Prof. Richard A. Kowaleski

Programs Chair Terry Sweeney, in his last assignment for the 2015-6 Rotary Year, introduced our Speaker for the day. He said that Professor Richard Andrew Kowaleski who teaches critical thinking at California State University, Sacramento for the university's Renaissance Society. he has been researching why humans act in ways that are counterproductive, or seem to be. Hence, the title of his presentation, Strange Human Behavior.
Professor Kowaleski previously taught engineering and mathematics for Sac State's College of Engineering and Computer Science, and before that he taught similar courses at the United States Air Force Academy.
He has been a member of the Rotary Club of Sacramento since 1979, and he is currently serving his ninth term on the District staff as chair of the District Speakers Bureau.
Richard began by throwing out to the audience a variety of questions that he would ask his students and what their response would be. Questions like "What do you think the upper limit of poverty level income is? and What do you think is the lower limit of the top 1% of income?" How you answer the question tells the researcher a lot more about the bias of the person who answers than the question. For instance, if you make a high income, you might raise the upper limit of poverty (from your view) and raise the lower limit of the top 1%. The answers from the audience were all over the map - I said 1.5 million is the lower limit of the top 1%. It is actually $350,000.
Richard went through many interesting and funny examples where we come up short in our critical thinking - too many for my not too nimble mind to recall here.
He finished by showing us a book entitled, "How to Make Your Man Behave in 21 Days, using the secrets of a professional dog trainer" by Karen Salmansohi.  It was a very entertaining presentation and makes one wonder if one's political bias is based in reality. 
President Bunting assured Professor Kowalewski that in honor of his lecture, a book will be donated to the Carmichael Library.
President Ed