What we're about

The Merseyside Skeptics Society is a non-profit organisation which aims to develop and support the skeptical community on Merseyside. The society was founded in February 2009 and holds regular events in Liverpool City Centre. The society also publishes three podcasts, Skeptics with a K, InKredulous and Be Reasonable; is behind the 10:23 Campaign and, together with the Greater Manchester Skeptics, organises the QED conference.

Upcoming events (2)

Professor Lydia Hayes: Is labour law a matter of public health?

A recent newcomer to Liverpool, Professor Lydia Hayes explores the evidence connecting labour law to the state of public health in the UK. Who works where, and the arrangements under which they do so, are key drivers of public health outcomes – yet the protection of our collective health is a matter woefully overlooked in the way that standards of employment are governed in law.

Lydia draws on examples from court decisions, equality laws, safety regulations and the protection of wages to show that what passes as lawful in working life can be harmful to public health and substantially shorten our lives. She argues that ignoring the connection between employment, law and public health may be convenient for law-makers who seek to paint public health as a luxury afforded only in the context of strong economic performance. However, for those who are more attentive to the evidence, it offers the potential to rethink how we regulate the world of work and why.

Lydia is Professor of Labour Rights at Liverpool School of Law and Social Justice. She is author of the multi-award winning book Stories of Care: A Labour of Law (2017), a Principal Investigator for Wellcome Trust on the regulation of care work, and has published widely on trade union rights, minimum wage, equal pay, migrant workers, gender and class.

Sophie Nightingale-Examining people’s ability to identify real&fake visual media

Sophie Nightingale - Is this real? Examining people’s ability to identify real and fake visual media.

In recent decades society has seen incredible advances in digital technology, which has led to the wide availability of cheap and easy-to-use software for creating highly sophisticated fake visual content. Fake images and videos bring potential threats to society as they can be used for ill-intended purposes including, for example, non-consensual sexual imagery, fraud, and disinformation. The scope for misuse is reduced if people are able to distinguish between real and fake content—but can they? In this talk, I’ll describe my research examining this question in relation to a range of manipulation types, from using Photoshop to edit images through to use of artificial intelligence to synthesise faces of people who do not exist in the world.

Sophie is a Lecturer in Psychology at Lancaster University. She is a cognitive psychologist and her main interest is the intersection of technology with human cognition, particularly in security, legal, and forensic contexts. Her research draws on psychological and computational techniques to examine how emerging technologies enable increasingly sophisticated manipulation of content and the associated potential threats to society. Her work also aims to identify ways to improve the detection of such content. She previously completed her postdoc at the University of Berkeley, California and PhD at the University of Warwick.

Past events (169)

Skeptics in the Pub Social

Dr Duncan's