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Past Events at CDHS 2007

This page lists recent lectures and events. It includes a brief description plus a link to a complete summary.



John Seager- Too Hot, Too Crowded, December 2007

Our December speaker was John Seager, President of Population Connection (formerly Zero Population Growth), who flew in from Washington, DC, to address us. His talk was titled "Too Hot - Too Crowded - A Planet in Trouble." Seager stressed that, unlike some problems, the impact of growing population on the environment is one we know how to fix, we can do it at reasonable cost, and it's something people actually want.


Terry Weiner- Health Care Collapse, November, 2007

Our November speaker was Dr. Terry S. Weiner, Union College Professor of Comparative Social Analysis, whose talk was entitled "The Coming Collapse of American Health Care." Mr. Weiner is not actually predicting the end of health care. But he started by noting that since 1960, health costs have gone from 5% of GDP to 16% of (a much higher) GDP; while forty-odd million Americans are uninsured and get inferior ad hoc care; and the nation as a whole is NOT healthier or longer-lived than others that spend much less per person on health care.


CDHS 21st Anniversary Dinner

Presentation of the Dennis Bender award to Richard and Myrna Becker

We had a great dinner with many local members present.The awards were given to Myra Becker for her many years of diligent service as bookeeper for our organization, and Dick Becker, who served for 13 years on the executive council in various positions. Further, as entertainment, our very own Dot Sager and Sandy Sussman received a rounding applause for their musical renditions of two old (slightly reworked ) favorite songs. The evening was rounded off with a storytelling artist: Nancy Marie Pryne.


Peter Gerstenzang- "Cops and Courts", October, 2007

Our October speaker was Peter Gerstenzang, whose topic was "Cops and Courts--everything you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask." Peter is an attorney, with the Albany firm Gerstenzang, O'Hern, Hickey & Gerstenzang. His practice is in criminal defense, with an emphasis on vehicular crimes, particularly those involving alcohol.


Dr. Carla Sofka- "Social Afterlife", September, 2007

Our September speaker was Dr. Carla Sofka, Associate Professor of Social Work at Siena College, whose talk was about "Cultural Reincarnation: The Afterlife on Earth of the Rich and Famous." This was an aspect of her work in thanatology, the study of death, grief, and loss. Now, this might not sound like a fun subject. However, Dr. Sofka provided a highly lively and entertaining talk, illustrated by a display of piquant cultural artifacts, including some Elvis edibles which the audience was privileged to enjoy.


Diane Cameron- Mental Illness in the US Military", August, 2007

Our August speaker was Diane Cameron, whose topic was "Mental Illness Within the Military Experience." Diane is best known to many of us as a regular columnist in recent years for the Albany Times-Union. A very personal story served as background for Diane's discussion of the psychic trauma experienced by soldiers in war. Old verbiage for this included "shell shock," "battle fatigue," and even "lacking moral fiber."


Jin Fei-Bao- "Climb Every (tall) Mountain", July, 2007

Fei-bao's claim to fame is his quest to set a world record by climbing the highest peaks on all the world's continents, and visit both the poles. He has already completed most of the course, including Mount Everest, Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mount Kosciuszko, Australia's highest peak.


Dr. Harold Brown- The Scientific Contributions Of Frederich Wohler, June, 2007

Our speaker this month was Dr. Harold Brown, who has been a CDHS member since 1994. A WWII Navy veteran, Dr. Brown got his PhD in chemistry from Wayne State University in Detroit, and was a longtime employee of Albany Medical Center. Dr. Brown's subject was the work of Frederich Woehler. Woehler drove the first nail in the coffin of the "vital force" doctrine.


Saving The Pine Bush, May, 2007

Our speaker in May was Lynne Jackson, who has been active in the organization Save The Pine Bush (SPB) from its 1978 inception, serving most of that time as Secretary. Lynne is a SUNY graduate in Environmental Studies. Her talk was titled "You Can Fight City Hall and Win."


The Secular Student Alliance in Albany, April, 2007

Our speaker was August E. Brunsman IV, a member of our own CDHS, and Executive Director of the Secular Student Alliance (SSA). August's lively presentation aimed to put us in the picture concerning the SSA's doings. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization, whose main activity is to support and unite about 80 affiliated campus groups throughout the nation (and even in some exotic foreign countries such as Cameroon and Nepal), while trying to nurture the development of more such groups, promoting ideals of scientific and critical inquiry, democracy, secularism, and human-based ethics.


Can We Make A Difference for the Children? March, 2007

Our speaker this month was Mindy Whisenhut, Director of Religious Education at Schenectady's First Unitarian Society, who took a group of middle school kids to work helping poor Guatemalan children. The program, "Safe Passage," was started by an American woman, Hanley Denning (recently killed in a car accident). It focuses on children of families who survive by picking through garbage in the city dump.


Could Life Exist Elsewhere in the Universe? February, 2007

Dr. Delano is a Distinguished Teaching Professor at the State University of New York's Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. People have long wondered about whether we are alone in the Universe. Until recent times, it has been idle speculation; but lately we have developed tools for tackling this issue on a scientific basis.


Donna Miller, current president of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild, January, 2007

Ms. Miller described the community of the Hudson Valley Writers' Guild. It provides workshops and other resources to its members. A grant from the City Arts Council will sponsors a talk and documentation regarding the architecture of Albany City Hall. More information is available at


[Past Events 2010]

[Past Events 2009]

[Past Events 2008]

[Past Events 2007]

[Past Events 2006]

[Past Events 2005]

[Past Events 2004]

[Past Events 2003]

[Past Events 2002]

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