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Gary Broadfield and David Cook

When?
Wednesday, October 8 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

43 Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4SG

Who?
Gary Broadfield and David Cook

What's the talk about?

Due to the higher costs associated with this talk we have had to take the hard decision and ticket the event, they are £3 and can be purchased;

  • Bitcoin - please include your name(s)
  • Paypal - please include your names(s) 
  • Eventbrite - please include your name(s) 
  • Capacity permitting, in person on the door, on the day!

This month, solicitors Gary Broadfield (@GaslanB) and David Cook (@CyberSolicitor) (full bios below) will be discussing the history and development of the online cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. We shall examine how Bitcoin operates in practice and review the potential positives, and negatives of Bitcoin as a currency. We will then focus upon how the advantages of Bitcoin have led to the legitimacy of the currency facing a challenge as it is adopted by criminals to facilitate frauds, money laundering and other online crime.  The seminar will then deal with the challenges faced by national regulators in monitoring and taxing the use of Bitcoin and investigating suspected misuse. Finally we will discuss potential future developments and how Bitcoin might develop and grow in future months and years.

Both Gary and David have experience in court defending both high-tech “cybercrime” cases such as persecutions for filesharing, as well as regularly defending the most serious allegations of financial crime and regulatory investigations carried out within England & Wales, and are in a unique position to set out the challenges posed to both traditional fiat currencies and authorities by decentralised and semi anonymous online currencies, together with the responses of governments around the world to those threats.

Gary Broadfield is a partner at Garstangs Burrows Bussin and has been involved in defending some of the most serious and complex criminal cases prosecuted in recent years, with an emphasis on high value fraud and white collar crime but with a growing practice related to criminality carried out on the "Dark Web."

David Cook

David Cook is a Solicitor Advocate at Pannone, part of Slater and Gordon, and is recognised as an expert in cyber crime and data security. He successfully defended clients in prosecutions for online file sharing and has acted for both Richard O’Dwyer and members of Anonymous with regard to allegations of hacking in both the US and UK.

Quick 10 minute talks across all areas

Various

When?
Wednesday, September 10 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Castle Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RQ

Who?
Various

What's the talk about?

For our September event we are hosting our third Open Mic Night! This is where we ask you, beloved skeptic in the pub, to take to the stage for ten minutes and talk about, well, anything!

In the past we've had some fantastic talks, some have even gone on to became a full talk at a future date. 

If there is something you're passionate enough about to turn in to a 10 minute talk, please let us know at: http://tiny.cc/skepticsopenmicnight 

Elaine Campbell

When?
Wednesday, August 13 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Castle Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RQ

Who?
Elaine Campbell

What's the talk about?

"In this talk I want to work through the idea of policing without boundaries. I’m not referring here to a style of policing which operates without limit or constraint; rather, I want to think of policing as a spatially fluid rather than a territorially bounded set of practices. What kind of policing is possible if we dispense with conventional notions of fixed organisational spaces and segmented operational terrains - such as police force areas, bobbies on the beat, hot-spots, crime scenes, kettling, no-go areas, or red-light districts? Using the contemporary policing of paedophilia as a case study, I want to introduce an alternative vocabulary and framework for thinking about policing’s spatial imaginaries."

Crumpled Paper, by Sherrie Thai of Shaireproductions.com. Source: Flickr (CC)

Elaine Campbell is a Professor of Criminology at Newcastle University in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology. She teaches courses in cultural criminology, everyday life, visual cultures and visual methodologies, and researches and publishes on the cultural dynamics of crime and punishment, with a focus on how these are visually, performatively and discursively mobilised. Her current theoretical interests centre on the post-political landscapes of plural policing, alongside a critical exploration of prisoner creativity as political expression. Recent publications have examined stalking as choreography; cultures of victimhood; crime, affect and the city; the cultural politics of counter-terrorism; and the emotional life of governmental power.

Ongoing adventures in the world of pseudoscience

Michael Marshall

When?
Wednesday, July 9 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Castle Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RQ

Who?
Michael Marshall

What's the talk about?

It’s easy to think of pseudoscience existing in a glass case at a museum – something to be examined and critiqued from a safe distance, but not something to touch and to play with. Using examples taken from his own personal experiences in skepticism, Michael Marshall will show what happens when you begin to crack the surface of the pseudosciences that surround us – revealing the surprising, sometimes-shocking and often-comic adventures that lie beneath.

Michael Marshall is the Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society, and regularly speaks with proponents of pseudoscience for the Be Reasonable podcast. His work with the society has seen him organising international homeopathy protests and co-founding the popular QED conference. He has written for the Guardian, The Times and New Scientist.

SITP and the future

Everyone!

When?
Wednesday, June 25 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Castle Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RQ

Who?
Everyone!

What's the talk about?

It's been 3 months since Sam and Will were handed the reins by our Dear Departed Leaders and this evening is a casual start to the discussion on the future of Newcastle Skeptics in the Pub, with a pint or two along the way.

We'll - most likely - be downstairs, so come find us!

Poverty and Political Myths

Stephen Crossley

When?
Wednesday, June 11 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Castle Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RQ

Who?
Stephen Crossley

What's the talk about?

The UK is one of the richest countries in the world and yet, many people are classed as living in ‘poverty’. Political explanations for this situation include ‘cultures of worklessness passed down the generations’ and a welfare system which encourages ‘dependency’ with people seeing ‘living off benefits’ as a ‘lifestyle choice’. The increase in the use of foodbanks in the UK in recent months has been put down to simple market forces of supply and demand and the misspending of benefits. If only we could change the behaviour of poor people and improve the ‘choices’ they make, we could eradicate poverty, right? Unfortunately, over a century of social scientific research in the UK suggests otherwise….

Stephen Crossley
is a PhD student at Durham University. His primary research interest is in the idea of 120,000 ‘troubled families’ who are supposedly responsible for a large proportion of anti-social behaviour and crime in England. Prior to commencing his PhD, Stephen worked at Durham University on a regional child poverty project, supporting local authorities and voluntary sector organisations to develop anti-poverty strategies using research evidence. He has worked across the North East for local authorities and charities in youth and community development roles.

Sandy Irvine

When?
Wednesday, May 14 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Castle Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RQ

Who?
Sandy Irvine

What's the talk about?

The issue of human population has become the "elephant in the room": huge but ignored by so many. In fact, human numbers count and count decisively. Uniquely, population is the multiplier of all. Without a humane resolution to the problem of population growth, all other causes will, sooner or later, become lost causes. It is high time to face the challenge and refute the many myths that surround it.

Sandy Irvine has lived in Newcastle since 1968, when he came to the city to study at Newcastle University. He is married with two grown-up children. He has been politically active since the late 60s. Prior to retirement, he worked in a local Further Education college where his specialism was Film Studies. His main involvement has been with the Green Party, having originally joined the then Ecology Party back in the early 1980s. He was a member of the Ecologist magazine editorial board for many years. He is an active member of the national charity Population Matters. Amongst other published work, he co-authored the book A Green Manifesto for McDonalds Optima and a pamphlet Beyond Green Consumerism for Friends of the Earth. He also spent a year on secondment at Northumbria University as an environmental policy advisor. His M.Sc. was a thesis on reforesting the uplands. Recently he has been very active in local land use battles triggered by the pro-growth strategies of local and national government.He strongly believes that, no matter how good the cause, it will be a lost one if the threat from human numbers is not addressed in a humane way.

Mike Warren

When?
Wednesday, April 9 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Castle Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RQ

Who?
Mike Warren

What's the talk about?

Mike Warren was a teacher for 39 years and taught Biology at Ashington High School, Northumberland for 35 of those years. He was Assistant Headteacher responsible for Evaluation and Monitoring before retiring in 2009.

He takes a critical and skeptical look at the vexed question of falling standards in education and attempts to challenge the claims upon which that assertion is based.

Stevyn Colgan

When?
Wednesday, March 12 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Castle Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RQ

Who?
Stevyn Colgan

What's the talk about?

Skepticism and critical thinking isn’t just about UFOs, bad pharma and Creationism. It’s about the everyday things too.

After leaving school Stevyn gained places at both art and catering colleges, but turned them down and instead accepted a drunken £50 bet with his homicide detective father that he could survive six months as a police officer. He consequently joined the Metropolitan Police Service in London and ended up staying for 30 years.

During his service he found himself frequently challenging the traditional or ‘accepted’ ways of doing things; critical thinking and his own natural skepticism led him to explore different way of doing things, often in innovative and unusual ways. These included using wizards to tackle street gambling, lollipops to stop anti‐social behaviour and dog shows to prevent homicides. Ultimately, he was asked by Scotland Yard and the Home Office to be part of an experimental unit to explore some of these new ideas, many of which have now found their way into everyday policing across the UK.

The Skeptical Bobby is all about grass‐roots skepticism and why we should be critical thinkers in every aspect of our lives.

‘Superb talk at QEDCon by Stevyn Colgan. Intelligent and humane.’ – Professor Richard Dawkins

‘Stevyn Colgan was fantastic! Beautiful and inspiring talk’ ‐ The British Humanist Association

The demand for fair political representation - from the French Revolution to the Treason Trials of 1794.

John Issitt

When?
Wednesday, February 19 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Castle Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RQ

Who?
John Issitt

What's the talk about?

*PLEASE NOTE * This event has been moved to 19th February

From July 1794 London’s radicals and dissenters once again pressed for fair representation. The hero of Agents of Reason is Jeremiah Joyce who liaised between the reform societies and distributed radical political literature. He operated largely around Red Lion square, Fleet Street and St Paul’s Churchyard. He was working class, a Unitarian and a political radical. He also worked for the Earl of Stanhope and taught William Pitt’s nieces and nephews. By 1794 the system of spies and prosecutions for sedition and treason had stamped out the radical voice and Jeremiah ended up in Newgate.

Agents of Reason is based on the limited remaining archive and accounts a critical moment in the lineage of ‘the left’. John Issitt’s fictionalized account brings to life the personal compromises of a worker for freedom and justice who was used and abused both by circumstances and by his more genteel masters keen not to get their own political hands dirty. In this talk John Issitt will describe his own compromises in negotiating the orthodox register of academic history and the literary license of historical fiction.

Bio

Until September 2013 John Issitt was Provost of Langwith College in the University of York. Whilst retaining ‘survival’ teaching hours, he is now a writer and political commentator. Agents of Reason is his second book. He is currently working on Tom and Edmund which spans the 250 years from the childhood experiences of Tom Paine and Edmund Burke to their legacies in the modern world. He uses archival resources but fictionalizes and crosses literary genres to dig deep into the human issues at stake.

Vicky Forster

When?
Wednesday, January 8 2014 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Castle Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RQ

Who?
Vicky Forster

What's the talk about?

Debunking the conspiracies Millions of pounds is poured into cancer research and drug development every year and although cure rates for many forms of cancer have improved dramatically in the last fifty years, some remain exceptionally hard to treat. An increasing number of passionate cancer conspiracy theorists claiming that ‘the cure’ has already been found and is being suppressed and that unproven alternative therapies are better than conventional therapies, are threatening the health of cancer patients and the reputation of cancer charities, doctors and researchers.

This talk will aim to address misunderstandings about the basic biology of cancer, look for any evidence behind the most popular touted ‘alternative cancer therapies’ and hopes to stimulate discussion as to why there are a growing number of people who believe in these largely-unfounded conspiracies.

Dr. Vicky Forster is a cancer research scientist at Newcastle University, and a survivor of childhood cancer. She is also passionate blogger for a large cancer charity and tweets a lot about her own work and demanding evidence for alternative cancer treatments and therapies.

Jenny Read

When?
Wednesday, December 11 2013 at 7:30PM

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Where?

Castle Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1RQ

Who?
Jenny Read

What's the talk about?

The eye is sometimes described as the organ of sight, but the real work of vision takes place in the brain. Around 50% of the human cerebral cortex is involved in vision. Our impression of effortlessly perceiving the world as it really is in fact reflects complex computations performed by billions of neurons. The world's most powerful computers cannot see the world as efficiently as a human toddler. Yet our brains don't always get it right - and the type of mistakes we make guide scientists in understanding how vision usually works so effectively. In this talk, I will discuss what visual illusions are, how they help us understand our brains and show several intriguing examples of how our powerful visual system can occasionally be fooled.