Popular Culture talks in London

Jan
15
Tue
Lab Rats: Why Modern Work Makes People Miserable
Jan 15 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Lab Rats: Why Modern Work Makes People Miserable @ Conway Hall | England | United Kingdom

Personality tests. Desktop surveillance. Acronyms. Diminishing job security. Dan Lyons, bestselling author of Disrupted and writer on the HBO series Silicon Valley, deliciously roasts the new work climate, while asking what can be done to recoup some sanity and dignity for the expanding class of middle-class serfs.

First, you are lucky to be here. Also, we do not care about you. We offer no job security. This is not a career. We provide no training or career development. We will pay you as little as possible. You will work long hours under constant pressure and with no privacy. We will read your email. HR will not help you. Your managers may not know what they are doing. They also may be abusive. If you file a complaint you may be fired. You may be fired even though you’re doing a good job. You may be fired for no reason at all. We do not offer day care. There are snacks and beer in the kitchen.

Personality tests. Team-building exercises. Forced Fun. Desktop surveillance. Open-plan offices. Acronyms. Diminishing job security. Hot desking. Pointless perks. Hackathons.

If any of the above sound familiar, welcome to the modern economy. In this hilarious, but deadly serious book, bestselling author Dan Lyons looks at how the world of work has slowly morphed from one of unions and steady career progression to a dystopia made of bean bags and unpaid internships. And that’s the ‘good’ jobs…

With the same wit that made Disrupted an international bestseller, Lyons shows how the hypocrisy of Silicon Valley has now been exported globally to a job near you. Even low-grade employees are now expected to view their jobs with a cult-like fervour, despite diminishing prospects of promotion. From the gig economy to the new digital oligarchs, Lyons deliciously roasts the new work climate, while asking what can be done to recoup some sanity and dignity for the expanding class of middle-class serfs.

Dan Lyons is an author, journalist, and screenwriter. He has co-produced and written for the HBO series Silicon Valley, was technology editor at Newsweek and was the creator of the ground-breaking viral blog “The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs” (AKA “Fake Steve Jobs”). His first book, Disrupted, was a New York Times Bestseller.

Jan
24
Thu
I’m A Joke And So Are You
Jan 24 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
I’m A Joke And So Are You @ Conway Hall

Comic Robin Ince uses the life of the stand-up as a way of exploring some of the biggest questions we all face. Where does anxiety come from? How do we overcome imposter syndrome? What is the key to creativity? How can we deal with grief?

What better way to understand ourselves than through the eyes of comedians – those who professionally examine our quirks on stage daily? In this touching and witty book, I’m a Joke and So Are You: A Comedian’s Take on What Makes Us Human, award-winning presenter and comic Robin Ince uses the life of the stand-up as a way of exploring some of the biggest questions we all face. Where does anxiety come from? How do we overcome imposter syndrome? What is the key to creativity? How can we deal with grief?

Informed by personal insights from Robin as well as interviews with some of the world’s top comedians, neuroscientists and psychologists, this is a hilarious and often moving primer to the mind. But it is also a powerful call to embrace the full breadth of our inner experience – no matter how strange we worry it may be!

Robin Ince is co-presenter of the award-winning BBC Radio 4 show, The Infinite Monkey Cage. He has won the Time Out Outstanding Achievement in Comedy, was nominated for a British Comedy Award for Best Live show and has won three Chortle Awards. He has toured his stand up across the world from Oslo to LA to Sydney, both solo and with his radio double act partner, Professor Brian Cox. He is the radio critic for the Big Issue and appears regularly on both television and radio. He has two top-ten iTunes podcast series to his name.

Apr
3
Wed
Making evil: the science of humanity’s dark side (w/ Dr. Julia Shaw @drjuliashaw)
Apr 3 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm

What is it about “evil” that we find so compelling? From our obsession with serial killers to violence in pop culture, we seem inescapably drawn to the stories of monstrous acts and the people who commit them.

In her talk, Dr Julia Shaw uses a compelling mix of science, popular culture, and real-life examples to break down timely and important issues. How similar is your brain to a psychopath’s? How many people have murder fantasies? Can A.I. be evil? Do your sexual proclivities make you a bad person? Who becomes a terrorist?

This is a wide-ranging exploration into a fascinating, darkly compelling subject.

Talks are held on the first Wednesday of the month starting at 7:30 pm unless otherwise noted. We meet in the Star and Garter pub, 60 Old Woolwich Road, London SE10 9NY. The Star and Garter pub is close to many transport links and is approximately 7 minutes walk from Maze Hill Overground Station, or 10 minutes walk from the Cutty Sark DLR Station. Although the pub does not serve food, there are plenty of excellent restaurants in Greenwich, including several very nearby on Trafalgar Road. Attendance is free (unless otherwise stated) although a small donation to help cover expenses is appreciated. There is no need to book in advance (again, unless otherwise stated).

For further information, visit http://greenwich.skepticsinthepub.org/ or contact Prof Chris French (email: [email protected]).

NB: You are strongly recommended to register (at no cost) with the “Psychology of the Paranormal” email list (run by Professor Chris French, Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London) to ensure that you are informed of any future changes to the programme as well as news of related events. You can also follow @chriscfrench on Twitter for announcements (including news of last-minute cancellations, changes of speaker, etc.).

Visit: http://www.gold.ac.uk/apru/email-network/