The Amazing Meeting 2014

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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.

"Champ" Visits Again PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

I am fortunate to live very near a lake with its own lake monster. With the exception of the well-debunked Loch Ness Monster, "Champ" or the Lake Champlain Monster in Vermont is probably the most well known "cryptid" of its kind. Of course, I don't believe there actually is a lake monster, with the exception of this one.

Last week, a gentleman by the name of Eric Olsen posted a video to YouTube which shows a shape moving in the early-morning waters of Lake Champlain just off of Oak Ledge Park in Burlington. It's interesting footage, and well worth a look.

As with any unusual video of something moving in the water, people were quick to shout "There's Champ!" But noted-skeptic Ben Radford, co-author of the book Lake Monster Mysteries is an expert on Champ, and posted his analysis at livescience.com.

From Ben's article:

The video holds several clues about the creature's identity. The form resembles the back and head of a swimming deer, and moves toward the near shore past what appears to be a buoy, which might suggest shallow water.

 
Don't Give Them What They Want PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

People I respect deeply are going to disagree with me on this, but I have to propose this idea as I think it's the best way to deal with this digusting problem.

Ignore them.

Who you ask? Well, I'm not going to mention their names. But imagine a group of so-called Christians who picket funerals with large signs indicating that some supreme being or other has an intense dislike for those of us who are homosexual, and you may get an idea of who I mean.

To explain why, I need to invoke Howard Stern.

 
Please Click — and Weep PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

I've often said that it's hard to anticipate how silly, illogical, fuzzy-thinking, and downright stupid that people - or organizations - can get. This time, it's a prominent newspaper...

The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s oldest paper, founded in 1877. It has a daily printed circulation of 700,000 copies, is a Pulitzer Prize winner, and has the largest circulation in Washington. They proudly assert:

More than 9.6 million of the smartest business leaders and key opinion leaders nationwide and worldwide turn to washingtonpost.com, their trusted source for unique insight vital to business and life.

No, not the smartest. Perhaps those who want to see how the Dumbos of the country are thinking, but not necessarily the smartest.

 
"False Documents" PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

ringbellSteve from Australia sent this picture, which makes us ask the question... why? Shouldn't the door just open as you approach?

And this reminds me of a story. While doing some research in New Orleans, I visited a palm reader with a woman of my acquaintance. We sat down in a bead-festooned closet, and he felt our palms.

"Hmm" he said, and then "Oh... I see." And despite the fact that neither of us were wearing our wedding rings, the psychic told us with complete confidence that we were married. He said that though there will be some conflicts, we are always going to be married. You see, our "life lines" and "heart lines" showed him this, and there was no mistaking it.

Upon hearing his proclamation, we looked each other in the eye, and shared a wink. You see, the psychic was right.

 
From Russia With Light Amplified by Stimulated Emissions of Radiaton PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

In this article, I asked you to consider how the Russian in the video was making paper burn, cups melt, and assistants wince in pain. I promised I'd share with you my thoughts, and here they are.

First, I have to say that the commenters were brilliant in exploring options and considering issues. What I'm about to say agrees with many of them, but it's important to know that I was not there, I have not talked to the people involved, and I could be completely wrong.

However, what I do have is James Randi, who I consulted on this matter.

Randi and I agree that the most likely explanation for the observed phenomena is laser energy.

 
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