Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia project – A discussion

I am a PhD researcher looking into how information is curated online. In particular I study how curation has moved from being the pursuit of a singular expert within an institution such a museum, gallery or archive, to a collective endeavour in which many “citizen curators” (a term that I am developing) work together to curate content both off and online. I’m looking at this curation in a very similar way to the Web 2.0 phenomena of the citizen journalist, where technology has opened by avenues of participatory, public driven projects in an unprecedented manner. With this in mind my research focuses quite heavily the larger Wikimedia project, so my interest was immediately piqued by the Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia project.

We need to talk about TED

TED Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 23.14.54v564

TED is huge, and hugely important. But over the space of a few recent weeks, the most coveted positions on the TED website have featured a US general, a US army captain, and a photojournalist who had been embedded with the US military. What happens if people get this new message from TED, that there is a single story being promoted that aligns with the Western military?

Tom Cruise turned me into an Atheist – or Losing My Religion

On the 16th of July 2006 I gave up on religion. It was Tom’s fault. I forgave him ‘South Park’, I even forgave him Oprah’s couch. I could not forgive him standing up on that stage in Saint Hill, Southern England, next to our diminutive dictator and tell me that he was more dedicated, worked harder and suffered more for the Scientology cause than me and my Xenu fearing comrades. After all, I lived for years on less than £10.00 for a 140 hour work week. He arrived and swanned around in a Mercedes E500 and wore hand-crafted suits. I wore a rumpled looking Scientology interpretation of a naval officer’s uniform. He was arrogant, he berated us about dedication. After twenty two years of sweat and tears, I considered myself pretty damned dedicated. Well, I suppose I must thank him. A few months ruminating over this insulated, privileged Hollywood star and his sense of entitlement saw me leave Scientology forever and I became a mask wearing Anonymous and a very public author and critic of him and his cult.

Dublin Skeptics in the Pub – Martin Gardner Skeptic Supreme


Thursday 13 March, The Stags Head Pub at 20:30

Dubliner Colm Mulcahy is Professor of Mathematics at Spelman College, Atlanta, GA. He is currently on leave and visiting The American University in Washington, DC. He’s blogged for the MAA, Aperiodical, Huffington Post and Scientific American. He recently published the 380-page full-colour book “Mathematical Card Magic” (CRC Press). He was fortunate to know Martin Gardner for the last decade of his life.

Humanist Association of Ireland

I am just in the door from giving a talk to the Humanist Association of Ireland on what is means to be a skeptic and the story of the Dublin Skeptics in the Pub. I had a wonderful time talking to them and I hope I managed to communicate to them what skepticism means to me and what drives me to keep our group going and growing.

For anyone that is interested here is the Prezi of my talk:

The Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre – there I said it

This has been something that I have been meaning to write about for a long time, but between one thing and another it never happened. I have been spurred on to write this now as it has begun to dawn on me that people are beginning to use this as an example of the triumph of rationality in cultural institutions or is continuously trotted out as an example of how such institutions get science “wrong”.

So how good was the NASA Mars Rover PR campaign?

Without doubt the best known science-related public relations initiative of the last few years was NASA’s Curiosity mission to Mars.

In recent years NASA has faced shrinking budgets, which in turn has led to a cessation of manned spaceflight within the US. Their focus has been on robotic missions to nearby planets, Messenger to Mercury, Juno to Jupiter and of course the three main Martian rover missions, Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity.

Curiosity had an initial launch-date of September 2009 however, due to the late delivery of components, NASA delayed the launch (NASA 2011). This may have proved to be a boon in PR terms, as Curiosity was able to ride a zeitgeist of social media when it eventually landed in 2012.

CONvergence 2013 (#cvg2013)

Hi All,

This is a bit of a cross post from my blog ( re: my upcoming panels at  CONvergence in Minneapolis:

I’m heading to the twin cities for my most favourite of all the conventions (sorry OctoconCONvergence.

It’s all out geekery with books, films, radio plays, science, skepticism and party rooms.

I’m going to be on a number of panels, some of which are part of the SkepchickCon… So I’m super excited.

Here’s my “absolutely will be at as I am on the top table” schedule:

Thursday 4th July:

Neil Denny and Richard Saunders events

Never rains but it pours, and given that it is now April it is fitting that we have not one but two Dublin Skeptics events! Both will take place in the Exchange, 2 Exchange Street Upper.

First we have a visit from Little Atoms host Neil Denny giving us the talk The Little Atoms Road Trip: A Scientific Odyssey across America on Saturday 6th April at 6pm (Facebook and Google+ pages).