Many years ago, learned people realized that the masses believed many things that weren't true. Why do they still? Many years ago, learned people realized that the masses believed many things that weren't true. Why do they still? In this week's edition, Randi discusses a vist to the first "Ripley's Believe It Or Not!" Museum, chopping off Alice Cooper's head, and The Madness of Crowds.
Coffee is a popular drink – 54% of Americans drink coffee daily, resulting in $4 billion in annual coffee imports. I’ll admit up front I am not a coffee drinker myself. This probably has something to do with the fact that I am in the 25% of the population known as supertasters. Coffee is unpalatably bitter to me. As a headache specialist I also have a bit of a bias against daily intake of caffeine, a very common migraine trigger.
The majority of people, however, do not share my tastes. Historically coffee is popular in the US particularly since the Boston Tea Party. Coffee became a more patriotic drink, a thumb in the eye of our English overlords and their tea.
I also think that coffee’s popularity is at least partly due to the fact it is a legal drug delivery system, and that drug (caffeine) is somewhat addictive. The particular property of caffeine that hooks people is known as tolerance – after about 6 weeks of regular caffeine consumption your brain becomes tolerant to the stimulant effects of caffeine and instead experiences significant withdrawal symptoms if too much time goes by since your last mocha latte. Daily coffee drinkers end up chasing this withdrawal with more coffee, struggling just to get back to their baseline alertness, and convinced that they cannot function without their Frappuccino. If you have headaches then caffeine becomes a very effective treatment – for caffeine withdrawal headaches.
In the latest installment of our ongoing video series The Randi Show, James Randi goes in-depth on Dr. Oz's recent support of homeopathy. Should a medical doctor with a large television audience promote baseless pseudoscience? Randi thinks not.
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As a new feature of Randi.org, we're proud to announce James Randi Speaks: a weekly video commentary from Randi on YouTube produced at the new JREF video studio. This week's feature: Problems with Miscommunication - James Randi talks about the ways in which people communicate and how some times things get misinterpreted.