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Edinburgh Skeptics Presents...

Welcome to the Edinburgh Skeptics Society podcast. We'll be bringing you talks from our guest speakers on a variety of topics in our Skeptics in the Pub podcast. There'll be talks from areas such as science, social issues, politics, and lots more, all with a view to promoting reason and critical thinking. You'll also be able to see what makes our guest speakers tick with our 10 Questions segment, and recordings of our Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Edinburgh International Science Festival events. Do make sure you rate or review us, and get in touch and let us know what we're doing right (or wrong!). Email us at podcast@edskeptics.co.uk
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Now displaying: June, 2016
Jun 29, 2016

After an excellent talk during our 2015 Fringe line up, we interviewed Thomas Hind a full 10 months later (!) to find out more about the physics (or not) behind all kinds of ghosts. We also find out about his father, who - remarkably - was an exorcist for the Church of England in their "Ministry of Deliverance" department. We are not making this up.

Thomas Hind is a former physicist turned science communicator turned comedian. He studied Physics at the University of Glasgow and followed it up with an MSc in Science Communication and Public Engagement at the University of Edinburgh as well as briefly working at CERN

Twitter: @ThomasHind

Jun 29, 2016

In the most haunted pub in Edinburgh, we ask “What are ghosts made of?” and follow up by asking why do they haunt specific places? How do they move around and go through walls and throw things across rooms when nobody is looking?

The obvious answer is they don’t – but what if they did? How would it work?

All of these questions and more will be answered, interweaved with real life ghost stories from Thomas’ granddad’s 50 years as an exorcist with the Church of England. These will be debunked, bunked and debunked again and you might learn a thing or two about Quantum Tunneling theory in the process.

Thomas Hind is a former physicist turned science communicator turned comedian. He studied Physics at the University of Glasgow and followed it up with an MSc in Science Communication and Public Engagement at the University of Edinburgh as well as briefly working at CERN

Twitter: @ThomasHind

Jun 22, 2016

Climate Change is the largest challenge facing the world right now. Each year Skeptics on the Fringe has looked at different aspects of climate change, such public policy, or how to measure its impact. This year we’ve invited one of Edinburgh’s PhD students to share with us her research into an unusual approach which may help us tackle it.

Under extreme conditions, such as high temperatures or pressures, materials behave differently to how they do at the conditions we experience everyday. For example, graphite transforms into diamond, oxygen becomes a metal and water ‘freezes’ at room temperature. In this talk, you'll find out what happens when you you squeeze ice and gases to high pressures, and how this may help combat climate change.

Mary-Ellen Donnelly is a final year physics PhD student at the Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions in the University of Edinburgh studying what happens when ice and hydrogen mixtures are squeezed to high pressures.

Jun 15, 2016

Join EdSkeptics regular Kitty Johnstone as she sits down with Lucy Pickering to talk public toilets, knickers, and cottaging (yes, really).

Dr Pickering is a lecturer in medical anthropology at the University of Glasgow. She first got interested in toilets during fieldwork with countercultural Americans in Hawai’i, and having to get used to using a composting toilet. She has since published on composting toilets, and on toilet use in heroin use and recovery.

She has recently shifted her focus towards public toilets in the UK and the ways in which people manage being out and about in public through their access to toilets. She is committed to increasing access to public space through public toilet provision and highlighting the ways in which toilet access can be a hidden form of inequality in the UK today.

Twitter: @AwfullySensible

Jun 15, 2016

Why do fringe goers spend so much time looking for a loo? Why can’t we just wee in the street? Where do homeless people wash? In seeking to answer these and other questions, Lucy explores that most mundane of objects: the toilet. Today every home has one, but they are increasingly vanishing from our streets. In their place have appeared toilets in department stores and cafes, pay-to-use toilets in stations and the like. But is a toilet in a shopping mall public? Who can easily use it? Who can’t? By bringing together the history of hygiene with contemporary urban planning (and a little bit of sociology), Lucy explores how toilets – and in particular public toilets – profoundly shape our lives and the societies we live in.

Dr Pickering is a lecturer in medical anthropology at the University of Glasgow. She first got interested in toilets during fieldwork with countercultural Americans in Hawaii, and having to get used to using a composting toilet. She has since published on composting toilets, and on toilet use in heroin use and recovery.

She has recently shifted her focus towards public toilets in the UK and the ways in which people manage being out and about in public through their access to toilets. She is committed to increasing access to public space through public toilet provision and highlighting the ways in which toilet access can be a hidden form of inequality in the UK today.

Twitter: @AwfullySensible

Jun 8, 2016

Smart people don’t like the idea of IQ testing. Even though the tests are some of the most useful measures we have in psychology, they have a toxic reputation: mention IQ in polite company and you’ll be accused of being an elitist, or perhaps worse.

This talk will first make the case that IQ scores are meaningful: we’ll discuss the evidence from a century of research in psychology, neuroscience, genetics, and medicine. Then, we’ll discuss the history of the ‘IQ controversy’. Why are these tests so maligned? How much of the criticism is deserved? What does the future hold for the science of human intelligence?

Stuart Ritchie has spoken for us on topics ranging from Shakespeare to pornography. He is a postdoctoral fellow in the Psychology Department at the University of Edinburgh, researching how intelligence changes across the lifespan, and how it relates to genetics, the brain, and education. His research has been published in journals such as the Current Biology, Journal of Neuroscience, and Psychological Science.

Stuart has a book that was published around the time of this talk: Intelligence: All that Matters, and he's on Twitter at @StuartJRitchie

Jun 1, 2016

After delivering the first talk of our fantastic Edinburgh International Science Festival 2016 lineup, we sat down with Dr. Sarah Clement to talk some more about GMOs and her own journey into skepticism.

Sarah has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Environmental Science. After discovering she was less interested in understanding ""the environment"" as a separate entity, independent from society, her career has focused on examining the space where social and ecological systems overlap. She has worked as a researcher examining the biophysical, social and policy dimensions of environmental problems since 2002.  

Sarah was born and raised in the US, where she awkwardly grew up in a small Midwestern town as an atheist and a natural skeptic. It wasn't until she moved to Australia, however, that she discovered there was not only a term for her constant questioning, but an entire movement. She became active with the Perth Skeptics as one of its organisers. She now resides in the UK; and after her lifetime tour of the colonies, she likes to think she's returned to the motherland.

https://about.me/saraheclement
If you want to look at Sarah's GoodReads list, you can find that here

Jun 1, 2016

Genetically modified crops have been hailed as both a saviour and villain. The media has put a spotlight on the two extreme ends of this polarised debate, with agricultural corporations on one side and internet celebrities like Food Babe on the other. This talk focuses on that neglected grey area in-between, including what we know about the environmental impacts and how we might translate scientific data and societal values into pragmatic public policy.

Sarah has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Environmental Science. After discovering she was less interested in understanding “the environment” as a separate entity, independent from society, her career has focused on examining the space where social and ecological systems overlap. She has worked as a researcher examining the biophysical, social and policy dimensions of environmental problems since 2002.

Sarah was born and raised in the US, where she awkwardly grew up in a small Midwestern town as an atheist and a natural skeptic. It wasn’t until she moved to Australia, however, that she discovered there was not only a term for her constant questioning, but an entire movement. She became active with the Perth Skeptics as one of its organisers. She now resides in the UK; and after her lifetime tour of the colonies, she likes to think she’s returned to the motherland.

https://about.me/saraheclement
If you want to look at Sarah's GoodReads list, you can find that here

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