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Course Schedules

2020 LIRA Summer Intersession Schedule

Most programs are on Wednesday mornings from 10 a.m.–Noon.
Exceptions: The June 25 program is on a Thursday and the July 29 program is from 1–3 p.m.

The General Public is invited to all LIRA Summer Intersession programs. If you are not a member of LIRA send email with your name and home address to for information on accessing these Zoom video presentations. Please indicate whether you are interested in specific programs or MOST or ALL programs.

Ranking the First Ladies / The Presidential Book of Lists
Presenter: Ian Randal Strock
Wednesday June 3, 10 a.m. - Noon
Author and Editor Ian Randal Strock will speak about his books “Ranking the First Ladies” and “The Presidential Book of Lists.”  You can find Ian at his website
Coordinator: Bev Rudeen*

Presenter: Chris Wilkinson
Wednesday June 10, 10 a.m. - Noon
Is cryptocurrency the global currency of the future? Has the bitcoin bubble already come crashing down? Join us as we unpack cryptocurrency and what it means to consumers. UMass Lowell’s Chris Wilkinson, an adjunct professor in political science explores cryptocurrencies and how these new financial mechanisms work. The talk covers the rise, fall and rise again of Bitcoin and alternative-coins as well as why the underlying distributed architecture of cryptographic digital assets are important for everything from medical records to artificial intelligence.
Coordinator: Nancy Pitkin*

My Life in Japan – Reflections on Living and Working in Japan for Over 25 Years
Presenter: Marie Gleason- Tada*
Wednesday June 17, 10 a.m. – Noon
From 1971 to 1996, and continuing to the present, Marie has had a unique experience with Japanese life and culture. Please join her as she shares with the LIRA community her personal experiences along with insights into Japan’s extraordinary history, culture and traditions.
Coordinator: Peter Sebelius*

Narcissism: The Imbalance of Loving Self and Loving Others
Presenter: Dr. Arnie Kerzner
Thursday June 25, 10 a.m. – Noon
Feeling loved and loving another are two of the most fundamental needs for healthy development. When does self-love become a clinical syndrome of narcissism? What are the origins of this condition? Are there different “degrees of narcissism”? Are there positive and negative aspects? In tine, can one change, learn and grow from this condition?
Coordinator: Peter Sebelius*

Are We Alone? The Search for Life Beyond Earth
Presenter: Kelly Beatty
Wednesday July 8, 10 a.m. - Noon
Our galaxy likely contains more planets than stars, so what are the odds of finding distant Earth-like worlds that teem with life? Is it possible inhabitants of another planet are trying to contact us—and would we be able to recognize extraterrestrial life if it exists? To answer these questions, Kelly Beatty, senior editor of Sky & Telescope magazine, traces a scientific quest that reaches back in time and across the vastness of space.
Coordinator: James Rutter*

Hollywood Blacklist
Presenter: Dan Kimmel
Wednesday July 15, 10 a.m. - Noon
In October 1947 the House Un-American Activities Committee began a series of hearings on the relation between communism and Hollywood. Within months, 10 writers/directors/producers were going to prison for contempt of Congress and the industry announced they would not employ anyone who could not clear themselves of the charge of being a communist sympathizer.  For the next fifteen years the blacklist would be a chapter of the nationwide Red Scare, where people named names of others to clear themselves, or else found other ways to try and survive. Daniel M. Kimmel, co-author of the play “The Waldorf Conference,” about the birth of the blacklist, will take us through the history of the era: the good, the bad, and the ironic.
Coordinator: Lisa  Hertel*

A Virtual Tour through Geologic Time in Zion, Bryce and the Grand Canyon National Parks
Presenter: Professor Lori Weeden
Wednesday July 22, 10 a.m. - Noon
Some of the most visited places in the United States are the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. These exceptionally beautiful areas represent pages from a book of the geologic past. Join us as we explore expansive deserts, inland seas, and volcanoes. You may need to schedule a trip in person soon!
Coordinator: Suzanne Gamache*

July 29: Election 2020: There is nothing normal this time
Presenter: Professor Frank Talty
Wednesday July 29, 1-3 p.m.
On the day of this presentation, we will be less than 100 days until the November 3rd national election. In this mini-class, we will look at the Presidential race, latest poll numbers, state by state analysis and Electoral Vote projections. We will also look at the 35 US Senate seats being decided on November 3rd and at some important US House seats. While we can't predict the impact of the Corona virus on the election, the pandemic and its disruption of all aspects of life will certainly be woven into our analysis of this important US election.
Coordinator: Sally Coulter*

* Indicates Lira member