The Hampshire Skeptics Society is a non-profit organisation for the promotion of science, reason and critical thinking, humanism and a secular life. We run the Winchester Skeptics group who meet at 7:30pm on the last Thursday of every month at the The Winchester Discovery Centre.
Winchester SitP meetings are open to all regardless of beliefs and each months talk will be followed up with a challenging Q&A session and social. We suggest a £3 donation to cover our speaker’s expenses.
Thursday 27th June 2013 – John Sweeney : Inside the Weird World of Scientology
Tom Cruise and John Travolta say the Church of Scientology is a force for good. Others disagree. Award-winning journalist John Sweeney investigated the Church for more than half a decade. During that time he was intimidated, spied on and followed and the results were spectacular: Sweeney lost his temper with the Church’s spokesman on camera and his infamous ‘exploding tomato’ clip was seen by millions around the world.
John Sweeney tells the story of his experiences for the first time and paints a devastating picture of this strange organisation, from former Scientologists who tell heartbreaking stories of families torn apart and lives ruined to its current followers who say it is the solution to many of mankind’s problems.
You can follow John on Twitter @johnsweeneyroar
Thursday 25th July 2013 – Oliver Meech : When Magic and Science Collide
Magic boffin Oliver Meech meddles with forces we barely understand, in a comedy magic show for the QI generation. Expect brain-boggling tricks inspired by mind-blowing science. It’s the Natural Selection!
After melding magic with Neuropsychology (Ed Fringe 2011) and Time (Ed Fringe 2010) in previous hit shows, Oliver turns his attention to the rest of the universe.
Oliver Meech studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, Creativity at top London ad agencies and Trickery at The Magic Circle. He fuses all three to produce magic that’s ‘fascinating and different from other magicians’ (GWJWTBE blog). When not performing at Fringe festivals around the country, he hops between the UK’s Science, Cabaret and Comedy circuits.
Thursday 29th August 2013 – Peter Harrison : The Science of Lucid Dreaming
An oneironaut, or lucid dreamer, is someone who can deliberately remain consciously awake during a dream and is completely aware of the situation. With the release of Christopher Nolan’s latest film, Inception, lucid dreaming has once again been thrown into the public eye. The topic is surrounded by myths, misunderstandings, and controversy. Most communities focusing on lucid dreaming consist of individuals interested in unlocking their psychic potential, or meeting their spirit guides. For this reason, many people associate lucid dreaming with the supernatural. What many people (skeptics included) do not realise is that the existence of lucid dreaming has been well established by scientists all over the world and is actively studied in many universities and scientific establishments. This is a fascinating scientific topic, unfortunately often lumped together with irrational supernatural beliefs.
Peter Harrison is a science graduate, a magic/mentalism consultant, and a highly successful lucid dreamer. But unlike so many of his fellow oneironaughts, he’s an active skeptic and interested in the science behind the phenomenon. This talk covers the reality of lucid dreaming, the scientific evidence and experiments in this interesting field, and the abundant myths and misunderstandings.
Peter Harrison runs St Andrew’s Skeptics. Besides lucid dreaming, he also does stand-up and @reptilefacts, and loves pineapple. You can look him up at Endless Forms, Reality Is My Religion, and on Twitter.
Thursday 28th November 2013 – Robert Llewellyn : Electric Cars Are Rubbish. Aren’t They ?
Electric cars? They’re rubbish aren’t they?! Nothing but glorified golf carts that take forever to charge and then run out of power on the way to the shops. Try finding somewhere to charge them. They cost a fortune to buy and another fortune to replace the battery when its range drops to half. You don’t want to believe all that nonsense about them being environmentally-friendly. They are actually worse than petrol-powered cars because the batteries are made from dirty lithium and use electricity made from dirtier coal. There isn’t even enough lithium in the world to make all the new batteries we’d need anyway. Electric cars are just rubbish. Aren’t they? – Robert says no. This evening he’ll tell us why he thinks we need to put away our prejudices and think seriously about electric vehicles as the future of transport.
Robert Llewellyn is an actor, writer, comedian, TV presenter and self-described wishy-washy liberal best known for playing the android Kryten in the long-running BBC sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf. He presented Scrapheap Challenge for 10 years and these days he can be seen on TV presenting the shows Car-Pool on Dave and How Do They Do It? on Channel 5. He is probably the UK’s most prominent advocate of electric vehicles (EV) and presents a YouTube-based show called Fully Charged which documents current developments in the electric vehicle industry. He also writes a column for the EV website The Charging Point. He has been notably critical of BBC Top Gear’s position on electric vehicles – a case in point being the Top Gear review of the Tesla Roadster in 2008. Tesla Motors response to Top Gear’s review is here. This February he debated the motion “This House Believes Electric Cars are the Future of Transport” at the Oxford Union. The motion was carried.
You can catch up with Robert on Twitter : @bobbyllew