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Meirion Jones

When?
Wednesday, September 28 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Meirion Jones

What's the talk about?

He’s jailed for 10 years now but how did a British conman sell bogus bomb detectors to Iraq for $85 million? A lack of skepticism cost the lives of an estimated 2,000 people in Baghdad. Meirion Jones tells, with the help of video clips and secret recordings, how Jim McCormick and his chums worked the scam around the world and how whistleblowers and a Newsnight team exposed the scandal. This is about multi-million-dollar bribes in Baghdad, and UK PLC turning a blind eye to boost exports, but this is also about the lethal consequences of not basing policy on evidence. Meirion will demonstrate two real bogus bomb detectors as sold by the hoaxers for up to $40,000 each and show you how to make one that works every bit as well for less than a pound.


Meirion Jones is a BBC producer who is in the unusual position of winning the 2013 Scoop of the Year award for a programme which was never broadcast - his exposure of Jimmy Savile as a paedophile. He also won the Daniel Pearl International Award for Investigative Journalism in 2010 for his reports on toxic waste dumping by Trafigura in Africa. He has exposed everything from the fixing of the 2000 US election, to how Britain helped Israel get the atom bomb, from corrupt politicians to the affair of Mark Stone and the undercover cops, as well as homeopaths and healers.

Professor Richard Aspinall

When?
Wednesday, August 31 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Professor 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.

 

As a sceptic I propose that we give up all hope for immortality and eternal youth and accept out fate and make the best of what we have been given. 

Kat Arney

When?
Wednesday, August 12 2015 at 8:00PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Kat Arney

What's the talk about?

 Kat Arney works as a science communicator for the charity Cancer Research UK, after spending six years as a laboratory researcher. Kat loves talking and writing about science, and regularly comments in the media on the latest discoveries. She produces the Cancer Research UK podcast, and is also a freelance science writer and helps to present the highly successful Naked Scientists BBC Radio show in her spare time. In the rest of her spare time Kat plays in two bands, Sunday Driver and the Shadow Orchestra, and rarely sleeps. Unsurprisingly, her blog is entitled You Do Too Much:


One hundred years ago, there were very few effective treatments for cancer, save for the surgeon’s scalpel. As a result, homespun cancer cures thrived, with all manner of pills and potions being peddled in newspapers and magazines. The 1939 Cancer Act was brought in to try to stop the advertisement of fraudulent cancer cures to the general public in the UK but it has little jurisdiction in today’s international online world, where thousands of websites offering treatments and cures are available at the click of a button. Kat Arney will talk about why we need to take an evidence-based approach to medicine in general and the treatment of cancer in particular.

Iszi Lawrence

When?
Wednesday, July 8 2015 at 8:00PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Iszi Lawrence

What's the talk about?

Skeptic, comedian and voice of the Skeptics Guide To The Universe, Iszi Lawrence returns to Nottingham 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 peak your interest. Expect woo, violence, sex and death. And a competition. The show is also a podcast with guest interviews from Jon Ronson, Griff Rhys Jones, Natalie Haynes, Neil Denny, Richard Herring etc.

Ash Pryce

When?
Wednesday, June 10 2015 at 8:00PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Ash Pryce

What's the talk about?

 Hydesville. New York. 1848. The young Fox sisters begin communicating with the spirit of a murdered beggar and spiritualism is born.


This interactive look at a history of talking to the dead will feature an array of magical treats including levitating tables, ectoplasm manifestation and spirit communication.

Part magic show, part comedy, part rational inquiry this fun show has regularly packed venues at Edinburgh Fringes. Ash Pryce promises Ouija Boards, Spirit Slates, Spirit Communication, Stopped Pulses, Spewing ectoplasm ... and more.

Ash Pryce is a performer and director based in Scotland. He has written and staged several skeptically themed shows looking at myths & legends, ghosts, psychics and mediumship as well as producing full plays ranging from Faustus to more contemporary original shows in Edinburgh. He is the founder of Edinburgh Skeptics, the newly started History in the Pub Edinburgh, and runs what is believed to be the worlds first skeptical ghost tour every Fringe. He lives just outside of Edinburgh with his three Degus, one of which holds a grudge against him.

"Ash Pryce is a naturally funny guy and won't allow his audience to be bored" "Very entertaining" - edfringereview

Please note. This is a skeptically themed show and not intended as an actual demonstration of mediumship or psychic abilities.

Bentley Crudgington

When?
Wednesday, March 4 2015 at 8:00PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Bentley Crudgington

What's the talk about?

Who is winning in this fight, science, disease or the anti-vaccination movement?

Bentley is a research scientist with an unhealthy interest in infectious diseases. His current area of research is in veterinary vaccine development (actually its metaphylactic intervention strategies for outbreak scenarios, but no one likes a showoff). He also runs Guildford Cafe Scientifique, Guildford Skeptics and likes it when Science and Art get it on.

As a species Humans like to explore new territories, play with animals, put things in our mouths and have a flagrant disregard for genital safety. As a result we encounter some pretty nasty diseases. Fortunately there are vaccines but what exactly are they and why are they so controversial? Vaccines are wonderfully weird, from snorting scabs in the Old Orient to genetic chimeras cloned in laboratories, they have protected humans and animals from disease for nearly two hundred years. Unfortunately there are plenty new diseases waiting in the dark and old enemies itching for a comeback.

£3 tickets at the door

Let's Do This.

Johno Pearce

When?
Wednesday, October 29 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

14-17 Manchester St
Brighton
East Sussex
BN2 1TF

Who?
Johno Pearce

What's the talk about?

Jonathan 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. With Brighton being one of the most godless cities in the UK, as well as being home to a vibrant youg christian community, we're expecting an entertaining Q&A session after Jonathan's presentation. After a very successful show at this year's Brighton Fringe (in the Speigeltent) we're looking forward to welcoming Johno back to Brighton for a proper grilling,

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 the author of several popular books including ‘The Nativity: A Critical Examination’, ‘Free Will? An investigation into whether we have free will, or whether I was always going to write this book’, and ‘The Little Book of Unholy Questions’. As an interlude from writing about philosophy and theology, he has also written a book of advice for dads of twins; Twins: A Survival Guide for Dads. 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. Check out their blog at http://skepticink.com/tippling/ .

 Just £2 on the night to cover speaker expenses.

The Ethics of Caring Technologies

Dr Blay Whitby

When?
Wednesday, September 17 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

14-17 Manchester St
Brighton
East Sussex
BN2 1TF

Who?
Dr Blay Whitby

What's the talk about?

 **This event will be at our new venue, the Latest Music Bar**

The widespread use of robots in intimate and caring roles will bring about important social changes. Dr Blay Whitby thinks we need to examine these changes now and consider them from an ethical standpoint.
 
Robotic carers and artificial companions are a technology that is likely to be available in the near to mid-­‐term future. In Japan and South Korea robots are seen as potential carers for the elderly and as babysitters. Many researchers are looking to make their products display emotion and respond to emotional displays by users. At least one writer has predicted marriage to robots will be accepted in progressive countries by 2050. This chapter examines some the implications of these -­‐ both technical and social. Do they represent socially and ethically acceptable developments? What is likely to be technically feasible and just what should we allow?
 
Dr Blay Whitby is philosopher and ethicist concerned with the social impact of new and emerging technologies. He is a leading researcher in the field and the author of many books, chapters and papers on the subject including “On Computable Morality”, “Reflections on Artificial Intelligence: The Legal, Moral and Ethical Dimensions and “Artificial Intelligence, A Beginner’s Guide”. 
 
Dr Whitby is a member of the Ethics Committee of BCS The Chartered Institute of IT and ethical advisor to the Royal Academy of Engineering. He is a regular speaker on widening public engagement in science and has participated in several science/art collaborations.
 
We will ask attendees for a donation of £2 on the night to cover expenses or you can book in advance here 
 
 

Richard Robinson

When?
Tuesday, July 8 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Richard Robinson

What's the talk about?

Richard directs the Brighton Science Festival, and has been running a project for eight years to explore the conflicting impulses of the workplace. We already know about some of them. They have been passed to us by our near relation, the ape:  we are competitive, aggressive, critical. But is that all? Is there no room for gentler impulses of friendship, sharing or caring? The answer is yes: meet your inner ant - respectful, cooperative and empathetic.  It is the ant's instincts which have created our life - the technology and inventions, the cities, morality, culture and language. We are a mixture of both ape and ant, but normally only the ape is allowed to have a voice. That is why we get stressed. Richard hypothesises that it is likely that techniques such as "mindfulness" help us to access the gentler ant within. 

Richard's latest book, My Manager and Other Animals explores the deeply rooted instincts that we share with other animals. So as well as your inner ant, you may like to take a tour of your inner Portuguese man'o war, your inner assassin bug or even your inner brussels sprout.  Animals are more like us than we ever thought, and we are more like animals than we would ever like to think. We can learn a lot from them.

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Michael Marshall

When?
Tuesday, June 10 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

**We're back at the Caroline of Brunswick this month!** 

It’s easy to think of pseudoscience existing in a glass case at a museum – something to be examined and critiqued from a safe distance, but not something to touch and to play with. Using examples taken from his own personal experiences in skepticism, Michael Marshall will show what happens when you begin to crack the surface of the pseudosciences that surround us – revealing the surprising, sometimes-shocking and often-comic adventures that lie beneath.

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

Here's his latest piece for the Guardian

Tickets available here or £2 on the door

The science behind it and the culture of developing it

Shell Grayson

When?
Tuesday, May 13 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

36 Trafalgar St, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 4ED

Who?
Shell Grayson

What's the talk about?

**For this event we will be switching to THE LORD NELSON!** 

In a busy life, eating and drinking can seem to be time consuming tasks. In our quest for culinary convenience, we have developed a range of foods that appeal to as many people as possible, and satisfy our more basic instincts; the result is food that is bland, salty, fatty and/or sweet. 

We should respect what we put in our mouths. Discriminate between tastes, challenge our taste buds and explore new sensations. Part of this is understanding what our taste mechanisms are, from the tip of the tongue to the way we process tastes in the brain. What is the relationship between smell and taste? And what roles do memory and emotion play in whether we determine if we 'like' a taste or not?

Shell Grayson is the senior editor of supplements for Nature Publishing Group and a real ale connoisseur.

£2 on the door

Professor Anil Seth

When?
Tuesday, April 8 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Professor Anil Seth

What's the talk about?

Consciousness is at once the most familiar and the most mysterious features of our existence. It fades every night when we fall into a dreamless sleep, and returns again when we wake up or dream. Without consciousness there would be no world and no self; there would be nothing at all. 

Over the last decade or two, a new science of consciousness has begun to reveal its biological basis. This new science will not only help us better understand our place in nature, but will also provide important new opportunities for the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders. For these reasons, understanding the biology of consciousness is widely recognized as a key scientific challenge for the 21st century. 

In this talk Professor Anil Seth will give a whistle-stop tour of the frontiers of consciousness science, focusing on eight ‘key’ questions driving current research, both in his lab and in the wider world.

Anil Seth is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience and Co-Director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at Sussex University

www.anilseth.com 

www.anilkseth.wordpress.com 

www.sussex.ac.uk/sackler

@anilkseth

£2 on the door Tickets available online here: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/265751