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For the next Skeptics meeting on the 27th of March we have Ben Hardwidge: The Vinyl Countdown all about hi-fi woo #WinSitP

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Winchester Skeptics

The Hampshire Skeptics Society is a non-profit organisation for the promotion of science, reason and critical thinking, humanism and a secular life. We run the Winchester Skeptics group who meet at 7:30pm on the last Thursday of every month at the The Winchester Discovery Centre.

Winchester SitP meetings are open to all regardless of beliefs and each months talk will be followed up with a challenging Q&A session and social. We suggest a £3 donation to cover our speaker’s expenses. We also have a raffle just before the break so hang onto your ticket and you might (except Martin of course) win a great book !

Winchester Skeptics Guest Speakers Charter

Click here to find out how to get to the Winchester Skeptics meetings at the Winchester Discovery Centre.

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Thursday 27th March 2014 – Ben Hardwidge: The Vinyl Countdown




Join tech journalist and hi-fi enthusiast Ben Hardwidge as he tackles some of the pervasive myths about digital and analogue audio and video. Does vinyl really sound better than CD, and how do we define ‘better’? Does oxygen-free cabling really improve sound quality, and what’s the difference between a £5 cable and a £400 one? The answers are more complicated than you might imagine.

In this talk, Ben aims to go beyond the usual talk of ones and zeros, and provide a grounding in exactly how analogue and digital audio works, from the RIAA curve to the Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem, as well as exploring the evidence for what humans can actually hear, and the need for fair testing. Forget the vague talk about open sound, warm notes and vibrant tones, this is where we focus on the hard evidence.

Ben Hardwidge is the editor of Custom PC magazine, and former reviews editor of PC Pro magazine. He’s reviewed many sound cards and audio production PCs, and has also been a hi-fi enthusiast and record collector for 20 years.


Thursday 24th April 2014 – Suw Charman: Finding Ada Lovelace




In 2009, Suw Charman-Anderson founded Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. With grassroots events held around the world and thousands of people writing and talking about the women who have inspired them, the day seeks to raise women’s profiles and highlight unsung heroines.
Suw will talk about why there’s a need for such a day, and also about Ada Lovelace herself. Lauded as the first ever computer programmer, Ada was a gifted mathematician, yet today she faces challenges from many voices as to the veracity of her contributions to computer science. So who was Ada? And what do we know about her work on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine?
Suw is a social technologist and, as one of the UK’s social media pioneers, has worked with clients worldwide. A freelance journalist, she has written about social media and technology for The Guardian, CIO Magazine and others. She currently blogs about publishing and crowdfunding for Forbes.com.
Learn more about Ada Lovelace Day, 14 October 2014, at www.findingada.com. Suw’s blog is www.chocolateandvodka.com and you can follow her on Twitter as @suw


Thursday 26th June 2014 – Myles Power: Inside the Minds of the AIDS Deniers


In the early days of the AIDS epidemic many bizarre and dangerous ideas were advanced regarding the origin of the disease and its cause. Since the discovery of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) these conspiracy theories, which once filled the void left by the lack of information, have all but vanished. Over the past three decades HIV has been the subject of intense scientific research which has resulted in effective treatments, rapid HIV tests, and promising cures. Yet unbelievably there are a small number of people who are sceptical of the “official story”. Although these people are small in numbers they are extremely well funded and can pose a very real threat to public health. Many have chosen to spend their money on spreading their harmful theories, defend people who have irresponsibly infected their partners, and funded the documentary House of Numbers.
The documentary encourages people to come off their medication, tells them that HIV tests don’t work, and that anti-viral drugs such as AZT are the real cause of AIDS. To do this the makers of the documentary make liberal use of out-of-context quotations from scientists interviewed for the film, deceitful editing techniques, and flat out lies.

YouTube vlogger Myles Power has dedicated a large amount of time to exposing some of the more insidious claims in the documentary. In response there have been multiple Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) violation claims filed against Myles in an attempt to silence his criticism.
In his talk Myles will discuss some examples of the dangerous assertions in the documentary and explain how they have led to the death and suffering of hundreds of thousands of people. He will also talk about the failure of the DMCA and how it can be exploited by the proponents of pseudoscience.

You can keep up with Myles on his YouTube channel and on Twitter @Powerm1985



More coming soon.

Thursday 29th May 2014 – Aubrey de Grey: Regenerative Medicine For Aging: Can it be Comprehensive Enough?




Dr. Aubrey de Grey is a biomedical gerontologist based in Cambridge, UK, and is the Chief Science Officer of SENS Foundation, a California-based charity dedicated to combating the ageing process. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, the world’s highest impact peer reviewed journal focused on intervention in ageing. He received his BA and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1985 and 2000 respectively.

Aubrey will explain why therapies that can add 30 healthy years to the remaining lifespan of a typical 60 year old may well arrive within the next few decades and secondly, why those who benefit from those therapies will very probably continue to benefit from progressively improved therapies indefinitely and will thus avoid debilitation or death from age related causes at any age.
It may seem premature to be discussing the elimination of human ageing as a cause of death when so little progress has yet been made in postponing it. However, two facts undermine this assessment. The first is that ageing happens throughout our lives but only causes ill-health after middle age. This shows that we can postpone that ill-health without knowing how to prevent ageing completely, by molecular and cellular repair. The second is that the typical rate of subsequent, incremental refinement of big technological breakthroughs is usually fast enough (so long as public enthusiasm for them is strong) to change those technologies almost beyond recognition within a natural human lifespan.
So. Do you want to live forever ?