We see a return to the ocean in August, but this time with pirates instead of sharks. Also, have you ever thought of Earth as one giant nursery for everyone’s and everything’s spawn, from mites to mice? Well, you will! And if you’ve definitely never considered eating algae to help climate change, well, we can’t say you will…but maybe you’ll be inspired. Plus, our friends from the SF Public Library will be in attendance to sign you up for a library car and hook you up with stickers, pins, and other literary swag.
Nerd Nite SF
Doors 7pm, show 8pm
$10 online, $15 door
“Nursery Earth: The Wondrous Lives of Baby Animals (and the Incredible Sacrifices of Their Parents)”
By: Danna Staaf
At any given moment, most animals on the planet are babies—from chicks and tadpoles to caterpillars and marine larvae. Their tiny, hidden lives reveal some of nature’s strangest workings: A salamander embryo breathes with the help of algae inside its cells. The young grub of a Goliath beetle dwarfs its parents. Mouse embryos can absorb cancerous cell grafts—and develop into healthy adults. At once incredibly vulnerable and incredibly vital, baby animals are not just beings in progress, but beings in their own right. And our planet needs them all: the maggots as much as the kittens! Meanwhile, every animal baby has parents. Whether they stick around to nurse their young or die before their eggs hatch, all animal parents invest in the next generation . . . sometimes in truly bizarre ways, like the caecilian mom who grows an extra “milk skin” or the mama mite who’s literally bursting with pride.
About the Speaker:
Danna Staaf is an author, artist, and marine biologist who earned a PhD from Stanford University with her studies of baby squid. Her writing has appeared in Nautilus, Atlas Obscura, and Science, and her first book, Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods, was named one of the best science books of the year by NPR’s Science Friday. Her book for young readers, The Lady and the Octopus: How Jeanne Villepreux-Power Invented Aquariums and Revolutionized Marine Biology (https://lernerbooks.com/shop/show/21976), was listed as a best book of the year by both the School Library Journal and the Children’s Book Committee. Her most recent book, Nursery Earth: The Wondrous Lives of Baby Animals and the Extraordinary Ways They Shape Our World (https://theexperimentpublishing.com/catalogs/summer-2023/nursery-earth/), has been called “a gobsmack
ing delight!” Staaf lives in San Jose, California, with her husband, children, cat, and innumerable plush octopuses.
“Super Slime Me or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Live on Algae”
By: Elliot Roth
Algae enthusiasts and plankton party animals, welcome to the wacky world of green gastronomy! Over the past few weeks, our speaker has been on a wild, strange and sometimes hilarious adventure through the uncharted territory of munching on nothing but algae. He’s been surviving on some slime sublime as a means of investigating the potential of our tiny green friends to meet the challenges of everything from the impending climate catastrophe to life in space. Get ready to dive into weird self-experimentation, the carbon impact of food, and how you too might one day be eating algae on a daily basis.
About the Speaker:
Elliot Roth is the founder of Spira, a company that uses genetically engineered algae grown by a global network of farming partners to make designer materials, starting with natural colors. He is a synthetic biologist with years of experience in product design and storytelling, and previously started 7 companies and 2 nonprofits. In his spare time he plays music, and participates in space analog missions while residing in San Francisco a few blocks from Dolores Park.
“The Greatest Pirate Who Ever Lived (A Woman!)”
By Christina Li
Boats full of bloodthirsty female pirates, cannibalism, international politics, and men who cry and only dress in blue – dive into the brutal and colorful world of the most successful pirate in written history. Despite being illiterate and born into a life of sex work, Chang Yi Sao (or Chang Sek Yeung) rose to lead over 10,000 people against the dominant Qing, British, and Portuguese empires.
This talk will dive into the recruitment, organization, and politicking that Chang Yi Sao (or Chang Sek Yeung) used to create an empire of misfits and live to retire at a ripe old age. You’ll also hear stories of the amazing characters that populated early 1800s South East China, a society bursting from a population explosion, marginalized by an indifferent and faraway emperor, and perused by new international merchants each their own agenda.
Christina Li is a musician and theater producer in the Bay Area. She is passionate about community work and bringing hidden histories to life through art. Check out what’s next on instagram: @christinali