SCHOLARS NOTEBOOK – September 2014

Scholars Notebook

Homeland Security Updated:
Patterns of the Past Helping Define the Future
(Trade Enhancement, Global Disaster Response, and Social Media Crowdsourcing)

Saturday, September 20, 2014  1:30 - 3:30PM

Free and Open to the Public

UCSD Chancellors Complex #111A

Free Parking in the Gilman Parking Structure 

Dr. Eric Frost, on the faculty of the Geological Sciences Department as SDSU, is an expert in geographical imaging and related information technology tools, and he has applied his expertise in practical and significant ways to enhance life on the planet. His primary vehicles for accomplishing this are three important programs that he directs: the nationally and internationally recognized SDSU Visualization Center (, the Homeland Security Graduate Program at SDSU, which has over 150 active graduate students working toward their Masters degrees (, and the International Security and Trade online Professional Development program ( .

His talk will focus on updated aspects of Homeland Security, which uses the tools developed to counter terrorism to successfully and positively impact society in appropriate ways. One example is helping facilitate international trade at the US-Mexico border with appropriate sensors and information flows to expedite commerce. This benefits the private sector while increasing security as a by-product.  Similarly, Homeland Security works with the private sector, which owns most of the critical infrastructure in the country, to help increase security while at the same time enhancing the flow of goods and services in a free society. Thus, working with the same information tools, building privacy and security can be very complementary to increased efficiency, improved knowledge management, and private and public sector success. Tools like Open-Source software and web services, Social Media and the Internet of Everything, can collectively build the capability for better responses to disasters, increased commerce, and appropriate protection of personal privacy.

More generally, Frost and co-workers focus much of their educational and research efforts on disaster response worldwide and seeking ways to help governments, organizations, and responders with the goals of saving lives, reducing damage, as well as rebuilding and sustainability after past disasters.  Viz Center efforts focus on assisting others in building such disaster resilience using visualization, smartphones, crowdsourcing, and geospatial analytics, all over challenged and hybrid networks, with innovation and mostly open-source solutions, trying to be a blessing to difficult problems globally. Many of the Viz Center efforts are focused on the use of open-source mapping tools and global fiber-optic resources to move imagery around the world to prepare for and respond to disasters. Similar efforts are also done for global cultural heritage and art imaging and visualization with global experts. The work of the Viz Center often involves collaborations with people and organizations in regions such as Mexico, Cambodia, Somali, Guatemala, Colombia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, China, and other countries. 



From The President

WELCOME TO OUR NEW YEAR: SDIS, 2014-2015. It started, organizationally, in June with the Joint Meeting of the outgoing and incoming Boards sharing materials, records, folders, as well as ideas, perspectives, and suggestions regarding SDIS. The new Board continued meeting, July and August, on planning, procedural, and policy matters. Likewise, SDIS was generally functional throughout the summer with study group and discussion meetings (Breakfast Roundtable, Supper with Scholars), Website and Notebook updates, as well as research progress by our Helen Hawkins awardees, Mike Seidel (completed two family history books) and Diana Withee (connected text with Bosch art), and by other SDIS scholars.

For the record, our present Board of Directors includes: President, Sue R. Rosner; Executive Vice-President, Steve Tamor; Administrative Vice-President, Tom Samaras; Secretary, Michael Seidel; Treasurer, Edwina Shell-Johnson; Membership Chair, David Parker; Notebook Interim Editor, Barbara Zimonja; Program Chair, Alvin Halpern; Director-at-Large, Barbara George. As such we represent the membership: some long-term members, some short-term members: and some of us are in between.

It is also a time to reflect on the leadership and accomplishments of our recent president, Sam Gusman, express appreciation to him as well as to previous Boards, and to numerous members for their contributions and scholarly savor-faire. Indeed, this has been a period of successful OUTREACH: SDIS membership increased from ~70 members (2009-10 … 2011-12) to 90 members (2013-14), and 95 by mid-summer 2014. Likewise, it has been a time of successful DEVELOPMENT, with growth in the number of study groups, initiation of discussion meetings, establishing research PROJECTS (Rose, “World War II/Science”; Gusman, Horwitz, and Fanebust, “Frontier”), and vastly improving our website, substantially and substantively.

But, the times they are a-changing (cf. Bob Dylan).  Demographically, SDIS has changed: not just more members, but many new members with whom few of us are acquainted and less participation on the part of some of our long-term leaders. In any case, how do our study groups, discussion groups, and program meetings relate to our members’ interests as reported in SDIS Directories. Consistently, several dominant categories emerge from members’ interest lists, namely, “History”, “Arts”, "Physical and Social Sciences”, “Social Issues”. Is this the case for new members, too, and what are their interests as of now? 

Furthermore, what about our senior, long-term members who may be subject to change over time? What about their needs for intellectual stimulation, social interaction and support? And, how many among us are “active scholars”? I would really like to know.

Finally, how can we get a handle on the needs, interests, and intellectual tastes of our members? First line of approach is through our SDIS Renewal Information Forms. Please complete your form promptly and with careful thought. Here is the way that everyone can express their own areas of interest. In addition, you may send me a note regarding your interests and ideas (topical, organizational, learning format) through either e-mail:, or regular US mail to: Sue R. Rosner, SDIS, P.O. Box 314, La Jolla, CA 92038. I look forward to hearing from you. 

With my regards,
Sue R. Rosner 


Colloquy Cafe

We chose to discuss "obligation" at our August meeting.  It's a slippery word in that it can mean something one must do like caring for one's children but it also often means owing something to another to whom you've become obliged.  Beyond the personal are the multiple types of obligation we all encounter: legal, moral, political, civil and even cultural.  Different cultures have developed varieties of obligations, many of which are taken very seriously and can lead to variations of shame if not carried out.  An extreme example of a cultural obligation is the "honor killing" a family feels obligated to carry out in some cultures.  At the same time, duty and responsibility often overlap with obligation, making it difficult to come up with a concise definition.  Nonetheless, to have an obligation is an imposed requirement that we usually accept without question.  Our next discussion on September 17th will cover “anxiety."  For further information, email M.E. at


Culture One 

Culture One Study Group is considering several approaches to continue studying the origins, evolution, and development of humans. This should be resolved within the next month, and announced accordingly. For information, please contact Sue R. Rosner,


Culture Two

At its meeting on August 22 the Culture Two study group continued its study of Ashutosh Varshnay’s Battles Half Won: India’s Improbable Democracy. At its next meeting on Friday, September 26 the focus will be on Chapters 8 of this book dealing with caste and entrepreneurship as well as the final two chapters, 9 and 10, which focus on economic development (“why have poor democracies not eradicated poverty?” and “ democracy and markets in India”). After the September meeting the study group will continue its focus on India and has selected several additional readings which illuminate various aspects of India’s diverse culture. For further information or questions about this study group please write to Sam Gusman at


Film Group

The Film Group will meet Wednesday, September 3 at 10:00 a.m. at the home of Barbara Heckler to view the 2013 Palestinian film Omar.  Receiving numerous critical reviews, Omar was one of five finalists for Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards.  This film tells the story of a Palestinian baker who is coerced into becoming an informant.  Contact Barbara at for information about attending.


Literature Group

The Literary Group will meet Monday, September 22nd, at Maria Prokocimer's home at 10:30 a.m.  Please bring your lunch.  Larry Gartner will lead our discussion of Jack London's "Martin Eden," London's first novel.  (You can find it free on the internet.)  If you need directions, or can NOT make the meeting, please email Maria:


Neuroscience Group 

The next meeting of the Neuroscience Study Group is scheduled for Monday, September 29, 2014 at 3 PM at Bea Rose's home.  The new reading adventure chosen is 'Self Comes to Mind" Constructing the Conscious Brain by Antonio Damasio.  Our assignment is to finish Chapter 1 and read  Chapter 2.  Visitors are welcome but because of the constraints of space, it is wise to contact Bea at (858) 458-9263 or beforehand.


Supper with Scholars

Meets on the 1st Thursday of every month at 6 pm at Humphreys La Jolla Restaurant, 3299 Holiday Court, La Jolla, CA.  Meals from the menu (see ) are Dutch Treat.

You are invited to the next SDIS “Supper with Scholars” on Thursday, September 4 (see details in next paragraph).  If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Dave & Dorothy Parker at stating whether you are coming alone or bringing friend(s).

Group discussion is based on suggested topics that have particularly interested the attendees in the last month.  If possible, we select a question that can be addressed from the viewpoints of the various areas of expertise of the participants.    In SDIS we are lucky to have persons representing diverse scholarly areas, ranging from the humanities to natural sciences to social sciences to various professions.   We think that the exchange of interpretations between various disciplines leads to rich and informative discussions.  We hope you agree.   


Breakfast Roundtable

The “Breakfast Roundtable” gathers at Coco’s monthly, on Mondays from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. for breakfast and roundtable discussion.  Coco’s is located in University City at the intersection of Genesee and Nobel Drive in the Costa Verde Shopping Center.  The next meeting is on Monday, September 15th at 9:30 a.m. To make a reservation, contact Barbara Heckler at by the Saturday prior to the meeting.  Don’t hesitate to email at the last minute - we’ll make space!  


Donation in Memory of William M. Hawkins
SDIS Member, Leader and Major Contributor

SDIS gratefully acknowledges and accepts the generous $100.00 donation of Patricia R. Fouquet in memory of Wm M. Hawkins. The donation is to be contributed to the Helen Hawkins Memorial Research Fund which Wm Hawkins founded in honor of his wife, Helen Hawkins, an outstanding woman in her own right. 

It should also be noted that W. M. Hawkins was an active, devoted member of SDIS. Twice he served as speaker at SDIS monthly meetings, in September, 1998, on "Will civilization as we know it still exist?", and in March, 2004, on "Adventures of an amateur naturalist" based on his trip to Antarctica. In addition, Bill Hawkins served a two-year term as SDIS President, 2002-2004. SDIS members who knew Bill personally remember him fondly for his charm, friendly manner, and enthusiastic participation in SDIS. He leaves a legacy in his involvement and contributions to SDIS, and a precedent for others to continue to support the "Helen Hawkins Memorial Research Fund."