It has been decided to run Skepticon 2021 as an exclusively on-line event. Skepticon will continue to be a collaboration between Australian Skeptics Inc, operating from Sydney, and NZ Skeptics in Wellington.
Each $40 ticket buys you access for the weekend via one device.
Skeptics use the word “quack” to define a particular kind of person:
“a fraudulent or ignorant pretender to medical skill” or “a person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to have skill, knowledge, qualification or credentials they do not possess; a charlatan or snake oil salesman” – Dictionary.com
Richard Wiseman from the UK and New Zealander of the Year Siouxsie Wiles are two key speakers for this year’s Skepticon convention, to be held on November 20-21. This year’s event will be a joint venture between Australian and New Zealand Skeptics.
Held in Sydney and Wellington, the convention will feature presentations live in-person at both venues, streamed between the two countries, and from around the world. (Note that, of course, should the current situation in Sydney re COVID and lockdowns continue, then we may be forced to have an online-only convention for the Sydney component. Hopefully the same won’t apply in New Zealand.)
Prof Wiseman (London), experimental psychologist, is well-known in skeptical circles, author of a number of books including Paranormality, a scientific look at the supernatural.
Microbiologist Assoc Prof Wiles is probably one of New Zealand’s most famous scientists, a regular in media explaining the details of COVID, science communicator, and 2021 New Zealander of the Year.
Other speakers will include • Dr Alexander Panchin (Moscow) – computation biologist, member of the Commission on Pseudoscience of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and author of Defense Against the Dark Arts, a guide to the world of paranormal phenomena. • Annie McCubbin (Sydney) – actor, writer, director, corporate communication consultant and coach, and author of the 2021 book Why Smart Women Make Bad Decisions … and how critical thinking can protect them. • Dr Paul Willis (Sydney) – Adjunct Associate Professor in Palaeontology at Flinders University and one of Australia’s best-known science communicators.
Details of the speakers and ticket prices will be available soon, but in the meantime please register your interest at skepticon.org.au so you can receive the latest info.
We’ve uploaded the now-traditional monthly Picture Puzzles, “Mixed Bag” Questions, themed Skeptical Crossword Puzzle and Logic & Maths Problems to the PUZZLES PAGE.
The Crossword Puzzle this month is about Alternative Medicine. It’s a big one, running to six pages of .pdf file which you will have to print off and complete using the primitive technology of a pen or pencil.
Previous puzzles going back to 2010 may be accessed by scrolling down the puzzles page or using the archive at the bottom of the page, now expanded to include puzzles to April 2021.
The 2021 Australian Skeptics Annual National Convention – Skepticon for short – will be held this year on November 20-21. As a first, it will be held simultaneously by Aust Skeptics from Sydney, Australia; the NZ Skeptics from Wellington, New Zealand; plus online participation from everywhere else. There will be face-to-face presentations in Sydney and Wellington, the Sydney event being held at the University of Technology and the Wellington event to be announced. This year attendees will be able to participate in a truly international event, mixing with those speakers who will be physically present in one of the two main venues (COVID willing, of course), and interact with speakers in other cities and countries . Details of the speakers and ticket prices will be available soon.
June’s Skeptical Crossword Puzzle is (almost) all about Greek and Roman Mythology.
For our seven Picture Puzzles this month we’re trying a slightly larger format. There are twenty new “Mixed Bag” Questions (Trivia and General Knowledge); and June’s Logic & Maths Puzzles have the usual format of ten questions of various types and degrees of difficulty. These sets include not just the answers but also a step-by-step worked solution for each question.
All previous puzzles are easily found by scrolling down the puzzles page or accessing the archive at the bottom of the page, now expanded to include puzzles to April 2021.
May’s Skeptical Crossword Puzzle has “Strange Notions” as its theme.
We’re back to seven Picture Puzzles this month, and twenty “Mixed Bag” Questions (Trivia and General Knowledge).
Logic & Maths Puzzles for the month of May 2021 follows the usual format of ten questions of various types and degrees of difficulty. These sets include not just the answers but also a step-by-step worked solution for each question. All previous L&Ms are easily found by scrolling down the puzzles page or accessing the archive at the bottom of the page.
All on the PUZZLES PAGE. NOTE: Puzzles from January 2020 to April 2021 have been used to create a new archive: PUZZLES ARCHIVE 9.
This archive includes both the usual monthly puzzles sets for that period, plus the special “lockdown” sets posted during 2020.
There are twenty more “Mixed Bag” Questions (Trivia and General Knowledge); first ten “Easy”, second ten “Hard”.
The Skeptical Crossword Puzzle is a little pot-boiler based on a theme of “Religious Ideas“.
Our Logic & Maths Puzzles is the 105th such set. These sets now include not just the answers but also a step-by-step worked solution for each of the ten questions, enhancing their educational value. All previous L&Ms are easily found by scrolling down the puzzles page or accessing the archive at the bottom of the page.
It’s now too late to announce that the annual Melbourne Darwin Day picnic has been cancelled due to the Victorian government’s decision to impose a five-day lock-down to counter a small but worrying spike in Covid-19 infections.
Bummer. It’s a high point in our social calendar, and many of us were looking forward to it and planning to attend.
So obviously, all that remains is:
(a) to CONGRATULATE the Victorian government in following the Science. Darwin would have been proud.
(b) to do a bit of value-adding to our virtual Darwin Day.
Here’s a presentation about Charles Darwin by Tina Hanigan at Skepticon 2019.
Every third Monday of the month the Victorian Branch of the Australian Skeptics hosts a talk or event:
Skeptics Café recommenced in April 2020 via Zoom. Next: Monday April 19 2021: See Events page for details.
Include Vic Skeptics in Your Will
The Australian Skeptics (Victorian Branch) Inc. [Vic Skeptics]. promotes critical thinking, scientific literacy and encourages a rational, sceptical approach to the paranormal and pseudoscience.
We are a volunteer non-profit organization and have limited financial resources.
We need money to achieve our aims and bequests help enormously.