<< Following year  Previous year >>

Dr Kat Arney

When?
Monday, March 7 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

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, explain the latest thinking and challenge deterministic ideas about how our genes work.

Dr Kat Arney is a science communicator and award-winning blogger for Cancer Research UK, as well as a freelance science writer and broadcaster whose work has featured on BBC Radio 4, the Naked Scientists and more. She has just published her first book, Herding Hemingway's Cats, about how our genes work.

There will be copies of the book on sale and you can pay by cash or card.

Martin Graff

When?
Monday, February 1 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Martin Graff

What's the talk about?

More and more people are looking for love online rather than meeting people the old fashioned way. There’s good evidence that relationships are good for our physical and mental health and you can’t snuggle up with a PS4 on a cold night.

Drawing on psychological research, this talk focuses on seven reasons why online dating may not be the answer.

Some of the principal considerations are that we make bad decisions in online dating and people are certainly not what they seem to be. This means that such a matching system is not a good predictor for the sustainability of relationships face-to-face.

Dr Martin Graff is Reader and Head of Research in Psychology at the University of South Wales, an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Chartered Psychologist. He has researched cognitive processes in web-based learning, the formation and dissolution of romantic relationships online and offline, online persuasion and disinhibition. He has written over 50  scientific  articles,  published  widely  in  the  field  of  Internet  behaviour,  and presented his work at numerous International Conferences. He also writes a blog in Psychology Today.

This talk is rescheduled from last year, just in time for Valentine's Day!

Dr Chris Peters

When?
Monday, January 4 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Dr Chris Peters

What's the talk about?

Every day we hear claims about what is good for our health, bad for the environment, how to improve education, cut crime, and treat disease. Some are based on reliable evidence and scientific rigour. Many are not. These claims can't be regulated; every time one is debunked another pops up – like a game of whack-a-mole. So how can we make companies, politicians, commentators and official bodies accountable for the claims they make? If they want us to vote for them, believe them, or buy their products, then we should ask them for evidence, as consumers, patients, voters and citizens.

 

The Ask for Evidence campaign has seen people ask a retail chain for the evidence behind its MRSA resistant pyjamas; ask a juice bar for the evidence behind wheatgrass detox claims; ask the health department about rules for Viagra prescriptions; ask for the studies behind treatments for Crohn's disease, and hundreds more. As a result, claims are being withdrawn and bodies held to account.

This is geeks, working with the public, to park their tanks on the lawn of those who seek to influence us. And it's starting to work. Come and hear what the campaign is going to do next and how you can get involved.

Max Goldman joined Sense About Science in March 2013 to work on the Ask for Evidence campaign. He has a Masters from the London Consortium, a cross-disciplinary group of museums, galleries and academic institutions designed to bridge the gap between public and academic discussion. His dissertation explored the relationship between scientific progress and the public perception of science. 

Deborah Hyde

When?
Monday, December 7 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Deborah Hyde

What's the talk about?

Krampus is a demon-like creature from Alpine folklore who punishes naughty children at Christmas, in contrast with jolly St Nicholas who brings presents.

Krampusnacht is usually celebrated on December 5th and involves dressing up as the Krampus and roaming the streets frightening children with chains and bells.

The Krampus phenomenon has been re-kindled; growing in popularity in the US it is increasingly appearing in the UK.

Deborah Hyde writes about religion and superstition at jourdemayne.com. She regularly appears on TV and in print media and is editor-in-chief of The Skeptic magazine.

As this is our pre-festive meeting, there will be treats. If you deserve them.

Myles Jackman

When?
Monday, November 2 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Myles Jackman

What's the talk about?

“Obscenity Lawyer” Myles Jackman discusses the subjective morality and questionable evidence base for criminalising consensual adult sexual representations, including private one-to-one fantasy text chat ‘publication’ and  ‘extreme pornography’ possession offences.

 

WARNING – May contain stories about Horse Watersports.

Myles Jackman is the only lawyer in the UK who specialises in obscenity law and sexual freedoms. He is an award-winning lawyer and a leading expert in advising clients accused of sexual offences. He also provides a unique advisory service for clients in the arts and media; the adult industry; and offers pro bono advice for campaigns, organisations and activists particularly in the BDSM, LGBTQ, Sex-Work and Adult Industry communities. He was the defence solicitor in the landmark Michael Peacock and Simon Walsh obscenity trials. In the latter trial he was the first acting solicitor allowed to live tweet from a British trial. The same year, he was awarded the Junior Lawyer of the Year Excellence Award by the Law Society of England and Wales.

 

£3 to cover our expenses

Martin Graff

When?
Monday, October 5 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Martin Graff

What's the talk about?

More and more people are looking for love online rather than meeting people the old fashioned way. There’s good evidence that relationships are good for our physical and mental health and you can’t snuggle up with a PS4 on a cold night.

Drawing on psychological research, this talk focuses on seven reasons why online dating may not be the answer.

Some of the principal considerations are that we make bad decisions in online dating and people are certainly not what they seem to be. This means that such a matching system is not a good predictor for the sustainability of relationships face-to-face.

Dr Martin Graff is Reader and Head of Research in Psychology at the University of South Wales, an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Chartered Psychologist. He has researched cognitive processes in web-based learning, the formation and dissolution of romantic relationships online and offline, online persuasion and disinhibition. He has written over 50 scientific articles, published widely in the field of Internet behaviour and presented his work at numerous International Conferences. He also writes a blog in Psychology Today.

Professor Kate Jones

When?
Monday, September 7 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Professor Kate Jones

What's the talk about?

Bats make up one of the largest group of mammals on the planet - one in every five species of mammal is a bat. They use sophisticated ultrasonic sounds too high for us to hear to navigate and to find food. Bats are found all over the world from pristine rainforests to urban areas like Regent’s Park and are responsible for billions of dollars’ worth of insect regulation, pollination and seed dispersal.

Despite this, bats are commonly misrepresented, misunderstood and feared. In this talk, Kate Jones will discuss the natural history of bats and the common misconceptions about these animals and let you listen in to their hidden acoustic world.

Kate Jones is Professor of Ecology and Biodiversity at University College London and The Zoological Society of London. She has been studying bat ecology for over 20 years, is the author of over 80 scientific publications and is the current Chair of The Bat Conservation Trust. She regularly appears on TV and Radio 4 to talk about wildlife conservation and bat-related issues.

Cost: £3 to cover our expenses.

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

Sarah Beck

When?
Monday, July 6 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

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. 

Professor Henry Markovits

When?
Monday, June 1 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Professor Henry Markovits

What's the talk about?

Women are generally considered to be more sociable, kinder and more cooperative than men. But men still rule the world, not just because they are bigger and more aggressive, but because they can work together when they have to. In fact, Professor Markovits claims that men are intrinsically more sociable than women. In this talk, he will present an evolutionary perspective on why this is the case, and some empirical studies that show that preconceptions about sex and sociability are wrong.

Henry Markovits is a Professor of psychology at the University of Québec at Montréal. He studies both logical and social reasoning. He is the co-author of Worriers and Warriors with Joyce Benenson; they have worked together for many years looking at the relationship between sex and social reasoning and behaviour. He is currently associate editor of the journal Thinking and Reasoning.

The book will be on sale on the night at a discounted price.

When?
Monday, May 4 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?

What's the talk about?

Professor Richard Wiseman interviews Dr Rosi Sexton, exploring her remarkable journey from theoretical computer scientist to the UK’s first female UFC fighter (Ultimate Fighting Championship).

Along the way they will take a skeptical look at martial arts and the self-defence industry, talk about why being punched in the face doesn’t feel like you might expect, and discuss some of the lessons Rosi’s taken away from 15 years in the Mixed Martial Arts world. She has written about the problem of performance-enhancing drugs (doping) in combat sports, and is a supporter of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, VADA.

The Scientology Way

Martin Poulter

When?
Monday, April 13 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Martin Poulter

What's the talk about?

Scientology has been described in the States as “ruthless, litigious and lucrative” and in this country as “corrupt, sinister and dangerous” yet it boasts global success and has made hundreds of millions of dollars.

 

Thanks to the Internet, it now faces an unprecedented global opposition. The scary secrets of Scientology and its recruitment methods will be exposed in this talk. They will be useful for anyone wanting to set up their own lucrative cult.

Martin Poulter first encountered skepticism while a teenager. He has a philosophy and psychology degree from Oxford and a PhD in Philosophy of Science from Bristol university. He has been a Scientology-watcher since 1995, when he was threatened with legal action over material he posted online. He is an ordained minister in the Church of the SubGenius, which offers eternal spiritual salvation or triple your money back.

Please note that this is not on our usual first Monday of the month as the pub has an event over the Bank Holiday weekend

 

Christopher Snowdon

When?
Monday, March 2 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

40-42 Chalk Farm Road
Camden
London NW1 8BG

Who?
Christopher Snowdon

What's the talk about?

Self-styled 'freemen on the land' believe that since they have never signed a contract in which they agreed to obey the law, they do not have to do so. They believe that the entire legal system is a sham and that by saying the right words in court, the judge will admit defeat and acquit them. The freeman on the land movement is one of the most peculiar conspiracy theories to have arisen in recent years, preying on the gullible and the desperate. In this talk, Christopher Snowdon will outline the history and beliefs of the freeman movement and ask what it says about woo in the internet age.

Christopher Snowdon is director of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs. He is an occasional contributor to City AM, Spiked and other publications, and regularly appears on TV and radio discussing social and economic issues. He is the author of ‘Selfishness, Greed and Capitalism’ (2015), ‘The Art of Suppression’ (2011), ‘The Spirit Level Delusion’ (2010) and ‘Velvet Glove, Iron Fist’ (2009).