Naturally curious, compassionate & rational

First Saturday of the Month, 3:00-5:00pm
Locations Vary
3:10...Video Presentation followed by discussion
5:00...Closing Time
April 1, 2017: Cautiously Optimistic about Robotics and AI?

Are philosophers and ethicists important to the development of AI and robotics?  At this TED Salon we will consider two different perspectives --  whether we are facing a promising or menacing future. And let’s consider what it is that might make the difference.

We will begin with philosopher Nick Bostrom addressing the question:  What happens when our computers get smarter than we are?

Artificial intelligence is getting smarter by leaps and bounds — within this century, research suggests, a computer AI could be as "smart" as a human being. And then, says Nick Bostrom, it will overtake us:  "Machine intelligence is the last invention that humanity will ever need to make."  Will our smart machines help to preserve humanity and our values — or will they have values of their own?

Then we will watch the enthusiastic futurist Maurice Conti present:  The incredible inventions of intuitive AI

What do you get when you give a design tool a digital nervous system? Computers that improve our ability to think and imagine, and robotic systems that come up with (and build) radical new designs for bridges, cars, drones and much more — all by themselves. Take a tour of what Conti calls the Augmented Age and preview a time when robots and humans will work side-by-side to accomplish things neither could do alone.

March 4, 2017: The Psychological Quotient in Social Change

To be effective change agents, we need to recognize that we are not entirely rational beings.  Here are some modern-day lessons from a couple of ad men.  What do you think?  Come join us to watch, listen and discuss.

Perspective is Everything -- The circumstances of our lives may matter less than how we see them. Advertising guru Rory Sutherland makes a compelling case for how reframing is the key to happiness.

How Christmas lights helped guerrillas put down their guns -- Jose Miguel Sokoloff, an ad executive from Colombia, saw a chance to help guerrilla fighters choose to come home — with smart marketing. He shares how some creative, welcoming messages have helped thousands of guerrillas decide to put down their weapons — and the key insights behind these surprising tactics.

February 4, 2017:  Bridging the Racial Divide

If this Presidential election taught us anything it is that this nation is divided along several planes: political; economic; cultural; and social. However, there is evidence that the deepest rift dividing people in the U.S. (and the underlying cause of the other divisions mentioned above) is racial. Historically, this country's dominant race, European Caucasians, achieved their current status through the violent oppression of Native Americans and Africans. Unfortunately, these are facts that no amount of equivocation or denial will erase. Americans today are still living in the wake of these events.

The purpose of this program is not to re-live these events, or to generate White guilt. The purpose is to 1) take stock as to where we are as a nation, and 2) how as humanists we can move forward to bridge these divides to make our country one nation. This is a huge subject and we are not going to solve it in one afternoon. But we are going to keep talking about these issues because they are central to our identity as humanists, i.e, how to make lives better through compassion and reason.

We'll watch and discuss these talks:

Rich Benjamin -- My road trip through the whitest towns in America

As America becomes more and more multicultural, Rich Benjamin noticed a phenomenon: Some communities were actually getting less diverse. So he got out a map, found the whitest towns in the USA — and moved in. In this funny, honest, human talk, he shares what he learned as a black man in Whitopia.

Mellody Hobson -- Color Blind or Brave?

The subject of race can be very touchy. As finance executive Mellody Hobson says, it's a "conversational third rail." But, she says, that's exactly why we need to start talking about it. In this engaging, persuasive talk, Hobson makes the case that speaking openly about race — and particularly about diversity in hiring — makes for better businesses and a better society.

January 7, 2017: Reaching Out Beyond our own Tribes in Modern America

We live in tribes—even in the modern world.  That’s just the way humans are.  How do we reach out to those who are different?  How do we create and lead changing tribal cultures?   Here’s a couple of interesting perspectives that we will ponder at our next TED salon.

David Logan—Tribal Leadership

Anand Giridharadas—ATale of Two Americas

December 3, 2016: Can a Divided America Heal?

Join us for this month's post-election discussion--How can the U.S. recover after the negative, partisan presidential election of 2016? Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the morals that form the basis of our political choices. In conversation with TED Curator Chris Anderson, he describes the patterns of thinking and historical causes that have led to such sharp divisions in America — and provides a vision for how the country might move forward.

Watch Jonathan Haidt:  Can a divided America heal?

November 5, 2016:  Social Media and Social Change

This month we'll listen to Zeynep Tufekci and Wael Ghonim discuss the promise and the pitfalls of using social media to initiate social change. View them in advance if you'd like by clicking on the linked titles below, or just come watch with others and join the discussion.

Online social change: easy to organize, hard to win

Today, a single email can launch a worldwide movement. But as techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci suggests, even though online activism is easy to grow, it often doesn't last. Why? She compares modern movements — Gezi, Ukraine, Hong Kong — to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and uncovers a surprising benefit of organizing protest movements the way it happened before Twitter.

Let’s design social media that drives real change

Wael Ghonim helped touch off the Arab Spring in his home of Egypt ... by setting up a simple Facebook page. As he reveals, once the revolution spilled onto the streets, it turned from hopeful to messy, then ugly and heartbreaking. And social media followed suit. What was once a place for crowdsourcing, engaging and sharing became a polarized battleground. Ghonim asks: What can we do about online behavior now? How can we use the Internet and social media to create civility and reasoned argument?

October 1, 2016:  Altruism
This month we will consider the topic of altruism--with two TED Talks to consider.  View them in advance if you'd like, or come watch with others and join the discussion.

Why are some people more altruistic? Abigail Marsh, an associate professor in the department of psychology and the interdisciplinary neuroscience program at Georgetown University, focuses on social and affective neuroscience. Why do some people do selfless things, helping other people even at risk to their own well-being? In this talk, Marsh discusses the motivations of people who do extremely altruistic acts, like donating a kidney to a complete stranger. Are their brains just different?

How to let altruism be your guide.  What is altruism? Put simply, it's the wish that other people may be happy. And, says Matthieu Ricard, a happiness researcher and a Buddhist monk, altruism is also a great lens for making decisions, both for the short and long term, in work and in life.


May -- September 2016 (hiatus)
April 9, 2016: What will future jobs look like?
This month’s topic is presented by Andrew McAfee. McAfee, an Economist, suggests that, yes, probably, droids will take many of our jobs — or at least the kinds of jobs we know now. In this far-seeing talk, he thinks through what future jobs might look like, and how to educate coming generations to hold them.
March 12, 2016:  Capitalism will eat democracy 
Have you wondered why politicians aren't what they used to be, why governments seem unable to solve real problems? Economist Yanis Varoufakis, the former Minister of Finance for Greece, says that it's because you can be in politics today but not be in power — because real power now belongs to those who control the economy. He believes that the mega-rich and corporations are cannibalizing the political sphere, causing financial crisis. In this talk, hear his dream for a world in which capital and labor no longer struggle against each other, "one that is simultaneously libertarian, Marxist and Keynesian." 
February 13, 2016:  U.S. paid family leave--for the sake of our future

We need women to work, and we need working women to have babies. So why is America one of the only countries in the world that offers no national paid leave to new working mothers? In this incisive talk, Jessica Shortall  makes the case that the reality of new working motherhood in America is both hidden and horrible: millions of women, every year, are forced back to work within just weeks of giving birth. The time has come for us to recognize the economic, physical, and psychological costs of our approach to working mothers and their babies, and to secure our economic future by providing paid leave to all working parents.

January 9, 2016:  Refugees right to be protected

António Guterres (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) thinks that we can solve the global refugee crisis — and he offers compelling, surprising reasons why we must try. In conversation with Bruno Giussani, Guterres discusses the historical causes of the current crisis and outlines the mood of the European countries that are trying to screen, shelter and resettle hundreds of thousands of desperate families. Bigger picture: Guterres calls for a multilateral turn toward acceptance and respect — to defy groups like ISIS's anti-refugee propaganda and recruiting machine.
(Filmed at TEDGlobal in Geneva, Dec. 2015) 

December 12, 2015: The origins of pleasure

Our topic is presented by Paul Bloom, who explores why we like original paintings better than forgeries. He argues that human beings are essentialists — that our beliefs about the history of an object change how we experience it, not simply as an illusion, but as a deep feature of what pleasure (and pain) is. 

November 14, 2015: Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong

Our November topic for the TED Talk Salon will be by Johann Hari, who spent three years researching the war on drugs and questioning the ways in which we treat addiction. What really causes addiction – to everything from cocaine to smartphones? And how can we overcome it? Our current treatment methods are not proving highly effective; why not? Come hear about some surprising and hopeful ways of addressing an age-old problem, gathered from societies around the world.

October 10, 2015  (There is no TED Salon this month.)
September 12, 2015:  When online shaming spirals out of control

When Jon Ronson successfully used Twitter to pressure a trio of academics into shutting down their "Jon Ronson" doppelgänger, he developed a deeper awareness of the double-edged sword of social media. In this talk, he says it's time to rethink how we interact online.  

Our August discussion on a related topic was so rich, here's an opportunity to delve further into this subject. (Note: you do not have to have attended in Aug. to attend this month.)

August 1, 2015:  The price of shame

This talk is by Monica Lewinsky, filmed in March 2015 with already over 5 million views. Lewinskky courageously tackles one of the dark sides of today's online culture. 

July 11, 2105:  Will our kids be a different species? (Please note the date change due to the 4th of July holiday.)
This TEDxSummit was presented in April of 2012 by Juan Enriquez.  He is a futurist who thinks and writes about profound changes that genomics will bring in business, technology and society.
June 6th, 2015: The Riddle of Experience vs. Memory
Using examples from vacations to colonoscopies, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman reveals how our "experiencing selves" and our "remembering selves" perceive happiness differently. This new insight has profound implications for economics, public policy — and our own self-awareness. 
May 2nd, 2015: How to Run a Company with (almost) No Rules
What if your job didn’t control your life? Brazilian CEO Ricardo Semler practices a radical form of corporate democracy, rethinking everything from board meetings to how workers report their vacation days (they don’t have to). It’s a vision that rewards the wisdom of workers, promotes work-life balance — and leads to some deep insight on what work, and life, is really all about. 
April 4th, 2015: How to Escape Education's Death Valley
Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson outlines 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish — and how current education culture works against them. In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational "death valley" we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility. 
March 7th, 2015: What Your Doctor Won't Disclose
Wouldn’t you want to know if your doctor was a paid spokesman for a drug company? Or held personal beliefs incompatible with the treatment you want? Right now, in the US at least, your doctor simply doesn’t have to tell you about that. And when physician Leana Wen asked her fellow doctors to open up, the reaction she got was … unsettling.
February 7th, 2015: The Workforce Crisis of 2030
It sounds counter-intuitive, but by 2030, many of the world's largest economies will have more jobs than adult citizens to do those jobs. In this data-filled — and quite charming — talk, human resources expert Rainer Strack suggests that countries ought to look across borders for mobile and willing job seekers. But to do that, they need to start by changing the culture in their businesses. 
Jan. 3rd, 2015:  Your Elusive Creative Genius

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of 'Eat, Pray, Love,' muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius. In this funny, personal, and surprisingly moving talk, reflect with Elizabeth on how we all get in our own way when it comes to creativity.

Dec. 6th, 2014: Why we need to end the war on drugs

Is the War on Drugs doing more harm than good? In a bold talk, drug policy reformist Ethan Nadelmann makes an impassioned plea to end the "backward, heartless, disastrous" movement to stamp out the drug trade. He gives two big reasons we should focus on intelligent regulation instead

Nov. 1st, 2014: Can prejudice ever be a good thing?
We often think of bias and prejudice as rooted in ignorance. But as psychologist Paul Bloom seeks to show, prejudice is often natural, rational... even moral. The key, says Bloom, is to understand how our own biases work — so we can take control when they go wrong.
October 4th, 2014: Beware Fellow Plutocrats -- the Pitchforks are Coming
Nick Hanauer is a rich guy, an unrepentant capitalist — and he has something to say to his fellow plutocrats: Wake up! Growing inequality is about to push our societies into conditions resembling pre-revolutionary France. Hear his argument about why a dramatic increase in minimum wage could grow the middle class, deliver economic prosperity ... and prevent a revolution. (Filmed at TEDSalon NY2014 in August)
September 6th, 2014: Which country does the most good for the world?
It's an unexpected side effect of globalization: problems that once would have stayed local now have consequences worldwide. But countries still operate as if alone on the planet. Policy advisor Simon Anholt has dreamed up an unusual scale to get governments thinking outwardly: The Good Country Index. In a riveting and funny talk, he answers the question, "Which country does the most good?" The answer may surprise you.
August 2nd, 2014: How to rob a bank

William Black is a former bank regulator who’s seen firsthand how banking systems can be used to commit fraud — and how “liar's loans” and other tricky tactics led to the 2008 US banking crisis that threatened the international economy. In this engaging talk, Black, now an academic, reveals the best way to rob a bank — from the inside.


July 5th, 2014: How to make hard choices

 Please note:  this month we will be starting at 2:30pm.  Here's a talk that could literally change your life. Which career should I pursue? Should I break up — or get married?! Where should I live? Big decisions like these can be agonizingly difficult. But that's because we think about them the wrong way, says philosopher Ruth Chang. She offers a powerful new framework for shaping who we truly are.


June 7th, 2014: What doctors don't know about the drugs they prescribe

When a new drug gets tested, the results of the trials should be published for the rest of the medical world — except much of the time, negative or inconclusive findings go unreported, leaving doctors and researchers in the dark. In this impassioned talk, Ben Goldacre explains why these unreported instances of negative data are especially misleading and dangerous.


 May 3rd, 2014: Social Networks and SOPA

This month we will view and discuss a double feature--

  • The hidden influence of social networks - Nicholas Christakis
  • Why SOPA is a bad idea - Clay Shirky

 Christakis will demonstrate how embedded we are in our social networks by tracking how a wide variety of traits - from happiness to obesity - can spread from person to person. Your location in the network might impact your life in ways you don't realize.

Shirky shares his understanding of the social and political implications of a bill like PIPA/SOPA. He calls on us to defend our freedom to create, discuss, link and share, rather than passively consume.


April 5th, 2014: A 40-year plan for energy

Energy innovator Amory Lovins shows how to get the US off oil and coal by 2050, $5 trillion cheaper, with no Act of Congress, led by business for profit. The key is integrating all four energy-using sectors—and four kinds of innovation.


March 1st, 2014: Are we in control of our own decisions?

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational, uses classic visual illusions and his own counterintuitive (and sometimes shocking) research findings to show how we're not as rational as we think when we make decisions.



February 1st, 2014: Is China the new idol for emerging economies?

The developed world holds up the ideals of capitalism, democracy and political rights for all. Those in emerging markets often don't have that luxury. In this powerful talk, Dambisa Moyo makes the case that the west can't afford to rest on its laurels and imagine others will blindly follow. Instead, a different model, embodied by China, is increasingly appealing. A call for open-minded political and economic cooperation in the name of transforming the world.

Dambisa Moyo is an international economist who analyzes the macroeconomy and global affairs.



January 4th, 2014:  Bridging Political Divisiveness

Presenting a double-header:
• Let’s Try Emotional Correctness by Sally Kohn
• Take "The Other" to Lunch by Elizabeth Lesser
Sally Kohn, political pundit, shares what she learned as a progressive lesbian talking head on Fox News. It's time for liberals and conservatives to transcend their political difference. She claims the way to finding common ground is by focusing on the compassion and humanity in everyone.

Elizabeth Lesser, author and co-founder of Omega Institute, encourages us to transcend the divisive tension around politics and have meaningful conversations. We need to elevate the way we treat each other in order to live together more effectively. She gives a simple, concrete example of how each of us can begin real dialogues with "The Other".


December 7th, 2013:  The Power of Vulnerability

Brené Brown studies human connection -- our ability to empathize, belong, love. In this poignant, funny talk of over 11 million views, she shares insight from her research on vulnerability, courage, authenticity, resilience, and shame. Her talk shares her personal quest to know herself and her effort to understand humanity.


November 2nd, 2013:  The Puzzle of Motivation

Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories -- and maybe, a way forward.


 October 5th, 2013:  Building a Caring Economy

Riane Eisler is a social scientist, attorney, and author whose work on cultural transformation has inspired both scholars and social activists. Her research has impacted many fields, including history, economics, psychology, sociology, and education. She has been a leader in the movement for peace, sustainability, and economic equity, and her pioneering work in human rights has expanded the focus of international organizations to include the rights of women and children.

Dr. Eisler is President of the Center for Partnership Studies and internationally known for her bestseller The Chalice and The Blade: Our History, Our Future, now in 25 languages. Her newest book, The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics proposes a new approach to economics that gives visibility and value to the most essential human work: the work of caring for people and nature. 


September 7th, 2013: Comedy is Translation

Every act of communication is, in some way, an act of translation. Writer, comedian, and juggler extraodinaire Chris Bliss thinks hard about the way that great comedy can translate deep truths for a mass audience.

Chris Bliss is a national headline comedian, with credits including the Tonight Show and the Late Show with David Letterman, as well as an internationally renowned variety artist, opening for superstars from Eric Clapton to Michael Jackson.

In 2005, he founded, with the mission of creating monuments and permanent displays of the Bill of Rights in civic spaces across America. The organization dedicated America’s first monument celebrating the Bill of Rights at the Arizona Capitol Mall, in December 2012. 


August 3rd, 2013;  Dare to Disagree

Most people instinctively avoid conflict, but as Margaret Heffernan shows us, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates (sometimes counterintuitively) how the best partners aren’t echo chambers -- and how great research teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree.

The former CEO of five businesses, Margaret Heffernan explores the all-too-human thought patterns -- like conflict avoidance and selective blindness -- that lead managers and organizations astray.  In her book, Willful Blindness, Margaret Heffernan examines why businesses and the people who run them often ignore the obvious -- with consequences as dire as the global financial crisis and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Heffernan’s third book, Willful Blindness was shortlisted for the Financial Times/GoldmanSachs Best Business Book award in 2011.


 July 6th, 2013: Green the Deserts, Reverse Climate Change

Desertification is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert,” begins Allan Savory in this quietly powerful talk. And it's happening to about two-thirds of the world’s grasslands, accelerating climate change and causing traditional grazing societies to descend into social chaos. Savory has devoted his life to stopping it. He now believes -- and his work so far shows -- that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert.

Allan Savory works to promote holistic management in the grasslands of the world. In 1992, Savory and his wife, Jody Butterfield, formed the Africa Centre for Holistic Management in Zimbabwe, a learning site for people all over Africa. In 2010, the Centre won the Buckminster Fuller Challenge for its work in reversing desertification. In that same year he and his wife, with others, founded the Savory Institute in Boulder, Colorado, to promote large-scale restoration of the world's grasslands.


June 1st, 2013:  Charity Redux

Activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta challenges us to change the way we think about changing the world.

"The nonprofit sector is critical to our dream of changing the world. Yet there is no greater injustice than the double standard that exists between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. One gets to feast on marketing, risk-taking, capital and financial incentive, the other is sentenced to begging,” Dan Pallotta says in discussing his latest book, Charity Case. This economic starvation of our nonprofits is why he believes we are not moving the needle on great social problems. “My goal … is to fundamentally transform the way the public thinks about charity within 10 years.”

Pallotta is best known for creating the multi-day charitable event industry, and a new generation of citizen philanthropists with the AIDS Rides and Breast Cancer 3-Day events, which raised $582 million in nine years. He is president of Advertising for Humanity, which helps foundations and philanthropists transform the growth potential of their favorite grantees.

May 4th, 2013:  No event this Saturday due to annual spring banquet
April 6th, 2013:  Great Leaders Inspire Change

Simon Sinek, beginning as a student in anthropology, turned his fascination with people into a career of convincing people to do what inspires them. Through his struggle to rediscover his excitement about life and work, he made some profound realizations about how great leaders inspire action.

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers.

March 2nd, 2013:  Sound Affects-- Listening or Not?

Julian Treasure is the chair of Sound Agency, a firm that advises worldwide businesses -- offices, retailers, hotels -- on how to use sound. He asks us to pay attention to the sounds that surround us. How do they make us feel: productive, stressed, energized, acquisitive? We will view two short talks by him.  Five ways to listen better & The four ways sound affects us.

In our louder and louder world, sound expert Julian Treasure says, "We are losing our listening." In the first short talk, Treasure shares five ways to re-tune your ears for conscious listening -- to other people and the world around you.

In the 2nd brief talk, Treasure shows how sound affects us in four significant ways, using sound effects which are both pleasant and awful. Listen carefully for a shocking fact about noisy open-plan offices.

February 2nd, 2013:  Institutions vs. Collaboration

TED favorite, Clay Shirky, is an American writer, consultant and teacher on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies.  In this talk, Shirky shows how closed groups and companies will give way to looser networks where small contributors have big roles and fluid cooperation replaces rigid planning. He argues that the history of the modern world could be rendered as the history of ways of arguing, where changes in media change what sort of arguments are possible -- with deep social and political implications.

January 5th, 2013:  Smart Failure

The world is changing much more rapidly than most people realize, says business educator Eddie Obeng -- and creative output cannot keep up. In this spirited talk, he highlights three important changes we should understand for better productivity, and calls for a stronger culture of "smart failure."

 December 1st, 2012:  Architecture

This month we will be discussing two short TED presentations on innovations in architecture.

Metal That Breathes: Doris Kim Sung

Modern buildings with floor-to-ceiling windows give spectacular views, but they require a lot of energy to cool. Doris Kim Sung works with thermo-bimetals, smart materials that act more like human skin, dynamically and responsively, and can shade a room from sun and self-ventilate.  Sung is a biology student turned architect interested in thermo-bimetals, smart materials that respond dynamically to temperature change

Using Nature's Genius in Architecture: Michael Pawlyn

How can architects build a new world of sustainable beauty? By learning from nature. At TEDSalon in London, Michael Pawlyn describes three habits of nature that could transform architecture and society: radical resource efficiency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun.  Pawlyn established the architecture firm Exploration in 2007 to focus on environmentally sustainable projects that take their inspiration from nature.


November 3rd, 2012:  The Power of Introverts

"There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas."

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

October 6th, 2012:  Finding the Story Inside the Painting
When Tracy Chevalier looks at paintings, she imagines the stories behind them: How did the painter meet his model? What would explain that look in her eye? Why is that man … blushing? She shares three stories inspired by portraits, including the one that led to her best-selling novel "Girl With a Pearl Earring."
September 1st, 2012:  What We're Learning from Online Education

Daphne Koller is enticing top universities to put their most intriguing courses online for free -- not just as a service, but as a way to research how people learn. Each keystroke, comprehension quiz, peer-to-peer forum discussion and self-graded assignment builds an unprecedented pool of data on how knowledge is processed and, most importantly, absorbed.

August 4th, 2012:  How to Expose the Corrupt

Some of the world's most baffling social problems, says Peter Eigen, can be traced to systematic, pervasive government corruption, hand-in-glove with global companies.

Eigen worked in economic development for 25 years, mainly as a World Bank manager of programs in Africa and Latin America. Stunned by the depth and pervasiveness -- and sheer destructiveness -- of the corruption he encountered, he formed the group Transparency International to take on some of the main players in deals with corrupt officials: multinational corporations.


July 14, 2012:  Why Do Societies Fail?

With lessons from the Norse of Iron Age Greenland, deforested Easter Island and present-day Montana, Jared Diamond talks about the signs that collapse is near, and how -- if we see it in time -- we can prevent it.

Jared Diamond is an award-winning scholar of ecology, biology and history, and best-selling author of Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.

June 9th, 2012:  The Antidote to Apathy

This month's topic: Local politics -- schools, zoning, council elections -- hit us where we live. So why don't more of us actually get involved? Is it apathy? Dave Meslin says no. He identifies 7 barriers that keep us from taking part in our communities, even when we truly care.

Dave Meslin is a "professional rabble-rouser." Based in Toronto, he works to make local issues engaging and even fun to get involved in.

 May 12th, 2012:  The Global Power Shift

Paddy Ashdown claims that we are living in a moment in history where power is changing in ways it never has before. In a spell-binding talk at TEDxBrussels 2012 he outlines the three major global shifts that he sees coming.

Paddy Ashdown is a former member of the British Parliament and a diplomat with a lifelong commitment to international cooperation."

April 14th, 2012:  Trial, Error and the God Complex

Economics writer Tim Harford studies complex systems -- and finds a surprising link among the successful ones: they were built through trial and error. In this sparkling talk, he asks us to embrace our randomness and start making better mistakes.

Each month we view a recorded, ~20-minute presentation by a notable person who has interesting things to say about some aspect of the world we live in. Then we take over and talk about the subject.

We can’t promise the presenter’s ideas will change your life—maybe not even change your mind—but knowing many of our group’s members, we can safely say that you will be in for some stimulating conversation, and most likely learn something new. And any day that happens is a day well-spent, so come join us!

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