Podcast

This is the podcast version of the Skeptics in the Pub Online live-streamed talks. We take the audio and give it to you in a nice easy podcast feed for you to listen at your pleasure. All of the talks are still available on our YouTube channel if you want to see any visuals/slides/etc. We release the live shows as we do them on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month and on weeks when there isn't a live show, we release an episode from the archive.

RETRO: Who really runs the internet? – James Ball

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
RETRO: Who really runs the internet? - James Ball
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If you believe the rumours, Mark Zuckerberg is about to take over the world, thanks to Facebook’s billions of users and the power of his algorithm. But Facebook is ultimately just one company and just one service – what about the actual internet: the servers, the routers, and the thousands of miles of fibre-optic cables that cross the world? Who controls them? And who makes the rules that govern how traffic flows, who can connect. and more – and why don’t we talk about it more often?

James Ball is the author of The System: Who Owns The Internet And How It Owns Us. He is the global editor of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, where he oversees the not-for-profit’s international reporting projects. He also works as a freelance writer and broadcaster, and is a weekly columnist for The New European.

He was previously a special correspondent at BuzzFeed UK and special projects editor at The Guardian, where he played a key role in the Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden, as well as the offshore leaks, HSBC Files, Reading the Riots and Keep it in the Ground projects.

At WikiLeaks he was closely involved in Cablegate – the publication of 250,000 classified US embassy cables in 2010 – as well as working on two documentaries based on the Iraq War Logs. He lives in London with two cats.

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.

A history of human emotion – Richard Firth-Godbehere

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
A history of human emotion - Richard Firth-Godbehere
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We like to think of humans as rational creatures, who have relied on calculation and intellect to survive. But many of the most important moments in our history had little to do with cold, hard facts and a lot to do with feelings.

Join Richard Firth-Godbehere explores a fascinating and wide-ranging tour of the central and often under-appreciated role emotions have played in human societies around the world and throughout history.

In this talk, Richard focuses on desire and disgust as he draws on psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, art, and history. He vividly illustrates how our understanding and experience of emotions has changed over time, and how our beliefs about feelings profoundly shaped us and the world we inhabit.

Richard Firth-Godbehere, PhD, is one of the world’s leading experts on disgust and emotions. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for the History of the Emotions, Queen Mary University of London. He received a first-class degree from the University of London, during which time he won two awards for academic excellence, alongside a Masters (MPhil) from the University of Cambridge and a PhD from Queen Mary, University of London, where he was a Wellcome Trust Scholar. His award-winning interdisciplinary research walks the line between history, psychology, linguistics, philosophy and futurism. He examines how understandings of emotions change over time and space, and how these changes can influence the wider world.

Already translated into nearly a dozen languages, Richard’s latest book, A Human History of Emotion: How the Way We Feel Built the World We Know, is available from all good bookstores.

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.

RETRO: How to Build a Healthy Brain – Kimberley Wilson

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
RETRO: How to Build a Healthy Brain - Kimberley Wilson
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Most of us know the basics of how to take care of our physical health, but what about the brain? Brain health is curiously neglected from public health campaigns, especially considering that dementia is now the leading cause of death in the UK and depression is rapidly becoming the leading cause of global disease burden.

What’s driving the rising rates of mental illness and neurodegeneration and what, if anything, can we do to turn the tide?

In this talk, Chartered Psychologist Kimberley Wilson will present an overview of the evidence and discuss the role of modifiable risk factors in brain and mental health.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Build-Healthy…/dp/1529347025

Kimberley Wilson is a Chartered Psychologist and visiting lecturer working in private practice in central London. She is a Governor of the Tavistock & Portman NHS Mental Health Trust and the former Chair of the British Psychological Society’s Training Committee in Counselling Psychology – the group responsible for monitoring and assessing the standards of Counselling Psychology training across the UK. She formerly led the therapy service at HMP & YOI Holloway, which at the time was Europe’s largest women’s prison (closed summer 2016).Kimberley believes the way we think about mental health – as separate from physical health – is flawed. Her philosophy of Whole Body Mental Health is a comprehensive approach to mental health care; integrating evidence-based nutrition and lifestyle factors with psychological therapy.

A former finalist on The Great British Bake Off and an award-winning food producer with a degree in nutrition, Kimberley’s work looks at the role food and lifestyle plays in our mental health, including disordered eating, the gut-brain axis and our emotional relationship with food.

Passionate about the power of psychology to transform lives, Kimberley is committed to demystifying the theories and putting the information into the hands of the people who need it through social media, her Stronger Minds Podcast, live events and regular appearances on expert panels.

Kimberley was the featured mental health expert on several Channel 4 documentaries throughout Spring 2020; Coronavirus: How to Isolate Yourself, Living With Coronavirus, and When Will Lockdown End?

Kimberley’s first book, How to Build a Healthy Brain was published in March 2020 by Yellow Kite.

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.

JWST: from launch to first science – Dr Emma Curtis-Lake

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
JWST: from launch to first science – Dr Emma Curtis-Lake
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After an incredibly exciting release of images this summer, JWST has settled into science mode. This talk will take you on a journey from our own galaxy to the beginnings of the Universe via images from this incredible new telescope, highlighting some interesting scientific discoveries along the way.

Emma is a STFC Webb Fellow, which means she has been hired to do science with Webb, but also to take the public along the journey. Emma has mostly worked with space telescopes, like Hubble, to peer into the very distant, and early, Universe and has been preparing for JWST for the last seven years. Since Emma’s PhD she has worked in Edinburgh, Paris and Cambridge, but is now based at the University of Hertfordshire. She has been working there to bring Webb to the public with an exhibition of first images at the Galleria shopping centre, and local libraries, as well as giving talks like this one to various groups and communities.

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.

RETRO: Say Why to Drugs – Suzi Gage

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
RETRO: Say Why to Drugs – Suzi Gage
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Dr Suzi Gage is a senior lecturer at the University of Liverpool, researching links between recreational drug use and mental health. In 2016 she started the award-winning Say Why to Drugs podcast with rapper and actor Scroobius Pip, exploring the science around drugs, and busting the myths that exist around them, from alcohol to LSD, MDMA to heroin. In 2020 she published Say Why To Drugs the book – giving a really deep dive in to the drugs we take, and why we get high.

Endless Forms: The secret world of wasps – Seirian Sumner

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Endless Forms: The secret world of wasps - Seirian Sumner
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There’s a lot more to wasps than your stripy picnic friend: wasps matter to you and the world. There are five times more species of wasps than bees; there are wasps that have sex inside plants; there are wasps that turn cockroaches into zombies. Wasps taught us how to make paper; wasps are architects, guardians of microorganisms, invaders, pollinators, seed dispersers and predators. They are nature’s pest-controllers; their endless forms are windows into evolution’s most remarkable inventions; they are pharmacists; they might even hold a cure for cancer. I guarantee that a journey into the secret world of wasps will blow your mind.

Seirian is a Professor of behavioural ecology at University College London. She studies social insects to understand their behaviour, ecology, evolution and role in ecosystems. She is especially fond of wasps, and is working hard to give them a PR makeover. As part of these efforts, she co-founded the Big Wasp Survey in 2017 – a citizen science project to engage the public with social wasps in their back yard. And in May 2022 her book ‘Endless Forms: The secret world of wasps’ – was published, giving everyone a reason to better appreciate wasps.

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.

RETRO: Street Epistemology – Conversation Without Chaos – Anthony Magnabosco

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
RETRO: Street Epistemology – Conversation Without Chaos – Anthony Magnabosco
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Engaging someone on a belief they hold in an effective manner is rarely easy, particularly if that belief is tied to one’s identity. So, imagine approaching strangers in public and attempting to engage them in a calm, respectful exploration of that belief, using a conversational technique known as Street Epistemology.

You’ve also got to seek their permission to film the encounter, and post it to YouTube for the world to see. Anthony Magnabosco has been doing just that for nearly a decade now. His YouTube channel now contains hundreds of these conversations. In this interview we’ll be turning the tables on him somewhat to find out what on earth made him decide to do this, how effective it is, and how we can adopt similar techniques.

Anthony Magnabosco is a skeptic and atheist from San Antonio Texas. As well as his well documented conversations on YouTube, he has appeared on The Thinking Atheist, The Atheist Experience, Cognitive Dissonance, and The David Pakman Show, to name a few. He is also a Founder and the current Executive Director of the new nonprofit organization Street Epistemology International. Anthony has given countless talks and workshops at conferences and events across the United States as well as internationally. Perhaps the most notable of these International appearances for our audience were his packed out workshops at QED in 2017.

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.

Mathematical Intelligence: What we have that machines don’t – Junaid Mubeen

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Mathematical Intelligence: What we have that machines don’t – Junaid Mubeen
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There’s so much talk about the threat posed by intelligent machines that it sometimes seems as though we should surrender to our robot overlords now. But Junaid Mubeen isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. As far as he is concerned, we have the edge over machines because of a remarkable system of thought developed over the millennia. It’s familiar to us all, but often badly taught and misrepresented in popular discourse – maths. Computers are brilliant at totting up sums, pattern-seeking and performing, well, computation. But Junaid has identified seven areas of intelligence where humans can retain a crucial edge. This talk will explore some of these areas and challenge some of the hype that surrounds today’s AI by suggesting that they are not so easily automated.

Junaid is a mathematician turned educator, writer and speaker. He has spent the past decade developing innovative learning technologies and is currently working with bestselling science author Simon Singh on developing the world’s largest online maths circle at parallel.org.uk. He is author of Mathematical Intelligence: What we have that machines don’t, which examines the role of mathematics in the age of AI. Junaid has a DPhil in mathematics from Oxford and a Master’s in Education from Harvard. He earned fleeting fame in 2008 as a series winner of television game show Countdown.

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.

RETRO: REBEL CELL – A New View of Cancer – Dr Kat Arney

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
RETRO: REBEL CELL – A New View of Cancer – Dr Kat Arney
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Many of us think of cancer as a contemporary killer, a disease of our own making caused by our modern lifestyles. But that’s not true. Although it might be rare in many species, cancer is the enemy lurking within almost every living creature. Cancer has always been with us. It killed our hominid ancestors, the mammals they evolved from and the dinosaurs that trampled the ground before that. Why? Because cancer is a bug in the system of life. We get cancer because we can’t not get it. Geneticist and science writer Dr Kat Arney takes us to the dawn of life on planet earth right up to the present day to get to the heart of what cancer really is and how by better understanding its evolutionary journey we might one day overcome it.

Dr Kat Arney is an award-winning science writer, broadcaster and public speaker. She is the author of How to Code a Human and the critically acclaimed Herding Hemingway’s Cats: Understanding how our genes work. Kat has spent more than 15 years working in science journalism and communication and was a key part of the science communications team at Cancer Research UK for more than a decade, co-founding the charity’s award-winning Science Blog, and acting as a principal national and international media spokesperson. Kat also presents the popular Genetics Unzipped podcast for The Genetics Society and has fronted several BBC Radio 4 science documentaries including the recent series Ingenious, looking at the stories behind our genes.

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.

Was that just luck? The inconsistent world of superstition, privilege, and the illusion of control. – Aaron Rabinowitz

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Was that just luck? The inconsistent world of superstition, privilege, and the illusion of control. – Aaron Rabinowitz
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We all use the term ‘luck’ every day, but do we know what we mean when we say it? Research suggests that people generally have nascent, internally inconsistent accounts of luck, and that accounts vary significantly across individuals and cultures. This variation and lack of consistent usage could have significant impacts on research about belief in free will and moral responsibility, as well as how individuals approach many aspects of their lives. I’ll discuss what people seem to believe about luck and what the options are for more developed approaches.

Aaron Rabinowitz is a secular moral philosophy educator with 10+ years experience helping students develop their capacities for flourishing and value centered community organizing. He’s currently working on a PhD in education at Rutgers University, with a focus on developing a new pedagogy of luck. The new approach centers the problem of moral luck as a way to short circuit compulsive meritocratic behavior and replace it with greater compassion, humility, and personal fulfillment. He’s also the host of two philosophy podcasts, Embrace the Void, and Philosophers in Space which he co-hosts with Thomas Smith. His extended research interests include emerging technologies, personhood, conspiracism, and counterculture memetics.

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.