Northern California Science Writers Association

NCSWA Holiday Dinner: What do ant colonies, the immune system and spam filters have in common?

  • Monday, December 03, 2018
  • 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
  • Tres Tequila Lounge & Mexican Kitchen, 130 Townsend St. (at 2nd St.), San Francisco CA 94107
  • 14


  • (one guest allowed at member price)

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Please join us for NCSWA’s annual holiday dinner, traditionally our largest gathering of the year. Our speaker will be Stanford biologist Deborah Gordon, whose studies of the collective behavior of harvester ant colonies reveal how the ants maintain their networks without a plan or central control. She has found that the human immune system and ant colonies use similar distributed defense strategies to fight off intruders. Adapting the strategy, she suggests, could yield stronger internet spam filters.

Gordon’s research has shown how seemingly tightly controlled organization emerges from rules that individual ants follow. Fieldwork in Mexico led her to develop a simple algorithm that explains how ants create, repair and prune a network within a maze of vegetation. Her studies have been featured in National Geographic and other outlets. She is the author of two books exploring ants' "interaction networks" and how insect societies are organized.

The evening will include our always unpredictable NCSWA door prize contest and ample time to catch up on a year in the lives of your colleagues.


6 pm No-host bar

7:15 pm Dinner

8:30 pm Door prizes and speaker


Tres Tequila Lounge & Mexican Kitchen

130 Townsend St. (at 2nd St.), San Francisco CA 94107 (map)

(Two blocks from Caltrain, 0.9 miles from Montgomery St. BART station)

We will enjoy the buffet menu at this popular Mexican restaurant in the burgeoning neighborhood just one block from AT&T Park.


Grilled baby carrots & broccoli and mole

Three-cheese blend & epazote empanadas

Sauteed seasonal vegetable enchiladas with chipotle & guajillo salsa

Braised beef with roasted tomatillo salsa

Slow-roasted pork rubbed with chile de árbol

Smoky chile ancho-marinated chicken

Housemade corn tortillas, Mexican rice, seasonal beans

Dessert sampler with Mexican chocolate cake and churros with caramel sauce


Members plus one guest: $26 / Students: $16 / Non-members: $45


Deadline to register has been extended to Fri., Nov. 30, 2018. No refunds will be given for cancellations after that date.

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