Nerd Nite SF #131: LOUD, Green, and Leafy!

featuring cannabis, spectrograms, & reclaimed space!

Wednesday April 19, 2023
7pm doors, 8pm show
Rickshaw Stop (155 Fell @ Van Ness)
$10 online (+fees) / $12 door
Tickets here!

The unquiet history of Parcel 36 by Elizabeth Creely, with a performance by Chi
Listen to the unquiet history of Parcel 36, an abandoned railroad track in San Francisco’s Mission District, and an artefact from a time when squatters on unceded Ohlone land settled land disputes with guns, axes and bayonets. John Center and Samuel Crim, two of the largest landowners in the Mission and would-be railroad barons, left a legacy of strife and confusion that continues today. What do you do with a parcel no one owns? Give it back to the community. Friends of the Mission Greenway, together with our neighbours and supporters, are creating a pedestrian greenway and garden to restore the right-of-way to the public. Join us at Nerd Nite as we talk about 19th-century squatters, one ghost, and the future of Parcel 36, one of the last pieces of unowned land in the Mission District.

Elizabeth Creely is a writer, and public historian who lives in San Francisco’s Mission District. She has explored almost every type of environment California has to offer: urban, coastal, riverine, grassland, desert and montane. She works for the Consulate General of Ireland, is occasionally a contributing writer to Mission Local, a bilingual, local independent online news site that covers the Mission District of San Francisco and a member of the San Francisco Department of Memory.

Cannabis Toxicology: The Good, The Bad, and The Risky by Dr. Echo Rufer
(Legal) cannabis is more popular (and available) than ever, but how do you make decisions about healthy use? Is natural safer than synthetic? Does a super high THC concentration actually matter? What was the deal with the “Vapegate” crisis a few years back, and how can you avoid problems like it? FIND OUT from a real, actual cannabis toxicologist and impress your “buds” on 4/20!

Acoustic Detective Work: How to read spectrograms by Dr. Bryn Hauk
Sounds have a fingerprint, and you can learn to read them off a page. You probably know about soundwaves, which show amplitude over time. Add a third dimension – frequency – and you get a spectrogram. We will learn to read these dimensions to identify speech sounds!

Nerd Nite SF #130 Card Math & Sea Shanties! (& Rum!)

Bring your brain, lungs, and liver for this one!

Wednesday March 15, 2023
7pm, Rickshaw Stop
$10 online (+fees) / $12 door
Tickets here!

Mathematics and the Card Game SET with Dr. Catherine Hsu
Come play SET, a fun game of pattern recognition universally loved by mathematicians! Although this game was invented as part of a research project on epilepsy in German Shepherds, SET is closely related to many interesting areas in mathematics. Tonight, we’ll (briefly) introduce some of these math ideas and then explore some variations of the game, including Super Set, Pokemon set, and many more. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of this card game… we’ll explain the rules of gameplay at the start!

Secrets of Sea Shanties with Preston Thomas
What *do* you do with a drunken sailor, anyway? If you know what to listen for, sea chanteys are a linguistic time capsule into life aboard ship at the end of the Age of Sail. Let’s crack a few open, see how they worked, and learn why big burly dangerous dudes were singing on the job. From the captain’s daughter to the dreaded ‘stuncil bones,’ we’ll explore how chanteys have survived down to the present day—or not—and how their hidden history is more inclusive than you might think.

See you for rum specials, singing with friends, and playing games! 

Nerd Nite SF #129 The Comeback: Love Never Dies! Lizards, Supernatural fandom, & a Valentine’s Contest!

Wednesday February 15, 2023
7pm, Rickshaw Stop
$10 online (+fees) / $12 door
Tickets here!

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to commemorate the union of Nerd Nite SF and the Rickshaw Stop once again! We really thought our October event would be our last at the Rickshaw, but thanks to the great turnout from nerds like you, dear reader, the venue is giving us another shot at this nerdy matrimony. No, the whole thing was not a ruse or a tease. You really did love us back from the dead! Join us on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 at 7pm to celebrate our resurrection and Valentine’s Day (or the end of Valentine’s Day, if you prefer that) with a card-making contest (yes there will be prizes!) and three talks spanning the love lives of lizards and the sexy subtext of Supernatural shipping fandom! Can you feel the nerdy love tonight?? We can!

*Prizes awarded for the punniest, nerdiest, and most anti-Valentine’s categories!


The Love Lives of Lizards with Chelsea Connor

Chelsea Connor (she/they) is tropical biodiversity biologist and herpetologist from the Commonwealth of Dominica. She studies tropical tree dwelling lizards, their ecology and histories! Although she didn’t end up being a comic book artist, Chelsea is still living the struggling creative life interpreting animals as art. You can follow her on Twitter to keep up with her nerdy endeavors, which include guest speaking on the Pokescience podcast!

I Will Go Down With This Ship: What Shipping in Fandom Can Tell Us About Sexuality and Gender in Popular Culture with Kaela Joseph

“You can’t spell subtext without S-E-X,” at least that’s what they say in the TV series, Supernatural. Psychologist and fandom researcher Kaela Joseph will discuss why media fans, specifically Supernatural fans, practice shipping (creating media or discourse that places characters or real people in relationships), and what this participatory practice within fandom can tell us about broader social and political themes about sex and gender in society. 

Kaela Joseph (they/she) is a queer, nonbinary psychologist and fandom researcher. They work in the San Francisco Bay Area as a clinic director, program manager, and clinical supervisor in settings which specialize in women’s and LGBTQ+ health. They are the co-author of the book Fandom Acts of Kindness: A Heroic Guide to Doing Chaotic Good, available through all major book sellers as of January 3rd of this year. 

Nerd Nite SF #128: Consciousness, Managing Your Manager, & a Spelling Bee!

Wednesday October 19, 2022
7pm, Rickshaw Stop
$10 online (+fees) / $12 door
Tickets here!

Join us at our last show at the Rickshaw Stop after 12 years of drinking and thinking there. Nerd Nite SF will enter its teen years at another venue next year. Let’s go out with a bang and a beer!

Also, back by popular vote at last month’s show: drunken spelling bee! Test your tolerance and spelling abilities to be crowned our second annual Spelling Champian (sic)! Drink tickets, your copy of This Is Ear Hustle, and a very special edition pin provided by our friends at the SF Public Library are all on the line! As usual, our esteemed local librarians will be on hand to fulfill your nerdy need for library swag & programming info as consolation in case you can’t spell. And of course, a great lineup of speakers putting their nerdy spin on their specialties:

Phenomenological Relationship Counseling
With Patrick House

Every good lecture, at the end of the day, is a self-help lecture. Dr. House will take us on a tour through the variety of conscious experiences we know about, speculate about some we don’t yet know about, and elaborate the kinds of conscious experiences we might look forward to in the sci-fi future. All while making the argument that many, if not most, of the inter- and intra-personal global arguments, at all scales—relationships, war—come down to basic perceptual differences underlying preference and imagination. Your brain is much more different than your neighbor’s or partner’s brain than modern science could possibly describe.

Patrick House is a neuroscientist and writer. His scientific research focused on the neuroscience of free will and how mind-control parasites alter their host’s behavior. He writes about science, technology and culture for The New Yorker and Slate and is the author of NINETEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT CONSCIOUSNESS. He has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Stanford University and lives in Los Angeles, California.

How to realistically manage your manager (or at least complain about them a little bit less)
With Jennifer Tschetter

People run around in fear of the “micro-managing manager”… but have we conflated micro-managing with just “managing?” Is it totally unfair that our managers want to have a line of sight into what we work on? Studies often show that people leave jobs because of poor managers, so why then do so many managers stink? Jennifer will shed some light on how your relationship with your manager goes two ways and you can take back some of the power to influence the relationship.

Jennifer (she/her) is a culture strategist and coach. Jennifer runs her own consulting firm where she coaches and trains teams. Managing people and fostering exceptional teams isn’t easy, so Jennifer gets brought in when managers may need some extra love and support. In her free time, she likes debating the accuracy of various science fiction and spending time with her dog, Neville Longbottom. You can learn more about her & her work here.

Hope to see your nerdy faces there! Let’s pour one out for Nerd Nite at the Rickshaw Stop!

October is our last show at the Rickshaw Stop!

Some sad news, next month will be our last event at the Rickshaw Stop after years of calling them our home. They will continue to host their awesome lineups of emerging artists and dance parties, but Nerd Nite SF will be moving to a new, nerdy (and smaller) space. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, save the date for either October 19 or 20 (hope to nail down the day soon) to come out and celebrate our last Rickshaw show by drinking and thinking with us! Also, the return of our drunken spelling bee.

But some good news: we have officially welcomed David Faulkner, toxicologist comedian extraordinaire, into Nerd Nite cohost nerd-dom. Maybe you met him this month, and if you didn’t then come on out and meet him next month!

Nerd Nite SF #127: Sand Banks, Food Banks & Beakman’s World!

Wednesday September 14, 2022 (yes, 2nd Wed instead of 3rd)
7pm, Rickshaw Stop
$10 online (+fees) / $12 door
Tickets here!

On this special 2nd Wednesday edition of Nerd Nite SF, we will learn about sand and sustenance. Is sand sustenance? Well no, but it is important to life on earth!

We’ve recently added local artist and biographer Richard Bolingbroke to our lineup for this Wednesday! He will be sharing his research on Jok Church, the Bay Area cartoonist extraordinaire who brought us You Can With Beakman & Jax, which later inspired the popular kid’s science show Beakman’s World. Fun fact, our Nerd Nite program titles share the same format as Beakman’s World episode titles! See, e.g. “Cats, Beakmania & Dynamite” or “Sweat, Beakmania & Weighing a Car” which aired on September 14, 1996. Catch us this Wednesday September 14 in our year 2022 for more on the life and times of Jok Church and his popular science legacy! Email us your favorite Beakman’s World episodes, memories, or comics and win tickets for this Wednesday!

Thanks, Sand! The miraculous story of how the sediment cycle enables life on earth
with Jeremy Snyder

Sand is something that most people think of as a homogenous, inert substance that does little more than line our beaches. But the story of how sand goes from bedrock to beach is really the story of why earth’s landscapes look the way they do, and how all living things get the minerals and nutrients that make life possible. In this talk, Jeremy will take you on a photographic journey along the length of the Amazon and Colorado Rivers to illustrate the wonders of sand and why disruptions to this system (such as hydropower dams) pose a threat to us all.

Jeremy (he/him) is a photographer and science communicator with a lifelong passion for river science. After studying biology and geology in college, he embarked on a Thomas J Watson Fellowship around the world to understand and communicate the science of river systems. He currently works at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he helps teach science to students in K-12. You can see more of his work on his website,

In an age of chronic dis-ease, are food banks a nexus for healing?
with Kevin Liu 

Have you volunteered at a food bank and asked yourself if the edible plants, animals, and their derivatives being distributed actually promote physical health? What about mental health? If so, you may be familiar with the concept of food as medicine – we know food is the sustenance that keeps us alive and energized, but it also supports the conditions for health and discourages the conditions for disease. Kevin Liu, a community nutritionist, will share the different paths for food from food banks to folks’ plates, and in doing so, help us realize how food can be an agent for individual and collective wellbeing.

Kevin (he/him) is a community nutritionist and counselor at Project Open Hand, a Tenderloin-based non-profit and community partner of the SF-Marin Food Bank. He is passionate about food and nutrition initiatives in underserved communities. In his free time, he can be found going on bike rides and/or communing with rad friends at concert venues.

As usual, our friends from the SF Public Library will be on hand to fulfill your nerdy need for library swag & programming info!

Be there, be square, and cash in on nerdy facts!