North London Stitch Up

A fortnightly knitting group that I set up in January 2014. Links to Cricklewood Residents’ Association and other local groups. We can teach a range of knitting, crochet, and embroidery techniques for all levels of skill, from beginner right up to expert.

Three Wise Magicians

I will be chairing a panel discussion featuring three professional magicians – Laura London, Harry DeCruz and Marc Kerstein – at the Nine Worlds Conference in Heathrow on 10th August.

A Skeptic’s Guide to Spotting Bullsh*t!

At The Summer House Weekend festival, I will be presenting some tried and tested methods for successfully identifying fakery, distortion and downright hogwash in modern media. From dodgy statistics to opinion presented as fact, I’ll be arming you with the basic tools you’ll need to make sure you don’t get fooled again.

The Summer House Weekend Pre-Production

A short but ambitious project – pre-production for The Summer House Weekend festival 14-18th August. In the run-up to the festival, I have been assisting the festival chief with coordinating dancers, artists, therapists, engineers, and crew members to make this the best summer festival yet.

This Is Improbable: The Ig Nobel Awards 2014

Managing This is Improbable: The Ig Nobel Awards 2014 at Conway Hall, London, an evening of Improbable Dramatic Readings from bizarre, genuine research reports. Marc Abrahams compered a series of science communicators:  Stevyn Colgan [QI]; Julie Gould [Nature]; Kate Arkless Gray; Trish Groves [BMJ]; James Harkin [QI]; Polina Harkin [St Luke’s]; Valerie Jamieson [New Scientist];  Alok Jha [The Guardian]; Imran Khan [British Science Association]; Molly Oldfield[QI];  Tim Radford [The Guardian]; and Annette Smith [Association for Science Education].

This was part of a celebration to honour the new book  This Is Improbable Too, as part of National Science & Engineering Week and formed part of 2014’s Ig Nobel Tour of the UK.

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10:23 – Mass Homeopathic Overdose

Working with other Skeptics in the Pub groups around the country, I organised the London mass homeopathic overdose. This was the biggest out of all the groups demonstrating against the continued production and sale of placebo medicines at Boots chemists.

We had a lot of coverage for this, most of which is covered on the main website.

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London Skeptics in the Pub

London Skeptics in the Pub is an award winning lecture series. We cover science, technology, history, philosophy and related current affairs. We meet (usually) on the first Monday of the month.

It’s always been open to people from every background and has never been aimed specifically at self-labelled “skeptics” – even though they are a majority of the audience. We also get a large proportion of interested people, including open-minded alternative medicine practitioners, conspiracy theorists and other people who just like to debate facts and the nature of evidence.

See a nice video taken by the lovely people from the Guardian here:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/video/2011/jan/21/comedians-skeptics-pub

“It’s loud, messy and disorganised—and very democratic.” -The Economist

“Skeptics in the Pub is one of the great London institutions, where you can see really great people give funny and interesting talks to a room full of drunk nerds.” – Ben Goldacre: Bad Science

“The crowd of 200 are not here for the football or a party. They are… a growing movement of rational thinkers who assemble each month to debate everything from conspiracy theories to homeopathy.” – Time Out, London

“The basement resembles a drop-in centre for the ideologically disenfranchised and I fall in with a crowd of rowdy professors…” – The Metro

“Skeptics in the Pub in London, which recently met to discuss: “God: The Failed Hypothesis,” … need bigger rooms to accommodate those who find them.” – The Washington Post

“Argumentative types – scientists, academics, IT consultants, librarians and a light seasoning of lawyers – crammed into a room above a pub, on a sticky summer evening, wouldn’t do it for most people’s blood pressure. On the other hand, if Big Brother is ruining your summer, you might prefer this.” – LabLit

“Unfortunately, I was too far back to see most of the show… but I’d highly recommend getting along to one of these events.” – Nature Networks

“[It] does not immediately sound like an enticing group of people. I immediately thought of drunken cantankerous middle-aged men arguing about religion over a warm pint of bitter. But how wrong was I? What a great bunch of friendly people!” – Prof Bruce Hood: SuperSense

The event was founded by Dr Scott Campbell in 1999, for everyone interested in the bizarre and in the rational approach to extraordinary claims. A speaker is invited each month to present a topic of interest, which is followed by a discussion in a relaxed and friendly pub atmosphere.

Scott Campbell founded and ran the event until 2002, then Nick Pullar took over for five years, until April 2007. It is now organised by Sid Rodrigues, Tessa Kendall and Carmen D’Cruz.  Many thanks to everyone who has helped us out in the past, including Matt Parker, Rebecca Watson, Norman Hansen, Mark Duwe, Tracy King – and a few generous others.

Meetings are held in a pub called The Monarch in Camden. We look forward to seeing you there.