Archive for the ‘Foundation’ Category

Announcing the 2014 Holiday Food Drive

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 | Foundation, News

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We’re pleased to announce the launch of the Humanist Action Group 2014 Holiday Food Drive for local homeless shelters in Leeds. Last year we managed to collect over £3,000 worth of donations and this year will mark our fifth anniversary.

We’re looking for donations of food, toiletries and clothing, as well as time and money to run the operation and buy more stuff. Learn more on the Humanist Action Group website or join us on Facebook.

Anxiety Leeds goes fortnightly

Sunday, October 26th, 2014 | Foundation, News

We are making some exciting changes at Anxiety Leeds. Most notably our meetings are going to be moving to fortnightly. From November, we will be meeting on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month. We are also moving venue. Leeds General Infirmary have kindly agreed to host us, so we will be moving to B36 in the Clarendon Wing.

The group has been doing really well recently with around a dozen people attending each session. With our new schedule we hope this will allow people to be even more engaged with the group.

Robin Williams, 1951-2014

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 | Foundation, News

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I, like many people, was saddened to hear about the apparent suicide of Robin Williams. Loved by many for his work as an actor in Aladdin, Jumanji, Dead Poets Society, Good Morning Vietnam, Patch Adams, Flubber and above all here in the UK – Mrs. Doubtfire. This is to list just a few of the films he has starred in and to say nothing of his stand-up career.

Williams death has, at least briefly, shed a light on mental health issues in the wider public consciousness. I think this is a good thing. The more light we can bring to it, the better.

However, this only has value if we can capitalise on this attention and use it to make a positive difference for society. Which is why I am going to shamelessly use this opportunity to ask you to donate to Anxiety Leeds. You only get these opportunities every so often, and my pride is definitely less important than working to prevent more people who are struggling with mental health issues trying to take their own life.

At Anxiety Leeds we run a monthly peer-support group. To be most effective, we need to move to fortnightly. We have the volunteers ready, but currently we lack the funds to do this. Can you help us?

A Look at James Joyce and Photography

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 | Foundation, Humanism

For the June meeting of Leeds Skeptics, Georgina Binnie presented a talk “A Look at James Joyce and Photography”.

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Professor Liane Benning at Leeds Skeptics

Friday, May 30th, 2014 | Foundation, Humanism

Earlier this month Professor Liane Benning presented a talk on life in extreme environments at Leeds Skeptics.

This collided with two unfortunate events. Firstly, due to the rare day of hot sunny weather, turn out was down. Second, due to time commitments I had not brought the video camera to record the talk as it takes a long time to process, edit and publish it. These were both big mistakes as Professor Benning presented one of the most interesting talks we have had.

It turns out that she has spent much of the last decade going to Svalbard and testing Mars rovers for NASA and ESA. Officially she is a biogeochemist and moved effortlessly between different scientific disciplines. By the end of the talk I was sitting there feeling like I had wasted my life while Gabrielė was trying to sign up to go on the next expedition.

I know Headingley Cafe Scientifique were trying to poach her to speak at their group too. if they do book her and you have not seen the talk, I highly recommend attending!

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Getting serious about anxiety

Monday, May 26th, 2014 | Foundation, Thoughts

I was recently passed an article by The Priory Group entitled “Anxiety – are you taking it serious?

It talks about how common anxiety is and how people do not take it seriously. It then shows twenty photos of people holding up signs with messages such as “don’t be such a drama queen” and “it must be horrible being you!”.

Powerful stuff. But is it accurate? Because if it isn’t, we could be unnecessarily worrying people from being open about their issues.

It is easy to pick out a couple of anecdotes that reflect badly on a certain situation. Doing so proves nothing more than that you are entirely qualified to become a journalist for the Huffington Post. However, if you want to make an important point, I think you need to back it up with some actual statistics. How many people were surveyed? What percentage of people report a negative experience?

The reason I ask is that I do not believe the percentage would be high. I have usually found the experience of being open about anxiety a positive one. So have many people. Indeed an overwhelming majority of people who attend Anxiety Leeds have. Of course I am working of anecdotal evidence as well, but the least we can say is that do not know either way whether most people have a positive or negative experience.

How about the control group?

Further, I would argue that you need to factor in a control group.

Yes, some people might make negative comments about anxiety. However, people make negative comments about a variety of conditions. Have you tried having flu as a man? Nobody has any sympathy for you. “Oh, man flu again, poor you.” It’s horrible. I have never experienced anything like that regarding anxiety.

Okay, but why is it important?

Selecting anecdotes without publishing evidence to back it up is harmful because you cannot substantiate the claims you making. Which means they might not be true. But people might believe them anyway.

This is primarily harmful to people suffering from anxiety. Mental health is the new gay and we need people to come out about it. Publishing articles that suggest that anyone who does will be subject to ridicule and abuse will only encourage people to keep their problems suppressed.

This is bad for them and bad for society. If we want to encourage people to be open about mental health difficulties they are facing, we need to reassure them coming out is a good move.

Casting Light on Evidence

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 | Foundation, Humanism

For the April meeting of Leeds Skeptics, Dr Paul Marchant presented a talk entitled “Casting Light on Evidence … & Evidence on Light”. The talk looked at how data is used on public policy making, to varying degrees of success.

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New website

Thursday, March 27th, 2014 | Foundation, News

We’re pleased to announce the launch of the new Chris Worfolk Foundation website.

The updated site features an overhaul of all the content to bring it up-to-date, a new CMS to allow us to make it easier to keep it updated, and a a brand new design which is mobile friendly.

Widening the View – Looking at the limits of Human Perception

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 | Foundation, Humanism

Paul Hopwood had previously spoken at Leeds Skeptics on the topic of “You Know Less Than You Think”. If you missed it, you can watch it online. He has since developed a follow-on talk, “Widening the View – Looking at the limits of Human Perception”, which he delivered for us earlier this week.

As ever, Paul delivered an interesting talk, though it is hard to listen to it all the way through without having an existential crisis. Not to mention the many additions to my reading list!

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A Galileo Day Skeptics

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 | Foundation, Humanism

When I saw Galileo Day fell on a Saturday I immediately thought that would be an ideal day to have a Skeptics event. Being only three days after Darwin Day, I asked Gabrielė to present a talk on how viruses affect evolution. She very kindly obliged.

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