February 12: Talking Plain about GMOs

Canberra Skeptics proudly presents:

Talking plain about GMOs


Date: Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Time: 6:00 to 7:30pm

Speakers: Jose Barrero and Marina Trigueros

Venue: Belconnen Community Service, 26 Chandler Street, Belconnen ACT 2616 (Entry on Swanson Court)

Cost: Free


Humans have been using breeding for thousands of years to genetically modify plants and animals since domestication started, but as human population rapidly heads towards 8 billion people, the challenge of feeding ourselves is becoming greater. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) is an essential technology to safely increase yields while minimising the use of resources such as land or water, and reducing the need for fertilisers and pesticides. However only a handful of GMOs are currently approved and used in agriculture. General public opposition to GMOs is delaying the development and legalisation of multitude of beneficial GMOs and Biotechnological applications. This opposition is partly due to powerful misinformation campaigns performed over the years by some groups and the existing general lack of knowledge of the outstanding benefits of GM products to the people and the environment. In this seminar we will explain the GMOonly approach to normalize GMOs and we will go over several of the common anti-GMOs myths. It has been proven extremely difficult to change someone’s opinion on hot topics like this, so we will try to provide to the favourable audience with arguments to use in discussions regarding the use of GMOs.

About GMOonly: GMOonly (www.gmoonly.com) is an initiative of a small team of experienced Plant Scientists and Science Communicators to promote GM products. We are concerned about the public’s opposition to GMOs that is delaying the development and legalisation of beneficial GM plants. In this frame, we came with the idea of creating an independent brand to promote GM products that could reach to the general public. From T-shirts with punchy messages to cultural events, our vision is to promote the image that GMOs are high-tech products good for the people and the environment. We are the first brand proud to show upfront the benefits of using GMOs. All our messages are based in scientific publications proving that GMOs are high-tech instruments that are good for you and for the environment. GMOs are the key for the next Green Revolution.

About the speakers: Jose Barrero is a professional scientist and one of the GMOonly founders. He has a PhD in Plant Genetics and has worked in several Research Organizations for the last 15 years using GM technology as a key tool of his research.

Marina Trigueros is a professional science illustrator and 3D animator at Cariboo Design and one of the GMOonly founders. She has a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology, has worked for more than 10 years in several research organisations using GM technology and has extensive experience in science communication.”


Dinner will follow the lecture (venue TBC). To RSVP for the dinner please email canberraskeptics@gmail.com.

Canberra Skeptics Inc. is a non-profit association incorporated in the Australian Capital Territory for the purpose of promoting critical thinking. For further information about Canberra Skeptics, please visit our website: http://www.canberraskeptics.org

Social Media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CanberraSkeptics/
Twitter: @cbrskeptics

Event announcements: 
Meetup: http://meetu.ps/c/clpg/mmVvH/a
Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/canberra-skeptics-18628458762





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‘Fake News’: what it is; how it works; and how to counter it

Date: Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Time: 6:00 to 7:30pm

Speaker: Jeff Malone

Venue: Belconnen Community Service, 26 Chandler Street, Belconnen ACT 2616

Cost: Free

In this presentation, Jeff Malone provide a critical account of the phenomena of (sic) ‘fake news’, and how the challenges its poses might be addressed. The presentation starts with an overview of fundamental theory regarding deception, drawing primarily upon the works of Barton Whaley. Jeff will then discuss the emergence of the contemporary term ‘fake news’, and the impact of ‘fake news’ in domestic and international politics. Jeff will then focus upon how and why ‘fake news’ works, with insights drawn from a variety of scientific disciplines. The presentation concludes with a discussion of how ‘fake news’ can be identified and countered, again by drawing upon a variety of scientific disciplines.

Jeff Malone has served in the Australian Army, the private sector, the public sector and academia. During his Army service, he was intimately involved in the adoption of information operations (IO) by the Australian Defence Force (ADF). This included drafting the ADF’s first joint IO doctrine, redesign of the ADF’s joint IO staff course, and designing the ADF’s architecture for the planning and conduct of strategic IO. For this work, Jeff was appointed the Chief of Defence Force Fellow in 2003. He teaches a Masters-level IO unit in the School of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of New South Wales (Canberra), and has published extensively on IO. Jeff is the Vice President of the Australian Chapter of the Association of Old Crows (the global electronic warfare, cyber operations and IO professional body), and was the Convention Director for the Australian Chapter’s 2016 and 2018 conventions.

Dinner will follow the lecture (venue TBC). To RSVP for the dinner please email canberraskeptics@gmail.com.

Canberra Skeptics Inc. is a non-profit association incorporated in the Australian Capital Territory for the purpose of promoting critical thinking. For further information about Canberra Skeptics, please visit our website: http://www.canberraskeptics.org

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Dec 16: Principles of Curiosity

Principles of Curiosity
When: December 16, 3.00pm
Where: King O’Malleys

‘Principles of Curiosity is a free film from Skeptoid Media. It presents a general introduction to the foundations of scientific skepticism and critical thinking, focusing on a simple process we call the three Cs.’

For our December meetup we will be hosting a screening of Principles of Curiosity. We will also be grabbing a drink afterwards so feel free to stay around and chat!

We will be in the Blarney Room, to the left as you enter through the main doors

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October: Memes and Tremes: From biology to the future of Artificial Intelligence

“Memes and Tremes: From biology to the future of Artificial Intelligence”
Speaker: Dr Susan Blackmore
When: October 15, 6.30 pm
Where: Ainslie Football Club

Universal Darwinism is the principle that when any kind of information is copied with variation and selection an evolutionary process inevitably begins. Genes are Earth’s best-known replicator, giving rise to biological evolution, but there may be others. Dawkins coined the term ‘meme’ to apply to a second replicator that emerged when our ancestors became capable of imitation. Their memes – the sounds, actions and ways of doing things that they copied – spread and evolved, competing to use human bodies and brains, and creating human culture in the process. We became meme machines. Memetics differs from other theories of cultural evolution in being based on two selfish replicators not one and, arguably, can better understand our fast-changing culture. Could a third replicator emerge from the culture created by the second? I believe that this is already happening. Digital information is now being copied, varied and selected ever faster by the silicon-based technology that we have provided for it. I will end with speculation that this means that a third replicator, tremes, is already emerging, is evolving new types of intelligence, and we need to consider how our own role is inevitably changing.

Susan Blackmore is a psychologist, lecturer, writer and a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth (UK). She researches consciousness, memes, and anomalous experiences. She is best known forThe Meme Machine (1999). In her 2008 TED-talk she introduced the idea that aside from genes and memes we are now witnessing the dawn of a third replicator: tremes. Her latest publications are Seeing Myself. The new science of out of body experiences (2017) and Consciousness: An Introduction, 3rd Edition (2018).

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January Social BBQ

January Social BBQ

Canberra Skeptics Inc. invites you to come enjoy a BBQ and games with your fellow skeptics! There are picnic tables available, but feel free to bring camp chairs or blankets.

We will provide sausgaes and bread, but please bring anything else you’d like to eat and drink!

When: 11.30 pm, January 20, 2018
Where: Barbecues outside Questacon
Can’t wait to see you all there!

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January 24, 2018: Senate Public Hearing, Therapeutic Goods Amendment Bill 2017, ANU

Senate Public Hearing, Therapeutic Goods Amendment Bill 2017, ANU, January 24, 2018

The Department of Health, the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) and the Health Minister’s Office have been trying to bypass the Senate Committee system on the Therapeutic Goods Amendment (2017 Measures No.1) Bill arguing that it was non-controversial! Which it is not!

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Six Skeptical Questions with Will Grant

Is this what you wanted to do when you were a kid? What first got you interested in your field?

As a kid I wanted to be an explorer. That’s a pretty tricky occupation these days, but I think trying to understand the world through science does some of the same things.

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