Nerd Nite SF #80: Queer History, Gene Editing, and Gravitational Waves!

Nerd Nite SF #80: Queer History, Gene Editing, and Gravitational Waves!Wednesday, 1/18/17
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @ Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

With Auld Lang Syne still reverberating in our ears, the first Nerd Nite SF of 2017 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 historian weaves a queer biography, a scientist (to the best of our knowledge, of the sane variety) manipulates genomes, and a physicist demonstrates how to listen to gravity waves. Come out for three fascinating talks, plus music, drinks, food, and your fellow nerds. Be there and be square!

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“Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Affairs of Yone Noguchi” by Amy Sueyoshi

In the 1890s Japanese Immigrant poet Yone Noguchi – better known today as the father of acclaimed artist Isamu Noguchi – wrote torrid letters of love to Bohemian Club founder Charles Warren Stoddard, as he impregnated Leonie Gilmour and proposed marriage to Alabama’s first historian Ethel Armes who was likely a lesbian. How could same-sex sexuality, infidelity, and interracial love exist openly and acceptably at the turn of the century in the midst of anti-miscegenation and sodomy laws?

Amy is the Associate Dean of College of Ethnic Studies and teaches at the intersection of race and sexuality. She’s founding co-curator of the GLBT History Museum and has a second book forthcoming titled, The Price of Leisure: White Pleasure and the Making of the American “Oriental.”

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“Gene Editing: Approaching the Age of GATTACA” by Ashley Libby

Our DNA controls our lives more than we realize. It not only influences our appearance and how our bodies function, but it can also cause things to go wrong. Many diseases are genetically linked to your DNA. Now imagine being able to change that. Envision a doctor telling you that they can simply “cut out” the gene that causes a disease. While this might seems like a scene out of a science fiction novel, it is closer to reality with the discovery of a gene-editing tool called CRISPR. What is CRISPR? Why are scientists so excited about it? How would we use it? Is it really safe? Come learn about the rapidly developing field of gene editing, what genes scientists want to delete, and what we should watch out for.

Ashley is a PhD student at UCSF and manipulates stem cell genomes on the daily.

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“Gravity Waves, Interference, and Quantum Mechanics: Opening up new windows to the large and small world” by Holger Müller

We can actually “hear” cosmic gravitational waves – ripples in spacetime created by neutron star binary systems, black holes, and echoes from the birth of the universe, and more – with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. Holger will show with a live demo how we can use a modified laser pointer to generate audio and visualizations using laser interferometry, and will play audio from the real LIGO, while explaining what it all means.

Holger is Associate Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley, and his group develops experimental technology for incredibly precise measurements.

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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 bao by 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 #79: Prehistoric Ecology, Metadata, and Vibrators!

Nerd Nite SF #79: Prehistoric Ecology, Metadata, and Vibrators!

Sauropod courtesy of Brian Engh — dontmesswithdinosaurs.com

Wednesday, 12/21/16
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @ Van Ness
$8, all ages

Tickets here

As is our hallowed nerdy tradition, our December show has NOTHING to do with the holidays and EVERYTHING to do with learning something new about something you never knew you should know. Got it? So come get it! Dude, we’ll get so meta about metadata with a software engineer and kick it with one of our audience faves (and nephew of DJ Alpha Bravo) rapping (maybe literally) about dinosaurs. With booze from our beloved Rickshaw ‘tenders, books from the SFPL, and bites from Alicia’s Tamales, be there and be square!

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“STOMPIN’ THROUGH TIME!!!” by Brian Engh

Explore a dinosaur-infested prehistoric ecology through the evidence left on a squishy, nasty old lakeshore! You may remember Brian from his 2015 talk, “Extreme Dinosaur Makeover,” in which he took us through the process of accurately reconstructing dinosaurs from bones on up. Well, this professional paleo artist and creature designer is back to edify and entertain you!

Brian is also a filmmaker, animator and rapper/beat-maker steeped in a lifelong fascination with natural history. His paleo illustrations can be seen in scientific papers, books, museum displays, and several outdoor interpretive fossil sites around Moab Utah, one of which is the focus of this talk. His various and assorted creative efforts are collected on his website http://www.DontMessWithDinosaurs.com.

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“Getting Meta with Your Data: How to see and be more than the sum of our parts” by Simon Bayangos

“Metadata” has entered the mainstream, but much of its meaning and value has been mislaid in the process. Metadata is just that—data that tells us about data. But most of our attempts to capture, comprehend, and control this information have tried to do it as if it were analog information. What if we could experience data the way we hear an orchestra or smell an amazing meal? What if we could interpret millions or even billions of pieces of information not as individual isolated stories but as a collective whole? And what if this information were not scientifically accumulated data on the physical world but rather the intertwined threads of our lives? Tonight we will see and hear metadata in ways few people have perceived it and learn about all the big and small, public and secret ways and places it is accumulated. Whoa, meta.

Simon’s never met a piece of data he couldn’t dig something interesting out of (a.k.a. Head of Engineering at Nuix – a forensic software company).

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“Hysterical Paroxysms: The Amazing History of the Vibrator” by Carol Queen, PhD

Your great-great-grandmother might have owned a vibrator, and the fascinating story of our favorite household helper is truly stranger than fiction. Learn all about their history with Good Vibrations’ Antique Vibrator Museum curator Carol Queen, PhD!

Carol is Good Vibrations‘ staff sexologist, curator of the Antique Vibrator Museum, and runs the Center for Sex & Culture.

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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: Alicia’s Tamales los Mayas will be upstairs serving hot plates of yum.

Nerd Nite SF #78: Impractical Materials, Black Holes, and Suggestibility!

Nerd Nite SF #78: Impractical Materials, Black Holes, and Suggestibility!Wednesday, 11/16/16
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @ Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

You know what sounds really good right now? A good stiff drink, and a reminder that despite all the ups and downs, the world is still an amazing and wonderful place. We’ll experience the glorious highs of seeing supermassive black holes in a new light, so to speak, and the crushing lows of a new satellite spinning into oblivion. We’ll admire the marvels of amazing materials, and then ponder what the hell we can actually do with them. And we’ll learn not just how our minds are remarkably gullible, but why that is actually a good thing.

All that, plus our local friendly librarians, tunes by DJ Alpha Bravo, libations by the Rickshaw Stop bartenders, and a crowd of awesome nerds. Be there and be square!

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“Good for Nothin’: The Beautiful and Impractical Side of Materials Science” by Becky Belisle

New semiconductors for solar power, biocompatible transistors to map your brain – scientists are hard at work coming up with new materials to make your world better, faster, stronger. But what about discoveries that are more dope than disruptive? Tonight, let’s hear it for the underdogs of solid-state chemistry, and celebrate the science behind some amazing materials whose applications are more than a little far afield. We’re talking light-sensitive lights, semiconductors that move like plants, how to grow your own nano-garden, and more! So come rejoice in some materials that just might not be good for anything (yet!).

We are living in a materials world, and Becky is a materials girl (a.k.a. PhD student at Stanford University).

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“Hitomi: A Tale of Black Holes and Broken Satellites” by Norbert Werner

On Feb 17th, 2016, the Hitomi satellite was launched into space. It was meant to be the most sensitive X-ray eye in space, and designed to answer some deeply puzzling questions in astrophysics. It immediately made a truly groundbreaking observation, but then a system failure sent the satellite into a death spiral, literally spinning itself apart. This talk is about the science that was gathered in the first observation and a personal story of the ups and downs in studies of supermassive black holes.

Norbert is an astrophysicist and one of the scientists who analyzed the Hitomi data.

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“Suggestible You” by Erik Vance

Explore the world of placebos, hypnosis, false memories, and neurology with science writer Erik Vance to reveal the science of our suggestible minds. We are all suggestible, gullible, malleable by nature – and this is actually a good thing. Our expectations change our reality: If you give an athlete colored water, but call it “Gatorade”, they perform better. Students test better with “MIT” pens. And fancy labels will genuinely make wine taste better. Can we use this to make ourselves fitter, smarter, and even happier?

Erik is science writer whose work has been featured in Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times, National Geographic, and many others, and contributing editor at Discover magazine. He is the author of “Suggestible You“.

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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 bites from a pop-up food purveyor.

Plus: The San Francisco Public Library will be on hand to dole out library cards, reading lists, and the hottest branch gossip.

Nerd Nite: Science Meets Cinema at the Bay Area Science Festival!

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Wednesday, 11/2/2016
Door + cocktail robots at 7 pm
Talks start at 8 pm
Alamo Drafthouse New Mission Theater
2550 Mission St, SF (near 24th St BART)
18+
Advance tickets are $15 + service fee

Coming soon to a theater near you: Nerd Nite and the Bay Area Science Festival take over the Alamo Drafthouse for a special night of science, history, and booze! Celebrate the New Mission Theater’s 100th anniversary in all its newly restored glory, as we get a thrill out of cult film, put mosquitos under the microscope, learn how live performance is made from discarded 16mm film, and hear the gory details on old SF’s grizzly bear vs. wild bull fights—plus much more! Enjoy some of our favorite Nerd Nite alumni returning with all-new talks, while you sit back and enjoy the Alamo’s food and drink service. And did we mention cocktail robots will be taking over the bar? Be there and be square!

Presenters:

 

 

Nerd Nite SF #77: Fast Passes, Reality Capture, and the Corpse Bride

Nerd Nite SF #77: Fast Passes, Reality Capture, and the Corpse BrideWednesday, 10/19/16
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @ Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

Remember the good old days, when people flashed their Muni Fast Passes, took selfies with collodion wet plates, and, um, dug up their dead mistresses and crowned them queen? No? Well, come refresh your memories, slake your thirst, and sate your hunger with talks, booze, and bao, respectively. Add the usual aural (DJ Alpha Bravo) and biblio (SFPL) support and you have Nerd Nite in a nutshell. Be there and be square!

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“The Muni Fast Pass: A Tale of Transportation, Innovation, and Obsession” by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Long before The City was a home of digital doo-dads, that new technology was a simple slip of colored paper: the Muni Fast Pass. It may be old hat to San Franciscans now, but at one time, offering a monthly ticket for infinite bus and train rides was a novel idea. Catch an express ride through the history of the Fast Pass, from its early champions in the 1970s, including Harvey Milk, through its technological innovations and creative presentation over the decades, and come to a stop at its boring terminus: the Clipper Card.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Joe was a staff writer at the SF Bay Guardian and now writes the Examiner’s political column “On Guard.” He is also a transportation beat reporter covering pedestrians, Muni, BART, bikes, and anything with wheels.

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“Through the New Looking Glass: Reality Capture from the Camera Obscura to 3D Scanning, VR and AR” by Scott Page

Prior to 1839, one had to be both keen observer and careful listener to get things right. Mechanical recording devices of light and sound simply did not exist. After this watershed year, the brain got a brief reprieve as an explosion of ingenious memory aids came to the marketplace. With the invention of the photographic process, a “mirror with a memory” emerged, able to permanently capture reality onto light sensitive materials, filling an insatiable human need for storytelling, novelty, and wonder. It took the combined efforts of artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs to usher in a revolution in imaging that continues to this day.

Scott, M.Arch, is a designer in Berkeley who thinks we need wonder as much as good cheese, chocolate and sex.

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“Love Unhinged: King Pedro & the Corpse Bride of Portugal” by Annetta Black

True love may undo us all… but in the mid-14th century one extraordinary, forbidden love affair threatened to tear apart an entire kingdom. The passion of King Pedro of Portugal for his mistress, Inês de Castro, began with the usual medieval mix of political intrigue, illicit affairs, and fair ladies walled in towers, moved on to murder and open rebellion, and culminated in corpses exhumed, bloody revenge exacted, and an eternal love that extended beyond the grave. And it’s mostly true.

Annetta is a Bay Area-based writer and salonist, ferreting out stories of overlooked history, strange science, doomed expeditions, and marvels of the natural world. She’s co-founder and curator of Odd Salon, the Bay Area’s other nerdy cocktail lecture series.

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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 #76: Building Tissues, 20K Leagues, and Deep Biases!

Nerd Nite SF #76: Building Tissues, 20K Leagues, and Deep Biases!Wednesday, 9/21/16
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @ Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

This Wednesday we’re in for quite a ride! We’ll build up the evening with self-organizing tissue assembly, then dive deep into the legacy of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction, before leveling off with a talk about the neuroscience and evolutionary biology of the endlessly irrational decisions we make. Throughout the night, enjoy refreshing beverages from the Rickshaw Stop bar, beats by DJ Alpha Bravo, books from the SFPL, and bites from Alicia’s Tamales los Mayas. Buckle up, be there, and be square!

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“How Tissues Build Themselves” by Zev Gartner

The human body contains over 10 trillion cells–spanning hundreds of different cell types–that must work together for our bodies to function. But it remains a mystery how these diverse cells coordinate their behaviors. Tissue structure, the composition and arrangement of the cells, helps this coordination by organizing the flow of information between cells. Learn how Zev’s lab at UCSF constructs tissues in a dish using the same strategies that tissues use to build themselves in the body: through the process of self-organization. Someday, these “built” tissues will engineer transplantable organs and help suppress diseases like cancer.

Zev hails from Santa Cruz, California. Although originally trained to build molecules as a chemist, he now focuses on building tissues. When not in the lab, he tries to find time to surf.

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“A Journey Through Liquid Space: Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Ride” by David Shuff

In 1971, Disney unveiled the greatest theme park attraction ever: the 20K ride. For decades it inspired, delighted, and scared the crap out of anyone with half an imagination. In 1994, the ride was temporarily “closed for maintenance,” but that was a LIE. It never sailed again, and the ruins were unceremoniously demolished in 2004. David Shuff has dedicated himself to keeping the memory and magic of 20K alive, despite having ridden it only once, when he was 3. Sharing rare photos, video, and actual crew-member accounts, he will helm a spine-tingling adventure through the rise, fall, and surprising afterlife of the 20K ride–the lost 8th wonder of the world.

David is a well-rounded human being with a healthy dislike of most things Disney. He’s a video creative at AKQA in San Francisco. Beware the plush giant squid behind his couch.

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“I Am Deeply Biased” by Jacob Ward

This late-breaking addition to our line-up will be a preview of a four-part PBS series Jake is hosting, about the neuroscience and evolutionary biology of the endlessly irrational decisions people make about strangers, food, credit cards, presidents, and everything else in modern life.

You’ll remember Jake from his 2013 NNSF talk, but he’s probably a little more famous for having been a science and tech correspondent for Al Jazeera and the editor-in-chief of Popular Science.

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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 meals from Alicia’s Tamales los Mayas.

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 #75: “Sleep Studies, Zapping Proteins, and Driverless Cars”

Nerd Nite SF #75: “Sleep Studies, Zapping Proteins, and Driverless Cars”Wednesday, 8/17/16
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @ Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

Ah, the brave new world: Commuters make up their sleep deficits snoozing at the wheels of driverless cars on their way to their jobs using lasers! We are living in the future! Come explore it using the finest in, um, 1990s technology: PowerPoint! With vinyl records (1940s) to tickle your eardrums, grilled cheese (invented circa the Jazz Age) to fill your bellies, SFPL book recommendations (to mark the mid-15th century) for homework, and booze (from time immemorial). Be there and be square!

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“F**ked If You Don’t Sleep!” by Matthew Walker

Allow us to ask you a question: Can you recall the last time you woke up without an alarm clock, feeling refreshed, not needing caffeine? If the answer is “no,” you’re screwed, and this talk will describe why.

Matthew eavesdrops on sleeping brains at night and is a professor of neuroscience at UC Berkeley during the day.

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“Microwaving Proteins with X-Ray Lasers and Galloping Horses” by James Fraser

In 1872, Leland Stanford gave photographer Eadweard Muybridge the task of proving that all four of a horse’s hooves are off the ground at the same time during a gallop. Little did he know he’d be setting in motion (ha!) early cinema, with the concomitant improvements in camera shutters and film emulsions. Fast-forward to today and discover the surprising geographic and scientific parallels between the first “movie” and current efforts to make molecular movies of proteins using the world’s first X-ray free electron laser.

James is a professor at UCSF–where his lab studies the structure and dynamics of macromolecules–and consulting professor at SLAC National Lab, as well as an advocate for the beer-and-tacos approach to scientific publishing, wherein work is made immediately accessible to a wide audience via preprints and eventually also peer-reviewed by traditional journals.

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“Driverless Vehicles: Who’s Really in Control?” by Lauren Isaac

Driverless vehicles have the potential to change so much in our society: Boozers will never have to worry about DUIs, Grandma Gertie can get around without people fearing for their lives, and the millennials can do their elliptical workout while commuting! Are we really going to be safer, though? Will they do more harm than good for society? And who is going to make sure we aren’t just overrun with robo-cars? Who’s really in control and what can we do to prepare for this disruptive technology?

Lauren is a transportation enthusiast/nerd who works at WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff and has spent her career helping government agencies with public transit, bike sharing, ride sharing and now driverless cars.

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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 #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.