Past Events 2010

20th of December, 2010

Social Night, From 6pm

Thursday 2nd of December, 2010
Special Event: Dinner and Talk with Brian Dunning and Rebecca Watson.
See the blog post about this event for full details.

click – full size

Sorry: this event is now booked out (as of Wednesday the 10th of November).

Wednesday 1st of December 2010 Special event – Bridie O’Reilly’s There is a special event presented by the University of Melbourne Secular Society and the Victorian Skeptics, held at Bridie O’Reilly’s Pub, Brunswick. This features Brian Dunning and Rebecca Watson speaking. This event is free and open to the public. For full details see the poster, here, or visit the UMSS site. Please don’t confuse this event with the Vic Skeptics Dinner to be held at La Notte (below) on the 2nd of December. It is a little confusing I agree. These events are on successive nights – however Brian and Rebecca are only here for a short time. Brian and Rebecca will be giving different talks on the 1st and the 2nd of December. If you were lucky enough to book early for the 2nd of December talk/dinner why not come to both events?

Tuesday 30th of November 2010 Special event – The Clyde Hotel, Carlton American musician, author, podcaster, skeptic and all round swell guy George Hrab will play Melbourne during his Styrofoam Tour of Australia and New Zealand. For details, see the poster and the blog post. This is the first of three TAMOz fringe events happening in Melbourne on consecutive nights.

15th of November, 2010

Ian Enting, author; Twisted: The Distorted Mathematics of Greenhouse Denial (2007)

Dr Enting is Professorial Research Fellow Centre for Mathematics and Statistics of Complex Systems University of Melbourne

Abstract: The science of climate change has come under public attack through what has been described as asymmetric warfare. Public communication has been flooded with a deluge of misinformation. In parallel there have been attempts to distract, intimidate and gag climate scientists. In 2009 Ian Plimer’s book, Heaven + Earth – Global Warming: The Missing Science, claimed to demolish the theory of human-induced global warming due to the release of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. A careful reading of Heaven + Earth reveals extensive examples of fabricating numbers, distorted and misattributed graphics, misrepresentation of the content of cited references and a sprinkling of plagiarism. In spite of its blatant flaws Heaven + Earth has gained considerable political traction in Australia.

Peter Bromley

18th of October, 2010

Peter Bromley will host Video Night.

Lynne Kelly

20th of September, 2010

Lynne Kelly will present:

A Skeptic Tackles Stonehenge


The 37,927th theory of Stonehenge (With tongue firmly in cheek)

Why did they build Stonehenge? What is worth 3 million work hours of digging ditches and dragging stones? Lynne Kelly thinks that she can explain exactly what was going on at Stonehenge, and why they kept changing it over 1500 years. It’s all to do with the way knowledge is stored in oral cultures: animal behaviour, plant properties, navigation, genealogy, astronomy, laws, resource rights, history and their beliefs. Then there’s the all-important calendar. They came from far and wide for the midwinter festivities ­ how did they know when to grab the pig and head for the party?

It’s time for The Skeptics to apply their skills to a new theory.

Read more about Lynne’s talk here ->

Vic Skeptics at Scienceworks, 2010

Come and see us at Scienceworks on Saturday 21st or Sunday 22nd of August! We’re proud to announce that Simon Taylor, the talented young illusionist will be joining us to give three shows on each day in the Science Theatrette.

Don Hyatt

16th of August, 2010

Don Hyatt will present:

The Problem with Education

Don Hyatt is a member of Australian Skeptics Victorian Committee. He is a retired Science Teacher and Assistant Principal in the Victorian State school system, with recent classroom teaching experience in the UK.

Don is also a former President of the Science Teachers Association of Victoria and the inaugural National Director of Australian Science in Schools Week – now morphed into National Science Week. He maintains an on-going interest in Science Education with Vic Skeptics’ involvement in Science Drama Awards, presenting and exhibiting at Science Teacher’s conferences.

Don will address a variety of issues drawing from his domestic and international experience. Issues ranging from the crowded curriculum, the changing nature of school education (no it isn’t the same as when WE went to school), societal changes and expectations of schools & teachers.

He will then focus on the nature of science education and why Intelligent Design and/or Creation ‘Science’ could not be considered a part of a legitimate scientific curriculum. The newly proposed National Science Curriculum will also be examined as to its skeptical acceptability as will the MySchool website and national testing of students.

Finally, the answer to the question:

Given all of these problems: how does Victorian (science) education rate?

A relevant post

19th of July, 2010

John Perkins

John Perkins will raise concerns about our energy future in his presentation The Future of Energy, Resources and Climate Change.

Dr John L Perkins is a Melbourne economist, mathematical modeller, software developer and writer. He has qualifications from universities in Melbourne and London, and is a member of the Humanist Society of Victoria, the Rationalist Society of Australia, and the Atheist Foundation of Australia.

Some of the biggest questions regarding the future of human civilisation revolve around the future of energy resources and the effects of fuel combustion on climate. John has been building econometric models for over 30 years and in his latest research has sought to answer these questions using an 80 country economic model to form projections to 2050. By this date energy resources will be substantially depleted and remaining reserves will be highly localised, making trade logistics highly problematic. High energy prices will cause economic hardship but will force the world into alternative energy production more effectively than any trading scheme. John has also made quantitative estimates of the effects fossil fuel combustion on atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and the effects this has on global temperatures. Unless there are runaway effects, global temperature increase may be limited to 2 degrees due to the substantial exhaustion of fossil fuel supplies.

Recommended pre-reading:

Resource depletion will reduce emissions Energy Bulletin, December 25, 2009

Other References:

Energy Resource Depletion and Carbon Emissions: Global Projections to 2050 UN Project LINK, United Nations Conference Centre, Bangkok, Thailand, 28 October 2009

Carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric concentration

Dr Ken Harvey

21st of June, 2010

Dr Ken Harvey will present:

Balancing Commerce, Choice and Consumer Protection: Reforming Complementary Medicine Regulation.

Dr. Harvey is a medical graduate with a special interest in the regulation of therapeutic goods.

He was a member of the expert group that drafted the World Health Organization “Ethical Criteria for Medicinal Drug Promotion” and was also a member of the Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Health and Rational use of Medicines (PHARM) Committee that formulated the quality use of medicines pillar of Australian medicines policy.

He currently holds the position of Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the School of Public Health, La Trobe University. He had been awarded life membership of Choice (the Australia Consumer’s Association), is a member of the National Prescribing Service Research and Development Working Group, and the Governing Council of Health Action International, Asia Pacific.


Ken Greatorex

17th of May, 2010

The Sixth Annual Vic Skeptics Trivia Night, hosted by Ken Greatorex.

Previous Trivia Nights have been among our most popular events; – this year, get your team organised early , and if you’re having a meal at the restaurant before the Trivia, please arrive and order early. Note that the Trivia starts at 7.30 – half an hour earlier than our usual main event starting time.

If you can’t come equipped with a ready-made team, don’t stay home and mope! We can organise consortia of suitable intellects on the evening.

The Golden Bent Wooden Spoon

Allow me to take grave exception to my co-editor, who intimated that my questions were “diabolically difficult”.

To demonstrate that nothing could be further from the truth, here are some sample questions. The answers follow.

  1. Who said “Play it again Sam.” In the 40’s film Casablanca?
  2. True or False: A cow was once executed for murder by the German government .
  3. Which two countries played the first international cricket match?
  4. Which great English Scientist was knighted for his invention of the mathematical calculus, the proposition of Three Laws of Motion, and studies of light?
  5. George 1 was the first Hanoverian King of England. He was 52nd in line to the Throne. Why did the English Parliament choose him?
  6. How long did the Hundred Year War last?
  7. Which country makes Panama hats?
  8. From which animal do we get Cat gut?
  9. In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
  10. What is a camel’s hair brush made of?
  11. The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
  12. What was King George VI’s first name?
  13. What color is a purple finch?
  14. Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
  15. How long did the Thirty Year War last?
  16. Which country operates China Airlines?
  17. In what month do British universities celebrate May Week?
  18. What were Gough Whitlam’s and Malcolm Fraser’s middle names, respectively?
  19. What kind of animal is a Bombay Duck?
  20. In which Shakespeare play do we find the immortal words “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well.”?


  1. Nobody. Humphrey Bogart said “Play it Sam” and a few similar things. He never actually said “Play it again Sam”
  2. False. It was the French government. If you think that’s crazy, look up “Murderous Mary the Elephant”.
  3. USA and Canada
  4. Nobody. Isaac Newton did all those things, but he was knighted for running the Royal Mint in later life. (Another quirky piece of information about Isaac Newton was that he held a Chair in Mathematics at Cambridge University without being a fellow. He couldn’t be a fellow because he hadn’t become ordained in the C of E)
  5. He was the first protestant in line to the throne.
  6. 116 years
  7. Ecuador
  8. Sheep and horses
  9. November
  10. Squirrel fur
  11. They’re in the Atlantic Ocean and are named after Dogs
  12. Albert
  13. Crimson
  14. New Zealand
  15. Thirty years
  16. Taiwan
  17. June
  18. Gough and Malcolm
  19. It’s a fish
  20. None. The quote is “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio.”

I’ve been asked whether these questions will feature on the actual Night. Yes, they will. However, the answers will change :)


I rest my case, Mal :-)

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