Nerd Nite SF #3: Spacecraft, Beards, and Robots!

Thursday, July 8th, 2010, at 7:30pm
The Rickshaw Stop 155 Fell St. @ Van Ness, San Francisco
Cover charge $10, tickets at the door
All ages

Welcome to Nerd Nite SF, 3rd Wed. of every month!

Last month’s nerdtacular was so successful, we’re doing it again! For some reason, the crowd was curious about the Nerd Nite co-host’s luscious full beard, so we are bringing in the two-time world beard champion to answer all your pogonological questions! We’re also discussing the perils of spacecraft navigation (but don’t call it rocket science!) and how to build your own robotic bartender.

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“Beards and Bearding: A Pogonology Primer” by Jack Passion

Competitive bearding. Yea, gentle reader, such a thing exists and it is as awesome as you think it is. With a two-time world championship beard ambassador as our guide, we will find out what it takes to cultivate award-winning whiskers, from the basics of protein synthesis to grooming gadgets galore. Also learn why facial hair plays an important role in human evolution and mating, and why great nerds throughout history have embraced hirsuteness.

Jack Passion is a two-time world champion of beards, having taken the Natural Full Beard category of the World Beard and Moustache Championships both in Brighton, England, in 2007 and Anchorage, Alaska, in 2009. Passion is the author of The Facial Hair Handbook, and tours the world as America’s beard ambassador. Most recently, he hosted the US National Beard and Mustache Championships in Bend, Oregon.

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“Spacecraft Navigation: It Isn’t Rocket Science, It’s Flight Dynamics!” by Dan Cosgrove

There’s no dashboard navigation in the final frontier. So how do you know where you are? And how do you know where you’re going? Where is the nearest rest stop? Are we there yet? Why didn’t you pee before we left? OK, maybe not that last one. But a spacecraft navigation expert will answer all of our other celestial-roadtrip questions, and more, based on his experiences with ARTEMIS, the lunar extension of the NASA-funded THEMIS mission. And no, it’s not as simple as saying ‘engage!’

Dan Cosgrove is a physics nerd who joined the Mission Operations group at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Lab in 2004. He initially provided orbit and altitude determination analysis and support for the THEMIS mission. In 2006 he became the THEMIS and ARTEMIS navigation lead and currently spends his time flinging washing machine-sized objects at the moon.

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“Build Robots and See the World” by Jonathan Foote

Computing and electronics parts are inexpensive enough these days to allow amateurs to build surprisingly sophisticated machines on a budget. Jon will talk about his experiences building kinetic artworks like “Chassis the Drink-Serving Robot” and SWARM, the collection of six spherical orbs that roll without wheels. He’ll cover how he started, how the robots work, and how knowing what you are doing is not always the best approach. Jon and his collaborators have exhibited robots at the Coachella Music Festival, the International Festival of Cocktail Robotics in Vienna, Austria as well as the Techkriti Festival in Kanpur, India. And for aspiring evil overlords contemplating making their own robotic minions, Jon will have tips and sources for getting started in robotics.

Jonathan Foote comes to the aesthetic sphere from a technical background. A “recovering” scientist with a Ph.D., Jonathan holds 34 US patents and has over 60 scientific publications. A San Francisco resident, he is a frequent hanger-on at the Noisebridge hacker space and a recent Awesome Foundation grant recipient. He is a co-founder of the SWARM robotics collective, and his artwork has been shown at various Bay Area venues as well as internationally. More information on his work can be found at http://www.rotorbrain.com/jtfdesign

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DJ Alpha Bravo returns, spinning an eclectic array of nerdy tunes, encompassing William Shatner-narrated sea expeditions, post-punk paeans to the usefulness of bricks, commercial jingles, synth-jazz-disco explorations of cloud structure, music for librarians, and thick slices of less frequently heard über-80s pop. Alpha Bravo is VP of left-field pop label Radio Khartoum and was one of the forces behind legendary SF pop club nights Anisette and Schokolade.

Nerd Nite SF Returns: Thursday, June 3, 8pm, Rickshaw Stop

Nerd Nite SF Returns!

Nerd Nite SF
The Rickshaw Stop
155 Fell St. @ Van Ness, San Francisco
Thursday June 3rd, 2010
Doors at 8:00pm, show at 8:30pm
All ages, $10

After last year’s jam-packed nerdtacular event, Nerd Nite has returned to San Francisco! Nerd Nite is an informal gathering at which nerds get together for nerdery of all sorts (well, mostly presentations and drinking). An institution in Boston, New York, Austin, Washington DC, Munich, and now San Francisco. Come welcome Nerd Nite SF and see why dead fish in stinky jars matter, how scientists are using your lipoproteins to create medicine nano-taxis, and how World of Warcraft gold can be exchanged for real sex.

We could sell out again, so advance tix are recommended:
http://www.rickshawstop.com/calendar/event_details/?tfly_event_id=8833

  • “I Was a Teenage Ichthyologist” by Bart Bernhardt
    Our esteemed SF Nerd Nite co-boss recounts a misspent youth measuring dead fish and storing them in jars of alcohol while volunteering at the California Academy of Sciences. It turns out these specimens were crucial to challenging the resumption of logging in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Also: how not to get laid as a teenager.
  • “It’s Not Its Size, But How You Work It” by Brady Burgess
    Fungal infections can be lethal, but sometimes the medicine is almost as bad as the cure – one of the most effective anti-fungal medicines (besides a miniaturized Dennis Quaid) has some truly horrific side-effects (so does Dennis Quaid). Brady is working on a way to deliver this medicine packaged in custom nanoparticles and thereby making it safer.
  • “Is It Fake Money If You Can Buy Real Hookers With It?” by Jennifer Russell
    You’d think corporate governance consulting would be pretty boring, but Jennifer has seen some pretty freaky things. She recently had to look into the seedy world of online virtual currencies. While the digital economies of Eve Online, World of Warcraft, and other virtual worlds are the dream laboratories of some economists, they are also sometimes their nightmares. Market manipulation, ponzi schemes, speculation, and, of course, sex. Some of it even real. Which begs the question, is it really fake money if you can buy real hookers with it?
  • And musical entertainment provided by DJ Alpha Bravo, spinning records selected not merely for their rhythmic aptitude but also for their subject matter, encompassing William Shatner-narrated sea expeditions, post-punk paeans to the usefulness of bricks, commercial jingles, synth-jazz-disco explorations of cloud structure, music for librarians, and thick slices of less frequently heard über-80s pop. Alpha Bravo is VP of left-field pop label Radio Khartoum and was one of the forces behind legendary SF pop club nights Anisette and Schokolade.

Attention: nerds have been sighted in the SF Bay Area

More details coming in the near future.

For now, please Facebook and Twitter the heck out of us.