Mars Colonization, Rational Economics, and Octopuses from Space!Wednesday, 8/15/2018
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

This month, we put our foot down! Or eight feet, as the case may be. A physicist puts Elon Musk in his place. An economist weighs in one of the field’s most fundamental arguments. And a science writer stops this whole “octopuses are aliens from outer space” nonsense. Three talks, plus tunes by DJ Alpha Bravo, delicious sammies from Grilled Cheez Guy, and plentiful beverages from the Rickshaw Stop bar. Be there and be square!


“Not So Fast, Elon: Challenges of Resurrecting the Martian Atmosphere” by Dr. Robert Lillis

Mars’s atmosphere is dry, cold, and too thin to stop you from bursting like a balloon or getting cancer from cosmic rays. Eeeek, right? But billions of years ago it was thick, warm and (sometimes) wet. If humans want to live on Mars long-term, we need to find a way to resurrect the Martian atmosphere to its former glory. I’ll tell you where the ancient atmosphere went and what it will take to rebuild it. Spoiler: it’s gonna be tough. Real tough. Oh yes.

Robert is a research physicist at the NASA-funded UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory. He’s been a member of three Mars mission teams and has been studying Mars for 16 years.


“Is Your Uber Driver Rational?” by Michael Sheldon

Twenty years ago, a seminal paper rocked one of the most fundamental understandings in economics. The finding? That taxi drivers drove *less* when earnings were high and days were busy.

While this finding may seem unimportant, the crux of the question is whether taxi drivers (and the rest of us) are rational economic actors. Behavioral economists argue that these findings show classic economic models fail to capture the realities of imperfect decision making; neoclassical economists argue the results are due to poor data analysis. To address the divide, we analyze the behavior of thousands of Uber drivers and see how rational we really are.

Michael is a data scientist at Uber who specializes in supply behavior and pricing. He is also a well-known dog whisperer and IPA enthusiast.


“Octopuses: Not Aliens, Still Awesome” by Danna Staaf

Have you ever heard someone claim that octopuses are really aliens? Or have you ever wondered why so many of our fictional aliens look undeniably octopus-like? Well, octopuses and their fellow cephalopods are truly awesome and even alien–just not in the from-outer-space sense. A Nerd Nite fan-favorite, “cephspert” Danna Staaf returns to our stage to debunk the space alien myth and celebrate one of the weirdest creatures on Earth.

Danna is the author of “Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods” – which chronicles the 500-million-year evolutionary journey of cephalopods from masters of the primordial sea to calamari on your dinner plate – and a contributor to the upcoming anthology “Putting the Science in Fiction.” She earned her PhD in “Squid Sex and Babies” from Stanford University and works as a freelance science writer.


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

Food: Grilled Cheez Guy!