Nerd Nite SF #23: Insect eating, desirous cannabis, and sexual selection!Another month, and another awesome lineup at your favorite lecture-in-a-bar series! Get ready to eat bugs, to be seduced by Mary Jane, and learn what your period might have to do with hooking up. Be there and be square!

Wednesday, 4/18
Doors at 7:30, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
All ages

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“Edible Insects: Finger-lickin’ Grub” with KQED’s QUEST, Don Bugito, and Girl Meets Bug

A plate of roasted crickets, pan-fried bee larvae or caramelized mealworms would be a tough swallow for most, but not for a few Bay Area residents who are encouraging people to open their minds and mouths to edible insects. Explore why they think edible insects are a smarter alternative to more traditional kinds of meat with KQED’s QUEST Science Series Producers, Amy Miller and Sheraz Sadiq who hatched the idea to report on the topic. They’ll be joined by two people featured in QUEST’s edible insects report premiering at 7:30pm on Wednesday, April 25 on KQED 9 Public Television: Monica Martinez (of Don Bugito, the nation’s first edible insect food cart) and Daniella Martin (AKA “Girl Meets Bug”, an edible insect enthusiast). Plus, if your stomach is up for it, select members of the audience will have a chance to try edible insects!

Amy Miller is the TV Series Producer of QUEST and has had the opportunity to produce stories on a great range of science and environment topics including NASA’s hunt for killer asteroids, the alarming increase in premature births in the U.S. and the causes of sewage spills in San Francisco Bay.

Sheraz Sadiq has been at KQED since 2000, when he was hired to work on “No Turning Back”, a National Emmy Award-winning documentary about political asylum. In addition to producing TV segments for QUEST on topics ranging from synthetic biology to astronomy, Sheraz has also reported on breaking science stories for KQED News.

Monica Martinez is a San Francisco artist and chef with an unusual culinary specialty: edible insects. She launched Don Bugito, the nation’s first edible insect food cart, at the 2011 San Francisco Street Food Festival, and recently joined the food truck extravaganza “Off the Grid”.

Daniella Martin is the host of Girl Meets Bug, the insect cooking/travel show. She also blogs about bugs for the Huffington Post ( You can watch her cooking demos on her YouTube channel (


“What the Girls Want: Thoughts on Desire and the Cultivation of Cannabis” by Heather Donahue

In this talk, we’ll be exploring the light illicit botany has to shed on female sexuality. Humans and Cannabis have been co-evolving for thousands of years. This relationship has been fueled by desire and has been powerful enough that marijuana plants have adapted to thrive in places far from their origins. The cannabis plants commonly used for medicine and recreation are typically female. Heather Donahue, a former medical marijuana grower and permanent human lady, has some unexpected insights to share from the synthesis of these two experiences.

Heather Donahue started life telling stories and hasn’t stopped. A brief foray into acting brought the freakish experience of partaking in The Blair Witch Project. Other roles were played in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Seven and a Match, New Suit, Without a Trace, Steven Spielberg’s Taken, and of course there was that alien impregnation in the Outer Limits. Her memoir Growgirl was recently published by Gotham/Penguin. She has written for The Huffington Post, Los Angeles Magazine, and was the winner of the one and only Bust/Good Vibrations erotica contest. There is more at


“The Calculus of Attraction: the Female Cycle and Human Evolution” by Jason Whitaker

Why is the peacock’s tail so extravagant? Why are men’s voices deeper than women’s? Why do only male stag beetle possess a horn? These questions can’t be answered by Natural Selection — differential survival; but instead, many traits’ origins are best explained by Sexual Selection — differential reproductive success. And humans are not exempt from this process. This talk will survey some instances of Sexual Selection in human evolution, how these hypotheses are inferred from behavioral data, and -oddly enough- how the female cycle figures into all of it.

Jason is currently earning his BS in Psyc-Neuroscience, with minors in Biology and Biological Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego. He is excited about giving this talk, as it provides him with a larger than normal audience to whom he can somewhat drunkenly ramble at on the finer points of niche evolutionary biology.


Music by the always awesome DJ Alpha Bravo, who plays tunes specially themed around the presenters’ topics! I’m very curious what he’ll come up with for this month.