Upcoming events

    • January 22, 2023
    • 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Private Home in Sacramento, location to be provided to attendees
    • 30

    To register, we prefer you pay online via the black "REGISTER" button. But you may mail the coupon and a check by snail mail.  Vaccination, booster and mask required, but may be changed  later. 

    A class on smartphone photography led by Sacramento-based photographer, Cynthia Siokos of Pinkie Pictures and Thumb Print Images, a long-time professional portrait and event photographer.

    What you’ll learn - The importance of lighting as you approach the shot; creating a composition for maximum impact; fun and dramatic editing techniques through the use of filters, HDR, and other phone settings.  Class level is for "beginning" to "I-have-some-knowledge" users.

    Class size is limited to 30 people to give you the best hands-on help.  It will be held in a private home and offer a lovely and visually inviting charcuterie of nibbles.

    "You don't take a photograph, you make it."  Ansel Adams

    Date:  January 22, 2023, 10am to 12:30pm

    Place:  Private Home in Sacramento, location to be provided to attendees

    Group Max:  30 (minimum 7)

    Cost: $50 for members, $60 for non-members

    ($5 goes to Scholarships)

    PBKNCA lead:  Becky Beach 

    Vaccination is required, masks will be optional. 

    Before the class, get prepared - Make sure your smartphone is fully charged.  Download the FREE Snapseed App to use in class.

    • February 17, 2023
    • 4:00 PM
    • February 20, 2023
    • 12:00 PM
    • Asilomar, 800 Asilomar Ave, Pacific Grove, CA

    Register now for 2023

    To register, pay online via the black "REGISTER" button, or mail the coupon  by snail mail 

    Vaccination, booster and mask required, but may be changed as needed later.

    See our Policy for Attendee safety at PBKNCA events.

    36th Annual Asilomar Conference - February 17 – 20, 2023

    A faithful study of liberal arts humanizes character, and allows it not to be cruel.”  -- Ovid

    If the news of the day is getting you down, take heart – it’s once again time to reserve your weekend of learning, inspiration and fellowship on the magnificent Monterey coast!

    Past participants describe the weekend as “the best aspects of college, without the exams” and “the greatest high of the year – without drugs!”

    If you have questions on this year’s program, please contact  dfrontczak@scu.edu. For registration or logistics matters, please contact Barry Haskell at bghaskell@comcast.net. Registration is $125, which goes mainly to scholarships. Cost will be similar to last year, about $550 per person, double occupancy, and includes all nine meals and parking. All registered participants will receive forms to reserve their Asilomar accommodations, including meals; please check your email. (Remember, to be part of the PBKNCA package, do not reserve directly with the facility.)

    If you have questions on this year's plans, please contact dfrontczak@scu.edu. For logistics matters, please contact Barry Haskell at bghaskell@comcast.net

    Please join us once again for the annual Asilomar Conference, where we gather to learn, engage in discussions, and to listen to one another in new ways.

    Deirdre Frontczak, Asilomar Chair

    A preview of the 2023 event: 

    Friday night – Kalyn Simon, MBA candidate at Santa Clara University: “California’s Water Reality” 

    California’s landscape, like a majority of places in the world is shifting drastically. Climate change is forcing us to face a future that is projected to be much hotter and drier. California is home to some of the most beautiful and prosperous land which produces a majority of the fruit, nuts, and vegetables consumed in the United States. However, the harsh reality is that this produce as well as economic prosperity can only be sustained through access to water.  

    Water supply in a future of the changing climate is concerning, but rather than focusing on climate change, we should be focusing on climate action. Rather than focusing on water scarcity, we should be focusing on building coalitions around water abundance through innovation. This presentation will highlight the intersection of climate, agriculture, water and innovation. We will take a deep dive into an often-controversial topic in California: desalination and the implications of tapping into the ocean as a new source of water to support the state and the world. 

    Saturday morning –
    Kerry Driscoll, Ph.D., Associate Editor of the Mark Twain Papers and Project, U.C. Berkeley: “Mr. Clemens and the Saturday Morning Club of Hartford.”

    This presentation tells the little-known story of Mark Twain’s involvement with a group of young local women between the ages of 16 and 20 established in 1876 to “Promote Culture and Social Intercourse.” He assisted in the club’s founding and eventually became—as one member fondly recalled—its “patron saint.” He addressed the group on at least fifteen occasions (significantly, always in the role of “Mr. Clemens” rather than his nom de plume), and persuaded other literary friends to do the same. The writer’s devotion to the Club is most tangibly expressed in the exquisite pins he commissioned from Tiffany & Company in 1880 and presented as gifts to its members. I will discuss Clemens’s role as confidant and mentor to these young women and explore the innovative methods he devised for cultivating their self-expression—offering a fascinating glimpse of the more serious side of our nation’s most celebrated humorist.

    Saturday afternoon – Nico Orlandi, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, U.C. Santa Cruz. Concepts and Conceptual Engineering: The Concept of a Woman” 

    Everyone has an idea of what a woman is. But what is occurring in our heads when we think of a woman -- or a man, or a white man, or any other social concept? Philosophers and psychologists hold ideas as concepts; in this standard view, having the concept or idea of a woman consists of having a general description of what "being a woman" really means.   

    This talk explores a view that many of our ideas are simple labels in thought. Our labels act as a sort of headline, an umbrella under which a variety of information about that idea is catalogued  -- for example, the notion that women are adult human females, or that they play a particular role in human reproduction. I suggest that the ideas we associate with the label do not, in fact, constitute that thing;  i.e., that it is not a conceptual truth that “women” are adult human females.  This insight has direct implications for current public debates on trans inclusion – or on other womanly roles -- since the concept of “woman” does not imply a certain reproductive role by nature. This position also allows us to make sense of “conceptual engineering” – an idea we will explore in this talk.   

    Nico Orlandi is a philosopher of mind and cognitive science, whose work draws on research in cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and computer science. A central theme is understanding what kind of capacity perception is, and what kind of relationship it affords with the environment.  Their* current projects concern predictive coding models of perception; and the significance of fMRI research for understanding cognition. They are also affiliated with the Feminist Studies department at UCSC.  A first-generation student, Dr. Orlandi completed undergraduate studies in Florence, a doctorate at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill ,and has taught at both Rice University and Stanford.  

    (*Note:  Orlandi's pronouns are "they / them." It was not a syntactical error.)

    Saturday night – Tom Greene, Ph.D.

    "JWST: NASA's Greatest Observatory and its Fantastic Science"

    The James Webb Space Telescope is the most complex and powerful astronomical space observatory ever built. It launched on Christmas Day in 2021 and has recently been commissioned in its final orbit in the Sun – Earth system. The large 6.5-m diameter JWST primary mirror and its infrared instruments will allow it to see some of the very first luminous objects that formed in the Universe shortly after the Big Bang. Other major science themes of JWST encompass studying the assembly of galaxies, the birth of stars and planetary systems, and planetary systems and the origins of life. JWST will be the premier astrophysics space observatory for NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), and scientists from all over the world will use it for 10-20 years or more. It employs several unique technologies, and the mission was in development for over 20 years. In this talk I will illustrate the mission's science goals and highlight some aspects of its design, technologies, and initial science results. 

    Thomas Greene is an astrophysicist in the Space Science and Astrobiology Division at NASA's Ames Research Center. He conducts observational studies of exoplanets and young stars and develops astronomical technologies and instrumentation. Dr. Greene is a co-investigator on the NIRCam and MIRI science instruments of the James Webb Space Telescope and serves on the JWST Users Committee.  While at NASA Ames he has served as the Director of the Ames Center for Exoplanet Studies, Project Scientist of the SOFIA mission, and Chief of the Astrophysics Branch. Before joining NASA, he worked at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center on NASA astrophysics missions. Prior to that, Dr. Greene was on the faculty of the University of Hawaii where he was a support astronomer and later Director of the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF). He received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Arizona.