Upcoming Events

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.

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. 

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!

Book Discussion: The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David Kertzer

Date: Thu, October 08, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

Pius XI, who was pope during Mussolini’s rise to power in the 1920s, arranged to accept Il Duce’s political dominance in return for assurances of rights and privileges for the church. Over time, Pius XI became conflicted about fascism and Italy’s alliance with Nazi Germany. He prepared a statement condemning the Nazis as he was dying in 1938, but others in the Vatican prevented the original draft from being distributed. Kertzer explores ecclesiastical skullduggery and intrigue, including information revealed in recently opened Vatican archives.

Mon 10/12

Living in the Material World

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.

Thu 10/15

Image - Charging Ahead: PG&E CEO Tony Earley

Charging Ahead: PG&E CEO Tony Earley

Date: Thu, October 15, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Tony Earley, Chairman & CEO, PG&E Corporation

California creates more wealth per puff of carbon pollution than anywhere else on the planet, and its largest electric utility, PG&E, has become one of the cleanest power providers in the country. Now the state has laid out ambitious new goals for generating an even greener and smarter economy. That means higher standards for renewable energy, mandates for new ways of storing electricity, a concerted push toward electric vehicles and new approaches to pricing the power that runs our connected lives.

The transition will mean big changes for two industries with a historic reliance on fossil fuels: investor-owned power utilities and traditional automakers. What role will these century-old pillars of commerce play in the new energy ecosystem? With a host of start-ups and big names in high-tech challenging old business models and vying for pieces of the clean energy market, can they prove innovative enough to adapt and succeed in a carbon-free future?

In the run-up to the United Nations climate conference in Paris, join us for a conversation about powering the California of tomorrow.

Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer: When to Cooperate, When to Compete

Date: Thu, October 15, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
How to get the most out of any relationship

Adam Galinsky, Vikram S. Pandit Professor of Business, Columbia University School of Business; Co-Author, Friend and Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both
Maurice Schweitzer, Cecilia Yen Koo Professor of Operations and Information Management, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business; Co-Author, Friend and Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both

What does it take to be successful? Galinsky and Schweitzer, two of the most respected scholars on success, highlight how to get the most out of any relationship through the science of cooperation and competition.

Drawing on original research from their labs and across the social sciences, they examine how to strike the right balance to maximize professional and personal happiness and improve relationships with family, friends and co-workers.

Galinsky and Schweitzer reccomend ways to negotiate the best outcomes by learning when to cooperate as a friend and when to compete as a foe – and more important how to be better at both.

Mon 10/19

Image - Adam Johnson: Pulitzer Prize Winning Author

Adam Johnson: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author

Date: Mon, October 19, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Adam Johnson, Associate Professor, Stanford University; Author, The Orphan Master’s Son and Fortune Smiles

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his acclaimed and bestselling novel The Orphan Master’s Son, Johnson is one of America’s most provocative and powerful authors. In his latest novel, Fortune Smiles, he continues to give voice to characters rarely heard from while offering something we all seek from fiction: a new way of looking at our world. In six masterly stories, Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal. Unnerving, riveting and written with a timeless quality, these stories confirm Johnson as one of America's greatest writers and serves as an indispensable guide to our new century.

Image - Seth Siegel: Let There Be Water

Seth Siegel: Let There Be Water

Date: Mon, October 19, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
Possible solutions to overcome water scarcity

Seth Siegel, Author, Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World
Lisa Krieger, Science and Medicine Reporter, San Jose Mercury News – Moderator

California faces one of the most severe droughts on record, as water scarcity is also continuing to worsen in the rest of the world. Siegel looks at some of the policies and cutting edge water technology that have been embraced specifically in Israel and examines how a land that is made of 60 percent desert has grown to be a leading world power in water technology.

As the imbalance between water supply and demand rapidly increases, the world could soon face a global crisis in energy shortages, surging food prices and economic instability. Siegel offers possible solutions for conservation development to overcome the problem of water scarcity.

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.

Image - David Talbot: The Rise of America's Secret Government

David Talbot: The Rise of America's Secret Government

Date: Wed, October 21, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
One of America’s great hidden stories

David Talbot, Founder, Salon.com; Author, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government
Barry Eisler, Former CIA Directorate of Operations; Creator, John Rain series – Moderator

Author and journalist David Talbot presents an explosive portrait of Allen Welsh Dulles, the man he says transformed the CIA into the most powerful and secretive colossus in Washington. He tells one of America’s great hidden stories: the part played in the United States’ rise to world dominance in the early 20th century by the guile of Dulles, the longest-serving director of the CIA.

Drawing on revelatory new materials, including newly discovered U.S. government documents, U.S. and European intelligence sources, personal correspondence and journals, and exclusive interviews with the children of prominent CIA officials, Talbot argues that Dulles manipulated and subverted presidents and the law to further his personal interests and those of the wealthy elite whom he held as friends.

Talbot will discuss his exposé of American power in the story of the rise of the national security state.

Thu 10/22

Civil Saints and Civic Pride in the Renaissance City-State

Date: Thu, October 22, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With assistant professor Mary Doyno

Mary Harvey Doyno, Assistant Professor, Humanities and Religious Studies, CSU Sacramento

Campanilismo is the Italian term for civic pride, something that was a quintessential part of life in Italian city-states during the Renaissance. During this time, the city-state provided a crucial piece of identity: a person was a Sienese, Florentine or Venetian above all else, and the veneration of a city’s patron saint was key when creating this all-encompassing civic identity. Join us as Doyno explains how the Italian Renaissance society was championing a return to an ancient, pre-Christian worldview, while at the same time creating complex civil religions steeped in devotion to Christian saints.

Mon 10/26

Humanities West Book Discussion: Dante’s Divine Comedy (Book 3)

Date: Mon, October 26, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM

Join us to discuss paradise within Dante’s Divine Comedy with discussion leader Lynn Harris. The Clive James’s translation will be used, which took decades to finish and renders the entire epic as a coherent and compulsively readable lyric poem. 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, October 26, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

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, 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.
Image - Andrew Fraknoi: The Revenge of the Dwarf Planet

Andrew Fraknoi: The Revenge of the Dwarf Planet

Date: Mon, October 26, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

Andrew Fraknoi, Chair of the Astronomy Department, Foothill College

“The Revenge of the Dwarf Planet: What Really Happened to Pluto and What We Are Now Learning about this Intriguing World”

Bay Area astronomer Fraknoi takes us behind the scenes of how Pluto got demoted and why its story might still turn out OK. In July, the New Horizons spacecraft flew by the double planet Pluto-Charon and gave us close-up views of both worlds (plus the smaller moons) for the first time. Though New Horizons data will keep coming to us for a whole year, Fraknoi will give an update on what we now know about these icy worlds at the outskirts of our solar system.

Tue 10/27

The Most Famous Grizzly Bear: How Will She and Other Grizzlies Survive U.S. Trophy Shootings?

Date: Tue, October 27, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Todd Wilkinson, Journalist; Author
Ted Mangelsen, American Wildlife Photographer
Bruce Hamilton, Deputy Executive Director, Sierra Club

Since 1975, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the grizzly bear as “threatened,” with the goal of recovering the animal’s range and helping populations recover. Today, the federal government may soon remove grizzly bears’ protection under the Endangered Species Act, allowing people again to trophy hunt grizzly bears across the United States. Join in a discussion with Wilkinson, Mangelsen and Hamilton about what will happen to the iconic animals if the destructive and threatening sport of trophy hunting is revived.

Wed 10/28

Image - Understanding Digital Video and the Future of Social Media

Understanding Digital Video and the Future of Social Media

Date: Wed, October 28, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Jon Leland, Founding Director of Creative Services, USA Network; Author, Internet Marketing: 8 Key Concepts Every Business MUST Know

Social media, mobile marketing and cloud-based computing are the most widely understood mega-trends that are revolutionizing online communications. In this eye-opening presentation, media innovator and pioneer Jon Leland goes a step further to illuminate how these new forms of multimedia—and digital video in particular—are creating revolutionary new channels that are democratizing media consumption and creation. Consumers are more empowered, but so are businesses and organizations as well as content creators. Anyone can now reach customers, audiences and constituencies in entirely new ways.

Surprisingly, in Leland's view, the real power is fueled by humanistic values, such as authentic engagement. Leland will explain the long-term implications of these fresh new digital video and social media ecosystems, including the veritable explosion in video-based pay-per-click advertising (via Facebook and YouTube), new content sponsorship trends (via Kickstarter and Patreon) and the latest music offering from Apple.