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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.

GIngko Isn't Smart PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

gingkoMillions of people take Gingko biloba because they think it keeps them smart. A recent study suggests they might be smarter to save their money ($107 million was spent on gingko in 2007 in the US alone).

Gingko has been touted for everything from altitude sickness to tinnitus, but the main claims have been for dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and improving memory. The evidence wasn't clear, so the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) funded a large trial to find out whether gingko could really delay the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's. They studied 3000 people over the age of 75 who were either normal or had mild cognitive impairment. It was a well-designed double blind placebo controlled trial lasting over 6 years. They found no difference in the incidence of dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

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On Superstition PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by George Hrab   

geo_standing_suitEarly humans looked to the sky and invented stories explaining the intricate machinations of gods and monsters, heroes and heroines, warriors and poets. They created myths, stories, and legends to account for the workings of these mysterious, brilliant points of light. A single dot in the heavens could represent the most epic of battles. A pair of stars could somehow contain within them the entire contents of both the Iliad and the Odyssey. This was all possible because early man's free-time allotment did not include the mind-numbing wonders of back episodes of VH-1's "The Flavor of Love."

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No Surprise PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

e8King Edward VIII of England reigned for only 11 months, abdicating in December of 1936 so that he could marry the twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. He was automatically succeeded by his younger brother, who became George VI - King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, Emperor of India, and King of Ireland. George reigned until his death in 1952.

It has now been discovered that Edward consulted a famous "mystic," Dr. Alexander Cannon, in an attempt to solve the dilemma brought about by his intended marriage to Simpson, which was of course strenuously opposed by politicians of the day and would have caused a constitutional crisis, had he remained on the throne.

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Woo in Review: A REVOLUTION IN TASTE and THE ORDER OF THINGS PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   

Woo in Review

A REVOLUTION IN TASTE: THE RISE OF FRENCH CUISINE by Susan Pinkard and

THE ORDER OF THINGS: AN ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE HUMAN SCIENCES by Michel Foucault


jenniferlovehewittFirst of all, let me start off by apologizing for the lack of Woo in Review this past week. I was supposed to have a telephone interview with James van Praagh about his work on Ghost Whisperer, and (after his assistant agreed to the interview) either he realized who I am or he is a total flake. So that means no Ghost Whisperer, which I'm definitely sad about as I must now shelve the dozen jokes I have collected about Jennifer Love Hewitt's cleavage and how shocking it is that none of the other characters have yet suffocated to death in it as, for all appearances, it seems to take up at least 95% of the set. Aha, got one in anyway. Ba-dum-tish.

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Some Unwelcome News PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

This is a personal article, and I hope you'll indulge me. If you decide to stop reading now, I won't be offended.

Over Thanksgiving, I learned that a friend of mine saw some rough times. It's been five years since our last meeting.

We met in Vegas, and though he was more my father's friend (being a coworker) than mine, I quite enjoyed his company.  He had a decent job, his own condo, and given his behavior at the Super Bowl parties we used to attend, he seemed happy.

At this point, I'm envisioning sitting with him next to an enormous screen in the ballroom of Paris, as he nearly won a very long-shot bet. We were all very excited, but he just sat there looking at the screen with a content smile on his face.

And that will be my permanent memory of him.

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