The Sixth Extinction 7:30PM, May 2, 2014, The Salisbury School
Event Date : 05/02/2014
The New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert has spent more than ten years traveling around the world interviewing top scientists and people living near the north pole to get to the heart of the debate about global warming. Her ground breaking three part series “The Climate of Man” in The New Yorker won the 2005 National Magazine Award in the “Public Interest” category. Her book Field Notes From A Catastrophe: Man, Nature and Climate Change in 2006 asked what, if anything, could be done to save our planet.

Her latest book The Sixth Extinction says scientists around the world are monitoring developments that may lead to the most devastating extinction cataclysm since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. She reports on the work of scores of researchers including geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes and biologists who study species that are disappearing as the climate changes.

Elizabeth Kolbert talk at Google.

Ms Kolbert explains the science and the studies. She draws frightening parallels to ancient civilizations, unpacks the politics, and presents the personal tales of people affected most by our changing climate.

Russia's Strategic Challenges: 7:30PM, Friday, March 21, 2014 Housatonic Valley Regional High School
Event Date : 03/21/2014
“Since he rose to power over a decade ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin has striven to assert Russia as a great power,” Thomas Graham says. “His recent initiative on Syria has put it back on center stage, at least in the Middle East. But Russia’s slowing economic growth and a range of foreign policy challenges raise questions about its future as a great power. What does Putin’s Russia need to do domestically and abroad to fulfill its great-power ambitions? and can it succeed.?” he asks.

Thomas Graham is managing director at Kissinger Associates, Inc. where he focuses on Russian and Eurasian affairs. He was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia on the National Security Council staff from 2004 to 2007. He was a foreign service officer from 1984 to 1998 including two tours of duty at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Between tours in Moscow he worked on Russian and Soviet affairs on the Policy Planning Staff of the Department of State. From 1998 to 2001 Graham was a senior associate in the Russia/Eurasia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“To be sure Russia often takes positions contrary to those of the United States and that makes the Kremlin an easy target for criticism,” he says. He cites Putin’s pugnacious style, his evident glee at poking the United States in the eye, along with his mounting appeals to xenophobic sentiments to shore up his domestic position as all rubbing Americans the wrong way. But he questions what real challenge Russia poses on the world stage.

Dr. Graham discusses how the end of the Cold War still affects our current tensions with Moscow both in Russia and in the United States where the generation of political, military and journalist leaders still dwell on the Soviet threat of a time gone by. He suggests American frustration with actions taken by the Kremlin is more a reflection of the political dysfunction in Washington and ineptitude of U.S. foreign policy than the real impact of Russia’s behavior.

The Internet of Everything, 7:30PM, December 6, 2013, The Salisbury School
Event Date : 12/06/2013
David Kirkpatrick, former Fortune magazine senior editor and author of the best-selling The Facebook Effect will speak to us about social media and the future of the internet.

Mr. Kirkpatrick is now the founder and CEO of Techonomy Media, a company applying technology to the future of food and nutrition, healthcare, education, government, science, the arts, transportation, cities, infrastructure, communication, media, architecture, and indeed any sphere of human endeavor.

He says the Internet has done a good job of connecting the world, but he predicts it will soon allow objects to talk to each other through their software. “Through software and the supercomputing power of the Web we are about to see major changes in how everything works,” he says. Some of the things he presumes will be connected are lights, thermostats, coffee pots, shades, garage doors, washing machines, music systems and cars.

The Internet of Everything will require software that can make all kinds of devices intelligent. There are applications for the military, to produce more efficient energy systems and to connect all the many items we consumers use every day, he says. Kirkpatrick suggests our thermostat or home appliances may talk to our car. “If you get within a certain number of miles from home, your oven might start heating up or your humidifier would switch on,” he says.

Girl Rising: 11:30AM, Sunday, January 26, 2014, The Moviehouse, Millerton, NY
Event Date : 11/01/2013
One girl With Courage is a revolution.

Girl Rising is a powerful and innovative new feature film that spotlights the stories of girls born into unforgiving circumstances. Girls like Azmera who when told she must marry does something shocking for an Ethiopian family. Shesays no and her brother helps her realize her dream to be educated. Senna’s family struggles to survive in a bleak Peruvian mining town, but her father has dreams of a better future for her. He insists she go to school and there her talent and passion for poetry blossoms. And you will meet Ruksana a girl who’s family lives on the pavement in India, but who surmounts enormous difficulties to get an education.

Each girl is paired with a renowned writer from her own country. Each of these stories are narrated by a celebrated actress including Cate Blanchett, Salma Hayek, Alicia Keys, Meryl Streep and Kerry Washington. Liam Neeson provides additional narration between each segment.

Girl Rising is the centerpiece of a global campaign to educate and empower girls.

A Life In Science: Exploring The Universe, 7:30PM, October 18, 2013 The Hotchkiss School
Event Date : 09/07/2013
Nicholas Scoville, Ph.D. has spent a half century in astrophisics studying star formations, galactic structures and the evolution of galaxies.

He says “The last 50 years has been an unparalleled time of discovery in astronomy and astrophysics. With new technologies in space and on the ground, we are now seeing galaxies back in time to when the universe was only 5% of its present age.”

His talk will focus on the detection of planetary systems around nearby stars and what we are learning about major “dark” components which dominate the evolution of the universe.

He will describe several new developments and talk about the fun of doing science when so much is still unknown but open to human curiosity.