Nerd Nite SF #48: Cross-Cultural Social Media, HIV Treatment Failures, & Bioelectricity!Wednesday, 5/21/2014
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here

Shall we put some stupid, bizarre, and even foreign ideas into your heads? Yes, yes, and yes! Make the merriest month the smartest one with an evolutionary biologist turning dumb ideas into smart research, an engineer teaching us the steps to the bioelectric slide, and a communications pro delving into how cultural differences disrupt the social media-scape. Be there and be square!


“Censorship, Colors, Collectivism, & Salesmanship: How Culture Affects Social Media” by Lydia Laurenson

Did you know people use Instagram to sell sacrificial goats in Kuwait? That censorship is a business risk for Weibo (aka “Chinese Twitter”)? Or that untrained Australians and Israelis may have more instincts for building Google-optimized sites than Russians and Egyptians? Find out what recent research reveals about the subtle–and not-so-subtle–ways that cultural differences affect social media communication.

Lydia is a writer, researcher, and communications professional fascinated by social media and community dynamics. She has spoken at venues ranging from SXSW to U.C. Berkeley, and her writing has appeared in publications from The Guardian to SFWeekly. Lydia also served in the U.S. Peace Corps HIV program in Swaziland.


“Learning from Stupid Ideas & HIV Treatment Gone Wrong” by Pleuni Pennings

The 30-year history of HIV treatment is one of medical triumph: HIV was a death sentence and is now a manageable and preventable disease. But the road to triumph is littered with some pretty stupid ideas. “Drug holidays,” for example, were once fashionable, but now are considered the worst thing a patient can do. Intrigued by these stupid ideas, this evolutionary biologist decided to use them for research on drug resistance in HIV. She’ll also talk about inadequate treatment for pregnant women and a prevention pill that works but isn’t used.

Pleuni is an evolutionary biologist and works at Stanford. She prefers programming to fieldwork and viruses to dinosaurs.


“Walk This Way: The Strange Story of Bioelectricity” by Daniel J. Cohen

Oh, the things we’ll discuss! The philosophical implications of sex in garbage? Of course. The unholy bond linking pasta with Frankenstein? Most definitely. Machines made of frogs? Why not? Shirtless scientists, Benedict Cumberbatch, and sheepherding will also make appearances. Shocks (literally) and awe (hopefully) will abound as we explore both the origins of one of the most bizarre areas of science and why bioelectricity matters today.

Daniel recently escaped graduate school with most of his fingers intact and a PhD in Frankenstein-related science. He is now a post-doc at Stanford where he is applying his questionable skills to building cell-scale sheepdogs.


With: Alpha Bravo, who’ll be spinning tunes specially selected to match the presenters’ themes. Follow the setlist on Twitter @djalphabravo.

And: Oakland’s finest fiveten burger, purveyor of artisan burgers and sandwiches made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients! (