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.

Creating A Monster PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

japaneseghostI was at a meetup.com dinner recently with about a dozen people that I’d never met before. When we went around the table telling what we did for a living, my response garnered some attention.

“Are you a ghost hunter?”

“Er, well… no, not exactly.. you see…”

“I saw a ghost once.”

“That’s very interesting, but what I do at the JREF is…”

And so it went. This is not an unusual exchange, and I’m not annoyed in the least. Often, such awkward openings lead to something more interesting, and that was the case here.

An Asian man approached me and said something very interesting:

“Ghosts are cultural.”

Though his English was quite good, I didn’t understand what he meant.

“Do you mean ghosts only exist because they’re socially constructed?”

“In Japan, ghosts have no legs. In the US, they do.”

 
Help Re-establish the Herd Immunity of Nevada! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Joe Albietz   

tamyspeakeralbietzTAM 7 is fast approaching and those of you who have already signed up may have noticed something a bit different at the bottom of the registration page.  This year the JREF is working with the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) to provide vaccinations for the children in Nevada.

Nevada has one of the worst vaccination rates in the nation.  The reasons are multifactorial.  Though there is a significant fraction of children who remain unvaccinated because of the distrust of vaccine safety spread by the current anti-vaccination movement, lack of health insurance, a large transitory population, and poverty (Las Vegas unemployment is now over 10%) also play a large role in its dismal vaccination rate.

 
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.

 
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