> Nerd Nite SF #3: Spacecraft, Beards, and Robots!

Nerd Nite SF #3: Spacecraft, Beards, and Robots!

Thursday, July 8th, 2010, at 7:30pm
The Rickshaw Stop 155 Fell St. @ Van Ness, San Francisco
Cover charge $10, tickets at the door
All ages
http://sf.nerdnite.com/

Last month’s nerdtacular was so successful, we’re doing it again! For some reason, the crowd was curious about the Nerd Nite co-host’s luscious full beard, so we are bringing in the two-time world beard champion to answer all your pogonological questions! We’re also discussing the perils of spacecraft navigation (but don’t call it rocket science!) and how to build your own robotic bartender.

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“Beards and Bearding: A Pogonology Primer” by Jack Passion

Competitive bearding. Yea, gentle reader, such a thing exists and it is as awesome as you think it is. With a two-time world championship beard ambassador as our guide, we will find out what it takes to cultivate award-winning whiskers, from the basics of protein synthesis to grooming gadgets galore. Also learn why facial hair plays an important role in human evolution and mating, and why great nerds throughout history have embraced hirsuteness.

Jack Passion is a two-time world champion of beards, having taken the Natural Full Beard category of the World Beard and Moustache Championships both in Brighton, England, in 2007 and Anchorage, Alaska, in 2009. Passion is the author of The Facial Hair Handbook, and tours the world as America’s beard ambassador. Most recently, he hosted the US National Beard and Mustache Championships in Bend, Oregon.

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“Spacecraft Navigation: It Isn’t Rocket Science, It’s Flight Dynamics!” by Dan Cosgrove

There’s no dashboard navigation in the final frontier. So how do you know where you are? And how do you know where you’re going? Where is the nearest rest stop? Are we there yet? Why didn’t you pee before we left? OK, maybe not that last one. But a spacecraft navigation expert will answer all of our other celestial-roadtrip questions, and more, based on his experiences with ARTEMIS, the lunar extension of the NASA-funded THEMIS mission. And no, it’s not as simple as saying ‘engage!’

Dan Cosgrove is a physics nerd who joined the Mission Operations group at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Lab in 2004. He initially provided orbit and altitude determination analysis and support for the THEMIS mission. In 2006 he became the THEMIS and ARTEMIS navigation lead and currently spends his time flinging washing machine-sized objects at the moon.

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“Build Robots and See the World” by Jonathan Foote

Computing and electronics parts are inexpensive enough these days to allow amateurs to build surprisingly sophisticated machines on a budget. Jon will talk about his experiences building kinetic artworks like “Chassis the Drink-Serving Robot” and SWARM, the collection of six spherical orbs that roll without wheels. He’ll cover how he started, how the robots work, and how knowing what you are doing is not always the best approach. Jon and his collaborators have exhibited robots at the Coachella Music Festival, the International Festival of Cocktail Robotics in Vienna, Austria as well as the Techkriti Festival in Kanpur, India. And for aspiring evil overlords contemplating making their own robotic minions, Jon will have tips and sources for getting started in robotics.

Jonathan Foote comes to the aesthetic sphere from a technical background. A “recovering” scientist with a Ph.D., Jonathan holds 34 US patents and has over 60 scientific publications. A San Francisco resident, he is a frequent hanger-on at the Noisebridge hacker space and a recent Awesome Foundation grant recipient. He is a co-founder of the SWARM robotics collective, and his artwork has been shown at various Bay Area venues as well as internationally. More information on his work can be found at http://www.rotorbrain.com/jtfdesign

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DJ Alpha Bravo returns, spinning an eclectic array of nerdy tunes, encompassing William Shatner-narrated sea expeditions, post-punk paeans to the usefulness of bricks, commercial jingles, synth-jazz-disco explorations of cloud structure, music for librarians, and thick slices of less frequently heard über-80s pop. 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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