Latest News + Announcements / QED 2016/news The latest news, updates and announcements about the QED science and skepticism conference, 14th-16th October 2016. Thu, 12 Oct 2017 10:23:00 +0100 en hourly 1 Socialising with Slack/news/2017/socialising-with-slack Thu, 12 Oct 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=socialising-with-slack Last year, we experimented with a Slack team for QED attendees, and many of you told us you found it to be a great way to socialise, self-organise, and communicate with other QED attendees. So we are bringing Slack back for 2017.

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Last year, we experimented with a Slack team for QED attendees, and many of you told us you found it to be a great way to socialise, self-organise, and communicate with other QED attendees.

Slack is a real-time messaging and team collaboration tool. It was initially designed to allow software teams within a company to collaborate, but it has become increasingly popular at conferences.

So we are bringing Slack back for 2017. It is free to join (and optional, of course), and if you registered for Slack at last year's event, you can log in and start chatting now. If you're new to QED, or you didn't register last year but want to this year, you can sign up by requesting an invitation at qedcon2017.herokuapp.com.

Once you’ve signed up through your browser, you can download Slack for iOS and Android through their respective App Stores, or you can just use your web browser by visiting qedcon.slack.com.

If you do use Slack over the event, make sure you let us know how it worked for you in this year’s attendee survey.

See you at the weekend!

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Additional Science Moms Screening with Q&A/news/2017/additional-science-moms-screening Wed, 11 Oct 2017 14:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=additional-science-moms-screening In a change to our announced schedule, we will be adding an additional screening of Science Moms, including an introduction by director Natalie Newell and one of the film’s stars, Kavin Senapathy.

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In a change to our announced schedule, we will be adding an additional screening of Science Moms, including an introduction by director Natalie Newell and one of the film’s stars, Kavin Senapathy.

The new premier screening will take place at 10.10am on Saturday, and Natalie and Kavin will be answering audience questions following the premier.

The previously announced 1.00pm screening on Saturday will go ahead as planned, for anyone unable to see the earlier screening.

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QED Schedule Released, and Last Call for Tickets!/news/2017/qed-schedule-released-last-call-for-tickets Fri, 06 Oct 2017 18:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=qed-schedule-released-last-call-for-tickets With just one week to go until QED 2017, we’ve just made our final schedule for the event available. What talks are you going to see? Where are you going to be, and when? How are you going to navigate the many tough choices across the weekend?

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With just one week to go until QED 2017, we’ve just made our final schedule for the event available.

QED attendees can now begin to plan your conference: what talks are you going to see? Where are you going to be, and when? How are you going to navigate the many tough choices across the weekend?

We hope you’ll agree, this year’s QED is set to be one of our most interesting, varied and exciting yet!

And if you haven’t yet picked up your QED ticket, don’t delay—ticket sales will end at 23:59 on Tuesday 10th October, 2017. You can still pick up your ticket, and get access to all five rooms plus the Saturday night entertainment—if you act now!

See you in a week!

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Contemplating Cognitive Biases/news/2017/announcing-contemplating-cognitive-biases Fri, 29 Sep 2017 15:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=announcing-contemplating-cognitive-biases You will think of this panel session favourably afterwards if it’s the first one you attend, thanks to the primacy effect, or if it’s the last, thanks to the recency effect. Don’t expect it to change your views on anything though, because attempts to present you with contradictory evidence will backfire. But as long as the panel accords with what you already think, you will love it for the confirmation it confers.

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You will think of this panel session favourably afterwards if it’s the first one you attend, thanks to the primacy effect, or if it’s the last, thanks to the recency effect. Don’t expect it to change your views on anything though, because attempts to present you with contradictory evidence will backfire. But as long as the panel accords with what you already think, you will love it for the confirmation it confers.

As shortcuts which the mind takes to reach decisions rapidly (though sometimes incorrectly) cognitive biases are so natural that it’s difficult to avoid succumbing even when we are aware of them. Take the opportunity to learn more at QED, as the immediate benefit of understanding them as soon as possible must surely far outweigh any future discoveries you might make about them thanks to hyperbolic discounting.

Experts in the field benefitting from an authority bias to discuss these issues are:

  • Carol Tavris, a social psychologist, writer, and lecturer who has sought to use the contributions of psychological science to dispel some of the harms of pseudoscience and “psychobabble.” Her book with Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me), is one of the most cited works in the skeptical movement, highlighting the reasons people don’t change their minds, recognize the harms they inflict, or give up useless practices simply because the evidence says they should.
  • Richard Wiseman, Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He has written several best-selling books including The Luck Factor, Quirkology, Paranormality and 59 Seconds. Richard was listed in the Independent On Sunday’s top 100 people who make Britain a better place to live, and has acted as a creative consultant to Derren Brown, the MythBusters, and Heston Blumenthal.
  • Chris French, the psychologist, author, and TV presenter who is well known to QED audiences. He is former editor of The Skeptic magazine and heads the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and appears frequently on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims.
  • Deborah Hyde, editor of The Skeptic magazine and a full-time film-industry production manager. She is no stranger to how people can be fooled, and writes about belief in the malign macabre at jourdemayne.com. Deborah will be chairing this session.

Tickets for QED are still available, pick up yours today.

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Fact-checking in the Fake News Era/news/2017/fact-checking-in-the-fake-news-era Thu, 28 Sep 2017 15:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=fact-checking-in-the-fake-news-era Mark Twain is often quoted as having said: “A lie can get halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes”. Ironically, there’s no evidence Mark Twain ever actually said this, yet the false attribution persists, repeated often enough to render it impervious to fact-checking. In a world where social media has accelerated the spread of falsehoods, what can seekers of truth do to stop a lie in its tracks, or at the very least help the truth lace up its boots?

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Mark Twain is often quoted as having said: “A lie can get halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes”. Ironically, there’s no evidence Mark Twain ever actually said this, yet the false attribution persists, repeated often enough to render it impervious to fact-checking. In a world where social media has accelerated the spread of falsehoods, what can seekers of truth do to stop a lie in its tracks, or at the very least help the truth lace up its boots?

In our Fake News session, our panel of experts will give an inside look at the workings of the media, highlighting how journalists can check what’s true, and what challenges prevent or disincentivise them from doing so. We’ll look at how journalists and readers can spot a real story from a falsehood, and understand how stories are sourced and verified. And we’ll look at the pressures in the media industry, how publications are (or aren’t) coping with those pressures, and what issues those coping mechanisms can create.

Our panel for this media session will be:

  • James Ball has worked in political, data and investigative journalism in the US and the UK for BuzzFeed, The Guardian and the Washington Post. His reporting has won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the Scripps Howard Prize, the British Journalism Award for investigative reporting, The Royal Statistical Society Award and the Laurence Stern Fellowship. His new book Post-Truth: How Bullshit Conquered the World tracks how truth has become a devalued commodity in political discourse and media coverage, and what we can do to help turn the tide.
  • Robin Brown is a lecturer at the University of Salford specialising in digital journalism. He was worked as a freelance journalist for outlets including New Statesman, Professional Manager and What’s On Stage and is currently working on a collection currently titled Myth And Reality in Contemporary British Politics for publication in 2018.
  • Clare Freeman has worked as a broadcast journalist for over a decade, mainly for the BBC. She's been a front line reporter for three general elections, an EU referendum, and was one of the first reporters on the scene during the Manchester Arena attack. Her accolades include a Guardian award for a documentary on male domestic violence, a Jerusalem Award 2017 nomination for best faith current affairs radio programme, and—rather bizarrely—is the first female commentator for ice hockey in the UK.
  • Michael Marshall’s blog Bad PR examines the prevalence of PR reprinted as journalism, and he is a guest lecturer on journalism and PR at Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sunderland. He has written for The Guardian, The Times and New Statesman.

QED tickets are still on sale, and you can pick yours up today.

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Video: Meirion Jones—How to Make $100 Million with a Bogus Bomb Detector (QED 2016)/news/2017/video-meirion-jones-2016 Wed, 27 Sep 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=video-meirion-jones-2016 The amazing story of investigative journalism which led to the conviction of James McCormick for selling fake bomb detectors. It has many twists and turns and though McCormick was jailed it is not all good news. An incredible story brilliantly told by Meirion Jones who was at the heart of the investigation.

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The amazing story of investigative journalism which led to the conviction of James McCormick for selling fake bomb detectors. It has many twists and turns and though McCormick was jailed it is not all good news. An incredible story brilliantly told by Meirion Jones who was at the heart of the investigation.

Tickets for QED 2017 are currently available – get yours today.

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Schedule Update: Sanal Edamaruku/news/2017/schedule-update-sanal-edamaruku Tue, 26 Sep 2017 18:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=schedule-update-sanal-edamaruku We regret to announce that, due to circumstances beyond our control, Sanal Edamaruku will be unable to appear at QED this year. But we are pleased to announce that Anthony Warner will be joining our main stage line-up

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We regret to announce that, due to circumstances beyond our control, Sanal Edamaruku will be unable to appear at QED this year.

While we are disappointed not to have Sanal with us for the weekend, we are pleased to announce that the Angry Chef Anthony Warner will be joining our main stage line-up.

Anthony is a chef, food writer, and author of the Angry Chef blog. His first book, The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating exposes lies, pretensions and stupidity in the world of food, debunking food faddism. Anthony has a degree in biochemistry and has written for New Scientist.

Tickets for QED are still available—pick up yours today!

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Matt Winning: Filibuster on the Workshop Track/news/2017/matt-winning-filibuster Mon, 25 Sep 2017 15:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=matt-winning-filibuster In addition to his Saturday evening comedy set, environmental economist and stand-up comedian Matt Winning will also be bringing his comedy lecture Filibuster to the QED workshop track.

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Adding to his Saturday evening comedy set, environmental economist and stand-up comedian Matt Winning will be performing his Edinburgh show as part of the QED workshop track. Filibuster is a comedy show and lecture about climate change, describing how global warming is destroying both the planet and his life. Matt gives a presentation on how a world which is sick of experts may not be about much longer.

Entrance to Matt’s show, along with his Saturday night set and the rest of the QED schedule, comes with every QED ticket. There are still some QED tickets remaining – pick up yours today!

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Saturday Night at QED, featuring Matt Winning, Michael Legge and Gavin Osborn/news/2017/saturday-night-at-qed-featuring-matt-winning-michael-legge-gavin-osborn Fri, 22 Sep 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=saturday-night-at-qed-featuring-matt-winning-michael-legge-gavin-osborn QED are delighted to announce the line-up for our Saturday night, including three fantastic comedy acts, plus the return of the Ockham Awards.

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QED are delighted to announce the line-up for our Saturday night. Joining us for an evening of entertainment are:

  • Stand up and environmental economist Matt Winning
  • Comedian and QED alumnus Michael Legge; and
  • Singer and storyteller Gavin Osborn

Our Saturday evening, including all three acts plus the Ockham Awards, is available to every single QED ticket-holder.

If you haven't yet picked up your QED ticket, there's still time - tickets cost £109 or £75 for students.

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Science: The Big Questions/news/2017/science-the-big-questions Thu, 21 Sep 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=science-the-big-questions Why does the Higgs field have the magnitude it does? What is Dark Matter, and Dark Energy? Are these really big questions of science? Joining QED’s Rick Owen to discuss these questions will be physicists Helen Czerski, Tim O’Brien, and Jeff Forshaw.

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Why does the Higgs field have the magnitude it does? What does the detection of gravitational waves mean for astronomy and science as a whole? What is Dark Matter, and Dark Energy? Do protons decay?

Are these really big questions of science? They look quite small as questions go. Maybe it's just the answers that are big? This is just speculation, because no-one seems to know the answers. Perhaps these aren't even important questions though - do they really matter to people? Should we be more concerned about big engineering and medical questions like halting or reversing climate change, finding replacements for antibiotics and treating dementia?

The one thing this panel will definitely have in common with our TV-show namesake is that you can be sure that no actual answers will be likely to emerge. But with Rick Owen chairing a panel of top physicists, we can at least promise an interesting discussion about the questions.

  • Helen Czerski is a physicist and oceanographer. She regularly gives talks around the country as well as working on several projects for television and radio, including several documentaries for the BBC, such as Orbit: Earth’s Extraordinary Journey, and The Transit of Venus, as well as Dara Ó Briain’s Science Club.
  • Tim O’Brien is a professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester and Associate Director of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics. He is the Science Director for the bluedot festival, held annually at Jodrell Bank, and President of the Society for Popular Astronomy. He appears regularly on BBC Two’s Stargazing Live
  • Jeff Forshaw is professor of particle physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester. He is the co-author of five books, most notably the worldwide bestseller Why Does E=mc²?, The Quantum Universe. He frequently acts as science consultant to the BBC and other media and is a columnist for the The Observer.

Tickets for QED are still available – pick up yours today.

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Video: Britt Hermes—The Right Detox? (QED 2016)/news/2017/video-britt-hermes-2016 Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=video-britt-hermes-2016 Britt Hermes gave up her career in naturopathy when a particular incident made her question her education, training and qualifications as a naturopathic medical practitioner. In this heartfelt talk Britt tells the story of her journey from there to now, speaking on the main stage at a skeptical conference. Honest to the point of brutality, this is a unique insight and a unique story.

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Britt Hermes gave up her career in naturopathy when a particular incident made her question her education, training and qualifications as a naturopathic medical practitioner. In this heartfelt talk Britt tells the story of her journey from there to now, speaking on the main stage at a skeptical conference. Honest to the point of brutality, this is a unique insight and a unique story.

Tickets for QED 2017 are currently available – get yours today.

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Triskaidekaphobics beware! The QED Quiz is returning for Friday 13th/news/2017/triskaidekaphobics-beware-the-qed-quiz-is-returning-friday-13th Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=triskaidekaphobics-beware-the-qed-quiz-is-returning-friday-13th With QED right around the corner, we’re busy finalising plans for what is shaping up to be an exciting and fun-packed weekend. We have several things still to announce, but we’re delighted to be able to announce today that this year’s QED Quiz will be a fun-filled multi-media affair presented by Book Shambles with Robin Ince and Josie Long and The Cosmic Shambles Network.

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With QED right around the corner, we’re busy finalising plans for what is shaping up to be an exciting and fun-packed weekend. We have several things still to announce, but we’re delighted to be able to announce today that this year’s QED Quiz will be a fun-filled multi-media affair presented by Book Shambles with Robin Ince and Josie Long and The Cosmic Shambles Network.

We’ll be delving into the world of science, skepticism, science fiction, classics and more and, just like the show itself, we’ll be using books as a jumping off point. But if you’re not a big reader, don’t stress, there’ll be something for everyone! Hosted by Shambles producer Trent Burton with great prizes including books, event tickets and more!

The quiz takes place on Friday 13th October, right after SkeptiCamp and is free to attend. Numbers for the quiz are strictly limited, however, so we’re asking everyone to register up-front.

Given the huge popularity of the quiz at previous events, we need quiz-goers to register in advance. There are spaces for eighteen teams of four, and teams will be registered on a first-come, first-served basis. You can register your team of four people (no more, no fewer!) using this online form.

And if you haven’t yet picked up your ticket for QED, you should do that right now!

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The Science of Game of Thrones/news/2017/the-science-of-game-of-thrones Mon, 18 Sep 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=the-science-of-game-of-thrones Do dragons actually exist? Is it possible to crush a person's head with your bare hands? What really happened when royal families interbred? How does wildfire win wars? Can you really kill someone with molten gold? These burning questions will be bravely tackled by our crack team of Game of Thrones experts.

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Do dragons actually exist? Is it possible to crush a person's head with your bare hands? What really happened when royal families interbred? How does wildfire win wars? Can you really kill someone with molten gold?

These burning questions (groan) will be bravely tackled by our crack team of Game of Thrones experts.

Join Maesters Helen Keen, Dr Gerardo García, and Elio García as they discuss the science behind the Seven Kingdoms under the skeptical eye of Grand Maester Deborah Hyde. With luck and careful analysis we may at last discover the airspeed velocity of an unladen Westerosi raven.

QED tickets are still on sale, and you can pick yours up today.

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Live Book Shambles podcast at QED/news/2017/live-book-shambles-podcast Fri, 15 Sep 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=live-book-shambles-podcast Join us for a live recording of the popular podcast Book Shambles. Being QED, it’s a science book special and host Robin Ince will be joined by top popular science writers Helen Czerski, Dean Burnett, Helen Keen and Ginny Smith to talk favourite science books, terrible science books, what it takes to write popular science books for different audiences and whatever else comes up. It is a shambles after all.

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Join us for a live recording of the popular podcast Book Shambles. Being QED, it’s a science book special and host Robin Ince will be joined by top popular science writers Helen Czerski, Dean Burnett, Helen Keen and Ginny Smith to talk favourite science books, terrible science books, what it takes to write popular science books for different audiences and whatever else comes up. It is a shambles after all. Chaired by Shambles producer Trent Burton.

Book ShamblesThe Book Shambles podcast, hosted by comedians Robin Ince and Josie Long, is a springboard into ludicrous and passionate conversations about literature, science, philosophy, comedy, politics and more.

QED tickets are still on sale, and you can pick yours up today at qedcon.org/tickets.

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Crime and Punishment: the UK prison system/news/2017/crime-and-punishment-the-uk-prison-system Thu, 14 Sep 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=crime-and-punishment-the-uk-prison-system Tales of life in the UK prison system are rarely far from the pages of the tabloids—ranging from stories about how ‘pampered prisoners’ have it ‘too easy’, to reports of drugs, riots and chronic overcrowding. Our panel on crime and punishment in the UK will look at the factors that affect life on the inside, what conditions are like behind bars, what role prison ought to play in society, and what resources are—or, more frequently, are not—available to the average prisoner.

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Tales of life in the UK prison system are rarely far from the pages of the tabloids—ranging from stories about how ‘pampered prisoners’ have it ‘too easy’, to reports of drugs, riots and chronic overcrowding. Our panel on crime and punishment in the UK will look at the factors that affect life on the inside, what conditions are like behind bars, what role prison ought to play in society, and what resources are—or, more frequently, are not—available to the average prisoner.

Joining host Nicola Throp to discuss these issues is our panel of legal experts:

  • Phil Scraton Phil Scraton is Emeritus Professor in the School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast, Phil’s research covers the politics of incarceration, including his books Power, Conflict and Criminalisation; The Violence of Incarceration; and The Incarceration of Women.
  • Geoff Whelan Geoff Whelan is a criminal barrister with over twenty years practice. He is also the chair of the Greater Manchester Skeptics Society and co-organiser of QED.
  • Emma McClure Emma McClure is a solicitor specialising in prison and public law whose work sees her regularly representing prisoners during parole hearings.

QED tickets are still on sale, and you can pick yours up today at qedcon.org/tickets.

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Video: Timandra Harkness—Big Data. Does Size Matter? (QED 2016)/news/2017/video-timandra-harkness-2016 Wed, 13 Sep 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=video-timandra-harkness-2016 Timandra discusses the topics from her book Big Data. Does Size Matter?. Using examples and stories Timandra brings to life the role of Big Data in day to day life and muses upon where and how the human element still fits in.

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Timandra discusses the topics from her book Big Data. Does Size Matter?. Using examples and stories Timandra brings to life the role of Big Data in day to day life and muses upon where and how the human element still fits in.

Tickets for QED 2017 are currently available – get yours today.

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Hands-on Learning Street Epistemology Workshop/news/2017/learning-street-epistemology-workshop Tue, 12 Sep 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=learning-street-epistemology-workshop Many people have heard of street epistemology, but few people are comfortable trying it in real world situations. This workshop will give you the education, tools, and confidence needed to help a person reflect on a deeply-held belief or claim without closing them down or making them feel defensive.

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Many people have heard of street epistemology, but few people are comfortable trying it in real world situations. This workshop will give you the education, tools, and confidence needed to help a person reflect on a deeply-held belief or claim without closing them down or making them feel defensive.

Anthony Magnabosco has been learning, studying, conducting, and promoting street epistemology for more than five years, and is considered one of the leading practitioners of the method. Anthony has performed nearly one thousand interactions on camera and has uploaded hundreds of examples to his Youtube channel where more than 20,000 subscribers are able to learn by observation. Anthony has appeared on numerous podcasts, shows and blogs including The Atheist Experience, The Thinking Atheist podcast, Cognitive Dissonance, The Friendly Atheist podcast and blog, and the David Pakman show to discuss and share street epistemology with others.

The Learning Street Epistemology workshop, along with all of our other workshops, panels, podcasts and main-stage talks, are included in the price of your QED ticket, available now for £109 (£75 concessions).

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With a ‘quack quack’ here... Veterinary Pseudoscience/news/2017/with-a-quack-quack-here Mon, 11 Sep 2017 18:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=with-a-quack-quack-here Anti-vax, psychics, chiropractic, homeopathy, raw food, crystal healing and homeopathy. Sound familiar? You’d be forgiven for thinking we were talking about humans but in this session we will hear about how vets encounter, and attempt to counter, pseudoscience in animal husbandry.

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Anti-vax, psychics, chiropractic, homeopathy, raw food, crystal healing and homeopathy. Sound familiar? You’d be forgiven for thinking we were talking about humans but in this session we will hear about how vets encounter, and attempt to counter, pseudoscience in animal husbandry. From shoeless horses to psychic telephone readings our panel of vets will bring you up to speed on all the quack practices. And we don’t mean ducks!

  • Danny ChambersDanny Chambers BVSc MSc MRCVS grew up on a farm in Devon, graduated from Liverpool Vet School and has since worked as a vet across the UK, as well as in New Zealand, Africa, India and Iraq. Earlier this year he was elected to the council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, running on a platform of evidence-based veterinary medicine.
  • Alison PriceAlison Price BSc BVetMed MRCVS qualified as a vet from the Royal Veterinary College in 2014. She also holds a BSc (Hons) in Animal Sciences from the University of Leeds. An advocate for evidence based veterinary medicine, she is active within the veterinary community on social media and is a member of the Campaign for Rational Veterinary Medicine.
  • Terry OgdinTerry Ogdin BVSc MRCVS graduated in veterinary science from the University of Liverpool in 2009. For the last six years he has worked as a small animal vet in the charitable sector.
  • Alex YoungAlex Young BVSc now works as a software developer for a start-up business in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, having made a career change after seven years as a veterinary surgeon. He remains a strong proponent of rationality in veterinary medicine and is interested in the benefits recent technology can bring to healthcare.

You can see this session and many more only at QED. Make sure you buy your ticket now

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Quackery Comms and Science Moms/news/2017/quackery-comms-and-science-moms Fri, 08 Sep 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=quackery-comms-and-science-moms Alternative cancer cures seem more popular than ever before. Anti-vaccination sentiment is resurgent in the UK. Aspirational lifestyle gurus like David Avocado Wolfe, Mike Adams, and Gwyneth Paltrow sell their pseudoscientific messages to a worldwide audience, amassing millions of social media followers along the way. Whichever way we turn, it certainly seems like proponents of quackery have no trouble communicating their ideas to the general public.

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Alternative cancer cures seem more popular than ever before. Anti-vaccination sentiment is resurgent in the UK. Aspirational lifestyle gurus like David Avocado Wolfe, Mike Adams, and Gwyneth Paltrow sell their pseudoscientific messages to a worldwide audience, amassing millions of social media followers along the way. Whichever way we turn, it certainly seems like proponents of quackery have no trouble communicating their ideas to the general public.

Meanwhile, skeptics around the world are working to hold back the tide, writing blogs, hosting podcasts, working with the media to secure responsible and fair coverage of alternative medicine and spreading positive, engaging and approachable information on science.

In this panel, we will explore how the ways in which pseudoscientific ideas past and present have spread, what communication techniques proponents of quackery use, and how the skeptic movement can adapt our approach to communicate better with the public. Our panel will be:

  • David GorskiDavid Gorski – managing editor of Science Based Medicine, a blog examining pseudoscience in medicine, where he has has written prolifically about the antivaccine movement, cancer quackery and integrative medicine.
  • Britt HermesBritt Hermes – blogger and former naturopath who turned whistleblower on the alt-med industry when she realised that the treatments and cures she had been taught to administer were ineffective and potentially harmful.
  • Caroline RanceCaroline Rance – writer and researcher on historic quackery, whose book The Quack Doctor: Historical Remedies for All Your Ills explores how health frauds and quack medicine was marketed and spread throughout the past.
  • Natalie NewellNatalie Newell – director of Science Moms, a new documentary film exploring the work of “science moms” on the front lines of the struggle against bad science, which premieres at QED 2017.
  • Michael MarshallMichael Marshall – Project Director for the Good Thinking Society, whose campaigns against alternative medicine have benefitted greatly from prolific positive coverage in the national media.

QED tickets are still on sale, and you can pick yours up today.

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Video: Engaging Kids with the Wonder of Science (QED 2016)/news/2017/video-engaging-kids-with-the-wonder-of-science-2016 Wed, 06 Sep 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=video-engaging-kids-with-the-wonder-of-science-2016 Getting children curious about science is a rewarding but sometimes difficult task for parents, educators and science communicators. Trent Burton hosts a discussion with Dr Karl, Ginny Smith, Sally Le Page and Matt Parker about the challenges and pitfalls for any would-be science communicator working with children.

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Getting children curious about science is a rewarding but sometimes difficult task for parents, educators and science communicators. Trent Burton hosts a discussion with Dr Karl, Ginny Smith, Sally Le Page and Matt Parker about the challenges and pitfalls for any would-be science communicator working with children.

Tickets for QED 2017 are currently available – get yours today.

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Calling all Skeptics in the Pub Organisers across the world! SitP workshop at QED 2017/news/2017/calling-all-skeptics-in-the-pub-organisers Mon, 04 Sep 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=calling-all-skeptics-in-the-pub-organisers The Skeptics in the Pub Organiser Workshop will be back as usual at QED this year, but we’re doing things a little differently and we’d like to hear from YOU

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The Skeptics in the Pub Organiser Workshop will be back as usual at QED this year, but we’re doing things a little differently and we’d like to hear from YOU- even if can’t make it to the conference.

This year’s workshop will be run by Brian Eggo of Glasgow Skeptics, who would like to build as accurate a picture as possible about how many active SITP groups are out there, and gather some information about how you run your operations.

To do this we’d like to invite a representative from each SITP group to complete a survey. The data we gather from it will form the basis of how we approach the workshop at QED.

For those who are going to be there, we’ll tailor the session based on your survey input, and discuss the topics that you want to cover. We’ll certainly have the opportunity to discuss best practices, and perhaps amuse ourselves with some of the highs and lows we’ve encountered with what can be rewarding and thankless in equal measure.

If you would like more information or assistance, please contact Brian Eggo: brian.eggo@glasgowskeptics.com.

Also, if you’re not already a member of the SITP Organiser Group on Facebook, we’d recommend you join and get involved with the conversations there.

Tickets for QED are still available, priced £109 or £75 for students.

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Mathematical Life Hacks workshop, with Dr Katie Steckles/news/2017/mathematical-life-hacks-workshop Fri, 01 Sep 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=mathematical-life-hacks-workshop We all know that people with maths, science and technology skills are experienced at problem-solving. But how useful are those skills in the real world? In this QED workshop, mathematician and speaker Katie Steckles will show you some mathematical, logical and geometrical tricks to solve some of everyday life's minor challenges

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We all know that people with maths, science and technology skills are experienced at problem-solving. But how useful are those skills in the real world? In this QED workshop, mathematician and speaker Katie Steckles will show you some mathematical, logical and geometrical tricks to solve some of everyday life's minor challenges - from tying your shoelace to changing a duvet cover, and plenty of others. You'll never fold a t-shirt the same way again!

Katie StecklesKatie Steckles is a mathematician based in Manchester, who gives talks and workshops on different areas of maths. She finished her PhD in 2011, and since then has talked about maths in schools, at science festivals, on BBC radio, at music festivals, as part of theatre shows and on the internet. She enjoys doing puzzles, solving the Rubik's cube and baking things shaped like maths. In 2016, Katie was awarded the Joshua Phillips Award for Innovation in Science Engagement.

QED tickets are still on sale, and you can pick yours up today at qedcon.org/tickets.

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Hungry like the Wolfe: Dietary Pseudoscience/news/2017/hungry-like-the-wolfe-dietary-pseudoscience Thu, 31 Aug 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=hungry-like-the-wolfe-dietary-pseudoscience Feeding the UK’s 65m people is a tricky business. Eating in, out or on the street there is inevitably a layer of myths, lies and pseudoscience running throughout the industry. Can one really detox oneself with food choices? No. But this is the tip of the iceberg lettuce. Get the inside track on what should be tweaking your skeptical spider senses from our panel of science foodies.

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Feeding the UK’s 65m people is a tricky business. Eating in, out or on the street there is inevitably a layer of myths, lies and pseudoscience running throughout the industry. Can one really detox oneself with food choices? No. But this is the tip of the iceberg lettuce. Get the inside track on what should be tweaking your skeptical spider senses from our panel of science foodies. Joining host Andy Wilson will be:

  • Anthony WarnerAnthony Warner aka the Angry Chef, exposes “lies, pretensions and stupidity in the world of food” through his blog and a recent book entitled “Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating”
  • Kavin SenapathyKavin Senapathy is co-author of “The Fear Babe: Shattering Vani Hari’s Glass House” Kavin Senapathy is well versed in the way food myths infiltrate public understanding.
  • Charlotte HardmanDr Charlotte Hardman Dr Charlotte Hardman is a lecturer in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Liverpool. Her research examines the factors which influence appetite, eating and food preferences and she has worked in this area for more than fifteen years, including designing and testing interventions to change eating behaviour. She has a PhD in Psychology and has published over thirty-five scientific papers in prestigious journals including the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the International Journal of Obesity.

Tickets for QED are available now.

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Video: Skeptics Beyond the Pub (QED 2013)/news/2017/video-skeptics-beyond-the-pub-2013 Wed, 30 Aug 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=video-skeptics-beyond-the-pub-2013 Richard Saunders is joined by Michael Marshall, DJ Grothe and Alastair Brett to discuss skeptical activism, outreach, and getting skepticism out of the pub and into the real world at QED 2013.

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Richard Saunders is joined by Michael Marshall, DJ Grothe and Alastair Brett to discuss skeptical activism, outreach, and getting skepticism out of the pub and into the real world at QED 2013.

Tickets for QED 2017 are currently available – get yours today.

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Final call for the QED Crèche/news/2017/final-call-for-the-qed-creche Thu, 24 Aug 2017 10:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=final-call-for-the-qed-creche We are always keen to make QED accessible, which is why we provide an on-site crèche, giving skeptical parents reasonably-priced childcare facilities during the event. The deadline for applications is fast approaching, so to ensure we have sufficient time to make arrangements, bookings for the crèche must be made by August 29th, otherwise we can’t accomodate your skeptical child.

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We are always keen to make QED accessible, which is why we provide an on-site crèche, giving skeptical parents reasonably-priced childcare facilities during the event. The deadline for applications is fast approaching, so to ensure we have sufficient time to make arrangements, bookings for the crèche must be made by August 29th, otherwise we can’t accomodate your skeptical child.

To register your child, buy your child a concession ticket and then contact us to let us know you want your child to use the crèche.

If you do not register for the crèche by email, your child will not be admitted on the day. We don’t want to spoil your weekend, so please be sure to register before August 29th.

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Calling All Volunteers!/news/2017/calling-all-volunteers Mon, 14 Aug 2017 18:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=calling-all-volunteers At QED we couldn’t make our event work without the excellent help of our volunteers who help us make sure the conference runs smoothly for all our speakers and attendees.

With this year's event just two months away, we’re putting out a call to all our attendees to ask that anyone who would like to volunteer gets in touch.

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At QED we couldn’t make our event work without the excellent help of our volunteers who help us make sure the conference runs smoothly for all our speakers and attendees.

With this year's event just two months away, we’re putting out a call to all our attendees to ask that anyone who would like to volunteer gets in touch.

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and make new friends whether you are already coming with someone you know or by yourself. We only ever ask for a couple of hours of your time over the course of the weekend, and we do everything we can to make sure you don’t miss out on your favourite speaker!

If you are already coming to QED in October and think you can spare some of your time to help out we would love to hear from you! Please get in touch at volunteering@qedcon.org and we will be in touch.

Whether you are thinking of volunteering or not we are looking forward to seeing all of you soon!

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QED to screen premiere of Science Moms/news/2017/qed-to-screen-premiere-of-science-moms Wed, 09 Aug 2017 18:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=qed-to-screen-premiere-of-science-moms This October, QED will be the host of the premiere of new documentary Science Moms. The film, which was inspired by the ‘Moms4GMOs’ movement, gives a voice to science-minded mothers. In a world where too often the ‘mommy instinct’ can be used as a trump card over evidence and fact, Science Moms highlights the work done by pro-science women to stand up to the fear mongers, the shamers, and the feted celebrities.

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This October, QED will be the host of the premiere of new documentary Science Moms. The film, which was inspired by the ‘Moms4GMOs’ movement, gives a voice to science-minded mothers. In a world where too often the ‘mommy instinct’ can be used as a trump card over evidence and fact, Science Moms highlights the work done by pro-science women to stand up to the fear mongers, the shamers, and the feted celebrities. Through interviews with “science moms” on the front lines of the struggle against bad science, the film dissects the bogus health claims of celebrities one by one and explains in simple language what the science really shows about GMOs, vaccines, homeopathy, and more.

The film is the brainchild of Natalie Newell and Brian Newell, and features QED speaker Kavin Senapathy. Natalie and Kavin will be at the screening to introduce the film.

Attendance to the film screening is free with every QED ticket. QED tickets are still on sale, and you can pick yours up today at qedcon.org/tickets.

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The Skeptic Magazine Ockham Awards 2017/news/2017/skeptic-magazine-ockham-awards-2017 Mon, 07 Aug 2017 21:30:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=skeptic-magazine-ockham-awards-2017 Every year, QED is proud to be the host of The Skeptic magazine’s Ockham Awards for outstanding skeptical achievement. Now in their sixth year, the awards recognise the effort and time that have gone into the community’s favourite skeptical blogs, skeptical podcasts, skeptical campaigns, and outstanding contributors to the skeptical cause.

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Every year, QED is proud to be the host of The Skeptic magazine’s Ockham Awards for outstanding skeptical achievement. Now in their sixth year, the awards recognise the effort and time that have gone into the community’s favourite skeptical blogs, skeptical podcasts, skeptical campaigns, and outstanding contributors to the skeptical cause.

One of the most important elements of the awards are that the shortlists are selected members of the public. The awards are always judged on a number of criteria:

  1. Quality.
  2. Success of outreach, both in terms of absolute numbers (how many people did they reach?) and how ‘intrepid’ that outreach was (are they preaching to the choir or getting new people interested in skepticism?)
  3. Relevance to the UK ‘scene’ and, therefore, the bulk of their readership. This doesn’t mean that the candidate has to necessarily be UK-based, just that they should cover content that is relevant and known in the UK.

To help The Skeptic recognise skepticism’s most effective activists, head over to their website to make your nominations today.

The winners will be announced before the evening entertainment at QED on Saturday 14th October.

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Z List Dead List podcast comes to QED/news/2017/z-list-dead-list-podcast-comes-to-qed Fri, 04 Aug 2017 18:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=z-list-dead-list-podcast-comes-to-qed We are pleased to announce the latest addition to the QED podcast track: the Z List Dead List podcast.

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We are pleased to announce the latest addition to the QED podcast track: the Z List Dead List podcast.

Z List Dead ListIn each Z List Dead List episode, comedian Iszi Lawrence and her guests take a look at some of history’s most obscure heroes, villains and curiosities. Past guests have included QED alumni Jon Ronson, Natalie Haynes, Robin Ince, Deborah Hyde, Adam Rutherford, Michael Legge, Stevyn Colgan and Richard Wiseman.

Iszi Lawrence is a stand up comedian and regular contributor to Radio 4’s Making History. She been producing podcasts since 2008, and is the voice-over introduction on episodes of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe.

Check out past episodes of the show at zlistdeadlist.libsyn.com, and pick up your QED ticket today to see the live show at QED in October.

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Childcare and accessibility at QED/news/2017/childcare-and-accessibility-at-qed Wed, 26 Jul 2017 18:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=childcare-and-accessibility-at-qed We are always looking for ways to make QED as accessible as possible for as many people as possible. At every QED since 2013 we have offered a crèche facility, helping make our event more accessible to parents who would like to attend QED.

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We are always looking for ways to make QED as accessible as possible for as many people as possible. At every QED since 2013 we have offered a crèche facility, helping make our event more accessible to parents who would like to attend QED.

For £75 – the price of a concession ticket – we provide two full days of childcare, with fully-screened and registered professional childcare workers. All QED childcare workers have current DBS (formerly CRB) clearance, allowing us to accommodate all children up to the age of 12, including children with disabilities. Children over the age of 12 are welcome in the main event areas, accompanied by a responsible adult.

To allow us to book the external childcare professionals we need, registration for the creche must be in by August 21st, 2017.

To register your child for the crèche, buy your child a concession ticket at the same time as buying your adult ticket and then email creche@qedcon.org to let us know you want your child to use the crèche.

QED also tries to cater to other accessibility needs, too. All event spaces are wheelchair accessible, with reserved seating for attendees with mobility issues. Event spaces feature an induction loop, for attendees who use a hearing aid. QED is guide dog-friendly, and printed material is available in fully-accessible PDF formats, for attendees with visual impairments.

This year at QED, there will be a designated quiet space, for attendees who feel they need somewhere to go to take a little time to relax, away from the crowds.

We want all of our attendees to feel comfortable and able to enjoy the event fully, regardless of accessibility. If there’s anything we can do to make QED more accessible for you, feel free to get in touch and we’ll do everything we can.

Tickets for QED are available now, priced £109, or £75 for students and the under 18s.

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Skepticamp is returning to QED in 2017!/news/2017/skepticamp-is-returning-to-qed Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=skepticamp-is-returning-to-qed A SkeptiCamp is a free conference that celebrates the incredible work done by grassroots skeptics and activists. At SkeptiCamp, it’s the attendees who are responsible for the creation and delivery of the days content, and anyone is welcome to present a talk. You don’t need to be a published author, famous podcaster or professional communicator to get involved.

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A SkeptiCamp is a free conference that celebrates the incredible work done by grassroots skeptics and activists. At SkeptiCamp, it’s the attendees who are responsible for the creation and delivery of the days content, and anyone is welcome to present a talk. You don’t need to be a published author, famous podcaster or professional communicator to get involved. SkeptiCamp is about providing an open and accessible platform for all members of the skeptical community to share their ideas, collaborate and discuss the topics they’re passionate about.Hayley at SkeptiCamp

Here’s How It Works

If you’d like to present a talk, you’ll need to register ahead of time – as talks come in we’ll put together a schedule, which will be published online in the lead up to the event.

Each speaker will be allocated a fifteen-minute time slot – ten minutes to present and five minutes for questions from the audience. As with last year, we’re adopting the Ignite presentation model of “lightning talks” – presentations will be capped at ten minutes, and each slide in your presentation will be set to automatically advance after 20 seconds (you’ll need to submit your presentation roughly a week prior to the event so we can get it configured).

Ideally your talk should focus on skeptical activism, an issue that’s relevant to the community or a project that you’d like to raise awareness about.

If you’re not up for getting up on stage, there’s no pressure! The audience is as crucial a part of SkeptiCamp as the speakers – just come along prepared to listen, to be challenged and to meet new friends.

When & Where

SkeptiCamp will take place on Friday, October 13th at Mercure Piccadilly Hotel in Manchester. We will begin mid-morning, so there’s plenty of time to travel to the event. We’ll take a break in the middle of the day for lunch, and then continue through to late afternoon, giving you just enough time to change into your dancing shoes before the Friday evening mixer.

Tickets & Pricing

SkeptiCamp Manchester will be free for everyone to attend, regardless of whether you’re planning to attend QED. There’s no need to book a ticket – you’re free to wander in and out of the event throughout the day.

What Next?

If you’d like to register a talk, fill in the form at skepticamp.co.uk and someone from the Skepticamp team will be in touch with you shortly. We’ll be announcing more details closer to the event.

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Video: Cognitive Dissonance Podcast (QED 2016)/news/2017/video-cognitive-dissonance-2016 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=video-cognitive-dissonance-2016 Hilarious and ribald fun from Tom and Cecil of the Cognitive Dissonance podcast in their first ever live recording at QED 2016.

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Hilarious and ribald fun from Tom and Cecil of the Cognitive Dissonance podcast in their first ever live recording at QED 2016.

Tickets for QED 2017 are currently available – get yours today.

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Video: Cara Santa Maria (QED 2016)/news/2017/video-cara-santa-maria-2016 Wed, 12 Jul 2017 18:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=video-cara-santa-maria-2016 Subtitled “My Modest Attempt to Improve the American Media Landscape”, this funny and engaging talk from Cara Santa Maria was presented at QED 2016.

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Subtitled “My Modest Attempt to Improve the American Media Landscape”, this funny and engaging talk from Cara Santa Maria was presented at QED 2016.

Tickets for QED 2017 are currently available – get yours today.

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Sanal Edamaruku and James Ball complete the QED 2017 Main Stage Line-Up/news/2017/sanal-edamaruku-james-ball-complete-2017-main-stage-line-up Fri, 07 Jul 2017 18:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=sanal-edamaruku-james-ball-complete-2017-main-stage-line-up We are very pleased to be able to announce our final two speakers for the QED main stage: Sanal Edamaruku and James Ball.

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We are very pleased to be able to announce our final two speakers for the QED main stage: Sanal Edamaruku and James Ball.

Sanal EdamarukuSanal Edamaruku is the president of the Indian Rationalist Association and a veteran of many skeptical investigations in India. His work to expose a myriad of false miracle claims has gained international acclaim, as well as attracting significant negative attention from fraudulent mystics. In 2008, while making one of his regular TV appearances, he challenged a guru to follow through on a threat to kill him using only the power of magic - with the results witnessed by an estimated live audience of several hundred million. In 2012, having debunked the miracle of a weeping statue in Mumbai, Sanal was forced to flee India to avoid imprisonment, or worse.

James BallJames Ball has worked in political, data and investigative journalism in the US and the UK for BuzzFeed, The Guardian and the Washington Post. His reporting has won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the Scripps Howard Prize, the British Journalism Award for investigative reporting, The Royal Statistical Society Award and the Laurence Stern Fellowship. His new book Post-Truth: How Bullshit Conquered the World tracks how truth has become a devalued commodity in political discourse and media coverage, and what we can do to help turn the tide.

With our main-stage speakers now confirmed, there are still plenty more announcements to come for QED 2017, with panels, podcasts and workshops still to release. As always, your QED ticket gets you access to every session of the weekend – so pick up your ticket today, and we’ll see you in October!

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Magician Dave Alnwick to MC QED 2017/news/2017/magician-dave-alnwick-to-mc-qed-2017 Wed, 28 Jun 2017 19:30:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=magician-dave-alnwick-to-mc-qed-2017 Over the last six years, we have been fortunate enough to have had some exceptionally talented MC’s overseeing the QED weekend – including performers, musicians, stand-ups and magicians. Each brought their own style, energy and exuberance to proceedings… and we’re very pleased to be able to announce that this year will be no exception, with Dave Alnwick taking up the MC mantle for QED 2017.

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Over the last six years, we have been fortunate enough to have had some exceptionally talented MC’s overseeing the QED weekend – including performers, musicians, stand-ups and magicians. Each brought their own style, energy and exuberance to proceedings… and we’re very pleased to be able to announce that this year will be no exception, with Dave Alnwick taking up the MC mantle for QED 2017.

Dave is a magician and mentalist whose shows Mind Wizard and the Cult of Dave have wowed sell-out audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe. His performance as part of QED 2016’s Saturday night line-up introduced our QED audience to the Cult of Dave, many of whom also enthusiastically attended his workshop teaching basic magic techniques. We know our attendees will be as excited as we are to have Dave returning to the main stage for this year’s QED.

Last year, Dave was also part of a fascinating and entertaining panel on the ethics of magic, alongside fellow magicians Paul Zenon, Richard Wiseman and Eli Bosnick. If you missed it at the time, or if you simply want to relive the inevitable competitive one-upmanship that happens when you sit four magicians in front of an audience, the video is now live on our QED YouTube:

You can pick up your ticket to see Dave, as well as all of our fantastic speakers, podcasts, and panel discussions, at qedcon.org/tickets.

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The QED Podcast Track: featuring the Parapod, InKredulous and Skeptics with a K/news/2017/the-qed-podcast-track-featuring-parapod-inkredulous-skeptics-with-a-k Fri, 23 Jun 2017 18:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=the-qed-podcast-track-featuring-parapod-inkredulous-skeptics-with-a-k Last year, for the first time, we added a dedicated podcast track to QED, featuring some of the biggest skeptical, atheist and science podcasts around. The track proved hugely popular, with standing room only for some of the recordings of shows like God Awful Movies, Cognitive Dissonance, Talk Nerdy and more.

This year, the track promises to be just as exciting, and we’re pleased to announce our first three live podcasts–including an exclusive first ever live show from the host of The Parapod!

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Last year, for the first time, we added a dedicated podcast track to QED, featuring some of the biggest skeptical, atheist and science podcasts around. The track proved hugely popular, with standing room only for some of the recordings of shows like God Awful Movies, Cognitive Dissonance, Talk Nerdy and more.

This year, the track promises to be just as exciting, and we’re pleased to announce our first three live podcasts–including an exclusive first ever live show from the host of The Parapod!

The Parapod: Barry Dodds is a comedian, and a believer in a whole host of paranormal claims; his fellow comedian Ian Boldsworth is a skeptic, and is frequently exasperated by his friend’s acceptance of extraordinary claims. Together they go on a tour of ghosts, UFOs, conspiracies and mysteries, as Barry attempts to persuade Ian to believe... so far, unsuccessfully. The pair will be appearing live in the QED 2017 podcast room.

InKredulous: Hosted by Andy Wilson, InKredulous is the skeptical-themed comedy panel show that has become a stalwart of QED, with previous guests including Jon Ronson, Andy Zaltzman, Kate Smurthwaite, Steve Novella, Robert Llewellyn, Natalie Haynes and more.

Skeptics with a K: Produced by the Merseyside Skeptics Society, Skeptics with a K is the longest-running skeptical podcast in the UK, featuring Mike Hall, Dr Alice Howarth, and Michael Marshall. Each episode features skeptical breakdowns of credulous newspaper stories, the latest health fads, myths and misconceptions, and reports on skeptical activism and investigations.

We still have a few more podcasts to announce, as well as more speakers, panels and workshops–so pick up your QED ticket today, and stay tuned for more information!

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Video: Dame Sue Ion - The Future of Energy (QED 2015)/news/2017/video-dame-sue-ion-2015 Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=video-dame-sue-ion-2015 Dr Dame Sue Ion is a leading figure in the UK’s nuclear industry and an internationally recognised expert on fuel recycling. During Tony Blair’s Labour government Sue was responsible for bringing about a change in policy on nuclear power, and remains a vocal advocate for nuclear power’s role in a future energy landscape.

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Dr Dame Sue Ion is a leading figure in the UK’s nuclear industry and an internationally recognised expert on fuel recycling. During Tony Blair’s Labour government Sue was responsible for bringing about a change in policy on nuclear power, and remains a vocal advocate for nuclear power’s role in a future energy landscape.

Tickets for QED 2017 are currently available – get yours today.

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Three more QED 2017 speakers announced/news/2017/three-more-qed-2017-speakers-announced Thu, 15 Jun 2017 12:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=three-more-qed-2017-speakers-announced With four months to go until QED 2017, we are working hard to put together an interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking line up for our attendees. Today, we can announce three more speakers to join our line-up: Tim O’Brien, Carol Tavris and Sophie Wilson!

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With four months to go until QED 2017, we are working hard to put together an interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking line up for our attendees. Today, we can announce three more speakers to join our line-up: Tim O’Brien, Carol Tavris and Sophie Wilson!

Tim O’BrienTim O’Brien is a Professor in the School of Physics & Astronomy at The University of Manchester and Associate Director of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics. He is the Science Director for the bluedot festival, held annually at Jodrell Bank, and President of the Society for Popular Astronomy. He appears regularly on BBC Two’s Stargazing Live. His research focuses primarily in the area of exploding stars, and Tim remains active in the search for signals from intelligent extraterrestrials. In 2014 he was jointly awarded the Kelvin Medal of the Institute of Physics for innovative contributions to public engagement with physics.

Carol TavrisCarol Tavris is a social psychologist, writer, and lecturer who has sought to use the contributions of psychological science to dispel some of the harms of pseudoscience and “psychobabble.” Her book with Elliot Aronson, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me), is one of the most cited works in the skeptical movement, highlighting the reasons people don’t change their minds, recognize the harms they inflict, or give up useless practices simply because the evidence says they should. Carol has written hundreds of articles, essays, and book reviews on topics in psychological science for New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and more.

Sophie WilsonSophie Wilson is a computer scientist and engineer who co-designed the ARM processor. Initially created to power Acorn’s computers, ARM now powers virtually every mobile phone and tablet computer in the world, with over 75 billion sold to date. Before university Sophie designed and built systems counting translucent drops of liquid and detecting spun fibre machinery breakdowns; in her first vacation she developed a cow-feeder. Sophie is a Broadcom Fellow and Distinguished Engineer, a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Women’s Engineering Society and an honory Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge.

There will be further announcements soon, with podcasts, panels, workshops and more–so pick up your QED ticket today, and stay tuned for more information!

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Video: Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics (QED 2015)/news/2017/video-natalie-haynes-2015 Wed, 14 Jun 2017 12:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=video-natalie-haynes-2015 Natalie Haynes is a comedian, author and humanist whose appearance at QED 2013 was noted by many as their highlight of the event. She’s a regular contributor to the Guardian and has written for The Times and The Independent. Before retiring from stand-up comedy in 2009, Natalie became the first female nominee for the Perrier Best Newcomer Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her 2014 novel ‘The Amber Fury’ served as a fiction-based follow-up to her previous non-fiction book ‘The Ancient Guide to Modern Life’ – exploring the lessons the modern world can learn from classical societies.

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Natalie Haynes is a comedian, author and humanist whose appearance at QED 2013 was noted by many as their highlight of the event. She’s a regular contributor to the Guardian and has written for The Times and The Independent. Before retiring from stand-up comedy in 2009, Natalie became the first female nominee for the Perrier Best Newcomer Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her 2014 novel ‘The Amber Fury’ served as a fiction-based follow-up to her previous non-fiction book ‘The Ancient Guide to Modern Life’ – exploring the lessons the modern world can learn from classical societies.

Tickets for QED 2017 are currently available – get yours today.

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Video: Harriet Hall (QED 2015)/news/2017/video-harriet-hall-2015 Wed, 07 Jun 2017 12:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=video-harriet-hall-2015 Dr Harriet Hall is a retired family physician and former Air Force flight surgeon who writes about medicine, alternative medicine, science, quackery, and critical thinking. She is one of the founders and editors of the ‘Science Based Medicine’ blog, a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and co-author of the textbook ‘Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions’.

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Dr Harriet Hall is a retired family physician and former Air Force flight surgeon who writes about medicine, alternative medicine, science, quackery, and critical thinking. She is one of the founders and editors of the ‘Science Based Medicine’ blog, a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and co-author of the textbook ‘Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions’.

Tickets for QED 2017 are currently available – get yours today.

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Video: Why Not? A Six-Legged Solution to Food Security (QED 2015)/news/2017/video-marcel-dicke-2015 Fri, 26 May 2017 12:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=video-marcel-dicke-2015 Professor Marcel Dicke is professor of Entomology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. His book ‘The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet’ argues that the Western world undervalues the contribution insects could make to our lives... and to our nutrition. In 2007 he was awarded the NWO-Spinoza award for his work researching the defence mechanisms of plants..

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Professor Marcel Dicke is professor of Entomology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. His book ‘The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet’ argues that the Western world undervalues the contribution insects could make to our lives... and to our nutrition. In 2007 he was awarded the NWO-Spinoza award for his work researching the defence mechanisms of plants..

Tickets for QED 2017 are currently available – get yours today.

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Video: God Awful Movies (QED 2016)/news/2017/video-god-awful-movies-2016 Wed, 17 May 2017 12:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=video-god-awful-movies-2016 Noah, Heath and Eli dispense a comedic and withering critique on the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Great fun as a podcast. Unforgettable as a video.

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Noah, Heath and Eli dispense a comedic and withering critique on the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Great fun as a podcast. Unforgettable as a video.

Tickets for QED 2017 are currently available – get yours today.

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Video: Susan Blackmore - The New Science of Out-of-Body Experiences (QED 2016)/news/2017/video-susan-blackmore-2016 Wed, 10 May 2017 12:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=video-susan-blackmore-2016 Susan Blackmore is visiting Professor in psychology at the University of Plymouth. She has spoken extensively on the subject of memetics but at QED 2016 Susan portrayed a compelling history of how out-of-body experiences have been perceived over time through her own story.

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Susan Blackmore is visiting Professor in psychology at the University of Plymouth. She has spoken extensively on the subject of memetics but at QED 2016 Susan portrayed a compelling history of how out-of-body experiences have been perceived over time through her own story.

Tickets for QED 2017 are currently available – get yours today.

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QED 2017 tickets on sale now!/news/2017/tickets-now-on-sale Mon, 01 May 2017 18:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=tickets-now-on-sale The highlight of your May Bank Holiday is here: tickets to QED 2017 are now on sale! QED 2017 will take place on the 14th-15th of October, with tickets this year costing £109, or £75 for students and under 18s.

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The highlight of your May Bank Holiday is here: tickets to QED 2017 are now on sale! QED 2017 will take place on the 14th-15th of October, with tickets this year costing £109, or £75 for students and under 18s. In keeping with tradition, Friday 13th of October will once again be a free Skepticamp event for all to attend, paving the way for a packed weekend of science, reason and critical thinking.

Last year’s event was the biggest ever QED, with over 650 attendees converging at the Manchester’s Piccadilly Hotel to enjoy five rooms of skeptical presentations, panel discussions, podcasts, films, optical illusions and more. We’re working hard to make sure QED 2017 is just as exciting, interesting, varied, vibrant and entertaining, with guest speakers including:

  • Physicist, oceanographer, broadcaster and writer Helen Czerski;
  • Surgical oncologist and prolific quackery blogger David Gorski;
  • Prison solicitor and skeptical investigator Emma McClure;
  • Author of The Quack Doctor and The History of Medicine in 100 Facts, Caroline Rance;
  • Professor of law and lead author of the 2013 report into the Hillsborough disaster, Phil Scraton;
  • Director of March Against Myths and writer on science, health, medicine and food, Kavin Senapathy;
  • Physicist, writer and chair of the Good Thinking Society, Simon Singh. Simon will be giving a demonstration of a genuine WWII Enigma machine.

Every weekend ticket also gives attendees access to our Saturday evening entertainment, as well as to the annual Ockham Awards for skeptical excellence, presented by The Skeptic magazine. Also available now are tickets to our ever-popular Gala Dinner, where you can share a meal in the company of our speakers... but hurry, because tickets to the dinner are limited, and will be gone before you know it! You can reserve your place at the dinner when you buy your ticket for the weekend.

Parents of children under 13 can take advantage of our reasonably-priced crèche, where for just £75 for the weekend your child will be supervised and entertained by fully-screened and registered professional childcare workers. Find out more about how to book a place at the crèche.

There’s still plenty for us to announce, including panel sessions, podcast recordings, evening entertainment and more speakers, plus a few extra surprises too... and be sure to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to make sure you don’t miss anything.

You can book your ticket now and we’ll see you in October!

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Video: Captain Disillusion - Heroic Feats of YouTube Debunkery (QED 2016)/news/2017/video-captain-disillusion-2016 Wed, 26 Apr 2017 18:00:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=video-captain-disillusion-2016 It’s less than a week until tickets go on sale for QED 2017, and so to get you in the mood for the next instalment of the UK’s biggest conference of science and skepticism we thought we’d remind you of one of the excellent talks from QED 2016. Last year was our biggest ever year, with a sell-out crowd of more than 650 attendees and five whole tracks of skeptical goodness, and we kicked the weekend off with a superb talk from the internet’s only video-hoax-slaying alien superhero, Captain Disillusion.

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It’s less than a week until tickets go on sale for QED 2017, and so to get you in the mood for the next instalment of the UK’s biggest conference of science and skepticism we thought we’d remind you of one of the excellent talks from QED 2016. Last year was our biggest ever year, with a sell-out crowd of more than 650 attendees and five whole tracks of skeptical goodness, and we kicked the weekend off with a superb talk from the internet’s only video-hoax-slaying alien superhero, Captain Disillusion.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy Captain Disillusion’s reality-warping talk… but not until you’ve set an alarm for Monday at 6pm, so you can be first in the queue to beat the rush for tickets to QED 2017!

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QED Returns for 2017/news/2017/qed-returns-for-2017 Wed, 05 Apr 2017 10:23:00 +0100 QED http://www.qedcon.org/?d=2017&s=qed-returns-for-2017 Last year’s QED saw more than 650 attendees converge in Manchester for our celebration of science, reason and critical thinking. We had pub quizzes, optical illusions, magic, music, films, comedy and five rooms filled to the brim with skeptical entertainment. It was the biggest and best QED so far... but don’t worry, we’re deep into plans for making this year’s event even better!

With that in mind, we can officially announce the date of QED 2017–get out your marker pens, and draw a big red circle around the 14th-15th October, 2017.

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Last year’s QED saw more than 650 attendees converge in Manchester for our celebration of science, reason and critical thinking. We had pub quizzes, optical illusions, magic, music, films, comedy and five rooms filled to the brim with skeptical entertainment. It was the biggest and best QED so far... but don’t worry, we’re deep into plans for making this year’s event even better!

With that in mind, we can officially announce the date of QED 2017–get out your marker pens, and draw a big red circle around the 14th-15th October, 2017. We’ll have a free all-day fringe event taking place on Friday 13th October, too.

Once again, QED will be taking place at the Mercure Piccadilly in Manchester, who are already primed and ready to take room reservations for QED attendees. Our QED discount price is £105 for a single room and £115 for a double room–but please note, to get our special price bookings have to be made over the phone, so call 0844 815 9024 and quote QED during booking. You may also want to shop around, as there may be better offers for the hotel on other websites.

Tickets for QED will go on sale at 6pm BST on May 1st, 2017, costing £109 for a full weekend ticket and £75 for students and under-18s. You can also pick up your ticket for the gala dinner at the same time.

We’ll be announcing more about the event soon, including guests, panels, podcasts and more, so keep your eyes peeled for further announcements, and we’ll see you in October!

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