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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.

Two big TAM news items! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Phil Plait   

We have two big TAM-related news items for you today.

1) The JREF is very pleased and excited to announce that registration for The Amaz!ng Meeting 7, our annual conference on critical thinking, will open on Wednesday, February 25, 2009!

TAM 7 will be from July 9 - 12, 2009 at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. As always, we have a fantastic lineup of guest speakers, including Mythbuster Adam Savage, skeptical investigator Joe Nickell, science writer and head of the Science and Entertainment Exchange Jennifer Ouellette, and of course our very own Phil Plait and the head guy himself, James Randi.

We're also very pleased to announce that our keynote speaker is Bill Prady, Executive Producer of the hit TV show "The Big Bang Theory." Bill is a science and scifi buff, and The Big Bang Theory has done a great (and hilarious) job of mainstreaming science and scientists on television. He'll be speaking on how the show got on the air, how they portray science, and what the environment is like in Hollywood for science-minded programming.

 
Quick Clicks on Advanced Silliness PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Canadian television has inherited a quack-in-drag - Dr. Bill Nelson - who we thought was out of business, but it appears that he's still selling his $20,000 machines - see first this Swift article and then this one, then go to tinyurl.com/cosyhz to see the latest... Yes, that's the same Nelson in all these places...

 
A Clean Rant PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
carmen

I travel a lot and I try to take advantage of the hotel's amenities where appropriate. As I'm not in the least bit picky about shampoo and conditioner, I will most often use what's provided. And I've been noticing a disturbing trend: soap makers want to cover me with food. Specifically, they want to fill my hair with fruit. Newsflash: I am not Carmen Miranda.

I've seen ginger, green tea, white tea, vanilla, almond, coconut, spearmint, peppermint, raspberry, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. But today, I reached my limit. Today's choice: bamboo.

Pandas favor bamboo and Tiki lounges employ it effectively. I like bamboo as well, and once owned several delightful acres of it in Virginia. That said, bamboo has none of the qualities I want associated with my hair. It is stiff, brittle, and green. It also grows quickly, which may be seen to have some advantage, but honestly I'd prefer barber visits to be spread out as much as possible.

 
Get Out the Woo-Woo Shovel PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

If you've any doubt that religion is superstition, consider the current condition of the real-estate market, and what a certain portion of Americans are resorting to. They may believe that religious faith can move mountains, but can a small piece of cheap plastic move a house? Yes, a lot of people think so, provided that the plastic is a figurine of Saint Joseph. As of the beginning of 2009, shops that sell religious charms, books, and various holy chachkas, are reporting booming sales of tiny statuettes of Joseph - the actual father of Jesus Christ and the patron saint of home and house sellers - both to real estate agents and to homeowners.

The proprietor of a Saint Jude Shop in Pennsylvania happily announced:

We have over 5,000 items in our store, and you know what the No. 1 item is? The St. Joseph statue!

 
NBC TV Does It Again PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

nbcNote: this piece is a little dated, but rather than let it go to waste, I thought I post it. My apologies for the delay. - Jeff Wagg

Has the National Broadcasting Corporation decided to abandon any pretense of rationality and reality? Reader and colleague Margaret Downey tells us:

I just watched [December 5th] a "how to sell your house in today's bad economy" segment on NBC's Today Show (in the 8:00 AM hour). The segment featured their "Real Estate Expert" Barbara Corcoran. She was asked questions by host David Gregory after a short film that highlighted "creative" ways people are trying to sell their homes.

The film showed people doing some creative advertising (no problem with that) and a man who held a sign on a street corner telling people about the apartment he was selling in the city. The other people they showed in the film clip advocated smudging, Feng Shui, house blessings, and exorcism.

Randi comments: This "smudging" woo-woo is the nonsense of wafting smoke over yourself and/or your possessions in order to "purify" them. Duh.

 
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