Upcoming Events: San Francisco
Middle East Discussion GroupDate: Mon, September 28, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Make your voice heard!
Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan. Each month, the Middle East Member-Led Forum hosts an informal roundtable discussion on a topic frequently suggested by recent headlines. After a brief introduction, the floor will be open for discussion. All interested members are encouraged to attend. There will also be a brief planning session.
Socrates CaféDate: Mon, September 28, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.
On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.
The Future of Digital Competition in AsiaDate: Tue, September 29, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With former Obama advisor Dr. Peter Cowhey
Peter Cowhey, Ph.D., Dean, School of Global Policy & Strategy, UCSD; Former Chief, International Bureau of the FCC; Former Obama Advisor
Asia-Pacific nations, most notably China, the U.S., Japan, and India, account for half of the world’s consumers and are home to the majority of leading digital hardware, software, e-commerce, and service firms. As a result, the Asia-Pacific region will play a key role in shaping the future “platform economy.” Dr. Peter Cowhey is an expert on U.S.-China technology and innovation issues and an advisor to the Obama administration on trade policy. Join us as he discusses the future of Asia-Pacific digital landscape and how coming changes will affect nations, firms and private citizens.
Dale Russakoff: Who's in Charge of America's Schools?Date: Tue, September 29, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Dale Russakoff, Author, The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools?
Listen to Dale Russakoff, expert journalist, deliver a story of high ideals and hubris as reformers face off against entrenched unions, skeptical parents and bewildered students. The Prize is a portrait of a titanic struggle over the future of education for the poorest kids, and a cautionary tale for those who care about the shape of America’s schools.
The book’s story begins with Mark Zuckerberg announcing in front of a cheering "Oprah" audience his $100 million pledge to transform the Newark schools. The lauded plan soon ran into a constituency not so easily moved—Newark’s key education players, fiercely protective of their billion-dollar-per-annum system.
Join us as Russakoff explains how the prize seems to have enriched everyone except for Newark’s students.
Seven Keys to a Successful Job SearchDate: Wed, September 30, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
Navigating today’s competitive job market.
Mary Eileen Williams, M.A., NCCC, Job Search Expert; Author; Blogger; Speaker; Radio Host
Williams aims to provide mature applicants with critical information on navigating today’s competitive job market, including how to brand yourself for success, make yourself marketable, differentiate yourself from the competition and create a powerful presence both in-person and online. She’ll also discuss networking and the “halo effect,” and the ups and downs of compensation. As a Nationally Board Certified Career Counselor with a master's degree in career development, she has over 20 years’ experience as a career strategist working with jobseekers and career changers.
Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Megan SmithDate: Wed, September 30, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
A tech upgrade for the U.S. government
Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer of the United States
In conversation with Sal Khan, Founder, Khan Academy
“If we’re the country that makes Amazon and Facebook and Twitter, why can’t the federal government have websites and digital services that are awesome?” – Megan Smith
It’s no secret that the U.S. government needs a tech upgrade, says U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, who is committed to shaking up things. President Obama’s tech mandate is far more than just moving on from floppy disks – initiatives of the Office of Science and Technology Policy include getting more women and people of color in tech jobs, pushing regulatory reform that would allow entrepreneurs to advance their ideas more quickly, and delivering better digital services such as welfare registration. And when they’re done there, Megan’s team has its eyes on expanding online networks to 900 million people in Africa.
As former VP of business development at Google and CEO of PlanetOut, a media company targeting the LGBT demographic, Megan Smith has a unique understanding of the capacity of technology to impact public policy. Join us for a conversation between Megan Smith and Sal Khan, founder and executive director of Khan Academy. This event is the second in the new INFORUM series of interviews featuring Sal Khan in conversation with various leaders pushing the limits of learning and breaking boundaries in their industry.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and William Clay Ford: Growing the U.S. EconomyDate: Thu, October 01, 2015
Time: 1:00 PM
Rick Snyder, Governor, Michigan
William Clay Ford Jr., Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One – Moderator
Based on their experiences in Michigan, Snyder and Ford have a positive economic tale to tell, with implications for the country.
First taking office in 2011, Governor Snyder pledged a common-sense approach to governing focused on working together to find solutions for the state’s toughest problems. In his first term, the state passed four balanced budgets, eliminated a $1.5 billion deficit and reformed tax and regulatory codes. Since Snyder took office, Michigan has created nearly 400,000 new private sector jobs, with Michigan’s unemployment rate now at its lowest in 12 years. As executive chairman of Ford Motor Company (and the great grandson of Henry Ford), William Clay Ford, Jr. has been its at its helm since January 1999. He also served as CEO of the company from 2001 to 2006. “During the recent industry downturn, Ford made two big bets: one on fuel economy and the other on technology, investing heavily at a time when many others were pulling back,” he says. “Today, we are a leader in both.”
Join us for a unique conversation about business, energy and innovation.
Women in Tech: Can Silicon Valley Women Have It All?Date: Fri, October 02, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Jaleh Daie, Ph.D., Managing Partner, Aurora Equity; Member, Silicon Valley of Angels; Former Head of Science, David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Technology has always been a male dominated industry even in the midst of the women’s liberation movements. Within the ever-expanding Silicon Valley, the gender gap in the job market has become ever more prevalent as the industry becomes increasingly one-sided. Dr. Jaleh Daie, a leading female VC in Silicon Valley, discusses her own career as she established herself in a male-majority industry. Join us for a conversation about what we can do to attract more young women to technology and what women can bring to the technological table.
China Today: Environmental Progress and ChallengesDate: Mon, October 05, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With NRDC Senior Attorney Barbara Finamore
Barbara Finamore, Senior Attorney and Asia Director, Natural Resources Defense Council
China is the largest contributor to the world’s air pollution. So much so that media have dubbed China’s current pollution state as an “airpocalypse” that has led to a frenzy of new green policies. Inadvertently, China is now one of the largest investors in green energy as well. The dramatic number of policy changes is promising for the climate’s future, but these changes are not without their own obstacles. Is China at a tipping point? Finamore will discuss China’s world status, the challenges China faces and the opportunities that may arise from this new green effort.
Resilient CitiesDate: Mon, October 05, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Prepare for the furious tantrums of Mother Nature
Patrick Otellini, Chief Resilience Officer, San Francisco
Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director, SPUR
Generously underwritten by The San Francisco Foundation and The Seed Fund
Cities from around the world have faced a dramatically changing climate in the past decade. San Francisco alone has stood against earthquakes, large storms and heavy winds in 2014 and the Rim Fire that cost the city $36 million dollars. What can we do to prepare ourselves for the furious tantrums of Mother Nature? Join us as our panelists Patrick Otellini and Laura Tam investigate what we have learned from past calamities and what other cities from around the world are doing to protect their citizens.
Can We Stop Alzheimer’s Disease?Date: Tue, October 06, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With Nutritional Biochemist Steve Blake
Steve Blake, Sc.D., Nutritional Biochemist; Author, A Nutritional Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease; Faculty, Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience
What if there was a way to delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease by up to seven years? With both wise food choices and scientifically based supplementation, Steve Blake thinks it just might be possible. Find out the importance of vitamin D, antioxidants and polyphenols from food when it comes to lowering your risk of dementia, while Blake explains how you can implement these helpful techniques for yourself.
Strange Tools: Art and Human NatureDate: Tue, October 06, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With professor Alva Noë
Alva Noë, Professor of Philosophy, UC Berkeley; Author, Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature
What is art? Why do we value art as we do? What does art reveal about our nature? Alva Noë offers new answers to these questions through his book Strange Tools, which makes provocative use of examples in philosophy, art history and cognitive science. Listen to Noë explain why recent efforts to frame questions about art in terms of neuroscience and evolutionary biology alone have been, and will continue to be, unsuccessful.
Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 10/6/15Date: Tue, October 06, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Join us as for a special edition of Week to Week, as we explore the biggest, most controversial, and sometimes the surprising 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, an inside look at what Californians think, audience discussion of the week’s events, and our live 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).
The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our WorldDate: Wed, October 07, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Professor Pedro Domingos
Pedro Domingos, Professor, University of Washington; Co-founder, International Machine Learning Society
Machine learning is the automation of discovery – the scientific method on steroids – that enables intelligent robots and computers to program themselves. No field of science today is more important yet more shrouded in mystery. Pedro Domingos gives us a peek inside the learning machines that power giants like Google all the way down to the smartphone in your pocket. These programs are already helping us fight the war on cancer and predict the movements of the stock market, and they are making great headway with instant language translation and discovering new laws of nature.
Leading us through machine learning’s five major schools of thought (neuroscience, evolution, psychology, physics, and statistics) Domingos assembles a blueprint for the future universal learner – the Master Algorithm – and discusses what it means for you and for the future of business, science and society.
San Francisco Architecture Walking TourDate: Thu, October 08, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans
Book Discussion: The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David KertzerDate: Thu, October 08, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Scott Shane: National Security Reporter for The New York TimesDate: Fri, October 09, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Scott Shane, National Security Reporter, The New York Times; Author, Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone; Twitter @ScottShaneNYT
Objective Troy tells the gripping and unsettling story of Anwar al-Awlaki, the once-celebrated American imam who called for moderation after 9/11 but ultimately directed his outsized talents to the mass murder of his fellow citizens. Awlaki, who devised a plot that almost derailed Obama’s presidency, and then taunted him from his desert hideouts, will go down in history as the first U.S. citizen deliberately hunted and assassinated by his own government without trial. But his eloquent calls to jihad, amplified by YouTube, continue to lure young Westerners into terrorism—resulting in tragedies from the Boston marathon bombing to the murder of cartoonists at a Paris weekly. Hear Scott Shane discuss the years of reporting that went into this masterful chronicle of our times.
Living in the Material World: The Future of the HumanitiesDate: Mon, October 12, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Professor Caroline Winterer
Caroline Winterer, Director and Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities, Stanford Humanities Center; Professor of History and of Classics at Stanford University
Russell Hancock, Pianist, Saint Michael Trio, and President and CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley
Judy Salter, Board Member, Cal Humanities, and former President and CEO of Turtle Bay Exploration Park
The runaway success of material culture in the last two centuries has often overshadowed the pursuit of subtler, more humane forms of happiness and understanding. Recently even the great universities, the last strongholds of liberal education, have been struggling to define the value of critical thinking next to career building. How will these subtler pursuits survive the cultural onslaught of materialism? Join us for another panel discussion of how to live humanely in the 21st century.
Charging Ahead: PG&E CEO Tony EarleyDate: Thu, October 15, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Tony Earley, Chairman & CEO, PG&E Corporation
California creates more wealth per puff of carbon pollution than anywhere else on the planet, and its largest electric utility, PG&E, has become one of the cleanest power providers in the country. Now the state has laid out ambitious new goals for generating an even greener and smarter economy. That means higher standards for renewable energy, mandates for new ways of storing electricity, a concerted push toward electric vehicles and new approaches to pricing the power that runs our connected lives.
The transition will mean big changes for two industries with a historic reliance on fossil fuels: investor-owned power utilities and traditional automakers. What role will these century-old pillars of commerce play in the new energy ecosystem? With a host of start-ups and big names in high-tech challenging old business models and vying for pieces of the clean energy market, can they prove innovative enough to adapt and succeed in a carbon-free future?
In the run-up to the United Nations climate conference in Paris, join us for a conversation about powering the California of tomorrow.
Adam Johnson: Pulitzer Prize-Winning AuthorDate: Mon, October 19, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Adam Johnson, Associate Professor, Stanford University; Author, The Orphan Master’s Son and Fortune Smiles
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his acclaimed and bestselling novel The Orphan Master’s Son, Johnson is one of America’s most provocative and powerful authors. In his latest novel, Fortune Smiles, he continues to give voice to characters rarely heard from while offering something we all seek from fiction: a new way of looking at our world. In six masterly stories, Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal. Unnerving, riveting and written with a timeless quality, these stories confirm Johnson as one of America's greatest writers and serves as an indispensable guide to our new century.