The Surf Beat: November 6th, 2018

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November 6th, 2018 

President Kevin Quinn began the meeting with a quiz about elections:

  • Why a Tuesday in November? In 1792, law officially designated this day as Election Day each year because this guaranteed that no more than 34 days could pass between the first Wednesday in December, which is when the Electoral College met to vote on the President and Vice President. An early November date was also considered a wise idea because it enabled more voters to go to the polls. Back then, most Americans were farmers, so this date ensured that farmers weren’t trying to find time to vote during the busy harvest season but the date wasn’t so late in the year that voters needed to battle winter storms while they walked, rode horses, or drove buggies to the polls.
  • Prison Votes? Felons in both Maine and Vermont are allowed to vote and have been allowed since those states were founded in 1820 and 1872, respectively.
  • Never voted? President Zachary Taylor never once voted prior to his electoral victory. He never voted and kept his political beliefs a secret all up until his 1848 election.
  • Ages, young and old. Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest person to ever become president. He was only 42 years old, and as William McKinley’s vice president, became president when McKinley was assassinated. President John F. Kennedy was the youngest to be elected to the office, aged 43 years when he was elected. Who are the oldest presidents? Donald Trump is the oldest to be elected at 70 years of age, while Ronald Reagan was the oldest to hold the office – he was 77 years old when his presidency ended.
  • Raise your hand. In the early days, votes were not cast by a secret ballot but by raising hands or by voice. By the mid-1800s, some states were using paper ballots but voters or party leaders were responsible for bringing the ballots to the polls and the votes were public. Massachusetts was the first state to pass a law requiring ballots to be secret in 1888. The trend spread across the United States and in 1891, Kentucky was the last state to adopt this law.
  • Old enough to vote? The legal voting age across the United States was once 21 but in 1943, Georgia became the first state to lower the legal voting age to 18. This became an official part of the U.S. Constitution when the Twenty-Sixth Amendment was ratified in 1971.
  • Get to the polls! About 60% on average turn out for presidential elections while only 40% come to the polls during midterm elections. For local elections, the turnout is even lower, with an average of about 26% of voters turning out – and some mayors have been elected with fewer than 10% of voters coming to the polls.
  • Boozy campaigns. George Washington’s entire campaign budget for his 1758 election to the House of Burgesses was spent on liquor – 50 British pounds to purchase 160 gallons of alcohol that was given to 390 voters. This was a tradition in England, one that Washington borrowed and employed in Virginia.
  • The Nineteenth Amendment, adopted in 1920, gave women the right to vote. Since 1964, more women voters have gone to the polls than male voters during presidential election years.
  • Gerald Ford is the only person who served as president and vice president without having been elected to either office.

Invocation: Bill Boehm

Pledge: David Shaw accompanied by a visiting avian (see picture)

Song: Ken King led us in “America the Beautiful”

Rotary Welcomed….

Rev. Mark Hargreaves the Rector of St. James by the Sea, and Dr. John Bauer, Dean for Biological Sciences at UCSD.


  • Immediately following this meeting there will be a meeting of the Nominating Committee made up of the current president, past presidents, and the president elect

  • Laurnie Durisoe announced the USO Thanksgiving event on November 22 with multiple Rotary Club of La Jolla members already participating.
  • Cindy Goodman announced the Alison Brown concert, January 19 at the Athenaeum. The concert is a Rotary fundraiser for our Club.
  • La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club will host Rotary International President Barry Rassin at a January 11, 2019 meeting. The January 11th meeting will be held at the Braille Institute. Our Club needs to provide a headcount in advance to help them plan for the breakfast meeting. Cost for breakfast is $25 per person.
  • Penny Shurtleff announced the Holiday Sing-along on December 6th– 6:30 to 8 p.m. at League House.
  • Our Club’s Holiday Party is set for Tuesday, December4, 2018 at 5:30PM per Bill Burch.
  • Please Save the date -Saturday, November 10 for Noche de Catrinas, an event sponsored by Rotary Club of Tijuana.

  • John Donaldson announced that he and Craig Schniepp rang the bell at Von’s for Salvation Army last year. They need two bell ringers every hour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15.
  • Kevin Quinn announced there will be a regular board meeting tomorrow night at 5 p.m. at Peter Nguyen’s office

Happy Bucks:

  • Sally Fuller is happy to announce the Women and Leadership Conference. Also, La Jolla Town Council will have a conference on Drones.

  • David Shaw announced that the John Vaughn Scholars Lab students honored the late John Vaughn with a Dia de los Muertos(Day of the Dead) altar and presentation about the symbols of Dia de los Muertos.

Update from Abroad: Rotary Club of La Jolla meet-up in London! (L. to r.) Cal Mann, Susan Stevens, Dave Weston, Marc Lanci (and Tina)

Speaker: Dr. Joanna Davies, SD Biomedical Institute for Research

Charles Hartford introduced our speaker, Dr. Joanna Davies, founder and CEO of the San Diego Biomedical Institute for Research (SDBIR). She is passionate about bringing scientists together from multiple disciplines. The goal of SDBIR is to predict and prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer. The organization repurposes information from one discipline to apply to another.

During its 5 years, the institute has regularly rotated board members that represent multiple disciplines, including scientists.  Present board members include the COO from Sanford Burnham.  The Institute business plan is setup to maximize utilization of resources. The institute shares space and shares resources with other institutions. It uses grant funding but also collaborates with other research institutes on La Jolla Mesa including renting equipment from them.

A principle interest is in the intersection between the immune system, inflammation and metabolism. Diseases of interest includes Type 2 Diabetes, neurological disorders, cancer, muscle wasting, Type 1 Diabetes, lupus and MS. The Institute looks at the effects of a primary disease on secondary diseases.  As we age, we have an imbalance between immune deficiency and inflammation and metabolic disorders. The institute is looking for patterns where one disease may lead to worsening or development of another –  for example when you have type 2 diabetes, you are at risk of having cancer; when you have cancer, you have higher risk of another cancer; when you have a smaller muscle mass, you have a greater risk of cancer recurrence.  The best indicator of risk is handgrip strength. If you have higher handgrip strength, you have a lower risk of cancer spread. Immune cells attack early cancer cells (immune surveillance).  If you have immune deficiency, you are more likely to have cancer and to get cancer again.

Question: does the immune system talk to muscles? If you measure handgrip strength and muscle mass in men with gastric cancer, ‘you will find that’ certain protective immune cells are more common in men with strong handgrip strength. Somehow muscles communicate with immune cells. Other immune cells stop the first cells from working; the higher their count, the weaker the handgrip strength. A scientific question they will be addressing is whether muscle training can reverse the weakness and the immune deficiency.

In studying neurocognitive disorders, the institute is working with immunologists and infectious disease experts. If there is a lot of inflammation, one is more likely to have neurocognitive disorder.  As we get older, we are more likely to have an increased number of inflammatory proteins. Another question the institute will be addressing is whether agents that reduce inflammatory proteins can reduce development of neurocognitive disorders.

In children with Type 1 Diabetes, it is known that after initial stabilization of blood sugars, there is a ”honeymoon” period.  We can predict length of remission by level of CD25*CD127 cells. A longer remission is associated with higher levels of these cells.  Because this study would require enormous resources, they are collaborating with physicians from all over the world and using their data to confirm this correlation.

Dr. Davies acknowledged that scientists are not the best communicators. The institute is working on generating a data set online to share data worldwide. The data they are interested in are: “IllnOME” and “WellnOME” — that is, the properties of people who are ill and the properties of people who are well from a genetic standpoint.

Institute funding comes from the following sources: 94% NIH grants, 5% States and Foundations and 1% from philanthropy. The institute also will have intellectual property that is marketable.

Closing Quote: 

“Ohio claims they are due a president, as they haven’t had one since Taft.  Look at the United States; they have not had one since Lincoln.” ~Will Rogers


Surf Beat:

 Reported by David Shaw.   Photos By David Shaw and Judy Nelson .  Edited by Diane Salisbury.

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