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Richard Aspinall

When?
Wednesday, September 13 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Richard Aspinall

What's the talk about?

Immortality has held us fascinated throughout history and there are many examples of individuals searching for the elixir of life or the fountain of youth because they wished to live forever. There are even reports that some like the Comte de St Germain have succeeded...

More recently the goals have been modified or even shifted slightly with reports that rather than being immortal we will soon be able to live to be 1000 years old, that’s if we start treating the body like a machine and replacing those bits that wear out with time.

All of this seems plausible and the problems seem to be associated with the issues of overcrowding, supporting ourselves or how do we pay for the treatments. This skips over the first problem which is how we identify age related changes in the body and deal with them. None of us want to end up like Tithonus who was made immortal by Zeus, but forgot to ask for eternal youth and as he aged he withered and begged for death.

--

Professor Richard Aspinall is a recognised expert in the area of age associated immune deficiencies and issues concerning vaccination in older people.

He is a member of the British Society for Immunology, the British Transplantation Society and the British Society for Research on Ageing. He has been a Member of MRC College of Experts, a member of the Board of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Postgraduate Medical School, Chairman of the British Society for Research on Ageing and a consultant for several major pharmaceutical companies.

Exploring the Brain's Electricity

Mark Dallas

When?
Wednesday, August 9 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Mark Dallas

What's the talk about?

Here we will explore the wonders of neuroscience and the power of our own bodies' electricity. From Frankenstein to neuroprosthetics, this presentation will delve into how we can record this electricity, what it means and how we can harness it for amazing things.

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Dr. Mark Dallas is a lecturer in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience at the University of Reading. His research focuses on understanding Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Dr Dallas has published many research papers in prominent journals such as the Journal of Neuroscience and the British Journal of Pharmacology.

How one ex Jehovah's Witness fell into the 'trap of independent thinking'

Lydia Finch

When?
Wednesday, July 12 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Lydia Finch

What's the talk about?

Lydia Finch was born and raised a Jehovah's Witness (JW), but left the organisation at age 18 over twenty years ago.  Recently, she has directed her attention to the harmful practices of JWs and other cults, such as shunning, child abuse, and the forbidding of blood transfusions.

Ms. Finch wants to expose the workings of these cults - historically the purview of atheist, secular, and humanist organisations - and show why, although Jehovah's Witnesses are considered a small fringe religion, their policies should concern the wider community.

--

Twitter: @FinchLydia

Rumit Somaiya

When?
Wednesday, June 14 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Rumit Somaiya

What's the talk about?

Rumit Somaiya has spent the past 25 years touring casinos throughout the world with his team. Their aim is simply to overcome the 'House Advantage' using all cerebral methods available, in order to amass fortunes. Historically 'Blackjack', 'Pontoon' and '21' have been the games of choice. The most well known method is 'card counting' which is surprisingly easy to learn but many other legal methods of 'casino advantage play' will be discussed.
 
Rumit will also discuss other forms of gambling including 'Sports Betting', 'Fixed odds betting' and the national lottery. Most people don't understand the maths of gambling, and sadly addiction is a major issue. 

Why Do Humans Often Act Against Their Own Best Interests?

James Erskine

When?
Wednesday, May 10 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
James Erskine

What's the talk about?

One common human experience is to formulate an intention to behave in a certain way, for example to only have one drink in the pub, to return the dry cleaning on time or not to talk to the attractive colleague at work.

However it is equally the case that on many of these occasions we not only fail to complete our intention but often do something resembling the complete opposite of the intention. This talk will examine some explanations for why this might be so common and potential ways to regain a degree of measured control.

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Dr James Erskine grew up in many places and has a broad perspective on most issues. His background is in healthcare and university settings. He trained as a psychologist and holds a BSc in psychology, MSc in statistics and research methods, PhD in psychology and a second clinical doctorate in counseling psychology. He has studied and worked in various universities (Hertfordshire, Cambridge, Harvard, Regents, St George’s) and hospitals / GP surgeries (St George’s, Shenley, Harperbury, Kneesworth House, Orford Lodge), as an educator, researcher and clinician. 

In the distant past he worked at other jobs (mail room sorter, hospital porter, kitchen assistant, cleaner, prison officer, writer, personal assistant).

He has published scientific journal articles in the fields of psychology and healthcare. Furthermore he has published poetry in several anthologies. He was married, is now divorced and lives with his daughter in London. He currently runs a therapy centre in London and Hertfordshire providing treatment excellence to private clients and companies.

http://www.londonhertstherapy.com/

http://www.drjameserskine.co.uk/

Maia Elliott

When?
Wednesday, April 12 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Maia Elliott

What's the talk about?

We have tens-of-thousands of genes in our DNA, but not all of them are activated at the same time. Our genes can be switched "on" and "off" in response to our environment via an evolutionary mechanism called epigenetics. In the absence of life-threatening environmental pressures, lifestyle and environment are major drivers of epigenetic changes that can impact our health.

This talk will reveal how our daily choices can induce short-term and long-term (epi)genetic changes, discuss some of the epigenetic changes that have been linked to common diseases, and highlight the current scientific evidence of transgenerational epigenetics; how our environment not only affects our own gene activity, but those of future generations too!

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Maia Elliott is a science communicator and is currently working on her PhD in Nutrigenomics at the University of Surrey.

Ed Atkinson

When?
Wednesday, March 8 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Ed Atkinson

What's the talk about?

Burning carbon must be driven from our cheap-energy economy on a global scale - and soon - to stop a looming disaster.

But is there a workable way to drive out Carbon? If nations, corporations or individuals ‘do the right thing’ and burn less carbon won’t that just make coal, oil and gas cheaper for everyone else? Just how cheap does installing new solar need to be to make it cheaper than turning on the valves in the Saudi oil fields? It is easy to lose hope that change is possible, especially in Trump-World.

The USA is the key to change and a group originating in the US 'Citizens Climate Lobby’ (CCL) is doing well there (notably with Republicans). They advocate a policy of a Carbon Fee which is all used to make a Dividend to the populace, thus making for a policy that is effective and politically attractive (most people are made better off).  There really is hope.

In this talk a local representative from CCL, Ed Atkinson, will outline the policy options and their merits. He’ll include Cap & Trade, subsidising renewables and efficiency measures, divestment, Carbon Taxes and its variant the CCL policy of Carbon Fee and Dividend. 

Ed will be delighted to get awkward questions leading to discussion in the SitP group.

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Ed Atkinson was a Senior Scientist at the former government research lab 'HR Wallingford' where he worked on water resources issues in Africa and Asia. 

Chris French

When?
Wednesday, February 8 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Chris French

What's the talk about?

Opinion polls repeatedly show relatively high levels of belief in ghosts even in modern Western societies. Furthermore, a sizeable minority of the population claim to have personally encountered a ghost.

This talk will consider a number of factors that may lead people to claim that they have experienced a ghost even though they may not in fact have done so.

Topics covered will include hoaxes, sincere misinterpretation of natural phenomena, hallucinatory experiences and pareidolia (seeing things that are not there), inattentional blindness (not seeing things that are there), the fallibility of eyewitness testimony, the possible role of complex electromagnetic fields and infrasound, photographic evidence, electronic voice phenomenon (EVP), and the role of the media.

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Professor Chris French is a British psychologist specialising in the psychology of paranormal beliefs and experiences, cognition and emotion. He is the head of the Goldsmiths, University of London's anomalistic psychology research unit and appears regularly in the media as an expert on testing paranormal claims.

Updates from the front line

Gregory Ashton

When?
Wednesday, January 11 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Gregory Ashton

What's the talk about?

Late in 1915 Einstein presented the final form of his theory of gravity: General Relativity. This description of nature has so far stood the test of countless rigorous tests and has led to many new insights from exotic black-holes to the shape of the universe itself.


However, advances in technology and our understanding of astrophysics led to the establishment of an international collaboration LIGO/Virgo which built a gravitational wave detector and announced the first detection in February 2016 (https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/detection). This event, the final seconds of a merger between two black holes, marks a new era of gravitational wave astronomy.

In this talk Greg will discuss the historical significance of Einstein's General Relativity, the relevance of gravitational waves and their potential, and describe the current status of the LIGO/Virgo detectors.

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Greg Ashton is a postdoctoral researcher at the Albert Einstein Institute for gravitational wave physics in Hannover, Germany having recently finished his PhD at the University of Southampton. He specialises in the physics of neutron stars and the data analysis of detecting continuous gravitational waves.

How do our genes work?

Kat Arney

When?
Wednesday, December 14 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Kat Arney

What's the talk about?

The language of genes has become common in the media. We know they make your eyes blue, your hair curly or your nose straight. We're told that genes control the risk of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism or Alzheimer's. The cost of DNA sequencing has plummeted from billions of pounds to a few hundred, and gene-based advances in medicine hold huge promise.

There are 2.2 metres of DNA inside every one of your cells, encoding roughly 20,000 genes. These are the 'recipes' that tell our cells how to make the building blocks of life, along with all the control switches ensuring they're turned on and off at the right time and in the right place. But rather than a static string of genetic code, this is a dynamic, writhing biological library. With the help of cats with thumbs, fish with hips and wobbly worms, Kat will unpack some of the mysteries in our DNA and explain the latest thinking about how our genes work.

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Dr Kat Arney is a science communicator and award-winning blogger for Cancer Research UK, as well as a freelance science writer and broadcaster whose work has featured on BBC Radio 4, the Naked Scientists and more. She recently published her first book, Herding Hemingway's Cats, about how our genes work.

Jonathan M.S Pearce

When?
Wednesday, November 9 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Jonathan M.S Pearce

What's the talk about?

This century has seen the emergence of Islam as a religion closely connected to violence and terrorism. With regrettable regularity the latest religiously inspired terror attack fills the news broadcasts around the world, whether they be the work of ISIS, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda or other such group. However these events are also vociferously condemned by peaceful Islamic groups as being distinctly against the teachings of the Quran. Islam is a religion of peace and unity for many Muslims across the world.

To investigate whether violence is a part of Islam, and to what extent, Jonathan will examine in turn; the Quran, the history of the prophet of Muhammad, and modern day interpretations given by Muslims. However regardless of his conclusion Jonathan will consider what role political expediency plays in accepting the narrative that fundamentalists are acting outside of the religion. It may be more desirable to accept a more moderate interpretation of Islam, even if it is less accurate.

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Jonathan is a philosopher and author of several books of philosophy and theology. He is a founding member of both Tippling Philosophers and the Skeptic Ink Network, and regularly blogs on the Patheos website.

James Brown

When?
Wednesday, October 12 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
James Brown

What's the talk about?

Hypnosis is a subject that divides opinion. The Marmite of the entertainment industry if you like. The problem is that hypnosis has been shrouded in mystery for years and the reasons why it works, or at least appear to, are as numerous as they are contradictory.

In this demonstration/talk James Brown will show you what is really going on when someone is hypnotised and along the way ‘kill some of the gods’. Sleep, trance, relaxation are all synonymous with hypnosis but during the course of the evening James will prove that they are not needed at all… Hypnosis really isn’t how it appears…

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James has a background originally within the field of psychiatric nursing which grew over time into a love of the mind. Just after leaving university James became interested in the link between his understanding of psychology and the conjuring’s of the magician. This led to an eventual career change and a life pursuing magic, con artistry, persuasion and hypnosis. 20 years on, his work life is divided between lecturing, performing and consulting for media projects and his training company POWA Academy. Somewhere in all this he also wrote a book.