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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.

Homeopathy Qualifies for the Million Dollar Challenge PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

We've always said that homeopathy is eligible for the million-dollar prize, but Julia Wilson, Development Officer for Sense About Science in London needs it here on the page – for some strange reason. We've offered it on BBC, in print, by lectures, all over the world, and it has always – 100% of the time – failed tests. It was reported as a failure in Nature Magazine...

So, Julia, here it is, again, as if it had to be repeated once more: if anyone can show that homeopathy works, the James Randi Educational Foundation will pay them the million-dollar prize...

 
More Ghosts PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

It's an old fort, people died there, so it must be haunted. That's the take of at least a few people about the ironically named Fort Caspar in Wyoming.

Manager Rick Young was asked if he thought the fort was haunted. From the Casper Star-Tribune:

"I don't know," he said, "but we've certainly had weird stuff happening. ... There's certainly a lot of history, and a lot of violent history on this land."

 
Dan Aykroyd and His Conan Doyle Problem PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Ian Morris   

On May 28, 2009, The New York Times published an article on the new Ghostbusters video game. It looks fun: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/31/arts/31schi.html?th&emc=th.  However, this esteemed journalistic entity felt the need to spend its first few paragraphs discussing Dan Aykroyd’s “family’s supernatural bona fides” before moving along to the game itself.  As Alison Smith wrote a few months ago in SWIFT, Aykroyd is so devoted to woo-woo that he advertised a vodka based on the “thirteen crystal skulls” supposedly created in Atlantis (http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/368-woo-in-review-crystal-head-vodka.html).  His passion for woo-woo may be exacerbated by the fact that he has what I call a Conan Doyle problem.

 
I Like Your Art, But Your Morals Suck PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   

Folks:

Yankee Tavern is a new play by a Texan named Steven Dietz, and it’s worth a few moments of skeptical appraisal. In it, a young couple in New York find themselves swept up in a vast, dangerous government conspiracy. Terrified and confused, they are also incredulous: they are reasonable people, and know that vast and dangerous government conspiracies do not exist. Nevertheless, the play ends with one of them disappearing en route to visit an old college professor — who may be a conspirator herself.

When I spoke to one of the show’s actors, I was informed that this is merely “one possible interpretation.” But I could find no other. It was plain to me that in the universe of the play, the government conspiracy was unambiguously real. Which would be fine if the conspiracy in question had nothing to do with 9/11. Unfortunately, Yankee Tavern is very much about 9/11.

 
Good Advice PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

clAs always, this last Wednesday was the last-Wednesday-of-the-month Open House here at the JREF. We had a full attendance of the usual friends, visitors, merely curious, and undecided, some even from out of state, who drop by at 7 in the evening to exchange ideas and opinions. Following this last meeting, one of our regulars, Collin Leach, dropped me this note, which I thought you should see. Collin is a professional massage therapist who has studied many techniques of his trade, and has travelled all over the world for that purpose. He first showed up here years ago at our door to present a problem he'd encountered - that most of his teachers in various cultures insisted on having heavy woo-woo as part of their instructions; Collin was unable to merely ignore these fripperies, since in order to obtain certification in a therapy, he had to go along with the teachers. Since taking these techniques into his repertoire, he has been able to omit the woo-woo in his practice and get down to the valued procedures that he knows work so well.

Collin has worked his magic (did I just say that?) on my ailing frame, and the word exhilaration only begins to describe it...

 
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