Tag Archives: Discussion Groups

International Relations: Peace Before Prosperity: The Evolution of U.S.–Canada Relations

Eugene/Springfield—This International Relations lecture provides a look at United States-Canada relations through our treaties and international agreements. Did you know that the four international Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were demilitarized in 1817? Or, that it seems the first science ever funded by the U.S. State Department was in support of a reference on pollution to the International Joint Commission, pursuant to the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty? How these joint agreements have shaped our relationship and our societies lies at the heart of the talk.

Presenter Dr. Mary Durfee, a new OLLI member, is professor emerita of government from Michigan Technological University where she taught international law, U.S. foreign policy, and various environmental politics courses. She was U.S. Co-chair of the Lake Superior Bi-National Forum, a citizen advisory group to the governments of Canada and the U.S. She served on an EPA Science Advisory Board subcommittee on the diffusion of pollution prevention policy.

Understanding Science: Archaeology

Eugene/Springfield—The Understanding Science study group is introducing a new topic in June, based on Archaeology—An Introduction to the World’s Greatest Sites. The recorded lectures cover several well-known sites and in doing so teaches about such topics as what archaeology is, what tools are used, the discovery of new sites, and what questions are asked about origins. The DVD course was sponsored by National Geographic and taught by Eric H. Cline, PhD, The George Washington University. We will visit King Tut’s site, the Maya, the Terracotta Army, and many, many more.

Understanding Science meets at 10 a.m. on the first, third, and fifth Tuesdays of each month. Lecture topics for each session are listed in the monthly schedule (pages 8-9).

Historical Novels and Nonfiction Book Group 2017-18 Reading List

Exploration, Exploitation, the Eiffel Tower, and the Aviatrix

Eugene/Springfield–Magellan’s historic 16th century odyssey, the political upheaval of the 1950s Chinese Cultural Revolution, the 19th-century controversy surrounding the construction of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and the adventures of the 20th-century aviatrix who first flew nonstop from Europe to America—these represent just a few themes central to the books selected for reading over the next year by the Historical Fiction/Nonfiction group.

As the sharp distinctions between genres have dissolved in recent decades, historians now weave important historical events into absorbing storytelling. The upcoming reading list offers a wide selection of history from both fiction and nonfiction titles. OLLI members are encouraged to join in the discussion on any or all selected books on the second and fourth Wednesdays at 10 a.m. in the Canada Room.

Faciliator: Joyce Churchill

Reading List for 5/17–4/18

May: Gail Tsukiyama, A Hundred Flowers (fiction)
June: Joshua Hammer, The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu (nonfiction)
July: Nancy Horan, Under the Wide and Starry Sky (fiction)
August: Beryl Markham, West with the Night (nonfiction)
September: Beatrice Colin, To Capture What We Cannot Keep (fiction)
October: Laurence Bergreen, Over the Edge of the World (nonfiction)
November: Paulette Jiles, News of the World (fiction)
December: Candice Millard, Hero of the Empire (nonfiction)
January: Alan Brennert, Moloka’i (fiction)
February: Nomi Prins, All The Presidents’ Bankers (nonfiction)
March: Hanaya Yanagihara, The People in the Trees (fiction)
April: Jessie Burton, The Miniaturist (fiction)


Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality

Central Oregon–As described in The Great Courses, the lectures in this DVD series implores when are we responsible for our own actions, and when are we in the grip of biological forces beyond our control? This intriguing question is the scientific province of behavioral biology, a field that explores interactions among the brain, mind, body, and environment that have a surprising influence on how we behave—from the people we fall in love with, to the intensity of our spiritual lives, to the degree of our aggressive impulses. In short, it is the study of how our brains make us the individuals that we are.

Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality is an interdisciplinary approach to this fascinating subject. In 24 lectures, we investigate how the human brain is sculpted by evolution, constrained or freed by genes, shaped by early experience, modulated by hormones, and otherwise influenced to produce a wide range of behaviors, some of them abnormal. You will see that little can be explained by thinking about any one of these factors alone because some combination of influences is almost always at work.

A prominent neurobiologist, zoologist, and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, professor Sapolsky is a spellbinding lecturer who is also very entertaining. In a feature story in The New York Times, he was compared to a cross between renowned primatologist Jane Goodall and a borscht belt comedian. An article in the alumni magazine at Stanford University, where he teaches, called him “a man who exudes adrenaline and has a reservoir of intensity deep enough to spin the turbines at Hoover Dam.”

Our sessions will be facilitated by Russ Hopper and fellow OLLI-UO members.

International Relations: Reporting Public Affairs in Age of “Fake News”

Eugene/Springfield–Dean Rea, a retired newspaper journalist and university professor, will explore the accusation that journalists are “among the most dishonest people in the world” and are fabricators of false news. He also will discuss the “watchdog” role of the press in keeping an eye on the conduct of all levels of government and will review how the traditional definition of public affairs news is being challenged in the international community.

Rea, who did his graduate study at the University of Missouri, worked as an editor, reporter, and photographer for a dozen weekly and daily newspapers in the Midwest and in Oregon, including The Hood River News, The Bulletin in Bend, and The Register- Guard in Eugene. He also taught journalism at the University of Montana, Biola University in Los Angeles County, and the University of Oregon for three decades, ending in 2008.

International Relations: Myanmar—From Reclusive Military State to the Last Economic Frontier in Asia

Eugene/Springfield–Howard Schuman takes a look at the newly emerging country of Myanmar (Burma) and explains why it has two names, what’s contributing to the changes in its political and economic landscape, the role of Aung Sang Suu Kyi, and more.

Schuman made seven trips to Myanmar from 2014–16 while working as a consultant to its Central Bank.

International Relations: Africa’s Economic Progress

Eugene/Springfield–U.S. Ambassador David Gilmour provides an overview of Africa’s economic progress, its challenges and successes, with a special focus on Togo and the innovative U.S. assistance program there. Gilmour is a career Foreign Service officer and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. He will join us via Skype from his current post in Togo.

Meditation Brown Bag

olli-es-lecture-meditation-brown-bag-1Eugene/Springfield–Are you curious about meditation? Have people been telling you it would be good for you while others declare it a waste of time? If you’d like a down-to-earth and practical discussion of what meditation is and isn’t, join long-time meditator Janice Friend at a brown-bag session. Janice can dispel myths about meditation and show its real benefits. You can learn how to meditate without being hard on yourself, and how to stick with the practice. Those attending will also discuss the possibility of developing a series of sessions of short meditation periods followed by feedback and discussion.

Interested in becoming a member of OLLI UO? Click here.

Let’s Do Lunch!

first-tuesday-luncheon-1Central Oregon–At noon on the first Tuesday of every month, OLLI members have a thrilling opportunity to join in a purely social get-together during which they share food and conversation. The venue for this fun hour is McGrath’s Fish House, located right near the UO Bend Center in the Bend River Promenade.

Luncheon coordinators Harlie Peterson and Barbara Jordan ask that you make a reservation prior to the date so the restaurant can be prepared for the group size. Join new and old friends for enjoyable discussions. Please contact the OLLI office for more information.

Interested in becoming a member of OLLI UO? Click here.

The Science of Extreme Weather

OLLI UO Central Oregon Science of Extreme WeatherCentral Oregon–According to a description provided by The Great Courses, The Science of Extreme Weather serves as our field guide to the worst that Earth’s atmosphere can inflict. In 24 exciting, informative, and potentially life-saving half-hour lectures aimed at weather novices and amateur forecasters alike, viewers gain a surprisingly powerful tool in the face of such overwhelming forces: knowledge.

Escorted by meteorologist, storm chaser, and award-winning teacher Eric R. Snodgrass of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, attendees learn the fundamental science that underlies blizzards, flash floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, heat waves, and more.

Illustrated with beautifully rendered graphics, stunning storm images, and entertaining demonstrations of meteorological principles, The Science of Extreme Weather teaches students to think like meteorologists. In search of potentially life-threatening conditions, viewers learn to interpret clues in the sky and the significance of temperature, pressure, humidity, and wind direction and speed. Simple and practical forecasting rules—such as that falling air pressure signals stormy weather and rising air pressure herald clear skies—will suddenly make perfect sense.

In addition, members will be enlightened about widespread extreme weather myths, such as that lightning never strikes twice in the same place, or that a ditch or an underpass are safe refuges if you are caught in the open near a tornado. Spectators will be alerted to some truly ominous warning signs, including lightning, flooding and heat, and humidity.

Raised in the heart of Tornado Alley, the region of the U.S. with the most tornadoes of anyplace on the planet, professor Snodgrass has long been fascinated with the supercell thunderstorms that sweep across the plains, spawning tornadoes when a precise combination of meteorological factors coincides. This interest led him to become a scientist and storm chaser—a cautious stalker of extreme weather, using the tools of his discipline to decipher what makes dangerous storms form. Each year, he leads more than 1,500 University of Illinois students through a course focused on severe and hazardous weather.

In The Science of Extreme Weather, this exuberant meteorologist and gifted educator takes observers on a virtual expedition into the heart of the world’s wildest weather, investigating the mechanisms behind storms such as tornadoes, tropical cyclones, and lake-effect snow falls.

All of these extremes may make it seem that our planet is barely survivable. But as professor Snodgrass points out, we thrive on Earth. Even as the population of the globe continues to increase, fewer and fewer people are dying from extreme weather. The credit goes to improved forecasting tools along with more accurate computer models that weigh the countless data points that represent the ever-changing atmosphere. As a result, it is rare for a severe weather event to catch meteorologists by surprise.

After watching The Science of Extreme Weather, members will come away with newfound appreciation and respect for the atmosphere’s most awe-inspiring phenomena.

This study group will be held each Thursday—except for holidays— through February.