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The greatest controversy since the publication of the Origin of Species

Miles Hillmann

When?
Tuesday, October 16 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Miles Hillmann

What's the talk about?

Fracking for shale gas is topical and controversial. The first fracking operation, since a moratorium on fracking was imposed in 2011, has received approval at Cuadrilla. Fracking generates strong views among opponents and supporters.

Charles Darwin’s revolutionary Origin of Species theory pitted scientific evidence against emotion. The arguments for and against fracking are heavily based on emotion – the environmental risks, and a fear of what might happen.

This talk will focus on the evidence, what is happening and the way the risks are being tackled.

 

Miles Hillmann is Chairman of the Liquid Pollution Control Group of the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF). He is working with the Environment Agency on developing Technical Guidelines for best practice on protecting groundwater pollution on shale gas sites. He operates a  company which provides spill control technologies, training and services. 

Liam Brierley

When?
Tuesday, September 18 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Liam Brierley

What's the talk about?

We’re constantly threatened by outbreaks of new viral diseases, such as SARS and Ebola. This show, first performed at the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, is an interactive pandemic scenario that explores whether humanity is really at risk of extinction from the next viral outbreak. The room is quarantined because of the discovery of a new virus and we'll need the audience's help as we race to understand where this virus might have come from, whether it could go global, and how we could fight to stay one step ahead.

Liam Brierley is a statistician and epidemiologist with specialised interests in emerging infectious diseases and teaching methodologies in statistics. He is currently a lecturer with sigma, the Mathematics and Statistics Support Centre at Coventry University.

The Hidden Story of the Hopes, Fears and Desires of a Nation

James Wright

When?
Tuesday, August 21 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
James Wright

What's the talk about?

Modern graffiti is often seen as transgressive and moronic. However, look closely in the light of a torch at the walls of our historic buildings, trees, caves and rockfaces and you will see a world of graffiti left that illuminates the psychology of our ancestors. The study of historic graffiti enables us to hear the lost voices of ordinary individuals through their images of daisywheels, ships sailing across the walls, knights drawing their swords, demons stalking the stonework and every animal imaginable…

James Wright is an archaeologist, lecturer and author

Mark Stevenson

When?
Tuesday, July 17 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Mark Stevenson

What's the talk about?

Our systems are failing. Old models – for education, healthcare and government, food production, energy supply – are creaking under the weight of modern challenges. As the world’s population heads towards 10 billion, it’s clear we need new approaches. Futurologist Mark Stevenson sets out to find them, across four continents.

From Brazilian favelas to high tech Boston, from rural India to a shed inventor in England’s home counties, We Do Things Differently travels the world to find the advance guard re-imagining our future. At each stop, he meets innovators who have already succeeded in challenging the status quo, pioneering new ways to make our world more sustainable, equitable and humane.

Mark has also written for The Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Intelligent Life, The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Daily Telegraph, and The New Statesman. His key skill is an ability to take complex or abstract concepts and make them understandable by non-specialists without trivialising the subject matter.

Mark is also an occasional comedy writer. His work has been performed on Radio 4 and his play (co-written with Jack Milner) Octopus Soup came to London in January 2018.

Ash Pryce

When?
Tuesday, June 19 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

1 Millstone Lane,
Leicester,
LE1 5JN

Who?
Ash Pryce

What's the talk about?

Roll up! Roll up! Roll up! Gather ye round the traveling caravan, as Snake Oil Salesman Ash Pryce demonstrates the miraculous curative abilities of psychic surgery, taught to your humble trickster by a wise man in the Philippines (or a magicians tool book, whichever sounds more wondrous). See with amazement the telekinetic forces at work as you learn how to move objects with your mind, psychically manipulate your finest silverware and read the minds of your peers. Or maybe, it’s all just a trick?

How to be a Psychic Conman will look at the more incredible, magical side of psychic claims that persist today. The types of demonstrations that blur the line between the honest deception of magic, and the dishonesty of those hoping to make a quick buck out of your deep rooted beliefs.

The show will involve demonstrations and explanations of telekinesis tricks, metal bending, psychic surgery and remote viewing as well as look at government funded research into psychic phenomena, and the shoddy protocols that allowed “psychics” to beat the legendary Zener card experiments in the 1930s.

And if that wasn’t enough, interspersed throughout the show will be numerous on stage demonstrations of mentalism to add an extra layer of entertainment to the proceedings.

Find Ash on most social media as "Psychic Conman" and check out his website at www.psychicconman.co.uk

Warning to those on the front row… there will be blood!

Looking at the history, motives and present day construction of anti-Jewish prejudice.

Dr Daniel Allington

When?
Tuesday, May 15 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Dr Daniel Allington

What's the talk about?

Antisemitism was fundamental to the historical development of conspiracy theories - and conspiracy theories remain fundamental to contemporary antisemitism. In this talk, Dr Daniel Allington of the Campaign Against Antisemitism and the University of Leicester explains why Jew-hate is different from other kinds of hate and why it is able to flourish in contemporary political culture.

Rebecca Nesbit

When?
Tuesday, April 17 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Rebecca Nesbit

What's the talk about?

Save the Honeybee stories are never far from the news, but is the species really under threat? And should environmentalists be interested in them at all? Britain has around 250 bee species, yet almost all the attention goes to the domestic honeybee. Queen bees are traded around the world, and honeybee populations are dependent on the work of beekeepers, so should we see them as wildlife

Rebecca Nesbit will explore how we choose which species should be conservation priorities, and therefore whether protecting honeybees is important. She will argue that the evidence for the EU’s widely-publicised ban on neonicotinoid pesticides is not as clear cut as many news outlets would have us believe.

Rebecca is an ecologist and writer with a particular interest in the science and ethics of setting conservation priorities. For her PhD she used radars and flight simulators to study butterfly migration, and she now works in science communication. She has written two books: ‘Is that Fish in Your Tomato?’, looking at the fact and fiction of GM foods, and ‘A Column of Smoke’, a novel.

How food advertising impacts children’s eating behaviour.

Laura von Nordheim

When?
Tuesday, March 20 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Laura von Nordheim

What's the talk about?

It is essential to celebrate health and beauty at every size, shape and weight. Obesity, however, is a serious health condition that affects more than 42 million children worldwide. Rather than driven by personal choice, weight gain is closely linked to our environment. Media clearly affects our food choices, eating behaviours and exercise habits - and can be used for better or worse.

Find out how food advertising impacts our eating behaviour - and how we can use this powerful influence to improve children’s diets!

Laura has always had a passion for health and wellbeing - the health and wellbeing of individuals, communities and of our planet as a whole. Nutrition quickly became the focus of her career path and she worked as a health interventionist, cooking instructor and chef for a wide range of community and governemental projects. Working in clinics for children and adults affected by eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating and obesity gave Laura valuable insight into eating behaviour while completing her BSc Psychology and MSc Health Psychology in London. As a postgraduate researcher at University of Sheffield, Laura investigates ‘Media influence and Childhood Obesity’.

Prof. Colin Waters (University of Leicester)

When?
Tuesday, February 20 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Prof. Colin Waters (University of Leicester)

What's the talk about?

Human activity is leaving a pervasive and persistent signature on Earth and vigorous debate continues about whether this warrants recognition as a new geologic time unit: the Anthropocene.

Colin will quantify the scale of this transformation including: the appearance and rapid dispersal of many new mineral forms (including metals, plastics and industrial fly ash), rock types (including concrete) and artificial ground, together with modification of global rivers.  Humans have created chemical signals that include: isotope patterns altered by changes to the carbon and nitrogen cycles at unprecedented rates and magnitudes, dissemination of organic and inorganic pollutants and artificial radionuclides traces, many of which are novel signatures.  Biological evidence includes the consequences of extinctions and geologically unprecedented species invasions.

Recent climate and sea level trends are outside recent geological trajectories.  Human influence on geological successions started thousands of years ago, but the most pronounced changes in most global trends is in the mid-20th century; within the scale of a human lifetime.  These modifications to our planet are global in reach, incredibly abrupt in a geological context and will leave a permanent legacy in geological strata.

:(

When?
Tuesday, January 16 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
:(

What's the talk about?

Due to a combination of factors, we've regrettably had to cancel our event in January. Our booked speaker had to withdraw due to health reasons, and of the two organisers neither had time to pursue a new speaker, one will be abroad on the event date, and the other will be really busy around that time with other things. With that in mind, we have sadly decided not to run our event on January 16th.

We apologies for any inconvenience that this may cause anyone.

Timandra Harkness

When?
Tuesday, December 19 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Timandra Harkness

What's the talk about?

Big Data knows where you’ve been and who your friends are. It knows what you like and what makes you angry. It can predict what you’ll buy, where you’ll be the victim of crime and when you’ll have a heart attack. Big Data knows you better than you know yourself, or so it claims.

But how well do you know big data?

From science to smart cities, business to politics, self-quantification to the Internet of Things, people are talking about big data as a force for change Privacy, democracy, even our ideas of who we are, could be transformed. You don’t need to be a Silicon Valley tech prodigy to understand what’s going on.

Timandra Harkness writes comedy, not computer code. The only programs she makes are on the radio. If she can understand what’s going on, so can you. Some of the ideas underlying Big Data are based on the kind of mathematics anybody can grasp: different measures that are correlated in predictable patterns; the relationship between the average of a population and what that tells you about an individual; how we study networks and connections to learn something new about the big picture. Others, though harder to grasp in theory, are familiar in practice: apps on our phones that locate us on a map, or count our steps; internet search engines that predict what we’d like to buy; websites that translate other languages into English.

But big data isn’t just neat mathematics or clever technology. It has implications for all of us.

Timandra asks the big questions about where it’s taking us: is it too big for its boots, or does it think too small? Are you a data point or a human being? She aims to leave you armed and ready to decide what you think about one of the decade’s big ideas: big data.

Anthony Warner

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

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Anthony Warner

What's the talk about?

Anthony Warner somehow managed to complete a Biochemistry Degree at Manchester University before deeply disappointing his parents by deciding that the heat of the professional kitchen was the career for him. After ten years in restaurants, hotels and events-catering he became a development chef in the food manufacturing industry and has spent the last 11 years working on some of the UK’s best-known brands and products.

 In 2016, driven by frustration at the clearly unscientific messages being spewed out by a new breed of healthy eating celebrities, he started the Angry Chef blog, intended to appeal to a few similarly frustrated food industry professionals. Despite frequent attempts to alienate his readers, the blog has grown in popularity, forcing a middle-aged man to reluctantly engage with social media. Terrified at the prospect of being described as a ‘food-blogger’, Anthony has tried in vain to keep Angry Chef anonymous, but has sadly failed to do so as newspapers and magazines continue to approach him in the hope he might say something controversial about Jamie Oliver.

He now writes regularly for New Scientist, The Pool and the Sunday Times, and his first book, The Angry Chef - Bad Science and the Truth about Healthy Eating was published by Oneworld in July. He has appeared on Inside Science, The Food Programme and was once asked if he would be happy  to eat his own dog on The Moral Maze.

Anthony does not have a food philosophy. He is a pretty decent cook, but is not an expert in anything. He is merely curious and determined to get to the truth. He loves food, loves science and is ambivalent about Marmite. He lives in the Nottinghamshire countryside with his wife, daughter and a slightly unbalanced Springer Spaniel.

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