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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.

For tickets click here

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

Topical discussion for skeptics

TBA

When?
Tuesday, March 11 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
TBA

What's the talk about?

 After a busy February with two excellent Brighton SitP events, we'll be doing something a little different in March.

Instead of hosting a solitary speaker, we will have a panel of 4 people who will field questions from the audience. It'll be pretty fast-moving and with an additional twist in that there will be opportunities for audience members to take a seat on the panel too. 

Any subject will be fair game, from local politics to the meaning of life so if there's something you'd like to contribute just come along.

Free entry for this one! Panellists to be confirmed shortly.

Special Brighton Science Fest Event

Michael Brooks

When?
Tuesday, February 25 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Michael Brooks

What's the talk about?

 The atom. The Big Bang. DNA. Natural selection. All ideas that have revolutionised science – and that were dismissed out of hand when they first appeared.

The surprises haven’t stopped: there's a whole new wave of unexpected insights that are shaping the future of scientific discovery. There are the cosmological observations that might rewrite our history of the universe, novel biological ideas behind our will to live, the possibility that humans are quantum beings, that women and men need entirely different medicines, that the cosmos is a computer (with us as the programmers), that time is an illusion and that merging humans with other species is a good idea.

In this talk, Michael Brooks will explore all these ideas and more - which may all turn out to be wrong. That's the problem with science: you're always working at the edge of uncertainty and you never know when someone's going to push you off...

£2 on the door - tickets http://www.wegottickets.com/event/256662

Bad stats or an egalitarian bible?

Chris Snowdon

When?
Tuesday, February 11 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Chris Snowdon

What's the talk about?

 One of the themes of the 2014 Brighton Science Festival is "fairness". As discussions about fairness in society grow longer, the probabilty of someone citing 2009's "The Spirit Level" approaches 1. 

Christopher Snowdon, author of "The Spirit Level Delusion"  will be challenging the theory asserted in the best-selling book "The Spirit Level" that 'more equal societies almost always do better'. (Here's the wikipedia entry for "The Spirit Level" )

By fact-checking the book's statistics and reviewing the scientific literature, he will argue that there is no correlation between income inequality and a country's health, happiness and well-being. The hypothesis in "The Spirit Level" is, he says, based on selective evidence and flawed reasoning.

What do you think? Everyone is very welcome to come along and join the debate.

£2 on the door or £2.20 advance http://www.wegottickets.com/event/254978

 

Jonny Scaramanga

When?
Tuesday, January 14 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Jonny Scaramanga

What's the talk about?

 Jonny Scaramanga was raised as a Christian fundamentalist and attended a strict evangelical school in Bath in the 1990s. He appeared on BBC2's As Seen on TV and Video Nation multiple times in this time to discuss his faith. He has since discovered that everything he thought was true was wrong. He writes about his experiences at the popularLeaving Fundamentalism blog.

In his talk, Jonny will give an insight to what life is like in an Accelerated Christian Education school. There are sixty of these fundamentalist institutions in the UK, which teach Young Earth Creationism as fact. The Bible is taught as an infallible authority, and alternative viewpoints are not discussed or even considered.

Tickets £2 on the door - advance tickets £2.20 http://www.wegottickets.com/event/254977

Mark Henderson

When?
Tuesday, November 12 2013 at 8:00PM

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Where?

39 Ditchling Road
Brighton
BN1 4SB

Who?
Mark Henderson

What's the talk about?

There are 650 MPs in the House of Commons. 158 have a background in business, 90 have been political advisers or organisers, and 86 are lawyers. Only one of them is a scientist. Is it any wonder that politics so often lets science down, and fails to exploit its skeptical methods to design policies that are fit for purpose?

In the Geek Manifesto, published by Bantam Press in May 2012, Mark Henderson explores this disconnect between science and politics, and charts the emergence of a new force that is promising to mend it. From the Simon Singh libel case to the sacking of David Nutt and the Science is Vital campaign, people who care about science are starting to stand up to be counted. The geeks are coming -- and our country needs us.

Tickets are available here