Nerd Nite SF #75: “Sleep Studies, Zapping Proteins, and Driverless Cars”Wednesday, 8/17/16
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @ Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

Ah, the brave new world: Commuters make up their sleep deficits snoozing at the wheels of driverless cars on their way to their jobs using lasers! We are living in the future! Come explore it using the finest in, um, 1990s technology: PowerPoint! With vinyl records (1940s) to tickle your eardrums, grilled cheese (invented circa the Jazz Age) to fill your bellies, SFPL book recommendations (to mark the mid-15th century) for homework, and booze (from time immemorial). Be there and be square!


“F**ked If You Don’t Sleep!” by Matthew Walker

Allow us to ask you a question: Can you recall the last time you woke up without an alarm clock, feeling refreshed, not needing caffeine? If the answer is “no,” you’re screwed, and this talk will describe why.

Matthew eavesdrops on sleeping brains at night and is a professor of neuroscience at UC Berkeley during the day.


“Microwaving Proteins with X-Ray Lasers and Galloping Horses” by James Fraser

In 1872, Leland Stanford gave photographer Eadweard Muybridge the task of proving that all four of a horse’s hooves are off the ground at the same time during a gallop. Little did he know he’d be setting in motion (ha!) early cinema, with the concomitant improvements in camera shutters and film emulsions. Fast-forward to today and discover the surprising geographic and scientific parallels between the first “movie” and current efforts to make molecular movies of proteins using the world’s first X-ray free electron laser.

James is a professor at UCSF–where his lab studies the structure and dynamics of macromolecules–and consulting professor at SLAC National Lab, as well as an advocate for the beer-and-tacos approach to scientific publishing, wherein work is made immediately accessible to a wide audience via preprints and eventually also peer-reviewed by traditional journals.


“Driverless Vehicles: Who’s Really in Control?” by Lauren Isaac

Driverless vehicles have the potential to change so much in our society: Boozers will never have to worry about DUIs, Grandma Gertie can get around without people fearing for their lives, and the millennials can do their elliptical workout while commuting! Are we really going to be safer, though? Will they do more harm than good for society? And who is going to make sure we aren’t just overrun with robo-cars? Who’s really in control and what can we do to prepare for this disruptive technology?

Lauren is a transportation enthusiast/nerd who works at WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff and has spent her career helping government agencies with public transit, bike sharing, ride sharing and now driverless cars.


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.