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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.

Dr Jovan Byford

When?
Tuesday, August 16 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Dr Jovan Byford

What's the talk about?

Most significant events in the world today - be it an unexpected election result, a terror attack, the death of a public figure, a plane crash or a meteorological anomaly - generate a flutter of conspiracy speculations. Those who propound conspiracy theories about these events are often dismissed as paranoid, crazy or absurd, as well as politically suspect. At the same time, we constantly face revelations about political cover-ups, about secrecy and collusion, which suggest that the notion of conspiracy might in fact be a useful concept when thinking about power in contemporary society. The talk, which is based on Dr Byford's book Conspiracy Theories: A Critical Introduction looks at how we might productively navigate the fuzzy boundaries between theories about actual conspiracies which reveal the often secretive political and economic order, and the bogus, far fetched and often politically damaging conspiracy theories.

Michael Marshall

When?
Tuesday, July 19 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

 

Homeopathy is one of the most widely debunked form of alternative medicine – yet homeopathic remedies adorn the shelves of respected pharmacies and are funded by taxpayers on the NHS. How big of a problem is this? Using information and personal experiences gathered during his last 6 years of campaigning against homeopathy, Michael Marshall will highlight how much money is spent on homeopathic remedies, how this gives undeserved credibility to homeopathy, how such remedies can lead to genuine harm and what you can do to help.

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

 

Dr Kat Arney

When?
Tuesday, June 21 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Dr Kat Arney

What's the talk about?

The language of genes has become common in the media. We know they make your eyes blue, your hair curly or your nose straight. We're told that genes control the risk of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism or Alzheimer's. The cost of DNA sequencing has plummeted from billions of pounds to a few hundred, and gene-based advances in medicine hold huge promise.

There are 2.2 metres of DNA inside every one of your cells, encoding roughly 20,000 genes. These are the 'recipes' that tell our cells how to make the building blocks of life, along with all the control switches ensuring they're turned on and off at the right time and in the right place. But rather than a static string of genetic code, this is a dynamic, writhing biological library. With the help of cats with thumbs, fish with hips and wobbly worms, Kat will unpack some of the mysteries in our DNA and explain the latest thinking about how our genes work. 

Dr Dave Hone

When?
Tuesday, May 17 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Dr Dave Hone

What's the talk about?

Tyrannosaurus rex is the most well known of the dinosaurs but also suffers from the greatest misconceptions about its biology. The Tyrant King suffers in its popularity with various hypotheses being thrown at it (by both palaeontologists and non-experts) and much of it sticking thanks to the media and pop-culture adoption of these ideas. Critical assessment however shows that few of these tropes stand up to even the most basic of analyses or even already known data. The tyrannosaurs are a fascinating group of dinosaurs and they are much diminished by unnecessary hyperbole when the truth is every bit as interesting

Dr Dave Hone is a palaeontologist and writer. His research focuses on the behaviour and ecology of the dinosaurs and their flying relatives, the pterosaurs. In addition he writes extensively online about palaeontology and science outreach, blogs for the science pages of  The Guardian, and regularly contributes for other media outlets as well as acting as a scientific consultant. His first book, the The Tyrannosaur Chronicles, is out now with Bloomsbury.

Why children are great pretenders, poor problem solvers, and sometimes less clever than crows

Sarah Beck

When?
Tuesday, April 19 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Sarah Beck

What's the talk about?

Young children are excellent imaginers, coming up with all kinds of creative and weird worlds. But what is the imagination really for? Adults use their imaginations to solve problems, but children sometimes struggle with this. In this talk, Sarah Beck will explore how children start to use their imaginations for creative problem solving, using examples of children’s thinking about ‘how things might have been different’ and comparing children’s tool-making to that of clever non-human animals.

 

Sarah Beck is Reader in Cognitive Development at the University of Birmingham. She researches children's thinking about possibility and time, and questions whether adults' thinking in these areas is as sophisticated as we might like to think. She teaches an undergraduate course that compares the cognitive abilities of human children with non-human animals.

Emma McClure

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

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Emma McClure

What's the talk about?

 A grisly murder scene, a renegade detective pours over the scene. They find an overlooked clue; a hair, a footprint, a shell casing. Detailed analysis matches it to the bad guy. The bad guy goes to jail - this is often how modern day forensics are thought of and how it is often portrayed in shows such as 'CSI' and 'Silent Witness'. 


Forensic evidence is seen as conclusive when it comes to catching suspects and deciding if someone is guilty in a criminal trial. How could the traces left behind at a crime scene lie?

The science in areas such as DNA collection has progressed enormously in recent decades allowing for break-throughs in many old and cold cases. 

However, we have also seen many high profile exonerations of those previously convicted of the most serious of crimes on seemingly 'conclusive' forensic evidence. This has lead to increasing scrutiny of the way it is analysed, interpreted and presented in the courtroom.

In this talk, prison lawyer Emma McClure explores this issue alongside the amusing, confusing and sometimes tragic consequences of failing to take a skeptical approach to scientific evidence.

Tamasin Cave

When?
Tuesday, February 16 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?

What's the talk about?

This event has been cancelled

Robin Tudge

When?
Tuesday, January 19 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

8 Pocklingtons Walk,
Leicester,
LE1 6BU

Who?
Robin Tudge

What's the talk about?

Robin Tudge is a writer based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who has lived and worked in Chicago, Moscow, Hanoi, Beijing and Pyongyang, and among other tomes wrote the pioneering Bradt Guide to North Korea, now in its third edition. He has visited North Korea several times since 2001 and led tours there in 2013 and 2015 for the leading tour company, Koryo Tours. He is to present an illustrated talk on travelling to that impoverished, surprising country, so show what can really be seen beyond the Potemkin illusion. 

Philip Moriarty

When?
Tuesday, December 15 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

1 Millstone Lane,
Leicester,
LE1 5JN

Who?
Philip Moriarty

What's the talk about?

 There is no doubt that quantum physics embodies mind-blowing concepts that force us to question the very nature of reality.  And if there’s a contender for our current best “theory of everything” then quantum mechanics wins hands down.


But, far too often, the word “quantum” signals the worst type of vacuous pseudoscientific gobbledegook. It’s exploited by those who are entirely clueless about the underlying physics -- or, worse, should know better -- to evoke a misplaced mysticism about the ‘holistic’ nature of the universe. Moreover, when consciousness and quantum collide, the nonsense factor goes through the roof…

Philip Moriarty will aim to tease out the science from the mysticism and show that while quantum physics certainly has its weird and wacky aspects, it’s at heart a theory of waves. That means we can very often easily interpret what’s happening at the quantum level in terms of the everyday world around us – he’ll take a look at what coffee cups, drums, and a SlinkyTM can tell us about the broader nature of the universe (and Deepak Chopra’s place in it).

Philip Moriarty is a professor of physics at the University of Nottingham. He tweets at @Moriarty2112 and blogs at www.muircheart.wordpress.com.