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Claire Garabedian

When?
Tuesday, August 15 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Claire Garabedian

What's the talk about?

Dr Claire Garabedian is an Associate Researcher within the Association for Dementia Studies, University of Worcester, a professional cellist, and a Certified Music Practitioner (trained in playing music for people with various health conditions including dementia and end of life care). Her PhD (University of Stirling 2015) focused on the impacts of individualised live and recorded music for care home residents with dementia nearing the end of life, and their carer. Based on her practitioner and research experience, Claire will discuss creative approaches to helping people with dementia to live well.

How mind-body techniques change gene expression

Ivana Buric

When?
Tuesday, July 18 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Ivana Buric

What's the talk about?

Ivana Buric will talk about her work investigating the gene suppression changes induced by meditation and related practices. These appear to suppress expression of genes and genetic pathways which would otherwise promote the inflammatory response - in the modern world where stress is very often long-term and psychological, a resulting inflammatory response becoming chronic can have health repercussions. Thus, these practices may have a part to play in keeping us healthy, however it remains unclear how they compare against other physical activities such as sports.

Dr Nick Hawes

When?
Tuesday, June 20 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Dr Nick Hawes

What's the talk about?

It’s inevitable, isn't it? One day robots will take over the world, either through some kind of violent rebellion, or through the back door - by taking all our jobs. Aren't we throwing caution to the wind by ignoring this threat? By explaining some of the basic principles behind artificial intelligence and robotics, Nick will try to convince you that all those science fiction writers are wrong, and whilst robots will have a large part to play in our future, you don't need to worry about the effect they'll have on our existence.

Nick Hawes is a Reader in Autonomous Intelligent Robotics in the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham. His research is in the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to create intelligent, autonomous robots that can work with or for humans. He is a passionate believer in public engagement with AI and robotics and was selected to give the Lord Kelvin Award Lecture at the 2013 British Science Festival.

Richard Firth-Godbehere

When?
Tuesday, May 16 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Richard Firth-Godbehere

What's the talk about?

Over the last couple of decades, the topic of disgust has risen from the bowels of study to the mainstream of the academic life. Probably ancient and universal, disgust is a sensation caused by a perception of boundary violation – that something can get inside us and cause harm -  that in one form or another, has guided humanity and other animals away from the contagious and the toxic. Unfortunately, disgust has also acted as a gatekeeper of morality for as far back as we have records, governing humanity’s sense of what is right and wrong as we link violations of cultural norms with feelings of revulsion. The problem is that while disgust might be universal, what causes it is not, and those causes can be a slave to the dictates of the powerful.

Richard Firth-Godbehere knows a lot about disgust. Over the past six years, he has been looking at, analysing, and dissecting the history, philosophy, and psychology of disgust, culminating in a PhD in the origins of the English understanding of that feeling. He has come to the conclusion that it rules the world. From refusing certain foods to relationships to political opinions and religious beliefs, feelings of revulsion have directed human behaviour in ways matched by almost no other physical sensation. What’s more, we are as fascinated by the disgusting as we are appalled by it. Richard will be explaining how that happens, what disgust is,  the history of revulsion and how one thing can always be found at the centre of it: oppression and power.

He will also be offering some six-legged treats and a little insight into your own disgust. Be prepared to be revolted.

Russ Mayne

When?
Tuesday, April 18 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Russ Mayne

What's the talk about?

Do women talk more than men? Does swearing show a lack of intelligence? Do Eskimos really have hundred words for snow? These questions and more will be the subject of this talk. Language is one of the most complex and fascinating things in the world and yet many people's knowledge of language is based on myths, lies and half-truths. This talk will examine some of these myths and misconceptions, but it will also look at why linguistics and language is such a blind spot for many skeptics. How did this situation arise and is there anything that can be done about it?

Russ Mayne teaches English at the University of Leicester. He has also worked in universities in Taiwan and Japan. He writes about pseudoscience in language teaching and language myths on the 'Evidence Based EFL' blog.

Successes, failures, what works, what doesn't and what you can do

When?
Tuesday, March 21 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Alan Henness

What's the talk about?

Alan Henness visited Leicester Skeptics in the Pub in 2012 to introduce us to the Nightingale Collaboration, and the grassroots skeptical activism that it was doing in systematically reporting the misleading claims of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine practitioners to the Advertising Standards Authority. He is returning this month to give us an update on what the Nightingale Collaboration has been up to and what they have learned over the past 5 years as they have attained some outstanding results for skepticism.

Myles Power

When?
Tuesday, February 21 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Myles Power

What's the talk about?

For decades now, we have been told by organisations like Greenpeace, GM-Freeze, and Friends of the Earth that genetical modified (GM) food is dangerous and has been shown to be harmful to humans.They have done a great job at convincing the population of their dangers by quoting scientific literature that claims GM-food has been shown, among other things, to cause cancer, leukaemia, and stomach inflammation; but is there really any truth to this? What do the papers these organisations are promoting really say, and do they have any flaws? Or, in actual fact, are GMOs going to kill us all?

In his talk, Myles is going to critique several highly referenced anti-GM papers, looking past their veneer of good science, and discovering what they really say about GMOs and the people who promote them. Myles Power and runs the educational YouTube channel powerm1985. He is a chemist who is currently working in industry, but what little free time he has is spent sharing his love of SCIENCE! through home experiments, visiting sites of scientific interest and angry rants at pseudoscience opponents. Myles has many years of experience working in a research lab, which has given him the skills he needs to research and debunk various psuedoscience theories. Some of the theories he has discussed on his YouTube channel include AIDS denialists, 911 truthers, the anti-vaccination movement and homeopathy to name a few. Myles is also one of the founding members of the podcast The League of Nerds which he co-hosts with James from The History of Infection.

Jenny Josephs

When?
Tuesday, January 17 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Jenny Josephs

What's the talk about?

Bio: After completing a PhD in Visual Cognition at the University of Southampton, Jenny changed course and started The Bug Shack - a business promoting and selling edible insects. Jenny is a regular speaker at Skeptics events and science festivals and is also involved in academic research.

Description:
By 2050 the global population will reach 9 billion and this will put ever increasing pressure on food and environmental resources. It will be a challenge to 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. You will be invited to sample some tasty bug snacks after the talk!

Kevin Precious

When?
Tuesday, December 20 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Kevin Precious

What's the talk about?

Kevin Precious is a former RE teacher turned stand-up comedian and promoter.  Besides having played many of the top clubs in the land, he also promotes shows in arts centres and theatres under the Barnstormers Comedy banner. He has previously toured the country with a stand-up show entitled 'Not Appropriate', dedicated to the business of teaching.

In between the various comedic activites, he attends his local humanist group - he's an agnostic, folks - where he loves a good old debate about the big questions in life.  Expect jokes and stories then, about his time as an RE teacher, being a humanist, the God-Shaped Hole, and the philosophy of religion.

David Alnwick

When?
Tuesday, November 15 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
David Alnwick

What's the talk about?

Off the back of last year's sell out tour, The Cult of Dave, and his TV special, Dave Alnwick: Trickster, Dave is back with his new hour long show: MIND WIZARD.

Expect misdirection, mind reading and manipulation. Will you be converted?

After each show there will be a Q&A where Dave will highlight some of the techniques used in the show.

"They were burning people for this 300 years ago" - Phill Jupitus

How and why the infrastructure of science is broken

When?
Tuesday, October 18 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?

What's the talk about?

For 6 weeks in late 2015, the COMPare team monitored every clinical trial published in the top 5 medical journals for “outcome switching”: when trialists report something different from what they originally said they would report. Of 67 trials assessed, 58 (87%) were found to contain discrepancies between prespecified and reported outcomes.


Outcome switching is already known to be extremely common, even in top medical journals. But COMPare went one step further: they wrote a letter to the journal for all 58 trials found to contain discrepancies; to correct the record on the individual trials, and to test the “self-correcting” properties of science.


The responses to these letters from journal editors and trial authors were unprecedented, and shed light on the reasons why this problem persists. The aim of COMPare was to fix outcome switching, through correction letters and open discussion. They never expected the levels of misunderstanding and bias at the heart of the issue.


Based at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, COMPare is made up of three senior researchers, 5 graduate-entry medical students, and a programmer. The project was born when one medical student came to the department in search of a project. The idea of monitoring the outcomes in clinical trials was made possible by 4 more medical students, who were recruited to make the vast amount of analysis possible. All assessments are reviewed by senior colleagues, and decisions made at weekly team meetings. There is no specific funding for COMPare: all the students work for free, driven by the desire and opportunity to fix a broken system.


Visit the COMPare website (COMPare-trials.org) for more details about their team, methods, results and blog.
 

When?
Tuesday, September 20 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Dr Kathleen Richardson

What's the talk about?

Kathleen Richardson is Senior Research Fellow in Ethics of Robotics and part of the Europe-wide DREAM project (Development of Robot-Enhance Therapy for Children with AutisM).
In 2015 she, along with her colleague launched the Campaign Against Sex Robots (featured in this recent news article) to draw attention to problematic effects on new technologies on human relations, and their potential impact to create new layers of inequalities between men and women and adults and children. She advocates a compassionate and violence free technology based on freedom ethics and is critical of coercive and violent models of human lived life that are transferred to the making of new technologies. Richardson is developing a theory of robotics inspired by abolitionist feminism.