<< Following year

Annie Machon, Neill Franklin, Neil Woods, Diane Goldstien

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 :)

 

Will Storr

When?
Wednesday, October 22 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

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

Who?
Will Storr

What's the talk about?

For years, journalist Will Storr has been writing about people with strange beliefs: demon hunters, UFO spotters, homeopaths and a couple who swore they've met the Yeti in some woods outside Ipswich. One afternoon, he was sitting at a Creationist lecture in the far north of Australia when he asked himself a question that he couldn't even begin to answer. Why don't facts work? The people that he had met, in his ten years of reporting, were often not stupid. Many were demonstrably intelligent. So why didn't superior information fail to replace the inferior. Why did logic fail?
 
The answer was to lead him on a journey which is recounted in his new book: The Heretics: Adventures with the Enemies of Science (Picador, 2013). Along with a spectacular cast of characters - including climate skeptic Lord Christopher Monckton and controversial historian David Irving - and some of the planet's most celebrated experts in brains and thinking, Storr finds his answer in what he calls 'The Hero Maker' : the collection of neural illusions by which we understand the world to be a narrative struggle which are at the centre of. We populate this narrative with heroes and with villains, and we flatter ourselves that we are the most important character in it. We are not agents of reason, but storytellers.
 
Will Storr is an award winning journalist and a novelist. For more information, please see: www.willstorr.com

Mark Lynas

When?
Monday, September 22 2014 at 7:00PM

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Where?

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

Who?
Mark Lynas

What's the talk about?

 

Mark Lynas is the author of several books on the environment, including High Tide, Six Degrees, and The God Species. His most recent publication, in July 2013, was the Kindle Single ebook Nuclear 2.0: Why a green future needs nuclear power. He is a frequent speaker around the world on climate change, biotechnology and nuclear power, and was climate change advisor to the President of the Maldives between 2009 and 2011. In October 2013 he was appointed a Visiting Fellow at Cornell University’s Office of International Programs at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He is also a member of the advisory board of the science advocacy group Sense About Science, and is vice-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies, which produces an annual top 10 list of the technologies with most potential to change the way we all live.

 

Dr John Butterworth

When?
Tuesday, September 16 2014 at 8:00PM

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Where?

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

Who?
Dr John Butterworth

What's the talk about?

 

The discovery of the Higgs boson made headlines around the world. Two scientists, Peter Higgs and François Englert, whose theories predicted its existence, shared a Nobel Prize. The discovery was the culmination of the largest experiment ever run, the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. But what really is a Higgs boson and what does it do? How was it found? And what will the LHC do next? Jon Butterworth, a leading member of the ATLAS experiment, will talk about all this and more.
 
Jon Butterworth is also Head of the Department of Physics & Astronomy at UCL, and writes for the Guardian at http://www.theguardian.com/science/life-and-physics