Tonight at Kepler's: Perils facing planet


For a scientific person-to-person perspective on some of the planet's most serious ongoing troubles, you can hardly do better than to hear from the trio that is coming to Kepler's Books in Menlo Park for an hour-long presentation that begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14.

Set to speak on this stop of "The Rattler Tour" are Harvard biology professor and notable naturalist Edward O. Wilson; Rebecca D. Costa, author of "The Watchman's Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction"; and Michael M. Merzenich, a professor emeritus of neuroscience at University of California at San Francisco and the founder of Posit Science, a brain-fitness software firm.

The topics to be considered in this "unscripted conversation with the public about what must be done for humankind to move forward" include terrorism, the great recession, depletion of the earth's resources, climate change, pandemic viruses, obesity and the declining quality of education, the statement said.

Stanford University lecturer, author and journalist Thomas Hayden will moderate the panel.

In earlier times, rattlers "patrolled neighborhoods, lighthouses and important institutions, watching for early signs of danger," Ms. Costa says in her book. "The sound of the watchman's rattle was an alarm."

Modern rattlers include Al Gore on climate change, Queen Noor of Jordan on nuclear proliferation, and philanthropist Bill Gates on the spread of preventable diseases.

Kepler's is at 1010 El Camino Real at the corner of Ravenswood Avenue.


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