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The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation's oldest and largest public affairs forum. As a non-partisan forum, The Club brings to the public airwaves diverse viewpoints on important topics. The Club's weekly radio broadcast - the oldest in the U.S., dating back to 1924 - is carried across the…

Commonwealth Club of California

    • Dec 5, 2023 LATEST EPISODE
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    Latest episodes from Commonwealth Club of California Podcast

    Thomas Heatherwick: Humanize

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 5, 2023 63:18

    From one of the world's most innovative designers comes a fiercely passionate manifesto on why so many places have become miserable and boring and how we can make them better for everyone. Don't miss this rare opportunity to hear directly from the author, Thomas Heatherwick, in conversation with Enrique Landa, developer of Power Station. Together, they will explore how to bring more beauty and humanity to our built environment. Drawing on 30 years' experience in making memorable objects and buildings, Heatherwick offers both an informed critique of the inhumanity in most of today's contemporary building design, and a rousing call for action. Humanize visits landmarks and cityscapes around the world to articulate how places can either sap the life out of us or nourish our senses and our psyche. Design is not superficial: it has an impact on economics, climate change, our mental and physical wellbeing—even the peace and cohesion of our societies. This event is presented by Heatherwick Studio in association with The Commonwealth Club. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    design drawing humanize power stations thomas heatherwick heatherwick studio heatherwick
    Alexandra Hudson: The Soul of Civility

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 4, 2023 70:24

    From classical philosophers like Epictetus, to great 20th century thinkers like Martin Luther King Jr., to her own experience working in the federal government during a particularly politically fraught era, Alexandra Hudson examines how civility―a respect for the personhood and dignity of others―transcends political disagreements. Respecting someone means valuing them enough to tell them when you think they are wrong. It's easy to look at the divided state of the world and blame our leaders, the media, or our education system. Hudson says that instead, we should focus on what we can control: ourselves. She argues that includes living tolerantly with others despite deep differences, but still rigorously protesting wrongs and debating issues rather than silencing disagreements. Since a robust public discourse is essential to a truly civil society, and since respecting others means telling hard truths, if enough of us decide to change ourselves, we might be able to change the world we live in too. And that is the difference between politeness―a superficial appearance of good manners―and true civility. A Humanities Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Bruce Cain: Under Fire and Under Water in the American West

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 2, 2023 72:07

    Extreme weather in the wake of climate change, causing wildfires, drought and flooding, threatens to turn the American West into a region hostile to human habitation—a “Great American Desert” as early U.S. explorers once mislabeled it. Bruce Cain suggests that the unique complex of politics, technology and logistics that once won the West must be rethought and reconfigured to win it anew in the face of these accelerating threats. These challenges are complicated by the region's history, the deliberate fractiousness of the American political system, and the idiosyncrasies of human behavior. Cain analyzes how, in spite of coastal flooding and spreading wildfires, people continue to move into, and even rebuild in, risky areas, how local communities are slow to take protective measures, and how individual beliefs, past adaptation practices and infrastructure, and complex governing arrangements across jurisdictions combine to flout real progress. Driving this analysis is Cain's conviction that understanding the habits and politics that lead to procrastination and obstruction is critical to finding solutions and making necessary adaptations to the changing climate. In his new book Under Fire and Under Water, Cain offers a detailed look at the rising stakes and urgency of the various interconnected issues. Join us in-person to hear Cain lay out the rethinking and reengineering that will allow people to live sustainably in the American West—even under the conditions caused by future global warming. MLF ORGANIZER George Hammond A Humanities Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums. This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    CLIMATE ONE: On the Ground at COP28: What's at Stake with the Global Stocktake?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2023 61:35

    The 28th annual Conference of the Parties, COP28, opens this week in Dubai. For the 28th time, the nations of the world have gathered to see what progress they can make on addressing the increasingly global climate crisis. It's fair to wonder why, after three decades, we still haven't taken the collective action necessary. And it's equally fair to wonder why diplomats continue to bother with what Greta Thunberg famously called “blah, blah, blah.” This year's COP marks the first “Global Stocktake,” an assessment of how the nations of the world are doing compared to the emissions-cutting commitments they made in Paris. The answer? Not well. And with COP28 being hosted by a major oil and gas producing nation and led by an industry executive, what hope is there for progress? Guests: Daniel Esty, Professor of Environmental Law & Policy, Yale Law School Ben Stockton, Investigative Reporter Aisha Khan, Chief Executive, Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change  This episode features a segment from Contributing Reporter Rabiya Jaffrey. For show notes and related links, visit our website.

    George Musser: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe Through Human Consciousness and AI

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2023 71:10

    The whole goal of physics is to explain what we observe. For centuries, physicists believed that observations yielded faithful representations of what is out there. But when they began to study the subatomic realm, they found that observation often interferes with what is being observed―that the act of seeing changes what we see. The same may also be true about cosmology: our view of the universe may be inevitably distorted by observation bias. And so whether they're studying subatomic particles or galaxies, physicists might need to first explain consciousness. Searching to answer that question, George Musser turned to neuroscientists and philosophers of the mind. Neuroscientists have built up ever-better understandings of the structure of the brain. Musser asks whether that could help physicists better understand the levels of self-organization they observe in other systems. At the same time, physicists are trying to explain how particles organize themselves into the objects we perceive around us. So Musser also has asked whether those discoveries could help explain how neurons produce our conscious experiences. Join us for a special online-only program in which Musser tackles the potential interconnections between quantum mechanics, cosmology, human consciousness and artificial intelligence, providing a revelatory exploration of how a "theory of everything" may very well depend upon our understanding of the human mind. NOTES A Humanities Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Celebrating 50 Years of Ms. Magazine

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2023 70:20

    For more than five decades, Ms. magazine has been a beacon of feminist ideas, sparking conversations and setting the stage for transformative discussions on women's rights, equality and empowerment. As the first magazine to feature prominent American women demanding the repeal of laws that criminalized abortion, explain and advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment, rate presidential candidates on women's issues, feature domestic violence and sexual harassment on its cover, and commission and publish a national study on date rape, the voice of Ms. has shaped modern day feminism and many contemporary issues.  Join us in a celebration of Ms. at The Commonwealth Club as our featured speakers Katherine Spillar (Ms. executive editor), Dr. Sophia Yen (CEO and co-founder of Pandia Health), Hon. Betty Yee (former California state controller), and Aimee Allison (founder and president of She the People) explore the voices that have shaped feminism and continue to shape our world. About the Speakers Aimee Allison is the founder and president of She the People, a national organization that elevates the voice and power of women of color as leaders of a new political and cultural era. She organized and moderated the nation's first presidential forum for women of color in 2019. Katherine (Kathy) Spillar is the executive editor of Ms. and editor of and contributor to 50 Years of Ms: The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine that Ignited a Revolution. She is also the executive director of Feminist Majority Foundation and Feminist Majority, national organizations working for women's equality, empowerment and nonviolence; one of the founders, she has been a driving force in executing the organizations' diverse programs securing women's rights both domestically and globally since its inception in 1987. Hon. Betty Yee has served as the female vice chair of the California Democratic Party since May 2021 and also recently served as California state controller from 2015 to 2023. She has 35 years of experience in state and local finance and tax policy. Sophia Yen, M.D., M.P.H. is the CEO and co-founder of birth control delivery service Pandia Health and has a passion for making women's lives easier, preventing unplanned pregnancies, and educating women about Periods Optional. She also serves as a clinical associate professor at Stanford Medical School in the Department of Pediatrics in the Division of Adolescent Medicine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Youth Talk: The Influence of Environmental Activism on Gen Z Voting

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2023 73:07

    “The Influence of Environmental Activism on Gen Z Voting” unites four environmental leaders from a variety of backgrounds for a thought-provoking discussion about environmental activism and civic engagement. Representing the voices of student activists as well as professional environmentalists, our speakers will explore the movement's impact on voting and youth turnout in recent elections and discuss the strength of environmental activism as a form of civic engagement. Accomplished leaders in their own right, panelists will share their personal journeys and provide key takeaways from the intersection of environmentalism and politics, to inspire the next generation of voters and citizen leaders. This event is part of the Creating Citizens Speaker Series at UC Berkeley, a partnership between The Commonwealth Club, the Associated Students of the University of California Vote Coalition, and the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. The series gives UC Berkeley students and community members opportunities to listen to and ask questions of leading minds in politics, media and education as they learn how to become better, more involved citizens.  We look forward to welcoming community members and students from around the Bay Area to participate in this riveting conversation and to join us for future programs in the Creating Citizens Speaker Series. This program is part of The Commonwealth Club's civics education initiative, Creating Citizens. Produced in partnership with the EAVP Vote Coalition. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    CLIMATE ONE REFRESH: Another Look at Bridging the Great American Divide

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2023 56:12

    Most Americans support climate action, but you wouldn't know it from Congress or the courts – or from most of the media. People on both the left and the right experience the same devastating floods, the same life-threatening heatwaves and the same catastrophic wildfires. Yet individuals tend to socialize within insulated political tribes, operate in completely different information bubbles and see the problems and solutions through different lenses. How can we learn to bridge ideological divides, develop trust, and find the common ground needed to rebuild respectful civil discourse? Guests: John Curtis, U.S. Rep., Utah (R) Joan Blades, Co-founder, John Gable, Co-founder, For show notes and related links, visit Climate One's website. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Dr. Carla Hayden: Inside the Library of Congress

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2023 66:28

    When the Library of Congress (LoC) was authorized in 1800, its first collection consisted of 740 books and three maps. Today, located on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. Housing about 173 million items and employing more than 3,000 employees, the LoC is led by Dr. Carla Hayden, the first woman and first Black librarian of Congress. She assumed her position on September 14, 2016. and is only the 14th person to hold this position in 221 years. Serving as the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and housing the U.S. Copyright Office, the LoC gets direct appropriations from Congress to fund its work. But it also receives gifts and private donations that support a broad range of activities by the library, including hundreds of projects that have been supported by the James Madison Council's philanthropic members. Find out about this important national institution, how it works, why it receives hundreds of thousands of in-person visitors and more than 150 million online visitors a year, and the role it plays in a knowledge-based society. Join us for an inside look at the nation's library. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Democracy at the Local Level

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 21, 2023 73:05

    What do two of the youngest city councilmembers in California have in common? Both believe that young people belong in politics. Creating Citizens, The Commonwealth Club's education initiative, is excited to host Oakland Councilmember Janani Ramachandran and South San Francisco Councilmember James Coleman as they talk with high school students about the role of young people in civic life. Both city councilmembers, born and raised in the communities they now serve, find themselves as the youngest members of their respective city councils. As they work to empower their communities, they find they must constantly navigate a much older political ecosystem that isn't always the most welcoming to young faces. The councilmembers will be joined in conversation with Dr. Stephen Morris. Dr. Morris, the CEO and co-founder of the Civic Education Center, has spent more than 20 years working in education. Together, they will discuss local government and how everyone, from politicians to students, can work with people with whom they disagree. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    David Brooks: How to Know a Person

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 20, 2023 66:38

    “There is one skill that lies at the heart of any healthy person, family, school, community organization, or society: the ability to see someone else deeply and make them feel seen—to accurately know another person, to let them feel valued, heard, and understood.”  —David Brooks Really knowing another person is not something people seem to do well. All around us are people who feel invisible, unseen, misunderstood. David Brooks set out to help people do better, posing questions that are essential: If you want to know a person, what kind of attention should you cast on them? What kind of conversations should you have? What parts of a person's story should you pay attention to? Brooks draws from the fields of psychology and neuroscience and from the worlds of theater, philosophy, history, and education to present a welcoming, hopeful, integrated approach to human connection. He brings that message to The Commonwealth Club, to help people become more understanding and considerate toward others, and to find the joy that comes from being seen. Along the way he offers a possible remedy for a society that is riven by fragmentation, hostility and misperception. How can we look somebody in the eye and see something large in them, and in turn, see something larger in ourselves? To find out, join us in Silicon Valley as David Brooks explains.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    After APEC: What's China's Role in California's Green Transition?

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2023 72:55

    As government officials, diplomats and business leaders from across the Asia-Pacific converge in San Francisco for APEC 2023 Leaders Week, the question on everyone's lips is: What next for the U.S.-China relationship? Amid the climate crisis, which necessitates urgent energy transition, how do the two largest economies work together against the backdrop of geopolitical tension? Where does California—the world's fifth largest economy, a green energy leader and oriented toward Asia across the Pacific—fit in? Governor Gavin Newsom's October trip to China underscored the critical relationship between the Golden State and China. California has many trade, technology development, and business relationships with China related to clean energy. At the same time, the United States is broadly looking to reduce reliance on China for products, talent and innovations through many policy incentives for local content and domestic manufacturing and broader policy efforts. How will this trend of localization play out in California, and what does this mean for California to meet its ambitious climate and clean energy targets? As APEC dialogues unfold, join us to analyze the degree of linkages between China and California in low-carbon energy and the implications for policy at the state, federal and multilateral levels. Co-presented by UC San Diego's 21st Century China Center & Commonwealth Club World Affairs of California. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    The Role of Higher Education in Preserving American Values

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2023 68:38

    Colleges and universities across the country are the scenes of controversy these days, with students, faculty, lawmakers and donors all seemingly locked in high-volume debate over campus rights, free speech, human rights and international conflicts. Almost every institution of higher education touts its ability to set its graduates on a course for successful careers in their desired fields. Also high on the list of their brags are the cultural life and sports teams on campus. But colleges and universities have also played important roles in the curation and development of values in our society. Whether they are religious or secular institutions, public or private, their graduates go out into the world not only armed with job skills and networks of friends but also having been exposed to values instruction in many ways. Sometimes our colleges and universities are out of step with the rest of the country in terms of the nation's values; other times, they preserve and deepen values that most Americans hold dear.  Just what is the role of these institutions when it comes to American values—in teaching, in challenging, in deepening those values? What exactly are the American values at issue here? Who's succeeding, and what still needs to be done? Join us for a special program addressing these important issues. This program is part of our American Values Series, underwritten by Taube Philanthropies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    CLIMATE ONE: Six People Who've Changed Jobs for Climate

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2023 54:38

    One of the most common questions people ask about climate is: what can I do? Since time is one of our most valuable resources – and we spend so much of our time at work – changing jobs may be the most effective individual climate action a person can take. Those changes could be big or small: Leaving the oil and gas industry for geothermal, or helping to bring down the emissions where you already work. The truth is, almost any job can be a climate job. But how do people actually make the transition from dirty jobs to clean? What do climate positive job transitions really entail?  Guests:  Caroline Dennett, Director, CLOUT Ltd Arvind Ravikumar, Co-Director, Energy Emissions Modeling and Data Lab, University of Texas, Austin Jennifer Anderson, Carbon Removal Geologist, Charm Industrial Emma McConville, Development Geoscience Lead at Fervo Energy Nathanael Johnson, Electrician For show notes and related links, visit our website. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Seen and Unseen: The Stories Behind the Pictures of Japanese American Incarceration

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2023 59:07

    A Special Program for Families 家族向け特別プログラム “This is what we did. How did it happen? How could we?” – Dorothea Lange 「これが私たちがやったことです。なぜこのようなことが起きたのか?なぜこのようなことができたのか?」―ラング·ドロティア Fueled by racist fears and wartime hysteria, the U.S. government incarcerated more than 120,000 Japanese Americans from 1942 to 1945, many of them families with children. Allowed to bring only what they could carry, the internees were removed from their homes and forced to live under armed guard in makeshift camps, treated with suspicion and hostility; imprisoned without evidence of any crime. Inflated claims of national security risks justified these actions and carefully curated images hid the truth; even today, the story is not well known.  人種差別的な恐れと戦時のヒステリ-に駆られて、1942年から1945年までに、アメリカ政府は12万人以上の日系アメリカ人を収容しました。その多くは子供を含む家族でした。彼らは手にもてるものしか持参できず、自宅から引き離され、武装警備の下で仮設キャンプで生活するよう強制されました。彼らは疑念と敵意をもって扱われ、犯罪の証拠もないのに収監されました。国家安全保障のリスクの主張がこれらの行動を正当化し、慎重に作られたイメージにより真実が隠されました。今日に至るまで、この事実はあまりよく知られていません。 In her new book for young readers, Elizabeth Partridge examines the reality of life in Manzanar, a camp in the California desert. Seen and Unseen: What Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adams's Photographs Reveal About the Japanese American Incarceration offers three photographers' perspectives on the incarceration and illuminates the stories behind their pictures. And it invites us to consider: How could such a gross violation of civil liberties happen in a nation founded on principles of equality and justice for all? Could it happen again? 若い読者向けの新作、エリザベス・パーテリッジはカリフォルニア砂漠のマンザナー収容所での生活の現実を調査しています。『Seen and Unseen: What Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adams's Photographs Reveal About the Japanese American Incarceration』は、この収容とその写真の裏にある真実の話を明らかにし、3人の写真家の視点を提供します。そして、私たちに問いかけます:平等と正義の原則に基づく国で、なぜこんなひどい市民権の侵害が起こったのか?それは再び起こる可能性があるのでしょうか? Bring your family for a conversation with Elizabeth Partridge, who will share how she created her book and why it is so important for all of us to talk about this bitter chapter in American history when the country did not live up to its democratic ideals. Tickets include admission to the Japanese American Museum of San José, which provides a historical forum that stimulates present-day discussions on civil liberties, race relations, discrimination, and American identity. あなたの家族も一緒に、エリザベス・パーテリッジとの対話の場にご参加ください。彼女は自分の本をどのように創り上げたか、そしてなぜこの苦々しいアメリカの歴史の章について話すことが非常に重要であるかを語ります。 チケットにはサンノゼ日系アメリカ博物館への入場料が含まれています。この博物館は市民権、人種関係、差別、アメリカのアイデンティティに関する現代の議論を刺激する歴史的な施設になります。 This program is part of The Commonwealth Club's civics education initiative,  Creating Citizens. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Democracy Awakening Heather Cox Richardson

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2023 60:35

    We've all been through a lot in the past five years, but it's difficult to figure out what it all means, and how it applies to our shared existence in this democratic experiment. Heather Cox Richardson aims to remedy that.  As a historian she has been examining and explaining modern events aided by her deep understanding of history and insight into the forces working for and against democracy. In her new book Democracy Awakening, Heather Cox Richardson looks at the state of American democracy and the forces that have been driving it toward authoritarianism. In whose interest is the obfuscation of history? Who benefits if Americans are turned off or prevented from taking part in democratic acts? Who and what can help change things and rededicate this country to its founding ideals? Join us in person as she explains how we got to this perilous point, what our history tells us about ourselves, and what the future of democracy can be. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Mark Shaw: The 60th Anniversary of JFK's Assassination—A Retrospective

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 14, 2023 69:34

    On November 22, 1963, the visual images of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, arguably the most significant crime in modern day history, were seared into the permanent memories of many who were then young adults, teens or children and have continued through the ages for those who have become obsessed with the president's death. Sixty years later, the yearning for better answers to the questions why and how continues to produce many absurd new speculations and theories to explain his death. Any detailed review of the evidence in the Warren Commission Report raises so many valid questions that ever since it was issued it has been attacked and undermined, both rationally and irrationally. But in recent years, Mark Shaw says clear answers have emerged through the eyes of Dorothy Kilgallen, the most credible journalist to cover the assassination, in fact, the only one who interviewed Jack Ruby at his 1964 trial. Based on her investigation, and his research, bestselling author Mark Shaw (The Reporter Who Knew Too Much), whose lectures about his six books touching on the assassination have attracted millions of YouTube views, returns to The Commonwealth Club of California to review what we know and what we don't know. By doing so, the likely range of what really happened is in clearer focus, and the collateral damage to American politics and to luminaries like Kilgallen, Marilyn Monroe and Robert Kennedy are no longer obscured by distortions of history regarding those remembered images. MLF ORGANIZER: George Hammond A Humanities Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums. More about Mr. Shaw—the author of nearly 30 books whose body of work is being archived by his alma mater, Purdue University—may be learned at  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Kevin Adler: Ending Homelessness in America

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 13, 2023 70:13

    As cities across the country grapple with a persistent homelessness crisis, a leading advocate offers a compassionate look at the problem, the people, and the possible solutions—including what you can do to help.  Kevin Adler returns to The Commonwealth Club to provide an urgent look at homelessness in America, showing us what we lose—in ourselves and as a society—when we choose to walk past and ignore our neighbors in shelters, insecure housing, or on the streets.  Adler is the co-author of When We Walk By, which argues that we have sacrificed our humanity by ignoring, downplaying, and refusing to address the homelessness problem. The authors offer an evidence-based people-first approach and community-driven solutions, and they lay out some practical steps that individuals can take to address homelessness. Kevin Adler is an award-winning social entrepreneur, nonprofit leader, and author. Since 2014, he has served as the founder and CEO of Miracle Messages, a nonprofit organization that helps people experiencing homelessness rebuild their social support systems and financial security, primarily through family reunifications, a phone buddy program, and basic income pilots. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Greg Lukianoff and Rikki Schlott: The Canceling of the American Mind

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 12, 2023 60:33

    Cancel culture—the term and the practice—has left its mark on American culture, business, academia and society at all levels over the past few years. Was it inevitable? Is it permanent? Or is it, as authors Greg Lukianoff and Rikki Schlott argue, a dysfunctional part of how Americans battle for power, status and dominance? They say it is just a symptom of a much larger problem: the use of cheap rhetorical tactics to "win" arguments without actually winning arguments. Drawing on data and research on the phenomenon of cancel culture and how it works, along with many examples of how both the left and the right use it to silence their enemies, Lukianoff and Schlott have concrete steps to offer that they say can reclaim a free speech culture in every realm. Lukianoff and Schlott, authors of the bestselling Coddling of the American Mind, return with their new book The Canceling of the American Mind. Join us to hear their description of cancel culture and their prescription for curing it. NOTES All in-person attendees will receive a copy of The Canceling of the American Mind compliments of the Ken & Jaclyn Broad Family Fund. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    CLIMATE ONE: Putting It All on the Line with Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. and Jacqueline Patterson

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2023 57:15

    Climate affects everyone, but not equally. Those affected first and worst are often the same communities that suffer from housing and income inequality, and climate and societal injustice. Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. has made striving for social, economic, and climate justice his lifelong pursuit. Rising to prominence in the Hip Hop community, Yearwood brought like-minded artists and creatives together to advocate for justice with the Hip Hop Caucus by harnessing the power of film, podcasts and comedy. We discuss the role of his faith, his partnership with billionaire Michael Bloomberg, and the underlying belief in our human ability to keep improving that drives his activism. Guests:  Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., CEO, Hip Hop Caucus Jacqueline Patterson, Executive Director, Chisholm Legacy Project For show notes and related links, visit our website. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Omar Ibn Said: Remembering His Name, Retelling His Story

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 7, 2023 68:12

    The Arts Member-led Forum and San Francisco Opera's Department of Diversity, Equity and Community invite you to a powerful and thought-provoking panel discussion. As home to one of the largest Muslim populations in the United States, the Bay Area might have special interest in the 2023 Pulitzer Prize winner for music, Omar, by Grammy Award-winning artist Rhiannon Giddens and composer Michael Abels.The production runs November 5–21 at the War Memorial Opera House. A true story of an astonishing journey enshrined in a 200-year-old autobiography of enslaved Islamic scholar Omar Ibn Said in the Carolinas, who publicly records his story in Arabic—evidencing the act of writing as the preservation of identity. Omar is a sweeping canvas of text, Christian and Islamic faith, profoundly realized in Kaneza Schaal's transcendent production embodying the horrors of the “Middle Passage,” prison life, plantation traumas and creative human spirit. MLF ORGANIZER: Anne W. Smith An Arts Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Kip Thorne and Lia Halloran: Exploring the Warped Side of Our Universe

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 6, 2023 73:19

    Take a walk on the warped side with this in-person program featuring stars in their respective fields. The new book The Warped Side of Our Universe is the result of the collaboration of Nobel Laureate Kip Thorne and award-winning artist Lia Halloran. It brings to vivid life the wonders and wildness of our universe's “Warped Side”―objects and phenomena made from warped space and time, from colliding black holes and collapsing wormholes to twisting space vortices and down-cascading time. Through poetic verse and otherworldly paintings, the scientist and the artist explicate Thorne's and his colleagues' astrophysical discoveries and speculations, with an epic narrative that asks: How did the universe begin? Can anything travel backward in time? And what weird and marvelous phenomena inhabit the "warped side"? In their book, Thorne and Halloran take readers on an Odyssean voyage using epic verse and more than 100 pulsating paintings to shed light on time travel, black holes, gravitational waves and the birth of the universe. Join us in-person to hear them share tales of the warped side. MLF ORGANIZER George Hammond A Humanities Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums. In Association with Wonderfest. This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    How to Protect Yourself from Cybercrime

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 5, 2023 67:38

    We constantly hear about cybercrime in the news, but do you have the knowledge to protect yourself from it?  In this talk, information security expert Dr. Carrie Gates will cover the clues that can alert you to something being a scam, along with some of the common types of attacks, such as phishing, smishing and vishing. Dr. Gates joined Bank of America in October 2018 as a senior vice president in global information security. She has established a research program, working in partnership with universities, to pursue longer-term, higher-risk research in the security space that has the potential to improve the bank's security posture. Her current portfolio includes broad investigations into audio deep fakes, misinformation, smishing, and adversarial machine learning. Previously, Gates has worked at a start-up as a distinguished engineer for both Dell and CA Technologies, and with CERT at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to starting her research career, she was the systems manager for the Faculty of Computer Science at Dalhousie University in Canada. She has more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and has been awarded more than 20 patents in the computer and network security field. MLF ORGANIZER Gerald Anthony Harris Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Week to Week Political Roundtable: October 31, 2023

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 4, 2023 59:51

    Join us in-person for a Halloween edition of our political discussion series. At Week to Week, we're dedicated to the lively and informed discussion of politics—with a good sense of humor—as a platform for healthy involvement in the issues that drive our society. The Commonwealth Club's Week to Week Political Roundtable and social hour, now in its 12th year, will take a look at the politics of the day—the issues, the people, and the trends affecting our political world. See other upcoming Week to Week political roundtables, as well as audio and video of past Week to Week programs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Humanities West Presents Edgar Allan Poe: Myths, Mysteries and Misconceptions

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2023 123:28

    The popular image of Edgar Allan Poe is that of a sickly, gloomy, dour fellow obsessed with all things eerie and terrifying. Tragically, both for his personal life and because it reinforced this literary myth, Poe died on October 7, 1849, at just forty, in a painful, utterly bizarre manner that would not have been out of place in one of his own tales of terror. The literary effect of his untimely death was also compounded by the mystery of what happened to him, during the three days he went missing, before he was found delirious on the streets of Baltimore, wearing ill-fitting clothes that were not his own. There has been a staggering amount of speculation about the cause of his death, from rabies and syphilis to suicide, alcoholism, and even murder. But many of these theories are based on the caricature we have come to associate with Poe: the gloomy-eyed grandfather of Goth, hunched over a writing desk with a raven perched on one shoulder, drunkenly scribbling his masterpieces. By debunking the myths of how he lived, we intend to come closer to understanding the real Poe. Poe scholar Amy Branam Armiento will discuss select works by the master of the macabre. She will explain the temptations and dangers of linking Poe to his insane narrators and grief-stricken speakers as well as cover some examples of how he incorporated contemporary events into his poems and tales. Drawing upon her scholarship on Poe and women, Armiento will also elucidate the roles women have played in inspiring his writing, restoring his reputation, and sustaining his literary legacy for more than 200 years. Mark Dawidziak will discuss how the grotesque stereotypes about Poe have little basis in fact, and will undercut the many myths and misconceptions that have obscured the versatile, prolific and dedicated artist responsible for such classic works as "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Cask of Amontillado," "The Purloined Letter," "The Raven" and "Annabel Lee." Dawidziak also will examine how Poe's death, under haunting circumstances that reflect the mystery and horror genres that he took to new heights, has been one of the key factors keeping him alive in the 21st century as one of the best-read and most-recognized American writers. MLF ORGANIZER Jolene Huey. NOTES A Humanities Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    CLIMATE ONE: Rebecca Solnit on Why It's Not Too Late

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2023 53:10

    Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit has been examining hope and the unpredictability of change for over 20 years. In 2023 she co-edited an anthology called, “It's Not Too Late,” which serves as a guidebook for changing the climate narrative from despair to possibility. How can we find hope on a warming planet? Guests:  Rebecca Solnit, Writer, Historian, Activist For show notes and related links, visit our website. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    How to Get Dirty and Dark Money Out of Democracy with Drew Sullivan and Paul Radu

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2023 66:44

    The last five decades have seen the dramatic globalization of organized crime and corruption, now totaling trillions of dollars every year. Using the latest technology and the help of a “criminal services industry” — corrupt bankers, lawyers, accountants—criminal networks and the world's most corrupt officials easily loot, launder, and hide stolen money for future use. This stolen, hidden money pours into the political process in the United States and countries around the world to advance agendas that do not serve voters, betraying the very premise of democracy.  To fight this, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project co-founders Drew Sullivan and Paul Radu built a global network of investigative journalists that work just like the criminals do—collaborating across borders and using innovative technology. Pulling from their two decades of follow-the-money investigative reporting, Sullivan and Radu will share how they've uncovered global dark money flows and how to institute effective solutions that track, expose, and curb this illicit finance that is so damaging to society. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Whose Country Is It Anyway? Featuring Miko Marks and Tookta Topline

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 1, 2023 40:08

    “Country music is the people's music. It just speaks about real life and about truth and it tells things how they really are.” —Faith Hill Miko Marks and Tookta Topline are two women who have both embraced and recoiled from the major music scenes in Nashville and Thailand before finding their true voices in San Francisco. Join us for a night of musical performance and conversation about how race and sexuality challenge what we think about country music. Revel in their musical talent while exploring each of their journeys as immensely talented musicians who don't fit the industry mold. This immersive experience will make use of The Commonwealth Club as an intimate, limited-capacity music venue for one night only! Delicious bites and drinks will be served as you mingle and engage directly with our artists. About the Artists Miko deftly blends country, blues, southern rock and even gospel to create a sound and experience that has literally brought every audience to its feet. Miko's life as a Black woman in country and roots music is only a small part of the story. After living what seems to be multiple lives over, Miko has finally come into the life she was born to live—one of truth, authenticity, vulnerability, joy and honesty. Recent EPs include: "Our Country," described by The Wall Street Journal as a “genre and industry-defying mission”; "Race Records," which shined a light on the arbitrary divisions forced upon artists and audiences in the early days of music marketing in the 1940s; and the critically-acclaimed "Feel Like Going Home." Miko debuted at the renowned country music venue the Grand Ole Opry in 2022. Tookta is a famous Thai Molam (folk, country) singer. She started singing at the tender age of 12 years old. Her sound and genre is specific to the Isaan region of Thailand. She has performed for an audience of over 100,000 on Mother's Day for Thailand's Queen. In addition to a successful career as a Molam singer, Tookta has also performed as a popular stand up comedian. Tookta's latest release elevates the music style to expand beyond traditional narrative themes, inspired by LGBTQ+ activists and their own lived experience and has been embraced by millions pursuing a more inclusive Thailand during a tumultuous political period this year. NOTES Produced by The Commonwealth Club of California, World Affairs, and Michelle Meow. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Stuart Stevens: The Conspiracy to End America

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 31, 2023 60:13

    Will 2024 be America's last free and fair election?  That ominous warning comes from Stuart Stevens, a former chief Republican strategist whose clients included President George W. Bush; Senators Chuck Grassley, Dick Lugar and Dan Coats; and Governors Haley Barbour, John Kyl, Bill Weld and many others. He says the GOP is dragging our country toward autocracy, and the party is no longer a "normal" political party in the American tradition. Rather, he says it is an autocratic movement masquerading as a political party. As the Republican party changed, Stevens exited his role in one of the country's most influential political strategy firms and joined the Lincoln Project, where he is currently an advisor. Stevens wrote about his fear for the country in his provocative new book, The Conspiracy to End America. In it, he reviews the elements that are necessary for democracies to slide into autocracy, and he examines each of these forces on the modern American right and how they are working together. Are these the last days of the old republic? Or can there be a renewed commitment to democratic governance? Don't miss this talk as Stevens flashes a blinking red distress alert as well as a rallying cry to beat back this threat. Note: This podcast contains explicit language. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Oldest San Francisco/Secret California

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 31, 2023 69:25

    Think you know San Francisco and the rest of California? Think again. Two new books, Oldest San Francisco, and Secret California: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure, will inspire you to seek out spots even locals will be surprised to learn about and inspired to visit. Oldest San Francisco, by Alec Scott, draws a picture of the sudden city that exploded in the Gold Rush. It tells the stories of the longtime institutions that have made the City by the Bay distinctive, visiting the oldest: bakery (Boudin), bike shop (American Cyclery). and brewery (Anchor, whose struggle to survive will be discussed). Scott speaks of civic fabrics―the oldest blue jeans and first rainbow flag―and even the oldest public affairs forum in the country (yes, The Commonwealth Club). Together the stories distill the ebullient, entrepreneurial spirit of San Francisco. Secret California: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure, by Ruth Carlson, invites you to enter a live fairytale with aerial dancers, opera singers and a huge rabbit, to visit The Institute of Abnormal Arts―if you dare―and to watch silent movies in the East Bay theater where Charlie Chaplin premiered The Tramp. She sniffed out the country's only perfume museum, discovered an ancient society's crypt, and visited a second city underneath the state's capital. Don't miss this enjoyable evening, which will include a trivia contest, selected readings from the authors' books, and an audience Q&A. Everyone will leave with a deeper appreciation of what makes San Francisco San Francisco. MLF ORGANIZER George Hammond Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Making Big Bets with Rockefeller Foundation President Rajiv Shah

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 30, 2023 60:13

    Throughout his career, Rajiv J. Shah has tackled some of the world's most intractable challenges head on. At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Shah played an integral role in the colossal effort to vaccinate 900 million children. At the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under President Obama, he led the U.S. response to the Haiti earthquake and the West African Ebola pandemic, served on the National Security Council, and elevated the role of development as part of our nation's foreign policy. Now, as president of the Rockefeller Foundation, Shah oversees the global institution in its mission to promote the well-being of humanity around the world. His approach to tackling some of the biggest humanitarian efforts of the 21st century? A "big bets" philosophy—the idea that seeking ambitious solutions rather than making incremental improvements can attract the unlikely partners with the power and know-how to achieve results. His debut book, Big Bets, offers a masterclass in approaching challenges—regardless of magnitude—through decision-making, leadership and, of course, a willingness to make bets. Come hear Shah as he illuminates his "big bets" philosophy on creating transformational and lasting change—in our own lives and well beyond. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    CLIMATE ONE: Is This a Joke? Comedy and Climate Communication

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2023 59:40

    Laughter can be good medicine, but when is it okay to laugh at something as deadly serious as the climate crisis? Jokes help us remember information that otherwise might not be retained. A snappy punchline can be a powerful way to get a message through to an audience. Comedy can also be a way for performers and audiences alike to cope with a shared societal problem, like climate or social justice. Humor has a way of slipping through our perceived biases and giving us a new way of looking at challenges. How can we all learn to use humor both as a coping tool and a tool for change?  Guests:  Rollie Williams, Comedian, Host, Climate Town Caty Borum, Provost Assoc. Professor, American University For show notes and related links, visit our website. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Jim Al-Khalili: The Joy of Science

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2023 65:58

    It's a challenge to make the best decisions in a world that is unpredictable and full of contradictions. Help is now available in the form of advice from quantum physicist Jim Al-Khalili, who shares 8 lessons from the heart of science that he says can help people get the most out of life. As he writes in The Joy of Science, Al-Khalili invites people to engage with the world as scientists have been trained to do. The scientific method has served mankind well in its quest to see things as they really are. Underpinning the scientific method are core principles that can be deployed outside of the laboratory too, in our own lives. Knowing the nature of truth and uncertainty, the role of doubt, the pros and cons of simplification, the value of guarding against bias, the importance of evidence-based thinking and more—Al-Khalili says these are all deeply relevant to everyday lives. Jim Al-Khalili is distinguished professor of theoretical physics at the University of Surrey and is one of Britain's best-known science communicators. His other books include The World According to Physics, Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed, and Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology.  MLF ORGANIZER: Gerald Harris A Technology & Society Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums. In Association with Wonderfest. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    CNN's Jake Tapper: All the Demons Are Here

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2023 61:00

    As CNN's anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper is one of the most respected journalists in news today. He is also a best-selling author, and his heart-pounding new thriller All the Demons Are Here takes us back to the 1970s, with two unforgettable characters encountering many of the real-life figures and events that defined one of the wildest and most dangerous decades in American history. Hear more about his latest work and his take on the current political landscape. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Matthew Davenport: The Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 21, 2023 64:40

    At 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck San Francisco, catching most of the city asleep. For approximately one minute, shockwaves buckled streets, shattered water mains, collapsed buildings, crushed hundreds of residents to death and trapped many alive. For the next three days, fires ignited and nearly destroyed what was then the largest city in the American West. Join us in-person as Matthew Davenport describes the massive devastation and combines history and science to tell the dramatic true story of one of the greatest disasters in American history. MLF ORGANIZER George Hammond NOTES A Humanities Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums. This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    CLIMATE ONE: Community Resilience: Knowing Your Neighbor Could Save Your Life

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2023 54:46

    Disasters caused by burning fossil fuels are becoming more frequent, and in the aftermath of hurricanes, floods and wildfires, federal and state responses are often slow or insufficient. There is a growing body of research showing that neighborhood ties can be the difference between life and death: Socially connected neighbors are less likely to die from excessive heat or other extreme weather events. Community-based action, like mutual aid, can bring resources to people overlooked by overburdened governments. What tools can a community use to prepare for fossil fueled disasters?  Guests: Tanya Gulliver Garcia, Director of learning and partnerships, Center for Disaster Philanthropy Chenier “Klie” Kliebert, Executive Director, Imagine Water Works Amee Raval, Research and Policy Director, Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) Justin Hollander, Professor, Urban and Environmental Policy Planning, Tufts University Reverend Vernon K. Walker, Climate Justice Program Director, Clean Water Action For show notes and related links, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    It's Not Just the Genome—AI Can Transform Primary Care

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 16, 2023 65:30

    Join us for the 13th annual Lundberg Institute Lecture, featuring Bob Matthews of MediSync discussing the advances artificial intelligence is making in health care. AI's advances into various health-care fields have recently burst into public consciousness—generating excitement, concern and confusion among lay and professional observers. AI has already been relied upon in genomic medicine and in the automated analysis of diagnostic studies, but ChatGPT and Bard have liberated imaginations to consider many more potential applications. The task at hand, though, is determining whether those liberated imaginations are being realistic or unrealistic. Medical news tends to focus on the newest and most technically glitzy innovations. even though they sometimes perform less well than advertised. Matthews will explore the immediate opportunities AI has for affecting the care of the most prevalent and important medical conditions, like chronic diseases, as that could quickly influence both the quality and the total cost of such care for the largest number of patients. MLF ORGANIZER George Hammond Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Suneel Gupta: Everyday Dharma

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2023 69:51

    Bestselling author and popular speaker Suneel Gupta knows what it's like to fail and to succeed. He's done both, and he says the key to creating a balanced, joyous life that integrates ambition, work and well-being is to find your dharma—your inner calling. He says we've been conditioned, from an early age, to believe that one day we'll reach a moment of “arrival.” But no matter how much we achieve or acquire we still don't feel as satisfied or as fulfilled as we thought we would be. Exhausted, we become burned out and cynical, questioning the purpose of it all. An expert on happiness and work, Gupta argues that for too long we have compartmentalized work and well-being and ignored the fact that both are essential for sustained success. We've assumed that outer success leads to inner well-being, despite history showing us otherwise. In his latest book, Everyday Dharma, Gupta weaves personal stories, history, science, Eastern philosophy, and Western modalities in this prescriptive book.  Gupta, a visiting scholar at Harvard Medical School, will share his ideas for empowering people to let go of anxiety, follow their ambitions, produce their life's work, and experience true joy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    CLIMATE ONE: Ken Burns, Rosalyn LaPier and The American Buffalo

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2023 64:24

    For thousands of years, the American buffalo evolved alongside Indigenous people who relied on them for food and shelter, and, in exchange for killing them, revered the animal. For millennia, this totemic animal lived in symbiotic relationship with grasslands throughout North America, then – in less than 100 years – new settlers and hunters brought their numbers from 30 million to the mere hundreds, while in the same era glorifying them as our iconic national animal. It's a classic and cautionary tale of our ability to destroy the natural world – and potentially, to bring it back.  Guests: Ken Burns, Director, The American Buffalo Rosalyn LaPier, Indigenous environmental historian and ethnobotanist For show notes and related links, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Empty Spaces and Hybrid Places: The Pandemic's Lasting Impact on Real Estate

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 11, 2023 66:04

    The past three years of the pandemic and the widespread practice of working from home have had a huge impact on our cities, businesses, individuals, and real estate of all types around the world. What will the future look like when considering long-term trends in population, employment, office attendance, housing prices, and other factors? Join us for a special presentation featuring the results of a new McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report, "Empty spaces and hybrid places: The pandemic's lasting impact on real estate." MGI Director Jonathan Woetzel will take the lead in a discussion of the report's findings and implications, such as the ripple effects of hybrid work on the way we live, work, and shop; the resulting impact on demand for office, residential, and retail space in cities; and how urban stakeholders can adapt to the new reality. He will be joined by Peter Calthorpe, urban design and planning principal at HDR. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Franklin Foer: Inside Joe Biden's White House and the Struggle for America's Future

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 9, 2023 69:47

    When Joe Biden took his oath of office, the trajectory of his presidency—and the fate of our nation—remained unknown. Thousands of Americans were still sick with COVID, former presidents and first ladies sat masked on the balcony of the Capitol building—while Biden's predecessor was notably absent. Just two weeks prior, the same building was under siege by a group of insurrectionists who sought to overturn the results of the 2020 election. On top of it all, suffering from the many unforeseen consequences of the pandemic, the American economy faced a looming economic crisis.  As a staff writer for The Atlantic, Franklin Foer had exclusive access to Biden and his inner circle. Foer revisits the challenging and consequential formative years of the Biden presidency from an insider's perspective in his forthcoming book, The Last Politician. Join us for a conversation with one of our nation's leading political journalists as we cover topics ranging from the withdrawal of the last troops from Afghanistan, to the war in Ukraine, to covering politics at a time when the stability of American democracy remains imperiled. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    CLIMATE ONE: Rep. Ro Khanna on AI, Misinformation and Holding Big Oil Accountable

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2023 54:26

    Congressman Ro Khanna has made a name for himself as a pragmatic progressive and critic of Big Oil. He grilled oil company CEOs under oath and helped negotiate with Senator Joe Manchin to keep climate policy in the Inflation Reduction Act, the biggest piece of climate legislation ever passed in the United States. Despite being one of the more progressive voters in Congress, Khanna has a reputation for coalition building; he got more bills passed than any other Democrat during the previous administration. Now that Republicans control the House of Representatives and are looking to claw back climate provisions of the IRA, what levers can he still pull to address the climate crisis?  Guests: Ro Khanna, U.S. Congressman For show notes and related links, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Kashmir Hill: Clearview AI, Facial Recognition Technology, and Threats to Our Privacy

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2023 69:09

    Are you one in a million? One in a billion? What if an app could pick you out of a crowd based on your face alone?  New York Times tech reporter Kashmir Hill was skeptical when she got a tip about a mysterious app called Clearview AI that claimed it could, with 99 percent accuracy, identify anyone based on just one snapshot of their face. The app could supposedly scan a face and, in just seconds, surface every detail of a person's online life: their name, social media profiles, friends and family members, home address, and photos that they might not have even known existed. If it was everything it claimed to be, it would be the ultimate surveillance tool, and it would open the door to everything from stalking to totalitarian state control. Could it be true? Hill tracked the improbable rise of Clearview AI and its astounding collection of billions of faces from the internet. Google and Facebook decided that a tool to identify strangers was too radical to release, but Clearview forged ahead, sharing the app with private investors, pitching it to businesses, and offering it to thousands of law enforcement agencies around the world. Join us for a surprising look at the rise of a technological superpower and an urgent warning that, in the absence of vigilance and government regulation, Clearview AI is one of many new technologies that challenge what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once called “the right to be let alone.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Amy Schneider: In the Form of a Question

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 2, 2023 65:22

    Who is the most successful woman ever to compete on "Jeopardy"? Amy Schneider's impressive 40-game winning streak was accompanied by an even greater prize—the joy of being herself on national television and blazing a trail for openly queer and transgender people around the world. Her new memoir, In the Form of a Question: The Joys and Rewards of a Curious Life explores some of the innumerable topics that have fascinated Amy throughout her life—books and music, Tarot and astrology, popular culture and computers, sex and relationships—but they all share the same purpose: to illustrate, and celebrate, the results of a lifetime spent asking, why? Join Amy as she returns to The Commonwealth Club and shares her singular journey that led to becoming an unlikely icon and hero to millions.  NOTES This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation. See more  Michelle Meow Show programs at The Commonwealth Club of California. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    CLIMATE ONE: Jane Fonda: A Lifetime of Activism

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 29, 2023 56:27

    Jane Fonda has spent the last several decades fighting for Indigenous peoples' rights, economic justice, LGBTQ rights, peace, gender equality and more. Now, she is devoting herself to the climate emergency, beginning with Fire Drill Fridays, the national movement to protest government inaction on climate change she started in October 2019. Now, through the Jane Fonda Climate PAC, she is focused on defeating political allies of the fossil fuel industry. At 85, Fonda continues to fight for the most vulnerable among us, consistently pointing out the intersection between the myriad of causes. What keeps the iconic Jane Fonda going strong? Guest: Jane Fonda, actor, activist For show notes and related links, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    100 Years to Thrive: Designing Longer and Wealthier Lives

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 25, 2023 71:18

    Feel like you are always running out of time? What would you do differently with an extra 25 years of longevity to build a fulfilled life?  Please join us for a conversation on making the most of our increased longevity and designing lives with greater well-being, meaning and purpose. Dr. Laura Carstensen and Mark T. Johnsen will touch on the multiple facets of building a wealthier life with increased life spans. Health—align health spans to life spans: One-hundred-year lives are quickly becoming commonplace, but healthy long lives require us to consider what we should be doing at all life stages to promote well-being.  Career—working more flexible years to provide well-being beyond just financial stability: Having a fulfilling career helps give us a sense of purpose but can also be taxing on us in this fast-paced world, particularly when we have so many obligations to our families, friends and communities. How should we be thinking of education and work in order to foster meaningful and healthy career spans? Building Financial Stability—assessing the risks and rewards of a 100-year life span: Supporting 100-year lives requires creative and flexible roadmaps at all stages of life from early education for children and teaching financial literacy at an early age to re-thinking the safety nets of Medicare and Social Security.  Family and Friends—multigenerational families and communities: The energy and curiosity of youth combined with wisdom and life experiences of older generations creates opportunities for families, friends and workplaces to reap the benefits of age diversity.  Life Transitions—opportunities to reset: One-hundred-year lives can present multiple transitions, such as retirement, birth of a child, divorce, death of a loved one, and provide us with lifelong learning opportunities and ways to discover and pave a new path, course-correct, and find purpose. MLF ORGANIZER Denise Michaud NOTES A Grownups Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    CLIMATE ONE: Naomi Klein and Carolyn Beeler: Covering Big Ideas and Personal Stories

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2023 54:46

    The climate crisis can be difficult to cover in a way that most people can relate to. The mechanism of harm goes from a person's gas car or stove to the Earth's atmosphere and back again in the form of floods and fires. That's why true stories of individuals and families experiencing the fallout of the climate crisis can be so impactful. They help us relate to each other on a more direct level, the way humans naturally do: person to person. Covering Climate Now Journalism Award winners Naomi Klein and Carolyn Beeler bring those stories to light.  This episode was produced in collaboration with Covering Climate Now. Guests:  Carolyn Beeler, Environment Reporter, Editor, The World Naomi Klein, author, social activist For show notes and related links, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    CLIMATE ONE: Naomi Klein and Carolyn Beeler: Covering Big Ideas and Personal Stories

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2023 58:28

    The climate crisis can be difficult to cover in a way that most people can relate to. The mechanism of harm goes from a person's gas car or stove to the Earth's atmosphere and back again in the form of floods and fires. That's why true stories of individuals and families experiencing the fallout of the climate crisis can be so impactful. They help us relate to each other on a more direct level, the way humans naturally do: person to person. Covering Climate Now Journalism Award winners Naomi Klein and Carolyn Beeler bring those stories to light.  This episode was produced in collaboration with Covering Climate Now. Guests:  Carolyn Beeler, Environment Reporter, Editor, The World Naomi Klein, author, social activist For show notes and related links, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Bringing Back the Bay Lights with Ben Davis

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 21, 2023 67:44

    The Bay Lights by artist Leo Villareal first went live on March 5, 2013. Exactly one decade later, the beloved artwork went dark. Ben Davis is the driving force behind The Bay Lights and the effort to bring the artwork back with twice the number of LEDs in a radically accessible new configuration. With the project 75 percent funded—and $2.5 million more needed to proceed—Davis will reveal what's next for the historic effort: organizational vulnerability.  Davis is the founder and leader of Illuminate, the art nonprofit behind many of San Francisco's large-scale and iconic public artworks, including lighting The Pink Triangle on Twin Peaks, activation of the Golden Mile on JFK Promenade, the Summer of Love lighting on the Conservatory of Flowers, Grace Light in Grace Cathedral, the revival of the Golden Gate Bandshell, and the series of giant laser art installations across San Francisco this summer.  Davis will also talk about his vision for San Francisco as the City of Awe.  The program talk will be followed by a reception and live music by "KAVIN" on the rooftop. In-kind food donations provided by local SF Hot Cookies and Casa Sanchez.    Community partner: Beyond The Fog Radio MLF ORGANIZER Robert Melton Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    CLIMATE ONE: The Nuclear Option

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2023 58:28

    Fourteen years after receiving its permit, the nation's first new nuclear reactors in decades just fired up in Georgia. Massive, traditional nuclear reactors like this have faced so many cost overruns and construction delays that the investment market for them all but vanished. Despite a handful of recent technical breakthroughs in fusion power, its promise of virtually limitless power remains just a promise. But could a new wave of small, modular fission reactors bring new carbon-free power onto the market faster and cheaper (and safer?) than traditional nuclear plants in time to help the world decarbonize? Guests: Melissa Lott, Senior Research Scholar and the Senior Director of Research at the Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University Jacopo Buongiorno, TEPCO Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, MIT  Allison MacFarlane, Director of the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia; Former Chair, Nuclear Regulatory Commission For show notes and related links, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

    Civics Across the Curriculum: Educating for Democracy

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 11, 2023 68:15

    In recent years, political and social turbulence have given rise to a new urgency around civics education in the United States. Civic leaders, educators and politicians across the ideological spectrum claim that reviving civics in schools will compensate for decades of neglect and ensure the future of our fragile democracy. But more civics learning doesn't necessarily mean better civics learning. Even when civics is taught, it is typically relegated to history-social science classes, isolating it from core subjects and offering students limited support to help them understand and act on the real-world issues they see and experience in their everyday lives. "Civics Across the Curriculum" brings together a panel of educators whose teaching and research offer new possibilities for making civics education relevant and impactful. Rather than treating it as a discrete content area, they use disciplines as varied as math, literature and gender studies to help students investigate and reason about complex civic issues. And they demonstrate that practices such as inquiry, respectful discourse and action projects can be incorporated into every class, infusing a democratic sensibility into all facets of school life and helping students practice the skills they need to engage with meaning and purpose in our diverse society. As we welcome the new school year, we invite you to join us for an inspiring discussion about one of the highest priorities in education today: preparing young people to uphold our constitutional democracy, now and in the future. Please come early to enjoy a reception before the program, with complimentary wine, soft drinks, and light snacks. Dr. Garcia will sign copies of his new book, Civics for the World to Come, after the program. NOTES This program is part of The Commonwealth Club's civics education initiative, Creating Citizens. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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