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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.

Forget Parties.. Vote by Sign! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Reader Steve has pointed us to an interesting thing in the Washington Post. Unsurprisingly, they report on congressional votes. Their online report has some nice sort options:

By party | By state/territory | By region | By boomer status | By gender | By astrological sign

Yes, that last item is noteworthy.

Yes No Not Voting
Aquarius 26 7
Aries 22 7 1
Cancer 40 12 3
Capricorn 20 9
Gemini 33 15 2
Leo 25 6
Libra 32 9 4
Pisces 23 3 1
Sagittarius 23 6
Scorpio 22 7 3
Taurus 24 5
Virgo 33 9
Yes No Not Voting
Female 52 5 3
Male 271 90 11
Yes No Not Voting
Midwest 75 21 3
Northeast 79 2 1
South 96 53 5
West 73 19 5
Yes No Not Voting
None 48 14 4
2008 275 81 10
Yes No Not Voting
Baby boomer 196 67 10
Post-boomer 35 10 2
Pre-boomer 92 18 2
Yes No Not Voting
Democratic 247 2 5
Republican 76 93 9

Read more...
 
Science Vs. Faith Healing PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

If you watch late night TV, you might see the likes of Peter Popoff or Benny Hinn "healing" people on the stage. They'll throw away their crutches, pill bottles, and glasses, and praise Jesus for healing them. You'll never see an amputee on the stage though, because apparently God hates amputees.

I doubt you'll ever see someone with a debilitating neurological disease such as the devastating Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease." You see, you simply can't fake a cure for that.

But with science, you might be able to have an actual cure.

Read more...
 
A Response to Laura's Comments PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

A few days ago, I published this article, which was as much rant as commentary. I was upset at the seemingly endless stream of psychics offering their "gifts" to the world, while actually just getting in the way.

A Swift reader by the name of Laura took issue with my article. I shall address her comments after each paragraph break.

She said:

Where do I start.....oh yeah, looks like YOUR site "James" takes donations. Trying to make money off of bullying people and their beliefs? I guess so. Well, anyhow, the way you seemed to "cut and paste" certain excerpts from their site to read the way YOU want it to sound is so "media like"...good job, heh. Here is a great idea...IF YOU DON'T LIKE or BELIEVE IN WHAT SOMEONE HAS ON THE INTERNET, THEN DON'T READ IT! Or, if you just happen to read it and don't like it.....SHUT UP! (those were your words right? Hope I don't get in trouble for plagiarism).

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The One Cent Problem PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

At the JREF, we have a few things in a shop online. No, this article isn't a plug for our store. Instead, I'd like to foster comment on an issue that I've found major disagreement on in the skeptical community. And that is: is it ethical to charge $99.99 for something?

At first glance, the answer is yes. You can charge whatever you want for your products. But consider the impact of $99.99 versus the $100.00. Even though there's a difference of only one cent, or 1/10,000th of the original price, studies show that more people will buy at $99.99 than at $100.00. The second figure seems much bigger.

For gasoline in the US, this manipulation is carried to the impossible level of 10ths of a cent. I paid $1.799 for a gallon of gas today, which rang up as $1.80 as it's impossible to pay fractions of cents in this country and the amount is rounded up. The 9/10ths of a cent is there only to make the price look lower than it actually is.

Given that the 1¢ is probably not the breaking point in a financial decision, what is? It seems obvious that it's psychology, and that people aren't really thinking about the price so much as having emotion about it.

Read more...
 
Sex Magnets Retracted PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

As Harriett reported in this Swift article, sometimes an individual can make a difference. In this case, an Australian woman outraged by ridiculous claims for a pocket sex drive enhancer successfully campaigned to have the device removed. Now the company who promoted this worthless item displays the following banner at the top of its site:

Read more...
 
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