The world of spam

Spam has been a huge part of online life for over 20 years. Now a major source of malicious activity, it’s more likely to try to infect you with ransomware or steal your online identity as it is to advertise unwanted products.
Jon Thompson is a threat intelligence analyst at SE Labs, which performs independent tests of antivirus products in a laboratory environment. He will discuss the threats facing our inboxes, the criminal economy that surrounds them, how samples are captured for study and testing, and how to spot most common scams.

Talk starts 6.30pm, Vale Inn, Adlington Road, Bollington

All welcome, no charge. Early arrival advised to be sure of getting a seat.

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Clouds and Thunderstorms

Monday 12 March 2018
Clive Saunders writes “We live in Mellor, which is a wonderful place for cloud spotting – and a popular location for thunderstorms. Before boundary changes, we were in the wettest place in Cheshire! In the talk we will look at clouds from inside out and see how they develop into thunderstorms. The Atmospheric Physics Research group in Manchester University has been at the heart of thunderstorm research for over 50 years – we think we have solved the question of thunderstorm charging and lightning initiation. Our work
involves thunderstorm simulations in the laboratory together with flying through storms in instrumented aircraft – very addictive once you get used to it.

The future? Lightning has a particular signature that can be detected worldwide, so we can measure global lightning activity and relate it to climate change. So far the results are not clear – more research is needed!”

Dr Clive Saunders is from the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, > Centre for Atmospheric Science, The University of Manchester

Talk starts 6.30 pm, Vale Inn, Adlington Road.
All welcome, no charge. Best to arrive early to be sure of getting a seat.

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DNA and Archaeology

Monday 9 October 2017

The discovery in 1989 that small amounts of ‘ancient’ DNA are sometimes preserved in the bones and teeth of skeletons has led to many new developments in archaeology. These include the ability to identify the family relationships between groups of skeletons that are buried together, as well as new ways of investigating diseases such as tuberculosis and leprosy in the past.
Ancient DNA has also enabled the genomes of Neanderthals and other types of extinct human to be studied. Neanderthals and members of our own species lived side by side in Europe for 15,000 years until Neanderthals died out about 30,000 years ago. During that period there was interbreeding between Neanderthals and humans, which has resulted in us inheriting some Neanderthal genes, with good and bad impacts on our physiology and health.
Professor Terry Brown has worked on ancient DNA since 1990, first at UMIST and then at the University of Manchester. He has recently completed a project showing that two Egyptian mummies in the Manchester Museum collection were half-brothers, and he has also worked at Mycenae and Vergina in Greece. His presentation will cover all aspects of ancient DNA research including the latest results from studies of the Neanderthal genome.

Talk starts at 6.30pm. All welcome, no charge.

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Building a Better Lighttrap: the Square Kilometre Array

Monday 10 July 2017
Astronomy is based on the detection and analysis of light we receive from objects in the sky. It follows that progress in our understanding of the universe comes through advances in light-detection technology: we continue to build bigger and more sensitive telescopes in order to address challenging problems and discover new phenomena.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) represents the next major advance in radio astronomy. Scheduled for construction in the early 2020s, it will be one of the largest scientific projects in the world. The project is a global partnership of 10 countries, with its international headquarters on the campus at Jodrell Bank.

Professor Gary Davis is an astrophysicist. After a spell in academia at a Canadian university, and many years as Director of the UK’s observatories on Hawaii, he is delighted to be back in the UK and living in Cheshire. In this presentation he will describe the world-wide effort to design and build the SKA. Along the way he may well diverge into other topics, depending on how many pints he is given.

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The lost art of medicine

Monday 8 May, 6.30pm
Talk by Dr Nicholas Fraser, consultant in pain management at Stepping Hill

My talk will briefly cover the history and changing face of Medicine in regards to the management of pain. I will also discuss some of the ongoing difficulties and controversies surrounding prescription opioids.

Talk starts 6.30pm. All welcome. No charge.

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Pint of Science

Pint of science is an event in mid May in central Manchester. The series of talks (not free, unfortunately, but only £4 or so) includes a talk on 15 May given by some of the clinical staff from Jamie Ellingford’s laboratory (The Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine) that may be of interest: Whose genome is it anyway?. This talk says: ‘Throughout the evening, we will take you on the journey of the DNA sample from a test in the lab to a potentially life-changing result. We will then explore some of the ethical dilemmas around genome sequencing, the information it provides and its privacy and safety.’

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Histopathology and the science behind treating breast cancer [title tbd]

Monday 12 February 2018

Talk by Dr Roger Hunt, Consultant Histopathologist at University Hospital of South Manchester
Details to follow

Talk starts 6.30pm. All welcome, no charge.

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Investigating poisoning

Monday 11 September 2017

Details to follow

Talk by Dr Ian Watson, Retired Consultant Clinical Biochemist, formerly Clinical Director at Aintree Hospital for Pathology

Talk starts at 6.30pm.
All welcome, no charge.

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Bugs, bites and parasites

Monday 13 March
Infectious diseases transmitted by insects have been in the news recently with the Zika outbreak. It has been evident for some time that new products are needed to control the insect vectors. A 10 year programme to develop and use new insect control products, that are now saving many lives, will be discussed.

Talk by Janet Hemingway, CBE FRS FMedSci FRCP
Talk begins 6.30pm. All welcome – no charge.

Professor Hemingway initially trained as a geneticist and is currently Professor of Insect Molecular Biology and Director of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, with 450 staff based in Liverpool, Malawi and several other tropical locations. She has 38 years’ experience working on the biochemistry and molecular biology of specific enzyme systems associated with xenobiotic resistance. She has been Principal Investigator on projects well in excess of £60 million including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded Innovative Vector Control Consortium.

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Cheshire RIGS website

As per the talk on Monday 13 February, RIGS are geodiversity sites of special local importance and given added conservation protection by Local Authorities once designated.

Sites near to Bollington include:
Kerridge hill
Windgather rocks
Gawsworth common
Tegg’s nose
Quarry bank mill

Every summer Kate Riddington does a geology walk with the ranger at Tegg’s Nose country park if people are interested.

The Cheshire RIGS website is here.

In their shop you can download a leaflet of geological sites to visit in Cheshire (£1) and a geological trail round Macclesfield (50p).

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