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.

Identified Flying Objects PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Belief is a powerful and frightening force. It defies evidence, logic, and reason. It is not to be trusted. A prime example of that was brought to my attention by the site weirdthings.com, which offers many such ponderances.

An hour south of Washington, DC, mysterious rings have been observed floating above the King's Dominion amusement park. Visible for up to 15 minutes, they seem to hover in place and then move on their own accord. They're unlike any aircraft built by man. They're so unique, that they've been reported by CNN. One witness, Deena Smith, wondered if it was the end of the world. A UFO investigator says that it's similar to a UFO seen in the 50's.

And yet, we have everything we need to solve this mystery.

 
A Marmite Mystery? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

marmiteMarmite is a yeast paste favored by Brits and Aussies, but somewhat shunned in the states. Having actually tried the stuff, I do wonder how folks can enjoy it. But then again, I like peanut butter and Fluff sandwiches, and I understand that marshmallow creme is a rather American phenomenon.

And though I've opened exactly one lid of marmite and countless dozens of lids of marshmallow creme, I can't say that I ever noticed anything quite as noteworthy as that which Claire Allen discovered on the lid of her marmite jar as she made lunch for her four year old son.

 
Captain Disillusion Meets His Match PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Captain Disillusion meets his toughest case yet - The Pantry Ghost.

Faced with an apparently unsolvable challenge, CD is ready to give up, and until a familiar force offers a helpful hand.

Direct link to YouTube comments here.

 
Talking to the Dead - I Mean FoxNews PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

This week, beacon of truth FoxNews had an interview with two champions of reason: John Edward and Sean Hannity. Removing tongue from cheek, I present to you an interview that demonstrates two things: 1) it’s still cool to be “the skeptic” and 2) to quote Southpark, “John Edward is the biggest douche in the universe.”

Note that the article is entitled “Medium John Edward Explains Ability.” Really? Did whoever titled this piece actually read or see the interview?

John Edward, when asked why he doesn’t defend what he does, had this to say:

Because as soon as — as soon as you have to defend something, then you're admitting that something needs defense. So I kind of, like — I come from a place of I'm a spiritual person. I believe in God. I would never defend my belief in God. People either do believe or they don't believe, and that's OK. That's their choice.

So I feel the same way about this. As soon as I go to a place I have to defend it, I feel like you immediately lose. I have no problem explaining it, though, or trying to teach about it.

Well, guess what John… if you want us to believe that you can TALK TO THE DEAD, yes, you’re going to have to defend it. Do so succesfully, and we'll give you $1,000,000. This "non-answering" is a favorite technique of so-called psychics and mediums, as it puts all the pressure on the person who has questions, and make them feel guilty for somehow doubting such an esteemed individual. Alas, we skeptics are like that.

 
MSNBC Jumps on the Anti-Alt Med Wagon PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

In the latest of a series of articles critical of "alternative" medicine, MSNBC proclaims that Zicam is not the only remedy that may harm your health. From the article:

an Associated Press analysis of the Food and Drug Administration's side effect reports found that more than 800 homeopathic ingredients were potentially implicated in health problems last year. Complaints ranged from vomiting to attempted suicide.

So once again, we're happy to see alternative medicine getting negative press. But hold on... homeopathy has no ingredients. How can they be harmful? Well, they can't.

 
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