science, and plenty of beer!

BASF-2014-05-h700

The Phenomenauts
w/crashfaster and Physics Circus featuring Zeke Kossover from the Exploratorium

The Phenomenauts are Bay Area’s own Space and Science Rockers that merge the Past, Present and Future into their own vision of a World Driven by Science And Honor. Armed with their new record, The Phenomenauts have arrived to challenge the power of gravity: the mysterious, but not unknowable force that keeps the planets in their orbits, the galaxy spinning slowly through space and starry eyed dancers whirling around the floor with their brains bursting with notions of science and honor.

crashfaster is a 4-headed electronic-rock outfit from San Francsico that combines the bleeps of NES, Gameboy and C64 with electronic beats, live drums and rock guitar.

Physics Circus with Zeke Kossover from The Exploratorium- physics demonstrations are like perfect magic shows: They have all the spectacle, but there are no tricks. The amazing world we live in actually works that way! These are the experiments that your physics teacher didn’t do because they were too dangerous, crazy, or weird. Come for the liquid nitrogen-spewing, glass-breaking spectacle, but leave understanding the science!

And wear your nerdiest t-shirt for the Dry T-Shirt Contest!

Slim’s. $15. All ages + Bar w/ID. 8pm.
Get tickets now!

Nerd Speed Dating

Learn something new, chat with interesting people, and perhaps finds your nerdmate amidst the fantastic food trucks and beers at SOMA StrEat Food Park.

SOMA StrEat Food Park. $10. Ages 21+. 7 and 8pm
Note: No ADA access, unfortunately.

SF Game Night

Nerd Nite has combined forces with Showdown eSports for an evening of gaming-related talks, plus dozens and dozens of projectors and monitors for you to play Super Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, Ultra Street Fighter IV, and more!

Folsom Street Foundry. FREE. Ages 21+. 6-10pm.

“How It’s Made”-style Field Trips

This neighborhood is filled with craftsmen, artisans, and fabricators. We’ll visit a few of them and get a behind-the-scenes tour of their shops!

Meet at the Folsom Street Foundry. FREE. All ages. 6:30 & 7pm.

Science… sort of

Science… sort of is a podcast about things that are science, things that are sort of science, and things that wish they were science. Join hosts Kelly Weinersmith, Charlie Barnhart, Ryan Haupt, and special surprise guests as they record an episode live before your very eyes, aided by the glorious conversational lubricant that is beer. The show is free, the cost is that you will learn something. Trust us, we’re scientists.

Piston & Chain. FREE. All ages. 6:30pm.

Nerd Nite SF #52: Infantapulting, Dragonflies, and the Body

Nerd Nite SF #52: Infantapulting, Dragonflies, and the BodyWednesday, 9/17/2014
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St. @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here!

My, oh my, the things we will see! Infantapulting, dragonflies, and the body! Come learn the “science” behind launching a baby, the real science of dragonflies and their ecology, and the things you don’t want to know (but should!) about human biology. So come and drink beer, and laugh till you pee, at San Francisco’s best bar university.

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“Weinersmith’s Infantapaulting Hypothesis: Infant Aerodynamics as Evolutionary Adaptation” by Zach Weinersmith

In 2012, soon-to-be-father Zach pondered why babies are shaped like footballs and have more bendable bones than adults, theorizing that our human ancestors catapulted their infants into neighboring villages for gene dispersal. In 2013, Zach published his landmark hypothesis, which has incredible explanatory power for infant morphology, to tremendous acclaim.

Zach is the creator of the Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal webcomic. His hypothesis spawned BAHFest – the Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses – coming to the Castro Theatre on October 25th as part of the Bay Area Science Festival. BAHFest is a celebration of well-argued and thoroughly researched but completely incorrect evolutionary theory.

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“Through the Dragon’s Eye: Sex, Evolution and Extinction in one of the Oldest Insect Orders” by Christopher Beatty

Dragonflies are amongst the oldest extant insect groups, first appearing in the fossil record over 300 million years ago, and persisting relatively unchanged to the modern day. The unique ecology and behavior of these organisms have made them a model system for research in evolutionary biology. This talk will explore the ecology, reproduction and life history of this group, and also review recent research on the ‘petaltail’ dragonflies, a group of species that have persisted since the Mesozoic.

Chris is an evolutionary ecologist working on behavior, speciation and biogeography. His work on dragonflies has taken him to Spain, Peru, Kenya and the Fiji Islands. For the past five years he has taught ecology at Santa Clara University.

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“A Guide to Underappreciated Parts of the Human Body (or, Why Scrotums are Cool)” by Dani Behonick, Ph.D

Students often enter anatomy and physiology courses eager to learn the structure and function of brain, the skeletal muscles or the immune system. Rare is the individual who would wax poetic on the undercarriage. Join A&P professor Dani Behonick as she makes an argument for why, like fezzes and bowties, scrotums are totally cool.

After earning her Ph.D from UCSF, Dani Behonick ran like hell from basic research and began her teaching career. She currently spends half of her time teaching pre-health students how the human body works and how to talk to their future health care patients, and the other half teaching non-science majors how the human body works and how to talk to their health care providers. When she’s not teaching she’s reading educational code or lifting heavy things (on purpose).

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With: Alpha Bravo, who’ll be spinning tunes specially selected to match the presenters’ themes. Follow the setlist on Twitter @djalphabravo.

And delicious tamales provided by Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas.

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