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Ash Pryce

When?
Wednesday, July 4 2018 at 7:00PM

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Where?

67 Etruria Old Road,
Etruria,
Stoke-On-Trent,
ST1 5PE.

Who?
Ash Pryce

What's the talk about?

 Roll up! Roll up! Roll up! Gather ye round the traveling caravan, as Snake Oil Salesman Ash Pryce demonstrates the miraculous curative abilities of psychic surgery, taught to your humble trickster by a wise man in the Philippines (or a magicians tool book, whichever sounds more wondrous). Watch with amazement the telekinetic forces at work as you learn how to move objects with your mind, psychically manipulate your finest silverware and read the minds of your peers. Or maybe, it’s all just a trick? 

 The show will involve demonstrations and explanations of telekinesis tricks, metal bending, psychic surgery and remote viewing as well as look at government funded research into psychic phenomena, and the shoddy protocols that allowed “psychics” to beat the legendary Zener card experiments in the 1930s.  

 And if that wasn’t enough, interspersed throughout the show will be numerous on stage demonstrations of mentalism to add an extra layer of entertainment to the proceedings.  

 Stagetime Promotions Magician of the Year 2017, and Edinburgh Horror Festival Sell out performer 2016 and 2017, Ash Pryce brings his crowd pleasing mix of paranormal illusions, comedy and entertainment to the UK as part of a summer tour of 2018.  Described as “a naturally funny guy [who] won’t allow his audience to be bored” (edfringereview.com) and “A great showman” (NottinghamLive), Ash presents a mix of entertainment, scepticism and magical treats. 

 Find Ash on most social media as “Psychic Conman” and check out his website at www.psychicconman.co.uk 

 Warning to those on the front row… there will be blood!

 

£4 - includes a ticket in our drinks raffle.

 

and other Forensic Faux Pas

Emma McClure

When?
Wednesday, June 6 2018 at 7:00PM

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Where?

67 Etruria Old Road,
Etruria,
Stoke-On-Trent,
ST1 5PE.

Who?
Emma McClure

What's the talk about?

PLEASE NOTE - THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED

 

We've all seen it: A renegade detective pores over the scene of a grisly murder. They find an overlooked clue; a hair, a footprint, a shell casing. Detailed forensic analysis matches the clue to the bad guy, and the bad guy goes to jail. This is how modern day forensics are portrayed in shows such as 'CSI' and 'Silent Witness'; forensic evidence is seen as conclusive when it comes to catching suspects and deciding if someone is guilty in a criminal trial. But, at a time when shows like Serial and Making a Murderer have brought miscarriages of justice to international prominence, Emma McClure will explain how the traces left behind at a crime scene can sometimes lie.

 

The science in areas such as DNA collection has progressed enormously in recent decades allowing for breakthroughs in many old and cold cases. However, we have also seen many high profile exonerations of those previously convicted of the most serious of crimes on seemingly 'conclusive' forensic evidence. This has led to increasing scrutiny of the way it is analysed, interpreted and presented in the courtroom.

 

In this talk, prison lawyer Emma McClure examines the issues with forensic techniques, highlighting the amusing, confusing and sometimes tragic consequences of failing to take a sceptical approach to evidence in the field of forensic science.

£4 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle, two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

Stevyn Colgan

When?
Tuesday, April 10 2018 at 7:00PM

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Where?

67 Etruria Old Road,
Etruria,
Stoke-On-Trent,
ST1 5PE.

Who?
Stevyn Colgan

What's the talk about?

Given the bewildering variety of life on Earth – all stemming from one self-replicating molecule – can we really predict what life on other worlds is like? Maybe not. But we can imagine what it isn’t like.

Stevyn Colgan has been involved with aliens for three decades. He’s held Jabba the Hutt’s face, helped sculpt creatures for Bruce Willis to shoot at and had a script accepted for 'Doctor Who' in the 1980s. In this entertaining talk you’ll hear about feuding gangs of scientists, the unlikelihood that any visiting aliens will be humanoid, film directors with less imagination than children, fractal nose worms and the perils of concrete poo.

You’ll also come to realise that if we really are intelligently designed, the designer needs their head examined.

‘I've found a new genius. Amazing speaker, fantastic stories’ – Ayd Instone, Eldamar Ltd

‘A brilliant talk. So much common sense’ – Simon Raymonde, Bella Union and ex-Cocteau Twins

(Stevyn would like to make it clear that he has never been abducted, nor had anything or anywhere probed.)

 

 £4 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle, two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

are we nearly there yet?

Dr Alice Howarth

When?
Wednesday, February 7 2018 at 7:00PM

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Where?

67 Etruria Old Road,
Etruria,
Stoke-On-Trent,
ST1 5PE.

Who?
Dr Alice Howarth

What's the talk about?

One in two of us will suffer with cancer in our lifetime and almost all of us have some experience of the disease. But do we really know what cancer is and how we can work towards a cure? Is a cure even possible? And how can we arm ourselves with the right information to help us prevent and treat cancer?

Alice is a researcher who has worked in the Institute of Translational Medicine at the University of Liverpool with both non-profit and for-profit organisations. In this talk she will discuss what cancer is, how it works and just how we are working towards understanding and curing the disease. She will talk about the complexities of research and some of the big success stories that relate directly to some of the many types of cancer. Only when we understand the difficulties we face can we discern between bogus cancer treatment claims and genuine scientific advancement in this field.

£4 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle, two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

Brexit and local government

Dr Christopher Huggins

When?
Wednesday, August 9 2017 at 7:00PM

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Where?

67 Etruria Old Road,
Etruria,
Stoke-On-Trent,
ST1 5PE.

Who?
Dr Christopher Huggins

What's the talk about?

The result of last year's EU referendum, has profoundly shifted the UK political landscape. While much media coverage has focused on the implications of Brexit on national politics, relatively little attention has been given to the impact of Brexit on the local level. Local government is highly influenced by the EU and stands much to lose from Brexit. But there are opportunities too. How will local government respond, and can the opportunities Brexit presents be seized upon? Will Brexit lead to a reinvigoration of local politics, or will national politics win out as powers repatriated from Brussels are recentralised in Westminster?

Dr Christopher Huggins is Teaching Fellow in European Politics at Keele University. He teaches the politics of the European Union. His research is interested in the relationship between local government and the EU, and has lately focused on the impact of Brexit on local government.

£4 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle, two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

Dr Daniel Jolley

When?
Wednesday, June 21 2017 at 7:00PM

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Where?

67 Etruria Old Road,
Etruria,
Stoke-On-Trent,
ST1 5PE.

Who?
Dr Daniel Jolley

What's the talk about?

 Conspiracy theories are associated with almost every significant social and political event, such as the suggested theory that the U.S. government orchestrated the 9/11 attacks, that the U.K Government murdered Diana, Princess of Wales, or that the pharmaceutical industry deliberately conceals the harmful side-effects of vaccines to ensure that they are able to make a profit.

Beliefs in these type of conspiracy theories are booming in the 21st century; millions of people subscribe to them. A basic understanding of logic, rationality, and probability tell us, however, that most of these conspiracy claims are probably false. So why then do so many people believe them? What makes them so attractive and compelling to certain people? And, anyway, what’s the problem, aren’t they just harmless fun?

Until recently, psychology had not explored these questions in great depth but today the psychology of conspiracy theories is flourishing. In this talk, Daniel will provide a brief overview of what we have learned so far about why people subscribe to conspiracy theories, before uncovering some of the potentially damaging consequences of conspiracy theories; maybe they are not just harmless after all.

Dr. Daniel Jolley is a Lecturer in Psychology at Staffordshire University. He is a Chartered Psychologist of the British Psychological Society, where he is a member of the Executive Committee of the Social Psychology Section and a Committee Member of the Research Board.

Daniel’s main area of research is the psychology of conspiracy theories. He is particularly interested in using experimental methods to examine the social consequences of exposure to conspiracy theories and has co-authored articles in outlets such as PLoSONE, the British Journal of Psychology and Political Psychology.

Daniel blogs at conspiracypsychology.com and tweets @DrDanielJolley

£4 - includes entry to our drinks raffle. Free pint for two lucky winners.

and what we can do about it

Michael Marshall

When?
Wednesday, May 10 2017 at 7:00PM

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Where?

67 Etruria Old Road,
Etruria,
Stoke-On-Trent,
ST1 5PE.

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

 Homeopathy is one of the most widely debunked form of alternative medicine – yet homeopathic remedies adorn the shelves of respected pharmacies and are funded by taxpayers on the NHS. How big of a problem is this? Using information and personal experiences gathered during his last 6 years of campaigning against homeopathy, Michael Marshall will highlight how much money is spent on homeopathic remedies, how this gives undeserved credibility to homeopathy, how such remedies can lead to genuine harm and what you can do to help.

 

Michael Marshall is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society and the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast. His work has seen him organising international homeopathy protests and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.

£4 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle, two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

 

A Humanist Cult?*

Adrian Bailey

When?
Sunday, April 30 2017 at 3:00PM

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Where?

67 Etruria Old Road,
Etruria,
Stoke-On-Trent,
ST1 5PE.

Who?
Adrian Bailey

What's the talk about?

 NEW SUNDAY AFTERNOON SLOT! Adrian is a secondary school teacher and former chair of Birmingham Humanists group. A few years ago he had a brief flirtation with Scientology before quickly coming to the conclusion that the negatives far outweighed the positives, and eventually he was excommunicated.

 

So, what is Scientology and what’s it all about? ‘Scientology: A Humanist Cult?’ will explore its origins, its principles and whether or not there anything at all that we can learn from it.

 

*Includes fun quiz!

£4 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle, two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

 

Dr Nick Hawes

When?
Wednesday, April 5 2017 at 7:00PM

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Where?

67 Etruria Old Road,
Etruria,
Stoke-On-Trent,
ST1 5PE.

Who?
Dr Nick Hawes

What's the talk about?

 It’s inevitable, isn't it? One day robots will take over the world, either through some kind of violent rebellion, or through the back door -- by taking all our jobs. Aren't we throwing caution to the wind by ignoring this threat? Well, by explaining some of the basic principles behind artificial intelligence and robotics, I'm going to try to convince you that all those science fiction writers are wrong, and whilst robots will have a large part to play in our future, you don't need to worry about the effect they'll have on our existence.

 Nick Hawes is a Reader in Autonomous Intelligent Robotics in the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham. His research is in the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to create intelligent, autonomous robots that can work with or for humans. He is a passionate believer in public engagement with AI and robotics and was selected to give the Lord Kelvin Award Lecture at the 2013 British Science Festival.

£4 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle, two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

 

Kat Arney

When?
Wednesday, November 30 2016 at 7:00PM

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Where?

67 Etruria Old Road,
Etruria,
Stoke-On-Trent,
ST1 5PE.

Who?
Kat Arney

What's the talk about?

PLEASE NOTE: This talk will start PROMPTLY at 7:00 pm so that the speaker can catch her return train.
Come early to avoid disappointment.

More than two metres of DNA is packed inside every one of your cells, encoding 20,000 or so genes, tangled into a mass of molecular spaghetti. Hidden within these strands are the instructions that tell cells when and where to turn genes on or off. But while the language of genes has become common parlance in the media, a clear understanding of what they do and how they work has not.

 

We know our genes make our eyes blue, our hair curly or our bellies bulge, and they control our risks of cancer, heart disease, alcoholism, and Alzheimer’s. Advances in genetic medicine hold huge promise, and as researchers discover more about molecular genetic switches and what happens when they don’t work properly, a four-dimensional picture of DNA is being built.

 

Rather than static strings of code, this dynamic biological library will give us new insight on DNA, the text of the cookbook of life, and help inform our medical and ethical practices for future generations. Figuring out how it all works is a major challenge for researchers around the world. And what they’re discovering is that far from genes being a fixed, deterministic blueprint, things are much more random and wobbly than anyone expected.

 

Science writer and broadcaster Dr Kat Arney draws on her expertise in the world of genetics and the stories in her new book, Herding Hemingway’s Cats, to take a look inside our genes.

£4 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle, two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

Have we learned much in 300 Years?

Brian Sharpless

When?
Tuesday, November 15 2016 at 7:00PM

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Where?

63, Kingsway, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 1JB

Who?
Brian Sharpless

What's the talk about?

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF VENUE! 

ALSO, 
this talk takes place on a TUESDAY AND is

the first of TWO talks taking place in November.

 

 We like to think that humans have become more rational and civilized over time. We also tend to view the excesses of the past as not only alien (and somewhat ridiculous), but unlikely or even impossible to happen in our own, more sensible age.  However, this latter assumption has been proven wrong time and again, as history and strange decisions tend to repeat themselves. 

 

This pattern can clearly be seen in the history of Witchcraft/Satanic panics.  After discussing one case from over 300 years ago (during the Enlightenment), we will explore a more recent case from the 1990s.  As will be demonstrated, the similarities far outweigh the differences, and much can be learned so that future panics will be less likely to occur.

 

 Brian A. Sharpless is an associate professor of psychology at the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Washington DC.  He is author (along with Karl Doghramji) of Sleep Paralysis: Historical Psychological, and Medical Perspectives and editor of the forthcoming book Unusual and Rare Psychological Disorders:  A Handbook for Clinical Practice and Research (both published through Oxford University Press).

£4 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle, two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

 

Kevin Precious

When?
Wednesday, October 26 2016 at 7:00PM

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Where?

67 Etruria Old Road,
Etruria,
Stoke-On-Trent,
ST1 5PE.

Who?
Kevin Precious

What's the talk about?

 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.

 

£3 per head will get you a ticket in our drinks raffle, two lucky attendees will win a FREE pint on the night.

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