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


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 !

Nerd Nite East Bay 57: Animal Maps, Industrial Zone Art, Daddy Long-legs

Join Nerd Nite East Bay at Club 21 in Uptown Oakland on Monday Sept 25 for

nerd nite head

Mapping Nature’s Elusive Animals

Art of the Emeryville Mud Flats

Animal Myths and Daddy Long-Legs

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

RSVP on Facebook

Start your night when the doors open at 7PM with pre-show games, beats by Citizen Zain, and info from the Oakland Public Library. Rakestraw Books will have copies of Oliver’s gorgeous book available. Then grab a drink and a seat as talks begin at 8PM.


Where the Wild Things Go
Using Modern Technology to Map Nature’s Elusive Animals

For thousands of years tracking animals meant following footprints, but now satellites, drones, cameras and cellular networks reveal the natural world in beautiful detail. See data-driven portraits of the surprising ways ants, owls, otters, turtles, and sharks navigate the world, and stunning representations of how elephants adapted to elevated railways, what drives baboon troop decisions, and how genetic islands of animals can be rescued with modern data.

Oliver Uberti is the co-author of Where the Animals Go (, which uses dataviz techniques to reveal the lives of individual animals. He was previously Senior Design Editor at National Geographic and once articulated a skeleton in his living room by combining bones from a spider monkey, gorilla, kudu, fruit bat, manatee, and sabertooth tiger.

Driftwood Dragons and Mudflat Monuments in the Emeryville Industrial Wasteland

From the turbulent 1970s and the contaminated mud of the East Bay off of Emeryville rose massive, whimsical and overtly political statues and sculptures made by renegade artists from driftwood and repurposed “junk”, the remnants of which can still be seen in the bay during the I-80 commute. Hear about the origin of the mudflat sculptures during the Free Speech Movement, and how this swamp of public art and radical expression became a critical flash point during the Bay Area’s destabilizing transition from an industrial hub to a tech and real estate capital of the modern world.

Liam O’Donoghue is the creator and host of the East Bay Yesterday podcast, which was recently awarded “Best of the Bay” by East Bay Express. He started the local history podcast because he enjoys talking to old people and was running out of abandoned buildings to sneak into.

Joey Enos is an artist, historian and works as a collections manager for The National Pastime Museum. His family operated the Michel & Pelton Company from 1929-1982 and has been in the East Bay for five generations, back when Emeryville was known as “The Rotten City.” Follow Joey’s curated collection of Mudflat Art pics on Instagram @emeryville_mudflats

Tall Tales of Daddy Long-Legs
How Animal Myths Begin and Endure

All children know that daddy long-legs are actually the most poisonous spiders, but their deadly fangs are just too short to bite you. Except daddy long-legs aren’t spiders, aren’t poisonous, and don’t have fangs. Learn about the origins and propagation of famous animal myths, and discover behavioral, morphological and physiological data that makes nature more interesting, (usually) less scary, and led to changes in robotic and prosthetic design.

Ignacio Escalante is a Costa Rican Field Biologist pursuing his PhD in biomechanics and the evolution of leg loss as a defensive strategy at UC-Berkeley. When not analyzing videos he is focused on avoiding venomous pit vipers at his field site.

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

Nerd Nite East Bay 8/25 and 8/28: Chabot Space, Pinball, Coney Island, 80s Arcades, Spice, SETI and More

Nerd Nite East Bay has two shows for you in August!

Fri Aug 25th at Oakland’s Chabot Space Center:  

Get Tickets    RSVP and talk details

Mon Aug 28th at Club 21 in Uptown: 

Get Tickets    RVSP and talk details

Join Nerd Nite East Bay at the Chabot Space and Science Center on Friday night 8/25 from 6-10PM for unlimited pinball, the museum with no kids, music, drinks, a showing of Tommy under the stars and three excellent talks!


Improving Your Pinball Skills with Science by Pacific Pinball Museum Founder and Executive Director Michael Schiess.

The Human Drive to Automate the World by Camie Bontaites of the Chabot Center’s Open Science Lab.

The Forgotten Coney Island of the West (right in the East Bay!) by Historians Dennis Evanosky and Eric J Kos.

Get Tickets for Aug 25th   

Aug 25th RSVP and talk details on Facebook

aug mon resize 400

Then on Monday Aug 28th join Nerd Nite East Bay at Club 21 for pre-show trivia, DJ Rubberband girl, Grilled Cheese guy, drinks, the Oakland Public Library and three excellent talks!

Using Modern Technology to Maintain the Great Arcade Games of the 1980s and 90s by Shawn and Meg Livernoche of High Scores Interactive Arcade Museum.

Earth’s Largest Search for Life with SETI’s massive new Breakthrough Listen Project by Emilio Enriquez of UC-Berkeley’s Breakthrough Listen.

Cellular Spice Receptors and Why Spicy Food Hurts Your Butt by Trace Dominguez of Seeker Science


Get Tickets for Aug 28th 

Aug 28 RVSP and Talk Details on Facebook



Nerd Nite Aug 28: Vintage Arcades, SETI, Spice Receptors

Join Nerd Nite East Bay at Club 21 in Uptown Oakland  on Monday August 28th for:

80s and 90s Arcades!
Spice Receptors!
SETI’s Breakthrough Listen Project!

plus pre-show Trivia!

Early bird tix just $8, $10 at the door (get them before they sell out!):

RSVP to the event on Facebook

Start your night when the doors open at 7PM with games, beats by Rubberband Girl AKA Small Wonder, gooey eats by Grilled Cheese Guy, and info from the Oakland Public Library, then grab a drink and a seat as the talks begin at 8PM.2017-8 poster draft 2 resize1

Citizen Kanes of the Arcade
Maintaining the Great Arcade Games of the 1980s and 1990s

Reminisce about the great and groundbreaking arcade games of the 1980s and 1990s and learn about the essential qualities that make these machines resonate today. As spare parts become scarce, the effort to find and maintain games with modern solutions that won’t compromise nostalgia becomes more important and more sophisticated. Discover how the best private and public vintage arcade game collections were built, and how the Citizen Kanes of the Arcade are being preserved for future generations.

Shawn and Meg Livernoche are the owners and curators of High Scores Interactive Arcade Museum in Alameda and Hayward They are game builders and preservationists heavily focused on the “golden age” of arcade gaming with a meticulously curated collection of over 150 titles. Shawn once drove a Donkey Kong Jr home in a two door Volkswagen Golf and Meg’s thumbnail was permanently disfigured under a Karate Champ cabinet in the middle of a bustling public sidewalk.

Surveying the Sky with SETI
Earth’s Largest Search for Alien Life

UC Berkeley’s Breakthrough Listen project is best described as SETI on steroids. Hear about the unique challenges that come with using our world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescopes to cover 10X more sky and 5X more radio spectrum than all previous efforts. Learn how this program is using more speed and data than astronomy has ever had available before to answer humanity’s biggest question: are we alone in the vast universe?

Emilio Enriquez conducts research in the Breakthrough Listen Lab at UC Berkeley. His work focuses on SETI, stellar flares and other astrophysical radio transient phenomena. He is originally from Mexico and is finishing his PhD in radioastronomy from Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands.

Why Spicy Food Hurts Your Butt

The mild heat of Frank’s Red Hot, the complex burn of Sriracha and the punch in the face pain of Mad Dog 357 all come from the activity of the receptor protein TPRV-1 in your mouth. But the same molecules that cause delicious pain in the human mouth also cause pain when… exiting the premises, even at vanishingly small concentrations. Find out why your body has complicated physiological reactions to eating and digesting spicy molecules, how your body dulls itself to the pain of spice, and why your butt evolved to feel the hot sauce mistakes you made the night before.

Trace Dominguez is the producer of the Seeker Science YouTube channel with over 1,000 videos on topics ranging from quantum mechanics to agriculture, materials to engineering, and yes, human poop. He has a background in science journalism, an affinity for spicy foods, and an unfortunately sensitive butt.

You can also join Nerd Nite East Bay in August for more excellent talks and unlimited pinball at our special event at Chabot Space & Science Center!

Chabot III: Return of Nerd Nite

nneb-chabotWe’re hosting alcohol-fueled educational talks at Chabot again on Friday August 25 . They have a pinball exhibit up with 30 machines you can play, courtesy our friends at the Pacific Pinball Museum [they’re awesome; you should also help them fund a permanent home!]

  • Tickets are $15.  We’ve sold out every time we’ve done this.
  • Friday, August 25th
    • 6PM – Doors
    • 7PM – Talks in Megadome
    • 8:30PM – Screening of Tommy in outdoor ampitheater
  • Beer and wine!
  • Food from Canasta Kitchen Food Truck
  • Amazing Talks!!!
    • The Science of Pinball by Michael Schiess, Pacific Pinball Museum
    • Why Humans Automate the World by Camie Bontaites, Chabot Center OpenScienceLab
    • History of Chabot and Neptune Beach by Dennis Evanosky and Eric J. Kos, East Bay Then & Now and
  • FB event

Nerd Nite East Bay 55: Black Panthers, Meat from Math, Regional Wonders with 99pi

Join Nerd Nite East Bay at Club 21 on Monday July 31st for:

Manufacturing Meat with Math!
Women and the Black Panther Party!
Regional Design Wonders with 99% Invisible and WebUrbanist!

Early bird tix just $8, $10 at the door:

July 2017 B smaller

RSVP to the event at 

Start your night when the doors open at 7PM with games by Ann-Marie Benz, beats by Rubberband Girl and eats by Miss Arepita, then grab a drink and a seat as talks begin at 8PM.

Women and the Black Panther Party

Oakland shaped the evolution of the Black Panther Party, and the city served as the launching point for the BPP’s nationwide expansion and critical social programs for communities of color. Learn about the history of strong women in the Bay Area Black Panther Party, the fight against the FBI’s counterintelligence program, and the sometimes forgotten stories of Panthers’ progressive political alliances, alternative community schooling and focus on LGBTQ rights that continue to shape California’s culture today.

Robyn C. Spencer is the author of The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender and the Black Panther Party and a historian at Lehman College in the Bronx ( She teaches courses on gender, Black radicalism and social protest after WWII. She continues to bring the Sixties back to life in her next book on the anti-Vietnam War movement in the Black community.

Regional Design Wonders of the World

Learn how 99% Invisible creates episodes and discover region-specific design solutions from around the world. From German’s tilt-and-turn windows and heated Japanese kotatsu tables to Calgary street signs, Finnish dish-drying cabinets and rotary clotheslines in Australia, see how objects designed in response to a region’s unique cultural and physical conditions can teach us about a place and the people who live there. Also peek behind the curtain at how 99% Invisible finds topics and creates their famous podcast episodes and multimedia articles about design.

Kurt Kohlstedt is a producer at 99% Invisible ( and founder of WebUrbanist ( He has been writing about urban art, architecture and design for over a decade. A recent transplant to the East Bay, he can regularly be seen photographing things like manhole covers and utility location tags on the streets of beautiful downtown Oakland, California.

Manufacturing Meat with Math

Science and math are turning plants directly into meat in Oakland, with no cows as highly inefficient meat machine middle men required. Learn how predictive models of olfactory perception can analyze plant-derived molecules and match them to chemical structures to create the flavor profiles of meats and dairy, and how statistical techniques can screen large libraries of small molecules for protein binding to generate the identical sensation of taste. Discover how combinatorial chemistry, gas chromatography, algorithms and veggies can create the next great burger and sustainably feed the world’s growing population.

Oliver Zahn is the Head of Data Science at Impossible Foods in Oakland. He was the Director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Cosmological Physics before deciding to use his experience with vast and complex real world data to unlock the world’s abundant plant-based protein stores and contribute to the survival of our planet and species.


RSVP to the event at

Join the Nerd Nite East Bay page!

#54: eSports, Argentine Ants, Early East Bay Baseball

NNEB Jun 2017

Poster by Rebecca Cohen.

Join Nerd Nite East Bay at Club 21 in Oakland on June 26th for:

Argentine Ants
eSports Explosion
East Bay Baseball before MLB

Start your night at 7PM playing Gigantic Jenga with Ann-Marie Benz, hear beats by DJ Citizen Zain and enjoy eats by Grilled Cheese Guy. Talks begin at 8PM.

Early bird tix just $8, $10 at the door:


How eSports Powered Up

Get UP UP, not DOWN DOWN for Nerd Nite this month and don’t be LEFT out as we learn what’s gone so RIGHT to make eSports a billion dollar industry, and what’s LEFT to take this sport RIGHT into the mainstream. While Twitch and Blizzard have led to suddenly famous teenagers playing for millions of dollars in sold out arenas, there is also a dark side as the maturing industry struggles with stability, diversity and the ten hour practice days needed to B A success. Think you’re ready for huge money from your own pentakill on Summoner’s Rift with the eSports arena opening in Jack London Square? Come to the show to get your START!

Roland Li is the author of Good Luck Have Fun: The Rise of eSports and covers real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He grew up in New York and moved to the Bay Area in 2015, where his life was changed with his first Mission burrito.

Argentine Ants, the Gateway Bug

A single ant colony from Argentina has now filled almost six hundred miles of California’s coastline, and brought with it an equally huge opportunity for education outreach. Learn about the surprisingly similarities in social behavior between this and other insect groups when compared to human populations, and what this can teach us about the future of humans’ own worldwide supercolony. Also discover the unseen world of insects right below your feet using ongoing citizen science projects and learn why ants are the perfect “gateway bug” to get the public interested in science.

Jenna Florio is a Research Assistant at the California Academy of Sciences where she develops projects for the public and scientists to work together on backyard insect populations. She has studied the social behavior of spiders in the jungles of Costa Rica, the migrating behavior of malaria mosquitos, and loves both insects and humans enough to inspire her current work on keeping ants out of your kitchen.

East Bay Baseball Before MLB

The Oakland A’s are now #RootedInOakland, but the roots of professional baseball in the Bay Area stretch back over 150 years. Starting with the Live Oaks Base Ball Club in 1866, Oakland became a hub for professional baseball outside of the Major Leagues. Oakland was also one of the pioneering locations for racial integration with the first African-American to play in organized white baseball a half century before Jackie Robinson, and the East Bay also featured an early integrated league. Discover the locations of long lost stadiums scattered throughout the Bay Area, get an old timey base ball demonstration by Bay Area Vintage Base Ball and learn about the significant history of baseball in the East Bay before the arrival of the A’s and Giants.

Cyrus [suh-ROOS] Farivar is the Senior Business Editor at Ars Technica, and is also an author and radio producer. A fourth-generation Californian, Cyrus grew up with the Los Angeles Dodgers but frequently can be found at the Oakland Coliseum when the tickets are only $5.

Get more resources on each topic at the Oakland Public Library.


Club 21, Oakland

Facebook Event

Nerd Nite East Bay 53: Crawdads, Swingin’ 70s A’s, Greenhouse History

NNEB May 2017

Join Nerd Nite East Bay at Club 21 in Oakland on Monday May 29th for

The Swingin’ 70s A’s
Crawfish History and Cooking
The Scientists of Global Warming

Start your night with trivia games by Ann-Marie Benz and tasty food from The Lumpia Company, hear good tunes from Rubberband Girl AKA Small Wonder, support Swords to Plowshares and catch up with the Oakland Public Library, then grab a drink and a seat as the talks begin at 8PM.

Early bird tickets just $8, tickets $10 at the door.


Who’s Your Daddy?
The Unique (and Tasty) History of Crawfish

Lobsters are Red, Crabs can be Blue, Learn to Catch and Cook Crawfish, They’re Good Eatin’ Too! Discover the unique natural history of “the lobster’s ugly cousin” and its revered place in the culture of New Orleans. Break away from the industrial catch and learn how to capture your own crawfish, plus expert instruction on crawfish cooking and the critical “pinch, suck and moltin boil” that will help you crush your next crustacean meal.

Lawrence McKendell is an expert on the history and culinary delights of crawdads. Raised in Orinda with roots from New Orleans, he’s also the owner and creative director of the web and graphic design firm McKendell Design and appears in the local weekly video podcasts “Scooberlicious Ultimate” and “The 510”.

Charlie and the Championship Factory
The Swingin’ A’s of the Swingin’ ‘70s

Facial hair, neon clothes and so much swinging: the Oakland A’s WERE the 1970s. Led by charismatic and perhaps crazy owner Charlie O. Finley, the Athletics won titles, introduced ball girls, hot pants and MC Hammer to the world, filled newspapers with stories of clubhouse fights, and brought hippie hair and handlebar mustaches back to baseball for the first time in fifty years. Check out vintage video of Oakland, hear how 1970s Oakland pride once centered on the A’s, and see how it all suddenly came crashing down.

Jason Turbow is the best-selling author of the book Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic, about the bawdy, brawling Oakland A’s of the 1970s that utterly transformed baseball. His books can be found wherever fine books are sold and

Greenhouse Classes
The Scientists Who Discovered Global Warming

In retrospect, hints about the effects of fossil fuel combustion on earth’s climate have been scattered throughout physics textbooks for over four hundred years. See the “debate” about global warming and the greenhouse effect from a different perspective as we travel through history and see what Sir Isaac Newton’s constituent colors of light, Herschel’s work on sun spots, Tyndall’s study of gases and Svante Arrhenius’s first calculations on planetary CO2 teach us about the modern warming world.

Avi Flamholz studies the origins and engineering of photosynthesis in the Graduate Program in Biology at the University of California at Berkeley.

Doors at 7PM, Talks at 8PM.