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Emma McClure

When?
Monday, April 25 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

www.thephoenixinnyork.co.uk

Who?
Emma McClure

What's the talk about?

We've all seen it: A renegade detective pores over the scene of a grizzly murder. They find an overlooked clue; a hair, a footprint, a shell casing. Detailed forensic analysis matches the clue to the bad guy, and the bad guy goes to jail. This is how modern day forensics are portrayed in shows such as 'CSI' and 'Silent Witness'; forensic evidence is seen as conclusive when it comes to catching suspects and deciding if someone is guilty in a criminal trial. But, at a time when shows like Serial and Making a Murderer have brough miscarriages of justice to international prominence, Emma McClure will explain how the traces left behind at a crime scene can sometimes lie.

The science in areas such as DNA collection has progressed enormously in recent decades allowing for breakthroughs in many old and cold cases. However, we have also seen many high profile exonerations of those previously convicted of the most serious of crimes on seemingly 'conclusive' forensic evidence. This has lead to increasing scrutiny of the way it is analysed, interpreted and presented in the courtroom.

In this talk, prison lawyer Emma McClure examines the issues with forensic techniques, highlighting the amusing, confusing and sometimes tragic consequences of failing to take a skeptical approach to evidence in the field of forensic science.

Or will they?

Myles Power

When?
Monday, March 28 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

www.thephoenixinnyork.co.uk

Who?
Myles Power

What's the talk about?

For decades now, we have been told by organisations like Greenpeace, GM-Freeze, and Friends of the Earth that genetically modified (GM) food is dangerous and has been shown to be harmful to humans. They have done a great job at convincing the population of their dangers by quoting scientific literature that claims GM-food has been shown, among other things, to cause cancer, leukaemia, and stomach inflammation; but is there really any truth to this? What do the papers these organisations are promoting really say, and do they have any flaws? Or, in actual fact, are GMOs going to kill us all? In his talk, Myles is going to critique several highly referenced anti-GM papers, looking past their veneer of good science, and discovering what they really say about GMOs and the people who promote them.

Myles Power runs the educational YouTube channel powerm1985. Originally from a small town in the North East of England called Middlesbrough he has spent a large portion of his adult life living in Manchester. He is a chemist who is currently working in industry, but what little free time he has he spends sharing his love of SCIENCE! through home experiments, visiting sites of scientific interest and recording angry rants at pseudoscience opponents.

He studied chemistry, specialising in organic chemistry at the Universities of Manchester and Toronto. Later in his career, he moved more towards bio-chemistry and worked on projects including synthesising various nucleic acid analogues for non-enzymatic transcription and controlling gene expression using a mutant riboswitch. He has over 7 years of experience working in a research lab, which has given him the skills he needs to research and debunk virus psuedoscience theories. Some of the theories he has discussed on his YouTube channel including AIDS denialists, 9/11 truthers, the anti-vaccination movement and homeopathy. In addition to being one of the founding members of the podcast The League of Nerds, he is also an original and stauch member of Teesside Skeptics-in-the-Pub.

More about Myles here: https://mylespower.co.uk/about-myles/

Robin Tudge

When?
Monday, February 22 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

www.thephoenixinnyork.co.uk

Who?
Robin Tudge

What's the talk about?

Robin Tudge is a writer based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who has lived and worked in Chicago, Moscow, Hanoi, Beijing and Pyongyang. He has visited North Korea several times since 2001 and led tours there in 2013 and 2015 for the leading tour company, Koryo Tours. He is to present an illustrated talk on travelling to that impoverished, surprising country, to show what can really be seen beyond the Potemkin illusion.

Sense About Science

Jessica Taylor

When?
Monday, January 25 2016 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

www.thephoenixinnyork.co.uk

Who?
Jessica Taylor

What's the talk about?

Every day, we hear claims about what is good for our health, bad for the environment, how to improve education, cut crime, and treat disease. Some are based on reliable evidence and scientific rigour. Many are not. These claims can't be regulated; every time one is debunked another pops up – like a game of whack-a-mole. So how can we make companies, politicians, commentators and official bodies accountable for the claims they make? If they want us to vote for them, believe them, or buy their products, then we should ask them for evidence, as consumers, patients, voters and citizens.

The Ask for Evidence campaign has seen people ask a retail chain for the evidence behind its MRSA resistant pyjamas; ask a juice bar for the evidence behind wheatgrass detox claims; ask the health department about rules for Viagra prescriptions; ask for the studies behind treatments for Crohn's disease, and hundreds more. As a result, claims are being withdrawn and bodies held to account.

This is geeks, working with the public, to park their tanks on the lawn of those who seek to influence us. And it's starting to work. Come and hear what the campaign is going to do next and how you can get involved.

Jess is a PhD student researching personalised medicine strategies for cancer at the University of Manchester. She has a passion for making science more accessible and wants to encourage everyone to ask questions, especially when it concerns their health.

Test your knowledge of science and skepticism

When?
Tuesday, December 8 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

www.thephoenixinnyork.co.uk

Who?

What's the talk about?

PLEASE NOTE THE EARLIER THAN USUAL DATE.

We enjoyed the quiz so much last December that we've decided to make it an annual event. Come along and test your knowledge of science and skepticism, from the past year and beyond! If you fancy, why not stay around for a chat afterwards?

Dr Vicky Forster

When?
Monday, November 23 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

www.thephoenixinnyork.co.uk

Who?
Dr Vicky Forster

What's the talk about?

Billions of pounds is donated to cancer research worldwide every year. How much of an impact has this research made on cancer survival and what’s next? What have been the major breakthroughs? Will we ever cure cancer completely? Why do some people believe so passionately in alternative cancer cures and is there any evidence behind any of these proposed ‘cures’? This talk will discuss these points from the unique perspective of a cancer research scientist and long term survivor of childhood cancer with the hope of inspiring discussion and debate.

Dr Vicky Forster is a postdoctoral research scientist at Newcastle University. Her projects include looking at errors in DNA which cause cancer in the first place, finding new less-toxic drug combinations to treat leukaemia and investigating the side effects of childhood leukaemia treatment. She is also a 20 year survivor of childhood leukaemia and shares her experience to raise awareness of childhood cancers, treatment and long-term implications of treatment. She has done a range of science outreach events and activities including writing for The Times on a British Science Association Media Fellowship, a TED talk and was recently awarded the Cancer Research UK Research Engagement and Brand Ambassador prize for her efforts.

Controversial Cartooning in History

'Polyp'

When?
Monday, October 26 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

www.thephoenixinnyork.co.uk

Who?
'Polyp'

What's the talk about?

An exploration of the history of controversial cartooning, and the story of its relationship to free speech, by long time Manchester pen dipper 'Polyp'.

From Roman times through to this year’s shocking revenge attacks in Paris, cartoonists have always been the focus of outrage, censorship and conflict. What is it about this often trivialized art form that evokes such powerful reactions from people on both sides of the political spectrum?
 
'Polyp' is a professional political cartoonist and an active member of the skeptics movement.

Peter Harrison

When?
Monday, September 28 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

www.thephoenixinnyork.co.uk

Who?
Peter Harrison

What's the talk about?

An oneironaut, or lucid dreamer, is someone who can deliberately remain consciously awake during a dream and is entirely aware of the situation. Since the release of 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. Many people now associate lucid dreaming with the supernatural. What many people (sceptics included) do not realise is that the existence of lucid dreaming has been established by scientists and is actively studied in many labs all over the world. This is a fascinating scientific topic, which is unfortunately often lumped together with irrational supernatural beliefs.

Peter Harrison is an evo-devo PhD and active lucid dreamer. Unlike so many of his fellow oneironaughts, he’s also an active sceptic and interested in the science behind the phenomenon. This talk covers the reality of lucid dreaming, the scientific evidence and experiments in this fascinating field, and the abundant myths and misunderstandings.

Feedback:

"This talk by @Harrison_Peter is quite honestly one of the most fascinating I've seen in a long time." - @Tannice_

"New contender for best talk of the festival thanks to @Harrison_Peter ‘s talk on the science of lucid dreaming." - @Crispian_Jago

"If you run an #sitp, book @harrison_peter. His talk is delightful. Longtime skeptic said was his favourite talk ever." - @penguingalaxy

"Consensus is that was the best talk this year." - @jimbobthomas

"Brilliant talk by @Harrison_Peter about lucid dreaming @Brum_Skeptics best talk I’ve heard here." - @simonstanford

The NHS and Beyond

Michael Marshall

When?
Monday, August 24 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

www.thephoenixinnyork.co.uk

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

Homeopathy is one of the most widely debunked form of alternative medicine – yet homeopathic remedies adorn the shelves of respected pharmacies and are funded by taxpayers on the NHS. How big of a problem is this? Using information and personal experiences gathered during his last 6 years of campaigning against homeopathy,

Michael Marshall will highlight how much money is spent on homeopathic remedies, how this gives undeserved credibility to homeopathy, how such remedies can lead to genuine harm and what you can do to help. Michael Marshall is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society and the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast. His work has seen him organising international homeopathy protests and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.

John Cossham

When?
Monday, July 27 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

www.thephoenixinnyork.co.uk

Who?
John Cossham

What's the talk about?

Our July talk will be given by one of our own. Regular attendee John Cossham.

John has been studying all things green and sustainable for 30 years and has an Environmental Health degree, although he works as a juggler and balloon modeller. He has been a Green Party candidate in local elections and has a history of volunteering, including Frack Free York, York Rotters, Alternatives to Violence Project and many more. He has a special interest in atmospheric chemistry and anthropogenic climate change. He won the Oxfam Carbon Footprint competition in 2008 with the lowest in the UK.

John's talk on methane covers its biological and geological origins, and helps explain John's opposition to fracking. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, but short-lived, and these topics and their implications are explored in some detail. Finally, a newly identified environmental threat, methane clathrate, is exposed as having a possible role in our extinction, which could be sooner than expected.

How To Market Yourself On Online Dating Sites

David Frank

When?
Monday, June 22 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

www.thephoenixinnyork.co.uk

Who?
David Frank

What's the talk about?

Marketer and former radio show host David Frank will be talking about all things online dating, sex and porn. 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's a marketer’s insight into why there are only two porn sites for women, we'll lampoon the formulas romance novels use for their plots and covers, and we'll look at the statistics behind Scotland’s porn viewing. This talk will prove you're attractive to a great many people, and we'll use science to prove it! There’ll be singing, an acted romance scene, and 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 is an Edinburgh Skeptics committee member, and runs their monthly discussion group Skeptics Underground. You can read more about him at www.davidfrank.com.au.

Ash Pryce

When?
Monday, May 25 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

75 George Street,
York,
YO1 9PT

www.thephoenixinnyork.co.uk

Who?
Ash Pryce

What's the talk about?

Hydesville. New York. 1848. The young Fox sisters begin communicating with the spirit of a murdered beggar and spiritualism is born.

 
This interactive look at a history of talking to the dead will feature an array of magical treats including levitating tables, ectoplasm manifestation and spirit communication.
 
Part magic show, part comedy, part rational inquiry this fun show has regularly packed venues at the Edinburgh fringe.
Ouija Boards
Spirit Slates
Spirit Communication
Stopped Pulses
Spewing ectoplasm
And more...
 
"Ash Pryce is a naturally funny guy and won't allow his audience to be bored" "Very entertaining" - edfringereview
"Go see" - Edinburgh Skeptics
 
We're delighted to welcome Ash for a second time after his successful "How to be a Psychic Con-Man" show in August 2012.
 
Ash Pryce is a performer and director based in Scotland.  He has written and staged several skeptically themed shows looking at myths & legends, ghosts, psychics and mediumship as well as producing full plays ranging from Faustus to more contemporary original shows in Edinburgh.  He is the founder of Edinburgh Skeptics, the newly started History in the Pub Edinburgh, and runs what is believed to be the worlds first skeptical ghost tour every Fringe.  He lives just outside of Edinburgh with his three Degus, one of which holds a grudge against him.
 
Please note.  This is a skeptically themed show and not intended as an actual demonstration of mediumship or psychic abilities