Scholars Notebook


Garden Party 

The annual SDIS Garden Party and Book Exchange will be Saturday, July 26, 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm, at the Point Loma home of Gerry Horwitz.  Bring a book you want to share and exchange with someone else.  Enjoy the company and Gerry’s lovely garden. A good opportunity to introduce a friend to SDIS.  More details to follow.


SDIS Gatherings


Breakfast Roundtable

We’ll meet at Coco’s on Monday, July 21, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 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.  It’s across the street from University Town Center.  To make a reservation, contact Barbara Heckler at by Saturday, July 19.  Don’t hesitate to call at the last minute – we’ll make space!


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.  Group discussion is based on topics suggested by participants.  Dave Parker's RSVP email is


Study Groups


Colloquy Café

At our 6/18/14 meeting, we discussed success.  Despite the fact that William James decried our "worship of the bitch-goddess success" as "our national disease," most people consider success as positive, something to strive for.  However, often one person's success equals another's failure, e.g., Bernie Madoff or Hitler or the person who got the job you really wanted.  Definitions of success are highly individualistic and "as numerous as the stars" as one writer put it.  Nevertheless, success equals happiness, unless it's posthumous success like Van Gogh's.  But if Andre Agassi really didn't enjoy playing tennis, we can suppose each victory brought him the happiness of winning, an example of an individual idea of success.  

The August Colloquy Café will meet on 7/16/14 at 1:30 when we'll discuss “class."  Anyone who would like to attend should contact M. E. Stratthaus at


Culture One

The next meeting of Culture One, July 23, 2014, 2:00 p.m., will continue its study of "Cultural Evolution." Having identified the key points of Chapter 4 (Evolutionary Foundations of Cultural Psychology) and of Chapter 18 (Cultural Evolution of the Shaping of Cultural Diversity) at its June meeting, the group expressed interest in conducting a rigorous analysis of the chapters: in particular, re-examining neo-Darwinian theory, organism, survival-reproduction, and cross-cultural universals (Chapter 4); as well as culture as a population-level phenomenon, co-evolution of genes-culture, and the culture version of evolutionary change (Chapter 18).  Contact Sue R. Rosner,, for information about this meeting. 


Culture Two

The next Culture Two Study Group meeting will occur on Friday, July 25. The group is discussing issues related to Ashutosh Varshney book, Battles Half Won, Indias Improbable Democracy. The July meeting will focus on Chapter 4, Contested Meanings: India’s National Identity, and Chapter 5, Ethnic Conflict and Civil Society: India and Beyond. For further information contact Sam Gusman at


Film Group

The Film Group will meet Wednesday, July 2, at 10:00 a.m. at the home of Barbara Heckler to view the 2012 documentary, Hava Nagila: The Movie.  Beginning in the Ukraine as wordless prayer, Hava Nagila has become a beloved song popular far beyond its Jewish roots.  Contact Barbara at for information about attending.


Literature Group

Betty Cortus will lead a discussion of three short stories by Thomas Hardy, “On the Western Circuit,” “The Fiddler of the Reels,” and “A Few Crusted Characters.”  Brown bag lunch at Cathy Blecki's house on Monday, July 21, 10:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. For further information, contact Cathy, (760) 603-8930.


Neuroscience Group

The Neuroscience group will be rescheduling their meeting date for July 28th at which time they will discuss David Eagleman's book "Incognito" and choose their next reading adventure. Meeting will be held at Bea Rose's apartment, 3-5 PM. Interested visitors should call Bea Rose (858) 458-9263 or contact her at for more information about the group and for seating availability.


Member Publication


The Truth About Your Height, by SDIS Vice President Tom Samaras, documents the effects of people’s size on health and reaches the conclusion that shorter people live longer. “His conclusions are as radical as when scientists told people the world is round and everyone thought it was flat.” (The Arts Monthly)

Tom originally published this “stunning manifesto” (Washington Post) in 1994.  It has just come out as an Amazon e-Book (Kindle).  More on this remarkable text to come.  Check out his website