Welcome to Gravesend Skeptics in the Pub - the pub skeptics who meet at No.84 - the tea room, coffee shop and events venue at 84 Parrock Road, Gravesend, Kent, DA12 1QF - on the third Wednesday of every month.

Doors open at 7:00 p.m. when drinks and cakes will be available.  Talks start at 7:45 p.m.

Everyone is welcome. Usually there's no need to book but check individual events as occasionally booking is necessary.  Talks are generally suitable for an audience aged 16 and over.

Skeptics in the Pub events are run on a completely voluntary basis and speakers generously donate their time and ask only for expenses.  Those attending are asked to make a donation to cover these expenses - the suggested amount is £3.

Philip Moffitt

When?
Wednesday, May 16 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Philip Moffitt

What's the talk about?

Philip Moffitt's work and research has exposed a number of stubborn myths related to technology and the post-Internet society, in particular to the Internet of Things (IoT).  In this talk he'll begin by outlining what is meant by the IoT and then look at associated issues including an analysis of how technology shapes - and is shaped by - our shared culture and history.  He will then combine historical case studies of previous technological innovations with practical tasks to build IoT devices so that the potential benefits and challenges of the IoT are collaboratively explored.

Unlike those who claim that the IoT will ultimately either imprison us or emancipate us; Philip will suggest that its true power, and its long-term relationships with human agency, will only be revealed when it is conceived as one of many taken-for-granted mediators of our human activity.  This will require analysing how we got to this point, exposing and then normalising relationships between the IoT and other cultural mediators.  This thinking exercise is often sadly neglected by engineers and strategists.  Feel free to bring along your own ideas and discussion points!

Philip is a Chartered Engineer and Facilities Manager.  He has previously designed, built and managed energy and utilities systems, provided consultation in the assurance and reliability of critical national infrastructure, and been an ethical hacker for industrial control systems in water and wastewater engineering.  He is currently conducting original research into the democratization of technology in work and learning for remote teams in high risk environments.  He is also a STEM ambassador and a regular contributor to the SAM sessions for the youngsters at No. 84 (https://gravesendsam.info/).
 

Dr Claire Benson

When?
Wednesday, June 20 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Dr Claire Benson

What's the talk about?

Since Grenfell Tower there has been much in the media on the subject of tall buildings and fires.  For us, as a group of 'Skeptics', it's sometimes hard to know where the truth lies so we are delighted that Dr Claire Benson has agreed to come and talk to us.  Claire is a fire and explosion scientist and she'll be sharing an expert's view on issues such as what building fire safety is supposed to do, common areas of failure in tall building fire safety, how we've ended up with a system that 'isn't fit for purpose' (according to the government's own inquiry), and what we need to do moving forwards to stop it happening again.

Based at London South Bank University, Dr Benson has over 10 years’ experience researching and lecturing as part of the Explosion and Fire Research Group.  She has a PhD in chemical engineering, specialising in high pressure oxygen system safety and has conducted research for the London Fire Brigade, Sellafield Ltd and the Ministry of Defence, and collaborated with the British Standards Institution, the Health and Safety Executive, and numerous aerospace and industrial engineering companies.  She initially studied forensics and the investigative skills acquired in this context are now used when she is looking for root causes of fire-related incidents.  With this background Claire has additionally done work with the London Fire Brigade, and has helped assess car fires for health and safety lessons, and completed projects on how arson data is shared with the police.

On Twitter find Claire @PyroClaire

Richard Clarke

When?
Wednesday, July 18 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Richard Clarke

What's the talk about?

Recent data from the World Health Organisation has indicated a fourfold increase in cases of measles in 2017 compared to previous year (from 5,273 to 21,315 cases) across the European region (www.euro.who.int/en/media-centre/sections/press- releases/2018/europe-observes- a-4- fold- increase-in- measles-cases- in-2017- compared-to- previous-year). These cases subsequently lead to hundreds of hospitalisations and 35 recorded deaths. While some of these cases were in those too young to be vaccinated, or those that had other health concerns that made vaccination inadvisable, the majority of the cases were in people who had actively made a choice to avoid immunisation.

The reasons why an individual may refuse a vaccine that is backed by extremely strong safety and efficacy evidence are wide ranging and complex. In this talk, Richard will introduce you to the concept of 'Vaccine Hesitancy' and explain how risk perception, uncertainty, social influence and above all trust plays a role in vaccine delay, selection and refusal.

Richard Clarke is a health psychologist and 3rd year PhD candidate with The Vaccine Confidence Project (www.vaccineconfidence.org/) based at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The academic field of vaccination is very wide, Richard's area of expertise focuses on the fluffy social science related to vaccine delivery. For all things vaccine science please visit The Vaccine Knowledge Project at www.vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/