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Past Events at CDHS 2012

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


Michael Sofka- "Does Anybody Fall For This?" November, 2012

Mike Sofka is a systems programmer at RPI, in charge of its e-mail service. This means dealing with spam. Lots and lots of spam. His talk was titled, “Does Anybody Fall For This?” (Apparently, the answer is yes, or he wouldn’t have been giving the talk.)
He promised to go light on jargon, but a certain amount was necessary. While my dictionary defines jargon as “incoherent speech; gibberish,” for these purposes it is actually a way of describing and labeling things.


Jenness Cortez- "Homage To The Creative Spirit" October, 2012

Jenness Cortez is an artist working out of Averill Park (and married to our January speaker, Leonard Perlmutter, of the American Meditation Institute). Her book of recent paintings, Homage to the Creative Spirit, won the 2012 Independent Publishers’ “Outstanding Book of the Year” Award.



Dr. Jeffrey Berman- "Death Education InThe Writing Classroom" September, 2012
Dr. Jeffrey Berman is a Distinguished Teaching Professor in SUNY’s English Department, and author of several books; his talk focused on his latest, Death Education in the Writing Classroom.
Dr. Berman’s pedagogy seeks to relate literature with personal experience and feelings. He explained that his career has been heavily influenced by two tragedies.



Dr. Gary Brill- "Truth or Happiness: Must Humanists Choose?" August, 2012

Dr. Gary Brill, who teaches psychology at Rutgers University, was born and raised in Albany. He is president of the New Jersey Humanist Network, and campus coordinator of the Rutgers Humanist Chaplaincy. His talk was titled “Truth or Happiness: Must Humanists Choose?”



Dr. Sheldon Solomon- discusses C. Rogers' book- "On Becoming A Person" July, 2012

Sheldon Solomon, making an encore CDHS appearance, is a Professor of Psychology at Skidmore, concentrating on the nature of self, consciousness, and social behavior. His talk was an exegesis of Carl Rogers’s classic book, On Becoming a Person, as a humanistic approach to personality theory and psychotherapy.



Paul Grondahl- "Finding Humanity in Inhumane Situations" June, 2012

Paul Grondahl is an award-winning journalist whose work has been carried in the Albany Times-Union since 1984; he is also the author of several books, including a landmark biography of Mayor Erastus Corning.
The theme of his talk was finding humanity in inhumane situations. He focused on his experiences reporting on four of them: September 11, AIDS in Malawi (in 2006), the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. He showed video footage of all these (featuring work by Times-Union photographer Steve Jacobs), and read from his reportage.



Dr. Michael Murphy- "Ethical Concerns of Genetically Modified Organisms" May, 2012

A major part of Dr. Murphy's presentation concerned public perceptions, and how to combat irrationality with rational argument. A common idea is that genetic modification entails putting strange genes into organisms – and then feeding them to us. Thus the scare term “frankenfoods.” As an example, Dr. Murphy showed a picture of the bananafish (entirely imaginary). Thus the subject evokes strong emotion, and GM is often the target of irrationally vitriolic attacks. The climate of hostility to GM foods led Zambia, during a 2002 famine, to reject U.S. food donations in fear that they were “contaminated” by GM. Many thousands starved to death in consequence.



Patricia McGeown- "The Escalating War on Women’s Health Care"

April, 2012

Patricia A. McGeown has been President and CEO of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood for the past 18 years. The organization provides medical services to over 15,000 people annually. Her talk was titled “The Escalating War on Women’s Health Care.”



Gerald Fierst- Humanist Celebrant. March, 2012

Gerald Fierst is a story teller and humanist celebrant, authorized to perform marriages. He is author of the book, The Heart of the Wedding. While a student at NYU Law School in the late ‘60s (as I was), Fierst got involved with the New York Free Theater, an improvisational street theater group, and from there grew into story telling as a kind of performance art.



Dr. Ricki Lewis discusses her new book- "The Forever Fix: Gene Therapy and the Boy Who Saved It." February, 2012

Ricki Lewis is a longtime CDHS member and prolific writer on science topics. Her new book, published by St. Martin’s Press, is The Forever Fix: Gene Therapy and the Boy Who Saved It. This is the first general book on the important subject of gene therapy. A “gene” is a segment of the very long molecule DNA (part of a chromosome; this is the mechanism of inheritance). What a gene actually does is to instruct the manufacture of a specific protein; that, in turn, is the basic building block for the whole complex system that constitutes a living organism.



Leonard Perlmutter- The Science of Yoga January, 2012

Leonard Perlmutter is head of the American Meditation Institute, headquartered in Averill Park, where he teaches meditation and Yoga. The Institute has published his book, The Heart and Science of Yoga. Perlmutter’s talk was about what he calls “the Science of Yoga,” which has little to do with the common picture of Yoga as bodily contortion exercises. He began by likening Yoga to the principles of humanism, entailing a constant search for truth, focusing upon this earthly life and its betterment.



[Past Events 2011]

[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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