Upcoming Events

Tue 9/22

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Tue, September 22, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans

Explore one of San Francisco’s 44 hills, and one of its original “Seven Hills”. Because of great views and its central position, Nob Hill became an exclusive enclave of the rich and famous on the west coast who built large mansions in the neighborhood. This included prominent tycoons such as Leland Stanford, and other members of the Big Four. Highlights include the history of four landmark hotels: The Fairmont, Mark Hopkins, Stanford Court, and Huntington Hotel. Visit the city’s largest house of worship, Grace Cathedral, and discover architectural tidbits and anecdotes about the railroad barons and silver kings. A true San Francisco experience of elegance, urbanity, scandals and fabulous views.

SOCAP Preview 2015: Funding What Matters in Our Local Economies

Date: Tue, September 22, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Investors and philanthropists pursing neighborhood economics.

Kevin Jones, Founder, Good Capital; Co-founder and Convener, Social Capital Markets
Jenny Kassan, CEO, Cutting Edge Capital
Michael Shuman, Co-founder, Cutting Edge Capital; Author, Local Economy Solution; Founding Board Member, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies
Kevin O’Malley, President TechTalk/Studio – Moderator

Cities and small towns can become more resilient when residents see where resources are flowing, decide together the changes to prioritize and strategically blend giving and investing to reach those goals. Hear from leading investors and philanthropists who are pursing neighborhood economics as an antidote to “two pocket thinking” –where giving and financial-return investments happen separately, and often in contradiction to each other – and bringing the full diversity of a community into local economy-building.

Wed 9/23

Image - The Wilder Side of Life

The Wilder Side of Life

Date: Wed, September 23, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Tom Stienstra, Outdoors Writer, San Francisco Chronicle

This program is co-sponsored by the San Francisco Chronicle

The life of an outdoorsman can be dangerously exciting. From leading a five-week expedition to find Bigfoot, to being charged by a grizzly bear at point-blank range, the list of stories Tom Stienstra, outdoors editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, has is extensive. Join us as Stienstra showcases his experiences through dramatic photos and elaborate tales collected throughout his career.

Thu 9/24

The Revolution in Small Satellites

Date: Thu, September 24, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Space opens up to new entrants...

Mike Safyan, Director of Launch and Regulatory Affairs, Planet Labs

A revolution is happening in the space industry. What used to be the domain of nation states and a handful of big corporations is now accessible to students and startups. Planet Labs, a local San Francisco startup, is launching fleets of small satellites to image the entire Earth every day. Mike Safyan, one of Planet's founding team members, will tell the story of how Planet Labs went from garage to orbit to create an unprecedented view of the Earth's changes. As space opens up to new entrants, more people than ever before will have access to radical new tools and data streams to help solve global challenges, such as deforestation, urban sprawl and food security.

Safyan is the director of launch and regulatory affairs at Planet Labs, a San Francisco-based firm that designs, builds and operates the world’s largest fleet of Earth imaging satellites. He has been involved with the launch and operations of over 100 satellites to date.

Fri 9/25

Bread From Stones

Date: Fri, September 25, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With author Keith Watenpaugh

Keith David Watenpaugh, Associate Professor of Modern Islam, Human Rights and Peace Studies, UC Davis

Hear Watenpaugh, a noted Middle East historian and educator, discuss his latest book, Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism. Watenpaugh will elaborate on the development of helping victims following the mass violence, genocide, displacement of millions, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the advent of late colonialism in the Middle East.

Mon 9/28

Humanities West Book Discussion: Dante’s Divine Comedy (Books 1 &2)

Date: Mon, September 28, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM
With discussion led by Lynn Harris

Join us for a discussion of hell and purgatory within Dante’s Divine Comedy, led by Lynn Harris. The Clive James’s translation will be used, which was decades in the making and renders the entire epic as a coherent and compulsively readable lyric poem. Yet the translation reproduces the same wonderful momentum of the original Italian, propelling the reader along the pilgrim’s path from hell to heaven, from despair to revelation.

Socrates Café

Date: 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.

Tue 9/29

Image - Dale Russakoff: Who's in Charge of America's Schools?

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.

Wed 9/30

Seven Keys to a Successful Job Search

Date: 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.

Tue 10/6

Image - Can we stop Alzheimer’s Disease?

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.

Wed 10/7

Image -  The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine W

The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World

Date: 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.

Thu 10/8

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, October 08, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure 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!

Mon 10/12

Living in the Material World: The Future of the Humanities

Date: 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.

Wed 10/21

Image - The Redwoods League and 21st-century Land Conservation

The Redwoods League and 21st-century Land Conservation

Date: Wed, October 21, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Sam Hodder from the Save the Redwoods League

Sam Hodder, President and CEO, Save the Redwoods League

Come hear Sam Hodder, president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League, explain how the iconic California redwoods catalyzed the nation's conservation movement, a century ago, and are now redefining our 21st century relationship with nature. He will discuss how a century of redwood conservation and research has demonstrated how these ancient trees could help us respond to modern day challenges. He says it's not just about how we can save the redwoods, but how the redwoods are saving us.

Mon 10/26

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, October 26, 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.

Fri 11/13

Image - The Orbital Perspective

The Orbital Perspective

Date: Fri, November 13, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With author Ron Garan

Ron Garan, Former NASA Astronaut; Author, The Orbital Perspective

Garan, a retired NASA astronaut who logged 178 days in space and 71 million miles in orbit, will discuss his perspective of his experience as an astronaut and his time spent on the International Space Station. He was a long-term resident of the ISS, where he lived and worked with U.S. and Russian crewmates. He also served aboard the space shuttle Discovery. He left NASA in 2013, but not before becoming the first person ever to give a TED Talk from space.

Today Garan applies three-dimensional thinking, or “the orbital perspective,” to long-term global problem solving – working, primarily, to create a more sustainable, peaceful planet, and combat world hunger, thirst and poverty.?

As founder of Manna Energy Foundation, a nonprofit social-enterprise incubator, Garan helps address the developing world’s need for fresh water, renewable energy and access to communications. He started Fragile Oasis, a one-of-a-kind humanitarian initiative connecting Earth dwellers with astronauts in space

Mon 11/16

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, November 16, 2015
Time: 5:00 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.

Mon 12/21

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, December 21, 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.