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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.

Connie Sonne Preliminary Challenge Test at TAM 7 PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   

At the Amaz!ng Meeting 7, we conducted a Preliminary Challenge Test for the JREF million-dollar prize - the first time we've ever done this in front of a live audience. It was done with total transparency.  We invited all TAMgoers, as well as media representatives and famous skeptics and magicians, to attend a preliminary Challenge test of Ms. Connie Sonne.

For those who weren't able to attend in person, we streamed the test live so those at home could watch from their computers. We had six hundred people watching from the audience, and 1,600 watching from home. The in-person audience included people like Penn and Teller, Mac King, Jamy Ian Swiss, Dr. Joe Albietz, and, of course, Randi. The video was viewed by people from all over the world, just as it happened in real time.

Read more...
 
Move Over Crystal Head… PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

ovalbottlethumb2That’s right, there’s a new booze on the block. Reader David points us to Oval Vodka, which is "structured" and designed by a "homeopathic scientist."

Sigh.

"'Structuring’ is our name for a patented process developed by Professor Valery Sorokin, a renowned Russian homeopathic scientist." They show a nice nd completely inaccurate animation of a “vodka molecule” being enveloped by water, and somehow this is supposed to provide a smooth taste like fresh spring water. The process, whatever it is, takes 11 days.

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Did Voodoo Kill Michael Jackson? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

There is a fascinating article in the Phoenix New Times at  I recommend reading all 6 pages of it to get the full flavor of all the varieties of woo-ness it contains. Sedona healer Reinalda de Souza is claiming that she killed Michael Jackson - with voodoo!

She claims to be trained in just about every kind of alternative medical woo-woo (rhymes with voodoo), including acupuncture, reflexology, aromatherapy, Ayurvedic medicine, dowsing, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, divination, massage, and lithotherapy. She treated Jackson with lithotherapy, having him bathe in tubs filled with agate, garnet, and aventurine.

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“Orphan”: A Movie That Reinforces Myths About Adoption PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jean Mercer   

Later in July, Warner Brothers will release a movie that is already eliciting serious concern among adoption groups and other child advocates. “Orphan” presents the story of an adopted child who is “damaged goods” and is dangerous to her adoptive family while appearing sweet and innocent to others. Superficially charming and friendly, she secretly menaces those who love her.

This movie is a regrettable homage to the myth that adopted children are emotionally disturbed.

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Live Swifting TAM: A Fiendish Pace, The Perils of Success, Vegas U-Turns, Love and Marriage, Shermer/Savage/Lancaster, a Panel, Randi’s Crazy Stamina, and Penn’s Terrifying Ethics PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   

 

It’s shortly after 4:00 p.m. Phil Plait is either speaking in the conference room or just finishing up, and I’m missing it to type this. I feel bad, but that’s the way it goes here—you can’t take a bathroom break without missing something.

 

TAM is a pretty remarkable thing. We were ready for record-breaking numbers we were perfectly prepared accommodate 1,000 TAMmers this year but we passed that once-unimaginable benchmark a long time ago. The registration desk ran out of badges yesterday and I got lost in Vegas trying to find more. (Random educational aside: it is possible to traverse the entire Las Vegas strip, south to north, without once finding an opportunity to take a legal U-turn.)
Read more...
 
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