SCHOLAR'S NOTEBOOK - January 2012

 



RISING CO2: A NEVER-ENDING STORY

DR. RALPH F. KEELING

Saturday, January 21, 2012

1:30 p.m.

Room 111-A Chancellor’s Complex, UCSD Campus

 

As an observed fact, the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide appears relentless and unstoppable. Largely driven by consumption of fossil-fuels for energy usage, the increase is a direct consequence of the growth of the global economy over the past century. Despite growing awareness of the consequence of rising carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases on climate, carbon dioxide levels have not deviated from their accelerating growth path and are destined to rise above the symbolic level of 400 parts-per-million threshold in the next few years. In this talk, Dr. Keeling will reflect on the history of the science of global warming, our current understanding of the problem, and the enormity of the challenge looking ahead.

Dr. Keeling is a climate scientist whose research interests include climate change, changes in atmospheric composition, ocean biogeochemistry, and carbon cycling. He received a B.S. in physics from Yale University in 1979, and a Ph.D. in applied physics from Harvard University in 1988. He was the first to demonstrate that the oxygen concentration of the global atmosphere is decreasing due to the burning of fossil-fuels and has directed a program to track this decrease since 1989. Since 2005 he has also directed the Scripps CO2 program which sustains the iconic record of carbon dioxide begun by his father, Charles D. Keeling, at Mauna Loa and other sites. He is engaged in ongoing research to refine estimates of sources and sinks of carbon dioxide using atmospheric measurements. Ralph is an active participant in teaching and advising graduate students at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. He has given keynote addresses to the American Geophysical Union in 2004 and to the G8 Legislators and Business Leaders Climate Change Forum in London in 2005. In 1997, Dr. Keeling received the Rosenstiel Award for his work on atmospheric oxygen.

 

From the President

 

I wrote the following a year ago; word-for-word the same can be said today. “The SDIS party in early December was by all ordinary standards a fine occasion. During the event… there was… an undertone of simple pleasure at being in each other’s company. This speaks of something at the heart of SDIS in addition to stated goals and themes and concepts. Perhaps SDIS can also be described as a self-selecting group of people who share that particular bent of mind which expresses itself as a love of learning for its own sake — and who take pleasure in sharing moments with each other.” (Excerpt, January, 2011 Scholar’s Notebook)

At this year’s party I was especially attentive to what was going on at the various tables. When the dinner ended, people lingered — I don’t mean for just five minutes or ten. They continued to linger in bold type and then longer still. Echoing through my mind was the refrain, “sharing moments with each other, sharing moments with each other…”. Especially at year end when a reflective mood is not uncommon, and bombarded as we are with so much disjointed electronic communication, perhaps this is a good refrain to keep in mind.

The following, also reflective, was part of what I wrote in the Scholar’s Notebook this past September. “Everywhere in the media, and generally in public exchanges, one sees examples of destructive interpersonal process rather than intellectually deep mutual search to illuminate the issues at hand in ways which expand knowledge and clarity of thought. Indeed, for me, SDIS is a haven of civility, of intelligent and thoughtful discourse, and of respectful collegial interactions.” I read this brief statement as part of my remarks at the holiday party. No one spoke up and said, “How foolish! How idealistic!” To the contrary, I was pleased to be told in private conversation, “A haven, yes I see it as a haven.” At this special time of year, I’ll risk taking this one small step further by asking the question: Is this an example of “a better way?” I pose this as a rhetoric question.

A note to SDIS: You are thirty this coming year. You’ve long searched here and there for your place in this changing world. You are now old enough to have a clearer sense about where you are headed and even to have ideas about how to proceed. So, what about it, SDIS? — At thirty is this the moment for you to enter a decade of mature achievement and relevance? You don’t know? Well then, ask your members. By their actions they will both determine and reveal your future course.

Good wishes, happy New Year.

                                                      Sam Gusman

 

 

hoW IT HAPPENED:

 A LOOK AT THE BEGINNINGS OF SDIS

 

Reprinted from an article written in 1990 by Joy Frieman for SDIS Archives

 

The idea for SDIS germinated in the spring of 1981 while I was driving through the state of Texas on my way to California, which was to be my new home. I had left behind a position (non-tenured) on the faculty of George Washington University, and while I had found my work most enjoyable, I was not at all sure that I wanted to go back to the demands of teaching, demands which had left no time for my own research.

 

Although I knew of the existence of a few other independent scholars groups (Princeton, where I had lived for some time, had established by then its Princeton Research Forum, and I was acquainted with several of its founding members), I had no idea of what I would find in San Diego – whether there would be a nucleus on which one could build an organization. Shortly after settling in, I enlisted the advice and help of Mary Stroll, who had been living in San Diego, and was an independent scholar. Through Mary, we were able to contact a sufficient number of interested people to convene a meeting at the home of Dr. Anne Marie Feenberg. From this 1982 meeting, San Diego Independent Scholars was born.

 

Like other already existing independent scholar organizations, we wanted to provide a forum where people engaged in serious research could present their work.  And we hoped to compensate for the loneliness of an independent’s professional life by offering members the chance to interact with fellow researchers.

 

There were many issues to be settled, such as a name for our new group; whether we would be interdisciplinary; and much more thorny, the question of qualifications. It was ultimately decided that we would insist that applicants exhibit serious interest in research, but that there would not be a degree requirement. A few persons, who wanted more rigorous standards, left the organization at this point.

 

Meanwhile, we were meeting monthly in a room provided by a local bank. When we were no longer able to meet there, we were fortunate to be able to secure a conference room at UCSD. We were also gathering for informal brown bag lunches every Friday. During these sessions, we would discuss our own work plus various related issues relating to the promotion of SDIS as a viable organization.

 

To establish communication with our membership we began to publish monthly editions of The Independent Scholar. The first issue appeared on September 7, 1982.

 

To gain greater visibility we held a conference on the national independent scholar’s movement, and invited Ronald Gross, the author of The Independent Scholar’s Handbook, who was then working under a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Post-secondary Education, as our speaker. The meeting was held at UCSD on March 9, 1983.

 

The new group early recognized the importance of extended library privileges for independent scholars. I secured a meeting with the Chancellor of UCSD, who was sympathetic to our cause, and referred me to Dean Stanley Chodorow. With Chodorow’s support, SDIS reached an agreement with the library administration, granting all privileges to its full (as distinguished from associate) members, with the exception of inter-library loan.

 

It also became apparent that we should apply for tax-exempt status, and that, to do so, we would have to produce by-laws and file for incorporation. Sometime during this period, I was back in Princeton, and I interviewed one of the board members of the Princeton Research Forum, to glean as much as I could from their experiences in seeking non-profit status and to gain further information on the general structure of their organization. I also wrote to the San Francisco group of independent scholars, the Institute for Historical Study, to ask for help, since I knew that this group had also been through the process of incorporation.

 

Although there was some discussion about hiring an attorney to file the incorporation papers, we all knew this would be costly at the time when we could ill afford to part with any funds. I determined to undertake the task. One of our early members, Helen Hawkins, had endeavored to form a somewhat similar organization a few years earlier, and she volunteered to bring me all of her material relating to drawing up by-laws and filing for incorporation as a non-profit group. With the benefit of her experience plus a “How To” book, I began the process.

 

Eventually, a constitution was written and a board was elected. The first SDIS Board, 1983-1984, consisted of Jane Ford; Joy Frieman; Jim Greenlee, who was shortly replaced by Alice Marquis; Reva Greenburg, later replaced by Johanna Schmid; Michelle Root-Bernstein; Nina Rosenstand; and Diana Wyllie. Applications were made to both the IRS and the state of California; and SDIS was officially incorporated as a non-profit organization in March of 1984.

 

 

HOW IT HAPPENED:

HELEN HAWKINS RESEARCH GRANT AWARD

 

In 1991, the Board of San Diego Independent Scholars created the Helen Hawkins Memorial Research Fund, in memory of a founding member, Helen Hawkins, who died in 1989. This Research Fund succeeded the earlier Kolar Fund whose monies had been depleted. Hawkins’ family contributed $2,000 after learning that the new fund was named in Helen’s honor. Current SDIS members can and often do make tax-deductible contributions to help sustain the fund.

 

Helen Hawkins was instrumental in filing the paperwork for incorporating SDIS as a not-for-profit organization. Hawkins earned a PhD in History from UCSD. She also studied choral music at Tanglewood and international economics at Oxford as an undergraduate. Her professional associations included the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, KPBS-TV, and the History Departments at UCSD, SDSU, and Mesa College. She was also a co-founder and first president of the local chapter of NOW.

 

  Current SDIS members are invited to apply for research grants. Applications are now available from President Sam Gusman and must be submitted by February 29. Awards are announced in April.  Grant approval is based on the quality of the applicant’s idea, its originality, merit, credibility, feasibility, and potential for solving or giving a new perspective on a significant problem or illuminating a social, literary or scientific phenomenon. At the May SDIS general meeting, winning applicants will briefly describe their work and how the Hawkins Award is to be used. Upon completion of their work, awardees will give a talk about it to a future SDIS general meeting. Applicants must have been members for at least one year.

 

             

STUDY GROUPS

Colloquy Café

The Colloquy Café study group will discuss the term "Courage" on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. If you are interested in attending, contact Mary Ellen Stratthaus at mestratt@san.rr.com.

 

Culture

The Culture study group will continue its focus on the issues described in Chapter 8 “Who Deserves What: Aristotle,” of Justice: What's The Right Thing to Do? by Michael Sandel, meeting on Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. Contact Sam Gusman at sagus@sbcglobal.net  for further information.

 

The Sandel book, in its own intriguing way, forces the reader to evaluate public issues from a variety of points of view and to look carefully at them in relation to each other. What's the right thing to do? That's the question the book poses. Our current group is nearing the end of its reading of this book and has expressed an interest in using it as a primer, and its tone as a model, for future meetings at which a variety of public policy issues will be discussed. Hence, starting soon, participating in this group's discussions will presume a working knowledge of the Sandel text.

 

IN ADDITION TO THE CURRENT CULTURE STUDY GROUP,

A SEPARATE NEW GROUP MAY BE FORMING.

Several new members of this group and a few additional people have expressed interest in starting a split-off group which will, so to speak, get up to speed with the Sandel book. It will read and discuss the Sandel book from the beginning, starting at Chapter 1. An organizational meeting of this new Culture group will be held on Friday, January 13 at 1:30 p.m. at the home of Sam Gusman. If you may possibly be interested in becoming a charter member of this group, please send an email promptly to Sam Gusman at sagus@sbcglobal.net.

 

Film

TheFilm Groupwill meet Wednesday, January 4, at 12:30 p.m. at the home of Barbara Heckler to view the controversial 2002 film The Magdalene Sisters, set in 1964 and based on the true story of wayward young women sent to a Catholic convent for reform.Discussion will begin at 2:30 p.m. Contact Barbara at bheckler@san.rr.com for information.

 

Literature

The Literature Group will meet Monday, January 9 at 10:30 a.m. at the home of Carol and Lawrence Gartner. Thomas Hardy's novel The Mayor of Casterbridge is the subject of a discussion to be led by Betty Cortus. Bring a brown bag lunch. Contact Harry Boyle at hhboyle28@cox.net for more information.

 

Science (aka Brain)

The next meeting of the Science Group is scheduled for Monday, January 23, 2012 at 2 p.m. in Bea Rose’s apartment. We will be discussing the last two chapters of Patricia Churchland's book, Brain Trust, and we will be choosing our next reading adventure. Visitors are welcome but please call Bea at 858-458-9263 or email rose2737@roadrunner.com. Space is very limited.

 

Works in Progress

Got a poem? Got a project? Got a paper? Let us help you explore where to go next. Whether tentative or nearly finished, bring your presentation, novel, history, or other research. See how a fresh audience responds, whether what they hear is what you meant to say. To set up a meeting, contact Donna Boyle at dboyle101@cox.net.

 

A LOOK AT WORKS IN PROGRESS IN ACTION: 

JUDITH GREEN’S RESEARCH PAPER

 

I presented my paper, "First Blood: A Royal Youth's Auto-Sacrifice on the Way to Maya Kingship," to the Chamool conference in Calgary, Canada in November.  It was well received by the international audience attending the Mesoamerican sessions, and part of the credit goes to WIP for the help they provided.

 

This theme developed from the hieroglyphic text inscribed on a bowl most likely commemorating the ancient rite itself. Beautiful ceramics painted with scenes of royal life and mythology were recorded by the earliest Europeans, who contacted the Maya in Mesoamerica in the 16th century, as gifts given to celebrants at feasts. But this vessel, recently donated to the Museum of Man as part of the Geoffry A. Smith Collection,was identified by eminent archaeologist Joseph Ball as dating much earlier (A.D. 600-900).

 

The text painted by Maya scribes has the glyphs that translate as "first bloodletting," and other comparable texts make it clear that this refers to the bloodletting of an heir to the throne of a Classic Maya city. In this case the city was Hixwitz (Jaguar Mountain); today the site is called Zapote Bobal in Guatemala.

 

My co-author, Erik Boot, a well-known epigrapher living in the Netherlands, is working on translation of the named royals mentioned on the bowl as well as the nominals describing them. He found other examples of texts and iconography on ceramics, especially one that I interpreted as a virtual pictorial of the rite itself including the prince piercing his foreskin with a slender knife. It also illustrated a religious practitioner making an offering, probably of the boy's blood, to his ancestors descending from the heavens. Comparing this scene with the Smith Collection bowl and others can improve our knowledge of the political setting in this little known area of the Peten, a hotbed of conflict among polities.

 

My Power Point to the WIP group was presented on large and small computer monitors set up at Aline Hornaday's house for critique by the Works in Progress group. Their astute questions and suggestions were very helpful to me. WIP’s review assisted me in refining my presentation and improving my confidence. I recommend submitting not only oral presentations, but articles, essays, books and poems of all types to Works in Progress.

Judith Strupp Green

 

 

 

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL WITH BARBARA HECKLER

In this issue, the usual interviewer becomes the interviewee. Perhaps curiosity about Barbara Heckler motivated our president, Sam Gusman, to suggest that I interview her. My desire to know her better caused me to accede; so here you have “Up Close and
Personal” with the Scholar’s Notebook editor.
                                                                                                                               Gerry Horwitz

 

Q. In addition to putting together the newsletter, you are active in SDIS throughthe Film Study Group, which you started. How did that come about?  What about film particularly appeals to and interests you.

A. At the first board meeting I attended, Sam asked for suggestions about new study groups, and I mentioned several ideas. A film group was most appealing to other board members. Guess who got to start it?  I don’t go to a lot of movies, so watching good ones on a regular basis is something I now look forward to. I was skeptical initially that I could to pick something worthy each month, but I do a lot of research and offer several films for the rest of the group to choose from.

 

Q. You almost always wear bead jewelry that you have created. Tell me about beading. How long have you been doing it?  How did you get into it?  How does it fulfill you?

    A. I’ve been doing beadwork for at least 20 years. I started out stringing semi-precious stones, but soon found that I wanted something with more challenge.
That’s when I started working with seed beads. (Seed beads are roughly the size of a pin head – some are smaller, some are bigger.)  I knew from the beginning that I would not ever sell any of my work. I didn’t want the stress that other beaders have of trying to find customers who would pay hundreds of dollars for hand work. Although seed beads are moderately priced, the labor involved can make a unique piece very pricey. It isn’t unusual to spend five hours in a class and leave with just an inch or two of work. It’s almost impossible for a beader to charge enough to pay for this kind of labor.

Bead work fulfills me in a number of ways. I love color, and I’m known for the way I use color. I love the opportunity to be creative (I didn’t realize how creative I was until I began beading.)   I love the challenge of designing something unique. I have a love/hate relationship with figuring out technical problems, but in the end I’m usually satisfied. I love the respect I’ve earned from other beaders. I’m very active in the San Diego Bead Society and I’m one of its most enthusiastic members – we have about 160 members, meet monthly at the Mingei Museum, and because of a yearly fund raiser where we net about $15,000, we can afford speakers from all over the country. These speakers frequently teach a class at my house before they fly home. Beading has opened me up to the concept that a person can be artistic without using paints and brushes!

I have had two travel experiences related to beadwork. I was one of 5 women who traveled to Saraguro, Equador, a poor village in the southern Andes, to study with indigenous beaders. We were the first, and probably still the only, women to do this. Several years later I was invited to Ireland to teach new techniques to two South Africans who worked for an international jewelry designer (she wanted them to have a unique experience so she paid their way from South Africa to Ireland).

 

Q. What other hobbies do you have?

      A. My other hobbies include hosting a monthly board game group in my home for the last 18 years, with about 25-30 people attending each month.  I also host a monthly folk music jam, a bead circle, and bead classes every few months. It’s not uncommon for me to have 75 or more people here each month for various events.

 

 Q. How did you learn about SDIS and become involved?

       A. I learned about SDIS through the Reader years before I joined. I have a Saturday conflict with its meeting date, so I didn’t join until someone told me that there were Study Groups – they sounded especially appealing to me.

 

Q. How long have you lived in San Diego?   What – or who- brought you here?         

A. I grew up in Illinois, but the year I was a senior in high school, my parents rented a house for the year right on the beach in La Jolla Shores, so I graduated from La Jolla High School. My parents went back to Illinois but moved here permanently several years later. I lived in Pennsylvania after college, but after my divorce, I moved back to this area in 1978 because my parents were here.

 

Q. What in your life are you most proud of?

A.  I don’t really think in terms of what I’m most proud of; that’s not part of my thought process. I prefer to dwell on what I’m most grateful for. On reflection, there is something I occasionally brag about. When I was in my mid-fifties my daughter, son and I each bungee jumped out of a hot air balloon to celebrate my son’s promotion. Bungee jumping was a bit of a fad at that time, until it was outlawed. I actually jumped twice; the first time I faced the interior of the balloon and fell backwards. This way creates more twists and turns as you fall. The next time I jumped facing outward - this is the scariest way to jump because as you look down at the ground, you see people staring up who are no bigger than your thumb. It really takes an “Oh, to hell with it!” attitude. After my first jump, several parents, far younger than I, of the other twentyish jumpers rushed over to me to ask about my penchant for risk-taking.

 

 

About SDIS

San Diego Independent Scholars (SDIS) supports unaffiliated writers and researchers and welcomes everyone who appreciates creative and intellectual activities in the humanities, science, and the arts. SDIS is a non-profit organization and an affiliate of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars. Sam Gusman, President, sagus@sbcglobal.net.

 

Scholar’s Notebook is the newsletter of SDIS. Please send your news for the Notebook to Barbara Heckler, Notebook editor: bheckler@san.rr.com or by mail to 3489 Wellesly Ave, San Diego, CA 92122. The deadline for submissions is the 22nd of the month prior to publication date.

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