Upcoming Events

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

Image - The Revolution in Small Satellites

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

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.

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, September 28, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Make your voice heard!

Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan. 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. There will also be a brief planning session.

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 - The Future of Digital Competition in Asia

The Future of Digital Competition in Asia

Date: Tue, September 29, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With former Obama advisor Dr. Peter Cowhey

Peter Cowhey, Ph.D., Dean, School of Global Policy & Strategy, UCSD; Former Chief, International Bureau of the FCC; Former Obama Advisor

Asia-Pacific nations, most notably China, the U.S., Japan, and India, account for half of the world’s consumers and are home to the majority of leading digital hardware, software, e-commerce, and service firms. As a result, the Asia-Pacific region will play a key role in shaping the future “platform economy.” Dr. Peter Cowhey is an expert on U.S.-China technology and innovation issues and an advisor to the Obama administration on trade policy. Join us as he discusses the future of Asia-Pacific digital landscape and how coming changes will affect nations, firms and private citizens.

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

Image - Seven Keys to a Successful Job Search
This event is Rescheduled

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.

Image - Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Megan Smith

Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Megan Smith

Date: Wed, September 30, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
A tech upgrade for the U.S. government

Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer of the United States
In conversation with Sal Khan, Founder, Khan Academy

“If we’re the country that makes Amazon and Facebook and Twitter, why can’t the federal government have websites and digital services that are awesome?” – Megan Smith

It’s no secret that the U.S. government needs a tech upgrade, says U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, who is committed to shaking up things. President Obama’s tech mandate is far more than just moving on from floppy disks – initiatives of the Office of Science and Technology Policy include getting more women and people of color in tech jobs, pushing regulatory reform that would allow entrepreneurs to advance their ideas more quickly, and delivering better digital services such as welfare registration. And when they’re done there, Megan’s team has its eyes on expanding online networks to 900 million people in Africa.

As former VP of business development at Google and CEO of PlanetOut, a media company targeting the LGBT demographic, Megan Smith has a unique understanding of the capacity of technology to impact public policy. Join us for a conversation between Megan Smith and Sal Khan, founder and executive director of Khan Academy. This event is the second in the new INFORUM series of interviews featuring Sal Khan in conversation with various leaders pushing the limits of learning and breaking boundaries in their industry.

Thu 10/1

Image - Rick Snyder and William Clay Ford: Growing the U.S. Economy

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and William Clay Ford: Growing the U.S. Economy

Date: Thu, October 01, 2015
Time: 1:00 PM

Rick Snyder, Governor, Michigan
William Clay Ford Jr., Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company
Greg Dalton, Founder and Host, Climate One – Moderator

Based on their experiences in Michigan, Snyder and Ford have a positive economic tale to tell, with implications for the country.

First taking office in 2011, Governor Snyder pledged a common-sense approach to governing focused on working together to find solutions for the state’s toughest problems. In his first term, the state passed four balanced budgets, eliminated a $1.5 billion deficit and reformed tax and regulatory codes. Since Snyder took office, Michigan has created nearly 400,000 new private sector jobs, with Michigan’s unemployment rate now at its lowest in 12 years. As executive chairman of Ford Motor Company (and the great grandson of Henry Ford), William Clay Ford, Jr. has been its at its helm since January 1999. He also served as CEO of the company from 2001 to 2006. “During the recent industry downturn, Ford made two big bets: one on fuel economy and the other on technology, investing heavily at a time when many others were pulling back,” he says. “Today, we are a leader in both.”

Join us for a unique conversation about business, energy and innovation.

Image - Seven Keys to a Successful Job Search

Seven Keys to a Successful Job Search

Date: Thu, October 01, 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.

Fri 10/2

Image - Women in Tech: Can Silicon Valley Women Have It All?

Women in Tech: Can Silicon Valley Women Have It All?

Date: Fri, October 02, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Jaleh Daie, Ph.D., Managing Partner, Aurora Equity; Member, Silicon Valley of Angels; Former Head of Science, David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Technology has always been a male dominated industry even in the midst of the women’s liberation movements. Within the ever-expanding Silicon Valley, the gender gap in the job market has become ever more prevalent as the industry becomes increasingly one-sided. Dr. Jaleh Daie, a leading female VC in Silicon Valley, discusses her own career as she established herself in a male-majority industry. Join us for a conversation about what we can do to attract more young women to technology and what women can bring to the technological table.

Sat 10/3

Image - Richard Dawkins: My Life in Science

Richard Dawkins: My Life in Science

Date: Sat, October 03, 2015
Time: 2:00 PM
Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins, Evolutionary Biologist; Author, The Selfish Gene, The God Delusion, and Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science

Dawkins has been central to kick-starting new conversations and debates surrounding creationism and intelligent design. His gene-centric view of evolution helped popularize the radical new understanding of Darwinism.

In the sequel to his bestselling memoir, Dawkins offers a candid look at the remarkable events and ideas that encouraged him to shift his attention to the intersection of culture, religion and science.

Mon 10/5

Image - China Today: Environmental Progress and Challenges

China Today: Environmental Progress and Challenges

Date: Mon, October 05, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With NRDC Senior Attorney Barbara Finamore

Barbara Finamore, Senior Attorney and Asia Director, Natural Resources Defense Council

China is the largest contributor to the world’s air pollution. So much so that media have dubbed China’s current pollution state as an “airpocalypse” that has led to a frenzy of new green policies. Inadvertently, China is now one of the largest investors in green energy as well. The dramatic number of policy changes is promising for the climate’s future, but these changes are not without their own obstacles. Is China at a tipping point? Finamore will discuss China’s world status, the challenges China faces and the opportunities that may arise from this new green effort.

Image - Resilient Cities

Resilient Cities

Date: Mon, October 05, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Prepare for the furious tantrums of Mother Nature

Patrick Otellini, Chief Resilience Officer, San Francisco
Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director, SPUR

Generously underwritten by The San Francisco Foundation and The Seed Fund

Cities from around the world have faced a dramatically changing climate in the past decade. San Francisco alone has stood against earthquakes, large storms and heavy winds in 2014 and the Rim Fire that cost the city $36 million dollars. What can we do to prepare ourselves for the furious tantrums of Mother Nature? Join us as our panelists Patrick Otellini and Laura Tam investigate what we have learned from past calamities and what other cities from around the world are doing to protect their citizens.

 

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.

Image - Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature

Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature

Date: Tue, October 06, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With professor Alva Noë

Alva Noë, Professor of Philosophy, UC Berkeley; Author, Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature

What is art? Why do we value art as we do? What does art reveal about our nature? Alva Noë offers new answers to these questions through his book Strange Tools, which makes provocative use of examples in philosophy, art history and cognitive science. Listen to Noë explain why recent efforts to frame questions about art in terms of neuroscience and evolutionary biology alone have been, and will continue to be, unsuccessful.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 10/6/15

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 10/6/15

Date: Tue, October 06, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Panelists TBA

Join us as for a special edition of Week to Week, 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 inside look at what Californians think, 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).

Wed 10/7

Image - Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl

Date: Wed, October 07, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Ruth Reichl, Former Editor-in-Chief, Gourmet; Author, My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life; Twitter: @ruthreichl

A Food Lit event underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Reichl was stunned when Gourmet magazine, for which she was then editor-in-chief, was abruptly closed in 2009. Filled with uncertainty about her professional future, she turned to the one place that had always comforted her: the kitchen. Reichl reflects on that difficult emotional period and describes how cooking helped her heal and once more find joy in everyday pleasures. She shares her newest collection of recipes that follows her journey and embraces her passion for food.