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David Clarke

When?
Tuesday, August 2 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
David Clarke

What's the talk about?

In 1914, as German troops advanced through Belgium, they met at Mons with the British Expeditionary Force. Ill-prepared and vastly outnumbered, the British troops were forced to retreat, with little hope of saving the lives of those at the Front. It was in these circumstances that many of the wounded and dying soldiers, brought back from the Western Front, reported having been rescued by strange angelic forms in the sky that protected them from massacre.

Since then The Angels of Mons has remained one of the best-known legends of 20th century warfare, but the mystery remains. Did British soldiers really see angels, saints and bowmen leading them against the Germans? Or were the stories the result of hallucinations experienced by battle-wearing men, carefully planted propaganda or simply the misinterpretation of a short story in a London evening newspaper?

David Clarke is the course leader and senior lecturer in journalism at Sheffield Hallam University where he teaches media law and investigation skills.

 

Chris Worfolk

When?
Tuesday, July 12 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Chris Worfolk

What's the talk about?

In 1999 Ray Kurzweil published "The Singularity is Near" claiming that in 2045 artificial intelligence would surpass human intelligence and our society would enter into a period of exponential technological growth, changing the human race beyond all recognition.

This would be easy to dismiss as science fiction, but Kurzweil holds 17 doctorates and was described Bill Gates as "the best man I know for predicting the future of artificial intelligence."

The talk covers an introduction to the technological singularity and transhumanism, a look at Kurzweil and his predictions on the singularity, alternative theories and critics of the ideas.

Chris Worfolk graduated from the University of Leeds in 2008, having studied computer science, specialising in artificial intelligence. He is also founder of Leeds Skeptics and Leeds Atheist Society and co-founder of the Humanist Action Group and National Federation of Atheist, Humanist & Secular Student Societies.

Tony Shannon

When?
Tuesday, June 21 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Tony Shannon

What's the talk about?

Tony has worked in IT security in both the physical and virtual realms.  He brings a talk showing that you might not be a secure as you think you are.

Tony is currently finishing his course at Nottingham Trent University and and is a member of Nottingham Hackspace.

Michael Marshall

When?
Tuesday, March 15 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

"You can't believe everything you read in the papers." Everyone knows this, but few people realise this truism extends far beyond the celebrity pages and gossip columns, and spills into 'real' news. Here, the near-invisible influence of PR companies is often pivotal in deciding what news gets told, and how it gets reported. By taking a brief look at the history of modern journalism, and using real examples taken from recent headlines, Michael Marshall will show why you really, really can't believe everything you read in the papers.

Bio
Michael Marshall is the co-founder and vice-president of the Merseyside Skeptics Society and appears on the Skeptics with a K and Strange Quarks podcasts. Besides organising national and international campaigns against homeopathy, he writes about the often-unsuspected role of PR in modern media. He was once called by Ben Goldacre 'a mighty nerd from Liverpool'. He was also once rather amusingly called a very rude word by self-proclaimed psychic Joe Power.

Peter Harrison

When?
Thursday, February 3 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Peter Harrison

What's the talk about?

An oneironaut, or lucid dreamer, is someone who can deliberately remain consciously awake during a dream and is completely aware of the situation. With the release of Christopher Nolan's latest film, Inception, lucid dreaming has once again been thrown into the public eye. The topic is surrounded by myths, misunderstandings, and controversy. Most communities focusing on lucid dreaming consist of individuals interested in unlocking their psychic potential, or meeting their spirit guides. For this reason, many people connect lucid dreaming with the supernatural. We're all used to hearing about dream interpretation, or people believing their dreams have predicted the future. Discussion of dreams in general invites a skeptical attitude.

What many people (skeptics included) do not realise is that the existence of lucid dreaming has been well established by scientists all over the world and is actively studied in many universities and scientific establishments. There are many peer-reviewed experiments that have shown not only that lucid dreamers can remain awake and control their dream, but even consciously communicate directly with others who are awake. This is a fascinating scientific topic, unfortunately often lumped together with supernatural beliefs.

Peter Harrison is a highly successful lucid dreamer. As a teenager, he developed what is now regarded as one of the most powerful induction techniques for lucid dreaming, and he experiments with lucid dreams every night. But unlike so many of his fellow oneironaughts, he's an active skeptic. This talk covers the reality of lucid dreaming, the scientific evidence and experiments in this interesting field, and the abundant myths and misunderstandings. You will also be shown how you too can take control of your dreamscape.

Peter Harrison is a skeptic, blogger, and magic consultant (working under his own name) and magician/mentalist (working under several stage names) based in Scotland. His award-winning magic material is created and tested within lucid dreams, and features on TV specials and international shows.

Trystan Swale

When?
Tuesday, January 11 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Trystan Swale

What's the talk about?

Almost twenty years after two English pranksters admitted to beginning the modern crop circle phenomenon, popular belief in a paranormal explanation remains puzzlingly high. Drawing from the time he continues to spend studying the subject, Trystan offers an insight into the bad science, poor reasoning and denialism of those who still choose to believe.

Co-host and founder of the popular Righteous Indignation podcast, Trystan Swale spent six years actively investigating Fortean phenomena with various groups in the south west of England. Emerging with little more than a headache and plenty of regrets he has since entertained, amused and enraged a wide range of audiences with his forthright views on the paranormal.

Mike Hall

When?
Tuesday, December 14 2010 at 7:30PM

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Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Mike Hall

What's the talk about?

Apologetics is the systematic defence of a position. Religious apologetics specifically is a field of theology which seeks to present a rational basis for religious faith, defend the faith against objections and support the claim "God exists". But are the arguments made by apologetics sound? Mike Hall takes a look at five common apologetics, deconstructing the arguments presented and exposing any flaws.

Biography

Mike Hall is the current president of the Merseyside Skeptics Society and presenter of the Skeptics with a K podcast. He once appeared on Sky One's "Are You Smarter Than A Ten Year Old?". He wasn't.

Rebecca Watson

When?
Tuesday, October 12 2010 at 7:00PM

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Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Rebecca Watson

What's the talk about?

It's not easy being a rational person in what often seems to be in irrational world. How do you stay true to your skeptical standpoint without sounding like a tiresome know-it-all? This talk will give some helpful life tips using real-life examples and pre-recorded reenactments starring Jon Ronson, Professor Chris French, and Dr Adam Rutherford of BBC's The Cell.


Rebecca Watson leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org, co-hosts the weekly podcast The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, produces pin-up calendars of scientists and skeptics, and attempts to rock harder each year.


She currently lives in London where she works as a freelance writer in order to fund her hardcore skepticism habit. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it.

Iszi Lawrence

When?
Tuesday, September 14 2010 at 7:30PM

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Where?

54 Canal Street,
Nottingham.
NG1 7EH.

Who?
Iszi Lawrence

What's the talk about?

Stand-up comedian Iszi Lawrence be discussing "the experiences of an awkward atheist" - how superstition, belief and reason are intermingled in comedy and everyday life.

Iszi lawrence is s resident compere of the Lil Fat Comedy Club Witney, has had sell out shows at the Camden, Brighton, Oxfringe and Edinburgh fringe. Her debut four star show 'Matter of Tact' was Time Out Recommended and London Lite Comedy Pick.

She also featured in Perrier Award winning The Passion Of The Hodgson and has appeared on BBC Radio 1, BBC 7 as well as local radio inc. Resonance FM.

Iszi is also co-host of the Sundays Supplement podcast and comperes Oxford Skeptics in the Pub. She has been an invited speaker to Atheist Think Week and has spoken at several Skeptic societies around the UK.

http://www.iszi.com/

http://sundayssupplement.blogspot.com/

 

Daniela Rudloff

When?
Tuesday, August 3 2010 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Who?
Daniela Rudloff

What's the talk about?

Can we trust our eyes?  Why does a footballer’s performance usually drop right after they’ve been sold to a high-paying football club? What exactly is “anchoring”, and should we be doing it in a pub?
 
Daniela Rudloff will answer these and other questions by giving an introduction to the everyday mental shortcuts and biases we often employ, arguing that even though they might be misleading, they are also necessary – and almost impossible to avoid.
 
Daniela has always had a profound interest in critical thinking, leading her to join the German Skeptics in 1994. In 2006 she commenced a PhD in Psychology to find out what keeps Joe Bloggs from being a rational, reasonable and skeptical person.

Tony Youens

When?
Tuesday, July 6 2010 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Who?
Tony Youens

What's the talk about?

The talk will focus on a number of investigations into psychic claims including, Christine Holohan and the murder of Jacqui Poole, Chris Robinson, the 'Dream Detective', and testing a parrot in Chicago for telepathy. A few demonstrations of trickery will be included.

Though always sceptical of psychic claims Tony's interest took off following Granada's James Randi Psychic Investigator series in 1991. Tony has appeared on a number of television and radio programmes over the years including: Kilroy (okay he's sorry), Central Weekend Live, National Geographic, Vanessa, Lowry, Everyman and The Heaven and Earth Show. He posed as a tarot reader for Meridian Focus and an astrologer in The New Zodiac. His favourite was The Ultimate Psychic Challenge which meant working with James Randi.

He is a founding member of ASKE.

Hayley Stevens

When?
Tuesday, June 8 2010 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Who?
Hayley Stevens

What's the talk about?

What is a paranormal researcher? And what exactly do they do? Hayley will discuss the side of the paranormal research field that hardly anybody sees. She will share some of the strange, scary, hilarious and fraudulent things that she has experienced during her time as a paranormal researcher. These include paranormal politics, the dreaded paranormal curse, sham ghosts and hauntings, things that go bump in the night and those dreaded ghost-hunting sceptics.

Biography

Hayley Stevens is a thorn-in-the-side for pseudoscientific ghost hunters everywhere. She has been researching and investigating paranormal and supernatural phenomena in the county of Wiltshire since 2005 as the co-founder of the Wiltshire Phenomena Research team.  In the past she has been described as ‘controversial’, ‘level headed’, ‘outspoken’, ‘a pain the arse’, and ‘a voice of reason.' As well as many rude names that cannot possibly be repeated.

Hayley also blogs as the Rather Friendly Skeptic and is a co-host for the Righteous Indignation podcast.