December 9, 2021
Westwood Village Rotary Club

Coming up on December 16th

Our first "in person" luncheon meeting since March 12, 2020 - don't miss it! Let Tom Barron know you are coming.  Guido's Restaurant is located at 11980 Santa Monica Blvd.

Westwood Virtual Rotary Club Meeting for December 9, 2021

PP Tom Barron got us started on time even without a bell and called on
Nevan Senkan to lead us briskly through the Pledge to the Flag. Tom next
called on PP Steve Scherer to share his thought for the day. Steve said that
thinking about our speaker today, he considered the vastness of the Heavens.
The Holy resides upwards, it seems, and also in us and Steve ended quoting
“How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place.” 

PP Admiral Edwin Gauld was summoned to raise our spirits. Since
December 7 was only two days ago, he sang “Remember Pearl Harbor” and
commented that the “infamous day” was a tactical victory but a strategic blunder.
I do remember hearing that the first Japanese troops to realize this were those
captured and shipped from the West Coast to internment camps by rail, a
journey of endless day after day. The lesson: never waken this giant!
Phil Gabriel gave a shout out to a Special Guest online today: Vladmir Zadykien,
who works at Korn Ferry. Also, Mark Rogo’s Special Guest is a neighbor, Nancy

            PP Tom announced that our Holiday Luncheon will convene at Guido’s
next Thursday in West LA for those vaccinated. Bringing a $20 gift will qualify you
for the exchange. Phil Gabriel added that this very evening at 6:00, he would be
delivering 26 meals for the children attending the Holiday Party at the Salvation
Army Transitional Housing Center on Sepulveda. Call Phil for the Zoom link.
Thanks to all of you who shopped for the kids’ families this year!

            PP Tom (strange ring to that moniker) announced the BOD meets next
Monday, Dec. 13 at 5:30PM-I believe at his home.
We hope to resume semi-weekly WVRC meetings at the Luskin Center when they
reopen in February. Sadly, PP and Future President Chris Gaynor informed us
of his mother’s passing. The family will hold a private service.

           John O’Keefe, our relentless speaker Chair, breathlessly informed us
that our Speaker today is Dr. John Mulchaey. John is the Director and Chair
of the Board of the Carnegie Observatories (both Pasadena and Chile) and one
educator so entertaining that John invited him back. His favorite topic: Search
for Life in the Universe. We share his enthusiasm! Dr. John began with some
staggering statistics which left us dizzy. Mankind is aware of about 5,000 nearby
“exoplanets” (not in our Solar System), but we have to extrapolate Big Time if
we try to estimate how many are out there just too far away to see. We can see
about 3000 galaxies of stars in a small pinch of the sky, so perhaps there are
10 Trillion galaxies with 1 Trillion stars each with an average 5 planets. The odds
of life on other planets are, then, this astronomically large. As Fermi exclaimed,
“Where are those guys?” Well, we can only see the 5000 nearest planets and
have been sending out radio waves from Earth for 70 years. Worse, those radio
waves are probably not intelligible outside of our Solar System. Maybe a lazer
could contact other life if we knew where to aim it. 

           So, as an alternative search, we are building a 24-story tall new Giant
Magellan Telescope in Chile to search for oxygen on other planets, since oxygen
is present in the atmosphere only if there is life. In the 1950s, I learned that
Mars is the only planet in our Solar System that has a temperature resembling
that of Earth and concluded we’d have to go much further to find life. Now we
have hopes of finding signs of life on various moons of Jupiter and Saturn since
“explosions” of liquid oceans escape from their surfaces. 

Another consideration is evolution. It took man 4 Billion years to stand
erect on Earth. Planets are of varying ages, so life may show up much
earlier than our civilization or much later. Earthmen’s cosmic rendezvous with
other life may never occur and that Star Wars’ crazy alien bar crowd may never
gather here, I concluded, sadder, but wiser.

           But we won’t ever find “them” if we don’t look, so John O’Keefe asked
the seminal question: How does one make a living as an astronomer? There are
currently only about ten thousand astronomers, but more students are entering
the study this century. Unfortunately, all astronomers can’t spend all their time
exploring for alien life as it requires a substantial endowment like
Carnegie, NASA, or another national government. 

           For us amateurs, there are scientifically accurately movies like “Contact”
(1997), novel by Carl Sagan (Cornell) where the photogenic stars like Jody Foster
are successful in reaching alien life forms. We’ve got another five billion years
before our sun explodes, so let’s get to it! The US Space Force probably has
some hot leads by now!

           John was right to invite Dr. MulChaey again and we thank them both. The
next step for WVRC is to create a Chair for the Search for Life!

YOPP Dwight

WVRC 2020/2021 Leadership Team
President: Nancy McCready
Treasurer: Terry M. White
Youth/Vocational Service: Phil Gabriel
Director/Peace: PP Marsha Hunt
Foundation: PP Steve Day
Global Scholarships: PP Chris Bradford
Webmaster: PP Ron Lyster
Director/Merchant Minute: PP Mark Rogo
District Governor: Bette Hall
Immediate Past President: Diane Good
Secretary: PP Diane Good
Community Service: Aaron Donahue
International Service: Nevin Senkan
Program Chair: PP Tom Barron
Membership: PP Mike Newman
Director/Social Media: PP Aly Shoji
Windmill Editor: P Nancy McCready
Assistant District Governor: Michael Lushing