Tag: Past shows

What happened in December 2020?

Nerd Nite San Diego #45

Tuesday Dec 1st 2020 at 7pm on Zoom

In the 2020 finale, we talked Math! Like really rad, sexy math and geometry. We also learned about secret codes in textiles!

“The Spies Who Stitched Me”

by Czarina Salido & Francis French

Codes, spies, needles, and intrigue! Did knitting change the outcome of a war? In the world of textiles, codes can refer to the ancient origins of the modern computer codes that deeply affect our everyday lives. But there are stories of other, hidden codes in textiles… codes used by spies that may have changed the outcome of wars or helped people escape persecutors. Delve into this mysterious history with Francis French, science educator (and textile photographer on books such as The Techniques of Indian Embroidery), and Czarina Salido, Director of Taking Up Space, currently teaching Native American girls about coding.

Bios: Czarina Salido is the Director of Taking Up Space, a program that inspires the next generation of explorers through mentoring and awarding Native American girls scholarships to Space Camp, while introducing girls to fun, hands-on experiences that help to facilitate a high level of self confidence and interest in STEM-related areas.

Francis French is an author and educator with international experience in relating science, engineering, music, astronomy, art, and wildlife to general audiences through classes, workshops, public speaking, television and documentary productions. He is the author of numerous bestselling history books, and a keynote speaker at conferences.

“Unsolved Math Mysteries at Burning Man”

by Satyan Devadoss

Brilliant, cutting-edge ideas are all around us: Beyoncé and music, quantum computing and physics, vaccines and biology, Hamilton and theatre.  But when it comes to math, many think of it as a pile of formulas and equations that is painful but useful, like a root canal. In reality, mathematics is filled with mysteries and wonders that can bring joy to anyone, much like ice cream.

This talk is about one of these revolutionary ideas, whose origins date back 500 years to the Renaissance master Albrecht Dürer.  We discuss Dürer’s puzzle and play with higher-dimensional cubes, all of which inspired the creation of a 2-ton sculpture at Burning Man. This talk is open for all ages, especially suited to those who absolutely love or absolutely hate math.

Bio: Before becoming the Fletcher Jones Professor of Applied Mathematics at USD, Satyan Devadoss was a professor at Williams for nearly 15 years, and has held visiting positions at Ohio State, UC Berkeley, Harvey Mudd, and Stanford. He is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, and recipient of two national teaching awards, whose thoughts have appeared in venues such as NPR, the Times of London, the Washington Post, and Forbes. His work explores the structure of shape, and its intersection with origami, painting, architecture, genetics, and design. He is a satisfactory father to four children and married to a queen.

What happened in August 2020

Nerd Nite San Diego #43

August 4th, 7pm on Zoom!

“Aquatic Biology”

When it comes to creatures living in the waters, you might have all the questions! The answer lies in the icosahedron! This August, we’re brining you three biology nerds who each nerd out on a unique aspect of marine or freshwater habitat. What are oysters and mussels up to when they think no one is watching? In his marine peepshow, Luke Miller, who spends his time squatting on the rocky shore or in the mud sticking sensors on animals, reveals what makes intertidal communities thrive or fail. How do flatworms re-grow lost body parts? Ricardo Zayas uses freshwater planarians (flatworms) as models to study the molecular basis underlying tissue regeneration. And Ric DeSantiago, a.k.a. DaHood Scientist, “takes the hood to science and brings science to the hood” and helps us understand relationships among intertidal communities! 

August speakers:

Luke Miller “Prying into the private lives of oysters and mussels”

To most people, shellfish like oysters and mussels are just rocks with food inside, And frankly, we’re not going to quibble with that viewpoint. But before they arrive on your dinner table, those animals spend years stuck to rocks, piers, boats, or each other, and they make their living sucking up whatever happens to be floating by in the water. It’s not a glamorous life by any measure, but mussels and oysters are doing their part to keep our bays and coasts lively and productive, while avoiding all sorts of threats to their survival. We’re going to take a peek into what they’re doing when they think no one is watching, and try to gain insight into why they flourish or fail.

Bio: Luke Miller spends a lot of time squatting on the rocky shore or in the mud, where he attempts to stick sensors on animals and keep seawater out of sensitive electronics. When not quarantined at home, he spends large chunks of time sitting in an office at San Diego State University where he is an assistant professor of biology, or running around keeping a small child and wife entertained.

Stalk Luke’s work on his website: https://lukemiller.org/

Ric DeSantiago “Inter ecosystem connectivity through marine subsidies: Foodwebs don’t care about your boundaries!”

As ecologists, we tend to focus our specific ecosystems and how organisms within those systems interact with each other and the environment. The more we study these interactions, the better we understand the predator-prey and grazer-plant that make up the foodwebs in our systems. But nature doesn’t care about our definition of an “ecosystem” or where we draw the boundaries. So, if we want to understand the natural world, we need to be the fish who jumps out of the water and explores the land. This is the story of the lessons I learned when I was invited to explore South Coronado Island.

Bio: Ric DeSantiago is a PhD student in the Joint Doctoral Program in Ecology at San Diego State University and University of California, Davis. He works with Dr. Jeremy Long and is a proud member of the #longlabmafia. Ric broadly studies coastal communities and is interested in the connectivity between sea and land. His current research looks at the impact of the invasive seaweed, Sargassum horneri, on rocky coastal communities as it washes ashore. Ric likes to use art in the form of cartoons and short film to communicate science and is always down to nerd out over beers.

Check out Ric’s beautiful art: https://www.dahoodscientist.com/art

Ricardo Zayas “Regaining a sense of touch: lessons from flatworms”

Have you ever wondered if worms can feel gentle touches or feel pain when baiting fishhooks? Animals rely on sensory systems to physically interact with the environment. Specialized cells allow us and worms to detect light, vibrations, temperature, smell chemicals, or feel touch. Impaired sensations can be quite debilitating or dangerous. My lab uses freshwater planarians, flatworms with the remarkable ability to replace injured tissues, to study how animals can regenerate sensory cells. Tune in to learn about how our work should offer insights into genetic mechanisms underpinning sensory cell repair, function, and disease.

Bio: Dr. Ricardo Zayas was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Ricardo moved to the mainland to earn his B.S. in Biology from Fairfield University (1993). Motivated by a long-standing commitment to social justice and teaching, he volunteered as a science and math teacher at Loyola High School, a school predominantly addressing the needs of under-served male African Americans in Detroit, MI. Ricardo earned his Ph.D. in Biology from Tufts University (2003) and completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Illinois where he studied stem cell biology and tissue regeneration in planarians. Planarians are really cool (and cute) organisms that are capable of regenerating lost body parts from very small body pieces from a population of adult pluripotent stem cells. Ricardo joined San Diego State in 2008, where he runs a research program using planarians as a model to investigate molecular and signaling pathways underlying regeneration of the nervous system.

Watch Dr. Zayas talk about flatworms replicating own cells to grow parts of their body:

What happened in July 2020

Nerd Nite San Diego #42 July 7th, 7pm on Zoom!

We had an excellent line-up for our July virtual event and the topics could not have been more diverse! Sarah Shoffler gave us some important tips on how to find sustainable seafood in San Diego, Tim Slattery told us what our eye movements while reading reveal about our mind, and Anthony Kiefer took us on a tour of our celestial neighborhood! All that amazing science in one night and FOR FREE! You came, you thought, you drank!

Join our email list to receive the invitation each month: HERE

Sarah Shoffler “What is Sustainable Seafood and How to Find it in Three Easy Steps”

Americans are scared of seafood! Sarah will give the audience enthusiasm and confidence in buying, and maybe even cooking, seafood.  The dominant narrative is that our oceans are going to hell in a handbasket and that it’s the fault of those extracting from it. Plus, cooking seafood is scary – Is it fresh? How do I cook it? What the hell would I do with a whole fish if I knew where to get one? What are all these certifications at the Whole Foods counter? Did this fish die happy? She’ll answer these questions by explaining some broad facts about where our seafood comes from, the challenges of getting US or local seafood and why “US-caught” is its own sustainability label, along with the scientific and legal bases for that information.

Sarah’s Bio: Sarah M. Shoffler is a seafood enthusiast, foodie philosopher, and a fishery biologist for NOAA Fisheries. She loves writing about issues on the cusp of science and seafood and anything about our food community. When she’s not supporting San Diego’s homegrown or harvested foods and drinks, you can find her hiking with her husband, Eric, and pooch, Taco. The information and any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of NOAA.

Anthony Kiefer “Us In Space”

A tour of the celestial neighborhood, because we need a vacation from Earth for a minute. 

Anthony’s Bio: Anthony Kiefer is a lifelong space nut, and even guided tours at Lowell Observatory! He is currently attending Northern Arizona University to just get an Astronomy degree already (not astrology!!!) 

Tim Slattery “Eye Movements as a Window to the Mind”

Ever lost your car keys, searched for them for hours only to find them in a location you already searched? Did that feel like a strange trick of the mind? Cognitive scientists study human eye movements in order to understand the mental processes behind everyday tasks, like visual search, reading, and navigation. Come learn how and why we move our eyes and what we can learn from these movements about the way our mind works. We’ll take a look at the state of the art of eye tracking technology, what it’s capable of, and what the future holds as eye trackers become embedded in our personal devices.

Tim’s Bio: Tim Slattery is a sci-fi fan, puzzle game enthusiast, monocular nerd, high-school wrestler, and father to two crazy boys. He sings in the car and doesn’t care who is watching at the stoplights. After completing his PhD in Cognitive Psychology at University of Massachusetts, Tim went on to research visual cognition at UCSD. Tim is currently based at Bournemouth University, UK.

What happened in April 2020

Dr Steven Snyder “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe”

How my quest for a telescope, a trip to the Guggenheim and a pile of bricks brought me to a surprising realization. Science does more than just provide explanations; it fundamentally warps the way you experience the world around you.

Steve’s Bio: Steve received his first pair of coke-bottle thick bifocals at the tender age of three. Within six months they were held together by generous wads of masking tape and it’s been downhill ever since. He has been custodial crew for a day school, a fruit fly farmer for a biological lab and has amassed way more math credits than is psychologically healthy. Today he serves as President and CEO of the Fleet Science Center where he spends his days harassing his staff with crazy ideas for new ways to lure the unsuspecting into the wonderful world of science.

More information about Steve here: https://www.rhfleet.org/leadership

Matthew Gates “Plague Breaker: Half a Billion Years of Plant Warfare”

Plants have had a very longstanding and fundamental interaction with many organisms since before they colonized land. Today’s descendants have evolved complex defenses and collaborative symbioses, and understanding this deadly dance between enemy and ally can be the key to food security, medical innovation, and new technology. This presentation will cover some of the unique and interesting ways that plant life has fundamentally changed and what the implications are for humans looking to work with nature to provide resources sustainably.

Example Bio Photo

Matthew’s Bio: Matthew Gates is an Integrated Pest Management Specialist and science communicator on YouTube channel Zenthanol, operating an agricultural consulting organization by the same name. For the last decade, he has worked with agricultural organizations to improve the management of pests in an environmentally sustainable way through educating staff about the use of biocontrol agents and other new techniques that rely on a multifaceted holistic approach.

Check out Matthew’s work on YouTube: click here

What happened in May 2020

Nerd Nite SD #40!

Dr. Jeremy Long “How to homebrew a marine lab during a lockdown”

My research group started an 8-week experiment at our marine lab on March 6th. Two weeks later, San Diego closed its beaches and banned non-essential travel. Despite what my mom would have you believe; marine biologists are not typically considered “essential employees”. Also, finding basic supplies during this pandemic has been impossible (knows anyone who tried to buy t.p. in March or flour in April). Because I was determined to complete our study, I persuaded SDSU to label me essential, convinced lifeguards and cops to let me collect organisms, and Macgyvered a marine lab in my garage with duct tape, cinder blocks, and baking soda. This is a story about the quest for truth amidst a pandemic.

Bio: I am a marine biologist that has never extracted a golf ball from a whale’s blowhole. I will fight you if you try to convince me that charismatic megafauna are cooler than invertebrates. My unscientific quarantine time includes taking online dancehall and afro-dance classes. Because hip hop influenced my research, the acknowledgement sections of my papers include shout outs to Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and Del tha Funky Homosapien.

Rad CBS8 video about garage science

Check out the Long Lab:

Long Lab

More cool videos about how researchers study the endangered black abalone:


Dr. Jessica Barlow “A Sage Model for Helping to Make the World a Better Place”

I’ll be talking about how science — and all fields — can be applied in an interdisciplinary way to tackle pressing local issues through massively-scaled city-university partnerships. It’s a win-win-win-win for students, instructors, local governments, and communities.

Bio: Jessica is a professor in the School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at San Diego State University (SDSU). She is a linguist by training and her research program addresses why people sound funny by focusing on phonology, language acquisition, and speech sound disorders. Completely unrelated to this, and because she seems to think that she is just not doing enough, Jessica also serves as the executive director of the Center for Regional Sustainability at SDSU, where she oversees programming that addresses social, economic, and environmental challenges of the San Diego-Tijuana region. She also really likes birds.

Watch more about Jessica’s awesome work on local sustainability here:

KPBS story: https://youtu.be/LML7udfSDe4

Work with National City: https://youtu.be/hKr5X6oDFLE

Work with Lemon Grove: https://youtu.be/VWLtFQskjCY

Mural installation in Lemon Grove: https://youtu.be/lfr-6DV_wDU


Kameroun Mares “The Development of Honey Bees, Hives and Genetics”

In my talk, I will be covering the development of honey bees (Apis Mellifera) and their colony structure, touching upon the critical ecological impact of the species, referencing the genetic concerns of the San Diego Beekeeping Society work with western queen breeding.  

Kameroun currently majors in Molecular and Cellular Biological Sciences. She is a well-known member of the San Diego Beekeeping Society, being considered a professional Beekeeper in regard to hive removal, re-queening and care. Additionally, she assists with the modernizing of society members, developing a larger online and social presence geared towards the expansion of the society and support for the proper handling and care of bees.

Learn more about the SD Beekeeping Society here: http://www.sandiegobeekeepingsociety.com/

Watch SD Beekeeping Society education videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7iw7raNULEJlAcklfVlh1g

What happened in March 2020

Lisa Rivera “The science behind disappearing bees”
Society has become more disconnected to the basic practices that have sustained us since the beginning of civilization. Many are oblivious to the dangers and causes of their disappearance, without realizing that they too play a huge part. In this presentation, Lisa discussed how lucky we are in San Diego to keep bees with our Mediterranean climate, and how San Diego can be the leader of change in the way the U.S deals with bees and the balance of our ecosystem.

Lisa’s Bio:

I graduated from Crawford complex school of Law and business. Worked selling all kinds of Insurance for 4 years. I have been a beekeeper for 4 years. I own a wildlife management company in which we perform live bee removal and relocation since 2018. I am currently studying for a Bachelors in biological sciences because I am obsessed with ecology and environmental science and how it relates to public health the food and pharmaceutical industries and the laws surrounding it all.

holding tree colony

Troy Sandberg “Designer Organisms & Engineering via Evolution”
All life on Earth is coded in DNA. Like the 1s and 0s of computer machine code, a particular sequence of the DNA basepairs A, G, T, and C composes the ‘software’ of every organism. Recent advances in genetic engineering and synthetic biology allow us to make arbitrary edits to an organism’s DNA or even create entire genomes from scratch, enabling almost limitless possibilities. Although our ability to write functional DNA code is currently quite poor, evolution provides a way to sample billions of different DNA ‘programs’ and reveal the best one. Troy discussed ways in which we can use this capability to engineer creatures for our own purposes, from the production of valuable chemicals to the creation of microbes that can help fight climate change or even cancer.

Troy’s Bio:
Dr. Troy Sandberg got his BS at Caltech and his PhD at UCSD, both in Bioengineering. His research involves using “evolution machines” he helped develop to study microbial adaptation and facilitate genetic engineering. A lifelong science enthusiast, outside of bioengineering his interests span from quantum mechanics to cosmology and everywhere in between. Troy is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, a Siebel Scholar, a recurring guest on the Science Faction podcast, and a proud champion of several eating challenges.



Edward Nichols “What’s the password?”
Ever wonder why a password? Where do these things come from, and why haven’t we moved on to something better? We heard the sordid tale of the password, and what we can do to make things better, and the consequences of using poor chosen passwords.

What happened in February 2020

Rulon W. Clark “Danger noodles! A deeply nerdy conversation about venomous snakes.”

Snakes are undeniably weird. What kind of a lizard evolves a body plan without arms or legs? Turns out this limbless body plan is oddly successful, as snakes are one of the most diverse and widespread lineages of reptiles.  But aren’t you curious about how something without arms or legs kills and eats animals bigger than itself?  Even if you’re not, come find out what happens when someone with an unhealthily intense interest in snakes is given a few drinks and a captive audience. If that’s not enticement enough, he will also show some mind-blowing slow-motion videos of venomous snakes trying to kill stuff.

Dr. Rulon W. Clark earned a B.S. in Biology from Utah State University in 1997. His work as an undergraduate researcher there cemented both a love of science and wildlife. He obtained a Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2004 and has been on the faculty in the Department of Biology at San Diego State University since 2007.  His research group focuses a variety of topics related to the ecology and conservation of animals, using tools from behavioral ecology, comparative evolution, biomechanics, physiology, functional morphology, and molecular genetics.

RWClark krat jump snake-1 krat jump away from snake

Chris Callewaert “Stinky Science: Solving the Stink from Armpits”

Meet Dr. Armpit, the scientist who is wiping out bad body odor. He has stuck his nose under more than 1000 armpits and has quite some experience with smelly armpits. Fresh sweat however does not smell – it’s the bacteria that cause malodor. There are many influences, such as gender, body mass index, age and nutrition; but the main cause is still the bacteria. This had led Dr Armpit to come up with a not-so-conventional solution: exchange sweat and bacteria to solve body odor. About 100 people have applied other people’s bacteria in their underarm and saw improvements in the condition. Smells like success!

Dr Chris Callewaert was given his nickname in Belgium, when he started swabbing everyone’s armpits and studied the armpit microbiome during his PhD. Now he is a postdoc in the Knight lab of UCSD. His research has been popular in the media, with features in CNN, BBC, FOX, NPR, Huffington Post, Washington Post, The Times, etc. He presented a TED talk and results of his research can be found on www.DrArmpit.com

Check out Dr Armpit’s TED talk HERE

***And besides being a rad scientist and celebrity, Chris is also a microbrewer in Belgium – the mecca of all beers!! So, if BO is not something you want to talk about, ask him about his brews!



Mona Tumbler: “Hot Topics in Intellectual Property Law with Ms. Mona!”

From Kylie and Kendall Jenner getting sued for copyright infringement on lace thongs, T-Mobile trademarking the color pink, to the billion dollar doll wars between Barbie & Bratz, Ms. Mona will take us on a fun (and informative!) frolic through some of the crazy and obscure ways companies are coming up with to protect their brands!

Ms. Mona is an on again off again attorney, an English Language and Arts teacher, travelled to nearly 50 countries around the world, loves to attend SDCC, and has nearly 15 years of experience in complex civil litigation, both as an associate at several prominent law firms, working with in-house counsel at a large tech company, and as an Electronic Discovery Project Manager. She obtained her law degree from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, her master’s degree from Stanford, and holds undergrad degrees in both economics and English literature from UCLA. (She is also a fan of the Oxford comma which, pro tip, cost a Maine dairy company $5 million dollars in a 2018 settlement for the lack thereof.)

MTumbler shehulk



What happened in January 2020

January 7th, 2020 Nerd Nite SD #36  


This January, we brought back one of our voted number one speakers and Top Gun hero, Paul Wynns, who told us “how to be a Top Gun: WITH MATH”. An SDSU graduate and soon-to-be licensed dietician, Danielle Gaffen brought prunes to the table (literally) and explained how they could protect your bones (especially if you’re an older male). Brittany Lee had something to say about protection (but mainly of your hearing)!

Paul Wynns: How to be a Top Gun: WITH MATH

Remember the movie Top Gun? Well, as it turns out, “Top Gun” is a real military organization with real pilots that do more than topless volleyball matches, motorcycle racing, and sunglass modeling. We’ll look at the history of Top Gun and air combat from the dawn of aviation. In the beginning, there were fighter pilots, and they were very dashing. Their first recorded encounters involved waving, shaking of firsts, throwing bricks, pistol fire, and grappling hooks. Since then, air combat has been a case study in “well that escalated quickly…” What’s the secret to success for fighter pilots through the ages? Put your shirt back on and leave the volleyball in your locker. We’re going to talk about the fundamentals of air combat maneuvering, which is all about geometry and physics. THERE WILL BE MATH.

Paul’s Bio

Paul is an avid fan of all things anime, manga, sci-fi, and fantasy, with minors in tabletop gaming and giant robots that transform into aircraft. He is an amateur flow artist and has performed with fire staff and sword at festivals in the Southern California region. He’s also trained in the martial arts of wushu and jissen kobudō.

Paul’s educational and professional background includes a postgraduate degree at Stanford University and an internship at the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley where he specialized in aerospace engineering and air vehicle design. He is a US Naval Academy graduate and retired Naval Aviator with 398 carrier landings that, to his knowledge, did not permanently injure any personnel or damage any government equipment. Previously, he’s worked at Boeing Defense, Space, and Security as an aircraft systems program manager, where he and his project team were awarded patents for developing new prototypes and concepts. He’s currently enrolled in an MBA program at the UCSD Rady School of Management. The main take-away from this bio is that Paul does not know what he wants to do when he grows up, and possibly has not grown up at all.

Paul currently runs an aviation training startup, Flex Air (www.goflexair.com) and the Kevin Workman Foundation (www.kevinworkmanfoundation.org), a local non-profit that brings art education to the nerds of tomorrow.


Danielle Gaffen: Prunes: More Than Just a Laxative

Did you know that osteopenia and osteoporosis affect over 54 million people in the United States and their incidences are increasing due to the aging of the population? Osteoporosis in men is an overlooked yet increasingly important clinical problem that, historically, has not received the same degree of awareness as with women. However, the lifetime risk of fracture is 20% for all men. Current osteoporosis prescription medications have low efficacy, high side effects, are very expensive, and are not indicated for bone loss prevention. Dried plums are natural foods that may be effective in preventing bone loss.

Learn more about the first nutritional intervention research study exploring the bone metabolism effects of dried plum consumption in older men.

Danielle’s bio

Danielle will graduate in December with a Master of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences from San Diego State University in order to become a registered dietitian. Danielle was head researcher of a nutritional intervention study premised upon the hypothesis that consuming dried plums may prevent bone loss in older men. Danielle’s preliminary research findings were published in the Current Developments in Nutrition journal and presented at the American Society for Nutrition conference in Baltimore earlier this year. Danielle will be submitting her full manuscript for publication within the next few months.



Brittany Lee F*** That Noise

Listen up, nerds! Have you ever experienced ringing in your ears? Join Brittany Lee for a night of ears and beers to find out what causes this sensation. Learn about hearing science, see if you’re at risk for noise-induced hearing loss, and get some sound advice for protecting your ears.


Brittany’s bio

Brittany is a Ph.D. candidate studying Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at San Diego State University and University of California, San Diego. She uses eye tracking and event-related potentials to research language co-activation and word processing in deaf and hearing readers. Outside of the lab, she spends most of her time at the speech-language clinic, in the kitchen, or on the dance floor.


What happened in December 2019

We Don’t Need No Water

Rounding out the safety trilogy after his popular “That Shit is Dangerous!” and “That’s Not a Fucking Tourniquet!” talks, workplace safety and emergency response expert Carlo E. returned to teach us all about fire extinguishers.
He explained the different types of fire extinguishers, and how different chemical extinguishing agents are used for different types of fires. We learned the nuances of amateur firefighting, and leave with some practical tips on what to do if everything around you is on fire.

Carlo has a master’s degree in public policy, and received a departmental best thesis award for his analysis of workplace safety regulation enforcement. He is credentialed as a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and Wilderness EMT, and has experience in incipient stage firefighting from starting lots of fires when he was younger.

Up in Arms: the art and style of sword fighting in full armor

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be an armored hero from an epic tale like Game Of Thrones or The Lord Of The Rings, Scott Farrell and Loreen Mattis will give you an inside look at the life of a knight in shining armor. Their talk will provide insight into the design and function of historical armor, and how the (nearly lost) skills of the armor maker continue to be put to use in surprising ways in modern technology, from military ballistic protection to (no kidding!) equipment for keeping astronauts safe during the Apollo missions. Learn all about how to buy, strap on, and fight in medieval armor in the 21st century.

Scott Farrell is director of the Chivalry Today Educational Program, and lead instructor of the Swords of Chivalry Western Martial Arts training program. He (along with his tireless assistants Loreen Mattis and April Apperson) teaches five sessions of historical fencing each week at San Diego’s Team Touche Fencing Center, and Lionheart Fencing Academy. When he doesn’t have a sword in hand, you can find Scott hosting the Chivalry Today podcast, and performing various works of Shakespeare with the Intrepid Theatre Company’s “Shakespeare for a New Generation” school tour.
You can read some wonderful things about Scott’s outreach program here: https://chivalrytoday.com/about/

Storytelling and The Human Mind

Storytelling is intrinsically tied to our human experience and perception of the world. When we don’t understand something, we make up a story to fill in the gaps. Usually, these stories are informed by a set of narratives we already have ingrained in our minds.

Nathan talked about storytelling, what it is, how it works, and how our own social narratives might be influencing us in ways we don’t realize. He also gave some insight into how audience members can take advantage of storytelling to be stronger and more persuasive communicators in their own lives.

Nathan Young is the founder and executive director of the New Narrative, a social initiative that takes a critical look at the primary narratives that influence our cultural lives to see if it’s time to create a “new narrative” that can be more equitable, fulfilling, and sustainable for all. The primary medium of the New Narrative is storytelling. Storytelling has the ability to foster connection, share a vision, and inspire action in a way no other medium can provide. Communities grow stronger through storytelling and shared narratives. By sharing the stories of what’s most important to us we can shape the narrative of the world we live in. For more information please visit https://thenewnarrative.org/

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What happened in February

“There Goes the Neighborhood: A Short History of Nuclear Accidents”

Nuclear accidents have come in many shapes and forms, from dire to farcical, and have left indelible marks on science and society. Whether Chernobyl, the Radium Girls, or a clueless Boy Scout, find out why science goes wrong, and what happens when it does!

Anthony Neuberger has a degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of New Mexico, where he studied fission reactor design and did research at Sandia National Laboratories. He currently works with Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation Analysis. When he is not working, he spends as much time diving as possible, because water is better at stopping neutrons than air.

“I HAVE THE POWER … in foreign policy making!”

We nerds are oh so good and leaving the P-word at the door, but this month we’re taking Politics face-on … under the guidance of a professional, of course. Dr. Fletcher received her PhD from SUNY with a dissertation titled “Overseeing Politics, Authority, and Unilateral Presidential Power [and so on. Frankly, she had us at ‘overseeing’. And again at ‘unilateral’. And again….]”. She teaches at SDSU, examining the institutional aspects of law through developmental and historical lenses to help understand law as a political phenomenon. By reconceptualizing judges as legal actors institutionally bounded and historically contextualized she lends a new perspective on how legal regimes do not map political regimes, how legal time intersects with political time, and the dynamic relationship that exists between law and power. Dr. Fletcher is particularly interested in the way the mutual construction process constrains legal decision-making and how law defines and redefines the constitutional order with-in which the executive makes decisions in foreign affairs.

What does this mean for YOU? She’s going to use He-Man to make her case for the Executive having the ultimate power in foreign affairs.


(You asked for more on bees. You got it).