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.

Hilarious But Sad PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Sometimes it's difficult to believe just how misinformed some folks can be.  Now, I'm only a very amateur scientist, and I speak with little authority - though I've been personally enlightened by such giants as Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Isaac Asimov, and Richard Dawkins. Prepare yourself for "Dr. Charlene Werner", a "developmental optometrist who combines light therapy, vision training, and homeopathy." Wow! An intellectual giant, right? No, she's  someone who has almost zero knowledge of reality, leans on "vibrations" and Einstein, and constantly asks "Okay?" - a sure sign of the woo-woo speaker - all through an astonishing, rambling, display of ignorance that can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/2l36o7 in all its glory.  It runs for more than 8 minutes, but I challenge you to watch the whole thing...

 
Get Real! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

wattgateA gushing ad for the WattGate 381, a $148 110-volt wall receptacle, is a masterpiece of misrepresentation, hyperbole, and mendacity that just could attract a starry-eyed Audio-Visual fan. And stupidity - just in case the vendors of this nonsense might believe they've actually created something useful. Read it, and see...

If you are building your own audiophile power cord to improve component performance, you need the WattGate 381 receptacle. Why build a performance power cable only to plug it into the same receptacle that's been in use for almost 100 years? WattGate's 381 is a no compromise solution for the demanding AV enthusiast. Construction of the 381 is top-notch and features glass-filled, nylon front and rear housings. Mounting strap, rivets and grounding strip are gold plated, solid brass for the ultimate in corrosion resistance and power transfer. Installation of the 381 is simple and efficient due to rear wiring and large, #10 brass terminal screws. Terminal clamps are gold plated, solid brass and shaped to better grip the conductors. Like the 330 and 350, the 381 leaves the competition behind with its contacts. Configured in a triple-wiper design allows the plug blades to be gripped at three separate points. Additionally, the heavy-duty contacts maximize the clamping spring-rate and ensure conductivity. A three-layer plating process is also completed on the 381: Oxygen free copper plating, electrolysis nickel, and finally 24k gold plating. Receptacle is cryogenically treated and rated at 125 VAC, 20A.

 
Trituration Proving of the Light of Saturn PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

Homeopathy is based on the idea that "like cures like" and the "law of infinitesimals." If coffee keeps you awake, diluted coffee should cure insomnia. The less coffee, the stronger the effect. You can even dilute away all the molecules of coffee: the water will remember it. To figure out which remedies work for which symptoms, homeopathy has its own experimental process called "proving." They have a number of healthy people take a remedy and report all the symptoms they experience for an undetermined period of time, including things like "dreams of robbers." Then they list all these symptoms in a book so you can look up the ones that match your own symptoms to choose a remedy.

I have just read a hilarious account of a proving at www.interhomeopathy.org. It sounds like a parody, but it isn't. It was published in an online international homeopathy journal established in 2006.

 
James Arthur Ray in Denver PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Reed Esau   

Tuesday evening in Denver I attended a free seminar featuring a self-help guru who is currently the focus of a triple-homicide investigation.

That guru's name is James Arthur Ray.  I had never heard of Mr. Ray until a couple weeks ago when reading news of deaths in a sweat lodge incident at a New Age spiritual retreat in Sedona, Arizona.  That incident had resulted in 18 injuries requiring hospitalization and the deaths of two people. One of the injured lay in a coma at a hospital in Flagstaff due to multiple organ damage and would later succumb to those injuries for a total of three deaths.

James Ray is notably one of the principle teachers behind "The Secret", a 2007 film and bestselling book by Rhonda Byrne which asserts that the key to personal success is in harnessing a set of mysterious universal laws, including the infamous "Law of Attraction." Ray leads his own organization, "James Ray International", which sells books and hosts events centered around his teachings.

One of those events is the annual 5-day "Spiritual Warrior" retreat which costs many of its participants over $9,000 to attend.  That may seem like a steep price for a retreat, but because Ray preaches that one "gets what they give" the $9,000 is likely seen by its participants as a bargain towards meeting one's personal goals.

 
Woo in Review: Paranormal Activity PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   

Oren Peli, formerly a video game designer, launched his film career with the recently-premiered horror movie Paranormal Activity, which he both wrote and directed. Not that you would have any clue who Oren Peli was if you had seen the movie - not even if you sat through the credits - mostly because there are no credits. I know this because I sat in the theater waiting for the credits to come up until every other person in attendance had wandered out. I waited until the projector stopped running and the lights came up. I waited because I refused to believe that a film could be so completely dishonest.

 
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