Congratulations! You have happened upon our website, where you’ll find information on all our future and past events (going back to 2010!). We are Nerd Nite SF, a monthly lecture-in-a-bar series where people from all walks of life give presentations on everything from video game design to historic shipwrecks. We’ve hosted mimes, musicians and everyone in between, with the goal of being entertaining, silly, and most of all, educational. Come learn a new fact, make a new friend, or try a new drink! Rickshaw Stop creates a special drink based on the month’s presentations!
We are reluctantly wiggling out of our Hot Nerd Summer series, but full steam ahead into the Fall! Join us in September to experience the Nerd Wiggling Extravaganza where we will be featuring things that wiggle: waves, maggots, and your body.
Nerd Nite SF
Doors 7pm, show 8pm
$10 online, $15 door
(Note: The info on the Rickshaw page is outdated. This email and our website have the correct lineup. )
The World is Made of Waves
by Yousef Hindy
Waves are all around us in ways that we may not even realize. They are how we humans perceive and interact with the world, yet many think of waves as restricted to the ocean or football stadiums. In this talk you will see how all the things you see (and dont see) in the world around you are made of waves and are governed by wave principles. We’ll come to understand what a wave is, some real world examples, and how to evaluate and find wave-like phenomena in your everyday life.
Yousef is a physicist turned software engineer. He discovered his love of waves in his high school physics courses, and continued his exploration as he studied physics in undergrad. He currently uses waves to teach cars how to drive.
Maggot Therapy or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bugs
by Avir Mitra MD
What’s the most disgusting thing I see too often in the ER? Maggots. In this lecture, we explore the fascinating science and history of maggot infections and the surprising ways in which they may be just what the doctor ordered.
Avir Mitra is an ER doctor and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He moonlights as a contributing editor at Radiolab and has also written and produced stories for Vice, The Pulse and Here and Now. You can keep up with him on Insta @avirmitra and on Twitter @avirrr.
Why We Want to Wiggle: This is Your Brain on Exercise
by Katie Shakman
The brain is a miraculous organ, allowing us to sense, experience, and interact with the world. And it’s constantly changing. Everything we do impacts the connections our neurons will form, and some of our behaviors — like exercise — can have an outsized impact. We’ll explore controversy and surprising connections in the life of your brain and the neuroscience of how your own actions can change it.
Katie is a neuroscientist-turned-mental health data scientist who has studied fly aggression and the importance of salience signals for learning and memory. While earning her PhD, she served on the board of Columbia University Neuroscience Outreach where she shared her enthusiasm for the brain with New Yorkers at events across the city.
Joining us again will be the SF Public Library and DJ AndJelly!
Hope to nerd out with you soon!
We see a return to the ocean in August, but this time with pirates instead of sharks. Also, have you ever thought of Earth as one giant nursery for everyone’s and everything’s spawn, from mites to mice? Well, you will! And if you’ve definitely never considered eating algae to help climate change, well, we can’t say you will…but maybe you’ll be inspired. Plus, our friends from the SF Public Library will be in attendance to sign you up for a library car and hook you up with stickers, pins, and other literary swag.
Nerd Nite SF
Doors 7pm, show 8pm
$10 online, $15 door
“Nursery Earth: The Wondrous Lives of Baby Animals (and the Incredible Sacrifices of Their Parents)”
By: Danna Staaf
At any given moment, most animals on the planet are babies—from chicks and tadpoles to caterpillars and marine larvae. Their tiny, hidden lives reveal some of nature’s strangest workings: A salamander embryo breathes with the help of algae inside its cells. The young grub of a Goliath beetle dwarfs its parents. Mouse embryos can absorb cancerous cell grafts—and develop into healthy adults. At once incredibly vulnerable and incredibly vital, baby animals are not just beings in progress, but beings in their own right. And our planet needs them all: the maggots as much as the kittens! Meanwhile, every animal baby has parents. Whether they stick around to nurse their young or die before their eggs hatch, all animal parents invest in the next generation . . . sometimes in truly bizarre ways, like the caecilian mom who grows an extra “milk skin” or the mama mite who’s literally bursting with pride.
About the Speaker:
Danna Staaf is an author, artist, and marine biologist who earned a PhD from Stanford University with her studies of baby squid. Her writing has appeared in Nautilus, Atlas Obscura, and Science, and her first book, Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods, was named one of the best science books of the year by NPR’s Science Friday. Her book for young readers, The Lady and the Octopus: How Jeanne Villepreux-Power Invented Aquariums and Revolutionized Marine Biology (https://lernerbooks.com/shop/show/21976), was listed as a best book of the year by both the School Library Journal and the Children’s Book Committee. Her most recent book, Nursery Earth: The Wondrous Lives of Baby Animals and the Extraordinary Ways They Shape Our World (https://theexperimentpublishing.com/catalogs/summer-2023/nursery-earth/), has been called “a gobsmack
ing delight!” Staaf lives in San Jose, California, with her husband, children, cat, and innumerable plush octopuses.
“Super Slime Me or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Live on Algae”
By: Elliot Roth
Algae enthusiasts and plankton party animals, welcome to the wacky world of green gastronomy! Over the past few weeks, our speaker has been on a wild, strange and sometimes hilarious adventure through the uncharted territory of munching on nothing but algae. He’s been surviving on some slime sublime as a means of investigating the potential of our tiny green friends to meet the challenges of everything from the impending climate catastrophe to life in space. Get ready to dive into weird self-experimentation, the carbon impact of food, and how you too might one day be eating algae on a daily basis.
About the Speaker:
Elliot Roth is the founder of Spira, a company that uses genetically engineered algae grown by a global network of farming partners to make designer materials, starting with natural colors. He is a synthetic biologist with years of experience in product design and storytelling, and previously started 7 companies and 2 nonprofits. In his spare time he plays music, and participates in space analog missions while residing in San Francisco a few blocks from Dolores Park.
“The Greatest Pirate Who Ever Lived (A Woman!)”
By Christina Li
Boats full of bloodthirsty female pirates, cannibalism, international politics, and men who cry and only dress in blue – dive into the brutal and colorful world of the most successful pirate in written history. Despite being illiterate and born into a life of sex work, Chang Yi Sao (or Chang Sek Yeung) rose to lead over 10,000 people against the dominant Qing, British, and Portuguese empires.
This talk will dive into the recruitment, organization, and politicking that Chang Yi Sao (or Chang Sek Yeung) used to create an empire of misfits and live to retire at a ripe old age. You’ll also hear stories of the amazing characters that populated early 1800s South East China, a society bursting from a population explosion, marginalized by an indifferent and faraway emperor, and perused by new international merchants each their own agenda.
Christina Li is a musician and theater producer in the Bay Area. She is passionate about community work and bringing hidden histories to life through art. Check out what’s next on instagram: @christinali
Hot nerd summer continues! This time featuring: SHARKS (well, their biology at least. No live sharks will be present, we promise); thinking of DNA as nature’s hard drive; and what can you learn about yourself via the cultural phenomenon that is tarot? ALSO tarot readings will be part of the program from 7:15-7:45! Come early for your chance to see what the cards have to say about you!
NOTE: our “what happens when you only eat algae for a month?” and “why would someone ever do that??” talk has been rescheduled for August 16 at the Rickshaw Stop. More details for that show soon.
Nerd Nite SF
Doors 7pm, show 8pm
$10 online, $15 door
Sharks Aren’t Infesting San Francisco Bay, But They Do Live Here! by Meghan Holst
Sharks don’t infest the waters they are in, they just live there! San Francisco Bay, CA is no exception. In fact, one of the highest-ranking apex predators, the broadnose sevengill shark, uses this bay as a place to pup their young. Sevengill sharks are found worldwide but the population along our coastline is the only population where we can consistently find juvenile sevengills in a pupping and nursery ground year-round! That opens a very unique opportunity to study these sharks at the beginning of their lives. So, why is a pupping and nursery ground important, and what are the conservation needs around this unique shark? Join us to find out!
Meghan Holst is a third-year PhD student at UC Davis in the Graduate Group of Ecology. Meghan has completed a MSc in behavior and physiology of octopuses with an emphasis on how these correlate with welfare. Now she is pursuing a PhD in ecology studying the broadnose sevengill shark in San Francisco Bay. Meghan is equally passionate about conservation science as she is social justice and science communication work. In 2021, Meghan co-founded the 501(c)3 non-profit, Minorities In Aquarium & Zoo Science (MIAZS), and now maintains an executive directorship pursuing the mission to advance aquarium and zoo science by diversifying the professionals and their perspectives within it. Additionally, Meghan co-hosts a science podcast, Sharkpedia, where the primary authors of elasmobranch research are interviewed to communicate their science and strategies to the general public. Meghan intends to continue conducting science, communicating science in fun and interactive ways, and actively working to make the science fields more diverse and inclusive.
Tarot Me A Story by Ben Grandis (AKA Beneficent Coach)
Tarot cards have commonly been depicted in popular culture as an occult tool for fortune telling. But what if you could harness them to gain deeper insight into your own mind rather than some theoretical future event? By examining the art of Tarot through a psychology lens, learn how the cards can help you tell your life story in new, bold, and exciting ways. From “The Hero’s Journey” to Jungian archetypes to Rorschach tests, let’s explore how tarot is a powerful way of discovering personal intuition and self-understanding.
Ben Grandis is a Professional Life Coach & Tarot Reader who thrives on compassionate curiosity. He specializes in helping folks from all walks of life get clarity on what they want and how to get there. With a professional background ranging from non-profits, major corporations, and startups, he always brings a people-centric approach towards supporting others in their wellness journey. You can connect with Ben at www.beneficent.coach, on Instagram @beneficent.coach, or by email at .
DNA Data Storage: Using three billion year-old technology to solve a modern dilemma by Brian Bramlett
The generation of digital information has outpaced the growth of storage capacity from early on, and the gap continues to grow exponentially. Meanwhile, no modern technology can store and retrieve data on timescales of more than a couple decades. Nature has evolved its own data storage medium—DNA—could that be the solution? Let’s talk about it!
Brian Bramlett is a Technology Strategist, bringing teams and technologies together to build world-changing platforms. For over 35 years he has worked across a diversity of fields, from Smart Toys to Wearables, and most recently, synergies between semiconductors/computing and synthetic biology.
We will also be joined by our partners in nerd-dom: the SF Public Library! Get a library card, don some library swag, and find out what cool events the Library is putting on in between thinking and drinking along to our presenters!
Nerd Nite, but sexy!
We’re on a small summer vacation from the Rickshaw Stop this month. You can find us soaking up the proverbial sun at Manny’s next Tuesday, June 20. And even if the sun is not out, we are still bringing the nerdy hotness with something for everyone: adventurous presentations on the sex lives of animals, sex and representation in video games, and some climactic Star Trek law scenarios!! We even have an early show time to boot. This goes out to all you nerds out there who wish we started and ended earlier. Time to think and drink at a reasonable time on a Tuesday night!
Kinky Critters: The Wild, Bizarre and Sordid sex lives of animals by Guido Nuñez- Mujica
Over the span of 3.7 billion years, life has adapted to many situations, and that has changed the way animals reproduce. Traditional expectations of male-female couplings solely for reproduction are very far from reality for many species, as are expectations of the roles of females and males. Life is far more twisted than we can imagine. A species of clonal lesbians? Check! Golden showers? Check! Blowhole sex? Check! Even Vore?! Check. From lesbian clone lizards to self-sucking squirrels and pegging insects, come and explore the real wild side!
Guido (he/him) is computational biologist and data scientist currently working at The Breakthrough Institute. He’s a TED Fellow, a Cornell Alliance for Science Fellow and does volunteer work about immigration and human rights, LGBT issues. On his spare time you might find him doing science communication, at a South of Market Leather bar, coding for fun, working on his documentary project, learning Hindi or making his urine glow under UV light. You can follow along on Twitter @OSGuido.
Sexuality and Game Design: Undressing the past present and future of sex and representation in the video game industry by Mark Shteller
Over the last decade, video games have become the #1 most profitable form of entertainment, yet in many ways the industry is still going through its teenage years. There’s no other subject this fact is more apparent in than in sexuality. How did we get from questionable pixelated sex acts in Atari games to full blown simulated intercourse in VR? What moral panic resulted from gamifying romance and relationships? Why do developers hide queer content behind the #GayButton? In addition we’ll ride down Rainbow Road and discuss where the game industry is today regarding LGBTQ+ representation.
Mark Shteller is the Creative Director of Neon Death Drop, the first action game to feature an openly gay male lead. Mark has been part of the game industry for the past 10 years as a developer, but always wanted to see his queer self represented in games. This year, with the help of his queer game dev friends, he founded Diamond Dust Games – a game studio with a mission to bring fierce gay sass to mainstream gaming audiences.
Star Trek Law: Not Every Case is the Kobayashi Maru by Joshua Gilliland
The world of Star Trek has presented legal issues in infinite diversity in infinite combinations. Join the attorney Joshua Gilliland on the Away Team to discovery the new world of assumption of risk for Red Shirts, whether Tribbles are an invasive species, if Scotty argue the insanity defense for being possessed by Jack the Ripper, comparative law from Klingons to Cardassians, and more from every Generation of Star Trek.
Joshua Gilliland is a California attorney and an associate at Greenan, Peffer, Sallander & Lally LLP. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks blog and podcast, which has made the ABA Journal as one of the top 100 blogs for lawyers from 2013 to 18 and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh grew up in Silicon Valley and is a graduate of UC Davis with a degree in Political Science and earned his law degree from McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific. Josh is a lifelong fan of science fiction, from Star Trek to Star Wars, Universal Monsters, Kaiju, and comics. Josh enjoys organizing panels and mock trials at comic conventions, photography, and volunteering in Scouting.
Social Media: @bowtielaw and @thelegalgeeks
Thursday May 18, 2023
(yes, a special Thursday edition!)
7pm doors, 8pm show
Rickshaw Stop (155 Fell @ Van Ness)
$10 online (+fees) / $12 door
Have you ever thought to yourself: I wish I could think and drink on a Thursday night instead of a Wednesday night? WELL THEN do we have news for you! Join us for a special Thursday edition of Nerd Nite SF this month!
Urine is not sterile: Taking advantage of a golden opportunity by Krystal Thomas-White, PhD
The human microbiome includes all the bacteria that live in and on you. These bugs live in our gut, on our skin, and yes, in your bladder. Even though doctors will tell you, “of course urine is sterile”, the latest research shows us that (just like every other body site) it’s alive with microorganisms. Krystal will tell you the story of this discovery, and what that means for your health.
Krystal has been studying the bladder and vaginal microbiomes in the context of women’s health for over 10 years. She is now the senior scientist at the women’s health start-up Evvy as well as a a dedicated science communicator and scientific advisor for Live UTI Free, a patient advocacy group. You can also find her @KrystalMicrobio.
Chandra’s Abortion: A history of female friendship, plants, and the law in 19th-century colonial India by Tara Kola
Abortion pills have been in the news recently, but long before abortion was a moral dilemma fought over by men in the Supreme Court, and even before then since the invention of the uterus, women have been experimenting with medicine from plants to make choices about their bodies. Hear about the long botanical and legal history of abortion through the short story of Chandra Chashani, a woman who had an abortion in 1849 in colonial India.
We Can’t Mine Metals Without Digging… Or Can We? by Dr. Seaver Wang
In the eyes of many environmentalists, mining is the original environmental sin of industrial-age humanity, far predating more modern concerns like climate change, depletion of the ozone layer, or plastic pollution. At the same time, it is no exaggeration to say that the metals that we mine from the earth have driven tremendous technological progress, vastly improved human well-being, and form the basis for our modern, advanced society today. But what if we could keep all of the societal benefits associated with producing important metals while dramatically reducing the environmental and social risks associated with traditional mining? Newer technologies, including some that are already in widespread use today, have opened the possibility of sourcing metals like lithium, copper, or rare earth elements from non-traditional sources like underground brine or waste materials, without even having to dig a pit or mine shaft. In this talk, Dr. Seaver Wang will explore a number of exciting innovations in metal extraction and recycling that could help support our raw material needs while reducing the environmental costs of the many technologies essential to modern society today.
featuring cannabis, spectrograms, & reclaimed space!
Wednesday April 19, 2023
7pm doors, 8pm show
Rickshaw Stop (155 Fell @ Van Ness)
$10 online (+fees) / $12 door
The unquiet history of Parcel 36 by Elizabeth Creely, with a performance by Chi
Listen to the unquiet history of Parcel 36, an abandoned railroad track in San Francisco’s Mission District, and an artefact from a time when squatters on unceded Ohlone land settled land disputes with guns, axes and bayonets. John Center and Samuel Crim, two of the largest landowners in the Mission and would-be railroad barons, left a legacy of strife and confusion that continues today. What do you do with a parcel no one owns? Give it back to the community. Friends of the Mission Greenway, together with our neighbours and supporters, are creating a pedestrian greenway and garden to restore the right-of-way to the public. Join us at Nerd Nite as we talk about 19th-century squatters, one ghost, and the future of Parcel 36, one of the last pieces of unowned land in the Mission District.
Elizabeth Creely is a writer, and public historian who lives in San Francisco’s Mission District. She has explored almost every type of environment California has to offer: urban, coastal, riverine, grassland, desert and montane. She works for the Consulate General of Ireland, is occasionally a contributing writer to Mission Local, a bilingual, local independent online news site that covers the Mission District of San Francisco and a member of the San Francisco Department of Memory.
Cannabis Toxicology: The Good, The Bad, and The Risky by Dr. Echo Rufer
(Legal) cannabis is more popular (and available) than ever, but how do you make decisions about healthy use? Is natural safer than synthetic? Does a super high THC concentration actually matter? What was the deal with the “Vapegate” crisis a few years back, and how can you avoid problems like it? FIND OUT from a real, actual cannabis toxicologist and impress your “buds” on 4/20!
Acoustic Detective Work: How to read spectrograms by Dr. Bryn Hauk
Sounds have a fingerprint, and you can learn to read them off a page. You probably know about soundwaves, which show amplitude over time. Add a third dimension – frequency – and you get a spectrogram. We will learn to read these dimensions to identify speech sounds!