Nerd Nite. What a great idea!
This is a night when nerds come together over beer to hear about all things nerdy. The basic idea is that everyone has something that they know more about than everyone else, so let’s share what makes us uniquely nerdy! Nerd Nites were started by Chris Balakrishnan, a doctoral fellow at Harvard, who spent enough time at his local watering hole talking about his research that the bartenders there asked him to do a presentation one night in the hopes that he’d get it out of his system. And so, Nerd Nite was born! It has now spread to multiple cities and Nerd Nites can be found in DC, Chicago, Munich, NYC, Austin and as of this month, here in San Francisco!
Nerd nite first visited this fair city last year with great success and this past Thursday was the first of San Francisco’s now regular evenings of nerdery. Topics included “I was a teenage ichthyologist” presented by Bart Bernhardt, “It’s not it’s size but how you work it” in which Brady Burgess described the use of nanoparticles in anti-fungal therapies and my personal favourite “Is it fake money if you can buy real hookers with it?” in which Jennifer Russell discussed the new issues arising from the growing online gaming economy. The title was taken from an extreme case in which a woman posted a craigslist ad offering sex in exchange for $5000 World of Warcraft gold that she needed to purchase an epic mount (Seriously). The woman, who did manage to complete the exchange, was never charged with solicitation. This online world of fake money is so new that the IRS and lawmakers just don’t know what to do with it. Money spent on these online worlds is on the rise with bizarre new advances all the time. For instance, Jennifer told us that 7-11 has teamed up with Zynga, the creators of popular facebook games like Farmville and Mafia Wars. Now when you purchase an ice cream at 7-11 you get a code that you can punch in at home to get your free Farmville cow (speaking of which I’m proud to say that I have been Farmville-sober for 60 days now!). Even crazier, you can go to the 7-11 and use your real $10 to buy a gift card which you then turn in for fake Farmville dollars. What the hell?
I guess all that is left to do is to decide what I’ll try to present on! I’m leaning toward “Are zombies scientifically possible?” Thoughts? Suggestions?