Monthly Archives: July 2012


I had a email from the organisers of Questival. It sounds like a lot of fun and I wish I was able to go myself.

Anyway, here is their press release.

Questival is THE Festival for Young Freethinkers this Summer

Young freethinkers are causing a stir this summer at Questival, the biggest camp for atheist youth in the UK. Started 3 years ago as an alternative to religious summer camps, Questival is a mentally and physically active weekend for young adults with a naturalistic worldview. It will be held between 3rd – 5th August near Stratford-upon-Avon with the aim of entertaining, inspiring and blowing away the myth that atheists are all cantankerous old men!

Confirmed events include the Big Questival Challenge; Alom Shaha, author of “The Young Atheist’s Handbook”, talking about what it means to be a young non-believer; a mysterious and magical ghost cruise; Skeptical podcaster-reporters, the Pod Delusion LIVE (and in the field) with more speakers workshops, music, comedy to be announced!

Andrew West, Questival Coordinator, said: “Questival 2011 was such a success that we were being asked about this year’s event before we’d left the campsite,” adding, “Questival is the one time per year that skeptics, naturalists, rationalists and humanists from all over the country get to spend a weekend enjoying each other’s company while being entertained, enlightened and enchanted.”

Questival is organised by the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Student Societies (AHS). President Jenny Bartle said: “Providing a secular alternative to religious summer camps helps to build a community for young people who are interested in non-religious adventures.”

BSS Visit to Culham Centre for Fusion Energy

Attention geeks! I think you’re going to like this.

A little while ago at Reading Skeptics In The Pub I met a chap with quite possibly the best opening line I’ve ever heard: “Hi, I’m Nick. I’m sometimes in charge of the hottest place in the universe.”

Nick Balshaw works at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) near Abingdon, where he is Diagnostic Engineering Group Leader for the Joint European Torus (JET), the world’s largest and most powerful tokamak. And quite wonderfully, Nick has offered to give some of us skeptics a tour of his workplace.

So we have a reservation for a small group to visit on Wednesday 14 November, to see the JET and MAST fusion experiments and to meet some of the scientists and engineers. This tour starts at 18:30 and finishes around 21:30 and it totally free, but as the CCFE website states:

  • The tours are not suitable for children below the age of 14
  • A significant amount of walking is involved during the tours
  • People with pacemakers or other medical implants will not be able to access certain areas.

There are only 8 spaces left on this visit so if you want to come along, don’t tarry. Fill in your details below, I’ll be in touch to confirm your place on the trip and then we can sort out car-sharing and such details nearer the time.

Don’t fret too much if you don’t make the cut. CCFE hold public open evenings most months so you may get another chance if you contact them directly, but beware that these evenings are fully booked many months in advance.

UPDATE (0900, 22/7/012) : Wow, what a great response! Only 1 place remaining now.

UPDATE (1204, 22/7/012) : That’s it, all places taken. Apologies to those who missed out.