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.


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

NNEB Jun 2017

Poster by Rebecca Cohen.

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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

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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

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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.

Nerd Nite East Bay 52: Bug Life Lessons, Best Ways to Die, Political Ad Art


Poster by Rebecca Cohen.

Join Nerd Nite East Bay at Club 21 in Oakland on Monday April 24th for

Life Lessons From Bugs
Science’s Best Ways to Die
Art of Political TV Spots

Mingle as the doors open at 7PM, have tasty food from Grilled Cheese Guy, good tunes from Citizen Zain, 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.


Tickets Available HERE:

Insights From Insects
Be Better By Anthropomorphizing Arthropods

Follow the blinking bug butt-lights into a better understanding of being human. Insects display some of the very best traits humans hope for in our own species, and offer value lessons on self-improvement. See from the perspective of rain beetles, learn how cockroaches teach us the consequences of stereotypes, discover what dung beetles display about the importance of persistence, admire the adorable optimism of baby spiders, and catch caterpillars getting comfortable with uncertainty.

Ralph Washington Jr. is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and two-time National Champion of insect natural history trivia. He is President of the UC Student Association (UCSA) and has studied insects since he was eight years old. Ralph believes many problems can benefit from an entomological solution, even if that solution is a prey-subduing toxic fart.

Carpe Die-em
The World’s Most Interesting Ways To Die

You love science and will die eventually anyway, so get a serious answer to the ultimate question: what’s the most interesting way to die, scientifically-speaking? Are you totally boned if you get eaten by the bone eating snot flower, or should you be Jonah-sing to get swallowed by a whale? Should you stick your head into a nuclear particle accelerator, jump into an interstellar black hole, or take a dip outside a deep-sea submarine in Speedos? Learn how science can make the most boring life turn into one hell of an obituary.

Paul Doherty is the author And Then You’re Dead: The World’s Most Interesting Ways to Die. He received his PhD in physics from MIT and develops workshops with the Exploratorium Teacher Institute and publishes them on his webpage. Paul was given the Faraday Science Communicator award by the NSTA and is the author of many books, including The Exploratorium Science Snackbook, The Klutz Book of Magnetic Magic and Traces of Time. He plays music on the whirly and has climbed the face of El Capitan.

It’s Morning in America Again and Again and Again
Using Cinematic Art to Sell Presidential Candidates

Television and the modern Presidency have evolved together, with great art and dirty tricks a part of the most sophisticated, cynical and successful campaigns. See the most cinematically superior campaign spots drawn from the history of presidential campaign ads, and learn how the segments reflect the changes in televisual styles and election ecology. Go back to a more HOPEful time, when It’s The Economy, Stupid stimulated the American electorate.

Kathleen Maguire is a film programmer at the Exploratorium and an expert in the visual ad campaigns of previous presidential elections. She draws from her background as a moving image archivist to celebrate underappreciated genres and underseen works from archives and obscure collections.

NNEB 51: NorCal Neon, Sailor Moon, Stem Cell Trials


Poster by Rebecca Cohen.

Join Nerd Nite East Bay at Club 21 in Oakland on Monday March 27th for

NorCal Neon!
Stem Cell Clinical Trials!
Legacy of Sailor Moon!

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

RSVP at:

Mingle from 7-8PM with tasty food from The Lumpia Co. and good tunes from Rubberband Girl AKA Small Wonder, make LEDs accessories with Ann-Marie Benz, catch up with the Oakland Public Library, then grab a drink and a seat as the talks begin at 8PM.

From Advertising to Art
Survivors and Lost Icons of Neon in NorCal

See beautiful pictures of neon survivors, mourn famous lost icons of the neon world, and get a visual tour of the best gas, glass and electricity that the East Bay and SF has to offer. Learn about the science underlying neon and discover what decades of evolution in California’s neon art and advertising illuminates about our Neon Cities.

Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan are the authors and photographers of the book San Francisco Neon: Survivors and Lost Icons. They also give four different walking tours in San Francisco featuring the city’s fabulous collection of historic neon signs, with back alleys and back stories included. Details and pictures at

Super Senshi Sorority
How Sailor Moon Brought Girl Power to the Western World

Sailor Moon’s impact on American women and popular culture continues decades after its debut, in resilient and often surprising ways. Learn how a Japanese series about magical girls changed real lives in North America, and delve into the larger conclusions that Sailor Moon’s legacy reveals about women and popular culture.

Steven Savage wrote “Her Eternal Moonlight” with co-author Bonnie Walling, an exploration of why Sailor Moon endures so powerfully among women in North America. He is a Software Manager, Elder Geek, Wrangler of Engineers, and author of books on geek careers, culture, and creativity. He’s responsible for the infamous, blogs at, and has books available at

Out of the Mouths of Babes
Treating Autism with Baby Teeth and Blindness with Stem Cells

The first stem cell treatments are entering clinical trials, and California is leading the way. Learn about a breakthrough therapy that is helping retinitis pigmentosa patients regrow critical connections and see shapes, colors and even faces. Plus bring your mental floss for complicated experiments that drill down into the causes of autism using baby teeth as a surprising (and adorable) data set.

Karen Ring and Kevin McCormack represent California’s stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Karen communicates science to the masses as CIRM’s Website and Social Media manager after eight years of graduate and postdoctoral research. When not thinking about how awesome stem cells are, Karen likes to eat amazing food, reference Game of Thrones and climb tall walls. Kevin McCormack is CIRM’s Communications Director and believes in the importance of starting every conversation with “what does that mean?” Kevin got interested in the regenerative power of stem cells after heading a soccer ball too many times in his youth, which may also explain some of his recent music and fashion choices.

#50: Dongs, Derby, and Rocks

NNEB Feb 2017

Poster by Rebecca Cohen.

Join Nerd Nite East Bay‘s 50th (!) show on Monday Feb 27th for

  • The Personality of the Pet Rock!
  • Roller Derby!
  • The Evolution of the Penis!

Mingle from 7-8PM with games, tasty food from Grilled Cheese Guy and tunes from Citizen Zain, then grab a drink and a seat as the talks begin at 8PM.

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

Club 21, Oakland

The Dong of Man
Hard Facts and Little Lies About The Human Penis

This month’s swell talk on the human penis has us pumped! Learn how pensises evolved, why sexual selection advanced this absurd appendage, and why it’s pretty great to not be a great ape. Get straight up phallus facts, and find out how little science knows about the female vagina compared to men’s mono-log.

Benji Kessler studies courtship behavior and the sensory systems of jumping spiders in the PhD program at UC-Berkeley. His work includes Googling things like “comparison between human and chimpanzee vaginas”, and he’ll happily write a limerick about your research.

Stone. Cold. Steve Austin?
The Surprising Personality of Pet Rocks

Find out why our brains see faces everywhere, and how this Anthropocene perspective actually gave personality to pet rocks. Learn how personification goes into the collection, presentation and disposal of rocks, and get flattened by morbid tales of people who disrespected “rocks as people” and ended up between a rock and a… bigger, harder rock.

Andrew Alden runs the Oakland Geology blog and is a former U.S. Geological Survey staffer. He has been writing and speaking about the geology of the solar system, Earth, California and Oakland for 20 years, was the founding geology expert at, appeared in KQED Science and Bay Nature, and is writing a book on the geology and landscape of Oakland.

Skate or Die
Physics, Physicality and Survival in Roller Derby

Discover the hard hitting history of roller derby, and how Bay Area Derby has brought the skirmish on skates into the modern era. Learn how derby is also science on skates, where Newton’s laws, malicious math and a little change in body posture can be the difference between smashing and getting smashed!

Chewie, Moxxxie and Pie of Bay Area Derby bring flat track roller derby to arenas throughout the Bay. Emily “Chewie” Chu, Ph.D. is a Professor of Chemistry at CCSF, officiated roller derby with BAD and volunteers as a math and science instructor for Prison University Project at San Quentin. Melissa “Miss Moxxxie” Chamberlain co-founded BAD in 2004, skated and coached the SF ShEvil Dead, is the BAD Head Announcer and Editor in Chief of the legendary roller derby fanzine HELLARAD. Sherryann “Pie” Danna-Vandervort first laced up her skates with Gotham Girls Roller Derby in 2005. She is the head of BAD marketing and coach of the ShEvil Dead. Her time is spent thinking about how to break down derby drills, throwing kettlebells about, and long-winded rants about ‘the good ole days’.

Nerd Nite East Bay #49: Asteroid Law, Dragonflies, and Cognitive Dissonance

Poster by Rebecca Cohen

Poster by Rebecca Cohen.

Join Nerd Nite East Bay’s Expert Speakers on Monday Jan 30th for

Buying Your Own Moon Base!
Dragonfly Nymphs!
Your Brain on Calories and Cognitive Dissonance!

Mingle from 7-8PM with games of New Year’s Resolution Bingo for prizes, have savory pies from The Pie Shop and macaroons from Shades of Sugar while KALX’s own Rubberband Girl plays tunes, and grab a drink to enjoy as the talks begin at 8PM.

Experience your own cognitive dissonance by being there and being square. Early bird tickets just $8, tickets $10 at the door.

Club 21, Oakland

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Office Hours

We’re off in December, but welcome your feedback as we plan next year’s shows. Dropy by anytime. We’ll have a few pitchers of beer to share, give out some “thank you” tokens, & just look forward to chatting with you.

Friday 12/16/2016
Telegraph Beer Garden, 2318 Telegaph, Oakland


Nerd Nite East Bay #48: Stoicism, Supernovae, and Social Determinants of Health

Poster by Rebecca Cohen

Poster by Rebecca Cohen.

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Ease out of post-Thanksgiving torpor with Nerd Nite East Bay. An evening of drinks and education begins with Seamus O’Donnell’s exploration of stoicism. Virtue is based on knowledge, so we continue with Astronomy on Tap’s Jeffrey Silverman’s discussion of dark energy. If we figure out what’s out there, perhaps we can figure what to do here: we conclude the evening with alumnerd Sharon Osterweil’s dive into the social determinants of health.

Starting at 7PM, we’ll have food from Miss Arepita, tunes from DJ Citizen Zain, and Detention Mad Libs by Ann-Marie.

Rick, Rebecca, and the Oakland Public Library pardon no turkeys.

Be there and be square.

This event is 21+.

Monday 11/28/2016
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)

We will strive to allow some purchases at the door for $10 (cash or card), but we sometimes sell out.


Stoicism: How an Ancient Philosophy Can Turn Us All into Laughing Vulcans by Seamus O’Donnell

Philosophy is often thought of as the exclusive playground of philosophy students and their professors, but what about the rest of us nincompoops? In ancient Greece and Rome, those who studied different schools of philosophy did so in order to live their lives by a particular model. Stoicism was such a school, one that is highly misunderstood today. The model it offers promises us a way of living that is still applicable today: one that eliminates stress, anger, and the frustrations of modern life…it probably won’t deliver all its promises, but it certainly does take the edge off. What Stoicism can do is offer different perspectives, teach acceptance of imperfections, and demonstrate an updated Vulcan model for living: to live well and prosper.

Seamus O’Donnell is a paramedic that works in the Bay Area and got his degree in Politics (Not Political Science) from UC Santa Cruz. He occasionally considered graduate school, but hates paperwork. Getting into an ambulance, he had the intention to help people, drive fast, and look cool… but mostly he does paperwork. Drat.

Exploding Stars, Dark Energy, and the Runaway Universe by Jeffrey Silverman

Some of the most energetic and fascinating objects in the Universe are exploding stars known as supernova. These colossal outbursts result from the deaths of stars and for a time can outshine the entire galaxy in which they’re found. Observations of distant supernova provided the first evidence that the expansion of the Universe is speeding up with time, rather than slowing down. This wholly unexpected phenomenon is likely due to a repulsive “dark energy” and has become one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in modern science.

For over a decade, Jeffrey Silverman used some of the biggest telescopes in the world to observe and study supernova, both as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas at Austin and as a graduate student at UC Berkeley, where he got his Ph.D. in 2011 working with Prof. Alex Filippenko. Jeff was born and raised in Anaheim, CA, just down the street from Disneyland, and has bounced between CA and TX his entire life. His latest move was from Austin back to the Bay Area to enter the wonderful world of tech as a data scientist. Jeff has given numerous public presentations (including ones at Nerd Nites in Austin and Houston) about astronomy and Disneyland and co-organizes Astronomy on Tap Bay Area, which is a free, recurring event that features accessible and engaging presentations by astronomers on a wide variety of topics.

An Apple a Day (and a High School Diploma) Keeps the Doctor Away by Sharon Osterweil

The social determinants of health are the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work, and play. But why do they matter? It’s exciting to think that getting to the gym a few extra times a week will help us live longer—and it might—but our environment and the opportunities we were afforded by accident of birth are better predictors of lifespan than the rate at which we eat donuts. Learn about what your zip code says about your health.

Sharon Osterweil works in end-of-life care, using her knowledge of how to live longer, healthier lives to help terminally ill adults die with dignity. Previously, she worked on projects related to the social determinants of health, conducting home visits with vulnerable patients in the East Bay. She is a San Francisco native who defected to NY for several years before moving to Oakland.

Nerd Nite: Science at the Cinema [SOLD OUT]


Coming soon to a theater near you: Nerd Nite and the Bay Area Science Festival take over the Alamo Drafthouse for a special night of science, history, and booze! Celebrate the New Mission Theater’s 100th anniversary in all its newly restored glory, as we get a thrill out of cult film, put mosquitos under the microscope, learn how live performance is made from discarded 16mm film, and hear the gory details on old SF’s grizzly bear vs. wild bull fights—plus much more! Enjoy some of our favorite Nerd Nite alumni returning with all-new talks, while you sit back and enjoy the Alamo’s food and drink service. And did we mention cocktail robots will be taking over the bar? Be there and be square!

Due to circumstances outside of our control, the Alamo has rescinded their previous offer to host our cocktail robots. We deeply regret this and are working to make it right.


  • Joshua Grannell (a.k.a Peaches Christ)
  • Peter Conheim and Maximillian Godino of Wet Gate, 16mm Performance Ensemble
  • Woody LaBounty and David Gallagher, Western Neighborhoods Project
  • Katherine Petrin and Alfonso Felder of the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation
  • UC Davis Biologist Walter Leal and KQED Deep Look

This event is 18+.

Wednesday 11/2/2016
Door+cocktail robots at 7 pm, talks start at 8 pm and end by 10:30 pm
Alamo Drafthouse's New Mission Theater, 2550 Mission St, SF (near 24th St BART)

Advance tickets were $15+service fee. We sold out.
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