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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.

Prophecy Never Was What It Used To Be PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   

carr.jpgFrom a mass of books, videos, and publicity material dealing with “psychic” Anthony Carr – just received at the JREF Isaac Asimov Library – I selected one volume and was leafing through the pages, when I discovered an astounding fact: that this man Carr – who says he’s “The World’s Most Documented Psychic” – might want to lay off further documentation; he’s been quite, quite, wrong. See this Swift for more .  You see, two years and four months after he posted their imminent deaths, Lauren Bacall, Margaret Thatcher, Jack Klugman, Jimmy Carter, Ernest Borgnine (91), Sidney Poitier, and Mohammed Ali are still alive. True, Gerald Ford, Richard Widmark, and Oscar Peterson, are deceased, but the first two of them were 93 and 94 years of age, and Peterson – just 82, was in failing health and not expected to live long, at the time that Carr made his stunning prophecies.

Skepticism's Big Tent PDF Print E-mail
Written by Phil Plait   

me_randi_wmapball_512.jpgNote: This post is a modified version of an email I sent to someone who was concerned about the state of the skepticism movement. I think it should have a broader audience.

I am privileged to be the President of the JREF. I'm a skeptic, and I try to live my life that way (usually succeeding, I hope). Randi was one of the largest prime motivators for me to be a critical thinker, and my friendship and admiration for him go back many years.

Yet, as Randi himself has pointed out, he and I have very different backgrounds, both academically and in general. Randi comes into skepticism from his being a phenomenal conjurer, stage magician, and trickster. I come from the angle of being formally trained as a scientist, specifically an astronomer.

Red Yeast for Cholesterol: it Works, BUT PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harriet Hall   

redyeast.jpgJohn’s cholesterol is high but he doesn’t like taking prescription drugs. Should he take red yeast as a “natural” alternative? Evidence shows that it is effective in lowering cholesterol.

In 1994, the Diet Supplement Health and Education Act was passed, allowing the fiction that “natural” medicines are really “foods” and need not be regulated the way prescription medicines are. Do we need to supplement our diet with red yeast? Do we suffer from a red yeast deficiency? Of course not. People are really taking it as a medicine, not as a supplement to their diet.

Estonian Psychic Test Results PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   

From Estonia we received the following:

Here is the short test report of the challenge for the self-described psychics here in Estonia. If any additional information is needed, please contact the board member of the Estonian Skeptics Society – Martin Vällik. The following report is translated by Elver Loho – a contributor for your newsletter regarding Sniffex.

Thank you for inspiration!

Woo in Review: True Blood PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alison Smith   
trueblood.jpgTRUE BLOOD  

Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball has teamed up with HBO once again for the new television series True Blood, which is set in a reality much like our own with one major difference – Japanese scientists have perfected synthetic blood, and vampires no longer live in secret.

The plot of the series is loosely based on the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris , and takes place in a small Louisiana town where vampires have not yet taken up residence – until Bill Compton, a former Confederate soldier and current vampire, returns to his family home to stay.

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