Wednesday 15 September 2010

Welsh Skeptics head west

Is "sorry I haven't been blogging lately" the most tedious way to begin a blogpost? Probably. I'm writing an article about Cassini. This is exciting in a different way from my Galaxy Zoo one, because this is a subject I know very little about. Which is a great challenge, and allows me to prove my worth as a researcher of new things. I never knew I could get so fascinated with the intricacies of elliptical orbits and dust damage prevention . . .

Anyway, wonderful news: it looks like Wales is suddenly getting very interested in skepticism! Look - there's now a West Wales Skeptics, who have also set up a blog. These folks will actually be easier for me to get to (harder for speakers, though, I fear) than Cardiff, which of course is mine and Dean's. I am thrilled, folks - many congratulations, please use me as a speaker (I have a topic brewing . . .); and if you're in west Wales and could attend or indeed be a speaker, do please get in touch with them.

Here's their current logo, though they're looking for more - among other things. You can follow them on Twitter at @SITPWestWales. Now that Skeptics in Wales is actually splitting into regions, we've renamed our @WalesSITP twitter account to @CardiffSITP.

And Cardiff? We kick off five days from now! I'm beginning to get nervous. But realistically I shall be genuinely surprised if the night doesn't turn out to be wonderful. We'll have Simon Perry and Jack of Kent as speakers; we'll have Councillor John Dixon of #stupidscientology and Rhys Morgan of #bleachgate as guests of honour. (Cllr Dixon, have you got a preferred link for me to use to describe you? There's a lot more to everyone than who decided to launch stupid complaints about them!)

If much of the above might as well be in Outer Mongolian to you, don't feel left out, please just come along anyway - Simon's talk is absolutely hilarious; you'll learn a lot about science, evidence, trials, and how to be evil; and it's a nice social evening too. You can chat or just listen as you please. I'll make every effort to come and say hello. Dean is also a great comedian, even if he is planning to fling Rhys out of the window if he repeats too many counterarguments. You can have dinner while you're listening to the lecture (or before or after, of course). It's £3 per head, which we hope to reduce with time - we're getting two speakers in from far away and may have to pay for the room too, so right now we need to get some funds in!

On another totally unrelated subject, today's Internet trophies include a funny-smelling planet and a bunch of animals that want to join in sports games. And the Zoo limericks are starting to involve Biblical adventures. More seriously, if you haven't yet, you should read about the proposed science cuts. A great many other countries are not doing this because science is a major contributor to the economy - 45% according to Brian Cox! I have nothing to say besides what's already been said by so many people; the only new angle I can possibly come up with is this: although I want projects like the Zooniverse to become even more a part of science and education than they are, I hope they won't be expected to pick up the pieces. Because then we'd probably have to be cutting costs and jumping through somebody else's hoops. That's my gut feeling. I could be wrong.

Yes, my life is as chaotic as this post right now. Random, I know. I haven't given up plotting with the Pembrokeshire Tea Company either . . .

Hope to see you on Monday evening. 7.30 p.m., the Promised Land pub, Cardiff. We'll keep slightly better on topic than this post has. Maybe.