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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.

Off The Wall PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Luke Doug Haines   

Penn and Teller once predicted -- with a lot more accuracy than your average psychic -- that, soon after the September 11th attacks, someone, somewhere, would hold a séance on national TV to contact the victims. When someone did indeed try to do this (take a bow, John Edward) network executives balked at the idea as being too tacky and exploitative even for modern TV audiences.

British TV, apparently, works a little differently.

Sky One, one of the leading UK satellite channels, has decided that whilst exploiting the recent deaths of thousands for viewing figures mightn't be terribly sensitive, exploiting the recent death of one extremely famous person for viewing figures is a-okay.

So we arrive at last Friday night's televised séance, in which spiritual medium Derek Acorah attempted to contact the ghost of the Michael Jackson. Why he chose November 6th as a date for this endeavour is unclear; it was not Jackson's birthday, nor, obviously, his date of death, so we're left to wonder why the more obvious idea of a Halloween séance wasn't used. (Perhaps a holiday associated with giving candy to children and wearing scary rubber faces was a little too close to the bone when dealing with The King of Pop.)

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HELP! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Years ago, I won a prize in a limerick contest sponsored by Isaac Asimov's magazine. The verse had to incorporate the name of a celestial constellation and deal with the future. I submitted two. This one won me the prize:

An angry young student from Reticulum,
Annoyed at their crazy curriculum,
Said, "They teach biorhythms, Ψ,
And a rational .
I hear Asimov's set to ridicule 'em."

(In case your Greek is a bit rusty, those letters are "psi" and "pi.")

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Why We Will Win PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

During an interview with a newspaper reporter recently, I was asked a common question: "Do you feel like we're losing the battle? That people are increasingly turning away from science and towards woo-woo?" And I answered, as I always answer, "No."

While it's true that the anti-vax movement could do some real harm to society, and that so-called Intelligent Design could make its way into text books, we have one thing going for us that they will never have.

But before I answer what that is, I have to define "we" and "they."

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Ray Versus The Universe PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Sean Sturgeon   

Twenty five hundred years ago, the Chinese tactician Sun Tzu was a busy guy. He has a lot more free time now, but it was crazy back in the day. When not jotting poems about his kitties onto bamboo strips and ribbing Confucius for being "too preachy," Sun Tzu managed to churn out his masterpiece The Art of War. That book contains the following axiom:

Know your enemy and know yourself, and win a hundred battles without a single loss.

 

At least I assume that's what it contains. I've never even been able to get beyond the second chapter (that's the one on Bo Staff maintenance) without nodding off. Honestly, I only even remember the line because it was in an episode of Star Trek. But whether it's a military genius or one of the few actors to share the screen with both Captain Picard and Matlock, it's still good advice.

Good advice should be followed and not ignored. Yes Ray Comfort, I'm looking at you.

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A Direct, Specific, Challenge From James Randi and the JREF PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

NOTE: This notice first appeared in Oct, 2008, but given recent events in Iraq, we've decided to show it again. - Jeff Wagg

This notice is directed to Cumberland Industries, UK. The ADE651® device, a totally fraudulent product, is advertised as described ahead, by Cumberland Industries, who we have contacted at

Cumberland Industries UK LTD
11 Murray Street
Camden
London
NW1 9RE, UK

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