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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: December, 2016
Dec 27, 2016

After last week's look at the purely bonkers practice of Theta Healing (registered trademark) join Mark Pentler, Heather Pentler, and Claudia Schaffner as we investigate Theta Healing's thoughts on racial DNA and religion, plus how mean cults can be about your personality.

If you enjoyed these two specials, do let us know either on social media or via email: podcast@edinburghskeptics.co.uk - and don't forget to leave us a review on iTunes!

Dec 21, 2016

Note: Sorry about the first twenty minutes or so. We got a new mixing desk and I rather stupidly plugged the recorder into the wrong socket. Stick with it - Mark

This week we're trying something a bit different. Yes it's a round table chat. No it's not about the week's skeptical news...

Over the past year our committee member Heather Pentler has been investigating all sorts of woo - including healing, alternative medicine, all that malarkey - and she's built up quite a collection. The one thing that really caught her eye was something that is - as far as we can see - not very well known within the skeptical community. So we decided to tell you about it.

Join Mark Pentler and Claudia Schaffner alongside Heather as we delve into Theta Healing's training manuals to investigate what it actually is, what it claims to do, and how it all seems to be set up.

The recording is split into two parts, so we'll have another episode on this coming up next week.

Dec 14, 2016

In our latest Fringe 2016 podcast PhD researcher Anna Temp joined us to discuss how human beings cope with working in extreme environments, specifically the people who were the subjects of her study on the Arctic island of Svalbard.

In a slightly busy pub near the University of Edinburgh Mark joins Anna to discuss the issues in more depth. She'll be talking about penguins, supermarkets, and burglary and how it all links back to the human psyche.

Anna is from Hamburg, Germany. When she was maybe 10 years old, her Dad gave her a book on Shackleton’s Endurance expedition and that sparked her interest in explorers and remote areas. Eventually, it became her passion. She went to school in Germany and moved to the University of Buckingham, England, for her undergraduate Psychology degree. After that, she joined Edinburgh for their Human Cognitive Neuropsychology postgraduate course (don’t let this fool you: all we do is looking at behaviours and the brain). She loved Edinburgh so much that she stayed for her PhD…in Polar Psychology. In my free time She is the Head of Gryffindor of the Harry Potter Society and she also pole dances.

You can find out more here, or by following her on twitter @northpoleanna

Dec 14, 2016

This talk from our 2016 Fringe run focuses on the people who spent a year at the Polish Polar Station, Hornsund, Svalbard. Svalbard is where Northern Greenland is, just on top of Norway instead of next to Canada. It’s the world’s northermost settlement. Anna’s research participants spent the calendar year between July 2015 and June 2016 there. Imagine yourself being unable to go to the supermarket for a year. Unable to go to your family’s birthdays, Christmas, Easter…for the whole year. This is what the participants endured. Meanwhile, polar bears lurked outside, and for three months, the sun didn’t rise in the polar night. Anna will be talking about the effects this had on their mental health, their mood, their social connections and on their memory, attention and reasoning skills.

Anna is from Hamburg, Germany. When she was maybe 10 years old, her Dad gave her a book on Shackleton’s Endurance expedition and that sparked her interest in explorers and remote areas. Eventually, it became her passion. She went to school in Germany and moved to the University of Buckingham, England, for her undergraduate Psychology degree. After that, she joined Edinburgh for their Human Cognitive Neuropsychology postgraduate course (don’t let this fool you: all we do is looking at behaviours and the brain). She loved Edinburgh so much that she stayed for her PhD…in Polar Psychology. In my free time She is the Head of Gryffindor of the Harry Potter Society and she also pole dances.

You can find out more here, or by following her on twitter @northpoleanna

Dec 7, 2016

After dazzling us with tales of the life of the professional science communicator (both bad and good. There was definitely some bad) he sat down with our own Mark Pentler to talk some more about the art of science communication and how difficult it is in this post-truth world.

Ali was born and raised in a small village on the East coast of Scotland called Edinburgh, and at 17 ran away to the bright lights of the sprawling metropolis known as Glasgow. After gaining a degree in microbiology, Ali again ran away to the life of a travelling performer, though the cruise ship rather than the more-traditional circus.

His career as a science communicator began with a stint at Glasgow Science Centre and a regular freelance presenter for STV's The Hour as the face of "Weans' World of Science", working with luminaries such as Grant Stott and Michelle McManus. Perhaps his proudest moment was her eureka moment of understanding space weather and aurorae. He subsequently worked at Edinburgh International Science Festival and has recently been originating the role of Science Engagement Officer at the National Museum of Scotland, developing new programming to go alongside their exciting new Science and Technology galleries.

He has an excessive fondness for cheese, tea, running and the Madeiran wall lizard.

Twitter: @sir_ali_floyd
Blog: Ali Floyd | National Museums Scotland Blog

Dec 7, 2016

With the rise of the science centre as an educational experience a new profession has arisen: the professional, full-time science communicator. Distinct from researchers who carry out engagement as part of their work and unwilling to be teachers, these people roam the Earth, dispensing wisdom and fun, often with a healthy dose of foam and fire. But, 15 years on from the Millennium projects that spawned them, what state is the industry in? Are they providing a clarity beyond more traditional academics, or have they created a whole mystic lore of their own? Join Ali Floyd, Science Engagement Officer at the National Museum of Scotland, as he explores some of the not-quite-truths he has experienced in the business.

Ali was born and raised in a small village on the East coast of Scotland called Edinburgh, and at 17 ran away to the bright lights of the sprawling metropolis known as Glasgow. After gaining a degree in microbiology, Ali again ran away to the life of a travelling performer, though the cruise ship rather than the more-traditional circus.

His career as a science communicator began with a stint at Glasgow Science Centre and a regular freelance presenter for STV's The Hour as the face of "Weans' World of Science", working with luminaries such as Grant Stott and Michelle McManus. Perhaps his proudest moment was her eureka moment of understanding space weather and aurorae. He subsequently worked at Edinburgh International Science Festival and has recently been originating the role of Science Engagement Officer at the National Museum of Scotland, developing new programming to go alongside their exciting new Science and Technology galleries.

He has an excessive fondness for cheese, tea, running and the Madeiran wall lizard.

Twitter: @sir_ali_floyd
Blog: Ali Floyd | National Museums Scotland Blog

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