<< Following year

Micheal Story

When?
Monday, June 6 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
Micheal Story

What's the talk about?

Since 2011, a team of 200 civilians has been predicting the future more accurately than US intelligence agencies. Formed five years ago under the auspices of IARPA (the US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, informally known as 'DARPA for spies'), the Good Judgement Project's 'Superforecaster' teams have been forecasting the specifics of North Korean missile programmes, the movement of Russian troops and the longevity of Robert Mugabe, achieving a 50% lower error rate than the previous state of the art.
 
This talk will cover who makes these forecasts, how they are doing it, and some techniques shown to make nearly anyone more accurate when predicting the future.
 
Michael Story is a policy researcher and Superforecaster with the Good Judgement Project.  Find out more at michaelwstory.com

Micky Lachmann

When?
Tuesday, May 10 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
Micky Lachmann

What's the talk about?

 

When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon in 1969 - the Americans entered history as the winners of the Space Race. This isn't their story.

Micky Lachmann is going to talk about their competitors the Soviets, and how they managed to beat the Americans to almost every milestone in Space.

It's a story we don't know very well - the Soviets operated under a shroud of almost total secrecy. But some of the early cosmonauts are still alive and have incredible and often terrifying stories to tell. So this is also an account of going to Russia and trying to find these amazing - and mostly bad tempered - men and women.

Micky studied Natural Sciences and then dropped out of a PhD in tropical fish behaviour to work in science journalism. Over 15 years at the BBC he has worked on - among other things - Walking with Beasts, many Horizon's and is partly responsible for bringing Brian Cox to our screens - for which he is very sorry.

£5 to cover costs with any extra going to charity

 

Can A Non Existent God Really Cure Alcoholism

Jonathan Stewart

When?
Tuesday, April 5 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
Jonathan Stewart

What's the talk about?

Inside AA: Can A Non-Existent God Cure Alcoholism?
 
Alcoholics Anonymous offers a commonly accepted and media endorsed "spiritual" programme of recovery.  Yet while AA’s social worth is rarely challenged its efficacy rate appears comparable to that of spontaneous remission.
 
We're all affected by alcoholism and addiction in some way.  Can a non-existent Higher Power really offer meaningful solutions to this debilitating and potentially fatal condition?  If so, how can we help all the skeptics with drinking problems?
 
AA’s famous 12 Step programme evolved from the tenets of a now forgotten evangelical Christian mass movement.  First published in 1939, it remains entirely unchanged since then.  
 
How did AA become the go-to treatment modality for one of the great social health scourges of our time?  Is spiritually-based health care even ethical?  It's the twenty first century, is this really the best we can do? 
 
This wide ranging talk draws on the work of philosopher Dan Dennett and evolutionary psychologist Andy Thomson (Trustee of the Richard Dawkins Foundation) to show how sacred texts and faith-based belief systems can be undermined in the new age of internet transparency.
 
Jon Stewart was co-founder, guitarist and co-songwriter for platinum-selling Britpop band Sleeper. He currently lectures in popular culture at a local HE Institution, and is a PhD researcher at University of Southampton.  
 
A grateful sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous for 15 years, Jon also campaigns for more up-to-date evidence-based secular treatment options via his blog at http://jonsleeper.wordpress.com/
 
"I can thoroughly recommend Jon’s brilliant talk on this subject." 
(David Warden, Chair, Dorset Humanists)
 
"Hats off to Jon Stewart - what a great talk. Informative, humorous and to the point ... this was one of [our] best events ever!"  
(Adrian Rox, London Atheist Activist Group)

£5 to cover costs with any extra going to charity

 

Annie Machon, Neill Franklin, Neil Woods, Diane Goldstien

When?
Tuesday, March 1 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

32-34 Earl Street
Maidstone
Kent
ME14 1PF

Who?
Annie Machon, Neill Franklin, Neil Woods, Diane Goldstien

What's the talk about?

 

If law enforcement said we need to legalise all drugs, would you ask them why? 
 
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) are a global and domestic organisation of police, intelligence personnel, judges, undercover drug detectives and military who have all seen the failures of current drug policy from their up-close and personal perspective. 
 
The global illicit drug trade is worth around $320billion a year, with enforcement costs around $100billion… are our children really protected, are we a healthier society for the criminalisation of drug users, does the war on drugs work or does it simply serve to make drugs a more lucrative trade at the cost of communities? 
 
When those on the front-line say we should reform drug laws then it’s time we looked at the alternatives. Maidstone Skeptics in the Pub exclusively host: 
 
- Neill Franklin, LEAP’s global Executive Director and a 34 year veteran in the U.S police force retiring as a Major. 
 
- Annie Machon, a former MI5 Officer turned international commentator with specialist interest in counter-terrorism and security. 
 
- Neil Woods was an undercover drugs detective for over a decade in his 26 years in the police. 
 
- Diane Goldstein retired as a Lieutenant Commander and has over 20 years of experience in the U.S police service. 
Come along and join the frank debate on how we should best form a drug policy: Should drugs be based on morals or evidence? 
 
To find out more, visit www.ukleap.org and www.leap.cc
 
£5 to cover cost with the rest going to charity

 

David Robert Grimes

When?
Monday, February 15 2016 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
David Robert Grimes

What's the talk about?

 

Science and medicine have transformed our lives immeasurably, and never in history have they been more central to our lives and well-being. Yet despite this, there is often a glaring disconnect between the findings of actual science and media reporting of such topics, and consequently there is often a needless chasm between public perception and the evidence on many contentious topics. This can lead to needlessly adversarial and counter-productive discourse of everything from vaccination to climate-change. In this talk, physicist and science journalist Dr. David Robert Grimes discusses the frequent problems in reporting science from misunderstandings to bad statistics to false balance, and discusses the factors that influence this and how such problems can be remedied.
 
Dr. David Robert Grimes (@drg1985) is a physicist and writes regular opinion and analysis pieces on scientific issues for the Irish Times and the Guardian science, and is a regular panelist on science issues on radio and television. He is joint-recipient of the 2014 Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science.
 
£3 to cover costs with any extra going to charity

 

Dr Emma Chapman

When?
Tuesday, October 27 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
Dr Emma Chapman

What's the talk about?

With ever more ambitious telescopes and probes giving us pictures of far-off comets, planets and even other galaxies, it is easy to think that the mysteries of our Universe are solved. But look closer and we find that those galaxies are spinning much faster than they should be and our brightest stars are flying away from us at ever faster speeds. To present day we understand a mere 4% of what makes up our Universe - the photons, protons, electrons, Higgs bosons etc... Dr Chapman will be talking about the other 96% - the stuff that makes our Universe do very strange things but that we know almost nothing about.

£5 donation to cover cost with the extra going to charity

https://www.facebook.com/events/889148094496310/

Meirion Jones

When?
Thursday, September 3 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
Meirion Jones

What's the talk about?

 

He’s jailed for 10 years now but how did a British conman sell bogus bomb detectors to Iraq for $85 million? A lack of scepticism cost the lives of an estimated 2,000 people in Baghdad. Meirion Jones tells, with the help of video clips and secret recordings, how Jim McCormick and his chums worked the scam around the world and how whistleblowers and a Newsnight team exposed the scandal. This is about multi-million-dollar bribes in Baghdad, and UK PLC turning a blind eye to boost exports, but this is also about the lethal consequences of not basing policy on evidence. Meirion will demonstrate two real bogus bomb detectors as sold by the hoaxers for up to $40,000 each and show you how to make one that works every bit as well for less than a pound. 
 
Meirion Jones is a BBC producer who is in the unusual position of winning the 2013 Scoop of the Year award for a programme which was never broadcast - his exposure of Jimmy Savile as a paedophile. He also won the Daniel Pearl International Award for Investigative Journalism in 2010 for his reports on toxic waste dumping by Trafigura in Africa. He has exposed everything from the fixing of the 2000 US election, to how Britain helped Israel get the atom bomb, from corrupt politicians to the affair of Mark Stone and the undercover cops, as well as homeopaths and healers.
 
£5 on the night with proceeds going to charity.
 

 

John Sweeney

When?
Tuesday, June 16 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
John Sweeney

What's the talk about?

 

Scientology is a new religion, founded in the 1950s by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Its teachings are based on Hubbard's writings, and the church claims to have millions of followers worldwide. Notable followers include Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
 
Scientology has gained recognition as a legitimate religion in many countries, and yet many people believe it to be both a cult and a business, often using harassment and bullying tactics to silence its critics. In 2007, the Paranoma programme aired an episode called 'Scientology and Me' in which John Sweeney investigated the organisation. After a number of intense interactions with Scientologists, John was involved in a dramatic confrontation with a church spokesperson, a clip that has since been viewed on YouTube over 1.5 million times.
 
John Sweeney is an award winning investigative reporter for the BBC and author of the books 'Church of Fear: Inside Scientology' and 'North Korea Undercover'.

 

Professor David Nutt

When?
Tuesday, May 19 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

Nucleus Arts Maidstone Hub
Granada House
Gabriels Hill
Maidstone
Kent
ME15 6JR

Who?
Professor David Nutt

What's the talk about?

 

Professor David Nutt came under the media spotlight when during his chairmanship of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) he refused to fudge the issue of perceived drug harm. He broadcasts widely both on radio and television including BBC science and public affairs programmes on therapeutic as well as illicit drugs, their harms and their classification. He will be talking about the issue of persuading politicians and other decision makers to define policy based on evidence.
 
In 2010 The Times Eureka science magazine included him in the 100 most important figures in British Science, and the only psychiatrist. He is currently the Edmond J Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology and director of the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit in the Division of Brain Sciences, Imperial College London.
 
He broadcasts widely to the general public both on radio and television. He was the subject for The Life Scientific on BBC radio 4 and has appeared in several BBC Horizon programmes and the Channel 4 documentary Ecstasy-live.  Additionally he is much in demand for public affairs programmes on therapeutic as well as illicit drugs, their harms and their classification.  His also lecturers widely to the public as well as to the scientific and medical communities.
 

 £5 on the door to cover cost with all the extra going to Professor Nutts organisation, Sense About Science

Profesor Chris Rhodes

When?
Monday, March 2 2015 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
Profesor Chris Rhodes

What's the talk about?

 

Across the world, 30 billion barrels of crude oil are produced each year, not only for fuel but to make products ranging from plastics to pharmaceuticals. Nearly all our food also depends on oil.
 
However, world oil production is set to decline within 5 years. If we continue as we are, Western civilisation will collapse. Our salvation requires a re-adaptation of how we live, from the global to the local; to a world of small communities far less dependent on transportation. Technology will not save us, unless we cut our energy use and particularly our demand for oil. Fracking is being hailed as the solution. Is this the case?
 
Professor Chris Rhodes is Director of Fresh-lands Environmental Actions and is based in Reading. He has written numerous scientific articles and recently published his first novel, University Shambles, a black comedy on the disintegration of the British university system.
 

 

Alex Bellos

When?
Monday, December 8 2014 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
Alex Bellos

What's the talk about?

 

Alex Bellos will talk about his book Alex Through the Looking Glass: How Life Reflects Numbers and Numbers Reflect Life, his follow-up to the bestselling Alex's Adventures in Numberland. In the course of the talk he will discuss his survey to discover the world's favourite number, psychological responses to mathematics and how very simple rules can generate very complex behaviour. And other fun maths stuff.
 
Alex Bellos is the bestselling author of Alex’s Adventures in Numberland, which was shortlisted for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize. He is the Guardian’s maths-blogger, and has worked for the paper in London and Rio de Janeiro as its unusually numerate foreign correspondent. He is currently a curator-in-residence at the Science Museum. His new book, Alex Through The Looking Glass, is out now and will be on sale on the night.

 

Useful Tool or Robot Overlords?

Dr Allan Tucker

When?
Wednesday, November 12 2014 at 8:00PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)

Where?

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

Who?
Dr Allan Tucker

What's the talk about?

 

Artificial Intelligence has been a staple of popular culture for generations from promises of a Leisure Age when robots would do all of our work while we lived in luxury to scare stories where robots turn against their masters.
 
Dr Tucker looks at some of the key figures in AI in the last century through to the state-of-the-art learning machines that are all around us today and asks whether we will ever really have intelligent machines that are comparable to humans.
 
Dr Allan Tucker is senior lecturer in computer science at Brunel University. His research focuses on designing algorithms that can learn models from data to predict the future and assist experts in making decisions. His biomedical work includes long term projects with Moorfields Eye Hospital exploring models of eye disease and he collaborates with Leiden University Medical Centre on models of gene regulation.
 
(credit to Tunbridge Wells SitP whose site I stole this off :)