Archive for category Skeptics in the Pub

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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No Turn Unstoned: The harms and benefits of recreational drugs – Suzi Gage

When:  Thursday, June 16th 2016, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool

12628385_935447689874680_8051445114560663420_oThe media love to sensationalise the dangers of illicit drug use, whilst downplaying or even ignoring the harms from legal drugs. Suzi takes us on a trip through the current scientific understanding of the harms, and also potential benefits of recreational drugs, both illegal and legal.

Dr Suzi Gage is an Epidemiologist at the University of Bristol, investigating associations between substance use and mental health. When not staring at spreadsheets full of ones and zeros she writes the Sifting the Evidence blog on the Guardian website, and has a small obsession with synthesizers.

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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Heresy to Witchcraft: Politics and the Creation of the Witch as an anti-social outsider – Deborah Hyde

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

946151_934486896637426_1658153012147983915_nWitchcraft became big news in the 16th and 17th centuries. Torrents of learned discussion turned to action, and the corpses piled high. But where did the legal infrastructure for such a mass persecution arise? Had this power already been tested and used? Deborah will discuss totalitarianism, paranoia and yearnings for empire in the making of a very bloody delusion.

Deborah has been writing about the supernatural for nearly two decades. She blogs on ‘Superstition, Religion and Being Human’ as ‘Jourdemayne’ but often suffers from mission creep. She’s also Editor-in-Chief of the Skeptic Magazine. Her daytime, grown-up job is a makeup effects coordinator in the film industry.

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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Herding Hemingway’s Cats: how do our genes work? – Kat Arney

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

kat-arneyThe language of genes has become common in the media. We know they make your eyes blue, your hair curly or your nose straight. We’re told that genes control the risk of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism or Alzheimer’s. The cost of DNA sequencing has plummeted from billions of pounds to a few hundred, and gene-based advances in medicine hold huge promise.

There are 2.2 metres of DNA inside every one of your cells, encoding roughly 20,000 genes. These are the ‘recipes’ that tell our cells how to make the building blocks of life, along with all the control switches ensuring they’re turned on and off at the right time and in the right place. But rather than a static string of genetic code, this is a dynamic, writhing biological library. With the help of cats with thumbs, fish with hips and wobbly worms, Kat will unpack some of the mysteries in our DNA and explain the latest thinking about how our genes work.

Dr Kat Arney is a science writer and broadcaster whose work has featured on BBC Radio 4, the Naked Scientists and more. She has just published her first book, Herding Hemingway’s Cats, about how our genes work.

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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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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