Nerd Nite SF #125: Explosions, Godzilla, and a 500 Mile Walk!

So Godzilla and a nuclear bomb walk into a bar…

Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$12 (+fees) online, $17 at the door. Vaccine proof and masks required.

All are welcome. If you’d like to come but can’t afford it, just contact us.
Tickets here!

Exploding Wires & Nuclear Weapons: A Curiously Entwined History with Glenn Carroll
For about 175 years prior to the Trinity test in 1945, exploding wires had been noted but neither understood nor much studied. The success of implosion fission–reliant on exploding wire detonators–kicked off intense research on ex-wires in the US and abroad, as many parties around the world launched their own weapons development programs. In short, exploding wires made the bomb possible, while the success of the bomb drove decades-long efforts to understand exploding wires. This peculiar symbiosis has continued ever since, with exploding wires making regular appearances in the historical record of nuclear weapons R&D. This talk will give a very brief introduction to exploding wire phenomena, and survey the role ex-wires have played in nuclear weapons R&D.

Glenn Carroll is a former Machine Learning researcher with time in both academic and corporate environments. Post-retirement he has kept himself entertained with wide-ranging studies, electromagnetic experiments, and improving the shabby shop skills one might reasonably expect from an ML researcher. Exploding wire experiments have been a favored pastime for close
to a decade.

Godzilla: History, Biology, and Behavior of Hyper-Evolved Theropod Kaiju with Shyaporn Theerakulstit
Tsunami, earthquake, hurricane and typhoon all rolled in one, Godzilla, “King of the Monsters,” has both plagued and benefited humanity for over half a century. By examining the origins and zoology of this force of nature, people and nations will be better equipped to deal with the awesome destructive power of our radioactive visitor from the Cretaceous.

Shyaporn Theerakulstit is an actor, writer, YouTuber, cosplayer and general “nerd about town.” He has given talks at Nerd Nites in a half-dozen cities, as well as C2E2, TEDx and the Smithsonian. He has written and produced for Dark Horse Comics and is also the host of “Real/Fake Science” in NYC. His YouTube channel has been featured on Huffington Post and the Comedy Central blog.

Eat. Sleep. Walk. Repeat with Dwight Asuncion

image of presenter Dwight Asuncion in Antarctica with icebergs in background.
Dwight in Antarctica. Cool level: polar ice cap.

For over a millennium, pilgrims of all ages, genders, races, religions, and nations have walked the Way of St. James / Camino de Santiago (“the Camino”). The most common route is a 500 mile, 30 day journey starting in southern France and ending in northern Spain, in Santiago de Compostela. What is the Camino? Why has it appealed to religious and non-religious alike through the centuries? In recent years, why have so many people gone? (Since 2013, more than 200,000 pilgrims per year!). Why has it made such an imprint on the pilgrims who have walked it? (Paulo Coelho walked the Camino and named his protagonist in The Alchemist Santiago).

Come learn about why you should consider doing the Camino from Dwight Asuncion, world traveler and travel writer. Dwight has traveled to all 7 continents and 25+ countries and considers his Camino experience the best / most important trip of his life.

And remember kids, if you’ve ever given a talk at Nerd Nite then you get free admission to Nerd Nite forever! Just send us your name and the title of the talk you gave (and optionally the name of your guest).

…see you in a couple weeks to see how this ends!

Nerd Nite SF #124: Fossils, Songs & Becoming Psychedelic People!

Thanks to everyone who attended our March event. With your support, we were able to donate over $300 to Ukrainian aid! 

This month on 4/20 we are talking fossils, psychedelic medicine, and songs inspired by moth life cycles and urban cycling. If you were looking forward to learning about herbs on 4/20, don’t worry, our friends at the SF Public Library will have you covered with their table on Evergreen Week programming! 
Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$10 online, $15 at the door. Vaccine proof and masks required.
Tickets here!

How to Become a Fossil: A 5 Step Program for Longevity and Success
Are you over this life and not particularly interested in being preserved in the Metaverse? Does being preserved as a fossil sound like a more fulfilling way to extend your existence into perpetuity? Well then do we have the program for you!

Maricela works with fossils and their data at the California Academy of Sciences, and organizes Nerd Nite SF in her “spare” time. Sometimes speakers have to cancel at the last minute and then she has to come up with a talk to give. This is one of those times.

Get the f*** out of the bike lane! with Noam Osband
Noam is our friendly neighborhood anthropologist-director-producer-singer-of-nerdy-songs. Through his tunes you’ll learn about moth lifecycles and various other topics, including but not limited to urban cycling etiquette and his PhD research on migrant labor. 

Noam is an anthropologist, musician, and director/producer living in San Francisco. He helps us learn stuff through songs and restores faith in humanity by interviewing people on the street about their first kiss, among other things. 

Becoming Psychedelic People with Dr. Mellody Hayes
Dr. Hayes is on a mission to get you and everyone around you to wake up and reject the Disneyland version of yourself. While she wants you all to love yourselves and connect with others, she is also bringing the transformative power of psychedelic-assisted therapies to those experiencing post traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, and the complex emotions of end-of-life care. She’ll help us overcome alienating dominant narratives through community-building, discuss her work in changing the western medicine narrative of psychedelics, and highlight psychedelic medicine’s ability to remap pathways of pain in patients with PTSD and other mental illnesses.  

Dr. Mellody Hayes is an evidence-based and spiritually-centered medical expert in the emerging clinical science of Psychedelic Medicine. Dr. Hayes is a graduate of Harvard and UCSF medical school and is an anesthesiologist, leader, public speaker and founding member of Decriminalize Nature. She’s also the founder of a Bay Area clinic that offers psychedelic ketamine therapy. Dr. Hayes is the creator of How We Heal, an online community of healers and leaders committed to creating belonging, safety, and health for all people, particularly those from historically marginalized communities. Get to know her more in this podcast! 


Nerd Nite SF #123: Fishing, Literary Culture, & Carnivores!

Hello again nerds of SF and beyond!

Thanks to everyone who attended our February event. With your support, we were able to donate over $100 to Public Glass! A portion of this month’s proceeds will go to funding aid in Ukraine. Also, if you are an Odd Salon member, please email us for the discount code for this month’s tickets!

On the menu this month we have vitamin sea and vitamin C as in Carnivores, with a side of literary culture. Join us for a healthy diet of nerdy topics!

Wednesday, March 16, 2021
Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$10 online, $15 at the door. Vaccine proof and masks required.
Tickets here

Unforgettable Fishing with Captain Virginia Salvador
Calling all fishing enthusiasts and non-fishing enthusiasts alike! Climb aboard and get your vitamin sea with Captain Virginia of Gatecrasher Fishing as she takes us on a journey through the Bay via her fishing adventures, especially those of promoting the conservation of white sturgeon (the Bay’s friendly neighborhood prehistoric fish) during the winter/brackish season. During the saltwater season, you can find her and her team fishing for King Salmon, Halibut, Rockfish and Ling Cod.

Virginia is a biologist, scientist, freelance writer, and co-captain of the Gatecrasher on the prestigious front row of Fisherman’s Wharf. She is passionate about sharing catch and release fishing of white sturgeon, traveling to compete in fishing competitions, and her motto is “I don’t go fishing to escape my life. I go fishing to live my life!”

The Carnivores in Your Backyard and Abroad with Dr. Christine Wilkinson
Seen a coyote roaming the streets of SF lately? Read all the Nextdoor posts about foxes in yards and parks? Then this is for you! Dr. Wilkinson will delve more into the area of human-wildlife conflict both in our backyard urban areas and abroad. She studies the movement ecology and human-wildlife risk of spotted hyenas in Kenya, and also the socioecological drivers of urban carnivore movement here at home. Come hear about her exciting field work, and the multi-disciplinary solutions informed by it to meet the needs of humans and their carnivore neighbors.

Dr. Wilkinson is an ecologist and post-doc at UC Berkeley. When she’s not in the field tracking down hyenas or in the office offering holistic solutions to human-wildlife conflict, she can be found performing with the San Francisco Taiko Dojo and working on her science communication skills through speaking events, workshops, and acting.

Outwrite: The Speeches that Shaped LGBT Literary Culture with Elena Gross
Join curator and culture critic Elena Gross as she shares her work on editing Outwrite, a collection of speeches from the Outwrite conference. This annual meeting, held throughout the 90s, played a pivotal role in shaping LGBTQ literary culture in the United States and its emerging canon. She’ll take us behind the scenes of her work in the literary archives and describe how producing the book has inspired a connection to the past as a means of constructing or creating new futures, while also fostering the responsibility of survivors to tell the stories and carry on the legacies of those who did not.

Elena Gross is the Director of Exhibitions and Curatorial Affairs at the Museum of the African Diaspora, and an independent writer and culture critic living in Oakland, CA. She received an MA in Visual & Critical Studies from the California College of the Arts in 2016, and her BA in Art History and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2012. She specializes in representations of identity in fine art, photography, and popular media.

Our friends at SF Public Library will also be on deck with book lists, library card signups, and swag!

Nerd Nite SF #122 + Our Global Kickstarter!

Announcing our 2022 return on 2/16/22 + launch of our Kickstarter campaign to bring nerdy goodness to everyone!


Nerd Nite SF is one of many Nerd Nites around the globe, and this month we are fundraising for a new web series and professional video editing. If you have a couple of extra bucks to spare for our nerdy cause, please consider donating to our Kickstarter by February 8. The pandemic hit all of us at Nerd Nite, but you can help us come back better, stronger, and nerdier than ever!

Nerd Nite SF #122: Glass, Ecology, Identity!

Wednesday, February 16 , 2022
Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$10 advance, $15 at the door. Vaccine proof and masks required.
Tickets here

(ps Odd Salon members now get 50% off Nerd Nite admission all year!)


We’re back folks! Hope you can join us for our return to 2022 after taking a small holiday/covid break. Our speakers will be:

Nate Watson, Executive Director of Public Glass, San Francisco’s only public glass studio and school. He will be getting nerdy about glass art with us, and sharing how he’s improved access to glass making.

Dr. Suzanne Pierre, Principal Investigator of the Critical Ecology Lab. She will be nerding out about developing the lab’s interdisciplinary framework that considers the social dimensions of global environmental change.

Jason Smith – Founder of Mixed Googlers, one of the first Fortune 100 employee resource groups for multiracial employees. Previously a Nerd Nite Austin fan, he will be taking the SF stage to share his nerdy insights into multiracial identities and rethinking identity paradigms.

DJ Alpha Bravo will provide our topical soundtrack for the evening.

Nerd Nite SF #121: Jazz, Psychological Mythbusting, & a Rotten City

Wednesday, October 20 , 2021
Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$10 online, $15 at the door. Vaccine proof and masks required.
Tickets here

Join us as we think and drink together for our last show of 2021. Thanks to all who have come out and supported us through this especially weird time in event planning. Special thanks to the SF Public Library for supplementing each of our shows this year with library swag and reading lists based on speaker topics, and very special thanks to all of our speakers. We <3 the Rickshaw Stop and our nerdy community.

We are having a pumpkin decorating contest because ~why not~. Let’s go out with a bang in the spooky spirit. Theme is “famous pumpkins in literature.” Literature nerds, Halloween nerds, art nerds, and everyone in between unite! Show us what you’ve got in the realm of pumpkin decorating inspired by books: give me your best Frankenpumpkin, your best Cinderella’s carriage pumpkin, your best creative concoction of literary gourds! Get the kids involved! Winner gets an actually useful prize (cash), unlike our other useless (so far as I can tell) gag prizes. Submit your photo here before October 18 to put yourself in the running for $, Nerd Nite tickets for the rest of next year, and the title of reigning pumpkin decorating champ!


Cakewalk: Unsung Creators of Jazz Music by John William Templeton

A decorated historian, author, and businessman, John Templeton is also recognized as the authority on San Francisco’s rich Black history, which is often obscured and little known. He’s set out to tell the stories of how African Americans have contributed to the city’s culture and economic development, going back to the late 19th century. His book Cakewalk explores the key roles African Americans played during the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake and through 1921, the beginning of the jazz age. You can purchase it in advance here and receive the signed copy at the show.

John Templeton has set out to uncover and preserve a key piece of San Francisco (and California) history that is often overlooked: the formative contributions of African Americans. He’s written books, led walking and bay cruise tours, and established the African American Freedom Trail that documents thousands of historical sites, with hundreds of them here in San Francisco.

The Rottenest City on the Whole Pacific Coast by John Bauters

Emeryville is the Bay Area’s original city of vice. Now known as a city of arts and innovation, Emeryville’s history is replete with gambling, brothels, corruption, scandal, and bootlegging. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren once labeled Emeryville “The Rottenest City on the whole Pacific Coast.” Come peek behind Emeryville’s modern facade as the home of Pixar Animation Studios and IKEA to learn about it’s grittier days from one of her former mayors and current council members.

John Bauters is the former mayor of and a current council member for the City of Emeryville. When he is not representing the Rottenest City on the Pacific Coast on regional and state transportation, housing and environmental quality boards, he can be found bicycling or hiking the Bay Trail, usually with his dog, Miss Reyna Roo.

Psychological Mythbusting with Dr. Emily Anhalt

Revisit Psych 101 with Dr. Emily. Learn some popular psych concepts and bust some common psych myths, without having to take a test at the end!

Emily is a clinical psychologist and cofounder of Coa, which is a groundbreaking gym for mental health. She’s given many talks to TED audiences and at conferences, but her Nerd Nite appearance will be the most fun and engaging one yet!

Rounding out the evening will be DJ Alpha Bravo, serving us a topical selection of tunes.

Nerd Nite SF #120: LSD Art, Redwoods, and Fish-Mediated Epilepsy Research!

Wednesday, September 15 , 2021
Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$15. Vaccine proof and masks required.
Tickets here

The lineup for all you nerds this month is a doozy! We’ll take a rollercoaster ride through the twists and turns of Mark McCloud’s mind as he tells us stories of his in-home museum of blotter art comprised of over 33,000 LSD sheets collected over the decades. If that’s not fishy enough for you, don’t worry. There will be actual fish featured in a talk about how zebrafish are helping neuroscientists study rare epilepsies. Also, no one knows fog as well as San Francisco in August, unless you’re a redwood tree. We’ll bond over fog and learn how redwoods rely on it.

Also, come partake in the first 2021 Boozy Bee! Sign up here. Pick a number, take a shot of your choice, and spell some words to win a prize! The audience will participate as well to help our contestants out if needed. Think, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire except with less money on the line. (way less).


Finding Danio: Can transparent zebrafish help us see through diseases? by Dr. Prahatha Venkatraman

Small freshwater fish called zebrafish (Danio rerio) help researchers across the world study human diseases and develop treatments for disease. Why is the zebrafish such a powerful research model for human disease? Is it actually more closely related to humans or zebras? Come find out in this talk that will guide you through “Finding Danio”

Dr. Venkatraman is a research scholar at UCSF and currently uses zebrafish as a model system to study rare pediatric epilepsies. Through her research she hopes to advance our understanding of these rare epilepsies and help discover a treatment. 

The Institute of Illegal Images by Mark McCloud

Artist and San Francisco staple Mark McCloud will take us on a trip through his personal collection of LSD blotter housed, well, in his house. Born in Detroit, raised in Buenos Aires, but a resident of the Mission since the 80s, he has dedicated his life to making and preserving blotter art in order to pay homage to the substance that he says saved his life.

The California Redwood: Way cooler than you thought (& also cooler than you!by Ryan Kenneally

Redwoods are cool in both senses of the word. Chilling quietly in cold foggy forests but also unique and interesting, these spectacular trees define a rare and endangered ecosystem that contributes to the amazing biodiversity found in California. Redwoods harness the fog to transform coastal habitats into the most lush forests in the state, working collectively to reach larger sizes than any other tree on Earth. Clear your brain fog with a beer and let’s learn about what makes these trees so special and fascinating! 

Ryan Kenneally is a PhD student in Plant Biology at UC Berkeley, and previously worked as a Sustainable Agricultural Systems volunteer with the Peace Corps. He is passionate about all things plants, but especially the California Redwood.

As always, follow DJ Alpha Bravo’s set list of songs chosen to complement our evening’s talks @djalphabravo

No food vendor this month, so get your dinner beforehand and come have a drink for dessert with us!