Archive for February, 2016

Be Reasonable: Episode #036 – Richard O’Connor

Richard O’Connor is anaesthetist and crop circle researcher who is convinced he has evidence that UFOs are routinely visiting the earth.

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Skeptics with a K: Episode #167

Car crashes, electro-smog, mindfulness, and lacrosse. Plus drinking goo, doing the dishes, insta-cancer, and NutriBlitz. Bringing consciousness to the present moment, it’s Skeptics with a K.

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Have your say on NHS Homeopathy funding in the Wirral

3736069_1426544235.2609_funddescription-300x225Last year, skeptical charity the Good Thinking Society successfully challenged NHS Liverpool CCG over their decision to spend over £30,000 per year on homeopathic remedies. Given that homeopathy has proven to be nothing other than placebo, they argued that spending any money at all on this treatment was unjustifiable and possibly unlawful, and we at the Merseyside Skeptics Society supported them full. We’re expecting the results of the consultation soon, but meanwhile some of the few remaining CCGs to still fund homeopathy are beginning to conduct their own consultations, with NHS Wirral CCG next to seek the opinions of the public on the funding of homeopathy.

Please take a moment to share your thoughts with the CCG via their online survey, which is open to everyone, even if you are not a resident of the Wirral: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WHDHW3X

This is a rare chance for us to make our opinions known. Liverpool CCG’s online consultation doubtlessly received responses from a great deal of homeopathy supporters, which we were hopefully able to balance out with the views of members of the general public, including scientists and rationalists. It is almost certain that this consultation by Wirral CCG will receive just as much attention from supporters of homeopathy. If supporters of evidence based medicine don’t speak up, the consultation will be swamped with homeopathy fans and funding may continue.

It takes less than 5 minutes for you to do your part to ensure the reputation of the NHS is not used to lend credibility to a system of alternative medicine that can offer no benefits to patients. Take the survey now >>

If you’d like to understand more about the consultation, the accompanying pages offer some insights into the issues surrounding homeopathy in the Wirral.

Once you’ve taken the survey, be sure to share it with friends and colleagues – the more support NHS Wirral CCG gets for ending homeopathy funding, the better chance we have of helping them make this decision happen.

You can also support the work the Good Thinking Society is doing to challenge NHS homeopathy by making a small monthly or one-off donation. It was their legal challenge which pressured Liverpool CCG to consult on homeopathy and which contributed to the pressure to consult in the Wirral, and it was their legal challenge which resulted in the current nationwide consultation on banning homeopathy prescriptions on the NHS. If you think that’s worth a fiver or a tenner, you can donate now.

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Skeptics with a K: Episode #166

Old MacDonald, field archery, vets, and homeopathy. Plus Zika virus, hectares, the Spice Girls, and listener questions. Dismissed by a peer of the realm, it’s Skeptics with a K.

Sign the petition to blacklist homeopathy for animal care at change.org.

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Why eating bugs will soon become the new normal – Jenny Josephs

When:  Thursday, September 15th 2016, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

12717455_944345825651533_2004932269687575123_nBy 2050 the global population will reach 9 billion and this will put ever increasing pressure on food and environmental resources. How can we ensure global food security without further damaging the environment with intensified farming practices?

One UN backed solution is to focus on alternative sources of protein, such as insects for food and animal feed. About 2 billion of us already include insects in our diets, though it is still a growing trend in the west.

Insects are described as having a variety of different flavours, from mushroomy to pistachio or pork crackling. They are comparable to beef in protein and contain beneficial nutrients like iron and calcium. Their environmental impact is also minimal, requiring far less water and feed than cattle, and releasing fewer emissions.

During this talk, Jenny will explain how insects might replace some of the meat in our diets and also give some tips on how to cook them.

Jenny Josephs is the founder of The Bug Shack, a company aiming to promote edible insects as a sustainable source of protein. She has spoken at the Winchester Science Festival and TEDx Southampton Uni.

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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Why vapers think e-cigarettes will lead to the end of cigarettes, and why their optimism may be misplaced – Robin Ireland

When:  Thursday, February 18th 2016, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

12669630_10153893248421407_6777622822202736037_nElectronic cigarettes are a hot topic and not only in public health forums. Public Health England have pronounced e-cigs as around “95% less harmful than tobacco”. However the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in America and the World Health Organisation take a much more precautionary stance. The latter view ‘Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)’ as having potential public health benefits but these are yet unproven. Robin Ireland, a Liverpool-based public health advocate, will discuss the evidence as much as it is available in the context of tobacco control efforts in England.

Robin is Chief Executive of Heart of Mersey and the Health Equalities Group originally established in 2003 to address the inequitable levels of heart disease and stroke on Merseyside. Robin was awarded his Master of Public Health at the University of Liverpool in 2007 and was elected Member of the Faculty of Public Health through Distinction in 2015. His position on e-cigs has led him to be vilified by vapers on social media whilst the Institute of Economic Affairs has branded the Health Equalities Group, “Sock Puppets”.

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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