Archive for category Skeptics in the Pub

*CANCELLED* Mike Hall – The Placebo Myth

We regret to announce that our talk on Thursday this week is CANCELLED.

We apologise for the inconvenience and hope to reschedule “Mike Hall – The Placebo Myth” for later in the year.

Keep an eye on our social media for a new date and we look forward to seeing you at a future event.

When:  Thursday, May 19th 2022, 7.30pm – 11.00pm

Where: The Casa Bar, 29 Hope Street

Mike Hall on stage at QED conference. Mike is a tall, white, bald man who is wearing his tradmark black suit with a white shirt and red tie. He's smiling and holding a mic to his face.

The placebo effect is one of the most powerful medical responses there is. Demonstrating the amazing power the mind has over the body, the placebo effect can help you lose weight, cure your knee pain, or relieve your asthma. They bring you up when you think they’ll bring you up, and sedate you when you think they’ll take you down. They’ll even cure your gastric ulcers.
This isn’t wishy-washy alternative New Age nonsense. The placebo effect really does improve symptoms through our beliefs and expectations. It works in animals, it works in children, and it even works when think it won’t. There seems to be no end to it’s amazing healing power.
So why, then, does the best evidence tell us that none of this is true? Why does the data show that placebos are no better than doing nothing at all? And how can this myth be so deeply ingrained and unquestioned in modern medicine?
Mike Hall is producer and co-host of the long running skeptical podcast Skeptics with a K, a director of The Skeptic, and co-organiser of the popular science and skepticism conference QED. He has a lifelong interest in science, and has been involved in organised skepticism for over twelve years. He has spent most of his career working in technology (but still thinks Bitcoin is a scam) and has a particular special interest in Doctor Who.

More information:


**COVID Security**
Although the rules have changed somewhat – we’re still being cautious about the threat of COVID-19.

Here are some things you could do to help look after yourself and our other attendees:
• If you have access to a lateral flow test, why not take a test before you join us? If it’s positive for COVID-19, please stay at home.
• If you have new symptoms of COVID-19, even if a lateral flow test is negative – we’d prefer you stay at home. We’ll have other social events in the future that you can join in when you’re feeling better.
• If you feel comfortable and able to wear a mask while moving around the venue then please do wear one. We’ll bring some spares if you’d like to wear one but forgot to bring one.
• We’ll also bring some hand sanitiser that you’re free to use any time.
• Please be respectful of other people’s boundaries. Give each other plenty of space and be considerate. If you need to cough or sneeze, cough into your elbow or a tissue and throw the tissue away before sanitising your hands.

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Dr Steve Barrett – Unidentified Flying Objects: Are there any images of UFOs that need an extraterrestrial explanation?

When:  Thursday, March 17th 2022, 7.30pm – 11.00pm

Where: The Casa Bar, 29 Hope Street

Dr Steve Barrett

Dr Steve Barrett is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Physics at the University of Liverpool. His research interests have centred around the applications of imaging and spectroscopy to fields such as nanoscience, geomaterials, biomedical imaging and infrared spectroscopy. He is an expert in image processing and image analysis and has written image analysis software that has been used by researchers throughout the world.

His interest in astronomy predates his professional career as a physicist. He has given hundreds of astronomy-related talks to astronomical societies, special interest groups and schools to an audience totalling over 20,000 people. As a result of giving these outreach talks he was awarded the Sir Patrick Moore Prize in 2019 by the British Astronomical Association.

More information:


**COVID Security**
Although the rules have changed somewhat – we’re still being cautious about the threat of COVID-19.

Here are some things you could do to help look after yourself and our other attendees:
• If you have access to a lateral flow test, why not take a test before you join us? If it’s positive for COVID-19, please stay at home.
• If you have new symptoms of COVID-19, even if a lateral flow test is negative – we’d prefer you stay at home. We’ll have other social events in the future that you can join in when you’re feeling better.
• If you feel comfortable and able to wear a mask while moving around the venue then please do wear one. We’ll bring some spares if you’d like to wear one but forgot to bring one.
• We’ll also bring some hand sanitiser that you’re free to use any time.
• Please be respectful of other people’s boundaries. Give each other plenty of space and be considerate. If you need to cough or sneeze, cough into your elbow or a tissue and throw the tissue away before sanitising your hands.

No Comments

Michael Marshall – Inside the White Rose: an anti-vaxx, Covid conspiracy theory ecosystem

When:  Thursday, November 18th 2021, 7.30pm – 11.00pm

Where: The Casa Bar, 29 Hope Street

When 2020 brought with it a new strain of coronavirus, the world was plunged into confusion and uncertainty. While most people accepted the realities of the virus, little white stickers began to appear in public around the world claiming COVID-19 was a hoax concocted by the governments of the world to instil fear into their people, as a pretext for introducing new, permanent totalitarian laws. The graffiti was part of a co-ordinated grassroots campaign by a group calling itself The White Rose, urging members of the public to join their encrypted messaging channels to learn more about what was really going on.

So that’s what Michael Marshall, full-time skeptical investigator and activist, did. After spending months undercover in the messaging app Telegram, he has reported on the various conspiracy theories spread by the White Rose, and how groups used the Covid crisis to radicalise vaccine hesitant members of the public into a dangerous ecosystem of misinformation and extremism.

Michael Marshall is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society, Editor of The Skeptic, and President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast, and presents investigative reporting on the Skeptics with a K podcast.

His work has seen him organising international homeopathy protests, going undercover to expose psychics and quack medics, and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has lectured at universities across the world on the role of the media, and has written for the Guardian, The Times, New Scientist and the New Statesman.

More information:

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—————————————————————————————————-
**COVID Security**

This is our first event back in public and we take the threat of COVID very seriously.

Here are some things you could do to help look after yourself and our other attendees (if you like):

• If you have access to a lateral flow test, why not take a test before you join us? If it’s positive for COVID-19, please stay at home.
• If you have new symptoms of COVID-19, even if a lateral flow test is negative – we’d prefer you stay at home. We’ll have other social events in the future that you can join in when you’re feeling better.
• If you feel comfortable and able to wear a mask while moving around the venue then please do wear one. We’ll bring some spares if you’d like to wear one but forgot to bring one.
• We’ll also bring some hand sanitiser that you’re free to use any time you want to.
• Please be respectful of other people’s boundaries. Give each other plenty of space and be considerate. If you need to cough or sneeze, cough into your elbow or a tissue and throw the tissue away before sanitising your hands.

**NHS COVID Pass trial**
For our first event back, we are trialling use of the NHS COVID Pass and we would really appreciate our attendees help in this trial. In order to ready your NHS COVID Pass there are a number of steps you can follow.

1) Download the NHS app on your smartphone. This is a separate app the NHS Covid app. Once you are registered with the NHS app your COVID pass can be viewed under “Get your NHS COVID Pass” – click continue, then domestic. This will show a QR code that we can scan.

2) From the NHS app you can also download a PDF copy or receive a copy by email in case you do not have access to the internet from your smartphone.

3) If you do not wish to install the NHS app, or you do not have a smartphone – you can get a paper copy of your COVID Pass by mail by following this link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-pass/get-your-covid-pass-letter/ the paper copy will take at least 5 days to arrive.

The COVID Pass will confirm to us that you have either: had two COVID vaccines, had a positive antigen test within the previous 6 months, or that you have conducted a lateral flow test within the preceding 48 hours and the test was negative (for the online COVID pass only). We will not be informed which of these is the case for you.

If you have conducted a lateral flow test in the 48 hours before the event, you will need to register it with the NHS. To do so, you can follow the instructions at this link: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result

Please try to make sure you have your NHS COVID Pass ready to scan before you enter the venue so we can minimise delays to entry.

When we scan your NHS COVID Pass, we will retain no information from you – we are only using it as a pre-event check.

Thank you for helping us keep our attendees safe!

 

 

No Comments

Robin Ince – The Importance of Being Interested: Adventures in Scientific Curiosity

When:  Thursday, October 21st 2021, 7.30pm – 11.00pm

Where: Frederiks, 32 Hope Street

Comedian Robin Ince quickly abandoned science at school, bored by a fog of dull lessons and intimidated by the barrage of equations. But, twenty years later, he fell in love and he now presents one of the world’s most popular science podcasts. Every year he meets hundreds of the world’s greatest thinkers. In his latest book, Robin reveals why scientific wonder isn’t just for the professionals. Through interviews with astronauts, comedians, teachers, quantum physicists, neuroscientists and more – as well as Robin’s own journey with science – he explores why many wrongly think of science as distant and difficult.

Robin Ince co-created The Infinite Monkey Cage and has been hosting it with Brian Cox for 12 years. It has won numerous awards including the Sony Gold Award and the Rose D’Or award. Robin has won the Crick Science Journalism Award, numerous Chortle awards AND Celebrity Mastermind, though he forgot that calcium was the main element of chalk. His books include How to Build a Universe (part one) , The Bad Book Club and I’m a Joke and So Are You.

More information:

—————————————————————————————————-
**COVID Security**

This is our first event back in public and we take the threat of COVID very seriously.

Here are some things you could do to help look after yourself and our other attendees (if you like):

• If you have access to a lateral flow test, why not take a test before you join us? If it’s positive for COVID-19, please stay at home.
• If you have new symptoms of COVID-19, even if a lateral flow test is negative – we’d prefer you stay at home. We’ll have other social events in the future that you can join in when you’re feeling better.
• If you feel comfortable and able to wear a mask while moving around the venue then please do wear one. We’ll bring some spares if you’d like to wear one but forgot to bring one.
• We’ll also bring some hand sanitiser that you’re free to use any time you want to.
• Please be respectful of other people’s boundaries. Give each other plenty of space and be considerate. If you need to cough or sneeze, cough into your elbow or a tissue and throw the tissue away before sanitising your hands.

**NHS COVID Pass trial**
For our first event back, we are trialling use of the NHS COVID Pass and we would really appreciate our attendees help in this trial. In order to ready your NHS COVID Pass there are a number of steps you can follow.

1) Download the NHS app on your smartphone. This is a separate app the NHS Covid app. Once you are registered with the NHS app your COVID pass can be viewed under “Get your NHS COVID Pass” – click continue, then domestic. This will show a QR code that we can scan.

2) From the NHS app you can also download a PDF copy or receive a copy by email in case you do not have access to the internet from your smartphone.

3) If you do not wish to install the NHS app, or you do not have a smartphone – you can get a paper copy of your COVID Pass by mail by following this link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-pass/get-your-covid-pass-letter/ the paper copy will take at least 5 days to arrive.

The COVID Pass will confirm to us that you have either: had two COVID vaccines, had a positive antigen test within the previous 6 months, or that you have conducted a lateral flow test within the preceding 48 hours and the test was negative (for the online COVID pass only). We will not be informed which of these is the case for you.

If you have conducted a lateral flow test in the 48 hours before the event, you will need to register it with the NHS. To do so, you can follow the instructions at this link: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result

Please try to make sure you have your NHS COVID Pass ready to scan before you enter the venue so we can minimise delays to entry.

When we scan your NHS COVID Pass, we will retain no information from you – we are only using it as a pre-event check.

Thank you for helping us keep our attendees safe!

No Comments

Alice Howarth – The Vagina Mystery: Science, Pseudoscience and Sales

When:  Thursday, September 16th 2021, 7.30pm – 11.00pm

Where: The Casa Bar, 29 Hope Street

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.

More information:

—————————————————————————————————-
**COVID Security**

This is our first event back in public and we take the threat of COVID very seriously.

Here are some things you could do to help look after yourself and our other attendees (if you like):

• If you have access to a lateral flow test, why not take a test before you join us? If it’s positive for COVID-19, please stay at home.
• If you have new symptoms of COVID-19, even if a lateral flow test is negative – we’d prefer you stay at home. We’ll have other social events in the future that you can join in when you’re feeling better.
• If you feel comfortable and able to wear a mask while moving around the venue then please do wear one. We’ll bring some spares if you’d like to wear one but forgot to bring one.
• We’ll also bring some hand sanitiser that you’re free to use any time you want to.
• Please be respectful of other people’s boundaries. Give each other plenty of space and be considerate. If you need to cough or sneeze, cough into your elbow or a tissue and throw the tissue away before sanitising your hands.

**NHS COVID Pass trial**
For our first event back, we are trialling use of the NHS COVID Pass and we would really appreciate our attendees help in this trial. In order to ready your NHS COVID Pass there are a number of steps you can follow.

1) Download the NHS app on your smartphone. This is a separate app the NHS Covid app. Once you are registered with the NHS app your COVID pass can be viewed under “Get your NHS COVID Pass” – click continue, then domestic. This will show a QR code that we can scan.

2) From the NHS app you can also download a PDF copy or receive a copy by email in case you do not have access to the internet from your smartphone.

3) If you do not wish to install the NHS app, or you do not have a smartphone – you can get a paper copy of your COVID Pass by mail by following this link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-pass/get-your-covid-pass-letter/ the paper copy will take at least 5 days to arrive.

The COVID Pass will confirm to us that you have either: had two COVID vaccines, had a positive antigen test within the previous 6 months, or that you have conducted a lateral flow test within the preceding 48 hours and the test was negative (for the online COVID pass only). We will not be informed which of these is the case for you.

If you have conducted a lateral flow test in the 48 hours before the event, you will need to register it with the NHS. To do so, you can follow the instructions at this link: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result

Please try to make sure you have your NHS COVID Pass ready to scan before you enter the venue so we can minimise delays to entry.

When we scan your NHS COVID Pass, we will retain no information from you – we are only using it as a pre-event check.

Thank you for helping us keep our attendees safe!

No Comments

Natalie Bennett – Universal Basic Income

When:  Thursday, January 16th 2020, 7.30pm – 11.00pm

Where: The Casa Bar, 29 Hope Street

Bennett

Natalie Bennett was the leader of the Green Party from 2012-2016. Over that time she and the party became known as champions of the policy of universal basic income – a guarantee that people’s basic needs will be met by an unconditional payment to meet their essential needs.

She argues that it is a guarantee of the basic human right to life, a way of providing people with the chance to use their talents well, and ends benefit traps. No one would be left penniless, as far too many are being left now by zero-hours contracts and swingeing benefit sanctions. And it might mean that sewer cleaners are paid more than bankers – as they probably should be.

Trials are underway now in Finland, Holland, Canada, the US and Kenya – it is an idea that is catching on fast, in part because of fears about the impact of automation on jobs.

 

More information:

 

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