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Richard Clarke

When?
Monday, July 9 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

72 Union Street
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1ED
(01622) 752351

Who?
Richard Clarke

What's the talk about?

Recent data from the World Health Organisation has indicated a fourfold increase in cases of measles in 2017 compared to previous year (from 5273 to 21 315 cases) across the European region (www.euro.who.int/en/media-centre/sections/press- releases/2018/europe-observes- a-4- fold- increase-in- measles-cases- in-2017- compared-to- previous-year). These cases subsequently lead to hundreds of hospitalisations, and 35 recorded deaths. While some of these cases were in those too young to be vaccinated, or those that had other health concerns that made vaccination inadvisable, the majority of the cases were in people who had actively made a choice to avoid immunisation.
 
The reasons why an individual may refuse a vaccine backed by extremely strong safety and efficacy evidence are wide ranging and complex. In this talk, Richard will introduce you to the concept of Vaccine Hesitancy and explain how, risk perception, uncertainty, social influence and above all trust plays a role in vaccine delay, selection and refusal.
 
Speaker: Richard Clarke is a health psychologist and 3rd year PhD candidate with The Vaccine Confidence Project (www.vaccineconfidence.org/) based at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The academic field of vaccination is very wide, Richard’s area of expertise focuses on the social science related to vaccine delivery. For all things vaccine science please visit The Vaccine Knowledge Project at www.vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/
 
£5 on the door to cover costs with any extra raised going to charity

Rebecca Fox

When?
Monday, June 4 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

72 Union Street
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1ED
(01622) 752351

Who?
Rebecca Fox

What's the talk about?

Most of us weren't born reasonable. We were born into a superstitious culture with only our ramshackle primate brains to try and figure out what’s going on. Reason, an appreciation for evidence and critical thinking skills are virtues that most of us had to fight for and that we have to work hard to keep up in difficult situations.
 
Rebecca is no exception, she grew up believing many strange things and has had to train herself to think critically. Instead of being embarrassed by our former beliefs Rebecca thinks it is important to have compassion for and interest in what we used to believe and why we believed it. Instead of feeling shame for having been wrong, we should be proud that we had the courage to overturn beliefs that proved to be wrong.
 
In this talk Rebecca will discuss who she was before, and after she ‘became reasonable’ and overturn the myth that there is such a thing as ‘perfectly reasonable’ we are all, after all, a work in progress.
 
Rebecca is passionate about skeptical education because she has found the tools of skepticism to be profoundly empowering. Learning to think clearly has made her safer, more confident and happier. Drawing on her experience as a skeptical educator and comic book artist she will present some ideas that will help you improve your critical thinking skills and the way you think about how you think.
 
Here's a link to Rebecca's website: http://rebeccaonpaper.com/
 
£5 on the door to cover costs with any extra raised going to charity

Alex Farrow

When?
Monday, May 14 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

72 Union Street
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1ED
(01622) 752351

Who?
Alex Farrow

What's the talk about?

 
Alex Farrow is a philosophy teacher and stand-up comedian who will be exploring what he learnt from teaching philosophy in a 6th form college to Muslim and Christian teenagers in East London
 
What place do philosophy and skepticism have in the school classroom?
 
What is the "British values agenda" and are British values under attack?
 
What is the role of the teacher in creating, challenging and shaping the ethical and social opinions of young people?
 
Alex has been invited to perform stand-up comedy about philosophy everywhere from Mervyn Stutter's pick of the Edinburgh Fringe, the National Museum of Scotland, music festivals, comedy clubs around the UK and the Oxford University Teaching Awards. He was also Farmington Fellow at Harris Manchester College, Oxford in 2015 researching Philosophy in Schools
 
He is the host of Jericho Comedy Oxford. Jericho Comedy raised £8,700 for the mental health charity Oxfordshire Mind last year for more information about them visit www.tighfive.org/jerichocomedy
 
“witty, positive and talented” – DailyInfo Oxford “An engaging and entertaining pairing of learning and good humour!” – **** The Latest, Brighton
 
£5 on the door to cover costs with any extra raised going to charity

When?
Tuesday, January 30 2018 at 7:30PM

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Where?

72 Union Street
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1ED
(01622) 752351

Who?

What's the talk about?

The idea of having a social night was brought up so to have a bit of a break in routine I thought it would be good to meet and chat and see what topics people might want to have talks on in the future.
 
Free to attend so just come as you are :)

Mark Stevenson

When?
Monday, November 27 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

72 Union Street
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1ED
(01622) 752351

Who?
Mark Stevenson

What's the talk about?

Our systems are failing. Old models – for education, healthcare and government, food production, energy supply – are creaking under the weight of modern challenges. As the world’s population heads towards 10 billion, it’s clear we need new approaches. Futurologist Mark Stevenson sets out to find them, across four continents.

 
From Brazilian favelas to high tech Boston, from rural India to a shed inventor in England’s home counties, We Do Things Differently travels the world to find the advance guard re-imagining our future. At each stop, he meets innovators who have already succeeded in challenging the status quo, pioneering new ways to make our world more sustainable, equitable and humane.
 
Mark has also written for The Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Intelligent Life, The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Daily Telegraph, and The New Statesman. His key skill is an ability to take complex or abstract concepts and make them understandable by non-specialists without trivialising the subject matter.
 
Mark is also an occasional comedy writer. His work has been performed on Radio 4 and his play (co-written with Jack Milner) Octopus Soup comes to London in January 2018.
 
£5 on the door to cover costs with any extra going to the Against Malaria Foundation

 

Jamie Bartlett

When?
Monday, November 6 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

72 Union Street
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1ED
(01622) 752351

Who?
Jamie Bartlett

What's the talk about?

 

UNFORTUNATLEY THIS TALK HAS HAD TO BE POSTPONED. THE NEXT TALK IS ON THE 27TH OF NOVEMBER
 

 

John broughall

When?
Thursday, October 5 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

72 Union Street
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1ED
(01622) 752351

Who?
John broughall

What's the talk about?

John Broughall, (pronounced as in a pub “brawl”…..), will discuss the issue of why the antibiotic development pipeline has dried up: what are the problems and why the pharmaceutical industry is not investing in research and development to produce new compounds. Multi-drug antibiotic resistance has been recognised as a global threat to health yet the solutions to this issue are not obvious, the current commercially driven pharmaceutical process does not appear fit for purpose. The potential implications for health care in the future could be devastating and unfortunately antibiotic resistant bacteria do not recognize national boundaries.
 
John is a PhD microbiologist who has spent most of his career in the diagnostics industry including the development of rapid and automated methods for use in microbiology laboratories. Latterly he has worked in the medical departments of two major pharmaceutical companies focusing on both antibiotics and also new oncology compounds, he now runs his own consultancy business and gives talks on the issue of antibiotic resistance.
 
The Facebook event can be found here and the MeetUp page here.
 
£5 on the door to cover costs, with extra raised going to The Against Malaria Foundation, where 100% of the money raised goes towards incecticidal nets, and who are the top rated charity at Givewell, The Life You Can Save, and Giving What You Can.

Richard Clarke

When?
Tuesday, July 4 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

72 Union Street
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1ED
(01622) 752351

Who?
Richard Clarke

What's the talk about?

Effective Altruism is the idea behind a growing movement of philosophy, science and evidence minded individuals with a passion to doing as much good as they possible can. Effective Altruism involves using a combination of the head (reason, logic and evidence) and the heart (empathy/compassion) to systematically fight towards making the world a better place for all that live in it. As skeptics we apply critical thinking to a wide range of topics in our everyday lives however our charity and altruistic behaviours often gets a free pass. In this talk we will explore why this is the case and how a few small choices in your life can have life changing positive impact on someone else’s. 
 
Richard Clarke is a health psychologist and skeptic currently conducting a PhD in the area of information seeking and vaccine hesitancy with the Vaccine Confidence Project (http://www.vaccineconfidence.org/about/#team) based at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine and due to the reasoning behind Effective Altruism in 2014 he decided to pledge 10% of his income over the course of his life time to charities that are likely to have the most impact in the world.
 
£5 on the door to cover costs with the rest going to charity

James Williams

When?
Tuesday, June 6 2017 at 7:30PM

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(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

72 Union Street
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1ED
(01622) 752351

Who?
James Williams

What's the talk about?

 

One of the most persistent edumyths is learning styles – the idea that there are a number of styles of learning, such as visual, aural or kinaesthetic – and that certain children respond better if teaching is directed towards their preferred learning style. Another used to be ‘brain gym’ – the idea that rubbing key parts of your body could wake your brain up or drinking water gives you energy.
 
Lots of other edumyths abound – but why do people believe them? Why have we rejected Father Christmas but cling on to the idea that we only use 10% of our brains? In this talk we begin to explore what we believe, why we believe and how sometimes even direct evidence isn’t enough.
 
James Williams graduated in Geology and trained as a science teacher at the University of London. He then taught science in London and Surrey. He is now a lecturer in education at the University of Sussex.
 
In 2006 he filmed a six-part TV history/reality series for Channel 4 called 'That'll teach 'em’, taking the role of the deputy head and housemaster in the fictional Charles Darwin school teaching 30 teenagers 1950s style.
 
His research interests currently revolve around teachers and their knowledge and understanding of the nature of science' and the scientific method. This leads to work on a better understanding of the 'Working Scientifically' approach in the new National Curriculum and public examinations. He also researches the teaching of evolution and the issues surrounding creationism in schools. 
 
£5 on the door to cover expenses with any extra going to charity
 
The facebook event can be found here

 

Jamie Bartlett

When?
Tuesday, May 16 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

72 Union Street
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1ED
(01622) 752351

Who?
Jamie Bartlett

What's the talk about?

THIS TALK WILL NOW BE ON THE 16TH OF MAY 

The dark net is an underworld that stretches from popular social media sites to the most secretive corners of the encrypted web. It is a world that frequently appears in newspaper headlines but one that is little understood, and rarely explored.
 
For his book The Dark Net Jamie Bartlett spent two years immersed in some of the internet's most shocking and secretive sub-cultures: spending time in secretive 'trolling' forums, interviewing illegal pornographers, buying drugs from the notorious 'Silk Road', following bitcoin enthusiasts, attending live internet sex shows, and hanging out with neo-Nazis.
 
In his talk, Jamie will suggest they are not as they seem. They are shocking and disturbing, but often extremely innovative. He will discuss the truth of how these internet subcultures work, who is part of them, and what we can learn from them. He will also discuss the problems of meeting and writing about some of the internet's most hated people.
 
Jamie is Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think-tank Demos. His primary research interests are: new political movements and social media research and analysis, internet cultures and security and privacy online. The Dark Net was shortlisted for The Political Award and longlisted for The Orwell Prize. His next book Radicals (Random House) about new radical social and political movements will be released in Spring 2017. 
 
The facebook event can be found here, and the meetup page can be found here
 
£5 on the door to cover costs with any extra going to charity

 

Jack Oliver Aaron

When?
Tuesday, April 4 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

72 Union Street
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1ED
(01622) 752351

Who?
Jack Oliver Aaron

What's the talk about?

Socionics was formed in the 1970's and 80's by Lithuanian psychologist, Ausra Augustinaviciute and developed from the work of Carl Jung. It is a theory of personality type that focuses on the concept of information metabolism, i.e. that people finitely vary in terms of how they process different kinds of information. It details 16 different 'types of information metabolism' which contribute to our strengths and weaknesses, as well as values and motivations. These different types can interact with each other, producing a range of relationships from harmonised to conflicting.

Jack Oliver Aaron is a UK-based socionist and founder of the World Socionics Society, a group dedicated to education and forming communities of interest in the theory, as well as running regular meetup groups in London. He has an MSc in Occupational Psychology and is a member of the British Psychological Society. Jack is trying to introduce Socionics to western practitioners as a valuable alternative to popular theories of personality type, such as the MBTI, while looking at how such theories can be used more responsibly and made more falsifiable.

 
In this talk, Jack will be providing an introduction to the theory of Socionics, looking at how it is constructed from basic dichotomies, while exploring its place in a wider range of theories on personality. The potential merits of the theory will be assessed, as well as the current limitations that exist on theories in the absence of empirical testing
 
£5 on the door to cover costs with extra raised going to charity

 

Dr Kat Arney

When?
Monday, March 6 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

72 Union Street
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1ED
(01622) 752351

Who?
Dr Kat Arney

What's the talk about?

 

The 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 communicator and award-winning blogger for Cancer Research UK, as well as a freelance 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.
 
The facebook event can be found here, and the meetup event can be found here 
 
£5 on the door to cover costs with any extra going to charity