Happy birthday to us! Nerd Nite SF turns two! Two awesome years of not-quite-sober education (inebrication? drunkademics?) and meeting great people. The tradition continues with talks on exploiting cuteness for fun and profit, why the English language is so fucked up, and how atomic magnetometry is the coolest form of measurement. Be there and be square!

Wednesday, 5/16
Doors at 7:30, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
All ages

Facebook Event Page


“Kawaii: The Art of the Super-Cute” by Megan Carlsen

Behold the power of pandas, penguins, and Pikachu! Kawaii is the Japanese word for the quality of cuteness. Cute things stimulate the same area of the brain as arousal, a good meal, or cocaine does. We connect and respond to cute-cues in a visceral way, strongly influenced by our culture, and this behavior affects our actions and, consequently, marketing, medical research, and evolution. We’ll explore what creates cuteness, including the “so ugly it’s cute” phenomena. Corgis, otters, and flying rainbow ponies will abound!

Megan Carlsen makes art so cute it hurts your face for TinyCo. You can check out examples of Megan’s work at www.meganillustration.com, or play Tiny Pets and Tiny Zoo, available free in the App Store! * plug plug *


“Ghoti Spells ‘Fish’ (and Other Vagaries of the English Language)” by Logan Hesse

Why are “beard,” “read,” and “heard,” pronounced differently? Why do sympathy and empathy have nothing to do with places to walk? Exactly how much of this can be blamed on the Dutch? What’s so great about the Great Vowel Shift? Samuel Johnson or Noah Webster? So many questions! These mysteries and more will be explained as a jaded ESL teacher shares stuff he had to learn the hard way: by telling his students to memorize it.

Logan Hesse is an American who studied English in Australia, a fact that makes Brits cry. He has spent the last 8 years in the trenches of the English Language classroom teaching at vocational colleges in Thailand, universities in Australia, and private language colleges in San Francisco. When not teaching his students the correct pronunciation of “fer sheezy” he also has been known to write stuff down.


“A Boy and His Atoms: A Tale of Rubidium, Magnetic Fields, Lasers, Helicopters, and a Giant Corpse Flower” by Brian “Ishy” Patton

Much as atomic clocks measure time to mind-boggling precision, atomic magnetometers can measure magnetic fields better than just about anything. This isn’t just a useless stunt; precision magnetic measurements can help map the interior of the planet, determine what you’re thinking, detect land mines, and maybe even spy on plant sex. This talk will address the basics of atomic magnetometry through a combination of anecdotes and demonstrations (with a conspicuous amount of hand-waving thrown in).

Ishy, a.k.a. Brian Patton, is a postdoctoral researcher in the Physics Dept. at UC Berkeley. His research interests include nuclear magnetic resonance, hyperpolarization of stuff, hot-vapor atomic physics, and anything involving the word “spin.” He spends his free time watching videos of people throwing alkali metals in water.


All this and DJ Alpha Bravo spinning tunes specially selected for our speakers’ topics!