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Quiz Master!

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I hosted the Freethinker comedy trivia showdown between the Western Sydney Freethinkers and In Vino Veritas on Sunday afternoon at the Penrith School of Arts.

In Vino Veritas vs Three Thinkers Comedy quiz showdown

Sculpture by the Sea 2011

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Friday 19th November was a beautiful day to visit Sculpture By The Sea on the Bondi Beach to Tamarama beach walk.

Chocolate Science

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Wednesday 16th November, just last week, , I helped organise a Chocolate night for the Australian Science Communicators. Our presenter Galit Segev took us through the Journey of Chocolate, from tree to table. Galit explained how chocolate gains its gloss and snap from the interlocking of the cocoa butter crystals using little plastic chairs. You can hear my interview with Galit here


Newtown Festival

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Sunday I manned the Sydney Atheists/Western Sydney Freethinkers/Secular Party stall at the Newtown Festival. Newtown Festival is always awesome. There are friendly, curious people happy to talk, and lots of stalls of amazing stuff. I had to hold myself back from buying a contact-juggling crystal ball. Speaking of crystal balls, the Psychic healers had a stall immediately behind us, with regular queues for free healing sessions, and the Young Earth Creationists had their "Curious Earth" stall, not far away.







Jurassic Lounge

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The Australian Museum opened its doors from 5:30pm to 9:30pm during Summer for Jurassic Lounge. The museum became a nightclub with a bar, silent disco with live DJ, live bands, dancers, magicians, puppeteers, animal handlers, and a different view of the exhibits. They had a twitter treasure hunt, flashlight tours...Great fun!

Traditional freelance writer work system.

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It's been suggested your volunteer Freeline Committee really has been doing its job in covering current freelance issues.


All Freeline members who can make it are still invited to the meeting, of course, but it will be a much less formal pre-Christmas get together. Perhaps we can even have a toast to fair contracts forever!


The  MEAA officers who are working on freelance issues - Bede Payne and Sophie Miller - are still in the frame to join in, so if you can come, please let us know.


Details for your diaries are:


Location: The Lord Roberts Hotel, corner of Riley and Stanley streets, Darlinghurst.

Date and time: Tuesday, November 30, 6:30pm to about 8:30pm


RSVP: to  (so we have an idea of the numbers for catering).


There will again be a charge of $5 each, to cover the cost of snacks. Drinks will be at your discretion.


Wilson da Silva

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Controversy! Science! Beer! It's all there at Club Cosmos, their new 'science in the pub' event in Sydney where a panel of real live scientists debate the big issues. It's a night of humour, stimulating discussion and door prizes. It's the last one for the year, so don't miss it!

The topic: "Would the Earth be better off without us?"
The Panellists: Scott Rayburg, a fluvial geomorphologist and hydrologist at the University of Technology Sydney; Stephen Wroe, palaeontologist and palaeobiology expert at the University of UNSW; and David Warton, an ecological statistician also at University of UNSW. Chaired by Wilson da Silva, editor of COSMOS magazine.

24 November · 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Location: Harlequin Inn, Top Floor bar, 152-156 Harris St, Pyrmont
Facebook page:
There are $400 in prizes to give away including free subscriptions to COSMOS, DVDs, books, backpacks, t-shirts, mugs and baseball caps!

Brought to you by COSMOS and the Royal Institution of Australia. Made possible by a grant from the Council of Australasian Museum Directors with funding from the Science Connections Program of the Federal Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

Simon Taylor, master illusionist and mind reader, presents a special performance of Pieces of Mind in the Grand Lodge of the Sydney Masonic Centre on Friday, November 26, from 8:00 - 9:00PM.

Tickets are $15 each. from the Australian Skeptics. You don't have to be part of the TAMOZ convention to attend.

"The concept behind Pieces of Mind centres on my approach to solving life's little puzzles.  Having had a background in studying psychology, working with children with autism and speaking on the science of magic, the show demonstrates my journey that entails collecting pieces to the puzzle of the human mind.  How well can we read other people?  What can I know about how people think?  What are some of the subtle parts of human interaction that shape how we perceive each other? These questions and many others form the content and feats featured in my show.

However, it took a lot of development to reach this final premise. So I'd like to share some of the process with you here.

Being all about the mind, it was necessary that audience participation became a core element of the show.  However, I had to draw on all the performance resources I could to ensure I learned how to provide a non-confrontational yet engaging experience.  In addition to that, I needed to learn how to communicate my ideas without making it feel like a lecture.  I needed narrative, comedy, magic and a true portrayal of my earnestness.

It started with consultations with prodigy playwright, Matt Ziccone.  After seeing his theatre productions, and the accolades that followed them, I was fortunate enough to become friends with him, which as a bonus gave me his insight into story formation and scripting.

From there I continued to do my regular stand-up comedy spots around the Melbourne circuit, trying edgier and longer-form material.  A few preview shows and some invaluable feedback from more accomplished friends (I'm so tempted to name drop, but I'd rather uphold my own), the show felt much clearer and nearly ready for a full season.

Even with the material I had becoming stronger and more refined, I felt somewhat lacking in spontaneity on stage.  Out of pure coincidence, I discovered an improvisation workshop that has turned out to be the regular highlight of my week.  Learning to be more receptive to the ideas other people offer me has changed the way I engage my audience.

There came a point, as my knowledge from these different worlds amalgamated, where I decided to delete my initial stage show script and start over under the new title and premise: Pieces of Mind."

A SMD (surface-mount device) FTDI chip, on the...

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Toydeath are running a Circuit Bending workshop at the end of January 2011
It will help Toydeath get to the USA and we will be presenting at Dorkbot NYC!

This workshop is for artists and musicians or anyone who would
like to get into electronics. It will suit musicians who are
interested in making unique and cheap electronic instruments and
microphones. Installation Artists will find the skills to make
interactive circuits etc the workshop will cover

· Soldering
· Construction of audio cables.
· Assembling electronic circuits
· Circuit bending and toy modification. Modify an electronic toy to
create your own instrument!

Hands on and great fun, students would walk away with a basic
understanding of electronics and your own electronic instrument
and/or kit! All equipment and components provided.

It will take place on 29 and 30 of Jan 2011
11am to 4pm both days

This is a special workshop to help Toydeath get to the USA for a tour and cultural exchange. Please book at our Fundbreak page

Silicon Beach

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Ian in a suit for UTS

Image by iwoolf via Flickr

Worked hard all week and time to wind down with a drink and some like-minded company? Time for Silicon Beach Drinks!

This is an open networking/social drinks group with a tech/entrepreneurial flavor. Tech freelancers and entrepreneurs often don't have colleagues, but still would like to have Friday drinks after a long week of work... no program or presentations...

Everyone is always welcome, so no need to know anyone there.

6pm every Friday at

77 York Street

How to find us
"Find the group that seems to have fun and extremely good looking, that must be us... Or ask the barstaff."

Silicon Beach meetup page

Making Science As Pervasive As Sports

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  • All wired up for flying

Image by iwoolf via Flickr


Presented by
Australian Science Communicators

Dennis Schatz, Pacific Science Center,
Seattle, Washington State, USA

Tuesday 30TH NOV, 6.30 - 8 PM
Clarendon Hotel - Upstairs
156 Devonshire St, Surry Hills  5 minutes walk from Central Railway

Light catering provided free drink for ASC members.
Bar menu and drinks available. 

If we want a STEM literate public, then we need to focus on more than what happens in primary and secondary education where people spend only 3% of their lives. This means making STEM a lifelong, life-wide and life-deep activity ­ just like sports. Come hear Dennis Schatz, Senior Vice President at Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington, describe his institution's activities that seek to attain this dream. 

 Some of Dennis's interests include: 

  •   Co-directing Washington State LASER (Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform), Washington state¹s science education reform effort. More information is at Portal to the Public program that works with scientists from universities, government agencies and industries to help them effectively communicate with public audiences. More information is at


Agora 18th-24th November

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Hypatia, painted by Charles William Mitchell i...

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This movie is about the tragic loss of the Library of Alexandria. Starting from tomorrow 18th of November until the 24th of November. You will be able to see this movie at Chauvel Palace Cinemas. It deals with sensitive issues, so be prepared.

Release Date: 18 November, 2010
4th century A.D. Egypt under the Roman Empire... Violent religious upheaval in the streets of Alexandria spills over into the city's famous Library. Trapped inside its walls, the brilliant astronomer Hypatia and her disciples fight to save the wisdom of the Ancient World... Among them, the two men competing for her heart: the witty, privileged Orestes and Davus, Hypatia's young slave, who is torn between his secret love for her and the freedom he knows can be his if he chooses to join the unstoppable surge of the Christians.
Director: Alejandro Amenábar Cast: Rachel Weisz , Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac, Ashraf Barhom, Michael Lonsdale, Rupert Evans Duration: 127 mins Rating: MA15+ - Strong violence

Chauvel cinema cnr Oxford and Oatley Rd, Paddington NSW. Tel (02) 93615398

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The last Wednesday of every month, people meet up at Sappho's bookshop to discuss science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal stories in books, graphic novels, movies or TV. The next meeting is 24th November.

Time: 7pm

Place: Sappho's bookshop 51 Glebe Pt Rd Glebe

Facebook page:

Killing Skippy

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This month UTSpeaks free public lecture asks the question - how did kangaroos stop being wonders of the Australian bush, becoming only good for food or sport?

Download your invitation to UTSpeaks: Killing Skippy (pdf 299kb)

Based on cutting-edge UTS research, this public lecture addresses the contentious issues of harvesting and eating kangaroos as a means to protect the environment and examines the laws and regulations that govern the well-being of one of our national icons.

Date: Tuesday 30 November, 6pm drinks for 6.30pm start (concludes 7.45pm)
Venue: UTS City campus, University Hall, UTS Science Building 4, 745 Harris St Ultimo - please see the map
Cost: Free for alumni and friends
RSVP: By Monday 29 November by email to or phone (02) 9514 1734

Alumni are welcome to bring partners, friends and colleagues free of charge. If you know someone who has an interest in animal welfare, sustainability or the environment, please forward this invitation on to them.

Parking is available for those with a disability or special need in the Peter Johnson Building basement car park, 702-730 Harris St, Ultimo. To subscribe to the UTSpeaks public lecture series, register here.

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