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Timandra Harkness

When?
Monday, July 24 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Who?
Timandra Harkness

What's the talk about?

Big Data knows where you’ve been and who your friends are. It knows what you like and what makes you angry. It can predict what you’ll buy, where you’ll be the victim of crime and when you’ll have a heart attack. Big Data knows you better than you know yourself, or so it claims.

But how well do you know big data?

From science to smart cities, business to politics, self-quantification to the Internet of Things, people are talking about big data as a force for change Privacy, democracy, even our ideas of who we are, could be transformed. You don’t need to be a Silicon Valley tech prodigy to understand what’s going on.

Timandra Harkness writes comedy, not computer code. The only programs she makes are on the radio. If she can understand what’s going on, so can you. Some of the ideas underlying Big Data are based on the kind of mathematics anybody can grasp: different measures that are correlated in predictable patterns; the relationship between the average of a population and what that tells you about an individual; how we study networks and connections to learn something new about the big picture. Others, though harder to grasp in theory, are familiar in practice: apps on our  phones that locate us on a map, or count our steps; internet search engines that predict what we’d like to buy; websites that translate other languages into  English.

But big data isn’t just neat mathematics or clever technology. It has implications for all of us.

Timandra asks the big questions about where it’s taking us: is it too big for its boots, or does it think too small? Are you a data point or a human being? She aims to leave you armed and ready to decide what you think about one of the decade’s big ideas: big data.

Aaron Thierry

When?
Monday, June 26 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Who?
Aaron Thierry

What's the talk about?

Despite a consilience of evidence and an overwhelming consensus among the scientific community, the science of human caused climate change is still widely misunderstood and misrepresented. Recent events in the US illustrate just how widespread and influential climate denial has become; with potentially catastrophic implications for all of us.

With climate misinformation still prevalent in the British media, what can we do to better promote scientific understanding of this crucial issue? In the spirit of mounting a defense of evidence based policy this talk aims to highlight some of the key misconceptions about the science and explain why they are wrong.


Dr. Aaron Thierry received his PhD in Ecology from the University of Sheffield. He subsequently researched the impacts of global warming on the carbon cycle in Arctic ecosystems. His studies have led him to be very concerned about the potential impacts of disruptions to our climate and he now spends much of his time lobbying for political action to reduce carbon emissions. A passionate defender for science and rational thinking Aaron was one of Sheffield's contingent who took part in the March for Science in London this April.

Mark Sutton

When?
Monday, May 22 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

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Who?
Mark Sutton

What's the talk about?

In this talk, Mark Sutton informs why a monarchy is corrosive within any democracy and how the British people deserve a better system for all.

Mark Sutton has been The Co-ordinator for Republic in Yorkshire for most of their 5 years of existence.


In that time they have visited virtually every sizeable city and town in the county engaging with the general public. They can often also be found at political events up and down the region, and have regularly appeared in the press and on radio several times plus twice on TV as well as a three page article in a national newspaper only last year.

Although Mar live in Newark on Trent through marriage he considers himself a proud Yorkshireman and son of Wakefield, where he can be found regularly as a lifelong supporter of the Mighty Wakefield Trinity. He is also an obsessive music fan with something of a photographic memory for a tune.

Michael Heap

When?
Monday, April 24 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

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Who?
Michael Heap

What's the talk about?

Certain paranormal claims and practices may be explained by suggestion and suggestibility. This presentation examines a number of these that are associated with a particular kind of suggestibility known as the ideomotor effect.

They include dowsing, various forms of communication with 'the spirit world', and some unusual therapeutic practices.  These will be illustrated with several brief video presentations. There will be a demonstration of dowsing and at the end of the evening all those attending should be able to dowse.

Michael is a clinical & forensic psychologist and is the Chairman and co-founder of the Association for Skeptical Enquiry (ASKE)

Rajin Chowdhury

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

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Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

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Who?
Rajin Chowdhury

What's the talk about?

Why do doctors sometimes render their patients unconscious? What is a "medically-induced coma"? Do anaesthetists really do crosswords once patients are asleep? How do you know when to stop CPR? And how do you determine somebody is dead? And why does anaesthetics have anything to do with intensive care?

If you've ever wondered about any of these things, this talk is for you. Raj hopes to remove some of the mystery around anaesthetics and intensive care, two of the least well-understood but most exciting specialities in modern clinical practice.

Dr Rajin Chowdhury is an anaesthetic and intensive care registrar working in Sheffield and South Yorkshire. He qualified from the University of Sheffield in 2010 where he is an Honorary Clinical Teacher. He began specialty training in anaesthetics in 2013 and is now dual training in both anaesthetics and intensive care to become a consultant in 2022-3.

He works regularly with unconscious patients. This includes elective and emergency anaesthesia in the operating theatre and management of the "medically-induced coma" on the intensive care unit.

 

Myles Power

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

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Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

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Who?
Myles Power

What's the talk about?

For decades now, we have been told by organisations like Greenpeace, GM-Freeze, and Friends of the Earth that genetical modified (GM) food is dangerous and has been shown to be harmful to humans.They have done a great job at convincing the population of their dangers by quoting scientific literature that claims GM-food has been shown, among other things, to cause cancer, leukaemia, and stomach inflammation; but is there really any truth to this? What do the papers these organisations are promoting really say, and do they have any flaws? Or, in actual fact, are GMOs going to kill us all?

In his talk, Myles is going to critique several highly referenced anti-GM papers, looking past their veneer of good science, and discovering what they really say about GMOs and the people who promote them. Myles Power and runs the educational YouTube channel powerm1985. He is a chemist who is currently working in industry, but what little free time he has is spent sharing his love of SCIENCE! through home experiments, visiting sites of scientific interest and angry rants at pseudoscience opponents. Myles has many years of experience working in a research lab, which has given him the skills he needs to research and debunk various psuedoscience theories. Some of the theories he has discussed on his YouTube channel include AIDS denialists, 911 truthers, the anti-vaccination movement and homeopathy to name a few. Myles is also one of the founding members of the podcast The League of Nerds which he co-hosts with James from The History of Infection.

Graham Smith

When?
Monday, January 23 2017 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Who?
Graham Smith

What's the talk about?

Most of us rely on reading the news or other information in newspapers or online. How do we know if this information is being represented correctly? How can we assess the validity of any claim? Graham will use examples from various sources to ask if the information is misrepresented. This talk will be interactive and engage you critical thinking.

Dr Graham Smith has spent over 20 years working in scientific research for the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs collecting, analysing and interpreting data on wildlife problems. He has a keen interest in critical thinking and has given talks around the country on different aspects the subject. He is a regular attendee at York Skeptics and has helped with organisation since their first meeting.

Kevin Precious

When?
Monday, December 12 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

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Who?
Kevin Precious

What's the talk about?

NOTE: This event is not on our usual Monday and is 2 weeks earlier on the 12th December.

Kevin Precious is a former RE teacher turned stand-up comedian and promoter. Besides having played many of the top clubs in the land, he also promotes shows in arts centres and theatres under the Barnstormers Comedy banner. He has previously toured the country with a stand-up show entitled 'Not Appropriate', dedicated to the business of teaching.

In between the various comedic activites, he attends his local humanist group - he's an agnostic, folks - where he loves a good old debate about the big questions in life. Expect jokes and stories then, about his time as an RE teacher, being a humanist, the God-Shaped Hole, and the philosophy of religion... and you can ask him a few questions of your own afterwards, if you wish.

David Alnwick

When?
Monday, November 28 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

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Who?
David Alnwick

What's the talk about?

Off the back of last year's sell out tour, The Cult of Dave, and his TV special, Dave Alnwick: Trickster, Dave is back with his new hour long show: MIND WIZARD.

Expect misdirection, mind reading and manipulation. Will you be converted?

After each show there will be a Q&A where Dave will highlight some of the techniques used in the show.

"They were burning people for this 300 years ago" - Phill Jupitus

Dave Sahman

When?
Monday, October 24 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Who?
Dave Sahman

What's the talk about?

The two biggest puzzles in physics today are dark matter and dark energy. Together they make up 96% of the Universe yet we know very little about either. Dave will set out what we do know about them, some of the theories that have been put forward to explain them, and the research that is underway to find out more. Finally, Dave will outline the ongoing work by Sheffield researchers.

Dave Sahman spent his career as a Finance Director in the public sector, but held a lifelong interest in astronomy. Following his retirement a few year ago, he began a PhD with the University of Sheffield, his research focuses on binary stars.

Jon Scaife

When?
Monday, September 26 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

(Press the buzzer to be let in. We are in the back room of the Club.)

Who?
Jon Scaife

What's the talk about?

We weigh other people up. It’s adaptively useful to assess how others might interact with us. Could they be threats? Allies? Very quickly and usually unconsciously we judge someone’s age, gender, height, strength, social status, sexual potential, mood and wealth. Although it takes longer we also make judgments about personality and about intellectual and other capabilities. There are many ways of expressing assessments of capabilities: she’s bright, he’s thick, he’s got bags of potential, she’s a sandwich short of a picnic, he’s in a low ability group, she’s very intelligent, she’ll never be a gymnast, he’s got amazing talent.

Jon will argue that ability and intelligence are fictions that have spread beyond the thinking and the practices of psychologists and teachers to permeate global culture. We are ability-labellers by default. Jon will argue that this matters, that it is unjustifiable at best and, at worst, could be regarded as abusive and even violent. But all is not lost! Drawing on the concept of ‘mindset’ from Carol Dweck and others there are ways forward.

The session should be particularly helpful to those with children and provocative to psychologists and teachers.

Dr Jon Scaife researches and teaches in the School of Education at Sheffield University. His main interests are in the nature of knowledge and in how people learn. He is invited to teach on these themes in many countries. He plays guitar and fiddle, enjoys puzzles and is an ever hopeful golfer.

Stephen Smith

When?
Monday, August 22 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Farm Road
Sheffield
South Yorkshire S2 2TP

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Who?
Stephen Smith

What's the talk about?

Stephen will look at the problems of legal aid, the impact of crime on society and whether custodial sentences truly reflect the views of society.

Stephen D Smith was born in Sheffield in Yorkshire and entered the legal profession in 1965, working from the general office up to qualifying as a solicitor in 1979 and forming his own practice in 1981.

He has attracted a number of controversial cases, appearing in Courts all over the country and in Germany and Northern Ireland. He also had a part to play in the famous Bulger case.

One of his famous cases was the “Biker Case” of John Megson who was wrongly convicted of murder. He appeared in two BBC Rough Justice television programmes before winning an appeal to affect Megson’s release. He appeared on two of the famous BBC “Rough Justice” programmes in relation to the famous Biker murder case, which resulted in the best selling book “Hell is not for Angels”.

He is the author of eight books including the highly successful legal series of stories, which prompted the Yorkshire Post to regard him as the “legal James Herriot” and the Times, who described him as the “Rumpole of Rotherham”.

You can also read a lot more about Steve on the following websites – www.yourstevesmith.com or www.wilfordsmith.co.uk