Archive for January, 2016

Aliens: Mr Green and Mr Gray cannot visit us today – Stevyn Colgan

1010368_479668078785979_647955879_nWhen:  Thursday, May 19th, 2015, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

Given the bewildering variety of life on Earth – all stemming from one self-replicating molecule – can we really predict what life on other worlds is like? Maybe not. But we can imagine what it isn’t like.

Stevyn Colgan has been involved with aliens for three decades. He’s held Jabba the Hutt’s face, helped sculpt creatures for Bruce Willis to shoot at, and had a script accepted for Doctor Who in the 1980s. In this entertaining talk, you’ll hear about feuding gangs of scientists, film directors with less imagination than children, and the perils of concrete poo. You’ll also come to realise that if we really are intelligently designed, we’re an illogical and inefficient system.

Stevyn Colgan is an author, artist, songwriter, speaker and oddly-spelled Cornishman. He is one of the ‘Elves’ that research and write the popular BBC TV series QI and co-writes its sister show, The Museum of Curiosity, for BBC Radio 4. He has given hundreds of talks across the UK and USA and is a regular at festivals and events such as Skeptics in the Pub, QEDCon, Cornbury, Hay, Cheltenham, Latitude and the Edinburgh Fringe. He is a contributor to the bestselling QI books and annuals and is the author of ‘Joined-Up Thinking, Constable Colgan’s Connectoscope’, ‘Henhwedhlow: The Clotted Cream of Cornish Folk Tales’, ‘The Third Condiment’, ‘Why Did The Policeman Cross The Road?’ and co-wrote ‘Saving Bletchley Park’ with Dr Sue Black.

Our speaker events have wheelchair access, via a portable ramp which can be installed on-demand. If possible, please let us know you’re coming through contact@merseysideskeptics.org.uk so we can make sure the ramp is ready.

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Merseyside Skeptics’ March Megamix 2016

398800_262088850543904_23500888_nWhen:  Thursday, March 17th, 2016, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

After the success of last year’s March Megamix – where we gave you not one Skeptics in the Pub speaker, but six – we thought we’d do it again! Speakers this month will include:
  • Dean Paton from Big Heritage, on how and why he protested against Christian homophobes at Chester Pride Parade
  • Kat Ford, on evolutionary psychology
  • Duncan Royle, on policy-based evidence
  • Tom Williamson, on the 9/11 Truth movement
  • Michael Marshall, on Bad PR in the media
We’ll see you in The Vines, Lime Street from 8pm on March 16th for something a little different!

Our speaker events have wheelchair access, via a portable ramp which can be installed on-demand. If possible, please let us know you’re coming through contact@merseysideskeptics.org.uk so we can make sure the ramp is ready.

 

 

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How to Make $100 Million with a Bogus Bomb Detector – Meirion Jones

When:  Thursday, July 21st 2016, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

merionJonesHe’s jailed for 10 years now but how did a British conman from Liverpool sell bogus bomb detectors to Iraq for $85 million? A lack of skepticism cost the lives of an estimated 2,000 people in Baghdad. Meirion Jones tells, with the help of video clips and secret recordings, how Jim McCormick and his chums worked the scam around the world and how whistleblowers and a Newsnight team exposed the scandal. This is about multi-million-dollar bribes in Baghdad, and UK PLC turning a blind eye to boost exports, but this is also about the lethal consequences of not basing policy on evidence. Meirion will demonstrate two real bogus bomb detectors as sold by the hoaxers for up to $40,000 each and show you how to make one that works every bit as well for less than a pound.

Meirion Jones was a BBC producer who is in the unusual position of winning the 2013 Scoop of the Year award for a programme which was never broadcast – his exposure of Jimmy Savile as a paedophile. He also won the Daniel Pearl International Award for Investigative Journalism in 2010 for his reports on toxic waste dumping by Trafigura in Africa. He has exposed everything from the fixing of the 2000 US election, to how Britain helped Israel get the atom bomb, from corrupt politicians to the affair of Mark Stone and the undercover cops, as well as homeopaths and healers.

Our speaker events have wheelchair access, via a portable ramp which can be installed on-demand. If possible, please let us know you’re coming through contact@merseysideskeptics.org.uk so we can make sure the ramp is ready.

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The Phantom of Heilbronn and other Forensic Faux Pas – Emma McClure

When:  Thursday, January 21st 2016, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

Ignite-emma-emma-emmaWe’ve all seen it: A renegade detective pours over the scene of a grizzly murder. They find an overlooked clue; a hair, a footprint, a shell casing. Detailed forensic analysis matches the clue to the bad guy, and the bad guy goes to jail. This is how modern day forensics are portrayed in shows such as ‘CSI’ and ‘Silent Witness’; forensic evidence is seen as conclusive when it comes to catching suspects and deciding if someone is guilty in a criminal trial. But could the traces left behind at a crime scene lie?

The science in areas such as DNA collection has progressed enormously in recent decades allowing for breakthroughs in many old and cold cases. However, we have also seen many high profile exonerations of those previously convicted of the most serious of crimes on seemingly ‘conclusive’ forensic evidence. This has lead to increasing scrutiny of the way it is analysed, interpreted and presented in the courtroom.

In this talk, prison lawyer Emma McClure examines the issues with forensic techniques, highlighting the amusing, confusing and sometimes tragic consequences of failing to take a skeptical approach to evidence in the field of forensic science.

Our speaker events have wheelchair access, via a portable ramp which can be installed on-demand. If possible, please let us know you’re coming through contact@merseysideskeptics.org.uk so we can make sure the ramp is ready.

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