Nerd Nite SF #51: Hearing Loss, Surveys, and a Spacecraft Rescue!On a scale of one to 10, with one being hella good and 10 being amaze-balls — wait, we don’t need a survey to figure out that you are going to be blown away by three great talks this month! Somebody rescued a spacecraft? What?! No, seriously, I didn’t catch that. Don’t worry, somebody is going to talk about what it’s like to be hard of hearing. And another somebody will survey polls. So, check the box next to “Yes, I WILL be attending Nerd Nite” and come on down to carouse, converse, get versed: Be there and be square!

Wednesday, 8/20/2014
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here!


“Hearing Loss (or: The Science of ‘What?’)” by Brian Seitel

For most people, hearing is effortless, simply another of the five main senses. But for 10% of the population, it’s a struggle just to tease out the lyrics to “Wrecking Ball” in a crowded bar, much less the voice of the person two feet away. With the help of modern technology (iPhones! Bluetooth!), we can transform these seemingly limited human beings into veritable cyborgs with the incredible superpower of saying “What?” over 20% less! Learn how technology, combined with common sense and a little patience, can change the world of hearing loss.

After growing up with hearing loss in Alabama, Brian mastered the art of reading lips and the science of nodding, smiling, and pretending he knows what you just said.


“Surveys: Yeah, They’re Kind of a Big Deal” by Sarah Cho

We’ve all taken at least one survey, whether on the web, over the phone, in-person, or through the mail. Why the heck does it seem like surveys are popping up everywhere? Are they actually helpful or just a pain in the you-know-what? How can they go horribly wrong? (And how many questions can Sarah cram into a 20-minute presentation?) Find out how surveys influence our everyday lives, take a closer look at how they played a role in the Affordable Care Act, and take a real, in-person survey–and analyze results on the fly!

Sarah is a professional question-asker at SurveyMonkey. When she’s not doing that, she signs up for ridiculous endurance events like swimming across Lake Tahoe.


“How to Rescue a Spacecraft in 90 Days (or Less)” by Cameron Woodman

This is the story of a small group of engineers attempting to recover the abandoned ISEE-3 spacecraft. Launched in 1978, it was quickly “stolen” from its initial trajectory to complete a different mission, then abandoned to orbit the Sun for 20 years. During this time the ground equipment used to communicate with the spacecraft was destroyed. Six months before its return to Earth, NASA concluded that communication with the craft was impossible. Enter a small team who raced against the clock to help the spacecraft finish its original mission.

Cameron, the flight director on the ISEE-3 Reboot mission, is an aerospace engineer who is fascinated with all things related to data and visualization.


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

And: Come hungry for the Grilled Cheese Guy, who’ll be upstairs slinging sammies!