Nerd Nite SF #44: Privatized Space Exploration, the Science League of America, and Neuro-optimization!
We hope you like your sciences hard–and on the rocks–because we’re getting all rigorous this month. So take a firm grip of your lowball glass; push up your specs; and blast off into private space exploration, summon the superhero anti-creationist alliance, and optimize the bejeezus outta your brain. Be there and be square!
“Private Space Ventures Take Off” by Sheraz Sadiq and Julian Mann
A new wave of commercialization is shaking up the $300-billion global space industry. The producer of Silicon Valley Goes to Space and the co-founder of Skybox Imaging, one of the start-ups featured in the film, talk about how the big, bold ideas down south are helping launch a new era of private space exploration. Skybox’s satellites can capture high-res, rapidly updated views of the world’s streets, waterways, and farmlands. See some of the images captured from their first satellite, which launched in late November, and find out how Silicon Valley is innovating the space industry like never before.
Sheraz is an Emmy Award-winning producer at KQED and writes on subjects ranging from astronomy to synthetic biology. Julian is an aerospace engineer and entrepreneur who can often be found racing sailboats, SCUBA diving, and snowboarding.
“The Science League of America” by Joshua Rosenau
When evolution education is in danger, who you gonna call? Today it would be the National Center for Science Education, but in the 1920s, you’d call the Science League of America. In 1924, Maynard Shipley–a science communicator and former shoe salesman, music teacher, and criminologist–feared a creationist onslaught. He saw anti-evolutionists attacking the theory of evolution “with the avowed intent of putting in the place of science the Book of Genesis.” Sound familiar? Learn how Shipley and his Science League of America dealt with many of the same issues that confront us today.
Joshua is the programs and policy director of the National Center for Science Education. He has also researched the evolutionary relationships between Philippine rodent species based on phallic morphology. So you can ask him about rat dicks, too.
“Harnessing Brain Plasticity: The Future of Neuro-optimization” by Dr. Adam Gazzaley
A fundamental challenge of modern society is how to enhance everyone’s brain function. For the healthy, this problem is a core mission of our educational system, and for the cognitively impaired it’s a critical goal of medicine. But will schools and hospitals be able to do it? One of our favorite NNSF alumni will describe a novel approach to achieving neuro-optimization. Integrating recent innovations in software (e.g., video game mechanics) and hardware (e.g., mobile EEG), he’s creating a targeted and personalized intervention that may change the ways we teach and heal.
Adam is director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center at UCSF, an associate professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry, and principal investigator of a cognitive neuroscience lab studying the neural mechanisms of perception, attention, and memory.
NNSF t-shirts are still here! Designed by Alpha Bravo, who’ll also be spinning tunes specially selected for the presenters’ themes. Follow the setlist on Twitter @djalphabravo.
And come hungry for the Grilled Cheese Guy, who’ll be upstairs slinging sammies!