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JREF Swift Blog
Swift, named for Jonathan Swift, is the JREF's daily blog, featuring content from James Randi, the JREF staff, and other featured authors.

Zicam Removed From Shelves by FDA PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

ziscamIn a far too infrequent moment of proaction (or is that proactivity?), the FDA announced that they have

issued Matrixx Initiatives, maker of these Zicam products, a warning letter telling it that these products cannot be marketed without FDA approval.

What’s the problem? Oh, nothing much… it just seems that using their product even once can permanently remove your sense of smell. And while we’re not canines, and rely mostly on our visual sense, losing your sense of smell is a great way to increase your risk of death through fire, food contamination, or the over-consumption of durian.

Read more...
 
"Psychic" Rosemary Altea Scammed PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Sometimes you have to ask: what good is it being psychic? As I'm not psychic, I will probably never know the answer to that question, but being psychic apparently doesn't protect you from having your accountant run off with $200,000 of your "hard-earned" money. Such a fate has befallen self-proclaimed psychic Rosemary Altea, who was exposed on Penn & Teller's Bullshit! as having a stacked audience for her reading.

From the Rutland Herald article:

Denise Hall of East Arlington faces one count of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return after investigators with the U.S. Attorney's office say she stole money from self-proclaimed spiritual medium Rosemary Altea - using four credit cards to obtain cash advances, forging checks and giving herself unauthorized electronic paychecks all under Altea's name for the past seven years, according to court records.

So, for seven years, a bookkeeper was able to swindle money from Rosemary in ways that most of us would detect simply balancing our checkbooks.

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Book Review: Science Under Siege PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

tamyspeakerA new book has just come out that will be of interest to skeptics everywhere. Science Under Siege: Defending Science, Exposing Pseudoscience. Edited by Kendrick Frazier, it is a collection of some of the best writing from Skeptical Inquirer from the last few years:

Some of the gems it contains:

  • Carl Sagan’s last Q & A on science and skeptical inquiry.
  • A paean to the wonder and awe of real science by Sagan’s wife, Ann Druyan.
  • An article explaining Ray Hyman’s Categorical Directive: “before we try to explain something, we should make sure it actually happened.”
  • John E. Jones, III’s eloquent decision in the Dover “Intelligent Design” case.
  • An article on AIDS denialism by Nicoli Nattrass, who is director of an AIDS research unit in South Africa and can testify to the incalculable harm denialism has caused her compatriots.
Read more...
 
SAPS at TAM PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   

sapsstickersmallYou might’ve noticed that SAPS has, lately, fallen off the grid a little while I sat around contemplating the wisdom of being on a television show called Door to the Dead.

With The Amaz!ng Meeting coming so fast, though, I’ve been forced out of my funk and into participating in a big way.

SAPS is involved in a lot of events at TAM 7, and here are some of them, if you’d like to be involved too.

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Bats in the Bellfry PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

What is it with Baseball players? They're big, strong, well-paid... and yet some of them are afraid to sleep in a hotel alone.

No, I'm not making this up. Others sleep with a baseball bat by their side. Are they afraid of paparazzi? Jealous wives and girlfriends? No. They're afraid of ghosts.

WISN in Milwaukee reports that a local hotel, the newly remodeled Pfister, is scaring ballplayers from many visiting teams. You can check out their video report here.

Read more...
 
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