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When?
Monday, January 27 2020 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

Who?

What's the talk about?

Due to a booking mix-up last month we weren't able to host our quiz as advertised, so we're going to try again. We're back in our usual fourth Monday slot so the opportunities for Rob to mess up the date are severely reduced.

Do come along for a quiz about science and skepticism in 2019 and throughout history, with maybe a cheeky music round thrown in too.

When?
Thursday, December 19 2019 at 8:00PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

Who?

What's the talk about?

Please note that as every year our December meeting is earlier in the month than usual to avoid clashes with christmas festivities. Also this year we're starting at 8pm to avoid the rush from attendees at a concert by The Darkness in The Barbican.

Our sixth annual midwinter quiz will feature the usual mix of questions about science and skepticism in the last year and throughout history, including whatever audiovisual fun and related themed rounds Rob can come up with. Please do come along for a bit of friendly seasonal fun!

Dr Alice Howarth

When?
Monday, November 25 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

Who?
Dr Alice Howarth

What's the talk about?

In 2013 when Alice Howarth joined the Merseyside Skeptics Society’s podcast, Skeptics with a K, to talk about unsubstantiated or pseudoscientific claims in the media, she quickly realised the volume of claims made about the vagina are insurmountable. Over the past five years she’s considered countless claims from a variety of different types of people about how exactly you “should” care for a vagina, should you ever encounter one. These claims might seem light and fun, but they can have damaging consequences for people who have vaginas and the wider society. In this talk Alice will take us through some of these claims, the sources they come from and the wider impact of those claims.

Dr Alice Howarth is a scientist and skeptical advocate who has been a board director of the Merseyside Skeptics Society and podcaster at Skeptics with a K for over five years. She’s a researcher in clinical and molecular pharmacology at the University of Liverpool and has written for publications such as The Guardian.

Dr Eilidh Noyes

When?
Monday, October 28 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

Who?
Dr Eilidh Noyes

What's the talk about?

How good are humans at recognizing faces? It is often assumed that we are pretty good at it. After all, we can recognize the faces of our friends and family with ease. However, matching faces of people we don’t know is much more difficult, yet this is the task most commonly faced by police and passport officers. In this talk we will ask, how good are humans at recognizing faces? And, are machines any better?

Dr Eilidh Noyes is a Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology, University of Huddersfield.

Dr. James Hewitson

When?
Monday, September 23 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

Who?
Dr. James Hewitson

What's the talk about?

More than 1/4 of the global population are infected with a parasitic worm. These large pathogens range from a few millimetres in length to more than a metre, and can be thread-like creatures or finger thick. They can live in many of our organs, such as intestines, blood and even eyes. We will talk about some of the different diseases these parasites cause, the current approaches to stopping infection, and how likely this is to succeed. At the same time, it is becoming apparent that infection with worms may actually be beneficial in some situations, so we will also discuss how “helminth therapy” could help reduce allergies and autoimmunity.

Hugues Lortie-Forgues

When?
Monday, August 26 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George St
York
YO1 9PT

Who?
Hugues Lortie-Forgues

What's the talk about?

In recent years, there has been a growing number of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) conducted in education. For example, in the UK, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has commissioned more than 191 trials since 2012. These trials are often expensive, many exceeding £500,000. Given their growing numbers, and their cost, it is important to reflect on how informative these trials are. Are educational trials able to determine whether an intervention should be implemented at scale or whether its use should be discontinued?

Hugo Lortie-Forgues, PhD, is a Lecturer in the Department of Education at the University of York. His research focuses on mathematics education and on the evaluation of educational interventions.

 

Heather Pentler

When?
Monday, July 22 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

Who?
Heather Pentler

What's the talk about?

Since being diagnosed with a chronic condition, Heather has been snooping into the dangerous advice given by various alternative medical practitioners. Her talk will take you through her experiences and how and why this advice is so harmful. From EFT, to GNM Heather asks WTF! 

Heather has been an active skeptic for the last 7 years and has previously spoken about her experiences exposing dodgy alternative medical practices. Heather has been a member of the committee for Edinburgh Skeptics for the last 3 years. Heather's day job is a support worker, working with autistic adults for a charity.

Dr Graham Smith

When?
Monday, June 24 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

Who?
Dr Graham Smith

What's the talk about?

This is a common and misunderstood question. In order the answer this we must first look at what evolution is and how it works. After a tour of the basics of evolution in action, the audience should be able to answer this question themselves. Graham will discuss some recent evolutionary changes in historic human populations, and then with the aid of audience participation, look at whether future changes are going to happen and if so what are they likely to be...

Graham is a professional biologist and as a possible spoiler, to quote the evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution".

Ally Lewis

When?
Monday, May 27 2019 at 8:00PM

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Where?

75 George St
York
YO1 9PT

Who?
Ally Lewis

What's the talk about?

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE HAVE MOVED BACK THE START TIME OF THE TALK TO 20:00. THIS IS BECAUSE THERE IS A SOLD-OUT CONCERT AT THE BARBICAN, SO THE PUB IS LIKELY TO BE BUSY AT OUR USUAL START TIME.

Air quality has improved markedly over the last 100 years with the thick pea-soup sulfur smogs of the 1950s long consigned to history. Yet the profile of air pollution as an environmental issue has never been higher with both the public and with politicians. So is air quality still a serious public health issue in the UK, and what can be done if it is?  Who are the susceptible groups and what evidence is there of harm and costs? Whilst electrification of vehicles and de-carbonising of the energy supply over the next two decades will have positive impacts on air pollution and climate, many other sources of pollution in cities will still remain.  So are there limits on how much money should be invested in urban clean air, or should we accept that urban living will always come at a cost to health?

With a magical introduction from Mark Edward

Susan Gerbic

When?
Thursday, April 18 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George St
York
YO1 9PT

Who?
Susan Gerbic

What's the talk about?

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS TALK IS NOT IN OUR USUAL FOURTH MONDAY OF THE MONTH SLOT!

Tired of fighting trolls online? Tired of fake news? Want to do something that actually fights back? Susan Gerbic will be explaining why the answer is to join her project, Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia (GSoW). She will explain why improving the pages for Science and Scientific Skepticism on the 4th most popular website improves education world-wide.

GSoW works to support the people and organizations that do the research, write the books, organize the conferences and take the heat from the anti-science and paranormal world.  GSoW gives them the best possible Wikipedia pages possible, while following all the rules of Wikipedia. GSoW has had a large impact on education around the world since 2010. GSoW has written and rewritten over 850 Wikipedia pages in many languages.

All training is done online, self-paced and with a personal trainer. All GSoW members join the "Secret Caba"l hidden away on Facebook where new recruits learn the secret handshake. Previous pages include; Spontaneous Human Combustion, Facilitated Communication, Chris French, Skeptics with a K (English & Dutch), Deborah Hyde (English, Polish & Dutch), Edinburgh Skeptics (English & Dutch), European Skeptics Podcast, Glasgow Skeptics (English & Dutch),  Caroline Watt, Camp Quest UK (English & Dutch), Richard Wiseman (English, Portuguese, Spanish) and so many more.

The talk will also feature an introduction, featuring mentalism, by Susan's partner, Mark Edward.

Mark Edward and Susan Gerbic travel as a team. Both are acknowledged science activists who promote critical thinking, while at the same time spreading the word on Guerilla Skepticism, a more focused and direct activist agenda.

Susan is affectionately called the Wikipediatrician as the founder of Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia (GSoW) and Monterey County Skeptics. A Skeptical Inquirer contributor, Susan is a fellow of CSI and winner of the James Randi Foundation award for 2017. In 2018, Susan founded and manages About Time a non-profit organization focusing on scientific skepticism and activism. While her particular focus has been “Grief Vampires” (psychics), her activism encompasses all areas of skepticism.

Mark is one of only five specially chosen and trained “psychic mediums” in the history of Hollywood's famed Magic Castle, where he performed fifteen years of séance performances that helped him perfect the role of spirit medium and psychic entertainer. As a writer he has written books on these subjects and lectures extensively as a teacher of magic, mentalism and psychic fraud. He has most recently appeared on television as both primary consultant and on-air performer on truTV’s “Adam Ruins Everything,” National Geographic’s “Brain Games,” “Inside Edition,” and “Nancy Grace.” Over the years he worked on screen in “A & E's Biography: Houdini, the Great Escape," NBC's "The Other Side" and "Psychic Secrets Revealed," The Sci-Fi Channel's "Mysteries, Magic and Miracles," The Discovery Channel's "Forces Beyond," and The Learning Channel's "Exploring the Unknown." His featured segment as a spirit medium on the pilot episode of Showtime's "Penn & Teller's Bullshit!" entitled; "Speaking with the Dead" helped secure an Emmy Award nomination for that episode in 2002. He continues to be consulted by the media for his knowledge of spiritualism, psychic scams and ghost lore.

And how do we pick who gains and who loses?

Mark Sculpher

When?
Monday, March 25 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George St
York
YO1 9PT

Who?
Mark Sculpher

What's the talk about?

The NHS is not the only health care system in the world that struggles to meet the demands placed on it by an ageing population and the growing availability of treatments.  No system has access to infinite resources, so the challenge is to establish an acceptable way to judging between the claims to health care of different groups of patients.  This is particularly the case when assessing whether new pharmaceuticals should be made available, and at what price they are affordable.  The talk will suggest a set of principles by which such decisions can be taken, focussing on the importance of evidence regarding the additional health benefits offered by new treatments, but also their additional costs and what these imply regarding the health benefits that other types of patients will not enjoy if the treatment is funded.  The extent to which these principles are followed by organisations like the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) will be considered, and the implications for the health of the population of their not doing so assessed.

Mark Sculpher is Professor of Health Economics at the Centre for Health Economics, University of York.  He will discuss how his research in this area has (and has not) been used to guide NHS policy in this challenging area.

Dr Dara Mojtahedi

When?
Monday, February 25 2019 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

Who?
Dr Dara Mojtahedi

What's the talk about?

Think about the last time you were on holiday, how much do you remember about the journey there? More importantly, how confident are you that the memories you have of your trip were actually witnessed by you? It might sound like a daft question, but researchers have long demonstrated how easy it is for individuals to recall detailed memories that they never actually experienced. The phenomenon of false memories is more common than most think and it can have serious implications when the individual producing the false memory is a crime witness. Eyewitnesses will often play a pivotal role in the identification and conviction of offenders by providing reliable memory reports of criminal events. However, despite the criminal justice system’s high level of reliance on eyewitness evidence, research has demonstrated that eyewitnesses can be easily mislead into reporting unwitnessed information.

Dr Dara Mojtahedi, a lecturer in Psychology at The University of Huddersfield, discusses his research which seeks to explain how and why individuals often confabulate their recollections for events.