Blog Archive for the ‘Seminars’ Category

navigateleft Older Articles    Newer Articles navigateright

Walter Mischel Seminar Tickets

Posted on Tuesday, April 12th, 02016 by Andrew Warner
link   Categories: Announcements, Seminars   chat 0 Comments

 

The Long Now Foundation’s monthly

Seminars About Long-term Thinking

Walter Mischel presents The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control

Walter Mischel presents “The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control”

TICKETS

Monday May 2, 02016 at 7:30pm SFJAZZ Center

Long Now Members can reserve 2 seats, join today! General Tickets $15

 

About this Seminar:

Can you pass the marshmallow test? You’re a little kid. A marshmallow is placed on the table in front of you. You’re told you can eat it any time, but if you wait a little while, you’ll be given two marshmallows to eat.

The kids who have the self-control to pass this most famous of psychological tests turn out to have more rewarding and productive lives. Walter Mischel, who first ran the test in the 1960s, spent the rest of his career exploring how self-control works, summarized in his 2014 book The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control. “The ability to delay gratification and resist temptation has been a fundamental challenge since the dawn of civilization,” he writes. “It is the ‘master aptitude’ underlying emotional intelligence, essential for constructing a fulfilling life.”

This talk spells out the remarkable things have has been learned about willpower and self-control in the individual. It also considers wider implications. Does it make a difference when an organization or society has more people able to fully engage self-control? Does it make a difference when that kind of behavior is publicly expected and trained for explicitly? Is there a social or political or cultural level of surmounting marshmallow-test temptations? That might be the essence of long-term behavior.

Stephen Pyne Seminar Media

Posted on Thursday, February 25th, 02016 by Danielle Engelman
link   Categories: Announcements, Seminars   chat 0 Comments

This lecture was presented as part of The Long Now Foundation’s monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking.

Fire Slow, Fire Fast, Fire Deep

Tuesday February 9, 02016 – San Francisco

Video is up on the Pyne Seminar page.

*********************

Audio is up on the Pyne Seminar page, or you can subscribe to our podcast.

*********************

Ecological wildfire – a summary by Stewart Brand

“We are uniquely fire creatures,” Pyne began, “on a uniquely fire planet.” Life itself is a form of slow metabolic combustion—which eventually created oxygen and burnable vegetation that allowed fast combustion, ignited by lightning. Humans came along and mastered fire for warmth, food preparation, and managing the landscape, and that made us a keystone species. Humanity’s ecological signature on the world is fire.

Then we made fire the all-purpose catalyst for craft (clay, glass, metal) and eventually industry, shifting to the vast geological resource of fossil fuels. That “pyric transition” made humans dominant on the earth, even to the point of affecting climate. We used fire to clear much of the world’s forest for agriculture.

Then came a century of misdirection about wildfire. The forests of Europe are mostly too wet to burn, but by the late 19th century the leading foresters in world came from there and taught their ignorance to foresters in North America and India, where the land depends on seasonal fire for ecological health. National governments set about suppressing all wildfire, with catastrophic success. In the absence of the usual occasional local fires, massive fuel loads built up, and destructive megafires became the norm. There was an alternative theory of a “restoration strategy” to manage wildfire in way that would emulate how lightning and native American burning kept the landscape ecologically healthy, but it has been applied haltingly and fractionally, and megafires still rule.

“The real argument for fire is that it does ecological work that nothing else does,” Pyne concluded. “Charismatic megaflora” like redwoods need fire. An ecologically rich mosaic of forest, savannah, and meadows needs fire. Healthy prairie needs fire or it gets taken over by invasive woody plants. People trained only as foresters are blind to all that. Wildfire practice now works best when it is guided by wildlife biologists who insist that red cockaded woodpeckers need fire-dependent longleaf pines, that grizzly bears need the berries that grow in recent burns, that pheasants need grassland burned free of invasive eastern red cedar.

The techniques for prescribed burns for a bioabundant natural landscape are now well honed. They need to be applied much more widely. When in doubt how to proceed, ask the ecologists, who will ask the animals.

Subscribe to our Seminar email list for updates and summaries.

Jane Langdale Seminar Tickets

Posted on Monday, February 15th, 02016 by Andrew Warner
link   Categories: Announcements, Seminars   chat 0 Comments

 

The Long Now Foundation’s monthly

Seminars About Long-term Thinking

Jane Langdale on Radical Ag: C4 Rice and Beyond

Jane Langdale on “Radical Ag: C4 Rice and Beyond”

TICKETS

Monday March 14, 02016 at 7:30pm SFJAZZ Center

Long Now Members can reserve 2 seats, join today! General Tickets $15

 

About this Seminar:

The late 20th century saw the yields of the world’s staple crops more than double. To keep this momentum going well into the 21st century, scientists are working on C4 rice, a rice that more efficiently photosynthesizes sunlight, potentially making the crop that feeds half the world up to 50% more effective.

Jane Langdale is a Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Oxford, and a Senior Research Fellow at The Queen’s College, Oxford.

Stephen Pyne Seminar Tickets

Posted on Monday, January 18th, 02016 by Andrew Warner
link   Categories: Announcements, Seminars   chat 0 Comments

 

The Long Now Foundation’s monthly

Seminars About Long-term Thinking

Stephen Pyne on Fire Slow, Fire Fast, Fire Deep

Stephen Pyne on “Fire Slow, Fire Fast, Fire Deep”

TICKETS

Tuesday February 9, 02016 at 7:30pm SFJAZZ Center

Long Now Members can reserve 2 seats, join today! General Tickets $15

 

About this Seminar:

Fire acts in the short-term & long-term. It periodically destroys landscapes with devastating speed, yet, if properly managed, it leads to the long-term health of many ecosystems.

Stephen J. Pyne is a professor at Arizona State University, author of Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America (amongst many other books), and considered one of the world’s foremost experts on the history and management of fire.

Rick Prelinger Seminar Media

Posted on Tuesday, December 22nd, 02015 by Andrew Warner
link   Categories: Announcements, Seminars   chat 0 Comments

This lecture was presented as part of The Long Now Foundation’s monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking.

Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, 10

Wednesday December 9, 02015 – San Francisco

Video is up on the Prelinger Seminar page.

*********************

Subscribe to our Seminar email list for updates and summaries.

Eric Cline Seminar Tickets

Posted on Tuesday, December 15th, 02015 by Andrew Warner
link   Categories: Announcements, Seminars   chat 0 Comments

 

The Long Now Foundation’s monthly

Seminars About Long-term Thinking

Eric Cline presents 1177 B.C: When Civilization Collapsed

Eric Cline presents “1177 B.C: When Civilization Collapsed”

TICKETS

Monday January 11, 02016 at 7:30pm SFJAZZ Center

Long Now Members can reserve 2 seats, join today! General Tickets $15

 

About this Seminar:

In 1177 B.C., the Bronze Age came to a sudden end, and with it the end of the dominance of the Minoans, Mycenaeans, Trojans, Hittites, and Babylonians– empires that had ruled for over a millennium. Eric Cline’s research paints a vivid picture of these thriving cultures and the complex causes that led to this “First Dark Age.”

Philip Tetlock Seminar Media

Posted on Monday, November 30th, 02015 by Andrew Warner
link   Categories: Announcements, Seminars   chat 0 Comments

This lecture was presented as part of The Long Now Foundation’s monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking.

Superforecasting

Monday November 23, 02015 – San Francisco

Audio is up on the Tetlock Seminar page, or you can subscribe to our podcast.

*********************

All it takes to improve forecasting is KEEP SCORE – a summary by Stewart Brand

Will Syria’s President Assad still be in power at the end of next year? Will Russia and China hold joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean in the next six months? Will the Oil Volatility Index fall below 25 in 2016? Will the Arctic sea ice mass be lower next summer than it was last summer?

Five hundred such questions of geopolitical import were posed in tournament mode to thousands of amateur forecasters by IARPA—the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity–between 2011 and 2015. (Tetlock mentioned that senior US intelligence officials opposed the project, but younger-generation staff were able to push it through.) Extremely careful score was kept, and before long the most adept amateur “superforecasters” were doing 30 percent better than professional intelligence officers with access to classified information. They were also better than prediction markets and drastically better than famous pundits and politicians, who Tetlock described as engaging in deliberately vague “ideological kabuki dance.”

What made the amateurs so powerful was Tetlock’s insistence that they score geopolitical predictions the way meteorologists score weather predictions and then learn how to improve their scores accordingly. Meteorologists predict in percentages—“there is a 70 percent chance of rain on Thursday.” It takes time and statistics to find out how good a particular meteorologist is. If 7 out of 10 such times it in fact rained, the meteorologist gets a high score for calibration (the right percentage) and for resolution (it mostly did rain). Superforecasters, remarkably, assigned probability estimates of 72-76 percent to things that happened and 24-28 percent to things that didn’t.

How did they do that? They learned, Tetlock said, to avoid falling for the “gambler’s fallacy”—detecting nonexistent patterns. They learned objectivity—the aggressive open-mindedness it takes to set aside personal theories of public events. They learned to not overcompensate for previous mistakes—the way American intelligence professionals overcompensated for the false negative of 9/11 with the false positive of mass weapons in Saddam’s Iraq. They learned to analyze from the outside in—Assad is a dictator; most dictators stay in office a very long time; consider any current news out of Syria in that light. And they learned to balance between over-adjustment to new evidence (“This changes everything”) and under-adjustment (“This is just a blip”), and between overconfidence (“100 percent!”) and over-timidity (“Um, 50 percent”). “You only win a forecasting tournament,” Tetlock said, “by being decisive—justifiably decisive.”

Much of the best forecasting came from teams that learned to collaborate adroitly. Diversity on the teams helped. One important trick was to give extra weight to the best individual forecasters. Another was to “extremize” to compensate for the conservatism of aggregate forecasts—if everyone says the chances are around 66 percent, then the real chances are probably higher.

In the Q & A following his talk Tetlock was asked if the US intelligence community would incorporate the lessons of its forecasting tournament. He said he is cautiously optimistic. Pressed for a number, he declared, “Ten years from now I would offer the probability of .7 that there will be ten times more numerical probability estimates in national intelligence estimates than there were in 2005.”

Asked about long-term forecasting, he replied, “Here’s my long-term prediction for Long Now. When the Long Now audience of 2515 looks back on the audience of 2015, their level of contempt for how we go about judging political debate will be roughly comparable to the level of contempt we have for the 1692 Salem witch trials.”

Subscribe to our Seminar email list for updates and summaries.

Andy Weir Seminar Media

Posted on Tuesday, November 17th, 02015 by Andrew Warner
link   Categories: Announcements, Seminars   chat 0 Comments

This lecture was presented as part of The Long Now Foundation’s monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking.

The Red Planet for Real

Tuesday October 27, 02015 – San Francisco

Video is up on the Weir Seminar page.

*********************

Audio is up on the Weir Seminar page, or you can subscribe to our podcast.

*********************

Lost Landscapes of San Francisco 10 Seminar Tickets

Posted on Tuesday, November 10th, 02015 by Andrew Warner
link   Categories: Announcements, Seminars   chat 0 Comments

 

The Long Now Foundation’s monthly

Seminars About Long-term Thinking

Rick Prelinger presents Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, 10

Rick Prelinger presents

“Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, 10″

TICKETS

Wednesday December 9, 02015 at 7:30pm Castro Theater

Long Now Members can reserve 2 seats, join today! General Tickets $15

 

About this Seminar:

The 10th annual screening of Rick Prelinger’s archival tour of San Francisco’s past (and anticipation of its future) happens again at San Francisco’s historic Castro Theatre on December 9.

Combining favorites from past years with this year’s footage discoveries, this feature-length program shows San Francisco’s neighborhoods, infrastructures, celebrations and people from 01906 through the 01970s. New sequences this year include 01930s scenes in downtown taverns, New Deal labor graphics and an exuberant 01940s Labor Day parade, radical longshore workers, newly discovered World War II-era tourist-shot Kodachrome, residential neighborhood activities and much more.

As always, the audience makes the soundtrack at the glorious Castro Theatre! Come prepared to identify places, people and events; to ask questions; and to engage in spirited real-time repartee with fellow audience members.

James Fallows gives update to his “Civilization’s Infrastructure” Seminar

Posted on Thursday, November 5th, 02015 by Andrew Warner
link   Categories: Long Term Thinking, Seminars   chat 0 Comments

infrastructure

We under-imagine benefits and over-imagine problems with civilian infrastructure projects, yet we do the opposite with military infrastructure-scale weapons systems.  Both behaviors defy reason and cause harm.

— Stewart Brand

James Fallows recently wrote a piece for the Atlantic describing common bias in dealing with military infrastructure vs. public infrastructure, expanding on the themes he talked through at last month’s Seminar, “Civilization’s Infrastructure“.