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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: Page 5
Sep 16, 2015

Every year Edinburgh Skeptics put on a lineup of talks called ‘Skeptics On The Fringe’ (SotF) as part of the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival. SotF 2015 features 30 speakers over 22 nights. We've recorded the audio from most of the talks, and interviewed most of the speakers, and we're releasing these over the following year.

To launch our Skeptics On The Fringe podcast series properly (not counting episode zero last week...) David Frank spoke to Ash Pryce, the founder of Edinburgh Skeptics, and co-founder of Skeptics On The Fringe (SotF).

They talked about the early "wild west" days of SotF, some of the stranger things one sees on the high street at the Fringe, and Ash’s blog where he has shared what it’s like as a performer to battle weight-gain and depression.

Ash’s Links: Blog | Website | @PsychicConman

 

Sep 6, 2015

It's been a while since the last podcast, and with good reason. We've all been beavering away throughout August running Skeptics on the Fringe, our contribution to the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 22 nights, 22 separate events, featuring scientific and skeptical talks, some comedy, some music, and even some poetry. And the best bit is that we recorded a bunch of it for you, and we even interviewed some of our speakers and performers as well!

This is episode zero and as well as an overview of what to expect over the coming months, we also have a performance by Peter Buckley Hill as part of our July Fringe Fundraiser event. Peter is the founder of the PBH Free Fringe, one of the many organisations putting on events during the Fringe, and home to Skeptics on the Fringe. Peter very kindly gave his time to help us out for our fundraiser, although we must warn you that he's also very loud and energetic and you may wish to turn your speakers down a bit... :-)

Episode zero seemed like the best name for this episode, given that it's an introduction and also that nobody uses the number zero enough. Is it even a number? Oh well, too late now...

Jul 3, 2015

Kitty Johnstone sat down with Jennifer Wallace after her talk on Evidence-Based Public Policy to ask her some more questions about what evidence is and how it should be used, as well as some more questions about her life.

Jennifer Wallace is Head of Policy at the Carnegie UK Trust. She is an experienced manager and public policy researcher and analyst. Her work in the public and voluntary sector has led to positive change in legislation, policy and practice. Based in Scotland, she has experience of working with governments and stakeholders across the UK. 

A prolific writer, she has authored more than 30 reports, many of which relating to public service reform. Key areas of interest include community empowerment, user focus in public services and measuring wellbeing. Jennifer holds the degrees of MA (Hons) in Social Policy from the University of Edinburgh and MPhil in Social Science Research from the University of Glasgow. She is a Trustee of Evaluation Support Scotland and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

www.carnegieuktrust.org.uk

@Jen_CarnegieUK

Jul 3, 2015

Quick note: Still having radio mic problems. We're working on it. Sorry!

Evidence-based public policy is a holy grail for researchers but somewhere in the 'black box' of policy development other factors are at play.

Drawing on research and personal experiences, this talk will explore key questions such as: to what extent is any policy evidence-based, what types of evidence do decision-makers use and how does evidence interplay with dominant narratives and values systems? 

Jennifer Wallace is Head of Policy at the Carnegie UK Trust. She is an experienced manager and public policy researcher and analyst. Her work in the public and voluntary sector has led to positive change in legislation, policy and practice. Based in Scotland, she has experience of working with governments and stakeholders across the UK. 

A prolific writer, she has authored more than 30 reports, many of which relating to public service reform. Key areas of interest include community empowerment, user focus in public services and measuring wellbeing. Jennifer holds the degrees of MA (Hons) in Social Policy from the University of Edinburgh and MPhil in Social Science Research from the University of Glasgow. She is a Trustee of Evaluation Support Scotland and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

www.carnegieuktrust.org.uk

@Jen_CarnegieUK

Jun 24, 2015

Jon Stewart was guitarist for platinum-selling Britpop band Sleeper, with whom he enjoyed three UK Top 10 albums and eight UK Top 40 singles. He now lectures in cultural history at BIMM Institute in Brighton and is a PhD researcher at University of Southampton. Jon was an enthusiastic and grateful member of AA for fourteen years. He now campaigns for more up-to-date and evidence-based secular treatment options via his blog “Leaving AA & Staying Sober” at http://jonsleeper.wordpress.com

Jon sat down with our new host Kitty Johnstone to talk about his life, sausage dogs and his love of chocolate. You can also download a recording of Jon's talk in (ironically) our Skeptics In The Pub podcast.

Jun 24, 2015

Alcoholics Anonymous is a media endorsed and popularly recognised remedy for problem drinkers. Yet while AA’s social worth is rarely challenged its efficacy rate, estimated by some to be less than 10%, appears comparable to that of spontaneous remission. Can a non-existent "Higher Power" really offer meaningful solutions to the debilitating and potentially fatal condition of alcoholism? If so, what happens to all those atheist and skeptic alcoholics? 

AA’s famous 12 step recovery programme, drawn from a long-forgotten 1930s Christian fundamentalist mass movement, has not changed in eighty years. How did such out-dated mental health technology become the primary self help option for what is arguably the great social health scourge of our age? In the second decade of the twenty first century, is this the best we can do?

Jon Stewart was guitarist for platinum-selling Britpop band Sleeper, with whom he enjoyed three UK Top 10 albums and eight UK Top 40 singles. He now lectures in cultural history at BIMM Institute in Brighton and is a PhD researcher at University of Southampton. Jon was an enthusiastic and grateful member of AA for fourteen years. He now campaigns for more up-to-date and evidence-based secular treatment options via his blog “Leaving AA & Staying Sober” at http://jonsleeper.wordpress.com.

Jun 15, 2015

Bats: Creepy as heck? Or cute and cuddly? Edinburgh Skeptics regular Tracey Jolliffe gave a talk as part of our Edinburgh Science Festival line up to help us find out.

While we were unable to record Tracey's talk on the night, she sat down (some time after the Science Festival, due to all sorts of reasons) with David Frank to face 10 Questions about her work and about herself.

May 26, 2015

Note: We've hilariously called this 9 Questions in the audio, but upon further listening it appears that we've definitely asked 10 Questions. Maybe even 11... :-o

The Third Reich was a large, complex, modern state with a thriving mass media, diverse population, and fruitful trade and cultural links with the rest of the world. The ideology behind National Socialism drew upon well-established strands of nationalist and racialist thinking as well as centuries-old anti-Semitism, and the Nazi Party and its government used cutting-edge technology and techniques to give these ideas the broadest possible audience and appeal.

All too often, this baffling web of networks, policies and overlapping interest groups, which changed constantly over the twelve years the Third Reich lasted, gets reduced to the ideas and actions of just one man. From the top of the ivory tower, to the very bottom of the bottom half of the internet, this talk will explore what Adolf Hitler means to all of us, and how our obsession with him is sucking the meaning out one of our most potent historical symbols: the Holocaust.

Victoria Stiles recently completed a PhD in History at the University of Nottingham and is a co-organiser of the Greater Manchester Skeptics Society. Her research encompasses stereotype formation, the manipulation of evidence and attitudes towards imperialism in Nazi Germany, as well as Anglo-German relations. She occasionally blogs about her sources and what it means to "do" history at tattyjackets.blogspot.com.

May 14, 2015

Here's part 2 of our bumper QED interview special, recorded at QEDCon 2015 in Manchester. Join David Frank and Mark Pentler for some more conversations with the great and good from the world of skepticism.

This episode features interviews with QED volunteer Steve Malone, Alan Henness from the Nightingale Collaboration, Professor Richard Wiseman, and Saturday headliner Matt Dillahunty, as a well as a short conversation with Miguel - one of the Christian protesters/proselytisers outside the QED venue - about what exactly he was doing there.

The QED Theme music used throughout the podcast is by Milton Mermikidies (www.miltonline.com). And if you want to find out more about QEDCon, their website is at www.qedcon.org

Please do leave us a review on iTunes if you enjoyed this 2 part special, as that would be a massive help for us, and we really hope you enjoyed it!

May 8, 2015

A special podcast for you this week, recorded at QEDCon 2015 in Manchester. QEDCon is one of the best skeptical events on the calendar (Skeptics on the Fringe excepted, of course...) and is always both huge fun and massively interesting.

Join David Frank and Mark Pentler for an interview special so massive we've had to split it up into two parts.

This episode features interviews with Rhys Morgan, Professor Chris French, Marcel Dicke, and Mitch Benn, as well as some Aussie blokes we just found floating around the hotel.

The QED Theme music used throughout the podcast is by Milton Mermikidies (www.miltonline.com). And if you want to find out more about QEDCon, their website is at www.qedcon.org

We had a lot of fun making this one (and the next one!), and we hope you enjoy it.

Apr 29, 2015

As part of the 2015 Edinburgh International Science Festival, Edinburgh Skeptics and the University of Edinburgh Humanist Society held a General Election Hustings on Tuesday the 14th of April. 

The panel consisted of the following candidates and representatives:

Left Unity - Bruce Whitehead (Edinburgh North & Leith) 
Scottish Conservative Party - Mark Brown (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) 
Scottish Green Party - Peter McColl (Edinburgh East) 
Scottish Labour Party - Cllr. Gordon Munro 
Scottish Liberal Democrats - Gary McLelland (Glasgow East) 
Scottish National Party - Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) 
UKIP Scotland - Alan Melville (Edinburgh North & Leith)

This is part 2, with general audience questions from the floor.

Apr 29, 2015

As part of the 2015 Edinburgh International Science Festival, Edinburgh Skeptics and the University of Edinburgh Humanist Society held a General Election Hustings on Tuesday the 14th of April. 

The panel consisted of the following candidates and representatives:

Left Unity - Bruce Whitehead (Edinburgh North & Leith) 
Scottish Conservative Party - Mark Brown (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) 
Scottish Green Party - Peter McColl (Edinburgh East) 
Scottish Labour Party - Cllr. Gordon Munro 
Scottish Liberal Democrats - Gary McLelland (Glasgow East) 
Scottish National Party - Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) 
UKIP Scotland - Alan Melville (Edinburgh North & Leith)

This is part 1, with 6 pre-published questions known to both the audience and the speakers. Part 2, with general questions from the floor, is in the episode after this.

Apr 22, 2015

Bitcoin is one of a new breed of so-called “crypto-currencies” which only exist online. Fans say they provide low-cost secure money transfer without the need for bank accounts, critics say they’re used by criminals and tax evaders. Bitcoin uses a technology called “Blockchain” and, like the Internet in 1990, only a few people have heard of it and, like the Internet in 1990, it is probably on a trajectory to change the world. In this talk Dug Campbell will introduce us to Bitcoin and discuss the story so far in the real world.

Dug Campbell runs the Scottish Bitcoin Meetup and founded the Scottish Bitcoin Conference. He regularly speaks at events and provides press commentary around the disruptive potential of crypto-currencies, in addition to exploring how blockchain technologies will change society over the next few years. After over a decade as a technology lawyer, he completed an MBA before becoming a Digital Strategy Consultant. He also blogs regularly at www.dugcampbell.com.

Apr 22, 2015

Unfortunately, we weren't able to record Dick's talk for us as part of our Skeptics at the Science Festival events, which is a shame, because it was incredibly interesting. Luckily, we were able to grab Dick for a few minutes to fire some questions at him. 10 of them, to be exact...

Dick Byrne is Research Professor in the School of Psychology at St Andrews University, Scotland, where his work focuses on the evolution of cognitive and social behaviour, particularly the origins of distinctively human characteristics. After a degree in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, his PhD research was on human planning and thought.  

Apr 20, 2015

After titillating us, entertaining us, and sometimes grossing us out a little bit, Edinburgh Skeptics member David Frank joins us for the very first 10 Questions podcast.

Hailing from Perth, Western Australia, David has lived in Japan and Vietnam, and most recently moved to Scotland. He has organised dozens of events for Perth Skeptics, Tokyo Skeptics, The Humanist Society of Western Australia and various other Meetup groups. He currently runs Edinburgh Skeptics’ monthly discussion group Skeptics Underground held at 2pm on the second Sunday of every month. You can read more about him at www.davidfrank.com.au.

Apr 20, 2015

We could all use some tips on how to market ourselves, whether looking for love online or trying to make the best impression in any situation. There will also be a marketer’s insight into why there are few porn sites for women, and an analysis of the porn viewing habits of men. We’ll lampoon the formulas romance novels use for their plots and covers. Finally we’ll look at a case study of how one porn site markets itself in safe-for-work plain view. There’ll be singing, poetry, and what we’re sure will be a very interesting Q&A afterwards.

Hailing from Perth, Western Australia, David has lived in Japan and Vietnam, and most recently moved to Scotland. He has organised dozens of events for Perth Skeptics, Tokyo Skeptics, The Humanist Society of Western Australia and various other Meetup groups. He currently runs Edinburgh Skeptics’ monthly discussion group Skeptics Underground held at 2pm on the second Sunday of every month. You can read more about him at www.davidfrank.com.au.

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