Nerd Nite 66: Key Streetcars, Deep Space Network, Art & Health

Drink and learn at July’s Nerd Nite East Bay with lectures on the history of public transit in the East Bay, incorporating art in medicine, and NASA’s worldwide network of spacecraft communication facilities.

  • $8 advance tix/$10 at the door
  • Monday July 30, 2018
    • 7PM: Doors and Games
    • 8PM: Talks
  • Club 21, 2111 Franklin St, Oakland
    • 2 blocks from 19th St BART
  • 21+
  • RSVP to the event on Facebook

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The Key System: East Bay Mass Transit in the 1900s

In the early 1900s, the Borax King consolidated horse cars and electric streetcars to serve Richmond, Albany, Berkeley & Oakland, allowing, in the words of retired radio announcer Fred Krock, “the East Bay to become a bedroom community for San Francisco”. Hear how the Key System provided over 50 years of luxury travel at almost the same rate-of-travel as BART and how it was ulitmately done in by the high costs of deferred maintenanance and a conspiracy of private automobile companies.

Allan Fisher is the curator of the Western Railway Museum Archives in Suisun City and supervises 32 volunteers who work in a 5000 square foot temperature and humidity controlled archives and library that houses corporate papers and images from the Northern California Electric Railroads. For 32 years, he was an Operating Officer and system executive staff member for the Penn Central and Conrail.

Can you hear me now? Communicating with the Deep Space Network

Welcome to the Center of the Universe. Or at least the central place we can communicate from. How do we talk to our fleet of robots that are exploring in and betond our solar system? How did we help confirm plate tectonics, bounce signals off the moon, and protect ourselves from near earth asteroids? NASA’s Deep Space Network is the hidden backbone of the space program. Discover how it works, how it sometimes doesn’t, and how we need to protect it from hackers and funding cuts.

Shannon Stirone is a freelance science writer based in the Bay Area. Her work has appeared in Popular Science, The Atlantic, Wired, The New Republic and others. She covers topics ranging from super-resistance space bacteria to planetary exploration and space policy.

The Art of Healing

Healthcare is broken. Doctors and nurses are burned out and leaving their jobs and the profession for saner waters. We are using risky, expensive medical interventions but not using cheaper and safer interventions (like Expressive Arts Therapy) to help people heal from illness. What are some examples of successfully using art to improve outcomes and how can this become the norm?

Alan Siegel is a Family Doc with over 20 years of practicing medicine with underserved populations in Richmond/San Pablo, teaching residents, and leading medical group visits. He founded and leads Art of Health and Healing, a program to bring the arts into Contra Costa County’s health system. He also leads an R&B/Motown/Blues band: The Rhythm Method.


Nerd Nite 65: Comic Con Origins, Insatiable Alcibiades, Dark Matter Detection


  • $8 advance tix/$10 at the door
  • Monday June 25, 2018
    • 7PM: Doors and Games
    • 8PM: Talks
  • Club 21, 2111 Franklin St, Oakland
    • 2 blocks from 19th St BART
  • 21+
  • FB event

Mind Over (Dark) Matter: How Scientists Invent New Ways to Detect Dark Matter

Learn why the search for dark matter takes us deep underground to a former gold mine and requires 20% of the world’s entire supply of xenon, and why the “unsuccessful” LUX detector actually taught us a lot about our universe without seeing anything at all. Then follow the path from new hardware to new data to new breakthroughs as the new LZ detector races to identify the elusive dark matter particles that make up 95% of our reality, and why finding them is so important.

Lucie Tvrznikova works on direct dark matter detection at the Berkeley Lab in her PhD studies. Originally from Prague, she is part of the LUX and LZ dark matter collaborations and built a spark-making detector at LBL called XeBrA. She enjoys getting her hands dirty in her work and joined CrossFit so she could tighten all the nuts and bolts.

The Insatiable Alcibiades of Athens

Beautiful geniuses come in many forms, and the legendary Alcibiades of Athens was likely the most absurd. A brilliant tactician in war, a stunning orator, obscenely wealthy, and attractive beyond compare, he carried on with Plato, then heroically led Athens to victory over the Spartans before switching sides and leading Spartan armies back against Athens, all while bedding the King’s wife. Put on your Nerd Nite toga and follow the *quite* circuitous path of one of history’s most ridiculous characters.

Teddy de Groot graduated from the UW Madison’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, but has taken an inexplicable interest in classical studies and the history that was written before all the stories were ruined by Germans and their 19th century socioeconomic explanations for everything.

The Comic Con Origin Story

Delve deep into the prequel-worthy origin stories of sci-fi fandom and Comic Con in America. Find out how Comic Con went from a small gathering of the world’s most passionate comics fans at the Hotel Coronado to the modern behemoth that drove comics, science fiction and cosplay into the cultural mainstream. Plus hear reports from the very first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939, attended by aspiring young writers Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov, where the founder of science fiction fandom Forrest J Ackerman introduced the first known cosplay.

Bob Calhoun is the author of Shattering Conventions. He writes the Yesterday’s Crimes feature for SF Weekly, a monthly column and video feature for Meetings Today, the trade magazine covering the conventions industry, and wrote “Blood, Beer and Cornmeal”, chronicling his experiences as a wrestler in San Francisco’s own Incredibly Strange Wrestling League in the 1990s.


Nerd Nite East Bay: Vines, California Cartography, and Materials on 5/28

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Online tickets just $8 in advance at

RSVP on Facebook at

Monday 5/28/2018
Doors, food, drink, and preshow games at 7 pm, talks start at 8 pm and end by 10pm.
Club 21, 2111 Franklin St, Oakland
(two blocks from the 19th St BART)

The Weird Wood and World of Woody Vines

The woody vines known as lianas, long considered merely a garden nuisance that likes to creep along fences and glue themselves to buildings, have started to dominate tropical forests around the world in response to carbon dioxide shifts due to climate change and forest fragmentation. Learn about the evolution and development of novel wood and cellular composition in ilanas that are fundamentally different from the wood in trees and shrubs, and how these structures are responsible for the ability of woody vines to continuously twist, turn and cling as they move towards available sunlight, endangering natural habitats around the world.

Joyce Chery is a PhD candidate in Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley studying the evolution of vascular cambial variants in the ilianas. She is a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow and a UC Berkeley Chancellors Fellow.

The California Field Atlas

The #1 best-selling California Field Atlas blends science and art to guide readers outside normal conceptions of California. Learn about the grand scale of natural systems like tectonic plates and watersheds and the small scale details of wildflower gardens that combine to make up the myriad ecologies, topographies, and histories of the interconnected fifty-eight counties in our state. Think about our natural world in a different way through hand-painted maps, spirited wildlife illustrations and trail paintings from the book already celebrated as a quintessential love letter to California.

Obi Kaufmann is the author of the California Field Atlas (Heyday Books), winner of the 2017 Phelan Award for California Literature. A naturalist, painter and systems-thinker by inclination, Obi’s cartography balances ecology and aesthetics as driving and orienting forces across California’s largest living networks.  An avid conservationist, Obi Kaufmann speaks on issues of ecological restoration and preservation throughout the state, and through Planet Earth Arts he will be the artist in residence in the Creative Writing program at Stanford University in 2018.

How Materials Science Finds Answers in Failures

Much of modern society is based on the unique properties of complex new materials, and materials scientists break things on purpose in the lab to ensure resiliency and safety in the real world. Learn how famous broken objects like highways, planes and spacecraft tell interesting stories precisely because material science had already put them through tests to ensure that the unexpected would be avoided, and how failures in infrastructure start a critical race to discover what went wrong so future disasters can be avoided.

 Mingxi Zheng is a materials engineer at Carbon specializing in fracture mechanics and new materials development and received her MS degree in materials science and engineering from UC-Berkeley. She was recognized with a UCB Grad Slam Award, built rockets at SpaceX and Virgin Orbit as a metallurgist, and spent years convincing people that majoring in breaking things was useful. Now she spend time thinking of new applications for the company’s custom polymers and 3D printer.


Grilled Cheese Guy, DJ Rubberband Girl, and The Oakland Public Library.

Online tickets just $8 in advance at

Nerd Nite East Bay 4/30: Polyandrous Tamarins, History of Roller Coaster Design, Merritt College Protests


Join Nerd Nite East Bay on Mon. April 30 at Club 21 in Uptown Oakland, just one block from 19th St BART for:

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The History of Roller Coaster Design

Evolution of Polyandrous Alpha Female Societies

The 1971 Merritt College Protest

Doors at 7, Talks at 8. Online Tix $8, $10 at door:

RSVP to the event on Facebook HERE.

White Hills, Black Flats: Black Studies and the Struggle for Community Control of Merritt College

Disappointed with the failures of integration and the racist curricula and hiring practices of the 1960s, Black students took over the administration building at Oakland’s Merritt College on March 15, 1971 to protest the relocation of the campus from the city’s flatlands to the hills. Merritt holds significance for the Black Studies, Black Campus, and Black Power Movements as home to the first Black Studies Department and home of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Learn about Oakland history and education politics in the 1950s and 60s and how protesting students sought complete community control of Merritt College as an independent and reimagined “Huey P. Newton College” that would serve the needs of the adjacent community.

Rasheed Shabazz is a creative cultural communicator working in journalism, education, and public history. He received his Bachelor’s degrees in African American Studies and Political Science from UC Berkeley and minored in City and Regional Planning. He would’ve attended Merritt College, but transportation up the hill was a challenge. Rasheed is currently working on a book project about African American history in Alameda, California, titled Alameda is our Home. While at Cal, he participated in the McNair Scholars Program and developed the manuscript for this presentation.

The Long Looping History of Roller Coaster Design

When the first Gravity Switchback Car drifted down the wooden slopes of Coney Island at a stunning six miles per hour, it began an American obsession with roller coasters that use speed and gravity for our entertainment. Hear how inventions like upstop wheels led to the Golden Age of roller coasters in the 1920s (including the Santa Cruz Giant Dipper), learn how California innovations like the corkscrew and modern inverted loop rescued and reinvigorated iconic amusements parks in the 1970s, and discover how today’s Megacoasters push fun from high speed physics to the not quite breaking point.

Nicholas Laschkewitsch represents American Coaster Enthusiasts, a worldwide roller coaster enthusiast group dedicated to the enjoyment and preservation of roller coasters. He has spent nearly 20 years researching the amusement industry and is currently studying mechanical engineering at San Jose State University with hopes to design roller coasters and themed attractions.

Tamarin Females Make a (Helpful) Monkey Out Of Males

Female tamarin monkeys (probably) got tired of terrible Tinder dates and formed a unique cooperative polyandrous society where females are the undisputed alphas and multiple males are the primary caregivers. Discover how these primates broke the Bateman curve and the unorthodox theories of next generation inheritance that ensure male investment in the care of offspring. See how twinning, group augmentation and genetic chimeras led these tiny monkeys to have weird (and maybe better) sex, and learn about the rare human societies that do it the same way.

Gustav “Tavi” Steinhardt is a behavioral ecologist in biological anthropology at Berkeley, where he studies evolutionary neuroscience and social behavior in small South American monkeys for his PhD project. Tavi chases monkeys in the Peruvian Amazon all summer and spends the rest of the year alone in a room full of pickled brains.

Plus preshow games from 7-8PM with Ann-Marie Benz, beats from DJ Rubberband Girl, craft beer from Uptown’s Club 21, food from The Lumpia Company, and brain-filling info from the Oakland Public Library.

Doors at 7, Talks at 8. Online Tix $8, $10 at door:

March 26 2018: Thermal Comfort, Quantum Communist, East Bay Hills History


Thermal Comfort, Quantum Communist, East Bay Hills History



Join Nerd Nite East Bay on Monday March 26th at Club 21 in Uptown Oakland (one block from 19th St BART) for:

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Engineering Thermal Comfort into the Built Environment
Questioning the Core of Quantum Physics with Communists
Tall Trees in the Wild West of the East Bay

Doors at 7, Talks at 8. Online Tix $8, $10 at door:

Questioning the Core of Quantum Physics with Communists
Quantum physics attempts to explain reality, but Heisenberg and Bohr’s famous “Copenhagen Interpretation” of quantum mechanics fails to answer some simple questions and paradoxes about the real world. A revolutionary second theory, encouraged by Einstein, answered many of these questions with faster than light “pilot waves” and instant connections between distant particles, but was weighed down by the Communist associations of the discoverer, David Bohm, and forgotten during Bohm’s exile to Brazil. Learn how Bohm’s theory simultaneously provokes backlash in the physics community and also provided inspiration for Bell’s Theorem and modern quantum information processing, all without killing Schrödinger’s cat.

Adam Becker is the author of What is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics ( He has appeared on The Story Collider and is an astrophysicist and visiting scholar in the Office for the History of Science and Technology at UC Berkeley ( Adam once fought off a horde of feral geocentrists but still sometimes forgets that not everything revolves around him.

Turning Up the Thermo-State: Engineering Comfort Into the Built Environment
Creating comfortable spaces once relied on keeping a building’s temperature between 70 and 75 degrees, but modern engineering and architecture has expanded to include design decisions that create the sensation of thermal comfort even outside rigid temperature parameters. Learn about the differences between naturally ventilated vs. air conditioned buildings, and discover the modern engineering tricks that tweak expectations and manipulate mental perception to create comfort in the built environment, even for individuals with very different coziness requirements.

Jared Landsman is a Building Performance Engineer at Integral Group in Oakland, where he works on energy and comfort analysis for the built environment. Previously he researched passive architecture and thermal comfort at UC-Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment (

Towering Trees and the Wild West of the East Bay
Before the Oakland Hills were dotted with million dollar homes they were truly part of the Wild West. Yankee bullwhackers, indigenous people of the Bay Area, and Californios of Mexican descent all lived and worked in the shadow of the massive redwoods, with trees taller than the Tribune Tower providing distinct ecological environments, timber, and even navigation aid to ships entering San Francisco Bay. Learn about the early dwellers of the East Bay Hills, the natural history of the Bay Area’s tallest trees, and how modern science reverse-engineered information from old sea captain hazard lines to discover the location of legendary Redwoods found in the early literature of the East Bay.

Amelia Sue Marshall is the author of East Bay Hills: A Brief History published in October by Arcadia/The History Press ( She is an engineering graduate of UC Berkeley and worked in nerdish jobs for the University until 2012. John Nicoles is a licensed forester who spent most of his career with the East Bay Regional Park District. Work on where the Navigation Redwoods once stood led to the designation of a state historical landmark in the Roberts Regional Recreation Area in the East Bay.

Plus pre-show games from 7-8PM with Ann-Marie Benz, beats from Citizen Zain, delicious food from Miss Arepita, craft beer from Uptown’s Club 21, books from Oakland’s Laurel Bookstore and brain-filling info from the Oakland Public Library.

Doors and games at 7PM, Talks Begin at 8PM. Tix:

Nerd Nite East Bay Feb 26: Thirsty Flies, Star Wars Law, Trauma Responses


Join Nerd Nite East Bay at Club 21 in Uptown on Monday Feb 26th for:

Why Don’t Flies Get Fat?
JDs and Jedi: Star Wars and the Law
Social and Biological Responses to Trauma

Doors at 7, Talks at 8. Online Tix $8, $10 at door:

The Thirst Is Real(ly an Interesting Question in Fruit Flies)

Why don’t flies get fat, how do they know when to stop drinking, and what can humans learn from the BMI and brains of Drosophila melanogaster? Learn how new transgenic techniques allow us to see the real time activity of neurons in a living brain and manipulate the neural response to hunger and thirst. Discover how specific neurons balance the need for calories vs. the need for water by controlling behavior, and how the control system used by fruit flies functionally overlaps with the same system in humans.

Nick Jourjine uses fruit flies to study neural circuits regulating hunger and thirst in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley. He also crafted genes from scratch at the Max Planck Institute to study how cellular identity is determined. Nick thinks Drosophila melanogaster is super fly.

JDs and Jedi: How the Law Works in the Star Wars Universe

Interpreting the law on our own planet is already complicated, but what happens when it expands to a Galaxy Far, Far Away? Is it okay that Han shot first? Does Rey really own Luke’s lightsaber? Was Jedha’s destruction a war crime? And are C-3PO and R2-D2 now a common law couple? Follow along as the Legal Geeks activate the fully operational battle station of the law to bring (legal) order to the Star Wars Galaxy.

Josh Gilliland is the co-creator of the award-winning Legal Geeks blog and a former presenter at Nerd Nite LA and Nerd Nite San Diego. His work focuses on eDiscovery, and he has spoken at legal conferences and Comic-Con. Josh also ties a mean bow tie.

Social and Biological Responses to Trauma

Much of the science of chronic trauma is based on animal studies, but the human emotional and physiological response to difficult conditions is much more complicated. Hear how brain development, epigenetics and the endocrine system can be altered by trauma, how psychological health and late onset physical problems can be tied to early changes in development, and how these biological changes should not be thought of as defects, but as the human body’s resilient way to adapt to a traumatic world. Also learn how a fuller understand of mental well-being as a product of both biology and social context will improve outcomes.

Gabby Falzone is a Doctoral Candidate in Social & Cultural Studies in the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education. She aspires to work as a bridge between academia and marginalized communities by translating academic research into accessible community formats and by prioritizing community knowledge into research.

Plus decorate Wookie Cookies from 7-8PM with Ann-Marie Benz, hear beats from Citizen Zain, get eats from Grilled Cheese Guy, drink delicious craft beer from Club 21 and fill your brain with info from the Oakland Public Library.

Doors at 7, Talks at 8. Online Tix $8, $10 at door:

Nerd Nite East Bay Jan 29: Firescaping, Augmented Reality, Bay Cocktail History

Join Nerd Nite East Bay at Club 21 in Uptown Oakland on Monday, Jan 29th for


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Fighting Fires With Flora
Optic Nerve Manipulation for Augmented Reality
Hidden History of Bay Area Cocktails

Online presale tix $8, $10 at door:

Doors and games at 7, talks at 8. Two blocks from 19th St. BART.

You can also get your tickets now for SF Beer Week 2018: Nerd Nite East Bay BEER Edition!

Jan 29th Show Facebook RSVP

Flora Firewall: Fighting Fires With Flowers
Wildfires can burn at a rate of nearly fifteen miles per hour, so human understanding of how different plants respond to fire conditions is crucial. Firescaping looks at how aesthetic concerns interact with safety, and how a deeper knowledge of plant physiology and classification can help prevent plants from becoming tiki torches. Learn how clever combinations of plant cuttings and smart species sequencing may contribute to your own elegant flora firewall.

Jennifer de Graaf is the Director of Education for ReScape California and an instructor at the UC-Berkeley Landscape Architecture Department. She is a landscape architect focused on housing and commercial developments, a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP), Bay Friendly Qualified Professional and Rater (BFQP) and a Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL).

Optic Nerve Manipulation and Augmented Reality
Ten million years ago our primate ancestors evolved a novel additional “channel” of vision in the optic nerve, with important implications for how humans use and combine both vision pathways to see the world around us. Many of the famous optical illusions are based on the relationship between the two vision channels, and augmented reality products have started to utilize this two path structure to enhance and improve reality with supplementation by computer processing. Manipulate your own vision pathways with on stage demonstrations of optical illusions, and learn how neuroscience and a changing philosophy of language are driving a new way of seeing the world.

Doyle Saylor works for the East Bay Center for the Blind in Berkeley and was part of the working group on web accessibility standards for people with disabilities after receiving his degree in film making from the San Francisco Art Institute. His current interest focuses on how seeing contributes to Augmented Reality in an era where information is available at all times on mobile devices.

The Hidden History of Bay Area Cocktails
The cocktail renaissance that swept along the West Coast in the 1990s and continues today owes much of its genesis to a small bar in the East Bay that brought classic drinks back from the edge of extinction. Shanna Farrell of the Oral History Center at UC Berkeley uncovered the lost history of a cocktail book passed between daring new bartenders throughout the Bay Area, drink evolution driven by one of the world’s first “cocktail blogs”, and how East Bay nightlife become a lot better (and a little drunker) from one man’s push to bring the new cocktail canon to California.
Shanna Farrell is the author of Bay Area Cocktails: A History of Culture, Community and Craft. Her audio work has been featured on Gravy, a podcast from the Southern Foodways Alliance and she is the co-host of the Prix Fixe podcast, a new show about the intersection of food and drink. Get the book at

Doors and preshow games at 7, music from Rubberband Girl AKA Small Wonder, food from Miss Arepita-Arepa Mobile, and info from the Oakland Public Library. See you on January 29th!


Nerd Nite East Bay #59: Pilgrims, Oakland Shipping Cranes, Urban Wine


Join Nerd Nite East Bay at Club 21 in Uptown Oakland

on Monday Nov 27 for

The Appalling Pilgrims
Oakland Shipping Cranes
Urban Wine Making

Online tix just $8, $10 at the door:
Doors and preshow games at 7, talks begin at 8.

Thanksgiving Sinners: True Stories of the Appalling Pilgrims

This November, get your understand of the Pilgrim journey to Plymouth rocked. With a well-known origin story that turns out to be mostly false, the Pilgrims set sail with a cargo hold full of heresy, sedition and hanky panky, took a brief, comical stop in the Netherlands, and arrived in the New World to found one of history’s most dysfunctional societies. Find out the truth behind the Pilgrims forgotten foibles and hear terrible stories of disaster and intolerance that are even worse than Thanksgiving dinner with your racist uncle.

Arthur Kay has presented on unexpected outré history and science at Odd Salon, Nerd Nite, the California Academy of Sciences, and the California Historical Society. He’s also an attorney, though not one of the interesting kinds, and enjoys old-timey sodas.

A Tour of Oakland’s Modern and Historic Shipping Cranes

The famous tours of Oakland’s shipping cranes and harbor seaport immediately sell out each year, so Nerd Nite East Bay brings the tour to you! Discover how the immensely complex Port of Oakland functions, go on a deep dive into the golden age of megaships, get a guided tour of specific ships and cranes, and learn about the history of the Port of Oakland as the agricultural gateway of America and economic engine of the Bay Area.

Robert Bernardo is the Communications Manager for the Port of Oakland. He’s also a local politician, former law enforcement officer, and a superfan of The Walking Dead.

Pour Decisions Driving Oakland’s Urban Wine Industry

The Bay Area is at the leading edge of the urban winemaking renaissance, with wineries thriving in repurposed industrial spaces throughout Oakland. Find out how the business of small growers and urban wine differs from the tasting rooms of Napa, how unique varietals like Chenin Blanc and Grenache are utilized, and go beyond the basics to get the gritty, unexpected details of how science turns grapes into delicious social lubrication.

Fred Dick started Oakland’s Urbano Cellars Winery with Bob Rawson in 2006 after a couple of successful garage vintages and a few UC Davis enology classes, with a focus on sustainable vineyard practices and underappreciated varietals.

Start your night when the doors open at 7PM with pre-show games and food from The Lumpia Company, hear beats by Rubberband Girl AKA Small Wonder and get info from the Oakland Public Library. Then grab a drink and a seat as talks begin at 8PM.

Online tix just $8, $10 at the door:

Nerd Nite East Bay #58: Cephalopods, Cthulhu, CRISPR


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Join Nerd Nite East Bay at Club 21 in Oakland on Monday Oct 30th for our special Fifth Anniversary Show with the Bay Area Science Festival! Alcohol, music, a free Nerd Nite-brand multi-tool (yes, it opens beers) plus:

How the Monster Squid Lost Its Shell
Using CRISPR DNA Editing to Make Life Weird
Cthulhu, Horror Writing’s Most Terrifying Monster

Early bird tix just $8, $10 at the door:
Doors, music and pre-show games at 7. Talks at 8.

CRISPR DNA Editing Gets Weird

CRISPR has revolutionized our ability to easily alter genomic DNA, and has quickly created opportunities to change life in important, strange, superfluous and weird ways. Learn how CRISPR has manipulated myostatin to emulate muscular superheroes, manufactured mesmerizing micropigs, manhandled malaria in mosquitos, and might make TB-free cows, modern mammoths and magnificent marijuana.

Megan Hochstrasser and Kevin Doxzen studied CRISPR in the Doudna lab in the PhD program at UC Berkeley and work in science communication at the Innovative Genomics Institute. Kevin spends his free time watching the Warriors and eating strawberry Pop-Tarts, while Megan adores Clue (both the board game and the movie) and everything about Fiona Apple.

The Cult of Cthulhu: A Century of Cosmic Horror Writing

H.P. Lovecraft created the weird fiction genre and revealed Cthulhu, a strange alien god that dwells on the very periphery of human perception and one of the most foreboding and unsettling monsters in all of literature. Consider Cosmicism, a philosophy based on the utter insignificance of the human race within a vast, carnivorous cosmos, and discover the cult of authors who have added to Lovecraft’s terrifying creations over the last century.

Ross E. Lockhart is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Word Horde and edited the acclaimed Lovecraftian anthologies The Book of Cthulhu I and II and Cthulhu Fhtagn!. Recent horror books from Word Horde include John Langan’s Bram Stoker Award-winning novel “The Fisherman” and the new Ouija-themed “Tales from the Talking Board”. Lockhart lives in Petaluma with his wife Jennifer, hundreds of books, and Elinor Phantom, his Shih Tzu/editorial assistant.

How the Monster Squid Lost Its Shell

Ancient cephalopods were the original sea monsters, as these gigantic and bizarre predators moved slowly through the oceans and ate everything in their path. But the evolution of fast-swimming, shell-crunching fish turned these once fearsome hunters into the hunted. Learn how cephalopods survived by changing from tentacle terrors into shell-less modern masters of speed, camouflage, and brainpower.

Danna Staaf is the author of Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods, which chronicles the 500-million-year evolutionary journey of cephalopods from masters of the primordial sea to calamari on your dinner plate. She earned her PhD in “Squid Sex and Babies” from Stanford University, works as a freelance science writer and lives in San Jose with her husband, kids, cats, and an astounding array of plush cephalopods. Book available at

Music and entertainment provided by Rubberband Girl AKA Small Wonder, with beer and cocktails from Club 21, food for sale from Grilled Cheese Guy, preshow games hosted by Ann-Marie Benz, and lots of extra info from the Oakland Public Library. See you at our Fifth Anniversary Show!
Tickets available now:

Nerd Nite and Hoodslam: SCIENCE-Slam!

We’re teaming up with Hoodslam, Nerd Nite San Francisco, and the Bay Area Science Festival on this madness.
Scientists are more selfish and twisted than the DNA double helix! For every heroic Rosalind Franklin using x-rays to see through life’s mysteries, there’s the base behavior of Watson and Crick scheming to steal her data and her Nobel Prize. Hoodslam and Nerd Nite team up as Franklin searches for revenge, while the air is filled with a distinct Musk of hatred as Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison face off in a match that is guaranteed to shock. Don’t deny your interest in the Science Denial Royal Rumble, where anti-vaccine advocates try to push climate change deniers off the edge of the Flat Earth.
  • Tickets are $20.  Our Science Festival events tend to sell out.
  • Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! October 29th, 7-9PM
  • Oakland Metro Opera House, 522 2nd Street, Oakland.
  • Full bar
  • FB event

21+, $20 cover, #dontbringyourfnkids !