Firstly let me express my sincere thanks to Professor Jim Al-Khalili who has, at extremely short notice indeed, kindly agreed to speak at Winchester Skeptics in the Pub on the 2nd of May.
Dr. Michael Mosley is unable to make his talk due to unforeseen circumstances.
So I’m afraid we’ll have to wait until a later date to find out how we can all get a bit thinner and hopefully a little bit healthier too. Seems like I won’t be magically losing any weight this month ! Ho hum
Apologies to all of you who were looking forward to hearing Dr. Mosley’s talk. I know a lot of you are very interested in what he has to say, me included. We will try and reschedule him later on in the year.
However we can find out what Professor Jim has been up to recently. He has a new book out called Paradox – The 9 Greatest Enigmas in Science that you can get from Amazon if you click the link. He’s also been having some interesting conversations with assorted homeopaths who think that quantum mechanics is they key to how homeopathy ‘works’.
Spoiler alert : Homeopathy is bollocks. It doesn’t work and it’s actually dangerous if used instead of actual medicine.
Whilst at the moment we don’t know what Jim’s talk will be about you can be certain that it’s going to be enlightening and entertaining. So make sure you’re there to give Jim the welcome he deserves and to find out the latest from one of the UK’s foremost physicists and the newly minted President of the British Humanist Association.
Thanks again to Jim Al-Khalili and we’ll see you a week on Thursday !
the Open Access Laboratory is a project between the Natural History Museum, Imperial College and others.
They run field studies that anybody can participate in.
They also have downloadable guides for identifying species of plants, birds, insects etc.
Have a look. http://www.opalexplorenature.org/
This morning the BBC had their usual The Big Questions programme on the TV. What was unusual about this particular episode was that one of our members, Kevin Friery, was there to answer questions on matters such as “Should there be a duty to expose wrongdoing ?”, “Do all churches deserve charitable status ?” and “Does hell exist ?”
Kev did a fantastic job in responding to these questions and getting across some of the things that I know annoy a great many of us such as undeserved privilege for religious groups in the form of tax breaks. Well done that man.
And thanks to the BBC for getting in touch with us about these important matters.
If you want to watch the programme on the iPlayer you can click this : BBC The Big Questions, Series 6, Episode 8 from Southampton Or watch it below.
BBC The Big Questions with Kevin Friery
Our next fabulous speaker at Winchester Skeptics, Rhys Morgan, is unable to visit us due to unforeseen circumstances. They are unforeseen because he’s not a psychic, apparently ! Who knew ?
So this month whilst we are going to miss out on Rhys’ talk we are going to be joined by hypnotist and magician Martin Taylor who kindly agreed to take Rhys’ slot this month.
Martin will be examining the notion that hypnosis can be used to get people to remember past lives, a phenomenon taken by many as evidence of reincarnation.
We intend to reschedule Rhys’ talk for later on in the year.
Thanks Rhys ! Thanks Martin !
The most appalling thing is happening : The Royal Institution building is going to be sold.
It has reportedly been put onto the market to fund the debts created by former director Baroness Greenfield when she decided to spend £22M on a cafe and wine bar on the premises. These, along with event spaces, were supposed to bring in enough cash to cover the outlay. Unfortunately due to her mismanagement that has not happened. She was eventually made redundant and thankfully can’t do any further damage.
It is a terrible thing to have to remove the head of an organisation in such a way. But if they fall off the rails and start doing damage then, for the future good of the organisation, they must go.
Blaming her for this situation, whilst satisfying, brings in no money, so something needs to be done to cover the outstanding debt. Hence the sale of the building. No one wants this to happen so something else needs to be done.
For starters here’s something from the co-discoverer of buckminsterfullerene, the football-shaped (C60) carbon molecule, Sir Harry Kroto :
The Royal Institution, where some of our greatest researchers from Davy and Faraday to Nobel Laureates Bragg and Porter carried out some of their finest work, and where public understanding of science has been pioneered continuously over a period of 200 years, has been brought to the brink of destruction by a few short years of mismanagement. Please send me an email and encourage as many others as possible to do the same to build up a wave of protest and so make it clear to the Government and others in positions of responsibility that we are outraged by the decision to put the premises up for sale. Every effort must be made to save the the Ri which is a unique historical Science Heritage Site for not just a UK but the World. This state of affairs should shame our whole nation. Our aim is explore every avenue and to do all we can to ensure that this venue continues to be the focal point for public understanding of science in the UK and also rise like a phoenix to become the major platform for 21st Century Global Educational Science Outreach.
Professor Sir Harry Kroto
1996 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
If you feel the same way about science and the Royal Institution as I do you will want to do something about it. This is a small thing for a start but there will be more later.
So get emailing or there’ll be no more no more research there, no more science communication and outreach there and no more Christmas Lectures !
You can also support the Ri directly by becoming a member, a fellow or making a donation.
After a fantastic year at our new home in the Discovery Centre all of us at the Hampshire Skeptics Society would like to wish you and all of our speakers, performers, members and helpers a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year !
May we continue to grow and spread the word of rationality, science and having geeky fun even further and wider than ever. We have some tremendous things planned for 2013 so keep an eye on the website and sign up for the mailing list so you hear about them first.
Thank you everyone who has contributed to the HSS, written for the website, helped with Winchester Skeptics, organised events and most special thanks to all of you very lovely and particularly sagacious and perspicacious people who come along every month to the WDC to Winchester Skeptics. Without you we would have nothing.
Merry Christmas everyone !
See you in 2013.