Nerd Nite SF #87: Climate Data, Ticks + Bacteria, Apocalypse EthicsWednesday, 8/16/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages

We need you now Wednesday night. We need you more than ever. And if you only hold your beer tight, we’ll never be dumb together. A total eclipse…of the smart! Yes, folks, we have arthropods and their bacterial friends, as explained by a microbiologist. We have a genuine philosopher waxing twisted about environmental ethics. And we’ll also play the climate change blame game, along with Grilled Cheese Guy, DJ Alpha Bravo, and maybe the library, too! As Bonnie Tyler would say: Forever’s gonna start Wednesday night, so be there and be square!


“Climate Change and Data-Driven Blame/Solutions” by Saul Griffith

Take a brutally honest look at our climate change hypocrisies with a surprisingly optimistic outcome. Blaming yourself, blaming the government, blaming big business, blaming your neighbours, blaming wall street. No matter who the target of your ire is, get the right data to be angry—and the most accurate prognosis yet for actually just solving climate change. You might call it “Ode to the Planet Fucking Hypocrite,” if you want to be edgy.

Saul has multiple degrees in materials science and mechanical engineering, and is an inventor, columnist, children’s book author, technical advisor to Make and Popular Mechanics magazines, and co-founder of several companies. Coincidentally, this year he contracted Lyme disease.


“Blood and Guts: Ticks and Their Bacterial Friends” by Dr. Seemay Chou

Microbes inhabiting the guts of blood-sucking arthropods can be passed from animal to animal during feeding, at times resulting in bubonic plague (fleas), malaria (mosquitoes), and Lyme disease (ticks). Although generally unwelcome, only a few arthropod species are actually capable of transmitting dangerous microbes to humans. For example, the Lyme disease bacterium is spread through the bite of a single tick species, despite dozens of other ticks encountering it in the wild. Seemay will talk about different ecological and molecular factors that underlie these tick-bacteria relationships and how her research group is trying to use this information to break the cycle of infection.

Seemay is a microbiologist and assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics at UCSF.


“Ethics After the End of the World” by Sam Mickey

Climate change, pollution, mass extinction—an ecological emergency is upon us. People have heard the facts, but the emergency continues to intensify. This is an ethical problem: What should be done? Typical answers like “protect nature” and “save the world” clearly haven’t been working. Could our ideas of “nature” and “the world” be part of the problem? Presenting a twisted ethics for coexisting in an ecological emergency, Sam suggests that the world ended, there is no nature, and the best guide for knowing how to respond to things is the profound anxiety that comes with not knowing how to respond to things.

Sam teaches at the University of San Francisco. He has a PhD in philosophy and religion and has authored and edited several books on environmental ethics, including On the Verge of a Planetary Civilization: A Philosophy of Integral Ecology.



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.