One-off talks

Masculinity, Malaria Eradication, MEChA, Humanities + Homelessness

At the end of April, C.J. Pascoe, the author of Dude, You’re a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School, gave a talk.  I missed the actual talk, but she came to a dinner at Terra (a co-op where I’ll be living next year) that I attended.  As such, I’m not 100% sure on the thesis of her book, but it seems interesting.

Majora Carter: The Connections between Environmentalism, Race, and Class

On April 21, for Earth Week, Majora Carter gave a talk.  This was another one of those extremely awesome ones.  It was mostly about Carter’s experiences, but she has done some very cool things.  If you haven’t heard her speak before, check out a short video where she talks about some of her experiences at http://www.ted.com/talks/majora_carter_s_tale_of_urban_renewal.html.  She’s an amazing speaker – if you have the opportunity, check out the video.

Food For Thought: Conference on International Development

The next weekend was a “Food For Thought” conference.  It was about international food politics.  I came in with fairly high expectations because food politics is such an essential part of international development and ensuring a good quality of life to impoverished people, but the people who came were not good speakers, and they didn’t have any interesting takeaways. 

Stanford Service Summit

The first weekend in April, Stanford had its service summit.  The service summit was an idea from the student government to expose interested students to ways to get involved with service and to brainstorm plans for Stanford’s service vision for the next few years. 


Misc: Alumni Mixer, Microsoft CEO, Google Natural Language People, Lockheed Martin, Founder of VMware

At the beginning of May, there was a SLE alumni mixer.  There were some interesting people there.  A bunch of tech people.  The Google guy didn’t make it.

Ballmer, the Microsoft CEO gave a talk on May 6.  Didn’t say much of interest.

Two people who were working on natural language at Google gave a talk on May 12.  They talked about some of their experiences working with natural language at things like Google 411 and the benefits of an interdisciplinary education.  Interesting, but not very memorable.

Soren Johnson: Remix, and How to Make Video Games Matter

Soren Johnson was a SLE guest speaker on April 23.  He’s the developer of the computer games Spore and Civilization 4.  He was a double major in computer science and history at Stanford.  The topic of his lecture was “Can Games Matter?”  but he went over a bunch of different issues.  This was one of the best lectures that I’ve had this year. 

He talked about games as a unique medium because they are interactive and active, whereas watching a movie or reading a book is a static, non-participatory experience.  Video games can adapt depending on how you play.


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