NOV. 20 | NOV. 21 | NOV. 22 | DINING

Download Program (PDF) (Rev: 11/15/15)

Friday, November 20

 12:15 PM

Summit Wineries Tour
Meet in the front lobby for this tour. Learn more about this tour here.

3:00 pm – Opening Time

RG Registration, Games, Activities Room
Engineering Crafts- Activities Room

3:30 pm

Hospitality soft open (light snacks/ drinks)

4:00 pm

Odyssey Into the Human Genome, David Haussler
Humanity achieved the first reading of its own genetic heritage in the year 2000. That first genome cost $300M. Today the price is approaching $1000, initiating an era of personal genomics. We’ll take you on a brief odyssey into the human genome, how it evolved, how genomes differ between people, and why this matters. We’ll then look at the future of the genomics field, especially in understanding cancer and other diseases, what is holding it back, and what can be done so that it achieves its potential to revolutionize our understanding of ourselves for the benefit of science and medicine.

David Haussler, Scientific Director of the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute, is the geneticist and computer scientist whose team, in collaboration with the international Human Genome Project, posted the first human genome sequence on the Internet on July 7, 2000 and subsequently developed the UCSC Genome Browser, a web-based tool that receives more than 1 million information requests per day from biomedical researchers around the world. He is the co-founder the Genome 10K project aimed at sequencing the genomes of other mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish; the Treehouse Childhood Cancer Project to enable international comparison of childhood cancer genomes; and the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, a coalition of the top research, health care, and disease advocacy organizations that have taken the first steps to standardize and enable secure sharing of genomic and clinical data.

NASA and the Emerging NewSpace, Gary Martin
The US government is activity supporting the development of new entrepreneurial space companies. There are many innovative uses of space in different regimes: suborbital, low Earth orbit, and in deep space. As NASA focuses on permanent human presence in the Solar System the commercial opportunities will continue to increase over time. The program will survey the new markets development, discuss some examples, introduce U.S. Policy, and introduce some future directions for the new space industry.

Gary Martin is Director of Partnership at NASA Ames Research Center. He oversees new business opportunities and entrepreneurial partnerships. He has been at NASA for 25 years. At NASA HQ in 2002, he was named NASA’s first Space Architect, leading strategic planning for the Agency and providing the analysis used to develop the Vision for Space Exploration, announced by President Bush in 2004. For this work he was awarded NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2005.

4:30 pm

 Construction Toys Free-Play- Activities Room

5:30 pm

Wine & Cheese Reception
Join us for a sip of wine and a bit of cheese to kick off the start of the Regional Gathering. Meet your fellow attendees and mingle while enjoying sunset views over the bay from the Courtyard Terrace. 

6:30 pm

Light Meal- Hospitality (included)

Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Peter Kenez
This will be a two part talk. First, it will begin with an overview of the social and economic changes in the Putin regine. The second half of this talk focuses on the foreign policy changes of the regime over the past several years.

 Peter Kenez, Ph.D., is a Professor Emeritus in the History Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. A founding faculty member of UCSC’s Stevenson College, Kenez received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He has been teaching Russian and modern European history at UCSC since 1966. Mr. Kenez’ research interests include Russian history, Eastern Europe, 20th-century Europe and Soviet film. Kenez is a native of Hungary and a Holocaust survivor. He is the author of eight books, including A History of the Soviet Union from the Beginning to the End and the autobiographical Varieties of Fear: Growing Up Jewish Under Nazism and Communism. His most recent work is entitled From Antisemitism to Genocide; the Origins of the Holocaust.

Brainstorming with your RVC, SueAnn Gilmore
 Please join SueAnn for a round table discussion about your vision for Mensa, for our region, for SFRM. If you have any issues or things you’d like to see happen, do tell. If you have questions about how the new AMC works or what’s happening at the national office in Arlington, bring ’em on! If you just want to stop by and say, “Howdy!” that’s great too. Be there or be square…

SueAnn Gilmore joined Mensa in 1978, as a member of SFRM. She’s still a member here, even though her now husband, Daniel Gilmore, spirited her off to Seattle in 1996. SueAnn’s been to nearly fifty RG’s over the years and hasn’t missed an AG since 1991. She was lucky enough to be elected to be your RVC in June and is looking forward to another 1-1/2 years of making Mensa better.

7:30 pm

Hungry, Hungry Humans (Live Action Hungry Hungry Hippos!)- Activities Room, Josie Burton and Mike Borg
We will play a somewhat rambunctious, human-sized version of the children’s game, Hungry, Hungry Hippos. This could get fun!

Josie has never played Hungry, Hungry Hippos in her life, but somehow thought this would be a good idea. Mike is very kind and tends to agree to most of Josie’s hair-brained schemes. What could possibly go wrong with this?

Wise and Otherwise- Games Room, Barbara Lytle and Jim Lewis
Given a funny and unusual old saying from around the world, and with a little wit and imagination each player write your own ending to go with the beginning. The made-up sayings are read aloud along with the actual old sayings, and everyone tries to guess the real one. You’ll get points when other players think your ending is the real one, and points for guessing the real old saying.

8:00 pm

Light: Its Birth to Our Perception of Sun Dogs, Bruce Weaver, PhD
Light and color in the open air starts with the creation of light in the center of the Sun and ends with the light striking our retina. What happens in between light’s departure from the surface of the Sun and our perception of natural phenomena is complex and intriguing. Many great astronomical and meteorlogical light displays are surprisingly common but go unnoticed for lack of recognition. Also, why cats can see massive clusters of galaxies and you can’t.

Dr. Weaver is the Director of the Monterey Institute for Research in Astronomy, a unique, independent professional observatory. Star formation, stellar atmospheres, comets, instrumentation development, and orchids occupy his time. Among many other accomplishments, with the use of an Artificial Neural Network, he developed the first successful automatic classification of stars. He is currently working on determining the ages of astronomical objects through a novel approach to measure the chemical composition of stars.

Climate Reality Project, Gary White
Non-profit organization founded by former Vice President Al Gore 10 years ago which trains selected volunteers on the latest science, policies, and development of the climate crisis. Over 8000 climate leaders have been trained thus far around the world. Each trained leader gives a updated abbreviated version of the climate change presentation that was given by Mr. Gore in the Academy Award winning film, “An Inconvenient Truth”.

Gary White is a 62 year old male, married and living in Belmont, CA. Born and raised in NYC, Gary moved to Northern California in 1976 shortly after graduating from Stony Brook University with a B.A. In Sociology. Gary worked as a children & family social worker in SF and then attended UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare and earned an MSW. He then obtained an HR position at Apple where he worked for 10 years. Over the next 20 years he continued to work in the Silicon Valley with firms such as SGI, Intuit, & Palm. In addition to managing HR, Gary took on the added duty of leading the corporate social responsibility and sustainability efforts. Upon his retirement from high tech HR in 2013, Gary has dedicated his time to educating groups about climate change and what can be done to mitigate it and adapt to it.

Why You’re Likely to Live to 100, Elna Tymes
 One of the fastest growing demographic groups, says the US Census, is those 100 and over. What factors have led to that? Is it likely to change? Is this a US phenomenon or a global one? What are the implications?

Elna Tymes is a senior with a BA, an MBA and an MA in Gerontology and is working on a doctorate in Health Administration with a thesis on Alzheimer’s. She has been researching and giving presentations on various aspects of aging in the US for about 20 years.


9:00 pm

 Ice Cream Social- Hospitality

Werewolves- Activities Room, Josie Burton/ GenX SIG
 In this game popular at Mensa events, you will try to figure out who the werewolves are in your village before they pick off the innocent villagers, one-by-one. Or are you a werewolf? Bring your best poker face and your attention to body language and tells. You win if your side survives. Fun for most ages.

9:30 pm

Electric Grid: Past, Present and Future, Jameson Thornton
 Come learn about the creation of the US power grid, with special focus on the California grid. We’ll look at the origins of the power grid, how it exists today, and where we may be headed in the future.

Jameson Thornton has a Masters in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in Power Systems from Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo. He works as a power system engineer for a large California power utility company where he works on the transmission planning team.

Sarah Winchester and her Mansion: Separating the History from the Mystery, Mike Borg
 Did Sarah Winchester truly believe she was being haunted by the souls of those killed by “The Gun That Won The West”? Do the reports of spirit sightings in her rambling mansion hold true? Why did she build a house that includes such unusual features as stairs that lead to the ceiling, drops of several stories, and a window in the middle of the floor? Learn the fact, the fiction, the speculation, and the true legacy of the heiress to the Winchester Rifle fortune.

Mike Borg is a lifelong South Bay resident who joined Mensa 2 years ago. He is a self-taught student of many eclectic topics, one of which is the offbeat sidelines of history. His casual teenage job as a tour guide at Winchester Mystery House ended up turning into an 18-year, many-disciplined career at the world famous tourist attraction. Mike now works in physical security for a Bay Area tech company.

Recent developments, Yosemite as a social experiment, Peter Hoss
 Historical background and what has happened since “Born in Yosemite” was published in 2011. There have been significant developments. Yosemite is a moving target, and changes covered in this presentation include: New Master Plan and challenges to it. New concessioner, Aramark, to replace Delaware North as the provider of visitor services. True facts about the alleged claim by Delaware North to own place names. Two year closure of the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees for restoration. Restrictions on traditional visitor services.

Peter T. Hoss – “I was born in Yosemite Valley and lived there eight years as a child. I have worked there, hiked there, done legal work. I am on the Ansel Adams Gallery Board and belong to the John Muir Heritage Society of the Yosemite Conservancy. I have known personally many of the major players in the last 75 years. The book is based on personal observation, not scholarly research.”

Oh Hell!- Games Room, Barbara Lytle and Jim Lewis
 A strategy card game where sticking it to your opponents is half the fun! Very easy to learn, 3 to 20 players can participate. Play it for a while, and when the cards don’t go your way, you’ll find yourself saying “Oh Hell!”

10:30 pm

 Monty Python Quote-Along- Activities Room, GenX SIG
 Join us for a screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We realized this meant that people would be shouting out all the choicest lines, so we decided to go ahead and call it a quote-along, because come on, we’re Mensans!

The GenX SIG will host this event, but it is open to everyone!

11:00 pm

Never Giving Up: Changing the World with Social Engineering, Spencer Rogers
In the world of people who struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder, building moments that let them practice being more stable people is a critical skill for survival. This talk will cover development strategies involving social engineering to influence everything from personal lives and family dynamics, to public policy and economics. These topics interrelate to enlightenment, peace, and the meaning of life and this discourse will cover those correlations taken from anthropology, history, and chaos theory.

Spencer Rodgers is a 32 year old living in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has taken on many challenges and travelled extensively to gain the understanding to manage Borderline Personality Disorder. His expertise of social engineering has made him an unparalleled salesman, which most recently includes tech and the AECO industry of multi-hundred million dollar projects.

Start | Change | Pursue, Danny Turner
 A little over a year ago I was at rock bottom. This is the story of how I reached that low, the decisions I made to change, and how a love of learning helped me find direction and purpose.

Danny Turner is a man of many interests. Along with intellectual pursuits he enjoys entrepreneurial endeavors, launching his nonprofit, and afternoons spent on the golf course.

Saturday, November 21

7:30 AM

Hospitality- Coffee & Pastry Available

8:00 AM

Hospitality- Breakfast Available until 11 am

9:00 AM

 Yoga for Desk Drivers- Activities Room, Elizabeth Bain

 Reinventing Retirement: Personal and interpersonal factors for creating a successful retirement, Jill Steinberg, Ph.D
 When thinking about successful retirement, most people have preconceived ideas about “retirement” and focus on financial planning. Retirement has changed significantly and although having enough financial resources is necessary, it doesn’t by itself lead to a successful retirement. Instead of emphasizing financial preparedness, this presentation deals with the personal and interpersonal factors in creating a successful retirement. The goal for this presentation is to get you involved in thinking about and/or possibly planning for your retirement, regardless of your age or stage in life. The Presentation is based on a review of the scholarly research literature and Jill’s research interviewing and doing focus groups with 75 people who are “retired.

Jill Steinberg, Ph.D. is an Emeritus Professor at SJSU, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Salzburg Fellow, author and Founder of She has presented on the topic of successful retirement to universities and Google and teaches classes to UCSC’s Osher Life Long Learners.

Practical Wilderness Survival, Daniel Laggner
 Can you survive lost or injured in the wilderness? There are a set of principles and skills that if followed and practiced, will allow you to make it out of the woods safely or be found by rescuers. I will introduce the practical and real concepts required to survive in the wilderness. Beyond this, there will be a brief exploration into why wilderness survival is currently such a trendy topic.

Daniel Laggner has been dedicated to being a woodsman and outdoorsman for nearly 20 years. He has been avidly mountaineering, rock climbing, skiing, hunting, sailing and surfing. These adventures have honed his skills as a survivalist, due to the need for problem solving and improvisation. In the past 10 years he has dedicated more time to master the more complicated skills it takes to be an expert in wilderness survival. His master’s degree in environmental science has furthered his knowledge in this field.

Genealogy, Our Shared History, Gary Harris
 Practical genealogy, why, where and how. Learn how to determine how your genealogical history ties into broader historical events

Gary Harris is a life member Mensa and has been working on his own genealogy for more than 50 years. He has started a project to package his research for his children in the form of an electronic book so they can add information relevant to their lives and then pass it on to successive generations.

10:00 AM

Mensa Admissions Test
Non-members are invited to take the proctored Mensa Admissions Test to qualify for Mensa membership.

10:30 AM

Not Your Ordinary Singing Experience- Activities Room, Kulani Kamaha’o
 Listening to Wagner, moving to Ottmar Leibert, singing interesting tunes in two, three, four and five part harmony. You and I will have a relaxed, enjoyable hour of panic, surprise, chuckles, humor, intense focused moments, cacophony galore, polyphony and more. You will sing. At least we’ll call it singing. Within 75 minutes, somewhere between “get me outta here” and “I want more,” you will have survived the joy of listening to music, the freedom of moving to music and the satisfaction of building community through singing. Don’t worry: If it doesn’t sound good I’ll blame you. If we sound great I’ll take all the credit. You can sing. I know you can. Hollywood is next.

Kulani Kamaha’o is a uniquely experienced Waldorf Teacher and music educator. Kulani has given workshops in Finland and New York City on Reading the Field, Generative Collaboration, and NLP. She has given singing workshops to GE’s Top Sales Women, to Fortune 500 leaders, and has used singing to relax artists. Presently, Ms. Kamaha’o is a fifth grade teacher, mother of three, and Nani to 6 grandchildren.

Take a Risk – Reap the Reward, David Miln Smith, PhD
 Dr. David Miln Smith has traveled to more places than most of us even know exist. He is one of those natural explorers who not only spin yarns of exotic foreign places but also connects them with internal truths. For those who hear him speak or read his books, he can stretch their mind in new directions.” Doris Lee McCoy, Ph.D. from America’s New Vision: Our Leaders Point the Way – A Glimpse of the Future By Over 100 of America’s Leaders

Smith presents guidance and insights about overcoming fear, self- imposed limits, and brain plasticity. Audiences return to their life and organizations with courage and confidence, ready to take action.

David Miln Smith is an adventurer, author, speaker, the first person to swim from Africa to Europe and inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. He has leaped into the Mayan Well of Sacrifice at Chichen Itza, ran solo marathons across the Sahara, over mountains in Haiti, through the infamous Khyber Pass, and hunted with a club in Kenya to experience ‘primative man’s’ challenges. The Today Show called him “the King of the Risk Takers.”  

Living with Mountain Lions, Zara McDonald
Felidae Conservation Fund gives an engaging and inspiring presentation about mountain lions and the work currently underway to study and protect them. It is a non-profit that aims to advance the conservation of wild cats and their habitats planetwide through a combination of groundbreaking research, compelling education and cutting-edge technology. Felidae works in both North and South America on different mountain lion research and conservation projects. The flagship project is the Bay Area Puma Project. These keystone predators (also called pumas and cougars) play a critical role in maintaining the health and biodiversity of our ecosystems. However, expansion of human populations is causing increasing encounters and conflicts between humans and pumas, and growing tensions in our local communities. Felidae discusses mountain lion ecology and history, the challenges of sharing the habitat with mountain lions, and offers essential tips for living and recreating without fear in puma habitat.

Zara McDonald is the Founder and President of Felidae Conservation Fund. She founded Felidae in 2006 and started the Bay Area Puma Project in 2007. For larger bio, visit the About Us page on our website (

We Are All Middlemen, Marina Krakovsky
 For 20 years we’ve been hearing that the Internet makes middlemen obsolete. In fact, the opposite has happened: our hyper-connected age makes middlemen more prevalent and more valuable than ever. Drawing on reporting for her new book, THE MIDDLEMAN ECONOMY, journalist Marina Krakovsky explains why.

Marina Krakovsky is the author of The Middleman Economy: How Brokers, Agents, Dealers, and Everyday Matchmakers Create Value and Profit (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). Her writing has also appeared in Discover, the New York Times Magazine, Scientific American and Scientific American Mind, and other publications. Marina graduated from Stanford University and lives in San Mateo.

 12:00 PM

Lunch- Sunset Restaurant (included) – Join this included catered lunch for all attendees!

Hospitality Suite Closed: noon-1:30 PM

1:30 PM

Charcoal Drawing- Activities Room, Vanesa Gomez Gonzalez
 Join Vanessa for a short lesson and hands on experience with charcoal drawing!

Quiddler- Games Room, Corey Coughlin
Quiddler is called “the short word game”. It’s a combination of rummy and Scrabble , you use cards with letters on them to spell words and earn points. In this tournament, we’ll start in small groups and play until there’s one winner!

Challenge Day: Social and Emotional Learning, NeEddra James & Sevan Apollo Poetry
 Challenge Day is a non-profit organization that conducts social and emotional learning workshops at schools around the world. Challenge Day has been featured on MTV’s If You Really Knew Me, and has received support from celebrities such as Alanis Morissette, Marianne Williamson, and Oprah Winfrey. Our Vision: Our vision is that every child lives in a world where they feel safe, loved and celebrated. Our Mission:The Challenge Day mission is to provide youth and their communities with experiential programs that demonstrate the possibility of love and connection through the celebration of diversity, truth, and full expression.

Challenge Day will be represented by NeEddra James (Director of Program Development & Education for Challenge Day and Board member of the Common Fire Foundation) and Sevan Apollo Poetry (as seen on ABC’s Glass House and MTV’s True Life)

Angel Capital: A Funding Source for early stage ventures, Kathie Priebe
 What is Angel Capital, where does it fit in the funding ecosystem, how to attract it, work with it, when to walk away.

Kathie Priebe is an Angel Investor (member: Sierra Angels, Reno Angels, Angel Capital Association) and early stage business mentor ( Member: Summit VMS, EMC2)

Erotic Integrity® – How to be true to yourself sexually, Claudia Six, PhD
 Most people want better sex, if they’re honest withthemselves. Dr Claudia Six presents her unique method to a more rewarding sexual and romantic life in three simple steps: knowing who you truly are as a sexual being, embracing that, and living it authentically. These steps can be applied by individuals and couples of all ages and sexual orientations, with or without children. Her straightforward concepts and questions skillfully challenge the listener or reader to self-examine, self-accept, and self-actualize, for a more fulfilling sense of eroticism.

Claudia Six has an MA in counseling psychology and a PhD in clinical sexology, and over twenty years ofexperience as a Clinical Sexologist and relationship coach in private practice near San Francisco, where she has helped thousands of individuals and couples with sexual and relationship issues. She treats issues ranging from poor communication, erectile and orgasm challenges, infidelity, mismatched desire, garden variety performance anxiety – both male and female, kinky proclivities, alternative lifestyles, dating vagaries, and Aspergers… Dr Six coined the term Erotic Integrity® to describe her approach to her work with clients, and this is also the title of her upcoming book.

 2:30 PM

 Construction Toys Free-Play- Activities Room

3:00 PM

 Robotics Demonstration by FRC Team 668: The Apes of Wrath
 Come see robots in action! The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), also known as “The Varsity Sport of the Mind,” is a challenging program for students in Grades 9-12 to build a 120 lb (55 kg) robot that competes in a yearly challenge that is revealed each January. Teams have 6 weeks to design, prototype, build, program, and perfect a robot that can complete that challenge. Team 668 “The Apes of Wrath” will give a demo of their robots.

FRC Team 668: “The Apes of Wrath” is a FIRST robotics team based out of Pioneer High School in San Jose.

Prehistory of the Monterey Peninsula, Gary S. Breschini
 A look at perhaps 15,000 years of local prehistory, as revealed by archaeology, DNA analyses, and other research, showing that the Bering Land Bridge theory is not the only source for populating the New World.

Gary S. Breschini has a Ph.D. in Anthropology with specialties in Central California archaeology and prehistory. This presentation will summarize the highlights of over 40 years of “life in the trenches.”

Worked Up: Landing and Succeeding at Work in 2016, Marty Nemko & Lana Lee
 This session will offer a window into little discussed realities. Career counselor and Intelligencer columnist Marty Nemko will be in conversation with his client, Mensan, Lana Lee.

Marty Nemko was dubbed “The Bay Area’s Best Career Coach” by the S.F. Bay Guardian and “Career Coach Extraordinaire” by U.S. News.

 Lana Lee left engineering to learn web design and social media. After false starts she’ll tell you about, she’s currently designing sites for musicians and was recently hired at Zuora which was Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Award for the “Top 50 Places to Work” in 2015.


Wine Tasting: The Wines of Santa Cruz Mountains, Steve Ferree

This event is limited on a first-come basis to 15 people!

Learn about the history and diversity of the Santa Cruz Mountains wine region. This region encompasses an area stretching from Watsonville in the south to Woodside in the north, including parts of Santa Clara, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, and covering over 480,000 acres. Yet in this massive area there are only approximately 1300 acres of wine grapes, with the primary varietals being Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Various altitudes, fog lines, Pacific breezes and inland valleys results in many microclimates.

The presenter, MENSA member Steve Ferree, is a local wine educator and wine writer.

3:30 PM

Taboo- Games Room, Barbara Lytle & Jim Lewis
 Some things are better left unsaid. How do you get your team to said “diamond” if you can’t say baseball, ring, carat, jewel, or engagement? Each time your team shouts out the secret word, you get a point, but be careful, your opponents will!

Gonzo Trivia- Activities Room, Mark Jackman
 Come test your obscure factoid chops at Gonzo Trivia! Pop culture, literature, history, science, music, language, vexillology, yes these are all nouns. As it happens, they also are all categories represented among the devilishly difficult questions you will face. Among the usual Q&A, be prepared for several audio and video clues in your quest for the glory of trivia mastery. Teams of 3-5 (size depending on attendance) will be formed at the start.

Mark Jackman has been obsessed with trivia ever since he learned at age eight that brine shrimp have a different number of eyes as adults than as younglings. He is the host for Wednesday night pub trivia at Katie Bloom’s in Campbell, and is under the distinct impression that this somehow makes him cool.

4:00 PM

Mediterranean Mezze Treats- Hospitality (included)

4:30 PM

Asteroid Mining, Daniel Faber
 New companies are vying to develop space resources to realize the full promise of the space economy and space settlement. Daniel Faber is the CEO of one such company, Deep Space Industries. Asteroid mining as a convergence of technology advancement in the space industry and a new paradigm for the mining industry, and Daniel will explain why and how the next frontier or human expansion is being realized today. This is not a small undertaking, and by necessity his talk will encompass geology, technology, regulations and economics with a foray into evolutionary psychology and existential risk.

Daniel Faber is the CEO of Deep Space Industries, an asteroid mining company. Daniel has held senior roles in many successful spacecraft projects, including a space telescope for locating and characterizing asteroids, a constellation of astronomy spacecraft, operational ship-tracking, pressurized habitation modules, and remote sensing systems. He is the recipient of multiple innovation awards and been granted a number of patents in the fields of mining, medical imaging and aerospace.

Compassionate Objectivity in Animal Rights Work, Monica Johnston
 This presentation describes a statistician’s work with impassioned animal rights advocates. Statisticians must bring objective advice on methods, interpretation of save/kill rates, and public relations while acknowledging daunting numbers of unwanted animals that advocates are trying to save.

Monica Johnston is a small business owner working in applied statistics and education. She operates a statistical consulting practice and a tutors’ collective that provides math, statistics, and English tutoring. She volunteers her skills to animal rights groups. Ms. Johnston graduated from Stanford University in 2001 with a Master’s of Science in Statistics.

5:00 pm

 Hungry, Hungry Humans (Live Action Hungry Hungry Hippos!)- Activities Room, Josie Burton and Mike Borg
 We will play a somewhat rambunctious, human-sized version of the children’s game, Hungry, Hungry Hippos. This could get fun!

Josie has never played Hungry, Hungry Hippos in her life, but somehow thought this would be a good idea. Mike is very kind and tends to agree to most of Josie’s hair-brained schemes. What could possibly go wrong with this?

6:00 pm

Dinner Banquet- Location to be confirmed (pre-purchased tickets only)

6:30 pm

 Keynote Speaker at Dinner Banquet- (non- meal seating opens for all)
 The NASA Airborne Science Program, Don Sullivan
Today’s NASA Airborne Science program: from ash plumes to wildfire monitoring, from tropical coral reefs to the polar ice caps. Learn how NASA is using unmanned drones to collect data never before available.

Don Sullivan works for NASA at the Ames Research Center, in the Silicon Valley area of California. Currently, his main interest is in network communication protocol design, both terrestrial and satellite based, enabling the implementation of ad-hoc sensor webs. 

7:30 pm

 Using the Artistic Brain to Learn Botany- Activities Room, David Casterson
 David will demonstrate his technique for using art as a way to learn botany. Members will use the watercolor pencils, brushes and specially designed gray scale images he brings, to create art in a process that improves lasting knowledge in a meditative manner.

David Casterson taught Biology and Nature Photography for 34 years with an emphasis on ecology and botany. He is the author of “In the Company of Redwoods”, which employs hand tinting gray scale images to help the reader learn the botany and natural history of plants living in the Redwood Community.

How I Saved over 100 Lives by Winning a Poker Tournament, Andrew Barber
 Science and math have been applied to virtually every field EXCEPT for charity. “Effective altruism” is a philosophical movement that applies evidence and reason to determine the most effective ways to improve the world. We consider all possible causes and actions, using the latest evidence-based research available, then try to act in a way that brings about the greatest positive impact. In investment parlance, EA is all about getting the maximum ROI from every donation.

Andrew Barber is a professional poker player currently attending UC Santa Cruz to earn his PhD in Economics. He is an outspoken proponent of effective altruism. 

Redefining God for the Scientific Universe, Nancy Ellen Abrams
 Millions still think of God the way people did in biblical times, when slavery was normal, women were subhuman chattel, and everyone believed the earth was flat. A God that made sense in that world is drastically out of sync with present reality. I will outline a new way of thinking about God that is completely consistent with and even inspired by cutting-edge science, is equally available to everyone, religious or not, yet is personally and spiritually enriching and empowering. The way we humans redefine God could play a leading role in shaping the future of Earth.

Nancy Ellen Abrams is a philosopher of science and lawyer. Her 2015 book, A God That Could Be Real: Spirituality, Science, and the Future of Our Planet pulls together science and spirituality in a radically new Big Picture for our time, with forewords by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and cosmologist Paul Davies. She is also coauthor with world-renowned cosmologist Joel R. Primack of two prize-winning books: The View from the Center of the Universe and The New Universe and the Human Future.

8:00 pm

David & Goliath- Games Room, Barbara Lytle & Jim Lewis
 A simple card game, until you try to come up with a strategy that works!

9:00 pm

 Dessert Extravaganza- Hospitality (included)

 Werewolves- Activities Room, Josie Burton/ GenX SIG
 In this game popular at Mensa events, you will try to figure out who the werewolves are in your village before they pick off the innocent villagers, one-by-one. Or are you a werewolf? Bring your best poker face and your attention to body language and tells. You win if your side survives. Fun for most ages.

Bitcoin: Designing the Perfect Currency, James MacWhyte
 Money has been around for millennia, and influences almost every aspect of our daily lives. Over the centuries various methods of moving and storing wealth have been invented, but all seem to be lacking in one way or another. Is the green in your wallet really as powerful as you think it is? Could this new technology really replace thousands of years of financial tradition? After briefly exploring what makes a good currency, we will take a look at what Bitcoin is, how it works, and how it may very well revolutionize how we use, and think about, money.

James MacWhyte spent 11 years in Tokyo, mastering Japanese and building a career in the film industry. After hearing about Bitcoin and spending a couple years studying the technology behind it, he decided to make a huge career jump–right into Silicon Valley. He now lives in San Francisco and works for breadwallet, a new startup that makes Bitcoin accessible to anyone.

Psychological Type and the Temperamental Mensan, Vicki Brown
 Do you ever wonder what makes you uniquely you? Do you look at some people and think, “Why are they so different from me, while other people are so similar in how they view the world?” Do differences in personality cause clashes between your colleagues at work or family members at home?

My study of Type and Temperament has taught me that there are clear patterns to how different people think and act. When we learn about Psychological Type, we can improve our ability to communicate and bring better understanding and control to our roles and conversations.

Vicki Brown has worked as a programmer and technical writer for 30 years. She discovered Psychological Type in 1993 and has been studying it ever since. In 2014, she was certified to administer and debrief the MBTI instrument. Vicki joined Mensa in 1981, for an interesting social group during grad school. This worked extremely well; she met her spouse in DC Mensa! The two humans now live in San Bruno, CA with several cats.

10:00 pm

Encore- Games Room, Barbara Lytle & Jim Lewis
 Your team will get an ordinary word, and you’ve got to help them out by thinking of a song that has that word in the lyrics. Any song will do, even old commercial jingles or TV theme songs. Actually, you’ll have to sing at least eight words of the song, but no one cares how badly you sing or if you’re off-key – just sing it!

10:30 pm

Chocolate — History and Taste, Michael Eager
The Latin name for chocolate means “food of the gods”. Chocolate has a mystique, from being a state secret to its supposed aphrodisiac properties or soporific qualities. Mike Eager will provide an overview of the history of chocolate, and, best of all, offer tastes of a variety of chocolates.

Mike Eager has many admirable qualities, not the least of which is that he a large quantity of high-quality chocolate near at hand. 

Alfred Hitchcock & the Epic Blanket Fort, Josie Burton & Mike Borg
Join your fellow Mensans to design and build a blanket fort that fills a conference room (or as close as we can manage with what we bring). Crawl into the fort, turn out the lights, and listen to Mike Borg regale you with tales of sometime-local Alfred Hitchcock. Peel back the front of the fort, curl up, and enjoy a classic Hitchcock film! BYO blankets and pillows to help make this fort as epic as possible.

Mike Borg is a die-hard Hitchcock fan, amateur engineer, and architecture buff. Josie Burton likes to make things and hide out. The two of them recently spent a weekend reading books and watching Netflix from a blanket fort they built in Josie’s living room. Building a giant blanket fort and enjoying Hitchcock with fellow Mensans is something of a dream of theirs.

Sunday, November 22

 7:30 AM

Hospitality- Coffee & Pastry Available

Sunday Morning Walk– Meet in Activities Room, Roberta Maguire
Meet in the activities room, where we’ll depart for a morning walk around the beautiful paths around the Chaminade resort, winding through the redwoods and eucalyptus trees.

8:00 AM

Hospitality- Breakfast Available until 10:30 am

9:00 AM

 Collage with Found Paper- Activities Room, Josie Burton
 Come join Art Teacher Josie Burton as she leads you through a simple, yet rewarding, collage-making process using found papers and focusing on color relationships.

 Josie Burton discovered a love of drawing at age four and never stopped, going on to earn her B.A. in Art from UC Santa Cruz. Ms. Burton currently teaches Art, Digital Art, and Photography to middle school students in San Jose. She is convinced that we are all born artists, and you will not persuade her otherwise.

Current Topics in Bioethics, Rita Charles
 During this presentation Rita plans to touch on three or maybe four topics: 1. Update on 23 and me, the company and your DNA information. 2. Right to Die In California 3. GMO ‘s and how they affect your DNA (Rita may choose one other topic depending on what is current in the BioPharma world – like access to pharmaceuticals or Clinical trials.

Rita Charles holds degrees in Microbiology, Anthropology, Molecular Biology, and Law. She authored “American Indian Medicine” and founded LAWGENE. Currently she is involved in Biomedical Ethics and the study of stem cells in human applications. 

Intelligence and Meditation, David Bezanson
Does meditation increase or decrease measures of intelligence and neuroplasticity? Following a critical synopsis of research on adults and children, we will consider explanatory mechanisms. Learn the differences between two paradigms of intelligence: a) cognitive sciences b) meditative traditions Are these incompatible?

David Bezanson, Ph.D. is a retired clinical psychologist whose specialties included neuropsychology. He has taught meditation to individuals and groups for decades.


 10:30 AM

 Brunch- Location to be confirmed (pre-purchased tickets only)

11:00 AM

Hospitality, Games, and Activities room close

 Keynote Speaker at Brunch- (non- meal seating opens for all)
 My Life as a Child During WWII, Gitta Spindel Ryle
 Ms. Gitta Ryle will speak about her childhood during the Holocaust, focusing on survival, recovery, remembrance, and forgiveness.

 Gitta was born in Vienna, Austria in 1932. When she was 7 years old, she and her sister were separated from their parents when the Nazis invaded Austria. They were sent to France with other Jewish children to be saved. She has been speaking about her experiences for over 15 years mainly at schools and universities. Her purpose in these presentations is to share her experiences through her very real personal stories so that we never forget or question that there was, in fact, a Holocaust that affected many real people.