Talks this week in London, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday..

September 14th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in onanism | 20 Comments »

image Sorry for the slightly late notice, I’m doing three talks this week in London, Monday in Holborn in a pub, Tuesday in King’s Cross in a Library, and Wednesday in Charing Cross Road in a bookshop.

Also I’ve been bullied into making a facebook page which is here:

I’ll post upcoming events here, and in the miniblog, and on that page, and will rig up an RSS feed to pipe a duplicate of the blog over there too. There’s a “group” called badscience which already has about 700 members, but I think the facebook people are transferring all of it over to the new “page”, because only a page can take an RSS feed. For more on the differences between “groups” and “pages” on facebook you might want to waste three hours of your life reading their fascinating technical support documents.

Monday – Skeptics In The Pub

Hi All,
It will be a year since we moved to The Penderel’s Oak this September, so to celebrate we have an extra special guest speaker.
Ben Goldacre is a Doctor of Chiropractic, gaining a First from Oxford Brookes University and a Masters in aromatherapy from the Strand Polytechnic.
He’s most famous for his column in The Grauniad, which can only be described as a users guide to alternative therapies.
He will be giving a talk on “Bad Science”, which, by strange coincidence, is also the name of his book which is currently in the Amazon top 20 bestsellers list and #1 in the popular science list.*
I’m sure Ben will be happy to sign your copies of his book if you bring one along to SitP next Monday after the talk – or until his hand drops off
If you can’t make it down on Monday, Ben will be speaking again at Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross road on Wednesday 17th.
* Some, or all of this biography may be inaccurate or fabricated.
In an age where so-called science is said to be the answer to everything from weight loss to personal happiness and unlimited wealth, join us as Ben Goldacre explains just what science won’t do for you – and why this science craze may not have all the answers.
Monday 15 September @ 7pm
The Penderel’s Oak (The Cellar Bar)
283-288 High Holborn
It will be packed so don’t be late and expect to see anything other than maybe the top of his head.

Tuesday – School for Gifted Children
School for Gifted Children

Tue Sep 16 British Library, 96 Euston Rd, London, NW1 2DB

That erudite wonder Robin Ince hosts a night with people enthusing about things they have found out about stuff. Tonight’s guests include the Guardian’s ‘Bad Science’ columnist Ben Goldacre, Mark Thomas, Josie Long and Gavin Osborn.

British Library,96 Euston Rd, London, NW1 2DB, UK

Geo: 51.529987, -0.126988

Category: Comedy

Times: 6.30pm

Price: £7.50, £5 concs

Tube: Kings Cross St Pancras

Wednesday – Foyles Bookshop

Wednesday 17 September, 6:30 pm

The Gallery, Foyles, 113-119 Charing Cross Rd, WC2H 0EB

“Tickets are free, but must be reserved by emailing

If you like what I do, and you want me to do more, you can: buy my books Bad Science and Bad Pharma, give them to your friends, put them on your reading list, employ me to do a talk, or tweet this article to your friends. Thanks! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

20 Responses

  1. Mojo said,

    September 14, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    See you tomorrow. Are we going to have a Rath-style triumphalist rally?

  2. ScottishNaturalist said,

    September 15, 2008 at 4:36 am

    Hi Ben,

    Are you doing a book tour at all. Visiting Glasgow for any talks?

    I’ll fund a stab vest for you lol

    Loving the book so far. Just onto the homoeopathy chapter.



  3. ScottishNaturalist said,

    September 15, 2008 at 7:24 am

    Hi Again,

    Perhaps you can give me some advice. I recently got a smoothie making device and I am now addicted too it. I make smoothies all the time and drink like 1-2 pints of fruit a day(with some added milk or low fat yoghurt). What I would like too know is this, am I losing any nutritional content by smoothie-ing(not a word surely) the fruit?




  4. djchadderton said,

    September 15, 2008 at 8:04 am

    Will you be turning up on time for these then Ben or making a grand theatrical entrance halfway through like in Edinburgh? 😉

  5. stever said,

    September 15, 2008 at 11:35 am

    there was a piece in then guardian on smoothies nutritional content a few months ago – i’m sure a search will turn it up.

  6. HowardW said,

    September 15, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    When nutritional content of a food is being analysed, I think it is standard practice for the food to be blitzed into a pulp as the first step. Given this fact, I think it’s safe to say that the nutritional content of the whole fruit will be the same as the nutritional content of the fruit-as-smoothie.

    But, there are some related questions which are not as easy to answer:

    If I eat the fruit as fruit, do I absorb the same things as when I eat the fruit as a smoothie? Are the same things absorbed more quickly/slowly? Do I absorb more of some things if they are eaten as fruit vs. smoothie?

    Don’t know the answers to these questions, but I expect there are some differences here – possibly not enough to worry about though.


  7. sean.salvador said,

    September 15, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    Howard is right scottish nat. When testing foods in most situations you use a piece of equipment called a stomacher which is basically a blender/masher/pulping device.
    I doubt you lose any real nutritonal value as that is why nature furnished us with things called teeth and a tongue 🙂

  8. Picklish said,

    September 15, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    getting off the topic here, but following on from sean.salvador scot nat, howardw…..

    does anyone know why i was told by my big (evil) pharma rep that patients(for insomnia)at the lab where i work are unable to crush their new insomnia pills before ingesting them, as, according to the G**x*S**th**ine harridan, this would invalidate the study on the new drug. Would it?

    Soz Benjamin, i cannae afford to buy you London pints. You should return to Scotland, Scottish Naturist and myself will put you up, im sure.

  9. marcusavgreen said,

    September 15, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    For those of you who can get to see Ben speek I highly recommend it. I saw him at the Big Chill and it was like Marcus Brigstock only with far more amusing science and backround statistics. (And no gitwizard of course).

    While the rest of the Big Chill was burning people in wicker men (or whateve they were doing on a Sunday night) Ben was talking to us about double blind testing and the vitamin supplements biz. Faaaan tastic. Go see him its great.

  10. ScottishNaturalist said,

    September 15, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Hi All,

    Thanks for the feedback. I didn’t think of

    “When nutritional content of a food is being analysed, I think it is standard practice for the food to be blitzed into a pulp as the first step.”


    “When testing foods in most situations you use a piece of equipment called a stomacher which is basically a blender/masher/pulping device.”

    Ironically enough I am a currently in my honours year of a microbiology degree and I have used a stomacher machine a few times.

    My friend said the main thing I should worry about is the high amount of fructose I could be getting if I drink too many smoothies. However it is a quick way to get some tasty fruit and it makes me eat a lot more fruit than normal.

    @Picklish. I don’t know if it would invalidate the study but the pill is given to you in that form as a specific dose and it will have a specific time of effect. I imagine if you crush the pill up the effect may happen quicker because of the larger surface area.


    MY NAME NATURALIST MEANS THE SAME AS MATERIALIST. Just so you don’t think I am a nut naturopath or something lol.

    Loving Ben’s book by the way. About half way through. Informative and funny.

  11. dustbinman said,

    September 15, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    Totally different topic, apologies. Half way through the book, and saw the first classic example today. There’s no background to this story whatsoever. I’m *so* glad to see it took a specialist ‘Medical Correspondent’ to write this:

  12. metherton said,

    September 16, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    Damn, damn, damn. There are no more places left for the Foyles event. When is the next one? I want to buy two more copies to give away and have them – and the copy I already have – signed.

  13. Ben Goldacre said,

    September 17, 2008 at 1:25 am

    v kind, there’ll be more but i can’t organise things (constitutionally incapable) and i only really like doing free events, if anyone ever wants to organise a big room in a pub in london (or nearby) and a microphone i’ll happily speak into it.

  14. stever said,

    September 17, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Ben has ommitted to mention that he is also speaking at the Release conference tomorrow morning at 9.30 in Swiss cottage:


  15. stever said,

    September 17, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Ben has ommitted to mention that he is also speaking at the Release conference tomorrow morning at 9.30 in Swiss cottage:


  16. metherton said,

    September 17, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    I can’t make 9.30 in Swiss Cottage, so I’ll just have to buy the extra copies and forge the signatures.

  17. Getonyerbike said,

    September 18, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    Apparently homeopaths, nutritionists and magnet therapists have been infiltrating Ben’s talks. You can spot them by buying my Crystal Crank Detector (CCD). Its quite simple; you wear it somewhere conspicuous (around your neck) and if anyone looks impressed then they’ve been detected. Only £799.99 or slightly cheaper here:

  18. Robert Carnegie said,

    September 20, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Accordiing to
    that is a sort of feminine equivalent of the tuxedo shirt front.

    If you’re sure of your version then they want sorting out, maybe. A stub article at least. Or they probably have the thing with a different name.

    Presumably you can just print out the Crystal Crank Detector on a colour printer onto photo paper or card and it’ll work. Let’s see one with an eye tracking camera though.

  19. rd said,

    September 22, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Enjoyed the Foyles event and have read the book with great pleasure – well, you know, some pleasure, some rage and disbelief, but great avidity.
    Just thought I’d answer your query in the book as to how long it takes to find someone who knows the difference between mean, median and mode: no time, really, as it was the other person in the room at the time. (I knew too, of course, but then I’m the kind of person that visits this website.) The third person in the house knew that one was ‘when you add all the numbers up and divide’, but couldn’t remember whether that was the mean or the median, and that another was ‘the number that occurs most frequently’, but wasn’t sure which that was, and couldn’t remember the third way.
    He, incidentally, is the only one of us with a BSc (an electrical engineer); I’m as humanities-graduate as you get (Classics); the other one in the know read Law, but has since done a Masters in Research including a quantitative analysis paper.

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