One-off talks

Jane Goodall

Sam and Jane Goodall

Before hearing Dr. Jane Goodall talk, I just had the vague notion that she did something with gorillas. Well, even that wasn't right: it was chimpanzees.

Her talk was, broadly, split into three sections: history, chimpanzees, and activism. A strong theme when she was talking about her history was the importance of her mother. She grew up poor and in a time when most women didn't receive professional respect, but Goodall's mother continually inspired her to work hard and ignore obstacles.

Rachel Maddow

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rachel_Maddow_in_Seattle_cropped.png

Rachel Maddow gave a talk at Stanford for the Center on Ethics in Society's 25th anniversary. Apparently, Rachel Maddow graduated from Stanford and wrote an honors thesis in Ethics in Society. And, apparently, the Ethics in Society honors program has students read and critique her honors thesis even today. Cool!

Bill McKibben - Doing the Math on Global Warming

Bill McKibben has been a long time global warming activist, and he's one of the founders of 350.org. He also wrote an article in the Rolling Stones about doing the math on global warming (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new...) that was more popular than an article on Beiber in the same issue of Rolling Stones. He went on tour giving talks around the country on these issues, and one of his stops was across the street from my apartment.

Andrew Blotky - Big Supreme Court Cases

Andrew Blotky is a Stanford alumni for both undergrad and law school. He worked with Ron Wyden in the past (go Oregon!), he teaches a class on nonprofits at Stanford in Washington, and he works at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank / grassroots outreach / advocacy organization in Washington.

Google Tech Talk on Chrome

On 10/12, Google gave a tech talk on Google Chrome (their web browser that's incredibly fast, secure, and stable). I had a class right before, so I came in a little bit late.

Sophomore Symposium on Poverty

Later on 10/12, one of the Sophomore Class Presidents' events was a Sophomore Symposium on Poverty. There were a bunch of different perspectives.

The headliner was the founder of Kiva. She talked about meeting Mohammad Yunus, going to Africa, connecting with entrepreneurs who couldn't afford basic economic capital because of predatory lending, and wanting to help them out. 

She said that she was able to succeed because she started small and specific, so she knew who she was helping and exactly what they needed.

Noam Chomsky

On 10/4, Noam Chomsky spoke at a Stanford Says No To War rally as a pit stop on his way to speak at Gunn HS, where the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center was holding a very large Chomsky event.

Constitution Day Talk

On 9/17, there was a law school talk for Constitution Day. 
One interesting thing that I heard is that justices often avoid the constitutional question and just rule on statutory claims in order to practice judicial restraint. That is, the branch whose job it is to interpret the constitution tries to not interpret the constitution because they're afraid of being controversial. 


The founder of MusicCorps was our final speaker. MusicCorps is a part of AmeriCorps, and it tries to use music as a means to other forms of service (ie, using music to catalyze political participation) and using music as an end in itself by expanding music education because music helps students succeed. This is especially true for at risk youth, and it is much more true of music than things like sports.

Panel of Tech Laureates

This was my favorite lecture. The people on the panel had recently won some award for being awesome, and then they got to talk to us about how awesome they each were.

From the non-tech orgs: it seems like the need for CS folks is:


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