The Amazing Meeting 2014

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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.

James Randi Speaks: My Fortune PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Rich Montalvo   
From the JREF Video Library: DVD029.

Summary: James Randi poses as Adam Jersin with a gypsy fortune teller. At the beginning of the video Randi enters the room and while walking to his seat he fakes some lower back pain. Once he sits down the reader asks him to shuffle the cards. Randi does so but in a fumbling manner. Once the reading begins the reader mentions a woman that Randi is involved with and then another woman in his future. Randi does a great job of leading the reader by feeding her questions that she may then elaborate on, trying to make them fit with the reading.

Video is in 2 Parts.

 
Libel Reform, and How To Get It PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Friends, this is a personal appeal to all of you. I’ll ask you to attend to this matter of great importance, please.  Our UK friend Simon Singh has been an outstanding and very active critic of pseudoscience for years now. What follows here will explain the situation fully, but I urge you to respond to his request for action, a simple request that will only take a few minutes of your time, but which could result in a major change in UK law that will benefit us – as skeptics – and can have far-reaching results on an international scale.  This is the business of the JREF, to improve the reach and importance of science, a factor that Simon has brought to the attention of the world by his heroic action.


Please add your name to the roster of dedicated persons in this battle, by reading Simon’s account and following his request for participation.

Thank you!
James Randi

 
Skeptic Podcasting Turns Five PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Thomas Donnelly   

skepticalusitunesLast week marked a milestone for those of us engaged in online skeptical outreach. Skepticality, the show that started all of our skeptical podcasting fun, turned five. In a world before Facebook, Twitter, and the big network of local Skeptics in the Pub, for many of us Derek and Swoopy were the only skeptics' community we had, in our ear week after week. Thank you for the steady stream of critical thinking, you two!

When I proposed that D.J. and I begin a podcast back in the fall of 2005, it was because I was inspired by Derek and Swoopy and how great Skepticality was. We were employed at the Center for Inquiry at the time, and not everyone there at first understood the promise of podcasting for skeptical outreach, even if they eventually came around because of our success with Point of Inquiry (D.J. and I ended up doing over 200 episodes of that show with over 6 million downloads during our tenure. Since then I've left CFI to pursue my legal education, and D.J. moved on to head up the JREF).

I first met Derek and Swoopy back in January of 2006 at a podcasting conference I attended with D.J., and have enjoyed their warmth and friendship since. This was right after Derek's stroke, but I was still impressed with how they brought podcasting to the skeptical world and skepticism to the podcasting world.

 
Quackery at Temple...? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

On Thursday, March 25, 2010, Temple University announced — in Temple Today, their daily e-mail posting to keep staff, faculty, students, alumni and friends of the University abreast of Temple news — the official advent of Medical Acupuncture as an accepted therapy now to be offered at Temple University’s hospital. Sanford M. Sorkin, Faculty Chair of the Advisory Board of Temple University, wrote to Temple president Dr. Ann Weaver Hart and to Dr. John M. Daly, Temple’s Dean of the University Medical School, regarding this announcement:

 
JREF Kicks off its Regional Workshop Series in Saint Louis PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Michael Blanford   

dowsing_3The Regional Workshop Program, one of several new educational initiatives in development at the JREF, saw its debut in Saint Louis this past month.  The workshop, which was sold out, focused on the use of dowsing rods and pendulums for divination.  Participants were treated to a comprehensive review of the topic beginning with its fascinating history.  The real fun began, though, when participants were guided through the process of making their own dowsing rods & pendulums and examining their effectiveness under careful experimental conditions.  Making and using these “devices” gave participants firsthand experience in the ideomotor effect and confirmation bias.  This “hands-on” approach will be a focal point of all JREF workshops.  It’s gives people an important perspective on the topic.  A great example of this is the participant who said: "After I made my pendulum, they told me to ask the pendulum to give me a yes response.  I was like "this is stupid... woah, it's moving!" The workshop also stressed the need for robust testing protocols and gave practical experience in setting up double-blind trials.

 
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