Upcoming Events: All

Mon 3/2

Image - Book Discussion: The Faith Instinct

Book Discussion: The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why it Endures by Nicholas Wade

Date: Mon, March 02, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
How our innate piety has adapted to changing needs and conditions.

In The Faith Instinct, Wade investigates humanity’s transforming propensity for religion, showing how our innate piety has adapted to changing needs and conditions. Beginning as hunter-gatherers, humans were able to experience independent and personal access to the divine. But with the rise of organized agriculture and the growth of cities, religion became hierarchical: Unwritten rules and intimate gods were turned into opaque instruments of power by religious bureaucracies that shaped social institutions but also suppressed more ecstatic forms of worship. Wade, seeking the answer to religion’s ubiquity, posits that faith, acting as a catalyst of social cohesion, became effectively written into our genetic code – along with a periodic urge to rebel against the institutionalization of worship. 

Image - Week to Week

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 3/2/15

Date: Mon, March 02, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Smart and civil — and sometimes funny — political insight.

Josh Richman, State and National Politics Reporter, Bay Area News Group; Political Blogger, ibabuzz.com/politics; Twitter @Josh_Richman 
Melissa Griffin Caen, Contributor, CBS SF (“Mornings with Melissa”) and San Francisco Magazine; Attorney; Twitter @melgriffincaen 
Carson Bruno, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Specializing in California's Political and Policy Landscape; Twitter @CarsonJFBruno

Join us 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 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).

Tue 3/3

Weather Whiplash

Weather Whiplash

Date: Tue, March 03, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
When global warming becomes global weirding.

Kathryn Sullivan, Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Louise Bedsworth, Deputy Director, California Governor's Office of Planning and Research

How can we make sense of all the wacky weather around the country? The American West is hot and dry and the East is seeing massive snowstorms and wicked cold temperatures. Scientists say that we should expect dry periods to get drier and wet periods to get wetter. As columnist Thomas Friedman says, global warming is really global weirding.

Scientific understanding of our boiling planet is advancing quickly. However, front-line responders are struggling without the information they need to armor communities prior to a disaster and respond effectively as a disaster strikes. Join us for a conversation about the strange changes to our landscape, and what California is doing to get ready for fires, floods and other climate impacts ahead.

Image - Nob Hill Walking Tour

Nob Hill Walking Tour

Date: Tue, March 03, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM

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.

Image - Clean Cloud

Clean Cloud

Date: Tue, March 03, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Can Silicon Valley companies be cool and green?

Gary Cook, Senior Policy Analyst, Greenpeace International
Lori Duval, Global Director, Green, eBay
Christina Page, Global Director, Energy and Sustainability Strategy, Yahoo!
Bill Weihl, Sustainability Guru, Facebook

Can Silicon Valley companies be cool and green? They still have a way to go, but several companies are getting cleaner. Two years ago Greenpeace gave Facebook poor grades for its data centers. After its Unfriend Coal campaign the activist group now gives Facebook high marks. And eBay lobbied the governor of Utah to make the state more friendly to data centers running on renewable power. Yahoo, eBay and other companies are also moving ahead in other areas of sustainability.

Join a conversation on what Silicon Valley is doing to ditch fossil fuels and adopt better ways of powering our digital lives.

Climate One Connect
Audience members are invited to join us after the program to celebrate the launch of Climate One's new website created by Carbon Five.

Wed 3/4

Image - Humanities West Book Discussion: The Song of Roland

Humanities West Book Discussion: The Song of Roland

Date: Wed, March 04, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
A classical epic that glorifies the heroism of Charlemagne.

Join us to discuss The Song of Roland, the anonymous classical epic that glorifies the heroism of Charlemagne in the 778 battle between the Franks and the Moors. Lynn Harris will lead the discussion.

Image - Who is Putin?

Who Is Putin?

Date: Wed, March 04, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Ilya Ponomarev, member of the Russian State Duma

Ilya Ponomarev, Opposition Member, Russian State Duma; Chair, Innovations Subcommittee of Duma; Technology Entrepreneur

Who is Vladimir Putin: powerful tyrant or cornered ex-KGB officer who became Russian President? What is the end game for him? How should the White House handle the crisis between Russia and the West? Join our discussion with a leader of the Russian opposition. Hon. Illya Ponomarev was the only State Duma member to vote against the accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation. In August he learned that the Kremlin had banned him from returning to Russia.

Thu 3/5

Image - Elder Financial Abuse and Blessing Scams

Elder Financial Abuse and Blessing Scams

Date: Thu, March 05, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With San Francisco District Attorney, George Gascón

George Gascón, San Francisco District Attorney

In 2012 there were 47 reported cases of blessing scams, a type of fraud that preys on elderly Chinese women and takes advantage of their love and commitment to their families. Blessing scam perpetrators tell victims that someone in their family is in potential danger. Fearful victims immediately jump into action to collect their cash and jewelry to be “blessed” by the scammers. During the “blessing” they switch out the bags, leaving victims to later find out that their valuables are gone forever. The San Francisco District Attorney’s office is the first jurisdiction in the United States to successfully prosecute blessing scam cases and secure the highest sentence. Come hear District Attorney Gascón discuss his office’s blessing scam public education campaign and how they successfully reduced scams from 47 cases in 2012. Learn how you can protect your friends, family and community from falling victim to elder financial abuse and scams.

Image - Explore the World from The Commonwealth Club Planning Meeting

Explore the World from The Commonwealth Club Planning Meeting

Date: Thu, March 05, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Discuss international issues and plan programs.

All interested Club members are welcome to attend our bimonthly, one-hour planning meetings of the International Relations Member-Led Forum. We focus on Europe, Latin America, Africa and worldwide topics. Join us to discuss current international issues and plan programs for 2015.

Image - In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural

In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China

Date: Thu, March 05, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author Michael Meyer

Michael Meyer, Author, In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and The Transformation of Rural China and The Last Days of Old Beijing

Meyer draws on his three-year residence in his wife’s hometown of Wasteland, Manchuria, to bring to life a sweeping view of a rapidly changing China. Once a commune, the rice-farming village was transformed in a process that has been repeated across rural China: A privately owned company moved in, paved new roads, introduced organic farming, and provided workers apartments in new high-rise buildings – in exchange for their land rights. Using Wasteland as a fulcrum, Meyer weaves in Manchuria’s rich past – from the last Chinese emperor through Japanese occupation to communist victory – to help make sense of variegated contemporary China.

Fri 3/6

Image - Reality Check: Russia, Ukraine, and the West in Crisis and Conflict

Reality Check: Russia, Ukraine, and the West in Crisis and Conflict

Date: Fri, March 06, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Is confrontation the new normal for Europe and Eurasia?

Matthew Rojansky, Director, Kennan Institute, Wilson Center

The death toll from the war in Ukraine's southeast is in the thousands, the government in Kiev is on the edge of bankruptcy, and mutual hostility between Russia and the West is more intense than it has been for more than a quarter century. This ongoing crisis threatens not only to upend the precarious security balance of the post-Soviet era, but also to fragment the foundation of the very political and economic system that hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians embraced by supporting the so-called Euromaidan last fall and winter. With poor prospects for a comprehensive diplomatic settlement, and political pressure for escalation from all sides, can anything be done to contain the conflict? Is crisis and confrontation the new normal for Europe and Eurasia? If so, will these problems come home to roost in the West? 

Sun 3/8

Image - ACT’s Carey Perloff: A Life in the Theater

ACT’s Carey Perloff: A Life in the Theater

Date: Sun, March 08, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
With Carey Perloff, Artistic Director of the ACT

Carey Perloff, Artistic Director, American Conservatory Theater
In conversation with Michael Krasny, Host, KQED’s Forum

KQED’s Michael Krasny sits down with ACT Artistic Director Carey Perloff on the occasion of her lively and revealing new memoir, Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater. Besides serving as a provocative and impassioned manifesto for the role of live theater in today's technology-infused world, Perloff's personal and professional journey – her life as a woman in a male-dominated profession; as a wife and mother; and as a playwright, director, producer, arts advocate, and citizen in a city erupting with change – is a compelling story for anyone interested in how theater gets made. Join us as she reveals the arc of her career in theater, from falling in love with modern English theater as a Fulbright Fellow in London to her intimate working experiences with well-known actors, directors and writers, including Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter, Robert Wilson, David Strathairn and Olympia Dukakis.

Reservations required and must be made at: http://www.act-sf.org/home/box_office/special_events.html

Mon 3/9

Image - Minimizing Fear

Minimizing Fear

Date: Mon, March 09, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

George Hammond, Author, Rational Idealism and Conversations With Socrates

Monday Night Philosophy understands that we have explained life to ourselves in ways that have scared us silly for so long that it has become an engrained habit. Ironically, it's a habit we rather enjoy because fear often keeps us more alert than we'd otherwise be. But there are other ways to remain intellectually alert to the nuances of life that are not so debilitating. So tonight we'll sort through those fears with the goal of understanding how unlikely it is that these fears are justified, eliminating those that are highly irrational, and minimizing those that are merely ridiculous.

Image - Brewster Kahle: Open Source Housing for Good

Brewster Kahle: Open Source Housing for Good

Date: Mon, March 09, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Digital Librarian and Founder of the Internet Archive

Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian and Founder, Internet Archive; Co-founder, Alexa Internet
Kevin Jones, Founder, Good Capital; Co-founder and Convener, Social Capital Markets
Jessy Kate Schingler, Co-founder, Embassy Network; Founding Partner, Open Door Development Group; 2014 Institute for the Future Fellow
Kevin O'Malley, President TechTalk / Studio - Moderator

Affordable housing increasingly is becoming an unattainable dream for many Americans living in cities – especially for those living in San Francisco. Might a proven tool from the digital open source software movement provide a solution? Public licenses for apartments would eliminate debt and allow people working for the common good to be able to live in high-rent cities. Brewster Kahle – internet entrepreneur, creative systems builder and leader of the Internet Archive – explores the potential of an open source housing model that could ease the housing squeeze across the country.

Kevin Jones is currently engaged in building a network of resilient small towns and cities. This network employs a new holistic method that links giving, investing and philanthropic investing, which accelerates the flow of capital to good within a community. Jessy Kate Schingler is working to create a progressive housing and collaboration commons between locations around the world.

Tue 3/10

Image - International Careers: Explore the World As You Work

International Careers: Explore the World As You Work

Date: Tue, March 10, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
A panel of worldly experts.

Terry Vogt, Managing Director, Terra Global Capital
Lisa Reinsberg, Executive Director, International Justice Resource Center
Vaido Vald, Superintendent, Skanska – Global Project Development and Construction Group
Nikki Sayres, Senior Director of Field Representation and Operations, The Asia Foundation

Have you ever thought of taking your sharply honed professional skill set overseas? Perhaps to use your management expertise to help shape the next green building complex in Denmark? Or your legal and human rights knowledge to push for the fair treatment of migrant workers in China? Our panel of international specialists from private industry and the nonprofit sphere will discuss opportunities for international work in various disciplines. Learn about the rewards and possible pitfalls of working abroad. Following the program you will have the opportunity to talk directly with the speakers.

Image - Bruce Schneier: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data

Bruce Schneier: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data

Date: Tue, March 10, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Author and Chief Technology Officer

Bruce Schneier, Chief Technology Officer, Co3 Systems; Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard Law School; Author, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World

Join us for a shocking look at the ways corporations and governments track and control people, and the ways we can fight back.

Data is everywhere. We create it every time we go online, turn our phone on (or off!) or pay with a credit card. This data is stored, studied and bought and sold by corporations and governments for surveillance, profit and control. “Foremost security expert” (Wired) and best-selling author Bruce Schneier shows how this data has led to a double-edged Internet: a Web that gives power to the people but is abused by the institutions on which those people depend.

In Data and Goliath, Schneier reveals the full extent of surveillance, censorship and propaganda in society today, examining the risks of cybercrime, cyberterrorism and cyberwar. He shares technological, legal and social solutions that can help shape a more equal, private and secure world.

Wed 3/11

Image - Michael Rich, President and CEO, RAND Corporation

Michael Rich, President and CEO, RAND Corporation

Date: Wed, March 11, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Getting to Good Policy in the Era of Political Polarization.

Getting to Good Policy in the Era of Political Polarization

Michael Rich, President and CEO, RAND Corporation

Michael Rich heads the RAND Corporation, perhaps the nation’s most renowned think tank. Founded after World War II to continue advancing the knowledge in peacetime that civilian research scientists had been recruited to develop during the war, RAND has been an independent, nonprofit research organization now for nearly seven decades. On issues ranging from children and families to combatting terrorism, RAND’s 1,800 member staff studies important social, economic, scientific and political issues, makes recommendations to government officials, and publishes the conclusions to benefit the public good.

Rich will discuss RAND’s recent conclusions and recommendations on such issues as coping with sea level rise resulting from climate change, implementing the Affordable Care Act, improving education outcomes for kids, reducing the spread of Ebola in Africa, and cutting through political polarization. Hear about RAND’s smartest ideas and most interesting research results from the chief of this unique organization.

Thu 3/12

Image - 2015: Critical Year for Planet Earth

2015: Critical Year for Planet Earth

Date: Thu, March 12, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

James Fahn, Executive Director, Internews' Earth Journalism Network; Journalism Lecturer, UC Berkeley
David Akana, Journalist, Cameroon
Gustavo Faleiros, Journalist, Brazil
Neha Sethi, Journalist, India; Visiting Scholar, UC Berkeley
Mark Schapiro, Journalist, United States; Author, Carbon Shock

This year is going to be crucial for the earth's climate and for the future of our planet. Diplomats and other stakeholders will be gathering in Paris in December 2015 to try to finally agree on an international protocol that will coordinate concerted and collaborative action against global warming.

Earth Journalism Network has been reporting on climate summits since Kyoto in 1997. Join us to hear from these seasoned journalists who cover climate change, the impacts of global warming and the future of our planet.

Image - Blowing Bubbles

Blowing Bubbles

Date: Thu, March 12, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Anthony Hobley, CEO, Carbon Tracker Initiative
Kurt Billick, Chief Investment Officer, Bocage Capital

Is there a time bomb lurking in your retirement account? Investors holding a variety of index and mutual funds own a chunk of fossil fuel stocks. England’s central bank recently said that coal, oil and natural gas reserves that determine the future earnings of those companies, and therefore the stock prices, may be overvalued. If that fuel is burned, average temperatures will rise to levels that will create havoc in food supplies and economies. In other words, oil and coal companies are propped up by hydrocarbons that will become unburnable at some point in the future. The prevailing view on Wall Street is that energy companies will diversify and their balance sheets won’t implode if world leaders get serious about limiting carbon pollution. However, a growing number of financial firms are starting to say the idea of a carbon bubble should be taken seriously. Join a conversation about the risks of owning energy stocks in a hot and wobbly world.

Image - Like Moths to A Flame: Technology Innovators

Like Moths to A Flame: Technology Innovators

Date: Thu, March 12, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
The diverse landscape of Silicon Valley

Privahini Bradoo, CEO and Co-Founder, BlueOak
Miro Salem, CEO and Founder, 3TEN8
Alex Torrenegra, CEO and Co-Founder, Bunny Inc.
Geetha Vallabhaneni, CEO, Luminix
Barbara Marshman, Editorial Page Editor, The San Jose Mercury News – Moderator

Santa Clara County – home to Silicon Valley’s flourishing tech scene – is made up of a multitude of different ethnicities, with more than one-third of its residents born outside of the United States. This diversity is reflected in the backgrounds of many of its tech industry leaders, who, while hailing from countries as diverse as India and Colombia, all flocked to the innovation mecca of Northern California. Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and an uncompromising creativity, many have found success in building up their own brands from scratch, but often not without trials along the way. Join our panel of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, all born outside of the United State, as they discuss why technology innovators leave their homelands to start businesses here in the Bay Area.