NNEB 2016-01-new

Poster designed by Cindy Wang.


  • Sarah Strand has cancelled her talk. In her place, Sarah Houghton will present on badass Irish gods and goddesses.
  • Join us for Nerd Nite detention when doors open at 7. Hosted by Ann-Marie Benz!

The first Nerd Nite East Bay of the new year will have three amazing talks. NNSF and Nerd Nite Global alumni Jacob Ward (though I suppose you may also know him from Al Jazeera America and/or his stint as editor-in-chief of Popular Science) will shock you with tales of killer robots. Nerd Nite North Bay co-boss and librarian extraordinare Sarah Houghton will discuss the subject of one of her other masters degrees: Irish mythology. Finally, Lawrence McKendell will discuss the vast glory that can be found in gumbo.

Doors will open promptly at 7. We’re doing something new, so show up then for Nerd Nite Detention! This support group will be an opportunity to learn stuff before the talks, meet other people, and play “I’ve Never”. Grab a drink, bring a friend, and talk nerdy.

The bar also opens at 7 and ToliverWorks will sell food (they’re considering roasted butternut squash soup, lentil+green salad, and coconut corn bread. Yum!).

Rick, Rebecca, DJ Citizen Zain, and the Oakland Public Library will pilot the drones towards the groundhogs.

Be there and be square.

This event is 21+.

Monday 1/25/2016
Doors (+food,drink,"Detention" preshow) at 7 pm, talks start at 8 pm and end by 10:30 pm
Club 21, 2111 Franklin St, Oakland
(two blocks from the 19th St BART)

Advance tickets are $8 and are available until 3PM the day of the show or until they sell out.
Your CC statement will denote these come from Drinkified Learning, LLC.
Door tickets are $10 (cash or card).

more info

Robot Murder: Automation of Life and War in the US and Around the World by Jacob Ward

That robot vacuuming your carpet and guiding your car into a parking space was born in the military. Research into robotics in the United States and around the world is most heavily funded by military agencies, because of a simple truth: a robot ready for war not only keeps a human out of harm’s way, it keeps the human from getting in the way. Already, robotic weapons systems have removed human beings from the death-dealing decisionmaking process, and it’s going to get worse. Jacob Ward, science and technology correspondent for Al Jazeera America, describes the rise of killer robots, and how they’re poised to change conflict and the balance of power around the world.

Jake is the science and technology correspondent for Al Jazeera America and former editor in chief of Popular Science. He’s written for The New Yorker and Wired and starred in past Nerd Nite talks in SF and New York.

Evolution of Religion by Sarah Strand

UPDATE 22-JAN-2016
Sarah Strand has cancelled this talk. You can see her deliver it on April 14th at LASER in Davis or on YouTube.

Why has religion been present in human society since the dawn of mankind? Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection will provide a spring board for a description of the evolution of ideas, culture, and religion. Sarah will discuss the psychological origins of religion, showing that human brains are built to believe that “agents” are at work in the world. The presentation will conclude with evidence of how religion has “survived” by expanding and adjusting to changes in culture.

Sarah Strand is a behavioral neuroscientist, Psychology professor, and a lecturer on Neurotheology, and a triathlete. She’s a Minnesota-native, living in California, by way of Iowa and Massachusetts.

Celtic Mythology: The Most Bad Ass Mythology

You think you know Celtic mythology? Nope. Think fairies are cute little pixie dusting wish-granters? Wrong! They will steal your soul. Think the name CuChulainn has a “ch” sound in there somewhere? Uh-uh. Think Thor is the coolest thunder god? You will think Thor is a whiny punk after this talk. Thanks to the Irish Renaissance at the turn of the 20th century. we have access to a wealth of Celtic myths that were close to annihilation before the renewed interest in their cultural value.

Sarah Houghton is the Director of the San Rafael Public Library. She’s the co-founder of Nerd Nite North Bay and has Master’s degrees in both Irish mythology and library and information science. Sarah has blogged and consulted about technology, ethics, and the future of libraries for over a decade as the Librarian in Black.

The Art of Gumbo by Lawrence McKendell

What makes this magical elixir the quintessential dish of Louisiana?
Lawrence will discuss the New Orleans region, the history of gumbo, the ingredients and the steps to make a delicious pot of gumbo.

Lawrence McKendell has enjoyed many a bowl of file (Fee-Lay) gumbo. He was born and raised in California, but has family Creole roots going back to New Orleans’s 7th ward and the French quarter and possibly dating back to Jean Laffite the pirate…or was it pepe le pew? Either way he has deep roots in New Orleans. His fascination with gumbo comes from years of working in and around New Orleans and became more ingrained watching his mother and now his sisters meticulously prepare an always amazing pot of gumbo for the many family gatherings throughout the year. He runs mckendell design, an award winning graphic design company specializing in advertising and branding design for startups, legal, healthcare and wineries. Something you may not know…Lawrence wants to film a full-length movie using only the backup camera of his Toyota Prius.