Upcoming Events: San Francisco

Wed 4/30

Image - Humanities West Book Discussion - The Caliph's Splendor: Islam and the W

Humanities West Book Discussion - The Caliph's Splendor: Islam and the West in the Golden Age of Baghdad by Benson Bobrick

Date: Wed, April 30, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
Lynn Harris, Moderator

Join us to discuss the achievements of Harun al-Rashid, the legendary caliph of The Thousand and One Nights, whose actual court was nearly as magnificent as the fictional one. When Harun came to power, the Islamic empire stretched from the Atlantic to India, and in Baghdad's House of Wisdom, great works from Greece and Rome were preserved and studied, and new ideas were developed in astronomy, geometry, algebra, medicine and chemistry that have enhanced civilization ever since. Lynn Harris will lead the discussion.

Image - Archduke Karl von Habsburg:  A Modern Monuments Man

Archduke Karl von Habsburg: A Modern Monuments Man

Date: Wed, April 30, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Royalty working to preserve the world’s treasures

HIRH Karl von Habsburg, Imperial Prince and Archduke of Austria, Royal Prince of Hungary and Bohemia

Archduke Karl von Habsburg, LLM, is truly a modern “Monuments Man.” As president of the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield and a former member of the European Parliament for Austria, he has specialized in international humanitarian law and intangible cultural heritage protection. Archduke Karl von Habsburg has most recently worked to save cultural artifacts and historical sites in many modern crisis-ravaged parts of Arica and the Middle East. He is a relative of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination in Sarajevo triggered World War I, 100 years ago this June. In 1961, the Archduke’s father, Otto von Habsburg, renounced all claims to the Austrian throne. Here’s a rare chance to meet a descendant of European Royalty, who is currently working to preserve the world’s most precious treasures.

Go to Endangered World Rivers and Deltas: Where the Rivers Flow in the Cycle to Revitalize the Oceans

Endangered World Rivers and Deltas: Where the Rivers Flow in the Cycle to Revitalize the Oceans

Date: Wed, April 30, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Steven Goldbeck, Chief Deputy Director, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission; Former Co-chair, San Francisco Estuary Project's Dredging and Waterway Modification Committee 
Kimery Wiltshire, CEO & Director, Carpe Diem West

International rivers and their deltas are vulnerable to flooding, water intrusion, drought and severely damaged ecologies. Deltas are the critical point where the rivers flow in nature's cycle to revitalize the oceans and earth. Join two distinguished experts for a discussion of the damage and destruction to the world's deltas. Learn what the international Delta Alliance and their partners are doing to restore major rivers and deltas, including the Nile Delta, Yangtze Delta and the Mississippi Delta.

Thu 5/1

Image - Ecological Intelligence

Ecological Intelligence

Date: Thu, May 01, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Daniel Goleman, Author, Ecological Intelligence
Joshua Freedman, COO, Six Seconds; Author, Inside Change
George Lakoff, Professor of Linguistics, UC Berkeley; Author, The Political Mind

Though ecological awareness is on the rise, environmental depredation continues at alarming rates. While many people cognitively understand that behavior has to change to save the planet, that knowledge isn’t often enough to trigger change. People hear about “the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” but they still buy bottled water and throw away plastic bags. The disconnect is rooted in understanding the human brain – and the way our brains actually process danger.

On the one hand, the long-term, slow threats that are destroying the planet don’t activate the human threat-response system. On the other, ringing alarm bells push people into short-term, survival-oriented, self-protective reactions.

Could the neuroscience of change and the role of emotion be the missing links to reducing carbon pollution? Can feelings bring people into action?

Fri 5/2

Image - Befriending the Imagination (MLF)

Befriending the Imagination

Date: Fri, May 02, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Ruth Gendler, Artist; Author

Ruth Gendler, Artist; Author, The Book of Qualities, Notes on the Need for Beauty; Editor, Changing Light

The human imagination can be considered an essential natural resource – not rare but precious – and it needs our attention to flourish. In this talk, author and artist Gendler celebrates the immensity, wisdom and beauty of the imagination. As a poet-in-the-schools for over 25 years, Gendler has gathered an extraordinary collection of children’s art and writing. This afternoon we will see and hear selections that celebrate the directness, beauty and profundity of their imaginations. Inspired by their work, we will talk about ways to nourish the imagination in all of us.

Image - Nate Silver
This event is Sold Out

Nate Silver

Date: Fri, May 02, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM

Nate Silver, Editor-in-Chief, FiveThirtyEight; Author, The Signal and the Noise 
In Conversation with Jordan Ellenberg, Mathematician; Author, How Not to Be Wrong

This program is sold out.

Presented by The Commonwealth Club of California in association with Cal Performances and The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute.

Nate Silver’s got a crystal ball and it’s made of premium quality statistical models. In 2008, Nate called the presidential election results for 49 out of 50 states long before the Western states had even finished voting. In 2012, he cemented his place in the halls of political forecasting fame by besting his 2008 record. Still, Nate’s not strictly married to politics. He started off predicting baseball, and his award-winning blog FiveThirtyEight strives to feature data-driven analysis of a diverse array of topics, from dating to education. His New York Times best seller, The Signal and the Noise, is yet another example of his effort to understand real-world phenomena through stats. Join us as we host Jordan Ellenberg in conversation with Nate Silver as they do the math on predictions inside and outside the world of politics.

This is the first of three Bay Area talks by Nate Silver. See calperformances.org for additional event information.

Mon 5/5

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 5/5/14

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 5/5/14

Date: Mon, May 05, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
A must-attend political discussion.

Debra J. Saunders, Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle; "Token Conservative" blogger, SFGate.com; Twitter @debrajsaunders
Carla Marinucci, Senior Political Writer, San Francisco Chronicle; Twitter @cmarinucci
John Zipperer, Vice President of Media & Editorial, Commonwealth Club - Host

Additional Panelists TBA

California's electing new leaders this year, and issues like income inequality and affordability are dominating the headlines. Week to Week will take a look at the issues and the people in local, state and national politics. In its first two years, Week to Week has become a must-attend political discussion and social event. Join our panelists for informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news, audience discussion of the week’s events and our news quiz!

And stay after the program to meet other smart and engaged individuals and discuss the news over snacks and wine at our member social (open to all attendees). 

Go to Book Discussion: A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov

Book Discussion: A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov

Date: Mon, May 05, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

This great Russian classic is set in the Caucasus during the reign of Tsar Nicholas I. Its Byronic anti-hero, Grigory Pechorin, is the prototype of the "superfluous man," often met in other Russian novels. A person of great ability, intelligence and charm, Pechorin can find no real outlet for his talents and becomes bitter, cynical and bored. He takes pleasure in manipulating others and inflicting pain. Not a political novel in any direct sense, A Hero of Our Time serves as an oblique criticism of the stifling world created by Russia’s autocratic system.

Tue 5/6

Image - Tim Draper : The Case For 6 Californias

Tim Draper : The Case For 6 Californias

Date: Tue, May 06, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Proposal for the creation of new states.

Timothy C. Draper, Venture Capitalist; Founding Partner, Draper Fisher Jurvetson; Founder, Draper University of Heroes

This program was rescheduled from May 15

Draper has submitted an initiative to the state’s attorney general in the form of a ballot proposition proposal called Six Californias, which he hopes to get on the November ballot. The proposal calls for the creation of new states, such as Silicon Valley and West California, which would be anchored by the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Orange County and San Diego would be part of the new state of South California. To the north, remaining counties would be divided into regions called Central California, North California and Jefferson.

Draper believes that the Golden State has been rendered nearly ungovernable by social and economic changes. The initiative has to qualify by July 18, 2014, to make it on next November’s ballot. Come ask your questions about this controversial idea. As an advocate for entrepreneurs and free markets, Draper is regularly featured as a keynote speaker in entrepreneurial conferences throughout the world, and he has been recognized as a leader in his field with numerous awards and honors.

Image - Gestures Around the World

Gestures Around the World: Do You Know What Your Non-Verbal Communications May Be Saying?

Date: Tue, May 06, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Syndi Seid, Founder, Advanced Etiquette

What you think is a perfectly fine gesture in the U.S. may be very offensive in another culture. Learn from top to bottom what head, facial, hand, leg and toe gestures really mean on various continents. Join international etiquette expert Seid as she leads a lively discussion and leave with a sharpened awareness of which gestures never to make again.

Image - Science & Technology Planning Meeting (MLF)

Science & Technology Planning Meeting

Date: Tue, May 06, 2014
Time: 6:15 PM
Brainstorm visions for the future.

Join fellow Club members with similar interests and brainstorm upcoming Science & Technology programs. All Commonwealth Club members are welcome. We explore visions for the future through science and technology. Discuss current issues and share your insights with fellow Club members to shape and plan programs for the months ahead.  

MLF: Science & Technology
Program organizer: Chisako Ress

Wed 5/7

Image - Tiptoeing Through the Twilight Zone: An Explorer's Guide to Understandin

Tiptoeing Through the Twilight Zone: An Explorer's Guide to Understanding Dementia

Date: Wed, May 07, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM
Moonstone Geriatrics' Mary Hulme

Mary Hulme, LCSW, President/Founder, Moonstone Geriatrics

Curious to learn and understand more about dementia? Hulme will teach real-life strategies for coping with dementia. She will describe her “Three Laws for Living with Dementia” and will highlight the importance of humor, creativity and experimentation in staying connected to anyone suffering from this illogical and vexing disease.

Thu 5/8

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour
This event is Sold Out

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, May 08, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Find hidden gems with Rick Evans

Explore San Francisco’s Financial District with historian Rick Evans and learn the history and stories behind some of our city’s remarkable structures, streets and public squares. Hear about the famous architects that influenced the building of San Francisco after the 1906 Earthquake. Discover hard-to-find rooftop gardens, Art Deco lobbies, unique open spaces and historic landmarks. This is a tour for locals, with hidden gems you can only find on foot!

Image - Willie Brown: Annual Lecture on Political Trends

Willie Brown: Annual Lecture on Political Trends

Date: Thu, May 08, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Former Mayor, San Francisco

Willie Brown, Former Mayor, San Francisco; Former Speaker, California State Assembly

Former San Francisco Mayor Brown will give his annual lecture on national and regional political trends. A two-term mayor of San Francisco, powerful speaker of the California State Assembly and widely regarded as one of the most influential African-American politicians of the late 20th century, Brown has been at the center of California politics, government and civic life for an astonishing four decades. Most recently, a myriad of celebrities gathered to celebrate the naming of the western portion of the Bay Bridge in his honor.

Fri 5/9

Go to Syria and the Arab Spring

Syria and the Arab Spring

Date: Fri, May 09, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Bonnie Joy Kaslan, Honorary Consul General, Republic of Turkey, S.F. Bay Area 
Dina Ibrahim, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Broadcasting and Communication Arts, SFSU; Media Analyst 
Evgeny Avdoshin, Consul and Press Attache, Russian Consulate, San Francisco
Robert Rosenthal, Executive Director, Center for Investigative Reporting - Moderator

The distinguished panel will discuss the Syrian tragedy, which has caused hundreds of thousands of casualties and created over two million refugees. The panelists will be also focus on how the conflict has impacted neighboring countries.

Mon 5/12

Image - War! What is it Good For?

War! What is it Good For?

Date: Mon, May 12, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Ian Morris, Jean and Rebecca Willard Professor of Classics and Professor of History, Stanford University; Author, War! What Is It Good For?

Monday Night Philosophy ponders a paradox. If you had lived 20,000 years ago, you would probably have faced a 1-in-10 or even a 1-in-5 chance of dying violently. But by the 20th century AD — despite two world wars, the use of nuclear weapons and multiple genocides — that risk had fallen to 1-in-100 and it keeps going down. The explanation is uncomfortable: despite all its horrors, war itself has made the world a safer and richer place by creating larger societies that then pacify themselves internally. Morris looks at why this happened, how the patterns played out across the millennia and what their implications are for the 21st century.

Tue 5/13

Image - One Mama

One Mama

Date: Tue, May 13, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Siobhan Neilland, Founder, OneMama ShaBoom products

Siobhan "ShaBoom" Neilland, Founder, OneMama ShaBoom Products

How do you overcome the death of your child? Neilland found a unique way to fill this major void by traveling to Uganda and opening herself to the love of many children, which led her to found OneMama.org in her efforts to help others live. Come hear Neilland discuss how all you need is an idea, a strategy and a whole lot of tenacity to transfer your own personal, self-sustaining technique to the professional concept of business and philanthropy.

Wed 5/14

Image - Vitamin C, Calcium and Chronic Degenerative Disease

Vitamin C, Calcium and Chronic Degenerative Disease

Date: Wed, May 14, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Thomas E Levy, MD, JD, Author, Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins

As chronic degenerative diseases become more prevalent, Dr. Levy posits that deficiency of vitamin C in the tissues ultimately dictates whether you are ill and how severely ill you are. He says all diseases are caused by variations of increased oxidative stress and a large amount of vitamin C is both a treatment for that increased stress and a preventative measure. The presentation will include a general overview of vitamin C, why nearly everyone has too much calcium in their body and Levy’s suggestions for the best ways to address these factors therapeutically to optimize health.

Image - John A. Amster: Patents in the Boardroom – The Tru
This event is Postponed

John A. Amster: Patents in the Boardroom – The Truth Behind the Headlines

Date: Wed, May 14, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
CEO and Co-founder, RPX Corporation

John A. AmsterCEO and Co-founder, RPX Corporation

Patents have been big news in recent years. Large electronics rivals have made headlines by waging high-stakes legal battles over infringement of smartphone patents. Bankrupt companies have auctioned off their patent portfolios for hundreds of millions – or even billions – of dollars. The most significant development affecting patents, however, has been the rise of non-practicing entities (NPEs), also known as “patent trolls.” NPEs acquire patents and litigate them to extract license payments or legal settlements from an allegedly infringing company. Operating companies spent nearly $11 billion dealing with NPE litigation in 2012 alone.

RPX CEO and Co-founder John Amster will describe how patents have been transformed from legal protection of a novel invention into a major source of operating risk. Today, owners of patents are monetizing their value through costly and inefficient legal processes. The discussion will focus on a different perspective: how patents can and should be transacted using market mechanisms instead, and in the process, save operating companies billions of dollars every year.

Image - One Mama

One Mama

Date: Wed, May 14, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Siobhan Neilland, Founder, OneMama ShaBoom products

Siobhan "ShaBoom" Neilland, Founder, OneMama ShaBoom Products

How do you overcome the death of your child? Neilland found a unique way to fill this major void by traveling to Uganda and opening herself to the love of many children, which led her to found OneMama.org in her efforts to help others live. Come hear Neilland discuss how all you need is an idea, a strategy and a whole lot of tenacity to transfer your own personal, self-sustaining technique to the professional concept of business and philanthropy.