Posts Tagged Joe Nickell

QED Announces Tickets and Speakers For 2012

Earlier this year, we ran the highly-successful QED conference with our friends over at the Greater Manchester Skeptics. It was such fun that we’ve decided to do it again, in March 2012. Tickets are on sale now, and what follows is a formal announcement from the full QED team:

QED Tickets: On Sale Now!


With the next ‘QED: Question. Explore. Discover.’ taking place in March 2012, the QED team are pleased to reveal eight of the speakers lined up to feature on the bill for our second ever weekend celebration of science and critical thinking, hosted once more in The Piccadilly Hotel, Manchester on March 10th-11th, 2012. The exciting program of speakers will include:


  • Joe Nickell, one of the most widely-respected and experienced paranormal researchers of all time, with a phenomenal investigative history include discovering the techniques behind the making of the Turin Shroud and uncovering the true story behind the Amityville house.
  • Recently retired from his post as Professor of Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter, Edzard Ernst has long been a tireless and diligent researcher into all manner of alternative modalities, admirably exposing the pseudoscience at their core – not least of which in his book Trick Or Treatment, co-authored with 2011 QED speaker Simon Singh.
  • Maryam Namazie is a human rights activist, commentator and broadcaster. Spokesperson for both the One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, in 2005 Maryam was named Secularist of the Year by the National Secular Society and has campaigned tirelessly on secular issues.
  • David Aaronovitch is an author, broadcaster, and journalist who has enthralled audiences up and down the country with his thorough debunking of conspiracy theories – a topic comprehensively covered in his 2009 book, Voodoo Histories.
  • Recently-appointed Managing Editor of The Skeptic magazine, Deborah Hyde has been writing about the supernatural for nearly two decades. A makeup effects coordinator in the film industry by day, Deborah’s extensive knowledge of the macabre and esoteric folklores of cultures around the world has thrilled Skeptics in the Pub groups across the country.
  • Steve Jones is former Head of the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London and has written and lectured about science to a general audience for over fifteen years. Steve also recently led the BBC Trust review of impartiality and accuracy in the BBC’s coverage of science, concluding the media often offers undue weight to fringe beliefs.
  • Sarah Angliss is trained in electroacoustics, music and robotics, combining all three to create original sound installations, exhibits and live performances that mix cutting-edge science with vintage sound technology and stories from the history of science.
  • Ian Ridpath has been a full-time writer, editor, broadcaster, and lecturer on astronomy and space for almost 30 years. With over 40 books to his name, Ian has an encyclopaedic knowledge of UFO folklore, and in 1986 was commended in the British Science Writers Awards for his investigation and explanation of Britain’s most famous UFO case in Rendlesham Forest.
This list is of course by no means complete, and further guests will be announced in the coming weeks, as will our program for the break-out room – which proved highly popular at the first event.


You can book your place at QED 2012 now, with tickets a very-reasonable £89 (or £68 with a valid student ID). Once more, we’ll also be offering a limited number of places for our exclusive gala dinner, where you can dine with our fantastic speakers for just £45.


For those with altruistic tendencies, there is also the option of paying a £10 voluntary donation directly to good causes, bringing the ticket price to the same as for QED 2011 and adding a little extra cash into the charity pot, which will once again be split between two great causes: Sense About Science and the National Autistic Society.


After the huge amount of fun we had hosting the first QED, we’re all hugely excited about what 2012 has in store – so book your ticket now, and we’ll see you there!


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Day 3 at the 14th European Skeptical Congress

It’s the last day here at the 14th European Skeptical Congress.

Marsh and I have Joe Nickell and Chris French to look forward to.

Even more interest in 10:23 from the delegates, many of whom are keen to join in for 2011 and have lots of good ideas of their own.

I’m writing this whilst listening to a talk about baby bullshit from a mathematician who has mathematically modelled why nonsense treatments are so widespread. He has invented a country called “believia” and an illness called Giant Ear Syndrome!

Joe Nickell’s talk is worth a mention. He’s been personally involved in a huge variety of skeptical investigations and I’m sure his name is well known to many Merseyside Skeptics. One key aspect that he focussed upon was his undercover work. In this capacity he would attend some kind of claimant incognito, and carry out an investigation masquerading as a genuine “case”. However he’s really well known. And to avoid being rumbled he would wear a disuse of some kind. Some of the pictures were very funny.

He recounted a tale of a spiritualist carrying out a “billet reading” technique which he recognized immediately. It reminded me of Marsh’s demonstration of this technique during one of the early MSS social events. I recognized it immediately.

Chris French told some great stories. A couple were in his talk at MSS last year but there was some great new stuff too. In his capacity as editor of Skeptic Magazine, he announced the new issue which has a bit about 10:23 in it, and a new book which is a collection of the “the best of” from the magazine called Why Statues Weep.

This has been a really well organised conference with great speakers from all over Europe and America. From the Turin Shroud to mathematics. It’s been a real eye opener.

We fly back this evening and we’re looking forward to the next MSS social.

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