Ones we've had so far . . .

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FREE TICKETS TO RADIO RECORDING SESSION

When?
Thursday, June 21 2012 at 6:00PM

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Where?

Cardiff University School of Engineering
Cardiff
CF24 3AA
UK

Who?
Rosie Coates, Ed Gomez, Sam Durley & Jon Chase

What's the talk about?

Following the success of last year's series, Radio Cardiff's science & technology radio show, Pythagoras' Trousers, has once again organised a broadcast lecture series; The Pythagoras Lectures. Four great local speakers will give 30 minute radio talks to be broadcast next month - and as always, we need an audience! The speakers for this session will be:

Chemist and science communicator Rosie Coates
Astronomer Ed Gomez
Famelab finalist Sam Durley
Science rapper Jon Chase
 
This is your chance to be in the audience for a recording of four fascinating talks for broadcast on local radio. 
 
Entry to the event is FREE and we'd like as many people as there as possible!
 
If you'd like any more information, please contact Rhys Phillips on rhys.phillips@radiocardiff.org.

Methods and Gimmicks Used by the Industry

John Stabler

When?
Monday, May 21 2012 at 7:30PM

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Where?

4 Windsor Place
Cardiff
South Glamorgan
CF10 3BX
029 2039 8998

Who?
John Stabler

What's the talk about?

John Stabler talks about video games and addiction. Video gaming has now become a multi-billion pound industry and gaming is no longer just a hobby for geeks, nerds or socially awkward individuals. It's not just about PCs and games consoles; with so many people now using smartphones, games can be played anywhere by anyone.

Does the video game industry purposely design games to be addictive? What techniques do they use? Does video gaming necessarily lead to chronic and damaging addictive behaviour? What are the ethical considerations in purposely making games addictive?

John Stabler is a veteran computer programmer, working for a bespoke software development company in Cardiff. He loves programming, playing games and has even started writing games himself.

Trailing homeopaths in East Africa

Martin Robbins

When?
Monday, April 16 2012 at 7:30PM

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Where?

4 Windsor Place
Cardiff
South Glamorgan
CF10 3BX
029 2039 8998

Who?
Martin Robbins

What's the talk about?

Martin Robbins, of the Guardian's Lay Science blog, reports on dangerous pseudo-medical practices outside the Western world, from homeopaths in East Africa to flat earthers and anti-vaccine campaigns in Nigeria.

As part of this talk, Martin will be showing video clips of his recent visits to homeopathic projects in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, shot for a film he is making with Michael Story, with support from the Wellcome Trust.

Martin Robbins is a writer, podcaster and journalist covering science, pseudoscience and evidence-based politics. Besides the Guardian, he has written for the Times, the Telegraph, the Independent and New Scientist. He also hosts the Strange Quarks podcast with Michael Marshall.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/layscience

 

Dr Joanna Bryson

When?
Monday, March 19 2012 at 7:30PM

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Where?

4 Windsor Place
Cardiff
South Glamorgan
CF10 3BX
029 2039 8998

Who?
Dr Joanna Bryson

What's the talk about?

 Artificial intelligence is intelligence built as an artefact by humans. This building can happen either directly or as a part of a technological process, but that technology and the motivation behind it is still necessarily of human origin. 

Is it possible that artefacts might themselves be considered moral subjects?  Moral patients that deserve our protection, or even moral agents that deserve credit or responsibility for their own actions? And what, if anything, would a robot's consciousness contribute to this question? 

After twenty years of involvement in artificial intelligence, Joanna has come to the conclusion that the answers to these questions have less to do with technology and more to do with sceptical enquiry into the origins of our concepts of morality. 

Considering the contexts and in which robots might be brought into what we consider to be humanity and the consequences of these may or may not help the robots, but it may help us understand ourselves a great deal better.

Dr Joanna J. Bryson is an academic specialised in two areas: the advancement of systems artificial intelligence (AI), and the use of AI simulations to further the understanding of natural intelligence, including human culture.  She holds degrees in behavioural science, psychology and artificial intelligence from Chicago (BA), Edinburgh (MSc and MPhil), and MIT (PhD).  She joined The University of Bath in 2002, where she was made a Reader in Computer Science in 2010. 

Ronald Green

When?
Monday, February 20 2012 at 7:30PM

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Where?

4 Windsor Place
Cardiff
South Glamorgan
CF10 3BX
029 2039 8998

Who?
Ronald Green

What's the talk about?

 Why should nothing matter? If anything matters, why should nothing matter? And yet it does, for there isn’t anything, it seems, that nothing does not touch, or anything that does not touch nothing. History, philosophy, religion, science, art, literature, music – all look towards nothing at some point, stimulating questions that would otherwise not be asked.


Who, for example, could have believed that nothing held back progress for 600 years in the Middle Ages, all because of mistaken translation, or that nothing is a way to tackle (and answer) the perennial question "what is art?"? Ronald Green uses nothing in a genuine attempt to look at the world in a different way, to give new angles to old problems and so to stimulate new thoughts.

What is this nothing, that we can’t actually see, touch or feel? Is it absolute? Is it relative to everything else? If we are able to think about it, write and read about it, is it something, and if so wouldn’t it then not be nothing?

This is precisely the mystery of nothing – that the more we think about it, the more there is to it.

Disarmingly invisible, the point of nothing – to paraphrase Bertrand Russell on philosophy – is to start with something so simple as to seem not worth examining, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.

Ronald Green is the author of "Nothing Matters – a book about nothing" (iff-Books). Philosopher, linguist, university lecturer and ESL teacher, with 13 ESL books published, Ronald has lectured and given workshops in Europe, North and South America and the Middle East on linguistics, ESL and the use of the Internet in education. His  short stories have been published in Nuvein magazine, Tryst, Aesthetica, the Sink and Unholy Biscuit. He has completed a philosophical novel and co-authored a psychological thriller with strong philosophical underpinnings. For the past five years he has been thinking seriously about nothing, culminating in his recently-published book.

(In collaboration with UWIC arts)

Matt Price

When?
Monday, January 16 2012 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Who?
Matt Price

What's the talk about?

 he first Cardiff Skeptics of 2012, and as it's a special one, we're branching out a bit.


This first one will be a collaboration with UWIC Arts, meaning we're in their nice big venue in Howard Gardens. It's just 10 mins walk from the Promised Land. So, before anything, it's probably important to emphasise that

THIS EVENT IS NOT IN THE PROMISED LAND, BUT IN THE UWIC STUDENT UNION VENUE ON HOWARD GARDENS!!

Anyway...

MATT PRICE: PERFORMING FOR PSYCHOPATHS

Jon Ronson discussing his book 'The Psychopath Test' was one of the biggest night's we've ever had at Cardiff Skeptics, and included talk of Ronson venturing into Broadmoor to meet a psychopath. What he didn't do was get up and perform in front of all of them, and try to make them laugh.

Matt Price did.

Cornish born and bred and Cardiff comedy legend Matt Price is a stand up who has the dubious honour of having performed for an audience of Britain's most dangerous people. He is coming to tell us about it, what happened, the research he did in preparation, the dodgy characters he encountered in the process, and how it altered his and others perception of mental illness and how it is dealt with.

Some people go to extreme lengths for their art. Matt Price has gone further than most. Come and hear his hilarious and interesting tale

7.30pm, 16th of January

UWIC student union, Howard Garden's (off Newport Road) 

£4 entry, available on the door.

How I stopped worrying and learned to love the 21st century

Chris Lintott

When?
Monday, November 21 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

4 Windsor Place
Cardiff
South Glamorgan
CF10 3BX
029 2039 8998

Who?
Chris Lintott

What's the talk about?

Astronomer and BBC Sky at Night co-presenter Chris Lintott used to be annoyed he missed the Apollo era, thanks to failing to be born early enough. Recently, though, he realised this is the golden age of space exploration, but the tools aren't spaceships - they're telescopes and computers. This will be a whistle stop tour of progress in the really big questions that keep astronomers up at night - how the Universe began, what is it made of - and is there anyone out there? 

No booking required. £3 per head.

Freethought Kampala

When?
Thursday, October 6 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

4 Windsor Place
Cardiff
South Glamorgan
CF10 3BX
029 2039 8998

Who?
James Onen

What's the talk about?

Irrational beliefs – such as the acceptance of the power of witchcraft – are pervasive across the African continent, and are not restricted only to peasants and the uneducated. In fact, nearly all of the educated African elite believe in the efficacy of witchcraft. It is hard to believe that given all the advancements in medicine and science in the last 500 years, most Ugandans (and indeed most Africans) today still attribute their misfortune and sickness to evil spirits and demons, courtesy of witchcraft. These beliefs benefit from the tacit support of mainstream religions (particularly the fast growing ‘charismatic’ forms of Christianity) which, while denouncing witchcraft as evil, fully endorse the view that it is efficacious. In their view witchcraft is seen as evidence of ‘Satan’ at work. Mainstream religions are also guilty of promoting a belief system that leads to:

* Pastors conning thousands of believers by stage-managing fake miracles

* Many HIV positive believers dying because they were abandoning ARVs based on unsubstantiated miracle testimonies

* Making people believe that they have been bewitched or are victims of ‘generational curses’

The lack of a rational voice in this public conversation about what are spiritual matters prompted a number of local rationalists to come together and form Freethought Kampala, a club that seeks to promote reason, logic, science and critical thinking in a highly superstitious society. We host monthly meetings, and have many of our views published in the mainstream newspapers to be read by tens of thousands of Ugandans. We also have a strong online presence via a blog and Facebook page.

As a founding member of Freethought Kampala, James will give you an insight into the experience of being a skeptic in a deeply superstitious society, including the fight against witchcraft, in Uganda, the phenomenal rise of charismatic forms of Christianity in Uganda, and its impact on belief in the efficacy of witchcraft, the politicisation of Religion, Spirituality, and mass conformity, the rise of skepticism in Uganda, challenges for skepticism in Uganda and the way forward from here.

 

Please note this is not the usual 3rd Monday of the month.

No booking required. £4 per head (back to £3 next time!).

(Well, the return of two people who annoyed it, anyway.)

David Allen Green and John Dixon

When?
Monday, September 19 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

4 Windsor Place
Cardiff
South Glamorgan
CF10 3BX
029 2039 8998

Who?
David Allen Green and John Dixon

What's the talk about?

Please come along to our big one: our first birthday! We've made it through a whole year, and see no reason to stop as yet, so we hope you'll come and celebrate with us.

We've got a double-act this time of two big names in skepticism:

David Allen Green, or Jack of Kent, is a media lawyer, award-winning blogger and leading light in the skeptical world.  John Dixon is a local boy who wandered down Tottenham Court Road and unwittingly stumbled into the limelight after being a bit off to the Church of Scientology. Briefly the two were international news after the Twittersphere took David's hashtag #StupidScientology into the world top 10 trending topics and onto Newsnight.

This will be the first time in two years that they've met. Come and see if they still recognise each other, whether Xenu rips the universe a new one when they shake hands, and what they've been up to since.

There may also be games, contests, special features and cake*, seeing as it's a birthday.

*Feel free to bring cake.

No booking required. £3 per head, and many happy returns!

 

 

 

Trystan Swale

When?
Monday, August 15 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Who?
Trystan Swale

What's the talk about?

Almost twenty years after two English pranksters admitted to beginning the modern crop circle phenomenon, popular belief in a paranormal explanation remains puzzlingly high. Drawing from the time he continues to spend studying the subject, Trystan offers an insight into the bad science, poor reasoning and denialism of those who still choose to believe.

Co-host and founder of the popular Righteous Indignation podcast, Trystan Swale spent six years actively investigating Fortean phenomena with various groups in the south west of England. Emerging with little more than a headache and plenty of regrets he has since entertained, amused and enraged a wide range of audiences with his forthright views on the paranormal.

This event will take place at the Promised Land as usual. No booking required - £3 per head.

A Night of Science Comedy

Dean Burnett & Cardiff Comedy Festival

When?
Monday, July 18 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

4 Windsor Place
Cardiff
South Glamorgan
CF10 3BX
029 2039 8998

Who?
Dean Burnett & Cardiff Comedy Festival

What's the talk about?

How do you follow a speaker like June's legendary Jon Ronson? You can't. So don't even try. So instead, we have something a bit different.

As a result of organiser Dean's other interests, Skeptics in the Pub is teaming up with the Cardiff Comedy Festival (13th-30th July) in order to bring you a night of people using science to bring you insane theories, conclusions and observations on any subject you care to name. Many important questions will be answered using science, such as;

- Out of all the animals, which is the sexiest?
- What is the most rational use of tattoos?
- Which band is the greatest in history?
- How does quantum theory intersect with politics?
- What happens when your brain suddenly backfires?
- What does a psychic medium do with the rest of their time?
- Which is the best internal organ to use as a cricket ball?
- How do you deal with an enraged lesbian?

Any, all, or none of these burning issues will be addressed by experienced acts, enthusiastic skeptics and possible special guests. So turn up, chill out, and have a laugh with Chaos theory.

7.30pm doors, £3 entry.
(Sorry - back to £3 entry for the moment due to faraway/multiple speakers.)

Jon Ronson

When?
Thursday, June 16 2011 at 7:30PM

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Where?

4 Windsor Place
Cardiff
South Glamorgan
CF10 3BX
029 2039 8998

Who?
Jon Ronson

What's the talk about?

Jon Ronson is an award-winning writer and documentary maker. He is the author of two bestsellers: Them: Adventures with Extremists and The Men Who Stare at Goats which was adapted into a Hollywood movie of the same name, and two collections, Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness and What I Do: More True Tales. He will be talking about his latest book The Psychopath Test (due for publication June 2011).

When Jon is contacted by a leading neurologist who has recently received a cryptically puzzling book in the mail he is challenged to solve the mystery behind it. As he searches for the answer, Jon soon finds himself, unexpectedly, on an utterly compelling and often unbelievable adventure into the world of madness. Jon meets a Broadmoor inmate who swears he faked a mental disorder to get a lighter sentence but is now stuck there, with nobody believing he's sane. He meets some of the people who catalogue mental illness, and those who vehemently oppose them. He meets the influential psychologist who developed the industry standard Psychopath Test and who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are in fact psychopaths. Jon learns from him how to ferret out these high-flying psychopaths and, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, heads into the corridors of power.

Please note, this event does not take place on the usual third Monday of the month, but on Thursday 16th June. Same place as usual, though, and same price - £2 each. No booking required.

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