Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Nerd Nite SF #90: Neurogenesis, Snakebites, & Scurvy!

Nerd Nite SF #90: Scurvy, Neurogenesis, and Snakebites!Feelings of malaise? Lethargy? Whether it’s scurvy or just boredom, we have the cure for you! Have your mind blown with a tale of atomic testing and neuroscience, recoil at the scope of the snakebite epidemic, and add a slice of lemon to your beer for the convoluted saga of scurvy. All this plus the musical stylings of DJ Alpha Bravo, grilled cheese sammies, and awesome people like you.

Wednesday, 11/15/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

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“Nuclear Testing and Other Things That May or May Not Damage Your Brain” by Whitney Heavner

Prior to the 1960’s, scientists believed that the adult brain has no capacity for regeneration. A few classical experiments in 1965 changed everything. Yet, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America continues to link drugs, your brain, and fried eggs. Just how resilient is the human brain? Learn how above-ground nuclear arms testing helped us answer this question through carbon dating, and see how radioactive tracers in rodents show when a baby neuron has sealed its fate.

Whitney Heavner is a postdoctoral fellow in the Stanford biology department deciphering the genome’s blueprint for building the 100 billion neurons that make up your brain.

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“The Snakebite Epidemic” by Dr. Matthew Lewin

Worldwide, there are more than 5 million snakebites each year, killing as many as 100,000 people. An additional 400,000 suffer snakebite-related disability and disfigurement. This year, the WHO listed snakebite as one of the most significant—and neglected—medical crises facing the globe. Dr. Lewin has identified sPLA2 inhibitors as a potential treatment for a broad spectrum of snake venoms. His group has demonstrated potency against 28 snake venom sPLA2s from six continents and has conducted pre-clinical studies showing excellent survival prospects, which were recently published in the peer-reviewed journal, Toxins.

An emergency physician, neuroscientist, expedition doctor, and California Academy of Sciences Fellow, Dr. Matthew Lewin co-founded Ophirex, Inc. (“Ophi” is Greek for “snake”) with Mr. Jerry Harrison (of the Talking Heads) to focus on developing field treatments for snakebite. Ophirex (www.ophirex.com) is committed to providing sustainably-priced antidotes so that treatment for any snakebite can begin anywhere, anytime, by anyone.

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“Scurvy: Lost and Found. And Found. And… Found (Again)” by Laura Lanford

Do you think pirate talk was all “Avast, ye miserable scallywags!” and “Shiver me timbers!”? Likely you’d also hear mutters along the lines of “Ow, me teeth hurt!” and “Argh, me aching bones!” Life on the sea was more scurvy than it was swagger, in no small part because we kept losing the ubiquitous yet elusive cure for this dreaded vitamin deficiency. From the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Horn, from Greenland to Antarctica, come and hear tell of the convoluted tale of the Scourge of the Seas!

Laura Lanford is on loan from Nerd Nite Chicago. She talks a lot about a lot of things, mostly Extinction Level Events but sometimes medical esoterica as well.

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

Food: Delicious grilled cheese from the master of the sammie, Grilled Cheese Guy.

Nerd Nite SF #89: Brain Science, Neon Signs, and Dark Matter!

Nerd Nite SF #89: Grey Matter. Dark Matter. Neon Light!Nerd Nite SF #89: Grey Matter. Dark Matter. Neon Light!Gray brains, bright lights, and dark matter – this Nerd Nite covers the spectrum! We’ll get a handle on comparative brain science from a neuroscientist, and then actually handle real brains. Then, two experts will illuminate the art, craft, and history of neon in the Bay Area. Finally, a physicist will help us see the light on dark matter. All this, plus the colorful DJ stylings of Alpha Bravo, drinks of all stripes, and a crowd of bright people like you. Be there and be square!

Wednesday, 10/18/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

NOTE: We’ll have actual brains, including some human ones, for you to examine and even hold. We wanted to let you know in case you were uncomfortable with seeing organs.

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“Seeing Eye to I: Traveling the World with Brains in Your Luggage” by Patrick House

Neuroscientist Patrick House will give a neuroanatomy lecture using real brains but no actual anatomy. Anything easily looked up online will not be mentioned. He will also share stories of traveling with and shipping brain specimens around the world, adventures which provided an answer to a question he never knew he would have to answer: I.e. Does FedEx believe in a soul?

Patrick House is a neuroscientist and writer. He got his PhD in neuroscience from Stanford, studying that one parasite that makes mice not afraid of cats. He did a postdoc in ancient DNA searching for the same parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, in mummified cats, a task which he once described as “Like looking for a needle in a haystack oh but also the needle is broken into a thousand pieces and made of hay.” He has written on science and technology for The New Yorker and Slate and is writing a book on the role of elegance in neuroscience. He works at a startup developing brain-machine interfaces for treatment of neurologic disease.

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“From Advertising to Art: Survivors and Lost Icons of Neon in NorCal” by Randall Ann Homan and Al Barna

See beautiful pictures of neon survivors, mourn famous lost icons of the neon world, and get a visual tour of the best gas, glass, and electricity that the East Bay and SF has to offer. Learn about the science underlying neon and discover what decades of evolution in California’s neon art and advertising illuminates about our Neon Cities.

Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan are the authors and photographers of the book San Francisco Neon: Survivors and Lost Icons. They also give four different walking tours in San Francisco featuring the city’s fabulous collection of historic neon signs, with back alleys and back stories included. Details and pictures at http://neonbook.xyz

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“Looking for the Invisible” by Lucie Tvrznikova

Everything we see around us makes up only 5% of the total mass and energy in the universe. So what’s the rest? The rest is full of dark energy and dark matter, substances that scientists have not been able to detect directly. Still, we are confident they are out there. What exactly is dark matter? And how can we hope to detect it? Lucie will take us a mile underground to a former gold mine where the LUX and LZ detectors found their home looking for the elusive dark matter particles. We’ll learn how LUX taught us a lot about our universe without seeing anything at all, and how its big sister LZ will teach us even more.

Lucie Tvrznikova is a Ph.D. candidate at Yale University in Experimental Physics and is currently at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, helping search for WIMPs.

October 31st is a day dedicated to the mysterious and unseen – Dark Matter Day! Wait, is it some other holiday, too? Regardless, the month of October features events around the world discussing research into dark matter. Learn more at http://darkmatterday.com

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

Food: Delicious pork-belly bao and other bun goodness from Cross Hatch Eatery.

Plus: The San Francisco Public Library will be on hand to dole out library cards, reading lists, and the hottest branch gossip.

Nerd Nite SF #88: Shark Die-Offs, Clever Animal Adaptations, and Bots!

Nerd Nite SF #88: Shark Die-Offs, Clever Animal Adaptations, and Bots!

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the Rickshaw Stop...Wednesday, 9/20/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets

We’re late, but we’re great…white sharks, that is! Plus, lots and lots of weird animals and bots. Sean Van Sommeran of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation will talk tagging, tracking, and stranding of great white sharks in the Bay Area. Wired magazine science writer Matt Simon will guide us through the many clever animal adaptations that evolution has produced over the millennia, from the horrifying to the downright hilarious: think flatworms fencing with their penises, ants being mind-controlled by a fungus, pearlfish swimming up sea cucumber butts, and axolotls mating! And Mark Stephen Meadows will chat you up about bots and avatars. Add stiff drinks, themed tunes, and you. Voilà, a nerd cocktail! Be there and be square!

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Wednesday, 9/20/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here: https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1526483?utm_medium=bks
We’re late, but we’re great…white sharks, that is! Plus, lots and lots of weird animals. Sean van Sommeran of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation will talk about mass die-offs of sharks (and other creatures) in the Bay. Wired magazine science writer Matt Simon will guide us through the many clever animal adaptations that evolution has produced over the millennia, from the horrifying to the downright hilarious: think flatworms fencing with their penises, ants being mind-controlled by a fungus, pearlfish swimming up sea cucumber butts, and axolotls mating! And Mark Stephen Meadows will chat you up about bots and avatars. Add stiff drinks, themed tunes, and you. Voilà, a nerd cocktail! Be there and be square!
“Bad Bot. Good Bot.” by Mark Stephen Meadows
You’re authenticated on Facebook but chatbots aren’t. Bots can spam, scam, phish, spoof, and abuse more effectively than people. What we need are license plates for these things. If we bolt a voice onto a bot we make an assistant, so let’s look at what assistants (Siri, Alexa, Cortana) collect, what’s done with that data, and how they can share it in ML dialogue markets. Then let’s bolt a face onto the assistant and look at the future of multi-modal avatars for video chat, VR, and AR. Oh, and ethics.
Mark Stephen Meadows is an author, inventor, artist, and CEO of Botanic Technologies. With 20 years experience in real-time 3D (VR/AR/etc), 15 years experience in NLP/AI, and 5 in robotics he’s designed and developed artificial intelligence applications with companies as diverse as Microsoft, Sony, Xerox-PARC, Stanford Research Institute, LucasArts, Oracle, and others. He leads the vision of Botanic by inventing new methods of computer-human interaction, developing the hearts and minds of highly social avatars and graphical bots.
“Zombie Ants, Penis Fencing, and Fish That Swim Up Sea Cucumber Butts: The Animal Kingdom Is Legit” by Matt Simon
At this very moment, two flatworms in the sea have extended their needle-like penises and started fencing with them, each worm trying to stab the other and inject sperm through the skin. Meanwhile, in South America, a fungus has invaded an ant’s mind and driven it out of the colony to a precise spot in the rainforest. Oh, and the eel-like pearlfish has swum up a sea cucumber’s butt and eaten its internal organs, including the gonads.
Believe it or not, these are all clever adaptations to the everyday problems of life. Join Wired magazine science writer Matt Simon as he guides you through the many solutions that evolution has produced over the millennia, from the horrifying to the downright hilarious, and sometimes both at the same time.
Matt Simon is a science writer at Wired magazine, where he focuses on robotics and biology. He’s the author of The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar (Penguin, 2016) and of a forthcoming book about parasites that mind-control their hosts, out next fall. He’s one of the few people on the planet to witness the fabled mating ritual of the axolotl salamander, a tale he’ll tell at Nerd Nite SF.
“Sharks & Epizootic Mass Die-Off Update” by Sean Van Sommeran
Sean Van Sommeran established the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation in 1990 to kick off the ‘shark conservation, education and research’ movement.
Based in Monterey Bay, the PSRF has a stranding rescue and collecting unit that coordinates response to toxic spills, injured and trapped sharks and rays and mass stranding events and epizootic die offs and combating poachers throughout the state of California and Bay Areas.
Currently focused on white shark, basking shark and mass stranding response projects, there is much to tell and talk about and question and answer discussions are always informative and from primary sources and well documented.
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With: Alpha Bravo, who’ll be spinning tunes specially selected to match the presenters’ themes. Follow the setlist on Twitter @djalphabravo.

Nerd Nite SF #87: Ticks + Bacteria, Apocalypse Ethics, & Climate Change!

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
Tickets

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!

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.

 

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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.

Nerd Nite SF #86: Fertility, Disneyland, and Data Security!

Nerd Nite SF #86: Fertility, Disneyland, and Data SecurityWednesday, 7/19/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

Brace yourself for a roller coaster of an evening as we learn about the ups and downs of fertility science, speed through the history of Disneyland, and ride the twists and turns of credit card security! Plus adult drinks, delicious bao, DJ, and librarians. And you don’t even need to be *this* tall to enjoy the ride. Be there and be square!

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“Can Your Fertility Save Your Life?” by Dr. Paul Turek

Infertility has typically been thought of as an unfortunate circumstance of life but not much more. In fact, infertility can impact quality of life and productivity. It’s also viewed as a biomarker for health issues, including cancer. And infertility may actually be the “ultimate” medical disease of a species: If present, then reproduction is hampered and species health is threatened. Think of Clive Owen in Children of Men. So, it may not be farfetched to consider one’s fertility status as the “fifth vital sign” of health.

Dr. Turek is Director of The Turek Clinic (www.TheTurekClinic.com), former Professor at UCSF, blogger on men’s health issues (www.TurekonMensHealth.com), and founder of a volunteer medical clinic powered by retired physicians for the working uninsured in San Francisco (www.ClinicbytheBay.org). He recently received an NIH grant to develop an artificial testicle to make sperm in a dish.

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“Growing Up in the Happiest Place on Earth: A Brief History of Disneyland” by Dr. Jeffrey Silverman

Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth, has welcomed over 650 million guests since it opened and is one of the most popular theme parks in the world. Jeff will give a brief history of Disneyland and recount some of the most unbelievable (but true!) stories from its over sixty year history. He’ll also share some personal experiences from his hundreds of visits to Disneyland, as well as the summer he spent working there.

Dr. Jeffrey Silverman has a PhD in Astrophysics from UC Berkeley and used to study exploding stars. He’s currently a data scientist at Samba TV where, among other things, he tries to calculate how many people watch ESPN and The Disney Channel. Jeff grew up in Anaheim, CA about a mile away from Disneyland, where he spent much of his childhood. He’s also presented at multiple Nerd Nites!

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“How Your New Credit Card is Like Wonder Woman” by Debra J. Farber

Your payment cards are embedded with microchips that, like Wonder Woman’s bulletproof bracelets and shield, protect you from evildoers! But how do these super-powered EMV cards stop fraudsters, identity thieves, and black hats in their tracks, exactly? And what about security measures in other payment platforms, like phones, wearables, Amazon Echo, cryptocurrencies, and soon our cars and refrigerators? This lively talk will make you feel like Wonder Woman: filled with a sense of power, grace, wisdom, and wonder.

Debra J. Farber is a data privacy and security consultant with 15 years’ experience, and CEO and Principal Consultant at Farber Strategies Inc. Most recently, Debra served as Sr. Director, Global Public Policy (Privacy & Security) at Visa.

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

Food: Delicious pork-belly bao and other bun goodness from Cross Hatch Eatery.

Plus: The San Francisco Public Library will be on hand to dole out library cards, reading lists, and the hottest branch gossip.

Nerd Nite SF #85: Shipping Wars, Accidents, and Parole!

Shipping Wars, Accidents, and Parole!Wednesday, 6/21/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

Watch out! Caution is the watchword this month, lest you trigger a fandom war, cause an accident, or find yourself on the wrong side of a parole hearing. Best if you play it safe and just hang out at Nerd Nite and sip drinks, eat tamales, listen to the DJ, and converse with librarians. All while we hear talks from a clinical psychologist, a NASA scientist, and a defense attorney. Be there and be square! (And be careful!)

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“I Will Go Down with This Ship! What Fandom ‘Shipping Wars’ Can Tell us About Sexuality and Gender in Popular Culture” by Kaela Joseph

Why do you want your favorite television and movie characters to be in relationships together? Why does there have to be so much sexual tension between characters who are identified as straight? Why do fandoms get so angry about “ships” on Tumblr? Wonder no more! Dr. Kaela Joseph is here to help you understand sex in the subtext of popular media, and how “shipping wars” (conflicts about which characters should be paired together) can help us better understand sexuality and gender from a cultural perspective.

Kaela is a clinical psychologist and researcher whose specializes is in human sexuality. An avid fan of sci-fi/horror/fantasy genres, Kaela uses principles of feminist and LGBTQ affirmative psychology to expand the field of fandom studies.

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“Careful!” by Steve Casner

As doctors work busily to extend our lives, more people each year are figuring out ways to cut them short. Yes, after 100 years of steady improvement, accidental deaths are on the rise. Are we turning into incompetent schlubs who can’t be trusted with scissors? No! We’re filling our world with new hazards that are thwarting our old methods of avoiding them. ‘Keeping an eye on that’ doesn’t work when our attention is being pulled in many directions, and it sure won’t work with nanotechnology. Upgrade to the new version of careful and live a while longer!

Steve Casner is the author of Careful: A User’s Guide to Our Injury-Prone Minds. A NASA scientist by day, Casner also flies jets and helicopters, rides motorcycles and skateboards, and has surprisingly few scars.

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“Rhetoric of Rehabilitation: A History of California’s Parole Hearings” by Jared Rudolph

Parole represents the state’s belief in rehabilitation, and that their officials can assess whether someone has been rehabilitated. Throughout California’s history, the use of parole has waxed and waned with the theories guiding our criminal justice system. Today, parole is on the rise: In the last four years, there have been more releases through the parole hearings system than in the forty years prior.

How did we get here? What does our history of parole mean for the current moment in criminal justice? What is the process like? Is rehabilitation possible, and does it matter whether it is?

Jared Rudolph is a criminal defense attorney and the founder of Prisoner Reentry Network, a non-profit that supports successful transitions from incarceration to the community. If you’re arrested, he suggests you shut up so you don’t talk yourself into prison.

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

Food: Delicious hot plates of goodness from Alicia’s Tamales los Mayas.

Plus: The San Francisco Public Library will be on hand to dole out library cards, reading lists, and the hottest branch gossip.

Nerd Nite SF #84: SciComm, GG Bridge, Water Infrastructure

Nerd Nite SF #84: SciComm, GG Bridge, Water InfrastructureWednesday, 5/17/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

Attention! You’ve just been drafted to fight in the war on science! Bring your best facts, sharpest mechanical pencils, and plenty of terabytes to our nerdy boot camp, where an award-winning journalist will make us do drills on science communication, a historian and rogu(ish) ex-park ranger will march us over the Golden Gate Bridge, and a drinking water delivery expert will keep us hydrated with submersible robots. With the usual aides-de-camp–Rickshaw bartenders, Grilled Cheese Guy, SFPL, and Alpha Bravo on the airwaves–we cannot lose. Be there and be square!

“Winning the War on Science” by Erika Check Hayden

Is there really a war on science? What are the rules of engagement for those who communicate about science in an age when facts seem to be under attack? Award-winning science journalist Erika Check Hayden will draw on her experience covering events–from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to the 2014 Ebola outbreak–to answer these questions. Come prepared to share your examples of good and bad science communication and to engage in a thoughtful discussion about how to move forward in engaging the public on science.

Erika is director of the Science Communication Program at UC Santa Cruz and was a reporter at Nature for 15 years, where she focused on covering infectious diseases and genetics and won multiple awards from the Association of Health Care Journalists.

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“Golden Gate Bridge: A Most Misunderstood Landmark” by John Martini

Why isn’t the Golden Gate Bridge painted gold? Is there really a dead body buried in the concrete? Why does it take seven years to paint it from one end to the other? You mean it’s cheaper to cross the bridge now than when it opened? The Golden Gate Bridge is San Francisco’s most iconic landmark, except perhaps for Alcatraz, but, just like the Rock, it’s surrounded by myths and misconceptions. In this talk commemorating the Bridge’s 80th birthday, historian John Martini will share little-known stories of its construction and operations, and possibly explain how a 25¢ toll ballooned into $7.50.

John is a native San Franciscan and lifelong researcher into the history of California and the American West. He worked as a ranger for more than 25 years at national parks around the country and is now an independent consultant specializing in historical research. He appears regularly on PBS, History Channel, A&E Network, and National Geographic Channel.

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“Waterworld: The Hunt for What Lies Beneath” by Adam Tank

Many pipes delivering drinking water were installed in the late 1800s. They are now well beyond their remaining useful life, and many are cracking, breaking, and leaking trillions of gallons of water underground. In fact, 30% of all clean water is lost in distribution before it reaches our homes. Fortunately, historical pipeline data, coupled with advanced acoustic, satellite, and robotic technology, is emerging that enables us to find & fix these problem pipes without digging up streets.

Adam is the founder of a Bay Area startup building submersible robots for the repair of buried water pipes. He previously ran General Electric’s Digital Water division, focused on creating software solutions for water utilities all over the world. He tweets about things water and non-water related @artank.

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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.

Nerd Nite SF #83: Scientist Senators, Forensics, and the Interwebs!

Nerd Nite SF #83: Scientist Senators, Forensics, and the Interwebs!Wednesday, 4/19/17
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @ Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

If your brain is feeling a bit taxed (wocka wocka), we’ll happily grant you an extension—or you may file early for 2017, to the Rickshaw Stop bar, where experts will be on hand to guide you through Schedule V(odka) and Form B(eer). Don’t forget to take a deduction on the entrance fee you paid, which this month covers edu-tainment on a biologist’s run for the US Senate, the investigation of death in all its grisliness, and how those interweb pipes get plumbed. With DJ Alpha Bravo spinning, Cross Hatch Eatery serving, and SFPL librarians getting you checked in so you can check stuff out: Be there and be square!

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“A Scientist in the Senate?” by Michael Eisen

In early 2017, Dr. Eisen announced his intention to run to represent the state of California in the US Senate elections of 2018 under the slogan “Liberty, Equality, Reality.” But what really happens when a scientist decides to leave behind grad students, hard-won grants, a labful of fruit flies, and academic independence at a top university? Let’s just say that the laboratory of politics will be chock full of confounding variables! Come hear what it takes to march the March for Science all the way from UC Berkeley to a seat on Capitol Hill.

Michael Eisen is a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on understanding how the DNA in an animal embryo creates a complex organism by switching genes on and off in a choreographed pattern during embryonic development. Outside the lab, Dr. Eisen has fought for decades to liberate the results of scientific research from behind paywalls.

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“The Body Never Lies: Autopsy and the Working Stiff” by Dr. Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell

Dr. Judy Melinek performs autopsies for a living. Her husband, T.J. Mitchell, is a writer. Together they will answer everything you dare ask a medical examiner, give you a tour of the morgue, take you through a scene investigation and autopsy, and explore the science of gunshot wounds in a real-life, true-death case study. Drink up and gird yourselves for graphic photos! (They will also have signed and dedicated paperbacks for sale and will answer your questions about forensics, writing narrative nonfiction, dumb ways to die, and anything else!)

Judy and T.J. are co-authors of the New York Times bestseller Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner, which recounts Judy’s training in death investigation and explores death by knife, gun, train, drunk boyfriend, crazy girlfriend, flammable perfume, bad diet, bad medicine, bad luck, and gravity—among other things.

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“World Wide WHOA: How the Internet Actually Gets to Your Door” by Luke Mazza

Learn the history of telecommunications, from Alexander Graham Bell to today’s modern (and not-so-modern) internet. How do Internet Service Providers (ISPs) really work, anyway? Let’s take a virtual tour through data centers, down manholes, and up telephone poles to explore the internet infrastructure as it exists today—and the fiber future being built!

Luke is the support development trainer at Sonic. He’s also really, really good at ping pong.

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

Food: Delicious pork-belly bao and other bun goodness from Cross Hatch Eatery.

Plus: The San Francisco Public Library will be on hand to dole out library cards, reading lists, and the hottest branch gossip.

Nerd Nite SF #82: ET Eavesdropping, Cyborg Senses, and Aging!

Nerd Nite SF #82: ET Eavesdropping, Cyborg Senses, and Aging!Wednesday, 3/15/17
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @ Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

This month we have a feast for your super-senses! First, we’ll turn our mightiest eyes and ears skyward in search of alien communications. Then we’ll learn how close we all are to becoming cyborgs, although it’s taken a lot more than six million dollars to get there. Lastly, we’ll zoom in on our cells, and what tells our bodies to age. Tantalize your tastebuds with tamales and cocktails, delight your eyes with library goodness, and please your ears with DJ Alpha Bravo. Be there and square!

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“Listening for Extraterrestrial Civilizations” by Danny Price

Breakthrough Listen eavesdrops on the universe, searching for radio signals and optical laser transmissions. While there have been previous searches for alien communications, this is by far the most comprehensive: Covering 10x the sky and 5x the radio spectrum, at 100x the speed. All this data presents an extraordinary software and data analysis challenge. We’ll hear from Danny Price, whose focus is on processing this data in real-time.

Danny Price is a research fellow working in Berkeley’s Breakthrough Listen lab on instrumentation and data analysis. Originally from Western Australia, Danny received his PhD in astrophysics from the University of Oxford in 2013, after which he moved to Harvard to work on digital signal processing (DSP) for a 21-cm cosmology experiment called LEDA, before joining the Breakthrough Listen lab.

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“Perception Hacking for Cyborgs (That Means You)” by Kara Platoni

Humanity has never been closer to machine than we are now — and it’s only about to get weirder as we increasingly bring technologies onto, and into, our bodies in our eternal quest to alter our perceptual experiences, give ourselves superpowers and (maybe) hack ourselves a sixth sense. From the bionic eye to the thought-controlled robotic limb; from augmented and virtual reality gadgets to biohacker implants, it’s time to consider what comes next in human evolution, and whether we can do it ourselves.

Kara is a science reporter who works the Nancy Drew beat, going anywhere there is a possibility of a weird adventure involving pirates, old clocks or (ideally) ghosts. For her book, We Have the Technology, she sofa-surfed through four countries and eight US states, visiting any lab, military base or biohacker basement that would let her get in on an experiment on the cutting edge of sensory science. She teaches narrative writing at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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“Dispatches from the Mitochondria: Mutations, Aging, and Death” by Gregory Tranah, PhD

Dr. Tranah studies the genetics of aging and age-related traits, and is attempting to identify the genes associated with longevity. He’s also examining the role of mitochondrial DNA mutations in both pancreatic cancer and human energetics.

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

Food: Delicious eats from Alicia’s Tamales los Mayas.

Plus: The San Francisco Public Library will be on hand to dole out library cards, reading lists, and the hottest branch gossip.

Nerd Nite SF #81: Memorization, Lock-picking, and Ancient Yeast!

Wednesday, 2/15/17
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @ Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

This month we have a Trump regime-survival troika! First, yuck it up with a memory champ and a bunch of comedians. Then learn how to get out of the handcuffs you may find yourself in when your post-brunch protest turns riotous. Finally, make yourself nice and numb with some beers brewed with ancient yeast strains. It’s the least we could do for you fine eureka-staters. Oh, and SFPL, DJAB, and GCG will be there and square, too!

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Eureka! Science Comedy presents
“Memory of Champions” with Chester Santos

We’re giving you a special mini-version of one of our favorite local shows, Eureka!, an interactive science comedy show where scientists talk, comedians crack jokes, and audience members win prizes. “The International Man of Memory” Chester Santos, 2008 U.S. Memory Champion, will be in the house! Chester has helped thousands of people realize the benefits of an improved memory and sharper mind. And also joining hosts Allen Saakyan and Kevin Whittinghill will be some of the Bay Area’s funniest comedians. Expect to learn and laugh your ass off!

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“Handcuffs & Ravens” by Bob Hermes and Christine Bachman

Erotic game gone awry? Kidnapped by a crooked cop? Don’t fret – find out just how easy it is to bypass the inner workings of the modern-day handcuff! Bob and Christine will lock on to the history of handcuffs, unlock their inherent weaknesses, and show us how to escape them with nothing more than a bobby pin. Oh, and they’ll also crow about teaching some neighborhood ravens how to open locked boxes.

Bob is a network security engineer and Christine is a California-licensed locksmith. Through their business, Lockpick Extreme, they have taught thousands of people the art of lock-picking and handcuff escape.

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Fossil Fuels Brewing Co. and Schubros Brewing present
“Brewing With 45-Million-Year-Old Yeast” by Chip Lambert

While modern beer advertising suggests that its flavor comes from mountain spring water, golden fields of grain, and the freshest hops, in reality it’s the microbes that are the real heroes. Yeast cells slave away converting glucose to ethanol and carbon dioxide, and we beer-goggled consumers have next to no appreciation for the minute amounts of ester, aldehydes, and amyl-alcohols that make a beer eminently drinkable – or turn it into fertilizer. Fossil Fuels Brewing eschews the inbred strains most brewers use, instead isolating ancient yeast from the gut of a prehistoric bee trapped in 45-million-year-old amber. Drink up ancient times!

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

Food: Delicious eats from the scientist of the sammie, Grilled Cheez Guy.

Plus: The San Francisco Public Library will be on hand to dole out library cards, reading lists, and the hottest branch gossip.