Nerd Nite East Bay #22: Bitcoin, Cosmology, and Underwater Robots

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Grab a beer and then listen up to this month’s Nerd Nite East Bay. Jeremy Rue will tell you how the encryption built into Bitcoin protects your cash. Roger O’Brient, who works on BICEP2 and other cosmic microwave background telescopes will discuss what these high-profile experiments have to say about how our universe came to be. Finally, David Lang will show how us how makers are using OpenROV to explore our waters.

Citizen Zain, Rick, and Rebecca will provide the beats and sign your encryption keys.

Be there and be square.

Monday 8/25
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
The New Parkway, 474 24th St, Oakland
(less than half-a-mile from the 19th St BART)
$8
All Ages
FB
g+
Tickets

TO THE MOON!!!┗(°0°)┛HOW ENCRYPTION CAN CHANGE THE WAY OUR DIGITAL WORLD WORKS by Jeremy Rue

Some of you may have heard of Bitcoin, that crazy virtual currency with roller-coastering price fluctuations. But what you may not have heard is that the underlying technology running it is so brilliant, it could spark a revolution in how digital information is processed and verified online. Using encryption and distributed networking, Bitcoin solves some very fundamental computer science problems: it creates a system of trust in a place where trust should not be possible — that seedy underbelly of society known as the Interweb.

Jeremy is a lecturer of digital storytelling at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. He teaches classes on programming for journalists, multimedia storytelling and designing online news packages. He’s a former print reporter, photojournalist and web developer. With the right software tool, you can verify anything he digitally signs online by his PGP fingerprint: A2F8 9A6A EA47 1319 7465 69E4 BEE1 A29D 00CE 40C7.

TICKETS TO THE GUN SHOW: SEARCHING FOR GRAVITATIONAL WAVES WITH BICEP1 AND BICEP2 by Roger O’Brient

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Our team operates telescopes in the interior of Antarctica, searching the Cosmic Microwave Background for signatures of gravitational waves generated by the Big Bang. In March, our team announced that we had seen patterns consistent with these waves. In my talk, I’ll describe the science behind this measurement, specifically what we saw in our maps, and what implications this result may have for our universe’s origin and ultimate fate. Of course, critics have pointed out that this detection could just be glowing dust in our galaxy, so I’ll describe these critiques and how our team is moving forward to clarify what we’ve actually seen.

Roger O’Brient studied physics and cosmology at Caltech and Berkeley, where he also barely escaped a series of disasters relating to his hobbies of pyrotechnics, motorcycles, and beer-brewing. Despite this dubious history, the folks at NASA are surprisingly calm about letting him manage the CMB detectors program at Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He’s spent more than a decade looking for CMB B-modes, much of it designing and vetting the sensors that enable the current and next generation experiments. The game’s finally afoot, with numerous teams racing to understand how our universe operates at the highest conceivable temperatures.

OPENROV: LOW-COST TOOLS AND CONNECTED EXPLORATION by David Lang

Citizen science and exploration – the process of discovery by non-professionals – is at a tipping point. The idea is nothing new. Any attempt to research the history of “citizen science” quickly turns into, quite simply, the history of science. Benjamin Franklin, Darwin, Newton. It’s a colorful lineage. The idea has taken on new meaning in recent years, as networked groups of amateurs have proven effective in contributing to the advancement of scientific knowledge and understanding. Even more recently, within the past five years, the Maker Movement (the combination of low-cost tools and components, physical makerspace locations, and increasing access to the means of production) has accelerated the development of low-cost citizen science tools. Next stop: adventure!

David Lang is one of the co-founders of OpenROV, an open-source underwater robot and community of DIY robot builders. He is also a co-founder of OpenExplorer, a platform for DIY adventures and exploration. He is also the author of Zero to Maker and an occasional contributor to MAKE: Magazine.

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