Upcoming Events

Tue 4/7

Image - Barry Royden: Reflections of a CIA Spy

Barry Royden: Reflections of a CIA Spy

Date: Tue, April 07, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
What does it take to work for the CIA?

Barry Royden, Former Director of Counterintelligence, CIA

What does it take to work for the CIA? Royden will share his experiences of what works, how it’s done and the process of recruiting and handling agents. He offers his thoughts on the CIA’s role in counterterrorism as well as spy motivations and their common personality types. Join Royden as he highlights his years at the CIA, including major counterintelligence cases such as Robert Hanssen, the FBI special agent convicted in 2001 of spying for Russia.

Wed 4/8

Image - Barry Eichengreen

Barry Eichengreen

Date: Wed, April 08, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Professor of Economics and Politics at UC Berkeley

Barry Eichengreen, Professor of Economics and Politics, UC Berkeley; Author, Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, The Great Recession, and the Uses – and Misuses – of History

The two great financial crises of the past century are the Great Depression and the Great Recession. Both occurred against the backdrop of sharp credit booms, dubious banking practices, and a fragile and unstable global financial system. When markets went into cardiac arrest in 2008, policymakers invoked the lessons of the Great Depression in attempting to avert the worst. The question, given this, is why didn't policymakers do better? Hall of Mirrors, Barry Eichengreen's monumental twinned history of the two crises, provides the farthest-reaching answer to this question to date. Hall of Mirrors is both a major work of economic history and an essential exploration of how we avoided making only some of the same mistakes twice. It shows not just how the "lessons" of Great Depression history continue to shape society's response to contemporary economic problems, but also how the experience of the Great Recession will permanently change how we think about the Great Depression.

Image - Black Girls Code with Sal Khan

Black Girls Code with Sal Khan

Date: Wed, April 08, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

Kimberly Bryant, Founder, Black Girls Code
In conversation with Sal Khan, Founder and Executive Director, Khan Academy

“Imagine the impact that these curious, creative minds could have on the world with the guidance and encouragement others take for granted. I have, and I can’t wait.” – Kimberly Bryant

Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant is a triple threat: engineer, entrepreneur and mother. Inspired by her 12-year-old daughter’s experience as one of the only girls – and the only black girl – at her summer computer camp, and by the lack of minorities in the startup community, Bryant decided to start a nonprofit that would introduce girls from underrepresented communities to the world of computer programming. Black Girls Code is giving birth to a whole new generation of coders through its after-school programs, summer camps, bilingual workshops and much more. Black Girls Code and its students are proving to the world that girls of every color have the skills to become the programmers of tomorrow and the architects of their own futures, one line of code at a time.

Join us for a conversation between Kimberly Bryant and another innovator bridging the digital divide, Khan Academy founder Sal Khan. This is the first in a new INFORUM series of interviews featuring Sal Khan in conversation with diverse leaders pushing the limits of learning and breaking boundaries in their industry.

Thu 4/16

Image - Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans: Evolving Ourselves

Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans: Evolving Ourselves

Date: Thu, April 16, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Discussing Evolving Ourselves with the co-authors

Juan Enriquez, Co-Founder, Excel Venture Management; Co-Author, Evolving Ourselves: How Unnatural Selection and Nonrandom Mutation Are Changing Life on Earth, Twitter: @Evolving
Steve Gullans, Co-Founder, Excel Venture Management; Co-Author, Evolving Ourselves: How Unnatural Selection and Nonrandom Mutation Are Changing Life on Earth, Twitter: @stevegullans

Why are humans living longer, getting smarter and having fewer kids? Even more, why are rates of conditions like autism, asthma, obesity, and allergies exploding at an unprecedented pace? Though some of the harbingers of change are deeply unsettling, they also present us with a tremendous opportunity. Markedly improved living conditions and new advances in biotechnology are helping us to mitigate the cruel forces of natural selection, from saving prematurely born babies to providing gene therapies to patients suffering from sickle cell anemia and other conditions. As technology enables us to take control of our genes, we will be able to alter our own species and many others – a good thing, given how our continued survival depends on our ability to adapt in drastic ways. Join us as futurist Juan Enriquez and scientist Steve Gullans conduct a sweeping tour of how humans are changing the course of evolution – sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.

Mon 4/20

Image - When Cultures Collide

When Cultures Collide

Date: Mon, April 20, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
International communications experts share the advances to bridging cultural gaps.

Richard D. Lewis, Linguist; Founder, Richard Lewis Communications; Founder Berlitz Schools; Author, When Cultures Collide; Knight Commander, Order of the Lion of Finland
Michael Gates, Associate Fellow, Saïd Business School; Vice-Chairman, Richard Lewis Communications
Craig Martin, Founder, Martin Global Leaders – Moderator

Unforeseen cultural differences are frequently the source of misunderstandings between individuals, nations and businesses. Cultural predispositions that inform our sense of self and nationality have especially far-reaching implications for organizations working across the globe. Understanding these factors and predicting how differing cultures will interact and allow (or hinder) effective communication, cooperation and decision-making is a source of great advantage, particularly in today's interconnected and inflammable world. Among the leaders of this approach are Richard Lewis and Michael Gates, international communications experts who will share with us the advances brought to bridging cultural gaps through the globally respected Lewis Model.

Wed 4/22

Image - Big Weed: An Entrepreneur's High-Stakes Adventures in the Budding Legal

Big Weed: An Entrepreneur's High-Stakes Adventures in the Budding Legal Marijuana Business

Date: Wed, April 22, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Christian Hageseth, Founder of Green Man Cannabis

Christian Hageseth, Founder, Green Man Cannabis

Christian Hageseth is the face of the legal marijuana revolution – an entrepreneur and father of three who worked in the white-collar professional world for 20 years before opening his first dispensary. The founder and chairman of Green Man Cannabis, the fastest-growing marijuana company in the country, he provides a guide through a wild frontier where he says police hardly know what laws to enforce and parents don’t know what to tell their kids. Hageseth will discuss how he got into the business, the big corporate interests that are eager to do the same, and the full impact he believes legal marijuana will have on American life.

Tue 5/5

Go to Psychological Pseudoscience

Psychological Pseudoscience

Date: Tue, May 05, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
With Sheldon W. Helms, Associate Professor of Psychology

Sheldon W. Helms, Associate Professor of Psychology, Ohlone College; Board of Directors Member, Bay Area Skeptics; Founder, Ohlone Psychology Club Speaker Series

As medical doctors battle homeopathy and anti-vaccine myths, anthropologists counter creationist claims, and dietitians deal with the battle against gluten and GMOs, much of the skeptical community is oddly silent on dubious claims from fringe psychology. In this talk, psychology professor Sheldon W. Helms will discuss unsupported and sometimes dangerously pseudo-scientific claims from the field of psychology, giving a brief history and explanation of each practice or theory, and demonstrating how a simple application of the scientific method reveals its flaws.

Tue 7/14

Go to 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.

Mon 8/3

Go to 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.