Randi in Holland, last week. Interviewed by Mr. Martijn van Calmthout, photographed by someone or other, and publicly overdosing on homeopathic sleeping pills. Don't worry, folks: He's okay. (And sorry about the shaky camera in the last cut -- for various reasons, I had to carry our tiny little camera in one hand.) - BKT
I hope you're planning on joining me at The Amaz!ng Meeting in less than two weeks, and this is your last chance to register before prices go up to late registration rates. Don't miss out!
Leading thinkers, science communicators, and best-selling authors like Susan Jacoby, Dan Ariely, Susan Blackmore, Jerry Coyne, Sanal Edamuruku, Faye Flam, Susan Haack, Marty Klein, Michael Mann, Cara Santa Maria, and so many more, are joining us for the first time this year, all focusing on scientific skepticism, and how to "fight the fakers." Happily for us all, many of our old friends like Penn & Teller, Steve Novella, Todd Robbins, Michael Shermer and Jamy Ian Swiss will be joining us again, as well.
As I've said so often before, TAM is unique, exciting, and memorable, and I can't point to any other such event that's as truly amazing. And don't forget that if you book before June 30, you will save $125 off of the late registration rate!
Each year at The Amazing Meeting, a presentation is made remembering the people of skepticism who have died since the previous year’s event. Advocates and supporters of skepticism and science are remembered of course, in the "In Memoriam" section of the presentation. But we also remember our cultural competitors who have passed on as well, in the "Passages" section. This year we also included some individuals who had died in previous years but who had been missed in previous presentations.
Here is the presentation as it appeared at TAM 2014 this year.
The presentation was designed and produced by Daniel and Cheryl Loxton. The information was researched by Tim Farley with help from Tim Binga, Kendrick Frazier, Sharon Hill, Jim Lippard, Hemant Mehta, Lei Pinter, Robert Sheaffer and Jamy Ian Swiss, among others.
Here is a recap of the stories that appeared last week at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that separates the science from the woo-woo in medicine.
One more time: No, wearing a bra does not cause cancer (David Gorski) The idea that bras cause cancer is a myth that refuses to die. Bras do not impair lymph drainage or interfere with the removal of “toxins.” A new study confirms what other studies have shown: no correlation of bra-wearing with cancer.
The Reality of Ancient Wisdom: Acupuncture and TCM Weren’t So Great (Harriet Hall) An old book by a missionary doctor in China describes what traditional Chinese medicine was really like in 1883-1913. It was prescientific, superstitious, ineffective, and sometimes barbaric. Acupuncture bore little resemblance to today’s practices, and serious complications were common. These revelations serve as a reality check: acupuncture and TCM are evidence of ancient ignorance, not ancient wisdom.
Autism Prevalence Unchanged in 20 Years (Steven Novella) There is no autism epidemic. The number of diagnoses has increased, but the evidence strongly suggests this is due to better diagnosis, changing definitions, and greater acceptance. A new study looked at autism prevalence around the world; it showed no change from 1990 to 2010.
Side effects may include liver failure (Scott Gavura) Dietary supplements are popular and widely believed to be safe. But there have been many cases of supplements causing liver failure leading to death or liver transplant; and harms are likely under-reported. Contamination of supplement products and lack of routine monitoring are worrisome.
Legislating Ignorance (John Snyder) A Florida law prohibits doctors from asking patients about guns in the home. This is unwarranted legislative interference with the practice of good preventive medicine by pediatricians who feel ethically obligated to counsel parents about gun safety along with other accident prevention issues. There is good evidence that counseling has a positive impact on safe storage of guns in the home. Legislation has also interfered with science by regulating the funding of gun control studies.