December holidays mean an early edition of Nerd Nite East Bay. And we mean early. We take Nerd Nite to the big screen at The New Parkway theater, a much beloved and anticipated brew-and-view in Oakland. We’re invading before their official opening. They’ll provide the awesome screen, comfy seats, and sell you a bit of beer and, if the tastings we’ve been part of are any indication, ridiculously awesome grub. We’ll bring the learning: with KQED QUEST discussing black holes, one of the New Parkway’s experts talking about audio/visual systems, and a talk about NASA’s balloon-based measurements of space weather. Also: the nerdiest animated music video you will ever see. Be there and be square!

So: please join DJ Citizen Zain and hosts Ian Davis and Rick Karnesky as we break-in the (brand) New Parkway theater!

Thursday 12/13
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
The New Parkway, 474 24th St, Oakland
(less than half-a-mile from the 19th St BART)
All Ages
FB event
g+ event

BLACK HOLES: OBJECTS OF ATTRACTION by KQED Science, Alex Filippenko, and Bill Craig

Black holes have been the stuff of science fiction since their discovery in the late sixties. But now a new, nimble NASA telescope is using its powerful x-ray vision to hunt for these abundant yet invisible, massive space oddities.

Alex Filippenko is the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences at Cal. His accomplishments, documented in about 700 research papers, have been recognized by several major prizes, and he is one of the world’s most highly cited astronomers. An avid tennis player, hiker, and skier, he enjoys world travel and is addicted to observing total solar eclipses (11 so far).

Bill Craig is an instrument manager at the Space Sciences Lab at UC Berkeley and has worked on numerous space missions with acronyms like including XMM-Newton, CHIPS, and GLAST as well as a number of balloon-borne instruments. He works on NuSTAR, which will open a new window on the Universe by being the first satellite to focus high-energy X-rays into sharp images.

Lauren Sommer is a science producer for KQED radio. Her work has appeared on Marketplace, Living on Earth, and NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered.


Dinner and a movie – the classic date! We’ll take a look at the history of audiovisual systems, geek-out on video display and audio transducer technology, and delve into modern cinema specifications to help understand why audiovisual system technology touches us so profoundly. Be warned! You may be up all night rearranging your living room.

The product of a family of musicians and engineers, Cliff started playing music at age six. Starstruck by the knobs, buttons and blinky lights on an audio mixing console, he dived headlong into live sound engineering in his teens. Nowadays, after years of backstage doughnut trays and burned coffee, Cliff has designed and built audiovisual systems for theatres, recording studios, airports, hotels, courthouses, churches, funeral homes, cars, boats and airplanes. When not trying to save the world from mediocre audio, Cliff spends his time running his recording studio “The Playground”, producing records, playing drums, and perfecting his BBQ pork shoulder recipe under an ever-gorgeous Oakland sky.


Ever since the invention of the telegraph, we have seen that space weather can affect our technology. However, we’ve only been in space for about 50 years studying the weather up there and lately it’s been getting stormy. We are approaching solar maximum, the time period when we expect to see more solar storms, more northern lights, and possibly more space weather impacts on our technology. With the successful launch of the Van Allen Probes and upcoming launch date of it’s much smaller (but in my biased opinion way cooler) sister mission BARREL, we hope to gain a better understanding of these space weather events and possibly one day be able to predict the next attack from killer electrons.

Alexa Halford is a prime example of what happens when you go to college in MN to take up space. She became a space physicist, and because she got her PhD in Oz, some times says x, y, zed instead of x, y, zee. When not having way too animated discussions about plasma waves, she teaches figure skating… which also happens to have a lot of physics involved in it. Physics is every where man, it’s just so cool!