Upcoming Events

Tue 6/9

Image - Gen. Stanley McChrystal

Gen. Stanley McChrystal

Date: Tue, June 09, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Leadership in our changing world.

General Stanley McChrystal (Ret), Author, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal is a unique leader with an impressive list of credits, including the 2003 capture of Saddam Hussein and the 2006 location and killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Widely praised for revolutionizing warfare that fused intelligence and operations, he also created and put into place the counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan and an extensive counter-terrorism organization that changed how military agencies interact and operate with each other. His leadership credits during his 34-year career include serving as a four-star general, former leader of the Joint Special Operations Committee and a former Green Beret. Come hear him speak about leadership in our changing world.

Wed 6/10

Image - Forgive for Good: The Research, Value and Practices of Forgiveness

Forgive for Good: The Research, Value and Practices of Forgiveness

Date: Wed, June 10, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Dr. Fred Luskin with the Stanford Forgiveness Project

Fred Luskin, Ph.D., Director, Stanford Forgiveness Project, Forgive for Good

Dr. Luskin says the need for forgiveness is a universal concept in all faith traditions and an important psychological healing process. He will share his research on this topic and help us understand the Nine Steps he has developed to better address forgiveness for our health and well-being. The practice of forgiveness has been shown to reduce anger, hurt, depression and stress, leading to greater feelings of hope, peace, compassion and self-confidence. An individual, guided practice will be part of the program.

Ashlee Vance on Elon Musk, Tesla, Space-X and the Future

Date: Wed, June 10, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Ashlee Vance, Technology Writer, Bloomberg Businessweek; Author, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future; Twitter @valleyhack

Can the nation of inventors and creators, which led the modern world for a century, still compete in an age of fierce global competition? Vance argues that Elon Musk is a contemporary amalgam of legendary inventors and industrialists like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes and Steve Jobs. Vance is one of the most prominent writers on technology today. After spending several years reporting on Silicon Valley and technology for The New York Times, Vance went to Bloomberg Businessweek, where he has written dozens of cover and feature stories on topics ranging from cyber espionage to DNA sequencing and space exploration.

Thu 6/11

U.S.-Japan Ties: Image and Reality

Date: Thu, June 11, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
An expert panel discusses the latest research

Satu Limaye, Director, East-West Center in Washington
Bruce Stokes, Director of Global Economic Attitudes, Global Attitudes Project, Pew Research Center
The Honorable John V. Roos, Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan
Dan Bob, Director of Programs and Senior Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA – Moderator

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, an expert panel will examine the depth and strength of U.S. ties with Japan based on public opinion and statistics.

The panelists will examine the results of a few different studies. The first two are projects commissioned by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA in Washington, D.C. Then they’ll look at a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in early 2015 on U.S. public attitudes toward Japan and Japanese public attitudes toward the United States. Finally they’ll read through the East-West Center’s “Japan-Matters for America” project tracking national, state and congressional district-level data on Japan’s footprint in the United States.

Wed 6/17

Image - World Wide Challenges and the Environment: Difficult Necessary Dialogues

World Wide Challenges and the Environment: Difficult Necessary Dialogues

Date: Wed, June 17, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With SF State president Leslie E. Wong.

Leslie E. Wong, Ph.D., President, San Francisco State University

In a world with increasingly fractured political discourse, public universities are poised to play a critical role in modeling democratic discourse and debate. Institutional commitments to academic freedom, freedom of expression and a respect for divergent points of view allow political and ideological passions to be tempered enough for productive dialogue. As students and faculty pursue knowledge, the debates on some of our most challenging political questions start on campus. Indeed, testing ideas on our campuses and highlighting the best practices of intellectual engagement can play a crucial role in advancing our prospects for Middle East peace, combating the effects of climate change and securing social justice for all.

Wong is working to encourage these conversations. For example, to stimulate discussions about climate change and sustainability with local and global implications, San Francisco State University is hosting the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference this July. We hope you will join us at building the dialogue of a global sustainable future.

Fri 6/19

The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Date: Fri, June 19, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With Scott Dodson, Professor of Law

Scott Dodson, Professor of Law, College of Law, UC Hastings; Editor, The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Barbara Babcock, Crown Professor of Law, Stanford University Law School; Author, Woman Lawyer: The Trials of Clara Foltz – Moderator

A Good Lit program sponsored by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Dodson, an expert in civil procedure and federal courts, is the editor of The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg which chronicles and evaluates the remarkable achievements Ruth Bader Ginsburg has made over the last half-century. He will discuss how Justice Ginsburg, a legal icon, has greatly influenced law and society through her work on gender equality, racial equality and international law.

Mon 6/22

Cell Phones & Wireless Technologies: Should Safety Guidelines Be Strengthened?

Date: Mon, June 22, 2015
Time: 11:30 AM
The science of cellphone risk.

Cell Phones and Wireless Technologies: Should Safety Guidelines Be Strengthened to Protect Adults, Children and Vulnerable Populations – and Should Parents, Teachers and Schools Restrict Technology Overuse among Children?

Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D., Psychiatrist; Author, Reset Your Child's Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time
Martin L. Pall, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences, School of Molecular Biosciences, Washington State University
Beatrice Alexandra Golomb, M.D., Ph.D.; Professor of Medicine, UC San Diego
Suleyman Kaplan, Ph.D.; Professor in Medicine and Vice Rector, Ondokuz Mayis University, Samsun, Turkey
Mary Redmayne, Ph.D.; Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Centre for Population Health Research on Electromagnetic Energy, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Nesrin Seyhan, Ph.D., Professor, Faculty of Medicine, and Biophysics Dept. Head, Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey 
Devra Davis, Ph.D., MPH; Founder, The Environmental Health Trust; Author, Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Is Doing to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family
Joel Moskowitz, Ph.D.; Director, Center for Family and Community Health at the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley
Camilla Rees, MBA; Founder ElectromagneticHealth.org; Co-author, Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution – Moderator
Lloyd Morgan, Lead Author, Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern; Senior Research Fellow, Environmental Health Trust – Moderator

In the wireless generation, people have embraced and accommodated the cellphone, but how much physical harm could a tiny wireless device cause? A panel of distinguished researchers will review the science of cellphone risk, mechanisms of action, new genetic questions, and whether the IARC warning should be upgraded to "probable carcinogen" – or even "carcinogen." Special focus will be put on risks to children and the role overuse of wireless technologies may be playing in attention, functional and relational difficulties and risk to the elderly, where cognitive decline might be misconstrued as dementia. The program includes a light lunch.

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, June 22, 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.

Wed 6/24

Image - Adam Benforado: The New Science of Criminal Justice

Adam Benforado: The New Science of Criminal Justice

Date: Wed, June 24, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
How can we achieve true fairness and equality before the law?

Adam Benforado, Associate Professor of Law, Drexel University; Author, Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice; Twitter @Benforado

A child is gunned down by a police officer; an investigator ignores critical clues in a case; an innocent man confesses to a crime he did not commit; a jury acquits a killer. Law professor Benforado says the evidence is all around us that our system of justice is fundamentally broken. But he argues that it’s not for the reasons many people think. Even if the system operated exactly as it was designed to, we might still end up with wrongful convictions, trampled rights, and unequal treatment. He says this is because the roots of injustice lie not inside the dark hearts of racist police officers or dishonest prosecutors, but within the minds of each and every one of us. Benforado shines a light on this troubling new field of research, looking at evidence suggesting that people with certain facial features receive longer sentences and that judges are far more likely to grant parole first thing in the morning. He lays out the scope of the legal system’s dysfunction and proposes practical reforms that could prevent injustice and help us achieve true fairness and equality before the law.

Thu 6/25

Image - How to Clone a Mammoth--The Science of De-Extinction

How to Clone a Mammoth – The Science of De-Extinction

Date: Thu, June 25, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Could mammoths and passenger pigeons, be brought back to life?
Beth Shapiro, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz.
 
Could extinct species, like mammoths and passenger pigeons, be brought back to life? The science says yes. Beth Shapiro, evolutionary biologist and pioneer in "ancient DNA" research, will discuss the astonishing and controversial process of de-extinction. From deciding which species should be restored, to sequencing their genomes, to anticipating how revived populations might be overseen in the wild, Shapiro explores the extraordinary cutting-edge science that is being used to resurrect the past. Journeying to far-flung Siberian locales in search of ice age bones and delving into her own research – as well as those of fellow experts such as Svante Paabo, George Church and Craig Venter – Shapiro considers de-extinction's practical benefits and ethical challenges. Would de-extinction change the way we live? Is this really cloning? What are the costs and risks? And what is the ultimate goal? Shapiro's work has appeared in numerous publications, including Nature and Science, and she is a 2009 recipient of a MacArthur Award.

Thu 7/9

Image - Chuck Palahniuk and Lidia Yuknavitch: A Night of Mayhem

Chuck Palahniuk and Lidia Yuknavitch: A Night of Mayhem

Date: Thu, July 09, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
"Contests, prizes, disturbing bedtimes stories and mayhem..."
Chuck Palahniuk, Author, Fight Club
Lidia Yuknavitch, Author, The Small Backs of Children
 
 In the words of Chuck Palahniuk…
 
“Join Chuck Palahniuk at the Castro Theater July 9th, where the air will be filled with color, noise and candy. It's a party to celebrate the release of Lidia Yuknavitch's newest novel, The Small Backs of Children, a major step forward from one of our most avidly watched writers – a masterful exploration of the treacherous, often violent borders between war and sex, love and art. Contests, prizes, disturbing bedtimes stories and mayhem will reign. As always, the wearing of sexy sleepwear is encouraged.”
 

Tue 7/14

Image - San Francisco's Jewel City

San Francisco's Jewel City

Date: Tue, July 14, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Laura Ackley, Architectural Historian; Author, San Francisco's Jewel City

San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition opened its doors to much acclaim a century ago. The fantastic goings-on in each of the 11 neoclassical palaces that transformed the Presidio found their way into many of the pages of the Commonwealth Club’s reports during that summer of 1915. The exposition, which attracted such renowned American figures as Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Edison, served as a poignant symbol for both San Francisco’s resurgence from the catastrophic 1906 earthquake and its irrepressible spirit of innovation that continues through today. Come celebrate this remarkable centennial with Laura Ackley, the author of San Francisco's Jewel City, which details the history of one of the most elaborate fairs ever held in our city.

Wed 7/15

Image - Working Stiff

Working Stiff

Date: Wed, July 15, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With co-authors Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell

Judy Melinek, Forensic Pathologist and Associate Clinical Professor, UCSF; Medical Center; Co-author, Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner

T.J. Mitchell, Co-author, Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner

Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband T.J. and their toddler Daniel holding down the home front, Melinek threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation – performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, counseling grieving relatives. Melinek offers a firsthand account of daily life in one of America’s most arduous professions, and the unexpected challenges of shuttling between the domains of the living and the dead. The body never lies – and through the murders, accidents, and suicides that land on her table, Melinek lays bare the truth behind the glamorized depictions of autopsy work on shows like “CSI” and “Law & Order” to reveal the secret story of the real morgue.

Thu 7/16

Image - Why and How to Get Better Sleep

Why and How to Get Better Sleep

Date: Thu, July 16, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Roger A. Sramek.

Roger A. Sramek, BA, MBA, Inventor; Entrepreneur; Founder, Promise, LLC; Author, Your Sleep: Wake up Refreshed! How to Reduce Pain, Lose Weight, Stop Snoring, and Get Healthy from the Promise of a Better Night’s Sleep

Sramek is an inventor, innovator and entrepreneur who came by his career as a farm boy who had to learn how to operate equipment and tools, to fix, mend, predict, nurture, listen, focus and get things done. He has numerous pending and issued patents in fields as diverse as stem cell harvesting devices, consumer products, oil production, urban farming and sleep enhancement. If you’re having sleep issues, such as insomnia, chronic pain or sleep disorders, Sramek can offer you new insights and techniques to get you sleeping in normal, refreshing and healthy ways.

Mon 7/20

Image - Julie Lythcott Haims: How to Prepare Kids for Success

Julie Lythcott Haims: How to Prepare Kids for Success

Date: Mon, July 20, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Julie Lythcott-Haims, Former Dean of Freshmen and Undergraduate Advising, Stanford University; Author, How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success

In her new book, Haims has delivered a provocative manifesto that exposes the detrimental effects of helicopter parenting and puts forth an alternative philosophy for raising self-sufficient young adults. She draws on research, conversations with educators and employers, and her own insights as a mother and student dean to highlight the ways in which over-parenting harms children and their stressed-out parents. While empathizing with parents' universal worries, she offers practical alternative strategies that underline the importance of allowing children to make their own mistakes and develop the resilience, resourcefulness, and inner determination necessary for success.

Relevant to parents of toddlers as well as of twentysomethings, come hear a rallying cry for those who wish to ensure that the next generation can take charge of their own lives with competence and confidence.

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, July 20, 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.

Wed 7/29

Image - My New Physician Is a D.O.: What Is Osteopathic Medicine?

My New Physician Is a D.O.: What Is Osteopathic Medicine?

Date: Wed, July 29, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Local osteopathic physician educators on what the field can offer.

Michael B. Clearfield, DO; FACOI, FACP, Dean, Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine; Chair of the Board of Deans, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
R. Mitchell Hiserote, DO; Chair, Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Department, Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine; Member, American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation
Patricia Rehfield, DO; MPH, Associate Professor and Chair of the Primary Care Department, Touro University of California; Former Foreign Service Officer, Rover Medical Officer for the U.S. State Department; Member, Board of Directors of the Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California
Shelley Berkley, JD; CEO and Senior Provost, Touro University California; Former Member, Committee on Ways and Means, Health Care Subcommittee, United States House of Representatives - Moderator

There are two degrees that physicians in the U.S. earn, the M.D. (allopathic medicine) or D.O. (osteopathic medicine) degree. While doctors with the two degrees carry the same rights and privileges compared to one degree, there are differences in their education and training, considering that one in five students currently enrolled in medical school is in an osteopathic program. Join three local osteopathic physician educators on what the field can offer, a comparison of allopathic versus osteopathic medicine, and what to expect in relation to the Affordable Care Act.

Mon 8/3

Image - Why Do People Reject Good Science?

Why Do People Reject Good Science?

Date: Mon, August 03, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
With Dr. Eugenie Scott, Physical Anthropologist

Dr. Eugenie Scott, Physical Anthropologist; Former Executive Director, National Center for Science Education; Author, Evolution vs. Creationism; Co-editor, Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools

Scientists are often puzzled when members of the public reject what they consider to be well-founded explanations. They can’t understand why the presentation of scientific data and theory doesn’t suffice to convince others of the validity of “controversial” topics like evolution and climate change. Recent research highlights the importance of ideology in shaping what scientific conclusions are considered reliable and acceptable. This research is quite relevant to the evolution wars and public opposition to climate change, and to other questions of the rejection of empirical evidence. Scott has received national recognition for her NCSE activities, including awards from scientific societies, educational societies, skeptics groups and humanist groups.

Wed 8/5

Who's Afraid of Opera? Exploring the Wonderful World of Music’s Grandest Art

Date: Wed, August 05, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With dramaturg with the SF Opera, Clifford Cranna

Clifford Cranna, Dramaturg, San Francisco Opera

It’s glorious. It’s grand. It’s larger than life. It’s opera. San Francisco Opera’s longtime staff member Kip Cranna, a noted Bay Area music-appreciation speaker, offers an insider’s look at the world of opera and a whirlwind tour through opera’s 400-year long history, using video examples (with subtitles) to illustrate the evolution of this multi-faceted, fascinating and continuingly vital art.

Thu 8/6

Image - Sunset Youth Services Music Program for High-Risk Kids

Sunset Youth Services Music Program for High-Risk Kids

Date: Thu, August 06, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Co-founder and Executive Director Dawn Stueckle

Dawn Stueckle, Co-founder and Executive Director, Sunset Youth Services

Stueckle has discovered that music plays a vital role when working with high-risk youth and families. At Sunset Youth Services, Stuckle and her team aim to create programs that cater to youths' desire for change while acknowledging the barriers they face. This line of thinking has led to innovative services such as a youth-run record label and mobile recording studios that meet the young people where they are in life. This approach allows staff to work toward earning the right to journey with and support young people as they make positive changes. Come discuss the use of digital arts and music as a tool for health and wholeness.