Upcoming Events: San Francisco

Fri 10/3

Image - China Today, China Tomorrow
This event is Postponed

China Today, China Tomorrow

Date: Fri, October 03, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
China's impact on a growing global economy.

Barbara Finamore, Senior Attorney and Asia Director, Natural Resources Defense Council, China Program Director

In 1996, following her work with the United Nations on China's first sustainability plan, Barbara Finamore undertook the challenge of establishing the Natural Resources Defense Council's first international office in Beijing. Barbara and her colleagues will discuss where China is today and what they see for China tomorrow. There are challenges ahead that must be faced – not only for China, but also for the future environmental, economic, conservation and sustainable impact that China has on the world. China’s decisions will have an effect on international health, safety and survival as we become more globally interconnected and interdependent.

Mon 10/6

Image - The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meanin

The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning

Date: Mon, October 06, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Marcelo Gleiser, Author, The Island of Knowledge; Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College

To be human is to want to know, but what we are able to observe is only a tiny portion of what’s “out there.” Brazilian theoretical physicist Marcelo Gleiser traces our search for answers to the most fundamental questions of our existence and reaches a provocative conclusion: science, the main tool we use to find answers, is fundamentally limited. Our tools of exploration limit the precision of our perceptions, and the nature of physical reality (the speed of light, the uncertainty principle, the impossibility of seeing beyond the cosmic horizon, the incompleteness theorem) just adds to our own limitations as an intelligent species. These limitations, though, constitute neither a deterrent to progress nor a surrender to religion. Rather, they free us to question the meaning and nature of the universe while affirming the central role of life and ourselves in it.

Image - Book Discussion: Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

Book Discussion: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Date: Mon, October 06, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

Thought by many to be the best thriller novel of 2012, this book was a wildly successful tale and considered by culture writer Dave Itzkoff to be the biggest literary phenomenon of 2012, excluding the Fifty Shades of Grey series. A thrilling crime novel, it is also a story of the unknown that goes on behind closed doors. This book is a story filled with intrigue and suspense, painting a portrait of a marriage that delves deep into the true nature of the person on the other side of the bed. An adaptation of the novel by award-winning director David Fincher will soon be released as a major motion picture in October 2014.

Image - The Business Solution to Poverty

The Business Solution to Poverty

Date: Mon, October 06, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Mal Warwick, Co-author, The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion New Customers

More than 60 years after the rich nations of the world began acting to end poverty, and after the expenditure of more than $2.5 trillion, more people today are living on $2 a day or less than the total population of the planet in 1950. Despite continuing optimism from the World Bank and the United Nations that they’re on track to eradicate poverty, Mal Warwick argues that traditional methods have failed and that only the private sector possesses the resources and the incentives to do the job. This lively presentation will explain how entrepreneurs and existing businesses can design, produce and market income-generating products that will enable 2.7 billion $2-a-day customers to lift themselves out of poverty.

Image - Thomas McNaughton

Flour + Water’s Chef Thomas McNaughton in Conversation with Adam Savage

Date: Mon, October 06, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Chef and Partner, flour + water

Thomas McNaughton, Chef and Partner, flour + water, central kitchen and salumeria; Author, flour + water: pasta
In conversation with Adam Savage, Host, “Mythbusters”

In 2009, Chef Thomas McNaughton started his San Francisco solo career with only a $500 stove and a fairly traditional concept. Just five short years later, flour + water has a cult-like local following and an award-driven national reputation, and McNaughton is on every short list of rising star chefs to watch. With a passion for artisanship and community agriculture, his handmade pasta dishes and creative regional Italian combinations have blown away diners and critics, inspiring McNaughton to launch other successful eateries such as central kitchen and salumeria. Now his new book, flour + water: pasta, takes you behind the scenes of San Francisco’s hottest Italian restaurant and shows all of you weekend warriors how to make the perfect bowl of pasta.

After the interview, 20 lucky guests can join us for an intimate meal with the speakers at flour + water, in its private dining space. Dinner tickets include priority seating tickets to the interview and the pre-program cocktail reception, as well as a deluxe five-course meal with wine pairings and pasta-making demos by the chef after the program. Tickets are limited and will sell out soon, so be sure to get your Early Bird Dinner Package quickly!

Image - John Lahr, New Yorker Drama Critic

John Lahr, New Yorker Drama Critic

Date: Mon, October 06, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
The first Tony award-winning critic

John Lahr, Author, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh; Drama critic, The New Yorker
In conversation with Carey Perloff, Artistic Director, A.C.T.

John Lahr will discuss his new book on Tennessee Williams, which provides intimate access to the mind of the writer whose plays reshaped the American theater and our nation’s sense of self.

A regular contributor to The New Yorker, Mr. Lahr has written 17 books and two novels. Previously, Lahr has written for the Nation, the Village Voice, and British Vogue. Some of his work has been included in volumes of The Best American Essays, and he is the first critic ever to win a Tony Award.

Tue 10/7

Image - An Evening with Nicholas Kristof

An Evening with Nicholas Kristof

Date: Tue, October 07, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM

Nicholas Kristof, Columnist, New York Times; Co-author, A Path Appears; Two-time Pulitzer Prize Winner
In conversation with Jessica Jackley, Co-Founder of Kiva

Nick is on tour for his latest book, A Path Appears

Kristof is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times, awarded first in 1990 for his coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square democracy movement and later in 2006 for his reporting on genocide in Darfur. His columns unpack the hidden and often shocking side of global issues, from poverty to human trafficking. Nick’s latest book, A Path Appears, champions stories of individuals, organizations, and research breakthroughs that took small steps to make not-so-small differences in the world. A 9-year-old asked friends and family to donate to a charity water campaign as her birthday present, raising $220 – six weeks later she tragically died, spurring $1.2 million in donations and providing clean water to 37,000 Ethiopians. Parasites in the bellies of schoolchildren account for a quarter of absenteeism in Africa—and deworming costs 2 cents at scale. Kristof reminds us that you don’t have to devote your life or give away millions to have a profound impact on the lives of the suffering.

Wed 10/8

Image - Peace Corps in Ukraine

Peace Corps in Ukraine

Date: Wed, October 08, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Put a human face on the people living in a country facing an uncertain future.

Julia Lee, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine 2011-2013
Jing Li, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine 2010-2012
Kyle Borley, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine 2010-2012
Morgan Roth, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine 2011-2013
Kayla Trunecek, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine 2013-2014

Five recently returned Peace Corps volunteers who served in diverse regions around Ukraine discuss the lives they shared with the people in their communities. In big cities and small towns, east and west, the daily interactions of these volunteers put a human face on the peoples, young and old, living in a country facing an uncertain future.

Image - Nick Carr: An Automated World

Nick Carr: An Automated World

Date: Wed, October 08, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
What is the deep psychological impact of technology?

Nicholas Carr, Author, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us
In conversation with Andrew Leonard, Staff Writer, Salon

Google Glass lets you take a picture with the blink of an eye. Your Fitbit wristband counts your calories and tracks your sleep. Soon even our cars will drive themselves. Technology is increasingly automating our lives, but is it for better or worse? In The Glass Cage, Nicholas Carr suggests that the transition to a technologically dependent and screen-dominated world makes people disengaged and unhappy. Join us and be faced with Carr’s thesis: Silicon Valley’s fascination with wearable technology and augmented reality will only serve to narrow our horizons instead of expand them.

Nicholas Carr, the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, is the former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review. He has written for The New York Times, Wired and famously for The Atlantic with his article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Thu 10/9

Image - Former President of Latvia Vaira Vike-Freiberga: Security in Eastern Eur

Former President of Latvia Vaira Vike-Freiberga: Security in Eastern Europe and Beyond

Date: Thu, October 09, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Ph.D., Former President of Latvia; President, Madrid Club

The current conflict between Russia and the Ukraine has called attention to Eastern European security. Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga was the president of the Republic of Latvia from 1999 to 2007. She played an instrumental role for her country in achieving membership in the European Union and NATO. She also raised the world's recognition of Latvia through her international activities, such as assuming the role of special envoy on United Nations reform. Hear Dr. Vike-Freiberga as she discusses recent events related to Ukraine, the Baltic States and NATO.

Image - No More Heart Attacks

No More Heart Attacks

Date: Thu, October 09, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Steve Blake, ScD, Faculty Nutritional Biochemist, Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience LLC; Author, Vitamins and Minerals Demystified

Heart attacks are the number-one killer in the United States, but that doesn’t have to be true. The latest research shows that diet is strongly linked to heart attacks. Steve Blake suggests that there are plenty of fun, healthy foods that you can add to your diet to reduce your risk of a heart attack. He’ll also discuss how vitamin D deficiency is linked to heart attachs, and how certain oils can reduce risk and certain fats can increase risk. Through this inspiring discussion, you can learn how to implement heart-safe lifestyle options.

Image - Humanities West Book Discussion: Livy's The Dawn of the Roman Empire, Books 31-40

Humanities West Book Discussion: Livy's The Dawn of the Roman Empire, Books 31-40

Date: Thu, October 09, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
Rome's emergence as an imperial nation and tempestuous involvement with Greece.

The Roman commander T.Q. Flamininus proclaimed the freedom of Greece at the Isthmian games near Corinth in 196 BC. Half a century later, Greece was annexed as a province by the Romans, who burned the ancient city of Corinth to the ground. Join us to discuss Books 31 to 40 of Livy's history, which charts Rome's emergence as an imperial nation and the Romans' tempestuous involvement with Greece, Macedonia and the near East. Lynn Harris will lead the discussion.

Image - Kevin Roe: The Ultimate Robot Challenge at Fukushima

Kevin Roe: The Ultimate Robot Challenge at Fukushima

Date: Thu, October 09, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Kevin Roe, Patent Attorney 

The triple meltdowns at Fukushima could be the greatest industrial disaster in history. But the disaster is not over, it has only just begun. Without repair at the reactors, endless radionuclide contamination from Fukushima will poison the Pacific Ocean. Kevin is a patent attorney in Silicon Valley and was formerly an electrical engineer specializing in computers and integrated circuits at companies such as IBM and Xerox PARC.  He has written several patent applications for robotics and artificial intelligence for all environments, including very high radiation environments. He explains the reasons why neither humans nor conventional robots can repair the reactors, the potential consequences if cleanup efforts fail, and a possible alternative approach to conventional robot technology. 

Fri 10/10

Image - Tony Serra: The Green, Yellow, and Purple Years in the Life of a Radical

Tony Serra: The Green, Yellow, and Purple Years in the Life of a Radical Lawyer

Date: Fri, October 10, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Hear Serra's quest for "confinement escapism"

J. Tony Serra, Criminal Defense Attorney; Author, The Green, Yellow, and Purple Years in the Life of a Radical Lawyer

Serra will speak and read from his book The Green, Yellow, and Purple Years in the Life of a Radical Lawyer, a chromatic, metaphoric account of Serra’s defense of groups such as the Black Panthers, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the New World Liberation Front, Nuestra Familia, Earth First!, the Hells Angels, and the Mafia. He wrote it while in federal prison for refusing to pay taxes. Serra explains in his foreword, “Forgive my romanticized and self-indulgent propositions in the forthcoming pages. Recall that such were written at Lompoc Federal Prison camp during my incarceration for U.S. tax resistance. I was not purporting to document case histories. You can find those references on the internet. Mine is not a quest for accuracy. Mine is a flight into whimsy and caprice, a retrospective twinkle in the eyes of memory: In short, confinement escapism.”

Sat 10/11

Go to Cartoonapalooza: Satire Fest Finale

Cartoonapalooza: Satire Fest Finale

Date: Sat, October 11, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Political cartooning and visual satire!

Here’s a special chance for a limited number of Commonwealth Club members to attend for free the finale of the Cartoonapalooza, featuring some of the nation’s best talent in political cartooning and visual satire.

Invited Participants:

Tom Tomorrow (aka, Dan Perkins), Cartoonist, "This Modern World"
Tom Meyer, Political Cartoonist, San Francisco Chronicle
Jen Sorensen, Award-winning, Nationally Syndicated Political Cartoonist
Keith Knight, Rapper and Cartoonist, "The Knight Life" and "K Chronicles"
Kevin Kallaugher, Cartoonist, The Economist, Author, “KAL”
Ted Rall, Syndicated Political Cartoonist, Los Angeles Times
David Horsey, Pulitzer Prize-winning Political Cartoonist, Los Angeles Times
Mike Ramirez, Pulitzer Prize-winning Political Cartoonist, Investors Business Daily
Mark Fiore, Political Cartoonist, SFGate and San Francisco Chronicle

Following the panel, Cartoonists Rights Network International will present awards to two cartoonists who have "demonstrated exceptional courage in the face of overwhelming threats.”  These are cartoonists who have been threatened with death, imprisoned or attacked in some way. There will also be a short award presentation to the Locher Award winner, given to the best student cartoonist. Beer, wine and appetizers will be available. 

Register through Satire Fest at http://www.cityboxoffice.com/SatireFest
Code for Commonwealth Club Members to Get Free Tickets: ToonInCommonwealth

Mon 10/13

Image - Retired US General Wesley Clark

Retired U.S.General Wesley Clark

Date: Mon, October 13, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Wesley Clark, Ret. U.S. Army General; Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander; Author, Don’t Wait for the Next War: A Strategy for American Growth and Global Leadership

In conversation with Kori Schake, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Former Distinguished Chair in International Security Studies, The United States Military Academy at West Point

Can the U.S. have a real national strategy and move forward without the focus of war? In the 20th century, the U.S. became the "arsenal of democracy" and emerged from WWII as the greatest power in the world. After losing its adversary, the Soviet Union, critics complained that U.S. leaders failed to replace the Cold War strategic vision with something appropriate for a postwar role.

Modern global challenges, immune to military solutions, require intricate interdependence between government and the private sector. Terrorism, cybersecurity, financial system vulnerabilities, the rise of China, and accelerating climate change constitute a new class of national security challenges. Clark says that meeting these will require the U.S. to revisit hallowed mythologies and concert domestic and foreign policies in a way that has never before been achieved. Based on his experience at the highest levels in the military, politics and business, Wesley Clark offers a possible path forward.

Dryden Liddle

Emperor Augustus: A Force for Civilization

Date: Mon, October 13, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
The man who made empire from republican disarray

Dryden Liddle, Ph.D.

Monday Night Philosophy remembers Emperor Augustus, who died 2,000 years ago on August 19, 14 A.D. This gifted and successful politician seized power ruthlessly and was declared the savior of the Roman Republic even as he was abolishing it. He ruled as an autocrat but maintained the fiction that he was no more than the Republic’s First Citizen. His 40-year reign was Rome’s Golden Age, when a new imperial government inspired institutions to be established, and art, architecture and literature to flourish, creating a prosperous civilization that lasted for centuries.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 10/13/14

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 10/13/14

Date: Mon, October 13, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM

Joe Garofoli, Political Reporter, San Francisco Chronicle; Twitter @joegarofoli
Mollie Reilly, Deputy Politics Editor, The Huffington Post; Twitter @mollieclare 
Additional Panelists TBA

At Week to Week, we explore the biggest, most controversial, and sometimes the oddest political issues with expert commentary by panelists who are smart, are civil, and have a good sense of humor. 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 come early before 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).

Tue 10/14

Image - From Hobby to Thriving Business: The Story of Della Fattoria

From Hobby to Thriving Business: The Story of Della Fattoria

Date: Tue, October 14, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Kathleen Weber, Owner, Della Fattoria Bakery; Author, Della Fattoria Bread

Tori Ritchie, Cookbook Author; Food Writer; Culinary Teacher

A self-taught home baker who went on to supply bread for The French Laundry, Weber is now proprietor of the much-loved Della Fattoria Bakery in Petaluma, named one of America’s 10 best bread bakeries by Bon Appétit. Long cherished for her artisan loaves, including favorites like the Meyer Lemon-Rosemary Campagne, Country Wheat and Sausage-Sage Levain, Weber shares the secrets to her breads in her first book, Della Fattoria Bread. Join Weber and Ritchie for a conversation about her bakery, her ranch, baking for some of the region’s top restaurants, and why we should all have more courage in the kitchen.

Image - John Lanchester in conversation with Michael Lewis

John Lanchester in conversation with Michael Lewis

Date: Tue, October 14, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
The language of money and how the world of finance and economics really works.

John Lanchester, Author, How to Speak Money: What the Money People Say – And What It Really Means
In Conversation with Michael Lewis, Contributing Editor, Vanity Fair; Author, MoneyballLiar’s Poker and Flash Boys

Join us for a special pairing and a witty, engaging dialogue about the language of money and how the world of finance and economics really works.

Lanchester is the author of three novels, including The Debt to Pleasure, Capital and IOU. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. He has covered a wide range of money matters, from the terms and conditions of personal checking accounts to the evasions of bankers appearing before Congress. See him in conversation with noted author Lewis, who has covered three decades of endemic global corruption since his debut, Liar’s Poker, which transformed him from a disillusioned bond salesman to the best-selling literary icon he is today.