Keynote Speaker

“ Stand by for the keynote speaker ” To be announced

“Nukes: Risks, Global Abolition, and Meditation” by David Bezanson, Ph.D.

Learn about the environmental, public health, and political risks of nuclear weaponry. What is the empirical evidence for and against deterrence theory? See the amount of income tax you pay to maintain the USA nuke arsenal. Is M.A.D. still a valid paradigm and what is S.A.D.? We will examine climate research corroborating M.A.D. and S.A.D. Consider the implications of 122 member nations of the U.N. voting in favor a banning nukes (while only 1 opposed the treaty) in July 2017. Investigate the fallacies of safe storage of fissile material; decontamination of failures, test sites, and meltdowns; and "green" electricity. Explore the role of meditation in the transition to a nuke-free world. We will review the research re. meditation's effect on empathy, compassion, and our social life. Which one of the 3 styles of meditation has been proven effective for these dependent variables?

David Bezanson

David Bezanson, Ph.D. is a retired clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist who worked at UCSF and an interdisciplinary clinic in Palo Alto. He volunteers on 4 environmental committees, including 3 in the Sierra Club, and the Security Committee of Physicians for Social Responsibility. The objective of PSR is global nuclear disarmament to improve public health, international security, and environmental resilience. He also administers intelligence testing for Mensa. His current hobbies include blogging: His book, entitled Meditation: Happiness, Wellness, and Self-knowing: Now was published in 2016. Beginning in June 2017, his series entitled "Nuclear Weaponry is Obsolescent" was published in Intelligencer - the monthly newsletter of SF Regional Mensa.

“All About Adolf: Hitler in the 21st Century. ” by Geoffrey L. P. Guenther

A look at Hitler in the 21st Century. Why do we care? What made Hitler Hitler? His family life. Young Hitler. The Times (WWI). The Psychology of Hitler. Why he hated the Jews. Will there be another Hitler? How to detect one. His traits and tactics. Should we worry about "little Hitlers?"

Geoff Guenther

Geoff Guenther is a chemical engineer who writes fiction and non-fiction, including three computer books, seventeen stage plays and four novels. His latest work is a historical novel titled In the Mouth of the Lion, the story of a fictitious* 1942 invitation by the German High Command for Carl Jung to go to Germany and psychoanalyze Adolf Hitler. Six years of research for Mouth of the Lion provided the basis for All About Adolf. * There was a rumor that an invitation was actually made by a Dr. Sauerbruch.

“Origin of Life” by Perry Lanaro

Life first appeared on earth 3.6 billion years ago as single cell bacteria and anchors the evolutionary paradigm. We've been taught first life arose naturally from a vast primordial soup. This talk will show compelling reasons why life could not have arisen naturally and must have been designed. The possibility of an extraterrestrial origin to life will also be covered. This eye-opening talk will cover some technical information, but presented in a way non-science people can understand.

Perry Lanaro

Perry Lanaro is a member of Mensa and Intertel, holds a B.S. in physics and an MBA, both degrees from UCLA. He currently works in entertainment industry. He combines a natural understanding of science with the story-telling aspect of the entertainment industry to present sophisticated scientific concepts in an understandable and entertaining manner.

“Two Years in the Red-light District of Tijuana: A Photo Ethnography” by Lily J. Noonan

The red-light district of Tijuana, Mexico, has an enforced no-photos policy but photographer Lily J. Noonan has spent the past two years there openly shooting daily life. Her photos document many rarely captured moments in the Zona Norte, including the homes of prostitutes, deportees, the drug culture, in-room sessions and street life. For each person she photographs, she learns their story and will share their lives with the audience. Due to the graphic nature of some photographs, this presentation is for mature audiences.

Lily Noonan

I'm a photographer and a folk artist. I never went to school for art but recently, I spent a year practicing photography under Martin U. Waltz. I document people and environments. I paint saints and visions.

“Hooray for Hollywood: American Popular Music 1930-1939” by Craig Lancaster

Many of the songs in the Great American Songbook were written and recorded in the 1930s. The standards of the 1930s represent perhaps the greatest decade of American popular music. As the title "Hooray for Hollywood" suggests, many of the songs came from movies of the 1930s, including the song voted the best American popular song of the twentieth century.

“Why Don't You Do Right?: American Popular Music 1940-1949 ” by Craig Lancaster

If you're in the mood, why don't you do right and take a sentimental journey through songs that you've heard before. Featured artists include: Harry James, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, the Andrews Sisters, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. The program includes the very first song that millions of Americans listen to each year.

Craig Lancaster

Craig has no formal music training and cannot play any instrument. As those who have heard him try can attest, he certainly cannot sing. He also cannot dance. Nevertheless, he continues to present his seemingly unending series of programs on American popular music (will he never stop?). This year, his programs present popular music from the 1930s and 1940s. Older Mensans will remember some of these songs, and people under the age of 80 may even recognize some of the songs he will play. He will try to just play the music and limit his comments, so most people should find his programs enjoyable this year.

“Hyperghost - An Interactive Word Game ” by Alan Stillson

This four-team game is high IQ variation of regular Ghost. When your team is up, you will be able to put another letter at the end, the beginning or somewhere in between. It combines strategy, vocabulary and spelling.

“Lyric Snippets, a variation of Name That Tune” by Alan Stillson

This long-standing RG tradition will be tweaked this year. Instead of hearing the notes, you will hear a snippet of lyrics. All songs will be from well-known musicals or movies. For example, the snippet, sometimes the ace, sometimes the deuce, is from "I Am What I Am" from La Cage Aux Folles. The host is Alan Stillson, leader of the GLAAM Folksong SIG.

“War no More” by Alan Stillson

Enjoy a retrospective of peace and anti-war songs. Sing or hum along or BYOG (bring your own guitar) if you'd like. The host is Alan Stillson, leader of the GLAAM Folksong SIG.

Alan Stillson

Alan Stillson has been a Mensa member since 1987. He’s the puzzle editor of L.A. Mentary and leads the folksong SIG and the writers group. Alan is an adjunct mathematics professor and an author. He has eleven published puzzle books and has two produced musical shows. His website is and his e-mail address is [email protected].

More diverse, thought provoking, and entertaining content is forthcoming as we add more speakers to StaRGazer 2018.