Nerd Nite SF #93: Lost Venues, Folkpocalypse, and Hybrid Instruments!

Nerd Nite SF #93: Lost Venues, Folkpocalypse, and Hybrid Instruments!Nerd Nite goes musical this month, with toe-tapping talks on missing music venues, a performance about the apocalypse, and making a Faustian bargain for a golden iFiddle! Plus cocktails, grilled cheese sandwiches, and DJ’d tunes to keep things humming. Be there and be square!

Wednesday, 2/21/2018
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

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“Bring The Noise, Bring Defunct: A Personal History of SF’s Deceased Music Venues” by Dan Strachota

You’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: The San Francisco music scene is dead! All the cool venues are getting shut down! Everything used to be so much better here! Is it all really true? Dan will attempt to answer these questions by taking a walk down memory lane, uncovering the amazing and wild music venues of the past – and finding out just what happened to them.

Dan has written about music for SF Weekly, San Francisco magazine, SPIN.com, and the East Bay Express. He’s also the Talent Buyer at Rickshaw Stop and Phono Del Sol.

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“The End of The World As We Know It” by The Ten Thousand Ways

The Ten Thousand Ways, AKA Trisha Stan, Ph.D. and Gregory Bentsen, Up.G.* explore the probability of the world ending in various disasters, including death by asteroid, death by black hole, and various other apocalyptically delightful scenarios. We can’t promise that this will be a particularly uplifting presentation but we CAN promise you a super mario-themed explanation of black hole physics and GIFs of Justin Timberlake in space.

The Ten Thousand Ways is an americana-folk duo with a not-so-secret nerdy side. Trisha Stan and Gregory Bentsen met on the science podcast Goggles Optional, for which they regularly improved the lyrics to popular songs by making them about science.

*[Under-paid Graduate Student]

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“The Hybrid Mobile Instrument: Shredding on Smart-Devices” by Romain Michon

Digital music modules (controllers, synthesizers, etc.), smartphone-based instruments, and “traditional” acoustic instruments all have strengths and trade-offs. By blending these platforms into a hybrid instrument based on mobile devices and augmented with sensors and 3D-printed acoustic elements, we can create new instruments that go to eleven.

Romain Michon is a Ph.D. candidate at the Stanford Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. His research focuses on physical modeling, 3D printing, musical interfaces development and the programming language FAUST (Functional AUdio STream).

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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: Glorious grilled cheese from the master of the sammie, Grilled Cheese Guy, who now has his own physical restaurant at 529 Stevenson St. in SF!

Nerd Nite SF #92: Trans Sanfrisco, Math Mysteries, and Slow Science!

Wednesday, 1/17/2018
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

A gender scholar, a mathematician, and a physicist walk into a bar… that can mean only one thing: It’s a new year of Nerd Nite! That bar is the Rickshaw Stop–located at the intersection of trans history, surreal math, and “artisanal” physics–and we have three stable geniuses ready to guide you. Add some music and cocktails and pork belly bao, and presto! You’re there and you’re square!

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“Trans Sanfrisco” by Susan Stryker

A renowned gender scholar looks at the history behind the city’s recent designation of parts of the Tenderloin neighborhood as the “Compton’s Transgender Cultural District.”

Susan is a theorist, filmmaker, author of several books about LGBT history and culture, and professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, director of the Institute for LGBT Studies, and founder of the Transgender Studies Initiative at the University of Arizona.

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“20 Mathematical Mysteries in 20 Minutes” by Roger Antonsen

We explore that world of strange, quirky, and beautiful mathematics you never learned about in school: paradoxes, puzzles, games, infinities, chaos, fractals, surreals, automata, art, and more.

Roger is an associate professor of computer science at the University of Oslo, Norway, and currently a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, California. He enjoys all things at the intersection of mathematics, philosophy, and computer science.

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“Slow Atoms, Slow Science” by Eric Copenhaver

Each morning, Eric saunters into a lab brimming with lasers enrobed in a bramble of criss-crossed cables and optical fibers. His lasers slow atoms from their supersonic, room-temperature speeds and turn them into an exotic sensor. He flips some switches to illuminate the lasers. Fiat lux. Even still, he’s in the dark. Something that worked yesterday doesn’t work today. This exposé will shed light on why science can move so slowly.

Eric was born on the day the Hubble Space Telescope was launched, but dreamed of being a rockstar. After a freshman year at Ohio’s University of Akron as a jazz guitar major, he hung up the axe and switched to physics. Now, as a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley, he shoots lasers at atoms to exploit their quantum properties.

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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.

Nerd Nite SF #91: Brainhacking, Holiday Comics, and WWII Botany!

Nerd Nite SF #91: Brainhacking, Holiday Comics, and WWII Botany!Wednesday, 12/20/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

Screw stockings–stuff your brain instead! An artist-hacker will teach us how to build our way to brain manipulation (great gift ideas), comics experts from the Cartoon Art Museum will bring a sleigh-full of holiday classics and clunkers, and our own co-boss Bart will transport us to an obscure battle fought on the plant science front of World War II. Tamales, tunes, and toddies of the hot variety round out the nite. Be there and be square!

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“Cyborg Your Mind” by Alex Glow

Explore electronics projects that you can build to manipulate your brain in strange, new, debatably useful ways!

Alex creates projects, tutorials, and video content for Hackster.io. She has been a FIRST Robotics kid, a director of the AHA and Noisebridge hackerspaces, and an artist-in-residence at Autodesk’s Pier 9. See also: music, language, bikes.

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“O Holy Night, Batman! The Cartoon Art Museum’s Best and Worst Holiday Comics” by Nina Taylor Kester and Andrew Farago

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at…Iron Man? Join San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum for a festive look at a century’s worth of holiday cartoons and comics, from timeless favorites like Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts and How the Grinch Stole Christmas to forgotten classics including Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol and a stocking full of bizarre holiday comics starring everyone from ALF to Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Cartoon Art Museum staff will share the secret stories behind some of the best–and worst–children’s books, comics, and animation the holidays have to offer.

With comic book colorist and Cartoon Art Museum Program Coordinator Nina Taylor Kester and award-winning author and Cartoon Art Museum Curator Andrew Farago.

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“The Botanists’ War” by Bart Bernhardt

Commando raids, political intrigue, heroic sacrifice and… plant science? This is the tale of two scientists on opposing sides–one Nazi, one Soviet–whose lives and research became strangely intertwined during World War II.

Bart is a co-organizer of Nerd Nite SF and is fascinated by great assholes in science history.

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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: Tantalizing tamales from Alicia’s Tamales los Mayas.

Nerd Nite SF #90: Neurogenesis, Snakebites, & Scurvy!

Nerd Nite SF #90: Scurvy, Neurogenesis, and Snakebites!Feelings of malaise? Lethargy? Whether it’s scurvy or just boredom, we have the cure for you! Have your mind blown with a tale of atomic testing and neuroscience, recoil at the scope of the snakebite epidemic, and add a slice of lemon to your beer for the convoluted saga of scurvy. All this plus the musical stylings of DJ Alpha Bravo, grilled cheese sammies, and awesome people like you.

Wednesday, 11/15/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

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“Nuclear Testing and Other Things That May or May Not Damage Your Brain” by Whitney Heavner

Prior to the 1960’s, scientists believed that the adult brain has no capacity for regeneration. A few classical experiments in 1965 changed everything. Yet, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America continues to link drugs, your brain, and fried eggs. Just how resilient is the human brain? Learn how above-ground nuclear arms testing helped us answer this question through carbon dating, and see how radioactive tracers in rodents show when a baby neuron has sealed its fate.

Whitney Heavner is a postdoctoral fellow in the Stanford biology department deciphering the genome’s blueprint for building the 100 billion neurons that make up your brain.

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“The Snakebite Epidemic” by Dr. Matthew Lewin

Worldwide, there are more than 5 million snakebites each year, killing as many as 100,000 people. An additional 400,000 suffer snakebite-related disability and disfigurement. This year, the WHO listed snakebite as one of the most significant—and neglected—medical crises facing the globe. Dr. Lewin has identified sPLA2 inhibitors as a potential treatment for a broad spectrum of snake venoms. His group has demonstrated potency against 28 snake venom sPLA2s from six continents and has conducted pre-clinical studies showing excellent survival prospects, which were recently published in the peer-reviewed journal, Toxins.

An emergency physician, neuroscientist, expedition doctor, and California Academy of Sciences Fellow, Dr. Matthew Lewin co-founded Ophirex, Inc. (“Ophi” is Greek for “snake”) with Mr. Jerry Harrison (of the Talking Heads) to focus on developing field treatments for snakebite. Ophirex (www.ophirex.com) is committed to providing sustainably-priced antidotes so that treatment for any snakebite can begin anywhere, anytime, by anyone.

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“Scurvy: Lost and Found. And Found. And… Found (Again)” by Laura Lanford

Do you think pirate talk was all “Avast, ye miserable scallywags!” and “Shiver me timbers!”? Likely you’d also hear mutters along the lines of “Ow, me teeth hurt!” and “Argh, me aching bones!” Life on the sea was more scurvy than it was swagger, in no small part because we kept losing the ubiquitous yet elusive cure for this dreaded vitamin deficiency. From the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Horn, from Greenland to Antarctica, come and hear tell of the convoluted tale of the Scourge of the Seas!

Laura Lanford is on loan from Nerd Nite Chicago. She talks a lot about a lot of things, mostly Extinction Level Events but sometimes medical esoterica as well.

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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 grilled cheese from the master of the sammie, Grilled Cheese Guy.

Nerd Nite SF #89: Brain Science, Neon Signs, and Dark Matter!

Nerd Nite SF #89: Grey Matter. Dark Matter. Neon Light!Nerd Nite SF #89: Grey Matter. Dark Matter. Neon Light!Gray brains, bright lights, and dark matter – this Nerd Nite covers the spectrum! We’ll get a handle on comparative brain science from a neuroscientist, and then actually handle real brains. Then, two experts will illuminate the art, craft, and history of neon in the Bay Area. Finally, a physicist will help us see the light on dark matter. All this, plus the colorful DJ stylings of Alpha Bravo, drinks of all stripes, and a crowd of bright people like you. Be there and be square!

Wednesday, 10/18/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

NOTE: We’ll have actual brains, including some human ones, for you to examine and even hold. We wanted to let you know in case you were uncomfortable with seeing organs.

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“Seeing Eye to I: Traveling the World with Brains in Your Luggage” by Patrick House

Neuroscientist Patrick House will give a neuroanatomy lecture using real brains but no actual anatomy. Anything easily looked up online will not be mentioned. He will also share stories of traveling with and shipping brain specimens around the world, adventures which provided an answer to a question he never knew he would have to answer: I.e. Does FedEx believe in a soul?

Patrick House is a neuroscientist and writer. He got his PhD in neuroscience from Stanford, studying that one parasite that makes mice not afraid of cats. He did a postdoc in ancient DNA searching for the same parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, in mummified cats, a task which he once described as “Like looking for a needle in a haystack oh but also the needle is broken into a thousand pieces and made of hay.” He has written on science and technology for The New Yorker and Slate and is writing a book on the role of elegance in neuroscience. He works at a startup developing brain-machine interfaces for treatment of neurologic disease.

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“From Advertising to Art: Survivors and Lost Icons of Neon in NorCal” by Randall Ann Homan and Al Barna

See beautiful pictures of neon survivors, mourn famous lost icons of the neon world, and get a visual tour of the best gas, glass, and electricity that the East Bay and SF has to offer. Learn about the science underlying neon and discover what decades of evolution in California’s neon art and advertising illuminates about our Neon Cities.

Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan are the authors and photographers of the book San Francisco Neon: Survivors and Lost Icons. They also give four different walking tours in San Francisco featuring the city’s fabulous collection of historic neon signs, with back alleys and back stories included. Details and pictures at http://neonbook.xyz

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“Looking for the Invisible” by Lucie Tvrznikova

Everything we see around us makes up only 5% of the total mass and energy in the universe. So what’s the rest? The rest is full of dark energy and dark matter, substances that scientists have not been able to detect directly. Still, we are confident they are out there. What exactly is dark matter? And how can we hope to detect it? Lucie will take us a mile underground to a former gold mine where the LUX and LZ detectors found their home looking for the elusive dark matter particles. We’ll learn how LUX taught us a lot about our universe without seeing anything at all, and how its big sister LZ will teach us even more.

Lucie Tvrznikova is a Ph.D. candidate at Yale University in Experimental Physics and is currently at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, helping search for WIMPs.

October 31st is a day dedicated to the mysterious and unseen – Dark Matter Day! Wait, is it some other holiday, too? Regardless, the month of October features events around the world discussing research into dark matter. Learn more at http://darkmatterday.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.

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 #88: Shark Die-Offs, Clever Animal Adaptations, and Bots!

Nerd Nite SF #88: Shark Die-Offs, Clever Animal Adaptations, and Bots!

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the Rickshaw Stop...Wednesday, 9/20/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets

We’re late, but we’re great…white sharks, that is! Plus, lots and lots of weird animals and bots. Sean Van Sommeran of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation will talk tagging, tracking, and stranding of great white sharks in the Bay Area. Wired magazine science writer Matt Simon will guide us through the many clever animal adaptations that evolution has produced over the millennia, from the horrifying to the downright hilarious: think flatworms fencing with their penises, ants being mind-controlled by a fungus, pearlfish swimming up sea cucumber butts, and axolotls mating! And Mark Stephen Meadows will chat you up about bots and avatars. Add stiff drinks, themed tunes, and you. Voilà, a nerd cocktail! Be there and be square!

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Wednesday, 9/20/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here: https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1526483?utm_medium=bks
We’re late, but we’re great…white sharks, that is! Plus, lots and lots of weird animals. Sean van Sommeran of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation will talk about mass die-offs of sharks (and other creatures) in the Bay. Wired magazine science writer Matt Simon will guide us through the many clever animal adaptations that evolution has produced over the millennia, from the horrifying to the downright hilarious: think flatworms fencing with their penises, ants being mind-controlled by a fungus, pearlfish swimming up sea cucumber butts, and axolotls mating! And Mark Stephen Meadows will chat you up about bots and avatars. Add stiff drinks, themed tunes, and you. Voilà, a nerd cocktail! Be there and be square!
“Bad Bot. Good Bot.” by Mark Stephen Meadows
You’re authenticated on Facebook but chatbots aren’t. Bots can spam, scam, phish, spoof, and abuse more effectively than people. What we need are license plates for these things. If we bolt a voice onto a bot we make an assistant, so let’s look at what assistants (Siri, Alexa, Cortana) collect, what’s done with that data, and how they can share it in ML dialogue markets. Then let’s bolt a face onto the assistant and look at the future of multi-modal avatars for video chat, VR, and AR. Oh, and ethics.
Mark Stephen Meadows is an author, inventor, artist, and CEO of Botanic Technologies. With 20 years experience in real-time 3D (VR/AR/etc), 15 years experience in NLP/AI, and 5 in robotics he’s designed and developed artificial intelligence applications with companies as diverse as Microsoft, Sony, Xerox-PARC, Stanford Research Institute, LucasArts, Oracle, and others. He leads the vision of Botanic by inventing new methods of computer-human interaction, developing the hearts and minds of highly social avatars and graphical bots.
“Zombie Ants, Penis Fencing, and Fish That Swim Up Sea Cucumber Butts: The Animal Kingdom Is Legit” by Matt Simon
At this very moment, two flatworms in the sea have extended their needle-like penises and started fencing with them, each worm trying to stab the other and inject sperm through the skin. Meanwhile, in South America, a fungus has invaded an ant’s mind and driven it out of the colony to a precise spot in the rainforest. Oh, and the eel-like pearlfish has swum up a sea cucumber’s butt and eaten its internal organs, including the gonads.
Believe it or not, these are all clever adaptations to the everyday problems of life. Join Wired magazine science writer Matt Simon as he guides you through the many solutions that evolution has produced over the millennia, from the horrifying to the downright hilarious, and sometimes both at the same time.
Matt Simon is a science writer at Wired magazine, where he focuses on robotics and biology. He’s the author of The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar (Penguin, 2016) and of a forthcoming book about parasites that mind-control their hosts, out next fall. He’s one of the few people on the planet to witness the fabled mating ritual of the axolotl salamander, a tale he’ll tell at Nerd Nite SF.
“Sharks & Epizootic Mass Die-Off Update” by Sean Van Sommeran
Sean Van Sommeran established the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation in 1990 to kick off the ‘shark conservation, education and research’ movement.
Based in Monterey Bay, the PSRF has a stranding rescue and collecting unit that coordinates response to toxic spills, injured and trapped sharks and rays and mass stranding events and epizootic die offs and combating poachers throughout the state of California and Bay Areas.
Currently focused on white shark, basking shark and mass stranding response projects, there is much to tell and talk about and question and answer discussions are always informative and from primary sources and well documented.
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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.

Nerd Nite SF #87: Ticks + Bacteria, Apocalypse Ethics, & Climate Change!

Nerd Nite SF #87: Climate Data, Ticks + Bacteria, Apocalypse EthicsWednesday, 8/16/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets

We need you now Wednesday night. We need you more than ever. And if you only hold your beer tight, we’ll never be dumb together. A total eclipse…of the smart! Yes, folks, we have arthropods and their bacterial friends, as explained by a microbiologist. We have a genuine philosopher waxing twisted about environmental ethics. And we’ll also play the climate change blame game, along with Grilled Cheese Guy, DJ Alpha Bravo, and maybe the library, too! As Bonnie Tyler would say: Forever’s gonna start Wednesday night, so be there and be square!

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“Climate Change and Data-Driven Blame/Solutions” by Saul Griffith

Take a brutally honest look at our climate change hypocrisies with a surprisingly optimistic outcome. Blaming yourself, blaming the government, blaming big business, blaming your neighbours, blaming wall street. No matter who the target of your ire is, get the right data to be angry—and the most accurate prognosis yet for actually just solving climate change. You might call it “Ode to the Planet Fucking Hypocrite,” if you want to be edgy.

Saul has multiple degrees in materials science and mechanical engineering, and is an inventor, columnist, children’s book author, technical advisor to Make and Popular Mechanics magazines, and co-founder of several companies. Coincidentally, this year he contracted Lyme disease.

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“Blood and Guts: Ticks and Their Bacterial Friends” by Dr. Seemay Chou

Microbes inhabiting the guts of blood-sucking arthropods can be passed from animal to animal during feeding, at times resulting in bubonic plague (fleas), malaria (mosquitoes), and Lyme disease (ticks). Although generally unwelcome, only a few arthropod species are actually capable of transmitting dangerous microbes to humans. For example, the Lyme disease bacterium is spread through the bite of a single tick species, despite dozens of other ticks encountering it in the wild. Seemay will talk about different ecological and molecular factors that underlie these tick-bacteria relationships and how her research group is trying to use this information to break the cycle of infection.

Seemay is a microbiologist and assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics at UCSF.

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“Ethics After the End of the World” by Sam Mickey

Climate change, pollution, mass extinction—an ecological emergency is upon us. People have heard the facts, but the emergency continues to intensify. This is an ethical problem: What should be done? Typical answers like “protect nature” and “save the world” clearly haven’t been working. Could our ideas of “nature” and “the world” be part of the problem? Presenting a twisted ethics for coexisting in an ecological emergency, Sam suggests that the world ended, there is no nature, and the best guide for knowing how to respond to things is the profound anxiety that comes with not knowing how to respond to things.

Sam teaches at the University of San Francisco. He has a PhD in philosophy and religion and has authored and edited several books on environmental ethics, including On the Verge of a Planetary Civilization: A Philosophy of Integral Ecology.

 

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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 #86: Fertility, Disneyland, and Data Security!

Nerd Nite SF #86: Fertility, Disneyland, and Data SecurityWednesday, 7/19/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

Brace yourself for a roller coaster of an evening as we learn about the ups and downs of fertility science, speed through the history of Disneyland, and ride the twists and turns of credit card security! Plus adult drinks, delicious bao, DJ, and librarians. And you don’t even need to be *this* tall to enjoy the ride. Be there and be square!

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“Can Your Fertility Save Your Life?” by Dr. Paul Turek

Infertility has typically been thought of as an unfortunate circumstance of life but not much more. In fact, infertility can impact quality of life and productivity. It’s also viewed as a biomarker for health issues, including cancer. And infertility may actually be the “ultimate” medical disease of a species: If present, then reproduction is hampered and species health is threatened. Think of Clive Owen in Children of Men. So, it may not be farfetched to consider one’s fertility status as the “fifth vital sign” of health.

Dr. Turek is Director of The Turek Clinic (www.TheTurekClinic.com), former Professor at UCSF, blogger on men’s health issues (www.TurekonMensHealth.com), and founder of a volunteer medical clinic powered by retired physicians for the working uninsured in San Francisco (www.ClinicbytheBay.org). He recently received an NIH grant to develop an artificial testicle to make sperm in a dish.

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“Growing Up in the Happiest Place on Earth: A Brief History of Disneyland” by Dr. Jeffrey Silverman

Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth, has welcomed over 650 million guests since it opened and is one of the most popular theme parks in the world. Jeff will give a brief history of Disneyland and recount some of the most unbelievable (but true!) stories from its over sixty year history. He’ll also share some personal experiences from his hundreds of visits to Disneyland, as well as the summer he spent working there.

Dr. Jeffrey Silverman has a PhD in Astrophysics from UC Berkeley and used to study exploding stars. He’s currently a data scientist at Samba TV where, among other things, he tries to calculate how many people watch ESPN and The Disney Channel. Jeff grew up in Anaheim, CA about a mile away from Disneyland, where he spent much of his childhood. He’s also presented at multiple Nerd Nites!

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“How Your New Credit Card is Like Wonder Woman” by Debra J. Farber

Your payment cards are embedded with microchips that, like Wonder Woman’s bulletproof bracelets and shield, protect you from evildoers! But how do these super-powered EMV cards stop fraudsters, identity thieves, and black hats in their tracks, exactly? And what about security measures in other payment platforms, like phones, wearables, Amazon Echo, cryptocurrencies, and soon our cars and refrigerators? This lively talk will make you feel like Wonder Woman: filled with a sense of power, grace, wisdom, and wonder.

Debra J. Farber is a data privacy and security consultant with 15 years’ experience, and CEO and Principal Consultant at Farber Strategies Inc. Most recently, Debra served as Sr. Director, Global Public Policy (Privacy & Security) at Visa.

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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 #85: Shipping Wars, Accidents, and Parole!

Shipping Wars, Accidents, and Parole!Wednesday, 6/21/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

Watch out! Caution is the watchword this month, lest you trigger a fandom war, cause an accident, or find yourself on the wrong side of a parole hearing. Best if you play it safe and just hang out at Nerd Nite and sip drinks, eat tamales, listen to the DJ, and converse with librarians. All while we hear talks from a clinical psychologist, a NASA scientist, and a defense attorney. Be there and be square! (And be careful!)

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“I Will Go Down with This Ship! What Fandom ‘Shipping Wars’ Can Tell us About Sexuality and Gender in Popular Culture” by Kaela Joseph

Why do you want your favorite television and movie characters to be in relationships together? Why does there have to be so much sexual tension between characters who are identified as straight? Why do fandoms get so angry about “ships” on Tumblr? Wonder no more! Dr. Kaela Joseph is here to help you understand sex in the subtext of popular media, and how “shipping wars” (conflicts about which characters should be paired together) can help us better understand sexuality and gender from a cultural perspective.

Kaela is a clinical psychologist and researcher whose specializes is in human sexuality. An avid fan of sci-fi/horror/fantasy genres, Kaela uses principles of feminist and LGBTQ affirmative psychology to expand the field of fandom studies.

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“Careful!” by Steve Casner

As doctors work busily to extend our lives, more people each year are figuring out ways to cut them short. Yes, after 100 years of steady improvement, accidental deaths are on the rise. Are we turning into incompetent schlubs who can’t be trusted with scissors? No! We’re filling our world with new hazards that are thwarting our old methods of avoiding them. ‘Keeping an eye on that’ doesn’t work when our attention is being pulled in many directions, and it sure won’t work with nanotechnology. Upgrade to the new version of careful and live a while longer!

Steve Casner is the author of Careful: A User’s Guide to Our Injury-Prone Minds. A NASA scientist by day, Casner also flies jets and helicopters, rides motorcycles and skateboards, and has surprisingly few scars.

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“Rhetoric of Rehabilitation: A History of California’s Parole Hearings” by Jared Rudolph

Parole represents the state’s belief in rehabilitation, and that their officials can assess whether someone has been rehabilitated. Throughout California’s history, the use of parole has waxed and waned with the theories guiding our criminal justice system. Today, parole is on the rise: In the last four years, there have been more releases through the parole hearings system than in the forty years prior.

How did we get here? What does our history of parole mean for the current moment in criminal justice? What is the process like? Is rehabilitation possible, and does it matter whether it is?

Jared Rudolph is a criminal defense attorney and the founder of Prisoner Reentry Network, a non-profit that supports successful transitions from incarceration to the community. If you’re arrested, he suggests you shut up so you don’t talk yourself into prison.

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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 plates of goodness 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 #84: SciComm, GG Bridge, Water Infrastructure

Nerd Nite SF #84: SciComm, GG Bridge, Water InfrastructureWednesday, 5/17/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here

Attention! You’ve just been drafted to fight in the war on science! Bring your best facts, sharpest mechanical pencils, and plenty of terabytes to our nerdy boot camp, where an award-winning journalist will make us do drills on science communication, a historian and rogu(ish) ex-park ranger will march us over the Golden Gate Bridge, and a drinking water delivery expert will keep us hydrated with submersible robots. With the usual aides-de-camp–Rickshaw bartenders, Grilled Cheese Guy, SFPL, and Alpha Bravo on the airwaves–we cannot lose. Be there and be square!

“Winning the War on Science” by Erika Check Hayden

Is there really a war on science? What are the rules of engagement for those who communicate about science in an age when facts seem to be under attack? Award-winning science journalist Erika Check Hayden will draw on her experience covering events–from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to the 2014 Ebola outbreak–to answer these questions. Come prepared to share your examples of good and bad science communication and to engage in a thoughtful discussion about how to move forward in engaging the public on science.

Erika is director of the Science Communication Program at UC Santa Cruz and was a reporter at Nature for 15 years, where she focused on covering infectious diseases and genetics and won multiple awards from the Association of Health Care Journalists.

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“Golden Gate Bridge: A Most Misunderstood Landmark” by John Martini

Why isn’t the Golden Gate Bridge painted gold? Is there really a dead body buried in the concrete? Why does it take seven years to paint it from one end to the other? You mean it’s cheaper to cross the bridge now than when it opened? The Golden Gate Bridge is San Francisco’s most iconic landmark, except perhaps for Alcatraz, but, just like the Rock, it’s surrounded by myths and misconceptions. In this talk commemorating the Bridge’s 80th birthday, historian John Martini will share little-known stories of its construction and operations, and possibly explain how a 25¢ toll ballooned into $7.50.

John is a native San Franciscan and lifelong researcher into the history of California and the American West. He worked as a ranger for more than 25 years at national parks around the country and is now an independent consultant specializing in historical research. He appears regularly on PBS, History Channel, A&E Network, and National Geographic Channel.

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“Waterworld: The Hunt for What Lies Beneath” by Adam Tank

Many pipes delivering drinking water were installed in the late 1800s. They are now well beyond their remaining useful life, and many are cracking, breaking, and leaking trillions of gallons of water underground. In fact, 30% of all clean water is lost in distribution before it reaches our homes. Fortunately, historical pipeline data, coupled with advanced acoustic, satellite, and robotic technology, is emerging that enables us to find & fix these problem pipes without digging up streets.

Adam is the founder of a Bay Area startup building submersible robots for the repair of buried water pipes. He previously ran General Electric’s Digital Water division, focused on creating software solutions for water utilities all over the world. He tweets about things water and non-water related @artank.

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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.