Category: Activities (page 1 of 16)

Activities are gatherings that occur on a regular schedule, usually weekly, to enjoy a specific pastime.

Current Affairs: Single Payer for Healthcare, Nov 15, 2018

Discussion leader: Charlie Goodyear

Wandering-Roosevelt Island, Astoria Queens, Oct 2, 2018 (postponed from Sept 18)

Tuesday, October 2, is the first Wandering of the 2018-2019 program year.

The Wanderers will journey to Roosevelt Island in the East River and to Astoria, Queens.

We will take the 8:35am train out of Darien and the 8:38am out of Noroton Heights.  The group will gather in Grand Central Station at the information booth on the upper level.

 

We will take the subway to the 59th Street station for the Roosevelt Island tram, cross to the Island and walk through Four Freedoms Park and the FDR Memorial sculpture display.

 

 

 

Then, via the East River Ferry, we’ll go to Astoria, Queens.  We will walk by many of the local landmarks associated with the earliest days of the motion picture industry in the United States, through Socrates Sculpture Park and several other sights, and finally have lunch.

We will return by subway in the afternoon to Grand Central for the train ride home.

If it rains Tuesday, we will not go.  A new date will be announced at our regular weekly meeting the next day,

Contact: Joe Spain, 203.655.1264, jhspain@sbcglobal.com

Book Discussion: Destined for War : Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? by Graham T Allison

CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES ARE HEADING TOWARD A WAR NEITHER WANTS. The reason is Thucydides’s Trap, a deadly pattern of structural stress that results when a rising power challenges a ruling one. This phenomenon is as old as history itself. About the Peloponnesian War that devastated ancient Greece, the historian Thucydides explained: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” Over the past 500 years, these conditions have occurred sixteen times. Warbroke out in twelve of them. Today, as an unstoppable China approaches an immovable America and both Xi Jinping and Donald Trump promise to make their countries “great again,” the seventeenth case looks grim. Unless China is willing to scale back its ambitions or Washington can accept becoming number two in the Pacific, a trade conflict, cyberattack, or accident at sea could soon escalate into all-out war. In Destined for War, the eminent Harvard scholar Graham Allison explains why Thucydides’s Trap is the best lens for understanding U.S.-China relations in the twenty-first century. Through uncanny historical parallels and war scenarios, he shows how close we are to the unthinkable. Yet, stressing that war is not inevitable, Allison also reveals how clashing powers have kept the peace in the past — and what painful steps the United States and China must take to avoid disaster today

Hiking Zofnass Family Preserve in Pound Ridge on Tuesday,September 25th, 2018

Hiking Zofnass Family Preserve in Pound Ridge on Tuesday,
September 25, 2018  The Zofnass Family Preserve in Pound Ridge is a 150 acre property owned by the Westchester Land Trust.  At this time of the year it is a lush green. There are about 8 miles of trails over a rustic terrain. We will be hiking a loop of about 3 miles, which should be completed in about 2-2 ½ hours. This hike is not for beginners. The trail is
quite rugged with several ups and downs. You do need stamina and a sense ofbalance. Experienced hikers will find this hike in the rustic wilderness most enjoyable.

Due to limited parking space at the trailhead we will meet at 9.30 am at the Long Ridge​ Tavern located at 2635 Long Ridge Road, Stamford​ and car pool from there. Take Exit 34 off the Merritt Parkway and head north on Long Ridge Road for about 3.8 miles till you come to the Tavern on the right ( a red building just before the the blinking traffic light.)

From the Long Ridge Tavern the ride to the trailhead , located at 245 Upper Shad Road is about 5-8 minutes. We expect to start hiking by 9.45 am and finish by about 12.15
pm. Its a beautiful time of the year and the hike should be a rewarding experience.

Lunch will follow at the Long Ridge Tavern for those interested, about 12.30 pm.

We welcome participation from spouses.

Dogs on leash are allowed.

Contact for this hike: Sunil Saksena 203-561-8601 ssaksena44@gmail.com

 

Book Discussion: An Odyssey : a Father, a Son, and an Epic by Daniel Adam Mendelsohn,
October 10, 2018

When eighty-one-year-old Jay Mendelsohn decides to enroll in the undergraduate seminar on the Odyssey that his son Daniel teaches at Bard College, the two find themselves on an adventure as profoundly emotional as it is intellectual. For Jay, a retired research scientist who sees the world through a mathematician’s unforgiving eyes, this return to the classroom is his ‘one last chance’ to learn the great literature he’d neglected in his youth–and, even more, a final opportunity to more fully understand his son. But through the sometimes uncomfortable months that follow, as the two men explore Homer’s great work together–first in the classroom, where Jay persistently challenges his son’s interpretations, and then during a surprise-filled Mediterranean journey retracing Odysseus’ legendary voyages-it becomes clear that Daniel has much to learn, too: for Jay’s responses to both the text and the travels gradually uncover long-buried secrets that allow the son to understand his difficult father at last. As this intricately woven memoir builds to its wrenching climax, Mendelsohn’s narrative comes to echo the Odyssey itself, with its timeless themes of deception and recognition, marriage and children, the pleasures of travel and the meaning of home. Rich with literary and emotional insight, An Odyssey is a renowned author-scholar’s most revelatory entwining yet of personal narrative and literary exploration.”

Golf Outing, Oak Hills Park Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Our second outing this year is at Oak Hills Park, Norwalk, Tuesday, 17 July, starting at 12:30 pm.
Tee times will be assigned once registration is complete.
You are encouraged to arrive ahead of your tee time and enjoy lunch in the Clubhouse Grille.

To sign up, email Peter Carnes, picarnes@gmail.com.

Provide your handicap to facilitate pairing.

Fee is $50 (includes cart).

Confirmation and coordination will be via email during the week prior to play.

For directions to Oak Hills, go to. https://www.oakhillsgc.com/contact/directions-a-map

Current Affairs: Global Warming, Dec 13, 2018

Discussion leader:Jack Neafsey

Global Warming
What we probably agree on by Bob Baker:
Atmospheric CO2 levels are now at the highest of the past million years. This has occurred while CO2 emissions have risen since the start of the industrial revolution.

Current atmospheric level of 410 ppm compares to 280 ppm at start of industrial revolution
For the past 4-5 years CO2 emissions have leveled off at about 100 million tons per year.
This compares with about 60 million tons per year in 1990, when temperatures were rising.

Global temperatures have an erratic yr. to yr. change but have risen since 1950 by about .7 degree C at sea level and about 1 degree C at land surface.

In 1990, the temp. increases were at about their midpoint, such that if CO2 emissions were to drop to the 1990 level, we would not expect any decline in the rate of temperature increase.

The growth in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels has resulted from the consumer choice for consuming these fuels vs alternatives. The added cost for alternatives is not known.

What is at issue is the target in the “Paris Accords” to limit global temperature rise to 2.0 degrees C (but with a preferred target of a 1.5degree rise) in some target year. No agreed level of global emissions has been set; any reduction of atmospheric CO2 will need “CO2 capture and containment” which has not been demonstrated as feasible on a large scale. Lowering CO2 emissions does not lower atmospheric CO2 levels.

Estimated costs for meaningful reductions in fossil fuel use are huge, with the assumption that these will offset future costs of higher world temperatures.

About a billion persons do not have access to a reliable supply of electricity. What is the optimum method/cost for meeting this demand?

Several humanitarian uses for large expenditures can be identified which can yield with near-term results. (Between and one and two million persons die each year: lack of clean water, malaria, HIV and malnutrition).

What is the best use of huge mandated expenditures?

What’s with this wild weather? Blame an ‘extreme’ jet stream pattern.
The Washington Post

“Even veteran meteorologists with decades of experience are astounded,” said Capital Weather Gang’s severe weather expert.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2018/07/25/extreme-jet-stream-pattern-has-spurred-a-week-of-wild-weather-in-u-s/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.36353023b7f0

Current Affairs: Immigration Revisited, September 20, 2018

Discussion leaders: David Mace & Charlie Goodyear

Migrants Are on the Rise Around the World, and Myths About Them Are Shaping Attitudes – The New York Times
Migrants Around the World

Key facts about U.S. immigration policies and proposed changes | Pew Research Center
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/02/26/key-facts-about-u-s-immigration-policies-and-proposed-changes/

Companies Say Trump Is Hurting Business by Limiting Legal Immigration – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/02/business/trump-legal-immigration-h1b-visas.html?action=click&module=Top Stories&pgtype=Homepage


https://www.wola.org/analysis/fact-sheet-united-states-immigration-central-american-asylum-seekers/

https://www.epi.org/publication/immigration-facts/

https://theconversation.com/us/topics/immigration-411

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/16/us/immigration-family-chain-migration-foreign-born.html?action=click&module=Top Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Current Affairs: International Trade, October 18, 2018

Discussion leader: Harris Hester

Foreign Affairs.  Three Cheers for Trump’s Foreign Policy: What the establishment misses by Randy Schweller

Foreign Affairs & Trade

China’s Small Share of an iphone

China’s Share of iphone

This is a brief fact check on the relationship between the federal deficit and the trade deficit.

http://www.crfb.org/blogs/did-trade-deficit-cause-20-trillion-debt

This is a more in depth analysis of the same thing.

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/us-trade-deficit-not-debt-repay

 

 

June 19, 2018: Last Wandering until September

Taylor Strubinger reports that on Tuesday, June 19, the Happy Wanderers will visit the area west of Lincoln Center.

After a short refreshment, we will continue in our effort to walk the entire Hudson River Greenway one section at a time.

This Tuesday, we will walk the Greenway from W. 74th Street to W. 34th Street.

Previously, we walked the Highline portion of the Greenway that runs from W. 34th Street to W. 12th Street.

We will be on the 8:36 a.m. train out of Darien and the 8:39 a.m. from Noroton. We will gather at the Information Booth in Grand Central Station before starting off.

Come join us.

Moscow Nights : the Van Cliburn Story : How One Man and His Piano Transformed the Cold War by Nigel Cliff, July 11, 2018

Note we’ll meet on summer hours – 9:00 Mather Center.

Gripping narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic story of a remarkable young Texan pianist, Van Cliburn, who played his way through the wall of fear built by the Cold War, won the hearts of the American and Russian people, and eased tensions between two superpowers on the brink of nuclear war.

In 1958, an unheralded twenty-three-year-old piano prodigy from Texas named Van Cliburn traveled to Moscow to compete in the First International Tchaikovsky Competition. The Soviets had no intention of bestowing their coveted prize on an unknown American; a Russian pianist had already been chosen to win. Yet when the gangly Texan with the shy grin took the stage and began to play, he instantly captivated an entire nation.

The Soviet people were charmed by Van Cliburn’s extraordinary talent, passion, and fresh-faced innocence, but it was his palpable love for the music that earned their devotion; for many, he played more like a Russian than their own musicians. As enraptured crowds mobbed Cliburn’s performances, pressure mounted to award him the competition prize. “Is he the best?” Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev demanded of the judges. “In that case . . . give him the prize!”

Adored by millions in the USSR, Cliburn returned to a thunderous hero’s welcome in the USA and became, for a time, an ambassador of hope for two dangerously hostile superpowers. In this thrilling, impeccably researched account, Nigel Cliff recreates the drama and tension of the Cold War era, and brings into focus the gifted musician and deeply compelling figure whose music would temporarily bridge the divide between two dangerously hostile powers.

 

Recommended by Gary Banks

Hike the Mianus River Gorge, May 29, 2018

Hiking Mianus River Gorg​e
167 Mianus River Road,
Bedford, NY 10506
Tuesday May 29, 2018
10.30 am

 

We will be hiking Mianus River Gorge in Bedford on Tuesday. May 29, 2018 at 10.30
am​ ( Note this 30 min later than our usual 10.00 am start).

The Gorge is a 750 acre preserve of old-growth forest that was established more than sixty years ago as the first
land project of the Nature Conservancy.  While the main trail is 4 miles long, part of it has been rendered inaccessible since a short stretch runs through private property over which the owners have recently denied access to the public. Thus our hike will be a relatively short one: a 2.5 mile loop. The outbound portion of the loop consists of a couple of sustained climbs along a gradual slope. The return is largely downward. The trail is well kept, well marked and rugged in
places. Visitors have the sense of a remote wilderness in the midst of an urban area. The gorge area is quite beautiful at this time of the year with the leaves providing plenty of shade. This promises to be a particularly enjoyable hike. Spouse are welcome.

Starting at 10.30, we should be done hiking by 12 noon. Lunch for the hungry will follow at the Long Ridge Tavern, 2635 Long Ridge Road, Stamford.

Directions: ( Google maps;Mianus River Gorge, Bedford)
Proceed South on the Merritt and take Exit 34 ( Long Ridge Road).
At the bottom of the exit ramp make a right and proceed north on Long Ridge approx
7.3 miles.
Make a left on Millers Mill Road and then after crossing the bridge, make another left on Mianus River Road (a dirt road).
About a half mile down this dirt road on the left is the entrance to the Mianus River Gorge. Plenty of parking is available.
Be alert​: its easy to miss Miller’s Mill Road. Check your odometer when you enter LongRidge Road from the Merritt so you know when you have traveled 7.3 miles. Two helpfullandmarks to watch for: Twin Lakes Drive on the right come just before you turn left onMiller’s Run. Also house number 116 on the right is just across the road from Miller’s Run.

Contact for this hike: Sunil Saksena, ssaksena44@gmail.com, 203-561-8601 Cell

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