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Graham Smith -CEO of Republic

When?
Thursday, April 20 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Winchester Discovery Centre
Jewry Street
Winchester
SO23 8SB

Who?
Graham Smith -CEO of Republic

What's the talk about?

Thomas Paine recognised that a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives the impression it is right. That neatly captures the prevalent mood of the public towards the monarchy. 

Those attitudes are built on myth and misdirection, assumptions that go unchallenged about how the Queen can unite the country, guard against dictatorship and make billions for the British economy. When we couple those fantasies to the conceited notion that our ‘mother of parliaments’ is the envy of the world why would anyone support change? 

This grand delusion is ripe for challenge – and post-Brexit Britain is in urgent need of fundamental reform of how we’re governed. The monarchy is the source of centralized power and a primary cause of a weak parliament in the face of a powerful executive. It cannot provide the country with an effective, independent head of state and worse, it acts as an obstacle to reform. The monarchy is elitist, secretive, undemocratic and resistant to change. In that, it sets the tone for a British constitution that is no longer fit for purpose.

Graham Smith has been CEO of Republic since 2005. He originally joined the group in 1990 before moving to Australia where he was involved in community and charity work. Graham first got involved with Republic as a volunteer in 2003. Since then he has transformed the campaign group, building a strong supporter base and raising the campaign’s media profile. He has also played a leading role in establishing and nurturing the Alliance of European Republican Movements.

Myles Power

When?
Thursday, March 30 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Winchester Discovery Centre
Jewry Street
Winchester
SO23 8SB

Who?
Myles Power

What's the talk about?

 For decades now, we have been told by organisations like Greenpeace, GM-Freeze, and Friends of the Earth that genetical modified (GM) food is dangerous and has been shown to be harmful to humans.They have done a great job at convincing the population of their dangers by quoting scientific literature that claims GM-food has been shown, among other things, to cause cancer, leukaemia, and stomach inflammation; but is there really any truth to this? What do the papers these organisations are promoting really say, and do they have any flaws? Or, in actual fact, are GMOs going to kill us all? In my talk I am going to critique several highly referenced anti-GM papers, looking past their veneer of good science, and discovering what they really say about GMOs and the people who promote them.

Jonathan M.S. Pearce

When?
Thursday, February 23 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Winchester Discovery Centre
Jewry Street
Winchester
SO23 8SB

Who?
Jonathan M.S. Pearce

What's the talk about?

This century has seen the emergence of Islam as a religion closely connected to violence and terrorism. With regrettable regularity the latest religiously inspired terror attack fills the news broadcasts around the world whether they be the work of ISIS, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda or other such group. However these events are also vociferously condemned by peacful Islamic groups as being distinctly against the teachings fo the Qu'ran. Islam is a religion of peace and unity for many Muslim across the world.

To investigate whether is a part of Islam, and to what extent, Jonathan will examine in turn; the Qu'ran, the history of the prophet of Muhammad, and modern day interpretations given by Muslims. However regardless of his conclusion Jonathan will consider what role political expediency plays in accepting the narrative that fundamentalists are acting outside of the religion. It may be more desirable to accept a more moderate interpretation of Islam, even if it is less accurate.
Jonathan is a philosopher and author of several books of philosophy and theology. He is a founding member of both Tippling Philosophers and the Skeptic Ink Network.

The Physics of Everyday Life

Helen Czerski

When?
Thursday, January 26 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Winchester Science Centre
Telegraph Way, off Alresford Road
Winchester SO21 1HZ

Who?
Helen Czerski

What's the talk about?

What is it that helps both scorpions and cyclists to survive? What do raw eggs and gyroscopes have in common? And why does it matter? In an age of string theory, fluid dynamics and biophysics, it can seem as if the science of our world is only for specialists and academics. Not so, insists Helen Czerski – and in this sparkling new book she explores the patterns and connections that illustrate the grandest theories in the smallest everyday objects and experiences. Linking what makes popcorn pop to Antarctic winds, coffee stains to blood tests or ketchup bottles to aliens in space, every thread you pull in the fabric of everyday life shows you something new about the intricate patterns of our world. Read "Storm in a Teacup" and you will see and understand the world as you never did before.

 

Helen was born in Manchester (UK), to parents who were both inquisitive about the world and encouraged Helen and her sister to find out about the world for themselves. In her teenage years, when the questions got too much, Helen’s mum frequently said 'I don’t know. You go and get a university education and then come back and tell me'. So she did. Churchill College, Cambridge, was her home for eight years, and now she knows the answer to at least some of those questions.

Sports have played a large part in Helen’s life, and she’s always happy to learn new ones. Current favourites are badminton, running and swimming, with sailing and diving thrown in when she gets the chance.

The Evil Side of Christmas

Deborah Hyde

When?
Thursday, December 15 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Winchester Discovery Centre
Jewry Street
Winchester
SO23 8SB

Who?
Deborah Hyde

What's the talk about?

Krampus, a demon-like creature from Alpine folklore, punishes naughty children at Christmas - in contrast with Jolly St Nicholas who brings presents. Krampusnacht, usually celebrated on December 5th, 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 and increasingly appearing in the UK.

We'll look at where Christmas really comes from. See if you get candies.... or coal and a thrashing!

Jo Marchant

When?
Thursday, November 24 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Winchester Discovery Centre
Jewry Street
Winchester
SO23 8SB

Who?
Jo Marchant

What's the talk about?

 Can our minds heal us? It’s a controversial question – alternative therapists routinely claim that our emotions and beliefs dramatically influence physical health, while sceptics from the world of conventional medicine insist any idea of “healing thoughts” is dangerous quackery. Science writer Jo Marchant, author of the New York Times bestseller Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body, takes an evidence-based approach, tracking down researchers defying conventional scientific opinion to investigate mind-body links in situations from autoimmune disease to cancer. In this fascinating talk, she travels from a lab 3,500 metres above sea level in the Alps, where she meets a neuroscientist studying the role of the mind in altitude sickness; to the Minnesota home of a woman whose spinal fracture appeared to heal after she received fake surgery; to the University of Washington’s experimental pain lab, where a virtual reality ice canyon called “Snow World” is helping patients with severe burns. She concludes that both the advocates of alternative treatments and the sceptics are missing a vital piece of the mind-body puzzle—and creating a dangerous rift in how we approach medicine. Drawing on the latest research, she reclaims the mind from the grasp of pseudoscience, and explains how we can make use of these findings in our own lives. Jo Marchant writes on everything from the future of genetic engineering to underwater archaeology for New Scientist, Nature, The Guardian, and Smithsonian magazine, and has been shortlisted for the Royal Society Prize twice, for Cure (2016) and for her previous book Decoding the Heavens (2009).

When?
Thursday, October 27 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Winchester Discovery Centre
Jewry Street
Winchester
SO23 8SB

Who?
Barnaby Thwaites & Marcel van Limbeek

What's the talk about?

 Why do we hear what we hear? The ear-brain system is remarkable for its complexity, sensitivity and computing power, allowing us to hear a vast range of complex sounds, much of which we take for granted, particularly in the musical sphere. Hearing has a huge dynamic range and astounding ability to analyse source, character and rhythm of music . So when the 18th century violinist Tartini played two notes on his violin and heard three, what’s going on? And when a kick drum can’t be heard in the presence of a bass guitar, what can we do about it, and why?  We present some of the mechanisms involved in deciphering music, liberally illustrating in a dynamic audio-visual manner. 

Barnaby Thwaites is a retired cardiologist with a wide musical background starting in childhood with 5 years at Winchester Cathedral. He sings and plays bass in rock/metal bands and has a major interest in audio engineering and psychoacoustics, recording/mixing bands and singer-songwriters in his own professional studio.

 

Marcel van Limbeek has been working as a freelance live and studio engineer for over 30 years. He specializes in high quality audio for music productions. Since 1994 he has been working for American artist Tori Amos. In 2007 Marcel started teaching students in the art and science of sound engineering.

PLEASE NOTE THE VENUE AND THE DATE CHANGES.

Martin Poulter

When?
Thursday, September 29 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Winchester Science Centre
Telegraph Way, off Alresford Road
Winchester SO21 1HZ

Who?
Martin Poulter

What's the talk about?

PLEASE NOTE THE VENUE AND THE DATE CHANGES.

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.

It 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 University and a PhD in Philosophy of Science from the University of Bristol.

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 THE VENUE AND THE DATE CHANGES.

Kevin Precious

When?
Thursday, August 25 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Winchester Discovery Centre
Jewry Street
Winchester
SO23 8SB

Who?
Kevin Precious

What's the talk about?

 Kevin Precious is a former RE teacher turned stand-up comedian and promoter.  Besides having played many of the top clubs in the land, he also promotes shows in arts centres and theatres under the Barnstormers Comedy banner. He has previously toured the country with a stand-up show entitled 'Not Appropriate', dedicated to the business of teaching. 


In between the various comedic activites, he attends his local humanist group - he's an agnostic, folks - where he loves a good old debate about the big questions in life.  Expect jokes and stories then, about his time as an RE teacher, being a humanist, the God-Shaped Hole, and the philosophy of religion... and you can ask him a few questions of your own afterwards, if you wish.

Simon Guerrier and Dr Marek Kukula

When?
Thursday, July 28 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Winchester Discovery Centre
Jewry Street
Winchester
SO23 8SB

Who?
Simon Guerrier and Dr Marek Kukula

What's the talk about?

As you read this, you're on a huge, sticky rock called Earth, hurtling round a nuclear fireball at 67,000 miles per hour. If that fact feels weird and unsettling you're more likely to remember it – the bits of our brains that encode long-term memory are linked to the bits dealing with emotion (and our sense of smell). And this odd memory-creating process affects our sense of the passing of time. Lots of what we know about space, time and ourselves is surprising and counter-intuitive. But if it's so peculiar, how did we puzzle it out? Unlike the Doctor in Doctor Who, we can’t feel the turn of the Earth beneath us. We don’t have a TARDIS to take us to other planets for a quick look round. But what does the Doctor do when he lands on an alien world where something strange is happening? He explores, looks for clues and asks awkward questions – sometimes getting in trouble with whoever’s in charge... Illustrated talk using clips from the TV show, we'll shows how Doctor Who uses science to inform its unique style of storytelling – and just how close it has often come to predicting future scientific discoveries.
 
Dr Marek Kukula, Public Astronomer, Royal Observatory Greenwich, Royal Museums Greenwich. He regularly appears on TV and radio, this is him on BBC News explaining why Pluto is not a planet.
 
Simon Guerrier, science fiction author and dramatist. He has given talks at the National Portrait Gallery, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and at various literary festivals around the country. He was a guest on Radio 4's The Infinite Monkey Cage in 2015.
 

Marek and Simon are the authors of The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who (BBC Books, 2015). 

An exploration of our perception of ionising radiation risk, from accidents to activism

Becky Alexis-Martin

When?
Thursday, June 30 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Winchester Discovery Centre
Jewry Street
Winchester
SO23 8SB

Who?
Becky Alexis-Martin

What's the talk about?

This year is the 5th anniversary of Fukushima, the 20th anniversary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban and the 30th anniversary of Chernobyl. It's a year of nuclear memorial, and I want to talk to you about the past, present and future of ionising radiation and society. I currently research the experiences and the interactions of people who are linked in some way to radioactivity, from anti-nuclear activists to nuclear accident survivors and atomic test veterans.

My talk will explore our perceptions of radiation risk and will consider the social impacts that it can have upon humans. I will delve into the fraught experiences of the Hibakusha, the stoicism of the Babushkas of Chernobyl, the self-proclaimed "mutants" of Semipalatinsk, and the day-to-day lives of the men who tested the atomic bombs. I will investigate the fallout from anti-nuclear activism, and contemplate the societal impacts of North Korea's future nuclear strategy. It's going to be a blast.


Becky Alexis-Martin is a research fellow at the University of Southampton. She has written for Resilience, Guru and the Guardian and has spoken at the Royal Geographical Society. She contains approximately 6000 Bq of radioactivity on an average day.

http://www.southampton.ac.uk/geography/about/staff/rm16g12.page

www.radpop.co.uk<http://www.radpop.co.uk>

@CalamityCake


Becky Alexis-Martin
Research Fellow: Nuclear Geographies

Nuclear Families: Exploring the lived experiences of nuclear veteran families

RADPOP: Exploring the demographics of radiation protection

Campus is Critical: Observing academic anti-nuclear activism

What Your Head Is Really Up To

Dean Burnett

When?
Thursday, May 26 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Winchester Discovery Centre
Jewry Street
Winchester
SO23 8SB

Who?
Dean Burnett

What's the talk about?

The hugely popular Guardian Brain Flapping science blogger, Dean Burnett, returns to Winchester Skeptics to talk about his new book: The Idiot Brain.

It is a surprising, funny and mind-bending examination of how and why the brain sabotages our behaviour.

Dr Dean Burnett has spent nearly two decades studying the human brain, the most complex, mysterious object in the known universe. In the same way that flaws begin to show when you spend too much time with one person, over time Burnett has come to learn that the human brain can be quite unreliable.
The Idiot Brain explores the many ways in which the brain does things inefficiently, illogically or just plain stupidly, and how these regularly end up influencing our everyday lives and the world around us.

From attention mechanisms to memory processing, the neuroscience of sleep and the psychology of superstition, The Idiot Brain highlights all manner of ways in which the brain is flawed or shoddy, how these impact on our lives in countless ways, and how it’s OK to laugh at all this regardless.