Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Nerd Nite SF #74: “Game of Thrones Geology, Flute-Making, and Epigenetics”

Nerd Nite SF #74: “Game of Thrones Geology, Flute-Making, and Epigenetics”Wednesday, 7/20/16
Doors at 7pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @ Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

On the 20th day of Quintilis, the Stop of the Rickshaw will unbar its gates and receive throngs of imbibing smarty pants come to worship at its PowerPoint altar. Will you be among the faithful? If so, remove your health-tracking wristband (a doctor will tell us how our “Fitbits” come factory-installed), pipe down (while we’re schooled on our favorite edge-blown aerophone), and “hodor” for your fellow Game of Thrones aficionados (as we traverse fantasy landscapes with a geologist). In other words: Be there and be square!

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“The Geology of Game of Thrones: Real Science in Fantasy” by Miles Traer

From towering peaks to candlelit crypts, vast seas to vertiginous canyons, the worlds of fantasy stories entice and entrance. But just how realistic is that mountain range? Or that river crossing? Or that wall? Yes, THAT Wall? Using what we know from Earth, we can reconstruct the geological history of mythical places, like Game of Thrones’ Westeros. And when we do, we see that the geological forces that shape our world are just as awesome and terrifying as anything beyond The Wall.

Miles is a geologist and educator at Stanford University and creator of the award-winning Generation Anthropocene podcast. He studies landscape evolution on Earth, Mars, and Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Explore Miles’s research and pop-sci articles at www.milestraer.com.

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“Piping Up: The Secret World of Flute-Making” by Linda Watkins

Ever wonder how flutes are made? Which is correct: flutist or flautist? (Or fluter? Or flutenist?) And how did these metal tubes end up flouting the “wood” part of “woodwind”? Come learn about the history, science, and art of flute-making in America, including the man who started it all and why all the great American flute makers are in Boston. Not to toot our own flute or anything, but the stories will surprise you! This presentation includes a live performance.

Linda is a flute nerd: She’s played it for over 30 years, has a Masters in Music Performance from Arizona State University, and worked for four years at a flute manufacturing company. Though now in marketing at a startup, she performs regularly with community orchestras and chamber groups.

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“Epigenetic Fitbits: How Genes Can Keep Track of Your Body Weight” by Dr. Lucia Aronica

Our genes are smarter than wearables when it comes to tracking health data. Biological “Fitbits” within our DNA — epigenetic modifications — store information about our lifestyle habits, such as diet, exercise, and stress. But how do these modifications work? How do they track our weight? And how might they help us know which diet works best for us?

Lucia is a research associate at Stanford University and an award-winning science communicator (Ed: Including winner of the 2009 FameLab Germany competition, and third in the final FameLab International competition. Shout-out to the Rickshaw Stop for hosting FameLab heats the past two years in SF, too!).

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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 #73: Mudlarking, Strandbeest Machines, and Mite Sex!

NN-Jun-2016-h700This month’s amusing and occasionally immodest show promises mud, machines, and mites. So put on your tallest boots to walk along the Thames, accompanied by walking PVC construct companions, and perhaps arachnids walking on your skin! Fortify yourself with drinks while our presenters take us on this journey, along with our bartenders, deejay, librarians, and food-slingers. Be there and be square!

Wednesday, 6/15/2016
Doors at 7pm, Show at 8pm
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

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“Mudlarking and Material Culture” by Laura Rubin

The River Thames has a long memory. The river and its tributaries have shaped and informed the daily life of Londoners from lithic times all the way to the present, and preserve the material culture of their daily lives. In this lecture Laura Rubin will give a brief overview of the Thames, a short methodology, and talk about her personal finds from the summer of 2015.

Laura is a costumer, writer, and interdisciplinary scholar. When not writing software manuals for money, she researches and interprets Western clothing, foodways, and culture from the 16th through the 20th centuries.

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“The Blind Watchmaker: Theo Jansen and the Art of Creating Life” by Paul Dancstep

“Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen” is a new exhibit at the Exploratorium. It features the work of a Dutch artist who creates elaborate walking structures out of PVC tube. These “strandbeests” are made up of many interesting organs. They have legs that take elegant strides. They have stomachs to store energy, allowing them to walk even when there’s no wind. They can even detect water and count their steps. Explore strandbeest anatomy and what it reveals about living creatures and the process of natural selection.

Paul grew up in San Diego but has never been on a surfboard. He studied physics in college but is still baffled by things like zippers. He’s been at the Exploratorium for over a decade, building boxes, changing lightbulbs and occasionally speaking to the public.

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“Mite-y Sexy: The Scandalous Sex Lives of Mites” by Jane Ishka

There are more species of mites than anything else on earth, and almost as many weird ways that they have sex. Some male mites carry immature females until they grown up and are ready to mate, while certain females mate once and carry the sperm for their whole lives, impregnating themselves at any time. Hear these and more Barely Safe For Nerd Nite sex stories about the mighty mite!

Jane is the author of The Year of the Mite and a biotechnology professional living in Berkeley. Her technical writing supports approval of new medical products. Her first book, The Year of the Mite, chronicles a year-long infestation of her home and skin by the parasite Dermanyssus gallinae. Visit Jane at www.yearofthemite.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.

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 #72: Submarines, DNA Nanotech, and Affordable SF Housing!

Nerd Nite SF #72: Submarines, DNA Nanotech, and Affordable SF Housing!Wednesday, 5/18/2016
Doors at 7pm, Show at 8pm
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

This month we’re dealing in the UNBELIEVABLE: wonderful weirdos of the ocean, nano-building blocks of DNA, and–the farthest of the fetched–affordable housing in San Francisco. So, take a deep breath and a big sip of your drink as our expert presenters, bartenders, deejay, librarians, and the Grilled Cheese Guy help us come to terms with it all. But only if you do this in the first place: Be there and be square!

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“Submarine in the Abyss: Exploring the Ocean from a Tiny Metal Tube” by Erika Bergman

We hope you are wearing clean socks, because you are about to kick off your boat shoes and climb into a deep-sea submersible! Explore an underwater world dominated by giant tube worms, heat-tolerant shrimpies, vast bioluminescent networks, shipwrecks, and…beer bottles? The ocean makes up 90% of the living space on the planet, and we’re not the only weirdos down there.

Erika is a mechanic, tech enthusiast, and explorer for National Geographic. She founded theGEECs.com, whose first program is Girls Underwater Robot Camps, and hopes to hire all the little girls who don’t yet realize they are destined to be engineers and explorers.

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“Tiny Tools: A 40-year Quest to Build with DNA” by Shawn Douglas

Nearly four decades ago, a young scientist named Ned Seeman had a Eureka moment. He realized that DNA molecules might be repurposed as nano-sized “Lego” blocks in order to build tools to solve one of the most fundamental challenges in molecular biology: determining atomic structures of proteins. Ned went on to pioneer an entirely new area of research: DNA nanotechnology. I’ll share an update from the field, including how we may be tantalizingly close to realizing Ned’s vision, albeit with a new spin on his original approach.

Shawn Douglas earned a B.S. in Computer Science at Yale in 2003, and then a Ph.D. in Biophysics at Harvard in 2009, working in the laboratories of William Shih and George Church. He continued at Harvard as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, and recently started his own lab as an Assistant Professor at UCSF. He was named as one of Popular Science magazine’s “Brilliant 10” in 2012, and has presented for Google Solve for X and Bloomberg BusinessWeek Design conferences.

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“Hidden Histories of Affordability in San Francisco” by Michael Epstein

Remember when a housing upgrade was as simple as physically moving your house from one part of San Francisco to another? Or when you could just plop a house on a barge and pay a modest slip fee? Or when foraging tribes would spend their winters in the hills and summers by the Bay creating huge shell mounds from the remainders of seafood feasts? Affordable living has a rich history in San Francisco, and, if you know where to look, some vestiges still remain. This presentation will reveal several hidden landmarks of SF affordable housing and speculate on how they may inform current efforts to keep the city economically diverse.

Michael teaches location-based media courses at the California College of Art and produces apps for urban exploration with Walking Cinema.

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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 #71: DNA Day, Butterfly Genomics, Baseball Analytics, & Tobacco Control

Nerd Nite SF #71: DNA Day, Butterfly Genomics, Baseball Analytics, & Tobacco ControlWednesday, 4/20/2016
Doors at 7, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

Toast to the double helix with the most at this month’s Nerd Nite SF! But that’s not all – we’ll learn what baseball analytics has to teach us about data science, and how vaping is changing the tobacco control game. Plus there’ll be science rhymes, bao, librarians, libations, and a whole lotta smart people in the audience. Get your start codon together, because it’s on!

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National DNA Day
DNA Day commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project and the publication of DNA’s double helix structure in Aprils 2003 and 1953, respectively. We’re doing our part in a very Nerd Nite way with Tom McFadden kicking the night off with a science history rap battle of Rosalind Franklin vs Watson & Crick, and serving up DNAquiries – a strawberry + rum shot where the strawberry DNA precipitates out and forms a nice viscous layer in the drink. Yum!

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Guest MC: Tom McFadden
Tom is the host of “Science with Tom”, and he’ll be your MC for the evening. Tom works with middle school students to research, write, and perform their own science raps, and he has been known to spit hot lyrical fire of his own. Tom started science rapping in 7th grade, then at Stanford, then with kids around the world. He got a Masters in Science Rapping on a Fulbright Scholarship in New Zealand. He’s now teaching 8th-grade science at The Nueva School in Hillsborough.

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“The Science, Joy, and Heartache of Baseball Analytics” by Tracy Altman, PhD.

A beautiful thing about data science is that so-called outsiders can contribute meaningfully. Baseball analytics is a perfect example: An early version of citizen scientists recorded MLB play-by-plays for geeks everywhere – triggering lawsuits and fueling tech companies. Tracy will show how sports analytics parallel most applications of data science. ‘Inside baseball’ is a great place for anyone who wants to understand how data helps people make better decisions.

Tracy Altman, PhD, is the founder of Ugly Research in Oakland. She has wrangled data and created analytical content for decision makers in oil and gas investing, science publishing, pharmaceutical R&D, and baseball statistics.

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“Hot Aerosol: E-Cigs, Tobacco Control, and the Nicotine Endgame” by C.A.B. Fredericks

Cigarettes are SPECTACULARLY bad for you. There are few things you can do to reduce your chances of dying awfully more than quitting. E-cigarettes are Not Cigarettes, and this has generated lots of enthusiasm, confusion, and very decisive statements in the face of vast voids of knowledge. This presentation explores three big debates about e-cigs/vapes: do they help you quit, are they harm reduction, and what does nicotine addiction really mean?

C.A.B. Fredericks is a former smoker who now works for the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. His interests include addiction research, behavioral health in vulnerable populations, and fantasy baseball, which he probably should’ve lectured on instead.

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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 CrossHatch 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 #70: Stem Cell Types, Architectural History, and California Prisons!

Nerd Nite SF #70: Stem Cell Types, Architectural History, and California Prisons!Wednesday, 3/16/2016
Doors at 7, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

Is all the rain making you feel like a prisoner in your own historically notable home? Well, March 16th is the first day of the bacchanalia, so why dontcha make like Bacchus and get all ecstatic and inebriated at our celebration of smarts, obsession, and the surprising complexity of our world. The librarius and grilled-cheeseus cults will initiate you into their ways, wine and music will flow, and a scientist, an attorney, and an architectural historian will spark off the intellectual revelry. Be there and be square!

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“A Walk Through the Stem Cellar: Sampling the Many Different Flavors and Vintages of Stem Cells” by Dr. Julie Mangada

Take a tour of the Stem Cellar with the Buck Institute for Research on Aging as your guide! Stem cell breakthroughs lead to a better understanding of cancer and to the development of therapies for Parkinson’s disease. Julie will take you through an exploration of the different types of stem cells, along with the myths and misconceptions of stem cell research.

Dr. Julie Mangada is the Education Outreach Coordinator for the Buck Institute and a local girl originally from Petaluma. Also roller derby addict, Julie is passionate about bringing research out of the lab and into the communities where she grew up, usually while wearing skates and elbow pads.

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“Tantalizing Stories and Technical Stuff in Architectural History” by Christina Dikas

The Parthenon, the Cliff Palace of Mesa Verde, the Paramount Theatre of Oakland–there’s no question these are important structures, design-wise. But architectural historians aren’t just interested in how they were built, they care about who lived in and used them, too. Find out how architectural history factors into California’s city planning, the basics of evaluating buildings for historic significance, and how fame, murder, and particle accelerators figure into all of this.

Christina is an architectural historian in San Francisco. During her free time, she is a photographer and inadvertent tour guide, spouting historical trivia to anyone who happens to accompany her around the city.

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“Bodies and Bondage: History of California’s Prisons” by Jared Rudolph
California’s prison system started as a privately-run barge anchored in the Bay, and was embroiled in corruption, political scandal, and violence. Since then, our system has grown to incarcerate more people than the population of Berkeley. Prisons represent the power of the state in its most raw and basic form, and 165 years later Californians are still confronting the same fundamental questions: Why do we incarcerate people, what happens when they leave, and can we do better?
Jared Rudolph is a criminal defense attorney and the founder of Prisoner Reentry Network (prisonerreentrynetwork.org), 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 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 #69: Sutro Baths, Psychedelic Data Science, and Blowing Up Bridges!

Nerd Nite #69: Sutro Baths, Psychedelic Data Science, and Blowing Up Bridges!SOLD OUT! There is usually some number of no-shows so we will release limited tickets at the door shortly before showtime.

Wednesday, 2/17/2016
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

Remember the legendary PSA with the egg and the frying pan? We’ll find out what our brains REALLY look like when they’re on drugs, and we’ll also swim back in time to the saltwater pools of the Sutro Baths and thrill to some Texan bridge demolition porn. This is your brain on Nerd Nite. Any questions? Well, that’s what the Q&A section is for, silly! With grilled cheese, librarians, and the Rickshaw bar staff to help you wet your whistle: Be there and be square!

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“Sutro’s Glass Palace” by John A. Martini

Like a majestic ocean liner or a grand hotel, the Victorian-era Sutro Baths dazzled visitors with over-the-top opulence. Today, only broken concrete ruins remain at Land’s End, but still draw hundreds of visitors daily. Marvel at many never-before-seen photographs of Adolph Sutro’s legendary glass palace.

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, including the Marin Headlands and the Presidio. 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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“Psychedelic Data Science: Mapping the Drug Experience” by Jessica Nielson

Can you imagine what psychedelic experiences look like? Ever wondered if illegal drugs are actually better for you than legal ones? (Some of you may have even performed copious independent studies!) With the increase in data about the harmful effects of prescription drugs and the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics, big-data machine learning technologies are helping us answer those questions. Come trip balls—ahem!—observe a psychedelic data visualization journey through various drug experiences.

Jessica is a UCSF neuroscientist focused on finding better treatments for complex neurological disorders. In her free time, she is an advocate of cognitive liberty and studying the therapeutic potential of psychedelics for mental health.

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“The State of Texas Paid Me to Break a Bridge” by Bryce Neuman

Keen on saving money on inspections, TXDoT funded a research project to determine how “fracture-critical” their 10,000+ highway bridges really were. So a team from UT Austin’s structures lab rebuilt a 120’-long, decommissioned bridge and set out to break it. Yep, they used explosives—but it still took three tries! Come hear about this four-year effort, the engineering basics of the bridge, how they pushed it to its limits, and the results that surprised even the state’s (well, it’s Texas, after all) experts.

Just coming out of his third fractional-life crisis (in the form of a 14-month trip to Asia), Bryce loves planning and building, earth and life sciences, the great outdoors, and plain-old riding his bike.

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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 #68: Politics, Stem Cells, and Cosmology!

Nerd Nite SF #68: Politics, Stem Cells, and Cosmology!Wednesday, 1/20/16
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here

With Auld Lang Syne still reverberating in our ears, the first Nerd Nite SF of 2016 draws nigh. If your New Year’s resolution was to learn new things, meet interesting people, or kill more brain cells with beer then we have the event for you! A scientist will tell you how to replace those brain cells, an insider dishes on D.C., and a third talk to be announced. Plus special guest: The SF Department of Elections! After hearing about behind the scenes of D.C. politics, you’re probably going to want to vote, and these folks will get you registered. Come out for three fascinating talks, plus music, drinks, food, voter registration, and your fellow nerds. Be there and be square!

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“Hype, Hyperbole, and Human Nature: An insider’s tale of working on the front lines of politics” by Jill Stracko

Is working in politics as goosebump-inducing as the West Wing, as dark as House of Cards portrays, or as hormone-laced as Scandal? People come from all kinds of backgrounds to work for elected officials, and their motivations and experiences run the gamut. Come throw back a few and hear about working in the eye of the storm of politics in Washington, D.C.

Jill has worked at Google in Communications since 2011, and before that was in Washington DC where she worked at the White House and in the United States Senate. Jill also owns a (working!) Nintendo 64, loves 80s music, and is a grammar nerd whose love for the Oxford comma will never die.

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“BYOSC: Bring Your Own Stem Cells” by Ramsey Najm

Have you ever wondered how your years of partying and general debauchery have damaged your organs? What if we can do something about all of the damage we have done—and might continue to do—to our brain, liver, and other organs? What if we can extend human life indefinitely? With recent research into stem cell technology and regenerative medicine, we can start asking these kinds of questions. This talk will give you a glimpse into the potential of stem cell based therapies to repair the brain and other tissues damaged by disease, lifestyle, and aging in general—and hopefully by the end you’ll feel slightly more immortal.

Ramsey Najm is a graduate student at the Gladstone Institutes and UCSF. He is studying how to utilize stem cell technology to regenerate cognitive function in Alzheimer’s disease. He suggests that you not waste time trying to save your existing neurons. Just put new ones in.

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“The Fate of the Universe (spoiler: everyone is going to die)” by Jessica Kirkpatrick

Will the universe end in a fiery implosion or expand forever until even the nearest star is too far away for us to see? We’ll learn how cosmologists are determining the fate of the universe using telescope data.

Dr. Jessica Kirkpatrick earned a PhD in Astrophysics from UC Berkeley where she studied some of the most distant and brightest known objects in the universe, quasars, and worked with large and complex data sets. She now works as a Data Scientist for Hired.com. Instead of spending her days finding patterns in the structure of the universe, she spends them finding patterns in the behaviors of people in order to help everyone find the job they love.

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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: Cross Hatch Eatery serves up delicious hot bao buns!

Plus: The San Francisco Department of Elections will get get you registered to vote, sign up poll workers, and answer all your queries about voting.

Nerd Nite SF #67: Video Preservation, Ants, and Brain Stimulation!

Nerd Nite SF #67: Video Preservation, Ants, and Brain Stimulation!Wednesday, 12/16/15
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here

Video art, ants, and brain stimulation while under the influence of alcohol sounds like a crazy new modified Ludovico technique, but no, it’s just another Wednesday at Nerd Nite SF! Come out for these three fascinating talks, plus music, drinks, food, librarians, and your fellow nerds. Be there and be square!

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“Headswitch and the Angry Half-Inch: The History, Technology, Art, and Preservation of ½” Open Reel Video” by Kelly Haydon

The first widely popular video format, ½” open reel video was introduced in the late 60s and quickly adopted by artists looking for a new medium and activists looking to hijack TV airwaves. Obsolete for over 40 years and rapidly deteriorating, works on ½” open reel are rarely seen today, though efforts to digitize and preserve the material are ongoing. Learn the short and electric history of ½” open reel video – the technology, the major players, and how preservationists are battling “sticky shed syndrome” and the extinction of deck repair guys. Bonus: a mini-screening of ½” open reel video art.

Kelly Haydon is a video preservationist at Bay Area Video Coalition with a couple of schmancy degrees. She occasionally goes to TRX classes.

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“Ants: The Invisible Majority” by Brian Fisher

Shakespeare once wrote, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” What they lack in size, ants more than make up for in numbers, and they offer countless behaviors to explore. Ants are Earth’s first farmers and shepherds, they engineer floating pontoons and enslave other ants, and their combined weight actually equals humanity’s. Yet despite all these intriguing facts, we mostly ignore this global community of ants beneath our feet… except when they enter our kitchens uninvited.

Brian Fisher is an ant specialist and Curator of Entomology at the California Academy of Sciences. He discovers and documents global ant diversity for conservation action. Founder of AntWeb.org and discoverer of 1000+ new species (including the vampire, trap jaw, and “cliff-jumping” ant), you can follow his pheromone on Twitter at @ant_explorer!

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“Using Electromagnetic Fields to Overclock Your Brain” by Ted Zanto

Your brain sucks and it’s only getting worse with age. You’re getting pwned by n00bs. You want to crank up your awesome but adderall and cocaine isn’t cutting it anymore. Isn’t there something else you can do? Maybe! Recent years have seen an exponential increase in the use of electromagnetic fields trying to enhance brain function, but should you really zap your brain? This talk will give you the low-down on non-invasive brain stimulation techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Armed with this information, you can decide for yourself!

Ted Zanto is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at UCSF. It is his professional opinion that using electromagnetic fields to overclock your brain is nowhere near as fun as using alcohol to underclock your brain.

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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 #66: Hypervelocity, SF Politicking, and Fake Deafness Cures!

Nerd Nite #66: Hypervelocity, SF Politicking, and Fake Deafness Cures!Wednesday, 11/18/2015
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets!

Should you elect to come to Nerd Nite this month, we guarantee – cross our quackish little hearts – that you’ll come away cured of a certain amount of ignorance. Now, isn’t that something to be thankful for? Join a speed obsessive, PR flack, a medical historian, a vinyl-spinner, some bad-ass librarians, the gracious Rickshavians, and your humble co-bosses: Be there and be square!

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“Hypervelocity Launchers: How to Launch a Projectile at 10 Miles/Second? (That’s right, per second!)” by Vincent Tanguay

From bows and arrows to rail guns, man has been perfecting tools to launch projectiles at ever greater speeds for tens of thousands of years. Launching projectiles at hypervelocity is routine today and these launchers are very useful for science. While they have enabled major breakthroughs (think access to space), scientists always need more speed! We’ll discuss what hypervelocity is, its applications, and the various technologies that make it possible. Of course, we’ll talk about their limitations and how to push the frontier of possibilities. Somehow, we’ll manage to include some explosions in there – hopefully we get it right!

Vincent Tanguay, Ph.D., has a background in explosives and detonations and formerly worked as a scientist for a Canadian National Lab. When not busy blowing stuff up, he was developing an explosive-driven hypervelocity launcher.

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“A San Francisco Politicking Primer” by Alex Clemens

As you probably noticed, that election just happened. There’s another one in June, and one more (for President and other stuff!) in November 2016. Our town is undergoing a transformation, which is amazing and wonderful or wretched and incomprehensible, depending on where you stand. Alex will help put San Francisco’s current politics and policies in perspective, take your questions, and probably crash and burn in an overzealous attempt to be funny.

Alex is founder of Barbary Coast Consulting, a media talking head, PR flack, coalition builder, and lobbyist. He also lectures about ethical advocacy at USF, but without a Bulleit Rye in hand (sadly) because accreditation has rules. Ask him to recite “Jabberwocky.”

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“Why be Deaf? The Heyday of Fakes, Frauds, and Fads in Deafness Cures” by Jaipreet Virdi-Dhesi

What’s the difference between a quack with a scheme and a visionary with a theory? A finger in the ear. No, seriously. Finger surgery was one of many unregulated services promising a miraculous cure for hearing loss. Advertisements for galvanic belts or caps, artificial eardrums, vibrating massages, and special diets boasted that even incurable deafness could be corrected. Learn about the colorful history of deafness cures (the holy holies of quackery) and how audacious charlatans thrived by selling worthless courses of treatments or hearing devices, simply because any cure was better than none.

Jai is a historian of medicine based in Toronto who spends nearly all her free time on Twitter sharing images of weird and wacky medical histories.

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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 #65: Life Beyond Earth, Wild West Science, and Robot Filmmakers!

Nerd Nite SF #65: Life Beyond Earth, Wild West Science, and Robot Filmmakers!Are we alone? You certainly won’t be at Nerd Nite SF, where hundreds of the playfully curious gather every month for lectures, beer, DJ Alpha Bravo, Grilled Cheese Guy, and SFPL librarians! Dr. Som will discuss searching for life in the frontier of space, while Heather Yager tells of scientists of yore in the frontier of the “Wild West”, and Alexander Reben explores the frontier of human robot relations. Be there and be square!

Wednesday, 10/21/2015
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here!

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“Searching for Life Elsewhere: A discovery of Earth and a glimpse into the value of humanity” by Dr. Sanjoy Som

Astronomers are finding thousands of planets orbiting far away stars. Why are we so keen in discovering them? We’ll discuss the interdisciplinary approach of searching for life beyond Earth, and what it may mean to be human. Geologists, atmospheric scientists and astronomers (among others) work hand in hand to answer one of the most exciting question in science: are we alone?

Dr. Som is a scientist, engineer, and social entrepreneur passionate about space exploration and astrobiology, and how these disciplines can increase STEM awareness and excitement among the public. He founded and the non-profit Blue Marble Space and works at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA.

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“Frontier Myths and Rogue Science in the American West” by Heather Yager

From 1849 to 1852 San Francisco’s population sextupled in size, giving rise to the boomtown that housed the people and places we weave into the stories we tell today: The Gold Rush, the Barbary Coast district, the Vigilance Committees, Emperor Norton. In the midst of myth of the “Wild West,” seven men met and started a science club, formally named the California Academy of Sciences. With manuscripts and objects from the Academy’s archives, we’ll take a look at what it was like to be a practicing scientist in the late 19th century – the “nerds of the frontier” if you will.

Heather Yager is the Head Librarian of the California Academy of Sciences. She has spent the past ten years working in a variety of natural history museums, making science into history and making history into bytes. When not at the museum, she plays the piano.

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“The Robot Filmmaker and Our Relationship with Machines” by Alexander Reben

When you put a camera in a tiny cardboard box, and give it wheels, a cute face, and the ability to ask questions in an innocent child-like voice, something surprising happens: People will open up and share remarkably personal stories that would never otherwise be shared with strangers. A fleet of these were dispatched to record a unique documentary that reveals not just a lot about ourselves, but also how we interact with technology and people are becoming ever more integrated. Using this and other examples, we’ll learn about human-machine relationships, human-robot symbiosis and psychological projection onto technology.

Alexander Reben designs robots and novel interfaces to explore our evolving relationship with technology. Robots in Residence – the documentary shot and directed by robots – was showcased at the Tribeca Film Festival. He is currently the director of technology and research at Stochastic Labs, an incubator for sustainable creative design companies, where he is working on machine ethics and next-generation social robotics. He also is Founder and CEO of BlabDroid, a social robotics company.

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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.