Upcoming Events

Mon 7/10

Image - SFDebate

SFDebate

Date: Mon, July 10, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Biweekly debate

The SFDebate is an open forum for discussion on the events of our time. It is a place where you will not only be exposed to opposing points of view, but a safe place where you will be encouraged to find and speak up for yours. SFDebate is also a meeting of minds, and we follow every meeting with continued debate and conversation at a nearby bar/restaurant.

Click here to sign up for this program via Meetup. 

Tue 7/11

Image - Schwartz

The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty: The Extraordinary Rise and Fall of Actor M.B. Curtis

Date: Tue, July 11, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The Jewish Jackie Robinson of the stage

Richard Schwartz, Historian; Author, The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty: The Extraordinary Rise and Fall of Actor M.B. Curtis

Richard Schwartz captures the life of M.B. Curtis, an incredibly influential immigrant actor of the late 19th century. It is a story of immigration, assimilation, the theater and the invisible wings of comedy. It is about how one play became the way a nation examined its feelings and attitudes towards immigrants and gave audiences a chance to walk in shoes they would never have worn. Curtis was the Jewish Jackie Robinson of the stage—the first Jewish male actor who was allowed to portray a Jewish male on stage in America. His talent, creativity, fame, suffering, perseverance, dreaming and overnight rise to stardom linked him intimately with the Statue of Liberty, Mark Twain, New York, San Francisco, murder and the greatest African-American entertainment troupe of its time. 

Wed 7/12

Image - Chu

I'm Not Blind, But I Can't See: Resources for Those with Low Vision

Date: Wed, July 12, 2017
Time: 5:15 PM
A guide to low vision

Marlena A. Chu, O.D., FAAO, Low Vision Diplomate, American Academy of Optometry; Chief of Low Vision Services, UC Berkeley School of Optometry

Low vision occurs when a person's vision cannot be corrected with contact lenses or glasses. This talk will briefly review common conditions that may result in low vision, what is involved in a low vision evaluation, and what supportive services and resources are available in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Thu 7/13

Image - Subhi Nahas

Refugees Without Refuge: Stories of LGBTQ Refugees Stranded in the Middle East

Date: Thu, July 13, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Advocating for LGBTQ refugees

Subhi Nahas, Human Rights Activist; Founder/Board Chair, Spectra Project
Arthur Slepian, Executive Director, A Wider Bridge—Moderator

Subhi Nahas, founder and board chair of Spectra Project and a Syrian refugee who gained asylum in the U.S. in 2015, will describe his experiences as a refugee as well as his efforts to help others and advocate for minorities of different sexual orientations and genders in the Middle East and North Africa. While many organizations assist refugees worldwide, only one organization supports the extremely vulnerable group of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa regions who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and who remain in countries of transit, unsure of when and if they will be resettled. Nahas has been recognized by the California State Assembly, testified at the first United Nations assembly on LGBTQ rights and has received numerous prestigious awards.

Image - Harris and Roach

Richard Harris and Mary Roach: Is Sloppy Science Killing Us?

Date: Thu, July 13, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Funding biomedical research

Richard Harris, Science Correspondent, NPR; Author, Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hopes, and Wastes Billions; Twitter  
In Conversation with Mary Roach

Richard Harris says that American taxpayers spend more than $30 billion every year to fund biomedical research and that half of all the studies funded cannot be replicated elsewhere. He says this biomedical research, anchored in a system that often rewards the wrong behaviors, is needlessly slowing the search for new treatments and cures. To get and keep a job in research or in academia, Harris says, scientists need to publish results rather than get the right answers. It’s simply too easy for these scientists to use bad ingredients, poor experimental designs or improper methods in analyzing their results. Join us for a startling discussion on how sloppy science has dangerous consequences for all of us.

Harris is one of the nation’s most celebrated science journalists, covering science, medicine and the environment. Now in his 30th year at NPR, his latest research concerns medical science, or the lack thereof.

Mon 7/17

Image - Catherine Ball

Ancestry’s Catherine Ball: Who Do You Think You Are?

Date: Mon, July 17, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Ancestry and our place in the world

Dr. Catherine Ball, Chief Scientific Officer, Ancestry

Perceived identity has been a discussion for centuries because of its crucial and diverse psychological implications. Culture, social roles, relationships and family structure have been known to make up and create one’s sense of self. This need rests deep inside every human—to feel connected to something bigger than ourselves and to find our place in the world.  

Catherine Ball will discuss how the combination of DNA and family history data provides us with better sense of identity—a deeper and empowering understanding of who we are, how we connect to society and how we’ve been shaped by human history.

Recently published research enables an unprecedented look at ancestral migration patterns, including 500 million genetic relationships, and ties these groups to historical events of the past 400 years. Ball will discuss these incredibly valuable insights into our history and the forces that continue to shape our beliefs, giving us a more granular look at how immigration, geography, politics, religion and economics have shaped the world.

Wed 7/19

Image - Creating Moments of Joy

Creating Moments of Joy in Caregiving

Date: Wed, July 19, 2017
Time: 5:15 PM
Creating cherished memories through caregiving

Esther Koch, Gerontologist; Founder, Encore Management

The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. A scare commodity for you, it is even more precious for an aging parent or loved one. Yet far too many people embrace their caregiver role too late and see it only in negative terms. Esther Koch will explain how becoming a "facilitator of experiences" is not only the best prescription for caregiver stress, but it will also provide you with some of life’s most cherished memories.

Mon 7/24

Image - SFDebate

SFDebate

Date: Mon, July 24, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Biweekly debate

The SFDebate is an open forum for discussion on the events of our time. It is a place where you will not only be exposed to opposing points of view, but a safe place where you will be encouraged to find and speak up for yours. SFDebate is also a meeting of minds, and we follow every meeting with continued debate and conversation at a nearby bar/restaurant.

Click here to sign up for this program via Meetup. 

Thu 8/10

Image - Devlin

Finding Fibonacci

Date: Thu, August 10, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The lost legacy of Fibonacci

Keith Devlin, Executive Director, Stanford University's H-STAR Institute; President, BrainQuake; Senior Researcher, the Center for the Study of Language and Information; the "Math Guy," NPR; Author, Finding Fibonacci

Finding Fibonacci is Devlin's compelling quest to tell the story of the medieval mathematician Leonardo of Pisa, more popularly known as Fibonacci. Although he is most famous for the Fibonacci numbers (which he did not invent), Fibonacci's greatest contribution was as an expositor of mathematical ideas at a level ordinary people could understand. In 1202, Liber Abbaci ("The Book of Calculation") introduced the western world to modern arithmetic. Yet Fibonacci was long forgotten after his death, and it was not until the 1960s that his achievements were finally recognized. Devlin describes his quest's highs and lows, false starts and disappointments, tragedies and unexpected turns, hilarious episodes, and occasional lucky breaks, bringing together the threads of Fibonacci's astonishing (and previously vanishing) part in the revival of science, technology and commerce.

Thu 8/17

Image - Good Health

Good Health Starts in Your Home

Date: Thu, August 17, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Removing toxins to create a healthy lifestyle

Beth Greer, The Super Natural Mom®; Journalist; Author, Super Natural Home

What if you could get healthy by simply changing your home environment? Every day, we’re exposed to hundreds of untested chemicals: additives in food, endocrine disruptors in soap and shampoo, fumes in household cleaners. These chemicals comprise your “body burden” and can exacerbate allergies, asthma, fatigue, cough, headache and more serious health conditions.

Beth Greer had been living what she considered a healthy lifestyle when a medical crisis prompted her to reevaluate everything—from the food she ate to the personal-care products she used and the environment she lived in. She eliminated a sizable tumor in her chest without drugs or surgery by making small but powerful lifestyle shifts.

Greer, now one of the foremost experts on sustainable and toxin-free living, will share bite-sized wisdom she learned on her path back to health and give you a greater awareness of what goes in you, on you and surrounds you in order to radically improve your health and vitality. You will leave with simple, affordable ways to
• make safe, healthy product choices.
• understand vague and misleading food, personal care and cleaning labels.
• detect and eliminate electromagnetic radiation from cell phones, laptops and Wi-Fi.

As a consultant and speaker, Greer assists individuals and organizations in creating toxin-free, holistic homes and work environments as well as lifestyles that improve health, mood and performance. As an award-winning journalist, Greer was recently named one of the Top 50 Health and Environmental Journalists to Follow in 2016. Her best-selling book, Super Natural Home, was endorsed by Deepak Chopra and Ralph Nader. 

In addition to experiencing firsthand the powerful benefits of holistic, toxin-free living, Greer found powerful holistic approaches that helped her teenage daughter overcome ADHD and addiction to drugs and alcohol. Greer is the host of “Kids in Crisis” radio show, where she interviews leading medical experts and treatment professionals. She is also the former president of the Learning Annex. Some of her clients include: Google, LinkedIn, NBC, NPR, Rodale WellnessMartha Stewart LivingHealthPrevention and CNN. Learn more at BethGreer.com.

Wed 8/30

Image - Silk

Fake Silk: The Hidden Story of a Workplace Tragedy

Date: Wed, August 30, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The dark story of toxic silk

Dr. Paul D. Blanc, M.D., MSPH, Professor of Medicine and Endowed Chair in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the University of California, San Francisco; Author, How Everyday Products Make People SickFake Silk: The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon; Blogger, Household Hazards (hosted by Psychology Today

In a comprehensive and disturbing history of viscose rayon, or “fake silk,” Paul Blanc sheds light on the environmental and public health hazards of producing this ubiquitous textile. In Fake Silk: The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon, Blanc asks a fundamental question: When a new technology makes people ill, how high does the body count have to be before protective steps are taken? This is a dark story of hazardous manufacturing, poisonous materials, environmental abuses, political machinations and economics trumping safety concerns. Blanc explores the century-long history of fake silk, which is used to produce products such as rayon textiles and tires, cellophane, and everyday kitchen sponges. He uncovers the grim history of a product that crippled and even served a death sentence to many industry workers while at the same time environmentally releasing carbon disulfide, the critical toxic component of viscose.

Blanc received his bachelor's degree from Goddard College, where he first became interested in health and the environment. He later trained at the Harvard School of Public Health (in industrial hygiene), the Albert Einstein School of Medicine and Cook County Hospital. He was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of California, San Francisco and a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He was a resident scholar at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center in Bellagio, Italy and at the American Academy in Rome. More recently, he was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Thu 9/14

Image - Sara Gottfried

The Younger Protocol: Three Breakthrough Strategies to Reverse "Inflammaging," Reset Gene Expression, and Lengthen Healthspan

Date: Thu, September 14, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Lengthening one's healthspan

Dr. Sara Gottfried, M.D., Health Expert; Author, Younger

The younger protocol will show you how to recognize the warning signs of aging and inflammation (“inflammaging”)—worsening vision, weight gain, loss of muscle mass, thinner skin and faulty memory—and turn them around with evidence-based functional medicine. Recent data shows that 90 percent of disease is caused not by genes but by the environment surrounding your genes, much of which can be modified with lifestyle choices. Applying the science of epigenetics—the interaction of genes with the environment, which leads to heritable changes in the way DNA is expressed in your body—you will learn three key strategies that modulate the genes of aging. These strategies are taken from Gottfried’s seven-week protocol, which is the basis of her new book, Younger. The goal is lengthen one's healthspan—the period of time when you feel young, healthy, and in your prime—relatively free of disease.

Gottfried is a world-renowned health expert and a New York Times best-selling author. She practices functional medicine and evidence-based integration in her online courses. After graduating from Harvard Medical School and MIT, Gottfried completed her residency at the University of California, San Francisco. She lives in Berkeley with her husband and daughters. Visit her online at www.SaraGottfriedMD.com.

Mon 9/18

Image - Tanzania

Tanzania: Country, People, Wildlife and Environment

Date: Mon, September 18, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Tanzania through the camera lens

Don Koss, Photographer, Researcher, Explorer

Journey to Tanzania with Don Koss, a highly respected photographer and researcher. With over forty years of adventures, Koss will share his reflections about life, habitat and cultural changes in one of the oldest known human inhabited areas in the world. His incredible collection of photographs tell of a land of geographical extremes and extraordinary wildlife. Don will provide examples of his outstanding collection of photographs, sharing visual outlines of Tanzania and its people, wildlife and environment. Join us for an incredible odyssey though the eye of an explorer.

Thu 9/28

Image - Hacking of American Mind

The Hacking of the American Mind

Date: Thu, September 28, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The conflation of pleasure and happiness

Dr. Robert H. Lustig, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology, University of California, San Francisco; Director, UCSF Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Program

What is the difference between pleasure and happiness? These two positive emotions are often confused with each other, yet they couldn’t be more different. Pleasure is short-lived, visceral, usually experience alone, achievable with substances. Happiness, by contrast, is often the opposite—long-lived, ethereal, often experienced in social groups and cannot be achieved through substances. Pleasure is taking while happiness is giving. Pleasure relies on dopamine while happiness relies on serotonin. These too emotions involve two different neurotransmitters, regulatory systems and pathways in the brain.

But why should we care? Dopamine downregulates its own receptor: You get a hit, a rush—and then the receptors go down. Next time, you need more and more. Anything that generates pleasure can lead to addiction. Conversely, serotonin does not downregulate its own receptor, so you cannot overdose on too much happiness. There is one thing that does downregulate serotonin though: dopamine. The more pleasure we seek, the less happy we become.

In the last 45 years—in order to sell us their junk—Wall Street, Madison Avenue, Las Vegas and Silicon Valley have conflated pleasure with happiness so that we don’t know the difference anymore. Congress and the Supreme Court have codified corporate behavior, leaving us addicted and depressed. In the process, society has become fat, sick, stupid and broke. The only way to reverse this is by understanding the science of these two ostensibly “positive” emotions—how they interact and how to modulate them. Otherwise, those who abdicate happiness for pleasure will end up with neither.

Lustig is a neuroendocrinologist with basic and clinical training relative to hypothalamic development, anatomy and function. Prior to coming to San Francisco, he worked at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. A native of Brooklyn, Lustig graduated from MIT and received his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College. He has been a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of Tennessee, Memphis. More information can be found here.