Skepticon 2021 tickets

6 October, 2021

Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st November.

Tickets are now available.

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.


What Sound DOES a Duck Make?

1 October, 2021

by Ken Greatorex

duck headerYou’d probably answer “QUACK!

And indeed, you’d be right some of the time. Some ducks quack. Most don’t. Because I’m a Skeptic in insufferably pedantic mode, I just thought I’d point that out before proceeding.

If you’d like to hear a range of sounds made by different duck species, (including quacks), go here: https://www.soundboard.com/sb/Duck_Sounds_audio

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

Read the rest of this entry »


Puzzles for October 2021

30 September, 2021

01October’s Puzzles are now at the top of the  PUZZLES PAGE.

The Crossword Puzzle this month has another look at Weasel Words, with particular attention to “ad-speak”, the sometimes tortuous use of the English language in commercial advertising.

Don’t forget that our Logic Problems now come with solutions as well as answers, and “may” have educational as well as entertainment value. (Now there’s an example of “ad-speak!)

Previous puzzles going back to May 2021 may be accessed by scrolling down through the puzzles page. Hundred of earlier puzzles are available from the archives links at the bottom of the Puzzles page.

Enjoy!


Lockdown Puzzles for September 2021

27 September, 2021

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We posted a lot of special puzzles last year for those experiencing a COVID-19 stay-at-home regime. The first lot of NEW “lockdown” puzzles has just been posted to the top of the PUZZLES PAGE.

They include the ever-popular Picture Puzzles and some “Crossword Clues” to test your vocabulary.

Last year’s special puzzles are still available from the archives links at the bottom of the Puzzles page. They’re in archive 9.

Enjoy!


Skepticon 2021

8 September, 2021

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.


Puzzles for September 2021

31 August, 2021

SEPTEMBER PUZZLESROTCROPNew Picture Puzzles, “Mixed Bag” Questions, Skeptical Crossword Puzzle and Logic & Maths Problems have been placed at the top of the PUZZLES PAGE.

The Crossword Puzzle this month returns to the theme of General Skeptical Issues.

Previous puzzles going back to May 2021 may be accessed by scrolling down through the puzzles page. Hundred of earlier puzzles are available from the archives links at the bottom of the Puzzles page.

Enjoy!


Puzzles for August 2021

31 July, 2021

puzzles for augustnegWe’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.

Enjoy!


Puzzles for July 2021

30 June, 2021

_whats4acrossbJuly’s Skeptical Crossword Puzzle dabbles in Cults and Sects.

Then there are the usual Picture Puzzles, “Mixed Bag” Questions (Trivia and General Knowledge); and Logic & Maths Puzzles.  

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.

All on the PUZZLES PAGE.
Enjoy!


Skepticon November 20-21, 2021 – Sydney, Wellington and online

15 June, 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.


Puzzles for June 2021

31 May, 2021

 

June’s Skeptical Crossword Puzzle is (almost) all about Greek and Roman Mythology.

june puzzlesFor 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.

All on the PUZZLES PAGE.
Enjoy!


Puzzles for May 2021

30 April, 2021

may puzzles

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.


Puzzles for April 2021

3 April, 2021

april puzzles

There are eight new Picture Puzzles this month.

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.

All on the PUZZLES PAGE.

Enjoy!


Puzzles for March 2021

28 February, 2021

Our Puzzles for March 2021 kick off with nine Picture Puzzles (rather than the usual seven).

Then scroll down to the “Mixed Bag” Questions (Trivia and General Knowledge);

and a Skeptical Crossword Puzzle which revisits Financial Fraud.

A set of ten Logic & Maths Puzzles concludes the batch for this month.

All on the PUZZLES PAGE.

Enjoy!


Darwin Day – Update

12 February, 2021

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.

Here is an hour’s worth of interviews recorded by Adam Ford of attendees at a recent Darwin Day.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IPNeEp_13k


Darwin Day – February 12

31 January, 2021

Skeptics and other “free-thinkers” around the world are inclined to mark two special days in each year.

One, of course is December 25th. (That’s Isaac Newton’s birthday). The other is the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday, in Shrewsbury England on February 12th 1809.

Quite a lot of useful, informative and entertaining stuff about Charles Darwin already exists on this site. Rather than add to it, this year we’ll just provide the links.

Charles Darwin Articles

“About Charles Darwin”

https://vicskeptics.wordpress.com/2007/11/27/about-charles-darwin/

Darwin – A Great Scientist by Rosslyn Ives https://vicskeptics.wordpress.com/events/darwin-a-great-scientist/

For Schools: – The Darwin Day Suite of Classroom Exercises

https://vicskeptics.wordpress.com/2019/01/22/for-schools-darwin-day-february-12-2/

 

Charles Darwin Crossword:

https://vicskeptics.wordpress.com/puzzles/february-2014-skeptical-crossword/