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Stanford Memorial Church

The Stanford Memorial Church is a relic of the original Stanford University campus.

The Church was built to honor Elizabeth Stanford, one of the founders of the university.

The church was built in an eastern world style with various religious inscriptions on most of the walls.

In addition to the inscriptions there is artwork and stained glass windows on the walls.

Here is a historical photo of the Memorial Church shortly after it was built.

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The Blackhawk Museums

On May 12, 2018 I had the opportunity to see the Spirit of the West Museum, which was created by Ken Behring, the CEO of Blackhawk.

Currently the museum building holds an antique car lot, with American, French, British, Italian vehicles, and the model of the first car manufactured entirely in China that President Nixon rode during his first trip to see Chairman Mao Zedong.

The Chinese portion of the museum hosts a Buddhist temple, a sculpture of the imperial dragon and an exhibit on the forbidden city.

The Blackhawk musuem also consisted of the Art of Africa exhibit.

Ambassador Earl Eikenberry, Flashback 2017, Stanford University, Uncategorized

Flashback 2017: Former Ambassador Earl Eikenberry Speaks at Stanford University

Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, with Erik Jensen and Mehdi Hakimi

In November 2017, I saw former Obama administration ambassador Earl Eikenberry spoke on a panel, with Erik Jensen and Mehdi Hakimi.  The topics were the ongoing war in Afghanistan and the educational development of the country after the US led war against the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden’s Al Queda in began in October 2003.  There were promising statistics, such as the increased enrollment of women in grade level schools, and colleges in that country.   In 2017, about half of the students enrolled with the law school of the American University of Afghanistan were women.

The panel discussed that there has been opposition to progress amungst traditionalists and hardliners sympathetic to conservative Islamic rule.  American University faced multiple attacks from the Taliban, due to conservative Islamic objection to the westernization of Afghani students through that institution.  Since then, the school has added additional security and barriers to prevent future attacks from the Taliban and other groups.

You can read more about the American University of Afghanistan’s recovery after the multiple Taliban attacks in August 2017 here:

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/04/05/a-triumph-in-afghanistan-as-the-american-university-in-kabul-reopens/

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President Obama’s Photographer Speaks at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium

On May 11, 2018 Pete Souza, the personal photographer for Barack Obama spoke at the National Civic Auditorium in Santa Cruz. Pete Souza began his photography career working for a locals newspaper in Kansas, which gave him three to four photography assignments a day.

Pete worked with Obama at the time he was a US Senator and had photographed the Obama family during a family trip to Kenya. Pete mentioned that he had a picture of the daughters reaction to a wilderbeast being eaten by a lion during a safari and another of Obama and his daughter Sasha opening the door to Mandela’s former jail cell. Pete obtained a top secret clearance once Obama was elected, so that he could photograph Obama in the situation room and during other military meetings. While the photographer was privy to listen to classified materials, he could not get access to physical classified documents while archiving events. Pete continued to be the photographer for the entire duration of Obama’s Presidency.

Pete mentioned that an act of Congress made it illegal for him to delete any photos that he took of the president. In addition, after 12 years after President Obama’s last day in office, all photos taken of Obama, excluding those Obama chooses not to share of him with family, will be made public.

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Giacomo Casanova Wrote A Science Fiction Influenced By Benjamin Franklin’s Concepts of Future Air Travel

Italian writer Giacomo Casanova had written a science fiction book, near the end of his life, called, “Icosameron, or the Story Of Edward and Elizabeth: Who Spent Eighty-One Years in the Land Of the Megamicers”.

Casanova met Benjamin Franklin during the Italian writer’s last trip to Paris in 1783. Benjamin Franklin’s concepts of future air travel influenced some of the plot in his novel.