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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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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

 

Jerry Barnett

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

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Where?

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

Who?
Jerry Barnett

What's the talk about?

The 90s was a particularly liberal era in terms of personal freedom. But soon after the turn of the new century, new morality groups began to pop up in the UK. Perhaps the first to notice this trend were strippers in East London, who found pickets outside their workplaces, and lobbyists trying to close the clubs down. These new moralists were not of the old, Christian, Tory kind: these groups were young, left-wing, and feminist. They were funded by social justice organisations and supported by the Guardian. Social conservatism, having faded on the right, was being reborn on the left.
 
Beginning with campaigns against strip clubs, pornography, “sexualised” music videos, and other forms of sexual expression, the pro-censorship movement grew, and broadened its scope. The old feminism and anti-racism messages of the left subtly turned into pro-censorship movements. Restrictions on “hate speech” morphed into suppression of speech that merely offended people. This new, quasi-fascist movement of the left took aim at fundamental liberal values of free speech, equality and reason.
 
Jerry Barnett is a technologist, entrepreneur and veteran activist. As an operator of adult entertainment sites for many years, he watched the rise of the porn panic, and saw much of the political left collapse into conservatism. Realising that the attacks on sexual expression were precursor to far broader attacks on free speech, he founded the Sex & Censorship campaign in 2013. His book Porn Panic!, was published by Zero Books in 2016 and can be found here
 
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

 

Carol

When?
Tuesday, January 24 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

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

Who?
Carol

What's the talk about?

 

Our world would be one of anarchy without the ‘Rule of Law’. Our interactions with others and with the state depend on the rules of contract law, consumer law, land law, employment law, financial law, the law of nuisance and negligence, family law, criminal law, and of course, public and constitutional law. These are just some of the main areas of law; there are many other branches of law. As responsible citizens we observe the law on a daily basis, but ironically most of the time this is subliminal; we are not fully aware that this is what we are doing; our relationship with the law is almost automatic. Given the pervasive nature of law, it is somewhat surprising that we are expected to know the law. It is almost as if we are assumed to have an inherent understanding of the rules we must abide by. How very strange! 
 
As a lecturer in law, it always surprises me how very little my students know about the subject I teach, and about the law in general. Even more interesting is the fact that many people have misconceptions about the law and erroneous notions of what it involves. A sociologist (aka sceptic!) would have various explanations for why this is. Whatever the reason, it is a fact that we are often unaware of the nature of the law that governs our lives. 
 
So how much do you know about the law? This session will identify some common legal misconceptions and will then focus on one particular area of law. You will be asked to decide on the truth and falsity of some legal propositions, so bring a pen! 
 
Carol is a non-practising barrister and Principal Lecturer in Law in a London University. She has been lecturing in law for 20 years and has taught many subjects, from Construction Law to Negligence and the Law of Evidence. 
 
The facebook event can be found here, and the meetup event here
 
£3 on the door with all proceeds going to charity

 

Jim Killock

When?
Monday, November 7 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

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

Who?
Jim Killock

What's the talk about?

 

Jim Killock is the executive director of the Open Rights Group. Since joining Open Rights Group in January 2009, Jim has led campaigns against three strikes and the Digital Economy Act, the company Phorm and its plans to snoop on UK users, and against pervasive government Internet surveillance. He is working on data protection and privacy issues, as well as helping ORG to grow in size and breadth. He was named as one of the 50 most influential people on IP issues by Managing IP in 2012. In the same year ORG won Liberty's Human Rights Campaigner of Year award alongside 38 Degrees, for work on issues from copyright to the Snooper’s Charter. 
 
Since 2009, ORG has doubled its supporter base, budget and workload, and held its first two activist Conferences, ORGCon.  
 
Jim is a trustee of FreeUKGen, the volunteer project to digitise genealogical records, and sits on the Governance Board of CREATe, the UK's research centre for copyright and new business models in the creative economy. he is on the Advisory Council of the Foundation of Information Policy Research.  
 
Before joining ORG, Jim worked as External Communications Co-ordinator of the Green Party. At the Green Party, he promoted campaigns on open source, intellectual property, digital rights and campaigned against the arms and espionage technologist Lockheed Martin's bid for the UK Census. Lockheed Martin have since been prevented from handling UK Census data as part of their contract. He was also a leading figure in the campaign to elect their first party leader, Caroline Lucas MP. He has a blog at http://jim.killock.org.uk/ 
 
£5 to cover costs with any extra going to charity
 
Thefacebook event page can be found here

 

Dr Peter Bloomfield

When?
Monday, October 3 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

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

Who?
Dr Peter Bloomfield

What's the talk about?

 CHANGED FROM THE 1ST OF AUGUST TO THE 3RD OF OCTOBER

The brain is the most complicated computational device humans have access to. It is a network of 86 billion neurons, each with 1000 connections, allowing communication inside our minds, but also with the rest of our body. The workings of the brain are better understood now than ever before, however there are still questions we are nowhere near answering.
 
In this talk we will look at the basic makeup of the brain and how it communicates, before taking a more detailed look at what happens when this communication is altered through learning. We will see inside the brain and look at how experiences change the brain and how this relates to diseases like schizophrenia
 
Peter Bloomfield is a neuroscientist at University College London. His current work is investigating changes in the brain during skill acquisition/learning. He has a research focus on the ‘glial cells’ of the brain he has a core interest in how laboratory research relates to human experience and how disorders of cognition and perception occur
 
£5 to cover costs with any extra raised going to charity
 
You can get the facebook event page here

 

Jenny Josephs

When?
Tuesday, September 6 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

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

Who?
Jenny Josephs

What's the talk about?

By 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
 
£5 to cover costs with any extra going to charity
 
 
 
https://www.facebook.com/events/108587826237188/ 

Henry Drysdale

When?
Tuesday, August 30 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

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

Who?
Henry Drysdale

What's the talk about?

 

For 6 weeks in late 2015, the COMPare team monitored every clinical trial published in the top 5 medical journals for “outcome switching”: when trialists report something different from what they originally said they would report. Of 67 trials assessed, 58 (87%) were found to contain discrepancies between prespecified and reported outcomes.
 
Outcome switching is already known to be extremely common, even in top medical journals. But COMPare went one step further: they wrote a letter to the journal for all 58 trials found to contain discrepancies; to correct the record on the individual trials, and to test the “self-correcting” properties of science.
 
The responses to these letters from journal editors and trial authors were unprecedented, and shed light on the reasons why this problem persists. The aim of COMPare was to fix outcome switching, through correction letters and open discussion. They never expected the levels of misunderstanding and bias at the heart of the issue.
 
Based at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, COMPare is made up of three senior researchers, 5 graduate-entry medical students, and a programmer. The project was born when one medical student came to the department in search of a project. The idea of monitoring the outcomes in clinical trials was made possible by 4 more medical students, who were recruited to make the vast amount of analysis possible. All assessments are reviewed by senior colleagues, and decisions made at weekly team meetings. There is no specific funding for COMPare: all the students work for free, driven by the desire and opportunity to fix a broken system.
 
Visit the COMPare website (COMPare-trials.org) for more details about their team, methods, results and blog.
 
Henry Drysdale and Aaron Dale are from St Annes, University of Oxford and their work has been featured in The Economist and Nature
 
£5 on the door to cover costs, with any extra going to charity
 
If its easier, visit the facebook event page