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When?
Wednesday, August 21 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Keith Kahn-Harris

What's the talk about?

The meeting on Wednesday August 21 is CANCELLED.

Sadly Dr Kahn-Harris is unwell and cannot now be with us for August Skeptics.

William Hunter

When?
Wednesday, July 17 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
William Hunter

What's the talk about?

Transylvania is a byword for vampires and gypsy magic – but there is so much more strangeness that makes Dracula look pretty tame.

Lore is passed on through fireside tales of demons, underworlds and wicked spirits that exist alongside humans, of a creator God who has long abandoned his world.

Transylvania has long been a place of conflict, of cultural clashes and invasion. Within this unique European pressure cooker of faith and war, supernatural beliefs took hold in everyday life. The magical practices of actual Transylvanians from the beginning of the last century up to the present day were about giving reason to a violent world, a way of gaining some agency in the chaos.

William Hunter talks about why magic is needed, on what basis it is done, and some of the techniques he has seen performed.

He was raised in the Carpathian mountains of Transylvania and spent most of his childhood with monks, fortune tellers and very tall trees. SInce then he has travelled throughout Europe exploring surviving or reimagined native beliefs, partaking in Fire festivals and fertility rites from Scotland to Albania.

What can synaesthesia tell us about the human mind?

Professor Michael Banissy

When?
Wednesday, June 19 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Professor Michael Banissy

What's the talk about?

What does the name Brian taste of? What colour is the number 3? These may sound like unusual questions, but for people with synaesthesia they are a very real way to experience the world. Synaesthesia refers to a blending of the senses that are normally experienced separately. In this talk, I will explain what synaesthesia is, how we think synaesthesia happens, and what synaesthesia can tell us about mechanisms of perception in us all.

Michael is a Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths, where he is Co-Head of Department . He has contributed to several diverse research areas, including social perception, social cognition, creativity, synaesthesia, and brain stimulation. The breadth of his work is not only seen in scientific contributions, but also in his engagement to bring science to the public and industry (e.g. he is a Royal Society Short Industry Fellow). His work resulted in him being awarded the British Psychological Society Spearman Medal (2016), and the Bertelson Award (2017) for outstanding contributions to psychological research.

Jo Kenrick

When?
Wednesday, May 15 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Jo Kenrick

What's the talk about?

What if there was a dirty bomb hidden somewhere in the UK and you had to get a suspect to tell you where it was and how to disable it, what lengths would you go to? Recent revelations in the media about the UK government’s role in cooperating with the CIA torture programme have re-opened the debate on what is and is not acceptable when innocent lives are at stake. The President of the United States has declared that torture ‘absolutely works’ but the CIA’s own reports state that torture techniques “do not produce intelligence” and “will probably result in false answers”. This talk examines the ethical arguments for and against torture and reviews the science behind what techniques do and don’t work in eliciting information in high-pressure situations.

Jo Kenrick is a member of the Forensic Psychology Unit and an Associate Lecturer at Goldsmiths where she is researching the development of deceptive skill for her PhD. She has a wide range of research interests as you can see by her previous dissertation topics -"Let the traffic policeman wear black cotton gloves": Why traditional rituals of death matter to modern people (BA, Religious Studies), One born every minute: A target selection hypothesis of deception abilities in Machiavellian personalities (BSc, Psychology) and The influence of information channels on attributions for Domestic Violence against Women in Sweden, Bulgaria and the UK (MSc, Research Methods).

Jeremy Banx

When?
Wednesday, April 17 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Jeremy Banx

What's the talk about?

Jeremy Banx, an award winning cartoonist, will talk about his work – and some of his original cartoons will be available for purchase at very reasonable prices.

He has contributed to newspapers, magazines and comics including Private Eye, Wall Street Journal, Punch, New Statesman, Vice.uk, Oink!, Toxic, etc. For the past twenty-five years he has been the pocket cartoonist for the Financial Times. He is the cartoon editor for The Reaper at www.thereaper.rip

His books include ‘Cubes’, ‘The Many Deaths of Norman Spittal’, ‘Big Fat Sleepy Cat’, ‘The Dewsburys’ and ‘Frankenthing’. More than 150 short animated films were based on his character Norman Spittal.

For ten years he contributed designs for floats to the Nice Carnival.

He lives and works in Greenwich, London, with his wife Elaine and has four children.

Anthony Warner

When?
Wednesday, March 20 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Anthony Warner

What's the talk about?

Anthony Warner is a professional chef and writer.  A regular contributor to New Scientist and The Pool, his articles have also been featured in the Guardian, Mail on Sunday,The Sun and many more.  He writes the regular Angry Chef column for The Sunday Times, exposing food myths and misunderstandings.  In 2017, he was named on the Telegraph's Food Power List of tastemakers changing the way we eat and drink. His first book, The Angry Chef - Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating, won the Hearst Big Book Awards Health and Lifestyle Category in 2018, and was double nominated by the Guild of Food Writers in the same year.  His second book, The Truth About Fat, is published by Oneworld in January 2019, and will definitely upset a lot of people.  He lives in Nottinghamshire, blogs at angry-chef.com and you can follow him @One_Angry_Chef.

Cerys Bradley

When?
Wednesday, February 20 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Cerys Bradley

What's the talk about?

For decades, science has been fascinated by the LGBTQ+ community. What makes gay people gay? How does sexuality affect one's behaviour, appearance, or ability to raise children? In this talk scientist and PhD student Cerys Bradley, a part time comedian and full time bisexual, explains the extent and impact of scientific research on the LGBTQ+ community in a bid to understand the more important question: just because science can ask a question, does that mean it should?

We need to get rid of the boswellox

Dr Emma Smith

When?
Wednesday, January 16 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Dr Emma Smith

What's the talk about?

Are we being inundated with "fake science" and why do people believe the hype? While at a basic level it seems harmless, what threat does the creep of fake science pose? We'll be taking a look at some evidence of the harm that pursuing alternative therapies can cause people with a cancer diagnosis, and some of the emotional cost.

Emma studied biochemistry at Imperial College London then stayed on for a Masters and PhD on her favourite topic, immunology. After almost a decade there, she braved the move out of London and joined The Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton as a Postdoc to study multiple myeloma, a white blood cell cancer. In 2010 she left the lab behind after making the decision to work in science communications, and joined Breast Cancer Now for a short while. In 2012 she moved to a role in the Science Communications team at Cancer Research UK and spent 6 years perfecting the art of science communications at the biggest cancer charity in the world. In 2018 she took up a position at Imperial College London working in the field of volunteer infection studies and vaccines, but most of her talk today is centered around her experiences at CRUK.

http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/author/emma-smith/
www.hic-vac.org/news
Twitter - @EmmaMarieSmith1, @hic_vac

Ariane Sherine

When?
Wednesday, December 19 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Ariane Sherine

What's the talk about?

We’ve all watched films and television programmes featuring therapists, such as The Sopranos – but what’s the best way to access therapy in real life if you’re not a mafia boss? What’s the difference between therapy and counselling, or CBT and psychoanalysis? And why pay a stranger to listen to you in the first place? Can’t a good friend provide a shoulder to cry on?

In this talk, based on her new book Talk Yourself Better, Atheist Bus Campaign creator Ariane Sherine will answer all these questions and more, demystifying once and for all the secret world of therapy - with plenty of laughs along the way.

Ariane will also be signing copies of Talk Yourself Better after the talk.

What people have said about Talk Yourself Better:

“Brilliant – makes the baffling comprehensible.” JEREMY VINE

"What an excellent, long-overdue idea! A super-accessible guide, through the bewildering marketplace of modern therapy, to ease our noble search for help." DERREN BROWN

“How do we cope with this brutal world? In this witty, revealing book Ariane Sherine runs through the ways. An excellent, funny and thought-provoking read for all who seek answers.” ARTHUR SMITH

“What makes Ariane Sherine’s Talk Yourself Better stand out from the crowd is its accessibility and humour; to be able to discuss difficult things with a lightness of touch and a comedy that does not trivialise is a rare skill indeed. This, combined with the honest – and often deeply moving – stories of clients and practitioners alike, makes this the ideal introduction to for anyone considering therapy for the first time.” BRIAN BILSTON

Ariane Sherine is the comedy writer and journalist who created the Atheist Bus Campaign, as well as the bestselling celebrity book The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas. She has written for BBC1’s My Family, Channel 4’s Countdown and BBC2’s Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, as well as for The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Observer, New Statesman and The Spectator. She lives in London with her seven-year-old daughter, Lily.

Robin Ince

When?
Wednesday, November 21 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Robin Ince

What's the talk about?

Admission only to those registered with the organisers.  Registrations are now closed.

Robin will be talking about his new book - I'm a Joke and So Are You - which he describes as a comedian's take on what makes us human.

Carmen D'Cruz

When?
Wednesday, October 17 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Carmen D'Cruz

What's the talk about?

Do you have a blind spot?  You're probably sure that other people have.  When Carmen started looking into the subject she found that sometimes, just when it's important, our capacity for critical thinking goes out of the window and we make poor decisions.  In this talk Carmen will help us recognise our blind spots and be more aware when those who want to influence us use flawed, but apparently plausible, arguments.

Carmen is one of the co-convenors of London Skeptics in the Pub so we're delighted that she's coming to visit us in Gravesend.

Alex Farrow

When?
Wednesday, September 19 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

84 Parrock Road
Gravesend
Kent
DA12 1QF

Who?
Alex Farrow

What's the talk about?

Alex Farrow is a philosophy teacher and stand-up comedian who will be exploring what he learnt from teaching philosophy in a 6th form college to Muslim and Christian teenagers in East London.

The questions he found himself addressing were:
What place do philosophy and skepticism have in the school classroom?
What is the "British values agenda" and are British values under attack?
What is the role of the teacher in creating, challenging and shaping the ethical and social opinions of young people?

Alex has been invited to perform stand-up comedy about philosophy everywhere from Mervyn Stutter's pick of the Edinburgh Fringe, the National Museum of Scotland, music festivals, comedy clubs around the UK and the Oxford University Teaching Awards. He was also Farmington Fellow at Harris Manchester College, Oxford in 2015 researching Philosophy in Schools.
 
He is the host of Jericho Comedy Oxford. Jericho Comedy raised £8,700 for the mental health charity Oxfordshire Mind last year for more information about them visit www.tighfive.org/jerichocomedy
 
“witty, positive and talented” – DailyInfo Oxford “An engaging and entertaining pairing of learning and good humour!” – **** The Latest, Brighton