Ever since Manchester Skeptics started, our August event has been the “Soapbox Special”: rather than having an external speaker, we turn the microphone over to four-or-so of our members to deliver a shorter talk of closer to ten or fifteen minutes. (Sort of like the Q&A gets sometimes.)
This year, we’re having the Soapbox event on August 9th, and we’re looking for speakers. If you want to talk, email firstname.lastname@example.org, comment here, or generally get in touch.
You can talk about more-or-less anything. Past topics have included ghosts, witches, maths, quantum physics (both real and imaginary), health and safety, linguistics, philosophy and insects. As long as there’s a skeptical bent to it, it’s probably fine.
Aim for 10-15 minutes; the exact times will depend on how many speakers we book, etc. We’ll have a short Q&A after each talk where it makes sense to do so.
You can stick to the traditional Skeptics format of talk-with-slides, or you can get cross and rant. One year we had a poem.
We have a handheld mic, a projector with VGA and HDMI. If you need any other tech then let us know. It’s usually fine but worth checking.
We’ve been contacted by a researcher from Uclan, who is running a study comparing sceptics and believers in the paranormal. So far, they have many believers and not enough sceptics (which I think we can all relate to). Have a read of the advert below and get in touch of you’re interested in participating:
If you are aged over 18, I would like to invite you to take part in a research project which I am undertaking as part of a Psychology PhD at the University of Central Lancashire.
The study will investigate what people report hearing when listening to sound clips where it is unclear what is being heard. It will look at connections between a number of different personality measures and characteristics, and see if these affect what people report hearing.
The questionnaires used in the study cover a broad range of topics, which include attitudes and belief in the paranormal and life after death, religion, loneliness, mood, drug use, and other possibly sensitive subjects.
You should be aware that this study does focus on themes concerning the paranormal and life after death, and if you think this amy upset you, you may not wish to participate.
If you are interested in taking part, or would just like to know more, please email Ann Winsper (study researcher) on email@example.com for further information. The study supervisor is Moke Eslea, whi can be contacted at MJEslea@uclan.ac.uk
Long-time members should know the drill by now, but at Manchester Skeptics we have accidentally created a tradition of turning the August speaker slot over to our members. We have (about) four short talks rather than one long one, on all different topics.
This is, of course, where you come in: if you’re free on 24 August and you have a skeptical topic you’re passionate about, or just cross and knowledgeable, then get in touch.
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org, comment here, tweet us, or post on Facebook. Make sure you include your name and a short description of the talk. And please do pester if you don’t get a reply; we probably just missed a notification.
You’re free to use slides or not, bring a laptop or just a pendrive — one year we had a poet — but we do ask that you keep to time (probably about 15 minutes depending how many speakers we end up with) and if you do use tech, make sure you’re prepared for the chance it will go wrong in some imaginative way.
At our Towel Day quiz last night, we passed around the pint pot for donations. We normally don’t at socials as it doesn’t cost us anything to run them. This time we’d shelled out for prizes and a professional quiz, so we thought we’d make an exception.
And then instead of that, we collected for the families of the victims of this week’s terrorist attack on the Manchester Arena.
Members of the University of Manchester Rock Metal & Alternative Society and the Greater Manchester Skeptics Society donated £74.61 to the Manchester Evening News’ fund which will be administered by the British Red Cross to support the families.
Pint of Science is a three-day series of science talks around Manchester. I’ve seen and spoken at them in the past and they’ve always been excellent. Several of them are already sold out and the Wednesday talks clash with our next speaker event, but if you want to attend the others then visit their website.
QED is the two-day skeptical conference run by Greater Manchester and Merseyside’s respective Skeptics Societies, and regularly sees hundreds of attendees gather to watch fascinating talks, have engaging discussions, and drink enough alcohol to reliably surprise the hotel bar management.
You can get your ticket from the QED website. The aim of QED isn’t to make money, so tickets are just £109 (or £75 for students and the under-18s). That said, if you’re local and can’t spare the ticket price, the Friday’s entertainments will be entirely free (save for the bar tariffs, of course).
There will doubtless be a fuller announcement once more details are released, but I’ve just posted our listing for QED 2017. It’s happening.
Long-standing members will be familiar with QED as it’s been held Manchester every year since 2011 (although in that time it has drifted from February to October, like Ramadan but with significantly more beer). It’s a joint venture between GMSS and Merseyside Skeptics Society, and prices are kept as low as possible with any inadvertent profit being reinvested or donated to charity.
By tradition, the day or two before QED are filled with free mixers and satellite events but there’s no word yet on what is happening this year. Watch this space, or perhaps better still, this one.