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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.

Alice Howarth

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

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Alice Howarth

What's the talk about?

One in two of us will suffer with cancer in our lifetime and almost all of us have some experience of the disease. But do we really know what cancer is and how we can work towards a cure? Is a cure even possible? And how can we arm ourselves with the right information to help us prevent and treat cancer?

Alice is a researcher who has worked in the Institute of Translational Medicine at the University of Liverpool with both non-profit and for-profit organisations. In this talk she will discuss what cancer is, how it works and just how we are working towards understanding and curing the disease. She will talk about the complexities of research and some of the big success stories that relate directly to some of the many types of cancer. Only when we understand the difficulties we face can we discern between bogus cancer treatment claims and genuine scientific advancement in this field.

Richard Clarke

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

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Richard Clarke

What's the talk about?

Effective Altruism is the idea behind a growing movement of philosophy, science and evidence minded individuals with a passion to doing as much good as they possible can. Effective Altruism involves using a combination of the head (reason, logic and evidence) and the heart (empathy/compassion) to systematically fight towards making the world a better place for all that live in it. As skeptics we apply critical thinking to a wide range of topics in our everyday lives however our charity and altruistic behaviours often gets a free pass. In this talk we will explore why this is the case and how a few small choices in your life can have life changing positive impact on someone else’s.

Richard Clarke is a health psychologist and skeptic currently conducting a PhD in the area of information seeking and vaccine hesitancy with the Vaccine Confidence Project based at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine and due to the reasoning behind Effective Altruism in 2014 he decided to pledge 10% of his income over the course of his life time to charities that are likely to have the most impact in the world. He also writes the blog www.nonzerosum.org

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.