Nerd Nite #69: Sutro Baths, Psychedelic Data Science, and Blowing Up Bridges!SOLD OUT! There is usually some number of no-shows so we will release limited tickets at the door shortly before showtime.

Wednesday, 2/17/2016
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

Remember the legendary PSA with the egg and the frying pan? We’ll find out what our brains REALLY look like when they’re on drugs, and we’ll also swim back in time to the saltwater pools of the Sutro Baths and thrill to some Texan bridge demolition porn. This is your brain on Nerd Nite. Any questions? Well, that’s what the Q&A section is for, silly! With grilled cheese, librarians, and the Rickshaw bar staff to help you wet your whistle: Be there and be square!


“Sutro’s Glass Palace” by John A. Martini

Like a majestic ocean liner or a grand hotel, the Victorian-era Sutro Baths dazzled visitors with over-the-top opulence. Today, only broken concrete ruins remain at Land’s End, but still draw hundreds of visitors daily. Marvel at many never-before-seen photographs of Adolph Sutro’s legendary glass palace.

John is a native San Franciscan and lifelong researcher into the history of California and the American West. He worked as a ranger for more than 25 years at national parks around the country, including the Marin Headlands and the Presidio. Now an independent consultant specializing in historical research, he appears regularly on PBS, History Channel, A&E Network, and National Geographic Channel.


“Psychedelic Data Science: Mapping the Drug Experience” by Jessica Nielson

Can you imagine what psychedelic experiences look like? Ever wondered if illegal drugs are actually better for you than legal ones? (Some of you may have even performed copious independent studies!) With the increase in data about the harmful effects of prescription drugs and the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics, big-data machine learning technologies are helping us answer those questions. Come trip balls—ahem!—observe a psychedelic data visualization journey through various drug experiences.

Jessica is a UCSF neuroscientist focused on finding better treatments for complex neurological disorders. In her free time, she is an advocate of cognitive liberty and studying the therapeutic potential of psychedelics for mental health.


“The State of Texas Paid Me to Break a Bridge” by Bryce Neuman

Keen on saving money on inspections, TXDoT funded a research project to determine how “fracture-critical” their 10,000+ highway bridges really were. So a team from UT Austin’s structures lab rebuilt a 120’-long, decommissioned bridge and set out to break it. Yep, they used explosives—but it still took three tries! Come hear about this four-year effort, the engineering basics of the bridge, how they pushed it to its limits, and the results that surprised even the state’s (well, it’s Texas, after all) experts.

Just coming out of his third fractional-life crisis (in the form of a 14-month trip to Asia), Bryce loves planning and building, earth and life sciences, the great outdoors, and plain-old riding his bike.


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.