Book Discussion: The Guns of August by Barbara TuchmanDate: Tue, September 02, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August is a compelling book to discuss during this 100th anniversary of the inception of World War I. The first world war was the signal event of the modern era: without it, no Hitler, no Holocaust, no World War II, no Bolshevik Revolution, no Cold War (including the Korean and Vietnam Wars), and no nuclear weapons. The book discussion will focus on the first 158 pages. Anyone not interested in the minutiae of military history after hostilities opened can stop at page 158, which completes Ms. Tuchman’s brilliant discussion of how and why the four years of horrendous hostilities began in August of 1914.
Journalism: The Agriculture Beat ResurgenceDate: Wed, September 03, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Exploring the growing appetite for food news.
Tara Duggan, Staff Writer, San Francisco Chronicle; Author, Root to Stalk Cooking: The Art of Using the Whole Vegetable
Naomi Starkman, Founder and Editor in Chief, Civil Eats; Winner of the Publication of the Year, 2014 James Beard Awards
Andy Wright, Senior Editor, Modern Farmer
Sasha Khokha, Central Valley Bureau Chief, KQED – Moderator
The agriculture beat was once an important area of coverage for all major media outlets, delivering news about rural areas as well as policy decisions in Washington, D.C. But, like most mainstream media, the agriculture beat has taken a significant hit due to cutbacks in editorial and reporting staff. At the same time, more consumers are hungry for news about where their food is coming from and new outlets are seeking to feed their interest. This panel will explore the intersection between the changing state of journalism and its impact on the future of food and agriculture reporting. Post-program, enjoy local and organic bites provided by Bi-Rite Catering.
Vietnam, the U.S. and China Today: Insights from the Consul GeneralDate: Wed, September 03, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Exploring the global relationships between these countries.
Nguyen Ba Hung, Consul General of Vietnam in San Francisco
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam, with a population of almost 90 million people, is on a course of economic growth as it moves toward a market-oriented economy. Its GDP is forecasted to grow 5.5 percent this year. Overseas makers of apparel, footwear and electronics are attracted by low labor costs and have set up factories there. Foreign direct investment in 2013 is said to have increased 36 percent over 2012. How are relations between Vietnam and the United States? How will its conflict with China over territory in the South China Sea affect Vietnam? Hear the views of the consul general of Vietnam in San Francisco and bring your questions.
Russian Hill Walking TourDate: Thu, September 04, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Join a more active Neighborhood Adventure!
Join a more active Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure! Russian Hill is a magical area with secret gardens and amazing views. Join Rick Evans for a two-hour hike up hills and staircases and learn about the history of this neighborhood. See where great artists and architects lived and worked, and walk down residential streets where some of the most historically significant houses in the Bay Area are located.
The West Without WaterDate: Thu, September 04, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Exploring the climate of the American West throughout history.
B. Lynn Ingram, Professor, Earth & Planetary Science and Geography, UC Berkeley; Co-author, The West Without Water
Frances Malamud-Roam, Senior Environmental Planner and Biologist, Caltrans; Co-author, The West Without Water
The West Without Water documents the tumultuous climate of the American West over 20 millennia, with tales of past droughts and deluges and predictions about the impacts of future climate change on water resources. Its authors ask the central questions of what is “normal” for the West, and whether the relatively benign climate of the past century will continue into the future. Their answers are derived by merging climate and paleoclimate research from a wide variety of sources.
Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin and the Organized MindDate: Thu, September 04, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
How can we deal with the digital-age flood of information?
Daniel J. Levitin, Author, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload and This Is Your Brain on Music
In conversation with Indre Viskontas, Host, Inquiring Minds
In the information age, people are expected to make faster, more frequent decisions about their lives despite facing an unprecedented, unrelenting barrage of data each day. It’s no wonder, then, why the average person is prone to missing appointments, losing track of their car keys and generally feeling worn out as they struggle to keep up. Join Levitin for a discussion on how to not only organize your home and time, but also excel at navigating this never-ending flood of information through a neuroscientific perspective.
In his recent book, The Organized Mind, acclaimed neuroscientist and New York Times bestselling author Daniel J. Levitin explores the latest brain science to illustrate how we can apply the newest research into the cognitive neuroscience of attention and memory into our daily lives.
Sal Khan: INFORUM's 21st Century Visionary AwardDate: Thu, September 04, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
Sal Khan, Founder, Khan Academy; Author, The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined
In conversation with Kishore Hari, Director, Bay Area Science Festival
"I teach the way that I wish I was taught."
– Sal Khan
When Sal Khan started helping his teenage cousin with algebra from across the country, he didn’t set out to change the world. Starting only with an office in his Bay Area apartment, he now has over 4,000 video lessons in his online library, ranging from chemistry to history to finance. Khan is truly an educational pioneer, reaching millions of students, teachers and individuals. Khan Academy’s mission to give a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere has breached the educational divide between poor and privileged and pioneered a transformation at the intersection of learning and technology. INFORUM will award this educational innovator with our 21st Century Visionary Award. Don’t miss your chance to learn from one of the best teachers you’ll ever have, in conversation with a special guest, live at the Castro Theatre.
Driven: Saudi Arabian Women LeadersDate: Mon, September 08, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Philippa Kelly, Ph.D., Educator, UC Berkeley; Author; Dramaturg
Dina Ibrahim, Associate Professor of Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts, SFSU – Moderator
Dr. Kelly has published widely, including books on Shakespeare and papers on dramaturgy and cultural engagement. She will discuss her work in teaching and leadership at Saudi universities. Kelly's next book will record the experiences of Saudi Arabia's female leaders in a society that is still rigidly masculinist.
What Is It to Redeem Your Past? Some Lessons from Nietzsche and KunderaDate: Mon, September 08, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Straight from Stanford's The Art of Living course.
Lanier Anderson, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Stanford University
Monday Night Philosophy focuses on the ancient issues raised by the human ability to remember our pasts. Should it exert a heavy burden upon the present, or light the way to a better future? Though neither extreme is commonly indulged, redeeming ourselves from our apparently unredeemable pasts does get a lot of cultural attention. Straight from Stanford's The Art of Living course, hear Professor Anderson's views on Friedrich Nietzsche's and Milan Kundera's insights into one version of redemption.
The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of ReaganDate: Tue, September 09, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Creating the Reagan Revolution
Rick Perlstein, Author, The Invisible Bridge
The Invisible Bridge is a dazzling portrait of America on the verge of a nervous breakdown in the tumultuous 1970s. In the wake of Watergate, Nixon's resignation, congressional investigations of CIA assassinations and the chaotic end to the Vietnam War, Americans began thinking about their nation in a new way, as just one nation among many, no more providential than any other. But Ronald Reagan never got the message. Instead, he was reconstituting the conservative political culture we know now. Perlstein recalls that in America's bicentennial year, that temporary vision of patriotism rooted in a sense of American limits was quickly derailed by the rise of the smiling politician from Hollywood.
Sheryl Sandberg & Marianne Cooper Talk: The Anxieties of Modern FamiliesDate: Tue, September 09, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
The worries all American families face and what can be done about it.
Marianne Cooper, Stanford Sociologist & Author, Cut Adrift
In conversation with Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook and Lean In
Introduction by Jaleh Daie, Managing Partner, Aurora Equity; Former President, Association for Women in Science
In an increasingly insecure economy, it’s easy to get bogged down with statistics and lose sight of the human costs of the recession. Stanford sociologist and lead researcher for the book Lean In, Marianne Cooper wants to change that. In her new book, Cut Adrift, Cooper weaves together deep data analysis of our frightening economic condition with real-world stories of families struggling to adjust. Hearing from everyone from suburban soccer moms to those struggling to feed their children, we’re given an intimate look at the challenges facing modern families, and how financial anxiety penetrates the daily lives of those at every socioeconomic level. Whether it’s the wealthy seeking even stronger security or the poor trying to avoid further instability, Cut Adrift gives us a glimpse of changing gender dynamics and how families are coping in a go-it-alone economy. Hear Cooper in conversation with LeanIn.org Founder Sheryl Sandberg, as they unpack the worries all American families face and brainstorm what can be done about it.
Kat Taylor and Tom SteyerDate: Tue, September 09, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
Championing good money, good food and good energy systems.
Kat Taylor, CEO, Beneficial State Bank; Founding Director, TomKat Ranch Education Foundation
Tom Steyer, Founder and President, NextGen Climate; Twitter: @TomSteyer
In conversation with Dr. Gloria C. Duffy, President and CEO, The Commonwealth Club
Taylor and Steyer are committed to supporting causes that champion good money, good food and good energy systems. Their efforts include ventures such as Beneficial State Bank, a sustainable community development bank that provides fair and transparent banking products to communities in California, Oregon and Washington. They are also engaged in promoting sustainable animal agriculture and healthy food initiatives, as well as supporting organizations that are working to prevent climate disaster and preserve American prosperity. Join us for a conversation with Taylor and Steyer.
James EllroyDate: Wed, September 10, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Come hear the "Demon Dog of American Crime Fiction."
James Ellroy, Author, L.A. Confidential, The Black Dahlia and Perfidia
In conversation with Eddie Muller, Author; Founder and President, Film Noir Foundation
In Perfidia, his latest work, Ellroy delves more deeply than ever before into his characters' intellectual and emotional lives. But it has the full-strength, unbridled story-telling audacity that has marked all the acclaimed work of the "Demon Dog of American Crime Fiction."
From "one of the great American writers of our time" (Los Angeles Times Book Review) comes a brilliant crime/historical novel, and his largest, most accessible novel yet: a pulse-pounding, as-it-happens narrative that unfolds in Los Angeles over 23 days beginning on December 6, 1941. The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor. The United States teeters on the edge of war. The roundup of allegedly treasonous Japanese Americans is about to begin. And in L.A., a Japanese family is found dead. Murder or ritual suicide?
The investigation will draw four people into a totally Ellroy-ian tangle: a brilliant Japanese American forensic chemist; an unsatisfiably adventurous young woman; one police officer based in fact (William H. "Whiskey Bill" Parker, later to become the groundbreaking chief of the LAPD), the other the product of Ellroy's inimitable imagination (Dudley Smith, arch villain of The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, White Jazz). As their lives intertwine, we are given a story of war and of consuming romance, a searing exposé of the Japanese internment and an astonishingly detailed homicide investigation.
Effecting Social Change with Documentary Filmmaking: Marin Conversations with James Redford and Tabitha JacksonDate: Wed, September 10, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
Two experts share their experiences with film storytelling.
James Redford, Screenwriter, Producer, Director; Co-founder and Chairman, The Redford Center
Tabitha Jackson, Director, Documentary Film Program, Sundance Institute
Documentary films are powerful tools for understanding social issues and encouraging activism. The topics of James Redford's films have ranged from dyslexia to organ donation and have provided meaningful insight into these tough subjects. At the Sundance Institute, Tabitha Jackson is at the forefront of promoting documentary films. Join these two gifted artists and social change champions as they discuss the power of film in catalyzing a better world.
James Redford co-founded and chairs The Redford Center, a non-profit production company committed to documenting stories of environmental and social issues. His numerous HBO documentary films include Toxic Hot Seat, which explores the dangers of chemical flame-retardants on furniture; The Big Picture, which examines the challenges – and gifts – of dyslexia; Mann V. Ford, which brings attention to the poisoning of a Native American community; and The Kindness of Strangers which celebrates the miracle of organ donation, which he credits with saving his own life twice.
Tabitha Jackson serves as the director of the Documentary Film Program at the Sundance Institute. The program supports filmmakers in producing cinematic documentaries that address contemporary social issues and engage in compelling story telling. Tabitha served as commissioning editor for the Arts at Channel 4 in the UK. She has made numerous films in both the U.S. and UK about identity, history and social justice. She received the News and Documentary Emmy, the Royal Television Society Award and the UNESCO Gold Award.
Khaled Hosseini: Best-Selling Author of The Kite RunnerDate: Wed, September 10, 2014
Time: 7:30 PM
The best-selling author receives the John Steinbeck Award.
Khaled Hosseini, Author, The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns and And the Mountains Echoed
In Conversation with Pat Thurston, Talk Show Host, KGO Radio
As a young Afghan immigrant, Hosseini had a profound life-changing experience when his Independence High School English teacher, Jan Sanchez, introduced him to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Join us as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Steinbeck classic with Dr. Hosseini, who will be honored with the John Steinbeck Award for his literary contributions and humanitarian efforts. Hear more about Hosseini’s extraordinary journey as an author, philanthropist and citizen of the world.
Politics, Environment and National SecurityDate: Thu, September 11, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Louis Schubert, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Social Sciences Department, City College of San Francisco.
Politics, environment and national security may seem like an odd combination of opposing narratives, theories and topics. Yet all three are closely related. Healthy or unhealthy environments are part of every nation's security and politics. And all three — politics, environment and national security — are interactive and intertwined in the outcomes of worldwide environmental health, security and violence. Join us in an exploration of these three seemingly opposite narratives: politics, environment and national security and how an understanding of these narratives interacting as a whole will give us a more inclusive picture of the impacts of environmental health and security on local peoples, communities, nations and the world.
Reforming Our Broken Mental Health SystemDate: Fri, September 12, 2014
Time: 9:00 AM
Tim Murphy, U.S. Representative (R-Penn.)
Tim Murphy, U.S. Representative (R-Penn.)
Congressman Tim Murphy, Ph.D, believes in rebuilding the nation’s broken mental health system. As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, Murphy conducted a year-long investigation with multiple congressional hearings, forums, interviews and research into why those who need help the most have been the least likely to get it. Dr. Murphy, who is also a clinical psychologist, will discuss his groundbreaking Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 3717).
What Makes a Perfect Loaf?Date: Fri, September 12, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Journalist Fromartz and baker Robertson delve deep into bread.
Samuel Fromartz, Author, In Search of the Perfect Loaf: A Home Baker's Odyssey; Blogger, ChewsWise; @fromartz,
In conversation with Chad Robertson, owner Tartine, Bar Tartine; Author, Tartine Book No. 3: Modern, Ancient, Classic, Whole; @tartinebaker
In this discussion, journalist Fromartz and renowned baker Robertson will delve deep into bread, attempting to define a great loaf and what it takes to make it. Fromartz, a home baker for more than 17 years, traveled through the U.S. and to Europe to meet bakers, millers and sourdough microbiologists and translate their lessons to his kitchen. Robertson, the owner of Tartine Bakery, travelled to countries, including Denmark, bringing a new understanding of whole grain loaves into his repertoire. The two will riff off themes in Fromartz's book, touching on everything from the art of fermentation to the craft of the baker.
Climate on the BrainDate: Fri, September 12, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
The psychology behind why humans ignore climate change.
George Marshall, Author, Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change
Dacher Keltner, Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley
Abundant scientific evidence demonstrates that climate disruption is happening in all 50 states now and many Americans are directly experiencing impacts. Yet many people are failing to do all they can to reduce carbon pollution and build a resilient future. Are we mad? Or are we simply human?
While fossil fuels are challenges on many systemic levels – biological, economic, political, international – one of the most daunting obstacles is human cognition. Human brains are wired to detect threats such as tigers in the bush and are not well equipped for odorless invisible gases coming out our own tailpipes and pie holes.
Join us for a conversation about how extreme weather events could make us less concerned, not more. Does having children make people less concerned about climate change? What can people do to become informed and empowered?
U.S. Senator Kirsten GillibrandDate: Sat, September 13, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
The senator recounts her personal journey in public service.
Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Senator; Author, Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World; Twitter: @SenGillibrand
The senator recounts her personal journey in public service and aims to galvanize women to reach beyond their busy lives and make a meaningful difference in the world around them. If women were fully represented in politics, Gillibrand says, national priorities would shift to issues that directly impact them: affordable daycare, paid family medical leave, and equal pay. Pulling back the curtain on Beltway politics, she speaks candidly about her legislative successes (securing federally funded medical care for 9/11 first responders, repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) and her crushing disappointments (failing by five votes to pass a bill protecting survivors of sexual assault in the military). Gillibrand also shares stories of growing up the daughter and granddaughter of two trailblazing feminists in a politically active family in Albany, New York, and retraces her nonlinear path to public office.