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Almost every Sunday, HGP members gather in Portland, Oregon, for a program which is free and open to the public. With the invited presenters' permissions, we record those talks for our members, and with further permission, make them available here. Hovering over a thumbnail below shows its full title and [date] of that program, and clicking it brings it to the top window to view its "Description" and/or video. Most programs start with a very short reading chosen by a member. See http://www.portlandhumanists.org for more info about HGP and our programs. Members also get access to videos not authorized for public release, as well as the HGP library and member-oriented events. Video credits: For most videos, camera is done by Mike Birtchet, audio is done by Bill Maiden, and final editing was done by Dave DiNucci and is currently done by Laurent Beauregard. None of these videos would be possible without the excellent work of the HGP Program Committee to schedule speakers and to carry out the programs, or without the contributed time and effort of the speakers themselves.
Updated: 3 hours 37 min ago

Critical Thinking in the Martial Arts [2015/04-05]

Sat, 04/18/2015 - 1:50pm

Matt Thornton discusses material from his forthcoming book: “Violence is Natural: Myths, Realities & Wisdom of the Martial Arts.” Mr. Thornton is a martial arts athlete and trainer in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and boxing. He is well known for his promotion of the concept of aliveness in training. He has taught seminars on martial arts across the world and he runs his own Academy here in Portland. Matt’s recent emphasis has been addressing superstition as it relates to sports training and martial arts. (HGP does not take responsibility for material presented by our speakers.)

Cast: Portland Humanists

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World Community Grid [2015/03-29]

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 2:02pm

Viktors Berstis speaks about WorldCommunityGrid.org, an IBM philanthropic project which makes use of spare processing power from all kinds of computing devices to function collectively as a supercomputer, helping to find cures for diseases, solve environmental problems, along with other philanthropic research. Berstis is a Senior Software Engineer and Master Inventor at IBM. Currently he is the lead scientist for World Community Grid. His degrees are from the University of Michigan, and he holds over 175 U.S. patents. He is also an accomplished pianist, as you'll see at the end of this video.

Cast: Portland Humanists

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World Trade Center 9/11 Cover-Up [2015/03-22]

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 2:35pm

Many people consider World Trade Center Building #7 to be the Achilles heel of the official 9/11 narrative. In this talk David Fura provides evidence of a deliberate suppression of truth behind the destruction of Building 7 (controlled demolition). He examines the role of the media in hiding evidence. Fura is a computer engineer who works on the design of computer chips. He holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Washington. He is co-founder of the Portland Action Group of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. (HGP does not take responsibility for material presented by our speakers.)

Cast: Portland Humanists

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Portland Crosswalk Safety [2015/03-15]

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 12:27pm

Sharon White, of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, presents a “Portland Walks -- Be Safe!” pedestrian/driver training. This includes viewing an 18 minute film about pedestrian and driver safety, discussing Oregon crosswalk laws, reviewing statistics about pedestrian injuries and fatalities, and sharing tips for drivers and pedestrians to make our environment safer for everyone. The emphasis is on human factors. Ms. White conducts pedestrian safety outreach and education citywide. In 2007, she was awarded the “Golden Sole Award” from “Oregon Walks”.

Cast: Portland Humanists

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Friendly Water [2015/03-08]

Sat, 03/21/2015 - 10:12pm

Presentation by David Albert about the work of Friendly Water for the World. He discusses the use of BioSand Water Filters that can remove up to 99% of disease causing micro-organisms from the water supply. This presentation focuses on work in the Congo and Uganda. Mr. Albert is Board Chairman and co-founder of Friendly Water for the World, an international non-profit organization. He is recently returned from India where he has worked on and off for almost 40 years.

Cast: Portland Humanists

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The Real Origins of Christianity [2015/03-01]

Fri, 03/20/2015 - 6:37pm

Richard Carrier speaks to us about the origins of Christianity. Dr. Carrier is a world-renowned author and speaker. As a professional historian, published philosopher, and prominent defender of the American freethought movement, Carrier has appeared across the U.S., Canada and the U.K., and on American television and London radio, defending sound historical methods and the ethical worldview of secular naturalism. His books and articles have received international attention. Carrier holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University in ancient history.

Cast: Portland Humanists

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Humanist Issues [2015/02-22]

Fri, 03/20/2015 - 1:59pm

Del Allen hosts a discussion of humanist issues in the light of current events.

Cast: Portland Humanists

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Education in Haiti [2015/02-15]

Thu, 02/26/2015 - 6:32pm

Richard Ireland discusses his non-profit organization “Education for Haiti.” He looks at the challenges of international intervention – the good and the bad of it. Mr. Ireland served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Haiti from 1998 to 2001. Upon his return, he decided to help kids in Haiti by providing tuition. For ten years he sent money to six families and asked them to spend it on tuition. Upon visiting in 2011, he discovered that his intervention of just $200 for each family had an amazing impact. He then decided to start a non-profit in order to continue support for students. See educationforhaiti.org for further information.

Cast: Portland Humanists

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Factory Farming and Climate Change [2015/02-08]

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 10:44pm

Presentation by Cassie Bishop. The agricultural sector is contributing more to climate change than any other factor. Practices like factory farming and aquaculture are responsible for ocean dead zones, horrific air quality, a staggering amount of waste, toxins poured into rivers and seas, and potentially irreversible soil erosion. These are all products of Big Ag. The Earth is being attacked on every level. Factory Farming will not be a part of the climate conversation until we make it one. Cassie is Regional Director of the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition. She is in her final semester at Lewis & Clark College where she studies international affairs.

Cast: Portland Humanists

Tags: factory farming and climate change

Animal Rights [2015/02-01]

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 6:59pm

Scott Beckstead discusses advances in animal protection and the legal standing of animals in Oregon, in the United States, and around the world. While operating his law practice, Mr. Beckstead gained substantial experience in the field of Animal Law. He co-authored the first casebook on Animal Law. He taught the subject at U of O School of Law and at Willamette University. He served as Mayor of Waldport from 2002 to 2007. He is currently with The Humane Society of the United States.

Cast: Portland Humanists

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Genetically Engineered Foods [2015/01-25]

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 6:34pm

Presentation by Rick North about the safety of genetically engineered foods. Is there a consensus? He raises this question in regard to human health and environmental concerns. He considers whether the U.S. government adequately regulates genetically engineered food. North has worked for the American Cancer Society as executive vice president of the Oregon chapter. He founded a Campaign for Safe Food, assessing the risks of genetically engineered food. He developed programs in Portland’s First Unitarian Church to reduce global warming and to promote sustainable agriculture, both of which were implemented by congregations all over the country.

Cast: Portland Humanists

Tags: GMO and genetically engineered food

The Origins of Life on Earth [2015/01-11]

Sat, 01/31/2015 - 11:09am

Niles Lehman discusses what is known about the origins of life on the Earth, approximately four billion years ago. He notes some of the largest gaps in our understanding of this process. He outlines the sequence of events that must have occurred, and he touches on the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. Lehman is a professor of chemistry at PSU. He holds a Ph.D. from UCLA in evolutionary biology.

Cast: Portland Humanists

Tags: biology and life on Earth

Genetically Engineered Foods [2015/01-18]

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 1:55pm

HGP member David Gray discusses genetically modified foods. He looks at the health risks and at the environmental effects. He examines reasons for opposition and considers the limitations that other countries have imposed. He also touches on the controversy over labeling foods containing GE ingredients. Gray holds a BS in Civil Engineering.

Cast: Portland Humanists

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Land Ownership and Democracy [2014/11-30]

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 1:04pm

Jeff Strang presents an overview of the history of U.S. land and natural resource ownership, development of democracy, and economics of land ownership. He also outlines a proposal for more democratic ownership of land, related to a bill scheduled for the 2015 Oregon legislature proposing a Constitutional amendment to be put on the ballot.

Cast: Portland Humanists

Tags: democracy and land ownwership

Portland Climate Action Report [2014/10-19]

Sat, 01/24/2015 - 1:25pm

Kyle Diesner presents an overview of how the City of Portland addresses climate change. This includes the history of efforts to date, plus a preview of the Draft 2015 Climate Action Plan. He provides an in-depth exploration of Multnomah County’s impact on global carbon emissions. Diesner is a Policy Analyst for the City of Portland Bureau of Planning. He has been working on sustainability initiatives at the City of Portland since 2003.

Cast: Portland Humanists

Tags: climate change

Franklin, Jefferson, and the Common Man [2014/12-28]

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 5:47pm

Presentation by HGP member Dave Collamer. Humanists in general support democratic principles, especially the responsibility of common people to solve problems, plot their destiny, and govern the republic. To what extent did the Framers really believe this possible? Collamer looks at the attitudes of the Framers, especially Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson to see what they were really thinking.

Cast: Portland Humanists

Tags: american history

Complexity [2014/12-14]

Tue, 01/20/2015 - 2:12pm

Computer scientist Melanie Mitchell presents examples of how the interdisciplinary field of complex systems science is discovering principles underlying different natural and technological systems. As science probes the nature of life and society, what it finds is complexity. The behavior of social insects, the genome, and the structure of the World Wide Web -- these are examples of systems that challenge scientific understanding. Melanie Mitchell is Professor of Computer Science at Portland State University. She has published books and papers on artificial intelligence, in cognitive science, and about complex systems.

Cast: Portland Humanists

Tags: complexity and computer science