Palo Alto Weekly

News - August 19, 2011

Around Town

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN ... With the 100th anniversary of women's right to vote in California fast approaching, the League of Women Voters of Palo Alto took time out Tuesday evening to commemorate the milestone at the Garden Court Hotel. California's men voted on Oct. 10, 1911, to give women their voting rights, making the state the sixth in the nation to approve, nine years before the adoption of the federal Nineteenth Amendment. According to the League, Palo Alto had many active suffragists: Virginia (Jennie) Arnott, state auditor for the Equal Suffrage Association; Mary Grafton Campbell, organizer of the Woman's Club; Anita (Annie) Corbert, president of the local Political Equality Club, which educated men and women on the cause of women's suffrage; Anna Zschokke, another co-founder and officer of the club; Sarah Wallis, who held suffrage meetings with leaders like Elizabeth Cady Stanton at her Mayfield Farm home; and Alice Park, an adept publicist for the cause throughout the world. Mayor Sid Espinosa was invited to be the guest speaker Tuesday night, and he admitted to feeling "slightly uncomfortable" addressing the League on the topic, given that (a) he is not a woman and (b) he supposed that most in the room knew the suffrage history better than he does and would always understand the fight for women's equality better than he would. "But alas, here I am. This is what you've got," he said, to laughter. Espinosa's talk, "Three revolutions and one question," touched upon the continuing fight for rights throughout the world. Citing youth revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, which were facilitated by social media such as Twitter and Facebook, he said that "courage, common cause and teamwork" were clearly the most important assets for the youth, as they were for suffragists. And, he predicted, technology will play a role in advocating for women's rights around the globe. A video of the event is posted on www.PaloAltoOnline.com.

BLOODY GOOD ... Donating blood is a way to give back to the community and maybe even help save a life, but donors who give blood via Stanford Blood Center during the first two weeks of September will receive a bonus besides good karma and brownie points: access to a networking event for those seeking a new career. The Giving Blood Works event, held Tuesday, Sept. 13, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at 3373 Hillview Ave., Palo Alto, will feature Career Generations counselors, representatives from Foothill College Career College Connection, individual resume critiques and recruiters from institutions including the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Option 1 Staffing and others. The blood center hosted two identical drives in 2009, after it saw a decline in blood donations due to a decrease in workplace drives, according to the Wall Street Journal. Spokesman John Williams said he believes the center is the only one in the world offering the program.

FREE FOR ALL ... Close to 88,000 people from more than 175 countries have expressed interest in taking a free, online course, "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence," offered through the Stanford School of Engineering. Even if they all ultimately register, there should be no problem accessing the short video lectures, according to Jamie Beckett, director of communications and alumni for the School of Engineering, because not all will be "in class" at the same time. The course, taught by Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford research professor of computer science and a Google fellow, and Peter Norvig, Google director of research, requires about 12 hours a week of reading, completing assignments and taking quizzes and an exam, just like the course aimed at Stanford students. What students will lack will be one-on-one interaction with professors — and a degree. Stanford is billing the project as "an experiment that could transform the way online education is delivered." Another 31,000 have expressed interest in two other computer-science courses, "Machine Learning" and "Introduction to Databases," which will also be offered online. Classes start Oct. 10. Students should have some knowledge of linear algebra and probability theory before taking the course, Beckett said.

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