Nerd Nite Block Party!

Nerd Nite is hosting the kick-off celebration for the Bay Area Science Festival this year! Woohoo!

As always seems to happen with us, it has grown into something ridiculous. Not happy with just a single venue, it morphed into several events in a three block radius for an epic evening of science-themed shenanigans. There will be rock music, physics demos, speed dating, field trips, video games, science, and plenty of beer!


The Phenomenauts
w/crashfaster and Physics Circus featuring Zeke Kossover from the Exploratorium

The Phenomenauts are Bay Area’s own Space and Science Rockers that merge the Past, Present and Future into their own vision of a World Driven by Science And Honor. Armed with their new record, The Phenomenauts have arrived to challenge the power of gravity: the mysterious, but not unknowable force that keeps the planets in their orbits, the galaxy spinning slowly through space and starry eyed dancers whirling around the floor with their brains bursting with notions of science and honor.

crashfaster is a 4-headed electronic-rock outfit from San Francsico that combines the bleeps of NES, Gameboy and C64 with electronic beats, live drums and rock guitar.

Physics Circus with Zeke Kossover from The Exploratorium– physics demonstrations are like perfect magic shows: They have all the spectacle, but there are no tricks. The amazing world we live in actually works that way! These are the experiments that your physics teacher didn’t do because they were too dangerous, crazy, or weird. Come for the liquid nitrogen-spewing, glass-breaking spectacle, but leave understanding the science!

And wear your nerdiest t-shirt for the Dry T-Shirt Contest!

Slim’s. $15. All ages + Bar w/ID. 8pm.
Get tickets now!

Nerd Speed Dating

Learn something new, chat with interesting people, and perhaps finds your nerdmate amidst the fantastic food trucks and beers at SOMA StrEat Food Park.

SOMA StrEat Food Park. $10. Ages 21+. 7 and 8pm
Note: No ADA access, unfortunately.

SF Game Night

Nerd Nite has combined forces with Showdown eSports for an evening of gaming-related talks, plus dozens and dozens of projectors and monitors for you to play Super Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, Ultra Street Fighter IV, and more!

Folsom Street Foundry. FREE. Ages 21+. 6-10pm.

“How It’s Made”-style Field Trips

This neighborhood is filled with craftsmen, artisans, and fabricators. We’ll visit a few of them and get a behind-the-scenes tour of their shops!

Meet at the Folsom Street Foundry. FREE. All ages. 6:30 & 7pm.

Science… sort of

Science… sort of is a podcast about things that are science, things that are sort of science, and things that wish they were science. Join hosts Kelly Weinersmith, Charlie Barnhart, Ryan Haupt, and special surprise guests as they record an episode live before your very eyes, aided by the glorious conversational lubricant that is beer. The show is free, the cost is that you will learn something. Trust us, we’re scientists.

Piston & Chain. FREE. All ages. 6:30pm.

Nerd Nite SF #52: Infantapulting, Dragonflies, and the Body

Nerd Nite SF #52: Infantapulting, Dragonflies, and the BodyWednesday, 9/17/2014
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St. @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here!

My, oh my, the things we will see! Infantapulting, dragonflies, and the body! Come learn the “science” behind launching a baby, the real science of dragonflies and their ecology, and the things you don’t want to know (but should!) about human biology. So come and drink beer, and laugh till you pee, at San Francisco’s best bar university.


“Weinersmith’s Infantapaulting Hypothesis: Infant Aerodynamics as Evolutionary Adaptation” by Zach Weinersmith

In 2012, soon-to-be-father Zach pondered why babies are shaped like footballs and have more bendable bones than adults, theorizing that our human ancestors catapulted their infants into neighboring villages for gene dispersal. In 2013, Zach published his landmark hypothesis, which has incredible explanatory power for infant morphology, to tremendous acclaim.

Zach is the creator of the Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal webcomic. His hypothesis spawned BAHFest – the Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses – coming to the Castro Theatre on October 25th as part of the Bay Area Science Festival. BAHFest is a celebration of well-argued and thoroughly researched but completely incorrect evolutionary theory.


“Through the Dragon’s Eye: Sex, Evolution and Extinction in one of the Oldest Insect Orders” by Christopher Beatty

Dragonflies are amongst the oldest extant insect groups, first appearing in the fossil record over 300 million years ago, and persisting relatively unchanged to the modern day. The unique ecology and behavior of these organisms have made them a model system for research in evolutionary biology. This talk will explore the ecology, reproduction and life history of this group, and also review recent research on the ‘petaltail’ dragonflies, a group of species that have persisted since the Mesozoic.

Chris is an evolutionary ecologist working on behavior, speciation and biogeography. His work on dragonflies has taken him to Spain, Peru, Kenya and the Fiji Islands. For the past five years he has taught ecology at Santa Clara University.


“A Guide to Underappreciated Parts of the Human Body (or, Why Scrotums are Cool)” by Dani Behonick, Ph.D

Students often enter anatomy and physiology courses eager to learn the structure and function of brain, the skeletal muscles or the immune system. Rare is the individual who would wax poetic on the undercarriage. Join A&P professor Dani Behonick as she makes an argument for why, like fezzes and bowties, scrotums are totally cool.

After earning her Ph.D from UCSF, Dani Behonick ran like hell from basic research and began her teaching career. She currently spends half of her time teaching pre-health students how the human body works and how to talk to their future health care patients, and the other half teaching non-science majors how the human body works and how to talk to their health care providers. When she’s not teaching she’s reading educational code or lifting heavy things (on purpose).


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

And delicious tamales provided by Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas.

Extra credit: Hearing Loss, Surveys, and a Spacecraft Rescue!

We had a great time at the last Nerd Nite and want to thank our speakers, Brian Seitel, Sarah Cho, and Cameron Woodman for the excellent talks. For your continued edification, they provided some links related to their talks, and our friends at the San Francisco Public Library also gave us some recommended reading!

From “Hearing Loss (or: The Science of ‘What?’)” by Brian Seitel: a website that provides sound examples and other materials related to how we make sense of sound, and why coclear implants makes everyone sound like a Dalek.

A NYTimes article on the new iPhone-enabled hearing aides like the LiNX and Halo.

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

One of our audience members asked about deaf culture during Q&A. This is a big topic, worthy of a Nerd Nite talk of its own, but the Wikipedia article is actually a good start.

“I can hear you whisper: an intimate journey through the science of sound and language” by Lydia Denworth

“Sound sense: living and learning with hearing loss” by Sara Laufer Batinovich

“Listening closely : a journey to bilateral hearing” by Arlene Romoff

“What did you say?: an unexpected journey into the world of hearing loss” by Monique Hammond (Available as an eBook!)

From “Surveys: Yeah, They’re Kind of a Big Deal” by Sarah Cho:

Kaiser (no, not that Kaiser) Family Foundation for information on health policy and the ACA:

AAPOR (American Association of Public Opinion Research) for resources on survey best practices:

Pew Research Center for high-quality surveys on many topics from religion to internet use:

SurveyMonkey to get your hands dirty and conduct your own survey:

NCPP (National Council on Public Polls) for info on polling:

Or contact:
T: @sarahycho

“A more beautiful question : the power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas” by Warren Berger (Available as an eBook!)

“Analyzing the analyzers: an introspective survey of data scientists and their work” by Harlan Harris (Available as an eBook!)

Take the San Francisco Public Library Customer Satisfaction Survey:

From “How to Rescue a Spacecraft in 90 Days (or Less)” by Cameron Woodman

The website is an outstanding multimedia website that provides tons more of the story of ISEE-3 and the team, the science experiments, current location, and what’s next. Highly recommended!

Also, scholarly & peer-reviewed, full-text online articles about the ISEE-3 spacecraft are available via SFPL’s databases!

Nerd Nite SF #51: Hearing Loss, Surveys, and a Spacecraft Rescue!

Nerd Nite SF #51: Hearing Loss, Surveys, and a Spacecraft Rescue!On a scale of one to 10, with one being hella good and 10 being amaze-balls — wait, we don’t need a survey to figure out that you are going to be blown away by three great talks this month! Somebody rescued a spacecraft? What?! No, seriously, I didn’t catch that. Don’t worry, somebody is going to talk about what it’s like to be hard of hearing. And another somebody will survey polls. So, check the box next to “Yes, I WILL be attending Nerd Nite” and come on down to carouse, converse, get versed: Be there and be square!

Wednesday, 8/20/2014
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here!


“Hearing Loss (or: The Science of ‘What?’)” by Brian Seitel

For most people, hearing is effortless, simply another of the five main senses. But for 10% of the population, it’s a struggle just to tease out the lyrics to “Wrecking Ball” in a crowded bar, much less the voice of the person two feet away. With the help of modern technology (iPhones! Bluetooth!), we can transform these seemingly limited human beings into veritable cyborgs with the incredible superpower of saying “What?” over 20% less! Learn how technology, combined with common sense and a little patience, can change the world of hearing loss.

After growing up with hearing loss in Alabama, Brian mastered the art of reading lips and the science of nodding, smiling, and pretending he knows what you just said.


“Surveys: Yeah, They’re Kind of a Big Deal” by Sarah Cho

We’ve all taken at least one survey, whether on the web, over the phone, in-person, or through the mail. Why the heck does it seem like surveys are popping up everywhere? Are they actually helpful or just a pain in the you-know-what? How can they go horribly wrong? (And how many questions can Sarah cram into a 20-minute presentation?) Find out how surveys influence our everyday lives, take a closer look at how they played a role in the Affordable Care Act, and take a real, in-person survey–and analyze results on the fly!

Sarah is a professional question-asker at SurveyMonkey. When she’s not doing that, she signs up for ridiculous endurance events like swimming across Lake Tahoe.


“How to Rescue a Spacecraft in 90 Days (or Less)” by Cameron Woodman

This is the story of a small group of engineers attempting to recover the abandoned ISEE-3 spacecraft. Launched in 1978, it was quickly “stolen” from its initial trajectory to complete a different mission, then abandoned to orbit the Sun for 20 years. During this time the ground equipment used to communicate with the spacecraft was destroyed. Six months before its return to Earth, NASA concluded that communication with the craft was impossible. Enter a small team who raced against the clock to help the spacecraft finish its original mission.

Cameron, the flight director on the ISEE-3 Reboot mission, is an aerospace engineer who is fascinated with all things related to data and visualization.


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

And: Come hungry for the Grilled Cheese Guy, who’ll be upstairs slinging sammies!

Extra Credit: Emerging Pathogens, Wireless Disaster Response, and the Ferry Building!

Well, that was fun! So why stop now? Here’s a bunch of suggested links and reading materials from last night’s talks, sent to us by our speakers and our friends at the San Francisco Public Library.

From “Out of Sight: Emerging PatNerd Nite SF #50: Emerging Pathogens, Wireless Disaster Response, and the Ferry Building!hogens in a Changing World” by Dr. Shannon Bennett
Dept. of Microbiology at the Cal. Academy of Sciences
@MicrobeExplorer <– Be nice! Shannon is new to the Twitters.
“Epidemic Dynamics Revealed in Dengue Evolution”
“Natural attenuation of dengue virus type-2 after a series of island outbreaks: A retrospective phylogenetic study of events in the South Pacific three decades ago” 
“Molecular evolution and phylogeny of dengue type 4 virus in the caribbean” 
“Selection-Driven Evolution of Emergent Dengue Virus”
“Invasion and Maintenance of Dengue Virus Type 2 and Type 4 in the Americas” 
“Mosquito Vector Diversity across Habitats in Central Thailand Endemic for Dengue and Other Arthropod-Borne Diseases” 
Contagion: How Commerce Has Spread Disease by Mark Harrison 
Emerging Epidemics: The Menace of New Infections by Madeline Drexler
Pandemic Survival: It’s Why You’re Alive by Ann Love & Jane Drake (This one is for the kids!)

From “Broadband Deliverance: How Wireless is Changing the Face of Disaster Response” by Aaron Mason
Ubiquiti Networks
Vodafone Instant Network
Republic Wireless
Project Link
Wireless Networking: Absolute Beginner’s Guide by Michael Miller
Modern Survival: How to Cope When Everything Falls Apart by Barry Davies
Disaster Preparedness Handbook: A Guide for Families by Arthur T. Bradley

From “The Ferry Building: Portal to the Past and Gateway to the Future” by Justin Jones

Hops & History, Round 2
History talks, craft beer tasting, panels, homebrewing demos, food, and historical brewing ephemera
July 24th 6:30-9:30pm
Unlimited Beer at The Old Mint
BONUS: $5 discount with nerdnite5

You can learn lots more about the Ferry Building and many other local treasures through the CityGuides tours (Justin is also a guide.)

The Ferry Building: Witness to a Century of Change, 1898-1998 by Nancy Olmsted
Ferry Building State Park: A Proposal for a State Park at San Francisco’s Historic Ferry Building (1955)
The Ferry Building, San Francisco, California: Workshop Summary and Development Concepts. (1993)

Nerd Nite SF #50: Emerging Pathogens, Wireless Disaster Response, and the Ferry Building!

Nerd Nite SF #50: Emerging Pathogens, Wireless Disaster Response, and the Ferry Building!A microbiologist, a wireless communications specialist, and a San Francisco history aficionado walk into a bar… THIS IS NOT A JOKE! This is what’s going to happen on the third Wednesday of July and it’s going to be awesome! So get your anti-heebie-jeebie meds ready, smartphone charged, and sense of awe geared up–we’re going to talk emerging pathogens, wireless disaster response, and Ferry Building history with music, chili, and copious amounts of alcohol to help steady the nerves. Be there and be square!

Wednesday, 7/16/2014
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets available here!


“Out of Sight: Emerging Pathogens in a Changing World” by Dr. Shannon Bennett

Join us on a morbid journey of discovery to find out where the microbes that make us sick come from and how they got here. From the tropics to your own backyard, encounters with infectious diseases abound, challenging our immune systems and indeed our very existence. Be prepared to ponder viruses with terrifying names like break-bone fever! Be a responsible host: Leave no trace.

Shannon heads the Microbiology Department at the California Academy of Sciences, where she applies advances in genomics and bioinformatics to study dengue, hantavirus, influenza, and bacteria found in mosquito vectors. She is particularly interested in mutations that give viruses the ability to cause epidemics or switch to new hosts.


“Broadband Deliverance: How Wireless is Changing the Face of Disaster Response” by Aaron Mason

Natural disasters scramble everything: They flatten buildings, wash away neighborhoods, and leave communities reeling. But what happens next? We’ll take a look at the aftermath of a disaster and dig into some of the new wireless technologies that are changing the face of response–from long-range WiFi to inflatable satellite dishes, to the surge in community-based response.

Aaron deploys things that help people communicate. He spent over a year in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and has deployed wireless networks around the world with Inveneo. Today he’s part of the team at OnBeep and serves an advisor to the SF Mayor’s office on communications strategy.


“The Ferry Building: Portal to the Past and Gateway to the Future” by Justin Jones

In downtown SF, ships and other remnants of the past lie buried right below our feet. But little of the city?s early history remains visible, except for the Ferry Building, whose saga chronicles the founding–and near destruction–of our beloved city. Long before BART and bridges, it was the gatekeeper to Baghdad by the Bay, with over 250,000 passengers a day passing through its marble halls. Hear how this survivor of two major earthquakes, the premature death of its architect, and dreaded redevelopment endures as a symbol of the future and reminder of our wild past.

Justin is a Bay Area native, SF history aficionado, active CityGuide, and board member of the SF Museum and Historical Society. When not driving his girlfriend crazy with random history facts, he works at a healthcare startup.


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

And: Get your spice on with Kevin & Gail’s Chili Palace, who’ll be serving delicious hot chili upstairs.