Novelty Catalog, Software Disasters, and Animal Astronauts!Wednesday, 12/19/2018
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

‘Twas the nite of the nerds, and all through the Rickshaw, many creatures were stirring, ‘specially the bartenders. The slides were projected on screen at fast pace, in hopes that some learning soon would take place. Three Nerd Nite alumni this month take the stage: the first on the best mail-order catalog to grace the page. The second presents software engineering blunders, the third talks ’bout critters as astronaut wonders. And Alpha Bravo at the decks, and Stephanie with the food, will welcome you in and help set the mood. If you find that your brain has some room you can spare, join us! Be there and be square!


“The Great American Catalog of Vice, Fear, and Hustle” by David Grosof

This holiday season we hearken back to the first decades of catalog sales, a century ago. There were catalogs, like Sears Roebuck’s, that sold to kind people purchasing thoughtful gifts and practical additions to hearth and home. And then there was the Johnson Smith catalog, a veritable Rosetta Stone of the Dark Side that appealed to every human vice and fear. Written and illustrated in a style so potent that it influences such artists as Chris Ware today, the Johnson Smith catalog sold to the hinterlands such tools of everyday humiliation as the whoopee cushion, the joy buzzer, and exploding cigars. Let’s pore over it and make our wish lists in time for Christmas!

David is a NYC-reared champion of Midwestern humorists, a Berkeley-trained neuroscientist, and a SF-based biomedical entrepreneur.


“Fly by Wire? More like Die by Wire: When Software Kills, Crashes, and Combusts” by Dr. Kinga Laura Dobolyi

Scared that the MRI you’re about to get will fry your brain? You should be: this sort of thing has actually happened–as well as spacecraft smashing to pieces, airplanes flying without air traffic control, and World War III almost wiping out humanity. And these all occurred because of simple software faults and design mistakes. Come hear about ten of the most awful disasters in software engineering–you’ll never want to trust anything connected to a wire again!

Kinga was an associate professor of computer science at George Mason University, and recently transplanted to SF as a data scientist at ThirdLove.


“A Brief History of Animal Astronauts” by Jonathan Braidman

Ever wonder what animals have been to space and what happened to them? We’ll go species by species and country by country. Find out about the inspiring, grisly, cute, and perhaps entirely unethical stories of the littles who left our planet before we did.

Jonathan is a teacher and curriculum developer who has worked at Chabot Space and Science Center and the Lawrence Hall of Science.


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

Food: New! Sister Stephanie is bringing her southern food and barbecue to our hungry bellies!