Nerd Nite #66: Hypervelocity, SF Politicking, and Fake Deafness Cures!Wednesday, 11/18/2015
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages

Should you elect to come to Nerd Nite this month, we guarantee – cross our quackish little hearts – that you’ll come away cured of a certain amount of ignorance. Now, isn’t that something to be thankful for? Join a speed obsessive, PR flack, a medical historian, a vinyl-spinner, some bad-ass librarians, the gracious Rickshavians, and your humble co-bosses: Be there and be square!


“Hypervelocity Launchers: How to Launch a Projectile at 10 Miles/Second? (That’s right, per second!)” by Vincent Tanguay

From bows and arrows to rail guns, man has been perfecting tools to launch projectiles at ever greater speeds for tens of thousands of years. Launching projectiles at hypervelocity is routine today and these launchers are very useful for science. While they have enabled major breakthroughs (think access to space), scientists always need more speed! We’ll discuss what hypervelocity is, its applications, and the various technologies that make it possible. Of course, we’ll talk about their limitations and how to push the frontier of possibilities. Somehow, we’ll manage to include some explosions in there – hopefully we get it right!

Vincent Tanguay, Ph.D., has a background in explosives and detonations and formerly worked as a scientist for a Canadian National Lab. When not busy blowing stuff up, he was developing an explosive-driven hypervelocity launcher.


“A San Francisco Politicking Primer” by Alex Clemens

As you probably noticed, that election just happened. There’s another one in June, and one more (for President and other stuff!) in November 2016. Our town is undergoing a transformation, which is amazing and wonderful or wretched and incomprehensible, depending on where you stand. Alex will help put San Francisco’s current politics and policies in perspective, take your questions, and probably crash and burn in an overzealous attempt to be funny.

Alex is founder of Barbary Coast Consulting, a media talking head, PR flack, coalition builder, and lobbyist. He also lectures about ethical advocacy at USF, but without a Bulleit Rye in hand (sadly) because accreditation has rules. Ask him to recite “Jabberwocky.”


“Why be Deaf? The Heyday of Fakes, Frauds, and Fads in Deafness Cures” by Jaipreet Virdi-Dhesi

What’s the difference between a quack with a scheme and a visionary with a theory? A finger in the ear. No, seriously. Finger surgery was one of many unregulated services promising a miraculous cure for hearing loss. Advertisements for galvanic belts or caps, artificial eardrums, vibrating massages, and special diets boasted that even incurable deafness could be corrected. Learn about the colorful history of deafness cures (the holy holies of quackery) and how audacious charlatans thrived by selling worthless courses of treatments or hearing devices, simply because any cure was better than none.

Jai is a historian of medicine based in Toronto who spends nearly all her free time on Twitter sharing images of weird and wacky medical histories.


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

Food: Delicious hot goop between crispy slices of bread, brought to you by the scientist of the sammie, Grilled Cheese Guy.

Plus: The San Francisco Public Library will be on hand to dole out library cards, reading lists, and the hottest branch gossip.