Upcoming Events

Wed 10/22

Image - Dr. Atul Gawande

Dr. Atul Gawande

Date: Wed, October 22, 2014
Time: 12:30 PM
Author, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Atul Gawande, Author, The Checklist Manifesto and Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End; Staff Writer, The New Yorker; Professor, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health

Alice Huan-mei Chen, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Integration Officer, Director of the Center for Innovation in Access and Quality, and Director of the eReferral Program, San Francisco General Hospital; Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco — Moderator

Gawande tackles the question of how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending. Modern medicine, dedicated to prolonging life, inevitably runs counter to the natural condition of aging and death. Nursing homes, hospitals and doctors, in the process of provide the aging and dying with the best care, continue to pin patients to railed beds and carry out devastating procedures that ultimately extend suffering.

A practicing surgeon and MacArthur fellow, Gawande addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person's last weeks or months may be rich and dignified. Gawande asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.

Image - Tech meets Neuroscience: A Vision of the Future of Medicine and Educatio

Tech Meets Neuroscience: A Vision of the Future of Medicine and Education

Date: Wed, October 22, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Adam Gazzaley, M.D.; Ph.D; Founding Director, Neuroscience Imaging Center, Associate Professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry, UCSF

A fundamental challenge of modern society is the development of effective approaches to enhance brain function in both healthy and impaired individuals, and some people have serious concerns about the ability of either our current education or health-care system to meet this challenge. Gazzaley will share a vision of the future in which video games integrated with technological innovations in software and hardware are used as an engine to harness brain plasticity and enhance our cognitive abilities, thus reducing our reliance on non-specific drugs to treat neurological and psychiatric conditions and allowing us to better target and personalize our educational efforts.

Image - Common Core Education Summit: The Crux of the New K-12 Standards

Common Core Education Summit: The Crux of the New K-12 Standards

Date: Wed, October 22, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
American education stands at a crossroads.

Susan H. Fuhrman, Ph.D., President, Teachers College, Columbia University; Founding Director and Chair, Management Committee, Consortium for Policy Research in Education; President, National Academy of Education
Michael Kirst, President, California State Board of Education; Professor Emeritus, Education and Business Administration, Stanford University
Christina Lunde, Teacher, Olive Elementary School, Novato Unified School District; Literacy Coordinator, North Bay International Studies Project, Sonoma State University
Louis Freedberg, Executive Director, EdSource – moderator

As the K-12 new Common Core State Standards are rolled out this school year across California and the nation, American education stands at a crossroads. Will the Common Core serve as a catalyst for better teaching and deeper learning? What challenges have California and other states faced in implementing the Common Core, and what will it take to ensure that the new standards genuinely succeed.

Go to LGBT MLF Roundtable Discussion

LGBT MLF Roundtable Discussion

Date: Wed, October 22, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

The past week has been momentous for LGBT activists, as U.S. courts overturned laws disallowing same-sex marriage in Alaska, Utah and North Carolina, and the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeals of states seeking to prohibit same-sex marriage, tacitly increasing the number of states in which same-sex marriage is legal to 30. With even historically conservative states such as South Carolina likely to follow suit, it is clear that the public’s view of same-sex marriage is definitively shifting. However, the final legality of these new marriages is far from settled, as officials from some of the affected states continue to press for what they see as their right to intervene in a matter of state legislation. To help others remain informed of these important developing issues, please assist us in planning our LGBT-related programming by joining us for our upcoming organizing meeting.

Image - Steven Johnson comes to The Commonwealth Club of California

Steven Johnson: Six innovations that Made the Modern World

Date: Wed, October 22, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
Discussing the history of innovation

Steven Johnson, Author, Where Good Ideas Come From and How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World; Twitter @stevenbjohnson
Stephen Ciesinski, Vice President and General Manager, SRI International - Moderator

From the printing press to Wi-Fi, popular science writer Steven Johnson explores the history of innovation and examines where these ideas came from and how they moved from idea to existence. From a simple concept, bizarre coincidence, or surprising accident, hear more about some of the most brilliant inventions that have revolutionized the world in which we live.

Johnson is the co-creator and host of the “How We Got to Now” PBS series premiering this fall on KQED.

Thu 10/23

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, October 23, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Hidden gems you can only find on foot!

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!

Image - The Return of George Washington

The Return of George Washington

Date: Thu, October 23, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Edward Larson, Author, The Return of George Washington; Professor of History, Pepperdine University

Did George Washington retire to Mount Vernon after winning the Revolutionary War? Did he stay out of politics until he was drafted to become the first president? Edward Larson argues that, during his so-called "lost period," George Washington remained the indispensable person behind the movement toward a stronger union based on a constitution. Come hear how this founding father quietly worked behind the scenes to lay a secure foundation for our long-lived democracy.

Image - U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz

Date: Thu, October 23, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
A conversation with one of America's top power players.

Ernest Moniz, U.S. Secretary of Energy

Love it or hate it, fracking is changing the way America powers its economy. Thanks to fracking, the United States is now the world's largest petroleum producer, something unthinkable a few years ago. Coal is down, but not out. Nuclear's knees are buckling due to low natural gas prices and the fallout from Fukushima. Researchers and investors are looking for big breakthroughs in storage technology and sucking carbon out of smokestacks.

In Silicon Valley the buzz is about the Internet of Things and merging information technology with energy. Previous attempts to marry those two didn't end well. Is this time different? What are the promising areas for innovation and creating new jobs and economic growth? What role should the U.S. government play in discovering new fuels and getting them to market?

Join us for a conversation with one of America's top power players.

Image - Linda Rottenberg in Conversation with Reid Hoffman: Think Big

Linda Rottenberg in Conversation with Reid Hoffman: Think Big

Date: Thu, October 23, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
“If people aren’t calling you crazy, you aren’t thinking big enough.”

Linda Rottenberg, CEO and Co-founder, Endeavor; Author, Crazy Is a Compliment
In conversation with Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman, LinkedIn

“If people aren’t calling you crazy, you aren’t thinking big enough.” – Linda Rottenberg

Linda Rottenberg has spent her career helping innovators think big. Nowadays, no matter the industry, the startup mindset is king: take risks, adapt, do it quickly. Having cofounded the leading organization devoted to mentoring fast-growing businesses, Endeavor, Rottenberg has seen this movement take shape and is chronicling the steps to success in her latest book, Crazy Is a Compliment. Endeavor entrepreneurs generated $6 billion in revenue and provided 225,000 jobs in a single year. Join us for a blend of inspiring stories and practical tools for getting started and doing it big.

Rottenberg will be joined in conversation by Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn. Join us to learn how to “derisk” your risk.

Fri 10/24

Image - California’s Contributions to Culinary Publishing

California’s Contributions to Culinary Publishing

Date: Fri, October 24, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
An explosion of culinary publishing and speculation about cookbook publishing's future.

Bill LeBlond, Former Editorial Director of Food and Wine, Chronicle Books
Michael Carabetta, Creative Director, Chronicle Books
Margo True, Food Editor, Sunset Magazine
Jenny Wapner, Senior Cookbook Editor, Ten Speed Press
Joyce Goldstein, Author, California Food Revolution – Moderator

Our expert panel discusses California’s contributions to culinary publishing and distinct impact on cookbook writing and design in the United States. Early in the 20th century, Sunset magazine began publishing articles about California food and continues to focus on ingredients and local flavors of the West. In the 1970s, Ten Speed Press published The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen, introducing meatless eating to multiple generations of Americans. Major developments in cookbook design also were pioneered at Chronicle Books, where food editor LeBlond began working with cookbook author James McNair. They launched a series of cookbooks that would redefine categories and become known for photography across multiple subjects, offering a feast for the eyes as well as the table. The panel will review factors influencing an explosion of culinary publishing, evolving cookbook design, and speculation about cookbook publishing's future.

Mon 10/27

Image - Middle East Discussion Group

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, October 27, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with fellow Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East. 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.

Image - TechWomen: Advancing Women’s Leadership in Africa and the Middle East

TechWomen: Advancing Women’s Leadership in Africa and the Middle East

Date: Mon, October 27, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
A panel discussion with leaders in STEM fields.

Sylvia Mukasa, Chief Executive Officer, GlobalX Investments Ltd, Kenya
Tarimin Kewa, Senior Technical Specialist, Kisero Ltd, Nigeria
Ouafae Alami, Senior Software Engineer, Devoteam Services Maroc, Morocco
Evelyn Zoubi, Founder and CEO of Glanse
Eileen Brewer, Senior Manager, Symantec - Moderator

Join us for a panel discussion with four emerging women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields from Africa and the Middle East who are in the Bay Area as participants of TechWomen. TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, launched under the leadership of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2010. TechWomen empowers, connects and supports the next generation of women leaders in STEM from Africa and the Middle East by providing them the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams and inspire women and girls in their communities. This is achieved through a five-week professional mentorship and exchange program for 78 participants hosted at leading companies in the Bay Area. This panel will share their experiences on the program and their goals and dreams for their returns to their home countries.

Image - Changing the Way We Die

Changing the Way We Die

Date: Mon, October 27, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Fran Smith, Author, Changing the Way We Die; Blogger, Psychology Today
Sheila Himmel, Author, Changing the Way We Die; Blogger, Psychology Today

Smith and Himmel are back by popular demand! Is there really such a thing as a good death? How can people facing death live fully in the time they have left? Smith and Himmel are prize-winning journalists and former colleagues at The San Jose Mercury News whose fathers’ deaths propelled them to explore these questions and the nation’s $17 billion hospice industry. More than 1.5 million Americans a year die in hospice care – 44 percent of all deaths – yet most patients come in too late to get the full benefits. As 76 million baby boomers turn 65, commercialization by for-profit hospices threatens to undermine the hospice philosophy of compassionate, comprehensive, patient-driven care. Smith and Himmel examine the shifting attitudes and practices around death and dying, through the stories of patients, families, doctors and the corporate giants that increasingly own this “market.” What choices can each of us make now to get the best care possible when the time comes? How can we prepare to help those we love to die on their own terms? Join an eye-opening conversation about what you need to know before you need to know it.

Tue 10/28

Image - Chasing Water

Chasing Water

Date: Tue, October 28, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Brian Richter, Chief Water Scientist, The Nature Conservancy; Author, Chasing Water: A Guide for Moving from Scarcity to Sustainability
Peter Gleick, President, Co-Founder, The Pacific Institute; Author, Bottled and Sold
Brooke Barton, Director, Water Program, Ceres

Call it water whiplash. Climate change has contributed to droughts in Iraq and Syria, while at the same time caused flooding in countries like England, India and Australia. In the U.S., carbon pollution has amplified flooding in the Midwest and Atlantic coast, and exacerbated the drought here.

How can countries and communities make sense of having too little water and then suddenly too much? What can be done to preserve water security for those who have it and provide it for those who don’t? Join us for a conversation with two experts about the future of water at home and abroad.

Image - Stanley B. Prusiner: Madness and Memory

Stanley B. Prusiner: Madness and Memory

Date: Tue, October 28, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Nobel laureate's odyssey to cure the toughest diseases of the brain.

Stanley B. Prusiner, MD, Director, Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases; Professor, Department of Neurology, UCSF; Winner, Nobel Prize for Medicine

In his book, Prusiner tells the remarkable story of his discovery of prions – infectious proteins that replicate and cause disease but surprisingly contain no genetic material – and reveals how superb and meticulous science is actually practiced with talented teams of researchers who persevere. He recounts the frustrations and rewards of years of research and offers fascinating portraits of his peers as they raced to discover the causes of fatal brain diseases. Prusiner's hypothesis, once considered heresy, now stands as accepted science and the basis for developing diagnoses and eventual cures. He closes with a meditation on the legacy of his discovery: What will it take to cure Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Lou Gehrig's and other devastating diseases of the brain?

Wed 10/29

Image - The Business Case for Gender Diversity

The Business Case for Gender Diversity

Date: Wed, October 29, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Joe Keefe, CEO, Pax World Funds

Joe Keefe, CEO, Pax World Funds, Pax Ellevate Management, LLC

Research suggests that when women are at the table or in leadership positions, companies perform better. Where gender diversity reaches a critical mass of three or more women on a board, governance improves and so does financial performance. Yet, despite the powerful business case for women, gender inequality stubbornly persists. Joe Keefe will be discussing the business-side of gender diversity in the workplace. Keefe has written and spoken widely on the subject of women’s empowerment.

Image - Eric Metaxas: Do you Believe in Miracles?

Eric Metaxas: Do you Believe in Miracles?

Date: Wed, October 29, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Why do some people dismiss miracles out of hand?

Eric Metaxas, Lecturer, King’s College; Author, Bonhoeffer and Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life

What are miracles and why do we believe in them? Is it for comfort, to explain the inexplicable, or do we simply long for a connection with something larger than ourselves? And why do some people dismiss them out of hand, as if they can never happen?

What Heaven Is for Real did for near-death experiences, Miracles does for the miraculous. It provides food for thought that there’s something real to be reckoned with, whatever one has thought of this topic before. It provides a wide range of compelling stories of the miraculous and will engage the reader in the serious discussion that this fascinating and rich subject deserves. Miracles is in some ways a more personal, anecdotal and updated version of C. S. Lewis’s 1947 book on the subject. Metaxas’s Miracles is an exploration and an exhortation to view miracles as not only possible but as far more widespread than most of us have ever imagined.

Image - The World We Create: A Message of Hope for a Planet in Peril

The World We Create: A Message of Hope for a Planet in Peril

Date: Wed, October 29, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Frances Beinecke, President, NRDC

Frances Beinecke, President, Natural Resources Defense Council; Author, The World We Create
Bob Deans, Director of Editorial Content, Natural Resources Defense Council; Former President, White House Correspondents' Association

Please join us for a tour d’horizon of the emerging solutions to the central environmental challenges of our time by Beinecke, one of the preeminent environmental leaders of her generation. In a conversation with the NRDC's editorial content director, Bob Deans, Beinecke delivers her message of hope in a spirit of optimism built on a foundation of progress and change.

By naming the problem while focusing on the fix, Beinecke has led the charge in the modern environmental movement, winning the Rachel Carson Award in 2007. Beinecke and Deans will introduce her new book, The World We Create: A Message of Hope for a Planet in Peril.

Thu 10/30

Image - San Francisco’s Prop E: Pros and Cons of the Soda Tax

San Francisco’s Prop E: Pros and Cons of the Soda Tax

Date: Thu, October 30, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Scott Wiener, San Francisco Supervisor; Proponent of Proposition E
Starchild, Outreach Director, Libertarian Party of San Francisco; Opponent of Proposition E
Robert Lustig, M.D., Pediatric Endocriniologist; Board President, Institute for Responsible Nutrition
Lisa Aliferis, Health Editor, KQED - Moderator
Additional Panelists TBA

To tax or not to tax? That is the question posed to San Francisco residents this November as Proposition E, also known as the Soda Tax, appears on ballots.

Proposition E seeks to impose a 2-cents-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages with revenue directed to the city’s public health, recreation and parks departments, and the school district. Proponents of the proposition believe it could reduce the consumption of sugary drinks by 30 to 40 percent, while opponents dispute that prediction and believe it unfairly burdens low-income communities.

Come with your questions for advocates on both sides of this contentious issue.

Image - Cognitive Dimensions of Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Cognitive Dimensions of Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Date: Thu, October 30, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM

Richard T. Houston, Ed.D., Founder, People Assets and Health Alliance Partners

Learn how a significant portion of cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer's disease can be delayed or avoided completely when adults pursue active lifestyle habits throughout their adult years. Survey responses from 1,600 Bay Area residents reveal important differences in the cognitive experience of fitness buffs vs. people who are rarely active. Psychological research provides insights into specific methodologies that create opportunities for shaping new active lifestyle behaviors and improving outcomes for physical and behavioral health.