“Radioactive and Heavy Metals - The Good, the Bad, or the Ugly?” by Rebecca Abergel
Exposure to heavily radioactive elements after a nuclear accident is a terrifying thought. But radioactive elements - including some that were created and added to the periodic table by scientists here in the Bay Area - can be used in beneficial medical treatments that work like “nuclear bullets” to target diseased tissue and cancer cells. We’ve also developed chemical tools to remove unwanted radioactive contaminants from our bodies and our environment.
“Pale Lager: How Innovation and Politics Enabled Its Domination, and How They Will Lead to Its Fall” by Daniel Gadala-Maria
In the last century, American beer has been dominated by pale lager and often been likened to sex in a canoe…fucking close to water. Yet pale lagers also dominate globally: 92% of all beer fits into this narrow category. Beer has existed since prehistory, but pale lagers are younger than the U.S.A. So how the hell did we get here??? We’ll discuss the innovations and politics - some brilliant and some abhorrent - that have played a key role, starting with beer riots in the Czech Republic. But take heart! We’ll also cover how these same forces are now helping create a world that embraces and supports more diversity in beer!
“The Tenacious Life of San Francisco’s Cable Cars” by Strephon Taylor
Before our modern transportation systems, U.S. cities were about as big as a person could easily walk. As technology advanced after the Civil War, the horse-drawn omnibus became the preferred method of mass transit and cities began growing. But after witnessing a horse-drawn streetcar accident, Andrew Smith Hallidie, a San Francisco resident, put his knowledge of Gold Rush ore mining using steel rope into action: On Clay Street in 1873, the first successful cable car gripped popular imagination and thus began our ride through history.
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