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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.

Airborne Against a Virus PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Ben Goldacre over at badscience.net tweeted this today:

Airborne rabbis fight off swine flu: http://bit.ly/3wYMjt (I'm trying to figure out why they are on an airplane. Poor pilot)

Go ahead and watch the video... I'll wait patiently.

 
How to Market Woo PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Naomi Baker   

Last week a friend of mine was given a flyer from a local chiropractor, which she forwarded to me.  The flyer, photocopied onto fluorescent pink paper, carried a banner "Optimal Health University™" and proclaimed the top ten ways that chiropractic can improve your life. It was liberally sprinkled with the chiropractor's name, address, and phone number, and included such gems as "Chiropractic Prevents Other Conditions" (high blood pressure, colic, ear infections, and Parkinson's diseases), "Chiropractic Boosts Immunity", and "Chiropractic May Make You Smarter" by improved cortical processing, as measured by testing volunteers' response time to various stimulations  The chiropractor flyer states:

Many people find that they actually save money on their health care expenses by seeing a chiropractor. Another way to save. Studies show that chiropractic can double your immune capacity, naturally and without drugs. The immune system fights colds, the flu, and other sicknesses. So you may not be running off to the doctor as much.

 
A Letter Received PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Randi has been hot on the trail of the NIH, most recently in this Swift article. Last week, we received this letter at the JREF.

Dear Mr. Randi, Dr. Plait and Dr. Gorski,

After the recent article at both the JREF and Respectful Insolence regarding cancer and acupuncture, I decided to take a look and see if my employer, Massachusetts General Hospital, had any information on the subject. Sad to say, our cancer center offers acupuncture and ear acupuncture through the HOPES program.

 
Skeptically Speaking at TAM PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brownian   

The TAM 7 buzz is finally dying down, but I've received this detailed report from one of a large contingent of Candian Skeptics that I had to share with you. If you've not been to TAM, this narrative might give you an idea of what you're missing. - Jeff Wagg

Tuesday, July 7, 2009 5:15 PM, Edmonton International Airport (curiously located in Nisku)-After months of waiting, it's finally time for TAM. The Edmonton contingent consists of Skeptically Speaking host Desiree Schell, Skeptically Speaking producer Sean Ouimette, Skepchick Jill Powell, Marion Kilgour of the Skeptographers, atheists-and-skeptics-about-town Rodrigo de la Jara and Nathan Hinman, and of course, myself. Jill has never flown before, so I chivalrously suggest she take the window seat, opting instead for the seat between her and Desiree. We taxi halfway to Calgary. Nathan, ever positive, makes a joke about people looking like ants-you may have had to be there. Hey, poker's on the little in-seat TV! We're headed to Vegas.

7:15 PM, McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas-Three hours and one time zone later we touch down. Another joke by Nathan about people looking like ants-where does he get his material?-and we are suddenly surrounded by slot machines. I feel a great disturbance, as if millions of bank accounts cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Nope, it's just Desiree, tugging at my arm. I'm dawdling, and the South Point bus is about to leave. That's why she's the host.

 
Hiding Homeopathy Behind Real Science PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Matt Fiore   

Before I fling immature epithets at the world of alternative medicine, I need to give a brief overview of the regulations imposed on those who make real medicine. The medicines that do everything from saving lives to preventing gas. In America, these regulations are known as "Current Good Manufacturing Practices", or cGMPs for short.  The best way to illustrate the thoroughness and complexity of these regulations is to use a narrative. The narrative won‘t even scratch the surface, but it will give you a general idea:

Let's say a company wants to make a new drug. What are some of the things it must it do?

 
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