Every day, 2.5 billion gigabytes of data are created. What can this “big data” tell us? Erez Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel, two young Harvard scientists, teamed up with Google to mine the Google Books archive, a collection of 5 million books from across centuries. Their results can help us learn how human language evolves, how art has been censored, how fame grows and fades, and how nations trend toward war. Discover how big data is changing the game.
Our Mathematical Universe
Like the protagonist in TheTruman Show or The Matrix, cosmologist Max Tegmark has discovered that the ultimate nature of reality is not at all what it seems. His new book, Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality, leads us on an astonishing journey through the physics, astronomy and mathematics that are the foundation of his work to arrive at his mind-boggling theory of the “ultimate multiverse.”
Haaretz’s Ari Shavit, one of the most influential columnists writing about the Middle East, illuminates many of the pivotal moments that led Israel to where it is today in his new book My Promised Land. He joins the New Yorker’s David Remnick to discuss the complexities and contradictions inherent in Israel and the future of the country.
With Barbara Lane
Conspiracy plots. Clever detective work. Sex. Violence. Twisting story lines. Homeland, Showtime’s riveting psychological thriller about CIA agents tracking a former Marine sergeant who might be a terrorist agent, explores the complexities of fighting terrorism after September 11. This gripping show has earned a cult following, critical praise and a Grammy for Outstanding Drama Series. Join creator and executive director Alex Gansa for a behind-the-scenes look at what makes Homeland tick.
With Peter Stein
Director Dror Moreh is best known for The Gatekeepers, his Oscar-nominated documentary featuring interviews with all surviving former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency whose activities and membership are closely held state secrets. He’ll reveal what he learned while making the film, his thoughts on the viability of a two-state solution and how he thinks The Gatekeepers is moving the political conversation forward in Israel and abroad.
Ann Patchett’s novels are feats of imagination. Whether spinning a tale about an opera singer held hostage inside a vice presidential mansion (Bel Canto) or the story of a forgotten tribe along the banks of the Amazon (State of Wonder), she creates richly-textured worlds. Her latest book, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, invites us into her own life, sharing the significant experiences and small moments that have shaped her as a daughter, wife, writer and friend.
Seasonal. Artisanal. Local. Fresh. Organic. From Alice Waters to Bill Niman to Wolfgang Puck, California cuisine forever changed how Americans eat. In her authoritative new book, Inside the California Food Revolution: Thirty Years That Changed Our Culinary Consciousness, celebrated author and chef Joyce Goldstein traces California food culture from the 1970s to the present, when farm-to-table, foraging and fusion cuisine have become part of the national vocabulary.
Harvard’s Ruth R. Wisse, author of The Modern Jewish Canon, bridges Yiddish and American culture, literature and politics, and Israel and the diaspora. Her latest book, No Joke, applauds spontaneous Jewish wit as well as comic masterworks – from Heine to Roth, Agnon to Babel – but asks readers to consider whether “leave ‘em laughing” is the wisest motto for a people whom others have intended to sweep off the stage of history.
Slate is bringing its award-winning Political Gabfest to the JCCSF for a live show. Acclaimed as “the best political podcast” in America, the Slate Political Gabfest is an irreverent, witty, no-holds-barred discussion of the week’s political and current events. Hosted by Slate senior editor Emily Bazelon, chief political correspondent John Dickerson and editor David Plotz, the show reaches an audience of almost 250,000 people every month.
An original voice in American cooking and an advocate for the home chef, David Tanis (A Platter of Figs, Heart of the Artichoke) writes the weekly “City Kitchen” column for the New York Times and was chef at Chez Panisse. His new book, One Good Dish: The Pleasures of a Simple Meal, offers creative but accessible recipes – from delicate cornmeal popovers, to tartare made from beets – that redefine comfort food.