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.

Extra credit: Hearing Loss, Surveys, and a Spacecraft Rescue!

We had a great time at the last Nerd Nite and want to thank our speakers, Brian Seitel, Sarah Cho, and Cameron Woodman for the excellent talks. For your continued edification, they provided some links related to their talks, and our friends at the San Francisco Public Library also gave us some recommended reading!

From “Hearing Loss (or: The Science of ‘What?’)” by Brian Seitel:

AuditoryNeuroscience.com a website that provides sound examples and other materials related to how we make sense of sound, and why coclear implants makes everyone sound like a Dalek.

A NYTimes article on the new iPhone-enabled hearing aides like the LiNX and Halo.

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

One of our audience members asked about deaf culture during Q&A. This is a big topic, worthy of a Nerd Nite talk of its own, but the Wikipedia article is actually a good start.

“I can hear you whisper: an intimate journey through the science of sound and language” by Lydia Denworth

“Sound sense: living and learning with hearing loss” by Sara Laufer Batinovich

“Listening closely : a journey to bilateral hearing” by Arlene Romoff

“What did you say?: an unexpected journey into the world of hearing loss” by Monique Hammond (Available as an eBook!)

From “Surveys: Yeah, They’re Kind of a Big Deal” by Sarah Cho:

Kaiser (no, not that Kaiser) Family Foundation for information on health policy and the ACA: kff.org

AAPOR (American Association of Public Opinion Research) for resources on survey best practices: aapor.org

Pew Research Center for high-quality surveys on many topics from religion to internet use: pewresearch.org

SurveyMonkey to get your hands dirty and conduct your own survey: surveymonkey.com

NCPP (National Council on Public Polls) for info on polling: ncpp.org

Or contact:
T: @sarahycho
F: facebook.com/sarahycho

“A more beautiful question : the power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas” by Warren Berger (Available as an eBook!)

“Analyzing the analyzers: an introspective survey of data scientists and their work” by Harlan Harris (Available as an eBook!)

Take the San Francisco Public Library Customer Satisfaction Survey: http://sfpl.countingopinions.com/

From “How to Rescue a Spacecraft in 90 Days (or Less)” by Cameron Woodman

The www.spacecraftforall.com website is an outstanding multimedia website that provides tons more of the story of ISEE-3 and the team, the science experiments, current location, and what’s next. Highly recommended!

Also, scholarly & peer-reviewed, full-text online articles about the ISEE-3 spacecraft are available via SFPL’s databases!

Nerd Nite SF #51: Hearing Loss, Surveys, and a Spacecraft Rescue!

Nerd Nite SF #51: Hearing Loss, Surveys, and a Spacecraft Rescue!On a scale of one to 10, with one being hella good and 10 being amaze-balls — wait, we don’t need a survey to figure out that you are going to be blown away by three great talks this month! Somebody rescued a spacecraft? What?! No, seriously, I didn’t catch that. Don’t worry, somebody is going to talk about what it’s like to be hard of hearing. And another somebody will survey polls. So, check the box next to “Yes, I WILL be attending Nerd Nite” and come on down to carouse, converse, get versed: Be there and be square!

Wednesday, 8/20/2014
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here!

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“Hearing Loss (or: The Science of ‘What?’)” by Brian Seitel

For most people, hearing is effortless, simply another of the five main senses. But for 10% of the population, it’s a struggle just to tease out the lyrics to “Wrecking Ball” in a crowded bar, much less the voice of the person two feet away. With the help of modern technology (iPhones! Bluetooth!), we can transform these seemingly limited human beings into veritable cyborgs with the incredible superpower of saying “What?” over 20% less! Learn how technology, combined with common sense and a little patience, can change the world of hearing loss.

After growing up with hearing loss in Alabama, Brian mastered the art of reading lips and the science of nodding, smiling, and pretending he knows what you just said.

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“Surveys: Yeah, They’re Kind of a Big Deal” by Sarah Cho

We’ve all taken at least one survey, whether on the web, over the phone, in-person, or through the mail. Why the heck does it seem like surveys are popping up everywhere? Are they actually helpful or just a pain in the you-know-what? How can they go horribly wrong? (And how many questions can Sarah cram into a 20-minute presentation?) Find out how surveys influence our everyday lives, take a closer look at how they played a role in the Affordable Care Act, and take a real, in-person survey–and analyze results on the fly!

Sarah is a professional question-asker at SurveyMonkey. When she’s not doing that, she signs up for ridiculous endurance events like swimming across Lake Tahoe.

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“How to Rescue a Spacecraft in 90 Days (or Less)” by Cameron Woodman

This is the story of a small group of engineers attempting to recover the abandoned ISEE-3 spacecraft. Launched in 1978, it was quickly “stolen” from its initial trajectory to complete a different mission, then abandoned to orbit the Sun for 20 years. During this time the ground equipment used to communicate with the spacecraft was destroyed. Six months before its return to Earth, NASA concluded that communication with the craft was impossible. Enter a small team who raced against the clock to help the spacecraft finish its original mission.

Cameron, the flight director on the ISEE-3 Reboot mission, is an aerospace engineer who is fascinated with all things related to data and visualization.

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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: Come hungry for the Grilled Cheese Guy, who’ll be upstairs slinging sammies!

Extra Credit: Emerging Pathogens, Wireless Disaster Response, and the Ferry Building!

Well, that was fun! So why stop now? Here’s a bunch of suggested links and reading materials from last night’s talks, sent to us by our speakers and our friends at the San Francisco Public Library.

From “Out of Sight: Emerging PatNerd Nite SF #50: Emerging Pathogens, Wireless Disaster Response, and the Ferry Building!hogens in a Changing World” by Dr. Shannon Bennett
- HealthMap
- Dept. of Microbiology at the Cal. Academy of Sciences
- @MicrobeExplorer <– Be nice! Shannon is new to the Twitters.
- “Epidemic Dynamics Revealed in Dengue Evolution”
- “Natural attenuation of dengue virus type-2 after a series of island outbreaks: A retrospective phylogenetic study of events in the South Pacific three decades ago” 
- “Molecular evolution and phylogeny of dengue type 4 virus in the caribbean” 
- “Selection-Driven Evolution of Emergent Dengue Virus”
- “Invasion and Maintenance of Dengue Virus Type 2 and Type 4 in the Americas” 
- “Mosquito Vector Diversity across Habitats in Central Thailand Endemic for Dengue and Other Arthropod-Borne Diseases” 
- Contagion: How Commerce Has Spread Disease by Mark Harrison 
- Emerging Epidemics: The Menace of New Infections by Madeline Drexler
- Pandemic Survival: It’s Why You’re Alive by Ann Love & Jane Drake (This one is for the kids!)

From “Broadband Deliverance: How Wireless is Changing the Face of Disaster Response” by Aaron Mason
- @aaron_mason
- Ubiquiti Networks
- Vodafone Instant Network
- OpenStreetMap
- Republic Wireless
- Inveneo
- Project Link
- Wireless Networking: Absolute Beginner’s Guide by Michael Miller
- Modern Survival: How to Cope When Everything Falls Apart by Barry Davies
- Disaster Preparedness Handbook: A Guide for Families by Arthur T. Bradley

From “The Ferry Building: Portal to the Past and Gateway to the Future” by Justin Jones

Hops & History, Round 2
History talks, craft beer tasting, panels, homebrewing demos, food, and historical brewing ephemera
July 24th 6:30-9:30pm
Unlimited Beer at The Old Mint
www.sfhistory.org/flipside
BONUS: $5 discount with nerdnite5

You can learn lots more about the Ferry Building and many other local treasures through the CityGuides tours (Justin is also a guide.)

- The Ferry Building: Witness to a Century of Change, 1898-1998 by Nancy Olmsted
- Ferry Building State Park: A Proposal for a State Park at San Francisco’s Historic Ferry Building (1955)
- The Ferry Building, San Francisco, California: Workshop Summary and Development Concepts. (1993)

Nerd Nite SF #50: Emerging Pathogens, Wireless Disaster Response, and the Ferry Building!

Nerd Nite SF #50: Emerging Pathogens, Wireless Disaster Response, and the Ferry Building!A microbiologist, a wireless communications specialist, and a San Francisco history aficionado walk into a bar… THIS IS NOT A JOKE! This is what’s going to happen on the third Wednesday of July and it’s going to be awesome! So get your anti-heebie-jeebie meds ready, smartphone charged, and sense of awe geared up–we’re going to talk emerging pathogens, wireless disaster response, and Ferry Building history with music, chili, and copious amounts of alcohol to help steady the nerves. Be there and be square!

Wednesday, 7/16/2014
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here!

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“Out of Sight: Emerging Pathogens in a Changing World” by Dr. Shannon Bennett

Join us on a morbid journey of discovery to find out where the microbes that make us sick come from and how they got here. From the tropics to your own backyard, encounters with infectious diseases abound, challenging our immune systems and indeed our very existence. Be prepared to ponder viruses with terrifying names like break-bone fever! Be a responsible host: Leave no trace.

Shannon heads the Microbiology Department at the California Academy of Sciences, where she applies advances in genomics and bioinformatics to study dengue, hantavirus, influenza, and bacteria found in mosquito vectors. She is particularly interested in mutations that give viruses the ability to cause epidemics or switch to new hosts.

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“Broadband Deliverance: How Wireless is Changing the Face of Disaster Response” by Aaron Mason

Natural disasters scramble everything: They flatten buildings, wash away neighborhoods, and leave communities reeling. But what happens next? We’ll take a look at the aftermath of a disaster and dig into some of the new wireless technologies that are changing the face of response–from long-range WiFi to inflatable satellite dishes, to the surge in community-based response.

Aaron deploys things that help people communicate. He spent over a year in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and has deployed wireless networks around the world with Inveneo. Today he’s part of the team at OnBeep and serves an advisor to the SF Mayor’s office on communications strategy.

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“The Ferry Building: Portal to the Past and Gateway to the Future” by Justin Jones

In downtown SF, ships and other remnants of the past lie buried right below our feet. But little of the city?s early history remains visible, except for the Ferry Building, whose saga chronicles the founding–and near destruction–of our beloved city. Long before BART and bridges, it was the gatekeeper to Baghdad by the Bay, with over 250,000 passengers a day passing through its marble halls. Hear how this survivor of two major earthquakes, the premature death of its architect, and dreaded redevelopment endures as a symbol of the future and reminder of our wild past.

Justin is a Bay Area native, SF history aficionado, active CityGuide, and board member of the SF Museum and Historical Society. When not driving his girlfriend crazy with random history facts, he works at a healthcare startup.

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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: Get your spice on with Kevin & Gail’s Chili Palace, who’ll be serving delicious hot chili upstairs.

Extra Credit: Ghost Signs, Skull Evolution, and Talking Computers!

Nerd Nite SF #49: Ghost Signs, Skull Evolution, and Talking Computers!Thanks to everyone who came out last night, our partners the California Academy of Sciences and Grilled Cheese Guy, and especially our speakers Kasey Smith, Rich Schneider, and Amit Dubey.

For your delectation and continued education, here are a whole bunch of suggested links and reading materials related to last night’s talks:

“Google Maps, Ghost Signs, and the Incomplete City: An Archaeology of Post-Earthquake Development in San Francisco’s Tenderloin” by Kasey Smith

* Ghost Sign Google Map of San Francisco
* Perception Filter – the project blog
* FoundSF – an excellent archive of SF history and media
* Flickr albums of ghost signs

 

“What the Quck? Stem Cells, Skulls, and Evolution” by Rich Schneider

* Evans and Christensen (1979)
* Coppinger and Coppinger (1982)
* Coppinger and Schneider (1995)
* Eames and Schneider (2005)
* Tokita and Schneider (2009)
* Larsen (1993)
* Kulesa, Paul M. and Fraser, Scott E. (2000) In ovo time-lapse analysis of chick hindbrain neural crest cell migration shows cell interactions during migration to the branchial arches. Development, 127 (6).
* Evans and Noden (2006)
* Jiang et al. (2002)
* Schneider and Helms (2003)

 

“What Inarticulate Computers Tell Us About Human Eloquence” by Amit Dubey

Eugene Goostman
XKCD on computational linguistics
* Pearl (1988)
* van Berkum et al. (2004)
* Dubey et al (2013). Probabilistic Modeling of Discourse-Aware Sentence Processing. Topics in Cognitive Science 5:3, 425-451.

 

Miscellany

* DJ Alpha Bravo
* Grilled Cheez Guy
* The Cal Academy of Sciences Brilliant!Science festival
* Steve Blum’s myriad video game voice acting appearances
* The Oracle of Bacon
* B.F. Skinner’s Project Pigeon and the amazing clip of the pigeon-guided missile training program:
YouTube Preview Image
See you at the next event on 7/16/2014!

Nerd Nite SF #49: Ghost Signs, Skull Evolution, and Talking Computers!

Nerd Nite SF #49: Ghost Signs, Skull Evolution, and Talking Computers!Mysterious messages in fading paint, chimerical quests in skull research, and computers providing talk therapy to human language: A veritable panoply of nerdiness will be emanating from our presenters and their laptops this month. No June Gloom here, what with cocktails, music, grilled cheese, and firing synapses to warm us up. Be there and be square!

Wednesday, 6/18/2014
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here!

Co-curated with our friends at the Brilliant!Science Festival at the California Academy of Sciences.

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“Google Maps, Ghost Signs, and the Incomplete City: An Archaeology of Post-Earthquake Development in San Francisco’s Tenderloin” by Kasey Smith

After the 1906 earthquake, SF’s redevelopment was swift but uneven, with redevelopment of the Tenderloin taking many years. During this period, ads were painted on buildings only to be covered by new construction. The resulting “ghost signs,” which have emerged over the years as the city changes, can often be viewed on foot or with satellite images to see onto rooftops and behind buildings. What stories of yesteryear can we learn from studying these mysterious ads and signs?

Kasey is an artist focusing on the history of Bay Area urban space. For the past three years she’s been working on a project to document, research, and map all of San Francisco’s ghost signs.

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“What the Quck? Stem Cells, Skulls, and Evolution” by Rich Schneider

In the science-fiction tradition of H.G. Wells and The Island of Doctor Moreau, Rich Schneider’s fascination with the origins of animal form runs deep. He will explain how his efforts to understand the way dog skulls get shaped ultimately led him to create a stem cell transplant system whereby duck embryos grow quail-like beaks in chimeric creatures he calls quck. Not only do quck walk like duck, quack like quail, and taste like chicken, they also teach us much about how our own faces get patterned.

Now a faculty member in UCSF’s department of orthopedic surgery, Rich published his first paper on the skulls of dogs and wolves when he was still an undergraduate. Over the past 20 years, he has focused on molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying skull development and evolution.

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“What Inarticulate Computers Tell Us About Human Eloquence” by Amit Dubey

In 2011, IBM’s Watson and Apple’s Siri brought the science fiction of talking computers to the real world–but no one has thrown away their keyboards or touch screens yet! And today Shit Siri Says lambasts egregious failures as much as it hails the wit of “her” engineers. It might be surprising, then, that computers are helping psychologists better understand how we use language. This talk’ll explain how, uncovering a dirty little secret kept by psycholinguists, the awkward sentences that make their hearts flutter, and the computer programs that bring both together.

This talk describes (in part) work done by Amit while a postdoc at the University of Edinburgh. He currently works at Google.

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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: Come hungry for the Grilled Cheese Guy, who’ll be upstairs slinging sammies!

Extra Credit: Cross-Cultural Social Media, HIV Treatment Failures, & Bioelectricity

Thanks to our speakers Lydia Laurenson, Pleuni Pennings, and Daniel Cohen for three excellent talks. If you want to learn more, you’re in luck! Here are all the links and citations mentioned in their talks, and a list of materials that riff on the presenters’ themes provided by our friends at the San Francisco Public Library. Enjoy!

“Censorship, Colors, Collectivism, & Salesmanship: How Culture Affects Social Media” by Lydia Laurenson

  • Twitter: @lydialaurenson, Blog: journalismforbrands.com
  • Lydia’s O’Reilly Strata article “Measuring culture” with much more info about the topics in her talk
  • And TechCrunch article “The Censorship Effect
  • Products mentioned: LINE, Kik, Bubbly, WeChat,
  • Wan-Hsiu (Sunny) Tsai, Linjuan Rita Men, (2012) “Cultural values reflected in corporate pages on popular social network sites in China and the United States”, Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, Vol. 6 Iss: 1, pp.42 – 58 (Abstract)
  • Hochman, Nadav, and Raz Schwartz. “Visualizing Instagram: Tracing cultural visual rhythms.” Proceedings of the Workshop on Social Media Visualization (SocMedVis) in conjunction with the Sixth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM–12). 2012. (Full text)
  • Usunier, Jean-Claude, and Nicolas Roulin. “The influence of high-and low-context communication styles on the design, content, and language of business-to-business web sites.” Journal of Business Communication 47.2 (2010): 189-227. (Abstract)

From the SFPL:

“Learning from Stupid Ideas & HIV Treatment Gone Wrong” by Pleuni Pennings

  • Twitter: @pleunipennings, Blog: http://pleunipennings.wordpress.com/
  • HIV Statistics: San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and the CDC
  • Reiss, Peter, et al. “Resumption of HIV antigen production during continuous zidovudine treatment.” The Lancet 331.8582 (1988): 421. (Subscription/Paywall)
  • Pennings, Pleuni Simone. “Standing genetic variation and the evolution of drug resistance in HIV.” PLoS computational biology 8.6 (2012): e1002527. (Full text)
  • Margot, N. A., et al. “Resistance development over 144 weeks in treatment‐naive patients receiving tenofovir disoproxil fumarate or stavudine with lamivudine and efavirenz in Study 903*.” HIV medicine 7.7 (2006): 442-450. (Full text)

From the SFPL:

“Walk This Way: The Strange Story of Bioelectricity” by Daniel J. Cohen

From the SFPL:

See you on June 18th for NNSF #49. Until then, happy nerding!

Nerd Nite SF #48: Cross-Cultural Social Media, HIV Treatment Failures, & Bioelectricity!

Nerd Nite SF #48: Cross-Cultural Social Media, HIV Treatment Failures, & Bioelectricity!Wednesday, 5/21/2014
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here

Shall we put some stupid, bizarre, and even foreign ideas into your heads? Yes, yes, and yes! Make the merriest month the smartest one with an evolutionary biologist turning dumb ideas into smart research, an engineer teaching us the steps to the bioelectric slide, and a communications pro delving into how cultural differences disrupt the social media-scape. Be there and be square!

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“Censorship, Colors, Collectivism, & Salesmanship: How Culture Affects Social Media” by Lydia Laurenson

Did you know people use Instagram to sell sacrificial goats in Kuwait? That censorship is a business risk for Weibo (aka “Chinese Twitter”)? Or that untrained Australians and Israelis may have more instincts for building Google-optimized sites than Russians and Egyptians? Find out what recent research reveals about the subtle–and not-so-subtle–ways that cultural differences affect social media communication.

Lydia is a writer, researcher, and communications professional fascinated by social media and community dynamics. She has spoken at venues ranging from SXSW to U.C. Berkeley, and her writing has appeared in publications from The Guardian to SFWeekly. Lydia also served in the U.S. Peace Corps HIV program in Swaziland.

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“Learning from Stupid Ideas & HIV Treatment Gone Wrong” by Pleuni Pennings

The 30-year history of HIV treatment is one of medical triumph: HIV was a death sentence and is now a manageable and preventable disease. But the road to triumph is littered with some pretty stupid ideas. “Drug holidays,” for example, were once fashionable, but now are considered the worst thing a patient can do. Intrigued by these stupid ideas, this evolutionary biologist decided to use them for research on drug resistance in HIV. She’ll also talk about inadequate treatment for pregnant women and a prevention pill that works but isn’t used.

Pleuni is an evolutionary biologist and works at Stanford. She prefers programming to fieldwork and viruses to dinosaurs.

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“Walk This Way: The Strange Story of Bioelectricity” by Daniel J. Cohen

Oh, the things we’ll discuss! The philosophical implications of sex in garbage? Of course. The unholy bond linking pasta with Frankenstein? Most definitely. Machines made of frogs? Why not? Shirtless scientists, Benedict Cumberbatch, and sheepherding will also make appearances. Shocks (literally) and awe (hopefully) will abound as we explore both the origins of one of the most bizarre areas of science and why bioelectricity matters today.

Daniel recently escaped graduate school with most of his fingers intact and a PhD in Frankenstein-related science. He is now a post-doc at Stanford where he is applying his questionable skills to building cell-scale sheepdogs.

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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: Oakland’s finest fiveten burger, purveyor of artisan burgers and sandwiches made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients! (www.fivetenburger.com)

Nerd Nite SF #47: Emergency Management, Native Oysters, and the Placebo Effect!

Nerd Nite SF #47: Emergency Management, Native Oysters, and the Placebo Effect!Wednesday, 4/16/2014
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets SOLD OUT, but a few may be available at the door…

Worrying about The Big One? Wondering about native bivalves? Wary of the battle between mind & body? Well, quake no more, ’cause we have three disaster experts ready for any catastrophe, an aw-shucks oyster authority dropping some pearls of wisdom, and a physician assistant first doing no harm and then playing with our heads a little. Tip your barkeep, grab a tamale, don’t hang the DJ. Oh, and be there and be square!

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“Emergency Management, or WWTLJD? (What Would Tommy Lee Jones Do?)” by Alicia Johnson, Sean O’Mara, and Tom Chin

Shit happens. But what might happen when said shit–say, an earthquake like the tsunami-spawning, magnitude 9-er of 2011–happens to a city like ours? Unlike in the 1997 Tommy Lee Jones classic Volcano (the quintessential emergency management film), it won’t include a K-Rail and red-hot lava. Come hang out with three of SF’s Emergency Management staff to get a taste of our city’s incident command and disaster preparedness, and learn how YOU’d respond under the pressure of a cataclysm. We promise you won’t need a helmet…for now!

Alicia, Sean, and Tom have seen their share of emergency ops centers. As staffers at SF Emergency Management, they and their colleagues prepare and protect the people and places we love.

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“More Than Just a $1 Happy-Hour Special: The Olympia Oyster in SF Bay” by Christopher Lim

The Olympia oyster is a Bay Area native and yet it is not as well known as its larger, faster-growing cousin, the typical $1-happy-hour oyster. But oh man, does it taste better! The Watershed Project is working to restore Olympia oysters to SF Bay–but please, don’t eat our science experiment! Not every creature in the water should be first thought of as “food.” That’s old-school. We’re doing it because oysters are part of a healthy ecosystem. And that’s good for me, you, water, fish, and birds–oh my! Find out why.

Christopher is the Living Shoreline program manager at The Watershed Project. He’s always impressed by the inherent connection people have to an animal that most closely resembles a rock and lacks fur, feathers, or flukes.

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“The Doctor Will Fool You Now: Placebos and Nocebos” by Lisa Spitalewitz

Most people think of a placebo as a sugar pill used in studies as the inactive alternative to a drug, but the placebo effect–when the dummy pill actually works–is also a part of routine health care. And in an age of informed consent, the unwelcome nocebo effect shows up every time you read that long list of side effects and you suddenly start itching. Hear about some surprising studies on these powerful effects and the ways they can change our lives–and probably already have.

Lisa is a physician assistant practicing in urgent care and occupational medicine. She won’t write that antibiotics Rx for your cold symptoms, even if that makes you like her a little less.

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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: Get yer fill of tamales from Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas!

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