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The Reality Behind the Myths

Darren Naish

When?
Wednesday, May 11 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Darren Naish

What's the talk about?

For as long as people have been exploring the sea, there have been tales of terrifying marine monsters that do not properly match any creatures known to science.

Debates about their actual existence or what they might really be have continued for decades, if not centuries. Known also as cryptids, they have spawned a body of research known as cryptozoology.

This entertaining talk will look at the evidence of these mysterious monsters, explore what they might really be (if they exist at all) and why they have been represented as they have.

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Darren Naish is a science writer, technical editor and palaeozoologist (affiliated with the University of Southampton, UK).

darrennaish.wordpress.com

@TetZoo

 

 

Sense About Science

Claire Marriott

When?
Wednesday, April 13 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Claire Marriott

What's the talk about?

Every day, we hear claims about what is good for our health, bad for the environment, how to improve education, cut crime, and treat disease. Some are based on reliable evidence and scientific rigour. Many are not.

How can we make companies, politicians, commentators and official bodies accountable for the claims they make? If they want us to vote for them, believe them, or buy their products, then we should ask them for evidence, as consumers, patients, voters and citizens.

The Ask for Evidence campaign has seen people ask a retail chain for the evidence behind its MRSA resistant pyjamas; ask a juice bar for the evidence behind wheatgrass detox claims; ask the health department about rules for Viagra prescriptions; ask for the studies behind treatments for Crohn's disease, and hundreds more. As a result, claims are being withdrawn and bodies held to account.

Come and hear what the campaign is going to do next and how you can get involved.

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Dr Claire Marriott is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton and has been involved in diabetes research for over 11 years. She has always had a passion for promoting science with the public and has been a part of the Voice of Young Science network since 2009. She has contributed to a number of VOYS publications and been an active campaigner for the Ask for Evidence movement since it began.

Sense about Science

How we get science coverage wrong

David Robert Grimes

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

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
David Robert Grimes

What's the talk about?

Science and medicine have transformed our lives immeasurably, and never in history have they been more central to our lives and well-being. Yet despite this, there is often a glaring disconnect between the findings of actual science and media reporting of such topics, and consequently there is often a needless chasm between public perception and the evidence on many contentious topics. This can lead to needlessly adversarial and counter-productive discourse of everything from vaccination to climate-change.

In this talk, physicist and science journalist Dr. David Robert Grimes discusses the frequent problems in reporting science from misunderstandings to bad statistics to false balance, and discusses the factors that influence this and how such problems can be remedied.

Dr. David Robert Grimes (@drg1985) is a physicist and writes regular opinion and analysis pieces on scientific issues for the Irish Times and the Guardian science. He keeps a blog on these topics at www.davidrobertgrimes.com

David Warden

When?
Wednesday, February 10 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
David Warden

What's the talk about?

‘Some people are sick and tired of positive psychologists trying to make them happier.’ So wrote the authors of one of the best books on the new science of happiness.

Why can’t we just stick with Freud’s gloomy pessimism? He thought the best that can be hoped for is ‘the transformation of hysterical misery into common unhappiness’. Whatever your take on happiness you’ll gain a lot from David Warden’s critical and thoughtful approach to this controversial subject.

David is chair of Dorset Humanists and he’s a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development. He recently ran a well-attended 6-week evening course on the science, philosophy and psychology of happiness, well-being and human flourishing. “A very well-run course, extensively prepared and researched, professionally presented.”

 

The Case Against God

Jonathan Pearce

When?
Wednesday, January 13 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Jonathan Pearce

What's the talk about?

We welcome back Jonathan M.S. Pearce, who will be skilfully guiding us through a range of arguments for and against the existence of God. He will also offer some novel arguments that challenge the concept of an omniscient, omnipotent, omni-benevolent God.

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Jonathan is a teacher and author from South Hampshire, who has dedicated many years of his life to all manner of things philosophical and theological.

He is a founder member of the Tippling Philosophers, a friendly group of disparate believers and non-believers based in Hampshire, and is also a founder author for the Skeptic Ink Network (SIN), an online community of skeptic writers, bloggers, academics, thinkers and activists.

 

Jenny Josephs

When?
Wednesday, December 9 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Jenny Josephs

What's the talk about?

By 2050 the global population will reach 9 billion and this will put ever increasing pressure on food and environmental resources. How can we ensure global food security without further damaging the environment with intensified farming practices?
 
One UN backed solution is to focus on alternative sources of protein, such as insects for food and animal feed. About 2 billion of us already include insects in our diets, though it is still a growing trend in the west.
 
Insects are described as having a variety of different flavours, from mushroomy to pistachio or pork crackling. They are comparable to beef in protein and contain beneficial nutrients like iron and calcium. Their environmental impact is also minimal, requiring far less water and feed than cattle, and releasing fewer emissions.
 
During this talk, Jenny will explain how insects might replace some of the meat in our diets and also give some tips on how to cook them.
 
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Jenny Josephs is the founder of The Bug Shack, a company aiming to promote edible insects as a sustainable source of protein. She has spoken at the Winchester Science Festival and TEDx Southampton Uni.

 

The Limits of Logic

Colin Beveridge

When?
Wednesday, November 11 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Colin Beveridge

What's the talk about?

Stretching the limits of logic isn't just a way to annoy philosophers; it is frequently a path to discovery in science and mathematics.

This talk examines some of the most famous historical paradoxes, from Epimenides ("All Cretans are liars") to Gödel ("The statement encoded by G is not provable in the theory T") via Zeno (the arrow doesn't move!) by way of Hilbert (what happens when a guest shows up to an infinite and fully-booked hotel?), and explores how their resolutions led to mathematical revolutions.

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Colin Beveridge returns to Bournemouth Skeptics in the Pub following his previous talk on the statistical games many politicians used during the UK General Election 2015. He is the author of Basic Maths For Dummies and the Flying Colours Maths Blog.

@icecolbeveridge

Iszi Lawrence

When?
Wednesday, October 14 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Iszi Lawrence

What's the talk about?

Skeptic, comedian and voice of the Skeptics Guide To The Universe, Iszi Lawrence returns to Bournemouth Skeptics in the Pub with her new show The Z List Dead List.

The Z List Dead List is a live comedy show about obscure people from History. As a skeptic, Iszi has found a few that will pique your interest.

Expect woo, violence, sex and death. And a competition. The show is also a podcast with guest interviews including Jon Ronson, Griff Rhys Jones, Natalie Haynes, Neil Denny and Richard Herring.

You can find the podcast on iTunes or go to the Z List Dead List website.

www.iszi.com

@iszi_lawrence

Learning to Love Parasites

Josie Pegg

When?
Wednesday, September 9 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Josie Pegg

What's the talk about?

Parasites are the stuff of horror movies, consuming their host and often capable of controlling their host’s body and mind in the most freakish of ways.

But this is only half the story. Around 75% of all species are parasitic, and parasites play an essential ecological role, prove unlikely allies and are in many ways responsible for life as we know it.

In this presentation, Josie Pegg will give us an insight into the world of parasites and challenge their negative reputation.

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Josie Pegg is a postgraduate researcher at Bournemouth University and is passionate about marine and aquatic ecology, fish and parasites.

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the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Tannice Hemming

When?
Wednesday, August 12 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Tannice Hemming

What's the talk about?

Autism is a fascinating subject, steeped in rumour, mystery, misconceptions and myths.

Tannice Hemming will take us through different definitions of autism, often inaccurate cultural representations and the results of her survey, asking over 700 people about their perceptions of what causes and 'cures' autism (spoiler: we don't know and, currently, nothing). 

The second part of the talk will focus on 'the bad' and 'the ugly'. Tannice will briefly cover the MMR scandal, before moving on to the toxic and sometimes downright dangerous 'treatments' many children must endure. Asking the question 'what's the harm?' has never been more important. 

The third part of the talk will be for 'the good', focusing on ABA or Applied Behavioural Analysis; the gold standard for aiding those on the autistic spectrum.

From Kim Peek (the inspiration for rain man) to Jenny McCarthy (an anti-vaccination campaigner), this talk will give you a broad overview of Autism, Autism interventions and why cultural representations of autism are usually wrong. 

You’ll also find out why a horse died when he was being treated in a chamber normally reserved for divers suffering from the Bends.

 

 

The NHS & Beyond

Michael Marshall

When?
Wednesday, July 8 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

Homeopathy is one of the most widely debunked form of alternative medicine – yet homeopathic remedies adorn the shelves of respected pharmacies and are funded by taxpayers on the NHS. How big of a problem is this?

Using information and personal experiences gathered during his last 6 years of campaigning against homeopathy, Michael Marshall will highlight how much money is spent on homeopathic remedies, how this gives undeserved credibility to homeopathy, how such remedies can lead to genuine harm and what you can do to help.

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Michael Marshall is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society and the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast. His work has seen him organising international homeopathy protests and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.

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An amble through vaccination and those who dangerously preach against it

Michael Head

When?
Wednesday, June 10 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

199 Malmesbury Park Road,
Charminster
Bournemouth
BH8 8PX

Who?
Michael Head

What's the talk about?

Smallpox is eradicated, polio has nearly gone the same way and in most countries diphtheria is rare. That’s due to vaccination. Yet headlines are often fixated on measles outbreaks on both sides of the Pond, or the ‘dangers’ of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine. There are too many who are just not fussed about vaccines or worse, actively preach and campaign against them, with more than the occasional dollop of an absence of morality.

Plus there’s the desperate search for an ebola vaccine that, at best, will come two years too late, the imperfections of the tuberculosis vaccine, the waning immunity over time of the pertussis (whooping cough) immunisation, that HIV vaccine that just won’t come, and the annual guesswork that is the composition of the influenza vaccine. It’s a complicated business, alright.

This presentation will walk you through some facts and figures, highlight the new vaccines in the pipeline and provide an insight into the public health danger posed by those who try and tell you MMR gives your child autism (it doesn’t, by the way).

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Michael Head is a research associate in infectious diseases at University College London and a visiting academic in the Faculty of Medicine at University of Southampton. He has been working in infectious disease research since 2004, has published widely in peer-reviewed journals including Lancet and Nature journals, and for some reason spends far too much of his spare time reading about ‘bad science’ on the web.

@michaelghead

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