This week we review the PRISM scandal, discover the science of sleep, assess a new drug and fight for what’s right in women’s cycling. Then to chill out afterwards we have a game of Chess 2 – the sequel to the popular ancient boardgame, Chess!
PRISM (2:38) by Kate Russell Material Science (16:02) by James O’Malley (ft Mark Miodownik) Sleepy Science (20:40) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Debra Skene) Polypill (30:08) by Adam Jacobs & Hayley Johnson Women’s Cycling (42:36) by Emma Shiels Chess 2: The Sequel (50:33) by Salim Fadhley (ft Zac Burns) Iszi Lawrence (59:17) by Iszi Lawrence The sketch at the end is by David Lovesy & Brian Two
This week we find out if we’ll ever be able to get rid of our nuclear weapons, find out why chinese lanterns aren’t (necessarily) the worst thing in the world, and all about how golf still has a long way to go before it joins the 20th century. And much more!
Trident Alternatives (2:08) by James O’Malley (ft Paul Ingram) Elitist Housing (13:50) by Dawn Firth-Godbehere Recycling Fires (20:29) by Claire Benson NI Troubles (27:05) by Dr*T and Sean Ellis Skepticamp London (29:55) by James O’Malley (ft Chris Higgins) Sexism in Golf (34:42) by Sean Slater Pod People (41:53) by Chris Chapman SITP Roadshow (48:19) by Simon Clare The sketch at the end is by David Lovesy & Brian Two
Magic as metaphor; metaphor as the reality ingredient of literature; a rational approach to the fantastic. Presented by the award winning author of The Prestige, which was later adapted into a successful Hollywood movie directed by Christopher Nolan, Priest will explore another way of seeing – exploring magic as a metaphor in literature and lifting the veil on taking a rational approach with the fantastic.
“I did not come to this conference of my own free will because free will is an illusion. Plenty of evidence from neuroscience suggests that there is no persisting ‘me’ who could exert this mysterious power. Libet’s experiments on the timing of voluntary actions throw free will into doubt; the neuroscience of volition reveals the brain areas responsible for decision-making and self-control; and research by Wegner shows how the feeling of being responsible for an action depends on post-hoc attributions based on sequence, similarity and timing. So if our intuitions are not to be trusted, how should we live our lives? Many people reject the traditional idea of free will but still say they must live ‘as if’ they have free will. Otherwise, they claim, society would disintegrate and all hell break loose. I disagree and will discuss ways of living a moral and happy life without believing in free will.”
Our tiny blue planet is the only place we know where life can exist – a precious oasis in the vast desert of space. But throughout Earth’s history everything from exploding stars to impacts with giant asteroids have all left their mark on our planet – with profound consequences for its cargo of plants and animals. Public Astronomer Dr Marek Kukula explores how the world around us has been shaped by events in space, and how life on Earth has adapted to survive them.
Having used art in many areas of politics – from Processed World, the magazine for Angry Secretaries, to anti-nuclear vehicles such as the 1985 film When the Wind Blows, Melida Gebbie’s work has always had the message that if an artist is doing their job properly they are meant to be the social, political, and universal barometer of their times. Currently working with Alan Moore on Angel Passage, a tribute to William Blake Gebbie will focus on the art and life of William Blake, exploring his vision and aspirations.
With ongoing discussions between neuroscientists and philosophers on the existence, or not, of free will, and with so many people in the so-called ‘enlightened’ West still believing that their fate is somehow linked to the movements of the stars and planets, what does modern physics have to say on the matter of determinism and chance? Indeed, is our future preordained? This lecture will be a whistle-stop tour of Einsteinian relativity, quantum indeterminacy and whether, according to our current understanding of the nature of time, the future is knowable.
Sports Doping (1:26) by James O’Malley (ft Dr Mark Burnley) Cory Doctorow Interview (11:53) by Liz Lutgendorff JW DV (30:13) by Naomi Wilcox Herschel (39:48) by Kash Farooq (ft Chris North) Evolving Spaceflight (50:48) by Sean Ellis
This week Simon Singh tells us about his new plan to hold newspaper health coverage to account, we find out what makes a coup d’etat and why we should just give up on privacy. Plus we speak to psychologist Sue Blackmore about free will, look at the Piper Alpha anniversary and find out how pharmacists are facing major changes to the way that drugs are sold.
Newspaper Healthcheck by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Simon Singh) Coup d’Etat? by James O’Malley (ft Dave Landon Cole) Giving Up On Privacy by James Firth Piper Alpha 25 Years On by Drew Rae Selling Drugs by Chris Chapman Sue Blackmore Interview by Liz Lutgendorff The sketch at the end is by David Lovesy & Brian Two