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.

Unique Opportunities! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

skepchicksThe JREF has some very good friends, and among them are Prof. Richard Wiseman and Skepchick.org. They've each donated amazing items for the TAM Scholarship fund, which helps people get to TAM 7. These auctions are open to anyone, whether you're attending TAM or not.

From Richard Wiseman:

Following in the footsteps of The Luck Factor and Quirkology, I am currently working on a new popular psychology book. It will be published by Knopf in the US in January. To help raise funds for the JREF TAM Scholarship program, I am offering one person the opportunity to have a special mention in the acknowledgments section of the American edition of the book. Everyone bids in the auction, and I will work with the winner to come up with a fun sentence for the acknowledgment (e.g., 'Special thanks to xx, who has the wit of Oscar Wilde, the brain of Einstein and the beard of Darwin' or 'I would also like to thank the ever wonderful xx - without you this sentence would not have been possible'). The winner can also choose to use the acknowledgment to mention someone else rather than themselves, thus making it an unique present for a friend, colleague or loved one. All of the money raised goes to the JREF TAM Scholarship program. So, get bidding and I look forward to seeing your name in the book......

 
Randi Appears on Young Aussie Skeptics PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Jason Ball writes:

Hello,

The Young Australian Skeptics had the privilege of interviewing James Randi at the CFI World Congress. The interview can be heard on the latest episode of The Pseudo Scientists, their official podcast.

Check it out at: youngausskeptics.com (Episode 10 direct link).
Become a fan on facebook.

 
There's a Difference PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Reader "Roger" sent us this note:

I got an education this last weekend. I did not realize there was a difference between a "health" expo and a "wellness" expo. My buddy got us a booth to display our line of supplements and power nutrition. As I walked into the event center, I saw a couple of chiropractors. I don't know what you think about them, but they were there teaching people about good posture....okay, no problem.

As soon as I walked in the door to the main exhibit room, I was floored. First thing I saw was "aroma therapy"...doh!! Then there was a guy sitting between two pillars with a crystal dangling between them. He "channels" energy to the crystal because the nearest vortex is about 1000 miles away....double doh!! Of course, the psychics, clairvoyants, and mediums all had booths and were offering readings.... "Doh" doesn't cover it here. The event started at 11. About 10:45, about ¾ of the people in there started to meditate with an eerie chant. There was reiki, feng shui, an oxygen bar, light therapy, angel readings, crystal therapy - with crystals from the Himalayas...

 
Dilute this Poll? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Those who follow me (or Scott Hurst, who introduced it to me) on Twitter or read PZ Myer's blog have seen calls for skeptics to vote in this poll regarding the effectiveness of homeopathy on Swine Flu, or as it is more properly known, H1N1. The mission is clear... overwhelm the poll with skeptic votes saying "No, Homeopathy can't help Swine Flu."

(If you don't know what Twitter is... you'll have to find someone more articulate than myself to explain it.)

I had an exchange with "CarrieP" on Twitter, which I will share with you.

CarrieP: Thanks for link. IMHO, Too much bashing, not enough details, in comments.  "homeopathy = crap" does no good on a pro-CAM site.

JeffWagg: The interesting question is, what does do good?

CarrieP: Indeed. I don't have a good answer there, I just try to be respectful and present the science more than attack the woo.

CarrieP: I work with the sweetest lady who's strongly into alt med. Changing her mind is like wearing down a rock with rainwater. S-L-O-W.

 
Popoff Gets Popped in Australia PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Reader Ken from Australia reports:

Hello.  I just thought I'd share this with you.  I've noticed that the egregious Peter Popoff's TV show has been running here in Australia in the middle of the night on the Nine Network for several months.  I decided to see whether I could get them exposed.  I emailed a program called "Media Watch" on the ABC (Aust Broadcasting Corp), telling them about Popoff and his history.  I did get back a response from one of their investigators a few days later, requesting some more info, and he told me they were doing a segment on Popoff on last night's (Monday 27th April) show.

I was delighted to see that the episode did appear last night, and delighted to see that they credited James Randi with originally exposing his fraud.

You can watch the episode online if you care to.  Go to (this link) and you can see and/or download the episode.

(I don't know if my request triggered the report or whether they were planning it anyway, but it doesn't really matter.  Media Watch is a respected prime time program which acts as a sort of unofficial "watchdog" over the Aust media.)

Well Ken, we don’t know if you prompted it or not, but thanks very much for not only calling it to the Australian media’s attention, but also to our own.

 
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