The Science Talent Search 2018

22 November, 2018

2018 STS bursary winners whose bursaries were funded by the Australian Skeptics

The first Science Talent Search was conducted and sponsored by the Science Teachers Association of Victoria in 1952. A total of seventeen cash bursaries were awarded.

In 2018 the number of bursaries awarded was six hundred and fifty-one, sharing a pool of $36,425.

Still under the aegis of the STAV, the Science Talent Search now receives financial support from a wide variety of sponsors including universities, research institutes, commercial firms, not-for-profit groups like the Australian Skeptics, and an increasing number of private donors. Read the rest of this entry »

Complementary Medicines, Advertising Reform and the TGA

21 November, 2018

by Dr Ken Harvey, with an introduction by Ken Greatorex

To set the scene for those not familiar with the glacial machinations of Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration: Until recently in Australia we had a complaint process whereby if you wanted to complain about the advertising of a particular listed medicine, you submitted. to the Complaints Resolution Panel. It was woefully under resourced, but it did its job, carried out inquiries then reported established breaches in conduct to the TGA. The TGA acted – sometimes.

Then things changed. Against the urging of such groups as The Australian Skeptics, Friends of Science in Medicine, Choice and other consumer advocates, the TGA became the body which dealt directly with such complaints. 

As one who attended and absorbed the excellent review from Professor Harvey and three of his students, the result of this change has been:

  • totally predictable
  • disappointing


(left to right: Mal Vickers, Kithmini Cooray, Mary Malek, Ken Harvey)



The audience did not agree that the ongoing advertising of ‘Bright Brains’, illustrated by Kithmini, had achieved compliance with the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code 2015. In short, they disagreed with the TGA outcome statement about this complaint. Read the rest of this entry »

Surfcoast Summer Skepticamp

31 October, 2018

Saturday February 23rd 2019 at Aireys Inlet

The Surf Coast Summer Skepticamp (SCSSC) is Australia’s longest running Skepticamp. This year we are celebrating our 7th year.

Skepticamps are designed to give many members the opportunity to briefly (10 – 15 minutes) present on a topic of their choice. Skepticamps have been run in hundreds of locations and many countires since the first one was held in 2017 in Denver. Such is the status of the SCSSC it is even mentioned on the international skepticamp wikipedia site:

So, if you want to share something on a skeptically-related topic in which you are interested, highlight some practices that you see as dubious that need to be bought to the attention of the skeptics community, just something that we might find interesting please offer to share your thoughts. This is a sharing event, where many contributors combine to a great day. Read the rest of this entry »

Puzzles for November 2018

31 October, 2018

Your Skeptical Puzzles Fix

November’s Skeptical Crossword (with standard and cryptic clues} is based on Mythology.

Each month there’s a new set of Picture Puzzles, Mixed Bag Questions (Trivia / General Knowledge) and Logic & Maths Puzzles. Look at the top of the PUZZLES PAGE.

Scroll down the Puzzles Page for monthly puzzles going back to January 2018

Our earlier puzzles, going back to 2010 can be found at:


Puzzles for October 2018

30 September, 2018

Each month we publish a themed Skeptical Crossword (this month on Homeopathy), a set of seven Picture Puzzles, a set of twenty Mixed Bag Questions (Trivia / General Knowledge) and a set of Logic & Maths Puzzles. They can be found, blog-style, at the top of the Puzzles Page.


A bonus three picture Puzzles are shown at left. The solutions can be found HERE.


Our earlier puzzles can be found at:

Professor Susan Blackmore

3 September, 2018

Professor Susan Blackmore is a psychologist, lecturer and writer researching consciousness, memes, and anomalous experiences, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth.

She is a TED lecturer, blogs for the Guardian, and often appears on radio and television.

The Meme Machine (1999) has been translated into 16 other languages; more recent books include Conversations on Consciousness (2005), Zen and the Art of Consciousness (2011), Seeing Myself: The new science of out-of-body experiences (2017) and a textbook Consciousness: An Introduction (3rd Ed 2018).

Professor Blackmore is visiting Australia in October. Her appearances will include:

Melbourne: (One night only) Thursday October 11 Royal Society of Victoria

Booking info:

Sydney: Australian Skeptics National Convention October 13 &14

Canberra: Monday October 15 (Details to be announced)

Puzzles for August 2018

31 July, 2018

The Skeptical Crossword for August 2018 is themed to Religious Ideas.

96 August 2018 Crossword Religious Ideas

Our Skeptical crosswords generally have two sets of clues, one “standard” and the other “cryptic”. These monthly crosswords are all available in archive, are all based on themes related to Skepticism, and go back to 2010.

Other crosswords, wordsearches and cryptograms specifically for classroom use are available here:

Our Mixed Bag Questions have a format of twenty trivia-type questions, (ten “easy”and ten “harder”), with answers supplied.

08 August 2018 Mixed bag questions

All of our previous sets of Mixed Bag Questions are available in archive.

Our Logic & Maths Puzzles consist of ten questions of varying levels of difficulty. Solutions are supplied.

Logic and Maths Puzzles 73 August 2018 

There are now over seventy such puzzles available in archive

A new set of Picture Puzzles can be found each month at the top of the Puzzles Page.