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SciSchmooze Weekly Science Events Newsletter from the Bay Area Science Festival
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SciSchmooze Weekly Events Newsletter

Events by Location: East Bay | North Bay | San Francisco | South Bay
Hello again Science fans!

We've made it to the final month of the year - and while you may hear about many Oscar contending films, Sunday brought the "Oscars of Science" with the 3rd annual Breakthrough Prize announcements. $25 million were awards to scientists researching string theory and the geometry of the universe, to Kip Thorne and Ron Drever whose pioneering work led to the confirmation of gravitational waves at LIGO last year. The award ceremony will air on National Geographic tonight and FOX on 12/18. 

This year also brought a new award - the Breakthrough Junior Prize - which awarded scholarships to students who could simply explain a complicated scientific concept. Check out the winner which explains bacterial resistance!

While the weather has turned chilly here in the Bay Area, the topic du jour seems to be our warming planet. Many are discussing how the new administration will approach climate change from big policy like the Paris Accords to the priorization of research. In that vein, here are my picks for the week, including one fun trip to the Crucible open house to keep you warm:
  1. 2016: From Paris to Trump - 12/07/2016 06:30 PM
  2. Is Climate Denial Destroying Our Planet? - 12/12/2016 12:00 PM in Menlo Park
  3. GIFTY The Crucible's Winter Open House - 12/10/2016 11:00 AM
Have a great week in Science!
-Kishore

Upcoming Events
Click to see the next two weeks of events in your browser.


Monday, 12/05/2016
Meet the birds at Lake Merritt! - 12/05/2016 11:00 AM
Lake Merritt Rotary Nature Center, Oakland

Migrating birds are here! See which winter visitors are currently at Lake Merritt, the nation's oldest wildlife refuge. 

A naturalist from the Rotary Nature Center will lead a short walk along the lake. Learn about the Pacific Flyway and how to identify some winter migrants as well as year-round residents.

We'll begin the walk in front of the Rotary Nature Center. Bring your own binoculars, or borrow a pair courtesy of the California Center for Natural History.


Wandering waifs: Biological signals of warm water events from 2014 to 2016 - 12/05/2016 12:00 PM
UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory Research Talks, Bodega Bay

Speaker: Jackie Sones


High-performance Optimization Methods and Distributed Control Techniques for Power Systems: Theory, Algorithms, and Case Studies - 12/05/2016 12:30 PM
Green Earth Sciences Building, Stanford

The design, planning and operation of an electric power grid depend heavily on several optimization problems such as optimal power flow (OPF), security-constrained OPF, state estimation and unit commitment. Since these problems are large-scale and highly nonlinear, the commonly used algorithms frequently fail to converge, do not scale well, have robustness issues, and may converge to a poor local minimum as opposed to a global solution. Recent studies confirm that the nonlinearity and high dimension of the existing power optimization problems may not allow algorithms used in the power industry to converge to a high-quality solution in a timely manner, which lead to wasting billions of dollars annually. These problems become even more nonlinear, significantly grow in size, and need to be solved faster for future power systems.  To operate an efficient, resilient and sustainable power system, it is essential to design new computational techniques to deal with nonlinearities, develop fast and parallelizable numerical algorithms for large-scale problems, and design optimal distributed controllers to provide guarantees on the real-time performance of the system.

In this talk, we will propose a new mathematical framework to address the above issues regarding the optimization and control of power systems. Our framework rests on recent advances in graph theory, optimization and distributed control, including the notions of OS-vertex sequence and treewidth, matrix completion, semidefinite programming (SDP), and low-rank optimization. In particular, we will study four fundamental mixed-integer power optimization problems, named power flow, security-constrained optimal power flow, state estimation and unit commitment. We will show that real-world power networks have low treewidth, and as a result our computational framework is able to find global or near globally optimal solutions. We will illustrate our results on several real-world power grids with over 13,000 buses described by nonlinear equations subject to noise and corrupted data. We will also offer new results on the distributed control of power systems to maximize the penetration of renewable energy without destabilizing the grid.


Processors for the Data Center and Cloud of the Future - 12/05/2016 02:00 PM
Soda Hall, Berkeley

Current-day data centers and IaaS clouds (e.g. Amazon EC2, MS Azure, Google GCE) use microprocessors that are very similar to or the same as those used in small servers and desktops. This work rethinks the design of microprocessors specifically for data center use along with how microprocessors are affected by the novel economic models that have been popularized by IaaS clouds. This talk will describe several architectural changes including how a processor can be decomposed into sub-components (e.g. ALU, Cache, Fetch Unit) that can be individually rented in IaaS clouds, how running similar programs can be taken advantage of in the data center, how architectural features such as the flavor of memory bandwidth (bursty vs. bulk) can be provisioned and sold in the data center, and novel memory architectures that enable the creation of sub-coherence domains of cache coherence across the data center.

This work has not only been simulated, but many of the discussed ideas have been implemented in one of the largest academic processors ever built, the Princeton Piton Processor. Piton is a 25-core manycore built in IBM’s 32nm process technology containing over 460 Million transistors. This talk will discuss Piton along with what it takes to tape-out a complex microprocessor in an academic setting. Last, Piton has been recently open sourced as the OpenPiton (http://www.openpiton.org) project which is a expandable manycore platform which includes RTL,
thousands of tests, and implementation scripts. The talk will conclude by discussing how OpenPiton is able to contribute to the burgeoning field of open source hardware.

Speaker: David Wentzlaff, Princeton Univ.


Engineering Touch - 12/05/2016 04:00 PM
Sutardja Dai Hall, Berkeley

I will describe recent work in my lab on haptics, soft electronics, and interactive systems. A longstanding goal in engineering has been to design technologies that are able to reflect the amazing perceptual and motor capabilities of biological systems for touch, including the human hand. This objective turns out to be difficult to achieve, due, not least, to our limited understanding of the mechanics underlying touch sensation, i.e. of what it is that is felt when we touch objects in the world. Some of the challenges involved can be traced to the complexity of the mechanical interactions, the high dimensionality of the signals, the multiple length scales, time scales, and physical regimes involved, and the sensitive dependence of what we feel on what we do - the way that touch-elicited mechanical signals depend on the way we move and contact objects. I will describe research that has aimed at addressing these challenges, and will explain how the results are informing the development of new technologies for wearable computing, virtual reality, and robotics.

Speaker: Von Visell, UC Santa Barbara


The Fierce Urgency of Now: Re-Inventing the American Energy Innovation Ecosystem Today for 2050 Climate Impact in the Shadow of the Cleantech VC Bust - 12/05/2016 04:30 PM
Stanford University Energy Seminar, Stanford

Clean energy and climate is the defining challenge of our time. We must reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change. And although continued deployment of the technologies we have today is going to get us part of the way there, we will also need to successfully invent, commercialize, and deploy-at-scale a broad array of transformative new energy technologies if we are to mount a serious offensive toward achieving this daunting midcentury goal.

But we must be reminded that clean energy innovation takes time, with any new energy venture taking at least 30 years to go from inception to impact-at-scale. We are therefore faced with the fierce urgency of now to launch a whole new generation of transformational low-carbon energy ventures at an unprecedented pace and scale over the next 5-10 years.

However, in spite of this urgency, today early-stage venture capital for clean energy has almost completely evaporated after a highly unsuccessful attempt by Silicon Valley VC’s from 2006-2012 to directly apply the traditional VC model to energy. As a result, there is virtually no funding available today for aspiring hard-tech clean energy entrepreneurs: we are at risk of creating a “lost generation” of new clean energy entrepreneurs and ventures just when we need them the most. So what are we going to do?

In this talk, Dr. Danielson will describe the new American Energy Innovation Ecosystem that we must create together (and that is already beginning to be created) to activate the federal government, research institutions, philanthropists, the investment community, and large-scale industry in an unprecedented way over the next few years to successfully unleash the power of transformative innovation to solve climate change by 2050.

Speaker: David Danielson, Precourt Energy Scholar, Former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy


The Future of Clean Energy in Cities - 12/05/2016 06:00 PM
SF Planning + Urban Research Assoc. (SPUR), San Francisco

Our cities face tough energy problems, but local innovators are attempting to tackle these challenges in new ways. Come hear about the energy problems present in our urban areas and how new, innovative technology is working to address and surmount these challenges and expand the current regulatory environment. Co-presented by Tumml.

+ Robert Rutherford / Hive Lighting
+ Tommy Linstroth / Green Badger
+ Elena Lucas / Utility API
+ Ian Mathews / Wattz
+ Aaswath Raman / SkyCool Systems
+ Molly Turner / formerly of Airbnb


Truth and Beauty in Astronomy Visualization - 12/05/2016 07:30 PM
California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

In the development of astronomy imagery for the public, the scientific emphasis on fidelity can often seem at cross-purposes to artistic expression. As an astrophysicist who creates visualizations, Dr. Summers not only confronts this dichotomy daily, but also delights in the challenge of combining accuracy and aesthetics. This talk will showcase compelling visuals and describe techniques used in creating sequences for educational materials, press releases,planetarium shows, and IMAX films. Come experience the transformation of Hubble images and data into cinematic sequences, with an emphasis on the compromises made and the flourishes enabled when paying homage to the twin ideals of truth and beauty.

Speaker: Dr. Frank Summers, Space Telescope Science Institute


Tuesday, 12/06/2016
Harnessing Basic Science to Advance Solutions for Coral Reefs - 12/06/2016 12:00 PM
Sonoma State University - Biology Colloquium, Rohnert Park

Speaker: Dr. Ruth Gates, University of Hawaii, Manoa


Crucible of Worlds: A System for Space Synthetic Biology Experiments - 12/06/2016 12:00 PM
SETI Institute Colloquium Series, Mountain View
Aaron Berliner is the Science PI on a recently funded NASA Ames SIF project to investigate Mars habitability. He will talk about the development of the "extreme conditions" Crucible environmental chamber. The project is a collaboration between NASA Ames Research Center, UC Berkeley, and Autodesk to build a system that will allow for biology experiments under extreme conditions as a step towards space synthetic biology.
Aaron will talk about how the chamber will be able to carry out repeatable and reliable biological experiments under conditions sufficiently analogous to the harsh environment. He will address the following perceived scientific needs:(1) How to reliably replicate Martian conditions(2) How to source and filter biology of interest(3) How to characterize and engineer useful biological phenomena under Martian conditions(4) How to scale experiments sufficient to characterize enough biology to form a basis for continued engineering. 
The Crucible chamber will meet these scientific needs by utilizing state-of-the-art additive manufacturing technology, cutting-edge software architecture, and internet-of-things capable devices to produce a smaller, cheaper, extensible, distributable, scalable system for experimental space biology.
When Drugs Kill: Cognitive Structures in the Production of Evidence - 12/06/2016 12:40 PM
University Hall, Berkeley

Prescription drugs reduce pain and save lives, but they also kill and injure hundreds of thousands of patients each year. The drugs responsible for killing and injuring most patients have typically been on the market for many years before being pulled off. This paper develops and tests a theory that can account for the lengthy market presence of unsafe drugs. The analyses are based on one of the primary data sources used to identify drugs as unsafe the set of complaints about drugs filed by patients and physicians. The main argument developed in this paper holds that reporting behavior is guided by the cognitive structure in which the drug implied in the complaint is embedded. This structure stems from similarity in the health condition that a drug treats and is invoked when new information about the safety of drugs is released. The fact that physician behavior is guided by this structure, while patient behavior is not, and the fact that this structure is temporarily invoked are sources of ambiguity for the regulator responsible for monitoring drug safety. This presentation argues that an understanding of how and when patients and physicians attribute an effect to a cause may reduce the lengthy market presence of unsafe drugs.

Speaker: Mathijs de Vaan


The Future of Neurotechnology: Human Intelligence + Artificial Intelligence - 12/06/2016 02:00 PM
Li Ka Shing Center, Berkeley

How will we incorporate advances in neuroscience with those of AI? What are the promises and perils of marrying our biology and our technology? Join David Eagleman (neuroscientist) and tech entrepreneur Bryan Johnson (Kernel.co) for an invigorating open discussion on the future of our field. We'll explore new technologies in the neurosciences with the goal of achieving much better read and write capabilities for the human brain.

Speakers: David Eagleman, Center for Science & Law; Stanford University; Bryan Johnson, Kernel.co


Natural History of Lake Merritt - 12/06/2016 02:30 PM
Lake Merritt Pergola, Oakland

Dive into Lake Merritt's past with this easy walk near the water's edge. We'll talk about the past and present ecology of the area, and how Lake Merritt has changed over the years. 


From Gentrification to Geomorphology: Geography in the Golden State - 12/06/2016 04:30 PM
Ohlone College, Newark

California is a geographic wonderland and physical geographers have long shown how forces from faulting and fires to food have forged the Golden State. Likewise, cultural geographers have uncovered how the landscape of the Beautiful and the Dam(m/n)ed exposes The Lie of the Land and renders hollow Agrarian Dreams. Following this tradition, the talk will use the geographer’s toolbox to examine the production of landscape and will offer a broad understanding of the field as “earth-writing” to help understand emergent geographies of California especially the imagination envisioned in the California Dream. Framed in terms of current events and iconic images, the discussion will interpret examples of geographic vulnerability and displacement forces in the widest senses from gentrification to geomorphology.

Speaker: Dr. Adam Levy, Ohlone College


Trees of Lake Merritt - 12/06/2016 06:00 PM
Lake Merritt Rotary Nature Center, Oakland

What's that tree? Do you know the difference between a giant sequoia and a coast redwood? How about a turkey oak and a valley oak?

Join us for this introduction to the trees around the Rotary Nature Center and Lakeside Park. We'll talk about trees native to Oakland as well as trees in the urban landscape.

Meet us outside the Rotary Nature Center for this easy half-mile walk.


Science at the Library: Physics of Toys - 12/06/2016 07:00 PM
Fremont Main Library, Fremont

There are 4 activities at each presentation after a show presentation. Parents work with their children to learn about science.  Recommended  for elementary age children. Families are encouraged to attend.  Limited seating.  Funding provided by Lam Research Foundation and free.

Register at weblink


Wednesday, 12/07/2016
First Free Wednesday at UC Botanical Garden - 12/07/2016 07:00 PM
UC Botanical Garden, Berkeley

Every first Wednesday at the Garden is free admission day.


First Free Wednesday at Bay Area Discovery Museum - 12/07/2016 09:00 AM
Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito

First Wednesdays are free for all at the Bay Area Discovery Museum


3D reconstruction and video analytics for subsea exploration - 12/07/2016 11:00 AM
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing

Humans are inherently visual creatures. Despite the limitations of underwater vision, video remains a critical modality for observing and interacting with the deep ocean. This talk will cover two major research themes: The first theme will present progress towards robust reconstruction of 3D environments from monocular and stereo cameras. I will show results of 3D reconstruction from ad hoc ROV video data and from camera systems developed in-house, as well as early results in fusing visual data with range information from an imaging sonar.

The second theme will involve a discussion of analytic tools for extracting data products from imagery and video sources, including geometric manipulations (e.g., image stitching and panorama generation), target tracking, and the application of machine learning techniques to challenging or repetitive data extraction problems. I will show preliminary results using machine learning to identify fauna in benthic imagery, discuss ongoing efforts to improve access to large video archives for scientific analysis, and show how to use post-processed products (panoramas and virtual reality) to engage the public with ocean science.

Speaker: Aaron Marburg, Univ. of Washington


What Happens When the Things We Design Wake Up? - 12/07/2016 12:00 PM
CITRIS at UC Berkeley, Berkeley

Mickey McManus is a research fellow at Autodesk in the Office of the CTO, and Principal & Chairman of the board at MAYA Design, a design consultancy and innovation lab. He's a pioneer in the fields of pervasive computing, collaborative innovation, human-centered design and education.

In Mickey’s current research project, “Primordial," he and his team are exploring the impact on design when three inevitable technology trends converge. Often called the “Internet of Things,” pervasive computing is a game-changer that's on a collision course with two complementary trends�"digital manufacturing and machine learning. In 2012, Mickey co-authored one of the essential field guides to the era of pervasive computing in his book, Trillions. He believes that taken together, these three trends give us the ability to shift to an entirely new set of design and business paradigms for the first time in history. The way we design for things that begin to “wake up” is uncharted territory. If we don’t take into account our connected future and continue designing for disconnected things, we will design our way into irrelevance. The challenge designers face is how to surf these trends, what to do about them, and identify how designing "things" will change. Those of us that figure it out sooner rather than later, will have an unfair advantage while others will be reactionary and surprised at each turn of the screw.


A Bayesian Framework for Quantifying Fault Network Uncertainty Using a Marked Point Process Model - 12/07/2016 01:00 PM
Green Earth Sciences Building, Stanford

Incomplete observations of subsurface fault networks lead to uncertainty pertaining to location, geometry and existence of faults. In practice, gaps in incomplete fault network observations are filled based on tectonic knowledge and structural interpreter’s intuition pertaining to fault relationships. In this dissertation, a rigorous approach to quantifying fault network uncertainty is proposed. Fault pattern and intensity information pertaining to fault networks are expressed using a marked point process, namely a marked Strauss point process.

Speaker: Orhun Aydin (Thesis Defense)


Discover Marine Life at Lake Merritt! - 12/07/2016 01:30 PM
Lake Merritt Rotary Nature Center, Oakland

Did you know that organisms from all over the world make their home in Lake Merritt?

Naturalists from the Rotary Nature Center will guide you through a hands-on experience with marine invertebrates that live on the boat docks. Come learn about sea squirts, sponges, flatworms, bubble snails, and more! We'll talk about how to find these organisms and why they're here. 

We'll meet in front of the Rotary Nature Center and walk over to the boat house. Be prepared to lie down on the docks and get your arms wet, or just stay on the sidelines and see what the naturalists find.


Management and Conservation of Fish and Invertebrates in Large Estuarine Systems: Perspectives from Chesapeake Bay - 12/07/2016 03:30 PM
Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, Tiburon

Speaker: Dr. Matthew Ogburn, SERC


Trophic surprises and the restoration of vegetated coastal habitats - 12/07/2016 04:00 PM
UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory, Bodega Bay

Speaker: Kathy Boyer, Professor, Biology, San Francisco State University


San Francisco Green Film Festival Encore Series: Not Without Us - 12/07/2016 06:00 PM
San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco

Join Green Film Fest to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the COP21 Paris Agreement with a free, encore screening of "Not Without Us".

The film's director, Mark Decena, will be on stage to introduce the film.

Free event, no ticket required. This event is sponsored by the Green Stacks program of SF Public Library.

Film Synopsis:

Seven grassroots activists from around the world head to Paris for the UN Climate Talks. Their moving and personal journeys as activists has led them to this point and they want world leaders to feel the pressure. A deal was signed, but the question still remains: can the COP21 agreement stop catastrophic climate change and if not, then is it up to us?


2016: From Paris to Trump - 12/07/2016 06:30 PM
Commonwealth Club, San Francisco

Top energy stories this year range from speedy ratification of the Paris climate deal to the large number of reservations for Tesla’s mid-priced sedan. Recent headlines also include PG&E’s surprise announcement that it will close the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant and the surprise bankruptcy of SunEdison, once a darling of the solar industry. We’ll take stock of a year in which oil prices stayed low, autonomous cars sped ahead, and the first offshore wind farm in the United States was poised to come online.

On the policy front, California extended its main climate law with the passage of SB 32, but clean energy is playing defense in many states around the country. Would you fly in a battery-powered helicopter or a solar-powered plane? Brave souls did just that this year.

Join us for a look back at an active year in technology, innovation, policy and the battle over how to power our future.

Panel: Cassandra Sweet, Energy Reporter, The Wall Street Journal
Katie Fehrenbacher, Senior Writer, Fortune
David Baker, Energy Reporter, San Francisco Chronicle


Origins of Silicon Valley: How It Happened & Predictions for the Upcoming Years - 12/07/2016 06:30 PM
Intel Headquarters, Santa Clara

Why did Silicon Valley come into being, why is it successful, and where is it going? The story goes back to local Hams (amateur radio operators) trying to break RCA's tube patents, early Stanford engineers, the sinking of the Titanic, early "angel" investments, Fred Terman and Stanford, local invention of high-power tubes (gammatron, klystron), WW II and radar, new approaches to running companies, and the SF Bay Area infrastructure that developed these factors pretty much determined that the semiconductor and IC industries would be located in the Santa Clara Valley.

Paul Wesling, an IEEE Life Fellow and Distinguished Lecturer, will give an exciting and colorful history of device technology development and innovation that began in Palo Alto with some Stanford grads, moved down the Peninsula, and spread across the Santa Clara Valley during and following World War II. You'll meet some of the colorful characters  Cyril Elwell, Lee DeForest, Bill Eitel, Charles Litton, Fred Terman, David Packard, Bill Hewlett, William Shockley, Jean Hoerni, Gordon Moore and others who came to set leadership patterns for worldwide electronics industries through their inventions and process development and allied management techniques. This explosion of innovation continued through analog design, to digital, then to software, biotech, the graphical user interface, the Internet, mobile, Big Data, virtual reality, and now autonomous transportation. He'll end by telling us about some current local organizations and movements that keep alive the spirit of the radio Hams and the Homebrew Computer Club  ACM/IEEE, Maker Faire, MeetUps, and the other entrepreneurial groups where geeks gather to start new companies that invent the future  and his thoughts on technology developments expected in the next few years.


December LASER Event - Berkeley - 12/07/2016 07:00 PM
Soda Hall, Berkeley

What (the order of the speakers might change):

7:00-7:25: Philip Sabes(UCSF/ Neuroscience) on "Brain-Machine Interfaces"Brain-Machine Interfaces offer the promise of helping disabled patients...Read more7:25-7:50: Fyodor Urnov(UC Berkeley/ Genomics) on "Genetics and Society"Abstract forthcoming...Read moreBREAK. Before or after the break, anyone in the audience currently working within the intersections of art and science will have 30 seconds to share their work. Please present your work as a teaser so that those who are interested can seek you out during social time following the event.8:10-8:35: Stan Shaff(Audium) on "Exploring and expanding the language of space in music composition and performance"Audium, the only theater of its kind in the world, is a space built specifically for choreographing sound in space...Read more8:35-9:00: Adrien Segal(Sculptural Data Artist) on "Scientific inquiry, sensory experience, and the creative process"Making the unseen in the world around us visible...Read moreDiscussions, networkingYou can mingle with the speakers and the audience
East Bay Science Cafe: This is your brain on stress - 12/07/2016 07:00 PM
East Bay Science Cafe , Albany

Stress is an inevitable part of our life, and understanding the biology of the stress response is relevant to each of us. In this month’s Cafe, Daniela will talk about the biology of the stress response, and discuss when is the stress response beneficial, when is it detrimental and what are the underlying mechanisms that lead to stress resilience vs. vulnerability in different individuals.

Speaker: Dr. Daniela Kaufer


River Otter Snow Days at Aquarium of the Bay - 12/07/2016 10:55 PM
Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco

There’s snow in the forecast at Aquarium of the Bay! Join the Aquarium each Wednesday throughout December as biologists add over 1,000 pounds of snow to the river otter habitat, and experience the merriment first-hand as Shasta, Baxter, and Ryer romp and roll in this fun and festive addition of winter white.  


Thursday, 12/08/2016
Holiday Bazaar NightLife - 12/08/2016 06:00 PM
California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

‘Tis the season to stuff those stockings and shop locally! This week, NightLife’s annual holiday bazaar returns, featuring a merry marketplace of gift-worthy treasures from dozens of local makers and merchants, all curated by SF Bazaar.

Find a little something for every person on your list (naughty or nice!) at this one-stop holiday shop featuring a crafty selection of handmade jewelry, original artwork, ceramics and pottery, apothecary products, stationery, and more.

Then, pay a visit to a pair of live reindeer, who will take up residence in the East Garden as part of the Academy’s ‘Tis the Season for Science exhibit, and gather ‘round for a chat about the science of reindeer.

Grab a pair of headphones and rock out under falling snow flurries at a Silent Disco powered by Silent Storm. Who knew a Silent Night could be so groovy! Plus, take a tour of the Polar Night Sky during a special presentation in the planetarium at 6:30 pm.

At the Project Lab, give the gift of a handmade craft and unleash your creativity with Julia Jane Moore, then learn about the science behind winter animals with the California Wolf Center and Stanford’s Bustamante Lab. Keep your chill with spiked snow cones and wash down a frosty selection of winter beers at bars around the museum.


December LASER Event - Stanford - 12/08/2016 07:00 PM
Alway Building, Stanford
7:00-7:25: Cheryl Leonard(Composer) on "Music from High Latitudes"Making music out of sounds, objects and experiences from the polar regions.Read more7:25-7:50: Mark Nelson(Co-director, Stanford Peace Innovation Initiative) on "Technology for Peace"The Peace Innovation Lab is an initiative from Stanford's Persuasive Tech Lab...Read morehigh-tech world through interactive digital art that reimagines classic China in the language of today's digital China... Read more7:50-8:10: BREAK. Before or after the break, anyone in the audience currently working within the intersections of art and science will have 30 seconds to share their work. Please present your work as a teaser so that those who are interested can seek you out during social time following the event.8:10-8:35: Enar de Dios Rodriguez(Photographer), Thomas Juffmann (Stanford/ Physics and SEEC Photography) and Phillip Haslinger(UC Berkeley/ Physics) on " Photography at the Speed of Light"Photographing light as it travels across objects...Read more8:35-9:00:Caterina Zhang(Media Artist, China) on "Multi-dimentional representation of Oriental Art" [live from Shanghai]We are bridging ancient Chinese culture and contemporary high-tech culture...Read more9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networkingYou can mingle with the speakers and the audience
Scientific Skepticism vs. Quantum Entanglement - 12/08/2016 07:30 PM
Box HQ, Redwood City

Entanglement phenomena are the closest thing we have to reproducible magic, and even physicists can't agree as to what’s really going on. Is it spooky action at a distance, or retrocausality, or conspiracies that govern our choices? And what is a good skeptic to do when every explanatory option seems unacceptable? when nature forces us to train skepticism inward, towards our strongest intuitions? (General audiences welcome!)

Speaker: Ken Wharton, San Jose State Univ.


Friday, 12/09/2016
Meet the birds at Lake Merritt! - 12/09/2016 11:00 AM
Lake Merritt Rotary Nature Center, Oakland

Migrating birds are here! See which winter visitors are currently at Lake Merritt, the nation's oldest wildlife refuge. 

A naturalist from the Rotary Nature Center will lead a short walk along the lake. Learn about the Pacific Flyway and how to identify some winter migrants as well as year-round residents.

We'll begin the walk in front of the Rotary Nature Center. Bring your own binoculars, or borrow a pair courtesy of the California Center for Natural History.


Saturday, 12/10/2016
Solar Energy Training: Free Workshop on How to Install Rooftop PV Systems - 12/10/2016 09:00 AM
San Jose Conservation Corps & Charter School, San Jose

Join others who are interested in helping save the environment one rooftop at a time!  This workshop is offered by SunWork (SunWork.org), a Bay Area nonprofit that installs rooftop PV systems on small-energy-footprint homes (those that use less than $100/mo, excluding electric vehicles).  You'll learn the basics of rooftop solar energy and gain insights on how to install rooftop photovoltaic (PV) energy systems.  

The training is free, but registration is required.  For more information or to register, visit sunwork.org/volunteertrainingsor call 408-246-8478.


Winter Arts & Nature Celebration - 12/10/2016 10:00 AM
Martin Griffin Preserve, Stinson Beach

Celebrate the season and winter solstice by creating beautiful arts & crafts, observe the rhythms of the season with winter waterbird watching, and get inspired with nature-based entertainment for families and people of all ages. For more information, email ACR Education Program Coordinator Eileen Shanahan or call 415.868.9244, ext. 116. For directions to Martin Griffin Preserve, click here.


GIFTY The Crucible's Winter Open House - 12/10/2016 11:00 AM
The Crucible, Oakland
Discover the Science in the Industrial Art with our live demonstrations in glass blowing, foundry pours, enameling, blacksmithing, neon and more! 

Dozens of leading artists, craftspeople, and Crucible faculty members will be selling their best hand-made pieces in a holiday celebration of local creative culture. With works of glass, metal, wood, ceramics, and more, you will find the perfect gifts for all the people on your list. Seasonal treats, beverages, and entertainment make this an event all ages will enjoy. 

Our themed Open House events are a great way to learn more about our 56,000 square foot studio and seasonal class offerings. Parents of small children will need to pay special attention, as this space does have rough edges. We are located two blocks from West Oakland BART Station.


Trekking the Model - 12/10/2016 01:30 PM
Bay Model Visitors Center, Sausalito

Join a Ranger guided tour of the Bay Model, a 1.5 acre hydraulic model of the San Francisco Bay and Delta. Discover the stories of the two major operations that took place at this location between 1942-2000. 


Bird Watching for Beginners - 12/10/2016 02:30 PM
Don Edwards Refuge Headquarters & Visitors Center, Freemont

In this beginner’s program, we will go over the use of binoculars, how to use a bird guide, and identify the birds we see on the trail. Recommended for ages 10 and up. Wear comfortable shoes. A limited number of binoculars are available to borrow.  Heavy rain cancels. Led by Carmen Minch.


Jazz Under the Stars - 12/10/2016 06:00 PM
College of San Mateo, San Mateo

Come peer through our telescopes and see craters on the Moon, the visible plants, star clusters, and more while we listen to CSM's very own KCSM Jazz 91 FM. Dress warmly.  Free parking in Marie Curie Lot 5.  Directions here.


Sunday, 12/11/2016
Documenting Wildlife on the Mayacamas - 12/11/2016 09:00 AM
Mayacamas Mountains Sanctuary, Geyserville

Come and spend the morning with ACR Volunteer, Docent and Wildlife Camera Specialist Ginny Fifield to learn about some of the wildlife that inhabits the Modini Mayacamas Preserves. We'll learn about identifying field signs of mountain lions, bobcat, coyotes and more. We will also visit two wildlife trail cameras, where we'll view new unseen photos/videos - to see if the field signs match the pictures! Total hike is about 3 miles. Ginny is a Docent at the Martin Griffin Preserve, and a Modini Mayacamas Preserves Volunteer, with lots of great field and camera experience studying coyotes and mountain lions.

See weblink for more information.  Limited to 15, pre-registration required.


Marine Science Sunday: Seal and Sea Lion Superstars - 12/11/2016 10:00 AM
The Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito

This month we wrap up 2016 with a special Marine Science Sunday highlighting our Seal and Sea Lion Superstars of 2016.  In 2016, The Marine Mammal Center rescued many California sea lions, elephant seals, harbor seals, and endangered fur seals and Hawaiian monk seals. In fact, in the Spring, we had over 250 patients onsite at once!  We will focus on how our team of volunteers and veterinarians have been able to get those animals healthy and back out to their ocean home for the holidays.  Docent-led tours will take you around the hospital showcasing some of the patients we are caring for and how our veterinarians are getting them better.  Classroom presentations through interactive activities and multimedia will highlight our most memorable, notable, and to be honest, cutest patients of the year!

Program Summary

FREE Classroom Programs: Seal and Sea Lion Superstars of 2016- 12 PM and 2 PM  (1 hour sessions)
Celebrating 41 years of marine mammal rescue and rehabilation in 2016, there is no shortage of amazing animals and cases from the patients rescued this year!  We will highlight a days-old harbor seal we taught to eat fish, endangered fur seals, saving the most endangered seal in the US out in Hawaii, and how we were able to rescue hundreds of starving California sea lions that were seen on beaches in California early this year. A great complement to the docent-led tour!

Docent-led Tours* - 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3:00 PM 
Learn fascinating facts about seals and sea lions from our education experts while seeing exhibits and patient viewing areas. (*Small fee applies, it helps our patients!). 


Mushrooms at Fernandez Ranch - 12/11/2016 10:30 AM
Muir Heritage Land Trust Fernandez Ranch, Martinez
Come explore the rolling hills of Fernandez Ranch in north Contra Costa County. We'll look for chanterelles, boletes, and a variety of visually stunning fungi. Damon Tighe, a local amateur mycologist will help find and identify whats popping and discuss the role of fungi in the ecosystem.

This hike is moderately difficult, and the trails will be muddy and slippery if there have been recent rains. No dogs, please. Please note that we will NOT be collecting or tasting mushrooms on this walk.


GIFTY The Crucible's Winter Open House - 12/11/2016 11:00 AM
The Crucible, Oakland

Discover the Science in the Industrial Art with our live demonstrations in glass blowing, foundry pours, enameling, blacksmithing, neon and more! 

Dozens of leading artists, craftspeople, and Crucible faculty members will be selling their best hand-made pieces in a holiday celebration of local creative culture. With works of glass, metal, wood, ceramics, and more, you will find the perfect gifts for all the people on your list. Seasonal treats, beverages, and entertainment make this an event all ages will enjoy. 

Our themed Open House events are a great way to learn more about our 56,000 square foot studio and seasonal class offerings. Parents of small children will need to pay special attention, as this space does have rough edges. We are located two blocks from West Oakland BART Station.


FIELD TRIP: The Sea Forager's Tour - 12/11/2016 03:00 PM
Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, Pacific Grove

Learn how to fish for Monkey Faced Eel with author Kirk Lombard. Take a trip to the rocky shoreline to learn the when, how, and where to find this interesting fish.


Lecture: The Sea Forager's Tour Guide - 12/11/2016 05:00 PM
Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, Pacific Grove

Embark on a coastal adventure with Sea Forager tour guide, sustainable fishmonger, and author of The Sea Forager's Guide to the Northern California Coast, Kirk Lombard. Learn all about the sustainable delicacies waiting to be hooked and harvested at your local beach. Lombard will also sign copies of his book and may even sing a sea shanty or two!


Monday, 12/12/2016
Meet the birds at Lake Merritt! - 12/12/2016 11:00 AM
Lake Merritt Rotary Nature Center, Oakland

Migrating birds are here! See which winter visitors are currently at Lake Merritt, the nation's oldest wildlife refuge. 

A naturalist from the Rotary Nature Center will lead a short walk along the lake. Learn about the Pacific Flyway and how to identify some winter migrants as well as year-round residents.

We'll begin the walk in front of the Rotary Nature Center. Bring your own binoculars, or borrow a pair courtesy of the California Center for Natural History.


Is Climate Denial Destroying Our Planet? - 12/12/2016 12:00 PM
Commonwealth Club, San Francisco

The majority of Americans agree climate disruption is a major concern. The Paris Climate Agreement has been ratified by 61 countries and counting, which so far represents 47.81 percent of the world’s emissions. So we all agree, climate change is the biggest problem humankind has ever faced? Not so fast.

Here in the United States, denial and confusion about the science is rampant, and we may be the only developed nation where it is written into a major political party’s platform. Climate scientist Michael Mann and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Tom Toles take a satirical look at how this lack of consensus came to be. Christine Russell is a veteran science journalist with deep knowledge about conveying complex scientific issues to a broad public. How deep does climate doubt run, and how can communication help us move on to solutions?

Join us for a fun and informative look at manufactured doubt and genuine skepticism.

Speakers: Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology, Penn State University; Co-author, The Madhouse Effect
Tom Toles, Political Cartoonist; Co-author, The Madhouse Effect


King Tides at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve - 12/12/2016 02:00 PM
Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Moss Beach

Join your nature journaling friends at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach CA to explore the exposed rocks during the king tides. The low tide of -1-2″ will reach its lowest at 3:16 PM. The best tidepooling will be in the hour before the low. There will be great stuff exposed for the hour after as well but some of the critters my retreat to more sheltered spots to get out of the sun and light.

If you can not make it on the 12th, consider going out on the 13th. The low tide of -1-6″ will reach its lowest at 4:03 PM. I will not be able to make it on the 12th because I will be joining Laurie Wigham in her wonderful workshop.

This is an informal field trip and not a group event. There is no structured demonstration or potluck. You can arrive as early as you want and leave when you are ready to go.

See weblink for more information.


“Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future” with Dr. David Grinspoon - 12/12/2016 07:00 PM
Lucie Stern Theatre, Palo Alto

For the first time in Earth’s history, our planet is experiencing rapidly accelerating changes prompted by one species: humans. Climate change is the most visible and our current behavior threatens not only our own future but that of countless other creatures.

As we stand at this pivotal juncture, Dr. Grinspoon calls upon all of us to be planetary engineers, conscious shapers of our environment, and caretakers of the Earth’s biosphere.

With our future at stake Dr. Grinspoon shares his 10,000 year perspective by not only asking what kind of future we want to avoid, but what do we ultimately seek to build?


Tuesday, 12/13/2016
Natural History of Lake Merritt - 12/13/2016 02:30 PM
Lake Merritt Pergola, Oakland
Sunset/Full Moon Walk to the Point Bonita Lighthouse - 12/13/2016 04:15 PM
Point Bonita Lighthouse, Sausalito
Trees of Lake Merritt - 12/13/2016 06:00 PM
Lake Merritt Rotary Nature Center, Oakland
Geminids Meteor Shower - 12/13/2016 11:00 PM
Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland
Wednesday, 12/14/2016
River Otter Snow Days at Aquarium of the Bay - 12/14/2016 10:00 AM
Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco
Discover Marine Life at Lake Merritt! - 12/14/2016 01:30 PM
Lake Merritt Rotary Nature Center, Oakland
Three talks at Romberg Tiburon Center - 12/14/2016 03:30 PM
Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, Tiburon
The Gold Rush in Space: the Risk of Mining Asteroids - 12/14/2016 07:30 PM
Proctor Terrace Elementary School, Santa Rosa
Geminids Meteor Shower - 12/14/2016 11:00 PM
Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland
Thursday, 12/15/2016
Walk to honor Sylvia McLaughlin at a King Tide - 12/15/2016 10:00 AM
Seabreeze Market & Deli, Berkeley
Connecting through Play: Tech to Augment In-Person Interaction - 12/15/2016 05:00 PM
PARC Forum, Palo Alto
Conversations About Landscape: Climate, Carbon, and the Changing Arctic - 12/15/2016 06:00 PM
Exploratorium, San Francisco
Everything Matters: Chlorine - 12/15/2016 08:00 PM
Exploratorium, San Francisco
Friday, 12/16/2016
Meet the birds at Lake Merritt! - 12/16/2016 11:00 AM
Lake Merritt Rotary Nature Center, Oakland
Sunday, 12/18/2016
Beginning Birding - 12/18/2016 09:30 AM
Marin Headlands Visitor's Center, Sausalito
Monday, 12/19/2016
Your oceans are full of disease: holiday tales of shellfish pathology research in California - 12/19/2016 12:00 PM
UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory Research Talks, Bodega Bay
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