Is It Time For Ireland To Give Nuclear Power A Chance?
Friday 17 January at Blackrock Castle Observatory
This is an interactive talk and audience members are asked to bring their smartphone to share their thoughts.
About the Speaker: Dr Paul Deane is a research scientist in clean energy futures at UCC. He is also a fellow at the Colorado School of Mines and in 2018 was the Royal Irish Academy speaker on computer science.
His research helps us understand the choices involved in delivering clean, affordable energy to all.
He has co-authored over 100 technical papers in diverse areas such as electricity production, farming and agriculture, natural gas futures, energy access and international aviation. His research has been published in Nature, Joule and he is a regular contributor to print, television and social media in Ireland.
The talk will begin at 8.00pm on Friday 17th January. It is free to attend, and we welcome anyone with an interest in the topic to come along on the night. For directions to Blackrock Castle, see our Skeptics In The Castle information page.
Taking Arms Against the Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Pseudoscience
Thursday 28 November at Blackrock Castle Observatory
5th generation mobile networks are coming in for increasing criticism by otherwise reputable sources and commentators. They have been demonised as mind-control, as using ‘untested, weapons-grade, ultra-high frequency technology’ and purported to cause severe harm to the population just by existing.
Are they a back-door for governments to manage their population through technology? Are we simply leaving ourselves open to other countries infiltrating our national infrastructure? Are there real dangers to this new technology?
Sean Slater of Edinburgh Skeptics will try to address these fears head-on and clarify what 5G is and what it is not.
About the Speaker: Sean has worked in the mobile phone business for over 25 years and has seen 2G, 3G, 4G and now 5G being rolled out by several different networks. He is also the vice-chair of Edinburgh Skeptics and as such has taken an interest in the pseudoscience surrounding his industry.
The talk will begin at 8.00pm on Thursday 28th November. It is free to attend, and we welcome anyone with an interest in the topic to come along on the night. For directions to Blackrock Castle, see our Skeptics In The Castle information page.
Niamh O’Connor, a.k.a. the Nutri-Babble Slayer, Puts Online Health & Nutrition Claims Under The Microscope
8:00pm • Friday 24th November • Blackrock Castle Observatory
Having immersed herself in Twitter for the past 7 years, dietitian & consultant nutritionist Niamh O’Connor has seen first-hand the power of social media in healthcare. In that time, Niamh has become a leading voice on social media for Irish dietitians, as an unwavering nutribabble-slaying thorn in the side of opportunistic quacks, celebrities and charlatans, who post misleading, false and incorrect health and nutrition information online!
In this talk, Niamh will chronicle her online odyssey through the world of bogus health and nutrition claims and those that peddle them, as well as providing practical advice on what to look out for and how best to assess these claims.
About The Speaker: Niamh O’Connor qualified with BSc (Hons) in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from TCD & a Diploma in Dietetics from DIT in 1993.
In 1999 she founded Cork Nutrition Consultancy, which was the very first of its kind in Cork, and in 2012 she went on to launch NutriCount® Ireland, which provides professional nutritional analysis, allergen labelling, staff training & mentoring on health and nutrition claims for the hospitality sector.
Niamh is an active member of the Irish Nutrition & Dietetic Institute (INDI), the professional body for dietitians and clinical nutritionists in Ireland. She advocates for her patients and for her profession, and is a regular contributor to local and national radio, television, print media and social media on all things nutrition.
Did you know that the most popular sporting figure among Twitter followers of Youth Defence is the former American footballer Tim Tebow? Or that the majority of followers of @Women4Shariah are men? Or that most @ProLifeAtheists describe themselves as Catholic?
In this talkGeoff Lillis will show how most “Irish” pro life groups are supported from the States, how most Intelligent Design fans are more interested in apologetics than science, how you can hack Twitter, and why skeptics should look at the metadata, not just the data.
Geoff Lillis is a programmer and blogger whose work has been featured in print media like the Independent (UK), the Atlantic, and discussed in books such as Savita: The Tragedy That Shook A Nation (Kitty Holland, 2013) and Everyday Sexism (Laura Bates, 2014). He specialises in pulling hard to find information from Twitter accounts and presenting it in a manner that can reveal some surprising trends.
This talk will begin at 8:00pm on Saturday 14 June. The venue is Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork. It is free to attend and all are welcome.
Are there gender differences in attraction? Can you really find true love on the Internet? How do people actually portray themselves online? Can you have a virtual affair?
In this talk, Dr Martin Graff will examine all of these issues and will draw on current empirical studies on online relationships. He will cover some of the major research work on the online disinhibition effect, which suggest that we disclose more personal information, and do this more quickly in online environments.
Dr Graff will also give some factual advice on how to construct dating site profiles, and the way to approach an online liaison with a potential dating partner. With the explosion in the provision of online dating sites, including those dedicated to finding partners for affairs, this will also draw on some of the speaker’s own research on online infidelity, asking whether it is possible to have a virtual affair.
About The Speaker:
Dr Martin Graff is Reader in Psychology at the University of South Wales. He is an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Chartered Psychologist.
Over the years he has carried out research in the areas of cognitive processes in web-based learning, individual differences in website navigation, online interaction and the formation and dissolution of romantic relationships online and offline. He has also carried out research in the areas of online persuasion, and online disinhibition, and has supervised several doctoral degrees in this area.
He is a member of the British Psychological Society Undergraduate Education Committee, which oversees the running of Psychology degree programmes at British Universities. In April 2013, he was invited as a visiting research professor to Cortland University, New York, USA April 2013.
Dr Graff has published widely in the field of Internet behaviour, and has also written for The Psychologist in the area of Online Infidelity. He has also presented this work at numerous International Conferences.
This talk will take place at Blackrock Castle Observatory at 8pm — directions can be found on our information page. There will be plenty of time for questions and answers, and all are welcome at this free event. We hope to see you there!
Our next meeting will take place on Saturday 18th August, at Blackrock Castle Observatory, starting at 8.00pm. The talk is by Cork Skeptics member Reg Murphy, and promises to be a fascinating look behind the industry of modern art. Reg has a degree in Fine Art from Limerick School of Art and is an avid art enthusiast. Reg has supplied an outline of the talk below.
In this talk I won’t deal with lofty questions like: what is art? What is the meaning of art? etc.; these are subjective issues best left to philosophers and not truly accessible to skeptical analysis. What I will talk about is Modern Art’s essential relationship with Money, Prestige and Entertainment. Modern Art, for better or worse is a big worldwide industry which employs tens of thousands, entertains millions, generates billions (literally), and causes (occasionally) mass trauma and outrage. Decisions concerning it often go to the highest levels of Government and it is often used as branch of diplomacy.
In a heavily illustrated slide lecture, I hope to give a fun and irreverent (i.e. free of jargon) overview, providing a highly condensed history from French Impressionism to the current day, revealing:
The Artists: Where do I start? The Collectors: Visionaries, fools or prudent investors? The Dealers: Smarmy charlatans or the hand maidens of Culture? The Critics: Vindictive failed artists or heroic cheerleaders? The Media: Vulgarians or honesty reflecting public bafflement? The Curators: Elitist snobs or a sincere desire to stimulate the public? The State Galleries: A waste of public money or vastly important tourist draws? Government: Arts spending; the role of Cultural heritage and national prestige.
Most importantly, and perhaps not widely appreciated: How visual art became a mass spectacle (a very modern phenomena).
All these elements will build up a picture of the current contemporary art scene and will show that despite stupidity, hubris and greed, the public are the winners and are in fact, greatly enriched.