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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.

RECEIVED FROM A THAI CORRESPONDENT PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   
denbuangboripan2

We received this from a reader who is concerned about the use of the so-called electronic dowsing rods in his country, Thailand…

My name is Tuang Cheevatadavirut. I'm a freshly graduated student in MBA/MSIS (Master of Science in Information Systems) at Iowa State University. I saw your blog comment on the arrest of James McCormick, so I’d like to tell you about GT200 use in Thailand. This is a device similar to the ADE 651, Quadro Tracker, M.O.L.E., HEDD1, Sniffex (Plus), Alpha 6, PSD-22, and H3Tec, etc.  I want to give you all the possible names of the device, given that government agencies in many countries – Pakistan, Iraq, UK, Mexico, Dubai, Kenya, Tanzania, Philippines, Lebanon, Jordan, China, Afghanistan, and possibly India – have been employing this kind of bogus device. Not only does it put innocent citizens at risk, but also the security forces’ personnel, be it militia men or police.

 

Randi: Tuang, there are many more than the eight you list, believe me. These fake devices are on sale all over the world, and those who sell them are doing very well, I can assure you!

These days there are many insurgencies that occur in southern Thailand daily. Innocent citizens as well as security forces’ personnel are losing their lives. To counter such incidents, many government agencies have ordered the GT200. Even though in the past weeks there have been claims that the device is bogus, the Thai Central Forensic Science Institute, the Provincial Electricity Authority and military agencies such as the Royal Thai Army, the Royal Thai Air Force's Directorate of Armaments, the Naval Ordnance Department, and the Royal Thai Navy, have defended their use and the effectiveness of such devices.

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To The Followers of Christ, Oregon City PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   

Oregon City teenager Neil Beagley died in June 2008 following complications from an untreated congenital urinary tract blockage that flooded his system with urea, causing renal failure, heart attack, and death.beagleys

 Neil Beagley didn't die in a hospital. He didn't die surrounded by doctors who were stumped regarding his next stage of treatment. Sixteen-year-old Neil Beagley didn't die peacefully with an IV in his arm pumping in morphine to lessen what must have been excruciating pain. He died in his grandmother's bed, without having received any medical treatment of any kind. Doctors say that Neil's illness was treatable right up until the day he died.

Jeff and Marci Beagley, Neil's parents, are members of Followers of Christ Church of Oregon City - a fundamentalist organization that teaches a literalist interpretation of scripture, and relies heavily on faith healing. The cemetery behind the church contains graves belonging to seventy-eight minors. It is estimated that at least twenty-one of these children's lives could have been saved with medical treatment.

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TAM 7 Recap w/ Latvia's Only Superhero PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   

As we get set to open registration for TAM 8 (which we’re gonna do in the immediate future — think days, not weeks), it’s worth taking a look back at TAM 7 with the internet’s bravest, smartest, and most skeptical superhero, Captain Disillusion.

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On 10:23 PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Michael Marshall   

Generally speaking, when homeopathy hits the headlines here in the UK skeptics have cause to wince. Whether it's B-list celebrities advocating homeopathic malaria prevention, newspaper health columns promoting the benefits of Hahnemann's long-discredited pseudomedical practice or simply major pharmacies out to make an easy profit, there are very seldom many good days for succussion-skeptics.

Saturday, 30th January 2010, however, was different.

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Lancet Retracts Wakefield MMR Study PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Steve Novella   

In 1998 Andrew Wakefield and 11 other co-authors published a study with the unremarkable title: Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Such a title would hardly grab a science journalist's attention, but the small study sparked widespread hysteria about a possible connection between the mumps-measles-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Following the press conference in which Wakefield raised concerns about MMR vaccine safety, vaccination rates with MMR dipped in the UK. After falling below what is generally considered to be the level of herd immunity, the UK began to see the return of measles outbreaks - mostly among the unvaccinated. MMR hysteria has since spread to the US, along with the return of measles and mumps outbreaks.

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