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JREF News & Updates for April 2012 PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by D.J. Grothe   

Photo of D.J. Grothe

It’s been a busy month for the JREF team with the opening of registration for The Amaz!ng Meeting 2012 (register here!), the announcement of our annual Pigasus Awards, JREF’s new column on Wired.com, the release of two new classroom modules, our new online skeptical group database, more ebooks available in more formats, and various speaking appearances and grassroots events in California, Florida and Colorado and at the Reason Rally in Washington D.C. and QED Con in the UK.

And with so much going on there is one thing I especially want to highlight...

Randi was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Fellowship by the Academy of Magical Arts earlier this month. During their 44th Annual Awards Show held in Los Angeles, Neil Patrick Harris, AMA president, presented the award to Randi "in recognition of a career devoted to virtually every facet of conjuring. As a performer, he has traveled the globe, presenting the playful side of deception. As an author, he has captivated readers and galvanized important public discourse. As an advocate, he has been a tireless crusader against the sinister side of deception. And he has done all of this with a unique blend of curmudgeonly wrath and pixie-like charm.”

In his acceptance speech, Randi issued a fiery call-to-arms to his fellow magicians to help pursue the mission of the James Randi Educational Foundation and put a stop to those who would use conjuring tricks to fake paranormal abilities and swindle the public.

Congratulations on this high honor, Randi!

grothe_signature

President, James Randi Educational Foundation

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horizontal separatorThe Amaz!ng Meeting 2012

July 12-15, 2012
South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa
Las Vegas, NV

The Amaz!ng Meeting (TAM) is an annual celebration of science, skepticism and critical thinking. People from all over the world come TAM each year to share learning, laughs and the skeptical perspective with their fellow skeptics and a host of distinguished guest speakers and panelists.

Early registration ends April 30. Lock in savings and register today. »

horizontal separatorThe 5 Worst Promoters on Nonsense

Since 1997, the JREF’s annual Pigasus Awards have been bestowed on the most deserving charlatans, swindlers, psychics, pseudo-scientists, and faith healers—and on their credulous enablers, too. The awards are named for both the mythical flying horse Pegasus of Greek mythology and the highly improbable flying pig of popular cliche.

This year’s “winners” are... »

horizontal separatorTwo New Classroom Modules Available

JREF educational modules are free, fully illustrated, and easy to use. They offer compelling topics, fun activities, and thought-provoking discussions that promote critical thinking and information literacy. The also address national science content standards and AAAS science literacy benchmarks.

Dowsing: Science or Pseudoscience? is a lesson module for high school classrooms that explores the history, claims, methods, and science of dowsing. Does it work? Is it science? What’s the harm? Featuring an introduction to the topic, discussion questions, and hands-on experimentation, Dowsing: Science or Pseudoscience? examines the ancient art of dowsing in a way that promotes well-reasoned critical examination of unproven and pseudoscientific claims.


The Case of the Cottingley Fairies: Examine the Evidence is an educational module designed with younger learners in mind (grades 3 through 5). Through The Case of the Cottingley Fairies, students take a fun and fascinating look at one of one of the most celebrated public hoaxes in history. This guide uses narrative, activities, and inquiry-based discussion to tell the Cottingley story while examining the role of publicity, celebrity, and physical evidence in shaping the public’s perception of extraordinary claims.

Both are now available as free downloads. »

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Announcing the JREF's Skeptical Group Database

The JREF is proud to announce the publication of a database of local organizations specifically devoted to the promotion of scientific skepticism. Our goal with this database is to provide skeptics all over the world with a quick and easy way to coordinate with those of like mind who might already be organized in their communities. We also hope that those who live in places that aren't currently home to a skeptics' group might be inspired to fill in the gaps of this database by starting groups of their own.

The JREF's grassroots database is a living document, so please feel free to contact our field coordinator Brian Thompson with any additions or comments you would like to make. New skeptical groups are forming all the time, and some transform in a variety of ways. Please, help us keep this database as up-to-date as possible by keeping in touch.

You can find the JREF's grassroots database here. »

horizontal separatorUpdates from the Field

Last weekend, James Randi delivered another of his highly in-demand lectures at Ohlone College in Fremont, CA. A sold-out crowd of hundreds packed into Ohlone's Smith Center to see Randi live, and several more watched via live video feed in a nearby overflow room. The enthusiasm from the crowd was very nearly overwhelming, especially during a moving and personal introduction by Prof. Sheldon Helms. Read more »

On Monday, April 2nd, Randi attended Metropolitan State College of Denver's Pseudoscience Fair, organized by the Auraria Campus Atheists. Randi had the honor of closing the fair with a talk about his life as a skeptic. He closed the evening by wowing the audience with some inexplicable acts of mentalism. Read more »

Last month an estimated 20,000 people packed into Washington, D.C.'s National Mall for the Reason Rally, and we're proud to say the JREF was there in full force. JREF founder, James Randi himself, was one of the event's keynote speakers, sharing the stage with other well-known academics, activists, and entertainers who worked to spotlight the growing secularist movement devoted to fostering a more reasonable world. Read more »

Also last month, JREF President D.J. Grothe spoke at QEDcon in Manchester UK. Read more »

And just weeks before that, Randi spoke at Broward College in Florida on behalf of their Psychology Club, where he taught students and faculty how to recognize flim-flam and how an in-depth knowledge of conjuring has equipped him for a life in skepticism. Randi also participated in a public discussion about religion and skepticism at Congregation L'Dor Va-Dor, a reform synagogue in Lake Worth, Florida led by Rabbi Barry Silver. Read more »

Thanks to everyone who made these events happen!

horizontal separatorAnouncing The Amazing Column at Wired.com

The JREF is proud to announce a new regular column for Wired.com called “The Amazing Column.” The first three articles are now online:

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Four James Randi Books Now Available for Kindle, Nook, and iPad and iPhone

Flim-Flam!, An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural, The Faith Healers, and The Truth About Uri Geller are now available digitally for Kindle, Nook, and iBooks (iPad and iPhone) e-readers. Download these classic James Randi titles for your favorite mobile device for the special price of just $6.99.

Find download links here. »

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Upcoming Events

  • April 21: Brian Thompson leads a breakout on skeptical activism at SkeptiCal in Berkeley, CA.
  • April 21-22: James Randi and D. J. Grothe speak at NECSS in New York City, sponsored by the JREF.
  • April 27-29: D. J. Grothe speaks at Freethought Fest at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • May 7 - 10: James Randi and D. J. Grothe attend Neuromagic 2012
  • May 12 - 17: James Randi's speaking tour of Spain and Italy, including at The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; and in Milan, Tourin, and Padua, Italy.
  • May 18 - 20: James Randi speaks at World Skeptics Conference in Berlin Germany
  • June 7 - 10: James Randi speaks at the American Humanist Association Conference, in New Orleans, LA where he is being awarded their Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • July 12 - 15: The Amaz!ng Meeting 2012 in Las Vegas, NV.

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horizontal separatorJREF In the News

  • Realscreen, March 30, 2012
    “An Honest Liar” claims MIPDoc pitch prize
    Left Turn Films, the prodco behind Sons of Perdition, wowed judges at the MIPDoc International Pitch competition in Cannes with its latest project, which documents the life and exploits of master magician and “professional skeptic,” The Amazing Randi.

  • C21Media, March 30, 2012
    Liar wins Mipdoc pitch contest
    A US documentary about a magician who has spent decades debunking ‘fraudulent’ paranormal and psychic claims has won the Mipdoc International Pitch competition.
  • Kelowna Capital News, March 15, 2012
    CFI Okanagan critics slam medium's claims
    One of her prime detractors, magician James Randi, has dedicated copious energy to pointing out what he believes is Browne's prime failing—that she deceives people without admitting to her deception.
  • A Skeptic Canary, March 12, 2012
    A Brief Write Up of QEDCon 2012
    After lunch JREF president DJ Grothe gave a very clever and introspective talk on skepticism which dismissed the myth that Americans don’t get irony!
  • Todd Newton, March 8, 2012
    Interview with James Randi [VIDEO]
    TV host and international hypnotist Todd Newton speaks one on one with "The Amazing Randi" about the James Randi Educational Foundation and what it means to be a skeptic.
  • Daily Maverick, February 27, 2012
    Fortune doesn't favour the clairvoyant
    Bavuma and family shouldn’t weep though, because if the Peddie mystic’s powers are genuine, she stands an excellent chance of winning about R7.68-million in the James Randi Educational Foundation One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge.
  • Tucson Weekly, February 23, 2012
    Loud and Silent
    "I really thought that art should be about the truth, and not about lies," Jillette said. But later on, he said, illusionist James Randi taught him that "magic wasn't a lie," because when people come to see it in a theater, they are aware of the deception
  • Ryan Kohls’s What I Wanna Know, February 19, 2012
    Interview with James Randi
    They don't have any scruples on that, just like any other thief or burglar. A thief doesn't look at a house and think to pass it up because the family has just suffered a recent tragedy. No, he goes in and robs it anyway.
  • Towleroad, February 19, 2012
    James Randi to Get a Documentary: Video
    James "The Amazing" Randi, the legendary conjurer, performer, writer, debunker of frauds, and lifelong crusader for skepticism and reason is at long last getting his own documentary.... the trailer suggests it'll be cool.

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